- Download 20
- File Size 486 KB
- File Count 1
- Create Date March 3, 2021
- Last Updated October 12, 2021
NATIONAL ASSEMBLY HANSARD 03 MARCH 2021 VOL 47 NO 28
PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE
Wednesday, 3rd March, 2021.
The National Assembly met at a Quarter-past Two O’clock p.m.
(THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER in the Chair)
ANNOUNCEMENTS BY THE HON. SPEAKER
LOGGING IN ON VIRUAL PLATFORM
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: I have to remind the House that all Hon. Members are required to log-in using their full names for identification purposes or indicate their names on the chat platform. This will assist officers in capturing their names on the attendance register. Furthermore, Hon. Members are advised that they must keep their gadgets on mute and only unmute when called upon to speak by the Chair.
APOLOGIES RECEIVED FROM MINISTERS
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: I have got a list of apologies received from Hon. Ministers in respect of the National Assembly sitting on Wednesday, 3rd March, 2021. Hon. Vice President, C. D. Chiwenga; Hon. O. C.Z Muchinguri-Kashiri, Defence and War Veterans Affairs; Hon. Dr. Sekai Kanhutu-Nzenza, Industry and Commerce; Hon. G. Moyo, Local Government, Public Works and National Housing; Hon. C. Mathema, Primary and Secondary Education; Hon. Dr. O. Moyo, Deputy Minister of Primary and Secondary Education; Hon. Prof. Murwira, Higher and Tertiary Education; Hon. D. Musabayana, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs; Hon. D. Marapira, Minister in the Vice President’s Office; Hon. S. G. G. Moyo, Women’s Affairs, Community, Small and Medium Enterprise Development; and Hon. M. N. Ndlovu, Environment and Tourism.
Hon. Mushoriwa having wanted to raise a point of privilege.
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon. Mushoriwa, today is Wednesday, so we…
(v) HON. MUSHORIWA: It is a clarification on the list that you have announced. We just wanted to find out for some of us who are not in the House, which Ministers then are present in the House. The list that you have announced is long. Do we have Ministers in the House so that we can pose questions? If so, which Ministers are there?
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Yes we have them. If you have a question which you may want to ask and the Minister is not present, you can direct that question to the leader of Government Business.
(v) HON. GONESE: On a point of order Madam Speaker.
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: We are not taking any points of order Hon. Gonese.
(v) HON. GONESE: It is a clarification Madam Speaker. Please hear me out. My understanding is that points of privilege…
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon. Gonese, it was ruled by the Hon. Speaker that we are not going to take any points of order on a Wednesday, except Tuesdays and Thursdays.
(v) HON. GONESE: I think that there is a distinction because I understand that it is a point of privilege which cannot be raised on Wednesday. Points of order arise on a particular day…
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: But there is not any Business where does the point of order arise from. - [HON. GONESE: I think it becomes unfair Madam Speaker if you then prohibit us because points of order can arise say for example when I want a clarification of something or when I missed something…] - Hon. Gonese, there is no business yet, so where is that point of order coming from? Where is your point of order arising from Hon. Gonese?
HON. GONESE: It arises from your ruling which is not correct. If you deny points of order, that is not correct Madam Speaker. The Speaker was referring to points of privilege.
HON. T. MLISWA: Madam Speaker, my point of order arises from your absence with leave. Madam Speaker I just want to verify from you ...
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: But I did not recognise you Hon. Mliswa, why are you up standing? Did I recognise you?
HON. T. MLISWA: I have been extremely generous allowing those on virtual to speak first. You know me, I could have spoken but I gave them a chance but I see that when I give people a chance, I am also shot under. So I do not know what to do. My point of order emanates from your announcement on the Ministers with leave, the apologies that you mentioned. I must state this and it must be on record that I am taking it further. Those who did not apologise and the Clerk of Parliament is listening; I do not want the tendency of coming to your office about those Ministers who are not fulfilling their obligation and you always find a way of covering up for them. We must stop this habit. The Speaker ruled many things here. First of all, by 12 o’clock p. m. all the notices must be in. The moment that you announce them here, it is in the Hansard; it is a record which can be used. It is better for you not to announce if 12 o’clock p. m. you are not there. Secondly, all ministers must be present here like some who gave excuses and so forth. This must go on record and I want to move that the ministers have not been serious. So I will be moving a motion of contempt to ministers who are not here.
We must understand because the ruling emanates from the Speaker saying at 12 o’clock p.m. exactly, the list must be there. The moment that you just read it, it becomes a record for the Hansard. So I will be using that and I hope when I go to the office tomorrow, I am not going to be told something else. A lot of shenanigans happens. There is also corruption there. Other ministers call, they are added and so forth. May we stop the corruption administratively and we take this role seriously. I need a list Clerk and I am announcing all the ministers who did not apologise so that I move a motion of contempt of Parliament. We cannot be a Parliament which comes here; there are so many challenges in the country yet ministers are not here when they have a mandate to carry out. I thank you.
ORAL ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS WITHOUT NOTICE
*HON. TOGAREPI: What measures have been put in place to the perennial problem with regards to payment of tobacco farmers or what measures have you put in place to ensure that tobacco farmers will get their money in good time since we are now in the tobacco selling season? I thank you.
*THE MINISTER OF LANDS, AGRICULTURE, FISHERIES, WATER, CLIMATE AND RURAL RESETTLEMENT (HON. DR. MASUKA): Madam Speaker, I thank the Hon. Member for the question which inquires into the measures that the Government has put in place to deal with the sale of tobacco. The opening of tobacco auctions is coming very soon and we are busy engaging with the buyers together with the Reserve Bank and farmers representatives who have submitted areas that they would want improved from last year so that they are satisfied, that inclusive of the practice that was taking place last year where when they were selling their tobacco, they would get Z$25 to US$1 for the season. The majority of them cried foul and said they lost out because of that. Now, with the stability in the exchange rate which has remained constant at US$83 to US$1 range, I think this will assist them to get money that has a steady value.
Secondly, whenever they will be selling it will be their wish that parts of the equipment or requirements that they need to have and buy in USD, they should be given because last year they were getting 50% USD component and the other half in Zim dollar component. Their request is that they should be given more USD component because the majority of their inputs are now being sold in USD. The Reserve Bank has put in measures to the effect that there is going to be the same treatment to everyone who is exporting produce so that tobacco farmers are happy because they are going to get 60% and the USD component. We are busy ensuring that the two come to an agreement before the opening of the tobacco auction floors. Thank you.
*HON. TOGAREPI: There is a problem where we would want you to give us clarity. The problem comes from the banks that are supposed to pay farmers when they will have delivered their tobacco. We have seen people staying at these auction floors after they will have sold their tobacco. Are there measures in place where the farmer is going to be paid immediately after delivery of his tobacco?
*HON. DR. MASUKA: The question was - are there arrangements and the answer is; indeed there are such arrangements.
*HON. MADZIMURE: Minister, it is a given that year in year out people plant and sell. We have less than 30 days to the opening of auction floors. What is difficult on being prepared so that when the farmer is planting the crop, you announce the producer price so that the farmer can strategise for the coming year because as they are busy treating their tobacco they are unaware of the price that you are going to pay them. Lastly, you know that our prices are pegged at USD1 to Z$125. When you give the farmer 60%, the 40% that the farmer is going to get is not in the value of the USD but it is 60 cents because of the auction system. What measures are you going to put in place? May you please give the farmers their 100% component pegged at the prevalent USD? I thank you.
*HON. DR. MASUKA: Madam Speaker, this question has more to do with the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development and the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe who may shed light on that issue. We are farmers and we have a bumper harvest. We believe that farmers should be properly remunerated. There is a difference between the tobacco farmers and the maize farmers in that as Government, we buy the majority of the crops and we can announce producer prices before they even plant. In a few weeks time, we are going to announce the producer prices for maize and wheat that is to respond to the question. As Ministry of Agriculture, our mandate is to urge farmers to plant sufficient crops and ensure that they are properly paid. As to the issue of payment and how the components should be in terms of the Zimbabwean dollar to the US dollar, is it best dealt with by the relevant Ministry?
I just want to reiterate that tobacco farmers are different from maize farmers. Those maize farmers sell directly to the Government and we are able to tell the producer price of maize before it is produced. In three month’s time we will be doing such an exercise because it is the Government that will be purchasing the maize. Tobacco is auctioned at a tobacco auction floor where international and local buyers that exceed 30 companies at the moment are in a position then to decide what amount they will pay. As to how it is going to be paid to the farmer, it is the responsibility of the Minister of Finance and Economic Development. I thank you.
HON. MADZIMURE: Madam Speaker, the question is directly related to the production of tobacco, and the Minister and the Deputy Minister of Finance and Economic Development are here.
HON. MARKHAM: Madam Speaker, thank you for recognising me. Madam Speaker I just want to revert to the exchange rate in the purchase of tobacco. When a farmer gets paid, when they get 60% or whatever percentage into his nostro account, as soon as his money goes on for the auction rate, we are talking of roughly 83:1 now. As soon as that farmer walks out of there and goes and buys inputs, these are charged at the illegal market rate at 120 dollars. That means the farmer, for next year, before he even picks up a hoe, he or she has lost 30%.
Madam Speaker, How is the Minister expecting production to increase? I understand that tobacco production for this year is less than last year, what is the Minister doing to rectify the situation? We are thirty days of the opening of the market and we are still talking, I do not believe that the farmers have been looked after. Can the Minister assure us that there will be some parity between the exchange rate they are paying the farmer and what the goods are costing the farmer? Thank you.
THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (HON. PROF. M. NCUBE): Thank you very much Madam Speaker. I want to thank Hon. Markham for the question. His question is about the exchange rate that the farmer is being compensated for their US dollar earnings portion that they hold on to, that is the question. The situation is like this: we as Government can only offer the auction rate which is 83.5 per US, we cannot offer any other exchange rate. If we did that, then we will be undermining the auction system and we will be promoting these other markets for which we have no control which also have shown to be quite disruptive. So, we have to stick to the auction rate and promote that auction system by making sure that anyone who deals with Government uses that exchange rate, we cannot use a different rate regardless of the retention.
HON. BITI: My supplementary question to the esteemed Minister of Finance and Economic Development is that the economy and farmers are suffering serious prejudice due to the mismatch between the official fixed auction rate of 1:83 or 83:5 at the open market. As Hon. Markham has said, farmers will get for their retention a US dollar of 1:83 but their cost structure is indexed on the black market rate which is around 1:125, why do you not do the right thing Hon. Minister and accept the informal re-dollarisation that has taken place. For you to remain within your track, why do you not simply liberalize the exchange and let the Zimbabwean dollar find its mark on the open market instead of having the artificial controlled exchange rate of 1:83 which is prejudicing the market, farmers and the rest of the economy? I thank you.
HON. PROF. M. NCUBE: Thank you for that intervention and question. First of all, let us be clear, the auction system is not fixed. The auction system only releases to the public as a communication point. Let me assist the Member of Parliament, Hon. Biti. You see, let us be clear Madam Speaker. The auction system is not rigged, fixed, or manipulated. The auction system represents the best expression in choice. You go there and you express whatever exchange rate you want. It is up to you. If you want to buy United States dollar at 1:1000 it is up to you. We will actually sell to you to teach you a lesson. If you want, I will come to that, his interjections. So you choose your exchange rate. That is why when we publish the results we show a range, Madam Speaker, from the highest to the lowest. What we then communicate is the weighted average. That is all. That weighted average has been stable and I tell you this economy, industrialists and the Hon. Member of Parliament appreciate that. He appreciates the stability I can assure you because the money in his pocket right now in Zimbabwean dollars or RTGS, whatever he is calling it, is stable, it is retaining value. For the first time in three years, companies can plan. Speak to the companies and that is what they will tell you.
So the auction system represents a market oriented choice friendly and choice promoting system and it has delivered stability. So therefore we cannot adopt anything else that undermines that stability such as this other market that the Hon. Member was referring to. No, we cannot do that. We have to stick to the auction rate. That is what has delivered order and stability. The auction system is driven by free market forces because you can choose any exchange rate you want. You cannot be freer than that. Can you imagine a system where you choose your own price? Can you believe it? You cannot be freer than that. That is the ultimate in free market forces promotion. I thank you Madam Speaker.
