PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE
Wednesday, 29th March, 2023
The Senate met at Half-past Two o’clock p.m.
(THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE in the Chair)
ANNOUNCEMENT BY THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE
SWITCHING OFF OF CELLPHONES
THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE: Good afternoon Hon. Senators. Hon. Senators are reminded to put their phones on silent or switch them off.
BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
HON. SEN. MUZENDA: Thank you Mr. President. I move that Orders of the Day Numbers 1 to 2 on today’s Order Paper, be stood over until the rest of the Orders of the Day have been disposed of.
HON. SEN. TONGONGARA: I second.
Motion put and agreed to.
PRESIDENTIAL SPEECH: DEBATE ON ADDRESS
Third Order read: Adjourned debate on motion in reply to the Presidential speech.
Question again proposed.
*HON. SEN. SIPANI-HUNGWE: Thank you Mr. President. I want to add my voice on the motion which was raised by Senator Mpofu. The President touched on quite a lot of things in his speech. He talked about the children and he was worried about drug abuse among the youth, for example the use of mutoriro, pampers and so forth. As leaders here, let us go back to the electorate and talk to them about our children. What are we going to achieve if we have youths who are addicts in a few years to come? I suggest that we invite the Lord to be with us in trying to control these children. Let us set aside days to pray for God’s intervention since the situation is now out of hand. I heard the previous speakers saying boys and girls go out and have private time on their own which never happened during our heydays. I am requesting Hon. Senators to seek God’s intervention by way of praying and fasting and those who believe in ancestors can also seek intervention so that we have a good country.
The President talked about the rehabilitation of roads. We can see that Government is trying to rehabilitate the roads. Quite a number of roads right now are full of potholes. It is not Government’s fault. We are grateful that God gave us enough rains and there was no way roads could have been rehabilitated during the rain season. Now that the rains are gone, may those roads be rehabilitated. I commend again the Government for realising that the local authorities are not seriously committed to rehabilitate the roads within their jurisdiction. The Government has now intervened to rehabilitate those roads. Now that the rains have ceased, those roads are being rehabilitated.
He even improved on quite a lot of things in education. The President spoke of Bills and we would like to thank him for that. He said most of the Bills should be attended to. We are now about to go for elections, so we should ensure that we have attended to those outstanding Bills before we come to the end of the life of this Parliament. Ministers should bring the Bills so that we attend to them. When we leave, we should have cleared all the Bills, we do not want to leave any outstanding matters.
We are having elections this year. Let us all be peaceful - those were some of the words in his speech. We all belong to this country. It does not matter that you support Dynamos or CAPS, when we go home, we sit at the same table because we belong to the same country. It is just that we want to choose those who are better able to lead for the next five years. It is not a way. We should not fight over this. Let us go as elders and tell our children on the ground that the President does not want any violence and that if anyone engages in violence, they should be arrested and prosecuted. We want a country that is peaceful. With those few words, I thank you Mr. President.
*HON. SEN. CHIFAMBA: Thank you very much Mr. President. My apologies, I responded to you while I was walking. I would like to thank His Excellency the President of this country, His Excellency Dr. E. D. Mnangagwa, for leading the infrastructure development of the new Parliament building. This is something that brought joy to us as children of this country. It is very difficult to live in a country and you do not have something you can point at to say this is ours. It was built with the image of this country and we are very happy. We would like to express joy and acknowledge that indeed a great job was done. We can now point at the new Parliament building as our new home.
We are very grateful for the Beitbridge Border Post infrastructure development. It is with joy we talk about the Beitbridge Border Post. It can actually show that a lot of work is being done in this country. Allow us to speak of the great things that are happening in this country as Zimbabwean children. We are very happy. You can actually see the smooth flow of traffic at Beitbridge Border Post as well as people who are coming in and out. You can navigate with ease from Zimbabwe to the other side, the South African side. Way back, in the old days, we used to sleep at the border, but it is now different with the development of the border post.
We are very happy with women who are being uplifted within the army. We used to think that the army was only for men but again, you can see that women are war liberators. They participated in the war to liberate this country. Everyone stood for their country. May they continue to do that and uplift women within the army and give them high ranks. Even those within the police should also be given high ranks.
We are very happy as women in this country. Society thought the army and police was only for men, but you can actually see that women are being uplifted, women are being given high ranks. Even amongst pilots in this country, we now have women and also others are driving trucks and buses. Women are doing great things, something that was thought to be for men only. So even at work, people think there is a difference between men and women but it is now the same.
We are very happy with the Government programme of Pfumvudza despite having delays of not receiving these inputs in time. Going to the road infrastructure in the country, we are impressed with the road works that are being done in this country but again, we would like to mention that there are other roads in this country, for example in Murewa. Those roads need urgent attention. Just like the previous speaker has mentioned, some of the roads in the country are in a bad state. We cannot continue with such a state of the road network. It is very bad. Our vehicles are being affected now and then because of the bad state of the roads in the country.
We are not encouraging people to speed on these roads but people should pay attention to the state of the roads in the country. We acknowledge some of them were actually done very well, we are impressed. We are now looking forward to seeing roads being given attention in the rural areas. We kindly ask for attention on these roads. Talking about kombi drivers, in most cases, these drivers are very reckless. Thank you very much Mr. President, I do not have much to say.
THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): I move that the debate do now adjourn.
Motion put and agreed to.
Debate to resume: Thursday, 30th March, 2023.
BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): Thank you Mr. President. I move that we revert to Order of the Day, Number 1 on today’s Order Paper.
Motion put and agreed to.
CHILD JUSTICE BILL [H. B. 11, 2021]
First Order read: Adjourned debate on Second Reading of the Child Justice Bill [H. B. 11, 2021].
Question again proposed.
*HON. SEN. CHISOROCHENGWE: Thank you Mr. President. I just want to add a few words on this Bill. This is a very difficult Bill and the issue of children is a troubling one. As we speak right now Mr. President, we are now taking blood pressure tablets because of these children. For us to rest our spirits and not to be troubled by these children, we should bring back the issue of corporal punishment.
If children are given corporal punishment at school and back at home, they will never give us a problem in our life. Way back in the old days, they knew with this law that back home and at school they will be beaten up. We are now afraid of these children that we gave birth to. Imagine being told that if you have beaten up your own child you are taken to the police, but when I gave birth to this child, no-one was there, no one even helped me. We should bring back the corporal punishment law.
I was happy when I heard His Excellency mentioning that we should clap these youngsters and instill discipline in them. Let us bring back that law so that we do not live in fear afraid of our own children. Imagine at 8 years these children are taking hard drugs because there is nothing to hinder them from doing so.
I would also like to blame parents because we are not doing much to reprimand our own children. If you get him arrested, you go again to that same police station and get the docket closed. We should put our heads together and make sure that we discipline our children. If a child of 12 years commits a crime, they should be arrested. If possible, police should make use of leg irons so that the society and other children will see that it is a serious issue to committee a crime. If they see that surely the message would have been sent. When they are sent to prison, those 12 to 15 years should be in their own facility not in the same place with adults. Mentally and psychologically, they can be ruined but there should be an opportunity for them to be exposed to adults so that they know that it is not pleasure or entertainment but it is a serious issue to reprimand them. I thank you.
**HON. SEN. NYATHI: Thank you Mr. President for this opportunity that you gave me to debate on the Bill that was brought by the Minister. What I want to say is that Hon. Minister, you did not take much into consideration on this Bill. So many people have mentioned that the children that we give birth to nowadays are abusing parents. The children are acting unlawfully, they no longer respect their parents. What I know is that you respect your mother as old as you are, but I do not know how it came to be when it was said that when a child is 18 years old, he or she is no longer a child but an adult.
If we take into consideration nowadays how children from the 1980s were raised, there were no suicides by young people. Now children are committing suicide because they believe that they are not supposed to be told what to do. Even if a child is disciplined in the house, they no longer respect the parent, they talk back. If you try to discipline them, the following day they will commit suicide.
IAs Senators, if you look back during our time, when we met our elders on the way, we would respect them whether we knew them or not. Nowadays, the children are no longer doing that. They act unlawfully. As a parent, if I see a child doing something bad in public, if I try to reprimand him or her, the child does not take heed of that. Some children will report to their parents, especially if I hit them, even if they were taking drugs or drinking alcohol, the parents will come for me fuming.
Nowadays, you see children from school in our streets taking drugs. When they reach home, they will be violent because of those drugs. If the parent tries to reprimand them, the child will report to the police. They will fabricate some other issues saying things like the parent tried to rape me. If we are airing our voices in this House, let those voices be taken into account for the public to know. Nowadays the teachers are not even disciplining children in schools. The age group between the 1980s and those of today is different. With those few words, I thank you.
*HON. SEN. CHIFAMBA: Thank you Mr. President. I followed this Bill from the Zoom platform being explained by Hon. Sen. Chief Charumbira. I was so touched as a parent who has grandchildren. Hon. Minister, some of these laws, if you take them and put them next to us, they are reeling our children. Our children are no longer disciplined and no longer listening to us because of the age issue which is 18 years. In Zimbabwe, this started a lot of trouble for us. As parents, we actually cry because of our children’s behaviour.
We grew up without knowing that a boy would hold your waist in public. We would run away back in the days but children of this day are no longer afraid to have someone holding their waist, clad in school uniforms, they are no longer afraid of such things. They do not even run away even if they see elders. They continue with what they are doing. We grew up being taught that as long as some people are elders to you, you ought to respect them but these children of ours are not afraid and they do not even run away.
They carry extra clothes in their satchels just to change soon after school and they put on those casual clothes simply because they are now 18 years. As a parent, I am the one who is paying schools fees for this child. If they do not listen to the one who is paying school fees, who is going to pay for them? Is the age of 18 going to pay fees for them or they still need our assistance? All the way up to university or any other course they may think of, they are still under my purview. They are still in my house despite attaining the age of 18 years.
If they so wish, let them practice the age of 18 and survive outside my house. How can a child that you gave birth to stand up to you? In English they say ‘do not answer me back’, but our children are responding to us, which is something foreign to our culture. Way back in the day, if a parent laid her eyes on you, you would know that it is now trouble. The moment those visitors leave your house, you know that I am going to be in trouble.
As we speak, 12-year-olds are now indulging. We have a child who died at Godfrey Huggins at a very young age. That boy was buried. I am talking about a Grade 6 child who was inhaling gas. Imagine a boy as young as six years, children are indulging in drugs. My humble plea Hon. Minister is we kindly ask you to give us the power to discipline these children. We are the ones who give them food and clothing. These children in school should be beaten up and given corporal punishment. That should be done as a way of disciplining them. Today, it is because they know that the teacher will never do anything to them.
We hear a lot of stories that children are doing as they wish in schools in front of the headmasters. The children should be afraid that they have met someone who is older than them. If we give them freedom, we are bringing trouble. I was reported to the police and my own child took me to the police. I took her there because she was now a problem to me. I actually asked her to go to school looking like that with bruises because I promised her that the next time she gives me a problem, I would take her to the police station.
A child is not an egg and I will never kill my child. We have cases of parents who are killing their own children. It is possible and it is happening but we will never go to that extent. We are Zimbabweans and some of these laws are not meant for us. We are Africans, dark skinned people and we should discipline our children. How do I discipline such a child? The problem is I will never get tired to discipline these children. When they grow up, they will be regretting because I will never get a chance to talk to my own child. Even a boy child will just go to their in-laws and behave disrespectfully.
Eighteen years is a curse on us. The age is actually going down. Kindly assist us as parents. You can assign chiefs roles in their respective areas so that they discipline these children. In rural areas, we are embarrassed as parents. You wonder where this child is coming from but they should not be wondering like animals that have no direction and have no place of fixed aboard. They should be disciplined and we should create and initiate a cap on their behaviour. We should put an end to errant behaviour by these youngsters.
Imagine all this will be happening inside my own house. I give them clothing and food and what do I get? I get an in disciplined child in return. Imagine a Grade 6 child, a boy and very young inhaling gas. Our children are smoking marijuana and they spend the whole day glued on a bridge. In Samora Machel, our kids are displaying and flushing their bodies which is such an embarrassing act.
Let us not allow these kids to do as they wish. Where are these kids coming from at 6p.m. - you find someone coming back home from playing. That is not normal. Imagine if that child is impregnated, I have to take care of my daughter and I have to take care of the grandchild because the husband cannot take care of the mother and the child. Thank you very much Mr. President.
*THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): Thank you very much Mr. President. I just wanted to bring clarification on what the Bill is all about. It is not about child delinquency but instead, we are saying children should have their own courts different from those subjected to adults. That is what the Bill is all about. There is another Bill coming that is the Children’s Amendment Bill. That one you can express yourselves as you are doing now. Thank you.
*HON. SEN. SIPANI-HUNGWE: Thank you Mr. President for giving me this opportunity to debate on this Bill. I was listening when debate took place yesterday. When a child commits an offence at the age of 12 years, the child must not be sent to the same prison with adults as this will actually ruin their future. I would like to acknowledge that children are committing crimes at a very tender age. The ages of 5 to 8 years are committing crimes. May the Hon. Minister look into this issue?
The children must not be mixed with adults, they should not be mixed with those who commit serious crimes. We must find a plan on what we are going to do with these children. I read the Bill, understood it and I support it. I thank you.
*THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): I would like to thank Hon. Sen. Hungwe for her contribution. The law right now states that children aged 12 years and above are the ones who can be taken before a judge or magistrate. Those below the age of 12 cannot be said to have committed a crime. This Bill is focusing on children who are from the ages of 12 years to 18 years. This is a very good Bill; it allows our children who would have committed a crime the ability to be rehabilitated. When they grow up, they will be reformed, they will be new people and would have been moved away from misbehaving. This is the main objective of this Bill. I would like to thank all the Hon. Senators who have contributed to this Bill.
With those remarks, I now move that the Child Justice Bill [H.B. 11, 2021] be now read a second time.
Motion put and agreed to.
Bill read a second time
Committee Stage: With leave, forthwith.
CHILD JUSTICE BILL [H. B. 11, 2021]
House in Committee.
Clauses 1 to 90 put and agreed to.
On clause 91:
*HON. SEN. TONGOGARA: Thank you Mr. President. I want to ask the Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs about the Community Court. At what age are they starting? Are those ages 12 to 18 years and also the children who are below those ages, do they qualify for community service? Thank you.
*THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND
PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): Thank you Mr. Chairman. What clause 91 is saying is what is there. We do not ask general questions about the Bill so the question should focus on that clause which we are talking about, not any other things.
*THE CHAIRMAN: Did you get that Sen. Tongogara? You should be specific, whether it is clause 1 where exactly in clause 1, which subclause. You should be specific that this word is left out or there is something that has been left out, we need to add something.
Clause 91 put and agreed to.
Clause 92 to 93 put and agreed to.
Bill reported without amendments.
Third Reading, With leave, forthwith.
CHILD JUSTICE BILL [H. B. 11: 2021]
THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): I move that the Bill be now read the third time.
Motion put and agreed to.
Bill read the third time.
BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): I move that the rest of the Orders of the Day be stood over until Order of the Day, Number 9 has been disposed of.
Motion put and agreed to.
CONSTRUCTION OF SCHOOL INFRASTRUCTURE AND RECRUITMENT OF ECD TEACHERS
Nineth Order read: Adjourned debate on motion on the challenges affecting early child learning.
Question again proposed.
*HON. SEN. CHIEF CHARUMBIRA: Thank you Mr. President for giving me this opportunity to add a few words on access to early childhood learning. Firstly, the challenge of not having electricity in rural areas while those in urban areas have creates a huge gap. You will notice that in urban centres, a child who is not even in grade zero can play around with electric gadgets but those in rural areas, even those in secondary schools are not familiar with technology. So, I think the issue of electricity should be addressed.
The other thing which hampers this idea of early childhood learning is the issue of family. If the parents are separated or if parents work far away and children are being looked after by relatives or workers, it is another issue which should be looked into seriously because there is no-one who is taking much care of these children. Also, if the parents are divorced, if someone has a child and they are not staying together, you will find that for a woman to take the child to school and monitor as well will be a struggle. Those children’s start is not very good, which means that when they go forward up to grade seven to secondary level, they will lag behind. So, I am appealing to people that when you decide to have children, you should not divorce. You should stay together so that you look after your children. Divorce may be caused by trivial issues because you will be just looking at yourselves not thinking about the well-being of the children. This will not help the children for them to assist you in the future. I thank you.
HON. SEN. MABIKA: Thank you Mr. President. I would like to thank everyone who contributed towards this motion. I now move that the House adopts this motion. I thank you.
Motion that this House –
ACKNOWLEDGING, that education is a right for every citizen and permanent resident in Zimbabwe;
COGNISANT, that the State, through reasonable legislative and other measures, must ensure that education is progressively available and accessible even to adults as constitutionally obligated;
FURTHER ACKNOWLEDGING, the importance of Early Child Development (ECD) in laying the foundation for children through education;
CONCERNED, that Early Child Development (ECD) is confronted with a myriad of challenges such as inadequate funding, shortage of classrooms, Information Communication Technology (ICT) equipment, teachers and reading materials, among others;
This House calls upon –
- The Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education to prioritise the construction of school infrastructure and recruitment of teachers for Early Child Development (ECD); and
- The Ministry of Finance and Economic Development to provide adequate financial resources for Early Child Development programmes, put and agreed to.
On the motion of HON. SEN. MUZENDA seconded by HON. SEN. CHISOROCHENGWE, the Senate adjourned at Ten Minutes to Four o’clock p.m.
PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE
Wednesday, 29th March, 2023
The National Assembly met at a Quarter-past Two o’clock p.m.
(THE HON. SPEAKER in the Chair)
THE HON. SPEAKER: I make an observation that those who want to attend in person - the majority, except two (2) on my left and about six (6) on my right, were there for prayers. This is your House, you must respect it. Be here for the prayers before we begin.
ANNOUNCEMENT BY THE HON. SPEAKER
EXTENSION PERIOD OF CONSIDERATION FOR THE MINES AND MINERALS AMENDMENT BILL
THE HON. SPEAKER: I have to inform the House that in terms of Standing Order Number 33 (8), the Parliamentary Legal Committee sought an extension of the period to consider the Mines and Minerals Amendment Bill [H.B.10;2022], and the extension was accordingly granted for a further twenty-six (26) business days.
ZIMBABWE-PALESTINIAN PARLIAMENTARY FRIENDSHIP ASSOCIATION
THE HON. SPEAKER: I have to inform the House that Hon. Members wishing to join the Zimbabwe-Palestinian Parliamentary Friendship Association should contact Mr. A. Mapetere, the Committee Clerk on 0712 313 170 or extension 2074. Please take note of the limited number of the membership, which should not be more than fifteen (15) members.
APOLOGIES RECEIVED FROM THE EXECUTIVE
THE HON. SPEAKER: I have received apologies from the Executive:
- C.D.G. N.Chiwenga, Vice President and Minister of Health and Child Care;
- J. Moyo, Minister of Local Government and Public Works;
- Dr. A.J. Masuka, Minister of Agriculture, Lands, Water, Fisheries and Rural Development;
- M. Mutsvangwa, Minister of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services;
- O.C.Z. Muchinguri-Kashiri, Minister of Defence and War Veterans Affairs;
- Prof. M. Ncube, Minister of Finance and Economic Development;
- Prof. A. Murwira, Minister of Higher and Tertiary Education, Innovation, Science and Technology Development;
- K. Kazembe, Minister of Homes Affairs and Cultural Heritage;
- R. Maboyi-Mavhungu, Deputy Minister of Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage;
- Hon. W. Chitando, Minister of Mines and Mining Development;
- Hon. P. Kambamura, Deputy Minister of Mines and Mining Development;
- Hon. P. Mavima, Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare;
- Hon. Dr. S. Nzenza, Minister of Industry and Commerce and
- Hon. D. Garwe, Minister of National Housing.
ORAL ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS WITHOUT NOTICE
HON. NDUNA: My question is directed to the Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare. According to the statutes Hon. Speaker, there is optional pensionable age at 55 and there is automatic pensionable age at 65 years. What is Government policy insofar as it relates to disbursement to the pensioners the money that they are supposed to receive monthly as a lump sum when they need to use it for medical expenses before their medical condition takes them away from this earth?
THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF PUBLIC SERVICE, LABOUR AND SOCIAL WELFARE (HON. MATUKE): If I understood the question, he wants to find out whether there can be early disbursement before the pensionable age. I would say you cannot get your pension before you get to your pensionable age. If the policy is going to change anytime, it will be made through Parliament which comes up with that suggestion - but currently, you have to get your pension after you get to your pensionable age. I want to thank you so much.
HON. NDUNA: I had actually observed the pensionable age; the first one to be 55, which is optional and the automatic one 65 years of age. Thereafter, during the subsistence of that pensionable age, disbursements when the pensioner is now at home. What is the Government policy? Is there room for Government to incorporate a statute or have a statute that disburses a lump sum of those disbursements instead of monthly to alleviate the plight of the suffering elder pensioners who want to use that lump sum for health reasons and healthcare. Mr. Speaker, aware that the Protocol to the African Charter and indeed our own Constitution does deal with the rights of all the persons, including their health. Would it be …
THE HON. SPEAKER: Hon. Member, you are now debating. Just ask your supplementary question.
HON. NDUNA: A plethora of statutes, including the African Charter, speak to the health of the elder persons, including their human rights. Would it please the Minister to have a statute in place that disburses that money as a lump sum so that it can take care of the health of the pensioners who are already receiving their emoluments?
HON. MATUKE: I want to agree with the Hon. Member. There is a Bill coming to Parliament to address those issues very soon and I am sure it will be able to address what you raised and even more. Thank you.
HON. P. D. SIBANDA: My supplementary question to the Hon Minister is that throughout the years, the quantum of pension that our pensioners are getting has been eroded by inflation and other factors to the extent that a pensioner is unable to travel to go and collect his/her monthly pension. What is government doing to restore value to the pensions that our pensioners are earning and also protect the dignity of the same pensioners? I thank you Hon. Speaker.
HON. MATUKE: The issue of monetary erosion is affecting the entire economy and does not spare our pensioners. However, as I indicated, we have a Bill coming to this House which will enable us to raise issues to do with pegging the pension into US$ but you cannot then change the system because it has to align with the monthly earnings of our employees. I am only indicating that when the Bill comes, Parliament will be in a position to interrogate and make sure that they make the necessary changes in the Bill.
HON. MADZIMURE: We have a special category of pensioners of people who suffered injuries during the war. In a situation like this one, it becomes more difficult for them as some of them have no limbs and want the limbs replaced. Some of them have permanent injuries and need to visit the doctor on a monthly basis. Is the Minister considering inclusion of a clause in the new Bill that will cater for those people to have special medical cards that will allow them to get specialized treatment in general or private hospitals?
HON. MATUKE: Hon. Speaker, I am sure what the Hon. Member is trying to put across is a request and I am sure it is worth considering when the Bill comes. We can take note of that.
HON. MARKHAM: Hon. Speaker, I understand what the Minister is trying to say. My question is: we have got civil servants who have had up to 400% salary increase. I have just received from an old people’s home, a request for what is going to happen to their pensions because rates in the City of Harare have gone up five-fold. What is the immediate solution for pensioners? I thank you.
THE HON. SPEAKER: I will indulge that because we need to stick to policy and not issues that affect a particular locality.
HON. MARKHAM: Thank you Hon. Speaker, may I rephrase it? What is government’s policy to help the pensioners immediately in view of the increase in salaries for workers and the five-fold increase in rates?
HON. MATUKE: Mr. Speaker, may I be given time to research on this very important question because I do not have an adequate answer for him now. I thank you.
THE HON. SPEAKER: I hope the Hon. Minister will come back and clarify issues.
(v)HON. S. TSHUMA: My question is directed to the Minister of Environment, Climate Change and Tourism. Is it a new norm that wild animals such as rhinos and elephants are now roaming outside the National Park? Such incidences are taking place in areas such as Chizarira National Park. What is government doing in order to protect human life?
THE HON. SPEAKER: Thank you Hon. Tshuma, your question is specific in relation to Chizarira National Parks. You should have put that question in writing. I thank you.
(v)HON. NKANI: Mr. Speaker Sir, I would like to find out what government policy is on…
THE HON. SPEAKER: Can you deal with the reverberation. We can hardly hear the Hon. Member. Hon. Member, can you kindly repeat your question.
(v)HON. NKANI: What is government policy…
THE HON. SPEAKER: Hon. Member, can the people around you switch off their gadgets please? They are interfering with the system or your radio.
(v)HON. NKANI: There is no radio here Mr. Speaker Sir. My question is directed to the Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development. What is government policy on privatization on uncompleted road construction works in 2023?
THE MINISTER OF TRANSPORT AND INFRASTRUCTURAL DEVELOPMENT (HON. MHONA): Let me thank Hon. Nkani for that very important question. Hon Speaker Sir, with the advent of heavy rains …
THE HON. SPEAKER: Hon. Minister, can you remove the other gadget? Sorry about that.
A laptop was removed from the Table.
HON. MHONA: Thank you Mr. Speaker. I was saying with the advent of the heavy rains, there was a slowdown to rehabilitation of our roads. I want to assure Hon. Nkani that yes, per each province, we have prioritised roads so that we embark and resume the Emergency Road Rehabilitation Programme (ERRP). If you have seen, we have started on a number of roads as we speak so that we then move with speed to reconstruct. Also, you will be seeing us doing the grass cutting, pothole patching and in some cases reconstructing roads. I want to assure him that each province has got a unique set up where we are going also to consult Resident Ministers and also the local leadership so that they give us their priority list in terms of the roads that they want us to embark on. Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.
HON. NKANI: My supplementary question Mr. Speaker Sir, is that I need clarity because we have roads which were already under construction and not yet completed. May the Minister clarify on whether his Ministry is going to start with those and have them completed or they are going to embark on new roads?
THE HON. SPEAKER: I am afraid your question is asking for specific information and I suggest you follow up that question in writing so that the Hon. Minister can research on the matter.
*HON. HAMAUSWA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. My supplementary question is that the Minister said his Ministry will be consulting the Resident Ministers and the local leadership so that they have their prioritised list in terms of the roads that they want to be rehabilitated. Is the same programme also extended to urban areas so that we can also inform our constituents to have their prioritised lists for roads rehabilitation programme?
THE HON. SPEAKER: Primarily, roads under local authorities do not fall under the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructural Development. However, there is a programme to assist local authorities. Perhaps from that angle, the Hon. Minister may want to respond.
*HON. MHONA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. I also want to thank Hon. Hamauswa for his question. Thank you Mr. Speaker for the explanation that you clearly gave. It is true that roads in urban areas are under the local authorities but the fact that sometimes local authorities face some challenges, we end up assisting them. I also want to thank Government for the programme to inform residents around, and Hon. Hamauswa is also part of those who approached our offices indicating some roads that have been damaged which need rehabilitation. Hon. Members can liaise with the Ministry so that we can assist in the construction of roads in their respective constituencies. If local authorities are facing some challenges, we cannot let them fail. We are going to work together with the local authorities so that we rehabilitate our road infrastructure.
(v)*HON. T. ZHOU: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. My supplementary question is that there are different roads which were under construction and rehabilitation in different provinces. What Government plans do you have in place to safeguard Government funds and ensure that resources are not going to be wasted by redoing the same portions that have been worked on before?
*HON. MHONA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. I also want to thank Hon. Zhou for the question. Considering the coming of the Second Republic, we are not in a rush to make payments if the roadworks is not completed to our satisfaction. Last year, companies were invited to come before the Ministry to explain if the money they are charging is equivalent to what is to be spent. In that regard, the Government has not yet paid them. It is waiting for contractors to come and give a detailed financial expenditure and such roadworks have been suspended a little bit. All the projects that are now taking place, it means that Government has agreed with the contractors to go ahead and complete the project and they will be paid after completion of the work. Thank you.
HON. MOKONE: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. My question is directed to the Minister of Energy. In his absence, I redirect it to the Leader of the House. What is Government policy as regards providing alternative power supplies to critical areas in the country such as hospitals and water pumping systems?
THE MINISTER OF TRANSPORT AND INFRASTRUCTURAL DEVELOPMENT (HON. NHONA): Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. Let me also thank Hon. Mokone for that important question. Indeed, we had a number of shortages of power supply which was quite advent and a number of places were affected. Under normal circumstances, such critical services are prioritised where we are talking of hospitals because of the services that are provided. Also, at this juncture, to thank again Government through the initiatives, the coming on board of unit 7, Hwange which is also going to be adding directly to what is being consumed by the nation.
I want to assure the Hon. Member that under normal circumstances, priority is given to hospitals and in that regard, that should also continue. Thank you.
(v)HON. MAHLANGU: Thank you Hon. Speaker Sir. As much as the Hon. Minister has said they are prioritising the hospitals, at Mpilo Hospital, there has not been electricity and a number of other stations were affected in terms of supplying water to Mpilo Hospital.
HON. MHONA: Thank you Hon. Mahlangu for that very important follow up question. However, since the Hon. Member has indicated specific areas, with your indulgence, I will indulge my counterpart so that he can investigate and see why Mpilo and other pumping stations are being affected. Thank you.
HON. CHIDHAKWA: I would like to know from the Minister if they have any plan to have back up power because there is also solar energy and generators instead of waiting for ZESA alone.
HON. MHONA: Thank you Hon. Speaker Sir. Let me also thank Hon. Chidhakwa. There is a Renewable Energy Policy in place where we are also pursuing other very important strategic issues to address complementing what we have for the endowment that we have as a country in terms of solar.
I also want to say to the people of Zimbabwe that there is an option to contribute to the grid if you are also producing excess where you can be rewarded by contributing directly to the grid.
I want to say Hon. Chidhakwa, that is a good observation where we cannot wait upon the ZESA alone but also pursue other very important options. I thank you.
HON. MADZIMURE: Thank you Mr. Speaker. My question is directed to the Minister of Sports, Culture and Recreation. It is now over a year since Zimbabwe was suspended by FIFA. The reason that was given was Government interference.
Over this period, a lot of things have been happening in sports, many of our children have been growing up losing the opportunity to expose their talents in participating in various and many soccer activities that have been happening. The Minister has been telling this House that there is a programme that they are following to ensure that Zimbabwe is readmitted. Can the Minister be honest to this House and tell us if there is anything that is happening or Zimbabwe has surrendered that it will not be part of the soccer community of this world?
THE MINISTER OF SPORT, ARTS AND RECREATION (HON. COVENTRY): Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. In terms of policy, I am not sure where this question lies exactly besides the Sport and Recreation Commission standing up for female referees who were sexually abused and for misconduct in misappropriation of funds. As I have said before to this House, the investigations are continuing and it has not been two years.
As we have said and as you would have read in the newspapers this morning, the ZIFA executive has handed over their roadmap, it has been given to SRC. The SRC Commission and ZIFA executive are working well together. They have a strategic plan that has been moving forward, the conversations with CAF and FIFA are ongoing. I cannot comment on either of those to this House sadly, but there should be some developments in the next five to 6 weeks. I thank you.
HON. MADZIMURE: Mr. Speaker, the roadmap cannot come from ZIFA because it is the Sports and Recreational Commission that caused the suspension. May the Minister be honest and say exactly where the roadmap is coming from because it cannot come from the Association which was suspended because of the national commission. It was suspended because of the Sports Commission.
HON. COVENTRY: The roadmap has to come from the federation as agreed by SRC with ZIFA. The new ZIFA Executive that was voted in last year. They are the ones that have sat down with the Sports and Recreation Commission (SRC), they are the ones that have taken the recommendations from the Commission …
THE HON. SPEAKER: Order, order! Hon. Minister, do not waste your energy, the questioner is not listening to your answer. Please sit down.
HON. HWENDE: Thank you very much Hon. Speaker. My supplementary question is: the issue that is here is that ZIFA has been suspended because of the interference of the Ministry of Youth, Sport, Arts and Recreation through the Sports and Recreation Commission; and they are clear that as long as you do not reinstate the former ZIFA President, ZIFA is going to remain banned.
So the solution is supposed to come from the Minister – this is why we are asking Hon. Speaker, that she can tell us the roadmap because it is now over two years, we are not having any soccer. Even the stadiums that she was supposed to correct, she has failed just to fix our stadiums so that they can be at the standard that FIFA expects. So there are a lot of problems in FIFA and we genuinely want her to respond to …
THE HON. SPEAKER: What is your question Hon. Hwende?
HON. HWENDE: We want her to state the …
THE HON. SPEAKER: We want the Hon. Minister!
HON. HWENDE: We want the Hon. Minister to tell us the steps that Government is taking in order for ZIFA to be restored to the community of nations by FIFA.
HON. COVENTRY: Thank you Hon. Speaker. Hon. Speaker, the ZIFA Executive and the former ZIFA Board were suspended by the Sports and Recreation Commission first and foremost, and not by the Ministry.
Secondly, the new ZIFA Executive have been working with the SRC on a roadmap that is public.
Thirdly, the national football has been happening; the clubs have been happening, students have not been missing out on anything. The roadmap has been shared with the public – it is all there. The roadmap was very clear that after the recommendations were given to the SRC, permission - [HON. HWENDE: On a point of order Mr. Speaker Sir]-
THE HON. SPEAKER: Can you wait until the Hon. Minister is finished.
HON. COVENTRY: The ZIFA Executive will take the report, compile a roadmap and share it with the SRC Board which was done last Friday. There were clarifications that have happened this week, they have now agreed on the next steps. This has all been public knowledge. It was in the national newspaper this morning. I am not sure how much clearer I can be with what the next steps are. Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.
HON. HWENDE: On a point of order Mr. Speaker Sir! I think it is important for the Hon. Minister to stick to the questions. We are Members of Parliament and we are asking as Members of Parliament; I am asking the question in my capacity as Member of Parliament for Kuwadzana. She cannot refer me to the public like what she is saying. I have asked here in Parliament. We want to know the steps that the Government is taking …
THE HON. SPEAKER: Order Hon. Hwende! May you please stick to our parliamentary language?
HON. HWENDE: Thank you and sorry for that. Hon. Minister, we simply want you to state the steps that the Government, through the Sports and Recreational Commission, is taking in order for Zimbabwe to be reinstated by FIFA so that we can participate in world football – that is the simple question that we are on.
THE HON. SPEAKER: That is the clarification Hon. Minister.
HON. COVENTRY: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. I apologise, I did not realise that Members of Parliament were not part of the public. My apologies for that.
Mr. Speaker Sir, the steps which Government is taking as a Ministry, we are fully supporting the Sports and Recreation Commission …
THE HON. SPEAKER: Order, order Hon. Minister! Could you withdraw the statement that you were unaware that Members of Parliament are not part of the public? – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – Order, order, we do not accept cynicism in the House.
HON. COVENTRY: No problem Mr. Speaker Sir, I apologise for making reference to Members of Parliament being part of the public. I apologise for that and withdraw it.
THE HON. SPEAKER: Please proceed.
HON. COVENTRY: Mr. Speaker Sir, as I said, the Ministry is fully supporting the Sports and Recreation Commission in every step they have taken. The Ministry is fully funding the Executive, the staff of ZIFA House so that they can run as normal. We have been financially supporting them since the suspension. We will continue to do that – that is the role of the Ministry.
The role of the Sports and Recreation Commission is to work with ZIFA to find a way forward – they are doing that. Once they have done that, once they have agreed on that, they will take that to CAF and FIFA and we should see a result. Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.
HON. GONESE: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. My supplementary question to the Hon. Minister of Youth, Sport, Arts and Recreation is that she is making reference to the new ZIFA Board…
THE HON. SPEAKER: It is the Hon. Minister is making reference!
HON. GONESE: Yes, the Hon. Minister is making reference to the new ZIFA Board which she is intimating. Can she explain to us when was that ZIFA Board elected into office? The position or the basis upon which Zimbabwe has been suspended from all football activities is because the Sports and Recreation Commission suspended a duly elected ZIFA Board that has been deemed to be Government interference in footballing matters which is against the FIFA statutes. Can the Hon. Minister justify the continued Government position or policy relating to that in the context of firstly, the suspension of Zimbabwe bearing in mind that we had a similar situation with Zimbabwe cricket? Government had to eat a humble pie and reinstate the Cricket Board because it was against the ICC statutes. We are seeing a repetition of that same error. Can the Hon. Minister clarify those matters which are very critical? The current board was not elected at all but was handpicked, if she can explain?
HON. COVENTRY: Thank you Hon. Speaker and thank you to the Hon. Member. Mr. Speaker, the current Executive Committee was duly elected last year – I would have to go back and get the exact date.
Of the former committee that was suspended by the SRC, suspension was lifted for three of those members and the other three are still facing court challenges. I cannot speak to that either Mr. Speaker Sir. So I am not too sure what the clarity of the question is. The Ministry will stand firm with the suspension of the ZIFA. We interfered for the reasons that are already out there that the public and Members of Parliament know. I shared with them the last time. The Ministry as well as Government will stand firm and stand behind the Sports and Recreation Commission in the expulsion and the suspension of the former ZIFA Board until we see things moving forward. Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.
HON. GONESE: She has not adequately answered my question.
THE HON. SPEAKER: What was your question?
HON. GONESE: I said what is the justification …
THE HON. SPEAKER: Order, order! It is for the Chair to make that judgement. What you can seek is clarification. May you proceed?
HON. GONESE: Thank you Mr. Speaker. The clarification I am seeking is that I had asked the Hon. Minister to explain the justification for the stance taken by the Sports and Recreation Commission in the context of the fact that FIFA has said it in black and white that Zimbabwe will not be reinstated in the community of world football until that ZIFA Board has been reinstated. I gave the example of Zimbabwe Cricket where the Government had to eat a humble pie and reinstate the Cricket Board for Zimbabwe to be able to participate in cricket. So that is the question that I needed clarification on.
THE HON. SPEAKER: Hon Minister, I think the issues revolve on, to what extent Government is communicating with FIFA to find a way forward in lifting up the ban.
HON. COVENTRY: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. For clarity, the reasons that the SRC stepped in and suspended the board were three main reasons. The first reason was that Government had given ZIFA about US$2 million that has never been accounted for, not FIFA money but Zimbabwe money that parliamentarians should want to know where it is gone. That was never accounted for. Secondly, four female referees have come forward and given their statements to police and they have been investigated. Three of those members were on the board. One of those members has already received a lifetime ban from FIFA from their own investigations that have been done over the last two months with a SF25 000 fine. I am sure we can get those details for you if you would like specific names.
FIFA is now investigating the second member that was on the board that was sexually abusing and harassing these women. As I just said, the first member has been found guilty by FIFA and is serving a lifetime ban from soccer and SF25 000 fine. The second one is still being investigated by FIFA. FIFA knew that this was happening in 2018/19 when these women filed an appeal with FIFA and got no response. They then came to Government – SRC, Government and my office worked together with these women to ensure that police reports were done and statements were made. We then went back to FIFA and CAF and we requested for them to step in but they refused. We then stepped in and suspended the executive for the things that I have just shared with Members of Parliament, which I have shared previously.
We then stepped in and as you know, FIFA then stepped in afterwards to suspend us from international soccer. We accepted that. We have never asked them to lift it. We do not want them to lift it at this point until we have cleared and cleaned up our soccer. We are not doing as other Hon. Members may say a disservice, a disservice to who – [HON. BITI: Do you watch soccer?]- I do watch soccer.
THE HON. SPEAKER: Hon Biti, can you please listen. Thank you.
HON. COVENTRY: The Ministry and SRC will stand together with these women along with the corruption that has been going on for as long as it takes. Those are the steps we have laid out. The steps that have been taken have been followed. The process now is, the ZIFA executive that was duly elected has given their roadmap and the points that they want to clarify and clean up. They will work with SRC and they will give those reports to CAF and FIFA and we will then go further when we get those responses.
HON. TEKESHE: My question is directed to the Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development. Motor vehicles on our roads are increasing at a very alarming rate and so are the accidents. What does the policy say on compensation of accident victims?
THE MINISTER OF TRANSPORT AND INFRASTRUCTURAL DEVELOPMENT (HON. MHONA): Let me thank Hon. Tekeshe for that very important and emotional question where we are losing lives on our roads at an alarming rate. There is need to move with speed on the promulgation of the Road Accident Fund which will also come before this august House. I want to agree that as a country, we are highly rated in terms of carnage that we witness on our roads which must not continue and which calls for a holistic approach as a citizenry. Some are attributed to human error, defects of cars but a larger percentage goes to human error where we are busy using our phones and no longer respecting our regulations.
As a Ministry, we are also going to be calling for a stakeholder platform where we are going to deliberate on these very important issues so as to mitigate the carnage that we are witnessing. I want to say to the Hon. Member and to the august House that indeed, Road Accident Fund is something that we are also seeking concurrence from the respected august House so that we have in place, but you then find that in other jurisdiction, it will then cater for those that are injured and in other areas, they go to the extent of looking after the beneficiaries and those that are injured. We are saying this is what we are benchmarking within the region to say how the same fund is being administered. I want to assure the august House that very soon, we will be tabling the same after engaging widely as enunciated in the Constitution, to seek indulgence from the people of Zimbabwe under Section 141. Precisely, this is what we are going to be doing Mr. Speaker Sir.
THE HON. SPEAKER: The front bench on my left, there is no need for you to squeeze like that. There is plenty of room that side.
HON. TEKESHE: I would like to know from the Minister who is supposed to compensate the accident victims? Is it the bus operators or Government?
HON. MHONA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. For any vehicle to traverse on our roads, you are supposed to have a passenger liability insurance in place. Under normal circumstances, the vehicle owners, whether they are buses or private cars, are supposed to meet and also pay adequately for the compensation.
If you look at our insurance policy, it actually covers - if it is full comprehensive cover, that there is also a liability to third parties, whether it is injury or death. This is where people are supposed to be compensated but you find in a number of cases Hon. Speaker, we do not adequately insure our vehicles and we have this challenge. Where there is a disaster, that is where you find Government coming in also to assist the bereaved and also to try and address those that are injured. Under normal circumstances, whether it is a private or passenger vehicle, you are supposed to adequately cover for injuries whether to the passengers and also for the vehicles themselves. Thank you.
HON. HAMAUSWA: My supplementary question to the Hon. Minister is that whilst the requirement for bus or transport operators to compensate the victims or also to have their vehicles being tested to be roadworthy, our roads are not also in a good state which guarantee the lives of travellers. I want to ask in light also of the declaration by the Head of State that our roads are in a state of emergency - in this situation, what is the Government policy in a situation where accidents are happening as a result of bad roads which we all know that they were declared a state of emergency?
HON. MHONA: Contrary to what my fellow colleague is saying Hon. Hamauswa, where we have witnessed that we have got excellent roads, we are witnessing a number of accidents. Precisely, there is no correlation to the statement that has been posed by Hon. Hamauswa. Where the road is damaged, at times you then reduce speed naturally so that you then navigate properly. However, where we have witnessed reconstruction of roads, you find that there is the element of speeding again, which is also contributing to the number of accidents that we are witnessing, but not to defend that the state of roads must continue such that we avoid accidents.
I want also to appeal to the people of Zimbabwe that it is not only the state of the road but also the mindset, culture and attitude that we are witnessing on our roads where people are no longer observing the regulations, sticking and abiding to the dictates of safety on the roads. Precisely, what we are calling for is the humble approach when you are using the road. You find that those who are dying are also innocent where even the state of the vehicle might not be serviced. So there are a number of variables but I also want to assure the Hon. Member that yes, it is the mandate of Government to make sure that our roads are trafficable and we will continue on that trajectory.
(v)HON. S NDLOVU: My question is directed to the …
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Sorry, Hon. Ndlovu. Is that a new question, I thought maybe you would want to ask a supplementary question. If it is a new question, we still have other Hon. Members who would want to ask some supplementary questions. I will give you the floor after we have finished with the supplementary questions.
(v)HON. S NDLOVU: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.
HON. NDUNA: Would it please the Hon. Minister to use distance over speed is equal to the time taken or distance over time is equal to the speed taken between the Toll Plazas or Gates in order to use computerisation for the good order of the citizens of Zimbabwe to avoid, avert and completely remove the scourge of accidents. Would it also please him to completely abolish the third-party insurance and also enforce the compensation for passenger insurance. For those that are injured, it is about US$2 000 and those that are bereaved it is about US$4 000. Would it please the Minister to concentrate on those two issues: I pray Mr. Speaker Sir, in order to compensate those that are injured and the bereaved.
HON. MHONA: Let me thank Hon. Nduna for the suggestions which are very noble and he cited the issue of taking advantage of time difference in terms of speeding where one would actually be penalised when you approach a tollgate if you were speeding along or in-between. Also to say yes, these are some of the mitigatory measures that we will also take on board to consider and avoid the issue of speeding, and also the solution that he has proffered in terms of enforcement to say the compensation amounts which is something that will also emanate from this House. So I totally agree. Thank you.
#HON. L. SIBANDA: I would want the Hon. Minister to explain to this august House what assistance is given to people who are disabled or lose their source of income or livelihood as a result of a road accident?
*HON. MHONA: I want to thank Hon. L. Sibanda for the important question she has raised. Yes, it is true that someone might lose use of a part of their body resulting in the loss of their income. This is another matter that we are looking at through the Traffic Safety Council following up on people who will have become disabled due to road accidents to see how they can be assisted. Some might have left young children behind but through the Road Accident Fund that we are putting in place, these are some of the issues that will be looked into to ensure people recover their source of livelihood they might have lost due to an injury they incurred through road accidents, to see they are assisted or compensated. This will come through Parliament and we will debate on these issues and come up with measures that will be put in place to address this.
HON. BITI: My supplementary question to the esteemed Minister of Transport is that there is a challenge of compensation to accident victims and the Minister has a simple solution which is to amend Section 23 and 24 of the Road Traffic Act which limits the amount of compensation that can be paid by insurance houses in respect of third party insurance. If the maximum is US$2 000, whether a person has died or lost a limb and the maximum is US$4 000 for an entire bus. Can you imagine 75 people in a bus sharing US$4 000? So the Minister can easily amend Section 23 and 24 of the Road Traffic Act.
Secondly, third party insurance funds are accumulating millions yet small amounts are being paid to victims. Third party insurance needs to be revisited in Zimbabwe because insurance houses are milking and creaming off money and not paying victims. So the Minister should direct that the Road Victim Fund should be funded by the bulk of contributions in third party insurance. I thank you.
HON. MHONA: Let me thank my fellow learned senior colleague that through the submissions that he has proposed and if you remember Hon. Speaker, I have alluded to the fact that we are going to be calling for an all stakeholders meeting where we are going to be soliciting for views. These are some of the views already coming from the Hon. Member, Hon. Biti that yes, you find some of our statutes and Acts are archaic and we have taken long to revisit some of these statutes which therefore calls on us to look and try to revisit some of these Acts. He has cited the Road Act Number. 13: 18/80 which is very important and would address the Sections 23 and 24 that he has talked about.
It will also go a long way and I would also want to concur with him that some of what we are also paying now does not make sense. As we promulgate the Road Accident Fund, we are going to be addressing this but since the powers vested in this august House within the members in our midst, I will also move with speed and try to address the relevant section even before the promulgation of the Road Accident Fund. So I want to thank him very much for the submissions.
HON. S. SITHOLE: My follow up question to the Minister, I want to go through the question asked by Hon. Hamauswa. Some accidents happen because of potholes. So the Minister must tell the House that those accidents caused by the potholes, who will pay because the Minister is saying these transporters, the insurance must pay. What about the accidents caused by potholes, who is supposed to pay? The Ministry or the Government?
HON. MHONA: The architecture of our Government, we have got the Judiciary and whoever is aggrieved has the recourse of the courts where he can approach the courts to seek redress to your concerns. I am happy that Hon. Sithole has cited such a very important element and where our citizenry in terms of being aggrieved, they still have the right to approach the courts so that you can be compensated adequately. In the event that the accident is a result of a pothole, you have seen that in a number of cases, we have cases where the Minister is sued in his capacity and on behalf of the Ministry.
It is the right and the mandate of the people of Zimbabwe to seek redress in courts. I want to assure the Hon. Member that it is not the policy of Government to neglect our roads so that we have accidents but the desire of Government is to make sure that all our roads are trafficable.
#HON. NOWEDZA: We all know that we have challenges of water and in Bulawayo in particular, we only get water three times per month, especially in western areas but the bills come with high water charges of about RTGS$150 000+/-. To my knowledge, the local authority should bill according to the service that they offer to the people but now as I have highlighted that we do not get sufficient water in Bulawayo, how do they end up with such high rates or bills? My question to the Hon. Minister is what measures is the Minister putting in place to not charge people high bills?
THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT AND PUBLIC WORKS (HON. CHOMBO): Thank you Hon. Member for that question but to be honest, I did not understand. Can somebody translate for me. I am sorry.
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Can somebody translate to the Minister please?
HON. MOKONE: The question was that since most areas in towns are always without water, why are water tariffs going up every time and the bills are very high.
HON. CHOMBO: I will have to check on that one. The issue is some of the bills are estimates but as a Ministry, we have taken a stance that all the local authorities have to be computerised. We are working with Harare Institute of Technology to introduce a platform or system whereby all the local authorities can computerise and make sure that their bills are online and correct. So I will have to check specifically on that local authority if they are operating on manual and also doing estimates. As far as the charges, if the rates are high or not, normally what happens is when they do the budgeting, we agree on the rates. I urge the Hon. Member to also go and check if the rates that were agreed upon during budgeting are the rates that are being charged.
HON. WATSON: The Minister has spoken about rates agreed. Part of the problem is that a rate is agreed at budget. Councils then introduced a system of rating against the USD using the bank rate which means a consistent increase in the bill of what is used to bill every month. Citizens are complaining that when water is restored, air is pushed through the meters pushing up their meter demand. Does the Minister have any answer to these questions? Thank you.
