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NATIONAL ASSEMBLY HANSARD 04 AUGUST 2021 VOL 47 NO 73 3
PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE
Wednesday, 4th August, 2021
The National Assembly met at a Quarter-past Two O’clock p.m.
(THE HON. SPEAKER in the Chair)
APOLOGIES RECEIVED FROM MINISTERS
THE HON. SPEAKER: I have received the following apologies from the Hon. Ministers in respect of the National Assembly sitting today 4th August, 2021; Hon. Gen. (Rtd.) Dr. C. G. D. N. Chiwenga, Vice President and Minister of Health and Child Care; Hon. Prof. Murwira is the Acting Minister of Health and Child Care in the absence of the Hon. Vice President Hon. Dr. Chiwenga; Hon. F. Mhona, Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development; Hon. C. Mathema, Minister of Primary and Secondary Education; Hon. O. C. Z.
Muchinguri-Kashiri, Minister of Defence and War Veterans Affairs; Hon. Z. Soda, Minister of Energy and Power Development and as indicated, the Deputy Minister will be in attendance; Hon. Garwe, Minister of National Housing and Social Amenities; Hon. Dr. S. Nzenza,
Minister of Industry and Commerce; Hon. E. Moyo, Deputy Minister of
Primary and Secondary Education and Hon. Madiro, Deputy Minister of
Transport and Infrastructural Development.
ORAL ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS WITHOUT NOTICE
HON. T. MLISWA: On a point of order Mr. Speaker Sir. I just want to mention that the Minister of Local Government, Hon. J. D. Moyo - his Ministry is quite critical. First of all, from devolution, there are funds being given and we would want to ask questions on that. In terms of the housing...
THE HON. SPEAKER: What are you talking about - the Hon.
Minister of Local Government? He is in now.
HON. T. MLISWA: Okay, sorry I withdraw my statement because he is always out and I am used to that.
HON. NDEBELE: Thank you Hon. Speaker. I stand guided but I have reason to make a proposal, that given the fact that a number of
Ministers are not present today, we then extend by at least 30 minutes
the time for Questions without Notice because I notice that we only have two...
Hon. Ndebele having been pointing a finger at the Hon. Speaker whilst he was speaking.
THE HON. SPEAKER: Hon. Member, why are you pointing a
finger at me? Is that really necessary?
HON. NDEBELE: I was just emphasising the point. I am sorry Mr. Speaker Sir. I realise that for Questions With Notice, we only have two questions and the responsible Ministers are not here, I therefore propose at the outset, that we extend time for Questions Without Notice by at least 30 minutes so that we make good use of taxpayers’ money.
THE HON. SPEAKER: Appreciated Hon. Ndebele. I think that makes sense since there are only four written questions. My acquiescence to the request will depend also on the reports that need to be presented because we need to wind up some reports.
HON. NDEBELE: If they are not going to eat into Members’ time, it will be welcome.
HON. MADIWA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. My question is directed to the Acting Minister of Health and Child Care. I understand that as a country, the moment we sign protocols - be it at regional, continental and international level, we have to comply with the requirements of those protocols. My question is, when is the Ministry of Health and Child Care going to submit the State Party Report to the African Committee of Experts on the Rights and Welfare of the Child, considering the fact that it was due in 2018? Thank you Mr. Speaker
THE HON. SPEAKER: I did not get the last part.
HON. MADIWA: I am asking for the submission of the State
Party Report to the African Committee of Experts on the Rights and Welfare of the Child. The State party report was due to be submitted in
THE MINISTER OF HIGHER AND TERTIARY EDUCATION, INNOVATION, SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY DEVELOPMENT (HON. PROF. MURWIRA): Thank you Hon.
Speaker. I wish to thank Hon. Madiwa for the question. Hon. Speaker, Zimbabwe is part of the family of nations and our wish is always to comply with what we agree upon at an international level, as well as amongst our own people. The concerned report, I want to be honest that I will look into it as soon as I leave this Parliament building to find out what is happening with that particular report, if we have not yet submitted. I thank you Hon. Speaker.
THE HON. SPEAKER: The Chair does not quite agree. The Hon. Minister is saying if it was not done. He is suggesting therefore that the Hon. Member who has asked the question may not be accurate
or stating a fact.
HON. PROF. MURWIRA: Hon. Speaker, thank you very much. I am not suggesting that the Hon. Member is correct or wrong. She asked a question and that question I am not too sure whether it will give me a positive or negative when I enquire with the Ministry. It might be a matter of semantics. I do not mean to be rude, the issue basically is that I genuinely have to find out because I am presently ignorant about it. I thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.
THE HON. SPEAKER: Thank you very much. I still insist that the Hon. Member be given the benefit of doubt that the Hon. Member has asked the question from an authoritative source, unless otherwise.
HON. MADIWA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. I really have done my research Hon. Speaker, the report has not been submitted. Failure to submit those reports might mean otherwise when looking at the welfare of our children in Zimbabwe, there are certain issues that are supposed to be reported on. I have done my research Mr. Speaker Sir, it is true.
THE HON. SPEAKER: May I request the Hon. Minister, Prof. Murwira to please ensure that the report is done and presented accordingly.
HON. PROF. MURWIRA: Hon. Speaker, we will make sure that
the report is done.
(v)HON. GONESE: On a point of clarification Mr. Speaker, relating to that question.
THE HON. SPEAKER: Please, let us not waste time. The issues are clear as water.
(v)HON. GONESE: If you can allow me Hon. Speaker, I have got a valid point which I wanted to make.
THE HON. SPEAKER: No. Let us not waste time. The issues
are clear as water.
(v)HON. CHITURA: Thank you Mr. Speaker. Can you hear me
THE HON. SPEAKER: Yes, you are loud and clear.
(v)HON. CHITURA: Yeah. What is the Government policy regarding …
THE HON. SPEAKER: Hon. Member, you do not say ‘yeah’ to
the Chair. You are being very unparliamentary.
(v)HON. CHITURA: I am sorry Mr. Speaker Sir. My question is directed to the Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water, Climate and Rural Resettlement. What is the Government policy regarding payment of inputs by farmers who benefited through Command
Agriculture but failed to harvest adequately?
THE HON. SPEAKER: The question Hon. Minister is that those who have been given inputs on credit, had a poor harvest and cannot pay. what is the Government policy on that issue?
THE MINISTER OF LANDS, AGRICULTURE, FISHERIES,
WATER, CLIMATE AND RURAL RESETTLEMENT (HON. DR.
MASUKA): Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. I thank the Hon. Member for the question. The Command Agriculture as it was called then, which is now called National Enhanced Agricultural Productivity Scheme is funded by the CBZ on the back of a Government guarantee. The CBZ selects farmers based on its criteria, inclusive of productivity and history and therefore enters into contracts with individual farmers. So, the Government is not directly involved in that aspect. However, the
Government facilitates the production of the National Enhanced Agricultural Productivity Scheme by availing access of those inputs through GMB depots if farmers have not been able to access this directly from the suppliers. Additionally, the 5 000 agricultural extension advisors then are available throughout the season to assist farmers, to make sure that best management practices are practiced. Agritex then also assists farmers to link them with GMB because GMB is the buyer of first and last resort for Government funded schemes. Then GMB with the bank, CBZ on a common platform enables GMB to deduct the amount owed to the bank upon supply.
If the Hon. Member envisages that the production this year is unlikely to fully meet their contractual obligations and liquidate the incumbent at the bank, I suggest they approach their bank immediately.
I thank you.
(v)HON. MUSHORIWA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. My
question to the Hon. Minister, I would like to just inquire from the Hon. Minister - given his response, to say in terms of this facility that is being offered by CBZ, is there no Government guarantee of a certain amount of money to CBZ to enhance this facility that is being extended to our farmers?
THE HON. SPEAKER: The Hon. Minister was very clear. He indicated that all things being equal and if an individual farmer has got problems he should have some conversation with the bank concerned and, in this case CBZ. From there, the Government may proceed depending on what the outcome of the conversation would be between the farmer and CBZ. I think that was very clear.
Hon. Nduna having intended to ask another supplementary question.
THE HON. SPEAKER: Hon. Members, let us be conscious of time. When the Hon. Minister’s response is comprehensive as far as the Chair is concerned, we proceed to the next person to ask. Otherwise we will waste time.
*HON. NYABANI: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. My question is directed to the Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs. What is Government policy with regards to assisting courts to be able to deliver their work on time, especially on issues like rape, murder, armed robbery, corruption and other serious crimes so that those cases are resolved quickly without compromising evidence due to delay.
*THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND
PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): Thank you Mr.
Speaker Sir. I would like to thank the Hon. Member for that question. Government only attends to issues after they have been reported by the court. As of now, the courts have not reported to Government on where they need assistance because that is the only way we can help them. If they can report on challenges they are facing, that can enable them to deliver their work properly, especially on issues that may be stumbling blocks in processing those cases so that they may be dealt with properly. I thank you Mr. Speaker.
HON. T. MLISWA: Thank you Mr. Speaker. My question to the Minister is that the justice delivery system is very slow and definitely, justice delayed is justice denied. This has been happening to high profile cases. They seem not to come to an end. I would not want to give examples but people are slowly losing confidence in terms of the prosecution and the arresting authorities because the judiciary seems to do its job and things seem to stop at the prosecution level. Apparently, it is caused by the corrupt system in the Prosecutor General’s Office...
THE HON. SPEAKER: What is the supplementary question Hon.
HON. T. MLISWA: The question; is there is corruption which is being mentioned in the justice delivery system, especially prosecution.
There is no…
THE HON. SPEAKER: Hon. Mliswa, that is not a question, it is a statement. What is your question?
HON. T. MLISWA: My question is; what are you doing to ensure that justice delivery system is effective according to the expectations of the people because you cannot arrest without evidence, the justice system must not kick off.
THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND
PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): Mr. Speaker,
the National Prosecuting Authority is not the arresting authority. The arresting authority is within the Ministry of Home Affairs. The National Prosecuting Authority deals with cases that are investigated by agencies outside the National Prosecuting Authority and it is also not vested with powers to investigate. Cases that have been properly investigated and handed over to the National Prosecuting Authority are the ones that people perhaps must come and say, this case was properly investigated, everything was done and these are the impediments that were encountered within the National Prosecuting Authority that led to delays in concluding those cases.