HON. MAYIHLOME: My question is directed to the Hon. Minister of Mines and Mining Development. During the pre-budget consultations, the Hon. Minister assured us that the issue of EPOs that are virtually covering most of the mining areas in this country, in particular the mining areas of Matabeleland and Midlands, would be addressed before the end of the year. Now we are two months into 2021and nothing has happened. When are we going to see the new policy come into effect so that citizens are allowed to back claims? Thank you Madam Speaker.
THE MINISTER OF MINES AND MINING DEVELOPMENT (HON. CHITANDO): I would like to thank the Hon. Member for the question. I will start by giving the status that the EPOs have been processed and as we talk, they are at the Attorney-General’s Office for publication. If they do not get published this Friday, they will be published next Friday. So yes, I admit that there was a delay and part of the delay was caused by the reduction in staff during the COVID lockdown period, but the promise which we undertook has been fulfilled and as we talk, we are waiting gazetting. I would like to think that if not gazetted this Friday, next week they will be gazetted. I thank you Madam Speaker.
HON. DR. KHUPE: My question is directed to the Minister responsible for water. We have experienced draught as a country for quite some time now resulting in water rationing but this year, God blessed us with a lot of water and my question is, what measures have they put in place to ensure that water is harvested particularly in urban areas in the form of surface runoff harvesting and rooftop rain water harvesting. These days there is a lot of runoff and it pains to see a lot of water flowing without it being harvested. Madam Speaker, this water is going to be useful for drinking, gardening and irrigation when the need arises. I thank you.
THE MINISTER OF LANDS, AGRICULTURE, FISHERIES, WATER, CLIMATE AND RURAL RESETTLEMENT (HON. DR. MASUKA): Madam Speaker, I thank the Hon. Khupe for the question. I think it has two levels. At a broader national level Government has the accelerated dam construction project and not just in view of drinking water but also agricultural and industrial water. It is in this regard that we have started an unprecedented project to do ten dams this year and we will be commissioning three.
At the urban supply level, most of the towns because of the abundant rains have enough water in their dams to supply 14 months and above. Bulawayo has 14 months supply in its dam. Harare has got 25 months supply and we are quite pleased with that. At household level and not just in urban areas but also in communal areas, because climate change is real and things will get worse in the decades ahead, we need to inculcate a culture of water harvesting. It is in this regard that in the Accelerated Irrigation and Rehabilitation Master Plan, we have encouraged local investments in roof top water harvesting techniques. I think everyone must get into this culture of harvesting the scarce water that we get. I thank you.
(V)HON. M. M. MPOFU: My question is directed to the Minister of Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage. What is the Ministry’s position or action plan to curb the ever escalating violence, suicide, robbery and murder cases which are a cause for concern to the people of my Constituency Silobela? No-one is free or safe from these thugs. How many deaths or robberies are required to trigger a response from the powers of ZRP to warrant intervention? - [HON. T. MLISWA: Inaudible interjection.] –
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon. Mliswa order please!
THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): Our laws do not allow anyone to murder anyone. If you go into our Constitution, it allows the death penalty for aggravated murder. The general policy is that if you murder someone, the police must arrest, investigate the case and you are brought to court and the appropriate sentence is given.
From what I got from the Hon. Member, there is a specific case that is happening in his Constituency which needs him to write a specific question so that the appropriate Minister can investigate and appropriate remedies are taken - [HON. T. MLISWA: Inaudible interjection.] –
(V)HON. O. SIBANDA: My question is directed to the Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development, Hon. Mhona. May I take this opportunity to congratulate Hon. Mhona on his new appointment. I seek clarification on Government policy – I understand that your Ministry intends to.....
HON. T. MLISWA: On a point of order Madam Speaker. The Hon. Member is not dressed properly. He has no tie.
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon Sibanda, please may you put on your tie. You are not properly dressed.
HON. T. MOYO: My question is directed to the Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs....
(V)HON. P. MOYO: My question is directed to ....
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: I said Hon. T. Moyo.
(V)HON. PRISCILLA MOYO: I am Priscilla Moyo....
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: No. T. Moyo and not P. Moyo.
HON. T. MOYO: Thank you Madam Speaker Maam. My question is directed to the Hon. Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs.
(V)HON. PRISCILLA MOYO: I hear a lot of ......
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon. T. Moyo and not Hon. P Moyo. Hon. T. Moyo may you go ahead.
HON. T. MOYO: Thank you Madam Speaker Maam. My question is directed to the Hon. Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs. What is the Ministry’s position towards espionage and cyber espionage?
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order Hon. Moyo, are you connected?
HON. T. MOYO: Yes. I think I am connected.
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Please go ahead.
HON. T. MOYO: My question is directed to the Hon. Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs. What is the Ministry’s policy towards espionage and cyber espionage?
THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): In our criminal court under crimes against the State, espionage is listed as one of the crimes. The position is very clear in terms of our criminal laws.
HON. T. MOYO: What happens to a few Zimbabweans who have a tendency of sending political and military secrets, intelligence of the country to other countries because we have such individuals in our midst?
HON ZIYAMBI: Thank you Madam Speaker Ma’am. I have already indicated that it is criminalised and anyone with information can report to the relevant security agencies for investigation so that the person can be prosecuted. I thank you.
HON BITI: What happens if the State itself is committing espionage against private citizens and I refer to the recent incident where the entire private communication of the Vice President of a country was interfered with against the laws of the country and then used? What happens when the State is the rogue element and is committing that espionage? What protection do members of the public and Executive have?
HON. ZIYAMBI: In all fairness, the first question was referring to crimes against the State. The supplementary question is now bordering on rights of citizens and protection of privacy of citizens. It is different from the first question where the question was - what happens when people commit espionage against the State, which is what I answered. However, I am not privy to the circumstances that the Hon. Member has alluded to. If he has information to that, he can direct it to the relevant authorities to ensure that the right to privacy of our citizens are maintained.
*HON TEKESHE: My question is directed to the Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development. We are having a challenge in that the bridges are being swept away and infrastructure is being destroyed. There are rains all over the country. The bridges that were constructed before independence are intact but the ones that were constructed after independence are being swept away. Why is there a difference?
*THE MINISTER OF TRANSPORT AND INFRASTRUCTURAL DEVELOPMENT (HON. MHONA): I want to thank the Hon Member for his question. It is our hope that every infrastructure is durable. I am happy that as a country, we now have a policy that looks into all the projects and infrastructure that is being constructed, that they are done properly through monitoring and evaluation. I promise you Hon Tekeshe, after a project has been completed, evaluations are made to ensure that they are of correct standard. I thank you.
*HON TEKESHE: My supplementary question is; there is a law that says bridges must be inspected annually so that if there is a problem it is rectified as soon as possible. Are these bridges being inspected? Why is it that the bridges which are being built these days do not have reinforcement like all other bridges?
*HON. MHONA: It is correct that whenever a building or structure is being put up, it is inspected so that it is properly constructed. Since you have a bridge that you have in mind, it is better that you put your question in writing so that an appropriate response may be given with regards to how the bridge was constructed. I thank you.
HON. MUNETSI: May I find out from the Hon Minister as to when you anticipate to start construction of this bridge?
HON. MHONA: I want to thank Hon Munetsi for his question and let me take this platform to advise the august House that after the declaration of state of disaster by His Excellency, there is a programme known as Emergency Road Rehabilitation Programme Phase 2 which is running from 2021 to 2024 February. The immediate phase that has been referred to by the Hon Member is the one that is running. It started on 1 March 2021 and as we speak, engineers are seized in trying to come up with roads. I urge Hon Members to take this upon yourselves so that you prioritise roads in your constituencies that you think are very important and that also entails to my fellow colleague, Hon. Tekeshe so that you prioritise some of those bridges that you are talking about. That first phase is taking 60 days whereby we are going to address the issues of wash-aways, pothole filling and drain clearing.
Apparently, in the next 60 days, the Ministry will be seized in trying to address that. We are actually mandated according to the Roads Act, Chapter 13:18 which talks of section 5 that allows the Hon. Minister to take charge of the roads and this is what we are doing. We need to move with speed as Parliament, local authorities and rural district councils to take ownership of this programme.
(V)* HON. TSUNGA: My supplementary question is that there are a lot of cases regarding people who have lost their property to bridges that are washed away in certain places. What does Government plan to do about that? Some people were injured or suffered various losses and so, what is Government planning to do?
(V)* HON. MHONA: I would like to thank Hon. Tsunga for the important question. Let me say in this august House, this issue has been raised that it is important to have a budget for people who have suffered losses like that. These are calamities that just come and they are not paid for. So it is important for restoration to be done if such things occur but let me suggest that as we converge in this House, it is important that all cars should be insured against accidents and the injury of persons that will be on those cars so that whatever happens then the insurance can compensate.
(V)* HON. PRISCILLA MOYO: What is Government policy on contractors on the roads if they are not performing, for example the one doing the Chivu-Mvuma lag?
THE MINISTER OF TRANSPORT AND INFRASTRUCTURAL DEVELOPMENT (HON. MHONA): Let me thank the Hon. Member for that very important question, only to say since she has addressed a specific contractor, I will be happy to have that one in writing. However, let me address the issues that she has highlighted in terms of failure to perform.
Like I alluded to earlier on, the national policy on monitoring and evaluation, I am sure will go a long way in trying to address some of these issues. Let me also hasten to say the Committees of Parliament, let us work together and try to monitor and evaluate projects so that we do not wait for the contractor to misuse taxpayer’s monies and then report thereafter. Thank you.
(V) *HON. KWARAMBA: My question is directed to the Minister of Primary and Secondary Education. I notice that schools will be opened on the 22nd March but looking at the calendar, you will find that on 2nd April it will be Good Friday. This means that school children will have attended school maybe just for nine days. My worry is - what is the implication to parents who would have sent their children to school on the 22nd March and then go back to collect them for Easter?
THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): I want to thank Hon. Kwaramba for the question which is a very good question articulating that learners have been requested that they will open on the 22nd March, immediately after that we have Good Friday and then we go to Independence Holiday and it might constrain parents. What I can say is, the Ministry is working on a calendar but the policy is; let us now open schools. So they will come up with a proper calendar and I am sure we can engage them and that can also be taken into consideration.
They will also look into the syllabus because as you know, last year we lost a lot of time because there are several things that they did not do. So I think that is a very good question which we can ask them to consider when coming up with a calendar for the whole year.
(v)*HON. MAKONYA: If schools are going to be opened, has Government met the demands of teachers because we do not want to experience what happened before where teachers did not report for duty citing incapacitation?
*THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Can you clarify on which issues you are talking about?
(v)*HON. MAKONYA: Teachers’ salaries Madam Speaker.
*THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): Thank you Madam Speaker. This supplementary question does not relate to the first question, because the first question was that schools are being opened yet we have public holidays close by, will this not burden parents? This is a new question altogether concerning salaries of Government employees. There are discussions underway and teachers are part of that negotiation. When they reach a consensus, it will be made public. I thank you.
(v)HON. MISIHAIRABWI-MUSHONGA: My supplementary question is when the school calendar is out, will it deal with the issue of school fees because as we speak, parents are being asked to pay school fees for the whole term. What is the Ministry going to do in relation to the issues of paying school fees outside the school calendar? Thank you.
HON. ZIYAMBI: Thank you Madam Speaker. Again, this is also another question that was smuggled even though it relates to the education sector. I believe that there are several categories of schools. There are Government schools, private schools and mission schools and we cannot lump them in one basket. Others have boards and parents are involved when the fees are being raised and they agree that they want the whole fees for the whole term to be charged. I think some of the concerns are very specific, it can be addressed to the Minister or to the relevant schools so that they can deliberate and come up with a framework of how they can deal with it within the confines of the policy framework that will come up from the Ministry of Education. I thank you.
HON. MISIHAIRABWI-MUSHONGA: Madam Speaker, the Minister knows that with the Education Amendment Act which we passed, it is very clear, you do not increase or charge school fees until the Minister…
HON. T. MLISWA: On a point of order. She cannot have a second bite of the cherry. It is either she seeks a point of clarity, there cannot be two supplementary questions. Those are the rules that you teach us, that is why we are so attentive, unless she comes in with a point of clarity, she cannot speak.
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon. Misihairabwi, maybe you can ask a new question. – [AN HON. MEMBER: Inaudible interjections.] – Order, order Hon. Member.