HON. CHOMBO: Thank you Mr. Speaker. Thank you Hon. Watson for the important follow up question. On the issue of the pressure when the water comes and then the meter is raised, I think that is a little bit technical. I will have to check, but the way I know it is the only rating only goes against the water that really comes out of the tap and not the pressure. However, as I said, I will have to check on that one. Also, you know we are operating on a multi-currency regime, so if they are charging USD1 today and they use the auction rate, it is allowed but they have to stick to what was budgeted for. Thank you.
HON. HAMAUSWA: On a point of order. It looks like the Minister pointed out a number of issues where the Hon. Minister is saying they are going to check; they are going to verify. My point of order is that - is it not prudent Mr. Speaker, for the Hon. Minister to bring a Ministerial Statement because the issue of bills is affecting the citizens to a point that some are even fearing losing their houses because the bills are not in line with the water they are consuming. There are technical issues which the Minister said they need to verify. There are also issues to do with increasing the bills and the unavailability of water while the bills are coming. Is it not prudent to bring a ministerial statement that would cover these issues and also as Hon. Members, we will be given an opportunity to ask questions that are related to issues that are being brought to us by the people we represent? Thank you.
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER (HON. MUTOMBA): Thank you very much. Hon. Minister, please take note. You are being requested to bring a ministerial statement.
HON. CHOMBO: Thank you.
HON. MATEWU: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. My question is to the Minister of Energy. What is Government policy in relation to the new Unit 7 at Hwange? What the citizens had been assured is that once we roll out Unit 7, there is going to be more electricity in the households but it has now gone even worse. There is now continuous and substantive lack of electricity. In Marondera for example, we only get electricity two hours at night. In the day, there is nothing. What is Government doing to ensure that people have electricity in their homes? Thank you.
THE MINISTER OF ENERGY AND POWER DEVELOPMENT (HON. SODA): Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. This is not a policy issue but I get the concern from the Hon. Member that the power situation has been depressed. I will give an explanation but also to indicate that Unit 7 was finally synchronised on the 20th March and is still undergoing commissioning tests where it shall be operating at various performing levels. It started off at 50, moved to 75 and as we speak, it is sending out around 200 megawatts but it shall be scaled up to 300 with time as they continue to do their compliance tests.
Mr. Speaker Sir, Hwange Power Station, the old units continue to give us problems. I once said in this House that ultimately, our intention would be to rehabilitate the old units with the intention of restoring the performance to the installed capacity of 920 megawatts. As we speak, today Hwange is sending out 303 megawatts into the grid and we are also receiving electricity from Kariba. We are still at 350 megawatts. It is our hope that as we begin the month of April, water allocations are going to be reviewed by ZRA so that we ramp up on our production of electricity from Kariba.
I agree with the Hon. Member on the concern that he has raised that the power supply situation is still depressed, even with the synchronisation that has happened on Unit 7, we are still below demand that is currently obtaining. We are looking forward to the completion of expansion project by bringing in Unit 8 which will come after April but precisely in May, according to the targets that ZPC has on bringing that unit onto the grid. Like I once said, it is only when we have completed the expansion project that we would have sufficiently dealt with the load shedding situation that we are currently experiencing.
There has been an expansion in the level of economic activities. You will agree with me that there is expansion in agriculture and in the mining sector. So, the demand continues to grow but we have plans to deal with that growth that is also happening in terms of the demand side. I have spoken about the rehabilitation where we intend to restore the current units to the installed capacity of 920 and also the participation of the independent power producers, the private sector also making a contribution. As we speak, not so much that they have started to feed into the grid. We have some projects that are under construction and we think that is going to make a contribution once they are concluded, including some imports. South Africa has not been giving us adequately as per the contract because of what they are also experiencing in their country. That has also caused the problems that we are currently facing Mr. Speaker Sir. I thank you.
HON. MAKHARM: Thank you Mr. Speaker. What is the Government policy; with the incoming 300 megawatts, are they going to keep the same level of import or to reduce the imports and keep us on the heavy load shedding, or they are going to release more power to the consumers?
HON. SODA: Mr. Speaker Sir, we will not reduce on the level of our imports immediately until we have sufficient power supply in the country. Unfortunately, South Africa is having their own problems which we are all aware that they have a crisis in their country. Whenever they are having that crisis - obviously, they will not send us as per what has been contracted. So the policy, to respond to the Hon. Member’s question, we will continue to import until we have reached a level of self-sufficiency in the country. I thank you.
*HON. MACHINGAUTA: On a point of order! I once requested in this august House for the Hon. Minister of Home Affairs to bring a Ministerial Statement giving us their roadmap with regards to the forthcoming general elections that there be no violence. This came about when there was political violence in various provinces of the country, so it was promised in this House that the Hon. Minister shall bring the Ministerial Statement. However, to date, there has not been a Ministerial Statement that has been brought regarding that matter, so that we may have peace and order in our country which was liberated in 1980.
*THE MINISTER OF HOME AFFAIRS AND CULTURAL HERITAGE (HON. KAZEMBE): Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. I would like to thank the Hon. Member for the point of order that he has raised. I promise the Hon. Member that I will bring the Ministerial Statement next week. I thank you.
*HON. MAMOMBE: Thank you Hon. Speaker. I would like to say I appreciate the response from the Minster of Energy and Power Development. However, may the Minister of Energy explain what they are doing about the residents in this country, particularly where I come from Harare West Constituency, they are being told that the reason why there is no electricity is because the cables that are used for transmitting power are now old. Therefore, the residents are now contributing a lot of money to replace those underground cables.
Secondly, transformers are being stolen and residents again, are sacrificing and paying a lot of money to replace that equipment. So I would like to find out that even after the residents have procured the said equipment, still the power is not coming forth. I would like to know what is going to happen to the contributions, are they going to be refunded after replacing the cables and other equipment?
*HON. SODA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. If I have heard very well the question is about lack of electricity or power where the Hon. Member comes from which is being caused by faulty or broken cables. Yes, broken cables can be the cause of shortage of power but let me clarify that it is not Government policy that residents whose cables would have developed problems should buy on their own those cables, it is supposed to be done by ZESA as a parastatal.
However, there is a time when such cables may have broken whilst ZESA does not have anything in stock. Procuring of equipment by parastatals is in the public domain through PRAZ, so sometimes it may take long due to the processes. So sometimes the residents themselves may volunteer to buy those cables or transformers. ZESA, therefore requests that those residents who would have purchased such items write a letter that they are doing that voluntarily and state how much they have used to purchase such equipment and that money is reimbursed through electricity charges.
However, on the issue that the residents would have replaced broken cables or stolen transformers and at the end of the day there will still be power shortages maybe caused by the national shortage of electricity in the country which we are very much aware of. That is why the Government is putting all efforts to make sure there is sufficient electricity and like I have mentioned earlier on, that Unit 7 was added on the grid. Plans are also under way to add Unit 8.
HON. NDUNA: Thank you Mr. Speaker. I think it must have been in the last week or the week before when the Hon. Minister promised that the department under his purview, ZESA; in the locality where I reside and other Members reside, in so far as it relates to medical attention, water treatment in the cantonment areas, those areas are going to be spared in terms of power deficit and power provision.
However, is the Minister and his department in terms of apportioning power to those areas where I come from, where there has been supposed to be 168 hours of power provision, there has just been 95 hours of power provision and the net effect has been the provision of water - 7.8 mega litres where they were supposed to be more than 120 mega litres during the seven days provided, there is now a hot-bed of cholera and typhoid which are medieval diseases. How far is the Minister in terms of providing me with power in the areas that are critical that he alluded to as being critical?
HON. SODA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. I recall very well Mr. Speaker that I indicated that we have some critical facilities that are supposed to be provided with power even in times of depressed generation, examples being water treatment plants, hospitals and even - [HON. NDUNA: Cantonment areas, especially for aviation!] – even clinics.
It is a process Mr. Speaker Sir. There is need for dedicated power supply lines that are supposed to be constructed to allow for those facilities not to undergo loadshedding. So that is work in progress. Those areas have been identified and ZETDC is putting up some infrastructure to allow for those facilities to get dedicated power supply whenever we have depressed power supply situations. Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.
(v)HON. MAHLANGU: Thank you very much Mr. Speaker Sir. I just what to find out from the Hon. Minister, we really appreciate that he said that he installed Unit 7 power generator or something like that at Hwange Power Station. I just want to know when the Unit 7 generator is going to be functional because as we speak, he made an announcement two weeks ago but to date, we still have challenges in getting electricity. When are they going to make that Unit 7 generator functional so that people cannot be complaining about ZESA? I thank you.
HON. SODA: Mr. Speaker Sir, Unit Seven (7) was synchronised on 20th March. It will undergo commissioning tests for three months before it is commercially available. I think that is the response to the question that was posed by the Hon. Member. Thank you.
HON. MARKHAM: Good afternoon Mr. Speaker, thank you. Mr. Speaker, my question is to the Minister of Energy and Power Development pertaining to the Independent Power Producers (IPPs). Mr. Speaker, the IPPs are already on their knees because they borrowed and invested money all in United States Dollars.
The payment from the Government of Zimbabwe is in Zimbabwe Dollars local which the Government insists on. Can the Minister apprise us on what he plans to do with these people, particularly when the interbank rate is starting to move rather quickly? What is Government policy to keep the independent producers that are in power viable? Secondly, those who were about to come onto the grid, what encouragement have they got to finish the job if they are only going to be paid in the receiving currency? Thank you.
THE MINISTER OF ENERGY AND POWER DEVELOPMENT (HON. SODA): Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. Mr. Speaker Sir, we have a Government Implementation Agreement which was issued by the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development precisely on 19th December, 2022. It was announced by the Minister of Finance and Economic Development as a means to mitigate against the risk of currency convertibility.
It has been an issue for quite some time where investors would bring their money from outside the country, develop a project in Zimbabwe but at a time when they wanted to repay for the loans that they would have procured for the purposes of developing that project, it was a nightmare for them. Also, when project developers were intending to expatriate proceeds of their investments outside the country, they were facing that challenge due to the issues of our currencies.
The Ministry of Finance and Economic Development has come up with a Government Implementation Agreement which is a mechanism to deal with the currency issues and the expatriation risks. We now have something in place and I will advise the Hon. Member, including others, to speak about what the Government of Zimbabwe is doing to incentivise project developers and to mitigate against risks that he has just spoken about; not only that, we also have quite a number of incentives to attract or to make the investment environment to become conducive.
We have tax rebates that are on offer, the Government of Zimbabwe is also assisting project developers with land allocation for the development of their projects including tax holidays that are also on offer. So those, including the Government Implementation Agreement are mechanisms that the Government has put in place to ensure that projects are developed and risks are mitigated. I thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.
HON. MARKHAM: Thank you Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, my point is, if you are not making money and you are on your knees tax incentives are irrelevant. What I would like to ask the Hon. Minister is, I cannot understand why when we import we pay dollars. So, we are paying a foreigner money in dollars. When we get an investor who invests his dollars here, we fail to pay him dollars, yet a large portion of ZESA revenue is from the consumer. I cannot understand why the Government is refraining from paying the IPPs dollars unless they do not want them to operate. Thank you.
HON. SODA: Mr. Speaker Sir, it is not about unwillingness by the power utility to pay project developers in dollars. It is because the money is not adequate. We are all aware that we supplement our locally generated power with imports and we promulgated a policy to deal with collection of revenue in foreign currencies specifically for the purposes of paying for power imports – that money is not adequate until a time when we would have replaced the capacity that we are importing with locally generated power, just like we are doing with Units 7 and 8.
When we have fully replaced that power, the power that we are importing with what we are generating locally then we will stop importing and when we have stopped importing, obviously we will be able to pay IPPs in dollars but as we speak, the capacity is not there. ZESA is not able to pay for power imports including power that is locally generated from independent power producers in foreign currency.
We have come up with a mechanism to allow Independent Power Producers to meet their financial obligations with funders for their projects through the Government Implementation Agreement. This is what we are doing. At the moment, ZESA does not have adequate funds to pay for power imports and locally generated power. Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.
HON. BITI: Mr. Speaker Sir, my supplementary question to the esteemed Minister of Energy is that it is very unlikely that in the mid-term, Zimbabwe will be able to produce electricity that will meet the national demand of around 4000MW even if we add Unit 7 and 8 which is a mere 600MW, it will not help. The units at Hwange except for Unit 4 are old and archaic and should have been decommissioned. So, there should be a deliberate policy of making sure that household and individuals are self-sufficient from a solar point of view. Why does the esteemed Minister of Energy not carry out a deliberate policy of ensuring that there is facilitation of the solarisation of the movement to alternative energy of all household and you encourage this through the removal of duties on things such as lithium batteries, solar panels and so forth.
The fact of the matter is that we are on our own. So, remove duties and put incentives to individuals who are moving to reliable energy and importers of these equipment like lithium batteries and solar panels and particularly to people who can put huge solar panels that can feed the grid. Why do you not give them incentives because pretending that ZESA will solve our problems is just a pretense and we cannot keep on pretending because we have a problem?
HON. SODA: Thank you once again for allowing me to respond to a new question though it came in the name of a supplementary but I will respond to that question. I am happy the Hon. Member has pointed out to the issues that are affecting us, being the age of the equipment at Hwange Power Station. The policy that we already have is that of rehabilitating the old equipment. We have that policy which is backed by action. There is a loan facility of US$310 million which was procured from the Indian EximBank which will be used for rehabilitation of the old units at Hwange Power Station, Units 1 to 6. Already, work has started. A detailed project report was produced by the project management consultants, WAPCOS Company from India. It has since produced a report on the scope of works that would require to be done to bring back equipment to the installed capacity of 920MW.
Like I indicated earlier, as we speak today, the combined generation which is coming from Hwange is 303MW whereas it has potential to go up to 920MW. The equipment is old and what needs to be done is just to rehabilitate by bringing new equipment so that we achieve the installed capacity of 920MW. The policy is already in place.
Moving on to the suggestion which was made by the Hon. Member that we could allow individuals to supplement using solar system and he has suggested that taxes be removed on imports of solar modules, that is already in place and I will ask the Hon. Member to have a discussion with me on what he has experienced. As far as we are concerned, solar panels are coming duty free into the country. Again, we have a facility called net metering where if you have your solar system at your roof top and you are generating in excess of what you require, you can send the excess into the grid. This time ZESA has agreed that instead of just accruing some units, ZESA will soon be paying for the unit that will be sent to the grid. There is also virtual connection, for instance, one might be having two more facilities that have to be linked to one account, that is now possible through net metering facilities. We have quite a number of mechanisms by which we think we will be able to deal with the current power situation. Going into the future, we are also looking at developing some big projects like Batoka which is on the cards and there are some plans to obtain funding for that project.
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER (HON. MUTOMBA): Hon Minister, may be for the benefit of the Hon Members, yes you have touched on the solar panels which you have said are duty free, what about the lithium batteries? If you could clarify on that one.
HON. SODA: All renewable energy equipment is imported into the country duty free. I thank you.
HON. GABBUZA: When fuel was a problem in this country, Government moved in to ensuring that it is sold in foreign currency. Since there is a shortage of foreign currency to import energy, would the Minister consider incentivising those who are able to pay in foreign currency so that they settle their bills in foreign currency by a certain incentive so that we sort out this problem of foreign currency shortage.
HON. SODA: We have some companies that are producing their wares for export and those are supposed to pay their bills in foreign currency. We have exporters, those that are producing 80% of their wares which find their way out of the country, they are regarded as exporters and they are supposed to defray their bills in foreign currency. Then we have partial exporters, those that are above 35% but below 80%, they also have a portion which they are supposed to pay in foreign currency. That is already in place. What we may not do immediately is to ask the domestic consumers to pay their bills in foreign currency. That, we will not do in the interim until we have ascertained that they are earning their income in foreign currency. We will continue to receive that income in local currency but there is a mechanism to preserve that tariff to remain at the US$0.1063 equivalency but being in local currency. I thank you.
Questions Without Notice were interrupted by THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER in terms of Standing Order No. 68
ORAL ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS WITH NOTICE
Minister of Local Government having been absent in the House to answer questions
HON. MARKHAM: Mr. Speaker, I do not see the Minister here and I must protest. It is obvious that the Minister was here and he knows my questions are on the Order Paper. He came up last week – it is the 24th time that I have brought up the question on the Justice Uchena Report. Up to now, there is nothing.
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER (HON. MUTOMBA): Thank you very much Hon. Markham. I think I must…
HON. MARKHAM: Mr. Speaker, can I have a ruling and a deadline for that now? It is over a year that I have been asking for the Justice Uchena Report. I know that the Ministry of Justice has got it. Why are they not releasing it? It is public funds to do that. It is a damning report and one of the appendixes shows it is absolutely damning the judge to the perfect job. It lists the Land Board and it lists some amount of money that they stole.
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Hon. Markham, I think you are now out of order. I thought I listened to the first point that you have raised.
HON. MAMOMBE: How do we proceed Mr. Speaker? There are no more Ministers here except for Hon. Coventry. You have deferred all the questions Hon. Speaker but Question No. 20, the Hon. Minister is here and I think he can just respond Hon. Chidziva’s question before he goes to make the Ministerial Statement. Thank you.
FAILURE TO PAY SCHOOL FEES BY SOME LEARNERS
- HON. CHIDZIVA asked the Minister of Primary and Secondary Education to inform the House on the
(a) Plans being put in place to address failure to pay school fees by some learners as well as ensure affordability of education and;
(b) The measures being implemented to assist schools through provision of text books in order to alleviate the plight of parents.
THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF PRIMARY AND SECONDARY EDUCATION (HON. E. MOYO): The response to that is that the Ministry is aware of the plight of parents who fail to pay school fees and has been working with the Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare which is responsible for the Basic Education Assistant Module (BEAM), which provides State funded education for orphans and vulnerable children. The Ministry takes a key role in ensuring that fees are affordable by making sure that they are approved by the Permanent Secretary before collections can be made from parents and guardians.
Furthermore, the Ministry has stopped commercialisation in schools to ensure that schools do not constantly request for an upward review of fees from the Ministry. The Ministry has a budget for the provision of text books and schools are encouraged to check with their district offices the available text books at the district offices. Where we have a challenge, the Ministry works in close collaboration with development partners such as UNICEF to also assist schools through the provision of text books in a bid to achieve a text book pupil ratio of 1:1. I thank you.
(v)HON. MAHLANGU: Is the minister talking about the current situation or he is talking about something that happened 10 years back? If he is talking about the text books that are there in the district offices, I do not think this is happening. Each and every school, parents are buying textbooks for their own children. He cannot come and tell us that the textbooks are being provided. He is not being fair because we are buying for our children. Let the Minister withdraw that statement because it is not true. Thank you.
HON. E. MOYO: Thank you very much Mr. Speaker Sir. I want to inform this House for a fact that every year, we receive a budget for textbooks provision. It might not be enough to cover all schools as the demand for textbooks is very high but we do provide those textbooks. I may tell you for a fact that last year, we provided textbooks for Heritage Education for both primary and secondary schools. We provided text books for English and Mathematics for primary schools. That has been happening. Yes, granted we may not fully supply as per demand, but that effort is always done. We also have partnerships through which we assist schools and one of the ways we do is through (SIG) which is an acronym for School Improvement Grant and through that, the money is given in USD and it is a GPE fund which is administered by local grant agents in the provision of those text books. I thank you.
HON. MAMOMBE: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir for this opportunity to pose my supplementary question to the Minister of Primary and Secondary Education. In 2020, President Mnangagwa signed into law the Education Amendment Act, which compels the State to provide free basic education in line with the provisions of Section 27 of the Constitution and Section 27 reads the State has taken all practical measures to promote free compulsory basic education for children. Hon. Speaker, the response by the Minister in this august House does not go hand in hand with the promises that were made by the President. We were expecting that the Hon. Minister would address the measures or the steps that this Government or Ministry is taking to ensure that this law, signed into an Act, becomes live.
HON. E. MOYO: Thank you very much Hon Member for the supplementary question, which I thought was directed towards textbooks. I will however address the issue if you allow me to do so. First of all, I think the section read says ‘shall progressively provide free basic education’ and the word progressively here is key. The Government of Zimbabwe has provided, increasingly a bigger number to be beneficiaries. When we talk of BEAM beneficiaries, we are covering fees for the children and also examination fees for those children. Last year the target was 1.5 million to be covered by BEAM and this year the target is 1.8 million to be covered by BEAM. That is a step that marks the provision of basic education to the disadvantaged children. Secondly, the examination fees component which I hope this Parliament has received a report on, Government is paying up to 55% of the cost of each subject for ZIMSEC as a way of alleviating the shortage. That also serves to illustrate the progressive nature of trying to address free education. The third way is what we call the grant-in-aid of tuition wherein two districts in each of the eight rural provinces is allowed free education and I can give examples of those I am familiar with off head like in Matebeleland South. We have Beitbridge and Mangwe, where children are not paying fees and Government is paying the full fees for those children. This was out of a ZimVac report which indicated the level of poverty in those provinces. That is how the two districts were targeted. So these three ways of addressing free education are rising as I speak and there is a huge effort towards that realization. This is in the context of our economy. We are able to do what we can do given the current circumstances. This is the progressive realization of free education. I thank you.
HON. TEKESHE: Mr. Speaker Sir, I just want to ask the Minister why they are refusing RTGS for examination fees and just demanding US dollars.
HON. E. MOYO: Thank you Hon Member for that question. Let me reiterate what Government has always said. No-one should refuse payment in RTGS. When it comes to examination fees, we have a two-year period under which our candidates have to pay their examination fees. For example, if the child is in Grade 6 this year and doing Grade 7 next year, we allow them to pay in bits and pieces towards next year. However, we only allow them to pay in US dollars because of the inflation factor hence they start paying when in Grade 6, Form 3 or Form 5. Those who want to pay in RTGS have to pay two weeks before the closing date at a fixed interbank figure which is given by ZIMSEC. This is also to fight against inflationary pressures. So, you are not forced to pay in US dollars but you can gradually do so to withstand the inflationary pressures.
HON. TEKESHE: On the ground it is happening. All the schools are refusing RTGs. I also wanted to help some children but they refused. So, what are we supposed to do when someone refuses RTGS?
HON. E. MOYO: I think plenty of circulars have been issued towards examination fees payment and they have those. I think the best thing you can do is to identify such schools and heads that are refusing RTGs because it is not all of them. I would like to inform this House that certain schools that have refused and I can name one, Cowdry Park Primary School where a parent went to pay fees and the school refused RTGs. They phoned me and I phoned the PED who went to the school and the issue was addressed. The head was charged for that. So any transgression in terms of the statutes governing the conduct of headmasters in schools, just get the exact names of the schools and the names of the heads and we will deal with that.
HON. MOKONE: Minister, this year you came to this august House and you promised that there would be free education for all, but the answers you are giving now are such that in Matebeleland South, only two districts are benefitting through the free education scheme. Is this free education feasible or not in Zimbabwe given the economic meltdown? You highlighted this when the ministerial statement was read that this free education for all is not going to be feasible but we were promised that it was workable. My question is very clear, I just want to know if it is feasible or not.
HON. E. MOYO: Thank you for the question Hon Member. It is progressively feasible and I want us to underline the word progressive because I have indicated that as we experience growth in the economy, the numbers are going to grow. This year I said that the target is 1.8 million children under BEAM whose fees are going to be paid by the State. I have also indicated that we have two districts per rural province which adds up to 16 rural districts in the country and the numbers are close to a million for those children whose fees are also being paid by the State. I have also indicated that examination fees for all those under BEAM are wholly paid by Government and for those who are not under BEAM, 55% of those examination fees are paid by Government and the parent pays 45%.
*HON CHIDZIVA: I just want to find out from the Minister what plans Government has pertaining to children who are failing to have their schools fees paid by their parents and they are being told to go home and bring school fees. Because they know that their parents do not have money they then do not bother going back to school but join the drugs and substance abuse groups. This has become the norm all over the country. There are drug bases where all the children that are kicked out of school rush to.
HON. E. MOYO: Thank you Hon Member for the question. Children are not supposed to be sent back home by any school. If that happens, let us seek remediation by reporting that matter to the nearest Education office. Secondly, if parents are able to pay fees, they should pay but we believe that if they are genuinely unable to pay fees, they should be covered by BEAM. However, if the BEAM allocation is so low that those children cannot be reached, the concerned parents should make payment plans with schools and honour the payments all the time so that schools remain functional. We have communicated even through child protection committees that no child should be sent back home. If that happens, my numbers are open, please raise that with me and see what will happen. I thank you.
BULLYING IN SCHOOLS
THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF PRIMARY AND SECONDARY EDUCATION (HON. E. MOYO): Mr. Speaker Sir, allow me to provide the requested Ministerial Statement to the National Assembly regarding bullying in schools and the strategies to curb further bullying thereof. I wish to thank Hon. Members for providing the Ministry with the opportunity to clarify the matter at hand.
At legislative level, the Education Act is implemented together with the child protection imperatives that our Ministry observes, in close collaboration with the Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare. In addition, the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education and that of Health and Child Care jointly signed the Zimbabwe School Health Policy which, among other concerns, addresses the issue of safe school environments. Under this, issues of bullying and other psychosocial ills that impact on the physical and mental well-being of pupils are among the top priorities. At administrative level, Policy Circular Number P35 lists bullying among the most serious acts of indiscipline together with vandalism, intoxication and defiance of authority.
Zimbabwe has signed its commitment to the Global Safe Learning Initiative, in which our country has joined other countries on the prevention of violence in schools. I am aware that there have been unfortunate cases that have brought issues of bullying as well as drug and substance abuse under the spotlight.
Two pupils from Bulawayo Metropolitan Province have recently died allegedly due to bullying in schools. One is from Founders High School called Wayne Ndlovu and the other is Jayden Sauden from Hamilton High School.
Facts of the Matter
Wayne was murdered following an altercation that happened outside the school with pupils from Hamilton High School and he was stabbed with an okapi knife on the neck on 13 February 2023, and died before admission to hospital. He had confronted bullies from Hamilton High who had harassed his friend. The culprit is currently in custody awaiting judgement.
Jayden committed suicide on 8th March 2023, following a misunderstanding at home with his grandparents and nuclear family. However, media reports claimed that he had committed suicide due to bullying.
Strategies to Curb Bullying
My Ministry has completed stakeholder consultations on the alignment of policy implementation circulars to the Education Amendment Act. This has resulted in the updating of circulars on bullying as well as the production of a Standard Code of Conduct for all pupils across Zimbabwe.
I am happy to confirm that all senior and middle managers as well as school leadership participated in the consultations and made their inputs into the updating of policy implementation circulars aimed at improving the quality of pupil safeguarding at all schools. Such documents are now at final editing stage and will be in schools by the end of April 2023. It is a fact that children need to be peaceful if they are to perform well in their school work.
On the issue of drug and substance abuse, my Ministry is part of the inter-ministerial technical working group that the Government has set up. This drug menace is being addressed from a curriculum perspective, where age appropriate information and life skills empowerment is covered through different learning areas. A referral protocol has been developed for the management of identified cases of pupils at risk of various social ills. Admittedly, this is a very serious matter which requires more parental involvement than routine school matters. The same applies to bullying as much as the activities that occur away from school and require more community involvement to complement the effort of the education sector.
In order to ensure a higher level of safeguarding at all schools, my Ministry is currently rolling out a Standard Guidance and Counselling Package for the purpose of pupils. Such a package is the product of teamwork involving other ministries, National Associations of School Heads, civil society organisations, teacher organisations as well as representatives of pupils themselves, Junior Parliament and Junior Council.
Another package has been developed and is currently being rolled out to all school clusters in order to mainstream the effective functioning of Child Protection Committees at every school. Child protection Committees go beyond the school and bring in the Department of Social Welfare, health service providers, local leadership and parent representative into safeguarding the well-being of pupils at schools, in their communities as well as at household level. Superintendents, housemasters, senior masters and senior women have been advised to be on guard to ensure that bullying does not occur in their schools. It is not prudent to assume that bullying is non-existent. At times it may not surface while in actual fact the victims will be suffering quietly.
Need for Adequate Preparation of Staff for Guidance and Counselling
Provincial Education Directors and DSIs have been asked to arrange workshops where all concerned staff members would look into guidance and counselling issues with the aim of eradicating bullying in schools. Such workshops would enable those responsible for discipline in hostels to share experiences and good practices.
While schools are places of learning, they are part of the community. In the broader sense, learning occurs not just in the classroom but also in the environment that we live in, including the hostels where our pupils stay as well as in the communities. It takes a village to raise a child and my Ministry cannot do it alone. A school without an effective guidance and counselling programme is a fertile ground for bullying, substance and drug abuse and other social ills. It is the responsibility of all schools and supervisors to work with the school parent assemblies, local leadership and all stakeholders in order to ensure that their schools are safe havens for the human capital development of our nation.
All schools are therefore required to concentrate on the transmission of humanistic values through the teaching of guidance and counselling, heritage studies, family and religious and moral education and the indigenous languages. I thank you Mr. Speaker.
HON. NDUNA: Mr. Speaker Sir, I just want to add an angle as to how the issue of bullying can be mitigated and if it pleases the Hon. Minister, he can inculcate the same in the issues of trying to alleviate or mitigate the issues of bullying in schools. There are just six issues that I want to proffer as positive solutions because this issue of bullying has taken center stage and it is bound to fall out of hand to actually go into the adult life of our schoolchildren…
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: May you go straight into your points Hon. Nduna.
HON. NDUNA: The first one, I ask Hon. Minister that the issue of teaching kindness and empathy in the schools can enhance and can curtail the scourge of bullying and also creating opportunities for connectivity or for children to connect with one another. It can also avert and avoid the issues of bullying. The identification of gateway behaviours can also help in mitigating. First, it is the eye rolling. If you see the child’s eye rolling, if you see prolonged staring, back-turning, laughing cruelly, encouraging others to laugh, name calling, ignoring or excluding causing physical harm and also spying and stalking. These are ways by which teachers and learners can see that there is bound to be some bullying.
The second last is to create content so that children can see issues from a different angle. That can also make you avoid bullying. Fifthly, minimising concentric circles in school. This means that it is true that most teachers do not like to talk about education as educators can be bullies and when teachers feel bullied by colleagues, their students can also become negatively impacted. The teachers are also involved in this.
Lastly, Mr. Speaker Sir, participation in simulation, theorising about how to prevent and respond to bullying in schools. It is one thing witnessing it for the first time and entirely another without adequately pre-servicing training. It can be difficult for new teachers to know how exactly they will react when bullying situations arise. The issue of simulation can actually make us avert, avoid and completely – there can be use of technology to recreate an experience….
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Hon. Nduna, you had said the last point, now it would appear you are extending.
HON. NDUNA: I was just trying to explain to her the issue of simulation. It is just to create…
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Hon. Nduna, you need to address the Chair.
HON. NDUNA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. I just wanted to do it for her own benefit so that she can have take home or take away…
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: You do not debate for an individual Hon. Member.
HON. NDUNA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir for allowing me to ventilate on issues that the people of Chegutu West Constituency would have me ventilate on. I thank you.
HON. WATSON: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir, for this opportunity. The Minister speaks specifically about two instances in Bulawayo. One of them is of the young man murdered. It is the problem that he comes from Nketa, I believe and there is a clause in the Education Act that requires children to attend schools which are in their locality. Is the Ministry enforcing that because children are travelling long distances to attend school? A lot of the problems occur in school and outside school simply because the children are travelling.
Secondly, I agree with Hon. Nduna. I think there is insufficient work within our educational system and Government schools of extramural activities such as sport clubs, be they art, chess or whatever. Does the Ministry have any intent ever to regenerate those things? Thank you.
THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF PRIMARY AND SECONDARY EDUCATION (HON. EDGAR MOYO): Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. Thank you to the Hon. Members who have raised issues. I will start off with the suggestions which were given by Hon. Nduna on what could be done. Yes, agreed but the critical point which I think is what society should now be focusing on is the issue of parents being models and also parental involvement. With this technology, people have abandoned their children. Everybody is on the phone. The mother is on the phone, the child is on the phone and everybody is on the phone. They are talking to people who are not within their environment on the time. Our parents are not so much involved in monitoring the behaviour of their children.
I want to call upon the people of Zimbabwe to be good role models and to monitor the behaviours of their children and take corrective measures as soon as they notice something is not right and even notify the school of certain behaviours that they see. Most of these things are originating from the environment where these children are coming from.
It is also important to also advise this august House that the Ministry has resuscitated what they used to call child study some years back which we now call profiling so that we can understand the home environment, the community environment and profiling a child. This is so that even as they transfer from one school to the other, it is not just a letter to confirm that this child was attending this school but there is more to it. There is a whole file of that child so that the receiving school can understand the child that they are receiving. These are some of the measures that we are already taking. You might have heard from your communities that this is already happening.
We also encourage parents to be good role models at home. Part of our research is to establish whether there is a positive correlation between bullying behaviour and the behaviour of parents at home. On a cursory note, it has been noted that where there is a violent home environment, the child tends to be also violent. However, our research department is working on that so that we can establish the facts and take corrective measures, not only on the child but also in the community and the home environment.
The second issue about children who are travelling long distances, there is a policy on zoning. However, we have observed in many instances that parents prefer certain schools. They do not want their children to be learning close to their homes. Sometimes it is because of resource levels in those schools, sometimes it is because the parents are attached to a particular school or they have a friend teaching there or they themselves attended that school and they have high regard for that school.
These are some of the reasons why some children have to walk long distances to school. In many cases, you would find that a school close to them has got vacancies but the parents do not prefer those schools. On the issue of co-curricular activities, we call them extra curricula. If we call them extracurricular, we then degrade their value in the school system. We very much encourage that and if you look at our curricular spectra in schools, you find that there is so much in terms of what you call co-curricular activities that schools can tap into. In some cases, in some schools, some children are doing as many as 15 to 20 subjects. That is not necessary. It takes a lot of their time when they would be doing theatre arts, sporting activities or going into clubs and so forth.
We encourage schools in curricular design to take care of all those important things. However, of late in the last two and half to three years, it has been largely due to COVID that most of those activities were suspended. However, the suspension has now been lifted and schools are encouraged to show that our children have something to do after hours. Thank you.
On the motion of HON. NDUNA, seconded by HON. L. SIBANDA, the House adjourned at Five minutes to Five o’clock p.m.
PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE
Tuesday, 28th March, 2023
The Senate met at Half-past Two o’clock p.m.
(THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE in the Chair)
ANNOUNCEMENT BY THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE
SWITCHING OFF OF CELLPHONES
THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE: Hon. Senators are reminded to put their phones on silent or switch them off.
RATIFICATION OF THE LOAN AGREEMENT BETWEEN THE GOVERNMENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF ZIMBABWE AND THE OPEC FUND
THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (HON. CHIDUWA): I move the motion standing in my name,
THAT WHEREAS subsection (3) of Section 327 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe provides that an Agreement which is not an international treaty but which has been concluded or executed by the President or under the President’s authority with one or more foreign organisations or entities and imposes fiscal obligations on Zimbabwe does not bind Zimbabwe until it has been approved by Parliament;
AND WHEREAS a loan Agreement between Government of the Republic of Zimbabwe and OPEC Fund of US$15 million for part financing of the Smallholder Agriculture Cluster Project to be implemented in Mashonaland Central, Mashonaland East, Mashonaland West, Midlands and Matabeleland North:
NOW, THEREFORE, in terms of Section 327 (3) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe, this House resolves that the aforesaid Agreement be and is hereby approved. I so move, Mr. President.
*HON. SEN. TONGOGARA: Thank you Mr. President. I think the Minister should explain to this House on what is included or added to agriculture, what is it?
THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (HON. CHIDUWA): Thank you Mr. President. I would want to submit that the aim of the project is to increase household incomes. We are also looking at dealing with the priority area under the NSD 1 which is the priority area on food nutrition security but we are also looking at the implementation of markets and also coming up with climate smart agriculture. The rationale of the whole project is that we are looking at transforming agriculture, looking at how best we can enhance production processing and also transforming value chains. All these, including the rationale of the project are contained in the loan agreement which I think the Hon. Senators have gone through. Thank you.
Motion put and agreed.
JUDICIAL LAWS AMENDMENT BILL [H. B. 3A, 2022]
Second Order read: Resumption of Committee: Judicial Laws Amendment Bill [H. B. 3A, 2022]
House in Committee.
Clauses 5 to 20 put and agreed to.
Schedule, Section 6, put and agreed to.
Bill reported without amendments.
Third Reading: With leave, forthwith.
JUDICIAL LAWS AMENDMENT BILL [H. B. 3A, 2022]
THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): I move that the Bill be read the third time.
Motion put and agreed to.
Bill read the third time.
CHILD JUSTICE BILL [H. B. 11, 2021]
Third Order read: Second Reading: Child Justice Bill [H. B. 11, 2021].
THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): Thank you Mr. President Sir. I rise to give my second reading speech on the Child Justice Bill. The Bill intends to establish a criminal justice system for children in conflict with the law. During the review of the Children’s Act, in order to align it to the Constitution, recommendations to establish a child justice system were made. The rationale for this is to ensure that the welfare and child protection issues are separated from the Child Criminal Justice issues.
In instance, the Bill proposes to give effect to relevant foundational principles, values and fundamental rights underpinning the 2013 Constitution of Zimbabwe, together with relevant international laws, norms and standards relating to child justice. As I have already mentioned, the Bill seeks to establish a child justice system for children in conflict with the law, not condoning criminal activities by our children, it is important to understand the root causes that bring children into conflict with the law. It is often that children who come into conflict with the law are those who face multiple and intersecting challenges in their lives.
Most young people who come into conflict with the law are struggling with multiple social and economic issues in their homes and communities. These issues range from being on the streets as a result of poverty or family disfunction to coping with peer pressure, in relation to risk taking such as minor theft, violence and substance abuse. Mr. President, lack of child justice system means that children who come into conflict with the law are treated as adult criminals in a justice system that deny any children their basic human rights which include the right to education, development, appropriate care and to have their best interests treated as paramount.
This deficiency places young people at risk and create problems when they re-enter society as young adults. Taking into cognisance all that I have mentioned, measures are needed to protect children who are already in conflict with the law in order to deter them from re-offending and promote their rehabilitation and smoothen their reintegration back into society. Zimbabwe is a State to UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. The UNCRC requires States to promote the establishment of laws, procedures, authorities and institutions, specifically applicable to children alleged as accused of or recognised as having infringed the penal law. This provision imposes a progressive requirement upon States to establish a juvenile justice system which takes into account the child’s age and provide human rights and legal safeguard as well as establishing alternatives to judicial proceedings. The CRC requires States to establish a juvenile justice system with due process for guarantees to be applied to all children under the age of 18 who are in conflict with the law.
In addition, Article 14:1 sets out the purposes of a juvenile justice system which should be reintegrative and should help the child assume a constructive role in society. The purpose of the juvenile justice system should not be retributive or punitive but should be able to foster the well-being of children and address offending behaviours in a manner appropriate to children’s development. I shall not labour to go through all the provisions of this Bill. However, I shall discuss some of its provisions here.
In essence, the Bill seeks to respond to the deficiencies that are in our justice system when it comes to children in conflict with the law and also it gives effect to the provision of the Convention on Rights of a Child and our Constitution. In accordance with the UNCRC, which requires State parties to establish alternative judicial procedures, the Bill shall provide for the diversion. Diversion keeps children away from the formal justice system, which is a way of considering the best interest of the child while also keeping in mind their mental capacity to have criminal intent.
However, when these interventions are inadequate or unsuccessful for child offenders, the child justice system implemented through the Child Justice Bill will allow for them to be tried and sentenced in a Child Justice Court. The Bill also seeks to raise the minimum age of criminal responsibility from 7 years to 12 years and set out the manner in which these children who are suspected of having committed an offence are treated. They should not be treated in the same manner as those who are above 12 years. This is in line with 2007 Committee on the Rights of the Child guidance regarding the minimum age of criminal responsibility.
The guidance was that a minimum age of criminal responsibility below the age of 12 years is not internationally acceptable. Third parties were encouraged to increase their lower minimum age of criminal responsibility to the age of 12 years as the absolute minimum age and to continue to increase it to a higher level. Section 51 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe, read together with Section 3 (e) and Section 53, provide for the protection of human dignity and freedom from torture, cruel, inhumane or degrading treatment or punishment. This Bill speaks to the protection of human dignity of any alleged child offender and highlight how they are to be treated in a manner that is dignified from the first contact with the police during free trial, detention and at any stage of justice process.
The purpose of a child justice system in as much as punitive measures should be taken for child offender for their offences, their human dignity has to be protected, does not make punitive measure or repuditive measures a primary goal. They should be punished but in a manner that is strictly consistent with the objective of rehabilitative and restorative justice. Due to the fact that a child’s best interests are paramount in every matter concerning the child and that children are entitled to adequate protection by the courts as provided for in Section 81:2 and 3 of our Constitution, our judicial system plays an integral part in the protection of children’s best interest. This Bill also provides for the monitoring of the child justice system through establishment of child justice committees at national, provincial and district level to ensure that those interests are protected and no abuses occur. Child Justice Courts established in terms of the Child Justice Bill are a must and an added sign of progression within our justice system and they would be solely dedicated to trying children accused of committing crimes.
I therefore urge Hon. Senators to support and pass this Bill. I submit and move that the Bill be now read a second time. I thank you.
*HON. SEN. MUZENDA: Thank you Hon. President. I am not in agreement but the Bill is very good. There is somewhere I have seen where it says minor children, that is children in conflict with the law, are not supposed to be handcuffed. When are they going to be handcuffed and what will have happened? Are we ready as a country for our courts to be ready for these children so that they can be corrected and realise that they were wrong? Do we share with the protection officers or social workers who help these children because sometimes we may have very good laws and then find out that we have challenges on implementation? Thank you.
*HON. SEN. TONGOGARA: I just wanted to start by thanking the Minister of Justice for bringing this Bill. Our children as a country are very important. Therefore, the way they are treated is very important. I want to ask the Minister since you have brought your Bill, there are some matters which were raised on corporal punishment on children. My question to the Minister is that there used to be a law that outlawed corporal punishment. What now has been prepared for these children who are not in this Bill? We grew up very well and where we would have gone wrong, we would be reprimanded. I would like to know about this matter. What is going to be done to the children? I thank you.
*HON. SEN. CHIEF CHARUMBIRA: Thank you Mr. President. I was late in seeing today’s business that there is this issue on Child Justice Bill. We are supposed to be given enough time to debate this Bill. I think we should place this on website. If we really want to do justice to the Child Justice Bill, it was not supposed to pass today. We were supposed to be given time to prepare. There are a lot of interventions in Zimbabwe.
I can say I was in one of the countries for the past two weeks where I met someone from Australia who is Ghanaian. His 12-year-old child arrived home late after seven. So this Ghanaian called the child and spoke strongly to the child and the child went to the police. He spent two weeks in prison because he had scolded the child that he had come home late. These laws are for whites, they are not ours.
You find when people attend workshops, they think that we are backward when we are following our culture. There are issues on some of the laws on some of the sections but to let a child do whatever they want will give us problems. We are aware of what happens like here at Convent when children were involved in drugs. It is now out of hand. Some of these laws are just protecting children so that they continue taking drugs. If you reprimand a child, you are on the wrong side.
My issue Mr. President is that when we are saying protection and the right to education and the right to everything; it is like these people who put laws in place it is like when a child is born, they are the ones who look after the upkeep of the child, but it was the responsibility of the parent to look after the child from conception. It appears as if they are the ones who looked after the mother so that they would go into hospital for labour. The school that we are talking about, it is the parents who are taking these children to school, and the parent are the ones who are responsible for the education of their children. All these developments you are talking about are done by the parents because it is in the best interest of their children. We all have the welfare of our children at heart. The reason why we are here is because our parents brought us where we are right now; they gave birth to us, nurtured and sent us to school.
I hated going to school and my parents woke me up at six o’ clock a.m. I resisted but when I went to university, I was mature enough to know that education was meant to make me a better person and I had no problem even waking up at 4 a.m. The strictness of my parents at early childhood helped to mold me to what I am right now. We cannot say that when parents are strict on their children, they are very bad. I think we must really debate on this issue because if we pass this law in this state, it will give us problems in future.
When many people commit crimes, that is when we use due process. For us to be what we are, it is because we were brought up properly by our parents. Now we want our children to walk the road that we do not walk. For us to be in this Senate saying what we are saying right now, it is because of our parents. Now, we want to let our children walk the wrong path. This due process that has been talked about here by Hon. Sen. Tongogara that if a child is wrong, is there anything that we can do because as parents, we are afraid that if we punish that child we are against the law?
We have chiefs who sit in Parliament and as chiefs, we do not allow children to go unpunished if they are wrong; it is our culture. Failure to do that, our culture will be eroded. I do not think we must pass this Bill in a rushed way. We need time to read and understand it so that we can have meaningful debates. It is unfortunate that I have debated today and I cannot debate tomorrow. I think those who are going to debate after me will put their facts in order so that we come up with a law that is good for the children of Zimbabwe.
On the Marriages Bill, there is information circulating in communities that we passed a Bill that does not support our culture and that does not support the payment of lobola. It is because facts were misrepresented. We do not want to pass a law that parents will complain why we passed that law. We want to pass a law that is good for everyone. The laws that are passed by the National Assembly, I do not know what happens there; like the Marriages Bill, we had to correct it here in Senate because they had passed something that we did not approve of and we do not support that as mature people.
As mature people, I think we must do something with this Bill also. They think that being modern is being western thereby forgetting our culture. Mr. President, I thank you, I have spoken, and I think this Bill must be given enough time like two days because now we were caught unaware.
*HON. SEN. KOMICHI: I thank you Mr. President for giving me this opportunity to debate on this motion and I would like to thank the Hon. Minister for bringing this Bill. The laws that we make as a nation must be in line with our culture as Zimbabweans and as Black Africans. We must make laws that give us pride and ubuntu as Zimbabweans. This Bill must give powers to parents to see that their children are well behaved in the community as well as the country at large. The children must be a pride to the parents and to the country. This law is creating a distance between the parents and the children. It is promoting children to be stubborn and not obey their parents. A child must not challenge his or her parents or talk back to elders. If you look at chickens, I stopped on my way home and saw a chicken with its chicks feeding and this reminded me of how a mother is important and the importance of a mother’s love. It shows accountability and love. It actually happens with all animals; cattle, goats, donkeys, the mothers do everything to protect their young ones, they would rather die defending their young ones.
What is the difference between ourselves and the rest of the animals, for us to be removed from our children? If I slap my child, it does not mean that I hate her or him. If I reprimand my child, it does not mean I hate the child but I will be only trying to make the child behave. In fact, this act shows that I care that is why I want to make them better people. This is so because we see a lot of bad things that children will be doing in the streets and elsewhere. We value our children so much, even if they die, we will cry uncontrollably because we love those children. These are our children, even if a person is told that your child has died, that person will cry until the tears dry up because we love these children. If a child has done something wrong, we need to think first about the action we are going to undertake as a way of disciplining that child. I was very happy last week when the President said we should discipline these children. These were the words of the President. Hon. Minister, do you go against the President’s words? The President said we should discipline these children. Those people who are advocating for our children to be wild are actually wrong. These people are targeting to achieve something Mr. President.
Mr. President, few years to come we would have lost control of our children in society. We would have disconnected our relationship with these children that is between the young generation and the older generation. Those people are creating a war between us and the children. You find that the children who have sent their parents to prison for two weeks the community is already dead. We support what the Chief has said. Mothers in this House will be given an opportunity to say something because they raise these children as well.
Mr. President, when we wrote the Constitution, we were too excited and we forgot our values as black people. We should value this aspect of us being Africans. We should understand that whenever we do anything with regard to the Constitution, we should consider our values as Africans. Thank you very much Mr. President.
*HON. SEN. MOEKETSI: Thank you Mr. President for giving me an opportunity to make a contribution with regard to this motion that has been brought by the Minister. With regard to the experience that people are having in different communities in this country, firstly I would like to say when I grew up myself, whenever a child was born, those who would come would say congratulations, those who respond would say it is so for us all. That meant that whenever they go, if they are reprimanded, they should respect it and say, ‘elders have reprimanded me because they are just like my parents back home.’
I grew up herding cattle as a child, then one day cattle strayed into another farmer’s field. It was a terrible experience for me but I had to kneel down and plead for forgiveness. I had been taught good manners and that I should ask for forgiveness if I had done something which is not proper. Two women were tenants at a certain house. These two women had children, the other one had two girls, five years and two years and the other woman had a 12-year old girl. The other woman came from a flea market. She had actually US$20 from that particular day sales. The 12-year girl was in the house; the moment she left US$ 20 on the pushing tray, going inside her room and coming back, the US20 was gone. When she asked about that US$20, the 12-year old girl indicated that she had not seen it. The girl went to school and started buying food at school. A boy from a next room actually made a report to say the young girl had US$20, she actually bought him a cool drink at school.
Mr. President, that information angered the mother and the little girl was beaten up by the mother and as I speak, the woman was imprisoned. Mr. President, the Bill that has been brought by the Minister is a very painful Bill to us as parents and I want to thank Hon. Sen. Chief Charumbira. As I speak in this House, my last born is 24 years of age; he stole my car and went to Kadoma to Makhadzi Show when he came to Zimbabwe. When he got to the roadblock he passed because police actually thought that it was an Hon. Member who was inside. On his way back I think he was now afraid of police, so he took a different route in trying to evade them. He used a dust road but instead he hit an electrical pole and unfortunately electricity went off at the nearby compound. There was a car passing by that actually saw the car and they made a report to Kadoma Police thinking that they were thieves trying to steal electrical cables. I told the police that I could not deny the allegations against the child because even at home, he opens my purse and takes money. The following day I went to the courts and I had to pay money for them to be released.