Mr. Speaker Sir, like I said before, those that deal with cases on a day to day basis are the ones that inform us so that there is policy change that is translated into legislative changes that come to this august House. So, if the responsible expert that deals with the case has not brought forward areas where they feel that there is need to change, then there is nothing that we can do. As far as I am concerned, the National
Prosecuting Authority is given cases that were investigated either by the Police or Anti-Corruption Agencies and that is where they start from. I thank you
HON. T. MLISWA: The question is the arresting authority must not rush to arrest before they investigate. After carrying out investigations and they are satisfied, they can take the case to the Prosecutor General’s Office which vets that matter if it can stand the test of time and the Prosecution Authority gives the go ahead and in giving the go ahead, it means the case is solid.
Mr. Speaker Sir, the issue is the arresting authority investigates to arrest not arrest to investigate. When they have arrested, they then take the matter to the Prosecutor General’s Office for vetting to see whether this matter can surely stand the test of times in terms of evidence, then it is agreed in court. When it is incourt, the entire processes would have been done effectively, why is it that we do not see trials coming through when the whole process has been done? The Prosecutor General has the right to say this matter is not good for the court because there is no evidence but the moment that they accept it, they now prosecute on behalf of the State. Why is it taking long?
HON. ZIYAMBI: Thank you Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, everyone who is arrested does not mean that the case is ready to kick off at that particular moment. For some cases, there is a prima facie case that indeed a crime has been committed. Mr. Speaker, you are a renowned advocate, you realise that there are several cases on remand where the State will be saying that we are awaiting investigations. So, the assertion by the Hon. Member that an arrest must always be done when investigations are complete is completely false. I thank you.
*HON. NYABANI: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. What is Government doing to ensure that cases are tried immediately so that witnesses my not die or relocate before those cases are concluded? I thank you?
*HON. ZIYAMBI: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. That is the wish of the courts that all cases should be tried quickly but what happens during the court processes is that sometimes the lawyers themselves request for delay and request for other issues to be included. Those issues also lead to delays in trying those cases but the wish of the courts is for cases to be tried and concluded quickly. We should also be aware that we should respect peoples’ rights during the processes, instead of rushing without taking due diligence. That is why I was saying that if there is anyone with suggestions of protecting the rights of people, they should come forward so that we conclude cases quickly. I thank you.
THE HON. SPEAKER: If you have got cases where you strongly believe that there has been unwarranted delay, if they are five or six, please put them under written questions and the Hon. Minister will respond accordingly
HON. T. MLISWA: Change court rules for corruption.
THE HON. SPEAKER:- Order, order, Hon. Mliswa. I thought my English is clear.
HON. T. MLISWA: I am sorry Sir.
THE HON. SPEAKER: Thank you – [Laughter.] –
(v)HON. SANSOLE: My question is directed to the Minister of
Finance and Economic Development. When will the Ministry of
Finance fully embrace the International Public Sector Accounting Standard? In other words, when will all Government departments and local authorities complete migration from cash accounting to accrual accounting. I know it is on-going but we need to know when this will end because the surplus is being recorded...
THE HON. SPEAKER: Hon. Member, you are now debating. Your question is very clear. When is the Ministry going to effectively ensure that the new international accounting systems are in place, particularly among local authorities?
THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (HON. PROF. M. NCUBE): The accrual
accounting system sometimes referred to IPSAS – a compliant system or asset will be completed in terms of the road map in 2025. There is very good progress so far and we are currently doing trials with some of the ministries and parastatals. So far so good and I hope it will be able to reach conclusion by year 2025.
HON. MPARIWA: My question is directed to the Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare. We have had an increase in the number of sexual harassment cases both in the private and public sector. Why has it taken Government so much time in order to ratify the
ILO Convention 190 on sexual harassment?
THE MINISTER OF PUBLIC SERVICE, LABOUR AND SOCIAL WELFARE (HON. PROF. MAVIMA): The ratification of the ILO Convention 190 is a matter that the Government of Zimbabwe is seized with at the moment. If the Hon. Member will remember, less than three months ago, there was a commemoration around the issue of sexual harassment and the Government mounted quite an aggressive programme to conscientise people about the illegality and the fact that any sexual harassment is really an affront on the human rights of whoever is suffering from that harassment. We also conscientise people to say any such case should be reported but we are working very vigorously to move towards the ratification of Convention 190 of ILO.
THE HON. SPEAKER: Hon. Minister, I think the import of the question is when - timeline.
HON. PROF. MAVIMA: Hon. Speaker, I cannot say how many
days or months but it is a matter that I can bring back here. It is a matter that my Ministry is working very seriously on in order to ratify.
THE HON. SPEAKER: May I encourage the Hon. Minister to please move with speed in that direction because the protocol has no financial implication to this Government at all.
(v)HON. GONESE: My supplementary question to the Hon.
Minister is that apart from ratification of the ILO Convention, that the Labour Act be amended so as to broaden the scope and parameters of sexual harassment. Can the Hon. Minister inform the House how far the
Ministry has gone in relation to crafting a Bill to create the Labour Relations Act relating to sexual harassment?
THE HON. SPEAKER: Hon. Member, the impact of ratification speaks to the domestication of that ratified protocol. So obviously, once ratified, the domestication process will start as that protocol impacts on the Labour Act accordingly. That is the process.
(v)HON. G. SITHOLE: Since the Minister is saying that he cannot give timelines and at the same time he is saying that his Ministry is working on it; is he confirming that his Ministry works on projects without timelines?
THE HON. SPEAKER: I have indicated to the Hon. Minister that he should bring that process of ratification soonest because it has no financial implications on this Government. The matter rests there.
HON. T. MLISWA: On a point of order Mr. Speaker Sir which is in line with my health. I am glad to see a lot of Cabinet Ministers here today. Were they subjected to tests like we were? Great they came, but I am worried of COVID concerning most Cabinet Ministers. I am more serious about it.
THE HON. SPEAKER: Yes, very serious in deed. I can confirm that the Hon. Ministers have been tested.
HON. T. MLISWA: Thank you very much Mr. Speaker Sir. I was really worried.
THE HON. SPEAKER: You are right. Thank you.
(v)HON. MUTODI: Mr. Speaker Sir, my question is directed to the
THE HON. SPEAKER: Hon. Mutodi, you have to register with your Chief Whip if you have to speak.
(v)HON. MUTODI: I wanted to raise a question to the Minister of
Finance since he is in the House.
THE HON. SPEAKER: I am advising you to follow the Party protocol, register with the Chief Whip. Thank you.
HON. TOGAREPI: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. My question is directed to the Minister of Women’s Affairs, Community, Small and Medium Enterprises. Can the Minister update Parliament on the disbursement and impact of the $500 000 stimulus fund that was being disbursed through the Women’s Bank and other institutions - whether they have done some assessments on the effectiveness of that fund to those who were affected by COVID who are in Small and Medium
Enterprises. I thank you.
THE MINISTER OF WOMEN’S AFFAIRS, COMMUNITY,
SMALL AND MEDIUM ENTERPRISES DEVELOPMENT (HON.
- S. NYONI): Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. I would like to thank the Chief Whip for the pertinent question. The $500 million has been disbursed to SMEs throughout the country through the Women’s Bank as well as SMEDCO. To give the details, I would request the Hon.
Member to put it in writing so that I can bring a detailed response. What I can say for now is that the Ministry is monitoring the disbursement of these funds closely. I am pleased to say, it is going to SMEs and they are benefiting. I will be glad to bring a detailed report Mr. Speaker Sir. Hon. Members having stood up to ask supplementary questions.
THE HON. SPEAKER: Thank you very much. There cannot be a supplementary when the issues are so clear. Hon. Togarepi should put the question in writing because it demands statistical information. So a supplementary cannot arise on that score.
(v)HON. T. MOYO: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. I am directing my question to the Minister of Mines and Mining Development. May I know Government policy regarding owners of the exclusive prospecting orders who keep their claims for prospective reasons without exploration taking place? I thank you.
THE HON. SPEAKER: That question was asked before and the Executive have said those who are holding concessions for speculation, the mining concessions will be taken away from them and that process has already begun. If you read the newspapers; I think a number of concessions have been withdrawn from such individuals.
HON. NKANI: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. I would like to ask the Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water, Climate and Rural Resettlement, what the Government policy is on follow ups to outstanding command agricultural debts that were incurred by farmers before the programme was handed over to banks?
THE MINISTER OF LANDS, AGRICULTURE, FISHERIES,
WATER, CLIMATE AND RURAL RESETTLEMENT (HON. DR.
MASUKA): Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. I thank the Hon. Member for the question. The scheme has always been administered through a bank and GMB playing its role, before Government moved in to this next level where the bank identifies the beneficiaries and the Government provides a guarantee. The only change in the system is the provision of the Government guarantee and the banks selecting the beneficiaries for the command or National Enhanced Agricultural Productivity Scheme.
That does not change farmers’ obligations to pay up their loans.
Therefore, farmers must honour their obligations. We have accelerated identification of farmers who owe from those prior years so that as they deliver in a good season such as the one upon us, they can also be able to extinguish their obligations from prior years. Thank you Mr. Speaker
HON. KASHIRI: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. I would want to find out from the Hon. Minister if there has been a change or shift in the payment system of command because when the season started, we were told that there will be a 72 hour gap in making payments, and how it has gone for two months. Has there been shift in that policy?
HON. DR. MASUKA: Mr. Speaker, I thank the Hon. Member for the supplementary question. Mr. Speaker Sir, when Government announced the policy that farmers delivering their grain to the GMB depot will be paid within 72 hours and those that will deliver to collection points will be paid within 5 days, that policy has not changed. This was to entice and motivate farmers to deliver. We were basing on the 2018/2019 season, which was an equally good season where the GMB intake was over 1.2 million metric tonnes. For the deliveries in the 2020/2021 agricultural season, farmers have responded overwhelmingly and because the harvest has been very good, as of yesterday Mr. Speaker Sir, 710000 metric tonnes of grain had been delivered to the GMB valued at over 23 billion dollars, of which $14 billion has been paid and the outstanding amount is $9 billion. Our aged analysis indicates that the amounts that are outstanding beyond two weeks now constitute 44% of the amounts owed to farmers.
