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NATIONAL ASSEMBLY HANSARD 04 May 2017 43-59
PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE
Thursday, 4th May, 2017
The National Assembly met at a Quarter-past Two o’clock p. m.
(THE HON. SPEAKER in the Chair)
ANNOUNCEMENT BY THE HON. SPEAKER
NON-ADVERSE REPORTS RECEIVED FROM THE
PARLIAMENTARY LEGAL COMMITTEE
THE HON. SPEAKER: I wish to inform the House that I have received Non-Adverse Reports on the following, notice of amendments to Bills, Statutory Instruments and General Notices:-
- i) Estates Administrators Amendment Bill (H. B. 8A, 2016]; ii) Movable Property Security Interests Bill [H. B. 7A, 2016]; iii) Judicial Laws Amendment Bill (Ease of Settling Commercial and Other Disputes) [H. B. 4A, 2016]; iv) Deeds Registries Amendment Bill [H. B. 3A, 2016];
- v) Statutory Instruments 33, 34, 35, 38, 39, 40, 41, 42, 43, 44, 46 and 47 gazetted during the month of March 2017; and vi) General Notices, 133, 134 135, 136, 137, 138, 139, 140, 141,
142, 143, 144, 145, 146, 147, 148, 149, 150, 151, 152, 153, 154, 156, 157, 158, 159, 160 and 161 gazetted during the month of March 2017.
NATIONAL PEACE AND RECONCILIATION COMMISSION
BILL [H.B. 2, 2017]
THE MINISTER OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT, PUBLIC WORKS AND NATIOAL HOUSING (HON. KASUKUWERE) on behalf of THE VICE PRESIDENT AND MINISTER OF
NATIONAL HEALING, PEACE AND RECONCILIATION (HON.
MPHOKO): Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. I move this Bill standing in for the Vice President.
Mr. Speaker Sir, the purpose of the National Peace and
Reconciliation Commission (NPRC) Bill, 2017 is to provide for the operationalisation, composition and functions of the NPRC in fulfillment of Chapter 12 Part 6 (Sections 251-253) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe which established the NPRC. The Bill also seeks to confer additional jurisdiction on the Commission, including the investigating powers, provision of the terms of office, conditions of service, qualifications and vacation of office by Members of the NPRC, the appointment of the Executive Secretary and to provide for matters connected with or incidental to the foregoing. The NPRC Bill, 2017 shall come into operation when the President assents to the Bill. The NPRC shall be a full time Commission.
Clause 1: Short Title of the Bill
The clause provides for the short title of the Bill which is the National Peace and Reconciliation Commission.
Clause 2: Interpretation
The clause provides for the definitions of words in the Bill. To this end, words like Commission, seal, Executive Secretary, Minister, are defined for ease of reference.
Clause 3: Procedure, Powers and Functions of the
The clause provides for additional functions of the Commission as original functions are established in terms of the Constitution. The clause also seeks to provide for procedures to be followed by Members of the Commission when conducting meetings. It also provides for the manner in which vacancies may be filled. The same clause confers ancillary powers upon the Commission which may help the Commission to discharge its functions in a better way.
Clause 4: Independence of the Commission
The clause reinforces the independence of the Commission established in terms of Section 235 of the Constitution.
Clause 5: Seal of the Commission
The clause empowers the President to, by proclamation, set the seal of the Commission. The seal must be kept in the custody of the
Clause 6: Offices and Operations of the Commission
The clause gives the Commission powers to establish offices throughout the country. The Commission has to establish such offices in consultation with the Minister and the Minister responsible for Finance. The offices established must be accessible to all people including those using public transport and those with disabilities. Where necessary, the Commission may request the cooperation of certain entities like other independent Commissions, local Government structures, civil society organisations and faith based institutions for the Commission to better perform its functions.
Clause 7: Removal of Members from Office
The clause reiterates the procedures to be followed for the removal of Members of the Commission from office as set up in the Constitution.
Clause 8: Investigative Function of the Commission
The clause confers investigative functions upon the Commission. the Commission shall invite any person affected by any dispute or conflict arising out of any action or omission on the part of an authority or person; to, in any one of the officially recognised languages, make an oral written complaint to the Commission requesting it to investigate such action or omission. The Commission has got powers to make the investigations. However, the Commission shall not investigate any matter which is pending before any competent court.
Clause 9: Manner of Conducting Investigations
The clause sets out the investigation procedures for the Commission. In its hearing procedures, the Commission must not be bound by strict rules of evidence. Any person who is called to appear before the Commission to defend the allegations raised against him or her must be afforded fourteen working days to respond in writing. Any person appearing before the Commission is entitled to be represented by a legal practitioner of his or her choice at his or her expense. This clause obliges Members of the Commission and their staff not to disclose information obtained except in special circumstances.
The Minister responsible for National Security may issue a certificate to the effect that certain evidence or documentation must only be disclosed in camera in the best interest of defence, national security, external relations and the like. Any person who is dissatisfied by the decision of the Minister may appeal to the Commission while any appeal against the decision of the Commission lies with the Administrative Court.
Clause 10: Compellability of Witnesses and Inadmissibility of
Incriminating Evidence given before the Commission
The clause provides for the inadmissibility of incriminating evidence. Only the person who may be compelled by the Commission to testify before the Commission will enjoy this privilege.
Clause 11: Appearance before the Commission
The clause compels persons who appear before the Commission to take the oath or make an affirmation before they testify. Any person who appears before the Commission shall be entitled to give evidence in any of the officially recognised languages.
Clause 12: Other Offences
The clause establishes various offences for violating the provisions of this Bill. Such offences are to empower the Commission to discharge its functions better without any form of disturbance.
Clause 13: Staff of the Commission
The clause confers upon the Commission power to make an establishment of its staff.
Clause 14: Appointment and Functions of the Executive
Secretary of the Commission
The clause gives power to the Commission to appoint the
Executive Secretary who must assist the Commission in the discharge of its functions.
Clause 15: Reports of the Commission
Provides for the manner in which various reports may be submitted to Parliament by the Commission through the Minister.
Clause 16: Funds of the Commission
The clause provides for the various sources of the Commission’s funds.
Clause 17: Accounts of the Commission and Appointment of
The clause compels the Commission to keep proper books of accounts. The Commission is allowed to appoint an Internal Auditor in terms of this clause.
Clause 18: Audit of Accounts
The clause provides for procedures for auditing of the
Commission’s books of accounts. In terms of this clause, the Auditor General is empowered to audit the accounts of the Commission. Any person who fails to cooperate with the Auditor General shall be guilty of an offence.
Clause 19: Regulations
The clause confers upon the Commission power to make regulations which shall be of no force unless they have been approved by Parliament. I so move Mr. Speaker Sir, that the Bill be read a second time.
HON. GONESE: Mr. Speaker Sir, the position in relation to this Bill is that the Committee on Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs conducted public hearings together with the Senate Thematic Committee on Peace and Security. The public hearings have been completed. However, the Committee has not yet sat down to deliberate on the report and come up with a report for presentation to this House to set the tone on the debate by Hon. Members.
It is in this regard that I am moving that the debate be adjourned. The Chairperson of the Committee walked in when the Hon. Minister was making his second reading presentation and I have already discussed with the Hon. Chairperson of the Committee as well as the Hon. Deputy Chief Whip of Government. I therefore request that the debate do now adjourn. I believe that the Hon. Minister has been appraised of this position. I so move.
HON. ZIYAMBI: I second.
Motion put and agreed to.
Debate to resume: Tuesday, 9th May, 2017.
SUSPENSION OF CHITUNGWIZA MUNICIPALITY
THE MINISTER OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT, PUBLIC
WORKS AND NATIONAL HOUSING (HON. KASUKUWERE):
Mr. Speaker, I wish to make a Ministerial Statement to Parliament on the suspension of Chitungwiza Municipality Councillors.
The Chitungwiza Municipal Councillors have been suspended from office in terms of Section 114 of the urban Councils Act [Chapter
29:15], [as read with the Local Government Laws Amendment Act].
This has been necessitated by the continued high levels of maladministration, non-compliance with laid down procedures and practices and corrupt practices by the Councillors.
Twenty-four of the twenty-five Councillors have been served with letters of suspension, in terms of section 114(2)(b) of the Urban Councils Act. The suspended Councillors have all been afforded the opportunity to defend themselves and were asked to respond to the charges in writing, within seven days. Thereafter, the responses will be studied and suspensions will be uplifted for Councillors who are not guilty of the charges. However, where no sound argument against the allegations is proffered the case/s will be referred to an Independent Tribunal appointed in terms of Section 157A of the Act. The Independent Tribunal will hear the matter in order to establish whether or not the accused Councillors are guilty of gross misconduct or willful violation of the law and give a determination as prescribed in the Fourth Schedule of the Urban Councils Act [Chapter 29:15].
Chitungwiza Municipality has twenty-five Councillors, fourteen from MDC-T and eleven from ZANU-PF. The Municipality has been marred by administrative and political problems for a number of years. The Ministry of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing tried a number of interventions aimed at resolving the challenges bedeviling the Council but Chitungwiza Municipality did not listen and chose to continue with its destructive path at the expense of service delivery.
