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NATIONAL ASSEMBLY HANSARD 05 MAY 2021 VOL 47 NO 46
PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE
Wednesday, 5th May, 2021
The National Assembly met at a Quarter-past Two O’clock p.m.
(THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER in the Chair)
ORAL ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS WITHOUT NOTICE
(v)HON. MUSHORIWA: Madam Speaker Ma’am, can we know the ministers who are in the House.
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon. Mushoriwa, Ministers who are in the House are; Hon. Prof. Murwira, Minister of Higher and Tertiary Education, Innovation, Science and Technology Development, Hon. J. Moyo Minister of Local Government and Public Works, Hon. Dr. Masuka, Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water, Climate and Rural Resettlement, Hon. Mudyiwa, Deputy Minister of Energy and Power Development, Hon. E. Moyo, Deputy Minister of Primary and Secondary Education, Hon. Muswere, Minister of Information Communication Technology, Postal and Courier Services, Hon. Machingura, Deputy Minister of Higher and Tertiary Education, Innovation, Science and Technology Development, Hon. Marapira, Minister of State in Hon. Vice President’s Office…
(v)HON. MUSHORIWA: There are no apologies from Ministers?
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: I am sure they are on their way coming. Let us give them time.
HON. SIKHALA: On a point of order Madam Speaker.
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon. Sikhala, today we do not take points of order, it is Wednesday remember. You can ask your point of order tomorrow on Thursday. It was a ruling from the Speaker.
HON. SIKHALA: My point of order is related to the business of the day and Madam Speaker, you cannot thwart a very important point of order that has something to do with the business of the day. If you are saying that we are no longer allowed to participate in the debate in this House, we are free to accept that undertaking Madam Speaker. It is a point of order to do with the business of the day and as a Member of Parliament, I have every right to be given that opportunity to raise my point of order. I wait for your ruling.
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Okay Hon. Sikhala, you may go ahead. What is your point of order?
HON. SIKHALA: Madam Speaker, my point of order is very clear. You are asking us Members of Parliament to wait for Ministers while today it is known that it is the day for Members business.
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: I am not saying you should wait for them Hon. Sikhala. You can ask questions to those Ministers who are present.
HON. SIKHALA: No, my question cannot be directed to the Ministers who are here present, Madam Speaker. We must not turn this Parliament into a joke. The Ministers present today, Hon. Murwira, Hon. July Moyo and the Hon. Minister seated there, I think he is the new Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water, Climate and Rural Resettlement; these are the only Ministers we see every Thursday yet our Cabinet is so full of many Ministers.
For us to be disrespected to wait for Ministers who do not want to attend to Members business, is disrespectful of this House. Mr. Speaker made a ruling that except if a Minister has given an apology, Parliament must take action against errant Ministers. They are not here to service their own personal interests. They are here to serve the interests of the people of Zimbabwe and as Members of Parliament, we are here today to ask them very pertinent questions. I wanted to ask the Minister of Primary and Secondary Education, Hon. Cain Mathema but is not here. He is always absent in this House. So it is now time for us to demand what the public wants to know. Why are Ministers not attending Parliament on Wednesdays?
You are talking about the Minister in the Deputy President’s office when that Deputy President is no longer there. You are telling us about Mharapira who is the Deputy Minister in Hon. Mohadi’s office yet Hon. Mahadi is no longer there.
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon. Sikhala, what you are saying is not true. The Deputy Minister of Primary and Secondary Education is in here, you can ask your question. Again, I was referring to Hon. Ndlovu who is the Minister of State in the Vice President’s office, Hon. Vice President Chiwenga. Minister Marapira was appointed to a new Ministry. He is no longer in the Vice President’s office. So please may you withdraw that statement.
HON. SIKHALA: Withdraw what?
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: What you said.
HON. SIKHALA: No, I just said Ministers are not here when we want to ask them questions. We are only having two or three substantive Ministers. You cannot tell us about deputies. Deputies are not policy makers. They do not sit in Cabinet. These are the people who sit in Cabinet who should give us what they are discussing there in as far as policy is concerned, not Deputy Ministers that do not sit in Cabinet.
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: The Leader of the House can answer to any question.
HON. SIKHALA: He is not here. Where is Hon. Ziyambi?
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Acting Leader of the House!
HON. SIKHALA: Who is that? You never told us that there is an Acting Leader of the House.
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Minister of Higher and Tertiary Education, Innovation, Science and Technology Development is the Acting Leader of the House today.
HON. SIKHALA: These are the pronouncements that Madam Speaker, you should have done before the beginning of this session.
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Thank you Hon. Sikhala, you may sit down.
ORAL ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS WITHOUT NOTICE
HON. DR. KHUPE: Thank you Madam Speaker. My question is directed to the Minister of Health and Child Care. Unfortunately, I am not seeing the Minister or the Deputy. So you will direct me Madam Speaker.
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: To the Leader of Government Business.
HON. DR. KHUPE: What is Government policy regarding user fees for pregnant women because what I know is, during my tenure as Deputy Prime Minister we scrapped user fees for pregnant women because when women give birth they are performing national duty and therefore they should not be punished for performing that national duty by paying user fees. As we were going around during the feedback meeting, we were told that pregnant women are made to pay user fees. What is Government policy in regards to that issue?
THE MINISTER OF HIGHER AND TERTIARY EDUCATION, INNOVATION, SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY DEVELOPMENT (HON. PROF. MURWIRA): Thank you Madam Speaker. I want to thank Hon. Khupe for a very important question because everybody is a product of pregnancy. Hon. Speaker, I want to say that unless there is an update on this issue, the previous situation of non-payment of user fees by pregnant women still stands though there may be diversions, we will be very happy to cross-check.
HON. DR. KHUPE: Hon. Minister, in some instances pregnant women are made to pay user fees indirectly. They are made to buy all the necessities they require when they go to give birth. Things like methylated spirit, cotton wool, you name it. All these things are supposed to be provided for by a hospital. Women are not supposed to bring anything. They are supposed to just go there and give birth, but right now they are made to pay user fees indirectly. What is Government policy in regards to that? I think this issue must be addressed.
HON. PROF. MURWIRA: This question is very important. Government is increasing its investment in the health sector. You would know that this year the budget for the Ministry of Health and Child Care increased almost towards the 15% that is required. We know that with this increase in investment and also the restructuring of the Ministry of Health and Child Care, it is going to curb a lot of problems as well as improve the conditions in hospitals in terms of the equipment that is required as well as the morale of the personnel.
Madam Speaker, the health sector is a very important sector and Government has been paying quite precise attention on it. The policy is very clear in terms of what we have to do. If there are certain diversions that might be there, they will be looked at in their own merit but our wish and our policy direction is to make our health services accessible and also to make sure that tax payers’ money is used to equip our hospitals. There is also a policy that has now been directed towards the issue of bio-pharmaceutical manufacturing encouragement through the Ministry of Health. We believe that with this, it will improve access to equipment and chemicals that will also make sure those things that we are talking about as problems today will disappear as a subject matter as we move on. I thank you.
HON. NDEBELE: Madam Speaker, still on the question of user fees, I am happy that the Hon. Member raised that. Could the Minister apprise this House as well as the nation on Government policy relating to user fees for patients suffering from mental health problems? I ask this question on the background that local authority clinics still insist that people with mental health problems pay for services. Thank you.
THE MINISTER OF HIGHER AND TERTIARY EDUCATION, INNOVATION, SCIENCE AND TECHNOLGOY DEVELOPMENT (HON. PROF. MURWIRA): Thank you Madam Speaker. I wish to thank Hon. Ndebele for that question concerning people with mental health problems being asked by local authorities to pay user fees. With your leave Madam Speaker, we would be allowed to go to investigate into this matter and be able to come with a very specific answer, especially on people with mental health in local authority areas. It is very important, but it is very specific and it needs an investigation. I would be very pleased if this thing can be put in writing so that we can come with a comprehensive answer. Thank you.
HON. NDEBELE: Thank you Madam Speaker. I was waiting for your ruling because the Minister has given me a mixed response. On one hand, he has committed to bring a Ministerial Statement and on the other hand, he has also duly instructed me to put my question in writing. So I am waiting for your determination.
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon. Ndebele, please may you put your question in writing so that the Minister will investigate and come up with the answer.
HON. NDEBELE: That is what I was waiting for Madam Speaker. Thank you.
(v)HON. MUSHORIWA: Mine was a point of order to simply say that the Acting Leader of the House – it is not a crime for him to answer all questions. If he does not know Government policy on a particular Ministry, it is better for him to say so rather than to pretend to be answering a question when he is not doing that.
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: You are out of order Hon. Mushoriwa.