We had put in place three ways of mobilising resources to pay farmers. The first was Treasury availing funds and they have done very well. They have availed the $14 billion.
The second was that we anticipated the total value of grains to be purchased to be in the region of $60 billion thereby straining Treasury and therefore, necessitating as a deed that we put in place another avenue. These were the Agricultural Marketing Authority agro bills, which are now in the market. The subscription is fairly low and after discussions yesterday, a decision was made by Cabinet that we open another window where Treasury bills would be floated and hopefully by mid next week, mobilisation of resources to pay farmers would have been accelerated.
The third avenue was that GMB was immediately allowed to sell the grains they received so that they create a revolving fund to enable GMB to assist with these payments. So, the revolving fund and the Treasury window are the sources of financing that we are utilising. We apologise as Government to all the farmers that have put in so much hard work for the delays in the payments and assure them that
Government is doing everything in its power to ensure that we pay. However, compared to last season, Government has done exceedingly well and we urge farmers to be more patient. I thank you Mr. Speaker
THE HON. SPEAKER: Hon. Kashiri, you want to seek
clarification. The clarity is very clear and I cannot entertain that. HON. A. NDEBELE: Mr. Speaker Sir, may I politely check
through you Sir when the Minister of Agriculture will bring to this House as promised and on record, a list of those farms that his office has distributed as well as a list of the farms that his predecessor distributed. He promised on record more than 90 days ago, and I know for certain that Parliament has been following up with his office with no luck. It is frustrating my efforts at representing those that voted me into office. I thank you.
THE HON. SPEAKER: Next time Hon. Member, you approach
the office of the Chair so that such issues can be dealt with administratively.
HON. NDEBELE: I always work with the Clerks-at-the-Table.
That promise was made in this House.
THE HON. SPEAKER: We will follow it up administratively.
HON. TOGAREPI: With all due respect Hon. Speaker, the Hon. Member is still pointing at the Chair. Is he getting violent, what is happening to this man?
THE HON. SPEAKER: Alright, thank you Hon. Member. Hon. Ndebele, I was very indulgent enough as a learned friend of mine. Even in court, you do not point at the judge. You argue intellectually and legally and it ends there.
HON. NDEBELE: I am very sorry Mr. Speaker Sir.
THE HON. SPEAKER: The Hon Member without a chief whip, I
do not have your list here.
HON. T. MLISWA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir, let me officially announce that I am my own chief whip.
THE HON. SPEAKER: Granted. Next time, can I have your name in the list of your own.
HON. T. MLISWA: Sir, there will be so much money spent on the pen and paper for one name. The budget will not allow. Mr.
Speaker, my question is directed to Minister of Local Government and Public Works, Hon. July Moyo, on the devolution funds that have been disbursed without provincial councils being in place. That being the case, what measures are there to monitor and evaluate those monies and how come they are being disbursed piecemeal?
THE MINISTER OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT AND PUBLIC
WORKS (HON. J. MOYO): Thank you Mr Speaker Sir. I want to thank Hon. Mliswa for such a pertinent question. The funds are disbursed in terms of the Finance Act and all Hon. Members here know that in the Blue Book that the Minister of Finance and Economic Development puts before this august House, he will have indicated allocations to every provincial council and local authority in this country – ninety-two of them. Each one of them has been allocated a certain amount of money out of the fiscus and every provincial council has been allocated the same. So, to follow up means we must supervise and that is why the President has appointed Ministers of Provincial Affairs and Devolution who will monitor, supervise and make sure that this money is well spent. Above that, these are auditable funds. They follow the audit reports that will come to this august House and you will have an opportunity to question and see how those funds have been used by the local authorities and provincial councils concerned. I think the Minister of Finance and Economic Development can give more details about how the funds have been allocated and what criterion has been used. We are however quite happy that the local authorities that have been given as well as those who have received these funds can only use them as capital expenditure in order to increase investments in all the rural and urban areas of Zimbabwe. They are only using those funds for investment and that investment is meant for a lot of people that they can access better schools, clinics, water and sewerage and in some cases, they are doing roads that are not taken over by either DDF or the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructural Development. So that is what we follow. Those are the guidelines we have given to the local authorities and to those who are spending this money.
As regards the provincial level, we have not given them any funds that will allow them to invest in anything except to do administrative work and those funds really have gone more to the local authorities than to the provincial level. I thank you Mr. Speaker.
HON. T. MLISWA: My supplementary question is; notwithstanding the allocation of that amount of money, there are certain provisions which have got to be adhered to. When the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development allocates money it does not mean that certain provisions must not be in place and the Constitution is very clear on Section 264 on the role of provincial councils monitoring and evaluating. Now, the Central Government is paying provincial councils who are not sitting, yet they are supposed to monitor and evaluate.
Notwithstanding the Auditor-General’s office mandate, have you complied with what is required from the Constitution which is supreme in terms of provincial councils’ roles in monitoring and evaluating, but you are giving money without them being in place. The AuditorGeneral, for many times, has also castigated how money has been disbursed without certain procedures being in place and we are trying to show you the red flag now before we also get into a mess. Why are you distributing the money without provincial councils which are in place which is a constitutional requirement, but you are still paying provincial councils who are not sitting. What are they doing?
I am supposed to be a provincial council member. I have never been invited to a meeting but others are sitting. For as long as we are here, Mr. Speaker Sir, until the Constitution is amended we are provincial council members and I have never been given an allowance, but others have been given an allowance. So again, why do you pay other provincial councillors and leave others out?
HON. J. MOYO: Mr. Speaker Sir, the Provincial Councils and Administration Act is still effective, it is in place. It needs to be aligned with the Constitution of 2013. So are many statutes that we still need to align with, but we cannot say there is no Act because the Act is there.
The fact that councils are not meeting is not my responsibility or anybody else but we were going through a process of amending the Constitution so that we can bring the Bill that we had put here in Parliament. So all these processes, we are going through and we will bring the Bill here so that we can comply with the Constitution. I thank you Mr. Speaker.
HON. B. DUBE: Supplementary question Mr. Speaker.
THE HON. SPEAKER: What supplementary is there Hon.
Dube? I thought the Hon. Minister was clear?
HON. B. DUBE: He was clear but not very clear. I just wanted to supplement by asking the Minister whether it is safe for this nation to have the devolution funds and resources run under his Ministry without the proper constitutional structure, without the provincial structures.
HON. ZIYAMBI: The provincial structures are there – [HON.
MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.]-
THE HON. SPEAKER: Order, order!
HON. B. DUBE: I do not mean the provincial structures of the party, I mean of Government.
HON. J. MOYO: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir and I want to thank the Hon. Member. I just said and I must continue to say the
Constitution, in Section 301(3), empowers the Minister of Finance and Economic Development to say at least 5% of the National Budget shall be reserved for provincial and local authorities and every time the Minister of Finance and Economic Development comes before this august House, he then puts the allocations and the Finance Act which goes through this Parliament. Once it is done, we follow up to make sure that the local authorities implement that which has been allocated by the Minister of Finance and Economic Development constitutionally.
So, our job is to make sure that once the Minister has allocated, the monies are used properly and they are followed up, not just by me but by Ministers of State for Provincial Affairs and Devolution and in addition, they will become auditable like any other allocation that comes before this House and that audit will come before this august House. So we are complying. Thank you Mr. Speaker.
HON. T. MLISWA: Mr. Speaker Sir, just on a point of clarity.
THE HON. SPEAKER: Order, order! This august House and the Senate passed Constitutional Amendment Number 2 and part of that amendment is to indicate that there shall be a Provincial Councils Act which will replace the current structure that is there at the moment. We passed that in this august House.
Secondly, a proposed Provincial Council’s Bill has been gazetted in response to some of these grey areas that are being raised by the Hon. Members. So, let us wait for that Bill and see whether it does speak to those areas of concern that have been highlighted by Hon. Mliswa. Not only that, may I add the Hon. Minister of Finance and Economic
Development, in his wisdom, has indicated in the NDS1 on paragraph 708, that piece of legislation has to be in place and the Executive has responded by amending the Constitution to allow for that piece of legislation to be promulgated by this Parliament and that process has begun. The gazetting has been done. So if there are grey areas that Members are concerned about those will be debated at the appropriate time.
(v)*HON. GOZHO: My question is directed to the Minister of
Local Government and Public Works. What measures does the Government have in place for those provincial councillors who won the 2013 elections but were not sworn in as councillors?
THE MINISTER OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT AND PUBLIC
WORKS (HON. J. MOYO): I want to thank the Hon. Member and I think the Hon. Member is correct. I am not privy to what happened in 2013 but I can say in relation to 2018, after those elections, we have been battling and I am very thankful to this august House that you have now passed the amendments. We have gazetted what we want to bring before this august House so that those elected members will be sworn in. We are aware that because of the confusion in the Constitution, we were not even able to have Members elected in metropolitan areas although some parts of the Constitution alludes to people elected to provincial metropolitan councils being there but they were not elected. So, we have had to deal with a number of issues which I am very glad that with the amendment of the Constitution, we are now able to bring this Bill and we will make sure that everybody is on board.
*HON. MAPHOSA: My supplementary question is - how are you going to remunerate them when they have not yet commenced work because a person has to be sworn in first? Without taking the oath of office, how then can they be paid and from which policy are you taking it from?
*HON. J. MOYO: In the old Provincial Councils and
Administration Act, there is nowhere where it says they need to be sworn in. So, when people are elected and when we know that they have been employed and are convinced that they have been employed, and they have been declared by ZEC they also have reasonable expectations that they are already employed. That is how we remunerate them –
[HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – [HON. MAPHOSA: Can you please help us Hon. Speaker?] -
THE HON. SPEAKER: Order, I want to rule that the Hon.