HON. MISIHAIRABWI-MUSHONGA: I was saying to the Minister, as the Education Amendment Act is clear that, you do not raise or charge school fees until such a time that those have been approved by the Ministry. So has the Ministry already set up what is going to happen as far as school fees are concerned in relation to what is the fate of the school calendar? At the moment we do not have the school calendar and we are generally having parents being asked to pay school fees across the board, so what is the policy issue in this instance?
HON. ZIYAMBI: I did not quite get the question but from what I gathered, she is saying that we cannot increase school fees until the Minister has approved. I am saying that there are different categories of schools. We have private schools which are strictly private and the Minister does not come in. Then there are those mission schools and Government schools, so if it is purely private, the Minister does not have any business in dealing with them. That is why I was making reference to the board and the relevant school authorities, because you agree when you enroll your child to abide by whatever is there. So I do not agree with what she is saying. If Government comes with a policy framework as to how the learners will go back, then and only then can we deliberate and say in terms of fees for Government schools why did the Minister did this and that not for private schools. I thank you Hon. Speaker.
HON. MADZIMURE: On a point of order Madam Speaker. When the Leader of Government Business responded to Hon. Kwaramba’s question, he said the calendar was not yet out, which is wrong because we already know that other students are going back to school on 15 March and the rest are going on 22nd March, so the calendar is out. He did not respond to the earlier question correctly because the calendar is out. This was announced by the Minister of Information and Broadcasting Services who is here.
THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): Thank you Madam Speaker. Madam Speaker what was announced was that learners must start going to school from the 22nd but we do not have the whole calendar and how we are going to do it. That is exactly what I said that within the framework of working out, the Ministry, I think we will advise them to also take into consideration what Hon. Kwaramba was saying. What was announced was that with the obtaining conditions that are there now, the reduction in cases, the environment is suitable for us.
(v)HON. MUSHORIWA: On a point of order Madam Speaker. My point of order is: remember when we started the questions we had asked that the Leader of the House will be in a position to answer questions where the Ministers are not there but judging from the quality of answers that we are getting from the Leader of the House, it leaves a lot to be desired and this is the reason why we need to ensure that Ministers come, because we cannot waste a day thinking that the Leader of the House will be in a position to cover all the Ministries when in actual fact he is just responding on the surface.
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: What surface are you referring to?
(v)HON. MUSHORIWA: Just look at the way the Leader of the House has answered the questions pertaining to the issue of the school...
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: You are out of order Hon. Mushoriwa.
HON. T. MOYO: Thank you Madam Speaker. Since the issue of opening of schools is such an important issue, I request that the Hon. Minister should come to this House and give a Ministerial Statement on the level of preparedness so that we know exactly what is going to happen, considering issues of PPEs and so on.
THE HON. DPEUTY SPEAKER: That is a valid point Hon. Moyo. We will ask the Hon. Minister of Education to come and give us a Ministerial Statement. Thank you.
*HON. BITI: Thank you Madam Speaker. My question is directed to the Minister of Local Government Dr. Chombo. On Friday you gazetted a SI which says the farms in Chiredzi/Chilonga must be given to Lucerne farming and the Lucerne will be farmed by Den Dairy Company which means that 12 500 families are going to relocated from Chilonga and we do not know where they are going to be resettled by the Government. Why are we taking the communal land and giving it to Den Dairy? The second one is what is the criteria used to give communal land to Den Dairy? The third question is why we are going to take the land which belongs to communal people, especially the minority group which stays in Chilonga, the Shangani people? Thank you Madam Speaker.
THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT AND PUBLIC WORKS (HON. DR. CHOMBO): Thank you Hon. Speaker and thank you very much Hon. Biti for such a question. From listening to the question, it looks like it links more towards the Ministry of Lands and I would request through you Hon. Speaker that the question be directed as such.
HON. BITI: The Statutory Instrument was done by the Ministry of Local Government.
THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT AND PUBLIC WORKS (HON. DR. CHOMBO): Thank you very much Hon. Speaker and thank you to Hon. Biti for that question. As far as relocation of people – what happens is that the Ministry in conjunction with the Ministry of Lands, we identify lands or places that are suitable for accommodating people. Right now we are in the drive to boost up our production in agriculture. So, if we realise that some of the land that is being occupied as residential is suitable for agriculture. We introduce those Statutory Instruments to make sure that we do justice. As a matter of fact, whenever we locate people, we first identify some areas where it is suitable to move them to before we relocate them.
HON. BITI: My question to Hon. Chombo is that the people that are living in Chilonga are growing sugar-cane, soghurm, millet and selling to Chibuku. Why is their land being taken and being given to Den Dairy who are white people? I thank you.
HON. T. MLISWA: It has nothing to do with the Minister of Lands, it is a Statutory Instrument under Local Government and the Minister of Justice can even tell you that. It is them who decide to do that. The Ministry of Lands does not come into it. the Minister of Lands only comes in when they lend him but he is not the one who is removing them. We are asking the Ministry which is removing them to explain.
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order Hon. Mliswa. Hon. Minister of Lands, are you able to answer that question.
Hon. T. Mliswa having kept on speaking when not recognised by the Hon. Deputy Speaker
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: No, I am the Chair Hon. Mliswa please hey!
THE MINISTER OF LANDS, AGRICULTURE, FISHERIES, WATER, CLIMATE AND RURAL RESETTLEMENT (HON. DR. MASUKA): Madam Speaker, this question is very specific and specific to a specific location and an excision that was done in terms of a Statutory Instrument by the Minister responsible for Local Government. My suggestion therefore is that this be deferred that a full answer can be taken from the Ministry and presented to this House. Thank you.
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon. Biti, maybe you can put your question in writing so that the Hon. Minister of Local responds to iot.
HON. BITI: What is the policy that has been used by the Ministry of Local Government and Public Works to take away communal lands and giving it to Dendairy who are white people? It is a policy question Madam Speaker.
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon. Biti, may you switch on your mic?
*HON. BITI: My question Madam Speaker is what policy was used by the Minister of Local Government and Public Works to take communal lands and if it was communal lands, is it structured by the Communal Lands Act?
The Statutory Instrument made by the Minister of Local Government and Public Works is made in terms of the Communal Lands Act. On what basis then has the Hon. Minister exercised a policy decision of taking away rural land and giving it to someone? What is the policy and why is this happening 41 years after Independence when we went to war for this land? I thank you. – [HON. T. MLISWA: Inaudible interjections.] –
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order, order Hon. Mliswa!
THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): Thank you Hon. Speaker. Hon. Speaker, before I answer, when Hon. Biti first spoke, he said that people were dispossessed of their land. It is wrong because they were not dispossessed of their land.
Communal land is vested in the President and Hon. Biti appreciates that any land even one that you have title deeds to, if there is a project of national interest to be carried out, the President can cause it to be gazetted and you can be relocated elsewhere. It is not correct that people were chased away.
Secondly, when there is a project of national interest to be carried and it is found that the communal area is most suitable, there is nothing that inhibits the President from taking such a stance. What is wrong is for people to be removed from such an area and not be resettled. The Hon. Minister has correctly stated that these people who are going to be moved from that place are going to be resettled. The National Assembly that we have at one time belonged to someone and the house that Hon. Biti has today, at one time belonged to someone else. So if there is a project of national interest, the President can cause that gazette to be made by the Ministry of Local Government and Public Works and they acted accordingly.
HON. T. MLISWA: Madam Speaker, my supplementary question is that Government is seized with removing illegal settlers. These are not illegal settlers but legal settlers; they have been there for a very long time – nine years. They are 12 000 of them and not only that but those who live off them it will be 50 000 and over one person…
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: What is the question?
HON. T. MLISWA: The question is, have we now gotten to a point of reversing the Land Reform Programme where we now have to vacate our ancestral lands? I might as well go and inform saSabhuku inini, kuti chiendai zvenyu nekuti Hurumende ichakubvisai pano apa. What is the cost of 12 000 people vis-à-vis one farmer?
The Government has enough farms to be able to give. The Hon. Minister is embarking on an underutilisation programme that can identify farms. So why do we not wait for that process to happen? Identify and give to him but we cannot afford to reverse the Land Reform Programme, the gains of the struggle. The Indigenisation Empowerment Act, he repealed it again. What are the people of Zimbabwe going to be left with when the little that they have in land they do not have? My question is very clear, they are not illegal; they are legal. Is it now going to be a standard measure for the whole country? Can we now go as Members of Parliament to say kumaruwa kwamuri uku, Hurumende kana yakusvika pano, musavake inotora.
*HON. ZIYAMBI: Thank you Madam Speaker. I thank Hon. Mliswa but he had misdirected himself in the sense that these people are being relocated to another place. He has misdirected himself as if this is a new way of doing things but the law that I cited allows the President to possess the land that you occupy if there is a project of national importance and the law has been in practice for a long time. This is part of our law and if he was unaware of it, this is the law and this is a fact.
It is not just a decision that was done overnight that such hay could be grown in that area. People are being relocated and are being advised of the reasons why they are to be resettled and if houses are going to be constructed, that will be done. They have been informed of the reasons behind their relocation. – [HON. T. MLISWA: Inaudible interjection.] - The Hon. Member does not want a response but simply wants an argument but this is what the law states and that is the position at law. I thank you. – [HON. T. MLISWA: Inaudible interjection.] -
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order, order! Hon. Mliswa, please may you approach the Chair?
HON. BITI: On a point of clarification Madam Speaker! Thank you. My point of clarification to the esteemed Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs and Leader of the House is …
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon. Biti please, may you be connected?
HON. BITI: Yes, I am trying to do that. Madam Speaker Ma’am, my point of clarification is to the Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs and esteemed Leader of the House. On what basis do we now call a grass making project a national project?
Secondly, on what criteria are we giving this land and ejecting 12 500 people to one Dendairy farmer, the Coetzee brothers? On what criteria is grass growing a national project that justifies the disbursement of people from their cultural land? It is not justified Hon. Speaker Ma’am.
HON. ZIYAMBI: Thank you Madam Speaker Ma’am. Madam Speaker, I am actually surprised that the Hon. Member who knows the laws very well can actually attest to what I was saying that it is within the confines of the law is speaking, the way he is speaking. He is now pretending to be an agriculturalist to question the type of grass and how we should move forward in terms of cattle rearing. I am actually surprised that he is saying that. I think there is insincerity in the way the Hon. Member is asking because he knows the law very well and he knows that the President is empowered to do that. As to the criteria of which farmer has been given that particular land surely, it is not relevant to me. What I am here to answer is that the policy framework, if we have a project of national importance which the agriculturalist will say that we will ensure that our heard is improved, all the experts have said this is the route to go. I am sure if he wants to go and join the agricultural college and argue with them, I think so be it but what I have said is what is obtaining and is within the confines of the law. I thank you.
HON. MARKHAM: Thank you Hon. Speaker Sir. I just want to follow up on his question. The first question is very simple who is going to resettle 12500 people, the Dendairy or the State? Secondly, the State has failed to resettle a lot of people including Cyclone Idai and Tokwe-Mukorsi victims. My issue with this is there is an exercise being run very adequately by the Ministry of Agriculture on identifying land that is not being used. Why are we displacing 12500 people, which can be equated to another Land Reform Programme, for one company which we do not know how it was selected. I do not care if it was the biggest dairy company in the country; it does not have to go to one place other than for easy of management.
The issue with this is this is obviously going to require a statement from the Minister of Local Government. He must make sure that everything is covered clearly because it has major ramifications on the Land Reform Programme because we have got issues like the Global Deed Settlement, we have got Statutory Instrument 62 and now we are getting 12500 people displaced. We want all this wrapped into one banner and brought to this Parliament so that we can discuss it and see where we stand because there are now 12500 people, we are playing with their lives – [HON. BITI: Inaudible interjection.)
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER (HON. M. KHUMALO): Order Hon. Biti.
HON. ZIYAMBI: Hon. Speaker the Hon Member simply repeated what Hon. Biti was saying, I think I have exhausted – [HON. BITI: Inaudible interjection.] –
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Hon. Biti, order please.
HON. ZIYAMBI: Secondly, Mr. Speaker, I think we may belabour ourselves with nothing. The SI was recently gazetted and this Parliament is going to consider it and once it considers it, I think the esteemed Hon. Members, if they feel that there is something amiss with it, they discuss with the Parliamentary Legal Committee and then it can be tabled here if they so feel that there is something that is not within the confines of our laws, that is contained in that particular Statutory Instrument.
HON. T. MLISWA: I have a question Mr. Speaker.
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Hon. Mliswa, please sit down.