The current problems facing Chitungwiza Municipality are as follows:
- Service delivery is virtually at a standstill with heaps of uncollected garbage, numerous sewer bursts and blackages, little or no water supplies, as debts to Harare City mount up with no payment plan in sight. In addition, there is a complete lack of development control and little or no by-law enforcement.
- There is rampant abuse of Council and Stateland resulting in both Councillors and their officials cashing in on large tracts of land for personal gain. Wetlands and land set aside for a
cemetery have also not been spared as these have been subdivided and sold to unsuspecting home seekers. These pieces of land have not been paid for.
- There is a flagrant disregard for the Management of Stateland Manual in allocation procedures with no referral to the Council waiting list, which is supposed to be the basis for all allocations.
Many stands are disposed of without proper documentation.
- Council is releasing land allocated before the said land is paid for and the same land is then resold at large profits to individuals by Council officials and Councillors.
- Councillors and staff have abused their offices to repossess stands from real beneficiaries.
- There is lack of systems which create a conducive environment for corruption. Even where cases of corruption are exposed, disciplinary action has not been taken.
- The Council has, on several occasions resolved to disregard the urban Councils Act, including utilizing capital funds collected under the Estates account for the payment of wages to the detriment of servicing residential stands.
- Council chooses to defy/ignore circulars and directives issued, resulting in unnecessary expenditure. An example is the recent resolution to increase Councillors unapproved travel allowances for a 24 hour period from the stipulated $95,00 to $300,00.
- The Executive is reluctant to advise Councillors who end up coming up with resolutions that are ultra-vires.
- Checks and balances are not in force since Councillors and officers are conspiring in their illegal activities, thereby prejudicing Council of millions of dollars.
- Communication with rate payers has completely broken down resulting in a continuous stream of persons coming to the Ministry offices to lodge complaints. There is no other Council in Zimbabwe that has faced so many demonstrations, which
have resulted in Council officials hiring security guards to protect them from angry residents.
- The Council is technically bankrupt and efforts to curtail unnecessary expenditure have been ignored. The Council budget submission was turned down twice in 2016 and once in 2017 by the Ministry, in order to make corrections and to ensure compliance.
- The Council has a huge workforce that is not working as there are no resources to equip them. Moreover, the workers have not been paid for the past 14 months.
The above mentioned challenges forced the Ministry to invoke
Section 114 of the Urban Councils Act, [as read with the Local
Government Laws Amendment Act], thereby suspending all twenty-five
Councillors. The disciplinary procedures have been put in place.
To keep the Council running whilst disciplinary procedures are being taken, a Caretaker Council was appointed in terms of Section 80 of the Urban Councils Act.
The following Caretakers have been appointed:-
- M.S Pawadyira, a retired civil servant with vast local government experience and who has served on a number of caretaker councils.
- Z. Chisango, the District Administrator for Chitungwiza, who has been instrumental in reporting maladministration and who is aware of the situation on the ground.
- Cde Joshua Mabiza, a former councilor of Chitungwiza and a local businessman.
The terms of reference for the Caretakers are as follows:
- To reverse all illegal land acquisition mentioned in the two investigations reports and the internal audit report on land
abuse and to institute correctional measures to prevent similar occurrences of land abuse.
- To oversee the taking of disciplinary action against staff implicated in the reports.
- To oversee the putting in place of proper procedures with regards to estate management.
- To put forward options for the provision of services to areas where stands have been sold to home seekers.
- To review all resolutions of Council taken since 2013 and rescind those that is ultra-vires.
- To establish a formal complaints system for use by members of the public and open dialogue with the community.
- To take any other steps necessary for the return to normalcy of Chitungwiza Municipality.
The Ministry has also instructed the Provincial Administrator for
Harare Province and the department of Housing and Social Amenities to assist the Caretakers in undertaking their roles. The Minister of State for
Harare Province is fully informed of the situation. I thank you Mr.
ANNOUNCEMENT BY THE HON. SPEAKER
INVITATION TO THE LAUNCH OF THE ZIMBABWE
PARLIAMENTARY JOURNALIST FORUM
THE HON. SPEAKER: Before points of clarification are raised,
I have one announcement. This is to inform all Chairpersons of
Portfolio Committees that they are cordially invited to the launch of the Zimbabwe Parliamentary Journalist Forum to be held on Friday 5th May, 2017 at 18:00 hours at the Cresta Oasis Hotel.
HON. NDUNA: Thank you Mr. Speaker. I just want to applaud the Hon. Minister for trying to address the ills of Chitungwiza Town Council by invoking the statutes and the sections in the Act, 114 in particular that deals with such ills. The second issue Mr. Speaker is also to request that after the Minister takes care of Chitungwiza, after disciplinary processes and all have been done. I invite him to Chegutu Town Council so that we can also make sure that we curtail the collusion, corruption, nepotism and all other shenanigans that bedevil the town council of Chegutu West.
Aware also that I had a meeting about an hour ago with the town council but there does not seem to be any cohesion and knowledge of where we are, where we have come from and where we are going. There is certainly a dearth in terms of progress, prosperity and averting disaster that bedeviled the council in 2009, that of cholera and typhoid. So, I am making a clarion call and a fervent request to the Minister that he expeditiously, effectively comes to Chegutu and address the issues and ills that are bedeviling the town council in the same manner if not worse than he has done with Chitungwiza Town Council. I thank you.
HON. PHIRI: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. My question to the
Minister is whether what is happening at Chitungwiza in terms of … HON. ADV. CHAMISA: I have a point of order Hon. Speaker.
THE HON. SPEAKER: Yes, point of order.
HON. ADV. CHAMISA: Hon. Speaker, you are aware that our
Parliament is modeled around the Westminster tradition. Once the Minister has given his statement, it is incumbent upon the official spokesperson of the opposition to be given the first priority if they wish to – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – Yes, that is the tradition. Indeed, I can show you where it is.
THE HON. SPEAKER: Order, order. Can you address the
HON. ADV. CHAMISA: This is so fundamental Hon. Speaker because what it does is that you are then able to give the due regard to the composition of Parliament. This is not to say that it would stop any other Hon. Member but in terms of sequence and order, we have a tradition that we have in this House which we have followed so ably and eloquently. We have Hon. Cross here who is the opposite number of Hon. Kasukuwere. He has been on his feet Hon. Speaker. I see that it is important for others to also contribute. If there is no attempt to then give an official statement from the opposition, you are at liberty to chose whoever is there. Hon. Speaker I kindly ask you. What makes our democracy interesting is for us to know that we have an official opposition in the Republic of Zimbabwe which is ably represented in this House. Thank you very much.
THE HON. SPEAKER: Order, order. Hon. Advocate Chamisa, you are perfectly correct. Unfortunately, in the absence of Hon. Khupe, I could not recognise the Leader of the Opposition - which is the normal practice. I was not advised that in her absence, the Acting Leader of the Opposition is – [Laughter.] – so in the absence of that advice, I felt not compelled to follow our adopted Westminster approach. In that regard, Hon. Khupe is here but I do not think she was privy to the Ministerial Statement. I am going to ask the Hon. Member I had recognized, and after that I will call upon the de-facto Leader of the Opposition, Hon. Cross to make a statement in response.
HON. PHIRI: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. My contribution is that with the situation as it is at Chitungwiza, have there been any external audits on all other councils? This is because what is happening right now is across, especially urban councils where the councils have turned the cities and towns into growth points. Has it happened across the country that external audits are done? Thank you Mr. Speaker.
HON. CROSS: Firstly, I would like to state at the outset that I welcome the Minister’s action today. You will recall that during the previous Parliament, the MDC dismissed the entire council of Chitungwiza for corruption and we only retained one member of our party as a councilor in Chitungwiza on those grounds. Mr. Speaker, the circumstances prevailing in our cities is appalling and no city illustrates this better than Chitungwiza. In fact, in my view the situation in
Chitungwiza is a crisis, similar to the crisis that prevails in Harare –
[HON. ZIYAMBI: Inaudible interjections.] –
THE HON. SPEAKER: Order please. Hon. Ziyambi, you are not in a gym. Please can you listen to what the Hon. Member is saying.
HON. CROSS: Mr. Speaker Sir, the problems of the councils are very deep. They relate not just current condition, they go back to many years. The fact that Chitungwiza does not receive more than 30% of its requirements for water is a fact. It is not the responsibility of Chitungwiza Town Council. It is the problem of Harare City Council that has the obligation of supplying the City of Chitungwiza with water. If Chitungwiza had a separate water system, it could provide for its own water requirements.
