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NATIONAL ASSEMBLY HANSARD 08 SEPTEMBER 2021 VOL 47 NO 82
PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE
Wednesday, 8th September, 2021
The National Assembly met at a Quarter-past Two O’clock p.m.
(THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER in the Chair)
ANNOUNCEMENTS BY THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER
RESUMPTION OF PHYSICAL MEETINGS
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: I have to inform the House that the Committee on Standing Rules and Orders met and resolved that physical meetings can now resume for fully vaccinated Members and support staff. The production of COVID-19 PCR test certificate is mandatory for unvaccinated Members and staff. From 13th September 202, security personnel at the entrance have been instructed to demand vaccination certificates or valid COVID-19 PCR test certificates issued 48 hours earlier and will be valid for each week. A maximum of 10 persons inclusive of Hon. Members, staff and invitees will be permitted to attend meetings physically in compliance with social distancing guidelines.
In the National Assembly and Senate Chambers, the maximum number of persons allowed will be 100 and 80 respectively including support staff. Committees are encouraged to use a hybrid of physical and virtual meetings. Chief Whips have to ensure compliance with the requirements of allowable Hon. Members. Committees will determine those to attend either physically or virtually. Those who will not be accommodated in Committee Rooms or Chambers will participate from their hotel rooms.
APOLOGIES RECEIVED FROM MINISTERS
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: I have a list of Hon.
Ministers and Deputy Ministers who have sought leave of absence from the House: Hon. Dr. C. D. G. N. Chiwenga, the Vice President and Minister of Health and Child Care; Hon. Dr. F. M. Shava,
Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Trade; Hon. C. N. G.
Mathema, Minister of Primary and Secondary Education; Hon. M. N.
Ndlovu, Minister of Environment, Climate Change, Tourism and
Hospitality Industry; Hon. Chitando, Minister of Mines and Mining
Development; Hon. J. Gumbo, Minister of State for Presidential
Affairs in Charge of Implementation and Evaluation; Hon. Chiduwa, Deputy Minister of Finance and Economic Development; Hon.
Garwe, Minister of National Housing and Social Amenities; Hon. Dr. Nzenza, Minister of Industry and Commerce; and Hon. Dr. A. Masuka, Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries, Water, Climate and Rural Resettlement. Hon. Muchinguri-Kashiri will join us later.
ORAL ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS WITHOUT NOTICE
+HON. E. NYATHI: Thank you Madam Speaker. My question is directed to the Minister of Home Affairs. We have got members of the Neighbourhood Watch Committee who normally investigate cases of stock-theft…
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon. Nyathi, you are not connected.
+HON. E. NYATHI: Thank you Hon. Speaker Ma’am. My
question is directed to the Minister of Home Affairs. My question is in connection with members of the Neighbourhood Watch Committee. The members of the Neighbourhood Watch Committee work very hard, especially in connection with cases of stock-theft in rural areas. What is the Government doing in terms of their remuneration? I thank you.
+THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF HOME AFFAIRS (HON.
MABOYI): Thank you Hon. Speaker Ma’am. I want to thank you
Hon. Nyathi for asking such an important question. It is very true that members of the Neighbourhood Watch Committee work very hard. These people are well known in the community and they work very hard, they work hand-in-glove with police officers. Some of them have got uniforms and when they perform their duties, they wear their uniforms – [AN HON. MEMBER: Inaudible interjection.] – It does not matter whether they are given uniforms or stolen uniforms – [Laughter.] – the most important thing is that they wear uniforms. They are given some few incentives which I am not going to say in this House. If she had come privately, I would have given her an answer on what happens with them. These members of the
Neighbourhood Watch Committee are very important in our districts.
I thank the Hon. Member for asking such a question.
+HON. MAPHOSA: On a point of order Hon. Speaker.
THE HON. SPEAKER: What is your point of order?
HON. MAPHOSA: My point of order Madam Speaker Ma’am
is: this is the House where laws are made and as Members of Parliament, we are representatives of the people. So if a question is asked, we expect ministers to be very open so that we understand and when we are asked in our communities, we know what to say. The Hon. Minister said if the question had come discretely or privately, she would have answered the question. What are we doing here
Madam Speaker Ma’am? Thank you.
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: I am sure all questions which are asked deserve to be answered here in the House – [HON.
MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] –
+HON. MABOYI: Thank you for your question. Yes, indeed they are given, but I do not have the figures because it is different, depending on when they were employed, their rank and what duties they do. A special constabulary is just like a constable. If you want the figures, I will bring them to you next week. On what you said, it is not that I wanted to give the answer in private because as Hon.
Members, you are allowed to know some of the things and if the Hon.
Member wanted to know more, I was going to tell her in private – [Laughter.] – but what you should understand is that we value and prioritise these members of the Neighbourhood Watch Committees.
Most of them stay close to us in rural areas and I will mostly touch on those who are in rural settlements. Whilst police officers stay five kilometers away from the rural areas, the Special Constabularies stay close to us and that is where we report our cases. I thank you Hon.
Member for bringing in such a question. Thank you.
HON. DR. LABODE: Thank you very much Hon. Speaker. I just wanted the Minister to clarify more on the neighbourhood watch teams – are they special ones registered with the Ministry of Home Affairs, those that are being paid? In my area in Bulawayo, we have the Neighbourhood Watch Committee which we pay as households and what I am asking is, are we able to apply for guns for our private Neighbourhood Watch Committee whom we are paying? Do we approach the Minister of Home Affairs and say this is our neighbourhood watch for this area and we begin to supplement their payments? How do we go about it?
HON. MABOYI: Thank you very much Madam Speaker Ma’am. Thank you very much Hon. Labode. Yes, your questions and suggestions have been recorded. I will come to you, probably next week so that I can also consult with my Minister. However, what I know is that in rural areas, those special constabularies are known by police stations because we cannot deploy people in uniform and we do not refer them to the police…
HON. T. MLISWA: Point of order Hon. Speaker Ma’am.
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: What is your point of
HON. T. MLISWA: Thank you Madam Speaker. The Hon.
Deputy Minister has done well to say she will consult. When you say
‘but’ and talk about the rural police officers, are they different from the urban police officers in terms of who they fall under? I think we need to be very careful, does she want to answer the question or she wants to go and consult and give us a comprehensive one? You are now responding to rural and what is the difference between urban and rural in terms of governance? They fall under one Ministry. I think it is best for her to come after consulting, with a comprehensive answer or else she will be prevaricating.
HON. MABOYI: Thank you very much Madam Speaker. Thank you very much Hon. Mliswa. I think I also mentioned the consultation part of it but what I know – because I come from a rural constituency; this is what I was trying to explain but we will do further consultations so that we can bring in correct and very effective information. I thank you.
HON. GABBUZA: Thank you Madam Speaker Ma’am. Now,
the Minister says they are paying a stipend. My question is, if the Ministry is prepared to pay them, why are they not able to buy them basic uniforms than to allow them to wear different shapes, sizes and colours of uniforms which gives a very bad image to the police force?
HON. MABOYI: Thank you Hon. Speaker Ma’am and thank
you Hon. Gabbuza. Yes, you are very correct. At times some wear shirts which are not very good but remember we had problems with our economy. We are going to address those issues so that they match the Ministry or the Police Force. Thank you.
(v) HON. M. DUBE: Thank you Madam Speaker Ma’am. My
question is directed to the Minister of Health and Child Care. What is the criteria used to recruit student nurses across the country? Thank you.
THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF HEALTH AND CHILD
CARE (HON. DR. MANGWIRO): Thank you Madam Speaker Ma’am. If people are going for any training, they must be categorised in a manner that they have the potential to start and finish the course. The policy is that there are certain subject requirements that we put across and advertise those. Also, we have certain age groups that we recruit as nurses or from different sexes and areas. The criteria is well set. Certain subjects which go hand in hand with the type of nursing one is going to follow are required and the likes of age groups as well is part of the selection system. I thank you.
(v) HON. M. DUBE: Thank you Madam Speaker Ma’am.
Taking note of Matabeleland North, for the past two years, a number of students applied but they were not recruited, especially at St. Lukes and Tsholotsho Training Centres. Surprisingly, people from other provinces are trained but after training they leave the province and return to their respective provinces, leaving the province with shortage of staff. I thank you.
HON. DR. MANGWIRO: Thank you Madam Speaker Ma’am.
I would like to thank the Hon. Member for the point he is putting across. In the past, students used to be recruited via application letters that would be sent direct to the Ministry or institutions that would be recruiting. There were problems because we heard that there were irregularities in certain schools in that people would be recruited from one person to 20. So what we did in the end was to computerise or make this selection; E-recruitment where students apply online and then the selection of the students and candidates is done by the machine. However, we are also finding that there are problems.
Students are too many to be trained for very few places.
As we go along, we are going to sit down and make sure that we have a quota system where each province produces a certain number and the district contributes by having its own people to the province where the selection is done there. We have realised that centrally, it is also not selecting from all provinces. For instance, he mentioned St. Lukes and Tsholotsho where not even one candidate has been accepted for an E-recruitment. This is what we are going to be doing but for now, the selection was done as per certain sequence that is tuned in by the selectors at Head office. However, we are going to try and correct that and put it into a quota system. Also, we will look at the age groups properly. I thank you.
+HON. MATHE: Thank you Madam Speaker Ma’am for
giving me this opportunity to pose my supplementary question. Why does the Minister not follow the devolution system which is in our country Zimbabwe, on recruiting nurses, to say that in all our 10 provinces in Zimbabwe, we have a certain percentage in each province of how many people are to be recruited? I thank you. HON. DR. MANGWIRO: I think I said it. Now, we are
going to decentralise the recruitment to provinces down to districts. Each province is going to be assigned its recruitment and its quota system. By quota system it means we are decentralising to provinces and districts so that people select. At least every district must have a child. Even if the places are 200, we will divide that 200 by our ten provinces and say 20 should come from Matabeleland North, 20 from Manicaland and so on. This is what I mean by quota system. This is what we are going to be doing in the future because we have seen all other systems are a bit unfair. I thank you Hon. Speaker.
+HON. L. SIBANDA: Thank you Madam Speaker. Since the
Minister said that we will now be recruiting nurses regionally, may we know the time frame when it is going to start. I thank you.
HON. DR. MANGWIRO: Thank you Madam Speaker
Ma’am. Thank you Hon. Sibanda. I cannot give you specific dates but this is how we are going to be operating. By regional, I think it is the same thing as provincial or quota system but we are still working on modalities. I cannot give you a specific date. Once it is there, I will come and present to you. Thank you.