After three weeks, I had to attend a church service in Kuwadzana. When I returned home, I found the car was not where I had left it. Upon inquiring on Victor’s whereabouts, I was told that he was not at home and that he had gone out. I hide the car keys among neatly packed clothes and he comes and searches and places the clothes back neatly such that you do not notice that the keys have been taken.
He took the car on Saturday, the following morning I was called by the owner of a Honda Fit that had been hit by my car. My grandson and his friends had spent the night drinking. The police had been clearing the road for the President’s motorcade to pass through and so there were no cars on the road and as a result they sped through the road and hit a Honda Fit but did not stop and instead sped away trying to run away from the police. The car only stopped when one of its tires became flat. My Ranger was towed to the police station. It was a terrible scene. I was told if I wanted my car then I would have to go to the police station.
I came to work and when I went back home, I could not eat. I found him lying on his bed having a bottle of water. I broke the mop and beat him up using the stick from the mop. I knew that he could either fight me or report me to the police. He ran out of the room and locked himself in the chicken run. When it was raining, he came back into the house. I followed him into his room and I continued beating him using the mop. I was afraid that he was going to report me to the police as he is turning 25 years.
Mr. President Sir, the laws that we are passing in this Senate are making parents and guardians afraid to punish their children because they can be reported to the police and arrested. These laws are making it difficult for parents to even reprimand their children because they will tell us that the law does not allow us to punish them. Mr. President, we really need to think of the consequences of some of the laws that we pass in this august Senate. We can no longer reprimand our children, even our neighbours cannot reprimand our children. These children are now talking back to us as we try to reprimand them, which I think is something that is not good for us as a country.
So, thank you Hon. Minister for your Bill, but I think we need to revisit this Bill and consult parents. If we allow such Bills to go through, they may be detrimental to our children. As we know, these children are the future leaders of tomorrow.
HON. SEN. MWONZORA: On a point of order Mr. President Sir. Mr. President, this is no doubt an important motion. Sen. Chief Charumbira had made a suggestion that the Hon. Senators ruminate over this Bill and proceed with debate. It appears to have found favour by the comments from Senator Komichi. I am of the suggestion that it may be wise for us, given that we are the last bus stop, to ruminate over it and debate at some other time convenient to the Minister of course.
*THE HON. MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): Thank you Mr. President. I would like to thank the Senators who have been debating. I would like to thank Hon. Chief Charumbira and I promise to look at the request that he made in this House. This Bill is not looking at how we are going to be reprimanding these children. The issue on the Bill is not what are we going to do with these children. The law did not remove the issue of reprimanding children. In the criminal court, when we discipline children, it talks about moderate corporal punishment to be allowed; even to whip them as a way of reprimanding them. The Bill is not focusing on how we reprimand or whip these children. We are looking at criminal offences of youngsters. If they were adults, they would go to court. Should we send them to criminal courts as if they are adults? We should be allowed to look at how the child has been living so that we are allowed an opportunity of how we can reprimand and rehabilitate them. This is what the Bill is insisting on.
As far as I remember, beating up children as a way of reprimanding them is something that I support. In schools, they are no longer allowed to do that as corporal punishment. At home, it has to be moderate corporal punishment. I do not know what Senators would prefer. Maybe they want to go and look at it once more. We had actually sent it to you a few weeks ago, more than five weeks ago when we last came to this House. Hon. President, with all due respect, if they ask for grace period to look at the Bill, we will not consider that we have send it before. We will accept and give them leeway to go and look at the Bill again. I therefore, move that the debate do now adjourn.
Motion put and agreed to.
Debate to resume: Wednesday, 29th March, 2023.
On the motion of THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI), the Senate adjourned at a Quarter to Four o’clock p.m.
PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE
Tuesday, 28th March, 2023
The National Assembly met at a Quarter-past Two o’clock p.m.
(THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER in the Chair)
ANNOUNCEMENT BY THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER
PETITIONS RECEIVED FROM HWEVA ASSOCIATION, SOUTHERN AFRICA REGION ANTI-CORRUPTION ORGANISATION, MR. ALEX MASISIMANI AND UNION FOR THE DEVELOPMENT OF APOSTOLIC CHURCH IN ZIMBABWE
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: I have to inform the House that on Wednesday, 8th March, 2023, Parliament of Zimbabwe received a petition from the Hweva Association requesting Parliament to compel the State to declare Ancestors’ Day as a national holiday. The petition was deemed inadmissible because the petitioners’ prayer is not within Parliament’s constitutional mandate.
I also have to inform the House that on Tuesday, 9th March, 2023, Parliament received a petition from the Southern Africa Region Anti-Corruption Organisation requesting Parliament to intervene in tax and revenue collection. The petition was deemed inadmissible as the petitioners did not satisfy statutory requirements and failed to clearly state their prayer concerning the redress sought.
Furthermore, on Thursday, 9th March, 2023, Parliament received a petition from Mr. Alex Masisimani beseeching Parliament to investigate why the Justice Smith Commission of Inquiry’s recommendations on Government pensioners are not being implemented. The petition has been referred to the Portfolio Committee on Budget, Finance and Economic Development.
Additionally, on Thursday, 9th March, 2023, Parliament received a petition from the Union for the Development of Apostolic Church in Zimbabwe, Africa, beseeching Parliament to pass an Act of Parliament on devolution. The petition has since been referred to the Portfolio Committee on Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs and Local Government, Public Works and National Housing.
HON. NDUNA: I have a point of national interest. In the Eighth Parliament and indeed, leading into the Ninth Parliament, I spoke to and about the artisanal mining sector and the repeal of the Mines and Minerals Act which was moribund, archaic, rudimentary and antiquated and medieval in that it was established in 1961. The resultant effect is going to see the repeal of Section 368 of the Mines and Minerals Act that says prospecting without a licence is outlawed and the Gold Act Section 3 and indeed, the Trade in Precious Minerals Act. Those statutes are going to be repealed as a result of the point of national interest that I advanced in those two Parliaments.
As I sit here today, I have come here and I have requested that the Minister of Agriculture and in tandem with the Minister of Local Government, comes here and issues a statement in so far as it relates to the compounds where the former farm workers are residing in order that we utilise these compounds to alleviate the plight of the suffering multitudes and citizens that have no accommodation. It is my hope and view that Section 72 (7) (c) of the Constitution that states that the people of Zimbabwe should be enabled to assert their right to land can be amalgamated with the statutes; Urban Councils Act Section 205 and Section 152 that speak to estate management, aware that there is going to be urban expansion and there are farms that are going to come from the Minister of Agriculture to the Minister of Local Government in order that there is reduction of the backlog of housing infrastructure.
I reiterate, if it pleases you, to request that the Minister of Agriculture, together with the Minister of Local Government, come here, give a Ministerial Statement in so far as the issues that I have tabled are concerned. Aware that Government has given US$3,5 billion for the Global Fund to compensate former farm workers but the compounds are now being utilised by the A2 farmers as a battle ground in order to get those compounds for themselves, even though what they received from Government is land for agricultural purposes, not compounds for self-aggrandisement and self-enrichment. It is my view that if those that reside in the compounds because the land resides with the President and those properties are now for the President, they can be given title deeds in the future and those compound residents do not track into the urban sector and remain with those houses as their own, according to Section 72 (7) (c) of the Constitution.
This is my clarion call and I met, in a plethora of places, the vendors, touts and those conductors for public transport and small vehicles in order that I can advance this notion so that they can get land and also those houses in compounds if the Minister of Agriculture and Local Government come here and give a Ministerial Statement so that we can have questions that are advanced for that purpose. I want to thank you for giving me this opportunity for this point of national interest.
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: I advise you to come up with a motion regarding that issue of farm compounds so that it can be debated in this House.
HON. MARKHAM: This week the nation was treated to some media on the gold mafia. I am shocked at the silence that the Government has treated this report. My concern is there are four reports that are coming out. Could we ask the Minister responsible, whether it is Finance, Home Affairs or Justice, I am not sure but could the relevant Ministry give us an answer to what is exactly happening on what has been exposed. My concern is that we have been definitely silent on the issues of the corruption that has been purportedly shown on the media. For example, I would immediately recommend to the Minister to call, as has been called by the public, for an audit or an independent investigation into Fidelity Printers and the RBZ. It is absolutely shocking that we have said and done nothing about it.
My second issue and it also embraces anyone in this country who claims to have a religion behind him with all this adultery happening in the name of pastors and the church. I believe that it is high time for this House to look at all the licences and the so-called duty-free statuses and tax-free statuses of all these so-called pastors because it is actually a business. They are not serving the people, they are serving themselves and the investments are in their own names, not in the name of the people and yet our Government remains silent. Those Ministries involved, if they had any integrity in them, there should have been some resignation or at least an answer. The fact that they did not resign means that they must be dismissed. The fact that they have not been dismissed means they are involved or incompetent or both. I thank you.
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon. Markham, please may you come again on the issue of pastors. I did not get what you said.
HON. MARKHAM: My issue on pastors is that when you are under the so-called pastors and if you are under a licence and you do operate as a pastor, you are not treated as a business, you are treated as you are serving the people. These are now big businesses and in the case of what we were shown in big money-laundering businesses, this needs to be investigated as urgently as possible. I thank you.
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Regarding the reports on Aljazeera, the Parliament Administration will convey the message to the responsible Minister to come to the House and give you the answer. On the issue regarding pastors, I think it is prudent for you Hon. Markham to come up with a motion so that the issues can be debated in this House.
*HON. MADZIMURE: Thank you Madam Speaker, I am appealing to the Minister of Finance to come to the House and speak on the problems that this House is facing, leading it to be empty. If you look at the Bills that the President said should be dealt with, it cannot be done if the MPs cannot come to this House because of some problems we are facing. If we pass the Bill with such numbers like we have today, we are bound to be called by the Constitutional Court. We cannot force MPs to go on Zoom because of network problems. We have a number of constituencies that do not have network. For instance, Hon. Nyabani who just won, it is difficult for him to get network in his constituency, so he has to drive to and fro Mt. Darwin to go on Zoom but he will not have fuel coupons to do that. With this situation, I am appealing for Parliament to adjourn until the Minister of Finance has the funds to pay for MPs’ accommodation. There was a better arrangement that had been suggested that if government cannot afford to pay hotels, they should look for houses to rent and they get cash for that. It is amazing that money for buying expensive cars and food we are getting but when it comes to our accommodation, we are facing a lot of challenges. Everyone who has served as an MP becomes a pauper as soon as they relinquish their posts. I want the Minister of Finance to come and issue a statement pertaining to when he is going to fund Parliament. If it is not possible to get money for the legislature whilst the other Arms of State are getting money, Ministers are going on their trips and not one is cancelled. However, Parliament is not being funded. This can only be so if we agree that we do not have parliamentary democracy in Zimbabwe. As it is, we cannot even finish one Bill. I think Madam Speaker Ma’am, when you got in here you were also amazed by the emptiness of the House. I thank you.
*THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Thank you Hon. Madzimure, your request will be forwarded to the Minister of Finance so that he can come and give a statement pertaining to the accommodation for Members of Parliament.
*HON. HWENDE: On a point of order Madam Speaker. I feel that as leaders of this institution you are not taking this issue seriously because two weeks ago you gave a ruling that you were going to phone President Mnangagwa to give direction. If the Minister of Finance can lie that he is going to give finances to Parliament and he has not done so up to now and Parliament cannot force the Minister to honour his pledge, what about the people in the rural areas? The plight of MPs is that if government cannot afford to pay for their accommodation, let us go on recess until such time that the money is there. If MPs contribute on Zoom you tell them to come into the House. Network is problematic even here in Harare. We need correct and reliable responses. I thank you.
*THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Thank you Hon. Hwende. It is not correct that I promised to phone the President unless if it was the Speaker who promised to do so. In that case I will remind the Speaker to phone the President.
+HON. L. SIBANDA: Thank you Madam Speaker, I just want to add on to what Hon. Hwende alluded to that the Minister is not taking this House seriously. Before we adjourned after passing the budget, the Minister of Finance agreed to give every MP $150 for accommodation. Where is the Minister right now with the money to give to the MPs? As it is, some of the MPs have aides and they do not have accommodation for them where they are staying. We just want the Minister to come and give us the money that he promised us during the budget.
*THE HON DEPUTY SPEAKER: It is correct that MPs should be given accommodation as they do their business. I thank you.
BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
HON. NDUNA: I move that Orders of the Day, Numbers 1 to 14 be stood over until Order of the Day, Number 14 has been disposed of.
HON. TEKESHE: I second.
Motion put and agreed to.
REPORT OF THE PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE ON DEFENCE, HOME AFFAIRS AND SECURITY SERVICES ON THE BENCHMARK VISIT TO NAMIBIA ON WELFARE OF VETERANS OF THE LIBERATION STRUGGLE
HON. NGULUVHE: I thank you Madam Speaker. I am speaking on behalf of the Chairperson who is out on another business.
HON. NDUNA: I second.
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Sorry Hon. Nguluvhe. You said you are seconding the motion?
HON. NDUNA: Yes, Madam Speaker. I second.
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon. Nguluvhe, may you approach the Chair.
Hon. Nguluvhe approached the Chair.
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order Hon. Members! It has come to my attention that the Report of the Portfolio Committee on Defence, Home Affairs and Security Services on the Benchmark Visit to Namibia is yet to be presented to this House. So, I advise that the debate by Hon. Nguluvhe must be expunched and the motion will remain on the Order Paper.
BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
HON. NDUNA: I move that Orders of the Day Number 1 to 10 be stood over until Order of the Day Number 11 has been disposed of.
HON. MPARIWA: I second.
Motion put and agreed to.
PRESIDENTIAL SPEECH: DEBATE ON ADDRESS
Eleventh Order read: Adjourned debate on motion in reply to the Presidential Speech.
Question again proposed.
HON. NDUNA: I would like to add my voice to the State of the Nation Address that was presented by His Excellency, the President on the Official Opening of Parliament, in particular on the new infrastructure development that cements and also bolsters our robust, resilient, effective and efficient relationships that we have with China. The infrastructure is second to none and it is my thinking that handing over that infrastructure to the Zimbabwean Government upholds the relationships on the all-weather friendship that exist between our eastern friends, the Chinese, Russians and the Eastern bloc. It also cements it in this way: the Chinese, the Russians and all those other friends in the eastern bloc, including Romania. These are the countries that helped us during our liberation struggle. This becomes my introduction to the State of the Nation Address that was presented by His Excellency. It should be used as a pedestal and platform to enhance further relations.
Having said that, the work was cut out for this august House in so far as it relates to the debate, passing of Bills and all such. There is a plethora of Bills that we need to expeditiously pass in this House – those that came from the Fourth Session of the Ninth Parliament that need to be debated vociferously. I also want to add my voice on those Bills – in particular the repeal of the Mines and Minerals Act of 1951 or 1961 so that it can be in tandem with the Agrarian Reform Act of 2000. That Bill is also coming before this august House and I am looking forward to effectively debate that Bill because there are more than 500 000 artisanal small scale miners in my place of placement in Chegutu West Constituency and these are the people that are carrying the flag in terms of the economic emancipation using our minerals, especially in the Constituency where I come from. I look forward to debating the Mines and Minerals Act and in the same vein repeal Section 3 of the Gold Act and also the Precious Minerals Act and Section 368 of the Mines and Minerals Act. I think it is both antiquated, archaic, moribund, rudimentary and medieval, to say the least. I believe and so do more than half a million artisanal miners in Chegutu; Believe, including Sarah Chikukwa, Marjory Ruzha, Patricia Nyamadzawo, Tawanda Chimutashu, Charles Makoni, Mr. Green and a lot of other artisanal miners that are embedded in Chegutu West Constituency.
The reason why I want to start with mining is because we have more than 60 minerals of which only 20 have been exploited and not even to the fullest. So there is a plethora of mines dotted around our country but in particular, in Chegutu West Constituency where the Great Dyke is the biggest which covers about 11 kilometers, all these minerals are dotted in and around that Great Dyke.
Therefore, when it comes to issues to do with beneficiation, value addition and talking about the minerals, my heart is on the right side because I know this is what carries the hope and future of this nation. This is also what can remove our country and indeed Chegutu West Constituency from an impoverished poverty position. We cannot be impoverished amidst the existence of a number of minerals. We need to use what we have to get what we want.
Having said that Madam Speaker, I applaud His Excellency for banning the export of raw minerals - in particular, first, it was the 30 million tons of chrome and now the issue of raw lithium ban. I really applaud him for having taken that stance because we get more than 10-fold or 50-fold out of a beneficiated and value-added lithium, platinum and chrome as opposed to selling it out and exporting it raw.
Platinum is in the PG Group of metals. If we export it raw, we definitely are shooting ourselves in the foot. In the Platinum Group of Metals is palladium, vanadium - including lithium itself and gold. The issue of curtailing the export of those minerals, especially platinum in the raw state and trying to force beneficiation and established refinery plant is a master stroke, and is applaudable to say the least.
I also want to applaud His Excellency for coming up with the issue of making sure that our minerals - the issue of royalties is paid 50% partly using minerals and 50% using hard currency. I am alive to the fact that China and Russia are going to be trading with Africa using the Chinese dollar, Yuan and the Russian Ruble, which is quite applaudable. The quicker that happens, the better. We cannot continue to have an albatross around our neck because of the ubiquitous amount of mineral wealth.
We also have uranium, beneficiating and value adding just a little ball of uranium is going to have us have a copious amount of power and energy. It has happened next door where South Africa has beneficiated uranium and they got power. It is my thinking that we need to take a cue from Iran and to take a cue from other developing countries to use our minerals for the good order of the citizens of Zimbabwe. We have nothing to fear, we need to use what we have to get what we want.
Having said that, I will move to the issue of beneficiating and value adding platinum. We get what we call catalytic converters, these are used on all automobiles. As a country, we have more than two million vehicles. As long as we are using fossil fuels and we are using the fuels that we are currently utilizing including ethanol, we have to use catalytic converters so that we reduce the emissions coming from petrol, diesel and fossil fuels which we will be using on our vehicles. There is need to value add our platinum so that we can manufacture catalytic converters.
Madam Speaker, there is need to also value add our chrome so that we can have ferro chrome coming out of it. There is the issue of Manhize coming up, there is need to applaud His Excellency for getting investors to invest at Manhize because we are going to be the largest steel plant in Africa. It is important that we value add our minerals so that we get what we can from what we have.
The issue of Mhangura Copper Mine Madam Speaker, as long as it has not yet been resuscitated, there is need to align our copper mining certificates and our copper trading certificates with the resuscitation of Mhangura Copper Mine. There is need to make sure that we revoke all copper trading licenses as long as Mhangura Copper Mine has not been resuscitated.
I think I have dealt robustly, effectively and to a larger extent, vociferously on the issue of minerals. I will now go to the mines themselves insofar as it relates to Section 13 (4) of the Constitution which is sui generis, meaning in a class of its own. Madam Speaker, this is what it says, ‘The minerals or the resources should benefit the localities from where they are extracted. The current set up where the mines in the areas of their jurisdictions, they are currently plundering the resources without giving back to the localities from where they are extracted, is criminal and it needs to be brought to a screeching halt.
The mines that I speak to and about, let us give an example, at the Nkai-Bulawayo Road; it is riddled with mines such as Queens Mine, Turk Mine and a plethora of other mines. My clarion call is just to give back to those communities using the Constitution so that they can rehabilitate and maintain the roads in the jurisdictions from where they are extracting our minerals.
We cannot continue in this way Madam Speaker where it sounds as though there is collision, corruption and nepotism. We should go into a stage where there is coordination, collaboration and networking so that the minerals can be used to rehabilitate the enclave and the infrastructure from where they are extracting their resources, in particular the road infrastructure.
I remember in the Eighth Parliament when I was the Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Transport, the backlog in terms of road rehabilitation and reconstruction was USD20 billion. I shudder to think how much there is now in terms of backlog Madam Speaker Ma’am.
I make this clarion call that the Minister of Finance and Economic Development, puts in a Statutory Instrument that is going to force these mines to rehabilitate the roads from where they are extracting the minerals.
I will give you an example Madam Speaker Ma’am; before ZIMPLATS and former BHP embarked on extraction of platinum from Ingezi Mine, they built a road that was so robust. They dug into the soil more than two metres and filled it up with rock before the asphalt laid with concrete and tar on top for 85kms. Government should force these mines to rehabilitate this road and road infrastructure. It is going to reduce our budget and see that we are in sync and in alignment with the Constitution, the supreme law of the land, Section 13 (4). I am making a clarion call that there is need for further beneficiation and value addition of our mineral resources. These mining houses should have a duty to give back to the communities where they are extracting; if not giving back to the communities but at least let them rehabilitate the roads that they are utilising.
Where I come from in Chegutu West Constituency, there is Chegutu-Mhondoro-Mubaira Road; a road that is less than 100kms. It is so dilapidated, disused, deplorable and unsightly Madam Speaker Ma’am. It certainly needs and leaves a lot to be desired. There are a lot of mines that are dotted on that road. It is my thinking and so is the thinking of the people of Chegutu West Constituency that when we come back into the 10th Parliament, we need to go and rehabilitate that road ourselves and go after those mines. It is lawful and I ask them to give us the money that we would have utilised to macadamise and tar that road because if the road is tarred and reconstructed, it can cut the distance to Beitbridge Border Post by more than 200kms if coming from Chinhoyi instead of going via Harare.
So, it is important, just and right for us to make sure that these mines give back to the community; if not, let them use the infrastructure that they found intact Madam Speaker Ma’am. What is currently happening, because minerals are a finite resource; they are not like flowers, once you extract them from the ground, you leave gapping holes. We have more than 10 000 dams, we do not need anymore as long as they are not planned. What is happening with the mines is that they are leaving environmental degradation in place, dilapidated and deplorable state of road infrastructure and it is not right Madam Speaker Ma’am.
It is my thinking that the miners should be forced to rehabilitate the roads. I will give an example of what happened with Hwange Colliery. They had been in existence for a century and in that century, they have reconstructed more than 900kms of road – all that in the Hwange locality, in the location and such like. All that place used to belong to Hwange Colliery Madam Speaker Ma’am; if Hwange Colliery could do it or did it; the other mines should also do it! If they do not do it, there is need for Government to make sure that they close them down until they do it Madam Speaker Ma’am – that is my thinking.
I am now going to go to the issue of housing infrastructure development. I come from Chegutu West Constituency and in Ward 5 there is a house that is called N23A. There are three families of 10 people each, who stay in a three-roomed house. Madam Speaker Ma’am, what it means is; we have a lot of people in one housing infrastructure. How do I hope to treat this disease? Where there are 10 people in one room; a whole family, there is no copulation; no procreation and no conjugal rights. What there is, is girl child abuse, early child marriages and the drug abuse because the children are watching the procreation of adults; they are watching adult acts and there is also the issue of …
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order, order! Hon. Nduna, you are left with five minutes.
HON. NDUNA: Thank you Madam Speaker Ma’am, I am hoping that when my time is up, somebody is going to give me some little time. I still have a lot of issues to touch on.
Madam Speaker Ma’am, I am proposing that where there is land given by the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water, Climate and Rural Resettlement for urban expansion; there is need for the urban councils, in particular, to look at the Urban Councils Act, Section 205 (1) (c) and Section 152 (1) (a) insofar as it relates to disposing of stands for housing infrastructure development. These two sections should be aligned to Section 72 (vii) (c) of the Constitution that says there is need to give land to the people both for agricultural purposes and housing infrastructure development.
There are three issues that are mentioned in the Estate Management in these statutes in the Urban Councils Act Madam Speaker Ma’am. One; the way they want to dispose of the land is either they lease it out or they sell it and the third issue is to give it out for free, that is, donation. It is according to their own statutes. These two sections, 152 and 205 speak one to another and should be aligned to the Constitution and vanobva vabuda shudhu. When they do, there can only be one part of that section that speaks to the issues of alignment of the Constitution to those statutes Madam Speaker Ma’am. It is giving this land to the masses of the urban society for free because we need to reduce the housing backlog.
Madam Speaker Ma’am, if a black man dies today; a Honda Fit might not even come out but if a white man dies today; there is going to be title deeds given for the houses; there will be vehicles and a lot because they benefited before Independence through the law that was set up for adjudication by the erstwhile colonialism. It is time for the empowerment of the people who were formerly marginalised. We did it in 2000 with the Agrarian Reform Programme; it is time to do it again for the issue of housing infrastructure development using the law; if you are not happy with the law Madam Speaker Ma’am, the issue that there is, is to change the law. Now I am not making a clarion call to change the law, I am calling for the urban councils to align themselves to the law. Otherwise, they are ultra vires the law Madam Speaker Ma’am.
So, I call for, in particular where I come from Chegutu West Constituency, there are 12 farms that are earmarked for urban expansion and one particular one that comes to mind is the thousand hectares Risboro Farm. In my view, that can house more than 50 000 people if that land is demarcated at a rate of 2002 meters each. So, I request that these farms for urban expansion should at least be a farm per each urban society given to the people and that land be given for free. As long as we continue to sell it to them, it is going to be bought by people from Harare and those who are gold magnets who have money already and a lot of people who are property magnets that already have money and it is not right and just. It would not have been given an opportunity to deliberately empower our people. Then we used to have the Empowerment Act and now we no longer have. Here is an opportunity to empower our people with houses.
I will go on now to the health delivery system, that is the clinics. When I was the Chairman of the Portfolio Committee on Transport, then we had five deaths per day due to road carnage and we had 53 people that were injured due to RTAs and I came up with a brilliant idea to turn our tollgates into some mini clinics from some of their rooms so that we can use them as accident victims stabilisation centres. I say this because 70% of our people that are involved in RTA die within the hour because they have not been stabilised.
*HON. CHINOTIMBA: I want to add my voice to the debate that was raised by Hon. Togarepi. Firstly, the President spoke about development that is happening on our roads especially looking at Harare-Beitbridge Road and Mutare-Plumtree Road. That is indeed development that we have been looking for all along. What we want to do is to pay attention to rural areas because there are a lot of developments such as Pfumvudza Programme that is happening yet we have a problem of transporting what they harvest. Transporters always complain about the bad state of roads in these areas.
I would like to acknowledge the good work that was done on the Harare-Beitbridge Road. Everyone has seen it and everyone is happy. Even someone who may not appreciate the President ends up appreciating merely by using the state-of-the-art highway. I pray that this development goes all the way to Chivhu-Buhera Road. The Marondera-Wedza Road is being worked on. Most of these developments are only benefiting those in urban areas and those who drive all the way to South Africa but our rural populace is not benefiting. So, indeed I appeal to the President that, yes, we have realised that development but let us spread it to other smaller roads which need to be graded. The Chivhu-Buhera Road needs to be rehabilitated. There is not much progress but as you go to Rusape towards Nyazura, there is progress. So, I am very happy with the development that is happening in this country but let us pay attention to the rural populace because they are the ones who contributed to the development of this country. During the war of liberation, we benefited from their livestock but we are now neglecting them and paying attention to the urban folks. Right now, we have resuscitated the Mujibha-Chimbwido concept and they are the ones who are supposed to be travelling on those good roads because they fought for the liberation of this country. I am very happy with the development especially on road infrastructure but once again, I appeal that we need to pay attention to the rural populace.
With regards to minerals, I heard the President talking about lithium and he said we should not be exporting raw lithium but my appeal is, that should apply to every mineral in this country. They must be processed and not be exported in raw form. If it is gold, it should be processed and be value added to necklaces. When it comes to lithium, the European countries label their products “made in Britain” or “made in Germany” yet they use our raw resources. We are the ones who provide cotton for the manufacture of garments that we see written “made in Dubai” or any other country which means all these raw resources must be processed so that we end up with products from Zimbabwe. If you look at car engines manufactured abroad, they use our minerals to manufacture these components but we do not have the equipment to make them.
I once said that we are not providing resources to our universities. Some people actually laughed at Daniel Chingoma who wanted to make a helicopter but all what he wanted to do was to at least manufacture something from Zimbabwe. Some people laughed at Daniel Chingoma who wanted to invent an aeroplane but all what he was trying to do is to at least manufacture something from Zimbabwe and it ended up with people just laughing at him. I am glad that the President acted before things got worse. There was a time where we used to get bricks imported in this country. There were no molders. We want to thank the President for all the minerals, they all need to be processed in this country so that we get better benefits.
The other thing that the President spoke about is farming. It is very key to the development of this country but the way our people are being involved in agriculture is very expensive. Banks are giving exorbitant fees. In most developed countries, Government subsidises inputs but in this country, we only have crooks. I once asked who the owners of agricultural input makers are. I asked Hon. Minister Nzenza at Sheraton Hotel and she told me that she could not give me an answer. Up to now, I have not been given the answer about who owns agricultural input companies. All they are doing is fraud and stealing. They claim foreign currency at the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe yet they do not use it for production but pass it on to the black market. I appeal that with regards to the agricultural sector, we need to tighten our belts because it is the source of livelihood for many people. The President is doing a great job by providing inputs through Pfumvudza, although some people sell those inputs. I wish the Pfumvudza Programme could be spread to A2 farmers because the current beneficiaries end up selling the inputs but the truth is that this country should honour its farmers by subsidizing inputs at 50%. That is my main message with regards to agricultural inputs.
You find SEEDCO seeds in Zambia, Angola and Mozambique – the same company that we have here in Zimbabwe yet the seed is cheaper in Mozambique than here in Zimbabwe. If you go to Zambia there is also SEEDCO near Livingstone, there is plenty of seed there. They actually tell us that they import some of the seed there from Zimbabwe. They say all the experts are from Zimbabwe and the seed is from Zimbabwe. The price is almost double here in Zimbabwe - 20kg costs about US$300 yet that side it is about US$90. Where are we going and how can we be productive in agriculture? I pray that the President also includes A2 farmers in the Pfumvudza Programme. That is what I wanted to talk about – inputs for agriculture, our minerals as well as our road infrastructure.
The President also talked about health and he tried a lot in terms of building clinics. What we now need is medicines to be available. The Minister of Health should travel vastly so that we get medicines. Our country is very wealthy. We must have plenty of medicine, gold and lithium must procure medication for our people. The industries must open and we should manufacture medicines here. CAPS must be empowered to manufacture, which will benefit everyone.
Finally, I would like to thank His Excellency – I wish all the African countries should emulate him. He likes to work hard, although there could be people who may not be straightforward in his Cabinet; he has shown us that indeed he deserves to get another term. I am sure that by 2028, we will be well advanced.
HON. MOLOKELA-TSIYE: I would like to join my colleagues in debating the SONA. I will start by emphasising the point that listening through the speech as it was being given, I struggled to connect between what the speech was aspiring to achieve and what the reality on the ground is across Zimbabwe. There was a clear disjuncture between the situation affecting millions of Zimbabweans and the highlights of the speech - it was so sad for me. It looked like the President is far removed from realities on the ground of Zimbabwe. I wonder how we are going to proceed if we are unable to have a SONA that speaks directly to the issues that are affecting the people of Zimbabwe.
Let me give you examples of things that I felt were not adequately addressed in the SONA speech. I will start with the strategy or the Government strategy around arresting the challenges we are facing in terms of monetary and fiscal policies. In terms of the Government strategy of arresting the hyper-inflation that we are facing at the moment. according to the speech, it looked like the President was convinced that everything is going on well but on the ground, it is clear that the RTGs continues to lose ground. Its value continues to depreciate all the time. As we speak, today it is trading at 1:1500 making it difficult for millions of Zimbabweans who, due to this multiple currency system we are having, almost everything is being paid in US dollars and we have to pay dearly for the weak performance of the RTGs as we change it into US dollars in order to make payments. There is clearly no effective strategy at the moment and I challenge Government to go back to the drawing board with regards to the value of the RTGs currency and the hyper-inflation that we are facing.
There was also mention of the strategy around gold coins. I am surprised that people are still talking about gold coins as part of the solution to arresting the socio economic crises we are facing. The last time I heard some serious discussion about it was some time last year. This year I have not heard anything pertaining to that. It is like there was talk of gold coins, then it just disappeared into thin air. We need solutions that are sustainable and viable. I have my strongest reservations on the strategy around gold coins and what it has achieved. The strategy needs to be revisited.
I also wanted to talk a little bit about mining. The speech also touched on that but for me, the first and most important thing is that the Mines and Minerals Amendment Bill has only come to Parliament in the last few months. In the Eighth Parliament, it had reached the stage where it was going for Presidential assent. The fact that we were to wait for more than four years for the Amendment Bill to come back to Parliament, clearly demonstrates the lack of commitment on the part of Government with regards to this matter, yet we know that this Bill is going to help transform our mining industry. It is one thing for Government to talk about sustainable development in mining and another thing for them to stay for four years without bringing this Bill. Right now, towards the end of this Parliament, the Bill is now being fast tracked yet it is a Bill that is bound to open up the mining industry to millions of Zimbabweans. The original Act was done in 1961 when the average citizen was a subject of the British empire and the local communities of Zimbabwe were not considered. Today we want a Bill that is going to help mining to be open to the people of Zimbabwe but for that Bill to take four years to come to Parliament; clearly demonstrates lack of political will on the part of the Government of Zimbabwe to address the historical and present issues affecting the mining industry, especially for the benefit of millions of Zimbabweans.
We also know that there is no clear strategy around value addition and beneficiation. Zimbabwe is one of those countries that is selling a lot of raw minerals, especially to China. If you go to Maputo in Mozambique you will see raw minerals from Zimbabwe destined for China. We are not beneficiating our minerals and we are losing value in the process. There is need for a clear strategy, which I did not hear in the speech. We should stop selling raw minerals. This is a colonial process. During the colonial times, African countries were expected to export raw minerals to Europe but today, 43 years after independence, Zimbabwe is still struggling to have a clear strategy around beneficiation in terms of value addition. We need to finish products in Zimbabwe. The speech did not come out clearly on that. It failed to be specific, visionary and strategic.
Then on the issue of green energy, we all know that in terms of coal, it is one of the most important sources of energy in Zimbabwe but as a country, we must accept that in terms of sustainable development in the industry of energy, there is need to move towards green fuels and environmentally friendly fuels. The speech does not address the need to go beyond coal mining as a source of energy in this country. We are overdependent on the Hwange Thermal Power Station and the Hydro Electricity Power Station in Kariba yet Zimbabwe, like most African countries, is blessed with a lot of sun. The speech did not speak clearly around an option towards solar energy in this country. What we need in Zimbabwe to day is to make sure that we have a clear strategy around harnessing solar energy. If I was the head of the Government of Zimbabwe, I would come up with a strategy that would make sure that all domestic energy in this country, especially in residential areas, is derived from solar energy. Every house in Zimbabwe would have solar panels on its rooftop so that only commercial and industrial usage can depend on thermal and hydro electricity. Right now, we are using a lot of electricity, for example to charge our cellphones. How many cellphones are in Zimbabwe right now? We have millions of handsets and we use energy from Hwange and Kariba Power Stations to charge cellphones yet we can use solar powered batteries to charge our cellphones. It is something that we can move towards, which is clean and green fuel. So, we need a clear strategy around alternative sources of energy and not continue to rely on Hwange or on coal. This is something that the speech should have addressed.
I also wanted to talk about road infrastructure. The speech highlighted the issues around the Harare-Beitbridge Road but failed to address the issues around death traps that we now have in Zimbabwe. The Bulawayo-Victoria Falls freeway is actually a death trap. We have repeatedly asked the Minister of Transport, Hon. Mhona to address this issue yet there is still no solution in site. We are having a lot of unnecessary accidents and deaths while Government continues to celebrate the Harare-Beitbridge Road. There is also another road that goes to Chirundu which is another death trap. So, we need a holistic approach and a clear strategy around road infrastructure. I heard mention of the Nkayi Road which everyone now knows is a perennial campaign slogan. Every time elections are coming, someone adds 5kms to the Nkayi Road. It is a well-known strategy.
The speech also touched on parastatals. I need to highlight the fact that institutions such as the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation are institutions that are now anachronistic, obsolete and irrelevant. There is need for Government to come up with a wholesale reform when it comes to State-owned Enterprises. We cannot continue to have institutions such as ZBC, Air Zimbabwe, ZESA and others that are perennially loss making. There is need for a clear strategy to ensure that whatever State Enterprise should be viable. As things stand right now, the speech never addressed the issue of making sure that these institutions are fully revived.
We also have the NRZ which is lying idle at the moment and becoming more and more obsolete yet we need transport in Zimbabwe. NRZ is now a white elephant but the speech never touched on that. There is need for Government to come up with a holistic approach towards these State-owned Enterprises to make sure that they are profit making, viable and sustainable in nature. Related to that, I also wanted to talk about Air Zimbabwe. I heard today that Zambian Airways is back in the air. The speech never touched on a very important institution like Air Zimbabwe, an institution that opens Zimbabwe to the world. You talk about Zimbabwe being open for business yet Air Zimbabwe is grounded. You talk about Zimbabwe wanting to grow tourism yet Air Zimbabwe is grounded. There was no plan whatsoever towards resuscitating Air Zimbabwe and we need something to be done. Zimbabwe cannot continue to complain about sanctions being imposed against them yet they have a tourism industry that is underdeveloped at domestic level. Where is the strategy around promotion of domestic tourism? Zimbabweans are not visiting Hwange National Park, Kariba, the Eastern Highlands, Great Zimbabwe or Victoria Falls. Where is the strategy around domestic tourism which can be used to revive our transport industry? National Railways and Air Zimbabwe can benefit from the promotion of domestic tourism.
I also wanted to talk about education, especially from a higher and tertiary point of view. I am from Matebeleland North and we have the Lupane State University and we now have Hwange Teachers’ College. This is something that should be appreciated but we still do not have a polytechnic. The speech did not address the provinces that are still remaining behind, including Matabeleland North - especially when it comes to Higher and Tertiary Education. I would have wanted a situation whereby a polytechnic would be opened in Matabeleland. For example, in Binga District. They do not have an institute of higher learning. Matabeleland North needs a polytechnic and that can be opened in Binga.
The speech also touched on universal health coverage. If there is something where there is empty talk and rhetoric, it is on the issue of universal health coverage. This Government has repeatedly failed to honour its on commitment that was done in 2001 in Nigeria. We have the most important policy document on domestic funding for health which is called Abuja Declaration. This is a document administered by the African Union Commission. Zimbabwe signed that every year in its Budget, it will allocate 15% of its domestic budget towards health care. Zimbabwe has failed in the last 21 years dismally to honour that commitment. If we are going to achieve universal health coverage, we must stop talking about it. We must start allocating money towards healthcare.
Right now, our national ARV programme in response to HIV and AIDS is 90% funded by international development partners. We have mortgaged our health care system to foreigners. If you look at the health care infrastructure in this country, it is worse off than it was in 1980. If you want to see how this Government has failed the people of Zimbabwe, go to each and every district, look for any health care centre owned by this Government; go to any referral hospital and see how abandoned they are. There is no medicine, there is no proper healthcare, there are no professional healthcare workers. Doctors and nurses have left the country. The Government has, for 43 years, consistently failed the people of Zimbabwe when it comes to achieving the universal health coverage.
Whatever the speech said is not seen on the ground. We are moving from bad to worse. From what I read in the speech, there was no clear strategy to improve access to healthcare in this country and I would like to say that we are still far from coming back to reality on this matter.
I also wanted to talk about e-Government. Zimbabwe is one of the countries that is struggling when it comes to e-Government. Look at the number of queues that we have in our public institutions, in the Ministry of Home Affairs, in the hospitals. Look at the number of queues that people have been subjected to across the country when people can actually use their cellphones to access their services. We need to do more to make sure that people do not spend endless hours in queues. This Government has not come up with a clear plan to end these long queues that we see across the country.
I also wanted to talk about the foreign policy and engagement which the speech also addressed. I wanted to say that unless and until this Government takes seriously the issue around the diaspora, then there is nothing serious we should expect from it with regards to the international strategy. Right now, we have got millions of Zimbabweans who are disengaged from this country in terms of administration. Zimbabweans in the diaspora have no right to vote. Zimbabweans in the diaspora cannot even pay taxes to this country even if they want to. This Government does not have a clear policy of engaging the diaspora. We need a sustainable policy of engaging the diaspora. That makes Zimbabwe benefit from this human resource capital. This is a blessing in disguise that we have.
This Government still does not have a clear strategy. The diaspora must start voting. The diaspora must start paying tax. The diaspora must be part of our national development plan. This is one of the biggest failures of this current Government.
I also wanted to talk about admission into the global community in terms of reengagement. For example, in the Commonwealth - unless and until this Government starts to respect human rights and rule of law, this is not going to happen. We have a parliamentarian who has been incarcerated for 300 days, who is a member of this august House. In direct violation of the Constitution of Zimbabwe which clearly gives us the right to bail under Section 58. Hon. Job Sikhala is still in pre-trial detention in spite of 15 appeals for applications for bail. It is a failure of this Government. We do have a lot of political prisoners. We will never be accepted as a serious democracy when we victimise our political opponents as a country.
Last but not least, I wanted to talk about devolution. This Government has failed to bring an Act of Parliament, a Bill into this Parliament for 10 years since the 2013 Constitution was adopted. It is not serious about devolution. I thank you Mr. Speaker.
HON. NDUNA: Thank you Mr. Speaker. I move that the debate do now adjourn.
HON. L. SIBANDA: I second.
Motion put and agreed to.
Debate to resume: Wednesday, 29th March, 2023.
On the motion of HON. NDUNA, seconded by HON. L. SIBANDA, the House adjourned at Nine Minutes to Four o’clock p.m.
PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE
Tuesday, 21st March, 2023
The National Assembly met at a Quarter-past Two o'clock p.m.
(THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER in the Chair)
HON. MUTSEYAMI: Thank you Madam Speaker. I have a question of national importance to the Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development, Hon. Mhona. We have a serious problem with regard to a national road which links Mozambique, Zimbabwe via Mutare. This national road has a high flow of traffic, especially heavy trucks. It is a busy road and these trucks link Zimbabwe, Zambia, DRC and in other cases, they link Botswana.
The problem we have Madam Speaker is that it was put to the attention of the Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development some time in 1995. It is the Herbert Chitepo Road; part of the road links Mutare and part of the Green Market. There is a bridge there and that bridge links the flyover and the bridge at Green Market. The Hon. Minister knows this story because it is on the record of the Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development. There was a plan which was done at national level for that bridge to be expanded and to expand as well the flyover - but up to now nothing has been done and all of a sudden, it is becoming more of a national crisis because it is affecting the countries that I have mentioned in terms of movement of transport and in terms of time management.
I think it is important for the Hon. Minister to address this matter and probably put a response to the attention of the country as well as to the people who are affected. Madam Speaker, I put it to you so that this communication can be done to the attention of the Hon. Minister to give us a statement so that we do a follow up. Thank you, Madam Speaker.
THE HON. DPEUTY SPEAKER: Thank you Hon. Mutseyami. It has been noted. We will convey the message to the Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development.
(v)*HON. S. MAHLANGU: My question of national interest is that Government promised the people that it would decentralise its Central Registry offices. Unfortunately, there is an office which has since been moved from serving the people of Bulawayo. Now because of that, people in peri-urban areas are having a problem in accessing national IDs and birth certificates. We therefore request relevant Ministers to liaise and iron out this problem. We would like to request Hon. Soda to attend to the matter of electricity connectivity. I thank you Madam President.
*THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: I thank you Hon. Mahlangu. I request you to bring that as a motion to this House so that it can be debated and the Minister will reply after the debate.
HON. NDUNA: Thank you Madam Speaker. I stand on this pedestal and platform on a point of national interest. I applaud first and foremost, the Second Republic for the coming on stream of Hwange 7, the 300 megawatts and am hopeful that Hwange 8 is going to complement and augment the same. I complement and also applaud the Second Republic on the same. Having said that Madam Speaker, there has not been advanced, through the Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development, a clear policy in so far as it relates to the rehabilitation, reconstruction, maintenance and rejuvenation of our national roads, in particular those that cut off from the trunk roads into the mining areas; aware that there are a plethora of mines dotted around the country who are not giving back or reconstructing the roads from where they are extracting a ubiquitous amount of mineral wealth. I will give an example of Kwekwe-Nkayi where there is Queens Mine, Tech Mine and a number of mines on that road, but they are not giving back to the community according to Section 13 (4) of the Constitution in so far as rehabilitation of our road infrastructure is concerned. They go in, they plunder, they make our road dilapidated, deplorable and disused without mending them Madam Speaker and there is the 52km Chegutu-Mubaira Road. It is also in the same state but there are a number of mines dotted around that area.
I therefore, Madam Speaker, call upon the Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development to come and give a policy position in so far as it relates to the issue of PPPs where there is no Government capital outlay but where there is robust, resilient, effective and efficient rehabilitation of our road infrastructure so that our people out there can enjoy the fruits of Section 13 (4) that speaks of the resources that are extracted in those areas should be made to actually improve not only the roads but the areas in those communities. I thank you.
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: I advise you to put that in writing and ask as a question on questions with notice so that the Minister will do a research and come to the House with the answers concerning your issues. Thank you.
HON. BITI: Madam Speaker I thank you for allow me to rise on a point of national interest. Madam Speaker I am concerned about the issue of illicit financial flows in Zimbabwe. We are losing over US$2 billion annually in illicit financial flows. What we are losing in terms of illicit financial flows is actually more than what we are getting in terms of diaspora remittances US$1 billion, what we are getting in terms of foreign aid or overseas development assistance and what we are getting in terms of foreign investment which is around $200 million. The major culprits are the mining houses - organisations such as the ZimPlats of this world, the Unkies of this world who are guilty of transfer pricing, thin capitalization, under invoicing and over invoicing.
The mining sector is bleeding. It is accounting for $6/$7 billion a year, yet billions are getting out of our country. We have got 65 minerals but they are not benefiting our country. Most of the mining model in Zimbabwe is extractive. You come in, you loot and you get out leaving total destruction, unemployment and so forth. Look at the status of Mhangura in Mashonaland West Province, it is a ghost town. Go to Renco in Masvingo, the road there looks like a road that was built in 1492 but they have been getting gold from our country. So I urge that the Minister of Finance and Minister of Industry and Commerce should come up with legislation that deals with illicit financial flows from this country. We are losing a billion USD from tobacco smuggling, a billion USD from gold smuggling on its own and we are now losing possibly $2 billion on lithium alone. Lithium yavakungo pwititika muZimbabwe. As I am talking to you right now, the price of lithium is US$80 000 a tonne. That is the new black gold and we have nothing to show for it. Our people are suffering; 79% of our people are living in extreme poverty, 95% are unemployed, yet on paper we are a very rich country. So I urge that the authorities come up with legislation on illicit financial flow and push the UN to come up with an international convention that deals with illicit financial flows. I thank you.
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Thank you Hon. Biti. I advise you to come up with a motion regarding those issues. They are very valid but you need to come up with a motion that will be debated in this House. I thank you.
The Hon. Deputy Speaker having been advised by the Clerks- at the-Table.
Hon. Biti, there is already a motion regarding those issues on our Order Paper. You could propose for some amendments on that motion so that it will cover all what you have said. Thank you.
HON. I. NYONI: Thank you Madam Speaker for giving me this opportunity to highlight this very important point of national interest. It is Government policy that senior citizens of our country - those who are 65 years and above receive free medical attention at our major hospitals such as Parirenyatwa, UBH and others. In reality, this is not happening. It is actually a theory on paper. When they get there, they do not pay consultation fees. When they get attention from a doctor, there will be instances where they are required to undergo scans and X-rays. The equipment in most instances is not functioning and they are referred to private players to get the scans and X-rays. The issue here is that the payment is done by themselves. Why is it not that the Government goes ahead and pay those private players since the equipment at the public hospitals are not working?
Recently we had a case where a 90-year-old lady needed an eye operation because the eyes were not seeing properly. She was asked to pay US$100 per eye. Only US$100 was realized, the operation was only done on one eye and this was done at a Government hospital. Then the issue of free treatment of senior citizens does not appear to be in reality. My prayer is for the Minister of Health to bring clarity on whether this thing is a reality. If not, if it can be brought into effect. I thank you.
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Thank you Hon. Nyoni. I advise you to ask the Minister of Health on Wednesday so that he will respond to your issues.
*HON. TOBAIWA: I rise on a point of national interest, directed to the Minister of Mines and Mining Development as to what measures he has put in place to ensure that there is an eradication of mining activities taking place less than 500 metres from built up areas. I say so because of the accident that occurred at Globe and Phoenix Mine where the school collapsed as a result of illegal mining activities, precisely there was blasting that took place close to the school that led to injury of 18 pupils. The Hon. Minister may attend to this issue in liaison with the Minister of Local Government. I thank you.
*THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Thank you Hon. Tobaiwa. I urge you to ask that question on Wednesday next week.
HON. MARKHAM: On a point of order. I just like to highlight that all these questions have been asked not answered, I understand the Chief Whip and everyone - I would like to point out that I asked in August, 2022 the Minister of Homes about IDs in my area and the nation at heart. On Monday, they appeared in my area without notifying anyone. As a result, we got only three people registering for IDs and since then they packed. I would like to know what the Hon. Minister is going to do. We are now eight months since August and nothing has happened. We are still waiting for that statement.
I move on to the second Ministry, which is the Ministry of Agriculture. Five months ago, when winter wheat came in, I asked him for a statement which you, yourself instructed that he must give us a statement on payment to wheat farmers. To date, we still have not got that and wheat farmers, not all of them have been paid yet.