Minister of Local Government confers with the Attorney-General to find out whether this is proper legally.
Hon. T. Mliswa having stood up on a supplementary question.
THE HON. SPEAKER: Hon. Mliswa, your list was only one name and so, I have cancelled that – [HON. T. MLISWA: It is a point of clarity.] – No, let us wait for the Attorney-General’s response.
+HON. M. M. MPOFU: My question is directed to the Minister of Health. I would like to ask about people who were vaccinated but have not received the second jab. Now, it is over 14 days without the getting the second jab. So the question is, is the first jab still effective if the second one is not administered on time or they receive it late and is that not going to be detrimental to their health?
THE MINISTER OF HIGHER AND TERTIARY
EDUCATION, INNOVATION, SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY
DEVELOPMENT (HON. PROF. MURWIRA) on behalf of THE
MINISTER OF HEALTH AND CHILD CARE (HON. GEN (RTD)
- CHIWENGA): When people go for their first jab, the expectation is that after 14 days they will have their second jab or they will be told on the period, which can be four or two weeks but after that period, they can actually go for their second jab. That is what we understand.
THE HON. SPEAKER: They can still have the second jab?
HON. PROF. MURWIRA: Confirmed Hon. Speaker.
HON. M. M. MPOFU: My supplementary is that I did not
understand the response whether receiving the second jab after a long time will be effective?
THE HON. SPEAKER: Yes, there is no problem.
HON. DR. KHUPE: My supplementary question to the Minister is, is there any problem if the Minister would address this House on a regular basis on the number of people who have been vaccinated, who have received the first and second jabs, on new cases and number of deaths. I think it is important that as Members of Parliament, we have an idea of these details so that as we go about on awareness programmes, at least we have the right statistics. I thank you.
THE HON. SPEAKER: That cannot be a Question Without
Notice. Its area of jurisdiction is Written Question, so Hon. Member, if you can put it in writing then the Hon. Minister will come with statistics.
Further to that, the Hon. Dr. Khupe is requesting that perhaps on a periodic basis, depending on what the Ministry will decide, that the nation through this august House is given the statistics accordingly in future. It is a matter that cannot be decided here. I think, Acting Hon.
Minister, you may need to have some conversation with the substantive Minister when he comes back and then draw his attention to that request.
+HON. MATHE: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir, my question is directed to the Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water, Climate and Rural Resettlement which is responsible for water reticulation in schools and different communities. There is no water in schools. What is ZINWA planning to do in order to alleviate water shortages in schools? I thank you.
THE HON. SPEAKER: Hon. Minister, what is the policy to ensure that every school has water supply in the context of COVID-19?
THE MINISTER OF LANDS, AGRICULTURE, FISHERIES,
WATER, CLIMATE AND RURAL RESETTLEMENT (HON. DR.
MASUKA): Mr. Speaker Sir, I thank the Hon. Member for the question.
The responsibility lies with the Ministry of Primary and Secondary
However, as the Ministry responsible for water, we have put a bid for 20 drilling rigs and DDF has also put a bid for 10 drilling rigs. The procurement process is now nearing completion. This will augment available rigs between DDF and ZINWA to be able to drill more boreholes and also to focus on rehabilitation of boreholes. In terms of the broader scheme Mr. Speaker Sir, cumulatively, just over 2 000 boreholes have been drilled this year and perhaps another half of that rehabilitated. As a country, we have 29 000 boreholes and only 55% are operational.
In our five year period, we plan that every one of the 9 600 schools will have a borehole and resources permitting, we can accelerate that process. I know that the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education is currently ceased with identification of the most vulnerable schools so that they can be prioritised in the drilling of boreholes. I have recently received a list of over 190 schools from the Hon. Minister so that we can prioritise that but resources permitting, we can accelerate the drilling process. Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.
+HON. MATHE: My supplementary question Mr. Speaker Sir is
that I have noticed that the Hon. Minister is just putting it across like something that might happen or might not happen. My point is that water is very important. I am talking about specific issues that we find in schools located in Nkayi that we observe on daily basis. Some dams are silted in both Nkayi North and South, so when we talk of …
THE HON. SPEAKER: Order, order! The Hon. Minister was
very clear. He has received a request for 190 boreholes to be drilled as a priority in schools and the rigs have been ordered – 20 from the Ministry and 10 from DDF. So the programme is on to respond to the request of the Hon. Minister. The urgency has been accepted by the Executive.
HON. MATHE: Point of clarity Mr. Speaker!
THE HON. SPEAKER: On what I just said?
HON. MATHE: No but on what he said so that I understand and respond correctly to the community.
THE HON. SPEAKER: I have clarified, if you give examples … Order Hon. Member, if you may sit down please. If you give examples of Nkayi North, Nkayi South - you are now being specific. You need to engage the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education and the Ministry responsible for water so that the matter can be attended to for those two constituencies. Thank you.
HON. NDEBELE: Supplementary Mr. Speaker Sir!
THE HON. SPEAKER: No supplementary arises; I think the
Hon. Minister’s response was clear.
HON. NDEBELE: We have rigs for Matabeleland North and Matabeleland South that are sitting idly here in Harare instead of being transported to Bulawayo!
THE HON. SPEAKER: Order, order Hon. Member. I was going
to use the words ‘chuck you out’ but that is a bit harsh. You cannot address the Chair whilst you are seated down. Thank you.
HON. I. NYONI: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir, my question is directed to the Minister of Energy and Power Development. We have seen infrastructure belonging to ZESA such as cables and transformers being stolen …
THE HON. SPEAKER: Order, order! Hon. Members, I am reminding you. Do not make a statement, ask the question!
HON. I. NYONI: Yes, my question is that members of the public put some money together to source replacement transformers and cables.
What is the Government’s policy on ownership of such infrastructure? I thank you.
THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF ENERGY AND POWER
DEVELOPMENT (HON. MUDYIWA): Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.
I would also like to thank the Hon. Member for the question. If an individual buys a replacement transformer, it is ZETDC that inspects it and installs the transformer and it then becomes the property of ZETDC. For the customer who would have bought that transformer, there is a payment agreement that would be done between him or her and the ZETDC. I thank you.
HON. I. NYONI: Could the Hon. Minister clarify on the money that would have been paid for such infrastructure by individuals or the community, whether it would be paid back or is it credited in the form of electricity units?
HON. MUDYIWA: If it is a community that bought the transformer, like I said before, there is an agreement that is done between that particular community or the individuals and the ZETDC. ZETDC normally have cash flow problems, so the payment would be in the form of electricity at the normal rate. I thank you.
(v)*HON. SEWERA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. My question is directed to the Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water, Climate Change and Rural Resettlement. Farmers who were given inputs for the Pfumvudza Programme in different parts of the country are now facing challenges in selling their grains because the Grain Marketing Board requires bank accounts yet these farmers have ecocash. What policy has the Government put in place to ensure that these people are able to sell and get paid using ecocash?
THE MINISTER OF LANDS, AGRICULTURE, FISHERIES, WATER, CLIMATE CHANGE AND RURAL RESETTLEMENT
(HON. DR. MASUKA): I want to thank the Hon. Member who is representing the small scale farmers who embarked on farming under the Pfumvudza Scheme, a scheme that will ensure food security in rural areas.
However, I was not aware of the fact that people without bank accounts are not being paid by GMB. Therefore, I am requesting that I be supplied with the list of the areas where this is taking place. We had put in place a policy called SI 145 of 2019 that provides that all the people assisted by the Government through the Pfumvudza Programme should take their grain to GMB so that they can get the highest price for their produce. This will also prevent the middlemen from taking advantage of the farmers. I thank you.
(v)*HON. SEWERA: Mr. Speaker Sir, I am saying they do not have bank accounts but they want to sell their produce, so is it not possible for them to be paid through ecocash by GMB?
HON. DR. MASUKA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. I think I had responded in Shona and I am sure you missed the point. So Mr. Speaker Sir, allow me to now respond in English. Thank you for bringing to my attention the sad plight of farmers who are unable to deliver to GMB on account of not having bank accounts and GMB insisting that they cannot pay them through any other means.
May the Hon. Member avail the specific areas in order for us to be able to deal with this matter swiftly? It is Government’s policy that all funded programmes, especially under Pfumvudza, that farmers deliver their produce to the GMB where they will be paid a fair value for their effort. This also enables these farmers to avoid selling through middlemen who give them lower than the market price. I thank you.
HON. MAVETERA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. My supplementary question is in relation to taking produce to GMB. Farmers are facing challenges in terms of shortage of grain bags. What measures have you put in place to ensure that the farmers are able to take their grain to GMB in light of the challenges they are facing in provision of those grain bags? I thank you.
*HON. DR. MASUKA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. I want to thank Hon. Mavetera who raised the issue of the grain bags and if she assists me with the areas where this is taking place, I will then get in touch with GMB to ensure that they provide the grain bags or sacks.
Each and every year, the bags that we produce are inadequate. Currently
Government is in the process of procuring these grain bags from outside at the cost of US$14.5 million. If I am able to get the areas where this is taking place, I am sure I will be able to assist. Thank you.
(v)*HON. SHUMBAMHINI: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. My
supplementary question is; are there any measures that he is putting in place to ensure that farmers get seed? In the past farming season, the seed that was given was of poor quality and did not yield much. So, does the Minister have or what has he put in place to ensure that farmers under the Pfumvudza project are able to get quality seed? Thank you.
*THE HON. SPEAKER: Thank you but your question is new. What we were talking about is the payment of farmers. Before we proceed, the Hon. Minister of Health, there is someone who was online and they did not quite get your response about this question. I will read it. It says “the Acting Minister did not answer the question about the second jab. What is happening is that after the first jab, the second vaccine is not available within the required or stated timeframe of 14 days. Now, people are waiting for more than 28 days. The question is, will the first jab still remain effective without the booster, the second jab? Thank you”.