HON. NDUNA: Thank you Madam Speaker Ma’am. The
information communication technology or the internet penetration rate in Europe is 92%, in Africa it is 52% and in Zimbabwe it is 15%. Would it please the Minister, without being archaic, moribund, rudimentary and medieval to continue to attach the e-application to the physical one? Where I come from, there is not that much penetration in terms of ICT. There are still people that are manually applying for positions and placements in the nursing sector. Would it please the Minister to continue also until a certain time to be physical in the nature of application presentation?
HON. DR. MANGWIRO: Thank you Madam Speaker
Ma’am. Thank you Hon. Nduna. By decentralisation, we mean we cannot apply what is happening in Harare to what is happening in Buhera. So, by decentralisation we are giving power to the provincial areas who in turn will also select their people from districts. A district I am sure is going to go through chiefs or whatever and the selection criteria will no longer be centralised. Our job is to gather information and students from the ten provinces. The selection criteria cannot remain “e” only like he rightly said. There are areas where in a district people know there is no connectivity and they use whatever criteria they want, be it handwritten tests to choose their candidates. What we want to do is to make sure that every district has got a chance to have someone apply and be accepted. Our job is to collect the numbers, whichever method they will have used to bring them to the school they are going to be trained. I thank you.
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order Hon. Members.
Hon. Mhona, the Minister of Transport and Infrastructural
Development has also sent an apology.
HON. GABBUZA: Thank you. I have a question to the
Minister of Health and Child Care Madam Speaker. It is plausible that Government announces figures of COVID deaths everyday. Is it not good policy also Madam Speaker that when they announce the figures on COVID deaths, they indicate to the nation how many of those deaths were already vaccinated so that we have confidence in the vaccines and that we will encourage people to go and get vaccinated if indeed the vaccines are effective. We can measure the efficacy of the vaccines through that.
THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF HEALTH AND CHILD
CARE (HON. DR. MANGWIRO): Thank you Hon. Speaker
Ma’am. Thank you Hon. Gabbuza. Definitely, it is important that people get to know who was not vaccinated. Not only that, those with underlying conditions, vaccinated and unvaccinated – [HON. TOFFA:
The Minister is not connected.] -
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: You are not connected
HON. DR. MANGWIRO: Thank you. I was saying in our
statistics collection, we do not want only to announce or make known to the public, the number of people who have been vaccinated who have succumbed. We also want to extend further to say, those who have succumbed to COVID-19, did they have other underlying conditions like hypertension, diabetes, heart failure, cancer, HIV, et cetera. It is important because already we have done a study of people who have died. Studies were done on about 207 of them by Prof. Makunike and others. We found that 90% of those who died were unvaccinated. It is data that is already there in the domain. What the Hon. Member is suggesting that a daily report be made, definitely is something that is a good policy which we are going to try and implement as soon as possible. I thank you.
HON. T. MLISWA: Thank you Madam Speaker. This leads to the question which Government and Hon. Minister Ziyambi mentioned that if you are not vaccinated as a Government worker, you will not get a job. Now the statistics from the expert, the renowned surgeon says that people are dying because they are vaccinated. Why would Government then say – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – No. 90% died because they were not vaccinated. My point is this 90% - [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – I am the one asking the question. Do you want to ask it on my behalf?
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order Hon. Members.
HON. T. MLISWA: Madam Speaker, my point and my
question is, the Minister has just alluded to the point that 90% of the people who died were unvaccinated, the question therefore which I am now asking the Minister is that, with the Government policy of saying that people who are not vaccinated must not work for Government. How safe are we with that leading to the question that if you are vaccinated do you not die? The question here is that if you are vaccinated do you not die because somebody will be fired for not being vaccinated but somebody vaccinated again, works and they die. When you are vaccinated, are you guaranteed life? My question is simple Hon. Minister.
HON. DR. MANGWIRO: Thank you Hon. Speaker Ma’am. I
would like to thank Hon. Mliswa for that view. I repeat that out of the 207 people who died and postmortems, blood tests and fluid tests were done, 90% of them were unvaccinated. Of course, none of us here knows when they are going to die. What we are doing right now is what we know to prevent unnecessary deaths due to COVID. That is why we vaccinate people. It does not guarantee eternity.
So, it is important that every Zimbabwean’s duty is to prevent or protect every citizen, be it your family, workmate, school mates from getting this infection, the Sars-cov-2, the Coronavirus disease. Vaccination for now is the way to go just like we do with our children for diseases like polio, diphtheria and tetanus, getting vaccinations for our babies, but still a baby can die after a year and even after vaccination. I thank you Hon. Speaker Ma’am.
(v)HON. TOFFA: Thank you Madam Speaker. Thank you Hon.
Minister for the information about the 90% that have died not having been vaccinated. How does that compare because only 10% of the nation has been vaccinated and you are talking about 90%? This is 90% of what and what percentage of the vaccinated has died? Thank you.
HON. DR. MANGWIRO: I will try to answer her question.
Thank you Hon. Toffa. The population of Zimbabwe – we said we are aiming towards herd immunity. It cannot happen overnight. At one point it shall be 10% of the population vaccinated and 20% until we reach the herd immunity. The vaccines have been bought and they are in place. We will continue to vaccinate until we get the herd immunity, which is the safe number where we say people have been vaccinated to prevent passing on of the virus to others.
Vaccination still remains the same and the percentage of the people who have been vaccinated right away and off the cuff, it is difficult. What I know is that we are going towards getting what we call herd immunity. Herd immunity does not say everyone is vaccinated. We have vaccinated enough numbers such that we can part the cycle of transmission. There are people who may not be vaccinated but it does not follow that they are all going to be vaccinated. We are just vaccinating enough people to say the passing on of the virus has been minimised to a level where it has become safe for us to open and run the economy properly. I thank you.
HON. MARKHAM: Thank you Madam Speaker. Pertaining to
vaccinations, could the Minister explain how undocumented people are getting vaccinated because I am being inundated with people who are being turned away from vaccination centres because they have no documents? I thank you.
HON. DR. MANGWIRO: Thank you Hon. Speaker. We have
ways of identifying each other in Zimbabwe. If a person is from a certain area, we do not want them to be turned away. There must be a way of identifying them. If he is coming from high density or low density suburbs, surely there is a councillor or someone who can witness that they are from the village or if it is in rural areas, there are so many ways of identifying each other. We do not necessarily want to have someone chased away and yet you know who he is. This disease is serious and so we want every Zimbabwean to be vaccinated. We try by all means to make sure that the vaccination is done. We do not want anyone turned away because today he is not carrying an I. D. card yet he has come with the wife or husband who can correctly identify them. We definitely want us to get vaccinated and we try as much as possible, where there is a doubt, to get assistance and make sure that everyone gets vaccinated without problems. I thank you.
HON. NDUNA: Thank you Madam Speaker Ma’am and thank
you Hon. Minister for the incisive answer. Seeing that His Excellency has proclaimed the coming down of Level 4 to Level 2 in terms of the lockdown, would it please the Minister to weekly give this House an update in terms of us achieving herd immunity he had proposed, of vaccinating 60% of the population as to how far we are now and how far we will be then? I thank you.
HON. DR. MANGWIRO: Thank you Hon. Nduna. It will be
done. Thank you.
HON. CHINHAMO-MASANGO: Thank you Hon. Speaker
Ma’am. My question is directed to the Minister of Lands and seeing that he is not around, I will redirect the question to the Leader of the House. What is Government policy on those people who were left staying at farm compounds when the white settlers left? Are they allowed to stay on or should they be evicted from the compounds? If they are allowed to stay on, is it a must for them to work for the farmer who now owns the farm? I thank you.
THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND
PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): Thank you
Madam Speaker. If you are offered an offer letter for land and part of the farm house belongs to you, it means that you are the one who is in control of that particular piece of land. I thank you.
*HON. NDUNA: Thank you Madam Speaker Ma’am. My
question is directed to the Minister of Local Government, Hon. July Moyo. What is the Government plans to make sure that there is a balance in urban and rural dwellers? What are the plans so that there is equilibrium in both urban and rural areas according to Section 72 of our Constitution which allows those in rural areas to be given land without paying anything? In peri-urban areas, we are seeing people buying land. What is the Government planning to do to redress the situation for this to apply in both rural and peri-urban areas?
*THE MINISTER OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT AND
PUBLIC WORKS (HON. J. MOYO): Thank you Madam Speaker,
I want to thank Hon. Nduna for the question. This is constitutional, in urban areas when you build your own house, your industry or business centre, you are given title deeds. This means that you have been given ownership indefinitely. However, in rural areas, the Constitution clearly spells out that if you are allocated such land, it remains State land, so you will be renting. You only get a lease; you continue paying to the Government, that is the difference. If you want to grow vegetables in a small garden after buying land, you are allowed to do so. Thank you Madam Speaker.
*HON. NDUNA: Thank you Madam Speaker Ma’am.
Looking at the new Constitution, particularly Section 72 (c) that was mentioned by the Hon Minister, it clearly spells out that black people should be empowered with land so that they have access to land in their own country which was colonised by white people without getting any compensation. That is why in rural areas, people are getting A1 farms without paying anything.
However, in peri-urban areas, they are allowed to occupy land after paying. Is that correct that urban dwellers continue getting land the way they are being settled according to the Section 205 (3) (c) of the Urban Councils Act? This should be aligned to the Constitution which is Section 62 of the Constitution which says that the Urban
Councils Act should be discarded if it is not aligned to the
Constitution. I thank you.
*HON. J. MOYO: Thank you Madam Speaker, if land is in the
rural areas and being referred to as agricultural land, for that land to be changed to peri-urban land, it is important that Government looks at the issue of expansion and consult the Minister of Lands for the transfer of the agricultural land to urban land. Then there is need for planning where surveys are going to be carried out which will result in Government giving permission for the allocation of title deeds. However, if this land is in the rural areas then there is no need for that survey, it remains as agricultural land. Our Constitution clearly spells out that agricultural land is not sold but urban land is sold. So there is no change in the Urban Councils Act. It is important to understand the difference between agricultural land and urban land.
I thank you.
HON. T. MLISWA: My question is directed to the Minister of Home Affairs. Last week, nine war veterans were arrested, kept inside for 48 hours, then released and never went to court because when you are detained, you have to go to court, they did not go to court. Was that not an abuse of the institution and human rights violation because they did not end up in court at all?
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon. Mliswa, issues
pertaining to war veterans, the Hon. Minister of Water Veterans is going to give a Ministerial Statement. I think that is when you can ask your question.
HON. T. MLISWA: Madam Speaker, this is about the law,
this is about the Police - it is not about the welfare of the war veterans. I am talking about the war veterans who were arrested by the Police, detained for 48 hours, released but did not go to court. They never went to court but they were released. Is that the new way...
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: I hear you Hon. Mliswa.
THE MINISTER OF HOME AFFAIRS AND CULTURAL
HERITAGE (HON. KAZEMBE): I would like to thank the Hon.
Member for such a pertinent question, especially given that it pertains to our war veterans who we respect so much.