I also brought up a very important issue where State funds are being looted by TIMB through a programme called ‘re-entry’. The Minister was supposed to give us a statement. The marketing system is now one week into progress with 11 million killers and re-entry is still operating and no-one has done anything. I asked - how are Ministers held accountable when they get some fantastic results in the newspaper yet they cannot answer simple questions in Parliament? I thank you.
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Thank you Hon. Markham, I advise you to ask the Minister of Home Affairs next week on Wednesday.
HON. MARKHAM: Sorry Madam Speaker. You have already ruled that he should bring a statement. He cannot wait eight months to bring us a statement.
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Thank you. I will remind him to bring the statement.
On the motion of HON. TOGAREPI seconded by HON. MUTSEYAMI, the House adjourned at Twenty-Four Minutes to Three o’clock p.m. until Tuesday, 28th March, 2023.
PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE
Tuesday, 21st March, 2023
The Senate met at Half-past Two o’ clock p.m.
(THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE in the Chair)
On the motion of HON. SEN. MUZENDA, seconded by HON. SEN. TONGOGARA, the Senate adjourned at Twenty-Five Minutes to Three o’clock p.m. until Tuesday, 28th March, 2023.
PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE
Thursday, 9th March, 2023
The National Assembly met at a Quarter-past Two o’clock p.m.
(THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER in the Chair)
HON. MAKARI: Thank you Hon. Speaker. Allow me to read a statement by the Zimbabwe Women Parliamentary Caucus in light of the International Women’s Day Commemorations.
The Zimbabwe Women’s Parliamentary Caucus joins the global community to commemorate the International Women’s Day, whereby we celebrate the work being done by women globally to serve humanity. As a country, we are proud to be making great strides towards achieving gender balance as stipulated in Section 17 of the Constitution. Section 741 of the National Development Plan 1 (NDS 1) 2021 to 2025 provides for gender mainstreaming in the development process. In addition, the National Gender Policy Article 5.8 on policy strategies provides that Zimbabwe is committed to taking measures to promote the equal access to ICTs and digital technology. Therefore, women’s and girls’ equal access and meaningful participation in the ICT ecosystem is integral to the realisation of inclusive information society and women empowerment by 2030.
It is a fact that while the world is increasingly digitalized, many women and girls continue to lag behind in terms of accessing digital networks and related opportunities as compared to men and boys. Access to ICTs and affordability remains a major challenge for women in developing countries, including Zimbabwe, and this has created what is known as ‘digital gender divide’. It is estimated that 62% of men are using internet compared to 57% of women at global level with only 19% of the women being in least developed countries. This explains why digital technology is of special focus during our 2023 commemorations.
As you may all be aware, the theme is of special focus during our 2023 commemorations. As you may all be aware, the theme for 2023 International Women’s Day is titled “DigitALL: Innovation and Technology for Gender Equality”. This theme is aptly put in line with the theme for this year’s 67th Session of the Commission of the status of women, which is, “Innovation and Technological Change, and Education in the Digital Age for Achieving Gender Equality and the Empowerment of all Women and Girls”. Access to digital technologies and skills for women and girls has always been a challenge and this could be mainly attributed to lack of physical access, affordability, lack of education and skills and social norms, for example, preventing women and girls to have access to mobile phones or the internet, among others.
Therefore, as the ZWPC, we have been pushing for gender sensitive budgets in Parliament, particularly targeting rural electrification as measures to reduce women’s burden on energy and calling the Government to engage in public-private partnership and develop the ICT sector in order to enhance access to ICT to all. One of the key findings of the Portfolio Committee on Women Affairs and SMEs Development outreach in 2022 was the need for improved access and use of ICTs and digital space to conduct marketing of women products. On this note, the ZWPC is proud to have capacitated its members on basic ICT literacy skills as ways to equip and empower them to undertake research on their own, use e-health technology, use the social media to market their work, among others.
The Caucus applauds the Government for investing and promoting the use of ICTs and solar powered clinics and hospitals in the country. This has contributed significantly to the decrease in infant mortality rates due to the increased use of innovations and technology in the country, particularly the solarisation of rural clinics. Through the Sustainable Energy for Heath Development Fund, the Government has completed the installation of a high-power solar system at many clinics, improving the quality of service delivery for mothers and other community members at large. This is one of the many innovations and use of technology in Zimbabwe where we have witnessed an improvement in the lives of women and girls.
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon. Member, your speech is supposed to be less than two minutes.
HON. MAKARI: Thank you Hon. Speaker, I am almost through.
As women legislators, we shall continue to ride on the available legislation, while at the same time push for legislative reforms to support women empowerment agenda. As we all know, that the journey of a thousand miles began with one simple step. We are so convinced that barriers that deter us as women along the life’s journey are weakening and soon we shall break through. Lastly, I would like to say Happy Women’s Day to all women in Zimbabwe, we continue to rally behind you all as we push for the enactment and implementation of women sensitive laws.
*HON. TEKESHE: Thank you Hon. Speaker, I rise on a point of national interest on the compensation being given to accident victims. Three months ago, someone was involved in an accident when he was travelling in a Tenda bus. His hand was seriously injured, to the extent that he can no longer use it. He came to me and said he was given 38 000 RTGS as compensation. Imagine 38 000 RTGS which is equal to 38US or somewhere there. He used his money to treat the injuries and Hon. Speaker, this is a mockery honestly.
Some 10 years ago, my Zimbabwean friend was involved in an accident in South Africa and he died and his wife was given 600 000 Rands as compensation. Despite the fact that my friend was a foreigner in that country, he was compensated to the tune of 600 000 Rands and it was almost equivalent to US$60000 during that time. I also appeal that something must be done when one is involved in an accident, you will not be able to work due to that accident. Imagine in Zimbabwe such a person was given 38 000 Zimdollar, 43 years after independence, we cannot even take care of our own people. I think it is now a long time since we got independence that we are able to see how best we can compensate a person after such a fatal accident.
*THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Thank you Hon. Tekeshe. That is why you are here in Parliament. I urge you to ask the responsible Minister that question – [HON. TEKESHE: I always ask that question but nothing comes to fruition.] -
HON. WATSON: Thank you Madam Speaker for this opportunity. My point of national interest relates to cases of suicide of students who claim to have been bullied at school. I would like to implore the Minister of Primary and Secondary Education to bring a statement about what they intend to do to try and resolve the issues of bullying in Government schools, particularly senior schools.
In Bulawayo, it is very prevalent and it has now caused great tragedy in our community. I think that these are major schools that the Minister should come and tell us what they are planning. Thank you.
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Thank you Hon. Watson, the Parliament Administration will convey the message to the responsible Minister so that he will bring a Ministerial Statement regarding that issue.
*(v) HON. MAGO: Thank you Madam Speaker Ma’am. My point of national interest concerns roads. I used Masvingo-Bulawayo Road just last week. From Zvishavane, I saw four cattle and one vehicle, all have been involved in accidents and the cattle were dead. The reason is because trees are too close to the road. I do not know if it is not possible for the Minister of Transport to do something so that those trees are cut. I thank you.
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Thank you Hon. Mago. I also urge you to ask a question to the Minister of Transport concerning that issue.
(v)*HON. MAFUTA: Thank you Madam Speaker. Mine is a question of national interest to the Minister of Education concerning cancer patients. We realise that we have a challenge with regards to cancer patients. I hereby refer to the Ministry to assist by reducing the charges, especially for chemotherapy drugs so that it becomes affordable to everyone. I also request for ambulances to be availed, especially to remote areas. Some of the patients are supposed to go to Sally Mugabe for treatment and would not have transport as well as money to take them there.
*THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Thank you Hon. Mafuta. Did you want to say Minister of Education or Health?
(v)HON. MAFUTA: Minister of Health.
*THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Thank you Hon. Member for that very important point of national interest. I urge you to put your question to the responsible Minister with regards to any remedies to cancer problems. I thank you.
HON. NDUNA: Thank you Madam Speaker Ma’am. My point of national interest borders around the provision of health. It is enshrined in the Constitution, Right to Health, Section 76. If it pleases you Madam Speaker Ma’am, to ask the Minister of Energy to expeditiously isolate the hospitals and all health care institutions so that in times of load shedding or deficiency in power provision, they are not load-shedded. They continue unimpeded to receive power because we have more than five people dying every day due to road carnage; 43 getting injured and all these people need to find attention using MRIs and X-rays and all these use copious amounts of power.
Therefore, it is my fervent view that going forward, there should be a deliberate programme to provide equipment and all the necessary materials to isolate the health care institutions so that in times of load shedding they are isolated and kept alive all the time in order to avert, avoid and completely annihilate the scourge of death which can otherwise be avoided, was the robust, resilient, effective and efficient health care delivery system because of power provision. I thank you.
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Thank you Hon. Nduna. You have raised a very valid point on a matter of national interest but I urge you to bring it as a motion in the House so that it can be debated.
ELECTORAL AMENDMENT BILL [H. B. 11, 2022]
First Order read: Adjourned debate on motion on the Second Reading of the Electoral Amendment Bill [H. B. 11, 2022].
Question again proposed.
HON. NDUNA: I move that the debate do now adjourn.
Motion put and agreed to.
Debate to resume: Tuesday, 21st March, 2023.
BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
HON. NDUNA: I move that all Orders of the Day be stood over until Order of the Day, Number 17 on today’s Order Paper has been disposed of.
HON. TEKESHE: I second.
Motion put and agreed to.
REPORT OF THE PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE ON BUDGET, FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT ON VISITS TO FLAGSHIP INFRASTRUCTURE PROJECTS
HON. DR. NYASHANU: I move the motion standing in my name that this House considers and adopts the Report of the Portfolio Committee on Budget, Finance and Economic Development on visits to Flagship Infrastructure Projects.
HON. MADZIMURE: I second.
HON. DR. NYASHANU: 1. INTRODUCTION
In accordance with the National Development Strategy 1 and as part of the COVID-19 post recovery measures, the Government established the 2021 Zimbabwe Infrastructure Investment Programme, which targets construction and upgrading of essential projects aimed at facilitating delivery of public utilities. These include, among others, electricity supply, water and sanitation provision, transportation, and ICT broadband services. The goal is to address and overcome some of the challenges posed by the current infrastructure gap, which is stifling growth and economic development. In this regard, the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Budget Finance and Economic Development conducted field visits to selected infrastructure projects across the country from 3-7 July, 2022.
- To assess the progress made in infrastructural developments vis-a-vis the targets set out in the 2021 Zimbabwe infrastructure Investment Programme;
- To assess value for money on the ongoing infrastructure projects, particularly in addressing the needs of the local people through subcontracting, procurement and employment.
As part of the enquiry, the Committee visited the following infrastructure projects; Beitbridge Modernisation Project, Bulawayo Water Works, Gwayi-Shangani Dam and Hwange 7 and 8 Thermal Expansion Project from 3rd to7th July, 2022. The Committee had meetings with the site engineers and contractors as well as toured the infrastructure projects.
Beitbridge Modernisation Project
The Committee was informed that ZimBorders Consortium, in collaboration with the Government, committed US$300 million to the whole modernization and improvement initiative, which is scheduled to be completed by April 2023. The programme is being carried out on the basis of a 17-year Build-Operate-Transfer (BOT) concession between the ZimBorders Consortium and the Government of Zimbabwe. Under the Concession, the Government is providing land and technical support while the consortium is providing funding and civil works. To date, more than 1600 Zimbabweans have been employed by the project. The Committee was further informed that the project was structured to have three terminals to separate traffic namely; Phase 1, Phase 2 and Phase 3 as explained below.
4.1.1 Phase 1 (Freight Terminal)
This phase consists of freight terminal, roadways, and ICT facility upgrades and was completed in October 2021. Some of the latest developments at this terminal were introduction of electronic ceiling of cargo, whereby any diversion of the truck from the route would be tracked. The contractors were also aiming at changing the current scanners and introduce drive through scanners by early 2023. This was meant to reduce truck waiting time from 12 hours to three hours. It was also reported that they were handling an average of 800 trucks per day, while during good days they would handle about 1200 commercial trucks daily. It was indicated that this number could be surpassed if ZIMRA continues on upgrading efficiency issues through automation.
4.1.2 Phase 2 (Bus Terminal)
The Committee was informed that this terminal was mainly for buses and was completed in June 2022. All construction works and ICT improvements had been completed. The Committee was also shown rooms for nursing mothers as well as changing rooms. The picture below shows part of the phase 2 terminal.
4.1.3 Phase 3 (Light Vehicles and Pedestrians)
This terminal is mainly for light vehicles and pedestrians. The Committee was informed that it was 60% near completion and was expected to be finished by October 2022. The Committee was also notified that there was a port of health which caters for those in need of medical services. The picture below shows the phase 3 of the project.
4.2 Gwayi-Shangani Project.
The Committee was informed by ZINWA officials that the construction of the Gwayi-Shangani Dam is the first phase of the National Matabeleland and Zambezi Water Project (NMZWP). The primary purpose is to supply portable water to the City of Bulawayo and primary water for surrounding communities of Hwange and Binga Districts. The dam would also have capacity to command up to 10 000 ha of irrigation as well as fish farming upon completion. The second phase of the NMZWP is the construction of a 251 km pipeline to convey water from Gwayi-Shangani Dam to Bulawayo. The third and final stage will be the construction of a 122km pipeline from the Zambezi River to link Gwayi-Shangani Pipeline.
4.2.1 Phase 1 Construction of the Gwayi-Shangani Dam
The Committee learnt that the contractor responsible for this project is China International Water and Electric Corporation Pvt. Ltd, which was initially awarded the contract in 2003 by the National Matabeleland Zambezi Water Trust. The Government took over from the National Matabeleland Zambezi Water Trust in 2012, and the contractor resumed work in 2017. However, there were some delays in 2019 and 2020 due to insufficient cash flow as well as the impact of COVID-19.
The current contract was signed in 2012, and the contract price for this project was USD $121 732 922.60. In the 2022 National Budget, ZWL $3 600 000 000 was allocated to the project. By the time of the visit, ZWL$ 2 527 022 000 had been disbursed and the project was at 67 percent completion. There were also costs identified by the evaluation team as a result of settlements falling under the dam's servitude that needed to be relocated. These include 27 villages (734 households), Lubimbi business centre (5 Properties), and 8 Institutional Centres (3 community schemes and 5 churches) that require a total compensation of US $2 043 665. The image below depicts the project as of 5 July 2022.
In terms of challenges, the Committee was informed that the project has witnessed losses in the value of certified works due to changes in cost (dropping of US dollars) and local currency (ZW$) parity positions. Contract pricing in ZW has had a knock-on effect on the project, as ZWL were being eroded by inflation. However, in order to provide fair compensation and to lock in the value of completed work, it was suggested that all Interim Payment Certificates (IPC) be processed in US dollars, with amounts converted to local currency on the day of payment at agreed terms with the contractor and Government.
Furthermore, the Committee was informed that fund disbursements from the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development were lagging and that the project had not received any cement consignment from June 6 to June 30, 2022. In addition, ZIMRA garnished China International Water and Electrical Corporation accounts on June 132022 for the fourth time in the same year, citing tax compliance issues and demanding VAT payment soon after submitting an Interim Payment Certificate to an employer. The contractors also stated that if a permanent solution was not found, garnishing of accounts that had not been resolved since the beginning of the year would continue to impede progress on site. Furthermore, contract workers from the contractor's camp were forced to stop working on June 15, 2022, due to unpaid wages. The workers resumed on June 23 when they began receiving salaries, and this has slowed progress on site and prevented the set target of four meters of construction per month from being met.
4.2.2 Phase 2 (Construction of a 251 km pipeline to convey water from Gwayi-Shangani Dam to Bulawayo)
ZINWA officials informed the Committee that the second phase was the construction of a 251 km pipeline to convey water from Gwayi-Shangani Dam to Bulawayo. The project is 100 percent funded by the Government and has contracted 12 companies which consist of 11 locals and one foreign company to provide fiber glass pipes. The project has not been able to meet its timelines due to resource constraint, particularly the construction of the dam and the pipeline.
The Committee was further informed that the pipes being used at this project were 1.2m in diameter and made of fiber glass, which is expected to be durable material. The pipeline will have six pump stations along its route, each with a reservoir for irrigation purposes in communities such as Lupane, Tholotsho, and Umguza. In addition, the Committee was informed that the pipes would transport water to Cowdry Park treatment plant. This plant will treat 220 mega litres of water, which will exceed Bulawayo's current demand of 155 mega litres. The water from the treatment plan would be sent to the Magwegwe reservoir and the project would be expanded to the southern side Criterion because Magwegwe only supplies 35% of the city's needs. The picture below shows part of the project.
4.3 Hwange Unit 7 and 8 Expansion Power Project
4.3.1 Overview of Current Running Plant – Hwange 1-6
The plant was built in the early 1980s and has therefore outlived its lifespan. The major challenges of operating the aging plant were forced outages and low loads, which were brought on by boiler tube leaks, ID fan failures, the need to generate 450MW for winter, condenser tube leaks, insufficient vacuum, HP heater failures and air heater leaks. At the time of the visit, only four units were running with the other unit on fire recovery stage and expected to be operational soon. The Committee was informed that the planned intervention is life extension for all the units.
4.3.2 Hwange 7 and 8 Expansion
The Zimbabwe Power Company Officials informed the Committee that Hwange Unit 7 and 8 Expansion Project was being financed through a loan facility from the China Exim Bank. Hwange Electricity Supply Company (HESCO) is a vehicle that was used to borrow money from the Chinese Bank. The board of the company consists of nine members of which, six are from ZPC, and three are from Sino hydro. Thus, in terms of shareholding structure, ZPC has 64% and Sino hydro 36%. Sino Hydro of China is the implementing consultant, with Hatch, a Canadian firm consultant, helping with technical expertise and the Zimbabwe Power Company team in charge of quality control. The loan will be repaid over a period of 20 years from the time power generation begins whereby Sino Hydro will operate it for the first six years. The overall project budget is US$1,174 billion, China Exim bank will contribute 85 percent of the costs and Sino Hydro15%. At the time of the visit, completion rate was at 89.7% whereby Unit 7 is expected to have been completed by November 2022 and Unit 8 by February 2023.The picture below shows part of the work.
The Committee was informed that 600MW of power were expected from the Hwange 7 and 8 which would be a significant milestone for Zimbabwe in terms of meeting the power need of the country. The phase's components included Hwange B, Sherwood B in Kwekwe, and Insukamini and Marvel Substations, with a total of 349km constructed by the time of the visit. The local market has benefited from around $117million through water supply and coal supply, among others.
In terms of staff complement, there were 1302 Chinese and 3586 Zimbabweans mainly from the local communities. This arrangement would facilitate skills transfer. The Committee was informed that the company had donated 500 chairs and 500 desks to Neshaya Secondary School, as well as COVID-19 PPE and USD$30,000 to COVID-19 isolation facilities as part of its corporate social responsibility.
The Committee was informed that some of the challenges being faced by the project implementation included but not limited to the following;
- The relocation of 427 ZPC lower-level employees, who currently reside in previously built Ingagula residence due to environmental concerns such as too much dust. This would cost US$87 million, all of which must come from ZPC internal funds.
- ZPC would need funds for additional internal expansion-induced projects that are not included in the project budget in order to pay for maintenance on Sino Hydro, loan payments, and coal payments in the first three years following completion.
- Unresolved Payment Certificates (invoices) amounting to US$265m in unpaid invoices for completed work is holding up progress, and China Exim Bank is adding interest due to the delay. Hwange 7 was scheduled to be completed in September 2022, and Hwange 8 in March 2023, but these dates might be in jeopardy due to funding delays.
- ZESA rates and tariffs were not cost reflective, which impacted equipment maintenance and sustainability.
- Committee Observations
- Pricing of contracts in ZWL had a ripple effect on projects as the ZWL was being eroded by inflation.
- Late disbursements of funds from Ministry of Finance and Economic Development at the Gwai-Shangani project was the major cause for failure to meet targets.
- Concentrating on the Gwayi-Shangani Dam project without prioritising the pipeline would mean that the primary purpose of the dam would not be achieved.
- Garnishing of China International Water and Electrical Corporation accounts by ZIMRA since the beginning of the year would continue to hamper progress on site if a permanent solution is not found.
- The extension of the Bulawayo Pipeline to Criterion was necessary as it would solve water issues affecting the whole of Bulawayo.
- The local engineers were on the lead at all the projects visited, which is a good initiative.
- Unresolved Payment Certificates (invoices) for finished work by the China Exim Bank is holding up progress at Hwange Thermal Power Station.
- Completion of the Hwange 7 and 8 Thermal Power Station is vital as it would go a long way in solving power challenges in Zimbabwe as well as enabling the country to export excess electricity.
- The Beit-bridge Modernisation Project had met their targets of completion in all the phases.
- Committee Recommendations
- The Ministry of Finance and Economic Development;
- To process all IPCs in United States Dollars and the amounts could be converted to local currency on the day of payment at agreed terms with the contractor and client by April 2023.
- To disburse money on time, especially, for the Gwayi-Shangani Project to avoid stalling progress.
- To immediately prioritise the Bulawayo Pipeline in terms of disbursement of funds and paying of contractors as it is the primary purpose of the Gwayi-Shangani Dam.
- To consider the plan by the Bulawayo City Council to extend the Pipeline to Criterion as it covers the greater part of Bulawayo by April 2023.
- To liaise with the China Exim Bank to resolve Payment Certificates (invoices) for finished work at Hwange Thermal Power Station by April 2023.
- The Zimbabwe Revenue Authority
- Not to demand VAT payment soon after submission of an IPC to an employer but rather charge on paid invoices by April 2023.
- The Ministry of Finance and Economic Development;
The Committee appreciates the commitment by the Government to construct and/or upgrade all the critical public utility infrastructure in Zimbabwe that have been on the drawing board or that have stalled for a long time. It is worth noting that upon completion, most of these projects would change the narrative for Zimbabwe as it strives to attain Vision 2030, which is to become, ‘a Prosperous and Empowered Upper Middle Income Society by 2030.’ I thank you.
HON. MADZIMURE: Thank you Hon. Speaker, I rise to second the report presented by Hon. Dr. Nyashanu. It is important for us as Parliament to understand that whenever we pass the budget in this House and money is allocated, it is our responsibility to monitor and evaluate how that money is being used. It is unfortunate that we do not have a vibrant caucus group that deals with the issue of monitoring and evaluation. After the implementation, there is need to evaluate the projects to see whether the money is used in a proper way. Sometimes we may be satisfied by the infrastructure but not understanding the resources used for that infrastructure. Sometimes we lose a lot of money when the infrastructure is put in place, operate and then transferred. All the same, it is important for us to look at how durable and suitable are the physical structures that have been built.
Madam Speaker, the Beitbridge project makes a lot of sense considering that Beitbridge is one of the busiest borders that we have in Zimbabwe, it only makes sense that it is upgraded to the standard it is now. It is a reflection of what a person will see in the country when he or she enters our border. What now needs to be done Madam Speaker, is to make sure that we reduce as much as possible, the issue of abusing the border. There is need for the border authorities to ensure that the border is well manned, well controlled and queries should be addressed by the relevant authorities. That is very important Madam Speaker and this must be done as quickly as possible.
Madam Speaker, the various Government institutions that are at the border, that is the Police, Central Intelligent Organisation, Army, Customs and Immigration seem not to be well coordinated and as a result, a lot of people get away with ‘murder’ at the border because no one really knows who should be responsible for what. So, the border authority must be put in place as quickly as possible.
As the infrastructure is being put in place at the border, there is need to ensure that measures are put in place to curb leakages and all loopholes. Madam Speaker, if you look at what we export and what we import, you find that there is a mismatch to the extent that we may think that we are importing less or almost equivalent to what we are exporting. This might not be true because the border still remains porous and that needs to be addressed.
Madam Speaker, on the issue of the supply of water, we have to be a bit serious because when we visited Cowdry Park, we only saw a kilometer where there were pipes. We even went on to ask whether they had been paid for and if there was a contractor who was going to supply the pipes but there seemed to be nothing happening.
However, we were all of the impression that there was serious progress that was going on to have water in Bulawayo soon. Something must be done. The Ministry of Finance must also be sincere. We have around 10 contractors along the pipeline to Gwayi-Shangani but we have not paid any contractor. I do not know if we actually have the proper agreements so that people would start doing work.
The project to the people of Matabeleland is one of their most important one that is why we said we were going to visit flagship projects. The water rationing in Bulawayo right now is very severe. So if that project could be treated with the respect and the agency it deserves, it will make a lot of sense.
On the Gwayi-Shangani; the dam itself, the contractors are doing perfectly well but because they are not being paid, that thing should have been running as we are speaking right now. The Ministry of Finance has to respond to this report and tell this House exactly what is happening. Just imagine the length of that pipeline and with the plans that are there at any interval to have projects emanating from the water that will be flowing from Gwayi-Shangani, it will make a lot of difference. It will improve food security in the area, the livelihoods of the people who are along the pipeline and a lot of skills will be shared along the way. It will actually be a greenbelt and we have to treat that project with the importance that it deserves to make sure that it is the people along the way and also those in Bulawayo themselves as far as water supply is concerned.
If we look at the dam levels right now and you look at those that supply Bulawayo, they are still below 50%, meaning the water crisis will always be there. Therefore, may the Minister improve especially on funding of those projects?
It also brings to light that there are some projects that we cannot do as a country that need IMF, the World Bank and other serious investors to help us. We cannot do such projects using our own finances; otherwise we will then run into the issue of inflation being fueled by the ZWL that we will be using to fund such projects.
On the Hwange 7 and 8; again the same problem, we are not paying the bank that is financing the contractors. If we were doing so, we could be enjoying the benefits of extra 300 mega watts that we would get from Hwange.
Sometimes we do not understand the impact of a project as we go down stream. The moment I spent five hours doing nothing at my factory, it is a serious cost Madam Speaker. It also pushes the cost of the product that I am doing. To some people, it is a simple matter just to switch off electricity. A lot of employees are being laid off because of lack of electricity. You give your clients promises that I will supply your goods on such a date but the moment you finish talking to the customer, electricity is switched off sometimes for more than 12 hours. So, our products become less competitive when you have that electricity outage. You want to work at a pace that you are not used to causing a lot of faults as far as your products are concerned. In some cases where you use chemicals, you will not recover what you would have lost when electricity is switched off.
Therefore, it is important that we look at the funding mechanism of these projects so that we complete them on time save on labour because some contractors, like the Chinese, had to go back a little so that they do not incur the cost of paying labour costs.
Finally, Madam Speaker, I strongly think that we must attract investment as far as these big projects are concerned. We cannot pride ourselves in saying we are using domestic resource but at what cost? The moment we pour that money to that particular project, the hospitals are going without medicine, the schools are going with disgruntled teachers. So we will not be doing anything, we will actually be losing. It is not only Zimbabwe that borrows. Any other country - as long as you borrow to invest in a project that will bring back results; you are doing the right thing. So let us not pride ourselves in doing something that we cannot do because we do not have the capacity to do that. Therefore we have to talk to serious investors. There is cheap money out there that we can also attract, if we say we have got friends, those friends must be able to also match what other friends are doing to their friends as well. I thank you.
HON. NDUNA: Thank you Madam Speaker Ma’am. I just want to add my voice to the report by Hon. Dr. Nyashanu seconded by Hon. Madzimure, on just a few issues on how the issue of payment can impact positively on the issue of infrastructure development.
Madam Speaker, I will first touch on the Beitbridge Border Post. It is the largest in the Sub-Saharan Africa between two countries that is South Africa and Zimbabwe. It handles a lot of cargo both vehicular and human traffic but I want to marry it to the Limpopo River Bridge. It is the time for Zimbabwe to be collecting toll fees for any traffic that uses that Limpopo River Bridge and we get to the tune of more than USD4 million per annum for the usage of that bridge. We are going to be collecting, I think for four or five years, South Africa has been collecting. That money, it is my hope that the Hon. Minister will utilise it to pay for infrastructural development especially at the Beitbridge Border Post. For this reason, now the infrastructure development in the Second Republic at the border post has seen the separation of vehicular and human traffic. If you delay a tanker of fuel, for argument’s sake, at the border with 30 000 litres; when it lands inland, it has a price adjustment of about two cents per litre. So it is prudent to expeditiously clear that vehicle and if you delay a 30 tonne truck of sugar, when it lands inland it escalates by about four cents per kilogramme. This is the impact that delays at the border post have in terms of price adjustment by the suppliers and those retailers. It is important to expeditiously have that traffic move flawlessly to inland Zimbabwe to our capital, Harare and to various other centres without any delays. I applaud the Second Republic for having completed that infrastructure development. Now, there is expeditious movement of traffic, especially at the Beitbridge Border Post.
Madam Speaker Ma’am, the Vehicle Inspection Department (VID) is a cash-cow to the Zimbabwe National Road Administration (ZINARA) and indeed, to the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructural Development. How is it a cash-cow? It is because there are weigh bridges installed in various ports of entry. The state-of-the art machinery that has been installed at the Beitbridge Border Post gives rise to the income that is generated by the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development for the central revenue fund. It is my congratulatory message that the Second Republic has really done us proud by rejuvenating, rehabilitating, reconstructing and expanding the Beitbridge Border Post so that there can be copious amounts of money that are recouped or received by the Minister of Finance and Economic Development who is the gold finger.
Madam Speaker Ma’am, I encourage the VID to be connected to the Central Vehicle Registry (CVR) and to be connected to ZINARA; ZIMRA, Vehicle Theft Squad (VTS) and RMT that licences cross border vehicles and public transport vehicles - to say but the least, to form what is called Zimbabwe Integrated Transport Management System (ZIMTS) that is going to see the vehicles as they are imported being registered using the Customs Clearance Certificates at the border posts and is going to remove any rampant delinquent theft behaviour because all these departments are connected one to another. What happens at VID: ZINARA can see and what happens at RMT, ZINARA can see and vice versa. There is no room for any vehicles to be stolen and only to be discovered after they have entered the border; that can see the usage of that good, robust, resilient infrastructure second to none in a manner that is going to see us recoup our income from what we have utilised.
Madam Speaker Ma’am, I will come now to the R. G. M. International Airport and say I am marrying it to the Victoria Falls Airport. I applaud the Committee for having visited that infrastructure development. I am going to say how it positively impacts on the economic benefit of the country besides the issue of that the Hon. Minister or gold finger should expeditiously disburse payments. Luckily for R. G. M International Airport, it is the Chinese EXIM Bank USD150million financed project. So, that money is there and there is no way that there can be any payment delays.
However, how is that project going to impact on the economic development? There is in the aviation sector the issue of disintegrating or separating the regulatory authority on Civil Aviation Authority and the operator that has been done. A Bill came here and we have separated the two Acts and there is money that can be received through such infrastructure development. How so Madam Speaker Ma’am? We have what is called aero bridges; there are now more than five aero bridges when that R. G. M. International Airport is complete mirroring the one at Victoria Falls Airport. We can use those for advertising and recouping some finances for the country. Also Madam Speaker Ma’am, there is what is called cabotage rights and freedom rights – flights that are crisscrossing the width and breadth both of the nation and the global community.
These cabotage rights speak to an airline that is foreign taking passengers from one airport to another within the domestic sector. For instance, if we had Emirates or Qatar taking passengers from Bulawayo’s, Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo Airport to R. G. M. International Airport because of the expanded nature of our infrastructure; but because of our depressed aviation industry capacity, we can get other foreign airlines to use what is called cabotage rights to use our aviation infrastructure. So the R. G. M. International Airport can now be utilised for the same, the expansion of that airport and indeed that of the Victoria Falls Airport has now seen the country having more than 14 airlines being attracted to Zimbabwe Madam Speaker Ma’am. I can enumerate them - aviation develops and encourages the development of economies. It actually grows economies according to Tony Taylor who is the Chairman of the International Air Transport Association (IATA) at some point. So the issue of payment and indeed infrastructure development at R. G. M. International Airport is really applauded.
During my tenure in the Eighth Parliament as the Chairperson of the Transport and Infrastructural Development Committee, we used to christian the Masvingo-Beitbridge-Harare Highway, ‘the pencil thin highway of death.’ It was bringing in more than two-thirds of our GDP but it was so minute and a lot of accidents were occurring there. It is a marvel and a sign that Zimbabwe’s economic trajectory is on the rise, supported by the Second Republic. I want to applaud the Chairperson and his Committee for touring such infrastructure development. I am encouraging the Minister of Finance and Economic Development to expeditiously disburse any payment, in particular for such infrastructure development, especially this one is 100% indigenous oriented.
I remember in the First Republic when His Excellency was still Vice President. He was approached by the Zimbabwe Builders Association Committee to say, can we just have 40% of involvement in domestic infrastructure development. When he came into power and is now President, he gave them 100% and they did not disappoint. They have done wonders for the nation because our engineers are the ones who built the 2010 football stadia for the world cup in South Africa. So, they all came back en masse and have done us proud.
Madam Speaker Ma’am, the last thing that I would want to add my voice to is the issue of the Gwayi-Shangani pipeline and indeed, the Gwayi-Shangani Dam. I stand head and shoulders with my uncle Madyira, Cde Madzimure in actually calling for the gold finger to see to it in his heart to expeditiously disburse payments especially to the indigenous contractors. I am one of those contractors. I would want to be paid. The indigenous contractors currently have just been paid the 20% of what they have worked for and it is my clarion call that he releases the other 80% so that we can be in tandem and in sync with the other foreign contractor who is the main contractor on the dam which is currently now on 35 or so metres whereas it is supposed to go to about six metres. It can only be right and good for us to move in sync with the construction of the main dam as we also embark on the construction of the Gwayi-Shangani pipeline and we turn that hole 200 and so kilometres into a green belt.
Madam Speaker Maam, I would like to thank you for giving me this opportunity to vociferously, effectively and efficiently speak to and about the issue of this report in the manner that the people of Chegutu West Constituency would have heard me debate, in particular Mr. Green, Mr. Lameck Nyamarango, Patricia Nyamadzawo, Sarah Chikukwa, Merjury Ruzha, Charles Makoni and indeed, all the youths of Chegutu who are going to be first time voters this coming voting season.
HON. WATSON: Thank you Madam Speaker for this opportunity. I will not be very long. I would like to commend the Committee for its tour of these infrastructural development projects which are key and to see that budgetary allocations for these things are being spent as they should. I would also want to commend Hon. Madzimure for his seconding of the motion and comprehensive discussion around the Gwayi-Shangani Dam and also Hon. Nduna.
The Gwayi-Shangani Dam for Bulawayo is a lifeline. One aspect of the report which I think was neither mentioned is the fact that when the water finally arrives in Bulawayo, the original concept was that the council should then build a treatment plant where the pipeline comes in at the back of Bulawayo Cowdry Park. However, the council feels that the water should rather be piped around to the existing treatment plant which has more than its sufficient capacity to treat the water and supply to the residents of Bulawayo. I think that the Ministry should seriously consider that observation by the Committee as a good recommendation to assist the City of Bulawayo.
The other point I would like to mention that I do not think came out about the Gwayi-Shangani Dam is the relocation of the communities that will be affected by the construction of the dam. I would hope also that this will soon be looked at with greater depth and more aspect to those communities so that they get relocated within the framework of human rights and good development. Thank you Hon. Speaker.
HON. BITI: Thank you Madam Speaker Maam. I would like to commend the Budget Committee for the excellent report that they have provided. Let me also thank Hon. Dr. Chief Nyashanu for a brilliant report and his seconder Hon. Madzimure.
The issue of gross capital formation and infrastructure is important in our country. Our infrastructure is dilapidated. The state of our roads, dams and borders leaves a lot to be desired and we require billions of dollars to develop this infrastructure. Madam Speaker Maam, if you read the 2012 Infrastructure Report by the African Development Bank, the country then needed about US$12 billion over five years to attend to the country’s infrastructure. The 2020 now puts that expenditure at US$30 billion. It is so important that we attend to gross capital formation.
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon. Biti, you are not connected.
HON. BITI: Gross capital formation is a function of four things which are: capital, the need for the capital to deal with the issue of gross capital formation. Gross capital formation cannot be financed by the budget. The budget deals with recurrent issues, challenges, social agenda of the country, payment of hospitals, payment of drugs in hospitals, the payment of teachers and so forth. There is very little fiscal leg room when it comes to using the budget to support your public sector investment, which is why the point made by Hon. Madzimure is very important. We need to create alternative revenue measures that will fund our infrastructure.
In this regard, it is so important to resolve the country’s unsustainable debt situation because the debt situation in Zimbabwe is actually a development question. Our country’s sovereign debt according to the authorities is around US$18 billion – if you look at the Debt Report presented by the Minister of Finance in December 2022 when we were discussing the 2023 Budget. It is not about that US$18 billion that we owe. It is about what we are foregoing as a cost of the arrears that we owe. We owe US$2 billion to the World Bank; US$600 million to the African Development Bank; US$5.7 billion to the Paris Club of Lenders but because we do not have a debt solution and I am very happy that we had a high structure debt dialogue last week – we are foregoing cheap developmental money that is sitting at the World Bank, African Development Bank that ought to be funding our infrastructure projects.
Remember Hon. Madam Speaker, that the original name of the World Bank is actually the Bank of Reconstruction and Development. It was started after the Second World War as a way of reconstructing the world after the destruction caused by the World Bank. The World Bank has got over US$100 billion for sub-Saharan Africa’s infrastructure. President Adesina and the African Development Bank have got over US$45 billion just for infrastructure. Zimbabwe is not yet the part because we have got these arrears. I urge the authorities, country and Government to quickly resolve the debt question so that we can open the taps that are sitting at the African Development Bank and the World Bank. Once we resolve our debt crisis, we de-risk Zimbabwe; the debt premiums, the interest rates that are so high in Zimbabwe come down. We are also even able to issue our own infrastructure bonds to support our own infrastructure.
This leads me to the second point which is the financing model that we are using to finance the current infrastructure. We are using our own resources but there is a lot of arbitrage. If you take the Harare-Beitbridge Road, the financing has not been disclosed to this august House. We know there are five or six major players but the Minister of Finance has not presented a report on how that project is being financed. Madam Speaker Maam, I challenge him and with your direction, that the Minister of Finance must be directed to present a statement in this august House on how that project is being financed. Madam. Speaker, it costs around US$1 million to construct a kilometre of dual carriage way in Zimbabwe. That means the 500km stretch of road from Harare to Beitbridge should cost around US$500 million, then you have got finance charges. So, you can get US$600 million to US$700 million to finance it. We are being told Madam Speaker and the Minister of Finance must challenge this. We are being told that it is costing around US$3 million per kilometre where it ought to be costing a million dollars a kilometre. The only difference is that the US$3 million is being paid in RTGS. No wonder why Madam Speaker, when these people get their money they flood it on the black market and the Zimbabwean dollar collapses, which is why September of 2022, the Government tried to deal with hyperinflation in this country by switching off, by refusing to pay the contractors. Madam Speaker, we are paying over the board for the construction.
I am very happy to see the state of the Harare-Beitbridge Road. It has improved a lot. Eighty percent of the road has been constructed but the picture is incomplete unless and until we have been told and the Minister of Finance has disclosed the figures for the construction of that road. We cannot pay $3 million per kilometre when we should be paying a kilometre for that road. In other words, for the construction of and refurbishment of 500km of road between Harare and Beitbridge, we could have constructed an extra thousand kilometres. We could have built three more Harare-Beitbridge roads. We could have sorted out Victoria Falls to Bulawayo which is now a death trap. We could have solved Harare to Bindura, to Mt. Darwin, to Dotito, to Muzarabani which is now a death trap. We could have resolved Harare-Nyamapanda which is also another death trap.
I come to the Beitbridge Border Post Madam Speaker. The Beitbridge Border Post has been a milking cow. First it was BBI. The BBI took a concession of over 20 years. For 20 years, BBI was getting a certain percentage of the income that is due. Now it is Zimbabwe Borders or something, I cannot remember the name. It cost about $300 million to refurbish the Beitbridge Border Post. It costs Botswana, Namibia and those who constructed Kazungula less than $200 million but you cannot compare Kazungula with Beitbridge Border Post.
I agree with the recommendations of the Committee that there must be an audit of these transactions because there is no value for money. More importantly Madam Speaker, who is now controlling that border? Madam Speaker, there is massive smuggling from this country. Gold worth a billion dollars is being smuggled from this country. Tobacco cigarettes worth a billion dollars are being smuggled from this country and Beitbridge is the centre of the illicit financial flows from Zimbabwe. We want to know who is controlling Beitbridge. It is certainly not ZIMRA. It is certainly not Immigration. It is certainly not the Director of Customs. Pane zvigananda zviri kucontroller Beitbridge.
Madam Speaker, we need that Ports Authority that we have been parking for many years. We need a Ports Authority in this country that will control the borders. Madam Speaker, goods worth $12 billion pass through Zimbabwe every year. Our duties are very high and revenue from duties alone should be in excess of $4 billion per year and ZIMRA does not collect any of that.
Beitbridge has been privatised nezvigananda. It has been weaponised nezvigananda because they are smuggling. So, we need the Ports Authority and our intelligent people to be there. We need the police to be there, the CIO and the Army to be there because it is national security issue. Poverty is a national security issue. Beitbridge, Madam Speaker, is haemorrhaging money, US dollars and we need to control all of that.
I come to Hwange 7 and 8. Madam Speaker, I am very happy that Hwange 7 and 8 is there but the original plans were not for a paltry 600 megawatts – 300MW from 7 and 300MW from 8. The original plans were Hwange 7, 1000 megawatts and Hwange 8, 1000 megawatts. You then add the 1000 we will get from Batoka plus the 1000 or so capacity Zimbabwe will then build capacity of 4 thousand megawatts. With four thousand megawatts Madam Speaker, we can build an industrial base that can transform this country into a developed country.
I am saddened that the output of Hwange 7 was curtailed to a mere 300 megawatts and the output of Hwange 8 was curtailed to a mere 300 megawatts. The question Madam Speaker is, can we pay $1 200 billion for 600 megawatts. Like a road, it costs about a thousand dollars or a hundred thousand dollars for a megawatt, so with $1.2 billion, you ought to get at least a thousand megawatts. We have paid twice for the cost of Hwange 7 and 8. Therefore, I support the recommendations in the Committee that we need to audit Hwange 7 and 8.
With Gwayi-Shangani Madam Speaker, that is the life line of the Matabeleland region...
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Hon. Biti!
HON. BITI: Sorry I did not see that you had replaced Madam Speaker. Good afternoon Mr. Speaker Sir.
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Good afternoon Hon. Biti – [AN HON. MEMBER: Inaudible interjection.] –
HON. BITI: No, no. He is a very handsome man. Mr. Speaker, Matabeleland has got a problem. Gwayi-Shangani is the key. Even when we get to a stage where we will draw water from the Zambezi, it will have to pass through Gwayi-Shangani. So, I urge the authorities to fast track the programme. The perennial problem that the contractors are not paid is not good enough. The Ministry of Finance should put money in a sinking fund. They should put money for public sector investment in a sinking fund, do not mingle the same with recurrent expenditure because when you mingle public sector investment funds with recurrent funds, recurrent funds always win because chimotoka. Panouya chimoto, panoda cheque, petrol nemagetsi. They will always win. So, I urge the Minister of Finance – I am saddened that the Deputy Minister Hon. Chiduwa has walked out. I know he is facing a bitter primary in Gutu but I urge him Mr. Speaker Sir, to create a sinking fund for all capital projects. You will fill that fund in January after bonuses. You fill that fund in April after payment of the first quarter QPDs. You fill that fund in august after the second quarter QPD. Without that Mr. Speaker, we will continue struggling.
You will recall Mr. Speaker that it took Zimbabwe 20 years to construct the little bridge at Zindoga. It took Zimbabwe 20 years, Hon. Nduna you know it, to complete the little bridge at Norton because we do not plan. Planning means setting aside resources and putting them in a fund. I urge the Minister of Finance, of the $1 billion we got from the IMF in the form of the SDR, to please take $400 million dollars and put it to infrastructure. With those few words Mr. Speaker, I commend the report of the Budget and Finance Committee and I hope that Hon. Members will support it and adopt its recommendations. I thank you very much Mr. Speaker.
HON. MARKHAM: Good afternoon Mr. Speaker Sir. I do not have much to add but I would like to just point out a couple of points. I would like to thank the Committee and the Chairperson for the report and in particular, the recommendations. I hope the recommendations will not just be parked because there is a lot of money being spent and there are quite a lot of issues.
Mr. Speaker, after the support, I had the benefit of going through Beitbridge and I must commend that it is very sleek and it handles everything very well. However, I am not complaining - but I am just pointing out where we should wake up. When you finish a project, the project is not finished until it is running really well. The flow of people through Beitbridge, especially the cars, they have to go from one end to the other and it would be logical to put everyone in a line and it would also be nice to get the signs up so that people know where they have to go. That is the major thing. I also think it is highly overpriced but that has already been covered and I will not go into that.
Similarly, with Gwayi, and Tokwe-Mukosi; a dam is not complete when you finish the wall. It is no use harnessing the water in a dam at great expense if you do not use it. Since both those dams have been full for a couple of years, we do not use the water so that is time lost. So the pipeline to Bulawayo must be treated as a matter of urgency. Whatever we want to do with water from Tokwe-Mukosi must be done. The people who were moved from there and the people around there have not been given water. They have not been given electricity, gardens or fishing rights. It is pointless having the water sitting there. That is my concern on all these infrastructure programmes. Before we start the next one, let us finish and use what we have built.
Now going on to Hwange, though it has already been covered, my concern is that I am a 100% sure we have spent more money repairing Hwange than if we had built a new power station. We are currently getting to the stage where we are spending more time on down time than operating. It is not Hwange that suffers but the whole country. Unfortunately, at the moment, we have got depressed output from Kariba and that is giving us less than 20% of the needs of the country, which is a major issue. Unfortunately, as we know in the sub-region, power solutions are not done overnight and I do not see anything happening in the next seven years. We have Hwange 7 and 8 but we also have a major steel works being built in Mvuma. I would have 7 and 8 on board for us as they are both for the production of the steel works. That will still exacerbate the stories that we have.
My last point Mr. Speaker Sir, it is nonsensical to use short term money to fund long term projects. You cannot borrow locally to pay for infrastructure. The reason for that is very simple; local borrowing is supposed to carry your cash flow and our cash flows are all short. Education, health, youth, sport et cetera, purely because we are crowding out that funding to do our long term projects. I know we do not have access to finance but there is a reason for not having access to that finance. I am however glad that we have started this debt restructuring and the sooner the better. Unfortunately, there is no silver bullet in debt restructuring. It will take a long time and if we are going to fund our infrastructure, we must be able to meet half-way with those who are coming to us. I thank you.
HON. NDUNA: I move that the debate do now adjourn.
HON. L SIBANDA: I second.
Motion put and agreed to.
Debate to resume: Tuesday, 21st March, 2023.
BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
HON. NDUNA: I move that we revert to Order of the Day Number 20.
HON. L SIBANDA: I second.
Motion put and agreed to.
REPORT OF THE PUBLIC ACCOUNTS COMMITTEE ON NON-COMPLIANCE TO THE SUBMISSION OF FINANCIAL STATEMENTS TO THE AUDITOR-GENERAL
Twentieth Order read: Adjourned debate on Motion on the Report of the Public Accounts Committee on Non-Compliance to the Submission of Financial Statements to the Auditor-General.
Question again proposed.
HON. NDUNA: Mr. Speaker Sir, I stand to wind up the debate and call for the adoption of the report in the absence of any further debate.
Before I do that, I want to thank the mover of the motion, the presenter of the report Hon. Dube and the Members that debated including myself in so far as it relates to encouragement of local authorities to expeditiously and without any impediment, adhere to the Public Finance Management Act in so far as it relates to submission of financial statements for audit. Having said that, I also urge for any future non-submission, the issue should be handled as criminal abuse of office. I now therefore call for the adoption of this report.
Motion that this House takes note of the Report of the Public Accounts Committee on Non-Compliance to the Submission of Financial Statements to the Auditor-General, put and agreed to.
BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
HON. NDUNA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. I move that we go to Order of the Day Number 22.
HON. L. SIBANDA: I second.
REPORT OF THE PUBLIC ACCOUNTS COMMITTEE ON THE ANALYSIS OF THE AUDITOR-GENERAL’S REPORT OF THE HARARE CITY COUNCIL
Twenty-Second Order read: Adjourned debate on Motion on the Report of the Public Accounts Committee on the Analysis of the Auditor-General’s Report of the Harare City Council
Question again proposed.
HON. MAKOPE: Mr. Speaker, I want to commend the Committee on Public Accounts for a job well done and also encourage the Minister of Local Government to make a follow up and a thorough analysis. I believe there are structures, even the councillors who fall under the Committee of Audit, they should also do their job thoroughly and make sure that our accounting systems are in order. I also want to encourage even the Minister to activate the structures within the Ministry to make sure that the situation that obtains, of having some funds which are reported to be missing by the Auditor General’s Report do not occur.
It is so embarrassing Mr. Speaker to learn that such huge amounts of money are reported to have been missing when we have a bad state of infrastructure in our urban pockets, particularly the Harare City Council. If you look at our roads, sewer system and other infrastructure that we have and then we have a report on some missing funds, I think that is so disturbing. I think the councils and the Minister responsible should make sure that they restore the dignity and confidence of taxpayers because they pay and want to make sure that their money is spent accordingly. This is my comment on the issue Mr. Speaker and I thank you.