HON. PROF. MURWIRA: Thank you Hon. Speaker and I wish to thank the Hon. Member for the supplementary question seeking clarification. Let me just be very clear about vaccines. Zimbabwe has ordered enough vaccines and Zimbabwe is receiving vaccines monthly to the extent that last week alone, we received 1.5 million. At this moment, the happy thing is that our people are coming for vaccination in numbers and we really appreciate that to the extent that at this moment, it is us who have to work very hard on methods to ensure that our people are vaccinated quickly and we are doing that. Coming to this question, we are saying when people have received the first jab, they will receive their second jab after 14 days. It is not clockwork. So people should not be worried about it. It will still be valid that they will receive their second jab even after 20 days. That is what we are saying. I thank you.
(v)HON. TOFFA: Thank you Hon. Speaker Sir. My understanding of the initial question from the Hon. Member, he said people have got the first jab and have been waiting for more than 28 days plus. I think that is where the question is and that is worrying the people on the ground and particularly in that area. Thank you.
THE HON. SPEAKER: Hon. Minister, I think the question is after the 14 days or even 28 days, would the first jab still be effective and boosted by this late coming second jab?
HON. PROF. MURWIRA: Thank you Hon. Speaker, the answer
is yes. Thank you.
HON. T. MLISWA: On a point of clarification Mr. Speaker Sir. This is science and the fact that the first jab is given and there were a number of days, it is the same thing as you going on antibiotics. You have a course and you cannot miss one for it to be effective. The fact that you miss, it is not effective anymore and it has to be science to tell us why the scientists came with those days. The scientists were not stupid because they could have said anytime and the real clarity at the end of the day is that if there are 1.4 million vaccines and I have been injected at Norton Hospital, there must be one for me there so that 14 days is there. The worrying bit is that they are not there. Thank you.
THE HON. SPEAKER: I want to combine the clarification also from Hon. Dr. Labode, so that the Hon. Minister can deal with those two clarifications.
HON. DR. LABODE: Thank you very much Mr. Speaker Sir. I have a report here from the Ministry of Health. That question is relevant and not in relation to the delay but in the haphazard way we are getting our vaccines. For example, the Sputnik vaccine, according to the Minister of Health, we got 50 000 doses. How are they spreading them and if you are sending 5 000 to Nkayi and 5 000 to Hwedza and 5 000 people get the vaccine, that vaccine is finished. So the Covac is the same story, the Sinovac and the Sinopharm and others are okay but there are some of these vaccines we are getting through donations which come in small quantities. Those are going to be a problem. I am not saying you must be vaccinated immediately on the 24th. I was vaccinated two weeks after because I happen to have been moving up and down but let us stop this haphazard way of buying vaccines.
THE HON. SPEAKER: Order, Hon. Dr. Labode, you are bringing in a new dimension. I thought you were going to follow the argument by Hon. Mliswa. The question is does the first vaccine jab remain effective after 28 days? That is the issue.
THE MINISTEROF HIGHER AND TERTIARY
EDUCATION, INNOVATION, SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY DEVELOPMENT (HON. PROF. MURWIRA): Thank you Hon
Speaker. The answer is scientific. It is a minimum of 14 days. Why? Because within the 14 days, the first jab will be taking effect. In actual fact, it will be triggering an immune response. After that, some studies are even showing that the more the delay, the better - scientific studies. Anyway, the minimum is 14 days. If you go after 30 days, it does not kill anyone. It actually could trigger a stronger immune response. So, this is the issue that we are doing. It is very scientific what I am saying.
The other issue is, in terms of the vaccines and the way we are taking them, now it is very systematic in terms of the way we are acquiring our vaccines. The response of our people is very humbling in that they now require to be vaccinated and there are so many people that are coming. If there is a delay of one or two, we will basically rectify all those things. However, we are happy with the progress that we are making. In terms of the region and in Africa, we are doing very well but we still have to do better and we are working hard to do that. Thank you-
[HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] –
THE HON. SPEAKER: Order, order. Do not confuse the people out there. Follow the explanation that has been given. Order, order! In terms of Standing Order Number 67, time for Questions Without Notice has expired but I will indulge the request given earlier on by Hon. Ndebele. However, I will cut it down to 15 minutes because we have got some other issues. Once we have finished the four written questions, there is a Ministerial Statement from the Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water, Climate and Rural Resettlement in connection with disconnection of water supplies to defaulters.
HON. T. MLISWA: Just for the record purposes, I rise to push for the extension of time.
THE HON. SPEAKER: The Chair has ruled in terms of Standing
Order 206 – [HON. T. MLISWA: Inaudible interjection.] – Order Hon. Mliswa. Can you revisit Standing Order Number 206 that gives power to the Chair to make a ruling?
*HON. MUSIYIWA: Thank you Hon. Speaker. My question is directed to the Minister of Primary and Secondary Education. What is the Government policy in ensuring that all schools are electrified and have computers? This is because most schools in rural areas are not electrified and there are no computers. This year, students will be sitting for the exam on Information Communication Technology. Thank you.
THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND
PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): Mr. Speaker Sir,
the Minister of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services, gave a comprehensive response to this in her Post Cabinet briefing. So, I will refer it to her so that she can repeat what she said yesterday. I thank you.
THE HON. SPEAKER: Order Hon. Leader of Government business. You have no authority to appoint a Minister to respond. What the Minister gave yesterday was a post Cabinet briefing.
HON. ZIYAMBI: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. Mr. Speaker Sir, I was just alluding to the fact that a comprehensive report was given on what we intend to do to ensure that our learners get connectivity so that they can have e-learning facilities. The Minister of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services gave a detailed report that they are in the process of acquiring gadgets and ensuring connectivity at all our schools so that learners will be able to access the learning material to be connected and be able to continue their learning activities. I have alluded to the fact that a statement was given yesterday, which I hope the Hon. Member is privy to. The statement was detailed as to the roadmap that we are going to take.
(v)HON. NYAMUDEZA: Thank you Madam Speaker. My
question is directed to the Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water, Climate and Rural Resettlement. Is it Government policy that white people with more money can get more land at the expense of the poor farm workers and villagers? Thank you.
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER (HON. MAVETERA): Can
you repeat your question so that the Hon. Minister can hear you.
HON. NYAMUDEZA repeated his question.
HON. T. MLISWA: On a point of order Madam Speaker. You see how these Deputy Ministers are immature, they have all left and the senior Ministers of Cabinet are still sitting. What does it say about the respect, as soon as the Hon. Speaker left and you are a woman in the Chair, they totally ignore. These are senior Ministers even in the party but these junior Ministers have just gone; they do not want, but their seniors are here. Is this how they conduct themselves in Cabinet? Madam Chair, they just got out like flies. What is a junior Minister who even from a political point of view has no iota or power but just walks out like that. Is this what is supposed to happen in this Parliament?
Junior Ministers, they just walked out. This is a sign of disrespect for you and for this House. These are senior Ministers who have been in, Cabinet for a long time, Ministers of Foreign Affairs, Local
Government, Justice, Finance, Agriculture, Home Affairs – the Deputy
Ministers have just gone out. You must teach a lesson to your Deputy Ministers, Ministers. They are an embarrassment. They are a shame, no wonder why they will never sit in Cabinet.
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER (HON. MAVETERA): Order
Hon. Mliswa, it is okay. I am sure they excused themselves; they were going to the restrooms. Did you hear that question Minister? The question was is it Government’s policy that people without money do
not get land.
THE MINISTER OF LANDS, AGRICULTURE, WATER,
CLIMATE, FISHERIES AND RURAL RESETTLEMENT (HON.
- MASUKA): Madam Speaker, I would like to thank the Hon. Member for that question. However, I am failing to understand the context in the translation, I did not quite hear what he said, but you seem to suggest that the Hon. Member asked whether it is Government policy that people who do not have money do not get land? It is not
Government policy. Thank you.
(v)HON. MBONDIAH: Thank you Madam Speaker Ma’am. My
supplementary question is how long does it take from time of application to the time of allocation of land?
HON. DR. MASUKA: Madam Speaker Ma’am, I thank the Hon. Member for the question. There is not defined waiting period. Perhaps, I have to put things into context, to understand the mammoth task that the Ministry has. There is an overwhelming desire by citizens to be allocated land but Zimbabwe has a geographic finite space and the numbers and the units available to allocate are finite. The bulk of that has now been issued to deserving beneficiaries over the 21 year period since the Fast Track Land Reform Programme.
The waiting lists in the provinces are cumulatively now over 250 000 people waiting to get land and the numbers of additional properties that come for allocation at provincial and national level is diminishing every day, as we allocate more and more. We have now issued additional guidelines. The guidelines target multiple farm ownership, abandoned farms, under utilised, derelict farms, while for now sparing productive farms. We hope that this process will also be complemented by our request now to get annual productivity returns from A1 and A2 farmers, so that we can also assist with identification of idle units. So, I am hoping that that will accelerate the problem but the problem of the long waiting period will remain as units that are available for offer reduce every day. Thank you Madam Speaker.
Questions Without Notice were interrupted by the TEMPORARY
SPEAKER, in terms to Standing Order Number 64.
ORAL ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS WITH NOTICE CONSTRUCTION OF FLATS FOR RESIDENTS OF SQs AND
GBs IN KADOMA CENTRAL
- HON. CHINYANGANYA asked the Minister of National Housing and Social Amenities to inform the House when Government will construct flats for residents of SQs and GBs in Ward 2, Kadoma Central.
THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF NATIONAL HOUSING AND
SOCIAL AMMENITIES (HON. SIMBANEGAVI): Thank you
Madam Speaker. I would like to also thank the Hon. Member for asking on the construction of staff quarters and general barracks in Kadoma
Central. Initially, I would like to indicate that the Ministry of National
Housing and Social Amenities has come up with the National Human Settlements Policy, which is a new policy which highlights on the following benchmarks:
The first one is there is no construction of houses before production of layout plans and provision of onsite and offsite infrastructure. The second one is urban renewal or regeneration, which speaks to the need to revitalise or rejuvenate old and blighted urban landscapes, inclusive of residential dwellings and commercial buildings.