If I got the question very well, the Hon. Member is saying why were they arrested and then released without being taken to court. He is saying, is that not abuse of office or violation of human rights. This is very lawful and constitutional that a person can be arrested and be released without being taken to court. I will refer the Hon. Member to
Section 50 (2), “Any person who is arrested or detained (a) for the purpose of bringing him or her before a court or (b) for an alleged offence and who is not released, must be brought before a court as soon as possible in any event not later than 48 hours”. I thank you Madam Speaker Maam.
HON. T. MLISWA: Madam Speaker, the Minister is well
within his jurisdiction to cite that in the Constitution. The Constitution that he spoke about, talks about somebody being detained for 48 hours and within that time they must be taken to court. That is what it says. The reason why that provision is there is so that people are not detained for more than 48 hours but again, you can be detained for a day and go to court. The question here is; why were they detained and not go to court because within 48 hours, you must go to court. They did not go to court. This is the question I am asking the Minister because this constitutional issue, unfortunately Hon. Ziyambi told him without studying. Hon. Kazembe is very smart but the issue here is very clear. I know this because I have been arrested enough times to understand how this works. Forty eight hours you must go to court. If you have no case, you are not supposed to be arrested. What was the point of arresting them and not taking them to court?
Hon. B. Dube having been recording a video of Hon. T. Mliswa whilst debating.
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order Hon. Mliswa! Hon.
Dube, what you are doing is wrong.
HON. B. DUBE: My apologies.
HON. T. MLISWA: Madam Speaker, this Second Republic has gone into overdrive in the abuse of human rights and persecution. They must know that this is the reason why the late former President R.G. Mugabe ended up showing the exit because of not respecting the rule of law...
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon Mliswa, please ask
HON. T. MLISWA: These arrests are personal. They have nothing to do with the law. They are political arrests which we at Parliament must protect the people from being harassed by institutions which are personalised and not going with the laws of the country. The question still remains – why arrest people for 48 hours, detain them and release them at night?
HON. KAZEMBE: I feel for the Hon. Member. He is so emotional because it involves our war veterans....
HON. T. MLISWA: I think the Hon. Minister is well dressed and his utterances do not suit his dressing at all. I am passionate. He should replace the word ‘emotional’ with ‘passion’. Every day when I am in Parliament, I am like that. This is not new. I do not know when he last came to Parliament. I am always like this - charged up.
That is me. Temba Mliswa is always charged up. This is me.
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon. Mliswa, may you
take your seat.
HON. KAZEMBE: I will replace emotional with passionate. I will read another section of the Constitution which explains what the Hon. Member is saying. I will start with the one that I read first for clarity and avoidance of doubt and then go to the next one. These two are different but related – “Any person who is arrested or detained (a) for the purpose of bringing him or her before a court or (b) for an alleged offence and who is not released must be brought before a court as soon as possible in any event not later than 48 hours” after the arrest took place or the detention began as the case may be, whether or not the period ends on a Saturday, Sunday or a public holiday. That is what I was referring to in the first instance, which is what happened. So there was no abuse of human rights.
Now, we go to the next one which the Hon. Member was referring to “Any person who is not brought to court within a 48 hour period referred to in subsection (2) must be released immediately unless their detention has earlier been extended by a competent court”. These people were released immediately – [HON. T.
MLISWA: Inaudible interjection.] –
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order Hon. Mliswa, order
(v)*HON. SHONGEDZA: My question goes to the Minister of
Information Communication Technology, Postal and Courier Services. What is Government policy regarding those who peddle false news on social media?
THE MINISTER OF INFORMATION
COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGY, POSTAL AND COURIER SERVICES (HON. DR. MUSWERE): I would like to
thank the Hon. Member for asking such an important question on peddling of false news on social media regarding defamation of character. At the same time, I am sure the Hon. Member should be aware that the Cyber and Data Protection Bill was recently in the
National Assembly where it was approved. It has got Sections and Clauses which will certainly be dealing with penalties related to people who transmit false messages. For now it can certainly be heardd in the courts of law in terms of the defamation legislation.
HON. MATHE: Thank you Madam Speaker. How possible is
it for one to make a follow up as to where these false messages are coming from because we have continued to face challenges with regards to false information that is coming through from people. I thank you.
HON. DR. MUSWERE: It is very possible to identify the source of the communication which will be defaming a particular individual using ICT. I thank you.
HON. NDUNA: Thank you Madam Speaker Maam. In political
circles we have seen some protagonists and some political actors using ghost accounts to attack well meaning political players on social media. Does the Hon. Minister now have the gadgets to sniff out the ghost accounts that are being utilised to antagonize and to criminalise the well meaning internet and social media players?
HON. DR. MUSWERE: I would like to thank the Hon.
Member for the question. The whole idea of bringing the Cyber and Data Protection Bill is to ensure that there is a safe and secure technological advancement and utilisation of ICT’s. With the coming in of this Bill which awaits the His Excellency’s assent, we will now be in a position to arrest and also to charge any individual who is involved in the abuse of the network and who is also involved in identity theft. So the Cyber and Data Protection Bill address all those concerns. I thank you.
HON. MAPHOSA: My question is directed to the Minister of Women’s Affairs, Community, Small and Medium Enterprises. What is the Government doing to assist thousands of informal traders who have been affected by the demolition and natural disasters that befell them?
THE MINISTER OF WOMEN’S AFFAIRS,
COMMUNITY, SMALL AND MEDIUM ENTERPRISES
DEVBELOPMENT (HON. DR. S. NYONI): I would like to thank the Hon. Member for a very important question. Government policy is to ensure that anyone doing business, including the informal sector is provided for in terms of facilitating through Local Government, for them to have land or for Local Government to provide work space.
Unfortunately, there has been a lot of informalisation in which many of people have gone to sell in undesignated areas. As I speak, the Ministry has a policy that was passed last year to make sure that provision of work space for SMS’s is prioritised so that we coordinate all the ministries concerned.
We are also working on a paper that we are going to mobilise other Ministries to ensure that SME’s are provided for work space.
Needless to say, it is very important that we take care of them, especially that the rains are coming, to ensure that they are housed somewhere where they can market or produce in a dignified way.
However, the provision of work space is not necessarily the responsibility of the Ministry of SME’s, there are stakeholders that are part of us and we are coordinating so that the situation improves.
I thank you.
HON. MAPHOSA: The question was partially answered. I
appreciate what you are doing in terms of infrastructure but the part that I talked about. Let us say they are in a designated place that is formal and has got all the papers but they have been affected. For example what happened in Karoi last week where everything was burnt off, as a ministry do you have provision that then protects those people to go back to their feet because they would have been surviving through that? If everything has been destroyed by fire, the rains or something else, what do you do as a Ministry responsible for them?
HON. DR. S. NYONI: Thank you Hon. Speaker. That is regrettable that a lot of SME’s are so crowded and they end up having fires in their premises. We are encouraging SME’s to take insurance policies so that if something like that happens the insurance can also assist them. However, that not being the case for most of them, we encourage the local authorities to work speedily to ensure that they are assisted. If they would have had the infrastructure built by themselves, we encourage them to go to those that can help them. For instance, SMEDCO can assist and also the Women’s Bank can assist them to rejuvenate their premises.
HON. DR. KHUPE: Thank you Madam Speaker. Now that the
Minister referred to the Women’s Bank, I would like to say to the
Minister, the Women’s Bank that we envisaged is the Women’s Bank which was going to be in line with Grameen Bank where interest rates were going to be low, where repayment periods were going to be longer and where the bank was supposed to be free from collateral such that they do not demand collateral in the traditional sense, but rather harness the trustworthiness of women as an asset in business. What is happening right now is that women are not able to access those loans like what the Hon. Member said, that if their goods are destroyed by fire or by rain, they do not have anywhere to go so that they replace those goods. So the Minister said there is a
Women’s Bank and my question is; the Women’s Bank that is in existence right now is not what we were looking forward to. What is it that they are doing in making sure that women have access to cheap loans so that they are able to replenish their goods in the event that their goods are destroyed through fire and through rain? I thank you.
THE MINISTER OF WOMEN’S AFFAIRS,
COMMUNITY, SMALL AND MEDIUM ENTERPRISES
DEVELOPMENT (HON. DR. S. NYONI): First of all, let me assure her that my Ministry learnt from the Grameen Bank but we are not Grameen Bank. We came back and we crafted a bank that was going to be suitable for Zimbabwe’s environment, not Bangladesh environment.
To start with, the bank is called Microfinance Women’s Bank. Therefore, it uses the microfinance rules that are pertaining in the country. Having said that, it is not completely true to say women are not accessing funding. It could be true for some but not for all. So let me let this House also know that the Women’s Bank has got different products and one of the products that it has is group lending or that fostered solidarity economy.
We are aware that women are vulnerable and women are not all of the same level. When you really talk of vulnerable people at the bottom of the economic pyramid, women form the majority and therefore there is a product within the Women’s Bank that says women can come together in groups of three up to 10 and then they borrow guaranteeing each other. In that way, you do not need any security at all.
So I think really I would like the Hon. Member to go into all the banks in this country and see how much those banks have lent to
SMEs and to the informal sector and how much the Women’s Bank has done. It is being run by a woman and in my opinion, she is doing a sterling job. So far since we opened, over 87 000 projects have been funded by the bank and I would like the Hon. Member to compare that figure with what other banks have delivered. I think these groups of women have really done their best. Let us support them for what they have done and if there are any specific cases that the Hon. Member knows, if it is brought to their attention and the attention of the Ministry, we always try to do our best to solve any challenges that our clients face. I thank you.
(v)HON. HAMAUSWA: On a point of order Madam Speaker.
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: What is your point of
(v)HON. HAMAUSWA: My point of order Madam Speaker is that, the question on the demolition of work spaces for SMEs was also asked last week but it seems as if there is no sufficient answer to the question that Hon. Members are getting from the people they are representing. I therefore suggest that the Minister brings in a
Ministerial Statement that is comprehensive.
If you check on what the Minister has said, she gave a blanket overview of how many accounts were opened, but the capacity of women to pay back the loans is not clarified. The number of work spaces that have been created so far is not clarified. We need the Minister to give us a Ministerial Statement especially that we are going to be in the budget formulation process so that the Hon. Members will be able to push for an adequate allocation that will cover for proper working spaces that are adequate for the informal sector because as we speak, people continue to lose their resources because their work spaces are being demolished, their products are being taken by police including the municipality police.
So, I therefore request for a Ministerial Statement that will really inform this House how far the Ministry has gone in terms of preparing proper work spaces for the informal sector.
HON. DR. S. NYONI: I am sorry, I could not hear most of what he said.
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: He was asking if you can
bring a comprehensive Ministerial Statement.
