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NATIONAL ASSEMBLY HANSARD 10 MARCH 2021 VOL 47 NO 31

PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE

Wednesday, 10th March, 2021.

The National Assembly met at a Quarter-past Two O’clock p.m.

PRAYERS

(THE HON. SPEAKER in the Chair)

ANNOUNCEMENT BY THE HON. SPEAKER

APOLOGIES RECEIVED FROM MINISTERS

THE HON. SPEAKER: I have got a list of apologies received from Hon. Ministers and Vice President in respect of the National Assembly sitting on Wednesday, 10th March, 202:

Hon.  Rtd. General Dr. C. G. D. N. Chiwenga - The Vice President and Minister of Health and Child Care on official business but he said the Deputy Minister of Health and Child Care will be in attendance.

Hon. O. C.Z Muchinguri-Kashiri – The Minister of Defence and War Veterans Affairs, is away on official business,

Hon. D. Garwe - The Minister of National Housing and Social Amenities is away on official business;

Hon. C. Mathema - The Minister of Primary and Secondary Education is away on official business, the Deputy Minister will be in attendance.

Hon. K. Coventry - The Minister of Youth, Sports, Arts and Culture and Recreation is away on official business.

Hon. W. Chitando - the Minister of Mines and Mining Development is away on official business, and

Hon. D. Marapira - The Minister in the Vice President’s Office is also away on official business.

ORAL ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS WITHOUT NOTICE

(V)HON. MAVHUNGA:  My question is directed to the Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary AffairsThe Minister of Justice withdrew Statutory Instrument 25 which reviewed the level of fines upwards.   What is the Government’s position as regards to those who had already paid these invalidated fines?  What is going to happen to those who are in prisons serving the sentences after failing to pay those fines?

          THE HON. SPEAKER: Hon. Mavhunga, the Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs is not yet here, so I am going to park your question until he arrives.

(V)HON. MUCHIMWE: My question is directed to the Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development.  There is a lot of congestion at most of our toll gates leading to very long queues.  What measures are you taking to ensure smooth flow at these tollgates?

THE MINISTER OF TRANSPORT AND INFRASTRACTURAL DEVELOPMENT (HON. MHONA):  Thank you Hon. Speaker Sir and let me also thank the Hon. Member, Hon. Muchimwe for that very important question whereby the citizenry are actually suffering, especially those plying our toll gates all over the country and on our major highways.

Hon. Speaker Sir, this has been a challenge especially in terms of connectivity whereby we have seen motorists queuing.  As Government, within the last two weeks I actually engaged ZINARA which is in charge of our tollgates and we are seized as we speak.  They have introduced what they call the tap card which was giving problems, particularly three or four weeks ago but they have promised that now there is improved connectivity in terms of the point of sale where they have engaged a number of banks to partake in that very important programme.  So you will see that ZINARA soon will be introducing the coupon system whereby motorists will have the coupon that they will use on a daily basis.  I want to assure the Hon. Member that we have been given a target of 31st March by which ZINARA would have managed the issue of queues.  I thank you Hon. Speaker Sir.

HON. NDEBELE:  I asked the Hon. Minister a similar question last week regarding the expansion of the toll plaza into and out of Harare along Bulawayo Road and he had promised to bring an answer but in his current answer, he did not address that one.  When is he going to expand that into a four way plaza like what happened in Kadoma?

THE HON. SPEAKER:  Was that an oral question or was it a written question?

HON. NDEBELE:  It was an oral question and he has assured us that he will liaise with his team and bring a response.

HON. MHONA:  Thank you Hon. Speaker Sir.  Apparently, the next sitting day I brought the response to the Hon. Member and I lodged the response with the secretariat, in particular our Clerk. The question emanated from written questions, so I then brought the response and I am sure if the Hon. Member can get hold of the Clerk he will get that response.  Thank you very much.

HON. NDEBELE:  So it is in the Hansard.  So they hid it there, but if he was generous enough he could have answered it in the House.  What is the point?  He spent five minutes explaining what he did with it, he should just explain now.

THE HON. SPEAKER:  Hon. Ndebele, you should not demand but you should request.  I rule that you read the Hansard.

HON. NDEBELE:  Why are you hiding the answers when you are still a new Minister?  Already you are hiding answers.

THE HON. SPEAKER:  Hon. Ndebele, do not force the Chair to ask you to leave the House.  You are a well rounded person and I do not want to endanger that.

HON. KASHIRI:  My question goes to the Minister of Local Government and Public Works.  I would like to find out from the Hon. Minister what has happened to the growth point policy.  Has there been a paradigm shift in the growth point policy as we have seen them not growing lately?  Thank you Hon. Speaker Sir.

THE MINISTER OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT AND PUBLIC WORKS (HON. J. MOYO):  Thank you Hon. Speaker.  I do not know what he has in mind in particular in terms of what could have changed but our growth point policy is in line with our urbanisation policy where we start at the business centre, the rural service centre and the growth point.  All these are intended to create a business environment, a nucleus of a town, a nucleus of a future city and therefore they take the attributes of a modern well developed city and some of the aspects of this is where we excise them from a communal area so that they become an urbanised area where businesses, residential and commercial enterprises buildings especially will have title deeds.

In the communal areas you will not have title deeds unless we do this excision.  So our growth points which started, most of them in the colonial era under Tilco; after independence we turned them into centres of administration and every district in this country started having a growth point.  Those are the growth points, some of which have grown into towns.  I think the most celebrated of those is Gokwe which moved from a Town Board and now is a fully fledged Town Council.  We hope that the next step of a growth point like Gokwe is to move into a municipality and each one of them has to have certain attributes that are captured in the Urban Councils Act.  So when you are a growth point you are on your road to becoming a town.  You are on your road to become a municipality and then you can become a city and that is why we do that excision from the communal areas.  I thank you Hon. Speaker.

THE HON. SPEAKER:  I want to advise all Hon. Members on line that you should have registered your name with the Chief Whips so that I can follow the list so provided to me.