In addition Mr. Speaker, Chitungwiza was designed perhaps for 200 000 people. I do not know what the population of Chitungwiza is today and I do not think the Minister does, but I will tell you that it is in excess of the population of Bulawayo. In fact, Chitungwiza is the second largest city in Zimbabwe. The problem with the City Council is that they struggle with totally inadequate resources. I think the income on a monthly basis in Chitungwiza is substantially less than a million dollars. There is no way on earth you can run a city the size of Chitungwiza with those kind of resources. On top of that, you have the chaotic situation with regards to land allocations which prevails, not just in Chitungwiza but throughout the metropolitan area of Harare. I want to tell you that there are more than five hundred thousand homes today in Harare on land which was allocated to them illegally by land barons on a political and patronage basis. The amounts of money which have been accrued by these individuals are staggering. If you take the City of Masvingo for example, there is a ranch to the south of Masvingo,
Victorial Ranch which I used to administer as General Manager of the
CSC. This ranch has been taken over by the State under the Land Reform Programme. It has been allocated to land barons linked to a political party. They have divided this estate into 13 thousand stands which they are selling at $4 000 per stand. That is $56 million and it is in excess of the total budget of Masvingo town.
In fact, in Masvingo town, you only have 11 000 housing stands. This new city to the south of Masvingo, without water, sanitation, title deeds, without any official town plan, any recreational facilities, without schools or clinics, will be bigger than Masvingo. It is totally unacceptable from a town planning point of view. I think that the
Minister has to acknowledge today that the problems in Chitungwiza are just the tip of the iceberg that you can see. In fact, this situation is pervasive throughout Zimbabwe.
I do not think that firing the City Council is the solution. We had a situation in Gweru where the Minister suspended the Gweru City Council and put in a Commission. The Commission awarded themselves contracts – I have the facts related to that. The Commission earned substantially more in allowances than the entire council would have earned during their duration. There was absolutely no improvement in the conditions prevailing in Gweru during their tenure. At the end of this untidy process, we end up reinstating the Gweru City Council and ask them to pick up the pieces and proceed. Even the cases against the Mayor of Gweru and one of the councillors who were finally dismissed from their positions by the Minister, in my view were in fact, pretty flimsy and would not have stood up in a court of law.
The Act which the Minister has acted under is in terms of implementation of the constitutional provisions with regards to dismissal of councillors. It makes it very clear that the conditions under which a councillor can be suspended and dismissed are the same as those which apply to Members of Parliament. You cannot dismiss a councillor or suspend them on the basis of an allegation. You recall Mr. Speaker, when Hon. Kereke was accused of a crime, he sat in this House for many months, participating as a full member of the House despite the fact that he was in court and being charged. It was only after his conviction of a criminal act that he was dismissed from the House.
I do not believe that the procedure that the Minister is following is the right procedure in terms of the national interest. If he is satisfied that there are allegations against councillors then I personally support him with respect to allegations against 13 of the individuals concerned and not the others, including every single one of the ZANU PF councillors who have been involved in land deals. I will support him if he asked the police to investigate those individuals, prosecute them, convict them in a court of law and then proceed against them. To proceed against them in this particular manner, not only denies our democratic rights but it also disrupts the orderly management of the councils concerned. I do not believe that in any way a commission of three people, handpicked by the Minister can in any way improve the administration of the city.
It is vital Mr. Speaker, that we recognise the elected representatives of our people and give them a chance to perform their duties. If they do not do a good job, elections are coming in 2018 and people can decide who should run the City of Chitungwiza. From a national point of view, the problems the Minister has identified are spot on. The way to address them is not to suspend the council, but to tackle the problems with which they are confronted. I thank you Mr. Speaker.
*HON. ENG. MUDZURI: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir, for affording me the opportunity to respond to the Ministerial Statement by Hon. Kasukuwere. In your Statement Hon. Kasukuwere, you said you saw a lot of corruption, huwori...
THE HON. SPEAKER: Corruption is huwori, I am sure you know that.
*HON. ENG. MUDZURI: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir, but there
is colloquial language...
THE HON. SPEAKER: No! No! No!.
*HON. ENG. MUDZURI: People understand that word in
THE HON. SPEAKER: Order. Are you dismissing my order.
Please proceed in Shona.
*HON. ENG. MUDZURI: May I be given the Speaker’s indulgence in using certain English words as I debate in Shona. Mr.
Speaker Sir, I am saying the history that has been given by the Hon. Minister that he dissolved the entire Chitungwiza Council because of corruption, I am asking him that he explains to this august House what has been happening since 2000 and why all councils have been dissolved and commissions put in place.
I said whenever the councils have been suspended, have the commissions that have been put in place been able to rectify anything –
[HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –
THE HON. SPEAKER: Hon. Members, if you have something
to say, you will have your chance to say it. Let us give the Member a chance to debate.
*HON. ENG. MUDZURI: We are now talking about Gweru, I became the Mayor for Harare and was suspended. We were falsely incriminated and we vacated office. All these mayors were removed by the Minister of Local Government. I am saying people need to be represented by these councillors who would have voted them into office and after your removing them from the council, there will be another election and the people will re-elect the same people. It will then appear that there are certain things that you are doing wrongly when you put those commissions in place.
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon. Member, may you
please address the Chair.
*HON. ENG. MUDZURI: Minister, may you please explain to us what good have these commissions done. Secondly, he mentioned that there are some stands or farms that are being allocated to people and there are a lot of things that have been brought before the Portfolio Committee on Local Government which has tabled reports that the land is not being parceled out by council officials only, but there are land barons that are involved. There are other councillors that will be implicated and it is not all of the 25 that have been implicated. Some of the stands that they have allocated in places such as in Harare South and areas as Chitungwiza, there are certain stands that he is allocating as Minister without plans and on these pieces of land, people erect their houses then they are demolished and there will be a tug-of-war.
Thirdly, there are provincial committees. When are they going to come into effect? He has not even brought the legislation that says the provincial councils will be assisted by Members of Parliament. It is four years down the line when the Constitution was passed and up to now, he has not brought in the legislation to that effect. When is this law going to come into place? There are certain constitutional councils that should have been helped to ensure that the councils perform well. When is he going to bring into place such legislation?
As Government, they have also failed to lose money to run provincial councils and they ask that councils have 30% to pay the workers. After the last election, all the bills were written off and the Government did not pay for those outstanding debts. So, there was a lacuna in payments and resources for city councils – how can these city councils be able to redress this issue? I thank you.
HON. MANDIPAKA: Thank you Hon. Chair. I seek
clarification from the Hon. Minister but before I do that, let me congratulate him for a job well done. Hon. Speaker, It is my view that the MDC run councils have failed the nation of this country. I wanted to find out from the Hon. Minister how fast he is going to move to assess what is taking place in other urban councils similar to what has happened in Chitungwiza which the Hon. Minister must deal with competently like he has done in this matter. Thank you.
*HON. MARIDADI: Thank you Madam Speaker. Hon.
Minister, I thank you for the statement that you have given over the suspensions of the councils. You have several allegations yourself – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] -
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order, order please Hon.
Maridadi, I think you are not going to talk about party issues.
*HON. MARIDADI: I have not yet even spoken. No, these are national issues. Chitungwiza Town Council has been suspended on allegations as there are people that go to court, like Hon. Kereke and he was convicted. There are certain allegations that you took land in Pomona and you said $5 million should be paid to Hon. Chiyangwa so that you would sort out his issue on land but you were not suspended as a Minister. You remained as Minister because the President knows the law that you cannot be chased away because of allegations but you are suspending people for selling a few stands whilst you are alleged to have stolen the whole of Pomona. And, you said that Mr. Chiyangwa should give you $5 million which is a lot of money. If we were to engage $5 million into Chitungwiza, you will reinstate the councillors back to
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Please address the Chair.
*HON. MARIDADI: May they please keep quiet because I am debating – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.]-
HON. KASUKUWERE: Madam Speaker, I am sure that we
must debate issues but let us be fair with each other. Just to make allegations Hon. Member is unfair and I think I have given a statement. If there are issues to do with me, you can raise that on a separate occasion. I am talking about Chitungwiza today - [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] - Madam Speaker, I seek the protection of the House. I think the Hon. Member is just being unnecessarily personal.
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon. Maridadi, I think that
the Minister has a point. We are debating on the corruption of
Chitungwiza Town Council and not personal allegations. Hon.
Members, I think that need to be fair here. Hon. Maridadi, let us be fair.
*HON. MARIDADI: I hear you Hon. Speaker – [HON.
WADYAJENA: Ari kunditukira Minister wangu.]-
HON. MARIDADI: He must stop being excited like an uncircumcised youth - [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.]-
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order, order Hon. Members,
before you bring up your point of orders, I think I am chairing. I was not going to leave Hon. Maridadi doing that. I think you have to give me the chance. Hon. Maridadi, I think you have to withdraw that statement and proceed with your debate.
HON. MARIDADI: I withdraw that Hon. Wadyajena is not circumcised.
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: No, Hon. Maridadi, if you
want to proceed with the debate, I think you have to be honourable enough. Hon. Maridadi, withdraw that statement.
HON. MARIDADI: I withdraw.
HON. WADYAJENA: What are you withdrawing?
HON. MARIDADI: That you are not circumcised.
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: You want him to repeat the
statement, that is the issue of circumcision.
HON. WADYAJENA: Does he know that I am not circumcised?
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: We are not debating that
HON. WADYAJENA: He said it.
HON. MARIDADI: His behaviour shows that he is not circumcised.
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order, order Hon. Members.
Hon. Wadyajena take your seat.
*HON. WADYAJENA: How do you know about this?
*HON. MARIDADI: I was told.