HON. T. MLISWA: I am invited by Parliament and I have the right to speak. Last week, I was not here I have only came today but you do not want me to speak. This Parliament is for the ZANU PF and MDC, you do not allow independent members to speak – [HON. BITI: Allow him to speak, allow the independent to speak.] - I do not come for virtual meetings.
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Hon. T. Mliswa, I have not asked you to speak, you must follow procedure.
HON. MKARATIGWA: Thank you Mr. Speaker. My question is directed to the Minister of Mines and Mining Development. I have noted that there is a general fear amongst citizens with regards to handling of non-precious stones, hence investors prefer to go to Mozambique and Zambia amongst other countries due to policy uncertainty in that area. May you please clarify, what is Government policy on handling, buying, selling and value addition of the non-precious stones in Zimbabwe. I thank you.
THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF MINES AND MINING DEVELOPMENT (HON. KAMBAMURA): Thank you Mr. Speaker. Can I kindly ask Hon. Mkaratigwa to repeat the question.
Hon. Mkaratigwa repeated the question.
THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF MINES AND MINING DEVELOPMENT (HON. KAMBAMURA): Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. I want to thank the Hon. Member for the question. Previously, our Gold Stones Act, Precious Stones and the Mines and Minerals Act were not speaking the same. Currently, we are amending the Mines and Minerals Bill which should be brought to Parliament soon. After the amendment, we are also going to attend to the Gold Trade Act and Precious Stones Act.
On the issue of value addition, Government policy is that all minerals have to be beneficiated before they are exported and the Ministry has come up with the beneficiation policy which will be brought again to Parliament very soon. Soon after the amendment of the Mines and Minerals Bill, we are going to touch on the Gold Trade Act and Precious Stones Act so that they are all in sync with their main Act. I thank you.
(v)HON. S. S. KHUMALO: Mr. Speaker Sir, my question is directed to the Ministry of Energy and Power Development. It is about the pylons that are lying around the country with electricity wires which are not powered. For example in my constituency along the road, the poles have now gone to a state where they are falling yet the wires are powered. People are walking on top of these wires, et cetera. I think perhaps the Ministry must have a policy that when such poles are installed in anticipation of providing power and if the project fails, they should cover those poles. This should be an investment but I do not think it is helping our nation. What is the policy regarding those power lines?
THE MINISTER OF ENERGY AND POWER DEVELOPMENT (HON. SODA): Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir, let me also thank the Hon. Member for the question. The policy is that those power lines are supposed to be maintained. Mr. Speaker, if the Hon. Member can be specific; can he supply us with further information on where exactly these power lines are lying idle so that proper attendance can be made. I thank you.
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER (HON. M. KHUMALO): Hon. Member, you are advised to put the question in writing so that the issue is investigated.
HON. O. SIBANDA: Thank you very much Mr. Speaker Sir. My question is directed to the Minister of Sports. I am seeing a lot of inconsistencies in terms of various sporting disciplines which are permitted to be played in the country. For example, football has not been mentioned just a few sports have been mentioned. Why is it that there is this inconsistency in terms of allowing others to participate?
THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF YOUTH, SPORT, ARTS AND RECREATION (HON. MACHAKARIKA): Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir and I also want to thank the Hon. Member for a very good question. Actually, yesterday 2nd March, 2021, Cabinet approved the low risk sport which comprises of athletics, golf and others. We are still in the process of appealing to them. We are looking into it and we are hoping that in a few days it will be adjusted and some of the sports will be activated. Thank you Hon. Speaker.
HON. O. SIBANDA: Can you clarify Hon. Minister, why is it that you have taken so long to act on these sporting disciplines in view of the fact that our teams are participating internationally and we are failing to perform? Our neighbours like South African and Zambia for example, are playing football but we are not doing anything. We are not seeing anything. There are what are called player contracts; teams are losing including other sports also. Those contractual obligations, how are the teams going to fulfill them when players are not playing? Are you going to assist in terms of Government funding or grants? Thank you.
HON. MACHAKARIKA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. Like I said earlier on, there were challenges in the country. We were hit hard by COVID, so we are just hoping that as soon as we sit down and have a position as a Ministry, everything is going to be adjusted. We are going to sit down and have a position which will make sure that all games and players, like he said, are going to be looked after and try to adjust on the challenges that we had. Thank you.
Questions Without Notice were interrupted by THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER in terms of Standing Order No. 64.
ORAL ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS WITH NOTICE
ALLOCATION OF LAND AT ARDA ESTATE IN KAIREZI
- HON. SARUWAKA asked the Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water, Climate and Rural Resettlement to inform the House:
- a) What Government policy is regarding the allocation of land at the Agricultural Rural and Development Authority (ARDA) Estate in Kairezi.
- b) Why some Ministry officials are attempting to dispossess Ms Beauty Nyakurimwa, ID: 75 - 053034-J-50, DOB: 21/10/58 of Plot Number 6 on the estate which was allocated to her under the Land Reform Programme, Reference L/183 dated 17 December, 2001 in favour of Mr. Luckson Gotosa whose offer letter indicates that he was allocated Plot Number 8 on the same estate.
- c) When the Ministry will implement the determination by the Zimbabwe Lands Commission issued on 17 December 2017 in Beauty Nyakurimwa`s favour and to further explain why there were delays in this regard.
- d) What guarantee will the Ministry provide to her in respect of her ownership of Plot Number 6 on the estate considering that she is a widow and to further elaborate how other women experiencing similar challenges should be treated.
THE MINISTER OF LANDS, AGRICULTURE, FISHERIES, WATER, CLIMATE AND RURAL RESETTLEMENT (HON. DR. MASUKA): All agricultural land is State land and there is a uniform policy across the country regarding the allocation of land starting with the identification at district level and the Provincial Lands Committee meeting to deliberate and to recommend to the Minister for the issuance of offer letters.
In this specific aspect, this relates to the Ministry officials attempting to dispossess Ms. Beauty Nyakurimwa on Plot 6 which was allocated to her under the Land Reform Programme in 2001. The position Mr. Speaker Sir, is that in the matter between Ms. Nyakurimwa and Mr. Gotosa, the land was left vacant without succession and therefore the District Lands Committee made a recommendation for a new allocation and forwarded this allocation to the Provincial Lands Committee and to the Ministry for processing.
A dispute arose as a result of the succession on the claim and this was brought before the Lands Commission. The Lands Commission made a determination that the widow be given back the farm. The delay in implementing this recommendation has been because Mr. Gotosa then challenged the determination of the Zimbabwe Lands Commission. So the matter is before the courts. As a Ministry that abides by the rule of law, we will await the court judgment and will be guided accordingly in this regard Mr. Speaker Sir.
HON. SARUWAKA: Supplementary question. The document that I was shown by Ms. Beauty Nyakurimwa was clear that she had won the case and I do not see how the Ministry is entertaining Mr. Gotosa in light of the dispossession of Ms. Nyakurimwa’s stand. Are they going to make sure that Ms. Nyakurimwa gets her plot because according to the court papers, it is clear that Mr. Gotosa was allocated Plot 8 and Ms. Nyakurimwa’s plot is Plot 6. They are not on the same land. So where is the dispute which the Hon. Minister and his Ministry are trying to entertain? They were allocated different plots. Are you aware of that position that they were allocated different plots? Mr. Gotosa cannot dispute his eviction from Ms. Nyakurimwa’s land. So I wanted to hear from the Minister whether he is going to check the facts around the matter that Ms. Nyakurimwa’s plot is different from Mr. Gotosa’s. Is he going to proceed to allow the family of Ms. Nyakurimwa to access their land now that the matter is clear? This is an example of a case in which many women are being dispossessed of their land.
HON. DR. MASUKA: Mr. Speaker Sir, I thank the Hon. Member for bringing that additional information which certainly will be considered once the court has also made a judgment. Thank you Mr. Speaker.
FARMS FOR CHIEFS IN UMZINGWANE
- HON. MAYIHLOME asked the Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Water, Fisheries, Climate and Rural Resettlement to inform the House when all the four chiefs in Umzingwane District will be allocated farms.
THE MINISTER OF LANDS, AGRICULTURE, FISHERIES, WATER, CLIMATE AND RURAL RESETTLEMENT (HON. DR. MASUKA): Mr. Speaker Sir, the policy of Government is that there is no discrimination in terms of allocation of land. There is no special dispensation allowed for this category. However, every citizen is free to follow the procedure to apply for land and in this regard, I recommend that they approach the District Lands Committee and they be queued for possible allocation especially now that we are looking for underutilised and derelict land. Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.
HON. MAYIHLOME: Thank you very much Hon. Minister for the response to that question. These four chiefs all applied for land and it is over 15 years that they have been battling to get land in Umzingwane. Other people who are not chiefs have been allocated land before them. The first one was allocated a homestead – just a homestead and no arable land and yet we expect chiefs to have isiphala seNkosi.
The other chief was allocated land in another chief’s jurisdiction and this complicated things – they had to look for another farm for her. On the third chief, there was duplicate allocation; two more people where allocated that same piece of land with the chief. The fourth chief who is now deceased never got the land. The family is now asking about that.
Related to that, we have the former first President of this country; Canaan Banana – his family applied for land and it is over three years now. No-one is pushing those papers. We are concerned that this erstwhile President of this country still does not have land. He is a renowned fighter for this country and it is known. Never mind whatever happened to him but no one can take away his contribution to this country.
As a citizen, there is a chief who comes to beg to graze his cattle on my farm. It is not right that a chief under whose jurisdiction we are comes to beg for land and they are told to apply to the District land office. That is unheard of and they have been waiting for over 15 years. This is why I am raising it here in Parliament.
HON. DR. MASUKA: I thank the Hon. Member for the clarification. The question originally as posed was as if these were applicants and simply wanted to be fast tracked. Therefore, I gave a policy position regarding allocation of land in general, but what is emerging is that there is a bit of history to each of these and very specific and unique to the circumstances and I therefore think in order for the Hon. Member to advance these cases, may wish to provide us with additional detail so that we can liaise with the respective offices in Umzingwane and the relevant provinces and see how we can assist.
EXTRACTION OF ABUNDANT GAS RESERVES IN LUPANE
- HON. I. NYONIasked the Minister of Mines and Mining Development to inform the House the measures being taken by the Ministry to facilitate the extraction of abundant gas reserves in Lupane, in Matebeleland North Province and Chiredzi in order to reduce the import bill, considering that gas has become a widely used fuel for cooking.
THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF MINES AND MINING DEVELOPMENT (HON. KAMBAMURA): Promotion of Coal Bed Methane (CBM) is being done through exploration.
Currently, the Ministry is working on a CBM policy for the separation of CBM and coal concessions titles. This will be incorporated in the Mines and Minerals Bill which is being amended. This will also enable areas with coal concessions to be targeted for CBM exploration.
CBM projects that are currently underway include a project being undertaken by a company called Discovery Investments, Shangani Energy and Jacquiline Resources. These projects are looking forward to have results very soon.
(V)HON. NDUNA: I would like to find out whether there are any timeframes on these, considering that gas is imported particularly from South Africa and it is one of the things that has become a necessity in most homes and foreign currency is being lost, yet we have gas locally here - that goes a long way in saving the foreign currency?
HON. KAMBAMURA: The projects which are being undertaken are currently at exploration stage and this takes between two to three years before the investor gets the desired results. Once they are done with exploration, they will be issued with a mining licence and will start to develop the resource.
(V)HON. NDUNA: Some of the issues the Minister alludes to are tied to the tabling of the Mines and Minerals Act. Would he know when this Act is coming to Parliament for repeal?
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER (HON. KHUMALO): Are you talking about the Act or Bill?
(V)HON. NDUNA: I am talking about the actual Bill Mr. Speaker Sir. I was listening to the Minister’s answer on gas where he said there is a section of that Act – the new one that ascribes to the issues of the gas that Hon. Nyoni speaks to. Which quarter of the year is it coming to Parliament? We have been waiting for it.
HON. KAMBAMURA: The Mines and Minerals Amendment Bill is to be submitted to the Cabinet Committee on Legislation probably next week. Thereafter, it will be brought to Parliament, but I do not have the exact date as to when it will be tabled in Parliament.
USE OF MERCURY AND OTHER HARMFUL CHEMICALS IN THE MINING SECTOR
- HON. BRIG. GEN. (RTD.) MAYIHLOME asked the Minister of Mines and Mining Development to inform the House on Government position on banning the use of mercury and other harmful chemicals in the mining sector.
THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF MINES AND MINING DEVELOPMENT (HON. KAMBAMURA): In 2013 the Government of Zimbabwe signed the Minamata Convention whose objective is to protect human health and the environment from the adverse effects of anthropogenic emissions and releases of mercury in the atmosphere. The Government of Zimbabwe has ratified the Minamata Convention and this was tabled in Parliament in 2020.
The Ministry of Mines and Mining Development and the Ministry of Environment, Climate Change, Tourism and Hospitality Industry are the two key ministries which drove the ratification process.
The Ministry of Mines and Mining Development held a Minamata Ratification Sensitisation Workshop at the Kadoma Ranch Motel on 20 October 2020. The Ministry of Mines and Mining Development convened the Minamata ratification Sensitisation Workshop for Members of the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Mines for them to have an appreciation of the Minamata Convention.
The Ministry agreed with the parliamentarians that the following would be done
- i)Joint technical visits to affected areas and the model on mercury free gold processing centres;
- ii)Sharing of Minamata documents
iii) Reengagement workshop.
A Cabinet Memorandum was presented to the Cabinet Committee on Legislation (CCL) and recommended tabling in Parliament, for ratifying the Minamata Convention.
The Portfolio Committee on Environment, Climate Change, Tourism and Hospitality Industry compiled a report on ratification and adopted it.
The Minamata ratification has been given notice in the National Assembly and Senate and Hon Minister of Environment Climate Change, Tourism and Hospitality Industry is going to table both motions. I thank you.
PROVISION OF FINANCIAL RESOURCES TO COMPLETE CONSTRUCTION OF RIMUKA PRIMARY
- HON CHINYANGANYAasked the Minister of Finance and Economic Development to inform the House when the Ministry will provide financial resources to complete the construction of Rimuka Primary School.
THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (HON CHIDUWA): Government recognises the critical importance of ensuring that key projects in the education sector are completed to ensure beneficial occupation, especially now that they have a huge backlog of schools amounting to more than 2000.
As you are aware, Government is implementing Programme Based Budgeting under the auspices of Results Based Budgeting. Under this approach, the primary responsibility of identifying projects and programmes to be implemented within a budget year rests with the line Ministries. In this regard, it is incumbent upon the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education to prioritise projects such as Rimuka School to ensure its completion.
Already under the 2021 Budget, Treasury has allocated a total of $2.3 billion for construction of schools. However the Ministry is yet to submit detailed implementation and cashflows plans to guide resource disbursements.
As Treasury, we remain committed to ensuring that the projects that have been included in the Budget are fully implemented. We will therefore be closely working with line Ministries on increasing absorption capacity for quicker implementation of projects.
HON. TSUNGA: My supplementary question is: is there going to be any consideration by Government to award grants to non Government schools so that they are also up to scratch in terms of infrastructure, because what the Minister is referring to are Government schools but we have non Government and schools whose capacity to generate revenue for construction is also very much limited. What consideration is there for Government to consider giving building grants to such institutions?
HON CHIDUWA: I am not sure if this one is a supplementary question. If you check the way we managed our budget approval process, as a Government at the moment we are dealing with Programme Based Budgeting meaning to say that anything which is not submitted within the confines of a specific programmes, it cannot be funded. We can only fund activities, programmes and projects that are within the submitted programmes. Outside the Programme Based Budgeting, we are not in a position to fund because it means we would have to come back to Parliament to say we have these new activities that were not budgeted for. Can you give us a leeway so that we can provide the resources? For now we are guided by Programme Based Budgeting. For those activities which are outside the programmes we are not in a position to fund.
HON NDUNA: What is it that the Minister would want in order for the infrastructure at schools that he talked about for them to be included in that Programme Based Budgeting. What does the Minister seek to have us do as legislators because where I come from the schools have left science laboratories halfway and have not been completed. What should I do as a legislator in order for the Ministry to fund Pfupajena High School, Chegutu High School and Hartley Primary School? What is it that the Minister would want us to do in order to find favour for such?
HON CHIDUWA: As I have mentioned and alluded to earlier, as Treasury we deal directly with line Ministries. The Programmes and Budgets are submitted to Treasury by the line Ministries. So the Hon Member can submit the names of those schools that he mentioned through the relevant structures that are there within the Ministry of Education. At district level the submission can be done through the DSI and then the DSI takes the issues to the Province and then they are taken to the Ministry. For us we deal with the line Ministry and the Hon Member can deal with the specific Ministry and in this case, it is the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education.
RECAPITALISATION OF DDF
- HON. BRIG GEN (RTD) MAYIHLOMEasked the Minister of Finance and Economic Development whether the Government has any plans to recapitalise the District Development Fund.
THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (HON. CHIDUWA): On the District Development Fund, what we are saying is that notwithstanding the resource limitations, Government has been providing resources towards the capacitation of the DDF in order for the fund to effectively deliver on its mandate. Already from the 2021 budget allocation, we have got an allocation of $1.8 billion. Treasury has already availed $89 million this year for procurement of operational vehicles for effective supervision and project management.
Additionally, $328 million has been set aside in the 2021 budget for procurement of ten drilling rigs. Discussions are also underway with regards to procurement of roads construction equipment among other critical equipment requirements. Over and above Government support, the fund is also receiving support from ZINARA with $200 million having been availed in 2021 for procurement of graders. Treasury however acknowledges that more needs to be done to ensure the fund is fully capacitated and as the economic stabilisation and fiscal capacity improves, more support should be channeled towards the fund.
COMMENCEMENT OF PRODUCTIVE OPERATIONS BY SPECIAL ECONOMIC ZONES
- HON.MAYIHLOME asked the Minister of Finance and Economic Development to inform the House when the special economic zones will commence productive operations.
THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (HON. CHIDUWA): Currently, Zimbabwe has six gazetted Special Economic Zones, which are Sunway City in Ruwa, Fernhil in Mutare, Beitbridge, Masuwe in Victoria Falls, Imvumela in Bulawayo and the Belmont –Donnington – Westondale – Kelvin Industrial Corridor in Bulawayo.
Sunway City and Beitbridge Special Economic Zones have been partially developed and the developed areas are ready for occupation by qualifying investors. The rest of the zones are still at development stages, which include the conducting of economic and infrastructure feasibility studies and the development of bulk utility infrastructure such as water, electricity, sewer, internet connectivity and roads. Priority has been given to the Victoria Falls and Masuwe SEZ and ZIDA is currently working on the pre-feasibility studies for this zone to ascertain the financial requirements for the development.
A working committee was established in December, 2020 comprising key ministries, Government entities and other stakeholders. The working committee will be expected to spearhead the development process. Indicatively, we expect to complete the development process in 24 months. The intention is to use the Victoria Falls and Masuwe SEZ as a pilot for development of all the other SEZs in the country. Meanwhile, Treasury is mobilising the requisite resources to facilitate the planned feasibility studies and other necessary utilities/facilities in support of the development and operationalisation process.
WRITTEN SUBMISSIONS TO QUESTIONS WITH NOTICE
CURBING OF ILLEGAL HOARDING OF ZIM DOLLAR NOTES
- HON I. NYONI asked the Minister of Finance and Economic Development to inform the House the measures being taken by the Ministry to curb the illegal hoarding of the Zimbabwean dollar notes by “money changers” for purposes of buying foreign currency.
THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (HON CHIDUWA): Government is aware of ongoing speculative activities/ rent seeking behaviour through selling of Z$ cash, its illegal hoarding and related parallel market activities by money changers. Government is aware of currency dealers operating in wholesale shops and supermarkets for purposes of these illicit and illegal dealings. Government is also aware of many formal shops, supermarkets and wholesalers using parallel market rates in their pricing models.
The bigger task of aligning the monetary and fiscal policies to control money supply growth as well as instilling discipline in the financial sector, particularly on mobile platforms has progressed well.
The only missing element is the market discipline reflecting through continued speculative activities in some pockets of the market and this feeds into perceived market failure. I assure the Hon Member that appropriate measures are being instituted to stem this behaviour and the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) in liaison with other Government law enforcement arms are intensifying monitoring activities including usage of foreign currency auction system.
DETAILED INFORMATION ON RURAL ELECTRIFICATION PROGRAMME
- HON. TSUURA asked the Minister of Energy and Power Development to provide detailed information on the rural electrification programme to the House, and to explain the Government policy regarding free fixtures, digging holes for poles and wiring, amongst other key issues.
THE MINISTER OF ENERGY AND POWER DEVELOPMENT (HON. SODA): The Rural Electrification Fund (REF) was established in 2002 through an act of Parliament (Rural Electrification Fund (REF) Act (Chapter 13:20). It has a Board of Directors which is responsible for the management of the fund. The Board reports to the Hon. Minister of Energy and Power Development. Day to day operations of the Fund are managed by the Rural Electrification Agency (REA), the implementing arm of the Fund.
According to REF Act Chapter 13:20, REF’s mandate is to facilitate rapid and equitable electrification of the rural areas of Zimbabwe, in pursuance of which it may :
- Play a promotional role in rural development, identifying rural projects and funding or advertising for project sponsors to take these up;
- Assist and train projects promoters to ensure that rural electrification projects are implemented cost-effectively and efficiently;
- Be a centre of information and excellence on rural electrification in Zimbabwe through collecting information about rural electrification practice, carrying out research and keeping abreast of technological developments in rural electrification world-wide.
- Give particular attention to off-grid, stand alone technologies for the supply of electricity to rural communities.
REF’s vision is “to achieve universal access to sustainable modern
energy services by rural communities in Zimbabwe by 2030”. Its mission is “to facilitate and implement rapid and equitable provision of sustainable modern energy infrastructure to the rural communities of Zimbabwe through grid and renewable energy technologies.
Functions of REF are:
- To maintain the REF;
- To undertake short to long term grid and off grid planning;
- To undertake research, development and adaptation of new energy technologies; and
- To facilitate provision of sustainable modern energy infrastructure in the rural areas of Zimbabwe.
In its quest to fulfill its mandate, REF undertakes two major sub-
programmes as outlined below:
(i) Electricity Grid Extension
This involves extending the electricity grid network to rural communities which include rural primary and secondary schools, rural health centres, chiefs’ homesteads, A1 and A2 farms, rural homesteads, Government extension offices and business centres.
(ii) Promotion of Alternative Energy Technologies
This entails provision of renewable energy technologies to rural
Communities, in particular;
- Solar energy technologies for public institutions and households
- Biogas technology for rural public institutions and households
Up until 2012, REF focused more on electricity grid extension with
minimum effort being made in the development and dissemination of renewable energy technologies. However, following the launch of the National Energy Policy in 2012, REF’s mandate was widened to cover renewable energy technologies. The National Renewable Energy Policy which was launched by His Excellency, the President of the Republic of Zimbabwe on 19 March, 2020 further widened and galvanized REF’s role in the renewable energy sector.
REA is the implementing arm of the REF. It is decentralised with its head office in Harare and eight provisional offices in all the rural provinces of Zimbabwe. The agency has a total staff establishment of 307. However, during peak, each province can engage 10-12 line gangs composed of contract workers giving a total average of up to 800-900 contract employees. The fund established a Special Purpose vehicle (SPV) under the trade name Hotspeck Enterprises, whose mandate is to produce adequate transmission wood poles for the rural electrification programme. Hotspeck Enterprises, with a total staff establishment of 54 is strategically located in Mutare, close to wood pole plantations. It comprises of three divisions namely;
- Pole Plant
- Renewable Energy
- Contracting and Consulting Services
The pole plant has a capacity to produce 100 000 poles per annum against REF’s annual requirements of up to 50 000 per annum. Excess transmission wood poles produced by the Pole Plant are sold locally and regionally and the income generated is ploughed back into the Rural Electrification programme. The Renewable Energy and Contracting and Consulting Services divisions provide services on commercial basis.
Below is the organisational structure of the Rural Electrification Fund and the Special Purpose Vehicle (Hotspeck Enterprises).
The sources of funding for the Rural Electrification Programme as provided for in the REF Act are as follows:-
- a)6% levy on ZETDC electricity sales.
- b)Fiscus and other statutory appropriations, e.g. ZERA excess.
- c)Contributions by rural customers.
- e)Grants or donations by organisations, Government or individuals.
- f)Any other moneys that may accrue to it, whether in terms of this Act or otherwise.