(v)HON. E. MASUKU: My question goes to the Minister of Agriculture. What is Government policy to ensure that people and the young generation appreciate that farming is not a hobby or a small side job but big business that can rewrite the history of our country if well embraced, adequately funded and supported? I thank you.
THE MINISTER OF LANDS, AGRICULTURE, FISHERIES, WATER, CLIMATE AND RURAL RESETTLEMENT (HON. DR. MASUKA): Madam Speaker, I thank the Hon. Member for the question. Farming ought to transform to become not just a hobby or subsistence and to become a business. It is in this regard that Government is at a very advanced stage of restructuring Agritex. The Agritex that we know will be a directorate called Agricultural Advisory Services and underneath it, will be a Director for the technical capacitation of farmers and also a Director responsible for training. We want the 18 000 A2 farmers to become businesswomen and businessmen and we want the 360 000 A1 farmers to become SMEs. We want the 1.8 million households to transition from subsistence to commercial farming and it is a journey that we can partake together to transition to that. Youth are very important in this regard. So it is something that we have started to do and it is something that we need to do in terms of the accomplishment of Vision 2030. Thank you.
HON. NDUNA: Thank you Madam Speaker. My supplementary to the Hon. Minister is that he has eloquently put across the numbers and of the numbers that he alludes to, what is the percentage quantum of the youth in farming that is also able to transform this economy, come Vision 2030?
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon. Nduna, I think that is a specific question. You need to put it in writing so that the Minister will go and investigate the percentage of the youth and come up with the answer.
HON. MAHAUSWA: My question to the Minister is that we have heard what he said in terms of capacitating the Agritex officers but currently, we want to know the stage that they have reached in terms of availing the resources, especially transport to the Agritex officers for them to be able to travel to different farming areas to assist the farmers with extension services. Those who were removed from the farms, who were able to engage in farming should be re-deployed to ensure that they perform their mandate.
THE MINISTER OF LANDS, AGRICULTURE, FISHERIES, WATER, CLIMATE AND RURAL RESETTLEMENT (HON. DR. MASUKA): Thank you Madam Speaker for the question on how far the Ministry has gone in terms of availing resources to Agritex officers for them to engage in their extension services. What we are saying is that when we are talking of Vision 2030, agriculture is the mainstay of the economy, hence the need to embark on extensive agriculture. Those who should assist the farmers are the extension officers. We have capacitated them in two ways. Firstly, by availing them the adequate resources in order to give them the commitment and the strength to do their work. So, of the five things that we have promised to give them, we have given motorbikes that we have given to the Agritex officers who are mainly involved in livestock production and also farming. We are still to give them tablets and computers to enable them to do their work. We are hoping that we will get about 5000.
In terms of protective clothing, we have availed these especially in light of COVID-19, they can work without being at risk of contracting COVID. In English we have physically motorised them but we need to motorise them mentally for a change of attitude so that they do not become optional extensionists buy transition to business advisors as we commercialise agriculture. That is the stage where we are now. So we want to capacitate them with knowledge as to what they are supposed to do so that when they go and meet the farmers, they know what they are supposed to do. That is why we have developed the department of in-service training. I thank you Madam Speaker Ma’am.
(v)*HON. KWARAMBA: I want to thank the Ministry of Agriculture for giving the extension officers resources. I want to ask the Minister what the Ministry has done in terms of ensuring that these Agritex officers can use the motorbikes since we are experiencing so many accidents of late?
*THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: The question is, what measures have you taken to ensure that the extension officers are able to ride motorbikes because we have witnessed a rise in terms of accidents from these extension officers.
HON. T. MOYO: Thank you Madam Speaker Ma’am. My question goes to the Minister of Local Government and Public Works. May I know the Government policy towards the conservation of wetlands in Zimbabwe?
THE MINISTER OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT AND PUBLIC WORKS (HON. J. MOYO): Thank you Madam Speaker. I want to say that this question should go to the Minister of Environment, Climate Change, Tourism and Hospitality Industry. He is the one who administers, at international level, the Ramsar Convention, which translates to wetlands in Zimbabwe. I think he would answer it better than I can.
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Thank you Hon. Minister. Hon. Meember, you can ask your question to the responsible Minister who is the Minister of Environment, Climate Change, Tourism and Hospitality Industry.
(v)*HON. P. ZHOU: My question is directed to the Minister of Health and Child Care. It is in connection with the COVID-19 vaccines. What measures has Government put in place so that everyone who gets inoculated is availed a vaccination card?
THE MINISTER OF HIGHER AND TERTIARY EDUCATION, INNOVATION, SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY DEVELOPMENT (HON. PROF. MURWIRA): Thank you Madam Speaker. I thank Hon. Zhou for that question. The measures that Government has is that everyone who is vaccinated is supposed to get a card. If there were people who were vaccinated and were not given vaccination cards, that is not Government policy. People are supposed to be issued with vaccination cards. Now, the Government is in the process of printing cards with security features that are being done by Fidelity Printers. If they are people who were vaccinated and not given cards, I think we need to investigate this matter further and see what happened. I thank you.
(v) * HON. P. ZHOU: I thank you but the issue is that there were people who were vaccinated and were given temporary cards that are different from the ones we know because the institution was saying that they do not have the vaccination cards. I was also vaccinated and was given a temporary card. My question is; if I am given that temporary card or my name is entered into a book, what is Government policy on givingall people cards so that everybody can get a vaccination card?
*HON. PROF. MURWIRA: Thank you Madam Speaker and I thank Hon. P. Zhou for the supplementary question - now it is clear. I believe that they were given temporary cards. Government is now in the process of printing vaccination cards with security features through Fidelity Printers. This will enable all vaccination centres to have adequate vaccination cards. When people are vaccinated they are given cards, whether it is a temporary card or the blue ones that we are used to. People’s details are also entered in a book when they are vaccinated. I thank you.
*HON. NDUNA: Thank you Madam President. In my constituency, my community hears parliamentary debates through Members of Parliament unlike those who stay in urban areas who have access to the Hansard and television. What can I tell them so that they can go and collect their cards where they were vaccinated from like at Fanham Clinic, Branswit Clinic in Ward 29? When are these cards going to be available at clinics because some would want to travel abroad and require COVID-19 vaccination certificates?
*HON. PROF. MURWIRA: Thank you Madam Speaker, I thank Hon. Nduna for the question. All those who were not given vaccination cards with security features must go back to the centres wehre they were vaccinated. It is from these centres that they will be told the for collectin of their cards. The cards will come in phases, maybe there are already there, I might not know. I do not have the exact date. What I can tell you is that the cards are being done by Fidelity Printers so that all the people vaccinated will get their cards. I thank you.
HON. MBONDIAH: Thank you Madam Speaker. My question is directed to the Minister of Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage. What is the Government doing pertaining to the killing of children and mutilation that was seen happening across the country? Madam Speaker, over the past few months, we have seen children being killed and their bodies found in places like septic tanks. What is the Government doing in regards to these perpetrators and the witch doctors who are conniving with them to kill children for ritual purposes? I thank you.
THE MINISTER OF HOME AFFAIRS AND CULTURAL HERITAGE (HON. KAZEMBE): Thank you Madam Speaker, I would like to thank the Hon. Member for a very pertinent question which it is very worrisome. As Government, we are seized with the matter. In fact, I would like to think that maybe the Hon. Member wants to know what the Government policy is with regards to crimes that are being committed in that regard.
Madam Speaker, this is worrisome and whenever such a crime is committed, the police will investigate and arrest and this is happening. Going forward, we have a collective responsibility to try and see that this crime is avoided through awareness. As policy, we are going to increase our awareness to try and ensure that people are discouraged from committing such crimes which are totally unheard of in our country. We also kindly ask our citizens, the Hon. Member and everybody to try and educate our people. To eradicate crime, it is a collective responsibility for all of us as citizens. It is difficult for a police officer to predetermine that a crime is going to be committed at this particular place. However, efforts are being made to ensure that we sensitise our people and create awareness to ensure that people do not commit these crimes. I kindly ask everybody to do the same to try and assist in this awareness campaign.
HON. MBONDIAH: My supplementary is - are there any criminals who have been convicted for these crimes and if so, how many?
THE MINISTER OF HOME AFFAIRS AND CULTURAL HERITAGE (HON. KAZEMBE): Thank you Madam Speaker Maam. I want to thank the Hon. Member for the follow up question. As for the statistics, as to who was actually convicted, I may not be privy to that because it is an issue within the Ministry of Justice. What I know is a lot of people have been arrested who may have committed similar crimes. I may not have the exact figures, but people have been arrested and have been taken to court. I thank you.