*HON. WADYAJENA: Also, Madam Speaker he is insulting the culture of Nembudziya.
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon. Wadyajena, take your
seat. Hon. Maridadi, proceed with your debate.
*HON. MARIDADI: Madam Speaker, I was just giving an example. Hon. Cross gave an example of Masvingo and cited Hon.
Kereke, that is what I did to the Minister that there are allegations that you demanded US$5 million and you stole the whole of Pomona.
*THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Please do not talk about the
Minister’s personal issues. Let us debate the issue of city councils. *HON. MARIDADI: Hon. Speaker, if you ask me not to talk
about the Hon. Minister it is the same as asking me to sing ‘Ishe komborera Africa’ without mentioning the word ‘Ishe’. The Local Government starts with the Minister. Chitungwiza has been suspended by the Minister and I am only saying people should not be suspended on mere allegations. Our Constitution is very clear that once it is alleged that someone has committed an offence, a report is made to the police, the person is arrested and investigations are carried out. Once the person is convicted, then he or she is removed from office but here Minister,
you have put the cart before the horse. You have made yourself the judge, the jury and the executioner. That is not procedural because allegations Hon. Speaker, most of us face allegations. I went to court on allegations, I was tried and I was proved innocent. You did not chase me out of Parliament; I was coming to Parliament and made contributions during debates.
All I am saying is Hon. Minister, as Parliament we come up with the laws and enact such laws. It would appear that you are on the wrong side of the law. I gave him a personal example that he is under allegations of theft but he still holds his position as Minister.
*HON. WADYAJENA: I did not stand to talk about what Hon.
Maridadi said that the Minister faces US$5 million allegations concerning Chiyangwa, but it is because this man is insulting the people of Nembudziya by saying I am not circumcised. How did he become aware of that?
*THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order, order! Hon.
Wadyajena do not compel me to send you out of the House. We are not talking about your issues of circumcision. We are not here to play. We want to do serious business. Why are you taking us back to things that we pass through? You must behave like an honourable Member.
*HON. MARIDADI: In conclusion, I would like to say that the Minister should look into that issue seriously. I do not condone corruption and those that are convicted of corruption should be dismissed. I support you in that regard but my plea is that due process should be taken, be they councilors or Members of Parliament who belong to ZANU PF or MDC, they should have proven allegations. As the MDC, you are aware that Hon. Cross once said that, in the last Parliament we suspended Chitungwiza councilors on corruption allegations but due process was followed. Even when you are found guilty of wanting to topple the President, after you are proven guilty you will be dismissed. I thank you.
*HON. MUTSEYAMI: Thank you Madam Speaker. Firstly, we
do not accept that our country should be plundered because of corruption. The statement brought by the Hon. Minister is acceptable.
The clarity that I seek from Minister Kasukuwere is that all of us are listening to the Hon. Minister because he was appointed by the His Excellency, the President, regardless of the fact that there have been banners that were lifted by people inscribed ‘you are a thug’
My question is if you look at councils, they owe workers salary arrears ranging from 6 to 14 months across the country. Looking at the revenue raised by the councils, it is inadequate for them to pay backlog in salaries. Council employees are suffering; some have not received their salaries for the past eight months to two years. In the case of
Chitungwiza some of the workers have not been paid for 14 months.
The manner in which councils are being operated; Chitungwiza Town Council cannot raise this amount, therefore Government should come up with a loan at low interest rate of about 5% as is required by our Constitution so that these councils can pay off their debts and start up on a clean sheet.
We can be continuously chasing away employees for such issues but it will not help us out. I would like the Hon. Minister to come up with a holistic approach and come up with a solution. We are listening and we are probing because we are paying you respect despite the fact that in your own political party you are referred to as a thug but we are not doing that. What good are they? – [HON. WADYAJENA: Inaudible interjections.] – Madam Speaker, I was clarifying that even if his party disregards and disrespects him, as the opposition we are respecting him and we are hurt that they refer to him as a thug when he is a Minister.
*THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: That is irrelevant to the issue of the suspension of the Chitungwiza Town Council.
*HON. MUPFUMI: Thank you Madam Speaker. I would want to
thank the Minister of Local Government for a job well done as regards Chitungwiza. If it were possible for things to move well, he should appoint people to investigate Chitungwiza Town Council. If they are found not guilty they should be allowed to go back to work – [HON.
MEMBERS: Inga ndozvaataura wani.] –
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order, Hon. Members. Hon.
Members, I think you are taking my job because you are not the ones to chair the debates. It is my duty.
*HON. MUPFUMI: If these matters are quickly concluded as
these are allegations, they should return to their positions. The law of this country empowers you to suspend councillors who are not performing their duties properly. Once, you have suspended them, you have the right to have this council reinstated. People are suffering in urban areas. They have no water because we are politicking on issues. There is no refuse removal and councillors cannot be paid. In Mutare where I come from, council workers have not been paid for two years. You are in charge of local Government and you should ensure that councils receive the money that they are supposed to receive every year. There are times when we waiver the debts that need to be paid by ratepayers to councils. Government should pay the councils so that they remain viable.
Members of the opposition should not be indulging in opposition politics in councils. When you went for elections, you said you were going to raise money to run these councils but we are seeing that service delivery has gone down. There is no money to run these councils. Let us do things that are beneficial to us so that when we come here we make contributions that help this country –
*HON. MAONDERA: On a point of order Madam Speaker. I once requested that as Members of Parliament, we should be taught on how we conduct ourselves here. Hon. Mupfumi is behaving as if he is addressing a rally in Dangamvura. We seek clarification but he is addressing the House giving advice and now we do not know if he is seeking clarification or what.
*THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: This is why I have said Hon.
Members, let us remember that we seek clarity on gray areas of the Minister’s presentation on Chitungwiza Town Council as to why he came up with such a decision not to address rallies or make the utterances that we are making.
*HON. MUPFUMI: Chitungwiza Town Council –
An Hon. Member having passed between the Chair and the Hon.
*THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Next time Hon. Member, we
do not pass between the Chair and the Hon. Member on the floor – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – - [Laughter.] – Order, Hon. Hungwa.
*HON. MUPFUMI: I was asking that once you are done with
Chitungwiza Town Council, you should come to Mutare Town Council. In Mutare, they dismissed the heads of departments after council stands were disposed in a corrupt manner. We have requested that you come to Mutare but you have not come. We urge you to come to Mutare and expeditiously deal with the Mutare Town Council.
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: We are Hon. Members in this house and we have got to behave honourably.
HON. ZIYAMBI: I rise to debate on the statement that has been given by the – [HON. MEMBERS: Debate?] – to seek clarification but before I seek clarification I just want to applaud the Minister for upholding the law and constitutionalism in Zimbabwe. Last year, we sat in this House to amend the Urban Councils’ Act to come up with procedures for the suspension of chairpersons and councillors. The
Urban Councils’ Act was passed and unfortunately, some Members walked out and they forgot to read the Act when it was enacted. What then transpired was that the Minister was empowered by the Act. The new Section – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order, Hon. Member. Hon.
Mutseyami, other Hon. Members were listening when you were debating – [HON. MUTSEYAMI: Inaudible interjections.] – No, I think you need to respect each other.
HON. ZIYAMBI: The reason why I was applauding the Minister is that if you go to the new Section 157, it speaks about the procedures of suspending or removing councillors from office. It states that ‘in accordance with Section 278 of the Constitution’. That is the reason why I referred to the Constitution to say that the Minister upheld constitutionalism by following the due process – [HON. MEMBERS:
Inaudible interjections.] –
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order, order! – [AN HON.
MEMBERS: He is talking on behalf of the Minister. He is not the Minister.] – Order! I think the Hon. Member is correct on what he is saying. He is reminding other Hon. Members what we agreed upon here in the House. Where is he wrong? – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – Order.
HON. ZIYAMBI: If you go to the Urban Councils’ Act, it is very clear that ‘if the Minister has reasonable grounds for suspecting’. In other words it is not saying that somebody has to be convicted. It is saying that if he ‘suspects’ that the councillor or chairperson is unable to
conduct his job or there is gross misconduct –
HON. P. D. SIBANDA: My point of order Madam Speaker is, with all due respect, we totally agree that the Hon. Member is citing the correct sections of the law but in doing that he is responding to other issues that have actually been raised by other Hon. Members when they were seeking clarification. I think he is taking away the responsibility of the Minister. Hon. Speaker, if you listen to what he is saying, he is literally responding to clarifications that were sought by Hon. Maridadi and other Hon. Members. Therefore, what will the Hon. Minister do? I think this the responsibility…
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order Hon. Members, I want
to hear what he is saying.
HON. P. D. SIBANDA: The responsibility to respond lies with the Minister. As for us Hon. Members, I think our responsibility is to seek clarification. He is not seeking clarification. With all due respect, he is simply answering to other Hon. Members …
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: I hear you Hon. Member, but
he even asked that, before he sought clarification he had something to say. So, I am giving him time to do that.
HON. ZIYAMBI: Thank you Madam Speaker for protecting me. Before I go to what I want to seek clarification on from the Minister, I just felt that we need to applaud the Minister for following due process. He followed the due process according to the laws of Zimbabwe which empowers him to act if he has reasonable suspicion that something has happened which warrants a suspension.