HON. NGULUVHE: I think we all appreciate that Harare is our capital city and as our capital city, everyone who visits our country sees Zimbabwe through Harare. Therefore, we ought to make sure that Harare is a smart and clean city. I recall in the 1980s when I started visiting Harare, Harare was very smart. Now, it is so disheartening to realise that the situation is getting worse, not because of anything but because of individuals who misappropriate public funds. As we conclude this debate, I encourage that those who are elected to serve the people must put people first, not themselves first because they are abusing people’s money and at the end put the name of the country into disrepute. I encourage that where necessary the law must take its course. Those who are found guilty or misappropriating public funds must be arrested and prosecuted. I thank you.
HON. BUSHU: Mine is not going to be long because I am also part of the Public Accounts Committee. It is interesting that we are now focusing a lot more on the Auditor General’s Report and local authorities’ appropriation accounts and parastatals. This report would not have come out the way it has if it was not the attention that the Public Accounts Committee is now giving to these issues.
I would like to point to one important factor that there is more than $200 million worth of public funds that have not been accounted for. I think that the responsible Ministry has a question to answer. The City of Harare has a question to answer. If this is not accounted for and it is public money, what is it that we are going to do about this? My interest is in the Treasury Minute that is going to come back. We are going to make an analysis of that. What we are saying as Public Accounts is that we are encouraging: i) the ministries to take action, ii) council to take action, and iii) that this Treasury Minute comes back in good time. I think it is only fair that it is demonstrated to all other municipalities and other public arms of public funds management that an issue like this and of this magnitude, US$204 million is not an issue that is very small. It is an issue for serious consideration and therefore Mr. Speaker, I implore this House to adopt this report in its entirety and cause action to be taken. I thank you.
HON. NDUNA: Mr. Speaker, I am going to move for the adoption of the report after thanking the Hon. Members for adding their voices to this report. First, to thank the mover of this report, that is the Chairperson Hon. Brian Dube and I would hasten to say it is now going to be an indictment on this institution called Parliament and indeed, on the Speaker of the National Assembly if there is no action that is taken upon Harare City Council because of this delinquent behaviour.
According to Sections 309 and 310 of the Constitution, the Auditor General becomes an ex-officio Member of Parliament. She is appointed and she is part of the Public Accounts Committee. Her observations, recommendations and indeed her statements in the 2020 and 2021Auditor General’s Report that speak to and about the missing +US$200 million, speaks to the pith, core and heart of criminal abuse of office, and indeed financial haemorrhage, illicit outflows and the delinquent behaviour that has been championed by the management at Harare City Council.
She has proposed that there should be reconstruction of the ERP or the BIQ system at Harare City Council. This has not been done. She has proposed that only reconstruction can and must produce at least a track record of where the US$200 million has gone. If we do not, as the arm that plays oversight on the Executive and by the way Mr. Speaker, we do not seek to govern but to interrogate the manner the Executive carries out its mandate. If we do not now help the Auditor General in finding this money it is a big indictment and dent on Parliament and I make a clarion call that as this report is adopted, there is need to enforce compliance to the Auditor General’s report. There is need to bring the perpetrators of this injustice to book and make sure that there is no repeat of such arrogance, naivety and all such issues that border around criminality. I now move for the adoption of this report on Harare City Council, 2020 Auditor General’s report.
Motion that this House considers and adopts the Report of the Public Accounts Committee on the Analysis of the Auditor General’s 2020 Report of the Harare City Council put and agreed to.
On the motion of HON. NDUNA seconded by HON. MAHLANGU, the House adjourned at Five Minutes to Four O’clock p.m. until Tuesday, 21st March, 2023.
PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE
Wednesday, 8th March, 2023
The National Assembly met at a Quarter-past Two o’clock p.m.
(THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER in the Chair)
ANNOUNCEMENT BY THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER
APOLOGIES RECEIVED FROM MINISTERS
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: I have a list of apologies from Hon. Ministers and Deputy Ministers: Hon. Dr. C.D. G. N. Chiwenga, the Vice President and Minister of Health and Child Care; Hon. O.C.Z. Muchinguri-Kashiri, Minister of Defence and War Veterans Affairs; Hon. Dr. E. Ndlovu, Minister of Primary and Secondary Education; Hon. Prof. M. Ncube, Minister of Finance and Economic Development; Hon. M. Mutsvangwa, Minister of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services; Hon. K. Kazembe, Minister of Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage; Hon. Prof. A. Murwira, Minister of Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development; Hon. D. Garwe, Minister of National Housing and Social Amenities; Hon. Dr. F. M. Shava, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Trade; and Hon. K. Coventry, Minister of Youth, Sport, Arts and Recreation.
ORAL ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS WITHOUT NOTICE
HON. NDUNA: Thank you Madam Speaker. My question is directed to the Minister of Lands, Agricultural, Fisheries, Water, Climate and Rural Resettlement, Hon. Dr. Masuka. What is Government policy in relation to land that is given to the Local Government, local authorities for urban expansion from the Ministry of Agriculture in so far as it concerns housing infrastructure development for the locals in those local authorities?
THE MINISTER OF LANDS, AGRICULTURE, FISHERIES, WATER, CLIMATE AND RURAL RESETTLEMENT (HON. DR. MASUKA): Thank you Madam Speaker, I thank Hon. Nduna for the question which relates to Government policy on transfer of agricultural land to urban land. The policy directive is very clear; we want to reserve as much land as possible for agricultural purposes. So we very reluctantly give land or convert land from agricultural land to urban land. However, in the circumstances that we do so, Government policy is that the land is handed over to the Ministry of Local Government and Public Works where it becomes urban state land. Once it becomes urban state land, the current policy is that the Ministry of Local Government and Public Works transfers that land immediately to the Agricultural Finance Corporation. I thank you.
HON. NDUNA: Thank you Madam Speaker. It does look as if this land, most of it has been abused according to the Auditor-General’s report, in particular one such report is the forensic audit for Gweru City Council that the land has not been used for the intended purpose to alleviate the plight of non-owners of housing infrastructure development. Does the Hon. Minister follow up or carry out an audit to such an occurrence and land which will have been passed down or passed on for urban expansion with a view of making sure there is a reduction of the housing backlog that the country currently has?
HON. DR. MASUKA: Madam Speaker, I thank the Hon. Member for the supplementary question. The question relates specifically to an aspect that is completely under the purview of the colleague Minister of Local Government and Public Works. However, this recent policy directive which falls under the handover of urban land to the Agricultural Finance Cooperation became operational last year. We are aware that there were many cooperatives and other entities that were given land for urban development prior to this. Government is seized with doing the regularisation and audit of the usage of such land and His Excellency the President has formed an inter-ministerial Committee to deal with these matters and a report will be provided in due course. I thank you.
HON. GONESE: Thank you very much Hon. Speaker, my supplementary question to the Hon. Minister is from a policy perspective, what is the rationale for having the Agricultural Finance Corporation to take over that responsibility? My understanding is that the original was premised on the need for expansion of the urban development in terms of housing because of the big backlog. Also perhaps the Hon. Minister would be pleased to favour us with an indication or indicative guide as to when this report will be read. He just said in due course but I think that is too vague. We actually need to have something more specific so that we can have an indication as to when the nation, through this august House, has finished with the position after the audit.
HON. DR. MASUKA: Thank you Madam Speaker, I thank Hon. Gonese for the supplementary question. The question relates to something that relates to urban land. I think at this stage; it will be fair for me to defer to the Leader of Government business who also chairs an aspect of the Committee that has been put in place by the President to furnish you with the additional details of this Committee that is doing the regularisation for some of these settlements.
The rationale behind the directive is to allow the AFC at this stage, to have administration of urban state land that is transferred from the Ministry of Agriculture is twofold. The first is the Land Reform Programme has now settled over 99.99% of people who are on the land that we need to settle. One of the biggest inhibitions to agricultural production and productivity is the lack of appropriately tenured finance. So, the Government’s thinking is that the AFC will be able to partner with land developers and will be able to get resources to enable it to finance agricultural production and productivity.
The second aspect and perhaps futuristic is that may be the aspects of that financing could be used towards contributing to the global compensation deed and the financing mechanism for that. I thank you Hon. Speaker.
Hon. Gonese having asked a follow up question while his microphone was off.
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon. Gonese, can you please ask your question again. The Hon. Minister did not hear what you were saying.
HON. GONESE: The second aspect of the question relates to the timeframe because the Hon. Minister, in his response indicated that an Inter-Ministerial Taskforce had been formed. My supplementary question relates to the timeframe when we expect that report to be produced and that is the aspect on which the Hon. Minister deferred to the Leader of Government Business, who, as I understand is the Chair of that Inter-Ministerial Taskforce. I thank you.
HON. ZIYAMBI: Thank you Madam Speaker Ma’am. I think to a greater extent, my colleague, the Minister of Agriculture has answered the question to indicate the direction that we are taking. As to the actual timeframes, we have so many competing issues to the extent that I want to refrain from giving timeframes that may not be correct in this august House. Suffice to indicate that, that is the direction we are taking and we are very much willing to ensure that we proceed that way. I thank you.
HON. MARKHAM: Thank you Madam Speaker, good afternoon. My question is directed to the Leader of the House. The land outside Harare is being planned by City of Harare and the developers on prime agricultural land. Right now as we speak, there are people who are collecting the proceeds of Harare planning and yet they are paying rates to Goromonzi or Zvimba, for example.
My question to the Minister is: when are they going to do the regularisation of land allocation before it is taken? Hence this is the 22nd time I would like to remind this House of the Justice Uchena report that covers this and it must be released. So my question is; when is the Minister going to be pro-active rather than reactive on land that is being illegally settled? I thank you.
THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): Thank you Madam Speaker Ma’am. The first aspect of his question, he is indicating that there is illegal allocation of land. So, if it is a question of illegality, the relevant authorities must ensure that, that is stopped. Secondly, there is no prime agricultural land that is being used for urbanisation. The procedure is, if we have agricultural land and it is converted to urban land, it ceases to be agricultural land and it is now designated urban land for development.
So once you find a certain farm being developed and it has been converted, it ceases to be deemed to be agricultural land. In other words, if an application is made by the Minister of Local Government to the Minister of Lands to say that we want this farm for urban development, once it is handed over to him, the process is that – my colleague was talking of engaging the Agricultural Finance Corporation so that they administer those stands. I think it is clear that once you have people who are allocating land illegally, the law must take its course to ensure that does not proceed. I thank you.
(v)HON. MUDARIKWA: Thank you Madam Speaker. My question is directed to the Minister of Local Government as the supervising authority of all Rural District Councils (RDCs). Rural District Councils are responsible authorities of all the schools in the communal land. Most of our schools in rural areas are getting zero percent pass rate. What is the policy of the Ministry of Local Government in as far as supervising these schools so that they get a better percentage pass rate because local authorities are the responsible authorities? Thank you.
THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): Thank you Madam Speaker Ma’am. I was struggling to get the actual question but I think I got it where Hon. Mudarikwa wants to find out what local authorities are doing to supervise schools against a background of zero percent pass rate. The responsibility in terms of educational standards still lies with the Ministry of Education, but the responsible authority in owning the schools are the RDCs. So, ownership and supervision to ensure quality education are two separate entities. The responsibility lies with schools inspectors - the Ministry of Education authorizes to ensure that the standard of education is the same across all our schools. I thank you.
(v)HON. MUDARIKWA: The issue here is the responsible authority according to the Education Act, gives authority that the RDCs come and supervise at the schools, like what churches are doing. Church related institutions are supervising. Is the Minister saying there is no policy to supervise the quality of education?
HON. ZIYAMBI: Thank you Madam Speaker Ma’am. The local authority is responsible for the school but they are not responsible for the quality of the education that is being produced. The Ministry of Education has got inspectors, they have got their own hierarchy of ensuring that the standard of education is the same. You cannot expect a councillor to be responsible for supervising the quality of education that will come out of that school. The council is responsible for running. It is actually the owner of the school. Even church related schools, the church authorities do not determine the quality of education. The quality of education is determined by the curriculum and the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education will still supervise all the schools in the country to ensure that the same education is given. I thank you.
HON. P. MASUKU: Thank you Madam Speaker. My question is directed to the Minister of Local Government and Public Works, in his absence, the Leader of Government Business. What is Government policy with regards to giving municipal police arresting powers so that they augment the national police service in dealing with the rampant crime in our country? Thank you.
THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): I want to thank the Hon. Member for such a good question. It is a very important question. The Minister of Local Government and Public Works is working towards ensuring that we realise that. We have realised that there are certain crimes that occur within the municipal area, like vending crimes and some of the traffic crimes. The municipal court should surely be dealing with that. So, we are working at ensuring that we get to that. It is work in progress between my Ministry and the Ministry of Local Government and Public Works. I thank you.
HON. CHINYANGANYA: Thank you Madam Speaker. My supplementary question emanates from the fact that the question that has been raised is contained in the Devolution Bill. Since 2018, we have been asking when the Devolution Bill is going to be presented in Parliament. So, my question to the Hon. Minister is; when should we expect the Local Authorities Bill and the Provincial Councils Bill to be presented before Parliament? Thank you.
HON. ZIYAMBI: Madam Speaker, this is not a new question and we have dealt with the question before. Hon. Chinyanganya is very impatient but like I have always said, this is now work in progress and very urgent. We are about to go to elections and some of the issues in that Bill pertains to provincial councillors and we cannot go for a third election without resolving it. So, we are working towards ensuring that Bill comes before the dissolution of this Parliament. I thank you.
HON. MARKHAM: Could the Minister confirm that he has contacted, spoken and taken the advice of stakeholders in the Devolution Bill which includes Members of Parliament who were elected and councillors who were elected? I do not know anyone who has been contacted or tendered anything to do with the new devolution in the last 18 months. Thank you.
HON. ZIYAMBI: Madam Speaker, the process is not complete. The Bill has not passed all the processes. Members of Parliament and members of the public, once the Parliamentary process starts, their views will be taken into consideration once the Bill is gazetted. So, the Hon. Member must hold his horse, he must wait a little bit and ensure that he organises all the stakeholders so that they can give us input into the Bill.
So, it is a process that is ongoing and there is nothing to hide really in terms of development of this Bill. We want to realise what is in the Constitution in terms of our devolution agenda and any feedback that can enrich that particular Bill is welcome. I thank you.
HON. GONESE: On a point of order Madam Speaker. My point of order relates to the fact that the Hon. Minister has not done justice to the supplementary question. The import of the supplementary question relates to the conception stage of the Bill and not the public consultation stage. What the Hon. Minister has indicated that stakeholders can then have their input in the fullness of time does not answer the question. What the question entails is a scenario where important stakeholders give their input even before the gazetting of the Bill.
We have got councillors, Members of Parliament and so on who are part and parcel of the structures in the current Constitution relating to devolution and I believe that the Hon. Minister should be forthright and indicate to us who are the people who have been consulted in terms of the conceptual stage relating to devolution.
HON. ZIYAMBI: Madam Speaker, my answer related to policy that the relevant stakeholders will be consulted. What Hon. Gonese wants is specific individuals or organisations that have been consulted and I would not be in a position to stand here and tell you Madam Speaker that I am able to say out all that from my head as that is not within my jurisdiction. There are others who do that – drafters, our senior civil servants but for me to stand here and say such and such was consulted is outside the policy framework of questioning that is allowed for this segment of question and answer time. I thank you.
*HON. CHIBAYA: My question is directed to the Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development, Hon. Mhona. Hon. Minister, what steps are being taken by the Government to repair our roads that were damaged by the heavy rains this year as well as the heavy trucks, especially Boterekwa Road for example that goes via Chachacha? You need four hours to get to Mandamabwe. I thank you.
THE MINISTER OF TRANSPORT AND INFRASTRUCTURAL DEVELOPMENT (HON. MHONA): Thank you Madam President. I would like to thank the Hon. Member for that question. If you may allow me Madam President, I was asked by this honourable House to present a full report on the Emergency Road Rehabilitation Programme. If it pleases the Hon. Member, I will include that in the Ministerial Statement that I was asked to present in this august House. I thank you.
*HON. BITI: May the Minister of Transport, Hon. Mhona also include a very dilapidated road, Harare-Nyamapanda Road, there are no more shoulders on that road. It is worn out yet it is used by heavy trucks to Mozambique and Malawi. May the Hon. Minister explain what the plan is with regard to this road? I thank you.
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Thank you, I hope the Hon. Minister heard that.
(v)HON. BRIG. GEN (RTD.) MAYIHLOME: My question is directed to the Hon. Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water, Climate and Rural Resettlement. There were farms that were wrongly gazetted belonging to indigenous farmers. These farms were supposed to be delisted and reallocated back to the original owners but this has taken close to 20 years to be done. What is holding back the reallocation or delisting of these farms.
THE MINISTER OF LANDS, AGRICULTURE, FISHERIES, WATER, CLIMATE AND RURAL RESETTLEMENT (HON. DR. MASUKA): Thank you Madam Speaker and I thank Hon. Mayihlome for the question. In 2020, Government put in place Statutory Instrument 62 which provided a legal basis for consideration for the return of such properties to affected farmers. The Ministry established a Committee to consider applications as per Statutory Instrument 62. We have received quite a number. I am not too sure what the Hon. Member wants us to do. We consider this based on applications that are received from farmers.
However, Madam Speaker, should there be specific names and areas that the Hon. Member has, he can submit those and we can look at those expeditiously in terms of the existing laws. Thank you Madam Speaker.
HON. MARKHAM: Thank you Madam Speaker. Could the Minister enlighten us on the progress with the much vaulted 99-Year Leases? Why is it that not one indigenous farmer has yet been given a 99-Year Lease coupled with the fact that he is not even included in any compensation deal for those 600, by his figures, who were evicted from their farms? Thank you.
HON. DR. MASUKA: Thank you Madam Speaker and I want to thank Hon. Markham for the question. Let me start by correcting the statement; it is not true that indigenous people have not been given 99-Year Leases. Let me put this into context and clarify a few issues. The process of the issuance of the 99-Year Lease originally was that a farmer would get an A2 offer letter, after five years on the property and of development, the farmer would opt to apply for a 99-Year Lease and pay an assessment fee. That assessment fee would enable the Department of Lands to go on to the property and do an assessment.
Madam Speaker, when the Land Commission Act was promulgated, that changed to say that a 99-Year Lease may not be issued by the Minister without reference to the Zimbabwe Land Commission which created a second level of verification. Madam Speaker, that assessment would then leave the Ministry’s Department of Lands and be submitted to the Zimbabwe Land Commission who would also do their own assessment of whether the farmer would get a 99-Year Lease or not. Then they would recommend to the Minister whether an issuance of the 99-Year Lease is appropriate or not.
Madam Speaker, through this cumbersome process, we have issued under 500 99-Year Leases of the 23 000 A2 farmers. Noting this very cumbersome process, Government last year changed the policy on the issuance of 99-Year Leases as follows:
First, the offer letter was merely a piece of paper, we then issued a securitised A2 permit. All new offers for the land are now securitised A2 permits which would allow farmers some security of tenure. All A2 farmers automatically qualify for 99-Year Leases now. No one needs to apply for a 99- Year Lease and this is the policy position of Government. We introduced what we call the production and productivity return form. It is an annual production and productivity form which A1 and A2 farmers should complete and an assessment team assesses the level of production and productivity on the farm and recommends for the automatic issuance of a 99-Year Lease. This process will start this year, 2023 and we have said farmers ought to complete the production and productivity returns by the 31st March, 2023. This enables them to be assessed for such. This is the correct position in relation to 99-Year Leases.
Futuristically, I hope this august House will find it fit to support the suggestions in the amendments to the Land Commission Act which will separate the administrative processes of land from the oversight role on land which will be the responsibility of the Zimbabwe Land Commission. Once that happens, we will be able to issue 99-Year Leases without reference to the Zimbabwe Land Commission because currently, they seem to be both a referee and a player in this regard. We will be able to expedite that if we get support from the august House. Thank you Madam Speaker.
HON. BITI: Madam Speaker Ma’am, the issuance by the Government through the esteemed Minister of Agriculture, Dr. Masuka of upgrading the offer letter into a security, to quote him, a securitised certificate of occupation by A2 farmers, is an acknowledgement of the insecurity associated with the offer letter. I submit Madam Speaker Ma’am that the certificate of occupation A2 which is not backed by a legal instrument, an Act of Parliament has no difference at all with the original letter. Why is it that the Minister and the Government are not complying with Chapter 16 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe which says, among other things, that any farmer and farm owner and any beneficiary of the Land Reform Programme needs security of tenure and needs some form of title which can be hypothecated? I thank you.
HON. DR. MASUKA: I thank Hon. Biti for the supplementary question. The securitised offer letter is already recognisable in terms of the law and in terms of the Finance Act of 2023. So, it is already included in that in order to enhance production and productivity - so that has been recognised already.
However, the Ministry of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, the AG, the Ministry of Finance and our Ministry, are currently seized with the Agrarian Reform laws which will take into consideration many aspects that have been raised by the Hon. Member including improving the tenure aspect and we can have some discussion at some stage on that. I thank you.
HON. NDUNA: The last answer by the Hon. Minister speaks to security of tenure or protection and also the reform of the Agrarian Act. would it please the Minister to put a moratorium for people that are affected by the Mines and Minerals Act who are holding on to the Agrarian Reform Act who are being displaced because of the Mines Act which is archaic and superseding all other Acts.
HON. DR. MASUKA: The Mines and Minerals Amendment Bill is already out for public hearings and will be coming to this august House. This process is ongoing. I hope that the Hon. Member will be able to sufficiently input into this Bill so that his views can be taken on board just like those of many farmers but as long as the legal environment remains what it is, it is the law of the land and that is what we utilise.
The Government, in coming up with this amendment, is of the view that there are many conflicts between miners and farmers which the Mines and Minerals Amendment Bill will be able to address and I look forward to the contributions by the Members in order to ensure that there is rapport and peace in agricultural activities and also mining activities.
HON. H. MGUNI: What efforts has the Government taken to conserve water during this rainy season especially the drier regions of the country?
THE MINISTER OF LANDS, AGRICULTURE, FISHERIES, WATER AND RURAL RESETLEMENT (HON. DR. MASUKA): Madam Speaker, I thank the Hon. Member for the question. I think that conservation of water is not just a Government responsibility; it is everyone’s responsibility starting with the household through to the national level.
What we have done specifically for Matabeleland South is that we have Thuli-Manyange Dam that we are constructing and we hope that we will be able to impound sufficient water to be able to irrigate upwards of 3000 hectares. We are also accelerating, under our newly expanded agricultural engineering mechanisation and soil conservation directorate, construction of earth dams and we are complimenting the efforts of the Rural Infrastructure Development Agency formally DDF. However, it takes everyone to be able to conserve water from using rooftops, to ensure that we build sufficient storage and we are also accelerating the Presidential Rural Development Programme through the drilling of boreholes.
So, all that water is really not lost, it goes to recharge the underground water system and this accelerated borehole system will be able to tap into that. Yes, every drop that goes into our rivers and eventually to the Indian Ocean is some water lost and we are accelerating dam construction including the smaller dams throughout the country. I thank you.
HON. NDUNA: Thank you Madam Speaker Maam. I am alive to some boreholes that have been cited and that have been drilled. Would the Hon. Minister care to share with this House when the capacitation or the activation of those boreholes that had been drilled and sunk be done so that they can be usable? In particular, from where I come from, there is a plethora of them that have been drilled in diverse number of places to augment and compliment the meagre water supply that currently exists.
HON. DR. MASUKA: I thank Hon. Nduna for the supplementary question which relates to equipping the boreholes that had been drilled. I think it is just the context that this is three phased. We have a borehole drilling brigade within ZINWA with 16 drilling rigs having arrived, of the 80 drilling rigs; to enable us to drill a borehole in each of the 35 000 villages in the country in the not too distant future. Those that have been drilled, we need to move quickly to be able to equip them so that the communities can utilise them.
The third thing is that in each of this drilled boreholes, we must construct a one hectare garden for nutrition for the village and for commerce so that we industrialise and develop the rural areas.
Treasury, unfortunately is behind in terms of the disbursements for equipping these boreholes and before moving onto the next stages, I am informed by the Acting Minister of Finance and Economic Development that some money was released yesterday. So I hope that it will go towards the equipping of these boreholes which will be accelerated.
Madam Speaker, may I add that it is the Ministry’s intention to drill five boreholes per constituency before mid year. We hope that you will be able to identify the areas where we can assist you – the driest in your constituencies. Thank you Madam Speaker.
+HON. L. SIBANDA: Thank you Madam Speaker Ma’am. Firstly, I would want to congratulate all women in the country and the world at large as today is Women’s Day; if there were no women in this august House, then there would be no women in this Parliament. It shows the importance of women and women play a pivotal role in this country. Musha mukadzi, umuzi ngumama: kusina amai hakuyendwe! Happy Women’s Day!
My question Madam Speaker Ma’am is directed to the Minister of Health and Child Care. In his absence, I will direct it to the Leader of Government Business. The Minister of Health and Child Care promised the House that he will introduce a Bill that will protect young girls from early child motherhood. I would like to know when the Hon. Minister is going to table the Bill. Thank you.
THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): Thank you Madam Speaker Ma’am. Madam Speaker, the Hon. Member is asking about the Medical Services Amendment Bill. Is that correct? Which Bill?
*HON. L. SIBANDA: The Hon. Minister promised another Bill that will cover young children who are falling pregnant.
HON. ZIYAMBI: I am correct. Madam Speaker, within this Bill, there are provisions that deal with that. What we need to do is, in the Children’s Amendment Bill, the same provisions are there but the penal provisions are different. So, we simply need to synchronize and ensure that there is uniformity - either we drop what is in the Medical Services Bill and leave it in the Children’s Amendment Bill. So your question is covered, the Bills are before Parliament and all we need is to ensure that the Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare and the Ministry of Health and Child Care speak to each other and ensure that the provisions are either in the Children’s Amendment Bill or in the Medical Services Bill. The Minister of Health and Child Care indeed took that into consideration and included it in the Bill. I thank you.
HON. BITI: My supplementary to the esteemed Hon. Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs is that the Child Amendment Bill has not dealt with one area of alignment. We have dealt with proscription of child marriages but the issue of aligning the age of sexual consent to the Constitution; in line with the recent Constitutional Court judgment in Diana Eunice Kawenda versus Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs which now says the age of sexual consent must be 18 years has not been done. Can the esteemed Hon. Minister give us assurances that the age of sexual consent will be increased to 18 years in line with the Constitution so that we can protect our children? Madam Speaker Ma’am, our children are being ravished upon and we need to protect them. I thank you very much.
HON. ZIYAMBI: Thank you Madam Speaker Ma’am. The assurance that I can give is that the Bills are before Parliament and we are going to debate and propose amendments here as a House. So the assurance is, at least the Bills are here and we are going to deal with them at the appropriate time. I thank you. – [HON. BITI: Mune vana vasikana here Hon. Minister? Mune vana vasikana? Mhandara dziri kudyiwa nema sugar daddy kunze uku! Madam Speaker, ayehwa!]-
*THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: That is what you were answered Hon. Biti, you will have opportunity to debate on the Bill when it is tabled so that you protect young girls.
HON. WATSON: Thank you Madam Speaker for the opportunity. My question is addressed to the Minister of Local Government and Public Works. Is it Government policy to not allow urban councils to apply directly to the auction for foreign currency? Thank you.
THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT AND PUBLIC WORKS (HON. CHOMBO): Thank you Hon. Speaker and thank you very much for that very pertinent question Hon. Watson. The local authorities are allowed to apply to the auction floors just like any entity. I thank you.
HON. MARKHAM: Madam Speaker, I tend to disagree with the Hon. Minister. Could the Hon. Minister just rephrase and confirm local authorities might apply but had they been allocated the money because in the case of Harare and Bulawayo, they have not been allocated this year to my knowledge. Thank you.
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon. Markham, I advise you to put your question in writing so that the Hon. Minister can research and bring the answer. – [HON. MARKHAM: Noted thank you.] –
HON. BITI: My supplementary Madam Speaker Ma’am has to be answered with respect by the Deputy Minister of Finance and Economic Development, Hon. Chiduwa. The auction is still being used but even the Reserve Bank itself in its …
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon. Biti, you cannot direct a supplementary question to the Deputy Minister of Finance and Economic Development.
HON. BITI: It arises because we are talking about the auction.
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: No, that is not procedural – [HON. BITI: Perhaps if you can just hear me out Madam Speaker Ma’am?] – You can ask a new question. I will note your name so that I give you the chance to pose a new question. – [HON. BITI: Oh thank you, thank you. God bless you Madam Speaker Ma’am, you are such a star.] - [AN HON. MEMBER: Bvunza Soda, bvunza Soda.] – [Laughter.] -
HON. CHASI: I have been directed by the House to ask the Hon. Minister of Energy. My question is directed to the Hon. Minister of Energy and Power Development – [HON. MEMBERS: Yeeeeeeee!]- Madam Speaker, it is common cause that the power situation in South Africa (SA) is very critical and that ESKOM is basically on its knees. I would like to know from the Hon. Minister how much power we are importing from SA and what mitigatory measures Government is taking to ensure that the vagaries of power in SA do not affect us adversely.
Related to that, I would like to ask another critical question to the Hon. Minister relating to the integrated plant relating to power in the country. There is a plan that has been in the offing for a number of years and I will be very much honoured where we are with regards to the construction of that plant.
THE MINISTER OF ENERGY AND POWER DEVELOPMENT (HON. SODA): I would like to thank the Hon. Member for his question pertaining to the power supply situation that is obtaining in South Africa and whether that is not going to catch up with us given that we are getting our imports from SA as one of the countries that give us power.
We are getting a capacity of around 170 megawatts from SA and the contract still subsists despite the power supply situation that is in SA but we are still able to obtain power supply from SA.
As for the mitigation measures that the Government of Zimbabwe has put in place in the event that SA one day gets to a situation where they will not be able to give us power supply, Madam Speaker Maam, you might be aware that we embarked on the expansion of Hwange Power Station in 2018 with the intention of obtaining additional power supply of around 600 megawatts from Unit 7 and 8. Last week alone, in this House, I indicated the readiness of Unit 7 from which we will be getting 300 mega watts before end of this month and another unit will be following after a month to give us a total of 600 megawatts being fed into the grid.
We also have plans to rehabilitate the existing units at Hwange Power Station, that is, Units 1 to 6 to get the units back to the installed capacity of 920 mega watts. As we speak today, there is a generation of 387 mega watts which are coming from Hwange Power Station. The intention is to rehabilitate the power station to give us 920 megawatts among other initiatives including the participation of the private sector as independent power producers. Even if we are caught up with what is happening in SA may be in a month or two, we are hoping that the capacity will be replaced with our internally generated power which we will get from the expansion project in Hwange.
With regards to the national integrated energy resource plant, it is a plan in progress. The purpose of coming up with such a plan is to align between expansion in demand which should be married with expansion in supply which we are currently working on with the projects that I have already outlined, but this plan is continuous and we will focus on the growth that is obtaining; the growth of the economy in agriculture, mining and housing which should be facilitated by provision of electricity. This plan entails that for every expansion in demand, we will be looking at the most appropriate source of generation. We have quite a number of sources of generation in this country. We have hydro and mini hydro from our small inland dams, including rivers where we can tap into for electricity generation. We also have solar and wind. The plan entails the most appropriate source of generation which we should be moving into to deal with the growth that will be happening as we go forward up to 2030 where we envisage that we will be achieving universal access to energy for everyone in the country, leaving no-one and no place behind.
HON. CHASI: Can the Minister precisely tell us when this House or country can have a document that speaks to Government’s plan regarding energy in the country given what we are experiencing already and what we are experiencing in the region generally.
HON. SODA: As I have already indicated that we are already working on the national integrated energy resource plan, we can always avail the document to Parliament when it is ready but let me try and see how we can expedite it so that it will be presented to this House.
HON. MUTSEYAMI: I have a supplementary question for the Hon. Minister. Minister, may you please avail details to the House as to why Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (ZESA) no longer give timetables with regards to load shedding? It just happens just like that – if we had timetables, companies, families or people would plan according to the load shedding schedule.
HON. SODA: At the moment, it is very difficult to come up with a schedule for load shedding in as much as in power curtailment which happens from time to time mainly occasioned by the performance of Hwange Power Station. Hwange Power Station because of its age, you cannot plan well based on the capacity that will be coming from Hwange Power Station. We have unplanned outages that are occurring from Hwange Power Station. You would be surprised like I have already indicated that from Hwange today in the morning, we were obtaining a capacity of 387 megawatts but you would be surprised to hear that by the end of the day, we would be down to 100 megawatts. The four units that are currently on service, some would have gone out of service. So, the power station is not reliable at the moment because of the age. We will soon be availing load shedding schedule after the coming in of Unit 7 and 8.
If there is going to be any deficit after the two units would have been brought into service, then obviously ZESA will have to give a load shedding schedule. As we speak, it is very difficult to come up with one because of the performance of Hwange Power Station. However, I want to promise this House that soon after Unit 7 and 8 are through, then for whatever capacity deficit that we will obtain, a schedule will be provided. I thank you.
*HON. TEKESHE: Thank you Madam Speaker. The reason why people pay in advance is to make it easier for ZESA to procure electricity but I am surprised when there is a breakdown to do with electricity, people are still asked to pay for fuel and hiring of transport for repairs. Is that the new Government policy that consumers have to pay for the repairs?
*HON. SODA: Thank you Madam Speaker. That is not Government policy where people are now expected to buy fuel and donate their cars for ZESA technicians to use for repairs or any work related to electricity. This is witnessed especially from farmers. The farmers kindly ask for technicians to come and assist them by sending transport so that they immediately attend to their problem because sometimes they are told that technicians would have gone out to attend to other faults. What is happening now is that for any technician, who volunteers to do such job, they are supposed to sign a document that they are volunteering to offer those services as well as fuel to ZESA and this is for accountability purposes.
People are not forced to do that but they do it voluntarily. What is happening right now is, those who volunteer to assist ZESA are supposed to complete those documents and there should be supervision to ensure that work is properly done. Sometimes ZESA workers may also go to ZESA and claim that they used their own fuel after being given that fuel by the customer. I thank you.
*HON. MADZIMURE: Thank you Madam Speaker. The Minister is asking me to thank him for replacing the transformer that we got as a replacement after losing our transformer and he attended to the fault after three days of reporting. We want to thank him for that. There is an issue that I wanted to allude to with regards to workers but I will not do that in public.
I would like to ask the Hon. Minister that when fuel is being donated to ZESA workers, it must be noted that ZESA is using hired transport and it is paying USD150 for that hire. If you look at how much money is being spent on hiring those vehicles, ZESA could easily procure its own vehicles. I hereby request the Hon. Minister to make a ministerial statement explaining how much money is being spent on hiring vehicles and how many trucks are being used so that we compare if it could be easier for ZESA to procure vehicles.
*HON. SODA: Thank you Madam Speaker. I think he is giving us advice on how we should operate as ZESA which is what we are going to do. What I know for now is that ZESA is procuring a lot of vehicles and they have since placed an order with ISUZU although it is taking long for the vehicles to be delivered. The vehicles are coming in small batches yet people want service and they are calling for service in numbers. Whilst we are waiting for the procured vehicles to be delivered, the Hon. Member might think that it was unprocedural for the hiring of those vehicles but we will look into that. Indeed, there is nothing amiss with regards to the hiring of those vehicles. In short, the vehicles have been purchased and we are only awaiting delivery. I thank you.
*HON. TSUURA: Thank you Madam Speaker. My question is directed to the Minister of Transport and Infrastructure Development. What is Government policy with regards to increasing air transport fleet?
*THE MINISTER OF TRANSPORT AND INFRASTRUCTURE DEVELOPMENT (HON. MHONA): Thank you Madam Speaker. I also would like to thank Hon. Tsuura for that important question. Indeed in this august House, we hear mostly about roads and we seldom hear about air transport. I am glad to explain that Government has got a very good policy with regards to air transport. Government has plans to procure aeroplanes to resuscitate Air Zimbabwe. I am sure by the end of this month, we will be receiving an aeroplane ERJ 141which is a 50 seater. It will be very helpful for the short routes, especially in the region. We would also like to resuscitate our London route because we very much want to revive our western routes in line with our re-engagement policy. The London route is a gateway to many other western countries. That also makes me to attend to the question that we have been banned from flying to London. It was an issue of some payment arrears to IATA, which the Government has since cleared. So we are now connected to the international communication systems and we are now able to fly to international destinations. With the limited resources that we have, it is key to resuscitate our routes to the international world.
*HON. MPARIWA: Thank you Madam Speaker. I would like to find out from the Minister if there are any plans to have partnerships with other flights plying the London route. Some airlines have partnerships for instance the Ethiopian airlines. Maybe whilst we await our own airline, we can benefit from having partnerships with other airlines such as those going to Addis Ababa and other airlines with more aeroplanes. I thank you.
*HON. MHONA: I would like to thank Hon. Mpariwa for that pertinent question. When we fly, there is what we call code sharing. The good thing about this country is that we have the shortest flight time because unlike other flights, they have to land in the country where the flight originates and that takes longer. So we have the advantage over those other flights because we are strategically positioned as a country and we will see more people coming to board our plane from the newly spruced up Robert Mugabe airport. We have the shortest flying time as they fly directly to London without any stops. We are open to have partnerships with other airlines. Through IATA, we are able to see other airlines and we will be able to work together with other airlines. I thank you.
HON. NDUNA: Thank you Madam Speaker Ma’am. The overflights that are occurring in any country, including Zimbabwe, means there is supposed to be some funds remitted to the local airspace supervision department, in this case the Minister of Transport through the Civil Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe. What plans are there for the Minister to install radar systems in the middle and higher spaces so that we are able to see which flights are overflying our airspace which are supposed to remit funds for both Air Zimbabwe and usage in Zimbabwe.
HON. MHONA: I would like to thank Hon Nduna for his question. Indeed, Civil Aviation is mandated to collect service fees for flying past the country or flying within. To also put it on record, we have the capacity to superintend all flights that ply our airspace and I am happy that as we are also rehabilitating the R. G. M International Airport, we have got the high doppler scan machines which will also detect planes from far away. There is not a single aeroplane that can fly into our airspace without us noticing. I want to assure the august House that even before a commercial plane flies, they send their manifesto and their schedule flight plan so that they communicate with our air traffic controllers. I am happy this is in place and not a single commercial flight can just fly without attending to the necessary paperwork that I have alluded to. I am happy to say in terms of revenue leakages, there is none because the moment they give a flight plan and schedule, we then collect the necessary charges. However, to those who might think that we may not see you when you ply our airspace, try it and you will see that you will not succeed. I thank you Hon. Speaker.
*HON. MADZIVA: My question is directed to the Minister of Transport. I would like to know what is Government policy pertaining to those people who are digging roads and leaving open holes thereby causing potholes in roads.
*THE MINISTER OF TRANSPORT AND INFRASTRUCTURAL DEVELOPMENT (HON. MHONA): I would like to thank Hon. Madziva for raising that pertinent question. Indeed, we have unscrupulous people digging on the roads as well as on railway lines leading to accidents. If it is local authorities who may be installing pipes or electricity lines, all those road authorities must ensure that the roads are repaired to their original state before they started working on it. We emphasise that they ensure that they repair the roads to the state that they found them in before they worked on them because those unattended pits lead to accidents. I thank you.
HON. CHINYANGANYA: I want to thank the Hon. Minister for his response. My supplementary question - is there any form of supervision that is being undertaken by the responsible authority to make sure that there is quality on the roads that will have been patched because if you look at it closely, most of the patched portions will disintegrate within a month or two months after being patched?
HON. MHONA: It is true and I do concur that indeed, we now experience shoddy works after such, maybe it will be just someone doing it for the sake of just covering. At times the shoddy work that is done soon after rehabilitating that road is not desirable and I want to ensure and continue, especially from road authorities, we do have engineers to monitor such anomalies; if we can work together, even as the august House, where you see such anomalies so that they are addressed with speed.
HON. NDUNA: Due to the humongous dilapidation and disuse of the road infrastructure, there are private players out there who are able to rehabilitate, maintain and reconstruct some of these areas, both in the mining and urban areas. Would the Minister care to share with this House if there is some policy which can make sure that if they rehabilitate, reconstruct and maintain and indeed rejuvenate these areas that are dilapidated, deplorable and disused there will be payment in the future if the private players go into these areas immediately and expeditiously rehabilitate these areas?
HON. MHONA: The question, yes, it is supplementary but it is also a new question but I will address it. The policy when you are actually donating to Government, you just approach the relevant road authority so that you write - as you know that all donations must be accounted as it is mandated through the Public Finance Management Act that we also need to account for such donations. I am happy that if there are private players, we would also thank such private players who can partake and partner Government so that as we have such work that needs urgent attention, we can work together. I humbly appeal to such private players that we are willing as the Ministry to engage and work closely with them.
*HON. TEKESHE: The Ministry has concurred that indeed there are some people or contractors who do shoddy work, so I want to know what the Government policy says pertaining to such kind of people, for example that bridge that was washed away. Is somebody left to go scot-free after they have been paid or they should return the money to Government or even be sentenced?
HON. MHONA: I would like to thank Hon. Tekeshe for that important question. We do not allow such people to just walk away with Government money after doing shoddy jobs. Right now, Government is not paying such people until they finish their work. I can assure you that anyone who does shoddy work on a road section will not be paid until they finish their work. We encourage people to complete their job and do it properly, and after completing your work, Government will pay you. I believe that any person who is responsible for awarding tenders within Government should do their work diligently.
(v)HON. MBONDIAH: My supplementary question to the Minister: what is Government’s policy in getting donations towards road construction strictly as cash or from private players who can donate by way of using their own resources or even giving cash directly with Government only playing the monitoring and supervisory role as the private player constructs or rehabilitates the road?
HON. MHONA: In terms of donations, mostly these are donations in kind. What we are saying basically is, if you want to then assist, whether it is a road construction, you put it in writing and make sure that the donation goes straight to the intended authority - be it a section that is going to be rehabilitated. We are not anticipating receiving cash as a Ministry and we are saying we would be grateful if you could then come and work together with the Ministry and we do offer the supervision. In terms of provision of resources and materials, that will be under the purview of those donating. I humbly appeal that if it is cash, there is no policy for us to request for cash. If you see anyone asking for cash, please refer to the Ministry.
(v)*HON. BRIG. GEN. (RTD.) MAYIHLOME: Thank you Hon. Speaker Sir. A point of order I want to raise to Minister Mhona is that when he comes with the Ministerial Statement, he should also explain to us what the plans of the Ministry are in relation to the road at the fly-over at the Green Market.
HON. MHONA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. I would also like to thank my fellow Hon. Mhofu, Brig. (Rtd.) Mayihlome that he has raised a very important question but when it comes to disbursement of ZINARA funds, we do not look at a particular section to say the funds are coming from this particular area. Funds are distributed and disbursed to road authorities and we have got four road authorities in this country. We have the Department of Roads, RIDA which was DDF, we also have local authorities and Rural District Councils (RDCs). So, it is not like we actually forget rural constituencies and mostly roads under the RDCs are those that we find in our constituencies that also fall under RIDA.
So, in terms of disbursements, it is also very important to work closely with your RDCs, local authorities and your RIDA so that you take them to account to whatever they receive from ZINARA so that they appraise the citizenry on how they are actually using those funds. I thank you.
*HON. MUTSEYAMI: Mr. Speaker Sir, I have a plea to the Hon. Minister Mhona, when he comes with the Ministerial Statement, if he can also as well afford space to give us explanation as to what the Ministry is doing to administer the problem we have with regards to Hebert Chitepo Road as we move out of Mutare between Fly-over and Green Market. There is a serious challenge of traffic because of the one way traffic that is used at those positions. So, if the Hon. Minister can please explain to the House as well as to the country. Thank you.
(v)HON. P. ZHOU: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir for giving me this opportunity to ask my question. I would also like to say happy women’s day to all the female Hon. Members of Parliament, all the ladies present and all the women in Zimbabwe.
My question is directed to the Minister of Higher and Tertiary Education. I want to seek clarification; what does the law say on a matter such as the one I am going to present, where other students are already enrolled for Lower Sixth form while others have not even received their results? Some schools did not receive Ordinary Level results on different subjects, including Combined Science. These are withheld by ZIMSEC. What does the law say because Heads and parents do not know the exact reason as to why the results for these subjects were withheld? Heads were told that the investigations will be carried out but up to now no update - parents, learners and teachers want to know.
THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF HIGHER AND TERTIRARY EDUCATION, INNOVATION, SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY DEVELOPMENT (HON. MACHINGURA): Thank you Hon. Speaker Sir. If I got her question right, she is asking a question on results that have been withheld. These students have written their ‘A’ Levels and their results have been withheld by ZIMSEC for one reason or the other. Now she is asking about them moving on to universities and tertiary institutions. I think that is the question. If a problem is within their ‘A’ Level activities, then ZIMSEC and the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education would be in a better position to give an answer on that one. Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.
HON. P. ZHOU: Mr. Speaker Sir, that was not the question I asked. I said Ordinary Level results. It is not a supplementary, I am clarifying to the Minister that he did not answer my question. My question was on Ordinary Level results. The other students are already enrolled for Lower Sixth form whilst others are still waiting for the results.
HON. MACHINGURA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. I think I was right to refer the question to the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education. I thank you.
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER (HON. MUTOMBA): Hon. Zhou, we do not have the Minister of Primary and Secondary Education in the House, may be you could come up next week to ask, unless if you would want to ask the Leader of the House?
HON. MARKHAM: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. My question is directed to the Minister of Agriculture. The Minister issued a Statutory Instrument 62:2020, which deals with BIPPA and also deals with indigenous farmers. My question is linking into the 99 year leases which have been issued, how many indigenous farmers whose land was expropriated have had a 99 year lease given to them to go back onto the farm? Thank you.
THE MINISTER OF LANDS, AGRICULTURE, FISHERIES, WATER, CLIMATE AND RURAL RESETTLEMENT (HON. DR. MASUKA): Mr. Speaker Sir, I thank Hon. Markham for the question. This is very specific, asking about statistics and not about general policy of Government. My request therefore is that this question be put in writing so that we can avail the details. I thank you.
Hon. Markham having wanted to raise a supplementary question.
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Sorry Hon. Markham, a supplementary question does not arise because he is actually suggesting to you that you have to put that one in writing.
HON. MARKHAM: Mr. Speaker, I would like to rephrase the question into a policy question.
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Unless of course you would like to use another name not supplementary question. It should not arise at all. Maybe you would want a point of clarification on that, I do not know.
HON. MARKHAM: Okay can I have a point of clarification.
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Okay please.
HON. MARKHAM: Why is the Minister evading the question so often? Thank you.
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Overruled. I am sorry about that.
HON. CHINYANGANYA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. My question is directed to the Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development. Most of the roads that are being rehabilitated are not lasting very long and I understand the Government has got a programme to rehabilitate most of our major roads. So, what is the Government going to do to make sure that the works that are being undertaken are of a quality nature so that after five years, we are not going to redo those roads? A good example is the Bulawayo-Plumtree Road. Most of the sections are now gone but the road was resurfaced recently. I thank you.
THE MINISTER OF TRANSPORT AND INFRASTRUCTURAL DEVELOPMENT (HON. MHONA): Let me thank Hon. Chinyanganya for that very important question which is also a major concern, Mr. Speaker Sir, to the citizenry that indeed if we partake and if we tap into the fiscus, we must be accountable to the people of Zimbabwe and he has cited one of the major trunk roads. Indeed, what is needed, Mr. Speaker Sir, soon after reconstructing and rehabilitating roads is maintenance. I am happy there is a policy now to resuscitate maintenance units along our major roads so that we start looking after our roads and maintain them regularly which is something that was not happening before. I want to assure the august House that now, soon after rehabilitating, we are also making sure that we maintain our roads.
I want to also say to the august House that in terms of guarantees, we actually request guarantees to be in place for any contractor to participate in road rehabilitation so that we then fall into the guarantee if you fail to construct a road that would last for some time. There was a proposal in this august House to say since we are the law makers, if we can be very punitive in terms of the timeframe that we can give to the contractors so that if they do not fall within that timeframe, they must be accountable. I also want to agree with the Hon. Member that yes, indeed some of the roads are falling short because of the shoddy works and we continue to supervise and monitor such works. Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.
HON. CHINYANGANYA: I want to thank the Hon. Minister for his response and really acknowledging that we have a challenge. He spoke of the need to have a guarantee on the issue of contractors. Is that also going to extend to those contractors who are given roads in local authorities because we are also facing the same challenges across the country in all urban local authorities? I thank you.
HON. MHONA: Hon. Chinyanganya is very right in terms of road authorities that what he has been talking about is prevalent in local authorities and we expect also local authorities to have engineers in place so that they supervise and monitor their works. I am happy that he has cited local authorities which also are one of the road authorities and I agree that this is going to be applicable to all road authorities in terms of maintaining our roads and also the guarantee element. Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.
(v)HON. BRIG. GEN. (RTD) MAYIHLOME: My supplementary question to the Hon. Minister is, are we not missing the point? What are the causes of rapid degradation of these roads? When are we going to chuck off the heavy laden trucks on our main highways? If you look at the Harare-Nyamapanda Road, the Harare-Beitbridge Road, the Harare-Chirundu Road or the Victoria-Falls-Beitbridge Road, it is the same story.
All major routes are being dilapidated, degraded by heavy laden trucks and cargo that is supposed to be on rail. When are we going to put restrictive or prohibitive reins on these truckers to move off all the roads and use rail for heavy laden traffic? Thank you Hon. Speaker Sir.