HON. DR. S. NYONI: Yes, I will really appreciate that because the issue of SME workspace is something that concerns the Ministry very deeply. So if this House can support us to ensure that programme is done and that the SMEs are taken care of because they are contributing so much to this economy yet one of their major challenges is workspace, I will do so Madam Speaker.
HON. T. MLISWA: On a point of order Madam Speaker. I am sitting there hurt. Why am I hurt? She answered so well on everything she was asked but the women did not clap for her and yet they always talk about not being supported. A colleague woman Minister answered so well and you did not clap. It was the men who clapped and now you say you did. Do not be jealous of her, she did a good job and with that may you clap for her? All of you clap for her.
Well done, well done
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Thank you Hon. Mliswa
(v)HON. PETER MOYO: On a point of order Madam Speaker.
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: What is your point of
(v)HON. PETER MOYO: Thank you Madam Speaker. My
point of order is that when the Minister answered the question from Hon. Dr. Khupe about issues of collateral, she was not specific. We have got evidence that this Ministry wants collateral which most of the women cannot get. I have so many examples in my constituency, of people who were denied the benefit of this money. I do not even know the purpose of this bank because Madam Speaker, when she says there were 87 000 accounts that were opened, it then means that there is a lot of corruption in that Women’s Bank because I do not know who they are giving this money to. I propose that the Auditor-
General do a forensic audit in the Women’s Bank because most of the women in this country have not benefited.
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon. Moyo, the Minister
said 87 000 not 87 and the Minister promised to bring a Ministerial Statement to the House. I think that is when you can ask your questions and you will be answered.
HON. MUTAMBISI: My question is directed to the Minister of Women Affairs, Community, Small and Medium Enterprises Development. Covid-19 has brought about an increase in the cases of gender based violence globally and in Zimbabwe. What interventions has Government put in place to deal with this issue?
THE MINISTER OF WOMEN AFFAIRS, COMMUNITY,
SMALL AND MEDIUM ENTERPRISES DEVELOPMENT
(HON. DR. S. NYONI). Hon. Speaker Ma’am, I would like to thank the Member for a very pertinent question. Gender based violence has become another pandemic. It is true especially on the part of women facing violent encounters in their families. This is not just in the urban areas. We are now beginning to have a lot of cases in the rural areas, as far afield as Nkayi North where you have a woman phoning that the man is about to kill her. Fortunately, the Ministry, working together with partners have developed safe homes, one-stop-centres and I am sure you are aware that the First Lady has toll free lines where women can call in and get assistance. We are working with civil society, UN bodies, other Government Ministries as well as communities to stop this pandemic. However, the important thing is that we need to come together and help each other to solve our problems amicably because violence is not necessarily a solution. Unless we learn to listen to each other and also to solve the problems amicably, this pandemic will continue. It is not just the domestic violence but it is also the drug and alcohol abuse by our young people, especially at growth points. I think as a nation, we need to take a new look on how we mend our social fabric which is breaking. The beating of women is really a symptom of a deeper problem than we realise. I think that we need to look at a wider context of the causes of this pandemic and then see how we deal with the causes as well as attend to those that survive the domestic violence.
HON. T. MLISWA: Madam Speaker, I want to thank the Minister for that response but she did not address the men who are being beaten up and shouted at because abuse is not only physical. I speak on behalf of most married men – I am not married; these men fear to speak because if they utter a word attacking a woman, they will be in trouble at home. At least I do not have a wife so I am speaking on behalf of all the men. These men you see wearing suits are under siege and they are in trouble. So what are you doing to ensure that they have freedom in their own way and carry on with their lives without abuse?
HON. DR. S. NYONI: I think that is a very important question. The Hon. Member is correct because when we say gender based violence, we do not just speak of women but both genders - men and women. He is right and I am glad that some men have now formed anorganisation to defend each other. It is serious.
HON. MBONDIAH: On a point of order Madam Speaker, can
Hon. Members please mute their gadgets so we can hear clearly.
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Hon. Members, may you
please mute your gadgets so that we can adequately hear the Minister in silence.
HON. DR. S. NYONI: Thank you Madam Speaker. I think this is a serious problem that is affecting society across gender, so we need to look at both men and women and defend both. I thank the Hon. Member for the question.
*HON. P. ZHOU: I want to add my voice to the issue of domestic violence in the rural areas, especially in areas that are sparsely populated. I heard the plans that you put in place but I need to know if it is possible to put other plans in place so that those in the surrounding communities can quickly assist rather than wait to get assistance from the mentioned centres. In Rural areas, are there any plans to come up with GBV groups which can quickly assist both men and women who will be in trouble?
HON. DR. S. NYONI: The Hon Member has brought a very important issue about women and men that are in remote areas. Let me assure her that funds permitting, we want to be available all over the country but because we are working with other stakeholders such as Musasa and others that are involved in this issue. We are in remote areas as well. Let me give the Hon. Member an example which I was not aware how strong it was until last week when I got a call from Sembewule, which is bordering Silobela and Nkayi. This woman was being beaten and the father called from South Africa. I called Msasa Project in Harare and my officials in Nkayi, together within a day they had taken that woman to the police in Nkayi. They had hired a car to assist that woman. So, the networks that the Ministry has built seem to be working and they are efficient. They are attending to even the remotest places in our country. I would like Hon. Members to be aware of that. If there are any cases, please contact the Ministry or Msasa Project or the nearest police. The networks are wired to respond to the cases. I thank you.
*HON. RAIDZA: My question is directed to the Minister of Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage. Is there a law that permits or does not permit people or communities to build graves for their relatives who died during the liberation struggle and were buried in mass graves?
*THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF HOME AFFAIRS AND CULTURAL HERITAGE (HON. MAVHUNGA-MABOYI): I
did not quite get the question. Are these mass graves in the forest and they now want to bring them to the community graveyard? *HON. RAIDZA: We are referring to construction of graves
that exist already so that they are well kept.
*HON. MAVHUNGA-MABOYI: You can construct the
graves. It is allowed even if they are for foreigners, you can build the graves.
HON. MUSIKAVANHU: My supplementary question to the
Deputy Minister of Home Affairs is; is there a policy in place to turn these areas where we have these heroes who are lying out there in undesignated spaces which are not your conventional heroes acres to have some shrine or symbol built in addition to the construction of proper graves as cited by Hon. Raidza? What is the Government policy on constructing symbols at sites which are not designated heroes shrines where war veterans were buried during the liberation struggle?
HON. MAVHUNGA-MABOYI: I do not know about the fund
but I think we can make some enquiries whether we can be given that fund to do that. I do not know whether he is specifically talking about Mozambique and Zambia. If that is the case, we have a policy and people do go there to put flowers. We have not built wonderful places but we have those.
HON. GABBUZA: The Minister says it is allowed to build on mass graves, especially liberation war hero mass graves. Now, those are heritage sites and if we just allow anybody to build willy-nilly, how does the Ministry capture that historical information which is very important for our history and for the country if they just allow anybody to build or put shrines on mass graves? These are not anybody’s graves but they are for the whole nation. How do they capture that information?
HON. MAVHUNGA-MABOYI: No, I do not think that I
heard of mass graves. The Hon. Member who asked this question did not talk of mass graves, no. I thought those were individual graves –
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Hon. Minister, I think this
was the initial question from Hon. Raidza on mass graves.
HON. MAVHUNGA-MABOYI: Ooh, so I did not take the
question properly probably but the mass graves fall under Heritage and no individual can go and build on those mass graves. I thought he was referring to individual graves. There is a policy on that one and they should report on anything like that because the Government might not know that there is this mass grave or the Ministry as such because the mass graves are usually put under the Ministry of Home Affairs. So, I am sorry because I did not get the question.
HON. B. DUBE: My question goes to the Minister of Justice. What is the Government policy on the detention without trial, of persons who are deaf or mute or both, taking into account that the High Court declared the provision that was previously being used as unconstitutional but six months down the line nothing has been done to correct or align that? It is actually eleven (11) months without the correction. So, my point is as of now, what is the Government’s policy on detention of these people with disabilities, especially the deaf or mute where they are detained for long whilst waiting for the arrival of a sign language person or interpreter? Thank you.
THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): Thank you
Madam Speaker Ma’am. Madam Speaker, in terms of our laws, court judgments are used as precedents. So, if we have a court judgment that proclaims what must be done, we follow it. However, we are in the process, it has been slow because of COVID and most of our experienced drafters have left. We are in the process of reviewing our law so that we can take into consideration what he said. It is a very valid point.
It also is the same issue with mental patients. They are just detained until a Mental Board comes to look into their issue. So, those are the issues that we are saying they are unconstitutional. Let us review our laws with a view of correcting and aligning with what the courts have said. The problem that we have had lately is we have a shortage of law officers and also COVID affected our work a lot. I thank you.
HON. B. DUBE: Madam Speaker, my supplementary question
is, the High Court suspended its declaration of constitutionality for six months to allow the Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary
Affairs to remove the unconstitutional clauses but the challenge is, it seems both the amendment and implementation have not been done. What is the Ministry doing to make sure that officers do not continue to act unlawfully now that we know instead of continuing to have these people practicing these unlawful detentions whilst waiting for the constitutional amendment, which you rightfully said that you agree with the court’s decision and are going to amend.
HON. ZIYAMBI: Thank you Madam Speaker Ma’am.
Madam Speaker, I will look into that with a view of ensuring that we expedite the legislative process. I thank you.
(v)*HON. CHITURA: Thank you Madam Speaker. My
question is directed to the Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water, Climate and Rural Resettlement, Hon. Dr. Masuka. Government stated that people who are supposed to be given inputs from Command Agriculture are supposed to have five hectares and above. What about those who have two to four hectares?
*THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND
PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): Thank you
Madam Speaker. Command Agriculture is for big farmers and small scale farmers will be catered for under the Presidential Input Scheme because Command Agriculture is meant for those farmers who have big farms. I thank you.
(v)*HON. CHITURA: I am saying two to four hectares and Government is giving one bag of D, a bag of AN and a small amount of seed…
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER (HON. MAVETERA):
Order, order Hon. Members! You may proceed Hon. Chitura.
(v)*HON. CHITURA: A bag of AN and a small amount of
seed, is that enough? What is happening is those small farmers are harvesting more than the big farmers. I think they should also consider small scale farmers for loans.
*HON. ZIYAMBI: Thank you Madam Speaker. Farming
experts are encouraging farmers to use small space so that they get more harvest than farming on big lands and get small harvest. Those with small fields are supposed to add their hectarage and use Pfumvudza so that they can get huge harvest. Government is encouraging small scale farmers to join Pfumvudza which is supported by Government but those who want to farm on big land should join Command Agriculture. I thank you.