(v)*HON. CHINOTIMBA: Thank you Madam Speaker Maam. My supplementary question is what is the duration given to those who have been arrested? What programme is there, what arrangement is there when someone is arrested? What initiatives are there to thoroughly investigate a case? People are granted bail and whenever they get a chance of getting out of prison, they run away to as far as South Africa. What programmes are there to thoroughly investigate a case before someone gets a chance to run away?
* HON. KAZEMBE: Thank you Hon. Speaker Maam. I would like to thank Hon. Chinotimba for the question he asked. I think I have understood his question. Madam Speaker, the rights of those who have been convicted will be respected but if there is need to change that law - of those who would have been convicted so that work is done properly, it is done in this august House. When someone has not been tried in courts of justice, he enjoys his rights as an individual. Rules and regulations concerning the arrests of individuals are followed up until when someone is not found guilty he is let go.
HON. SIKHALA: My supplementary question to the Hon. Minister is as follows. There is a very important matter that has been widely reported both locally and internationally on one child who was killed for ritual purposes, Tapiwa Makore. We later realised his body was buried without his head. Did the police fail to investigate the whereabouts of the head or what? The country is waiting for the answer.
HON. KAZEMBE: Thank you Madam Speaker Maam. I want to thank Hon. Sikhala for such a pertinent follow up question. Investigations were carried out and forensic audits were done. The family was not satisfied with what the Government had done but the Government had used all the available laboratories to carry out the forensic audits. As to the specifics that the Hon. Member has raised, I can go and find out. I am not very sure if the child was buried without the complete body but if that is the case I will go and bring the correct answer after asking the police themselves. What I am aware of is forensic audits were done and the family was not very satisfied, they were saying some of the parts do not belong – and they were free after Government had done what was supposed to be done with the laboratories that they went to. The family was then free to choose their own scientists who would carry out the forensic audit. As far as the police are concerned, thorough investigations were done. I thank you.
HON. SIKHALA: What I asked the Minister is to give clarification about the whereabouts of the deceased’s head. That is the only part of the body that was in dispute. Whether full investigations were done to locate where the head of that child is and whether you find some other heads which you did forensic tests or not, that is where our concern is. The body was buried without the head and the head was the issue in question. Did you do enough investigations to locate where the head of that young boy is?
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon Sikhala, I think you can put that in writing because it is not a policy question.
HON. SIKHALA: It is because matters are investigated, so I am asking whether enough investigations were done to locate the head of child.
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: The Minister has answered to that.
(v) HON. MURAMBIWA: Thank you Hon. Speaker. My question is directed to the Minister of Agriculture. What is Government policy regarding payment of farmers who deliver their cotton to Cotton Company of Zimbabwe (COTCO), as we have noted with great concern that some of these farmers are paid with groceries instead of money? Thank you Madam Speaker.
THE MINISTER OF LANDS, AGRICULTURE, FISHERIES, WATER, CLIMATE AND RURAL RESETTLEMENT (HON DR. MASUKU): Thank you Madam Speaker. I would like to thank the Hon. Member for the question. In fact the cotton marketing season for 2021 has not commenced yet but I think the Hon. Member is making reference to last year, 2020’s marketing season where we had those macro-economic challenges and then payment, electronic money was disrupted to some extent and then COTCO opted to part pay farmers in the form of groceries. Then a balance is also due to those farmers as Government support. Now that the economy has stabilised, inflation is coming down and the payment system has been put in place, we all hope that the payment for cotton farmers this season will proceed seamlessly and smoothly and that farmers will receive their due payments.
While I am at this Madam Speaker, may I also take the opportunity to reassure the House and cotton farmers that the outstanding dues to farmers from 2020 selling season will be paid out by the 31st May, 2021. The Government is committed to ensuring that that happens and also to provide further support to ensure that cotton production becomes a viable undertaking by the small holder sector. I thank you.
HON. TOFFA: Thank you Madam Speaker. My question goes to the Minister of Local Government and Public Works. What is Government policy with regards to the cancellation of private passenger transportation? I thank you.
THE MINISTER OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT AND PUBLIC WORKS (HON. J. MOYO): Thank you Madam Speaker and I want to thank the Hon. Member for asking this important question about private transporters in the urban areas. I think Government policy has been clear at least since January 2019, that we will, from that time; operate only with ZUPCO as the main operator. Any private operator who has a kombi or a bus ought to register with the ZUPCO Company and operate under the supervision of that ZUPCO Company. Many companies have done that and in order to do so, we have ensured that those operators go through a process through the CMED so that quality control for public transporters is assured. Even the ZUPCO buses have to go through that route of being tested by CMED for compliance, both mechanically as well as in order to ensure when they operate, they follow the World Health Organisation protocols as well as Government protocols on COVID-19. Any private operator who wishes to participate in the urban areas has to go through that. We are also very sure that those whose public transport vehicle is sound will follow that route and they have been doing that.
However, we are aware that there have been a lot of private operators who have not gone through VID, who do not have registered and quality assured pieces of vehicles who want to operate outside the law. These are the people we are saying we will not tolerate because we want to bring sanity to the public transport system in the urban areas. I thank you.
HON. TOFFA: Thank you Madam Speaker Maam. I would like to thank the Hon. Minister for his response to the question. Indeed my question applied to urban areas.
I would like to find out from the Hon. Minister what mechanism he put in place to make sure that there will be adequate transportation for the citizens in the urban areas? I ask this because a lot of people are stranded without transport in the urban areas and are left with no choice but to use whatever is available.
In the process, ZRP has been instructed to make sure everybody disembarks from unlicenced transport operators. As they do this, they make sure that everyone disembarks, it does not matter who it is, where it is. There are school children from ECD, grade 1 up to high school level that are being made to disembark and are just dumped there. How does a child who is in primary school make their way back? For example, in Bulawayo, children come from across the city into schools that are in town and these children are then made to disembark. Other children are taken by the police to the police station which is further traumatic for those children.
So, the basis of my question is, what alternative mechanism has the Minister made to ensure that there will be sufficient transport to transport people that need to be transported? I thank you.
HON. J. MOYO: It is very clear that the Hon. Member is referring to specific situations which are in Bulawayo but it is a policy matter. When the policy arose in Bulawayo where it was necessary to clarify as to what constitutes a public transport that ought to be registered through CMED and on to ZUPCO; we sent people to engage with the police in Bulawayo and the Minister of State for Bulawayo Metropolitan to clarify to would be transporters. For those transporters who do not want to register with CMED and to register through ZUPCO, would pretend that we have been hired by a group of parents to transport children. However, Children transportation is even more important than your normal public transportation.
The police are now investigating out on those unqualified, unregistered, unlicenced vehicles who are now hiding behind this system of saying we have been hired by a school or parents. So, we gave instructions to take that vehicle, register it with CMED, ZUPCO and if it is hired by the schools, then we know for sure this is a qualified vehicle. That has been done in Bulawayo but we have done that all over the country to clarify and the police have made that clarification as well.
There was another issue of the private industrialist who normally buy their own vehicle; that has never been a problem except some who were now being mischievous to circumvent a public policy. We have corrected that one and we will continue to educate our people. Do not circumvent the law, the policy that has been put because it serves the public good in order to bring sanity to our urban areas as far as transportation is concerned.
Yes, I will admit that if we had all the transportation that we need, we could transport everybody one time but we do not have. It is also exacerbated by the fact that we do not have routes that are earmarked for ZUPCO. Therefore they are competing at peak time with other operators and this is cusing all the chaos of our transport system that is taking place in the urban areas. So, the turnaround time which is mostly earmarked to a certain number of times is messed up because of the traffic-jams that sometimes happen. We understand that and we will continue to work such that we alleviate the waiting time by mostly our workers.
We also encouraged those who come into town for commerce, to say go back to your areas earlier so that the working population that must leave at a certain time can be encouraged to ride the buses after 1630hrs while others would have gone back. That we will continue to advertise and through the Ministry of Information, we have been sending out this information so that we can alleviate the waiting period that our people are having.
HON. TOFFA: Madam Speaker, I would like to thank the Hon. Minister for his response but I would like to seek further clarification. He did allude to school children, as the Ministry that is responsible for making sure transportation is done properly, what policy or what mechanism is he going to put in place as the Ministry of Local Government and Public Works to make sure that school children are well-catered for so that they have transport for school? I remember back in the day Madam Speaker Ma’am, when it was ZUPCO Omnibus, each school had a bus allocated to them. We are putting children’s lives in danger. These commuter omnibus operators are playing cat and mouse game with children on board, including the citizens. Most important is the child’s best interest and safety. I would like to find out from the Hon. Minister what it is that his Ministry will do in future or right now. On getting the operators registered, what mechanism will he put in place?