HON. KASHIRI:  My supplementary question arose in view of the recent COVID pandemic.  We have seen that we are a little bit crammed in urban centres.  We would have thought that growth points, if they have grown at the rate they started we would have seen decentralisation whereby growth points will be attracting…

THE HON. SPEAKER:  What is your supplementary question?

HON. KASHIRI:  My question is; is there any plan to accelerate the speed of growth of growth points?  Thank you.

          THE MINISTER OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT AND PUBLIC WORKS [HON. J. MOYO: Thank you Hon. Speaker Sir, we are quite sure that growth points grow because of economic activities that take place in a particular area, and given the devolution thrust that Government has done, it is envisaged that with the new thrust that we have been given, we make sure that each local authority comes up with their asset register, they do their valuation roles to see their capacities, some of which is just being latent because it is not being exploited.  The Minister of Finance and Economic Development and myself have agreed that this year, part of the devolution funds that used to go for administration, we want every council to have a valuation role; that means assess your assets in terms of the Constitution Section 301 subsection II which allows every council to assess its asset base, its fiscal capacity and you cannot analyse your fiscal capacity until you do a valuation role and understand your assets.

          These growth points which are in the centre of an economic activity which is rounded by a lot of either rural commercial area or rural communal area, once they start assessing and they know their assets, their job is to make sure that they now plan for a GDP so what the President announces as provincial GDPs, the base of that GDP for a province has to be the council because the council has the responsibility to look at all the assets that are in its area and that is how we think the economic growth of those growth points will take place.

          *HON. MADHUKU: Thank you very much Mr. Speaker Sir.  My question is directed to the Minister of Local Government.  I am pleased by the Hon. Minister’s response.  However, I have observed that we have a problem...

          *THE HON. SPEAKER: Hon. Madhuku you are now debating, ask a question.

          *HON. MADHUKU: Thank you Mr. Speaker.  My question is on the people who are resettled, those near the growth points.  Even if they are allocated stands, I note that these people will be having farming spaces and livestock, this makes it difficult for them to adapt to the new small land that they will be allocated after being resettled.

          *THE HON. SPEAKER: You question is not very clear Hon. Member, I hope the Minister has understood your question.

          HON. J. MOYO: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. This is a very important question, yes growth points are within communal areas and each one of those communal areas surrounding a growth point has a village head under a headman and chief.  Some chiefs have now been allocating land to urbanisation when the boundary of the growth point stipulates that this cannot be an urban area and that is a problem we are faced with.  We have now been instructed by the leadership to warn those village heads who are abusing their powers and allocating these stands to become urban because it creates an uncontrolled urban expansion which is not well planned, which is not well connected to services such as roads, sewerage or is not connected to water.

          So, if we allow this type of growth, it will become messy in terms of our urbanisation strategy, it become messy in terms of service delivery.  That work we have said we are going to undertake and we are grateful that we have been granted more physical planners by the Public Service Commission in order to undertake the work of demarcating what growth point boundaries ought to be so that this unplanned urban sprawl can be contained.  So, I want to thank the Hon. Member for observing this issue which is resettling us.  I thank you.

           (v)*HON. DR. MURIRE: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir, my question is directed to the Minister of Public Service.  What is the criterion or method used in deploying teachers that have finished their degrees whenever there are vacancies?

          THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF PRIMARY AND SECONDARY EDUCATION (HON. E. MOYO): I did not get the question.

          THE HON. SPEAKER: I think it is the process of registering teachers at the district level - there are some glitches in that regard.  In other words the registration is not smooth, what is the Ministry doing about that.

          THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF PRIMARY AND SECONDARY EDUCATION (HON. E. MOYO): He said Public Service.

          THE HON. SPEAKER: The question is misdirected, it should go to the Minister of Primary and Secondary Education.

          THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF PRIMARY AND SECONDARY EDUCATION (HON. E. MOYO): Thank you very much Hon. Speaker, I thank the Hon. Member for the question.  The registration of teachers for employment at district level – yes, it is done through the Education Department, but the Public Service is also involved.  However, I am not very much aware of the glitches that the Hon. Member is talking about, it would assist us a lot if those were identified and the Hon. Member put his question in writing so that we can investigate examples given then we can give a comprehensive answer.

          HON. DR. MURIRE: Hon. Member can you please put your question in writing for next week so that the Hon. Minister can answer in full?

          THE HON. SPEAKER: Hon. Ziyambi there was a question on the withdrawal of Statutory Instrument 25, there are people who had paid fines while the Statutory Instrument subsisted, the question is what happens to those fines – will they be refunded or not?

          THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): Thank you Hon. Speaker. The process of enacting Statutory Instruments is such that once they are gazetted before they come to Parliament, they become effective and they are operational. Should it happen that Parliament decides that it cannot be passed for one reason or another, the effect that it had from the day it was gazetted is not wiped away, it still stands. If you paid a fine you have paid a fine because the law at that particular moment dictated that, that was what was operational at that moment. I thank you.  

          (v) HON. MAVHUNGA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. My supplementary question to the Minister is why do you not bring the Statutory Instrument before validation in Parliament before they are effective in terms of the application?

HON. ZIYAMBI: Mr. Speaker Sir, the reason why Statutory Instruments are there is, there are certain issues that are urgent or that are allowed Ministers to do. In other words, it is a subsidiary power that is given to the Executive to use to enact laws before they are ratified by Parliament in terms of the Parliamentary Legal Committee looking at it, scrutinising and tabling it before Parliament. If the Hon. Member thinks that practice is wrong, he can move a motion that we must abandon it and proffer reasons why it should be abandoned but what is subsisting in terms of our laws and Constitution that is delegated legislative authority that is given by Parliament to the Executive to ensure smooth running of the country. I thank you.

          (v) HON. MUSAKWA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. My question is directed to the Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development as regards the policy position as far as standardisation of the designs of roads and bridges particularly in rural areas. This follows the washing away of a lot of roads and bridges as a result of storms in these areas and it has affected the people?