(v)HON. G. DUBE: My question is directed to the Minister of Primary and Secondary Education. Is it Government policy or it is within the administration of the Ministry to underpay their teachers and other civil servants in the Ministry as alluded to by the Permanent Secretary that teachers must go and borrow money in order to return to their respective schools? If not, then why would a respective Ministry issue such kind of statement on national television and other media houses? Can the Hon. Minister clarify why that is so? Thank you Madam Speaker.
THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF PRIMARY AND
SECONDARY EDUCATION (HON. E. MOYO): Thank you very
much Madam Speaker. First of all, it is not Government policy to underpay people but I will not delve into details about that because that falls under the purview of a different organ of Government. Coming to the issue about an official who said something, unfortunately, I did not pick it up and I may not make a comment regarding that.
Questions Without Notice were interrupted by THE
TEMPORARY SPEAKER in terms of Standing Order Number 67. (v)HON. G. DUBE: I was not answered Madam Speaker, unfortunately or was it deliberate?
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Hon. Dube, it is not
deliberate. You had asked the issue of a policy and the Hon. Minister said there is no policy like that. Because of that and unfortunately, our time got expired because he had already responded to what you had asked.
(v)HON. G. DUBE: He did not answer the second part of the question because this was on national television. If he is deliberately ignoring public concerns, then that is of concern to everybody.
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Which was the second part
that you think was not responded to?
(v)HON. G. DUBE: I said if it is not a policy, why would a permanent secretary under his office issue such kind of a statement on the national television and he did not answer that.
HON. E. MOYO: Thank you Madam Speaker. I think I did
respond to that. I said, unfortunately I did not see the clip that he is referring to. If that statement was made by an official in the Ministry and I did not pick it up, it might be unfair for me to make a comment regarding that. I thank you.
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: You heard your response
(v)HON. G. DUBE: Well, the Minister chooses to be evasive, that is fine for progress sake but that is not right.
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Thank you.
(v)HON. NDEBELE: On a point of order Madam Speaker.
Regarding the second part of Hon. Dube’s question, it is common cause that such a statement was uttered on national television less than 24 hours ago. I believe it is not in good terms for the Minister to hide behind a finger. It is well known to everyone. If you allow for that to happen, you are then fuelling sentiments that our Ministers live in Dubai, they only fly into the country on Wednesdays.
HON. TOGAREPI: On a point of order Madam Speaker.
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Order Hon. Togarepi.
Before I indulge the Hon. Chief Whip, my ruling to that Hon. Ndebele is, I am sure we have gone beyond that now. We are now on Questions with Notice. I am sure you can put it in writing.
HON. TOGAREPI: Thank you Madam Speaker. I think with your ruling, I am answered because we cannot waste an important process because people just want to raise issues. This is past the time given to us, let us proceed with work.
(v)HON. NDEBELE: We have a constituency of teachers that await a response from the Minister. It is not enough for the Deputy Minister to say he did not pick it up. An Hon. Member of the House picked it up, I picked it up as well and so did several Members in this House.
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Order Hon. Ndebele. I hear
you. This is the issue; whenever Ministers come here, they are supposed to be representing that they are ministers too. So when they speak, they speak in that capacity. Now, it will be your word against theirs. I am sure the Hon. Minister has been honest enough to say that he was not privy to such information and he gave his position regarding that. So I am sure that has been adequately answered and responded to. If there is any query beyond that, it would be good for you to put it in writing or maybe for us to then be having this question, we know that we are supposed to be debating in the House.
As far as I am concerned, I am saying the Hon. Deputy Minister was saying he was not privy to that. It is unfortunate that we cannot force him to be agreeing to something that he did not see. Again, the Hon. Minister was also clear that he was speaking based on what he thinks pertaining that issue. He was speaking in his capacity as Deputy Minister for Primary and Secondary Education. – [HON. NDEBELE:
Inaudible interjection.] – Order Hon. Ndebele. You are out of order.
ORAL ANSWER TO QUESTION WITH NOTICE
INSTALLATION OF MOBILE NETWORK TRANSMITTERS IN
WARD 12 AT MUDZIMU BUSINESS CENTRE IN HURUNGWE
- HON. KASHIRI asked the Minister of Information Communication Technology, Postal and Courier Services to inform the House when the Ministry will install mobile network transmitters in Ward 12, at Mudzimu Business Centre, Magunje Hurungwe Constituency where GMB and COTTCO depots are located.
THE MINISTER OF INFORMATION
COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGY, POSTAL AND
COURIER SERVICES (HON. DR. MUSWERE): Thank you Madam Speaker Ma’am. Before the end of this year, as we have started rolling out the Universal Service Fund Base Stations and as Government, through the implementing agent, NetOne will be rolling out the National Mobile Broad Band Phase 3 which will soon be commissioned by the President. That will ensure that these stations, as will be others throughout the country, are going to be installed. I thank you.
WRITTEN SUBMISSION TO QUESTIONS WITH NOTICE
NETWORK COVERAGE FOR WARDS 22, 23, 24, 27 AND 33 IN
ZAKA WEST CONSTITUENCY
- HON. MURAMBIWA asked the Minister of Information Communication Technology, Postal and Courier Services to inform the House when the network coverage will be provided for the following areas in Zaka West Constituency; Wards 22, 23, 24, 27 and
THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF PRIMARY AND
SECONDARY EDUCATION (HON. E. MOYO): Thank you Hon.
Member for the question. Wards 22, 23, 24, 27 and 33 of Zaka West
Constituency have a number of coverage gaps due to the hilly nature of the terrain. These areas receive interrupted networks from other areas. For example, Gondora and Maska base stations partly cover wards 22, 23 and 27. NetOne is working on modalities with Econet to share the existing tower located at Jerera Growth Point so that ward 24 can get network coverage before end of year 2021. Mobile Networks Operators (MNOs) are also on the ground identifying possible sites for construction of towers under a Build Transfer and Operate (BTO) arrangement. I thank you.
INSTALLATION OF MOBILE NETWORK TRANSMITTERS FOR WARDS 1 AND 4 IN ZAKA NORTH CONSTITUENCY
- HON. MAVENYENGWA asked the Minister of Information Communication Technology, Postal and Courier Services to inform the House when the Ministry will install mobile network transmitters for Wards 1 and 4, in the Zaka North Constituency.
THE MINISTER OF INFORMATION
COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGY, POSTAL AND
COURIER SERVICES (HON. DR. MUSWERE): NetOne has
completed site surveys in the area and the identified sites now await development. The target is to provide network coverage by the end of the second quarter of the year 2022. Telecel has also identified a site in Jichidza and they are targeting the end of 2022 to have provided network coverage in the area. As a Ministry, we are going to offer the necessary assistance to all the operators to ensure that the target dates are met. I thank you.
WELFARE OF VETERANS OF THE LIBERATION STRUGGLE
THE MINISTER OF DEFENCE AND WAR VETERANS
(HON. MUCHINGURI – KASHIRI): Thank you Madam Speaker.
The Ministry of Defence and War Veterans Affairs has noted with great concern, messages and information circulating on various media platforms alleging that Government and to be more specific, that the Second Republic is neglecting the welfare of Veterans of the Liberation Struggle. This has prompted my Ministry to set the record straight through this Ministerial Statement.
The Ministry of Defence and War Veterans is responsible for the administration of Veterans of the Liberation Struggle, Heroes dependants and War Victims compensation and would like to take this opportunity to advise the nation of arrangements in place for
Veterans of the Liberation Struggle’s welfare.
Madam Speaker, prior to the process of aligning laws to the Constitution, War Veterans and Ex-Political Prisoners, Detainees and Restrictees were administered by two separate pieces of legislation: namely, the War Veterans Act [Chapter 11:15] and the Ex-Political Prisoners, Detainees and Restrictees Act [Chapter 17:10] and relevant statutory instruments. These Acts have since been repealed and replaced by the all-encompassing Veterans of the Liberation Struggle Act [Chapter 17:12] of 2020 which recognizes all the four categories of the Veterans of the Liberation Struggle as provided for in the
- War Veterans,
- Ex-Political Prisoners, Detainees and Restrictees,
- Non-Combatant Cadres, and
- War Collaborators.
The intention of the Second Republic in aligning the Veterans of the Liberation Struggle Act [Chapter 17:20] to the Constitution was for the Government to create a holistic framework for dealing with the welfare and economic empowerment of Veterans of the Liberation Struggle. Through this Act, including the repealed pieces of legislation, existing War Veterans and Ex-Detainees remain entitled to a monthly pension. Veterans and their children are also entitled to education benefits at Government schools or educational institutions and in the event of them or their children attending school at nonGovernment institutions, they are entitled to educational benefits that are equal in amount to the fees payable at Government schools or institutions.
In addition, Veterans, their spouses and children are entitled to full medical cover in the event of illness. In the unfortunate occurrence of death, families of deceased Veterans are entitled to funeral grants. Finally, Veterans of the Liberation Struggle are also entitled to 20% of land gazetted for resettlement. It is necessary to provide more detail on how these benefits are being provided.
I will start with monthly pensions. Madam Speaker, given the background of two separate pieces of legislation cited above, pensions for War Veterans and Ex-Political Prisoners, Detainees and Restrictees are determined differently and the Ministry is working on the harmonisation of these two policies.
The monthly pension for War Veterans is based on the indexation framework that was improved by the Second Republic to ensure that whatever salaries and allowances of members of the
Zimbabwe Defence Forces are adjusted, the monthly pension for War Veterans is automatically increased. Previously, the indexation was based on salaries alone.
As for Ex-Political Prisoners, Detainees and Restrictees, their monthly pensions have always been pegged to salaries of members of the civil service such that whenever salaries of civil servants are adjusted, their pensions are also increased. Now that we have one piece of legislation, engagements with Treasury for a similar indexing arrangement to that of War Veterans are ongoing so that we reduce disparities in the pensions of these two categories.
Madam Speaker, on the educational benefits, the Ministry pays education benefits to Veterans of the Liberation Struggle and their children studying both locally and abroad. The number of Veterans seeking education benefits has declined over the years. In the main, benefits are paid for their children. A breakdown of the number of children who have benefitted since 2018 is presented below:
In the year 2018: 15 340 students benefitted locally, whilst 229 benefitted abroad giving us a total of 15 569;
In the year 2019: 18 411 children benefitted locally, whilst 221 benefitted abroad, giving us a total of 18 632;
In the year 2020: 14 737 children benefitted locally, whilst 191 benefitted abroad, giving us a total of 14 928.
This year, only 8 994 benefitted locally, whilst only 99 benefitted abroad, giving us a total of 9 093.
Currently, the Ministry is in the process of finalising payment of invoiced amounts for the first term of 2021.
On medical benefits Madam Speaker, the Ministry pays medical benefits for Veterans of the Liberation Struggle, their spouses and children both at Government institutions but we also pay for services at private institutions on referrals. We have provided services to the following numbers since 2018. In 2018,799 members benefitted; 2019, 1085 benefitted; 2020, 3020 benefitted and in 2021, 612 benefitted.