Madam Speaker, the Minister did a good job of acting on time. We have problems of maladministration, land barons and the Minister has suspended the councillors to afford them an opportunity to appear before a tribunal that he is going to set up to answer to those allegations. It is a very good and progressive way of doing things which we should applaud.
I would like clarification from the Minister on what he is going to do with regards to land barons that have been milking the nation and most of our councils of a lot of funds that could be channeled towards developmental projects.
*HON. MUFUNGA: I would like to thank the Hon. Minister of Local Government, Hon. Kasukuwere for the work that he did in Chitungwiza. I am happy that he was not partisan when he dealt with the issue. He suspended councillors from both parties. I would want to know if the Chief Executive officer is not also implicated in these allegations as well.
HON. P.D. SIBANDA: I have a few clarifications that I would want to seek from you….
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: May you please address the
Chair? You have got to face the Chair.
HON. P.D. SIBANDA: Thank you Hon. Speaker. I would also want to appreciate that if indeed there are reasonable grounds for the Minister to take this action, we applaud this.
However, there are issues pertaining to the timing of the Minister’s action. How long had the Minister known that there was this kind of rot that was taking place in the Chitungwiza Municipality? I am asking this because there are certain suspicions and perceptions that probably the Hon. Minister took that action against Chitungwiza Municipality in order to take away attention from his political problems –[HON.
MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – I am being honest. Hon. Speaker, it might not please others but what I am saying is, these are perceptions which are obtaining in the country that maybe the Hon. Minister suspended the Chitungwiza Municipality in order to take away attention from his troubles. I want him to address the issue of timing.
Secondly, the Hon. Minister indicated that councillors have been afforded an opportunity to defend themselves in writing and then only after he sees what they would have written in response to the allegations, he will then determine whether to take them to a disciplinary hearing or not. The clarification which follows from that is, will you determine the guilt or otherwise of councillors merely on the basis of their written response because it appears from his submissions, he is saying that after he gets their responses, he will determine that this one will go for disciplinary hearing and this one’s suspension can be lifted.
Looking at the fact that he will determine on his own, as an individual – he is not a tribunal; if he is going to determine the reasonable suspicion of those allegations on his own as an individual, is there no danger that that process will be mired in political discrimination where those that are politically correct will be absolved at first instance by the Hon. Minister? Those that are not politically correct will be taken to the tribunal. Is there no danger of that kind of thing happening?
Thirdly, Hon. Speaker, it partly touches on what my colleague
Hon. Mufunga …
HON. MUPFUMI: On a point of order Madam Speaker, the Hon. Member is just waffling. He is wasting time. Thank you.
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon. Member, you are out of order –[HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] - I do not need any comments from you.
HON. ZIYAMBI: On a point of order Hon. Speaker, the Hon. Member objecting to what I am reminding him about the provisions of the Act - the provisions of the Act specifically specify what the Minister has said and now he is seeking a point of clarification on things that are already there in the Act. We will spend the whole day indirectly reading the Act….
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order, Hon. Member. I gave
you a chance to refer to those Acts and all the sections. Would you please leave it to the Minister to reply? I think it will be fair because that defence…
HON. ZIYAMBI: May I finish Hon. Speaker –[HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – Can you afford me time to say one or two things before I sit down?
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Is that a point of order?
HON. ZIYAMBI: Yes.
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: You can go ahead.
HON. ZIYAMBI: What is happening now is that Hon. Members are asking the Hon. Minister the provisions of the Act and not the action that he has taken. We cannot have a situation where people are asking what is in the public domain. They should ask specific issues relating to the action that he has taken and not to procedural issues, otherwise we will spend the whole day listening to questions that are already in the Act. That is my point of order to say, can we refer to things that will allow us to expedite our business and go.
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Thank you. What we do not
want is to go back because what you were referring to is also the procedures. Hon. Member, would you please proceed?
HON. P. D. SIBANDA: Hon. Speaker, I want to appreciate Hon.
Ziyambi and especially my brother Hon. Mufunga from Mutare….
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon. Member, I responded to
that, would you please proceed.
HON. P. D. SIBANDA: Thank you Hon. Speaker. The other clarification that I am seeking from the Hon. Minister is from the fact that he indicated in his submission that the councillors and officers were abusing land. He told us of the action that he has taken against the councillors. He did not go on to inform the House of whatever action he intends to take against the officers that are facing the same allegations with the councillors. Then Hon. Speaker, the Hon Minister has also gone on to inform us that he has appointed a caretaker council. We know from previous incidences where the Hon Minister has appointed caretaker councils that they have been accused of gobbling more financial resources than councils themselves. I would want the Hon. Minister to inform the House about the action he has taken to ensure that in the case of Chitungwiza Town Council, the caretakers that he has appointed will not gobble more resources than the council that he has suspended.
Finally, the Hon. Minister, in previous incidences has been accused of appointing his ‘blue-eyed boys’ as caretaker councillors in councils. Can he inform the House what guided him in the current situation to appoint the people who he appointed caretaker councillors?
HON. SARUWAKA: My point of clarification to the Minister relates to the manner in which he has suspended the councillors in
Chitungwiza. Just last year, I think the Minister was trigger happy in Gweru when he suspended eleven councillors and only two of the eleven were found guilty. I think that shows that when you do things hurriedly, you are bound to make a lot of mistakes. I just wanted to understand whether he is going to be prepared to face litigation from the councillors that would have been found not guilty because by suspending them, he is labeling the elected officials and man of honour within their constituencies and their wards of abuse. Is he going to be ready to meet the litigation from these councillors?
Secondly, I understand from the caretaker committee he has appointed that he took someone who I think is approaching 93 years, a retired Mr. Madzudzo Pawadyira. As a former Minister responsible for the youths of this country, when is he going to give opportunities to younger people of this country? We are worried when a Minister goes further to appoint old people into positions when we have got capable young people of this country.
Thirdly, it is clear that the caretaker committee that was appointed by the Minister was handpicked. In the past we have seen him appointing on a partisan line. So, I would want to understand from the Minister that when he appoints a partisan committee, does he not realise that he is undermining democracy in a country because these people were elected by the residents of Chitungwiza. When he then handpicks individuals to cover their space, I think he is directly undermining democracy. Could he please inform this House whether he took note of that?
Lastly, I would want to make a plea to the Minister that indeed if the councillors of Chitungwiza are proven guilty by the courts, would he then probably take his notes to the Head of State so that he does the same with his Cabinet because that is a very good move which we have not seen our Head of State doing? I thank you.
HON. ZINDI: I want to prefix my clarification that I am seeking from the Minister by thanking him for having taken the action that he did. I am doing so particularly after about three or four weeks ago when I tabled a report on service delivery by both urban and rural local authorities. I want to believe the Minister has gone through that report since we have tabled that report as a Committee in this House. Perhaps some of the actions that the Minister has taken must have been influenced by that report. I am saying so because in our report on service delivery, as we went round the country, we noticed that for example Chitungwiza in particular, management and councillors were working in cohorts to some extent in terms of corruption involving land. Even the land barons, to some extent had the support of the councillors as well because there is no way a decision would be taken to issue or to give away land to home seekers, land that is actually in wetlands. Also, the management making resolutions to give land to home seekers that are within wetlands, stream banks and right on top of some of the streams in Chitungwiza. We visited and witnessed that and it is detailed in our report that we tabled in this House. Therefore, I think the action that has been taken is good action by the Minister in terms of having to go to the bottom of the corrupt activities taking place in all our councils.
Another issue that I would want clarified is with regards to the matter of salaries and benefits backlog within the councils where Chitungwiza is one of them. I would want clarification in terms of the five percent allocation that is supposed to go to the metropolitan councils. What action is he taking along those lines because I think it is important in terms of having to facilitate smooth administration by councils? Not only that, in 2013 we saw ourselves having debts owed by residents being cancelled but we did not see similar action being taken to also cancel the debt owed by the same councils which had to meet various other debts incurred in the process of service delivery to the citizens.
One important area which is also in our report is that of
Government agencies who also owe a lot of money to these councils. Yes, in our report we did mention the issue of having to offset debts but it is not being effective because of certain issues, particularly on salaries where councils need the actual cash in order for them to pay their workers. So, I am of the opinion that the Minister should also clarify what should be the way forward in as far as that issue is concerned.
Another issue of concern is to do also with the qualifications of our councilors as well. I think it is an area that our Minister has got to look at. Yes, I know that it is an issue that is in our Constitution, but silent. I am not sure about the Electoral Act, whether it clearly states at least the minimum qualifications for councillors to understand the kind of duties and responsibilities before them. It is an area I would also want clarification from the Minister.
In conclusion Mr. Speaker, in addition to the dissolution as an action that has been taken by the Minister, I would also want to urge the Minister to take cognisance of our recommendations that we made in our report on service delivery. That would also assist him when he gets to the conclusion of the matter or perhaps in the process of coming up with a conclusion to this matter. I thank you.