HON. MHONA: Let me thank Hon. Mayihlome for the question. He has answered part of the question to say the load that is going through our roads is supposed to be on rail. I agree that precisely is the order where we would not then burden our roads, but I want to assure the Hon. Member that now we have started with Harare-Beitbridge, we are moving to Harare-Chirundu and at the same time we are also pursuing vigorously to rehabilitate Harare-Nyamapanda Road so that our major trunk roads will be trafficable. In the meantime, we are also busy trying to resuscitate, trying to remove cautions on our rail and you will see that as we then procure new locomotives and wagons, we will then transfer the burden from the roads to the rail. I agree this is the long and sustainable measure so that we do not continue degrading our roads. Thank you.
HON. WATSON: Hon. Minister, given that Government policy is that Zimbabwe is open for business, when are you going to consider the Victoria Falls-Bulawayo Road? People are having accidents and losing tyres. It is a premier resort town and getting there is now extremely difficult. Thank you.
HON. MHONA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir, let me also thank Hon. Watson for that very important question which I am going to cover again in the Ministerial Statement, but I will hasten to respond to say yes, it is one of our tourist attractive centres when it comes to Victoria Falls and in terms of the road connectivity that is Bulawayo-Victoria Falls, we have seriously damaged sections along the road. As we speak, my team is seized with the procurement and they are done with the procurement processes so that we rehabilitate sections mainly from Hwange and Lupane areas where the road is no longer trafficable and this is what we are going to be doing in the short term, but the entire stretch which covers close to 760km from Beitbridge is going to be rehabilitated in the same manner that we are rehabilitating Harare-Beitbridge Road. Thank you Hon. Speaker Sir.
Questions Without Notice were interrupted by THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER in terms of Standing Order No. 68.
ORAL ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS WITH NOTICE
ESTABLISHMENT PROCESS OF KUVIMBA MINING HOUSE
- MARKHAM asked the Minister of Finance and Economic Development to explain the following to the House:
- the establishment process and date of creation of Kuvimba Mining House;
- The legal instrument for its establishment, given that Government is the majority shareholder;
- Who the shareholders are, the percentage of their shares and what the contributions are in the company;
- Where the company is registered and what its sister or sub companies are;
- who are the other shareholders directors with interests in the company and to further clarify whether the directors of the company since its inception have changed;
- What the current asset value of Kuvimba Mining House is - including definable resources; and to further confirm whether a tender was issued for any disposal or acquisitions of State assets and/or enterprises.
THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (HON. CHIDUWA): Mr. Speaker Sir, in response to the questions asked by the Hon. Member regarding Kuvimba Mining House. Kuvimba Mining House Private Limited is a private company incorporated in accordance with the laws of Zimbabwe. It was registered in September, 2020. The legal instrument, Kuvimba Mining House is a company registered in accordance with the Companies and Other Business Entities Act. Government and other special interest groups acquired ordinary shares in the company resulting in the company becoming a shareholder along with other shareholders. The shareholders are as follows:
- Government of Zimbabwe with a shareholding of 21.5%,
- Datvest Nominees which is on behalf of farmers’ compensation with 12.5%,
- National Venture Fund Private Limited with 7.5%,
- Public Service Pension Management Fund with 7%,
- Sovereign Wealth Fund of Zimbabwe with 6.5%,
- Insurance and Pensions Commission (IPEC) with 5%,
- Deposit Protection Corporation with 5% and
- Other private sector investors with 35%.
On where the company is registered and what its sister or sub companies are, the company is registered in Zimbabwe. The company’s sister companies are as follows:
- Zimbabwe Alloys Limited;
- Freda Rebecca Gold Mine;
- Shamva Mining Company (Pvt) Ltd;
- Bindura Nickel Corporation;
- Great Dyke Investments (Pvt) Ltd;
- Jena Mines Mineral (Pvt) Ltd and
- Mineral Development (Pvt) Ltd
- Sandawana Mines.
Mr. Speaker, the other shareholders are as explained earlier on and the directors of the company have not changed save for two resignations in 2021 and 2022. On the current asset value, I presume the Hon. Member is seeking to ascertain the company’s net value. The company is in the process of finalising its audited accounts which will inform its current asset value. To further confirm whether a tender was issued, ZMDC went into a joint venture arrangement relating to some of its distressed non-performing assets which were reeling under severe debt.
Mr. Speaker Sir, employees in the affected companies faced job losses as the companies were unable to pay salaries to its own workers. ZMDC took the action in order to provide an opportunity to resuscitate operations and enable the companies to contribute to the economy by bringing them back to production. The procurement and consummation of the transaction was done in terms of the Joint Ventures Act (22:22) which is the predecessor to the Zimbabwe Investment Development Agents Act. That is the procurement method which was accepted under the applicable legal regime at the time. I submit for now Hon. Speaker.
HON. MARKHAM: My supplementary question is that in a court case in South Africa, the directors were listed as David Brown, Joseph Clifford Bare, Christian Alexander Weber, John Finlson and Ronald Sinclare.....
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: With all due respect Hon. Markham, is that court case in South Africa still on or not.
HON. MARKHAM: It is finished. The companies listed in a court case are seven South African companies, my point is these companies do not and are not reflected here in Zimbabwe. What are South Africans doing running Kuvimba which is supposed to be our assets? Do we not have someone good enough in this country to represent our assets?
In the said court case, the affidavit was signed by one Kuda Tagwirei and his report has nothing to do with that. It is actually, obviously a different company. So, could the Minister explain how we got from that situation to the current situation with registered people that he is talking about in Zimbabwe? I thank you.
HON. CHIDUWA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. What is guiding us is what is lodged and registered with the Registrar of Companies. We are not here to discuss court cases and anything that is outside, that I think is beyond me. For me, what I used is what is with the deeds. This is what I responded to and any other information, I think the Hon. Member is privy to provide us with that information. What is critical is the legal information which is with the deeds and that is what I did.
HON. MARKHAM: On a point of order! My reference to the court case is to prove the source documents for who owns and is responsible for Kuvimba Mining House. If it has changed, how did it change? I used the court case only as the source document as to what I have. It appears the Hon. Minister is not happy to explain what is happening in South Africa pertaining to Kuvimba.
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Unfortunately Hon. Markham, in this House, we do not debate things that are under the courts, whether it is here or outside Zimbabwe.
HON. MARKHAM: I fully understand. The court case is finished, it has been ruled on, and it has been adjudicated, hence the two resignations he is talking of - [HON. MEMBER: Inaudible interjections.] – You are not the Minister who is supposed to answer the question.
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Order Hon. Markham!
HON. MARKHAM: I want an answer to the questions. These are national assets, they are gone.
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: I am not protecting the Minister but you heard the Minister saying that if you have got relevant information, you are supposed to avail that to the Minister so that he can make some investigations.
HON. MARKHAM: Thank you Mr. Speaker. However, my question has been sitting on this Order Paper for three months. Secondly, if you look at the Order Paper, all the questions are mine and they are not answering my questions. I have also stated to this House, we are waiting for four Ministerial Statements from Ministers that I have asked and they have not answered.
The Chair always protects the Ministers and they do not answer and when they do not answer, you still protect them. So, where is the error?
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: That is a serious accusation Hon. Markham. I think I told you what the Minister has said, maybe you did not understand him. He told you that if there is any relevant information that you have got, please make it available to the Minister so much that he can give you appropriate answers to the questions. There is no need for you to argue with me, my decision is final.
HON. MUSHORIWA: Having listened to the Hon. Minister explaining the directorship of Kuvimba Mining House, I think it is only fair that if the Minister’s answer is legitimate, we request that the Hon. Minister be compelled by this august House to bring copies that he claims he lodged with the Deeds Office pertaining to the directorship of Kuvimba Mining House.
Hon. Speaker, we believe the Minister is actually walking on a thin line of misleading this august House because the directorship of Kuvimba is not as mentioned by the Hon. Minister. So we compel the Hon. Minister to submit copies into this august House.
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Order!
HON. MUSHORIWA: On a point of order! The Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs cannot try to be a super Minister and try to overpower the Minister of Finance and Economic Development – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Order! Your supplementary question has been understood that you are requesting copies of all the directors.
HON. CHIDUWA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. I think the Hon. Member knows that the Deeds Office is a public office. I will bring back exactly what I have brought now. So should you query what is here, we are saying the Deeds Office is a public office and you are free to go and check – [HON. MUSHORIWA: Inaudible interjection.] –
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Order Hon. Mushoriwa. I think his answer is very clear, if you have got some issues that you would want some clarifications from the Minister, he has actually directed you where you are supposed to get the directors of this company – [HON. MUSHORIWA: Inaudible interjection.] –My decision is final.
SUBMISSION OF REPORTS, STRATEGIC PLANS AND RESULTS OF KUVIMBA MINING HOUSE
2. HON. MARKHAM asked the Minister of Finance and Economic Development, as manager of State assets and funds, to explain to the House why the Ministry has not submitted reports, strategic plans, and results of Kuvimba Mining House for consecutive years since its inception in accordance with the Public Entities and Corporate Governance Act [Chapter 10: 31].
THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (HON. CHIDUWA): Mr. Speaker Sir, as I explained earlier, Government of Zimbabwe owns 21, 5% shareholding in Kuvimba Mining House. As such, the Ministry receives information on the company that a shareholder is entitled under the Companies and Other Businesses Entities Act. To that extent, as I have explained earlier, the company will be submitting its audited financial statements to its shareholders once they are finalised. This will be tabled at the company’s AGM.
HON. MARKHAM: I would like clarity from the Minister as to when we expect this year’s documents.
HON. CHIDUWA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. As I have already mentioned, the tabling of the financial statements will be done at the AGM of Kuvimba Mining House, not here in Parliament. We are only a shareholder of Kuvimba, so we will only get the documents as a shareholder because it is a private company.
HON. MUSHORIWA: Mr. Speaker, my supplementary question to the Hon. Minister is to ask that in-asmuch as the financial statements are tabled at the AGM, Government being a shareholder of more than 20% of the entity and this Parliament being the oversight board that oversees the Executive. Could the Hon. Minister bring copies of the last financial year and the current year to this august House, bearing in mind that we really want to understand because apparently, if you then check Kuvimba, it is also paying farmers and we want to see the link and performance of the company, purely Mr. Speaker Sir, on that 20% shareholding that is owned by the people of this country.
HON. CHIDUWA: Hon. Speaker, I think I may need to be guided on that because what we are dealing with here is not a listed company. For a listed company, yes, it is a requirement that all these documents can be made public but for us as Government of Zimbabwe, I think what we can only do is, if Kuvimba declares dividends then there is that component that comes to us which is the 21 point something percent – this is what we can declare. As I have said, I may need to be guided but I do not think that it is going to be proper for us to bring the statements of a private company and table them in Parliament. – [HON. MUSHORIWA: Inaudible interjection.] –
HON. MARKHAM: On a point of clarity Hon. Speaker Sir!
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Hon. Mushoriwa, Hon. Mushoriwa, may you resume your seat? Hon. Markham, what is your point of clarification?
HON. MARKHAM: Point of clarity! Mr. Speaker, if we go back to Question Number One…
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Not Question One, we are now on Question Number Two …- [HON. MARKHAM: I know but Mr. Speaker sorry…] – We cannot go back to Question Number One … - [HON. MARKHAM: I am not going back. My point of clarity– is on Question Number Two. …] - Hon. Mushoriwa, Hon. Mushoriwa! Order please!
HON. MARKHAM: Mr. Speaker, the Hon. Minister has just told us that it is a private company – which is fine, I
I have no problem with that. The company’s assets came from the Government and if you look at 1 (g), it says there - confirm whether a tender was issued for the disposal or acquisition of State assets, hence my reference to Question Number One. Did this private company and what did it pay? Was there a tender for the disposal of massive company assets? I thank you.
HON. CHIDUWA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. I think I was very clear to say the disposal or any such acquisition was not done in terms of the Public Disposal but was done in terms of the Ventures Act following the provisions of ZIDA. So, I am not sure if there is any confliction there.
HON. MARKHAM: Mr. Speaker, I do not care how you sugarcoat it. Any disposal of State assets must come to this House and it has not. You can sugarcoat or call it what you like, it is not legal.
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Hon. Markham, I had given you the floor to pose Question Number Three. I thought the response from the Hon. Minister was so clear and I have given you the opportunity – [HON. MARKHAM: Thank you!] – to pose your Question Number Three.
HON. MARKHAM: Mr. Speaker, on a point of clarity, you are personally comfortable with his answer that the State assets were disposed of legally. I just need clarity on that, are you comfortable Mr. Speaker that State assets for the money and resources in Zimbabwe were disposed of legally? – [HON. CHIDUWA: They were not disposed, they were acquired.] – They were acquired legally? – [HON. ZIYAMBI: What was the question Hon. Markham?] – Mr. Speaker, I cannot say it often enough and if people listened instead of talking they would understand. It is a very simple question. Are the assets of this country, a whole list of mines, was it disposed of or acquired by this company legally, that is all? Could the Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs actually answer that question seeing he wants to? I thank you. – [HON. ZIYAMBI: It is a supplementary, I cannot.] -
HON. CHIDUWA: Thank you Hon. Speaker. I do not know if I am going to present something that is different. I have already stated that the acquisition of assets by Kuvimba was done legally using the Ventures Act. Again, the Ventures Act is a legal Act. So, I am not sure if there is any difference on that.
HON. MUSHORIWA: Supplementary Mr. Speaker Sir!
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Sorry Hon. Mushoriwa, I think we have had quite a number of supplementary questions on this one – [HON. MUSHORIWA: It was not on this question Hon. Speaker!] – I gave you opportunity I think twice. I gave you opportunity about five times, so no more supplementary questions on this one. – [HON. MUSHORIWA: Inaudible interjection.] – No more supplementary questions and my decision is final; no more - [HON. MUSHORIWA: Inaudible interjection.] – My decision is final, I am sorry – [HON. MUSHORIWA: But you never asked me for this ZIDA because what the Hon. Minister has done is actually misleading the House!] – Now if you are saying he is misleading – [HON. MUSHORIWA: Inaudible interjection.] – Hon. Mushoriwa! Hon. Mushoriwa! Can you withdraw that statement that you said! – [HON. MUSHORIWA: But Mr. Speaker Sir…] – May you withdraw! – [HON. MUSHORIWA: He is talking of an Act that was repealed.] – Order, order Hon. Mushoriwa! I am saying order, may you resume your seat? – [HON. MUSHORIWA: But you need to also guide the Minister!] – I cannot accept the fact that you are saying that the Hon. Minister is misleading the House. I wonder why you are asking questions if you already have appropriate answers. Please sit down! – [HON. MUSHORIWA: But Mr. Speaker Sir…] – No, I cannot entertain any further questions regarding … - [HON. MUSHORIWA: But the Hon. Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs is here, he knows that the Ventures Act was repealed!] – No, the question is not directed and you are not here to debate with me, my decision is final.
SUBMISSION OF INFORMATION RELATED TO ZAMCO DEBT BENEFICIARIES
- HON. MARKHAM asked the Minister of Finance and Economic Development to explain why the Ministry has not submitted the following, in relation to the ZAMCO debt acquisition beneficiaries, to Parliament—
- list all the individuals and companies whose debt was acquired;
- list of financial institutions that were owed before acquisition;
- how the debt was acquired and approved by Parliament without any list or explanation as to who the end beneficiaries were; and
- how the beneficiaries were identified, and to avail to Parliament the minutes of the meetings that were held to identify the beneficiaries.
THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (HON. CHIDUWA): Mr. Speaker Sir, let me take this opportunity to inform the House that ZAMCO has seized operations and is in the final stages of winding up in accordance with Section 57 of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Act.
95% of ZAMCO staff has left the company following its closure and only a few staff remains to oversee the final and closing audit being undertaken by Ernst and Young. At the time of cessation of its operations, ZAMCO had fully repaid all Treasury Bills issued by Government for the acquisition of non-performing loans (NPLs).
On the disclosure of list and details of all the individuals and companies whose debts were acquired; when ZAMCO took over the non-performing loans from banks, it literally stood in the place and stead of the banks. There exists a fiduciary relationship between the banker and its customers that entails the bank to maintain confidentiality. It will be therefore a breach of that common law duty to disclose information requested. It is not in the public interest to disclose privileged information and neither is it relevant to the inquiry before Parliament. Parliament is more interested in public funds usage and not private matters of individuals. The request for information has been overtaken by events as in May 2021, ZAMCO repaid all the Treasury Bills issued by Government. In that regard, there is no longer any recourse to public funds.
On the list of all financial institutions that were owed before acquisitions; it must be noted that true beneficiaries of public funds are the banks from whom non-performing loans were purchased using Treasury Bills. The NPLs were acquired from the following banking institutions listed in the table below:
19. Capital Bank
On how the debt was acquired and approved by Parliament without any list and explanation as to who the end beneficiaries were; Parliament exercised its role by enacting the relevant legislation that provided for the acquisition of bad loans through amendments to the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Act [Section 57]. The actual process of acquiring debts from individual banks is purely an operational issue and does not need to be approved by Parliament. In any case, dealing with NPLs is a monetary policy issue which is the bank’s prerogative in terms of the laws of the country.
On how the beneficiaries were identified and to avail to Parliament the minutes of the meetings that were held to identify the beneficiaries; it was not the responsibility of ZAMCO to identify loans that were acquired. Each individual bank identified loans it wished to sell to ZAMCO depending on its loan book or NPL profile and taking into account its targeted NPL ratio. Once the banks identified loans to sell, they offered them to ZAMCO.
It must be noted that loans are assets that are owned by banks and it is their prerogative to decide which ones they should hive off their books. Further, NPLs are sold by banks without the knowledge or consent of the debtors. This is standard practice globally for debt sales.
It must be noted that non-performing loans are not acquired on the basis of who the underlying borrower is. ZAMCO’s statutory mandate is to acquire NPLs from the banking sector in Zimbabwe regardless of the identity of the underlying borrower.
HON. MUSHORIWA: Mr. Speaker Sir, I just want to seek clarification on the fiduciary relationship that exists between ZAMCO, banks and debtors. I just want to bring to your attention that this matter came before your Public Accounts Committee and the Governor of the RBZ came before this House and an opinion was sought from both the Counsel to Parliament and the Attorney-General pertaining to the fiduciary relationship. It is on record that the opinion that came was that the moment the client or debtor failed to honour the debt at the bank and then the debt was acquired by ZAMCO, that was the end of the fiduciary relationship between a bank and a client. The Hon. Minister’s answer seems to contradict that position. Accordingly, I think on this particular issue – it is important that we request the Counsel and the Attorney-General to bring this issue which has been established in this Parliament when the Public Accounts Committee called the Governor of the Reserve Bank and the Governor had committed to bring the ZAMCO list. We cannot then hide under the answer that the Hon. Minister has put. This is my submission that his response on the fiduciary relationship is wrong because the opinion has been sought and given by the Counsel to Parliament and the Attorney-General who are the top lawyers of this country.
To that extent, we request that we get a proper legal opinion from the Attorney-General and the Counsel to Parliament on this matter.
HON. CHIDUWA: I think the submission by Hon. Mushoriwa is proper. He said an opinion was given but what we need now is the legal position. I think his submission is proper.
HON. MARKHAM: I will also ask a supplementary question and also add. I took the liberty of checking the documents and the Clerk of the Public Accounts Committee can confirm that I physically checked all documents that were submitted to the Public Accounts Committee and I have seen confirmation of the Reserve Bank delivering the said documents to this House. There are only two people who can stop that; that is the Clerk and the Speaker. Those documents and the confidentiality that we are talking about are actually irrelevant because the Reserve Bank delivered the requested documents. I insist that they are availed to the House. Thank you.
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Are you in concurrence Hon. Minister?
HON. CHIDUWA: Yes.
ANNUAL INCOME AND EXPENDITURE OF THE SOVEREIGN WEALTH FUND
- HON. MARKHAM asked the Minister of Finance and Economic Development to inform the House on the following:
(a) Annual income and expenditure of the Sovereign Wealth Fund annually since its inception and the management modalities of the Fund;
(b) Who makes the operational decisions on expenditure and programmes of the Fund;
(c) Who comprises the current Board, and if Minister could provide proof that these were done in a transparent manner;
(d) To confirm if the Fund were ever audited;
(e) To submit before the House the annual board reports and the strategic plans;
(f) Who the appointed investment managers are and how they were appointed; and
(g) To confirm all accounts that the RBZ is custodian to, and if there are any other custodians.
THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (HON. CHIDUWA): Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir and thank you Hon. Markham again for the pertinent questions which are of public interest. Mr. Speaker Sir, in response to the question asked by Hon. Markham regarding the Sovereign Wealth Fund, let me say that the Sovereign Wealth Fund of Zimbabwe Board is established by the Sovereign Wealth Fund of Zimbabwe Act [Chapter 22:20] which was gazetted in 2014 and became effective in 2015 through a Statutory Instrument 71 of 2015. Ever since its establishment, the Fund has been relatively dormant with no operational activities or ongoing investments in place. Further, the Fund had not benefitted nor procured any public funds as it has been non-operational. Going forward, Government will work with the Fund to strengthen its operations. Currently, Government is in the process of appointing the Board and Management to enable Operationalisation of the Fund. As you can see, because of the infancy of the Sovereign Wealth Fund, there is not much that we can say in relation to the questions as you raised from (a) to (g). I submit.
HON. MARHAM: Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the Minister for his honest answer and confirm that the much voted Sovereign Wealth Fund is actually dormant. Thank you.
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Hon. Markham, because of our Standing Order Number 68 (7), which says an Hon. Member is only allowed to ask four questions, so the remaining two questions are not going to be answered. The Minister must submit them to the Hansard.
HON. MARKHAM: Mr. Speaker, considering that the Minister has all the answers at his fingertips, why do we not proceed? Can we put Hon. Mushoriwa instead of Markham? Kubvunza chete.
Again Mr. Speaker, Question Number 8 which the Minister of Justice tried to set aside – my question Number 8 is directed to the Minister of Justice and I know he is trying to push it onto Local Government. I would like to remind the Minister of Justice that he has answered this question himself before when it was put in writing two years ago. So he cannot push it aside. He must prepare for next week, we are waiting. Thank you.
MEASURES TO MITIGATE POVERTY PREVALENCE AMONG WOMEN
- HON. MARKHAM asked the Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs to explain to the House:
(a) Why the Justice Uchena Report has still not been brought before this House even though it was completed and handed to His Excellency, the President, in December 2019; and
(b) To further elaborate how much money was used by the Commission and to state when it was paid out.
THE MINISTEROF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): Mr. Speaker Sir, can the Hon. Member redirect Question Number 8 to Local Government. I thank you.
HON. MARKHAM: Mr. Speaker, can the Minister answer why he answered the same question before without redirecting it to the Ministry of Local Government?
HON. ZIYAMBI: Mr. Speaker Sir, this is a written question requesting a specific performance of having a report here. I answered the other question as Leader of Government Business.
HON. MARKHAM: Mr. Speaker, point of clarity. The Minister is misleading us. He answered the question on the Justice Uchena Report which was delivered in December 2019 to the President. We use public funds for that. The issue is being raised even today of the peripheral areas of urban areas land being acquired illegally, are not being done or covered very well, particularly Harare province. It is a damning report and the Minister ari kuvhariketa ipapo. I cannot say that in English. He must answer and he must bring it to the House. Let us put this behind us before more people get houses built and bulldoze is done.
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Like you said Hon. Markham, that you had already agreed that it can be deferred to next week and the Minister is saying that you have to refer that question to the Hon. Minister of Local Government.
HON. MARKHAM: Mr. Speaker, can the Minister tell us that he does not have the Justice Uchena Report because if he answers that he might get himself into trouble?
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Order Hon. Markham, we want to move forward with business.
Oral Answers to Question with Notice were suspended by THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER in terms of Standing Order Number 68.
On the motion of THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI), the House adjourned at Seven Minutes past Five o’clock p.m.
PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE
Tuesday, 7th March, 2023
The National Assembly met at a Quarter-past Two o’clock p.m.
(THE ACTING SPEAKER in the Chair)
ANNOUNCEMENTS BY THE ACTING SPEAKER
PETITION RECEIVED FROM THE NATIONAL ASSOCIATION SOCIETY OF THE HANDCAPPED AND DEAF PEOPLE TRUST AND ORGANISATIONS OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITY IN ZIMBABWE AND THE GREATER HWANGE RESIDENTS TRUST
THE ACTING SPEAKER (HON. MUTOMBA): I have to inform the House that on Tuesday 28th February 2023, Parliament received a petition from the National Association Society of the Handicapped and Deaf People Trust and Organisations of Persons with Disability in Zimbabwe beseeching Parliament to exercise its legislative, representative and oversight functions and protect the rights of persons with disabilities in accordance with the spirit of the Constitution and the International Instrument to which Zimbabwe is part of. The petition has since been referred to the Portfolio Committee on Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare.
I also have to inform the House that on Tuesday, 28th February, 2023, Parliament received a petition from the Greater Hwange Residents Trust, beseeching Parliament to exercise its legislative authority through amending the Pneumoconiosis Act [Chapter 15:8] to ensure people in the vicinity of the coal mine industry receive medication and health checks up for the disease caused by coal dust. The petition has since been referred to the Portfolio Committee on Mines and Mining Development.
NON-ADVERSE REPORT RECEIVED FROM THE PARLIAMENTARY LEGAL COMMITTEE
THE ACTING SPEAKER: I have to inform the House that I have received a Non - Adverse report from the Parliamentary Legal Committee on Statutory Instruments Nos. 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19 and 20, published in the Gazette during the month of February 2023.
HON. MUSHORIWA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. My point of National Interest is in response to the fact that 2 days ago, one of our popular musicians in this country Winky D’s show in Chitungwiza was disrupted by the police. A few hours after that, the show of another musician Baba Harare was also declined to be performed.
Mr. Speaker Sir, musicians are the cog of our arts industry and they do give entertainment to all of us, hence I am requesting that the Hon. Minister of Home Affairs should come before this august House with a Ministerial Statement to explain what the situation is pertaining to our musicians, whether there is now limitation or ban that musicians can no longer perform and do their work without fear from being harassed. Primarily, I say this because if you read the provision of MOPA, it does not require the sort of interference that we are actually seeing. So this is my request that can the Hon. Minister of Home Affairs come before this august House and explain the position because it is actually a stab on our arts industry which if you check from the Hon. Minister of Finance, has actually been generating some resources towards our gross domestic product. I thank you.
THE ACTING SPEAKER: Inasmuch as I have taken point of your national interest, may I remind you that tomorrow; Wednesday is the most appropriate day for you to pose that question. Maybe before you pose that request, ask a question to the Hon. Minister himself. I thank you.
HON. NDUNA: Thank you Hon. Speaker, my point of national interest borders around the dilapidated, deplorable, disused state of our roads due to the vagrants of the weather and the incessant rainfall that has pelted our community. Would it please the Hon. Speaker to request the Hon. Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development to come and give this House comfort in-tandem with ERRP 1 to 4 in so far as it relates to the rehabilitation, reconstruction, the maintenance, re-gravelling, rejuvenation and re-sealing of these roads. In particular, seeing that we have a lot of private individuals out there who are able to rehabilitate and reconstruct these roads at the expense shouldered by the miners, farmers, local authorities and to a limited extent, the Ministry of Transport. Therefore, also recoup their monies or get their payment in the future from these entities that I have spoken about. Would it please the Hon. Speaker to request that the Hon. Minister comes and gives us guideline on policy as it relates to private individuals rehabilitating these roads and putting carriageway markings and maintaining them for the good order of the citizens of Zimbabwe and also recoup their payment after they have rehabilitated. I thank you.
*HON. DUTIRO: Thank you Hon. Speaker. I stand up here to raise an issue of national importance with regards to deregistered vehicles by ZINARA. Those vehicles are no longer allowed to use the roads because they are unable to be registered. If we look at this, ZINARA does not even know how many vehicles are in this country or even know any vehicles that have not renewed their licences. So those vehicles can no longer pay licence fees. If I were to sell a vehicle, I also pay tax on top of that vehicle. So there are several reasons why people are failing to register their vehicles. The Hon. Minister of Transport and Minister of Finance should come to this House to explain to us why they are de-registering vehicles. What are they doing to assist people to be able to register vehicles? I thank you.
THE ACTING SPEAKER: I got a lot on your point of national interest. May I also advise you that tomorrow being a Wednesday, may you take advantage to pose a question to the Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development so that he can give you a clear answer. Maybe on that one, this is where you could raise a request for him to make a Ministerial Statement.
(v)HON. MASENDA: Thank you very much Hon. Speaker. My point of national interest is on the fact that the 2023 tobacco selling season is commencing on 8th March at the auction floor and there is nothing much for the contract sellers. My concern is that I am reliably informed that the price of tobacco has not changed from what it was in 2022 and what it was for the last two decades…
THE ACTING SPEAKER: My you lower your voices Hon. Members. Hon. Member on my left, I cannot hear what the Hon. Member is saying. Go ahead Hon. Masenda.
(v)HON. MASENDA: My concern is that when farmers are come to the market, they incur huge losses arising from the fact that all inputs that they used have gone up. Fertiliser has gone up; labour has gone up, water for those who use irrigation has gone up, electricity has gone up, I can name everything that has gone up except for the price at which farmers are going to sell the tobacco which has remained static over two decades. I therefore urge that TIMB as the regulating authority intervenes to ensure that tobacco farmers are rewarded adequately for the effort and loss which they incur in the production of tobacco in order for Zimbabwe to get the much needed foreign currency. I also want the Minister of Agriculture to at least re-visit prices in terms of the production of tobacco for it to be sustainable for farmers.
THE ACTING SPEAKER: I also appeal to you Hon. Member that tomorrow is a very good day for you, ask face to face with the Minister. My concern with your point of national interest is what you have actually alleged as ‘reliable source’. You actually confirmed that the auction floors are opening tomorrow, how reliable is this source that you are talking about? There is nothing that has gone on sale yet; how is it that you get to know on the price? Maybe you need to rephrase your question for tomorrow so much that you can ask a relevant and pertinent question for the Minister to answer you. Thank you very much Hon. Masenda.
HON. MADZIMURE: Mr. Speaker, on 18th February, 2023, the Government announced that it was going to enact a Statutory Instrument to enable EMA to sub-contract private players to collect refuse. The reason advanced by Government was that refuse collection situation was bad. The proposed arrangement is that EMA will contract private companies to collect refuse and EMA would then bill the City of Harare for those services.
EMA is a statutory body which is responsible for ensuring the sustainable management of the environment and making laws to that effect. The role of the Ministry of Local Government is to make sure that local authorities have their share of the devolution funds and also facilitating the local authorities to be able to fund themselves, to be able to equip themselves. So the situation we now have is that EMA which has no mandate to collect refuse in Harare is going to do so. It is going to contract private players without the involvement of the City of Harare but at the end of the day, EMA would then want the City of Harare to assume the responsibility of paying private players whom they have got no contract with.
This is also against the Public Finance Management Act. So we would want the Minister of Local Government to come and explain why they have not capacitated the City of Harare to a level where it can have its compactors, graders, front-end loaders to remove the garbage because the arrangement is going to cost the City of Harare and the residents will not be part of that contract. So there will be a dispute between the residents and the Local Government authorities and even EMA itself. EMA cannot have its cake and eat it. It has the responsibility of making sure that the refuse is collected and all the laws are observed. Where it thinks a new law has to be introduced, EMA has that responsibility. So I would beg you Mr. Speaker that the Minister of Local Government comes to this House with a Ministerial Statement explaining to this House why he would want a Statutory Instrument to collect refuse in Harare.
RATIFICATION OF THE LOAN AGREEMENT BETWEEN THE GOVERNMENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF ZIMBABWE AND THE OPEC FUND
THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (HON. CHIDUWA): I move the motion standing in my name;
THAT WHEREAS, Subsection (3) of Section 327 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe provides that an Agreement which is not an international treaty but which has been concluded or executed by the President or under the President’s authority with one or more foreign organisations or entities and imposes fiscal obligations on Zimbabwe does not bind Zimbabwe until it has been approved by Parliament;
AND WHERAES, a loan Agreement between Government of the Republic of Zimbabwe and OPEC Fund of US$15
million for part financing of the Smallholder Agriculture Cluster Project to be implemented in Mashonaland Central, Mashonaland East, Mashonaland West, Midlands and Matabeleland North; and
NOW THEREFORE, in terms of section 327(3) of the Constitution, this House resolves that the aforesaid Agreement be and is hereby approved.
Mr. Speaker Sir, the NDS1 running 2021 to 2030 prioritises the recovery of the agricultural sector which is key to the country’s economic growth. The Government of Zimbabwe and OPEC Fund for International Development (OFID) signed a loan agreement of US$15 000 on 12 July 2022 for part financing of the small holder agriculture cluster project. The loan has a tenure of 20 years inclusive of a five year grace period and will attract a service charge of 1% per annum.
The Smallholder Agriculture Cluster Project is targeted at increasing agricultural production, productivity, especially by smallholder farmers, which enhances food and nutrition security, income, increase opportunities for value addition and the development of agro-business value chains.
The smallholder agriculture cluster project
Mr. Speaker Sir, the project shall benefit poor smallholder farmers participating in value chains selected through a stakeholder consultative process and calls for expression of interest to value chain led enterprises. The project will be implemented in the following five out of the 10 provinces – Mashonaland Central, Mashonaland East, Mashonaland West, Midlands and Matabeleland North.
The project’s goal is to realise increased household incomes and improved nutrition through sustainable transformation of the smallholder farming sector while the development objective is to increase equitable smallholder participation in market-oriented and climate smart value chains.
The smallholder programme will transform smallholder agriculture and increase productivity and rural incomes by adopting effective production and marketing strategies including organising targeted wards into clusters to allow for effective aggregation and economies of scale in smallholder based value chain development. It also allows for the establishment of coercive agriculture producer groups and associations. It also allows for connecting small holder farmers to profitable value chains, markets and financial services. It also allows for the developing of small holder capacity in climate production systems, marketing and business skills and also the revitalisation of production and market access infrastructure.
Additionally, the SACP is designed to support efforts to create a conducive policy and institutional environment for private sector led small holder agriculture transformation. The project will achieve through the implementation of the following components;
- Inclusive value chain development.
- Climate proofed value chain infrastructure.
- Policy and institutional support and project coordination.
Project financing and loan repayment
To support the programme, Government negotiated and signed a US$15 million loan with OPEC Fund on 12th January, 2022 for part financing of the small holder agriculture cluster project.
The loan will be utilised for transformation of the smallholder farming sector through value chain investments by smallholders and agri-businesses. Commercialisaton of smallholder agriculture in key urban and rural agricultural production and food trading corridors as well as infrastructure development which includes climate proofed irrigation systems, rehabilitation of feeder roads and multipurpose community water supply and the creation of a conducive policy and institutional environment for smallholder agriculture transformation.
As I have already alluded to, the loan amount is US$15 million and the purpose is to finance smallholder farmers’ participation in value chains in order to increase household incomes and improve nutrition through a sustainable transformation of the small holder farmer sector.
The project will be implemented, as I have already alluded to, in Mashonaland East, Mashonaland Central, Mashonaland West, Midlands and Matabeleland North and the conditions precedent. The loan should be ratified by Parliament, the interest is 1%, the commitment is 0.5% per annum and the tenure as already mentioned is 20 years, the grace period is 5 years and on repayment modalities, repayment of principal and interest shall be made from the budget. The repayment frequency – principal and interest payments shall be made twice a year on 15 May and 15 November of each year, which means it is going to be 30 semi-annual installments.
The expected benefits of the projects
Agriculture is one of the key pillars for Zimbabwe and the support for smallholder farming will go a long way in achieving the thrust of the NDS1 of food security. The implementation of the project will result in the following benefits;
- Improved access to water and road networks in the targeted areas through infrastructure development.
- Employment opportunities to 15 240 non-members of agriculture producer groups and 13 000 agriculture producer group members.
- Provision of technical services to the agriculture producer groups and agribusinesses for upgraded production capacity and integration into the value chains;
- Promotion of the participation of women-led micro enterprises and value chain agribusinesses; and
- Facilitation of access to financial services for APGs and agri-businesses.
The Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development will be the executing agent for the implementation of the project. In order to ensure smooth implementation of the project, a Project Management Unit (PMU)( has been established under the Ministry to oversee day to day operations of the project.
The project was earmarked to commence in 2022 and will be implemented over a period of five years. Mr. Speaker, I therefore, commend the OPEC Fund Loan Agreement for the Smallholder Agriculture Cluster Project in the sum of US$15 million for the approval of this august House.
HON. NDUNA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. I just want to add my voice to the motion moved by the Hon. Minister of Finance through his Deputy Minister Hon. Chiduwa. I applaud the tenure of the loan which is 20 years and the grace period which is five years. I have got ten reasons that a loan of such magnitude and of such pittance interest percentage can motivate farming and can be used as an antidote, as a panacea to lack of use of our land. The buying of equipment is one of them, so recapitalisation of equipment on the farming areas that the Hon. Minister has alluded to is applaudable.
The second issue is the purchase of supplies, this is one other way that we can utilise this loan for; for the very reason Mr. Speaker Sir, because of that minute interest. According to Section72 (7)(c), we do not have land cost, we have taken our land and there is no need to capitalise the land cost. We can also refinance all the loans that we had before using this one which has minute interest so that falls on the false issue that we could use this loan for.
Mr. Speaker Sir, on the issues of the product marketing campaigns and also advertising, we can use this loan for that because we have a five-year grace period and also making improvements on the land and rehabilitation of that land. These are smallholder farming entities in order to rejuvenate them and make sure that we do not only get subsistence out of them but also humongous economic benefit. Mr. Speaker, Sir, investing in growth is one other issue and it falls on the seven ways of utilising this money because it comes at a very low cost.
Mr. Speaker Sir, we can also weather the storm using the same money that the Hon. Minister has spoken about. Also the issue of covering operating cost falls on number 9. Lastly, let me talk of rebuilding effect to the land after the natural disasters. These are called acts of God, the issues of El Ninos, the issues of the vagaries of the weather but here is an opportunity to rehabilitate that land using this money so that we have an opportunity to actually turn subsistence into those economic global and local benefit. Not only just for those smallholder farmers, but also for the nation so that we use that as a pedestal and platform for the good of Agenda 2030. I thank you for giving me this opportunity.
HON. BITI: Mr. Speaker Sir, Zimbabwe is a sovereign country that has been independent for 43 years and our GDP is around US$18 billion. For us Mr. Speaker, to sit in this House seeking to ratify a loan of US$15 million, there is something wrong. We are failing somewhere. US$15 million is not even a loan that can be borrowed by Econet, Delta Corporation, LaFarge Cement, Old Mutual, the top listed companies, the blue chip companies of this country; they do not borrow US$15 million. It is petty cash. Small SMEs that want to develop will borrow US$15 million but we are a country. How can we borrow US$15 million? It is an embarrassment; it is absolutely ridiculous that we can borrow US$15 million as a sovereign republic.
Mr. Speaker, let us deal with the fundamental issues that make us borrow US$15 million from this Arab Bank. Let us deal with the fundamental challenges in our economy that reduces us to the embarrassment of our esteemed Minister of Finance, a whole Professor signing a loan agreement of that amount. If it was for him, his business and his bank we would say fine but not for the Republic of Zimbabwe. Mr. Speaker Sir, let us deal with those challenges.
Mr. Speaker, in 1980, the GDP of Zimbabwe was US$7 billion, in 1980 the GDP of Kenya was US$7 billion, in 1980 the GDP of Zambia was around US$3.86 billion. Fast forward, 2023, the GDP of Kenya Mr. Speaker Sir is now US$264 billion, the GDP of Zambia US$64 billion and we are stuck around US$18 billion. Why do we have this developmental deficit; why do we have this growth deficit? Those are the issues that we need to address. I addressed some of them last week when you were sitting on the Chair. We are not united, we do not have a common vision. We pursue politics of exclusion, politics of intolerance and that is the challenge. We beat each other up, we prevent each other from having rallies and meetings, our politics is ugly, that is what we need to address.
Therefore, we have no problem with this loan, the problem we have is we cannot be reduced to such levels of ridiculousness that a sovereign republic, a whole county with a flag and a national anthem can borrow $15 million – that is the challenge we have.
Mr. Speaker Sir, there is also a compliance issue, when the Minister borrows, he must make sure that he synchronises that debt with the rest of the Constitution and the rest of the law. We have a debt cap spelt in Section 11 of the Public Debt Management Act Number 4 of 2015. Section 11 says that the aggregate debt to be borrowed, any loan to be borrowed must be such that it does not increase the national debt to be over 70% of Gross Domestic Product. So the Minister must then come when such a loan agreement is before this august House for ratification - he must show the impact on the borrowing limit in Section 11 of the Public Debt Management Act. So he must show it does not impact on the ratios.
At the present moment, our debt ratio is already 112% of GDP. We are already over by 50%. For Parliament to have a proper debate, the Minister must show that this loan does not infringe Section 11 of the Public Debt Management Act. He must show that the USD15 million does not push the aggregate limit imposed by this Parliament of 70%. In my submission, we are already on 112%. So, the honor is on him to show that this debt fits in with the debt limits prescribed by the Public Debt Management Act. This is so because we are already saddled with unsustainable sovereign debt.
Only last week, we had high powered structured debt meeting in Zimbabwe led by President Chisano of Mozambique, Cde Adesina of the African Development Bank (AFDB), so, the Minister must show the impact of this debt on that process. The only way he can show is how it impacts on the aggregate debt limit spelt out in Section 11 of the Public Debt Management Act.
Therefore, in the absence of those aggregate figures, I submit that this debate is premature but in principle, we have no problem with this loan. We support our farmers, I am a farmer myself, we support this but let us comply with the law and most importantly, let us not be reduced to a begging nation. We used to be a breadbasket, reduced to a begging basket, it is not good enough. I thank you.
HON. MUSHORIWA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. Firstly, I need to re-state what Hon. Biti has said, USD15m loan is not a figure that as a country we should be borrowing.
Primarily, as a nation, we are a country that has got the capacity to generate sufficient resources to finance our farmers. If you look at the presentation by the Hon. Minister, he advised this august House that the intention of borrowing USD15 million was to support the poor farmers in the five provinces that he has mentioned. The only provinces that were excluded is Manicaland, Masvingo, Matabeleland South, the south axis was removed from benefiting from this scheme.
However, if you do a mathematical analysis of the quantum, the USD15 million, if you look on the five provinces, you want to say possibly we have got a minimum of 3 million of poor farmers in those five provinces. So, if you divide 3 million into 15 million, it means each farmer is likely to get USD5. This is the reason why we are simply saying this amount of money is too little.
Worse still, the Hon. Minister here was telling us that they have actually set some committees within the Ministry to run this project. You cannot, with all due respect, create several committees to just oversee this small amount.
I have real challenges and real problems in the manner in which the Government is financing agriculture. You know Mr. Speaker Sir, that in this august House, the same Hon. Minister brought a Financial Adjustment Bill of more than USD10 billion and that Bill lapsed; they never brought it back to Parliament. Not only that, they also brought another Bill, ZWL160 billion and then it lapsed. Then Mr. Speaker Sir, how do you run the country when Treasury itself cannot follow the Constitution or follow the prescription of the Public Finance Management principles as enshrined in Chapter 17 of the Constitution or even the Public Finance Management Act.
Mr. Speaker Sir, we know that there is Pfumvudza, the Presidential Scheme but if you check the manner in which all those schemes are being run, it leaves a lot to be desired. You know that even the provision of inputs to those beneficiaries of Pfumvudza, some of them got Compound D fertilizer very late, some are now receiving the top as we are speaking. The method that we are using in terms of financing agriculture does not take this country forward and this is the reason that I find it so difficult that the Hon. Minister and I can understand why the Hon. Minister, when he started his presentation, he appeared hesitant, he was not that confident. I think it speaks to the quantum of the amount but more importantly, I think we are not doing sufficient when it comes to our agricultural sector, the financing model. I just pray, because this is USD15 million, it may not look huge and one would actually be forgiven to simply say let us just let it pass but the question that Hon. Biti raised, you need to read this figure in conjunction with the debt position of Zimbabwe. We are over indebted and I think the Hon. Minister understands that and we cannot continue as a country to borrow. It does not matter whether we borrow a small quantum.
Lastly in this loan amount, there is no provision for the Hon. Minister to then come and I think we need to have an undertaking that we need to have probably a yearly report for the next three years, on the performance of this loan. We are not just interested in terms of then repayment bi-annually as he was saying on 15 May and 15 August or November, we are also interested to then say, if you had borrowed the 15 million and you have said that you want to utilise this money for this project. We need an annual performance appraisal so that at least we see whether there is real basis of continuously getting these loans. I thank you.
HON. MADZIMURE: Thank you Mr. Speaker. I am happy that the Minister responsible for monitoring and evaluation is here, mukoma vangu. I want to understand the relationship that exists between those who will be administering the loan and those who are responsible for monitoring and evaluating the performance of Government projects. What lacks Mr. Speaker is an understanding that for any loan to perform, it must be anchored on research and you actually have evidence that this is precisely what you want the loan to do.
Mr. Speaker, unless you have roughly those targeted people in those five provinces and how they are living today; you will not be able to measure the performance or the impact that the USD15million is going to make. If you know the targeted population, you would then know that the USD15milion is too little for it to impact on the living standards of those people.
So Mr. Speaker, when we borrow, like in any business, you must borrow for a specific reason and within the shortest period of time you must be able to start observing some changes in the lives of the people whom you intended to help. So Mr. Speaker, we can celebrate that we now have a loan or money available but because of the quantum of the loan, it makes it so easy for the loan to do almost nothing. The Ministry of Finance and Economic Development must be in the habit of continuously coming back to this House and report on the performance of these loans. The loans may appear to be affordable in terms of repayment but they can only be affordable if we have specific targets or key result areas of their performance.
In most cases, people eventually completely forget about this loan until it is time to repay. The loan comes and we start paying without any reference to the performance of the loan. So Mr. Speaker, I would want the Hon. Minister to assure this House that his office will continuously return to the same House that authorised the borrowing to report on progress as far as the performance of the loan is concerned and to have evidence of people who will say, ‘this is the programme that transformed our lives.’ I thank you.
THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (HON. CHIDUWA): Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. The submission by Hon. Nduna; he applauded the position taken by the Government to secure the loan from the OPEC Fund for International Development (OFID) to support our small holder farmers. I think this is very critical for us as a country.
Why? Because if you check our NDS1, one of the critical pillars is the pillar on food and nutrition security and on growth and stability again; this is also going to add to our GDP. So I think the submission by Hon. Nduna is well taken and aids our realisation of NDS1 and Vision 2030.
Then the submission by Hon. Biti, he is saying our country has got a GDP of around USD18 billion and surely we should not borrow such a small amount. I think what I would want to bring to the attention of Hon. Members; which as a country we should not take for granted, I know the moment we mention the issue of sanctions, people think this is a small issue. The country is under sanctions and we have limitations in terms of what we can do as a country. The Hon. Member mentioned that we are burdened; we have a hamstrung that is over us because of our arrears and level of debt that is around USD17.6 billion and with that, we are also struggling to service that debt as a country.
So the issue of the USD15million, we need not to take it in isolation. If Hon. Members recall, last year I came to this august House with a similar request for a ratification of the loan agreement between the Government of Zimbabwe and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD). The IFAD is around USD35.7million and the USD15million. So, the IFAD and OFID are co-financing. Then we have a contribution that is coming from the Government of Zimbabwe, the private sector and farmers; if we take everything in totality, it would be around USD67million but we also need to take into account that the loan is not going to individual farmers.
I said that this is a Smallholder Agriculture Cluster Programme (SACP) where we are taking farmers, bring them together as a cluster and then develop them around an irrigation scheme. This, I think we also need to take note that we are not targeting individual farmers but these are clusters. So if we take the IFAD and the OFID, the USD35.7million that was ratified by Parliament last year, bring in the USD15million then I think this is where we can again comment on whether it is too small or not. I think for us as a country that is under sanctions, USD15million is not a small figure and we need it as long as it is going to develop our farmers.
Then the other issue is on the need for us to be compliant. This is very critical, which is coming from the Hon. Member. Again, I bring the same issues where he says, why are we in the situation that we are in? The Hon. Member mentioned something very critical to say, we need to work together as a nation. I think the situation that we are in, part of it is because at some point we were not working together as a nation. I think if we continue working together as a nation, this is going to assist us. This loan is very important to us. I would implore Parliament to ratify it also because Parliament ratified the other component of USD35.7 million. So, there is co-financing. The moment the other 15 million is not ratified, then it means the other 35.7 million will then fall off. I think it will be a dis-service for Parliament not to support our small holder farmers.
Hon. Mushoriwa raised more or less same points as presented by Hon. Biti to say we have got the capacity to borrow but why is it that we are borrowing such small amounts. I think I have mentioned to say our issue is, we are hamstrung with sanctions and we are also developing our capacity as a country that is under sanctions. He mentioned that why is it that the loan agreement is just covering five provinces – it is not like that. If you check, Parliament again ratified a loan agreement under OFID and Small Holder Irrigation Revitalisation Programme (SIRP) – that loan agreement covered Matabeleland South, Masvingo, Midlands and Manicaland. Now, we are also saying given that Parliament is going to ratify this one; it means we are then going to cover all the provinces but the SIRP covered the other provinces where Hon. Mushoriwa said we seem to be excluding them - so all the provinces are covered.
Why are we having committees – if you check the provisions of the loan agreements, it is a requirement that we should have committees. We were trying to be compliant to the conditions as set by OFID and IFAD.