In some instances, it is necessary to refer veterans and dependants outside the country on account of the specialised treatment they require for their spouses and children both at
Government and private health institutions. We primarily deal with Government institutions but we also pay for services at private institutions on referrals.
Numbers assisted since 2018 are as follows: in 2018, one
patient was sent to India; 2019, six patients were also sent to India and Republic of South Africa; 2020, three patients were sent to India and Republic of South Africa and 2021, only one patient has been sent to the Republic of South Africa.
The Ministry also pays funeral benefits to bereaved families in the unfortunate occurrence of death of veterans of the liberation struggle. Payments since 2018 are as follows: In 2018, 203 were assisted; 2019, 433 were assisted; 2020, 443 were assisted and just this year 2021, 326 were assisted. Currently, funeral benefits are paid at the Government approved rate of US$500, converted to
RTGs at the official exchange rate.
In terms of empowerment, the 20% entitlement to land is now a legal provision in terms of Section 21 of the Veterans of the Liberation Struggle Act [Chapter 17:12]. A substantial number of veterans have benefited from the Land Reform Programme since its inception although some are still to benefit. It is important to note that veterans are represented in the Lands Committees throughout the country where they are able to influence land allocations. Empowerment is also being delivered through
implementation of the 20% quota policy. In terms of this policy issued by the Office of the President and Cabinet on 28 November, 2018, at least 20% of all economic empowerment projects undertaken by Government should be reserved for veterans of the liberation struggle. In addition to the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Resettlement, other ministries have come on board to fulfill the 20% quota policy. These include Ministries of Women’s Affairs, Community, Small and Medium Enterprise Development;
Mines and Mining Development and Environment, Climate Change,
Tourism and Hospitality Industry. Only recently, the Ministry of Local Government and Public Works allocated 20% of housing stands in Mabvazuva, which is under Ruwa as well as in Pomona and Masvingo to veterans of the liberation struggle. We will continue to engage other ministries but we are happy with the support received so
Assets donated to the Veterans of the Liberation Struggle
Below is the list of contributions by my Ministry: -
- Land in National Parks
Space will be allocated in the yet to be gazetted Tugwi-Mukosi Recreational Park for the development of accommodation facilities and other tourism activities.
2. Cable Car
Chimanimani National Park and Kyle Recreational Park A permit will be issued for the development of a cable car or such other adventure activities in the Chimanimani National Park and Kyle
- Fisheries (Cage Culture Permits)
Lake Kariba Recreational Park
Lake Kariba Recreational Park currently has only two companies that have permits to conduct cage fish culture on the waters of Lake Kariba. The authority can therefore, allocate another cage fish culture permit to the war veterans.
Tugwi-Mukosi Recreational Park
A permit will be issued for the development of cage fish farming
Appointment of Veterans of the Liberation Struggle Board Madam Speaker, in order to add impetus to ongoing efforts to improve the welfare and economic empowerment of veterans of the liberation struggle, the Veterans of the Liberation
Struggle Board was appointed by His Excellency the President, Cde. E.D Mnangagwa on 1st April, 2021. It should be noted that associations representing veterans of the liberation struggle submitted nominations for appointment to the board from which the final selection was done.
Just to remind Hon. Members of the responsibilities and functions of the board:
- to advise the Minister on the establishment of any scheme in terms of this Act or any matter relating to any scheme;
- to address issues relating to the rights, benefits and the general welfare of veterans of the liberation struggle;
- to examine and determine any representation by any person claiming entitlement to be accredited or registered as a veteran of the liberation struggle or dependant where such accreditation or registration has been refused by the
- subject to this Act, to hear and determine any representation or complaints made by any veteran of the liberation struggle or dependent of such veteran, relating to the grant payment or delivery of any benefits to him/her; and
- to perform any other functions which the Minister may confer on the board from time to time.
Madam Speaker, the board is currently working on operationalising economic empowerment programmes through a holding company, the Veterans Investment Corporation. This holding company will have subsidiaries that will hold and manage assets in tourism, mining, agriculture and health. The subsidiary in the health sector will establish a range of private hospitals and medical facilities for the war veterans. There will also be a banking institution for veterans. The Board of Directors of the holding company will be formally appointed soon.
Other Categories of Veterans of the Liberation Struggle Madam Speaker, pursuant to the enactment of the Veterans of the Liberation Struggle Act [Chapter 17:12, it means that noncombatant cadres and war collaborators are now recognised as veterans of the liberation struggle in line with the Constitution. This was not the case with the repealed legislation. These veterans should be vetted in order to ascertain their credentials before any benefits are considered. The registration and vetting exercise was launched by His Excellency the President, Dr. E. D. Mnangagwa on 12th June,
- The registration exercise has since been completed and data compilation is underway in preparation for vetting. The Ministry sincerely appreciates the efforts of various stakeholders that participated in the registration exercise, including the veterans themselves. A total of 205 753 applicants registered, which constitutes about 80% of our original estimates. The numbers are as follows: Non-Combatant Cadres, 14 246; War Collaborators, 188
379;War Veterans, 1 062; Ex-Political Prisoners, Detainees and Restrictees 2 066.
Non-Combatant Cadres and War Collaborators who did not manage to register will be covered during the vetting exercise. As for War Veterans and Ex-Political Prisoners, Detainees and Restrictees, the upcoming vetting programme, whose arrangements would be announced shortly, will be the final exercise for ascertaining their credentials.
Madam Speaker Ma’am, regarding heroes’ spouses and dependants, they are entitled to similar educational and medical benefits as Veterans of the Liberation Struggle except for funeral grants. This is in terms of the National Heroes Act [Chapter 10:16], which I shared with Parliament last week. An area that needs urgent attention is the nature and quantum of monthly State assistance. To this end, the Heroes’ Dependants Assistance Board, which was recently appointed on 1st May, is currently seized with the matter. In terms of the War Veterans Compensation Act [Chapter 11:16], war victims are entitled to a monthly disablement pension determined by the degree of injury. They are also entitled to artificial limbs and clothing allowance if there is excessive wear and tear to clothing as a result of use of the limbs. They are further entitled to medical expenses in relation to declared and accepted injuries. Since 2018, the number of war victims who were provided with artificial limbs and received clothing and medical support is shown below:
Year Number Cost ZWL
- 608 209 316
- 422 874 449
- 355 3 035 921
- 241 10 286 293
The Commissioner for War Victims was recently appointed and is currently working on a number of welfare issues.
In conclusion Madam Speaker as can be seen from the above, the Ministry of Defence and War Veterans Affairs provides a wide range of statutory benefits to Veterans of the Liberation Struggle, Heroes Dependants and War Victims. Admittedly, there are practical limitations based on availability of resources, which are availed through the national budget. The Ministry does its best to lobby for more resources through the national budgeting process and has been supported in this regard by Treasury and the Portfolio Committee on Defence, Home Affairs and Security Services. However, the Ministry can only render services that are commensurate with the resources provided. The Ministry therefore hopes that as the economy continues to improve, guided by NDS1, more benefits will be availed
to its clients.
We are also hoping that as the new board will be announced next week, they should be able to run those companies profitably as businesses in order to grow the fund. We are hoping, with all these assets that have been laid before the Veterans of the Liberation
Struggle Board, we will be able to generate enough resources to be able to ensure that our War Veterans are adequately provided for in terms of their welfare. I so submit Madam Speaker.
HON. T. MLISWA: Madam Speaker, I want to thank the Hon.
Minister of Defence and War Veterans, for the Ministerial Statement. However, a Ministerial Statement is just more like a love letter which is not accompanied with roses or flowers. From a point of clarity, the Act was changed as she said there is a new Act. What did you do before you changed the Act? There was an Act which was in place, what was achieved. We have a tendency of changing laws every day without even doing anything. What was wrong with the other one? In terms of their welfare, what was achieved?
Secondly, there is a High Court order which the War Veterans won to do with their welfare. This is why this issue has come up. They have now resorted to going to court to get their matters done, despite there being constitutional provisions and Acts. The court order is very clear in terms of what needs to be done even before we go to some of the programmes that the Hon. Minister spoke about, which are glowing. Why are they not implementing the current court order, which clearly gives them the right to their welfare?
The other issue is we spoke about all these issues but I have not heard of a national housing policy for them. Where do they stay? The kids are going to school in big numbers, medical is there but what about schooling?
Finally, there is the issue of donor funds which came through after the liberation struggle, which was meant to go towards rehabilitation of the War Veterans and it was a lot of money. They are asking for their welfare is actually not an issue pertaining to the Zimbabwe issue but it is the money that was donated to them after the struggle which never saw it going to where it was supposed to. Some of the money we are told went into building schools, yet it was supposed to go towards rehabilitation and compensation. Madam Speaker, that $50 000 that was given to them and the Government portrayed to have been something that the War Veterans wanted, they were claiming their money from the donor funds which was for them and whatever happened to that money. Those are my points of clarity. Thank you.
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER (HON. MAVETERA):
Because of the number of people that are here, I am going to be giving two minutes to Hon. Members who have points of clarity. HON. TOGAREPI: Thank you. Firstly, I would like to thank the Minister and Government for re-aligning the Constitution to include other veterans of the liberation struggle who were not previously included. These are war collaborators and combatant cadres. These people contributed to the liberation struggle. When I hear in some quotas people belittling war collaborators, this war could not have been won without the contribution of any section of the veterans of the liberation struggle.
No one should appear superior. I am happy the people of Zimbabwe and their wisdom during the constitutional making process recognised ex-combatants, war collaborators, ex-detainees and the cadres as freedom fighters and as veterans of the liberation struggle. If I am looking for anything from Government, let it never come to one’s mind that you feel superior because the same bullet that killed a combatant killed mujibha and killed a non-combatant cadre.
People died in prison to liberate Zimbabwe. In all these different ways, the idea was to liberate Zimbabwe. I think that must be respected wherever people talk and wherever people want to claim, demand or persuade Government to do something for them and people should respect that. I am very excited that Government has been doing something and this did not come only yesterday. It started immediately after the liberation struggle, just after independence. Some sections of the veterans of the liberation struggle were given demobilisation funds and in 1997 some of them got $50 000.00. It will never be enough given the sacrifice of these people but for social media and for people in the media to pretend that Government did not do anything up to now, I think it is being very dishonest. So Hon. Minister, I want to...
Hon. T. Mliswa having stood up on a point of order.
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Order Hon. Mliswa, for now
I cannot indulge you. We need to progress, you know that we are racing against time and everyone wants to speak. This is a very important issue, we need all of us to be able to ask points of clarity.
Hon. Chief Whip, with your indulgence, may you please try to go to your point of clarity. We have more than 20 Hon. Members who really want to also ask points of clarity.