Would it not be prudent to suggest or to ask the Hon. Minister to use the transporters who were ably transporting in Bulawayo such as Mtshova-Mubaiwa and Gupta? Before this, they were transporting people in Bulawayo. Is there no way that the Minister could facilitate an easier process for these companies to be registered or is there a problem in that area? Thank you Madam Speaker.
HON. J. MOYO: Madam Speaker, I think what she is analysing is allowable under the policy right now. If a school has entered into an agreement with a Commuter Omnibus operator, all we are saying is, that operator has a responsibility to go and register with CMED and they are given a ZUPCO tag that indicate that it is ZUPCO so that the police do not have to worry. We can even put ‘Carrying school children,’ there is no problem about that. All we are saying is = nobody should just go and say ‘I am picking school children’ and because the bus or the omnibus is full of children, the police must give them the right of passage. No, we will not do that but there are schools that have buses which they bought.
There are schools who have gone to ZUPCO and said, ‘because we have children who come from this area to that area, can you allocate us a bus so that in the morning and afternoon, carries our children.’ These are very easy times to organise and parents or school heads have a responsibility to go and negotiate or agree with ZUPCO operators. That, ZUPCO is ready to do because we want our children to be carried separately. In fact, what we have told ZUPCO is that at peak times, have dedicated buses for children and in my menu, they tell me what they do with the children. They also sanitise and when they sanitise school children, they must do it even better than they do it for adults. The social distancing and everything they must do for children, we have said they must do.
However, what we have been dealing with – I was there in Bulawayo last week and I sent the ZUPCO CEO to Bulawayo. They met there in Bulawayo to say ‘we can sanitise this situation but we cannot allow those who do not want to follow the law - that we will not do.’ I know that as I said, at peak hours there are delays. Even last night, we sent out both the police in Bulawayo and other people just to go and see what is happening, who is leaving, who is there at 9 o’clock so that we can know how to deal with the matter. We can withdraw some buses, for instance from inter-city so that we beef up the urban areas but those measures, we will continue to do in order to make sure that our people are not unduly prejudiced. Thank you Madam Speaker.
*HON. NYABANI: Thank you Madam Speaker Ma’am. I want to ask the Minister and say you started a very good programme but have you ever noticed that when you changed the policy to allow cars to go through the process of registering with CMED, you gave an opportunity to illegal passenger-carrying vehicles which has made it even worse during this COVID period. They have even gone beyond and passed road blocks without anything being done to them. These small cars called mushika-shika are getting to areas which are unreachable because ZUPCO omnibuses fail to reach these areas. The mushika-shika vehicles or illegal transporters are penetrating areas which are not being accessed by the ZUPCO. It has gone worse because of the COVID-19 situation. What are you doing as a Ministry to protect people from these illegal operators who are charging a lot of money for their transportation service?
*HON. J. MOYO: Madam Speaker, there are two sides to this question, it is in two parts. We do not allow mushika-shika or illegal transporters in the urban areas. Commuter omnibuses and buses which go to rural areas do not need to go to CMED or ZUPCO. If the Ministry give them a licence to operate, that is what they use and in that area, nothing was disturbed. However, because in urban areas most of the places are tarred, this is where the mushika-shika flood to and a chaotic situation has been birthed. When they face disturbances in the urban areas, they resort back to the rural areas because there is no interference from the police. I believe that is another issue. As a policy issue, we would like to bring sanity to the urban areas. We do not want people to have any disturbance and they should be ferried to and from their destinations by ZUPCO. Government policy is holistic to the problem. It is not focused on urban areas only but it will also help in the rural areas. Where commuter omnibuses could not reach, we have instructed that all these places be reached. We are purchasing more ZUPCO buses and our intention is that all areas in this country are reached by this particular mode of transportation. Our intention as ZUPCO is to reach all areas. Today we had a meeting. Those who go to the rural areas had come to us saying ZUPCO is actually bringing low cost to our areas of operation. Our answer was an issue of competition. Our intention is to help the people. That is actually competition for them.
*HON. CHIMINA: Supplementary questions Madam Speaker. Thank you Madam Speaker. What the Minister has said is really good, but my question is on those that are going to inspect the buses from CMED. What plans are there to make sure that they engage roadworthy vehicles for transportation of individuals? Some of these buses that we are seeing on the roads are way beyond faulty. They are not road worthy.
*HON. J. MOYO: Thank you Madam Speaker. The CMED option is the second quality assurance so that we do not miss anything on that which we are doing. All buses should go to VID from the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructural Development. They are the ones who check and make sure that everything is in place. CMED is well equipped to do all the inspections and make sure that everything is in place.
If you look at the statistics of buses that have killed or injured people because they are being transported by ZUPCO, they are only a few. The reason is that bus drivers that operate with ZUPCO go through testing and it is made sure that these people are fit for such duties. This has helped in the reduction of accidents in the country. We were seeing that in the urban areas we were having a lot of accidents. People were not following the rules and regulations with regard to driving.
*HON. HAMAUSWA: Thank you Madam Speaker. From what the Minister of Local Government and Public Works was saying, what I saw is that as Hon. Members, Hon. Members are behaving as if there is no written policy document to guide us, to help us in the urban transport system. We kindly ask the Minister to help us to say is there a document or it is just the information that he and the Ministry know with regard to that. Is there a policy document that can be handed over to us as Hon. Members of this august House to make sure that we make reference to those policies?
Still on that particular issue - if you ask the Minister to go to Total, Samora Machael and Chinhoyi Street you will see people gathered there, illegal transport operators including police officers or enforcement agents. There are people all over. If he could actually assist us with that particular document to say can we make reference to that particular document? It will assist us to understand and fully acknowledge what we have before us.
*HON. J. MOYO: Madam Speaker, I would like to thank the Hon. Member with regards to the question on the policy document. The policy document is there. It was actually made a Statutory Instrument and brought to the House. That Statutory Instrument was actually brought to this House during the covid era and information was relayed to the people, the law with regards to that. The policy is there.
That is what the police are making use of to combat the illegal transporters’ scourge that has been brought on the roads. The law is there. Thank you very much Madam Speaker.
HON. NDUNA: Supplementary question Madam Speaker. Is there a plan on the Government side to create a dedicated line for passenger transport because efficient and effective transport is not judged by the way the poor get on to it but the way the rich get onto public transport and they are time bound to the rich. Is there a plan to create a dedicated line on our road infrastructure for public transport only so that everyone can be encouraged to go on to public transport which is smooth flowing.
HON. J. MOYO: Thank you Madam Speaker. We have been planning about how movement should take place in the urban areas. In the past, we created these one ways and we thought it would alleviate the situation but you will see the number of vehicles that have multiplied in Zimbabwe especially in our urban areas. It is staggering and we are looking at it. We are planning to see whether it can be done but the number of transport systems or transport vehicles that have multiplied over the last few years is staggering.
At the same time, the type of streets that we have apart from doing the one way are narrow enough that to create another public transport system or a lane is very difficult. Bulawayo gives us the best chance but Bulawayo for instance, the really major problem is that Bulawayo City Council, working with the Ministry of Transport and working with our Minister for Provincial Affairs – they have done very well. They designated areas where people must be picked but you find that people do not want to go to those areas.
When they were doing these areas where people could be picked, I think they canvassed very well but people still do not want to go to those areas. There is need for us to look at dedicated lines and we have people who are working on it and see whether it can be done in Harare, Bulawayo and some of the major cities. Chegutu is congested because of the traffic that is transiting through it. We are looking at all these but it is not going to be an easy job. I thank you.
HON. NDEBELE: Madam Speaker, kindly allow me to check with the Hon. Minister the policy provision relating to metered taxis. Do they also follow under the ZUPCO Bambazonke policy and also in the last week, I was shocked to learn from one of my schools that they were told that their own school bus that parents bought with SDF can no longer ferry school children without going the ZUPCO way. Could the Minister seize this opportunity to clarify the position to the nation? Thank you.
HON. J. MOYO: Thank you Madam Speaker. The taxes are not required to go through the ZUPCO way. All taxes that are designated as taxes are licenced by the Ministry of Transport differently from the other transport systems that I have talked about. So, they are exempt. Secondly, the school buses, as I have clarified that in Bulawayo, when I was there last week, the Minister of State and everybody said there was some confusion which we cleared.
On Monday, the meeting that took place in Bulawayo clarified all this and I have just indicated that school buses – there are many schools that have got school buses and those are clearly marked as school buses and they will not be interfered with. What we were dealing with in Bulawayo must be understood as specific things where transporters who are not qualified were now circumventing the system by going to register or going to organise themselves and say we are carrying school children from this school and in between, they were carrying passengers as if it was normal.