HON. MAONDERA: Thank you Mr. Speaker. For the sake of
transparency and also to allay our fears that this Commission and the subsequent commissions will be awarded heft allowances, can this
House be favoured with the exact amounts which are going to be paid to these commissions and what criteria was used by the Minister to arrive at those figures.
Secondly, I also want the Minister to make it clear on whether he is not setting councillors against town clerks or senior management of councils, as happened in Harare where the Mayor of Harare wanted to suspend the Town Clerk and conversely he is the one who was suspended. Is he not setting councillors against town clerks thereby compromising service delivery in local authorities? Thank you.
*HON. GANGARAHWE: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. I seek clarity from the Minister of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing. Firstly, I would want to thank you for a job well done for suspending the councillors in question because service delivery was not at 70% of the revenue. I also need clarity on how you come up with the 70% – 30% ratio for salaries and service delivery.
I once met the board for the Chitungwiza councillors when they were enjoying at Margolis and they did agree that what they had done was not right. They agreed to increase the salaries of the workers and theirs at 132%. Later, they observed that their salary bill was for $19 million per year, meaning they have $1.6 million per month against a revenue of $700 000 to $900 000 per month. What steps are you going to take to redress this anomaly, because I foresee that there are serious challenges as regards Chitungwiza. I can make reference to the newspaper in Chitungwiza called Chit Owner. It was published and I believe Members of Parliament from Chitungwiza are aware of this.
I would also want to thank you. How then is the 70% – 30% service delivery viz-a-viz salaries going to be achieved when they are collecting less than what they are supposed to pay out at the end of the month. In terms of corruption, we have observed that corruption is rampant. When are you going to come to the City of Harare because they are clamouring that the rates that are being paid go back to them but they are not able to produce the amounts raised from the audits of parking fees? They are sending residents associations to block the audits. I would want to find out how you are going to work on that one.
I saw some Hon. Members and the Mayor of Harare, Councillor Bernard Manyenyeni requesting that they buy a Mt Pleasant stand for a song. I bought a 2000 square metre stand in Mt Pleasant for $50 000 but I was surprised that a stand that is more than 5000 square metres should be bought for a song, which is part of corruption.
I am grateful for the Bill that was passed which was accepted by the people that empowered you. It is a good Bill that curtails corruption. I believe that you are not moving with the pace that is required; your speed is slow in regard to the corrupt councils that we have. Those that are corrupt should be removed from the councils. Why did you start with Chitungwiza? Harare has more corrupt tendencies and you should deal with them.
My father was once a superintendent in the City of Harare when it was under Local Government Housing. We never used to have burst pipes and potholes. If possible, we should go back to the Local Government Housing which was doing a good job. Without saying much Hon. Minister, you should move with speed and deal with all our urban authorities to rid them of corruption. The Bill that we conducted public hearings on, which we voted for here empowers and urge you to go at a faster speed. There is a backlog of salaries. How are you going to address that anomaly when revenue viz-a-viz expenditure is not sufficient? As a result, there will be nothing left for service delivery.
From the Government point of view, people are insulting the President, the Government and MPs as if we get something. People need to be educated that the potholes that are in Harare, the burst sewer pipes and the non-availability of water is the responsibility of the City of Harare. I am the one who constructed Margolis Resort. They are always there. They come there per week and pay more than $200 per head as councillors. The work that they do is to increase their allowances and salaries only. I thank you Hon. Mininster.
ANNOUNCEMENT BY THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER
WORKSHOP ON THE ROLE AND FUNCTIONS OF
PARLIAMENTARY BUDGET OFFICE
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER (HON. MARUMAHOKO): I
have an announcement for a workshop for Committee Chairpersons and Parliament staff on the role and functions of Parliamentary Budget Office, that is, PBO on 8th May, 2017 at Holiday Inn. Parliament has organised an orientation workshop for Committee Chairpersons,
Members of Finance and Economic Development, as well as, Public
Accounts Committees and other members of staff to be held on Monday, 8th May, 2017 at Holiday Inn, Harare from 0930 hours to 1300 hours.
The half day event is aimed at assisting Committee Chairpersons, MPs and Parliament staff to understand the role and functions of PBO by looking at comparative experiences and clarifying the role of PBO staff, vis-a-vis that of Committee Clerks and Researchers. Participants are expected to identify specific areas of interest that the PBO can include in their work plans. The workshop will also touch base on quarterly reporting guidelines for ministries and other Government departments. All Committee Chairpersons, Members of Finance and Economic Development as well as Public Accounts Committees are expected to be seated by 0920 hours. The Speaker of the National Assembly, Hon. Advocate J. F. Mudenda will deliver his opening remarks at 0930 hours. I thank you.
HON. SITHOLE: Thank you Mr. Speaker. My first question to the Minister is what measures is he putting in place so that we have sufficient checks and balances on local authorities in terms of complying with the provisions of the Constitution regarding the issue of devolution. It is a well-known fact that in 2013, we agreed as a nation across all political parties that we should be having devolution. What measures is he putting in place?
Secondly, to improve on the operation, efficiency and effectiveness of local authorities, Section 301 is very clear that, at least five percent of revenue collected by Government must be allocated to local authorities.
What measures is the Minister putting in place?
Lastly, I would like to know from the Minister if there is no conflict of interest. It is common knowledge that the Town Clerk for
Chitungwiza, Mr. George Makunde is the Deputy Secretary for Administration within ZANU PF structures in Mashonaland Central. He was also responsible for bussing people a few weeks ago to the demonstration against the Minister. I would want to know the suspension, if it does not border on criminal abuse of office on behalf of the Minister against the citizens of Chitungwiza. I would want the Minister to clarify to the House if he is not solving his personal vendetta with the Town Clerk; Mr. Makunde who is the secretary for administration in Mashonaland Central and was against him on the demonstration that was running in Mashonaland Central two weeks ago.
*HON. MAHOKA: Thank you Mr. Speaker. Let me thank the Hon. Members in this august House for doing a splendid job because they came up with this legislation that the Minister is now using. This was a job well done for empowering the Minister. We may ask questions for clarity but as Parliament, we did very well. We should be beating our chest because we did very well. Let me thank our Minister that he read the situation well, analysed it well and observed it and took measures to curtail corruption. We are always talking about corruption in this august House and should be curtailed.
I would want the Hon. Minister to clarify on what will happen to the land that was illegally allocated to the councillors. When is it going to be reposed? If it had been sold to other innocent parties, what measures are you going to take to ensure that the land is restituted to Government? When these councillors are busy stealing, what role is the council officials playing? They are also complicit in these acts. Your investigations should also involve these workers and we want you to tell us what measures you are going to take against those workers. I would like to say that Minister, you are moving very slowly, we urge you to move with speed because Harare, the capital city has problems. We came up with a resolution after the water loan from China was misused. We saw your Councillors and Mayors like Manyenyeni driving new motor vehicles and nothing was being done. My question is, have you audited what that loan was used for? You are moving slowly, but you are doing a good job, hasten your speed.
The Bulawayo City Council is not performing well. They do not have water. You should expeditiously deal with such issues because we have empowered you as Parliament. We want to oversight you to see if you are moving at a fast pace or you are now moving slowly. Are you now condoning the theft by these councillors? I thank you.
*HON. ENG. MUDZURI: On a point of order Mr. Speaker Sir. I urge that we look at our privileges and commitments as Parliament, that when we discuss issues that have been brought by the Ministers – this is a national crisis, we should also introspect. We are doing work avoidance because it is the duty of Members of Parliament to ensure that they carryout oversight of the Executive using councils. We should be telling these Ministers that we are not doing our work to oversee the work of councils because all Members of Parliament are members of councils, in terms of the Constitution.
THE MINISTER OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT, PUBLIC
WORKS AND NATIONAL HOUSING (HON. KASUKUWERE):
Thank you Mr. Speaker. Let me thank the Hon. Members for their very solid responses to the Statement that I have made today. Mr. Speaker, I have no doubt that judging from the remarks and contributions that have been made by the majority of our Members, they want us to do what we are doing, that is to fight corruption in the local governance system. I have no doubt in my mind Mr. Speaker Sir that, yes, in the contributions, there could be a few of us who want to push this whole matter of corruption under the carpet, it will not work. It will not be correct, it is wrong.
I want to start by thanking Hon. Nduna for his very strong contributions and call to us to have a look at the Chegutu council. The same also goes for Hon. Phiri. Mr. Speaker, quite frankly, we have a challenge in our local authorities. The corruption has to a large extent become chronic, almost literally all of the councils. Today, this opportunity, I must say as the Minister, we will not run away from our duty to protect the citizens in our country. I want to appeal to my colleagues Members of Parliament, all of us from both sides of the
House; we have a duty to protect the interests of our people, irrespective of our political differences. I think we must unite when it comes to our people. When a family goes for three, four months without water, it should really concern Members on my right and those to my left. It is our duty together.