Policy regarding free fixtures, digging holes for poles and wiring
among other key issues is;
- Rural Public Institution and Business Centres
All rural public institutions which include primary and secondary
schools, rural health centres, Government extension offices and chiefs homesteads and rural business centres are eligible to be electrified without them paying for the extension of the grid network. In other words, this category of customers gets 100% capital subsidy from the Rural Electrification Fund. However, they have to wait for their turn to be electrified. Up to 2019, these customers were expected to do their internal wiring and pay service connection fees to ZESA before electricity could be connected in their buildings. This requirement proved a mammoth task for most rural public institutions and as a result, many went for months and in some cases years with no electricity in their buildings. In 2019, the REF Board made a resolution to include internal wiring and service connection fees for rural public institutions as part of the project costs to be paid from the fund under the 100% capital subsidy scheme. This does not include business centres. However, when it comes to payment for electricity consumption, the rural public institutions and business centres pay for consumption of electricity just like urban institutions.
- Rural villages, households, commercial enterprises, A1 and A2 farms.
Rural villages, individual households who come together to make
groups of at least ten households, rural commercial enterprises, A1 and A2 farms can apply to the REF for electrification. These customers are expected to pay 50% of the total project cost. In other words, they get 50% capital subsidy from the REF. These customers are also expected to do their internal wiring and to pay service connection fees to ZESA before electricity can be connected into the buildings. They also pay for consumption of electricity just like urban dwellers.
Individual homesteads who cannot form group schemes can apply
for electricity grid infrastructure individually. However, they get a subsidy of 40% instead of 50%. They are expected to do their internal wiring and pay service connection fees to ZESA. They pay for electricity consumption just like urban dwellers
- Alternative sources of energy (solar and biogas)
Over the past years, focus has been on electricity grid extension
rather than alternative sources of energy such as solar and biogas. However, from 2009 to date, a number of rural public institutions benefitted from the first solar and biogas programmes implemented by the REF. The programmes were 100% capital subsidised as well, that is, the institutions did not pay for the projects but contributed in terms of labour and local materials such as bricks and sand. A total of 418 solar micro grid systems, 433 mobile solar units and 82 biogas digesters were installed under this phase. However, of the 82 biogas digesters, three (3) were constructed on commercial terms. Going forward, the fund will come up with subsidy schemes for solar and biogas programmes as the case with grid.
- Digging of holes
The digging of holes for poles is done by the line workers under the
supervision of a qualified linesman and lines assistant. The linesman and lines assistant are REF permanent employees while line workers are contract workers who, in the majority of cases, are recruited in the locality where the project is being implemented.
Ownership and operation of the grid infrastructure
Once REF has successfully constructed the backbone infrastructure, which includes the high voltage line (33 and 11 kV), the substation(s) and low voltage line (0.4 kV) and the line has been inspected by ZESA, the infrastructure is handed over to ZESA for ownership and operation.
Questions with Notice were interrupted by THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER in terms of Standing Order No. 64.
BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
HON. TOGAREPI: I move that Orders of the Day, Numbers 1 to 24 be stood over until Order of the Day Number 25 has been disposed of.
HON. TEKESHE: I second.
Motion put and agreed to.
POLICY AND SELECTION CRITERIA OF BENEFICIARIES OF THE BEAM PROGRAMME
Twenty Fifth Order read: Adjourned debate on motion on the Basic Education Assistance Module (BEAM) Programme.
Question again proposed.
HON. JOSIAH SITHOLE: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. I rise to highlight that I had a motion on the issue of BEAM, which was highly debated during the Second Session of this Parliament. Hon. Members outlined issues that were very pertinent in that motion. It took a full afternoon to debate the motion whereby Hon. Members thanked the Government for introducing BEAM as an enhanced social protection programme in 2001.
However, they also noted the discrepancies that were found in the BEAM selection processes. They actually noted that these discrepancies need to be addressed by the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education and the Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare. It was also highlighted that there was need to go for awareness campaigns in schools and also providing information to relevant stakeholders that BEAM was actually a good programme for disadvantaged students and beneficiaries.
The Ministry of Finance and Economic Development was also encouraged to provide funding on a yearly basis and increase the number of beneficiaries in schools so that there would be no drop outs. If we look at 2020, Government had targeted one million children to benefit from BEAM and we are happy to say over 900 000 learners benefited. However, this year the number reduced perhaps because of other challenges to almost around 700 000 beneficiaries but we will continue to believe that our good Government will continue considering the issue of BEAM. Also, Hon. Members looked at the possibility of BEAM buying uniforms, stationary and sanitary wear for the girls so that children continue to be in school and drop outs will be reduced. Looking at that high raging debate that took place and the contributions made by Hon. Members, I move that the motion that this House:-
NOTING that Section 75 (1) (a) of the Constitution states that every citizen and permanent resident of Zimbabwe has a right to a basic state-funded education, including adult basic education;
APPLAUDING the Government of Zimbabwe for establishing the Basic Education Assistance Module (BEAM) Programme in 2001 as a key component of the Enhanced Social Protection Programme (ESPP);
COGNISANT that the BEAM Programme is based on a policy framework designed to provide quality education to children and support to orphans and vulnerable children (OVC) in line with international agreements to which the Government of Zimbabwe is a signatory;
DISTURBED that the Zimbabwe Vulnerability Assessment Report (2019) revealed that an average of 61 percent of children were turned away from school in 2019 due to non-payment of tuition fees;
ALSO DISTURBED that the rate of school dropouts continues to rise amongst girls and the economically disadvantaged children resulting in early child pregnancies and child labour;
CONCERNED at the continuous disparity between policy and selection criteria of beneficiaries of the BEAM Programme by Community Selection Committees;
NOW, THEREFORE, calls upon:
- a) Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare to conduct awareness campaigns on the BEAM Manual targeting Community Selection Committees;
- b) Ministry of Public Service Labour and Social Welfare in collaboration with the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education to effectively monitor implementation of the BEAM Programme, particularly the selection process to ensure that all eligible students benefit from the programme; and
- c) Ministry of Finance and Economic Development to allocate adequate financial resources towards BEAM Programme in the 2021 National Budget in view of the increasing levels of vulnerability in the country and ultimately facilitate the progressive realisation of basic state-funded education, be adopted.
Motion put and agreed to.
BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
HON. TOGAREPI: Mr. Speaker Sir, I move that we revert to Order of the Day, Number 8 on today’s Order Paper.
HON. SAIZI: I second.
Motion put and agreed to.
REPORT OF THE PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE ON ENVIRONMENT, CLIMATE AND TOURISM ON THE ALLEGED EMISSIONS OF POLLUTANTS BY STEEL BRANDS (PVT) LTD
HON. MUSARURWA: I move the motion standing in my name;
That this House takes note of the Portfolio Committee on Environment, Climate and Tourism on the alleged emissions of pollutants by Steel Brands (Pvt) Ltd. (S.C. 1, 2021).
HON. SAIZI: I second.
HON. MUSARURWA: Thank you Hon. Speaker.
The Portfolio Committee on Environment, Climate and Tourism resolved to conduct an inquiry into the operations of the steel processing plant called Steel Brand Private Limited upon receiving a petition from Mr K. Madangure alleging that the plant emitted toxic pollutants that were affecting the residents of Houghton Park area in Harare.
2.0 Objectives of the Enquiry
The broad objective of the enquiry was to enable Committee Members to fully establish the reasons behind the misunderstanding between the management of the Steel Processing Plant and the residents of Houghton Park. Precisely, the Committee sought to;
Understand why a steel processing plant was located in a residential area;
Determine whether the operations of the plant are in compliance with the requirements of the law; and
Establish the measures that were put in place to accommodate the residents’ concerns on the establishment and operations of the plant.
To get an in-depth understanding of the issues raised by the petition, the Committee received oral evidence from the petitioners.
The Committee conducted a fact finding visit at the steel processing plant to authenticate the issues raised by the petitioners. The plant was not operational when the Committee visited its premises.
It then visited some of the residents whose houses where adjacent to the steel processing plant to physically confirm any evidence of environmental pollution within the surrounding Community.
The Committee further requested that the Management of the Steel Processing Plant submit to Parliament the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Report with a summarised written document of its EIA roadmap.
The Committee analysed all the submissions and drafted its report with recommendations aimed at addressing the requests made by the petitioners.
4.0 Committee’s Findings
4.1 Findings from oral evidence and written documents were submitted to the Committee. From the Environmental Impact Assessment Report and the summarised written document from the Steel Processing Plant EIA roadmap, the Committee found the following;
On 2nd November 2016, the Director of Works in the City of Harare in his inspection observation report had made confirmations of Steel Processing Plant’s contravention of the provisions of Sections 57, 63, 70, 73 and 83 of the Environmental Management Act (Chapter 20:27) and Section 180 of the Urban Councils Act (Chapter 29:15). Thus, the Company was requested to comply with the requirements of the law and reduce or eliminate environmental pollution and put in place an environmental management plan.
Environmental Management Agency (EMA) officials submitted that it initially wrote to the Management of Steel Brands on 9th December 2016, advising them that the Agency could not grant the Company an EIA certificate. The Agency stated that there was no logical conclusion that was reached regarding the noise and air pollution concerns raised by the surrounding communities. It also denied issuing the EIA certificate because the City of Harare had issued a prohibition order citing that the area intended for the project was not zoned for heavy industrial operations.
On 25th October 2016, the Company was fined US$1000, 00, by EMA for unlawfully implementing a prescribed project without an EIA Certificate. The Company ceased its operations for three months because of the concerns raised pertaining to environmental safety and health and industrial zoning emanating from the plant’s location.
On 21 December 2016, the Acting Permanent Secretary to the Ministry of Industry and Commerce wrote to EMA raising concerns regarding the closure of the company’s operations in terms of foreign currency procurement and investment promotion. Thus, EMA was informed that City of Harare would work to regularise the location of the plant in Adbernnie Industrial Area. The Acting Permanent Secretary sought for an urgent approval from EMA to enable the company to conduct a test run of the plant to pave way for an immediate commencement of its production. The test run was approved and the Company conducted its test run under the supervision of EMA.
The Ministry of Industry and Commerce then published a press statement on Steel Brands Pvt Ltd advising and assuring the affected residence that after a test run, measures to address the noise and air pollution would be put in place immediately and mitigate against the pollution.
On 28 May 2017, the City of Harare put a notice of an application for a permit to regularise the Light Steel Manufacturing Plant in terms of Section 26 (3) as read in conjunction with Section 27 of the Regional, Town and Country Planning Act (Chapter 29:12). The residence did not raise an objection to the application within one month of the date of insertion of the notice.
On 19th July 2017, City of Harare granted a permit to regularise the light Steel Manufacturing Plant. The permit had a clause which outlined that the operations of the Light Steel Manufacturing Plant were to comply with the requirements of the Environmental Management Agency. Thus, The Company eventually secured the necessary documentation from the Council that proved to EMA that the plant was indeed a light industry. EMA then advised the Company to do stakeholder consultations. EMA did a rigorous review and the necessary confirmations before it issued the EIA Certificate to the Company on 16th October 2017.
4.2 Findings during the visit
The Committee toured the plant and was shown around by the Management of the Company in the Company of EMA. The Committee was shown all the control measures instituted by the Company on the plant. EMA ascertained that the plant’s air emissions were consistently within the blue band as per the requirements of their licence. The blue band means that the Company is discharging air pollutants from its furnaces that are considered to be environmentally safe according to the Environmental Management (Atmospheric Pollution Control) Regulations, 2009.
Furthermore, the Committee found out that;
EMA confirmed that the plant discharged its effluent into the council’s sewer and not into the storm drains.
The Committee was informed that the Company was no longer using coal as a source of energy for steel production processing.
The Committee was informed that the Company held stakeholder consultative meetings and all the consulted residents signed documents in support of the project.
National Social Security Authority (NSSA) inspected the plant premises and issued a certificate of compliance to the Company. The Company was subsequently registered with NSSA.
The Committee was informed that the plant preferred operating at night to avert high electricity charges. The Management explained the plant’s single production process required 9000 Kilowatts which could only be allowed at off-peak hours.
4.3 Findings from the surrounding Community
The affected residents, however, denied ever being consulted and maintained that the plant was a heavy industry. They complained of the noise at night, smog, disgusting odour that could potentially cause respiratory diseases. The Members were shown the soot from the plant on residents’ roof tops, walls, house paints and vegetable gardens. Furthermore, the plant is situated adjacent to Houghton Park Primary School.