That was clarified and if they want to do so, they should go through the route and make sure that they get certified by CMED and register with ZUPCO. They are given a number and they can even be given the school written on their kombi or bus that they will be carrying that. Most of these school buses that are bought by SDAs and SDCs do not carry passengers except school children unless if they are hired. If they are not hired, they carry the school children, come back and park and take back the school children when time comes. That has not been interfered with. If there has been any interference, the clarification is they should not be interfered with. I thank you.
*HON. HAMAUSWA: Madam Speaker, I am really troubled to say this question on transport has taken a very long time in this House. May the Minister give us a statement after these meetings to say where they are and what is their standing position? It is through question and answer that we have observed that there are things that are happening in rural areas that kombis are not allowed. There is a great understanding and people really need clarification and it will enable us to debate in this House. May he call the Members of Parliament when he engages in these meetings in different towns so that we relate the correct information in our constituencies? A statement may come to help clear the air on the misunderstanding especially in the urban transport system as well as in the rural areas. We might be laughing or taking this thing for granted but this is a very serious issue. Thank you.
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Thank you Hon. Hamauswa. I agree with you that the Minister should bring a ministerial statement because I see that there is a lot of confusion and he needs to clear the air. This question has taken a long time in this House. All those who asked for supplementary questions will ask when the Minister comes through with a ministerial statement. Thank you.
HON. NDUNA: Thank you Madam Speaker. It is my hope that when the Minister brings in the Ministerial Statement, that there can also be clarity as it relates to passenger insurance. Passenger insurance is that insurance paid at $15 per seat by transporters hoping that Zupco is also paying that insurance so that when someone get injured, they get $1500. When they are deceased, they get US$4000. If that can be embedded in his statement so that we can get to know that the insurance companies are playing their part in the public transport system.
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Thank you Hon. Nduna. I think the Minister has taken note of that. Hon. Minister, do you want to say something?
HON. J. MOYO: Madam Speaker, I thought I should give this information to Hon. Members. When this COVID-19 started, the President created a committee which is chaired by the Minister of Defence and War Veterans. That committee has assigned Ministers to different provinces. I am assigned to Bulawayo. When I go and meet with people in Bulawayo, we request the Minister of Provincial Affairs to invite all Members of Parliament so that we can discuss these things and they can take the issues back to their constituencies. We invite the councilors so that they can do it. We also invite political parties so that they can participate. If that has not been happening, I happen to be the coordinator of that committee which sends out Ministers.
The Minister of Higher and Tertiary Education, Innovation, Science and Technology Development is responsible for Harare Metropolitan, the Minister of Primary and Secondary Education is responsible for Matabeleland North, the Minister of Environment, Climate Change, Tourism and Hospitality Industry is responsible for Matabeleland South, the Minister of Mines and Mining Development is responsible for Masvingo, the Minister of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services is responsible for Manicaland, Minister of Industry and Commerce is responsible for Mashonaland East, Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs is responsible for Mashonaland West and the Minister of Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage is responsible for Mashonaland Central.
I urge that working with your Ministers of State, we can disseminate this information. There is a sub-committee which deals with transport and logistics, which is chaired by the Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development. All these issues, obviously we do not sweep them under the carpet. Every week we are told about what ZUPCO is doing and if there are problems, we send people to go and try to solve them. So, I am urging Hon. Members to say let us do this because a lot of what we are doing now, including school children; they have been going to school before and the transport system has been like this since 2019. Because of COVID-19, we now have different protocols which we want you to participate in and I invite all of us to go and participate so that we can solve these issues in-situ in our provinces together with the Ministers that I have mentioned. That is the information I wanted to give out Hon. Madam Speaker.
*HON. HAMAUSWA: Madam Speaker Ma’am, I would like to comment with reference to Harare. We were invited by the Minister of State and we never had any other meeting. It was going to be nice if we could get a platform as Members of Parliament for us to engage the Ministers and discuss the way forward. As far as I know, Hon. Members were not invited. What we want is that when the Minister goes back to the Cabinet - when the Ministers speaks in this House, we will not be able to argue with him because we will be present when these meetings are done. We have never been invited. That is what we are asking to say, let us rectify that particular point. We should move together with the Minister. We must not find it new to us when he comes and presents something in this House.
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Thank you very much. I am sure the Minister has heard it.
*HON. KARUMAZONDO: Thank you Madam Speaker Ma’am. My question is directed to the Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare. What measures does the Government have in place that when they are advertising vacancies in ministries, that both people in rural and urban centres have access to information and have the same opportunities to be employed? I thank you.
THE MINISTER OF PUBLIC SERVICE, LABOUR AND SOCIAL WELFARE (HON. PROF. MAVIMA): Thank you Madam Speaker. Advertisements for vacancies is done by individual Ministries but forms of advertising that they normally use are put in print media as well as posting on different notice boards and placing notices at district offices. Sometimes they can use electronic media such as radios. Ministries with offices that go down to district level also post the advertisements on notice boards, hence every district gets the advertisements. What we have also witnessed is that once that opportunity is available, it is also being availed in groups. These are not formal groups but they are social media groups and we have seen dissemination using this form.
I have also realised that even when uniformed forces, the army and the police were recruiting, that information was widespread in WhatsApp groups. Applicants were told to go and submit their certificatesdocuments to their respective districts. So Government departments do not use one platform when advertising, they use different platforms like radios, newspapers and television. It also depends on the nature of jobs like if they want directors, they do not look into Government only, sometimes they flight their adverts in newspapers as well. I thank you.
*HON. KARUMAZONDO: Thank you Madam Speaker. My supplementary question is I have observed that the education quality for people in rural areas and in urban areas is different. You find people in rural areas will have to sit for examination more than 3 times for them to attain 5 ordinary level passes, and in most advertisements for police and army they were saying they need not more than two sittings. How can you help the rural people so that they can be employed even if they have many sittings?
*HON. PROF. MAVIMA: Thank you Madam Speaker. Concerning the issue of many sittings, it depends on the ministry or department, they are the ones who determine the qualifications of people they need at a given time. Police and army have their commissions. We cannot then intervene on that matter on what they require because it is the Commission that determines the qualifications and the number of sittings they accept. For example teachers do not want more than two sittings because they fear that if they recruit people with many sittings, the candidates may find it difficult to train or to pass the required courses. The issue of qualifications is done by the relevant commissions, colleges or ministries - we cannot tell them what to do because they have their own specifications regarding the type of jobs and training they want to offer.
*HON. NYABANI: I heard the Minister saying you advertise in newspapers. I am aware most Hon. Members know Rushinga, we hardly have access to newspapers, there is a network problem, the people there find it difficult to access WhatsApp and phone calls. What are you doing so that the people in Rushinga can access internet, newspapers and WhatsApp?
HON. PROF. MAVIMA: Thank you Madam Speaker, this issue needs to be looked at so that people in all provinces access information that they require. What surprises me is that sometimes people from Zhamba, my constituency borders Binga and Gokwe, phone me asking the authenticity of some information that they would have received in WhatsApp groups, they will be asking me whether it is true or false, information that I myself am not privy to. I then go and find out and tell them. Given this observation, I can see that in Zimbabwe nowadays even in the very remote areas; they can now access information through various platforms. Furthermore, social media is also doing a lot. The newspapers are also found in social media, such that most people get access to information from the phones that they have in their hands. We can talk and talk but the way we see it is that people are getting information on job advertisements of vacancies from their cellphones. I thank you Madam Speaker.
Questions Without Notice were interrupted by the TEMPORARY SPEAKER ( HON. MAVETERA) in terms of Standing Order Number 64.
HON. NDUNA: Madam Speaker I ask that time for Questions Without Notice be extended with 10 minutes.
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Unfortunately, I am not able to do that because we have already passed that. I was already on Questions With Notice. If you had done it earlier we would have allowed that to happen, my apologies.
ORAL ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS WITH NOTICE
REHABILITATION OF ROADS IN BUDIRIRO, HARARE METROPOLITAN PROVINCE
- HON. MACHINGAUTA asked the Minister of Local Government and Public Works to inform the House when the following roads in Budiriro, in the Harare Metropolitan Province will be rehabilitated; a). Magodo Road in Ward 43 (b) 18th Crescent and 36th Street (c) Tumbuyu and Chipere Crescent (d) 53rd Street, Budiriro 3.