Hon. Cross, thank you very much for your solid support and understanding that the existing conditions are appalling. Chitungwiza is a case study for corruption. If anyone wants to study how a city can be made useless and redundant, go to Chitungwiza. I had an opportunity to walk around there yesterday, from my discussions with the members of the community, people are fed up and it is not about the politics. It is about their failure to administer the affairs of a given city. I am not pointing fingers at anyone. In the way we have handled ourselves, we have not suspended people from a given political party, we suspended the councillors. Each councillor must carry his or her own cross, not Eddie Cross. Hon. Cross goes on to say, Harare City again requires us to attend. Water that Chitungwiza uses is 30% which is close to about 30 mega litres of water that Chitungwiza must be getting – here is the challenge Mr. Speaker. Even that water which they are getting, Chitungwiza is not paying to Harare. The funds that they collect - how do you justify a situation where councillors sit, they undermine the circulars that we have written from $65 and $95, they go to $300 per diem? In other words, whatever is coming their way is meant to enrich individuals.
Mr. Speaker, I will be hesitant to go deeper into these matters because there is a process that is underway but I will still be able to favour our colleagues with some of the salient features of the level of corruption. Councillors identify a piece of land, they connive with officials in the City Planning Department, they approve and they then take those stands. They do not sell in the council premises but under a tree. A councillor walks out and says, here is the land, give me my $5 000 but wait here, I will bring you a receipt of $200, which is what they give to the council and take the balance which is $4 800. If anybody in his right senses were to defend that, then I think we have a problem.
Mr. Speaker, this means that the residents and our city mothers and so forth are going for hours and hours without service delivered. The collection of refuse has come to a standstill. So, I want to thank Hon. Cross for his appreciation and understanding of the depth of our challenges in these towns. Mr. Cross, I hope that you and I must work closely together to address this situation. It is not about ZANU PF and it is not about MDC but it is about people who have lost direction and who think that they must take advantage of our people. We do not have to politicise and defend a thief because a thief is a thief – whether the thief is ZANU PF, let us deal with him and if he is MDC, let us deal with them. Because, to try and say it is political, it is actually trying to evade or run away from our responsibilities. The beginning has to start somewhere and it has begun now.
I agree that Chitungwiza was built and meant to serve 200 000 people. When Forbes Magadu was appointed the Chairman, they worked on that town but today like he has correctly said, it is bigger than
Bulawayo and Gweru but yes, on the statics, 20 000 new households that have been built in Chitungwiza are not on the rate base. Nobody knows who owns those properties but they are getting service from this local authority. I will invite my dear brother and colleague Hon. Cross to come. Yesterday, I visited one of the areas and I saw that one metre apart, there is a gravesite and houses are starting there and next to that graveyard, there is a borehole and next, there is a vegetable piece –
[HON. ENG. MUDZURI: Inaudible interjections.]-
Mr. Speaker, when the Vice President spoke we were listening and he must also allow us to speak. I was just trying to emphasise in response to a good contribution that has been made by Hon. Eddie Cross. On top of it, the question of land barons, this is what we are tackling. The land barons have ballooned the number of homes in Chitungwiza beyond what our council can manage because these are now owned by individuals who have decided to make themselves planning and housing officers. We have to address it and this is what is being addressed in my terms of reference to the Commission that is looking at Chitungwiza. We will not leave any stone unturned in our pursuit to put right what has gone wrong.
On the question of land barons, I am happy that the nation is rallying around us. This is a serious cancer in our society. You were dead right in your statistics that somebody sells 13 000 stands at $45 000 each and they put in their pocket $54 million not only in Chitungwiza but across many sectors and many cities in our country –[HON. ENG.
MUDZURI: Inaudible interjections]-
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Hon. Mudzuri, you were
given the floor to debate. Can you give the Minister the chance to answer to your questions?
HON. KASUKUWERE: It is $54 million. The amount of money
Mr. Speaker – I am just only using the statistics that Hon. Cross gave us when he gave an example that if you calculate say 13 000 stands and $4 000 or $5 000 each, what would they give you. This is about US$54 million and this is the amount of money that our local authorities are losing to individuals who claim to own land and sell it and it is indeed a serious cause for concern. If these land barons were to go unchecked, they can become a law unto themselves. They can become dangerous to the stability of our country and we have seen it and we will see more in the future. It does not just end with the land barons as we talk about them, but their network of criminals who are councillors and all the way to the officials.
You have towns, Kuwadzana for instance, as you are driving to Bulawayo to your left there is a new unplanned development that is coming up there just before the stream and there is no water. I am saying collectively as Zimbabweans, can we live with this kind of corruption? Under there, there is the sewer and so forth yet councillors have found a way of giving phone numbers to middlemen who sit in hotels selling that piece of land. I can favour you Hon. Eddie Cross with this information and I am sure you can do something about it. What is required is dignity, honesty and integrity.
On City of Harare, Victoria Range, we are addressing this matter because again, there has to be a process that allows us to create towns in the country. You cannot come up on your own and say I am going to do the following. I came to this Parliament last year Mr. Speaker and made a statement in terms of the three or four other new settlements that we are creating in this country – Umguza in Bulawayo, Chishawasha in Harare, part of Caledonia as well as part of Manyame and this is how things must be and not for an individual to create a town of his or her own without adequate supply of water, without roads and without power. They just pave the roads and collect people’s funds. I am not going to allow this to happen and as Government we are determined to nip these challenges right in the bud.
Mr. Speaker, Gweru City Council – yes, I hear you but to the contrary, we made tremendous progress with that commission. If the truth were to be said, I can tell you that even the salaries of the workers were almost up to date but as I am speaking now, we are almost two or three months behind notwithstanding perhaps also the calibre and I think that this is collective. At times, the calibre of the people that we have asked to become councillors leaves a lot to be desired. If I were to share some of the insults some of the so-called mayors will send across mobile phones, it is disheartening and unexpected of someone who is a city father to go into such kind of expletives to insult other people.
We will do everything in our power to ensure that we do not get those who are appointed to run these councils to milk those councils – which we should not accept. The legal position in terms of the law is very clear. The Minister is empowered to do what I am doing and I want to thank Hon. Ziyambi for having actually shown us what is contained in the Urban Councils Act and all the relevant sections. So, we are basically following the law. We will also invite the police who have an open invitation. The police do not have to wait for the Minister to say come because where there is detection of a crime, the police must just move in and do what they do best, and carry out the relevant arrests. Mr. Speaker, we will not accept corruption to mount and fester in our local authorities.
*Hon. Eng. Mudzuri, I would like to thank you. You have tried to suppress the truth Vice President, but the truth will always come out.
This is not a Kasukuwere issue, it is a national issue. Those councillors were stealing and those that are clean are going to be absolved. Let us come up with touchable results. The fact that you were once suspended was unfortunate; it was just your fate. I cannot respond to that. I would also like to thank Hon. Eng. Mudzuri for his good contribution that we must fight corruption. We should work together, hand in hand and get rid of corruption. The acquiring of stands should be transparent. We are going to eradicate shady deals as regards stands allocation.
In Harare - yes, we said there are allegations. We are going to cast our net wide. We are not going to have any sacred cows. Devolution which is in the Local Government Amendment Bill; when our Ministries were separated, we decided to come up with a single law and bring it to Parliament so that we are able to perform our duties. Yes, we need to move with speed but people should pay their rates. People should not wait expecting to have their debts written off. It is not going to happen.
They must pay for the services.
The other issue is that councils are awarding their workers hefty salaries, more than the revenue that they are collecting. We need to be courageous in setting this matter correct. You would find that a starting salary for one of the council employee is $4 000 a month. This is what is prevailing in our councils. We need to put our heads together to come up with permanent solutions.
I would also like to thank Hon. Mandipaka who acknowledged that our councils, especially urban councils have failed in action and that we must move decisively to deal with that scourge. Hon. Maridadi is no longer here, I wish he was here. Unfortunately, he does not take the work of Parliament very seriously. Yes, he used to enjoy being a radio
DJ talking to kids, it is different now. We are talking about Parliament. We are no longer on the Kids-Net where he used to talk to children and laugh with them. This is Parliament.
Mr. Speaker, the allegation on Pomona- Pomona is a piece of land that was taken by a developer and we have repossessed that land as the
Ministry. We are saving that land for the purposes of our country. Hon.
Maridadi is now here. I want to thank you very much for your contribution. I just made it a point that, we are discussing serious Parliamentary and national issues. It is about our people - service delivery. I know your background my dear brother; you used to play with kids on radio station. I am sure you think you are still playing with kids. It is a different circumstance now. Can we be a bit more mature and serious about national issues?
HON. MARIDADI: On a point of order. Mr. Speaker, my
background has nothing to do with this. I was serious when I was discussing the issue of Chitungwiza. The example that I gave about Hon. Kasukuwere is a serious example. When I spoke about Hon. Kasukuwere having solicited a $5 million bribe, I am not the one who brought that on fore and it is a serious issue. I did not talk about it his background as a driver. He used to be a driver at CIO, driving kids to school. He is now a Minister, nobody spoke about his past. There is a lot of background on Hon. Kasukuwere that we know, that we are not going to talk about. Hon. Mliswa told us a lot of things about Hon.
Kasukuwere. We did not bring it in. This is not personal – [HON.
MEMBERS: In audible interjections.] –
Mr. Speaker, Hon. Kasukuwere must deal with matters at hand and not talk about backgrounds. If he wants to talk about backgrounds, he must not cry foul because we know a lot about him also.