          THE MINISTER OF TRANSPORT AND INFRASTRUCTURAL DEVELOPMENT (HON. MHONA): Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir and let me also thank Hon. Pastor Musakwa for that very important question. To just elaborate on the parties that are involved in our roads that we have got the State roads, DDF roads Local Council roads and the Rural District Council roads and apparently the owner of those roads is the Ministry which I superintend. I want to thank the Hon. Member which now calls upon the issue of monitoring and evaluation which has just been advent in terms of our policies as a Government to say yes, in terms of standardisation whatever is constructed whether it is in a rural set up, it has to meet specific standards and according to the dictates of this nation in terms of quality.

          So, I want to assure the Hon. Member that we have a number of wash aways roads especially because of the incessant rains that we received in this particular season, but in terms of quality going forward, I assure the Hon. Member that in terms of monitoring and evaluation, all projects are going to be monitored and evaluated accordingly. Thank you Hon. Speaker Sir.

          HON. T. MLISWA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. My supplementary is, Hon. Minister, are you aware of the Mutare/Plumtree road which was done by Group 5 and before five years the road was destroyed when it was supposed to be 15 years. The company that made that road is now in liquidation. The question is how we are going to be guaranteed and assured that the contractors fix roads properly and within what the contract says because it spoke about us moving forward. We have to make sure that roads are done properly, but here is a Group 5 road which has more capacity than any other company which within five years is damaged. We also took a loan against it and the company has gone into liquidation. Thank you.

          THE MINISTER OF TRANSPORT AND INFRASTRUCTURAL DEVELOPMENT (HON. MHONA): Thank you Hon. Speaker Sir and let me thank Hon. Mliswa for bringing that very important question and to give a background of that transaction or a deal which actually involves ZINARA and a company from South Africa to form a Special Purpose Vehicle known as Infra –Link whereby ZINARA had 70% of the shareholding and that company known as Group 5 as alluded to by Hon. Mliswa had 30%. Surely, they were given Mutare/Plumtree Road which is actually consisting of nine tollgates in that road. They had been manning that road and the road was funded by the Development Bank of South Africa (DBSA).  As we speak, the loan has not been serviced.  These are some of the challenges that are there in terms of the dispute before the courts whereby an amicable solution is being put in place.  The road now actually has been exposed because of such anomalies.  I want to assure the Hon. Member that the case before the courts takes into account some of the issues in terms of durability of the road which has not been witnessed for a number of years given the short term the road has been constructed.

          So, with the issue that I once earlier on raised, the aspect of monitoring and evaluation was the missing part whereby contractors are given a job to do they just do a shoddy deal and they are paid.  That causes the drain to the fiscus and also the issue of qualities which are not up to standard.  Given the issue of quality as alluded to, Hon. Mliswa, I want to assure you that these are some of the issues that we are seized with as a Ministry.  I want to say, yes there is a dispute in terms of loan being serviced by the company that has gone under, Group-5 but above all as citizens we also need quality service to be maintained.  Thank you very much.

          HON. DR. MASHAKADA:  Thank you Hon. Speaker Sir.  In view of the quality control issues that the Minister has alluded to, what measures is the Ministry putting in place to make sure that the Chirundu-Beitbridge Road will not suffer the same fate.

          HON. T. MLISWA:  On a point of order, the Hon. Deputy Minister Machakarika is on honeymoon; perhaps he is counting his trucks.

          THE HON. SPEAKER:  Hon. Deputy Minister Machakarika, do away with honeymoon; perhaps he was praying I do not know – [Laughter.] –

          HON. MHONA: Thank you Hon. Speaker Sir, let me thank Hon. Dr. Mashakada for the question.  I want to assure the Hon. Member that so far the companies that have been working along the Beitbridge Road have managed to be on target and as we speak, they are now going into phase 3 of that road. I also call upon the Committee on Transport together with my Ministry so that we do the monitoring and evaluation as a team so that as we then see the works being done we would not sit here and interrogate the quality and the state of the road after we have paid.

          Mr. Speaker Sir, this is a local content setup whereby the road is being funded from the fiscus.  It then calls upon this august House, Hon. Speaker Sir, to take charge of monitoring and evaluation so that we work as a team.  The Chairperson of the Transport Committee together with the Ministry should work as a team so that we superintend over the quality of the work being done.

          HON. T. MLISWA:  I have a recommendation Hon. Speaker.  The recommendation is that the Committees on Transport, Public Accounts and Budget Committee if they can be joined together because there was a lot of money from the fiscus.  They should go and see how the money was spent.  It is my recommendation that those Committees go together because I was also going to suggest that the Committee on Public Accounts invites ZINARA and its partners.  We want to know where the money went to.  That is our job to check how monies are being spend, nine tollgates and the work is not being done properly, yet we think we have paid.  They should be accountable.  Those three Committees, those three lions should go together and see who will survive from there.

          THE HON. SPEAKER:  Thank you, I am sure the Hon. Minister has taken note.

          HON. MAVETERA:  Thank you Hon. Speaker.  Still on that point, considering the loss that could have happened is there any policy concerning insurance especially on our part as Government so that we safeguard such recurrences.  In the contract, is there a clause on insurance?

          HON. MHONA: Let me also thank Hon. Mavetera for that question.  In any given contract Hon. Speaker Sir, there are performance guarantees and bid bonds.  That would also state and take care of such anomalies.  I think the only issue is of following up in terms of executing and calling the performance of such very important tools especially when it comes to bid bonds and performance guarantees.

          (v)HON. MUSHORIWA:  Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  My question is directed to the Minister of Local Government and Public Works.  In view of the Government policy that has allowed ZUPCO monopoly in terms transport in the urban set up, what remedial action is the Ministry taking to ensure that school children when schools open next week they will be in a position to get transport.  I am saying this because many passengers are now resorting to be carried by lorries and pickups.

          Hon. Dr. Labode having stood up to ask a question.

          THE HON. SPEAKER:  Hon. Dr. Labode, what is the issue?

          HON. DR. LABODE:  I want to ask a question.

          THE HON. SPEAKER:  You must be in your list, I have got a list from your Party, so please register but if there is room I will call upon you.