In this regard, Madam Speaker Ma’am, the staff quarters and general barracks as highlighted by the Hon. Member, are colonial relics that were meant for the black African workforce during the colonial era. They are congested and substandard accommodation that are served by using communal water and old ablution facilities, so in this regard, these dwellings are not an anathema to human dignity. The human settlements policy therefore is now going to advocate for renewal and regeneration of these run down and unsightly urban environment. In that regard, Government has now prioritised the renewal of these settlements and is currently mobilising requisite financial resources to replace them with modern flats and housing units that resonate with NDS 1.
(v)HON. CHINYANGANYA: I want to thank the Hon. Deputy
Minister for her response. Whilst we appreciate Government’s initiative to come up with urban renewal plans, the areas that I am talking about already have existing infrastructure for the construction of flats in that area. When can we expect development in areas where there is already existing infrastructure and land is available in that area for construction?
HON. SIMBANEGAVI: Thank you Madam Speaker, in that
regard, I will ask for your indulgence as well as the Hon. Member, for the Ministry to be allowed to visit Kadoma Central on a site visit. This will enable us to evaluate the actual status of the infrastructure that is there so that we can be able to conclusively state the timeframe for us to finish. We need to evaluate the current construction level at that site.
(v)HON. C. MOYO: Thank you Madam, this is a written question. Surely Madam Speaker, the Hon. Deputy Minister was given time to do the research and come to the House with the answers. Therefore, we dismiss the proposal of the site visit.
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Thank you Hon. Moyo, I am
sure that is why the Hon. Deputy Minister had to ask for indulgence.
(v)HON. SARUWAKA: I think you have to find out from the Hon.
Minister if they are taking the Hon. Member’s question seriously. She is asking to go to the site and she should have done that already, so to allow her to get away with that, it is not proper. May you tell the Hon.
Deputy Minister that they should take our questions seriously? If it was an oral question, we were going to forgive them but we are talking of a written question. They are supposed to have done the ground work. The impression that I am getting is that the Hon. Minister did not visit the
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Thank you Hon. Saruwaka. I
am getting a note here that they are going to visit that site this week, so let us give them a week so that when the House resumes they will be able to respond, maybe it was a matter of resource constraints.
HON. C. MOYO: On a point of order Madam Speaker, she must
HON. SIMBANEGAVI: My apologies Madam Speaker Ma’am.
PROTECTION OF THE ENVIRONMENT AND ECOSYSTEM
AROUND BUCHWA MOUNTAIN IN MBERENGWA EAST
- HON. RAIDZA asked the Minister of Environment, Climate Change, Tourism and Hospitality Industry to explain to the House when the Ministry will implement plans to protect the environment and ecosystem around Buchwa mountain in Ward 4, Mberengwa East Constituency which is being constantly destroyed by inhabitants who are parceling out land in the preserved mountain.
THE MINISTER OF ENVIRONMENT, CLIMATE
CHANGE, TOURISM AND HOSPITALITY INDUSTRY (HON.
- NDLOVU): Madam Speaker Ma’am, the issue of sustainable management of wetlands is a key deliverable of the NDS 1, therefore needs full participation of all sector ministries. It must be noted that water is an enabler for economic development. The Buchwa Mountain is a source of water for Murongwe and Machingwizi rivers which are major tributaries to Ngezi and Runde rivers respectively.
The micro climate presented by the mountain to the surrounding community is viewed as a solution to drought challenges hence the invasion by surrounding villagers for cultivation purposes. The surrounding Mangwiro, Mupepu, Mhaka, Mhere, Dzingira and Sani villagers have been slowly encroaching on to the mountains over the years in search for fertile soils and favourable moisture regimes.
Having observed the unsustainable practices around Buchwa Mountain, my Ministry through the Environmental Management Agency has capacitated the Mberengwa Rural District Council in the development of the Local Environmental Action Plan (LEAP) for the district. This process involved all key technical and policy makers.
Furthermore, specific capacity building and planning for Mberengwa East Constituency was done involving all relevant stakeholders. The priority livelihood projects which were identified were supported by the
Environmental Management Agency, an entity under my Ministry. Routine monitoring of the environment in the district and the constituency at large is being done by parastatals under my Ministry with appropriate awareness being created for the local communities to ensure their participation in improved local natural resources management. Furthermore, emphasis is also put on the participation of traditional leaders who are key participants in the protection of the environment and sustainable utilisation of natural resources. However, the parcelling out of land is beyond the mandate of my Ministry. This exercise is within the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Resettlement.
The Local Environmental Action Plan is being rolled out in order to curb the destruction of Buchwa Mountain at a subdued level due to the COVID-19 pandemic which has hampered field operations. As soon as the lockdown measures are eased, fully fledged inclusive operations will be undertaken to solve the degradation.
Going forward, we will strengthen enforcement of by-laws at district level to ensure the protection of the area and beyond. I thank you.
DISCONNECTION OF WATER SUPPLIES TO DEFAULTING
THE MINISTER OF LANDS, AGRICULTURE, FISHERIES,
WATER AND RURAL RESETTLEMENT (HON. DR. MASUKA):
Madam Speaker Maam, I present to this august House a Ministerial
Statement on disconnection of water supplies to defaulters.
At the outset, the Minister and on behalf of Ministry and ZINWA would like to apologise for the inconveniences suffered by various water consumers throughout the country as a result of the inevitable disruptions due to perennial non-payment for water by some consumers.
1.1 The mandate of the Zimbabwe National Water Authority
(ZINWA) is to plan, develop and manage the nation’s water resources. The following are the various components that fall under the ZINWA mandate:
- Hydrological Services
- Water Demand Monitoring
- Investment Planning, and
- Secretariat Services to Catchment Councils and Sub Catchment
- Construction of Conservation Works- Dams for water supply, irrigation and mining
- Construction of Water Treatment Works and Distribution
- Expansion of Sewage Coverage
- Clear water supply to Local Authorities (bulk), Government institutions and departments, hospitals, schools, clinics and domestic consumers.
- Raw water supply to local authorities, mining, industry and irrigators, and
- Water Resources Management for water supply, drought and flood mitigation.
- ZINWA has 534 Water Supply Stations which supply clear water amounting to 8 million cubic metres and raw water amounting to 1.3 million mega litres annually.
- As of 30 July 2021, ZINWA was owed ZW$2.4 billion by institutions that continue to receive portable water supply services from the parastatal albeit with many continuing to default on their payments. This debt has massively impacted negatively on the operational effectiveness and efficiency of ZINWA.
- The continued non-servicing of the debt has crippled ZINWA resulting in crippling lack of funding for critical inputs such as chemicals, fuels, electricity, repair and maintenance costs, among others.
2.0. Monthly Obligations
2.1. ZINWA’s monthly obligations amount to ZW$643million against collections of ZW$200million (31%) at the national level. The major cost drivers in ZINWA are chemicals (ZW$96million) monthly, repairs and maintenance (ZW$200million) and Energy (electricity and fuel) (ZW$161 million) accounting for 71% of the monthly costs. Salaries and wages constitute 25% of the monthly costs. These were contained from 55% of total monthly cost in 2019 to 25% as of June 2021. The major debtors to ZINWA are Government institutions (42%) and Local Authorities (22%) of the $2.4 billion. I have an exhaustive list of the actual amounts owed by Government departments just over $1 billion, local authorities $507 million, irrigators $394 million, domestic through to even churches as shown in Table 1.
2.2. Madam Speaker, Beitbridge and Gwanda owe ZINWA ZW$407million out of the total ZW$507 million owed by all the 92 municipalities in the country. These two owe 80% of the ZINWA debt for Local Authorities and I have the detail of the debt for these two. The fuller details of all debtors are given in Table 1. The details of the Beitbridge and Gwanda debts are shown in Table 2.
2.3. With the souring debt of ZW$2.4 billion against increasing demand for provision of portable water services to various consumers and escalating costs, ZINWA was left with no option but to issue notices of cessation of service to defaulting customers. I have an extensive list Madam Speaker, of the affected Ministries, Departments, Agencies and
2.4 The affected institutions were as follows:
- The Ministry of Defence and War Veterans affairs – All provinces disconnected.
- The Ministry of Justice Legal and Parliamentary Affairs – All provinces disconnected.
- The Ministry of Public Works and National Housing – All provinces disconnected.
- The Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure Development – All provinces disconnected.
- The Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries and Rural
Resettlement – All provinces disconnected.
- The Ministry of Youth, Sport, Arts and Recreation – All provinces disconnected.
- The Ministry of Public Services Labour and Social Welfare – All provinces disconnected.
- The Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education – All provinces disconnected and the Minister has just indicated that they have paid.
- Beitbridge Town Council.
- Gwanda Town Council.
- ZimParks – All provinces.
- National Railways of Zimbabwe – All provinces.
2.5. Madam Speaker, as the Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Resettlement, I wrote individually, to all
Ministers on 21 July 2021 and I have the list of the copies of the letters.
Minister July Moyo, $31 million. Minister Kazembe, $210 million, Minister Muchinguri-Kashiri, $363 million, Minister O. Ncube, $2 million, Minister Prof. Murwira has paid $3.7 million, $6.8 million
Minister Prof. Mavima, Minister Ziyambi, $142 million, Minister Conventry, $4.8 million, Minister Mhona, $9. 5 million and the Minister of Health and Child Care, $192 milion.
I personally, wrote letters to the Ministers to inform them of these impending inconveniences, should they not settle these debts. The letters are attached as Annexure A. However, many did not respond to these notices and ZINWA had to take the painful decision to disconnect supplies.
2.6. On a positive note Madam Speaker, the Office of the
President and Cabinet, the Ministry of Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage, the Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Services, the Ministry of Health and Child Care and TelOne responded positively by making payments and submitting reasonable payment plans. These institutions were, therefore, reconnected timeously.
3.0. Management of Potable Water Supply Service
3.1 Madam Speaker, water supply services are rendered on a selffinancing basis and there is no direct funding from Government for operation or maintenance. Thus defaulting institutions are benefiting from the few consumers who honour their obligations.