HON. TOGAREPI: So, my area of clarity again goes to the point that has already been said by the Minister that when registration was taking place, some freedom fighters were left out because of the COVID situation that did not allow them to go to the registration centre but at the moment, they are going to get the same chance. I rest my case. Thank you.
HON. BRIG. GEN. (RTD.) MAYIHLOME: Thank you
Madam Speaker Ma’am and thank you Hon. Minister for the comprehensive ministerial statement covering the veterans of the liberation struggle. I also want to applaud the Government for coming up with the Veterans of the Liberation Struggle Act and all the efforts that the Government is doing. However, may I bring to your attention Hon. Minister that good intentions might be there but practically on the ground, there are challenges that still bedevil the veterans of the liberation struggle.
Quantums for example, are very low and we get indications from Government that they are going to review the monthly pensions, but they do not come. We were told that district offices were going to be opened so that veterans of the liberation struggle access medical benefits and school fees much easier, but they are just not there on the ground. If you go to a funeral for war veterans, the recognition is paltry. You find that the widows are not given national flags for the recognition of the liberation struggle. There are no tombstones and the money that the Hon. Minister is talking about, US$500.00 equivalent RTGs does not come in time.
The relatives struggle to contribute for the burial when these things are not there on time. Talking about school fees arrears – imagine war veterans in remote rural areas do not even have access to social media to know that the War Veterans Department is paying first term fees for 2021. How are they surviving and how are they communicating? Their children are mocked at school. The intention might be good but practically on the ground, there are genuine concerns from war veterans that these benefits are not being realised. The sooner the district offices are established and these officers are given timelines to implement these projects and communicate to veterans of the liberation struggle, I think it will be better for everyone else so that even when the project starts, they are not for people in towns especially in Harare. These are projects that benefit veterans of the liberation struggle at every corner of the country so that everybody has access to this wealth. I rest my case Madam
HON. GABBUZA: Thank you Madam Speaker. I just want to
ask one question. When you listen to the presentation by the Minister, it is very perfect. Good things are being done for the war veterans and you would really wonder why they are complaining. Is the Minister saying they are so unreasonable because if Government is doing all these good things like paying schools fees and other things that she has outlined and they are still complaining - are we saying these war veterans are so unreasonable because Government is doing so much? Secondly, the ministerial statement she has given us – has she given it to the war veterans? Maybe they do not know these things?
Why are they complaining if they know all these things? Thank you. (v)*HON. MASENDA: Thank you Madam Speaker. I would
like to thank the explanation which was given by the Hon. Minister... *THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Hon. Masenda, can you
raise your voice and go straight to your point. You would want to thank the Hon. Minister for the good work that she has done but for now, we cannot give you enough time because it is very important to everyone. Can you please go straight to the point? Go ahead Hon.
(v) * HON. MASENDA: I would like to say to the Hon.
Minister that the war veterans who were vetted way back are all dying without even enjoying all their dues. The registration was since done and now I would like to ask when the meeting will resume. Thank you.
(v)HON. NDEBELE: Firstly, I believe the question of ZIPRA properties that were confiscated by the Mugabe regime is also a matter of welfare of veterans. Is there a consideration by the Second Republic to return these properties to ZIPRA cadres because they contributed part of their demobilisation funds to procure these properties? Secondly, I just want to check with the Minister, who in my view is also a decorated veteran of our struggle, if she is aware that her disabled colleagues in the Matabeleland region no longer have a company that services or replaces their broken knees. A company called Castings has since stalled this duty because
Government had not been paying for a long time.
On allowances, I hope the Minister was not referring to clothing allowances for veterans even with disabilities, my brother is one such. The last time he got such an allowance was 14 years ago. I just want to check what the Minister is doing to ensure that this allowance is paid regularly? Also the same veterans that are living with disabilities, there is an allowance called children’s allowance, this allowance has not been paid for a long time. Can the Minister clarify if this is an annual allowance or it is a once off allowance? Some children have since become adults, therefore that allowance is no longer applying to them.
In terms of the school fees Madam Speaker, school fees ispaid very late when children of veterans have been embarrassed by school administrators to a point of leaving school. Can the Hon. Minister also confirm or deny newspaper reports to the effect that veterans of our struggle that went to Hon. Minister Ncube’s office were beaten up, is this true? If it is true, what is going to happen to those people who exhibited disrespect to our veterans of the struggle?
(v)HON. MASHONGANYIKA: The registration has since been
completed. Are you going to give another chance for registration to those who were omitted? You have talked about accessing health facilities but in our Government hospitals, war veterans are finding it difficult to get medical attention. I just want the Minister to explain what they should do to be accepted in Government hospitals? Thank you Madam Speaker.
(v)HON. T. MOYO: Thank you Madam Speaker Ma’am. May
I seek clarification from the Hon. Minister? My question relates to compensation that is given to war veterans, especially the fact that the degree of injury will determine the level of compensation. I just want to find out if there are specific hospitals or doctors who are going to examine physically these war veterans? The last question is children who got injured during the war who are not necessarily veterans of the liberation struggle, are they also going to be compensated?
(v)HON. PETER MOYO: Thank you Madam Speaker, we
received late the submissions of our relatives in the diaspora, Can
they tolerate them and where can they submit those names for the war collaborators? I thank you.
(v)HON. CHINYANGANYA: Thank you Madam Speaker, my
question is, are there any modalities being put in place to make sure that ….
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Hon. Chinyanganya, we
can hardly hear you. I am kindly asking you to send your clarification on the chat box now and then I can relay to the Hon. Minister.
(v)HON. I. NYONI: Thank you Madam Speaker Ma’am. The
Minister stated that war veterans have got access to e-medical attention at our public hospitals. However, we are all aware that at the public hospitals, at times there will be no adequate medication, so they get a prescription to go and buy using cash. What is in place to ensure that they are refunded the money they would have spent buying the medication?
*HON. P. ZHOU: I would like to seek clarity on that war veterans are being assisted together with their children and wives. I would like to know what the children will inherit after their parents die. How will they survive and up to when?
Secondly, when people are talking of monthly pensions which are very low, can it not be good that they get basic groceries like mealie meal, salt and beans at the Grain Marketing Board such that this can be added onto their monthly pensions? A lot of these war veterans are now elderly and suffer from various diseases. They must have a card which they can use when they go to hospitals. We assist some of them in our constituencies.
The other issue is on legal assistance. I would like to thank the Minister very much because I heard her speak about that. One of my relatives once had a problem and got assistance through the war veterans. This is one of the things that should be clarified. I thank you.
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Hon. Minister, the question
from Hon. Chinyanganya is as follows; are there any modalities in place for families of ex-combatants who died before 1997 when compensation was done to also benefit from Government programmes for welfare?
(v)HON. SARUWAKA: Looking at the number of facilities and packages that have been extended to the veterans of the liberation struggle, would it not be better for the Government to try to work on the economy so that all Zimbabweans benefit because what I am hearing from some quotas is when people begin to look at the liberation fighters as people who went to the struggle for themselves and not for everyone. This is so because the packages are targeting themselves only. Would the Minister not be happier if they are able to share the cake with every Zimbabwean so that the liberation war fighters’ sacrifice becomes for everyone and not just themselves?
HON. MPARIWA: I would like to begin by thanking the Minister for this informative statement, but I would like to appeal to the Minister – when you need to plan, you need to know how many, where so that you know how. I know most of the war veterans are of advanced age and may need necessary catering skills as others have already said. I would like to find out how many of these people are we talking about? Where are these people district by district or province by province so that we will be in a picture to know where they are placed? We are representatives of the people, and perhaps they are also in our own communities. If we know this information, it will assist when we do social welfare programmes in that we will include them.
HON. MUCHINGURI-KASHIRI: I would like to thank all Hon. Members who have contributed to this debate which is quite emotional. We appreciate that this is coming from representatives who come from all corners of Zimbabwe, who care about the welfare of the war veterans. I would also want to say that I do hope that after this statement and also my response to their concerns, that they will also take their time in their respective constituencies to be able to disseminate the information that I shared with them in this respective House.
I will start by responding to the issues that are pertinent and were raised by Hon. Mliswa regarding the Acts for the war veterans and also for the ex-detainees that were in existence before the realignment exercise. I want to say that these Acts, particularly for the war veterans were promulgated in 1998 and did prescribe the benefits that would accrue to the war veterans. Such benefits had to do with the pensions, education for their children, health facilities which were also made available at that time for the war veterans and their dependence. The issue of land also was highlighted that they would benefit on the 20% quota that was set aside for the war veterans. I would like to say that these benefits continue today. They have not been affected. If anything, what the new republic aims at addressing, is to improve these benefits that were laid down in 1998, same for the ex-detainees also. As to what was wrong with this, the people of Zimbabwe in 2013 felt that there was a missing link or there were some gaps where there was no recognition of the role that was played by war veterans. They were seen as a menace but the people of Zimbabwe are a mature people who appreciate our history, which is why in its Preamble, the Constitution of Zimbabwe recognises those that participated during the First, Second and Third Chimurenga. So we appreciate assurances that what was prescribed in these two Acts still remain. If anything, the whole essence of realignment is to improve that status. He goes on also to question what was done before then. To some extent I have but if he does require some statistics, we will be more than happy to do that. However, what I want to thank the First Republic for was making sure 20% of all land in Zimbabwe was reserved for war veterans. They did not just prescribe on that but they made sure that war veterans were part and parcel of the land committees at national, provisional and district levels. So the onus was on those war veterans who were given that responsibility to make sure that war veterans benefited from their 20% quota.Therefore, in terms of that we will provide that information as requested.
The issue of the court decision, I think it was reached this year where war veterans were demanding for their 2000 dollars which was reached at 2002. I want to remind Hon. Members that it was that time when the country was experiencing serious economic challenges and our dollar was at its lowest ebb. So $2000 then was almost US$10, very low and to use that same argument now to say US$2000; yes, they have a case but we need also to look at what happened after the Second Republic came in and the re-alignment which was the first ever time when the pensions where raised and also a deliberate decision to make sure that a warrant officer salary would be the peg.
Therefore, to some extent we need to appreciate that what was there before might be an argument but we need to look at the situation. When I was appointed in this portfolio, war veterans were receiving $270 and still there was a complaint that even boarding a bus, that amount was not enough. We need also to appreciate that there have been great strides made by the Government. Yes, we can never satisfy the requirement, which is why Government has gone out of the way to donate assets so that we use those assets to generate income. We were allocated 10 farms, more than 30 mines, land within the national parks; we were also allocated housing land which he has alluded to.
A lot was done and this was only yesterday in April and surely
‘Rome was not built in a day’. We are now in the process of appointing qualified personnel who will be able to undertake this exercise to raise funds which will be invested in the fund. That fund will be used to pay better pensions for war veterans. We are hoping the bank that is available and the memorial hospitals will also improve our health provision and service delivery to the war veterans.