The Hon. Member also mentioned the issue of late disbursements especially on inputs. This may not relate directly to the ratification but I would want to mention that on late disbursement; it is the disturbance that happened in the fertiliser supply chains. We had to import some of the components of the fertiliser that we are using here in Zimbabwe; because of the war that is in Russia and Ukraine, this is also what can be attributed to the slow supply chain movement. The other issue is for us to be able to balance our cash flows. We have mentioned that as Government we are running a cash budget and we only release funds on condition that those funds are there. When they are not there, there is nothing that we can do. It is a combination of all that. I think the Hon. Member understands that. The system does not take the country forward.
At the moment, following our Vision 2030, we have said we want our economy to be private sector led and one issue that we are grappled with, with regards to the financing model for agriculture is to ensure that we cloud in private sector investment. It is true that we may not have a sustainable system where the Government will continue to pay for grain and all that. We have said going forward; we would want the private sector to be part of the whole supply chain process. We continue to improve on the funding models and we continue to look at it. I am sure as stakeholders; we will continue to also take into account your submissions.
The Hon. Member also said that there is need for the Ministry of Finance together with the Ministry of Lands to come and report on the performance of the loan agreement from time to time. I think this is fairly in order. You are playing the oversight role and it is fairly in order for Ministry of Finance to come to the august House to report on the performance, not only of this loan but other loans as well.
Hon. Madzimure linked the presence of the Hon. Minister who is responsible for monitoring and evaluation to say to what extend do you monitor the administration of these loans. I do not know Hon. Speaker if you are going to give the Hon. Minister a chance to also explain himself as asked by Hon. Madzimure. The loan is too small. For now the loan of US$15 million for us is not too small – it is a very significant amount which I think is going to make a difference to our farmers and people who are living in the rural communities. I think it is important for the Hon. Members to look at the targeting which has been done. We were informed by the ZIMVAC report. This report gives us the poverty map to say these are the areas that are vulnerable and there is need for us to come up with targeted programmes and this is what we are doing as Treasury and as Government. I think this loan is going to make a difference.
As I have said, there is need for us to know that there is co-financing. The US$15 million is part of the US$35.7 million which was ratified by Parliament last year. We can only move forward if the missing component which is the US$15 million being offered by OFID has been ratified by Parliament.
Hon. Speaker Sir, I now move that this agreement be approved.
Motion put and agreed to.
BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
HON. T. MOYO: I move that Orders of the Day, Numbers 2 to 5 on the Order Paper be stood over until Order of the Day, Number 6 has been disposed of.
HON. L. SIBANDA: I second.
Motion put and agreed to.
INSURANCE AND PENSIONS COMMISSION AMENDMENT BILL [H. B. 6, 2021]
THE ACTING SPEAKER: Hon. Members, it would appear Mr. Speaker is all by himself. We do not have anybody who can take the chairmanship position. I am sorry. We can defer it until such time we will be two of us in the House or maybe it will be deferred until tomorrow.
HON. NDUNA: I move that Committee Stage be deferred to tomorrow.
HON. L. SIBANDA: I second.
Motion put and agreed to.
Committee to resume: Wednesday, 8th March, 2023.
BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
HON. NDUNA: Mr. Speaker Sir, I move that Orders of the Day, Numbers 7 to 23 on today’s Order Paper be stood over until Order of the Day, Number 24 has been disposed of.
HON. L. SIBANDA: I second.
Motion put and agreed to.
REPORT OF THE BILATERAL VISIT TO INDIA
Twenty-Fourth Order read: Adjourned debate on motion on the Delegation of the Bilateral Visit to India from 5th to 12th December, 2022.
Question again proposed.
HON. SHAMU: Mr. Speaker Sir, I rise to thank all the Hon. Members who contributed to this very important motion. May I also take this opportunity Mr. Speaker Sir, to thank the Department of ICT of Parliament for having been able to show the interview of the Hon. Speaker when he was in India. On that note, Mr. Speaker Sir, I do move that the motion be now adopted:
Motion that this House takes note of the Delegation Report of the Bilateral Visit to India led by Hon. Advocate Jacob Francis Nzwidamilimo Mudenda, Speaker of Parliament from 5th to 12th December, 2022 put and agreed to.
BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
HON. NDUNA: Mr. Speaker Sir, I move that we revert to Order of the Day, Number 23.
HON. L. SIBANDA: I second.
Motion put and agreed to.
REPORT OF THE PUBLIC ACCOUNTS COMMITTEE ON NON-COMPLIANCE TO THE SUBMISSION OF FINANCIAL STATEMENTS TO THE AUDITOR-GENERAL
Twenty-Third Order read: Adjourned debate on motion on the Report of the Public Accounts Committee on non-compliance with regards to the submission of financial statements to the Auditor-General by some Local Authorities.
Question again proposed.
HON. NDUNA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. On the face of this report, it looks very innocent but deep inside, deep down, it is mired in a lot of controversy and a lot of town clerks and heads of departments in the local authorities are taking advantage of non-submission of their financials to the Auditor General’s Office to avert and avoid scrutiny. Having seen that, the 2019 Auditor-General’s Report, your sub-committee on Local Government, Public Accounts sought to understand how they could treat this matter once and for good.
Mr. Speaker Sir, the non-submission of financials to the Auditor-General’s Report speaks to the heart, the pith, the core of delinquent behaviour and the Criminal Law Codification and Reform Act is not silent about such behaviour. If at all, it does chastise such delinquent behaviour and there are a plethora of sections that are dotted around Sections 134 up to Section 176 of the Criminal Law Codification and Reform Act. Some of those sections speak to the heart of such behaviour which is criminal abuse of office.
Mr. Speaker Sir, if you hide these financials and you do not bring them out for audit, on the face of it, it looks very innocent, as though somebody is delayed in their workmanship but deep down inside, there is a lot of delinquent behaviour that speaks to naivety, arrogance and a lot of inconsistencies that is in the local authorities, that is championed by these town clerks and these officials The import or the extent of it is that there is financial haemorrhage that is bound to occur. For instance, 2019, about 59 local authorities did not submit financials for audit. Fast forward, 2020, there is about 69 and 2021, there are 78. It means Mr. Speaker Sir, as long as we do not crack the whip as the Committee and as Parliament, there is bound to be no support for the Auditor-General, who is an ex-officio member according to the Constitution. Her mandate is derived from Section 309 and Section 310. It speaks and talks to the appointing authority. His Excellency has appointed her to make sure that she cleans out the behaviour in the local authorities. So non-submission should be treated as criminal abuse of office. These people should be suspended from work, they should exit those places of placement not through natural attrition but via Chikurubi en route to their homes Mr. Speaker Sir. If they have farms, they should be taken away from them because these people want to plunder the resources of this nation through non-submission of these financials for audit by the Auditor-General. I have stood to support the issues and recommendations by the Committee in order that we bring this conduct to a screeching halt. Having said that, this report was for 2019 and we have since received the 2020 Auditor-General’s Report and 2021 Report on Local Authorities. I call Mr. Speaker Sir, if it pleases you, to wind up this report and request that it be adopted according to how it was presented. I thank you.
HON. MPARIWA: Hon. Speaker Sir, let me begin by thanking the Chairperson of the Committee for tabling this very important report in this august House and all the Members that have spoken to the report. Hon. Speaker, you will note that it is not the first report but I think many Public Accounts Reports have been tabled in this august House. My worry is that there is lack of implementation in terms of the recommendations. I hope and trust that since this report put emphasis on operations and service delivery, that we will be able to see some kind of implementation and some changes in the way the recommendations have been shared within the ministry. I hope and trust that will also improve in terms of the style and work and approach in the local authorities. Hon. Speaker Sir, when you talk local authorities you are talking about people and focusing on service delivery and I only hope that the responsible Ministry will be able to monitor the implementation in terms of those local authorities that have been mentioned in this report. I think he has to move it procedurally so I can second the adoption of the report. I thank you.
THE ACTING SPEAKER: Thank you very much Hon. Mpariwa. Unfortunately, I cannot break the procedure. It must be the mover of the motion who should move for adoption. However, we still have other Hon. Members on virtual who would want to debate.
(v) HON. NYOKANHETE: [Part of Speech not recorded due to Technical Fault] - Otherwise they viewed the reasons why these local authorities are just failing to do what is normal, to submit the financial reports. I have realised that these local authorities which are failing are just doing it and they continue to do it because it seems there are no stiff penalties which are charged to the accounting officers. This is now causing serious problems because they now act as if it is a normal thing. Non-submission of financial statements can have serious repercussions.
The first problem is fraud, which can happen and never be investigated. The fraudsters can even get to the point of resigning without this fraud being detected. So that is the problem we can encounter, especially when these accounting officers fail to submit the financial statements and also they can retire or die before any audit has been done. So it can work to their advantage but it can disadvantage the public and residents who are always contributing funds, especially to the councils. So I call for stiffer penalties to be meted on those accounting officers who are failing to submit the financial statements for auditing. This is a very serious offense.
Those who have submitted their financials but have some negative reports are doing something as compared to those accounting officers who are failing even to submit the financial statements. These are the greatest offenders who need to be dealt with and there is need for stiffer penalties, especially for those who fail to submit their financials. I am also an accountant by profession before I became a politician. Sometimes if you look closely, the unscrupulous accounting officers can hide financial statements so they need those stiff penalties to enforce submission of their financials. I thank you Hon. Speaker Sir.
HON. T. MOYO: I move that the debate do now adjourn.
HON. L. SIBANDA: I second.
Motion put and agreed to.
Debate to resume: Wednesday, 8th March, 2023.
BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
HON. T. MOYO: I move that we dispose of Order of the Day Number 26.
HON. L. SIBANDA: I second.
Motion put and agreed to.
REPORT OF THE PUBLIC ACCOUNTS COMMITTEE ON THE ANALYSIS OF THE AUDITOR GENERAL’S 2020 REPORT OF THE HARARE CITY COUNCIL
Twenty Sixth Order read: Adjourned debate on motion on the Report of the Public Accounts Committee on the analysis of the Auditor General’s 2020 Report of the Harare City Council.
Question again proposed.
HON. T. MOYO: I move that the debate do now adjourn.
HON. L. SIBANDA: I second.
Motion put and agreed to.
Debate to resume: Wednesday, 8th March, 2023.
BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
HON. T. MOYO: I move that Orders of the Day, Numbers 2 to 11 be stood over, until Order of the Day Number 12 has been disposed of.
HON. L. SIBANDA: I second.
Motion put and agreed to.
PRESIDENTIAL SPEECH: DEBATE ON ADDRESS
Twelfth Order read: Adjourned debate on motion in reply to the Presidential Speech.
Question again proposed.
HON. MAKOPE: Thank you very much Mr. Speaker for giving me this opportunity to debate on the SONA. The President presented on the issue of the Pfumvudza inputs and I want to touch on that aspect. I want to applaud the Government’s efforts in the provision of agricultural inputs. Farmers for the Pfumvudza projects; at its inception, many farmers were very reluctant to join this programme as they could not believe that agriculture can be successful without ox-drawn ploughs. However, through the continued and determined lectures from the agricultural extension workers, many farmers are now in full swing, implementing Pfumvudza farming technology. I kindly request the concerned Ministry to avail seed in time such that our farmers can catch up with the season.
I also thank the Second Republic for a job well-done relating to the Harare–Beitbridge Road which cuts through Mwenezi East Constituency, the constituency that I represent. The road construction exercise has seen the employment of a number of local youths who have been unemployed for long. Within the constituency itself, the Ministry of Transport, through the Emergency Road Rehabilitation Programme has been tirelessly working on road rehabilitation that has seen a fairly improved road system. The Ministry of Transport is already working on the Rutenga–Zvishavane Road. This road will accentuate development in my constituency owing to the reduction of the distance for transportation of platinum and other goods from Midlands as this will shorten the road linking the Midlands and the Harare–Beitbridge Road.
However, there is Mapi–Neshuro Road, commonly known as Tempee, which is a core-link road from Mwenezi District Growth Point which is Neshuro. It is just 12 km from Beitbridge Highway and this road is crucial since it links the highway to the district hospital at Neshuro Growth Point. This is a district hub which has a number of essential service offices for the district. If this road is worked on, even with low cost surfacing, this will forever remain on the hearts of the people of Mwenezi. They will be forever grateful for such a stride from which Government of the people can assist. Hon. Speaker, I want to say the Mapi Road can also be among those emotional projects in our country. The people of Mwenezi have been expecting a lot from our Government to look at that road seriously.
We also appeal to our esteemed Government to rehabilitate or resuscitate the passenger train. We used to have our Bulawayo to Chiredzi passenger train. That train used to connect all the centres from Garare, Sarahowe and Rutenga up to Chiredzi, assisting our people in the constituency. I think the Government can look into that and resuscitate those services to our people. I also want to appeal to our Government to introduce the ZUPCO buses into the rural communities.
Mwenezi wants to commend Government for the erection of Tugwi-Murkosi Dam, one of the largest inland water bodies in Zimbabwe. The 2014 Tugwi-Murkosi national disaster which displaced thousands of people significantly increased the number of people in Ward 13 under Mwenezi East Constituency. This dam has affected the macro-economic conditions of Mwenezi and has seen an improved pattern of the precipitation received. This dam saw relocation of 30 040 households from Chivi to Chingwizi, which is Mwenezi although as of now the number of households has risen to 30 060. This has seen an increase in population numbers for Mwenezi East Constituency and has increased the strain on the available social services and amenities. Hon. Speaker, I want to make it clear that if these issues are addressed then the people of Mwenezi will embrace any future infrastructural development programme knowing Government definitely takes care of its own.
As a constituency, we visited Bubi-Lupane irrigation scheme in Matabeleland North, where Vision 2030 accelerator model type of agriculture is being implemented and has improved the conditions of the people of Lupane. We also learnt a lot as it was a look and learn visit of the people of Mwenezi. We also appeal to our Government to address the relocation of the people of Mwenezi or the irrigation schemes in Mwenezi, looking at that particular model we have seen in Bubi-Lupane.
At the moment we want to appreciate what is being done by the Ministry of Lands. They are already on the ground re-organising the people of Chingwizi but my appeal is to expedite the process so that our people can erect permanent structures in Chingwizi. The people of Mwenezi always thank the Government for the indigenisation policy, which saw the Land Distribution Programme; Mwenezi is one of the beneficiaries of this exercise. A lot of agricultural activities are taking place in these resettlement areas. However, there are still a lot of things that Government need to take care of.
We want to thank Government because through the devolution funds, a clinic is being erected at Petronella, one of the resettlement areas. Classroom blocks have been built in most of the resettlement areas from the devolutions funds but there is still need for the official registration of the schools as many are still recognised as satellite schools, 22 years after their establishment. If they are officially registered, it will be a positive spin-off that they can manage their affairs independent of their mother schools and increase the pace for development. This will go a long way in ensuring that this need is catered for. The bureaucracy in re-pegging and registration of schools should be reduced such that these satellite schools can be pegged and assist the people in resettlement areas.
We also have the Ministry of Women’s Affairs which has been very instrumental in its mandate for women empowerment, in conjunction with its sister ministries, the Ministry of Small and Medium Enterprises and Ministry of Youth. This has seen a number of women venturing into businesses and there has been a marked reduction in domestic violence cases. Various programmes have been launched through the initiatives of the First Lady, Dr. Auxillia Mnangagwa. Women have been trained in making detergents, cakes and tailoring. Government also, through the Women’s bank has provided a platform for the disbursement of financial loans to women.
However, there is a concern among the beneficiaries that the loans would work better if they are in hard cash and not local currency since most suppliers opt for the hard cash. The other issue is that the loans seem to be long in their processing and this frustrates the beneficiaries. Mwenezi Rural District Council joined hands with the Ministry of Women’s Affairs and made arrangement for about 400 women to sell their wares, which is a very positive development in the Government’s women empowerment programme in Rutenga.
Mr. Speaker Sir, employment prospects have been diminished due to the closure of mines in Zvishavane and Chiredzi. Residents in this community have instead turned to small scale and artisanal mining in Mwenezi. Mwenezi has been mainly alluvial but there are reports of mineral reserves and it is our wish as a constituency to have these reserves prospected and made open for artisanal miners. This is instrumental in nipping in the bud the problem of employment that has seen the greater chunk of our economic activity group migrating to neighbouring South Africa, Namibia and Botswana to look for menial jobs. Youth capacity building is pre-requisite to ensure that we retain the skilled experts of our constituents. All interventions by Government and its partners should be in consultation with the youth so that they will partake in projects.
Mwenezi East wants to applaud Government for adhering to its funding principle of placing emphasis on innovation to achieve rural industrialisation. The Marula Processing Plant situated at Rutenga Growth Point, the first of its own kind, spearheaded by the National Bio-tech Authority and Masvingo Poly-Technical College, is a testimony that Government is committed to economic development. It was commissioned by His Excellency in 2021. This has seen transformation of people’s lives. It also made Rutenga a potential industrial hub, which would see an agglomeration of other industries, most conveniently since Government approved the dry port concept. The plant created employment for youths. They employed around 230 youths. The community was collecting the marula fruits and selling it to the plant at USD5 per 50 kg of the premium quality of the fruit.
Wards 13, 14 and 18 were the major suppliers of marula fruit since this project’s inception. This has improved the lives of families and also provided them with foreign currency since payment of the fruit was pegged at USD per 50 kg. Plans are underway to expand the project with 100 hectares of land already identified. This project has a potential of turning Mwenezi East into one of the producers of finest liquor in Zimbabwe and even beyond borders. It is endowed with indigenous trees, mupfura from where the marula fruits are derived. The tree is ubiquitous in the whole of Mwenezi and the potential benefits for every family are huge. There is need though for the transportation matrix of the mapfura/marula to be sorted out for every benefit. The indigenous knowledge system of Mwenezi is now being used for financial benefit, a huge concept for the new curriculum.
Mr. Speaker Sir, owing to low rainfall amounts in Mwenezi East has serious water woes. Since my inception as a Member of Parliament in 2022, we have managed to facilitate rehabilitation of 24 boreholes. Three drilled boreholes catered for communities with serious water problems. We also thank the Government for the provision of CDF since we managed to rehabilitate Machena Dam in Ward 13. Government could also facilitate the drilling of more boreholes. This will improve the livelihood of communities because water is important for domestic use in agriculture.
Mr. Speaker Sir, it is also very plausible for me to mention the need for a viable communication network. Most of the areas have poor network, henceforth, I make the call for the need to erect more network boosters to ensure that every corner is covered. There are health facilities in schools with no reliable cellphone network which is very dangerous considering the importance of these facilities in this day and age.
Under the health sector Mr. Speaker Sir, my constituency has a fair number of clinics although there is need for more to serve some communities who walk long distances to seek health services. It is necessary to have clinics in Ward 5 at Sarahuru, Ward 4 at Pambe and Ward 13 at Ponora, Mufula, Pambe and Murowa. Currently, Mwenezi East Constituency is serviced by nine clinics which are Neshuro, Dine and others. We have Neshuro Hospital and Matibi Hospital.
Neshuro district is the hub of all these other health facilities and there are major setbacks that they have been derailing health delivery including the need for a tarred road leaving the hospital to the highway. The Government should put in place measures to enable ambulances at the district offices to attend emergencies within the district. People have lost lives owing to fuel scarcity for ambulances and numerous breakdowns. There is also need for improved drug supplies at the existing health centres.
Mwenezi East Constituency, Hon. Speaker, has benefited from the Rural Electrification Programme. However, 66% of Mwenezi still needs electricity especially in schools since the Government has embraced information and technology. Schools in Ward 4 like Hebron High and Ruzobwe Primary need electricity for convenience as well as teaching and learning to bridge the gap between the rural scholar and the urban scholar.
Electrification programme as initiated by Government should continue. I want to applaud our esteemed Government that recently, Chief Murobe’s homestead in Chimbudzi Township and Piccinini Jawanda Irrigation Schemes have been connected courtesy of Government initiatives. We have the small and medium enterprises chamber in Mwenezi who arranged a market for selected places like Chimbudzi, Mushava, Turn P, Lundi, Marirangwe and Neshuro to sell their farm produce and other goods.
This has lessened the burden on the locals since they do not have to travel to the growth point or even towns since some of the merchants will be as far as Harare and Chiredzi. These market places which are called Barcosis, as the locals call them, have improved the lives of communities and they gather on predetermined dates and people walk to these places to buy and sell. It is my hope that Government will assist these merchants by providing permanent infrastructure at such places so that their goods will not be affected by bad weather. At the same time this will enable council also to collect tax to be used for other developments.
Let me also commend the Government, Mr. Speaker, for the training skills it is giving to our youths such as in irrigation, building and other skills. The Ministry of Youth, Sport, Arts and Recreation is also commended for committing to the construction of Petronella Clinic with Youth Voluntary. Mwenezi East also has an abundance of youths talented in arts and craft as demonstrated by the fact that some went to an arts and exhibitions fair in Victoria Falls on 11th October, 2022.
The Ministry of Women’s Affairs, Community, Small and Medium Enterprises has also been promoting a localised bank system where groups of women put their money together, lend to others and earn interest. Those that borrow the funds have managed to expand and start their businesses. There are also women’s groups that have been created and they are given loans from the Women’s Bank. So far three groups have been formed at Rutenga, Guramatunhu and Neshuro.
Mr. Speaker Sir, I would like to applaud the DDF for gully reclamation and other developments which they are undertaking in the constituency. Currently, they have been managing and rehabilitating the Chingami Bridge. We want to thank Government for those developments under DDF. Mr. Speaker Sir as a former teaching practitioner I would be remiss if I do not address…
HON. T. MOYO: Hon. Speaker, I move that the Hon. Member be given an additional five more minutes.
HON. L. SIBANDA: I second.
Motion put and agreed to.
HON. MAKOPE: On the recruitment of teachers Hon. Speaker, I make a passionate appeal on our Government to recruit local teachers where necessary especially for primary education which in some cases requires those with knowledge of local languages. This is especially true for those communities where minority languages like Shangani, Chikalanga and Venda are spoken. The major problem we are facing on that front as a district is that teachers, those whose home areas are far, simply assume duty and start asking for permission to transfer back to their homes. That means we almost always do not have experienced teachers in many schools in our areas.
Mr. Speaker Sir, I want to thank you so much for giving me this opportunity to comment on the State of the Nation Address given by the President giving more reference to my constituency which is Mwenezi East. One of the largest constituencies in Masvingo Province with many challenges which I think Government can also look at considering that the largest part of my constituency is a rural resettlement area where water, transport and other social amenities need to be addressed. I thank you.
HON. T. MOYO: Mr. Speaker Sir, I move that the debate do now adjourn.
HON. MAHLANGU: I second.
Motion put and agreed to.
Debate to resume: Wednesday, 8th March, 2023.
On the motion of HON. NDUNA seconded by HON. L. SIBANDA, the House adjourned at Seventeen Minutes past Four o’clock p.m.
PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE
Wednesday, 1st March, 2023
The National Assembly met at a Quarter-past Two o’clock p.m.
(THE HON. SPEAKER in the Chair)
ANNOUNCEMENT BY THE HON. SPEAKER
APOLOGIES RECEIVED FROM MINISTERS
THE HON. SPEAKER: I have received apologies from the Executive: Hon. General Rtd. Dr. C.G.D.N. Chiwenga, Vice President and Minister of Health and Child Care, Hon. O. C. Z. Muchinguri-Kashiri, Minister of Defence and War Veterans Affairs, Hon. Sen .M. Mutsvangwa, Minister of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services; Hon. Dr. E. Ndlovu, Minister of Primary and Secondary Education; Hon. E. Moyo, Deputy Minister of Primary and Secondary Education; Hon. J. Moyo, Minister of Local Government and Public Works; Hon. Prof. M. Ncube, Minister of Finance and Economic Development; Hon. Muswere, Minister of ICT, Postal and Courier Services; Hon. Phuti, Deputy Minister of ICT, Postal and Courier Services and Hon. Garwe, Minister of National Housing and Social Amenities.
ORAL ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS WITHOUT NOTICE
HON. NDUNA: My question is directed to the Minister of Energy and Power Development. When are the debilitating power cuts going to end and what is Government Policy during this period in provision of power to critical infrastructure like hospitals and water treatment plants?
THE MINISTER OF ENERGY AND POWER DEVELOPMENT (HON SODA): Thank you Hon. Member for raising such a pertinent matter of concern, not only to this House but to the whole country regarding when we shall see the current load shedding coming to an end.
There are a lot of efforts that are being made to that regard with the intention that we will have energy self-sufficiency in the country. You might be aware that in 2018, the Government embarked on the expansion of Hwange Power Station with the intention of adding to the grid 600 megawatts which is currently being worked on. One of the units will be coming on line soon. In the meeting that we held just recently with ZESA, they have now confirmed that Unit 7 shall be tied to the grid on the 16th of March. The second unit which is Unit 8, they are still working on and will be coming in a month later to give us the 600 megawatts. I am aware that people would have wanted this project to be completed early but this is the gestation of power stations, especially power stations when they are being constructed. We could not achieve that earlier than the gestation or lead time which was provided for the project but we now have a concrete date that by the 16th of March – according to ZESA; 300 megawatts will start to be fed into the grid.
I think this week we noticed that there was a depressed power supply situation which was occasioned by an unfortunate outage of Hwange where we lost three units successively from the 23rd and 24th of February. Shortly before we lost those three units, Hwange was sending to the grid around 440 megawatts and we came down to 77 megawatts. This is as a result of the age of the equipment which we have always spoken about. The power station was constructed between 1983 and 1986 and the equipment is now due for replacement. The Government has taken an initiative through procurement of a loan facility which is currently being worked on by way of a detailed project report which has been concluded.
In December, the project management consultancy produced a report which now shows the scope of works that are supposed to be done for the six units that are currently in use at Hwange Power Station. The intention ultimately is to restore the six units to their original capacity, the installed capacity of 920 which will be achieved once the rehabilitation exercise has been conducted.
So these are some of the efforts which the Government has put in place to ensure that we achieve energy self sufficiency. We also have the private sector now participating as independent power producers. As we speak, we have a contribution of between 68 to 96 megawatts which are being fed into the grid from the private sector. You might be aware that there was no uptake from the private sector as a result of some perceived risks, especially on the issue of currency but in December, the Ministry of Finance made an announcement of the Government implementation agreement which will de-risk in the areas of the currencies and also on the issue of viability by the off-taker which is ZETDC. Therefore, that is another intervention and that will see acceleration in terms of development of projects by the private sectors that are now participating.
In December, we increased the level of imports to take, of reduced power supply which was occasioned by low water levels from Kariba. We increased on our imports; we used to be importing 300 megawatts which we increased to 500 megawatts, just to take care of the deficit which was created when production from Kariba was reduced. However, as we speak, our water levels at Kariba Dam have just started to increase - as of this morning, we were at 14% of the live net storage of Kariba Dam, which we think will inform the next review in terms of the water allocation which is supposed to happen in a fortnight. Our hope is that the allocations will be increased and that will also increase on the generation from Kariba.
With regards to Hwange Power Station which I said we lost three units, ZESA engineers are working round the clock to bring back the units. Obviously, if that happens we will be having a generation which should sustain the economy and the country between now until we have substantial…
HON. P. D. SIBANDA: On a point of order. Thank you Hon. Speaker. With all respect, I am quite sure that if the Hon. Minister intended to give a Ministerial Statement, he should have done so. This is no longer answering a question, he is basically doing what he was supposed to do before the question was given. So I propose Hon. Speaker that if the Hon. Minister wants to give a statement then let him do that but for now, let him attend to questions rather than giving a long-winding speech. I thank you.
THE HON. SPEAKER: Unfortunately, communication had not reached the Hon. Minster about the Ministerial Statement. I do not think his answer is long and winding; it is very pertinent and covers an issue that was raised that demanded a Ministerial Statement. I thought the response is quite comprehensive and I do not think the Hon. Minister is untoward in his response. Looking at his face, he was about to wind up his presentation.
HON. SODA: Thank you Mr. Speaker. I have responded to all the questions.
THE HON. SPEAKER: You must watch the British House of Commons in terms of etiquette. You do not shout to be recognised, you just stand up and you will be recognised. Can we stick to that etiquette?
HON. NDUNA: My supplementary will be included on the issue of provision of power to critical infrastructure such as hospitals and water treatment plants that was not answered.
However, I would want to know when he thinks the three units at Hwange will be back on stream because before they shut down, the power was…
THE HON. SPEAKER: Hon. Member, you are allowed to ask one supplementary question.
HON. SODA: It is Government policy that critical institutions like hospitals and water treatment plants are given priority, especially by way of providing dedicated power supply infrastructure to take care of those institutions including those facilities? Whenever we have shortage of power, those critical facilities must always be provided with electricity. So in case there might be a particular facility which went out on an outage, I would be glad to be advised so that we inform ZETDC to ensure that such facilities are not subjected to load shedding. Also, dedicated power supply infrastructure is constructed on those particular facilities to ensure that power is always available on the facilities. I thank you.
THE HON. SPEAKER: You indicate Hon. Minister that three units are being worked on and the timeline was not given.
HON. SODA: These are faults that are being attended and I am not able to give specific timelines to say the units will be back after two days or three days because usually when a unit comes out of the grid, they require time to cool the whole system before any maintenance can be undertaken but the timelines will be very difficult to give, given that they have to also ascertain the works that have to be done. Knowing how critical the situation is, they will try by all means to ensure that the units are brought back with urgency. I thank you.
HON. P. D. SIBANDA: Thank you Hon. Speaker. Hon. Minister, what is the anticipatory capacity of …
THE HON. SPEAKER: No, no, you address the Chair.
HON. P. D. SIBANDA: Thank you Hon. Speaker. Hon. Speaker, I want to find out from the Hon. Minister …
THE HON. SPEAKER: That is better.
HON. P. D. SIBANDA: The anticipatory capacity of ZESA of encountering faults such as the ones that the Hon. Minister indicated; looking at the fact that there was no pre-warning to the industry and the communities that there would be depleted power production in the country. I thank you.
HON. SODA: Thank you Mr. Speaker. The outage that happened at Hwange was a forced and unplanned one which I said is coming as a result of the age of the equipment being used for power generation. Inasmuch as the industry, including all other consumers, would have wanted to be warned, it is unfortunate because these outages are not planned. If it were a planned outage, for instance the annual maintenances; yes, warnings would have been sent by the power utility but it is unfortunate that it is not possible for now until we have dependable equipment like the expansion project that is currently being worked on. I thank you.
HON. DR. MASHAKADA: Thank you Hon. Speaker Sir. Through you Hon. Speaker Sir, I want to ask the Hon. Minister that, given the huge capital expenditure and the long gestation period required on thermal and hydro power generation, what is the Government policy on grids and green energy transition which is a low hanging fruit whilst the implementation of thermal and hydro projects is ongoing? Thank you.
HON. SODA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. Mr. Speaker, the Government has a whole policy that was launched in 2019 – the National Renewable Energy Policy. It articulates how we will transition from the use of fossil fuels to renewable energy. We have very good potential for generation in Zimbabwe from solar; also wind is being ascertained as to what potential can be harnessed from wind. We also have the bio-gas that is also being articulated from the same Renewable Energy Policy.
Mr. Speaker, the same policy comes with some incentives especially to the private sector knowing that Government alone cannot carry the load. The private sector has been invited to participate, especially in the area of power generation, which they can sell to the power utility as the off-taker or directly to consumers of their preference. So, we have a whole policy that speaks to how we shall transition to clean energy sources that are mostly renewable.
We are also exploring potential for gas to energy that can be done within the country, especially with the prospects of getting gas from Muzarabani. All that is being worked on Mr. Speaker Sir, as a way of diversifying our energy mix. I thank you.
HON. T. MLISWA: On a point of order Mr. Speaker Sir. The Hon. Minister was not asked about the Renewable Energy Policy, he was asked about the implementation…
THE HON. SPEAKER: Order, order! You do not argue that way, ask a supplementary question.
HON. T. MLISWA: Hon. Minister, can you tell this august House, how many megawatts have been achieved through the renewable energy projects that you are talking about?
HON. SODA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. Inasmuch as the question requires some research, I will provide the response. We have around 90 licenced investments on renewables of which 20 have been developed. The 20 are providing between 68 to 96 megawatts which is being supplied to the grid. I thank you.
HON. HOUGHTON: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. My supplementary question is that I was informed earlier this week that …
THE HON. SPEAKER: Order, order! Can we hear the Hon. Member!
HON. HOUGHTON: I was informed that three of the turbines at the Kariba South Power Station have failed now. Is there any truth in that? Thank you Sir.
HON. SODA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. Apparently, they are not three; there are four units that are not on service at Kariba Power Station. This is as a result of annual maintenance that is being undertaken.
The Zimbabwe Power Company (ZPC) has just taken advantage of the low water allocations that are being provided by the ZRA at Kariba. They are utilising that window to do their annual maintenance. Currently, we have four that are on service but they cannot also use them all given the water allocations. We have three that are ready and producing 350 megawatts and one is on standby which has not been dismantled but four have been dismantled for the purposes of annual maintenance. I thank you.
THE HON. SPEAKER: We have had four supplementary questions now, so we cannot have more than four supplementary questions.
HON. GONESE: On a point of order Mr. Speaker Sir.
THE HON. SPEAKER: A point of order when there is no debate, honestly!
HON. GONESE: It is not debate but it is a proposal Mr. Speaker, that since it is an issue which affects our nation, if the Hon. Minister could be asked to make a Ministerial Statement so that all issues relating to the generation of electricity to the challenges which are being faced by the industry can then be addressed. I thank you.
THE HON. SPEAKER: Thank you very much Hon. Gonese. My judgment tells me that the Hon. Minister has covered key issues and I do not think there is need for a Ministerial Statement.
+HON. NOWEDZA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. My question is directed to the Minister of Transport. In the past, the Cabinet discussed the construction of the Nkayi Airport. The people of Matabeleland are grateful to that upgrading. However, they have some expectations that the Bulawayo Road, for a long time has dilapidated...
+THE HON. SPEAKER: Hon. Member, kindly ask your question.
+HON. NOWEDZA: My question Mr. Speaker is when will this road be maintained since it is the one being used by all buses in the community?
*THE MINISTER OF TRANSPORT AND INFRASTRUCTURE DEVELOPMENT (HON. MHONA): I would like to thank Hon. Nowedza for the question that she has asked so that I will alert the whole House...
+THE HON. SPEAKER: When will you start to speak Ndebele?
*THE MINISTER OF TRANSPORT AND INFRASTRUCTURE DEVELOPMENT (HON. MHONA): Mr. Speaker Sir, in the short future, I will be responding in Ndebele. I am originally from Kalanga and Ndebele. I thank you. Mr. Speaker Sir, I am very happy for the question that she asked about Bulawayo-Nkayi Road that she said buses and vehicles cannot travel on that road. Honestly, contractors are now taking machinery to that area so that they proceed to rehabilitate and tar 15km of that road. By the time you come back to this House, you will be testifying that the work has started.
Going on the other route of Nkayi to -Victoria Falls, right now we are going after all the most dilapidated roads like Lupane- Victoria Falls. All the roads are now dilapidated. We are rehabilitating that road. If you see us selecting areas such as those between Bulawayo and Beitbridge, the aim of the Government is to ensure that those roads are rehabilitated like what we are doing on the Harare-Beitbridge and Harare-Chirundu Roads. Right now we are targeting the most destroyed roads. It is not only Matabeleland with bad roads. There is Gwanda-Maphisa also that needs rehabilitation. Thank you so much Mr. Speaker Sir.
+THE HON. SPEAKER: Hon. Nowedza, did you understand him clearly.
+HON. NOWEDZA: Yes Mr. Speaker Sir.
+THE HON. SPEAKER: Yaah, you have to teach him Ndebele – [AN HON. MEMBER: Inaudible interjection.] – Hon. Moloekela, this has to be discussed outside Parliament.
+HON. MATHE: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. My supplementary question is an additional question to what Hon. Nowedza has just asked. The Minister should explain to this House when the Bulawayo-Nkayi Road will be rehabilitated in respect to last year’s budget or it is now the 15km that the Minister has just alluded to as per this year’s budget? Let him clearly explain to the House.
THE HON. SPEAKER: Hon. Minister, in short, do you have sufficient budget?
*HON. MHONA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. My mother was Ndebele and I can understand Ndebele a bit. Thank you very much. I would like to thank His Excellency, the President Dr. E. D. Mnangagwa for the budget that we are using for the Emergency Road Rehabilitation Programme 2. That is the budget that we are using on rehabilitating the 15km and the budget is already there. I would like to thank you for the kilometres that I mentioned before. They are tallying with the budget that we have. We will not end there but we want to reach Nkayi. Those who know the Kwekwe-Nkayi-Lupane Road, we are also going to rehabilitate this road but we are going to use another budget from the partners working together with Government.
*HON. MLAMBO: My supplementary question to the Minister is that whenever they are mentioning about projects in this House, you will think that everything is in order. Last time I asked about the route from Chipinge going to Mt. Selinda through to the Mozambican Border. Up to now they have not done anything. We once had graders in place but they were removed and everything is now lying idle. In other areas they are rehabilitating. Honestly, when are they coming to rehabilitate the road which was damaged by Cyclone Idai?
*HON. MHONA: It is true what he mentioned that before we had a company which was contracted. I promised that I was going to chase that company away and contract a company which can work diligently. That company which was not operating well was removed. Next week I will be in Manicaland and I promise you will come and testify here that there will be a new company contracted to work on that same road.
*THE HON. SPEAKER: Order, yes we are allowed to laugh but you must laugh in a respectable manner, knowing that you are Hon. Members. Hon. Mlambo, you have to make sure that next week you meet the Hon. Minister concerning that road.
HON. MAHLANGU: My supplementary to the Minister is: he said the stretch from Bulawayo to Nkayi is 15 km - or maybe I misunderstood him because that road is in a sorry state and I think it is now more than 10 – 20 years that road being in that state and the tarred section is very short. So, if he says the road is 15 kilometres, it means it does not get to Nkayi Centre. Can the Minister also give us a timeline in which the road is going to be rehabilitated because I remember Hon. Mathe asking about the Nkayi Road and the Minister gave the same answer that they are in the process of doing that road and had already dispatched equipment to work on the road? Today again equipment has been dispatched to Nkayi. So, now we want a timeframe in which the road is going to be finished but to me, 15 km is too short considering the road is dilapidated.
HON. T. MLISWA: On a point of order!
THE HON. SPEAKER: No, no, before the Hon. Minister answers and you want a point of order?
HON. T. MLISWA: Yes.
THE HON. SPEAKER: On what basis?
HON. T. MLISWA: Mr. Speaker Sir, it seems these questions are becoming specific and I am also going to ask about Chibero Road to Ngezi when he is going to do it. It will result in every Member of Parliament asking about roads in their areas because we are all going towards elections and we want to do something - they seem to be specific questions. It is either the Minister comes. This is the Emergency Road Rehabilitation Programme and he can be asked to give an update on all of them through a Ministerial Statement because I also have roads which need to be fixed in my constituency, and so does everybody else. May we be holistic about this? Let the Minister come with an updated report on the roads that he said he would fix and the progress to date. That is all we need. From there we can interrogate further – [HON. R. NYATHI: Including Boterekwa.] – Boterekwa Road yekumusha kwedu uku yakaipa.
THE HON. SPEAKER: Hon. Minister, would you be happy to do that because what Hon. Mliswa is raising is correct. Every member from each constituency will start talking about their own roads, so it will be a bit clumsy. Questions must be more national than specific. If you want to ask specific questions, do so in writing.
HON. MHONA: Thank you Hon. Speaker for your usual guidance. I also want to thank Hon. Mliswa - I will do precisely that to apprise the august House on the current status quo of Emergency Roads Rehabilitation Programme.
(v)HON. MAFUTA: My question is direct to the Minister of Health. Bearing in mind that Government introduced devolution in 2013 and extended in 2018, what is Government’s policy on devolution of cancer treatment services to district hospitals?
THE MINISTER OF HIGHER AND TERTIARY EDUCATION, INNOVATION, SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY DEVELOPMENT (HON. PROF. MURWIRA): The Hon. Member is asking what Government policy is on the issue of devolution concerning decentralising cancer treatment to district hospitals. The policy is very clear. We would want to do treatment at the lowest possible unit. It is just then a function of resources but when it comes to policy and policy intentions, we want to be where the people are, which is at the lowest unit of Government presence in terms of health services.
HON. CHINYANGANYA: I want to thank the Hon. Minister for his response. What is Government doing to make sure that the policy is fulfilled because cancer has now become one of the killer diseases and as we speak, we do not have cancer machines even in the bigger hospitals. Can government ensure that those small clinics in rural areas or even provincial hospitals are equipped with cancer machines? I thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.
THE HON. SPEAKER: I thought the Hon. Minister was very clear on that. Resources are inadequate, that admission was made.
HON. CHINYANGANYA: Yes, the resources are inadequate but what is government doing? It should be pro-active Mr. Speaker Sir. I thank you.
THE HON. SPEAKER: Thank you, the question is on pro-activity.
HON. DR. MANGWIRO: Hon. Speaker, I would like to thank Hon. Chinyanganya for that supplementary question. If I was not clear at the beginning that our policy is to be everywhere, we follow our policy through budgetary allocations successively every year to ensure that our aspirations are met. As we speak, there is a lot of acquisition of equipment which is happening and every year it is according to availability of budget but action is taking place. Thank you Hon. Speaker Sir.
HON. WATSON: Thank you Hon. Speaker. It has been requested that the Minister of Health comes with a comprehensive statement on the state of the health delivery service in the public sector and I think it is long overdue. These questions should be answered because I do not think it only applies to cancer machines but I think the public health service delivery is collapsing. I thank you.
THE HON. SPEAKER: Hon. Minister, are you acquiescing to the request?
HON. DR. MANGWIRO: Yes Hon. Speaker, we agree to the request but with your permission Hon. Speaker, I do not endorse the statement that the health system is collapsing. Hon. Speaker, we are one of the most...
THE HON. SPEAKER: Just a minute, did someone say the government is collapsing?
HON. DR. MANGWIRO: Yes, she did.
THE HON. SPEAKER: Oh you said the health delivery system.
HON. DR. MANGWIRO: Hon. Speaker, we would be very happy to bring a statement but as I said I would not agree with the sentiments that the health system has collapsed. We have as we speak the lowest number of COVID-19 deaths and lowest figure of cholera deaths. That statement cannot be sustained by facts. -[HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible Interjections.]-
THE HON. SPEAKER: Hon. Minister, I think in your statement you will have to indicate that on the contrary we are hoping that the impression will be corrected accordingly.
HON. DR. MANGWIRO: Thank you Hon. Speaker, the topic sentence has already been done.
HON. T. MLISWA: On a point of order Hon. Speaker Sir. With all due respect, I think the issues of health are very sensitive. We are paying PSMAS as we speak but we cannot be treated. –[Laughter.]-
THE HON. SPEAKER: Hon. Molokela, I did say your laughter must be measured.
HON. T. MLISWA: Mr Speaker Sir, I think with due respect, the health delivery system is not performing well. We are all paying PSMAS and money is being deducted throughout the civil service but there is nowhere to go. All the PSMAS hospitals are closed.
THE HON. SPEAKER: Hon. Mliswa, you are making a pertinent statement. Why do you not wait for the ministerial statement and then you can debate accordingly.
HON. T. MLISWA: I think I should add to what should be addressed in the ministerial statement. Can the Minister also talk about why the PSMAS hospitals are closed yet people are paying PSMAS every month? What has government done to ensure that all of us who are sick can go to another hospital where we can be looked after because people are not getting the needed attention and they are dying? If he can include that especially the PSMAS issue which we are all beneficiaries of. I do not know why Members of Parliament were clapping yet you know that when we are sick we cannot fly but he is a Minister and he can fly out. We have to deal with hospitals here. So, I am actually ashamed that you are actually busy clapping when you know that you can die here without receiving treatment. The Ministers will be flown outside.
HON. MATHE: On a point of order.
THE HON. SPEAKER: Order, you cannot raise a point of order before I have responded. Procedure must be followed Hon. Mathe. The Hon. Minister, in his ministerial statement, should include the aspect that is being raised by Hon. Mliswa.
HON. DR. MANGWIRO: Thank you Hon. Speaker. We will do that.
+HON. MATHE: My point of order Mr. Speaker Sir is raised on a statement that the Mnister should clarify why the Ministry of Health and PSMAS are not performing well. So can he also give clarification on all the areas that are not performing due to sanctions because as a Parliament we cannot ignore the presence of the sanctions in this country and expect things to move smoothly? We cannot. May we have a statement in this Parliament on things that have been affected by sanctions and that are affecting the whole country and everyone? I thank you.
THE HON. SPEAKER: Hon. Mathe, you raised a point of order. Listen to what I am going to say. Hon. Minister, I am sure in your response or statement, you indicate the constraints.
HON. P. D. SIBANDA: My question is directed to the Hon. Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water, Climate and Rural Resettlement. I am not quite sure if he is in....
THE HON. SPEAKER: That is not your problem. Just ask your question.
HON. P. D. SIBANDA: Thank you Hon. Speaker. I will preface my question by commending the Ministry for starting fish farming projects throughout the country. However, my question is – what is the Ministry doing to ensure that the depletion of fish populations in these numerous national projects is curtailed so that there is continued production in that particular area?
THE HON. SPEAKER: Did you say ‘depletion’?
HON. P. D. SIBANDA: Indeed, Hon. Speaker.
THE HON. SPEAKER: You mean depletion, alright.
THE MINISTER OF HIGHER AND TERTIARY EDUCATION, INNOVATION, SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY DEVELOPMENT (HON. PROF. MURWIRA): I would like to thank Hon. Sibanda, first of all for the compliment on the fisheries programme that Government is rolling out throughout the country.
Coming to the issue of fish stocks, of course, Hon. Sibanda did not specify exactly where the fish stocks are being depleted. However, I have to point out that fish stocks have been going down in Kariba. This is both a national and international issue because we share Kariba with our neighbour Zambia. We will be working with our Zambian counterparts in making sure that we conserve the fish stocks by also restocking Kariba, especially when it comes to Kapenta because Kapenta used to have several tonnes of harvest from the 1990s but from the 1990s to now, it has been going down.
From a policy perspective, it is our policy to ensure sustainability so that we continue having the required fish. However, when it comes to areas where there is depletion like in Kariba, we will be working with our counterparts in making sure that we bring back the fish population and even begin to increase the fish population in Lake Kariba.
HON. P. D. SIBANDA: My supplementary question to the Hon. Minister is, in areas where fish stocks are depleting like Kariba where he has given an example, the Government agencies responsible for licencing of fishing business continue to increase licence fees whilst fishing stocks are depleting. What is, possibly this will require his colleague on his right; what is Government policy with regards to assisting the fishing business to remain thriving in areas where fishing stocks are depleting?
THE MINISTER OF ENVIRONMENT, CLIMATE CHANGE, TOURISM AND HOSPITALITY INDUSTRY (HON. S. NDLOVU): The first issue to acknowledge is that indeed our stock levels of fish are depleting. It has been happening for quite some time and the main reason has been overfishing but also the need to increase enforcement expenditure especially from fish poaching. I am sure that the Hon. Member is also aware that part of the strategies we have implemented is to introduce what we call moon light days where there are days where fishing is not allowed in the river. This has been successfully implemented on the Zimbabwean side to give time for our fish to reproduce. In a month, fishing takes place around 22 days. We have certain days that we allow for reproduction.
The underlying cause is that the capacity particularly in Kariba for fishing, combined for Zimbabwe and Zambia a total of around 500 fishing boats. Infact in total, Zimbabwe has an allocation of around 265 with Zambia around 235 depending on time to time assessments. As we speak, Zambia has more than 1300 fishing boats in there and Zimbabwe is close to 500. We have been taking measures to restrict issuance of new permits but also to increase the costs which the Hon. Member is asking so that we are able to meet the compliance cost.
Almost every night, we are out there looking for poachers and we are arresting them every night. For us to be able to protect that resource that is depleting, we need to continue to unlock resources. It is a painful period and I acknowledge especially for fish farming as a business at the moment but our understanding is, if we are able to conserve what is there, restock overtime, we will be able to increase profitability.
HON. P. D. SIBANDA: Hon. Speaker, I seek your indulgence. There is a part of my question that was not attended to.
At a time as this one when fish stocks have depleted, why should Government continue to charge fishing businesses the same exorbitant licencing fees instead of responding to the decline in the business.
HON. S. NDLOVU: I thought I had responded to the Hon. Member’s question in that it is mainly the cost associated with compliance; that is making sure that we deal with poaching issues that we have maintained our licencing. Our belief also is that the people in the fishing business will also realise that the depleting stocks are also a result of over fishing and poaching as we have been working with them. The institution charged with the mandate of dealing with poaching is National Parks and the resources they deploy to address poaching come from the fishing licences. That is why we cannot reduce otherwise it accelerates the rate of depletion that the Member is worried about. I thank you.
HON. NDUNA: Thank you Madam Speaker Maam. What is the Hon. Minister doing about speculators or people who take fishing licences for onward leasing to other people as opposed to utilizing them at the primary inception? Is there an audit process for the number of fishing licences that have been pushed out of the market in order to curtail the fishing that he has spoken to and about?
HON. M. NDLOVU): Thank you Madam Speaker Maam. We balance the need for our people in the fishing industry to remain in business with over regulation. When somebody has a fishing licence and they have operating constraints, and they need to have partnerships with people with fishing rigs, it is surely not for Government what one has to do with the fishing licence they have.