3.2. ZINWA applauds its loyal consumers, including Rural Centres such as Tongwe, Shambwe and Chasvingo, supporting Beitbridge Town and Ntalale, Guyu, Mananda, Ntepe, Kezi and Mbembeswana around Gwanda Town. However, the payments from these rural service centres cannot sustain the operations for Beitbridge and Gwanda whose monthly water requirements and payment history are shown in greater detail in a
Table 2. I have taken for the benefit of Hon. Members, from January202 to July 2021 clearly indicating that the two owe substantial amounts and nave neglected to pay for their dues.
Beitbridge made a single payment of ZW$14.8 million in June 2020, the only payment it made between January and July 2021, leading to a cumulative debt of ZW$198.3 million. For Gwanda, the debt accumulated from ZW$ 16 million in January 2020 to ZW$ 181 million in July 2021. The only major payment by Gwanda was a set off of a stand they gave to ZINWA valued at ZW$12 million in October 2020. Otherwise payments are about ZW$2 million monthly and very inadequate for the services that they are provided.
3.3. Madam Speaker, in contrast, ZINWA also supplies water to
Hwange up to household level and the collection rates are over 80%.
These resources support small centres in the areas such as Luvimbi, Jambezi, Sebungwe, and Siyabuwa. Similarly, in Karoi Town the collection rate is about 75%, which positively impacts surrounding centres such as Pote, Kasimure, Mwami, Makuti and Vuti.
3.4. Madam Speaker, it should be noted that other local authorities such as Binga, Tsholotsholo, Lupane, Gutu, Mvurwi and Chivhu are paying satisfactorily. It must be emphasised that the tariff is uniform across the country. Beitbridge and Gwanda have chosen not to prioritise water use payments, unlike these centres. The payment rate to ZINWA for the two Local Authorities (Beitbridge and Gwanda) combined is 14%. ZINWA is unable to ascertain what their actual collection rates are from their users.
3.5. Madam Speaker, the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development allocates funding to Ministries to enable them to service their utility bills. However, the respective Ministries and Departments do not timeously remit the funds to ZINWA for water consumed. In some instances, the Ministries and Departments simply neglect to pay their obligations.
4.0. Current Water Supply Status
4.1. Water supply has been restored to all the institutions that were disconnected during the past week after payment plans were submitted. All Government institutions and Departments have been reconnected against a commitment, from the Ministry of Finance and Economic
Development, to pay a total of ZW$350 million immediately.
4.2 Beitbridge municipality has submitted a payment plan for
ZW$20 million per month and services were restored yesterday. Gwanda municipality has submitted a payment plan for ZW$5 million per month plus whatever Government pays to Gwanda Municipality for water bills and services were also restored yesterday.
5.1 Madam Speaker, in conversation with the Minister of Finance and Economic Development before coming here, he has also pledged to assist local authorities in that for the Government institutions that these two and other local authorities supply water to the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development will pay those bills direct to ZINWA and not through the local authorities.
Madam Speaker, the non-payment of bills has affected ZINWA’s capacity to deliver its mandate including the drilling of 35,000 boreholes for marginalised rural communities to support the transformative Presidential Rural Horticultural Programme and improve access to clean, safe water by these communities. This has denied millions of rural communities their basic right to water.
ZINWA’s Water Supply Services rehabilitation and expansion drive has also stalled for the additional 41 Rural Service Centres which are targeted to be completed before end of the year.
Given the aforementioned, ZINWA has recommended that, ZINWA could take over the supply function of water to the two Local Authorities from source to the household, given the inability of the two local authorities,Gwanda and Beitbridge to sustainably supply water to residents. Alternatively, ZINWA could supply water directly to critical Government institutions in these Towns such as hospitals, border posts and security institutions to avoid disruption of essential service.
Reactivation of bulk prepaid water metering for Local Authorities and accelerating installation of pre-paid metering to households; and
Water Supply revenue in all the Local Authorities should be ringfenced to ensure sustainability of water supply services.
In conclusion, once again the Ministry unreservedly apologises on behalf of ZINWA for having taken this last resort and drastic measure to induce payments and raise awareness among Zimbabweans of the need to pay for utilities, while urging authorities to prioritise services by paying for water timely. ZINWA, working with the Ministry, will strive to improve services in line with its mandate and constitutional requirements.
|Customer Category||Current||30 days||60 days||90 days||120 days +||Total||% Total Debtors|
BEIT BRIDGE TOWN COUNCIL ACCOUNT HISTORY AS FROM JAN 2020 TO JULY 2021
|Monthly Charge||Payments||Debit/Credit Note||Balance Outstanding|
- Client is currently paying $2 million per week.
- Payments of RTGS$10 million and ZAR150 000 were received in July
- Payment of $5 million was received in August
- July bill and interest are not yet charged
- *Reversal: Short notice for tariff adjustment
|Gwanda Town Council Account History from January 2020 to July 2021
|1. October 2020 payment had a set-off against a stand bought from Municipality. The cost of the stand $11,2million|
|2. Current payments are $500 000 per week ($2million per month) against an average bill of
|3. In July 2021 payments of $5,049million, $10million and the weekly $500 000 were received|
|4. Bill for July and interest charges are yet to be charged|
|5. *Reversal: Short notice for Tariff Adjustment|
HON. MUTAMBISI: Firstly, I would like to thank the Hon.
Minister for the presentation. I would want to know what measures ZINWA is taking to restore water to people in rural areas who had water taps. Most of the taps have dried up because in most cases ZESA took away transformers which were assisting to pump water into reservoirs.
HON. MAPHOSA: I would like to thank the Minister for his presentation but I am not satisfied with some of the utterances like when he said residents do not want to pay. I think the issue, especially of Gwanda and Beitbridge, from the Minister’s statement, is trying to solve a disease without looking at its symptoms. In 1996, a directive was given that ZINWA should hand over treatment plants to the local authorities. To date, out of 32 Urban Local Authorities in 2013, 27 were given back their plants, except for Gwanda, Beitbridge, Plumtree, Karoi and Victoria Falls. Up to date, Victoria Falls and Plumtree have been given their plants but Gwanda and Beitbridge have not.
Let me concentrate on Gwanda. Two commissions were sent. The first one was led by Hon. Sipepa and the second was led by Hon. Muchinguri and both approved after the assessment that Gwanda could handle its water issues, in particular, the treatment plant. In December 2019, a delegation from Gwanda Local Authority came to see Hon. P.
Shiri, may his soul rest in peace. He gave a directive that by August
2019, the water plant would have been given back to Gwanda town. The Minister of Local Government and Public Works also wrote a letter to the Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water, Climate and Rural
Resettlement specifying that Gwanda was ready to run its water plant. My question is, out of all these Commissioners, residents and local authorities that came, what is delaying the handover as we are just waiting for the date to be set for the handover? The last communiqué was after Victoria Falls, Gwanda was going to be given back its treatment plant. However, to date ZINWA and the Ministry are still holding onto that plant. Why have they continued to do that?
Then on bills Madam Speaker, we have to separate debts from treatment plant charges. The reason why Gwanda and Beitbridge seem to be having these escalating figures is because ZINWA is also billing water treatment and not just the supply of water. So, I need that to be understood. Then on the issue of debts, it is an issue that can be dealt with separately and maybe look for a way to recover their money. For example, ZINWA bills Gwanda City Council $15 million per month yet the local authority can only collect +/-$8 million. So that alone continues to let the debt accumulate monthly. Last year in July 2020, the Local Authority’s debt to ZINWA stood at $17 million and now, a year later, the debt has ballooned to $193 million.
So, you can see that if we talk about debts before the handing over, this thing will go on and on and ZINWA will continue to cut off water and taking over cars to recoup their debt. This is not going to end and I think the solution is for the Ministry and ZINWA to hand over the water treatment plant to Gwanda town. Also, of the $193 million, $158 million is owed by government departments. So you can see that residents are trying their best to pay but when they cut off water they also cut off the residents. Those are the clarifications that I need from the Minister.
HON. B. DUBE: Thank you Madam Speaker. I just have one point of clarification. How does the Ministry feel by contradicting the whole national policy on COVID-19, which requires water as a fundamental for purposes of hygiene? It is during the pandemic that you decide to disconnect water, especially at Beitbridge border post where there is serious traffic of humans from across the borders such as truck drivers and everyone else. Actually, Beitbridge is regarded as one of the most over-populated places in the country and as a means of debt collection, you just decide to deny people water.
I believe that this is a serious contradiction of the main
Government policy and there is no basis or reasonable justification in a democratic society to do so, especially considering that you are even contradicting the other line ministry in the form of the Ministry of Local Government and Public Works, which has written to you to hand over the treatment of that water. You can do the debt collection but remember that you need those people to be alive in order for you to collect the debt. However, what you are doing now is actually sentencing people to death because water is life. I do not know how you would then envisage, going forward, to be collecting debts and I believe this is extortion, to actually cut water as a means of forcing people to pay. I think that you should not unnecessarily contradict the general Government policy on water, especially during this pandemic. Thank you.
*HON. KARUMAZONDO: Thank you very much Hon.
Speaker. I kindly ask for clarity from the Minister on his presentation. I heard you explaining that there are Government departments in their numbers that are not paying up their bills, including the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Water, Fisheries and Rural Resettlement. We also hear they owe ZINWA.
What I want to understand is, are the rates that are being charged too high that people are failing to pay because I saw that your Ministry is one of those that owe ZINWA?
HON. MOKONE: Thank you very much Madam Speaker. I
would like to thank the Hon. Minister for the Ministerial Statement, but I
am not satisfied with the Ministerial Statement that he presented before us, the reason being Gwanda Town is the provincial capital of Matabeleland South. Minister, may you kindly explain to me why you went ahead to cut off water knowing that Gwanda Town is the capital of Matabeleland South and it has a provincial hospital? All the referral cases of Matabeleland South are referred to Gwanda. So how do you expect the hospital to function in such a scenario? How do you expect the theatre to function in such a scenario? May you kindly explain that to me?