If we are given time, we appreciate most of them, most of us, I am one such, I am in the “departure lounge”. I really think patience; we are 41 years old and we need to understand that little has been done but now every effort is being done to correct that. I have made this emphasis so that most of the issues that have been raised; my response to Hon. Mliswa’s concerns will answer most of those.
Hon. Togarepi really appreciates that now, through this Constitution and the re-alignment exercise there has been accommodation for war collaborators. Surely, they played a major role, it was not Government, the whole people of Zimbabwe came together and this exercise was quite wide, broad, and participatory and people were free to input into the debate that ensued. We really appreciate that Government has taken this move.
We also want to recognise that they are very happy that now with this accommodation at least the exercise has started where we are registering everyone but I must emphasise that not all of them will benefit. I have already shared the statistics of those that registered. Registering is not a guarantee that you will benefit because the vetting exercise is quite thorough, it will involve some war veterans who operated from these areas. They know who participated so those that want to take advantage and are not deserving will be flushed out, we are very thorough. I am happy that we are working with them and the Second Republic has finally recognised the role that was played by anaMujiba.
We will do everything in our powers to make sure that they benefit but it will be amiss if I promise in this august House that we will also extend the same benefits because we are operating on a very tight budget. The nation needs to appreciate that there is something that we can do given our limited resources and it is well tabulated in the Constitution where it says “The State must in its capability”, if the resources are there for us to be able to provide all the necessary resources to give dignity and respect to the four categories, I think that is important.
Hon. Mayihlome, you are very right that we are having challenges in our delivery systems. We are trying our level best through our establishment of district offices throughout the whole country and also this information dissemination, we hope also Hon.
Members will be able to assist providing this information to our veterans of the liberation struggle.
Yes, the offices are not well established, we are still interviewing some of the officers and we hope that by the end of this year we can safely say they will be well equipped, well computerised and we will indeed collect data on where all these war veterans are, those that were omitted last time, that is why I shared the new emerging numbers because these are those that were omitted and we are capturing them.
He mentions also the late release of resources particularly school fees and funeral assistance. Yes, that is correct but we have addressed that situation by ensuring that resources are not only handled by head office. We are going to decentralise these resources so that our own war veterans of the liberation struggle will easily access district offices or provincial offices. Everything was centralised but because of devolution we are also saying let us be compliant. This is where we are going to make sure that resources go to where the people are. We are trying to address that and we hope working with the board, these are issues that will be handled by the board. Bear with the board. This is the first time we have appointed the board. The board is trying to put itself together. They are trying to establish an office in Harare. Government has already allocated resources to the board. So we are hoping that once that is done, they will be able to reach out to provinces, to districts addressing the needs of the war veterans. These are the people who have been assigned to do that work, but they will be working very closely with me.
Education, yes we have not been paying as much but I want to thank my colleague Ministers who have been very understanding. Where we have failed to pay schools fees on time, we have written to them and they have also sent out circulars to all their institutions to make sure that they accommodate our children, making sure that once we received resources from the Ministry from Treasury, we will pay them because it is the same Government institutions. So they have been very understanding.
Yes, we experienced delays but these delays are not of our own making. Finance sometimes releases those resources very late. So we have taken note of some of the issues. Yes, beautiful programmes have been designed but give us time. We have only appointed this board, even the economic facilities, the assets by Government have only been donated to this fund in the last four months. So we have to work hard, sweat it out with all of you for us to be able to succeed and we hope that the people that will be charged with this responsibility will not end up also stealing. War veterans have lost a lot of money due to these criminals who get resources from war veterans promising them heaven and yet they do not deliver. If anything, war veterans lose out. So we will make sure we will be accountable. Good corporate governance will be observed and Parliament will be reporting to you annually to make sure that public resources are used for the benefit of the intended beneficiaries.
Hon. Gabbuza, we have come up with good things for the war veterans and you are wondering why there is a lot of noise. At my age, if I was not working or not a Member of Parliament, right in the rural areas in a deplorable situation definitely, I would cry out very loud realising I am almost at the end of the line. That is something that is understandable and we are working very hard with speed to make sure that benefits are put together so that our war veterans who are deserving benefit.
Others who have been allocated land, some of them are millionaires. These are war veterans. So you have two disparities; people who have made it and are war veterans, some have gone to school and others have not gone to school. We need to design programmes to intervene given that situation. So yes, they are justified to complain because really after working so hard to liberate this country, obviously expectations also are high, but we are trying at every level to intervene.
Hon. Masunda, you want to know when the vetting exercise is taking place. Hon. Member, the issue of vetting is not something that we can rush quickly into. We need to make sure that the vetting will take place at ward level. I had said that there are people who encourage people to go and register despite the fact that they did not participate in the liberation struggle. If we allow people to do that, then that will not work. Their colleagues know who they operated with. All people who participated can identify their colleagues. So it is important to do a proper vetting process. We have given ourselves two months to make sure that we register. We are now compiling the information that was captured, and that was gathered. The money which is earmarked for war veterans is quite a large amount of money, so we need to be reasonable whilst we want to receive, but we need to see and compare information.
At the same time, what was mentioned by Hon. Saruwaka, we know that banks can lend money to people at low rates so that they embark on different income generating projects. Some know that with the farms they have, they can go and borrow money which they are going to be using for their projects. We are weighing all possibilities, so vetting will start end of October or beginning of November.
Hon. Ndebele, you raised an issue of ZIPRA properties. This issue of properties is a legacy issue that is being looked at because , as you may appreciate, the composition of our board brings in ZIPRA and ZANLA forces and these issues we hope will be deliberated at that level and an amicable solution will be found. So we will leave it at that. These are issues that we must address.
Then the disabled in Bulawayo who have not been receiving pensions or resources due to them under the Compensation Act - we inherited the Compensation Act from the Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare and even now, the administration is still with that Ministry, but we realised that people continue to suffer because of this disharmony where the Act has been given to the Ministry of Defence and War Veterans under my jurisdiction. We want now to harmonise the Act and also the practice so that there are no distortions within the implementation of this particular Act. We will be addressing this issue, Like I indicated in my presentation that we now have appointed the director in this department, we hope that the exercise which she is carrying out will identify all these weaknesses. We will be able to put these together and I will be presenting amendments in this respective House so that we normalise the situation.
In clothing allowance, we are aware that there are these outstanding clothing allowances. Through this new director, we are going to address these issues. War veterans’ children’s monthly allowances – most of the war veterans are 70 years and above. However, you still find some who register children that are 7 years and are in grade one, just starting to go to school. I think society needs to draw a very clear line on this issue. How far do we go? Can people just marry and have children up to 90 years? There must be a cut off point on these issues. We need also to be realistic and say how far can we go, otherwise people are registering children that are not theirs. So this is a reality that we need to look into. Otherwise budgets will continue forever and the Zimbabwean Constitution recognises that once you attain the age of 18 years, you are an adult and you do not benefit any more from your parents. We also need to appreciate, we need a cut-off point - do we still continue even when people are over 40 or 50 years that they continue to benefit. We will recommend to Parliament some of these challenges that we face as they need a collective decision.
An issue was raised on those that were arrested whilst picketing at the Ministry. I have already mentioned that we have a board which was put in place by an Act of Parliament to address these challenges. I am hoping that most of these war veterans will take advantage of these provided windows to take most of their issues to the board. I really want to protect war veterans. I safeguard them very jealously and I do not want them subjected to any violent act because it is a very sensitive and emotional group of individuals. I would appeal that we handle them with care. One of those war veterans, but I really would not want to go into it because there is litigation so I do not want to end up in trouble with the law. So I will leave that situation. I understand lawyers are looking into those issues but we are just saying yes, their concerns are being addressed. They are being looked into, it is a question of approach and I would not want to dwell much on that.
Hon. Mashonganyika – those that were omitted, I have already talked about it. We have allowed opportunities. Once the vetting process begins, they can always approach the war veterans in their respective wards. So that chance is provided for and I have already alluded to it. There is no free treatment for war veterans. I am not sure about that because any war veteran that requires assistance notifies our offices and immediately things are set in motion to ensure that they can access any hospital close by or if they prefer another hospital far away – because the Constitution specifies that all State Institutions. We stick by that but where they need further specialised treatment in a private institution, that recommendation can always be forwarded. We always consider such requests as I have demonstrated that we have been assisting even people going to India and South
Hon. T. Moyo – compensation given to war veterans, particularly for those that passed on and left families behind. As I indicated earlier, we are studying very carefully the Compensation Act because it is not just there to benefit veterans of the liberation struggle but any individual who fell victim during the war of liberation. You do not necessarily have to be a veteran of the liberation struggle. If you were injured, you have aright to claim compensation. This is something that we are carefully studying and equally we will bring amendments if need be. We will define the benefits which this Act must accrue. It is just a simple document which does not really define the benefits for any of the categories. There are serious weaknesses with that Act. Onwar collaborators or even war veterans in the diaspora - where do they go? I think it is important to appreciate that this registration is ward based. Even if they are overseas, I am sure if they fill in their forms and send them to their respective wards, I am sure there are relatives, chiefs and war veterans who will be able to identify them and the vetting can take place. So there is that provision and they should go ahead and submit their papers.
Hon. Nyoni – access to free medicals, I have already responded to that. We consider those in exceptional circumstances needing specialised assistance. War veterans should feel free to come forward and we will consider individual cases as opposed to making a blanket statement. Hon. Zhou said it would be helpful for war veterans to get swiping cards so they can swipe from wherever they are, even in the rural areas. That is the current situation. At POSB, if one has an account, they get cards which they use to swipe. Any bank is issuing out swiping cards so I am not sure which bank does not have swiping cards. We would like to work with all the POSBs so that we have a window. In every district where there is a POSB - we should have a war veteran window because we will all be using Government banks. War veterans will be easily assisted at ward or district level. We know that it is difficult for them to travel as they will spend a lot of money. So we encourage people in the rural areas to have swiping machines to assist so that they avoid travelling long distance going to town. Yes, I agree with you. We need to do as much as possible. So, through the bank it helps.
Lastly, Hon. Chinyanganya on modalities for compensation for families of those that died during the struggle, I have already explained that we do have certain gaps within this Act. We are addressing those gaps. I will be going on air and will be coming to Parliament to make sure that we discuss this to come up with an amicable way or procedures which will be foolproof, fair and transparent. For the time being, they can approach our director responsible for this Act and accordingly, where possible we will be able to help.
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Thank you Hon. Minister
for responding to all those points of clarity quite specific to each and every Hon. Member. We are happy that indeed we have also realised that the Second Republic has also taken great strides when it comes to giving dignity to our war veterans and collaborators. We are really grateful because of that.
On the motion of HON. TOGAREPI seconded by HON.
MPARIWA, the House adjourned at Two Minutes to Six o’clock p.m.