          THE MINISTER OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT AND PUBLIC WORKS (HON. J. MOYO): I want to thank the Hon. Member for the question.  We have a Committee that is looking after the issues of Covid-19.  In that Committee, the issues of schools opening and the transport logistics that ought to be done have been analysed and we believe that ZUPCO as the preferred carrier in all urban areas has already made sure that there is a separate allocation of buses for school children so that we do not mix with the travelling public, workers and others who are plying these routes into town. We did it last year when the schools opened for examinations and it worked quite well.

We are busy preparing ZUPCO to make sure that there are buses in each urban area which are allocated for school children so that they travel very well. In doing so, we make sure that the issues of sanitisation; social distancing and also making sure that the students are taken their temperatures before they go into the buses. That we are ensuring and we want to ensure that our children are well protected.

HON. DR. LABODE: My supplementary question is to the Ministry of Local Government. I wanted to know whether the teachers have been vaccinated and also to get a response on whether Zimbabwe has now received more vaccines other than the 200 000 doses that were donated?

THE HON. SPEAKER: Hon. Dr. Labode, that is a double barrelled question to two ministries.

HON. DR. LABODE: Okay. Minister of Education, I wanted to know whether the teachers have been vaccinated? The reason why I am asking about the 200 000 doses is you cannot vaccinate if you have no vaccine. That is why I want to know whether the nation has procured the 100 million extra vaccines?

THE HON. SPEAKER: The question does not seem to arise from Local Government.

HON. DR. LABODE: No, it does. He stated about ZUPCO and schools being ready so the teachers also must be ready. You cannot expect the children to be taught by somebody who has not been vaccinated.

THE HON. SPEAKER: I will indulge you Hon. Dr. Labode.

THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF PRIMARY AND SECONDARY EDUCATION (HON. E. MOYO): The teachers have not been vaccinated and the Ministry driving that process of vaccination is the Ministry of Health. I think the overall Coordinating Committee on COVID -19 has prioritised how that is going to happen. So, I may not be very much aware of the processes within health in terms of prioritisation and the roll-out of the vaccination programme but what I can confirm is that as of now, teachers have not yet been vaccinated. I believe they are going to be vaccinated as the process rolls out.

THE HON. SPEAKER: Deputy Minister of Health, you might have to answer that aspect whether teachers are a priority frontline workers as well as the quantity of the vaccines that are expected.

THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF HEALTH AND CHILD CARE (HON. MANGWIRO): Thank you Hon. Dr. Labode for that important question. Vaccines that were received were 200 000 enough for 100 000 people. The first dose is given to an individual and the second one will be given in 28 days. So far, we have not reached the 100 000 mark for the frontline workers who were prioritised as follows; doctors, nurses and all those people who work in hospitals, uniformed forces and those who get in medical things, be it collecting dead bodies from anywhere or from roadblocks. We also prioritised journalists, Members of Parliament and those who work in mortuaries as our frontline workers. The process has been going on well but we have not finished. We are realising that definitely schools are going to be opened.

The Committee is relooking at that so that we can also extend the vaccination to the teachers but the teachers were on Stage Two of Phase One.  Stage one was the frontline whom I have outlined. Teachers were on Stage Two of Phase One which we are going into. In terms of the number of vaccines that are coming, they are a lot lined up. We are going to pick some more as we go along stage by stage and we have confirmed orders. Sinovac is going to give us about 1, 2 million and Synopharm about 600 000. We are in the process of arranging to pick those and they will continue after we finish the 200 000. What must be clear is we do not want to pile up the 10 million and our speed at which we are doing it may not be commensurate with the amount that we have piled up and we might end up losing.

(v)HON. SARUWAKA: My supplementary question to the Minister of Local Government is, ZUPCO has not been able to cover all the routes in the country. He spoke about urban areas but in the rural areas, there are certain routes that have not been covered by ZUPCO yet the private combis have been suspended. I wanted to check with the Hon. Minister when they are going to allow the return of private combis so that they can provide services to areas where ZUPCO cannot because the coverage of ZUPCO I think is less than 10% of the country because we have many routes that are not covered. So, when are they going to allow those combis in the rural areas?

HON. J. MOYO: ZUPCO is the one which is designated in all urban areas. When the President announced that we had opened inter-city, it is not just ZUPCO which is operating in inter-city. When we say inter-city, we mean all routes outside urban areas and while ZUPCO might have buses going outside urban areas, they are not the major player. The major players are the private bus and combi owners. These are the major players in intercity. The President did announce that intercity was opened and we see them plying both in the central main roads as well as in the hinterland in the rural areas.  The private sector is now very busy doing their business.  I thank you.

HON. T. MOYO:  My question is directed to the Minister of Home Affairs.  What is Government policy towards total and unequivocal repatriation of iconic bird statues which appear on our national flag and on our coins?  I am referring to those that were stolen during the colonial era.  When are they going to be returned to Zimbabwe?  Also missing are important Government documents which should be appearing in the national archives.  I was surprised to miss some documents in the national archives of Zimbabwe.  I had to find them at Rhodes University library written Zimbabwe Rhodesia Government.  When do we expect them back in Zimbabwe?  I thank you.

THE MINISTER OF HOME AFFAIRS AND CULTURAL HERITAGE (HON. KAZEMBE):  I would like to thank the Hon. Member for the pertinent question.  The question is in two parts.  While one part is about policy, the other part is about what is supposed to be done and when we are expecting to get the documents back.  The part of policy is very clear because Government intends to ensure that all those documents are brought back to Zimbabwe but as to when exactly becomes a bit specific.  I will look into it to see how far that bit has gone and bring the response to this august House next week Wednesday.

THE HON. SPEAKER:  Hon. Muchimwe, can you be properly dressed.  Now you are properly dressed, I can see you.  I was worried about your attire.

HON. MPARIWA: My question is directed to the Minister of Justice.  When will Government ratify the African Charter on Democratic Elections and Governance?  I ask this question in view of the fact that we are less than two years to the general election.

THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE AND LEGAL AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI):  I am laughing Mr. Speaker because the protocol was ratified here in Parliament.  We ratified it in this session of Parliament.  So I am not sure why the Hon. Member thinks we need to do it again.

THE HON. SPEAKER:  It is just memory lapse.