We have strict measures where people have licences and they are not able to utilise them, they have challenges in renewing them for sure, but if they can prove that they were able to operate, we are able to renew for them. So, it is not really for Government to prescribe who people will go into partnership with when they have the licences. There are some who have licences whose fishing rigs are malfunctioning and they have the latitude to work with those who have fishing rigs. I want to assume that is what the Hon. Member was speaking to.
HON. T. MLISWA: Hon. Minister, you clearly articulated that there are 265 licences given to Zimbabwe and 235 licences given to Zambia. So why are you exceeding that? Why have you allowed that to exceed to a thousand? Is that not corruption and why not cut it immediately because there is already a self regulatory system in the number of licences issued? Is that not the incompetency of your Ministry?
HON. M. NDLOVU: Thank you Madam Speaker. I want to thank the Hon. Member for his supplementary question. Maybe I did not give the proper context. We are now sitting at close to 500 permits coming down from 900, these were issued over time and we are committed to reduce. Where people will be committing offences that warrant termination of contracts we have been quick to do that. So we are coming down, it is an issue of concern that has been raised and it is a challenge we have had for 10 to 15 years. However, I am happy that we are on track in addressing it; we are working with our colleagues in Zambia. We have also reduced, at one point they were more than1 600 but they have come down to 1 300. It is work in progress; it is something that we will continue to work with Zambians.
It is a livelihood issue for communities there; it therefore causes a number of challenges for governments. On the Zimbabwean side, it is a national park area and on the Zambian side, it is a communal area. That is why it is taking much longer to have the issue addressed but I am happy that we are cooperating well with our counterparts in Zambia. I thank you.
HON. T. MLISWA: Madam Speaker, I am still battling that the Government has power. When there was imbalance in terms of the welfare of this country, this Government embarked on a fast track land reform. So why not do a fast track on cancelling these licences? The Land Reform Programme was fast tracked because there was an imbalance; Government could not allow people to continue suffering. Now, you are allowing fish to finish quickly. Why are you allowing fish to be fished when they are young because you need those to also breed? So the more people you are allowing to poach, the more they are killing the breed.
So how long can that programme go for? You said Zambia was 1500, now it is 1300 yet they are supposed to be giving 235 licences. Zimbabwe is down to 900 instead of 265, so the very same fish that you want to breed is being fished. It is a tourist attraction, there is tiger fish, those boat cruises, and it brings real money into the country. How do you attract tourists if you are not able to protect the fish?
HON. M. NDLOVU: I want to also assure the Hon. Member that the strategies we are putting in place both at reducing the number of fishing and making sure that we have breed bays for our fish has managed to save our dwindling numbers of fish. I am quite confident that in the next few years, our fishing stocks will be growing because of what we have started around three years ago which is already beginning to pay dividends.
+HON. MATHE: My question is directed to the Minister of Energy and Power Development. Every year a National Budget is presented that is supposed to cover electricity in the rural areas, schools and the urban centres but I am disappointed because we do not see electricity being supplied to the shopping centres in Nkayi. I want to know when you are going to provide electricity to these areas, especially the shopping centres in the rural areas.
THE DEPUTY MINISTER ENERGY AND POWER DEVELOPMENT (HON. MUDYIWA): Thank you Madam Speaker. I would like to thank the Hon. Member for her question. I can try to respond to the general part of the question but I think the Hon. Member will have to put the specific part in writing.
We have always said magetsi kumaruwa or amagetsi ekhaya! – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] - That is what we mean.
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order, order! May we have order please! – [HON. BITI: Tava kugeza nema buckets kunge Mbuya Nehanda!] –
HON. MUDYIWA: By that statement, we mean exactly that – we are there to provide electricity in the urban centres as well as the rural centres. The area that the Hon. Member mentioned needs a specific answer and that is why I asked her to put it in writing so that we respond with facts.
The Rural Electrification Agency (REA) is responsible for rural electrification. They have a minimal budget that has not been able to fund all their operations and that is why at times you find that they are failing to fulfill what they are supposed to do. We are trying, by all means, to make sure that they complete whatever they started annually – funds permitting. I think I have responded to the question. Thank you.
+HON. MATHE: Madam Speaker, since the Hon. Deputy Minister has responded. I respect the response that she has given to us; but because she said that she cannot provide a specific response that speaks to the issues in Nkayi, I wish for the Hon. Deputy Minister to go and research and give me a specific response that speaks to the issues that I raised on Nkayi specifically. Thank you.
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon. Mathe, please may you put your question in writing.
*HON. MPARIWA: I would like to thank Hon. Mathe for that good question on rural electrification. The Rural Electrification Agency (REA) is responsible for rural electrification. I was going to ask but now I have an appeal.
This is not a new question to REA and now, I would like to request the Hon. Minister to bring a Ministerial Statement stating the areas where they have supplied electricity because other areas have poles only. I heard the Hon. Deputy Minister saying REA does not have money but every time when we do the budget, REA has cash that they take because it is self-funding. I would like to request the Hon. Minister to bring a Ministerial Statement on the issue to do with REA because it helps with rural electrification but we cannot have electricity. I thank you.
*THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Thank you Hon. Mpariwa. I believe that the Minister of Energy and Power Development has understood everything and will bring a Ministerial Statement. I thank you.
+HON. BRG. GEN. (RTD.) MAYIHLOME: Thank you very much Madam Speaker Ma’am. I request to speak in Ndebele just for the day. My question is directed to the Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare and it also touches on the Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education, Innovation, Science and Technology Development.
My question specifically speaks to the shortage of teachers for Mathematics and Science in the Matabeleland region. We have noticed that teachers for Maths and Science are needed much in Rwanda and most of our schools in Matabeleland region are still having a zero pass rate for Maths and Science. What measures are being taken to mitigate this issue? There was once an attempt to take students to go and learn Maths and Science in Cuba; as of now, I speak of Umzingwane District. There are more than 45 vacancies for Science teachers but only two have occupied these positions. What measures have been taken by these ministries to curb this shortage of Maths and Science teachers?
We took all the Constituency Development Funds (CDF) and used it to improve our infrastructure for Science laboratories. I want to know the measures that have been taken to mitigate this shortage. Thank you.
THE MINISTER OF HIGHER AND TERTIARY EDUCATION, INNOVATION, SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY DEVELOPMENT (HON. PROF. MURWIRA): Thank you Madam Speaker Ma’am. I wish to thank Hon. Gen. Rtd. Mayihlome for the question. He is talking about Science teachers and shortages of Science teachers particularly in Matabeleland South – [HON. BITI: And a disastrous pass rate!] - and the disastrous pass rate as he says.
What are the measures that we are taking on this? Hon. Speaker Ma’am, in 2018, the Government of His Excellency the President, Dr. E. D. Mnangagwa recognised the importance of Science education; and made some measures to it. We made sure that we increase the number of Science offering teachers colleges. It was Mkoba Teachers College; it has a secondary Science teacher’s programme starting from 2018; we have Masvingo Teachers College, it has got a Science teacher’s programme since 2018; we have Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo Polytechnic, it has a Science teacher’s programme since 2018. We have also made sure that Mary Mount Teachers College has a Science training teacher’s programme since 2019.
So, we now have been able to enroll 600 teachers for Science only at Mkoba Teachers College, at Mary Mount Teachers College, at Masvingo Teachers College and Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo Polytechnic which was never there before. We have also bolstered the science teaching programme at Mutare Teachers College, Hillside Teachers College and Belvedere Technical Teachers College. So, the response has been such that last year in 2022, we graduated our first crop of secondary Science teachers. We are looking at having 5 000 secondary science teachers trained by 2025. There are steps that we are taking. When it comes to Matabeleland region that he is talking about, we actually have Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo that is doing that.
In terms of policy, the policy is very clear. The pace might not be as fast as we want it to be but training takes its own course, and in terms of policy, we are now very clear - the policy has recognised the need to increase that. We also have got a supplementary science teacher training programme at Bindura University of Science Education. The Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education sends teachers there for continuous training. We recognise that for a country to be able to develop, it must have knowledge of science technology and innovation. So the Government of His Excellency the President Dr. E. D. Mnangagwa puts science at the centre of the country’s industrialisation and modernisation agenda. All problems that might be there are just transient. We are moving. I thank you.
+HON. BRIG. GEN. (RTD.) MAYIHLOME: I thank you Madam Speaker. We heard the Minister of Higher and Tertiary Education but on the ground, there is nothing like such. On the ground, we are facing parents who are paying school fees for nothing, who are sending their children to school for nothing. Of what importance does it have to pay school fees for a child who is not being taught those subjects? We should not come here to speak about things to please each other because the President is saying we leave no one and no place behind. We are saying when are these schools going to have Maths and Science teachers? What is the Ministry doing in order to have Maths and Science teachers available in the Matabeleland region like any other places? Thank you.
HON. PROF MURWIRA: Madam Speaker, we agree with Hon. Gen. Mayihlome that we have a problem. This is exactly why we are responding to that problem. When we have an issue, we normally say, problems do not go by shouting at them or shouting loudly about the problem. This is done through strategic solutions. To this end, we have said just last year, we graduated 600 teachers. We did not have them because you cannot distribute what you do not have. If you have a distributive economy, it must also have a productive economy, a productive side. Normally people talk about wanting to have this also but when it is not there, you cannot have it. What we have concentrated on is making sure that we have got those teachers and now we can talk about distribution.
In acknowledgment that this problem is being highlighted; His Excellency the President, when he was in Beitbridge, actually spoke to the problem of Matabeleland South in terms of science teachers and he gave us an instruction to make sure that we train more science teachers and deploy them in areas of shortage. So the movement is towards solving that – [HON. MADZIMURE: Inaudible interjection.]
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order Hon. Minister. What is your point of order?
HON. MADZIMURE: Madam Speaker, Hon. Mayihlome is very specific. There is a shortage of around 40 science and mathematics teachers and his question is, when is the Ministry going to deploy those teachers for the children to be able to learn those subjects that they are expected to write exams end of this year.
HON. T. MLISWA: On a point of order. Madam Speaker, I think we need to be fair. Hon. Mayihlome is correct. He spoke about 42 Umzingwane and that is specific. It is not a national issue and the best thing is probably for the Minister to indulge Hon. Mayihlome, invite him for a cup of tea. He is a General so he needs to be given respect and respond to those issues. If you now start touching on Umzingwane, I will go to Chegutu district as well and people will talk about their districts. Let us just limit it to a national issue but I implore you to visit the General. He fought for this country and he is suffering for the people. Invite him for a cup of tea tomorrow, you lose nothing and make sure that you give him the 44 teachers he requires. Thank you.
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Thank you Hon. Mliswa. As you have said, he is the General, may the Hon. Minister please respond to his question. Thank you.
HON. PROF. MURWIRA: Thank you very much Madam Speaker. I think from a policy perspective, we have responded to the general national problem of the shortage of science teachers and we have said we now have trained science teachers. The issue of 42 is very specific. What I can only say is we have heard Hon. Mayihlome. We will take that to the specific Ministry so that, that issue can be looked into. Now the good thing Madam Speaker is that we can now talk about distribution because we have produced them. In the past, there was nothing. I thank you.
*HON. RAIDZA: On a point of order Madam Speaker. We have heard what has been said by the Minister – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjection.] –
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: May the Hon. Member of Parliament be heard in silence please.
*HON. RAIDZA: We are asking the Minister to bring a Ministerial Statement clarifying on the extent of the problem so far since the policy is very clear and there is training of teachers. In our communities there are trained teachers of Maths and Science but they are not being recruited. We need the Minister to explain to this House the number of trained teachers as well as those they have deployed and in which provinces so that we understand our problem as a country. The Minister is correct, there are teachers being trained at colleges but they are not being recruited. This is a problem that we are facing as a country. It is not only found at Hon. Mayihlome’s province. We have noticed that the recruitment is mostly on other subjects such as Shona, History and others but for these critical subjects, there is no recruitment, yet we have trained and qualified teachers for these subjects. I thank you.
*THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Thank you Hon. Raidza. I believe the Minister has heard you and he will do as you have asked.
HON. CHINYANGANYA: Thank you Madam Speaker. I want to thank the Hon. Minister for his response. We appreciate what the Government is doing in trying to increase the numbers that are being trained. At the end of the day, it is not that the Government has not been training teachers but it is because of the brain drain that we have these shortages. So what is the Government doing to make sure that those who will have been trained are not lost through this brain drain because the Government is losing a lot of resources in trying to train those teachers but at the end of the day we are losing these trained people?
HON. PROF. MURWIRA: I wish to thank Hon. Chinyanganya for that supplementary question in terms of the fact that he said we have been able and we are now training teachers but how do we retain them and make sure that there is no brain drain. One of the most important issues is that people always move, it is true and we will continue training some but at the same time, Government continues to improve the conditions of service in the teaching profession. It cannot be solved in one day but definitely the arrows are looking north and we believe that with the movement of time, as we train more, the economy grows and as we work harder we will be able to retain some. It is also a mark of success of a nation when you see your people in demand elsewhere.
*HON. MUDARIKWA: In terms of education, our schools have enough teachers but they are producing zero percent. This Minister, we are discussing on the issue of our pass rate in schools but we need the Minister of Local Government because they are the ones who supervise the schools, but local authorities do not have a mechanism to supervise. So we are requesting the Minister of Local Government as the responsible authority how they are supervising all the schools that are producing low pass rates. We have two authorities; the schools under church administration and those under the responsibility of the councils or local authorities. The mission schools have no problems in terms of pass rates but our local authorities or councils do not have capacity to monitor and assess the education systems within the council schools. That is the major problem.
HON. T. MLISWA: My point of order is that procedurally this is supposed to be a new question directed to the Minister of Local Government if we have to follow the rules of Parliament. You cannot sneak it in and I think he was on the floor attending to these issues. His questions have not ended unless they have ended and we need to start again - as it is a totally new question directed to the Minister of Local Government.
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: That was the last supplementary question since it was the fourth supplementary question.
HON. T. MLISWA: He was now directing the Minister to Local Government. He was saying this is an issue which is under Local Government instead of directing asking the Minister of Local Government. At that point he was supposed to be stopped so that he directs the question to the Minister of Local Government because if you follow Madam Speaker, at no point did he direct the question to the Minister of Local Government. He was trying to talk about the role of the Ministry of Local Government in this and it was not a question. With your indulgence, can he direct the question to the Minister of Local Government so that we can follow the procedures of this House?
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon. Mudarikwa, please may you direct your question to Minister of Local Government.
*HON. MUDARIKWA: Madam Speaker, let us assist each other when we are discussing issues that affect the nation...
*THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon. Mudarikwa, we have to follow the procedures in this august House. Please, can you respond to whether you were asking a supplementary question or it was a new question because I have your name on the list here.
*HON. MUDARIKWA: It is a supplementary question because the issue of education cuts through other ministries in that besides it being the responsibility of the Ministry of Education, it is also under the purview of Ministry of Local Government and Ministry of Public Service. These three ministries...
*THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon. Mudarikwa, let me assist you. I had just given you the floor in respect but it was not procedural and the others notice. You were supposed to ask as a new question to the Minister of Local Government.
HON. BITI: My supplementary question to the esteemed Minister of Higher Education, Hon. Prof. Murwira, is that we have a problem of a kwashiorkor of Science teachers in the country and that is why across the board there are no Science teachers and we are having these disastrous pass rates. Why did the Government abandon the STEM curriculum which was ensuring that Science is embedded and entrenched at high school? Why was also the Indigenisation Empowerment Programme abandoned?
HON. PROF. MURWIRA: I wish to thank Hon. Biti for the question. This is a very useful question which enables us to explain. STEM Programme and I made a Ministerial Statement here; Science Technology, Engineering and Mathematics have never been abandoned. What was happening during that time was the training of students in Science who are not teachers. The question which we then said was; how do you train students in Science with no Science teachers? So, the Science training programme was a money siphoning programme and it is on record. We saw behind it.
We took the money and we are using the money to train teachers instead – [AN HON. MEMBER: Where?] – At Belvedere, Mkoba and others. I can tell you there is no more money being stolen at ZIMDEF – [AN. HON. MEMBER: Did you recover the money?] – Different question. The issue is; now we cannot try to hide behind that other programme because it was very corrupt and we have evidence to it but we are now training teachers in STEM so that they can go and teach. The simple question Hon. Speaker Ma’am was, how do you send students to learn science where you have said there are no Science teachers? Who do you train? We issued a ministerial statement explaining this issue in this august House. Therefore, we are fully in science and that is why you see the products of science in this country are increasing at an exponential rate because the Government of Dr. E. D Mnangagwa is focusing on science, technology and innovation. The issues which Hon. Biti raised are very important because they enable us to tell the House and the nation that it was not a STEM programme. It was a money siphoning scheme. I thank you.
HON. BITI: My point of clarification Madam Speaker is that I think STEM is very important. We have too many people in the humanities and our country has gone nowhere because of humanities. I would therefore urge the Minister to depoliticise and defactionalise the programme and not focus on the past but just focus on the importance of science in our schools. We need science from Form 1 to Form 6 and forget about who introduced it. Sciences are important because lawyers and teachers are killing the country, so let us have rocket scientists like Arthur Mutambara who can move our country forward. We are tired of History teachers like me. I thank you Madam Speaker.
HON. PROF. MURWIRA: I wish to thank Hon Biti for his clarification and I would not agree with him more. It is very important to do science and we are focusing on it. That is why we are teaching people who will go and teach our children in the schools. You need a teacher first before learning can take place and that is very important. There is nothing political about this issue at all because it is about making sure that we properly do STEM programmes by training teachers properly so that they can train our students everywhere. This is where the clarity of the issue is.
As a country, we did what we call the National Critical Skills Audit between December 2017, when the new dispensation came in and April 2018, and these are the results: Our skills levels in science, technology and innovation are 3% and our deficit is 97%. In medicine, our skills levels are 5% and deficit is 95%. In engineering, our skills availability is 6% and unavailability is 94%. In law, we actually found out that the skills availability is also about 20% and a deficit of 80%. In commercials and humanities, we have an excess of 121% and what I am trying to say is that we are very conscious, we are measuring and taking care of this country in that area. That is why this country has a satellite in space because we are focusing on science. This is why this country is able to produce oxygen. The most important thing is that we are in the right direction; we are not on opposite sides when it comes to science, technology and innovation with Hon. Biti. We are actually saying the same thing. So, it is not a question but a compliment. I thank you.
*HON. TEKESHE: Madam Speaker, my question is directed to the Minister of Local Government. The whole country agreed that we should stop the use of spikes when stopping motor vehicles because they were causing deaths. However, I was amazed to see municipal police in Marondera using spikes which nearly resulted in an accident. So, I am seeking clarification as to why spikes are still being used yet the whole country agreed that spikes were outdated and a thing of the past. I thank you.
THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT AND PUBLIC WORKS (HON. CHOMBO): Thank you Hon Tekeshe for the question. As a policy, the use of spikes has been discontinued and I am surprised that they are still being used in some areas. I would appreciate it very much if you can bring that issue to our office or any local authority so that it is addressed because it is now illegal.
HON. MADZIMURE: My question is directed to the Minister of Youth, Sports, Arts and Recreation. Madam Speaker, on the 24th of February 2022, Zimbabwe was suspended from international football by the world governing body FIFA. We all know that playing soccer has become big business and a source of livelihood for our children. At the same time, the age of a child does not stop because Zimbabwe is not participating. Right now we have got under 20s in Egypt, we have had under 18s in Morocco (AFCON). This is where our children’s skills are identified by scouts who will be there for that particular purpose. We have now gone for a full year without Zimbabwe participating. What is the Ministry doing to ensure that Zimbabwe quickly has its suspension lifted because it is a serious indictment on our children that as a country we have decided that we do not care and the Ministry does not care about what will happen to our children as far as their development is concerned? Economically, countries like Senegal – Sadio Mane has improved a simple …
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon. Madzimure, can you ask your question.
HON. MADZIMURE: Sorry Madam Speaker, some of these questions must have a context for the Minister to understand. So, I want to know when Zimbabwe will specifically be readmitted and what has the Ministry done to ensure that all the transgressions that caused the suspension are stopped?
THE MINISTER OF HIGHER AND TERTIARY EDUCATION, INNOVATION, SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY DEVELOPMENT (HON. PROF. MURWIRA): Hon. Speaker Ma’am, I wish to thank Hon. Madzimure for his question on football. It is true that Zimbabwe was suspended and suspension is not an issue that can be celebrated. However, it is important that the sports administration is cleaned but the process of cleaning has its own life-span. It is very important to know that the SRC and Zimbabwe community, including ZIFA itself are cleaning their act and we expect them to do so and pave way for the conditions of Zimbabwe to be readmitted. We cannot say when we are going to be readmitted as a specific answer because we did not suspend ourselves.
However, it is our wish that this issue is resolved as a matter of urgency. It is also important to know that what we are talking about is international football. This suspension is not saying our children should not play football, no. The league is on, Division 1, Division 2 and the national league – they are on. We are not saying we enjoy any suspension but sometimes it is necessary to swallow a bitter pill so that tomorrow you are okay. It is public knowledge about what has been happening in our football - but sometimes when a remedy is being given; sometimes when you want to take a thorn out of the toe, for some of us who were in the village, we were always having thorns, sometimes somebody would refuse with a thorn but it is good for the thorn to be removed.
What we are basically saying is that it is important that the country cleans itself so that football becomes clean but this is done by stakeholders within that field so that we do not have “games” but real games. Our people are still in international football playing for clubs elsewhere and clubs are working. It is in the interest of Zimbabwe to have clean sport. However, we are saying we wish this problem (just like what Hon Madzimure is saying) gets solved as soon as possible. We are in agreement that it should be solved as soon as possible and we are working on it as a country and not as ‘them and us’. I thank you.
Questions Without Notice were interrupted by THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER in terms of Standing Order No. 68
HON. MADZIMURE: I move that time for Questions without Notice be extended by five minutes.
HON. MARKHAM: I second.
Motion put and agreed to.
HON. MADZIMURE: I wish the Minister of Sport was here listening to your response. Can the Minister be in a position to give us a roadmap? It is not good enough to say that soccer is being played. It is not good enough to say that our players who are outside the country are playing because they only managed to be signed because they had played a number of games for Zimbabwe. No player from Zimbabwe can be signed by a big team without having played for his national team. That is exactly what happens. You cannot be signed by Arsenal if you have not played for Zimbabwe.
HON. PROF. MURWIRA: The supplementary question of Hon. Madzimure is in order. We are in agreement that this issue has to be solved as soon as possible. We also are saying you cannot do a roadmap when you did not suspend yourself. We were suspended by FIFA. It is important we remain focused on cleaning the sport and making sure that I do not give a false answer to say in two or three weeks’ time. It is not true if I say that but the most important issue is that this issue is being looked into. Sport has to be clean, football has to be clean. When it is clean and FIFA is happy, the ban will be lifted but it is a governing body which suspended us, so we cannot tell them when. I thank you.
HON. T. MLISWA: My supplementary question is that Zimbabwe is governed by laws and Acts as well. The Sports and Recreation Commission is an Act of Parliament and as a result, the Minister must respond to the action taken by SRC to ensure that there is proper administration of sport in this country. I have a BA Honours in Sports and Fitness Studies but I am not in the administration of sport in this country, yet we have got criminals in the administration of sport. There has got to be accountability. No wonder why you see Cricket and Rugby in the days we used to play it, there was accountability but now the people who are administering these sports never played these sports at all because the sponsors then were willing to put money into people who were prepared to account.
It is within the laws of this country but is it not that FIFA is interfering with the affairs of this country in terms of the law. I want the Minister to respond to that because we cannot be governed by FIFA. We have got laws in this country that govern us and SRC is enacted through an Act of Parliament which is responsible for the administration of sport in this country. Did they not take appropriate action to ensure that it happens?
FIFA is a cartel of a mafia who, all they want from Zimbabwe are votes and they were favouring this administration which was told to stand down. The Minister must respond to that. There is a forensic audit which the previous administration was guilty of and they have been exposed that they were misappropriation of funds. It is correct that you cannot allow people who misappropriate funds to run sport and as such, SRC took that action. As a result, FIFA are interfering in our affairs. Who is FIFA in the politics of Zimbabwe and in the laws of Zimbabwe? Can you respond to that? By FIFA suspending Zimbabwe, it is pretty clear that FIFA interfered in the politics of Zimbabwe. We are a sovereign nation and we stick to our laws. The SRC did what they did to remove these criminals who FIFA wants to use to make sure that they empower and continue their activities.
FIFA has allowed women to be abused in football and they have done nothing. To hell with FIFA! We do not need FIFA in Zimbabwe. We can play football amongst ourselves and this is the time that football must be developed in this country so that we have many Lionel Messis.
HON. PROF. MURWIRA: Hon. Mliswa has expressed his opinions about football. What I can only say is that we would want the sport to be clean and that we are taking steps to clean that sport. I would not be competent enough to comment about FIFA. I thank you.
ORAL ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS WITH NOTICE
ESTABLISHMENT PROCESS OF KUVIMBA MINING HOUSE
- MARKHAM asked the Minister of Finance and Economic Development to explain the following to the House;
- The establishment process and date of creation of Kuvimba Mining House;
- The legal instrument for its establishment, given that Government is the majority shareholder;
- Who the shareholders are, percentage of their shares and what the contributions are in the company;
- Where the company is registered and what is its sister or sub companies are;
- who are the other shareholders directors with interests in the company and to further clarify whether the directors of the company since its inception have changed;
- What the current asset value of Kuvimba Mining House - including definable resources is; and to further confirm whether a tender was issued for any disposal or acquisitions of State assets and/or enterprises.
THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (HON. CHIDUWA): Thank you Madam Speaker Ma’am. For all the questions asked by the Honourable Member, we are not yet ready, so we defer to next week.
HON. BITI: On a point of order Madam Speaker. The Standing Orders allow us to ask questions on notice to esteemed Ministers. The Constitution of Zimbabwe allows us to hold the Executive to account and to ask these questions. For Minister Chiduwa to come here for four weeks to say he cannot answer those questions is not good enough. Can you kindly place him on terms? We know it is not his problem but can he be placed on terms so that he answers those questions next week. I thank you very much Madam Speaker.
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon. Deputy Minister, please may you bring the answers next week on Wednesday without fail.
HON. MARKHAM: Madam Speaker, since they are my questions may I also have a say. The questions have been sitting on the Order Paper for a particular length of time. If you look at them, I have six or seven questions mostly directed to the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development and they are virtually refusing to answer.
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: He is not refusing to answer Hon. Markham, that is why we are asking him to bring the answers next week.
HON. MARKHAM: Madam Speaker, may I just add some more that are not being answered. When my question on the Chinese loans was answered by the Minister of Finance, captured in Hansard and in his filing with the Clerks, he keeps referring to table 2, there is no table 2 to the attachment. Could the Minister also on the Chinese bring us the ‘so-called table 2’ that he referred to when the question was asked on the 4th November? That takes care of the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development. The Ministry of Agriculture has over three months to give us a statement which you ruled on the issue of the re-entry for the tobacco buying programmes in TIMB. Today, not one of them including the deputies has been to this House. I asked at the peak of the wheat receiving system to the same Ministry for a breakdown of what money has been paid to wheat farmers. I am told by the wheat farmers that they have been paid the ZIM dollar component but 95% of the foreign currency is still outstanding. Again, I have asked four to five times for that and no answer has come. We asked for a statement, they agreed to the statement and we are still waiting. It appears that the Ministers and as you could see by today’s attendance, have no feeling for this House other than contempt. My problem is when that contempt of this House now moves to the Speakers because they have done nothing.
Madam Speaker, I asked for the Justice Uchena Report many times and the Hon. Speaker himself got involved trying to get that thing. We have not received the statement, it is actually on the Order Paper as a question for today and there is no-one to answer. That report was given to the President nearly three years ago. Madam Speaker, coupled with all that, we then also get fed lies by the Hon. Ministers. The Minister of Energy told me in an answer to a written question that Hatcliff will be fully electrified by the end of the year but Madam Speaker, they have not even started.
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon. Markham, all those issues, I think you need to ask the responsible Ministers and they have already gone out.
HON. MARKHAM: They are never here Madam Speaker. The Minister of Agriculture, when was he last in this House? His deputies need directions on how to get to Parliament.
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: I advise you Hon. Markham to do the follow up with the Parliament Administration.
HON. MARKHAM: I hear your ruling Madam Speaker, however I must say that I believe that there is a problem with Parliament when you cannot get statements from Ministers delivered here, that is ridiculous.
On the motion of HON. R. R NYATHI, seconded by HON. MATHE, the House adjourned at Twenty-Six Minutes to Five o’clock p.m.
PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE
Wednesday, 1st March, 2023
The Senate met at Half-Past Two o’clock p.m.
(THE ACTING PRESIDENT OF SENATE in the Chair)
BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
HON. SEN. MATHUTHU: I move that Orders of the Day Numbers 1 and 2 on today’s Order Paper be stood over until Order of the Day Number 3 has been disposed of.
HON. SEN. CHIRONGOMA: I second.
Motion put and agreed to.
REPORT OF THE ZIMBABWE ELECTORAL COMMISSION FOR THE 7TH MAY 2022 BY-ELECTION
Third Order read: Adjourned debate on motion on the Report of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission for the 7th May 2022 By-Elections.
Question again proposed.
*HON. SEN. MOEKETSI: Thank you Mr. President for giving me this opportunity to add my views on the motion by the Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs. It is a very good motion which seeks to unite us as Zimbabweans. Before we commence our campaigns, the President himself should summon leaders of all political parties and tell them very strongly that a country is build by its own people. Sometimes it is as if we only hear that mantra from the media or somewhere but the President himself is always saying we must unite because the citizens are the ones that have a duty of building this country.
The President must summon the leaders of all political parties and emphasise that point. If there are any of them who are deviant, he has the right to disqualify them. That can assist us because people do things deliberately and wantonly whilst the citizens are suffering. The people who die from political violence are citizens of this country. It is very important that the President should tell them face to face and warn them that whoever sends hooligans to attack any party supporters should be disqualified because they have defied the President.
I know that we are there as opposition politicians but let me say when I am here, I listen to what the sitting President says. It must not be continuous chaos. We must listen to the sitting President. He is not talking behind the scenes but openly saying let us unite as citizens and refrain from political violence and intimidation. That must include all candidates. If your candidate is involved in violence, as a leader, you should bar that candidate from contesting. The President must come strongly to enforce that so that we build our country as Zimbabweans. I thank you.
HON. SEN. MATHUTHU: I move that the debate do now adjourn.
HON. SEN. TONGOGARA: I second.
Motion put and agreed to.
Debate to resume: Thursday, 2nd March 2023.
PRESIDENTIAL SPEECH: DEBATE ON ADDRESS
Fourth Order read: Adjourned debate on motion in reply to the Presidential Speech.
Question again proposed.
*HON. SEN. CHISOROCHENGWE: Thank you Mr. President for affording me this opportunity to add my views on this motion raised by Hon. Sen. Mpofu. I would like to debate on three issues, the first one is on agriculture. Agriculture is very good particularly the Pfumvudza/Intwasa that led to a bumper harvest compared to previous years. I really would like to applaud His Excellency the President, indeed it was a very good programme. I noticed that this year people got their inputs very late. Some of the people got their fertilizer very late; people must receive their inputs in time.
Secondly, cotton farmers last year had very good yields but some of the farmers were not happy because they were expecting money from cotton. Some companies paid cotton farmers using groceries, so Government should intervene because that discouraged farmers. How can they be paid in groceries when they were expecting some cash? This must be looked into.
We have large scale commercial farmers on the way to Chinhoyi, some of them hire tractors and other implements that they pay in US dollars. After harvesting, when they are not taking their crops to Grain Marketing Board, they are paid in local currency instead of US dollars. So, some of them prefer to sell their crops on the parallel market. When they get paid in RTGS, they then are supposed to retrieve or buy US dollars on the parallel market. This also encourages parallel market activities because they are supposed to then buy inputs using US dollars. Farmers must be paid using a currency that is accepted everywhere.
With regards to roads, most roads have dilapidated especially in rural areas. Most roads in the rural areas just need to be upgraded using graders, so we are encouraging the Government to look into that. In the urban areas, it is now difficult to navigate because the roads are severely damaged.
We must unite as Zimbabweans for that progress to be attained. Some of the roads that we see being repaired, we realise that the top layers peel off easily and grass grows on those roads, which means they were poorly done. The road from Shurugwi to Masvingo along Chachacha, you cannot use that road; there are a lot of potholes. As soon as you get to Masvingo sign post, the roads are very good and so you wonder what the difference is. It seems like it is a different country all together. Other areas have very poor roads whilst Masvingo has better roads. So, if they are waiting to tar those roads, they must simply grade them.
With regards to BEAM, I understand more than two million children benefited. That is very good because the disadvantaged children then get access to attend school. There are questions though because in some schools, children access BEAM funds while in other schools, this fund is not offered to the disadvantaged children. What is happening? I think there is corruption or people are engaging in corrupt activities. Some schools get full payments from January to December whilst in other schools, the funds are disbursed may be for just half a year; then the school demands payment from parents.
With regards to mines, although this can be worked upon, mining activities are destroying roads and causing environmental degradation. There are a lot of illegal mining activities that cause a menace to the environment. Mining is also attracting young boys who drop out of school as early as Grade 5 to engage in illegal mining activities. That should be rectified and industries must open so that illegal mining activities may be reduced.
Parents must teach children the goodness of being educated so that they will not rush to drop out of school because they want to find quick money. The other issue is of gold smuggling. Stiffer laws must be imposed on those found with illegal gold. It is very difficult to arrest the perpetrators but measures must be taken. All stakeholders must put more effort in curbing gold smuggling. With those few words, I thank you Mr. Chairman.
THE ACTING PRESIDENT OF SENATE: Here, there is Temporary President, there is no Chairman. Chairperson is only referred to at Committee Stage. Thank you Hon. Sen. Chisorochengwe, maybe it is because you might not be very conversant in English.
HON. SEN. MATHUTHU: Mr. President, I move that the debate do now adjourn.
HON. SEN. CHIRONGOMA: I second.
Motion put and agreed to.
Debate to resume: Thursday, 2nd March, 2023.
BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
HON. SEN. MATHUTHU: Thank you Mr. President. I move that Order of the Day, No. 5 on today’s Order Paper be stood over until the rest of the Orders of the Day have been disposed of.
HON. SEN. TONGOGARA: I second.
Motion put and agreed to.
PROMOTION OF DEVELOPMENTAL PROGRAMMES FOR THE PROTECTION OF THE ENVIRONMENT
Sixth Order read: Adjourned debate on motion on the sustainable management of waste.
Question again proposed.
HON. SEN. MATHUTHU: Mr. President, I move that the debate do now adjourn.
HON. SEN. KAMBIZI: I second.
Motion put and agreed to.
Debate to resume: Thursday, 2nd March, 2023.
PROTECTION OF VICTIMS OF TRAFFICKING
Seventh Order read: Adjourned debate on motion on measures to combat human trafficking.
Question again proposed.
HON. SEN. MATHUTHU: Mr. President, I move that the debate do now adjourn.
HON. SEN. TONGOGARA: I second.
Motion put and agreed to.
Debate to resume: Thursday, 2nd March, 2023.
REPORT OF THE 145TH ASSEMBLY OF THE INTER-PARLIAMENTARY UNION AND RELATED MEETINGS
Eighth Order read: Adjourned debate on motion on the Report of the 145th Assembly of the Inter Parliamentary Union and Related Meetings held in Kigali, Rwanda.
Question again proposed.
HON. SEN. MATHUTHU: Mr. President, I move that the debate do now adjourn.
HON. SEN. CHIRONGOMA: I second.
Motion put and agreed to.
Debate to resume: Thursday, 2nd March, 2023.
CONSTRUCTION OF SCHOOL INFRASTRUCTURE AND RECRUITMENT OF ECD TEACHERS
Ninth Order read: Adjourned debate on motion on the challenges affecting early child learning.
Question again proposed.
*HON. SEN. KOMICHI: I would like to thank Sen. Mabika who brought up this good motion. It is important for children to attain education. I remember as we were growing up, we used to be told that you can only go to school when you are a bit grown up. The measurement would be to touch your ear with your arm across the head. That means you have grown up and the disadvantage is that you have missed a good opportunity of learning some other things that you will find difficult to acquire the skills because of your age now. That disadvantaged the blacks for us to be able to attain and acquire certain skills because of going to school at an older age.
It is very important for a younger child to learn new things according to their level of brain or thinking because they do not have or think about a lot of things that may make them lose focus. They have an almost 90% focus on education as long as they get enough food. That is the right age for them to learn, compared to older people who may be easily distracted by other things.
So since we realised later that education might be attained at an earlier age, we need to support the education system with everything in terms of syllabus. Let us also insure that we panel beat it to their age so that they attain relevant skills that may assist them in the development of the country in future. If you look at other countries, for example when I was in Form 4, I was taught by an expatriate teacher from Romania. He used biology notes from Grade 4 notes from Romania. He used to say those are the books that we are using at O’level in Zimbabwe while in Romania the level was for Grade 4.
I was really disturbed by that. So what it means is that a Grade 4 child in Romania thinks better than me while I was in Form 4. So it is very important because we missed educational growth at our age. So I really implore the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education and Government to avail all the necessary resources especially at preschool or ECD. Look at how young children are capable of using IT or cell phones. Even without formal education, they are able to maneuver and navigate their way. That shows that their brains are capable.
I really applaud the motion raised by Sen. Mabika. We really need to support the education of our children because they are the future. A country’s success depends on original thinking because when they grow up, they resort to copy and paste. So early learning should be supported financially. Mr. President, I thank you.
*HON. SEN. CHIRONGOMA: Thank you Mr. President. I also would like to support the motion brought into this House by Hon. Sen. Mabika on early childhood learning. Indeed, it is very clear that early learning for children, ECD A and ECD B is very important. We used to call it Sub A and Sub B then we would proceed to Standard 1.
I remember during those days when we used to go to school, Mr. President, our level of thinking was very low as compared to the present day child who is in ECD A or B. If you go, you will be told the names of their teacher and they will speak to you in fluent English. They are able to read very well. We used to count from 1 to 10 but today they can count up to 50 or 100 even before they formally start school. So that shows that potential should be tapped into these young children so that they are nurtured. All the folk stories that they are able to recite is amazing. These days they are very focused on education. Recently, I was complaining; a brand new car was written by my grandchild 1, 2, 3, 4. So it is written 8 in front. It is 4+4. They show that level of education.
I am also of the belief that giving them education at a tender age is very important. I remember debating in this House that if an arrested woman with a young child goes to jail, that child does not get access to the exposure that those who are not in prison get. These days they are able to navigate their way on the roads because they get education early. I encourage that education must be enforced and people should be encouraged to take their children early to school. I believe even education on drug abuse should be imparted at such an early age and I believe that will give us a better future generation.
I would like to support the notion that at that early age, children should be taught against abusing drugs because at an early age, they report easily whatever they see or whatever they come across innocently. They can report on whatever they see and after you have taught them that such things are bad, they will come back to report if they see those things. So, indeed that effort should be supported and encouraged. I thank you.
+HON. SEN. C. NDLOVU: Thank you Mr. President Sir. I would like to thank Hon. Sen. Mabika for moving this very important motion on challenges faced by early childhood learning. Firstly, I would like to bring our view as Senators in saying ECD pupils have not yet been taken seriously. From where I come from, school infrastructure is not there yet, that is the appropriate infrastructure for these learners. Many ECD classrooms especially may be from Matabeleland Province, most of the classrooms are still under renovation or they are still under pole/dagger and thatch form.
Due to the incessant rains, most of them are falling. In most cases, when children are young, we give them the impression that school is not important because the classrooms that they are using on daily basis are not appropriate for learning purposes. My plea is that those responsible for the education sector should look at it from a psychological view as to how important it is to make sure that we provide good classrooms for these kids. For example, there is a school that is under construction in Nkayi North, Ward 6 at Thobani Village. When I got there, I found villagers cutting down trees so as to provide roof for a particular classroom after the first classroom they were using was damaged. As such, you ask yourself, as a country, as a Ministry responsible for education; are we prepared to see our kids learn appropriately under such conditions?
The second issue, when children are in ECD, between three to seven years, this is where they capture most of the things that are to do with their experiences. This is the time where they are exposed to unfavourable conditions, such as the conditions that they are learning under. Young learners at that particular time need to learn using their mother language which will make them easy to understand certain things. Right now, there are teachers who are facing difficulties speaking to these children because of language barriers. We would like the Government to look at such issues because if you look at the Grade Seven results, which we continue to indicate that they are bad in these particular areas, what is contributing to this is the poor foundation that we put those learners under.
This is a critical issue that we need to look into. Therefore, it is my plea that early childhood learning is taken seriously because it has results as children continue to learn. Even teachers teaching ECDs should not be place holders, where they spend most of their time playing but they should be teachers who are taught to teach ECD learners. This will help us if, as a country, we are indeed serious about seeing good progress from our learners. If you are to look at learners from other countries, you will realise that when they get to their primary schools, they are showing great development but as Zimbabwe, our major challenge is that in most cases, we try to teach our children English, which in most cases is not the language that they use in their homes. When they are taught their mother language from home and when they get to school, they are taught English, it creates problems in children’s minds. Therefore, my plea is that those responsible for education should see to it that what we are doing is giving us the positive results that we are anticipating not to just realise it through the failure of our Grade Seven learners. This is due to the fact that our foundation is very bad.
HON. SEN. MABIKA: I move that the debate do now adjourn.
HON. SEN. MATHUTHU: I second.
Motion put and agreed to.
Debate to resume: Thursday, 2nd March, 2023.
On the motion of HON. SEN. MUZENDA, seconded by HON. SEN. MATHUTHU, the Senate adjourned at Twenty Minutes past Three o’clock p.m.
PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE
Tuesday, 28th February, 2023
The National Assembly met at a Quarter-past Two o’clock p.m.
(THE HON. SPEAKER in the Chair)
*HON. CHIBAYA: Thank you Mr. Speaker. I rise on an issue of national interest pertaining to electricity. There is a lot of load shedding in the whole country from 05.00 am till 12 midnight whilst people are asleep. This causes loss of business in industries and also affecting domestic use of electricity. May the Minister of Energy and Power Development come to Parliament and issue a Ministerial Statement on what the Ministry is doing to ease this load shedding.
*HON. CHINOTIMBA: I also rise on a matter of national importance concerning Members of Parliament’s (MPs) accommodation. Yesterday MPs had to sleep in their vehicles because there was no accommodation at hotels. Some MPs who arrived on Sunday were given accommodation but those who arrived on Monday did not get accommodation. The hotel administration said an upfront payment should be made. We enquired from our Chief Whips who said Parliament has said they cannot pay – Treasury said they want to pay a certain amount which is not what Parliament needs for hotel accommodation. Up to this day, there are some MPs who do not have hotel accommodation and are still sleeping in their vehicles. Maybe this is happening because we are coming to the end of our term – we do not understand.
We know you Mr. Speaker as someone who stands up for us even during budget time. May you intervene with regards to accommodation or maybe arrange for virtual meetings or we close for some time until this is resolved. We will only have a problem of connection since there is no electricity most of the time and electricity poles are falling – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – I saw a female MP who had nowhere to sleep and one male MP had to give up his accommodation to her and he slept in his car. We have to pass a lot of Bills and I do not think virtual is ideal. May you please intervene with regards to this issue Mr. Speaker? – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] –
THE HON. SPEAKER: Thank you Hon. Chinotimba. I was told by the Clerk of Parliament about the issue and he told me that he spoke to Mr. Guvamatanga, the Permanent Secretary. I believe that Treasury is going to pay so that Hon. Members have accommodation. – [HON. CHINOTIMBA: Inaudible interjection.] – You have engaged me, so why not wait until the end of the day; this issue is going to be resolved this afternoon.
If there is a challenge, we are going to escalate the issue like what we did regarding the Delimitation Report. We had a challenge like the one that we are facing and we engaged His Excellency the President. His Excellency then gave an instruction that there should be payment of that money. So we do not want to continue engaging His Excellency as if he is the Minister of Finance. The budget is there, Parliament passed that budget, so the money should come to Parliament. I thank you.
*HON. TEKESHE: My concern pertains to health issues, I accompanied two people who were sick to Nyanga and Rusape Government hospitals. There are no wheelchairs, no stretcher beds and medicines. I then took the sick to Bonda Mission Hospital and they were saying that they were overwhelmed by the whole of Manicaland Province. They asked why the sick were not going to Government Hospitals and I told them that they preferred mission hospitals because Government hospitals do not have medicines, equipment and even painkillers.
As Members of Parliament, we end up paying to assist the people who are sick, yet they are supposed to be benefiting from Government. Government health provider, PSMI is not providing any service but people are contributing.
Therefore, I request that the Minister gives us a Ministerial Statement. Building hospitals without tools of trade such as scans, X-ray machines and medicines is not good enough. It is my request that something be done so that people get medication. People are dying before their time, they are given prescriptions and go to pharmacies which require USD, of which many do not afford.
Furthermore, as the Chief Whip, I am receiving complaints from Parliamentarians about their allowances and the issue of accommodation which has been alluded to by Hon. Chinotimba earlier on. Mr. Speaker, may this issue of allowances be resolved and treated with urgency.
+THE HON. SPEAKER: Hon. Tekeshe, I would advise that you ask those questions tomorrow during the Question Time session so that you get a response from the responsible Minister.
HON. MOKONE: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. I stand on a matter of national importance. In my province Matabeleland South, there is a mine called Vubachikwe Gold Mine. Last year the workers downed tools because of non-payment of salaries and this led to the closure of essential services like water and ZESA.
The workers have not been receiving their salaries for the past seven months. This means also that even the schoolchildren are not attending schools because everyone has now resorted to gold panning.
Mr. Speaker Sir, may you allow the responsible Ministry to come to this House and tell us the measures they are taking to address the plight of these workers? I thank you.
THE HON. SPEAKER: Be guided that the issues to be raised must be so comprehensive that they are of national importance. This is a specific issue and I would have suggested that you ask the Minister responsible tomorrow during the Question and Answer session.
BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
HON. R. R. NYATHI: I move that Orders of the Day, Numbers 1 to 6 on today’s Order Paper be stood over until Order of the Day, Number 7 has been disposed of.
HON. T. MLISWA: I second.
Motion put and agreed to.
INSURANCE AND PENSIONS COMMISSION AMENDMENT BILL [H. B. 6, 2021]
Seventh Order read: Resumption of Committee: Insurance and Pensions Commission Amendment Bill [H. B. 6, 2021].
House in Committee.
On Clause 2:
HON. MUSHORIWA: On a point of order Hon. Chairman. I submitted some amendment to this Bill two weeks ago but I am not seeing them on the Order Paper. I just want to find out how we are going to deal with it. I was made to believe by the Journals Office that they would be on today’s Order Paper.
THE DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON (HON. MUTOMBA): Hon. Mushoriwa, Clause 1 was actually dealt with on the day that the House adjourned and today it is continuation. We are starting on Clause 2. Were your amendments to the Hon. Minister relating to Clause 2 or to any other clause?
HON. MUSHORIWA: They were in relation to four other clauses.
THE DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON: So it actually means that if they are in front of Clause 2, it means you are going to see your amendment because we have a list of the amendments here. – [HON. MUSHORIWA: Thank you.] – Thank you.
THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (HON. CHIDUWA): Thank you Hon. Chairperson. I move the amendments standing in my name to Clause 2 for consideration, that: -
Section 2 (“Interpretation”) of the Insurance and Pensions Commission Act [Chapter 24:21] (hereinafter called the “principal Act”) is amended—
- by the repeal of the definition of appointed member.
- by the insertion of the following definitions—
“closely related” means any person who, the following shall be—
- a father, mother, in law, brother or sister of the person;
- a partner of the person, unless a court or the Commissioner is satisfied that neither person acts in accordance with the directions, requests, suggestions or wishes of the other;
- a partner in a partnership, if the person, either alone or together with one or more associates, controls fifty per centum or more of the rights to the partnership’s income or capital;
- the trustee of a pension fund under which the person, or an associate of the person, benefits or may benefit;
- trustee of a pension fund, or any other person who benefits or may benefit under the pension fund; and
- where the person is a company—
- a person who, either alone or together with one or more associates, controls the company; or
- another company which is controlled by a person referred to in subparagraph (i), either alone or together with one or more associates”
“asset” includes any property and any right, whether vested or contingent, of whatever kind provided that shares shall be exempted from being designated as assets.
Amendments to Clause 2 put and agreed to.
Clause 2, as amended, put and agreed to.
On Clause 3:
HON. BITI: Mr. Chairman, it is both a substantive and drafting amendment. If you look at the current Clause 3 (a), it says, ‘the object of the Commission shall be to promote the maintenance of a fair, safe and stable insurance and pension sector for the benefit and protection of policy holders and pension and provision fund members.’ That (a) should be split into two so that the first (a) should just be ‘to promote the maintenance of fair, safe and stable insurance and pension sector.’ Then (b) should be to protect policy holders and pension and provident members. The protection becomes a major objective of the Commission. This is necessary Mr. Chairman because of the pain that pensioners have suffered due to a weak regulatory framework due to hyperinflation, due to other factors. So the promotion should be a stand-alone objective of the Commission. Then the issue of ensuring a fair industry is a separate object. So let us split (a) into the promotion of fair industry and the protection of policy holders as a stand-alone imperator and objective of the Commission. I do not think the Minister will object to that because as it is, it is wordy, cumbersome and longwinded. So let us split that (a) into an (a) and a (b). Then the current (b) becomes a (c).
THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (HON. CHIDUWA): Thank you Mr. Chairman. I thank the Hon. Member for the submission. If we are to look at his submission, we are basically looki