HON. KASUKUWERE: Thank you Mr. Speaker. In the CIO,
there are vehicles somebody must drive and it was during those times when we had some people playing with kids.
I want to thank Hon. Mutseyami for his contribution. The issue of outstanding salaries - indeed like what I said, I think we require to be a bit brave. If we have to stop the challenges that are facing our local authorities; both sides of the House, we have got to confront this challenge. The salary bill is unsustainable. It way above the collections. The 5% that must come, that can only be occasioned if we complete the legal process of coming up with the Local Government Bill.
*Hon. Mupfumi, I would like to thank you very much on your contributions as regards Mutare. There are issues which need to be addressed. You also talked about salaries for workers that have not been paid. These are the problems that we are facing nationwide as regards issues pertaining to councils. We are not going back. We are going to set these councils straight. Hon. Ziyambi, I want to thank you. Indeed you did a good job by commending what we are doing, that is upholding the Constitution. That Mr. Speaker is important; it is about the laws of our land, we must uphold it and that is our duty.
The issue of land barons- we talked about it and we will spare no effort. In fact, we will be coming back to Parliament to give a statement on the action Government will be taking on identifying those holding State land illegally. There is a huge amount of State land in the hands of individuals who must not be having that land and that land must come back to the State. By saying so, it creates additional challenges but we are in it to do what is in the best interest of our country.
Hon. Mufunga, thank you very much. You congratulated us for doing well. Eleven councillors are ZANU PF and the rest are MDC.
We suspended all of them and they are going to be cleared. We gave them seven days. Four of them have already stated their positions in regard to the law of this country. We are going to sit with our lawyers and see who is guilty and who is clean. Those that are guilty will be dealt with in terms of the law. They will appear before the tribunal.
He also talked about the issue of workers. The Town Clerk is not employed by the Town Council. The Minister works with councillors. It is the duty of councillors to look into the duties of the Town Clerk.
Hon. Ziyambi spoke about the reasonable grounds for the decision to be taken. In fact, he was supporting what we have done that there are grounds for us to do exactly what we have done and it is also in keeping with our Constitution. The time, he has said we should have dealt with this situation a lot earlier but like Hon. Zindi has said, she said it earlier on. The Committee produced a very important report and I want to call upon all Members of Parliament to get a copy of the report that was produced by our Committee, which basically also details what is happening in our urban authorities.
Beyond that, the internal audit which is the basis of our action was commissioned by the councillors themselves in Chitungwiza. So, we were basically acting on the information they had provided to us which exposed their own glaring challenges associated with corruption and so forth, to the extent that even the Mayor is appearing before the courts.
So, we will attend to these problems.
The determination; well, where there is a prima facie case; we will be able to say this is substantive and let us proceed with the law, but where there is no case, we should not punish innocent people.
The caretaker council which is now in place led by Mr. Pawadyira who is a long standing and a very competent one. He headed our Civil Protection Unit for a very long time. We will look at all the issues objectively and if there are officers who are implicated in the corruption, naturally, that is the power the commission has been given but it is not for the Minister to target or persecute any individual.
The question that I have appointed my blue-eyed boys: I am not sure how the eyes are blue but we have appointed Zimbabweans who are competent. Certainly, from the remarks that he made what we want to assure our Hon. Members of Parliament here is that we will not allow this to be a feeding trough by those who have been appointed as Commissioners.
Hon. Saruwaka spoke about the Gweru suspension that will perhaps face litigation and that there are men of honour in relation to
Chitungwiza. There is no honour when you sell stands under a tree. The Gweru issue has been dealt with and handled. Those who were asked to leave their positions have been told to do so. It shows we will always be just in our dealings. We will not punish innocent people. He also spoke about the age of Mr. Pawadyira. I am not sure how that comes into play but we have appointed Mr. Pawadyira because of his experience and we hope and trust that the level of probity that he has exhibited in the past will be put into good use. There is no clash in terms of democracy. Democracy is not a one way street which says you can loot, abuse and hide under the cover of democracy. We will pierce that veil of democracy and fish you out if there is anything that is going wrong.
Mr. Speaker, Hon. Zindi thanked us and like I said, I want to pay tribute to her leadership and the Committee that she heads, which has unearthed quite a lot of dirt that this Ministry is seized with, and that has actually given us a lot to run after and actually deal with some of these challenges. We are informed and also guided by the Hon. Zindi’s report.
Mr. Speaker, Hon. Zindi observed the construction in wetlands, stream banks, unfairness to the people and this is exactly what we are trying to get at. We cannot allow wetlands to be abused with people just building on wetlands. We are subjecting our children to danger going forward. She also raised the matter of salaries and the backlog. Yes, you proposed 5% allocation but this is not the only solution. The solution is austerity measures. Are we paying for a job that is being done? What can we do also to ensure that the number of people working in given councils is adequate for the tasks that they are expected to carry out? I think clearly, there is a case of overstaffing as well as over payment but we are going to tread very carefully and ensure that we win this battle by engaging and ensuring that sense prevails.
Mr. Speaker, the Auditor General’s reports were given to all of us. I think we all read them. I am sure all Members of Parliament are in agreement with me that what Mrs. Chiri produced was damning to most of our local authorities. In those reports, there is a plethora of cases of corruption that were unearthed by the Auditor General’s Office. For example, issues of salaries, rationalization and so forth. The question that she has also raised to do with the qualification of our councillors, I think this is a very important point. We will look at the law to see how this can become part of a cocktail of measures that we could propose to Parliament so that we avert the crisis that is facing our nation in terms of local governance.
The recommendations by the parliamentary Committee will be taken on board and we are glad that Parliament has done very well. They have exercised their minds on this matter and we are excited about what they have done.
Hon. Maondera also asked us to ensure that the amounts we pay, we are going to fix them in the best interest of our people. We will not allow - like I said earlier for those who have been appointed to turn it into a money making venture. We are not splitting councillors against the town clerks; we just want good work to be done. If the councillors become embedded with their workers, and end up losing direction, we have a duty to stop that.
Hon. Gangarahwe, we thank you because you have observed 132% increases. There was a time when there was connivance that the workers would say increase our salaries and also increase your allowance. When people get $300 in allowances per day, they will just require 10 days to receive $3 000 untaxed and put it in their wallets. It was a case of the left hand washing the right, connivance. We cannot use things that were used at a beer drink, but there is nothing that is beyond the glare of the public, no matter how hidden the venue might be.
There is an issue regarding the Sunshine City. We wanted the parking space in Harare to be audited. No one knows how much money is being paid. Hospitals and clinics are paying but it is not known where the money is going. There are some companies or boards that are in Ghana but the revenue that is raised is unaccounted for. If you touch on such issues, it will appear as if you are stirring the hornet’s nest, but this is the truth of the matter. The leaders that are in council even tell you that Minister this issue is difficult. We do not know whether it ends with the leaders of the council or the party. There are leakages in terms of finances.
What I kindly request of this august House is for us as Hon. Member to fight against corruption. Be assured, we will do our part and if anybody has enough allegations against this very Minister, please the police station is there, go and report. Devolution of local authorities, I have already responded to that. Efficiency of local authorities; this we will have to attend to and this is what we are trying to do.
In answering my dear colleague who spoke about George Makunde, this is not political. We dealt with an audit report that emanated from Chitungwiza Town Council. It was not done yesterday, let alone last month but it has been with us for the past three months. So, it is not personal and I have no vendetta against anybody, all we have simply down is I suspended the councillors not the Town Clerk or anybody else. We are dealing with facts that have been presented before us as a Ministry.
Hon. Mahoka, we thank you. You spoke about the restoration of the land - there will be serious problems as regards the issue of land. That is why you see other big men running scared. There are some bad people that were feeding and when we call them to account, they come up with excuses. It does not matter how clever the hare is, but when the tortoise has caught the hare’s leg, it will remain holding on it despite the fact that the hare says that the tortoise is holding on to a root.
Those that were benefiting, and have enriched themselves and they should restitute. There are Government workers that are not being properly paid whilst others are busy getting the majority of the proceeds and they say they have got money. Where did you get that money and can you account for it. We are not going to sweep anything under the carpet. You find that someone has sold the entire town and has issued out stands. He has graded some roads and there is no proper planning.
There is no sewerage and no water and you say you are a businessman.
We cannot accept that.
We are also going to look into the issue of the workers that has been raised by Hon. Mahoka and the water deals in Harare.
I would like to thank all Hon. Members and appeal to all of us from across the political divide, let us join hands and give our people a better deal. Let us join hands and fight corruption where it exists. We will respect the recommendations from our Parliamentary Committees. They have given us very good guidance. We will also carry out investigations and I am sure that in the next few weeks, we will also be looking at quite a number of councils where the investigations have been completed. Those who serve the people must serve with dignity and honour. Those who serve the people and think it is a time to loot must know that the hour has come. Thank you very much.
On the motion of HON. MATUKE, seconded by HON. MUKWANGWARIWA, the House adjourned at Twelve Minutes to
Five o’clock p.m. until Tuesday, 9th May, 2017.