HON. DR. KHUPE:  My question is directed to the Minister of Energy and Power Development.  The Minister issued licences to 25 independent power producers in the last eight years to produce energy in the form of solar, hydro and thermal technology.  Sadly, these IPPs are only producing 135 megawatts as opposed to 6000, resulting in power shortages.  Does the Ministry have any plans to consider biogas using municipal waste which is all over and causing health hazards in all cities.

THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF ENERGY AND POWER DEVELOPMENT (HON. MUDYIWA):  I would like to thank the Hon. Member for the pertinent question.  Yes, it is true that the Ministry issued quite a number of licences through ZERA, our regulatory authority to potential IPP companies who had plans to generate electricity from several sources throughout the country but up to now not many of them have produced anything. Some of them were issued with these licences more than five years ago but what has been happening is that the prospectors came and applied for licences without funding.   After they had acquired funding, they would then start to look for investors to assist them but most of them failed to attract investors to implement their projects.  That is why most of the IPPs have failed to come up with the electricity that they had promised to generate.

Coming to the second part of your question about the municipal waste, through our renewable energy policy, we have got those plans and we are encouraging investors to come and invest in the waste on electricity projects.  At the moment, we have not got many.  At Mbare, we have such a project where they are generating some electricity from municipal waste which is processed into energy.  We are looking for investors in that.  It is one area where we can generate more electricity if we get investors into that area.  That is what I can say at the moment.  Thank you Mr. Speaker.

THE HON. SPEAKER:  Thank you Hon. Minister.  In Shona they say, chakanaka chakanaka, mukaka haurungwe, okuhle kuhle.  I am very impressed by the attendance of Hon. Ministers and their deputies – [HON. MEMBERS:  Hear, hear.] – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – Order.  If you are a husband and you do your job, your wife should praise you.  I want to say Hon. Ministers maintain your responsibility accordingly in terms of Section 107 (2) of the Constitution.  Keep it up.  Thank you.

(v)*HON. T. ZHOU:  Thank you very much Mr. Speaker Sir.  My question goes to the Minister of Primary and Secondary Education.  My question is in relation to the opening of schools.  The Ministry has issued out the school calendar on the opening of schools from the 15th March.  Since private schools were open during the lockdown, are they going to be following the school calendar or they will continue using the calendar that they were using when they were doing online lessons?  Thank you Mr. Speaker.

THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF PRIMARY AND SECONDARY EDUCATION (HON. E. MOYO):  Thank you very much Madam Speaker and thank you very much for the question.  That is currently a very topical question that the Ministry is dealing with.  We have received a lot of complaints regarding trust and some independent schools that are operating outside the parameters given by the Ministry.  We have already drafted a letter to the board that oversees these private schools, which letter I am sure has already been sent because yesterday it was being discussed and sent to those respectively.  In fact, if they insist on going against the calendar, they risk deregistration. Thank you.

 (v)*HON. T. ZHOU:  My supplementary question Madam Speaker is; since these schools have been doing online lessons whilst other schools were closed, are the learners supposed to pay school fees?

HON. E. MOYO:  Thank you Madam Speaker.  Thank you very much for the supplementary question.  Online lessons in terms of payment depend on the arrangement that the school and the parents have made.  Some schools are well resourced to finance to finance that kind of operation without any levy being charged but others are not so resourced and yet they might be having the necessary networks to operationalise online learning.  They might need to talk to their parents which many schools have done.  It is not the total school fee that is paid as if there is face to face tuition in the schools.  Such more levies that parents may arrange with the schools to facilitate online learning in many cases have been happening.  That is not regarded as the payment of school fees.

HON. T. MLISWA: Madam Speaker, my supplementary question to the Minister is; there has been COVID for the past year.  There has not been any revenue for the guardians and parents sending to school.  Why have you increased fees at these private schools?  There is no justification and you cannot even debate it because people are not making money.  Because of COVID, they have not made money for the whole year but the school fees are being hiked.  What is the justification of that?

Secondly, you have allowed the private schools to run their little Rhodesia.  They also do not take part with other schools in terms of sport.  Churchill for example, is a Government school and it beats all schools when it comes to rugby but now they cannot play St Georges.   They cannot play Falcon in Zimbabwe today and yet the best rugby players are largely black.  Now, they are also left out of the Zimbabwe national team.

THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER:  Hon. Mliswa, ask your question.

HON. T. MLISWA:  My question is; why is the Ministry allowing discrimination to happen in these private schools through sport and why is the Ministry allowing the hiking of school fees when the revenue has not been there for the entire country because of COVID for the whole year.  What is the justification?  There is no debate.  Tell us why have you said there?  It is like you are toothless bulldogs in terms of you attending to these issues.  There is no justification whatsoever.  There must be no debate, but there must be enforcement.

HON. E. MOYO:  Thank you very much Madam Speaker and thank you to the Hon. for the questions.  The first one is - why schools have increased fees.  It is not Government.  It is not the Ministry that increases fees.  Fees are increased through an arrangement between schools and the parents.  Parents come to a meeting, discuss the budgets that are given and the majority of the parents present in the meeting and constituting more than 20% of the parent body of that school, agree to the fee increase whose register is then submitted with signatures of the people present, and then submitted to the district office with the recommendations and justification.  The Ministry merely accedes or rejects what has been agreed to by parents but it is not the Ministry that increases fees.

Coming to the issue of sports segregation, I think I might have to look into that.  I may not immediately give a response.  I take note and the people in charge of that area will then inform me after making a research on the issues and then I will bring a response.

HON. T. MLISWA:  Is the Minister aware that those meetings that are held, parents are forced to agree because they fear being victimised together with their children.  I have children who go to private schools and in a way, you feel that if you object you are victimised – that is the truth of the matter.  I am speaking for the people here.  There is no justification to the victimisation yet we know very well that there is no revenue that is coming to any parent.  It does not need a debate but common sense.  How come 20 have agreed – it is because they fear their children will be victimised.  An investigation must be instituted immediately so that we save these people.  For the whole year there was no money and common sense can tell you that you cannot hike anything.