THE MINISTER OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT AND PUBLIC WORKS (HON. J. MOYO): Thank you Madam Speaker Maam. I would like to thank Hon. Machingauta for the question. Madam Speaker, Magodo Road is in phase three of the Emergence Road Rehabilitation Programme (ERRP), 18th Crescent and 36th Street are not part of the ERRP but will be covered under routine maintenance using resources from the council and ZINARA. Government has already allocated to Harare City Council, monies both from devolutions funds as well as from ZINARA so that they can do Tumbuyu and Chipere crescent. Then, 53 Street, Budiriro Number three, these roads are to be done by the council. The last two are not part of ERRP and will be done using funds from ZINARA once availed. So, in the ERRP, there are roads that have been taken by Government, there are roads that we have said the local authorities will undertake and they have been given money from ZINARA and council money from devolution and we have indicated them. Then the last two, because they have not been given any money in this ERRP, will be done by council once it is availed ZINARA funds, which are yet to be allocated. I thank you.
HON. CHIMHINI: My supplementary question is why is it that ZINARA is taking too long to disburse funds to local authorities? Thank you Madam Speaker.
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: I am sure that question does not go to the Hon. Minister but it will go to the Hon. Minister of Transport because he is in charge of ZINARA.
HON. MARKHAM: Thank you Madam Speaker. My supplementary question is; could the Minister consider publishing the roads that are covered by all the policies that he mentioned, like the ERRP? It will be very good for us to know what is coming up and also any funds issued from devolution for roads and water in Harare and also the ZINARA funds for the Ministry of Transport. If he let us know in advance what is happening, the public will be more settled about it. Thank you.
HON. J. MOYO: Thank you Madam Speaker. I will be glad to do so because it is already captured in this big book. Every road that any Department of State Roads is going to do; the roads that are going to be done by the council and the roads that are going to be done by DDF are all now earmarked and we will be glad to let Members of Parliament know. More particularly, if you check with the councils, we have already written to them because they are the ones who brought these and we just consolidated them in one book.
PUMPING OF WATER TO CABS AND NGUNGUNYANA AREAS IN BUDIRIRO
- 3. MACHINGAUTA asked the Minister of Local Government and Public Works to inform the House when the Marimba water tank is going to start pumping water to CABS and Ngungunyana areas in Budirio, in the Harare Metropolitan Province.
THE MINISTER OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT AND PUBLIC WORKS (HON. J. MOYO): Madam Speaker, I want to thank Hon. Machingauta for the question. There is always pumping to the reservoirs from Monday to Friday. However, due to high demand than supply, low lying areas quickly get limited water supplies, leaving high lying areas dry. We have therefore, resorted to rationing the supplies to effect an equitable distribution of the water supplies. That is the reason why sometimes certain areas in those areas are not getting enough water. I thank you.
CLOSING DOWN OF OLD STABLES MARKET BY THE CITY HEALTH DEPARTMENT
4 HON. MARKHAM asked the Minister of Local Government and Public Works to explain to the House: a) How the Old Stables Market was closed down by the City Health Department under suspicious circumstances which saw the market only operating for a year despite the fact that it was by far the most sanitary and Covid-19 compliant market in Harare;
- b)whether in closing the market, the City Health Department took into account the fact that the market had paid requisite fees and complied with various licences when approached by the City, an indication of their willingness to comply with legal requirements;
- c)whether all other markets in Harare`s northern suburbs are legally compliant; and
(d) to further clarify whether there have been any audits of all business activities in areas around the Mashonaland Turf Club/City of Harare, particularly those associated with the selling off and mortgaging of land and buildings when, in essence, such land is lease hold property.
THE MINISTER OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT AND PUBLIC WORKS (HON. J. MOYO): Thank you Madam Speaker. I want to thank Hon. Markham for bringing a question, which is in a, b, c and d parts. I will answer one by one. The first question is how the old stables market was closed down by the City Health Department under suspicious circumstances, which saw the market only operating for a year despite the fact that it was by far the most sanitary and COVID – 19 compliant market in Harare.
The response I have is that Stables Market was given the green light to start operating on the 1st April, 2021. This followed inspections that were done to check if they complied with the set health standards and easing of the COVID-19 restrictions. So it is now operating.
Madam Speaker, as I have already said, they did not pay for licencing but paid an application fee for the licence. They were given the procedures to follow and they are still to comply with the regulations on change of use of regulations. What I understand is that they were asked to pay for the application of the fee but they have not paid for the license.
- c) The response to the Hon. Member is that there are 22 designated market sites that have been properly allocated and they have a data base. However, there are others which are operating illegally that require legal enforcement.
- d) Madam Speaker, an audit has not been done and this morning, we were in a workshop with all the departments of the City of Harare. We are sure that with the local authority digital service that we now want to enforce, that audit will be done.
INFORMATION ON DECEASED ESTATE STAND NO. 37 IN POMONA TOWNSHIP
- HON. MARKHAMasked the Minister of Local Government and Public Works to inform the House:
- a)why stand No. 37 from a deceased estate in the Pomona Township which was demarcated as a park for residents recently had some developmental structures set up despite the fact that it was initially leased and later sold in 2019 to a company called Lagrange, amid objections and offers to run and lease the park by residents which were ignored;
- b)to confirm whether an audit has been conducted by the City Valuations Office and also whether an asset register has been compiled for the period 2010 to 2021;
- c)what measures have been put in place to collect the outstanding debt of $5.5 billion owed to City of Harare for the period ending November 2019 and to further elaborate why this debt has been ignored for so long;
- d)why people who have not paid their bills since the days of Minister Chombo to date have not been brought to book; and
- e)whether the act of writing off the above debt is not an abuse of office and if so, to state who authorised it and under what statute.
THE MINISTER OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT AND PUBLIC WORK (HON. J. MOYO): Once again, thank you Madam Speaker.
- a)Madam Speaker, the file for the stand Number 37 Pomona Township is with the Harare Metropolitan Police under investigation. Therefore, I was not able to access this file because Harare Metropolitan police is working with the national police on investigations of that nature.
- b)Madam Speaker, Land Bank has not yet been concluded. Lease data base needs clean up, lease renewals and reviews are in progress and I want to assure the Hon. Member that given the local authority digital service that we are now saying Harare all your departments have to do, I am sure all these will be excavated. We have good evidence from Mutare where this was done and the city is now running very properly including land issues.
- c)Madam Speaker, the 5, 5 billion debt is as at 28 February 2021 and not November 2019 as the question suggests. We are billing an excess of two billion dollars with the new tariffs in the budget. That is what the city is telling us. So, it is not that it has been ignored for long but it just shot up very sharply from January 2021. Efforts to collect over the years have been made and as you know, these are exchange transactions. Service delivery has been poor and residents have been resistant to pay.
Legal process to prosecute and bring to book rates defaulters normally take longer than usual because of the various steps that council has to take. Again, council would only use that as a last resort effort. The hope has been that mending the relations through public relations campaigns, timeous billing, efficient billing, delivery service, delivery improvement and stakeholder engagement will get the bill rolling in encouraging residents to pay.
Current efforts being made are water disconnection, final demands and summons. On top of the agenda is the resuscitation of service delivery. Again, I want to assure the Hon. Member and this august House, I am quite convinced the steps that we are taking will see us collect most of our bills. If I can give you an example of what has happened by implementing the system that I am talking about in Mutare and the success that we have got.
Two years ago, Mutare was collecting at 47% within six months and when they started implementing this LADS system, they are now at 85%. Results have been that it is the only local authority which has paid all loans to Government; it has paid all the ZIMRA debt, ZINWA, all the pension arrears and is up to date. Not only are they up to date in their operations, they have now invested $US500 000 in investments and keeping a cash outlay of $US200 000 physical and this is because of a system that we think will help Harare.
So, I want to assure the Hon. Member that the narration that I have given, while it lacks the assurance that we can collect, we want to walk with them on a journey that will transform the billing system and therefore the service delivery system of Harare.
(d) Madam Speaker, the answer is - the council has to bring them to book once they know all the issues and we think that the system will help us.
(e) The Hon. Member knows I am not responsible for authorising it and those who bring people to book are a responsibility of another Minister. I thank you.
HON. MARKHAM: Thank you Madam Speaker. Before I ask, I just want to thank the Minister for his straight and honest answers. I would also like to thank Dr. Chonzi from the City of Harare who sorted out stable market. My point there is that different markets have been treated differently.
I would like to ask the Minister if the Stand or Plot that is being investigated which is now a development, which is currently getting sewerage works going on, boreholes being drilled and other services, can that not be put on hold until investigations are completed? The second thing is, if I may just mention to the Minister that I am very pleased that Mutare is on the right track. I would like to ask the Minister if he could also consider the…
THE SPEAKER: You are not connected Hon. Markham.
HON. MARKHAM: Madam Speaker, as a final point, I would like to say to the Minister, instead of debt-collecting, if they could consider advertising the debt and who owes them how much money, which will get people jumping around. I thank you.