The residents alleged that the Company used coal for their energy source because they saw truckloads of coal being delivered every Sunday at the plant premises.
The environmental disputes pollution were rife and began in 2016 when residents objected to the establishment of the steel processing plant in the area.
5.0 Analysis of the Key Issues
It is clear that the Constitution of Zimbabwe Amendment (No. 20) Act, 2013, the Environmental Management Act (Chapter 20:27, the Urban Councils Act (Chapter 29:15), the Regional, Town and Country Planning Act (Chapter 29:12) and S.I 72 of 2009 Environmental Management (Atmospheric Pollution Control) Regulations, 2009 provide the rational basis for the Committee’s recommendations on the issues raised above and explained below.
Four issues emerged vital and critical. These can be summarised as follows:
There is a conflict of interest between safeguarding the environment, health and safety of the citizens and investment promotion;
The location, approval of the development permit, Environmental Impact Assessment Certificate and operating licence by relevant authorities were irregular;
The operations of the Steel Processing Plant are violating the requirements of the law; and
There is lack of adequate and strict monitoring of the Company’s operations by EMA to ascertain if it is implementing its Environmental Management Plan.
The Committee observed the environmental rights to a clean and health environment of the citizens continues to be violated by the Steel Brands Private Limited Company since 2016 without implementation of the Environmental Management Plan.
The regulation of the steel manufacturing plant to a light industry through granting of the Company a development permit was not consistent with environmental pollution considerations. Rather, investment promotion was prioritised at the expense of health and safety of the citizens.
Most of the residents were not familiar with the procedure to be followed when objecting to the decisions to grant a permit to the plant for the regularisation of the steel manufacturing plant.
There are clear indications that the plant is a heavy industry not a light industry as claimed by the City of Harare.
City of Harare and EMA initially did not approve the project as it was so evident that it did not meet the requirements of the law. These two entities were, however, compelled to change their decisions following interventions by the Ministry of Industry and Commerce.
6.1 The Committee recommends that the Ministry of Environment, Climate, Tourism and Hospitality Industry should review the Environmental Management Act (Chapter 20:27) by 31 December 2021 and ensure that where environmental protection, public health and safety come into conflict with other considerations such as investment promotion, the latter should take precedence.
6.2 The Committee strongly recommends for the relocation of the Steel Processing Plant to a heavy Industrial Area by 31 December 2021 in the interest of public health and safety.
6.3 The Committee recommends that the Ministry of Environment, Climate, Tourism and Hospitality Industry commissions an independent investigation involving City of Harare, National Social Security Authority (NSSA), Ministry of Industry and Commerce, Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education, and the Ministry of Health and Child Care to come up with a detailed report that contains recommendations on the relocation of the Steel Processing Company from Houghton Park to a heavy industrial area by 31 December 2021.
After a careful analysis of the evidence before the Committee, the Members sympathise with the plight of the residents of Houghton Park because the environmental impacts from the Steel Processing Plant are continually being elevated. Indeed the residents’ petition is justified in terms of environmental protection, public health and safety. What is taking place in Houghton Park is a direct violation of the objective of the polluter pays principle. The location of the industry was a mistake which needs to be corrected as soon as possible. This is evidenced by the highlighted irregularities and violations of the requirements of the law.
*HON. SAIZI: Thank you Madam Speaker for giving me this opportunity to add my voice to the report tabled by the Chairperson of Environment, Climate, Tourism and Hospitality Industry Committee, Hon. Musarurwa. Madam Speaker, truly speaking, if we look at where Steel Brand is situated, it is dangerous to the community. Initially, EMA refused to give them Environmental Impact Assessment Certificate (EIA). Harare City Council also sided with EMA and did not allow them to construct an industry there but later on, city council allowed them to set up that industry. However, Government departments are supposed to work hand in glove when it comes to issues like this which affect human life.
This company is located in a residential area and close to a school. When they are doing their work there is a lot of noise, which means school children are affected by the noise. Even residents in general are not at peace due to this noise. It is not only noise but we are also looking at general welfare of people and their health. When we toured this company as a Committee, we saw water coming from the workplace passing and flowing very close to the school. Children enjoy playing with water, they do not even assess whether the water is clean or not, but just play with it. That water Madam Speaker, is polluted with different chemicals which are deadly but children play with this water.
We went further into inquiry and realised that they operate mainly at night because they say they would want to utilise maximum electricity which is a lie. They are doing this because when they are operating a lot of smoke comes out from their machines. That smoke is not good for the people of Houghton Park. Even if you look at the vegetation around that company including their gardens, they are dark with smoke. Windows of their houses are darkened with smoke and house roofs are also affected by the smoke. In the end, this smoke will spread into the atmosphere and people will inhale that smoke, which is not good for their health.
When people decide to come to this House, it means they have suffered enough and this is their only hope. It is my plea Madam Speaker, that all that we witnessed in Houghton Park, together with the Committee’s recommendations, this company should relocate to heavy industries as a solution.
They are making money, yes and we also need foreign currency as a country but what is more important is human life. If we look closely, taking into account operations of this company, their lives are in danger. It is my clarion call that, let us assist these people so that they do not continue to live in such hazardous environment caused by this company’s operations. When people are faced with diseases caused by breathing bad gases the next thing is death. We all know that we cannot buy life. Therefore, this company should relocate to an appropriate industrial area. I thank you Madam Speaker.
HON. MADHUKU: Thank you very much Madam Speaker for giving me this time to also make a contribution to this very important motion by the Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Environment Hon. Musarurwa. Madam Speaker, allow me to begin by making reference to what His Excellency Dr. E. D. Mnangagwa said in his SONA address on the Official Opening of the Third Session of the 9th Parliament. I think he alluded to the issue of the ratification of the Minamata Convention which needed ratification. The reasons for him saying so is that the health of the people is very important as well as they care to the environment.
We are looking at the effects of mercury to the health of the people – it is very critical, plus the environment. Besides that, I also want to make reference to what His Excellency is saying that he is concerned about the issue of wetlands and misplaced infrastructural development which also has a negative impact on the health of the people as well as the environment. So I am making reference to these two critical issues which are also worrisome to the Head of State in as far as they affect the health of citizens.
Coming to this motion on the effects of the steel industry in Houghton Park, we are sharing the same concern to the health of the citizens as well as environmental damage. Scientific studies have shown that there is a positive correlation between pulmonary diseases and air pollution caused by industry and in this case specifically the steel industry. As a result of that, we recommend that there should be severe environmental health policies aimed at limiting the hazards associated with pollution of the air especially by the steel industry.
Let me talk about some of the known effects of air pollution to the health of the people. We are talking about respiratory diseases and cardio-vascular damage because of this pollution, headaches, fatigue, damage to the reproductive organs, the liver, the skin as well as to the blood and also the whole nervous system can be damaged because of effects of pollution. Looking at the effects of production of steel in any environment, research has shown that there are also effects because of the greenhouse emissions. Research has also shown that on average, about 1.83 tonnes of carbon dioxide is emitted for every ton of steel that is produced. This is massive damage which is done to the environment.
I want to make reference to the cost benefit analysis of the work which is done by this steel industry. From what I have said above, it is very clear that the benefits which the country reaps by way of taxes being paid by this steel company. Of course, the profits they make are their own profits versus the damage done to the environment and also the health of the people, including deaths as a result of this emission. There is a mismatch. This is not commensurate with what we call business.
The Government of Zimbabwe is going to spend a lot of money because of the effects of this pollution by way of providing health facilities to its citizens as caused by this misplaced industry. We are talking about local communities around this steel industry as well as the innocent lives of primary school students who are located just about 50 metres away from this industry. So, what I am talking about is that a cost benefit analysis dictates to us that this industry has to be relocated, not only be relocated but immediately it has to be relocated if we are to save the lives of the citizens.
I also want to talk about the absolute lack of business ethics by this company. What they are doing is very unethical. I say so because the company is very insincere and dishonest because they are lying. They make their deliverance of coal nicodimously during the night so that they disguise and hide from local residents’ because they purport to be using electricity for their business. So, they make their deliveries at night when the local residents are asleep. What they only see during the night or when day time comes is smoke and soot in their houses and so on. I am saying this company is very insincere.
The other reason is that they are claiming that this is a light industry and yet evidence is very clear for everyone to see that this is heavy industry. What is also disappointing is that when the Committee went there, they said they were not operating that day and yet they wanted to disguise the fact that they had been using coal and not electricity. So, I am saying this is a company which is very insincere, which lies, and we cannot allow a situation whereby they flout business ethics willy-nilly. So Mr. Speaker Ma’am, I am therefore saying that considering the damage that is being made to the environment as well as the fact that we are compromising the health of citizens, including the innocent students, I think that it is only proper to go by the recommendations that have been tabled by the Hon. Chairperson of the Committee that this company has to relocate to a suitable site. We are not saying that they have to close business no, that is not what we are saying but we are saying that they have to relocate to an appropriate place where other heavy industries are located - that is what we are saying. We want them to invest in the country, we want the steel and we want this and that but they have to go to an appropriate site to operate their business.
I also support one of the recommendations that was made by the Hon. Chairperson to say if need be, there may be a sub-committee that can be instituted to further look into the issues that have been talked about by the Committee. Madam Speaker, I want to end here and thank the Hon. Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Environment and Tourism for a job well done. I think, in my view, this has been an honest report that is very transparent and has made robust recommendations that I pray this House will adopt. I thank you. – [HON. S. NDLOVU: Inaudible interjection.] -
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER (HON. MAVETERA): Thank you very much Hon. Ndlovu, I will recognise you. When you have raised your hand, it is in order; we are very much visible to that. We are going to recognise you. Thank you.
*HON. CHIKUKWA: Thank you Madam Speaker Ma’am. I want to add my voice to the motion that is before the House that was raised by Hon. Musarurwa and seconded by Hon. Saizi.
All that was said is true. As a resident in Harare, it is true that the effluent that comes from the industry causes a lot of diseases. It may not be immediate but in the long run, we will see the results, but sometimes people are unable to see the effects of these activities because of poverty. When we went there, some said, “you want to close our company, how are we going to survive?” I am saying that when a person is not employed and eventually gets employed in such a company, he does not realise the evil. There are those who manufacture cement in Mabvuku, if you visit the settlements in Mabvuku, you will find cement on the windows. We advised them that we had heard their concerns but cannot allow people to die because of this. So we need to look at the issues of the employees as well as the community.
Furthermore, this company also informed us that they would put, I think it was in 2017 or 2018 that they would put measures to ensure that there would be no disease. They have not done this not because they do not have money, if they had addressed this issue, we would not be talking about it today. So my request is that this company should be relocated and as it relocates, it should also take with it its employees so that those who fear losing their jobs are secure. They also need to be conscientised in order for them to understand that they need to be in good health to be able to work.
I agree with the Committee’s recommendations as to the fact that we need to see to the relocation of this company. As they prepare to relocate, they should cease operations for now. I heard one Hon. Member saying that they were advised to open production but there are measures that they were supposed to follow before opening and those were not addressed. As we are investigating them, they should be advised the measures that they were told to meet so that it does not harm the local community. I thank you.
HON. MUNETSI: Thank you very much Madam Speaker Ma’am for giving me this time to give a short discourse on this issue of Steel Brand Company. It is an issue of company versus people’s lives. Even in your home, you would not want to stay in a house that is full of smoke, no one desires that but that is the exact situation of Houghton Park residents simply because a company was built there and is causing havoc all over.
You will discover that for people to speak like this, it is not us who started the issue. When you trace back on how the company obtained its IEA, you will discover that there was a tug of war as EMA would rebuke that and some super power would come and enforce that a paper be produced. You will also discover that the space that was left there was not meant for a company. When the company was built, the City of Harare initially refused and was later forced to give in – that is the reality. No one can be told that the place does not suit a heavy industry yet we have one located in the midst of a residential area that is causing a lot of complaints.
I wonder who regularised the company to operate after this had risen so many eyebrows. Yes, we need foreign currency – that is true, we definitely need foreign currency and we applaud that. I believe that we have to do it the right way without infringing on the rights of other people. When the Committee visited this place, a lot of discoveries were made to the effect that there are a lot of emissions from the company that are visible on windows, inside the homes on utensils, on vegetables in the gardens and on grass along the pathways. Even when you meet children coming from school, when they walk using a path where they pass through grassy areas, their uniforms become dirty and we leave that company to operate just like that.