HON. E. MOYO:  The issue of victimisation is noted but however, I would like to encourage Hon. Members present and various structures of Government, local Government and councillors wherever they are – councillors are ex-officio members of the SDCs and they represent people.  They must represent people’s interest by ensuring that people are not victimised.  I want to urge Hon. Members to also conscientise parents on their rights regarding decisions made on the issue of fees.  They should not fear anything but should people feel victimised, they need to get recourse from the Ministry and they will be assisted.

HON. MUSHORIWA:  My supplementary question to the Hon. Minister is, given that schools have been closed and there has been running expenses incurred by schools, whether or not the schools are operating like security and other stuff, what is the Government doing in terms of helping schools through giving them some resources so that the costs are not passed on to parents who are facing huge economic challenges?  Is the Government considering giving the schools money so that they run some of these expenses?

HON. E. MOYO:  There has not been any consideration of that kind of grant looking at the number of schools in the country – close to 10 000 and their different locations and circumstances.  However, during COVID, some schools approached the Ministry regarding those issues of overheads which are always there, whether the school is running or not the advice was to discuss the matter with the parents and come up with levies to just cover those basic overheads without touching parents full fees because some of the expenses would not really require those fees. We would not want to find everything falling apart when schools open.  I think some schools with initiative did just that but however, you find a mixed bag in these schools – [HON. T. MLISWA:  Inaudible interjection.] –

THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order Hon. Mliswa – [HON. T. MLISWA:  Inaudible interjection.] – Hon. Mliswa, Hon. Mliswa please may you approach the Chair.

HON. T. MLISWA:  May I apologise to Madam Speaker and all women.  This is women’s month and we must respect women. I am sorry Madam Speaker.  I withdraw my bad behaviour.  You must have a relaxed month and we must give you respect.  I withdraw that hooligan behaviour.   

HON. KWARAMBA:   My supplementary question to the Minister of Education iswhen schools opened last time after COVID, some pupils went to school but others failed to attend lessons because they feared COVID.  Does it follow that those people have lost their places at schools?

THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER:  Hon. Minister, did you get the question?

HON. E. MOYO: Yes, thank you Madam Speaker.  This is a question which emanates from a number of incidents that we have and are dealing with as a Ministry. The policy of the Ministry is that if a student is absent continuously without explanation for eight days, the school must institute an investigation by contacting the parents to find out what has happened.  It is the responsibility of the parent to also notify the school of what circumstances the child is in resulting in them failing to come to school.  There is no automatic loss of a place without such conversation.

In the stated example, we have instituted investigations on the PEDs.  We know that there was COVID, people were in different circumstances, some were not well and others could not travel.  We expect our schools to be so considerate and not to willy-nilly cancel enrolment of students.  However, I know what the Hon. Member is talking about and that is being dealt with by the relevant PEDs where this has occurred.

HON. NKANI:  My question is directed to the Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water, Climate and Rural Resettlement.  What is Government policy on the ownership of infrastructure and homesteads left on the farms that were previously owned by white farmers but now are owned by new A1 farmers?

THE MINISTER OF LANDS, AGRICULTURE, FISHERIES, WATER, CLIMATE AND RURAL RESETTLEMENT (HON. DR. MASUKA): There are two categories of infrastructure left depending on the settlement.  On A1 farms, the infrastructure remains Government....

THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon. Member, are you connected?

HON. DR. MASUKA:  I hope I am connected now.

THE HON. DEPUTUY SPEAKER:  You may go ahead

HON. DR. MASUKA:  There are two types of ownership: on A1 farms, the infrastructure remains Government infrastructure to be collectively managed by the Committee of Sevens.  On A2 however, Madam Speaker, the allocated beneficiary is then responsible for the infrastructure, on that farm.  So, those are the two categories and distinction in terms of ownership of infrastructure.

(v)HON. MADZIMURE: Thank you Madam Speaker.  On A2 farms where the new farmer takes over the infrastructure, does the farmer pay any compensation?

HON. MASUKA: Thank you Madam Speaker, I thank the Hon. Member for the supplementary question. As the Hon. Member might have heard or knows, there is the Global Compensation Deed which is estimated at US$3, 5 billion - it is the improvements on all the farms that were the subject of the Land Reform Programme.  Government has taken the stance that this is a national responsibility and Government is currently looking for resources, together with the former farm owners in order to meet the compensation obligation.

Therefore, at this stage, the policy guidance is that the beneficiaries of the Land Reform Programme should pay their levies and those levies are indicated annually.  Thank you.

HON. T. MLISWA: On a point of clarification. Hon. Minister, do those Committees of 7 exist?  What we have heard is that they are no longer there and we need to be very clear because they also created a lot of problems.

HON. DR. MASUKA: Thank you Hon. Member for seeking that clarification.  In terms of the policy, they do exist - whether they are operational and active, perhaps is another issue.  In some instances, they are, but if there are any specific issues and specific areas, perhaps we can look into it and try and advise the relevant district Lands Committees so that we can activate them.  They are an important administrative structure in the current Land Reform Programme.

HON. T. MLISWA:  The District Development Coordinators - we had a meeting with them and they were very clear that they do not exist.  I think you are creating confusing now.  However, it would be important for the Minister of Local Government to come in because they fall under District Development Coordinators.  As far as we know, they do not exist anymore.  If I am not mistaken, they fall under the Minister of Local Government.

With your indulgence, Madam Speaker, it is very important for the Minister of Local Government to come in and clarify that.  They were disbanded because of the many problems which had been created.  The Lands Committee itself has a number of people who sit on it.  The composition of the Lands Committee represents everyone; the chiefs are there, the chairman of the rural district council is there, and so forth.  So what is the purpose of the Committee of Sevens again?

THE MINISTER OF LOACAL GOVERNMENT (HON. J. MOYO): The Committee of Seven was a requirement and that requirement, I think in policy as the Minister has said, remains the policy.  However, at operations, I think at some point when it was indicated that ‘there is no land without a chieftainship’, the village heads, in some cases where appointed in those areas and that would have come into conflict with the Committees of Seven.

So, I think what is required is for us together with the Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water, Climate and Rural Resettlement to go and look at what the Hon. Member is analyzing and then we can bring a correct statement and a correct position.  Thank you.