HON. J. MOYO: Thank you Madam Speaker. Well, when we have investigations the manner that we are having, what one would shy away from doing is taking arbitrary decisions. What I can do is speed up that investigation. We also have a parallel system that is chaired by the Hon. Vice President on dysfunctional urban settlements and we are also looking at the same things. We hope that one way or the other we will come to a situation where we can resolve Stand No. 37 that the Hon. Member has asked to resolve. However, we do not want to take arbitrary decisions because you know we will be taken to court if we do not do it procedurally and we want to follow the law.
The issue of advertising those who are not paying, we can take that route but I think the first thing is to clean up the billing system that Harare has. They have been using software which, by their own admission, they had already made a resolution in council to say this ICT is not working and they had already requested that the Harare Institute of Technology (HIT) should come and look at that system so that they can get help. Today, the Vice Chancellor and his Dean who is responsible for innovation in the University were with us together with Harare City Council and the President said yesterday, ‘do everything to make sure that Harare gets on a digital system that can look at all the systems, including their valuation rolls, billing system, and Geographical Information Systems (GIS) for instance, which can indicate to us what services are not being given in what areas at the touch of a button.
Right now if you went and ask where water leakages or sewerage outbursts are, they will not know and yet in Mutare as I said, you can now at the touch of a button, with the help of HIT, they now know where things are not right. So, let us give ourselves an opportunity so that we can correct Harare and if correcting Harare situation means we must publicise those who are not paying, then we should be able to do so. Thank you Madam Speaker.
PROGRESS IN ASSEMBLING ZUPCO LOCKDOWN KITS BY LOCAL BUS ASSEMBLING COMPANIES AND REINTRODUCTION OF ZUPCO ALL-TERRAIN BUSES WHICH PLY RURAL ROUTES
- (V)HON. M. M. MPOFU asked the Minister of Local Government and Public Works to inform the House the progress made in assembling ZUPCO lockdown kits by local bus assembling companies as well as the reintroduction of ZUPCO all-terrain buses which ply rural routes.
THE MINISTER OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT AND PUBLIC WORKS (HON. J. MOYO): Thank you Madam Speaker. I want to thank you Hon. Mpofu for the question. Hon. Madam Speaker, the Government has plans to facilitate the assembling of buses locally and has engaged partners as initiated through the bilateral agreements in the case of one bus-assembling plant, they have already gone into a non-disclosure agreement with a Belarusian company so that the knock-down kits that come from Belarus can be assembled here in Harare.
It will give us an opportunity to beneficiate using local resources. The last time we were doing it, we were using local materials of up to 40%, that means we can increase the number of buses or knock-down kits that we bring from a country instead of bringing a completely build-up bus.
Negotiations with these partners are however, still to be concluded. The buses that are being manufactured and assembled in Zimbabwe have specifications that make them suitable for all terrain and with the negotiations that we have done, we are ensuring that those buses can actually ply rural roads.
(V)HON. M. M. MPOFU: We want a time frame from the Minister to tell us when because in the rural areas, people are suffering. They are being charged exorbitant prices by these other non-ZUPCO buses. He should tell us the time frame.
HON. J. MOYO: Thank you Madam Speaker. Yes, as I said the negotiations are going on and we hope that we can conclude them this year so that assembling can start this year. However, there are buses which are coming in the country through the private sector which we hope can continue to ply in the rural areas. The more we get more ZUPCO buses that are only capable of plying in the urban areas, we try to release some of them to rural areas. ZUPCO is having some buses right now going to rural areas but they are not enough out there and we hope that as the President has said, we need ZUPCO to be capitalised up to the tune of 2 000 buses so that we can use it in the urban areas as well as in the rural areas. Thank you Madam Speaker.
HON. GABBUZA: Can the Minister indicate why it is so difficult to just capacitate the local companies that already used to manufacture buses like Damar, Zambezi Coach Works and Trinity Engineering. These were into the manufacture of car bodies. Why is it not easier to do that than bring in a Belarus company that is still negotiating? It will take years.
HON. J. MOYO: Madam Speaker, it is a known fact that we do not manufacture engines in this country. So Damar was getting the engines from Holland and therefore to get engines from Belarus where we would have made an agreement with a Belarusian manufacturing company for engines is still the same type of trade partnerships and they have negotiated with AVM which used to be called Damar so that they can manufacture locally, but what is critical is that they did not just enter into agreement to bring in engines from there, but the specifications that Damar was able to impress on the company in Belarus to say if we are going to service this market, you need a bus of this type and that type that can ply in the urban areas and we need another bus type which can ply in the rural areas.
That to us is very critical, but for now, the company that is assisting us, that has the financial muscle to do so is from Belarus but we welcome any bus company that wants to come and bring knock-down kits and the President has said it is better to bring knock=down kits because we can use a lot of materials that are locally produced in order to lower the cost of bringing a completely built up deed. It also gives our people the jobs that they need and the service also is enhanced.
Yes, I agree Trinity Engineering, what used to be Leylands which is now Quest in Mutare, all these can do the job but what has been the bull in the China shop is the foreign currency that is required and that is why you have to have these packages such that we are going with Belarus. Thank you Madam Speaker.
MEASURES TO CAPACITATE DEAF COMMUNITIES TO ATTAIN UNIVERSITY QUALIFICATION
- HON. MACHINGAUTA asked the Minister of Higher and Tertiary Education, Innovation, Science and Technology Development;
- To inform the House how many deaf people have attained degree level education in Zimbabwe since independence and;
- What measures are in place to capacitate the deaf communities to attain university qualifications?
THE MINISTER OF HIGHER AND TERTIARY EDUCATION, INNOVATION, SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY DEVELOPMENT (HON. PROF. MURWIRA): Thank you Madam Speaker. Our response on how many deaf people have attained degree level education in Zimbabwe; I wish to start by explaining Government policy on inclusive education. It is Government policy that all people irrespective of sex, age, race, colour, ethnicity, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social, original, property, birth as well as person with disabilities, migrants, indigenous people and children and youth, especially those in vulnerable situations or other status, have access to inclusive, equitable quality education and lifelong learning opportunities.
In support of inclusive education, the Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education, Innovation, Science and Technology Development has ensured access to higher and tertiary education by people with disabilities. Universities had an enrollment of 356 students with disabilities inclusive of those who are visually impaired, physically challenged, hearing impaired, mentally challenged as well as those with albinism and speech impairment. The Ministry is also supporting development of learning materials for the disabled.
We have not had specifically any deaf students enrolling at our universities since independence. However, seven deaf students have now graduated; four from UZ and three from Great Zimbabwe University. However, 24 students are currently in stream; 10 are at Women’s University, 13 are at the University of Zimbabwe and we have one at Africa University. Our point, Madam Speaker, is basically that we are improving on this as it has been a challenging area for higher education.
On the second question, Madam Speaker, several deliberate efforts have been undertaken by the Government of Zimbabwe under the leadership of His Excellency the President of the Republic of Zimbabwe, Dr. Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa. He directed the setting up of the Language Institute at Midlands State University. Through this institute, MSU is translating important documents into sign language including the Constitution, COVID booklets and National Development Strategy. They are going on to translate all technical books also at this national language institute.
MSU is also providing short courses in sign language. Staff at Clay Bank Hospital in Gweru have been trained in sign language specifically to cater for the deaf. Furthermore, MSU has appointed specialised lecturers in sign language and is sensitising the community about learning sign language at MSU.
The University of Zimbabwe and Great Zimbabwe University are also providing courses for the deaf. Gwanda and Lupane State Universities are currently working on modalities to teach the deaf. Other private universities are also supporting Government efforts to ensure the deaf attain university education; Reformed Church University in Masvingo, Women’s University in Africa and Africa University. I thank you Madam Speaker.
BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
THE MINISTER OF HIGHER AND TERTIARY EDUCATION, INNOVATION, SCIENCE AND DEVELOPMENT (HON. PROF. MURWIRA): I move that Orders of the Day, Nos. 1 to 36 be stood over until Order of the Day, No. 37 has been disposed of.
Motion put and agreed to.
CENTRE FOR EDUCATION, INNOVATION, RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT BILL [H. B. 1A, 2020]
Thirty Seventh Order read: Consideration Stage: Centre for Education, Innovation, Research and Development Bill [H. B. 1A, 2020].
Amendment to Clause 7 put and agreed to.
Bill, as amended, adopted.
Third Reading: With leave, forthwith.
CENTRE FOR EDUCATION, INNOVATION, RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT BILL [H. B. 1A, 2020]
THE MINISTER OF HIGHER AND TERTIARY EDUCATION, INNOVATION, SCIENCE AND DEVELOPMENT (HON. PROF. MURWIRA): Madam Speaker, I now move that the Bill be read the third time.
Motion put and agreed to.
Bill read the third time.
BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
HON. MUTAMBISI: Thank you Madam Speaker, I move that the House reverts to Order of the Da, No. 14.
HON. DR. KHUPE: I second.
Motion put and agreed to.
FIRST REPORT OF THE PUBLIC ACCOUNTS COMMITTEE ON THE ANALYSIS OF ZINARA’S AUDITED ACCOUNTS FOR THE YEARS 2017 AND 2018 AND THE 2017 FORENSIC AUDIT REPORT
Fourteenth Order read: Adjourned debate on motion on the First Report of the Public Accounts Committee on the Analysis of ZINARA’s Audited Accounts.
Question again proposed.
HON. MPARIWA: Thank you Madam Speaker for awarding me this opportunity to add my voice to the motion that was tabled as a Report by the Chairperson of the Public Accounts Committee, Hon. Dube. I realise that this report has been pending for quite some time without being tabled. I think even when it was tabled, you heard both sides of the House acknowledging that this is a good thing that this report finally had to see the doors of the National Assembly. You can see that 2017/2018, is when the Forensic Audit Report was carried out. I want to acknowledge the work that the Auditor General has done, not only on the ZINARA issues but also on other reports that she has produced for Parliament, Government and for the nation to see what is the pattern of activities in terms of financial handling in ministries and parastatals.
It took long for the Public Accounts Committee to come up with this report because the Forensic Audit Report was voluminous in nature, and in order to pick up some of the issues and also to have a series of sessions in terms of oral evidence with the officials from ZINARA of which most of the officials complied in coming up to the oral evidence session - it was not very easy for us to come up with this particular report because the issues that we unpacked in that report, some of them were shocking. Negligence in terms of just following the laid down procedures was not available for such an institution like ZINARA, with the volumes of amounts of work that we expect for the money that they received to be generated and also to develop the nation - it was like a shock. We were surprised that we could not find information in terms of how one would carry out activities. You will get to know where ladies were being sent to saloons and allowances being paid, the lack of accountability, the lack of conformity in terms of even the simplest document, the Public Finance Management Act for an institution like ZINARA Madam Speaker, it was really a surprise for the Committee.
Some of the avenues that we travelled in terms of getting information, one would not want to go through the same terrain in terms of conformity. We need to develop a culture of accountability. We need officials to be held to account for their actions and the longer we take in not actually holding them to account, more will be perpetrated in various institutions like ZINARA and other entities. It goes without saying that even in Ministries you would find that the Public Finance Management Act is actually being broken left, right and centre without even the basics being implemented. You really wonder on whether when one wakes up in the morning going to work, are they actually serious in terms of executing their responsibilities.
I speak this as one of the longest serving Members of the Public Accounts Committee and having chaired the Public Accounts Committee Madam Speaker, I was shocked and we realised that we needed to speed up in terms of bringing this report to Parliament and also highlight the issue. My further comment is that you will find that in committee reports, committees flag out issues but at the end of it all, if we do not implement the recommendations of committees that are highlighted in the reports, then we will not have done justice to the work that will have been done through a forensic audit. It is not an easy job, once the forensic audit has pointed on issues we need to follow up with implementation. After implementation, we need to review on whether those areas that have been highlighted by the forensic audit have been corrected. Without that, more will be happening. I worry Madam Speaker that the longer it takes, the more problems we are creating for ourselves.
My last point and humble submission Madam Speaker is for the House to quickly adopt this report on the ZINARA forensic audit in its entirety. Follow up needs to be done in terms of what is actually happening. Madam Speaker, even reports which are not part of ZINARA need follow up and there is need to implement recommendations of the committees. The Public Accounts Committee is a post audit committee which actually acts when things have already happened. So I do not see any problems in terms of implementation, because the quicker we get to the implementation, the better because those will be corrective measures in terms of getting things done.
I hope and trust that the Executive and the Minister responsible will be able to act and execute in terms of the recommendations that the Public Accounts Committee came up with after the forensic audit report. It is my humble submission and I pray that the recommendations of the Committee will see the light of the day. I thank you Madam Speaker.
HON. S. BANDA: Thank you Madam Speaker for giving me this opportunity to also contribute to this PAC domained motion which fills us with a lot of rage, particularly Hon. Speaker if you think of the money that went into the pockets of organised criminals who were taking money for hair dos. That money could have been put in to fix two or three potholes. I also want to add my voice to say this report should be adopted as soon as possible and we are glad that heads rolled at ZINARA. Unfortunately, prisons have not started taking in the chief culprits who were behind the manipulation of the Roads Act in ways and means that have not been seen before.
Hon. Speaker, all our roads in Zimbabwe, most of them are in a sorry state while some people who have been given the mandate to run the organisation were busy violating every principle of the Public Finance Management Act. Madam Speaker, I just want to say these people should be arrested. Let the structural issues …
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: You are no longer audible.
HON. S. BANDA: As has been reported by PAC let them be accountable. Otherwise I am totally emotional because this is disgusting and disturbing. I support that the report be adopted. Thank you.
HON. MUTAMBISI: I move that the debate do now adjourn.
HON. MPARIWA: I second.
Motion put and agreed to.
Debate to resume: Thursday, 6th May 2021.
BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
HON. MUTAMBISI: I move that Order of the Day, Number 15 on today’s Order Paper be stood over until Order of the Day, Number 16 has been disposed of.
HON. MPARIWA: I second.
Motion put and agreed to.
CONDOLENCES ON THE DEATH OF HON. ALUM MPOFU
Sixteenth Order read: Adjourned debate on motion on the untimely passing on of the late Member of Parliament for Mberengwa East, Hon Alum Mpofu.
Question again proposed.
*HON. NYABANI: Thank you Madam Speaker Ma’am. I stood to add a few words and pay my tribute to Hon. Allum Mpofu. Hon. Allum Mpofu was a hard worker. He was someone who was committed. We served in the same committee, which is the Media Committee and he also worked with the people of his constituency at heart. He wanted to contribute a lot to the laws that were being put in place in the media field. He was a hard working person. Even though he was not feeling well, he would attend so that there was a quorum. I can say where the Late Hon. Mpofu used to stay, even someone who is fit cannot walk such a distance but he walked from his constituency to work daily. He had his country at heart. Before his death, he had brought in a motion in this august House on patriotism. He was a very patriotic man and did not want people to look down upon themselves irrespective of their totem or origin. He wanted people to love their country and love themselves. He was a hard worker and I realised that during the short period that I knew him. He used to call me munin’ina. Everyone who is younger than him he called him by that and everyone who is older than him he called him mukoma.
He was a very humble man and I learnt a lot of good things from him. For you to be called a leader, you must be a person who listens to the concerns of people and have vision. He was in Parliament not because he just wants to be voted into power but he had the people at heart. He did a lot of programmes in his constituency, including the electrification of his constituency. Before his death, he had bought potato seeds for a project on potato farming. This showed that he had his constituency at heart. It is unfortunate that by the time we debate his motion on patriotism, he will not be here to witness it, but this motion will bring harmony and love amongst Zimbabweans. Zimbabweans must know that a person bathes his own body not the other person and he who sweeps the house is the owner not any other person. You do not expose your weakness to the public but you work hard towards correcting that. No one will do that for you if you are reluctant to do that yourself. I can reiterate again that the late Hon. Mpofu wanted unity and peace. He was very humble.
He has left a very big gap. If he was still alive, our country would move forward. If we go by his words, Zimbabwe will be able to move forward as a country. When we debate his motion, we must learn something from it. I want to thank you Madam Speaker for this opportunity that you have given me to debate on this motion.
*HON. T. MOYO: Thank you Madam Speaker for the opportunity that you have given me to add my views in commemorating our hero Hon. A. Mpofu. We were very grieved by the sudden and untimely death of the late Hon. Member. I used to call him nephew because his mother’s totem was moyo. What pained me the most is that the Late Hon. Mpofu was friendly to everybody, regardless of their political affiliation or religion. He worked very hard in Parliament and in the province. We used to meet in Gweru in PCC meetings. He was a very humble person and we lost a very dedicated person. He left behind the gospel of good work, and unity.
I do not remember seeing him arguing with people or saying hate words. He was a man of the people. The Media Committee lost a knowledgeable member and a hard worker. He once worked for ZBC as chief executive officer, and he also worked for SABC. He had valuable contribution and was of value to the Media Committee. I want to say son of the soil, may your soul rest in eternal peace. I thank you.
HON. MUTAMBISI: Madam President, I move that the debate do now adjourn.
HON. MPARIWA: I second.
Motion put and agreed to.
Debate to resume: Thursday 5th May, 2021.
On the motion of HON. MUTAMBISI seconded by HON. MPARIWA, the House adjourned at Twenty Five Minutes past Five o’ clock p.m.