The committee also discovered that a lot of noise is made during the night which disturbs the peace of people in Hourton Park because they will not sleep well because of this company. During the night when they are asleep, they breathe the gases that come from the company throughout the night because they operate during the night when everyone is at home. So, everyone who stays in Hourton Park is breathing emissions from the company.
The company also uses coal and we all know what coal produces and what the emissions from coal do to people. There is lack of monitoring by EMA which we discovered, to find out whether the company is adhering to environmental regulations instead of emitting the gases into drains, it is emitted in to the air and everyone breathes polluted air. One other monitoring exercise that was supposed to be done way back was to discover that these people instead of not building a heavy plant or industry, they are doing it, so it is wrongly placed and the only option which the Committee came up with is nothing but to make sure the company is relocated. Whoever gets the powers to allow the company to operate should know that it is going to be relocated because that is what we are going to recommend. They cannot leave a situation where people drink dirty water and they wear polluted clothes, breathe dirty air, and live in dirty homes and are prone to diseases. Even animals which eat grass and those animals in water will soon die because of the dirty environment that is being introduced by this company. The authority that made the company to be there, let them come back with the same authority to remove the company and relocate it to some other place. I thank you.
(V) HON. S. NDLOVU: Thank you Madam Speaker. (Part of the speech not audible due to technical glitches.) We were told that they work at night, why should such a big company work at night really? If the truth be told, they are hiding something. They work at night because the company produces or emits pollution which pollutes the whole place and that means the people who are staying in that residential area are in danger because of this pollution. I do not think this is good for the people. When we went there, we saw soot on top of their houses, on the vegetables and properties in their houses. Honestly speaking, I cannot stay in such a place. That is why these people came to seek our intervention. – (part of speech not recorded due to network challenges).
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER (HON. MAVETERA): I am sorry Hon. S. Ndlovu, we have lost you. May I indulge Hon. J. Chidakwa.
HON. J. CHIDAKWA: Thank you Madam Speaker.
HON. S. NDLOVU: Madam Speaker Ma’am, I am now back it is the poor network, can you hear me now.
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Can you proceed; I had indulged Hon. Chidakwa after you went offline. You can proceed.
HON. S. NDLOVU: Thank you Madam Speaker, I propose that this company must move. We do not want the company to close because it employs more than 200 employees. We suggest that they move to a heavy industrial area where they can make noise and pollute as much as they can. Our duty is to safeguard the people of Zimbabwe. You find that in this situation, they look up to us as Members of Parliament. We cannot let our people continue to suffer because we want foreign currency.
Madam Speaker, with this COVID-19 which affects breathing system, with this emission that is taking place, I believe that it goes straight to the lungs so, tomorrow we will not even know whether the person is suffering from Covid-19 or it is this emission which is killing our people. I plead with the House that we take this up and make sure that this company moves to where it belongs. Thank you.
(v)HON. CHIDAKWA: Thank you Madam Speaker. A lot has already been said but I want to emphasise on the fact that the Chairperson of the Environment Committee and the Committee did well. They have actually enlightened us on issues that we were not aware of. I am a Member of Parliament for Mabvuku and there has been a challenge of the emissions from the industry affecting the residents. You find that even the houses the people reside in have even changed the colours because of the pollution.
Furthermore Madam Speaker, when I read this report, it made me to pose a number of questions that, who actually gives such companies the permission to put up such industries to the extent that the industries are set up and people are employed to produce whatever they want. A lot was said in that report that has touched me. There are people who want investors and say the investor is more important than the residents.
Harare is growing and areas that were not habitable are now communities because of the growing City. Is it because those who do planning do not have foresight to avoid putting industries where houses will be built. Houses are now being constructed in industrial areas.
Hon. Chidakwa having experienced technical glitches.
*THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER (HON. MAVETERA): Order, Hon. Chidakwa, your network is not good, we cannot hear you. My apology Hon. Chidakwa, I am going to recognise someone else, once your network is okay, I will recognise you.
HON. T MOYO: Thank you Madam Speaker. I also want to ventilate my important indispensible points on the crucial motion that has been moved by Hon. Musarurwa supported by Hon. Saizi. Madam Speaker, it is the duty of this House to protect the fundamental rights of Zimbabweans that are being violated. The rights of Zimbabweans are being violated in Houghton Park, particularly after the construction of the Steel industry. This House should go a step further and analyse, assess the circumstances that led to the establishment of that industry. I am not surprised that some monies where exchanged before construction of that industry was done.
Madam Speaker, if one looks at the circumstances that contribute and that will culminate in the rise of a particular industry, one looks at the factors that contribute to the rise of a particular industry. A heavy industry, a steel industry for that matter, according to a scholar called Gerschenkron, he has observed that a steel industry contributes to a very large extent to modernisation and to fast industrialisation in the form of a great State, however, whilst we appreciate the need for economic development, human life is more important than the industry.
The people of Houghton Park, their rights are being violated because of this industry. It has been observed that according to Sustainable Development Goal number 3.9, that goal castigates pollution - air pollution, water pollution, soil pollution and we are not surprised from the visits that were conducted by the Committee, from the report that we got from the Hon. Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee, that a lot of gases are being emitted into the air whether it is at night or during the day. A lot of sewer is being emitted into council drainage pipes or whatever you call it and that is a violation of human rights and that should stop. The results are so dire. There will be high morbidity rates, high mortality rates as a result of pollution. People will contract several diseases. You can name cancer, pneumonia, all sorts of diseases which will lead to the demise of our people.
Sustainable Development Goal No. 6 provides safe water for people. Here is a company that emits or where water oozes would contaminates water ways leading to diseases and that on its own is a bad tendency. So we have to assess circumstances that led to the rise of this company, whether there were shady deals. Probably, some councilors in that particular area could have benefited by ensuring that the company is located in a residential area. I would be surprised when you find that a steel industry moves in the direction of a residential area where you do not have raw materials for that particular industry because a steel industry moves in the direction of where you would find iron ore, where you would find limestone. An industry moves in the direction of residential places then we get bamboozled and disgusted as to what could have happened and that would make one to be surprised and also to think that maybe corruption which is cancerous in the view of His Excellency the President, that corruption is cancerous and it is possible that some corrupt deals were conducted.
My recommendation Madam Speaker, is that the plant should be relocated. The Committee spoke of December, 2021. I think it is too far. December 2021 is quite far. A lot of people are going to die. I will give you statistics. According to the Global Alliance on Health and Pollution, it was observed that by 2022, 8.4 million people would have died throughout the world because of air pollution and this will lead into a pandemic. If you allow this company to operate until December, there is a school close by, Houghton Primary School; children will be infected and they will die.
When we talk of night time, it is time to have peace of mind. You do not want to be disturbed and that is the time when this company will be fully operational. The noise that comes from such a heavy industry is so disturbing and people will not be able to sleep. That explains why they had to approach the august House so that justice would prevail.
Finally, it is my hope that after all deliberations have been done the relocation of this steel industry will be expedited. I thank you.
HON. TOGAREPI: Thank you Madam Speaker. I want to thank Hon. Musarurwa and her Committee for embarking on a very important investigation after the petition. It is well done and the analysis to me has shown us that some people in the authorities, NSSA, City of Harare and the Ministry of Industry and Commerce do not even think about human life. My worry is what motivated them after initial investigations, which I believe were professional assessments of the thing. Then all of a sudden against professional assessment, it is all turned around and people decide to put or to approve a very heavily polluting industry in the residential areas. What is the motivation?
I am actually tempted to think that brown envelopes were at play. People were involved in some form of corruption because a normal human being, a normal professional could not have approved this. So Madam Speaker, I would urge the Committee to go deeper and find out what could have been the motivation. Carry out further inquiry if the influence came from the Ministry of Industry and Commerce and they must come back to this Committee and explain the rationale, what really motivated them to change what was professionally assessed and I think at the end of the day we would see other people being dealt with under the Anti Corruption Act. These people, I can tell you that definitely something that is untoward happened that motivated these professionals to go against professional advice. It is not simple.
That then brings out another point, Madam Speaker. I think the Committee should go wider, the whole of Harare and see the location of some of these industries who are emitting pollutants that may harm health, cause death and actually disturb sleep. We go around the whole city and look at whether statutes around EMA are being followed. Locations are the right destinations. Go to every other city because this is not ordinary, Madam Chairperson. People are making money at the expense of people’s lives and we can only deter that by causing a serious investigation or commission to investigate would be ideal, to investigate how this particular industry that was supposed to be located where other heavy industries are located - how it found its way in the residential areas and how many other industries in Harare, Bulawayo and other cities are located where they are not supposed to be located because shaddy deals would have been the order of the day that would then persuade otherwise professional people to then do what they are not supposed to do; recommend location of industries that are not supposed to be in a certain area to be in that area.
Corruption cannot be allowed and our President is on record saying this cancer must go. People who violated the Environmental Management Act and the environment where people are staying – I am told from the report that the windows are now discoloured; their vegetables have a lot of soot and people are consuming all that. May be this company is bringing in money to the investors and not to the people of Houghton Park. How are they going to be compensated? I think we need to go further and maybe make an assessment of the health of these people who are staying closer to this industry. Are they not already affected? If they are, who is going to compensate them before they leave or as they leave they should know that they have already damaged other people’s health and they must compensate.
This should be made a good example of the seriousness of our Committee, our anti-corruption drive so that those involved who deliberately authorised this company to be located where it is not supposed to be pay for their bad deeds. I really feel that this investigation cannot be complete without this House and members of Houghton Park knowing what really motivated them to be exposed to this polluting industry. We want industries, we are open for business and our President has echoed and encouraged companies to come to Zimbabwe and do business, but not at the expense of the health of our people.
The regulations that are there are clear in terms of location of such industries and must be followed then we do business. They make their money, we see development of our country and they give us employment but not after killing us.
It is my recommendation that we;
1) Dig deeper on the circumstances around the approval of this location of this particular industry. We need to know why and who really did that - who choose to overturn a professional because we can tell them to leave and they will leave but what really happened against laid out rules and laws that are there? If we do not get to that, then the thieves or people who do things against the law will then go scot free and what have we done?
2) We really need to engage the Ministry of Industry and Commerce, the city fathers and NSSA so that we cause an investigation throughout the cities to check whether same happenings or unprofessional conduct would not be happening everywhere else to the disadvantage of our people .When we have done that, I think we will see sanity prevailing in protecting the environment and the health of our people and respecting the laws of the land. I thank you.
(V)HON. DR. LABODE: I am part of this Committee and I am very proud today that this matter has been on the table for a long time but finally we have grasped the guts and Parliament is in support.
As a medical doctor, we checked from the clinic around that area and the residents complained of a lot of chest infections, asthma and chronic bronchitis. These are ailments that increase the budget on health tomorrow. We are creating a problem for ourselves which we should not have. I believe we should add another recommendation that, other than this company moving, for future purposes we need a Committee that will involve the Ministry of Industry and EMA personnel to approve the next company that will occupy that place so that (Network failure)
(V)*HON. P. ZHOU: I would like to add my voice to the issue being debated. I would like to thank the Hon. Members who visited this company – Hon. Musarurwa and her Committee and did a great job which has portrayed the situation on the ground to us though we did not go with them. We have a vivid picture of the problem on this industry.
We value people’s lives hence the President has availed the COVID-19 vaccine to protect us from infection. The diseases that the people who live near this company are contracting are going to cost us a lot in future. These are just as good as COVID-19 because people are going to be sick and we do not know how long it will take to be cured. Houghton Park suburb has been depreciated by this pollution. Who is going to pay for the affected people’s treatment?
I support Hon. Togarepi when he said that people who were involved in this corruption should be put to book and the law should take its course. This will set a standard for both the council and any other people – they will not do it again.
Another speaker highlighted that in Mabvuku, there is also a problem like this one at Houghton Park. I think the matter should be dealt with in the same manner even to any other residents who are affected though a petition was not brought.
If we also take an example of a house that was built in ZIMRE Park on wetlands – it is the same, corruption. This should be put in order and council should put its house in order. I support that this company be removed from this place. I thank you.
HON. TOGAREPI: I move that the debate do now adjourn.
HON. TEKESHE: I second.
Motion put and agreed to.
Debate to resume: Thursday, 4th March, 2021.
On the motion of HON. TOGAREPI, seconded by HON. TEKESHE, the House adjourned at Twenty Seven Minutes past Six o’clock p.m.