Madam Speaker, the Hon. Minister highlighted that 80% of the debt that is owed to ZINWA is from Beitbridge and Gwanda. I would like to make it easy for him or rather, to propose that they hand over the plant to Gwanda and Beitbridge and thereafter they then talk about payment plans because this ZINWA debt is actually dating back from 2009. If you remember very well there was a Presidential statement that all council bills have to be struck off, but from the research that I gathered, ZINWA in Gwanda only removed 40% of the amount that was there in their debt and then the rest remained. So this is the debt that keeps on accumulating each and every month, up to $193 million as of now. I would like the Hon. Minister to give us a solution today as to what we are supposed to do because this problem has taken too long.
The other thing, ZINWA is demanding unrealistic payments from the people of Gwanda and Beitbridge, that is $18 million per month. Madam Speaker, council cannot raise that figure in Gwanda. Council is now working for ZINWA. In other ways, other departments are now suffocating because of the ZINWA debt. All the money that council is collecting every month goes to ZINWA and the other departments are now not progressing.
So I am down on my knees, pleading with the Minister today in this august House, to facilitate the process of handing over the plant from ZINWA to the local authorities, especially Gwanda and Beitbridge because that is where I come from, that is my area of concern. I am pleading with you today to please facilitate the hand over, take over because from the evidence that I gathered, everything has been done, what is left is for you to hand over the plant to the local authorities and then you talk about payment plans. I submit Madam Speaker.
(v)HON. CHINYANGANYA: My point of clarity pertains to local authorities. If the Minister can refresh his memory, in 2013 the Government ordered local authorities to write off all bills that the residents owed to local authorities but what remained Madam Speaker, are debts that those municipalities owed to service providers including ZINWA. So the debts that have accrued over the years to ZINWA from municipalities stem from those debts that were written off.
What is the Government doing to make sure that those debts are also written off, the debts that the local authorities are owing to ZINWA because residents owed local authorities money for the water that they used, but that water came from ZINWA and ZINWA had to be paid?
The Government is supposed to foot the bills that the local authorities are owed to ZINWA. So what is their Ministry doing to make sure that all those debts are also written off? Thank you.
(v)HON. SARUWAKA: Thank you Madam Chair. I have got two
submissions to make to the Hon. Minister. The first one, I think others have already touched on it, but it is on the legacy issues around the decision made by Hon. Chombo then, the political decision to write off debts on behalf of council. Has his Ministry and ZINWA taken note of the contribution that decision has made on the capacity of local authorities to meet their obligations?
The other issue I wanted to raise to the Minister is, through his presentation, it has become very clear that the chief debtor is the Government itself. It is the chief debtor to ZINWA and also to local authorities. So would it not have made sense to the Minister just to speak to his colleague in Cabinet to pay up so as to avoid the need to disconnect the two local authorities and make the people of the two towns suffer for the sins of Government ministries? Would it not have been easier, smarter and shorter for the Minister to talk to his colleague in Cabinet to pay up to avoid the need to disconnect the two local authorities and make the people for the two towns suffer for the sins of Government ministries. Would it not have been easier, smarter and shorter for the Minister to talk to his colleagues in Cabinet to pay up than to arm twist the local authorities and the people of the two towns? (v) HON. GABBUZA: Madam Speaker, two local authorities have not honoured their obligations and specifically, Gwanda and Beitbridge. Can the Minister confirm whether they are not honouring their obligations because there is an argument? Secondly, what is the strategy on the farmers? I did not hear much being said about farmers given that there might be a crop on the ground. Have they also made payment plans? Why are they not being punished?
(v) HON. MARKHAM: I just want to reiterate the issue of the legacy debt, that money that was written off, ZINWA was owed a lot of money by local government, particularly in the City of Harare for example. What is the Minister going to do because in the Minister’s own words, 42% was owed by Government and 22% is owed by local government? This adds up to the bulk of the money owed to ZINWA
and if we cannot collect that debt, why are we chasing the rats and the mice that have nothing in real terms?
HON. DR. KHUPE: The first point that I would like to raise is enshrined in our Constitution. Section 77 of the Constitution on the right to food and water says every person has the right to safe, clean and potable water. Just that disconnection of water from Beitbridge and
Gwanda was a violation of people’s rights and a violation of this Constitution because water is life. It does not matter whether people were not paying bills but Government is supposed to exercise leniency when it comes to the right of people, especially with the advent of Corona virus these days because disconnecting that water is like giving them a death sentence because there are cholera and COVID-19 issues involved. I think on this one, Government was supposed to exercise caution.
I would like to also add my voice in that Gwanda and Beitbridge must be given a right to treat their own water. Government must handover those rights so that they are able to treat their own water.
Secondly Madam Speaker, according to NDS1, 33 000 boreholes are supposed to be dug in five years. My question to the Minister is, where is the problem because we are tired of hearing about procurement processes, and so on? The Minister of Finance must give priority to water and local authorities so that they are given money to buy rigs and start drilling boreholes as a back-up when these kind of situation happen. My question is where is the problem because the Minister said they have only drilled 2 000 boreholes, out of the 33 000 which were supposed to be dug? When are we going to meet the target of 33 000? Where is the problem?
THE MINISTER OF LANDS, AGRICULTURE, FISHERIES, WATER, CLIMATE AND RURAL RESETTLEMENT (HON. DR.
MASUKA): I thank the Hon. Members for their questions, suggestions and comments, very enriching. Some of them did repeat what the other Hon. Members said so I will attempt to combine those in my responses and those that I might have skipped; it does not necessarily mean that I diminish their importance. We will certainly be able to sit with the ZINWA team and be able to go through these. More specifically, I have noted all of them in detail.
Hon. Simbanegavi on ZINWA water taps dry and ZESA
transformers taken, well climate change is real. With climate change, we anticipate that our country is going to get drier in the decades ahead. We must climate-proof our agriculture. At the rural level, the Ministry is going to be coming up with a Statutory Instrument on soils and water conservation because siltation is actually a major issue. We have neglected contour works for far too long and now things are catching up with us. We also need to educate our farmers, A1, A2 and everyone so that we can conserve our environment and minimise our own climatic footprint. The transformer issue, perhaps the Ministry responsible for Energy and Power Development will be happy to respond.
The issue about Gwanda and Beitbridge, quite a lot of Members have referred to this. There are five local authorities that we are in discussion with, with a view to handing over their works to them. I will be the first to be relieved not to be asked questions in Parliament because these will be asked to the local authorities. I expect that Gwanda will be able to accelerate the handover when they finish the various issues that Ministry of Local Government and ZINWA officials are working with them to do. We will be very pleased to handover to Gwanda.
Beitbridge is not so ready for the handover and we are working with them. Karoi Town Council too, they are still far behind but they are desirous to run their own works. There are about a series of steps including technical and administrative capacity, the resolution of the debt issue and payment that they need to look into and agree as officials so that we can get to the stage that we did with the Victoria Falls city.
For us, that is very good.
ZINWA is mandated to provide bulk water supply and as national institution where local authorities might not have capacity, ZINWA is asked to step in. If local authorities think that they have the capacity, they just fulfil the checklist and we handover. I think that is a very good position to be in. So, I look forward to a celebratory day together with Hon. Ministers where Gwanda will be running its own affairs and I look forward to that in the not too distant future.
The debt owed by Government and local authorities, we have, as I indicated Madam Speaker, reached an arrangement with the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development that although the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development disburses money to ministries including my own, there is some lack of appetite to settle utilities. So the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development, realising that this paralysis that is happening within ZINWA, if ZINWA had not taken this unfortunate drastic step, in the current circumstances in the next week or so, ZINWA would have shut down unable to treat water.
So the option was to jerk the system and nation to think about having to pay so that we can provide this vital constitutional requirement. We have had to take this drastic measure in order to arrive at where we have arrived today Madam Speaker – a very pleasing position. Government itself has paid $350 million, which means the three to four days of interruption will lead to continuity perhaps to the end of the year. It was going to be worse had we not done that. So, this is the decision, context and very hard decision that we have taken. It is under those circumstances that we take these decisions in order to induce certain movements. I believe that we have reached an agreement with Gwanda and Beitbridge for payment arrangements.
We have also gone to a further extent of lobbying on behalf of local authorities with the Government, that debts for Government departments in those local authorities be taken over by Central
Government and that portion of the debt be paid directly to ZINWA. So if Gwanda has $158 million owed by Government departments, that amount will now be paid directly to ZINWA so that their debt obligation suddenly reduces and I expect that will assist them to accelerate the negotiation process with ZINWA so that they can take over the running of their works. If you look at the costs, ZINWA is subsidising quite a lot of the local authorities and I doubt that in the next two to three years, they will probably not hand-over again to ZINWA – if you look at the detailed costing for the various costs that go into treatment.
The ZINWA rates, yes the ZINWA rates are calculated on a cost plus approach, taking into account inflation. So these are very reasonable.
The issue of the write off came out quite clearly and that being given as the reason that is militating against local authorities supply or ability to pay. We can look at this on a case by case basis but we can also look at it from just the evidence at hand, that if it was nationwide and some local authorities are up to date now with their payments and other local authorities are out of date with their payments. It means that it is more than the debt written off; it is the discipline within those local authorities. I hope that once they take over the treatment works and are able to do this they will be sufficiently disciplined to ensure that they will be able to provide this service on a continuous basis.
I am just trying to check, I think that there was quite some emotion around Gwanda which I said that I look forward to a day where we can all celebrate Gwanda taking over and running their own activity. I urge other authorities to look into this so that ZINWA can get on with its mandate of bulk raw water supply so that ZINWA can get on with the mandate of providing the 35 000 boreholes that we talk about. Look at how transformational it is Madam Speaker; I look at the women where I come from – my mother and sisters in August to November, the dry period. They have to walk distances to fetch water. How transformational, how dignifying it will be for our women, for my sisters to be able to open a tap in the village; to be able to not go and water your garden by the stream but to do so somewhere with dignity in the village.
So I hope that local authorities will play their part so that ZINWA can play its part. Thank you Madam Speaker. – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] –
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: I would like to thank the Hon.
Minister for that detailed Ministerial Statement and also the responses.
On the motion of HON. TOGAREPI, seconded by HON.
MPARIWA, the House adjourned at Nineteen Minutes to Six o’clock p.m.