*HON. TEKESHE: Thank you Madam Speaker. My question is directed to the Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development.  It used to be that when you purchase a car, that garage you would have brought from would immediately process all the paper work and number plates for you.  However, right now the car or vehicle will come with temporary plates.

What is the major reason we are not getting number plates and do these temporary plates work the same as the number plates?

*THE MINISTER OF TRANSPORT AND INFRASTRUCTURAL DEVELOPMETN (HON. MHONA): Thank you Hon. Speaker. Yes, it is true that the issue of number plates has caused havoc in our country.  The number plates that we use in this country are imported from outside the country, which means there is a foreign component that is needed for the number plates to be imported.

However, I am glad to announce to this august House that we are blessed to have the Minister of Higher and Tertiary Education, Innovation, Science and Technology Development, Hon. Prof. Murwira who is working very hard with students in various universities around the country to solve the issue of number plates through innovation, science and technology.  So, in the near future, I believe the Minister of Higher and Tertiary Education will be coming to this House with good news that number plates are now being manufactured locally in order to save foreign currency and solve this problem of number plates.

The number plates that are given when entering into the country are not the same with the number plates that are then put on the vehicle.  Furthermore, these temporary plates are not good to our economy because they take a huge chunk on the national budget because if a car has temporary number plates, that car is not registered.  When the car is issued with number plates, that is when the Government benefits - especially the Ministry of Transport and infrastructural development, through registration fees.  It is our wish that we could be able to manufacture those number plates locally.  I thank you.

*HON. TEKESHE:  The problem of number plates is a result of Governments failure to acquire the number plates but at the same time, people are being harassed by the police through having their cars impounded and so forth because they do not have number plates.  Why is this being allowed to happen when we know that it is the Government that is failing to acquire the number plates?  I would like to give an example of an Honourable Senator who collected their car on Friday and on Saturday it was impounded in Mutare.  The police should not impound cars that have temporary number plates because it is a known fact that there are no number plates as a result of Governments failure to acquire them.

*HON. MHONA:  The issue that he has raised also touches on the Ministry of Home Affairs, but as he has said, I would like to propose that we - the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructural Development, work together with the Ministry of Home Affairs so that we have a way forward in resolving this issue, so that people with cars that have temporary number plates can move on our roads freely.  I thank you.

*HON. MUDARIKWA: My request to the Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development is on why we cannot manufacture our own number plates.  We have the technology to manufacture the number plates here in Zimbabwe.  We used to manufacture our own number plates in the past.  If we go to Universities, we have training graduates and the equipment that can be used in manufacturing number plates.  This is not a question but just a suggestion.

*HON. MHONA:  I would like to thank Hon. Mudarikwa for his suggestion.  It is true that we have graduates that are coming out from our universities that if we work hard we can go back to manufacturing number plates in our country.  This will help us as a country as we are facing foreign currency shortages to have them manufactured out of the country.  I thank you.

HON. T. MLISWA:  Madam Speaker the Minister is forgiven because he is new in that department but all these experts and scientists that are being mentioned that they will fix these things have always been there.  Is it not a question of corruption where somebody must make money out of these number plates that has delayed the process?  These scientists have always been there.  So the question is, is it not a result of corruption that we have not been able to manufacture them in this country – [HON. MEMBERS:  inaudible interjections.] – I do not know why you are laughing but I am sure it is the truth.

There is nothing but corruption and it is a simple answer which does not need a rocket scientist.  Hon. Murwira before he was there, these very same technocrats were there.  So what will change?  Is it not corruption?  I know you are not corrupt.

THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER:  So what is your question Hon. Mliswa?

HON. T. MLISWA:  Is it not corruption that is the source of the problem and not that we do not have scientists?

*HON. MHONA:  Thank you Madam Speaker.  You have raised a very pertinent issue of corruption, but at the moment I would like to thank the coming of the second dispensation that is working hard to stamp out corruption in the country.  I trust that if we work together as a nation we can stop corruption.  I thank you.

HON. MURAMBIWA:  Thank you Madam Speaker.  My question is directed to the Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare.  It appears the system of teacher recruitment has been centralised recently.  Hon. Minister, do you not see that centralised recruitment is prone to centralised corruption?  Thank you. 

THE MINISTER OF PUBLIC SERVICE, LABOUR AND SOCIAL WELFARE (HON. PROF. MURWIRA):  The decision to decentralise was actually as a result of attempts to resolve the problems that we were seeing with the decentralised recruitment. The process that we are now using is very much impersonal in that people register at their districts and then the names are forwarded to the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education at central level.  You will also realise that the recruitment that has taken place over the past two to three years has involved large numbers, at one point it was 6 000 and at another point it was about 5 000 and recently I think we are recruiting 3 000.  That makes it very impersonal, bureaucratic systems work well when there are impersonal.  Therefore, there is no interaction between those who are making the selection on a personal level and those who are seeking to be recruited.

          What then becomes important is when did they complete their training, what learning area did they specialise in and then this is merged with the vacancies that are available.  So, it is completely impersonal and fights against the corruption that we had actually seen with local recruitment. Most of it is being done electronically which again is helping us with the reduction in corruption. I thank you.

           (V)*HON. MURAMBIWA: Thank you, Hon. Minister, you will find that those teachers that are employed are not the ones from our constituencies who would have applied.  We receive teachers from other areas, can the Minister please clarify?

          HON. PROF. MAVIMA: Thank you Madam Speaker, I want to thank the Hon. Member for the supplementary question.  The question tends to contradict his earlier concern basically now he is saying we want people from my constituency being deployed in those specific areas.  In many ways saying I want to say that I am retaining pork to the constituency which in itself goes to define what he was concerned about earlier the whole implication of corruption.  What I have enunciated says any Zimbabwean who has qualified in a certain time and has the appropriate learning area concentration can be deployed without regard to where they come from specifically.  There are many advantages except in situations where we are talking about the infant module where the mother tongue is considered to be important in the teaching at that level.

Otherwise nationally we have better integration and better nation building. If a Zimbabwean can be deployed in any part of the country and they can go and work there.  I thank you.

HON. NDEBELE: Madam Speaker allow me to check with the Minister how will this impersonally deployment of teachers then takes into cognisance the infant schooling that he refers to because I just has the occasion to look at the recent deployment.  You could ask what is in a name but the names I saw there for provinces in the south were just not convincing that particular fact had been taken into consideration.

HON. PROF. MAVIMA: Hon. Speaker, I am assuming that the Hon. Member is saying that he expected to see southern names in southern places but what is not clear is whether he is also saying there are no southern names in northern or western or eastern places.  My earlier contribution was to say it will be a good thing to see a southern name in an eastern place and to see a northern name in a southern place because that contributes to national integration and nation building where a geography teacher coming from Manicaland goes to work in Gwanda that in itself is important.

HON. NDEBELE: On a point of order Madam Speaker.

THE HON. SPEAKER: What is your point of order?

HON. NDEBELE: I need to correct things before they go too far. That was certainly not the import of my question.  This is a whole professor, I need him to understand that in the last couple of months, we have been dealing with the mischief of a zero percentage pass rate in Matabeleland and in the flesh he stood in this House and said there is a policy that says at infant level children must be taught by those who are conversant with their home language.  So, my question then is the deployment is impersonal, how do we cure the mischief, it has nothing...

THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon. Ndebele are you connected?

HON. NDEBELE: I am sorry Madam Speaker, I am now connected but it takes away the currency from the question if I must repeat it but I am sure he got the gist. I am not saying Ndebele must each in Matabeleland that is not the import of my question but how does this impersonal deployment system cure that mischief so that we have a supply good enough to take care of our children between the grade zero to grade three level, that is where my question is premised.

HON. PROF. MAVIMA: Thank you Madam Speaker. There were some insinuations and I am not going to go into those.  You remember my first response was to say there is an exception where the infant module is concerned. In my initial response I indicated that the infant module is special in the sense that Government policy is to say those in the infant module ECD A and ECD B, Grade 1 and Grade 2 are supposed to be taught in their mother tongue. It is only when we go to the junior module which is Grade 3 and upwards that the language of instruction becomes English for most of the learning areas except the specific indigenous languages.

          So, this issue that the Hon. Member is referring to is not relevant. The selection at the infant module takes cognisance of not being from a specific language group or ethnic group but takes cognisance of proficiency in the language of the area so that they can effectively teach in the mother tongue of that particular area. Thank you Hon. Speaker.

          HON. NDEBELE: I need clarification Madam Speaker.

          THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order, Order Hon. Ndebele.

          Questions without Notice were interrupted by THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER in terms of Standing Order No. 64.

ORAL ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS WITH NOTICE

          HON. T. MLISWA: On a point of Order Madam Speaker. The Speaker always say chakanaka chakanaka but I also want to say chakashata chakashata. He praised the Ministers for coming today...

          THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Chakashata ndechipi, tirikuteedza mutemo pano apa.

          HON. T. MLISWA: The Ministers are not here...

          THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: So, you must withdraw chakashata nokuti hapana chakashata apa.

          *HON. T. MLISWA: Chakashata ndechekuti maMinisters who were here have all left. Is it because they do not want to respect you – this is why I am saying it is bad. It is women’s month and I thought they would give you all the respect but when the Speaker was here, they were all seated. This is what I am saying it is bad. I am not happy about it that they all went out and they did not come to ask for permission to go out. That is the procedure when one wants to go out, they ask for permission to go out to say I have got an appointment or I want to go to my office.  But they went out like a public toilet. They are disrespecting this House. We must give you the respect which is due. Thank you.

          THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Some of them had asked for permission Hon. Mliswa.

          HON. T. MLISWA: But I have not seen them coming there, you are just saying so because you are a mother and it is women’s month. Hon. Minister Moyo went out and came back and I saw him but others have not come back yet. Thank you.

          THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Some of the Ministers sent some letters which I have here asking for permission to go out.

          HON. T. MLISWA: I just wanted to raise that because it is women’s month because we should respect women who are in positions like you.

          HON. NDEBELE: Madam Speaker, I appreciate that time for Questions without Notice has lapsed but the way you suddenly cut me off like a school boy when I was in the middle of a conversation on matters that we consider very important where I come from...

          THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon. Ndebele, I gave you time to ask your question and I gave the Minister time to respond...

          HON. NDEBELE: But you cut me short yet I am a sworn Member of Parliament here.

          THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order please. I did not cut you short.

          HON. NDEBELE: You did. There was nothing hurtful with you giving me a second time to continue the conversation.

          THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: How can we continue when the time has expired?

          HON. NDEBELE: My time was taken by a point of order yet I have issues from where I come from.

          THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon. Ndebele you are out of order please take your seat?

          HON. NDEBELE: It is women’s month but hazvina kunaka izvozvo.

          (v)HON. MADZIMURE: On a point of Order Madam Speaker. Madam Speaker, Written Questions when you call a Member’s name, that Hon. Member might find it difficult to unmute when the Hon. Member is actually connected but may fail to unmute. So, if it is regarded that the Hon. Member is absent and he is not there, I think this is not fair. The Minister must go on to give the answer and Hon. Members can supplement and even the Hon. Member himself/herself might then find time and ability to unmute. Thank you.

          THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: I hear you Hon. Madzimure and I also urge Hon. Members to be ready to unmute and answer to their questions.

          (v)HON. NDUNA: On a point of order Madam Speaker. Hon. Speaker Ma’am, it is my humble submission that if your Hon. Chair can look at the participants to actually see if the Hon. Member is there or not.  This is going to inform you whether he/she is having challenges in unmuting their gadgets.  By their presence on the participants list, that can give the onus on you to actually give the Hon. Minister to go ahead and present the answers.

          THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER:  Point taken Hon. Nduna, thank you.

MEASURES TO PAY NSSA PENSIONERS COMPETITIVELY

  1. 6.   B. DUBE asked the Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare to inform the House-

(a)    To explain measures being taken by the Ministry to ensure that NSSA pensioners are being paid competitively.

(b)   Why the Ministry, NSSA and IPEC are neglecting private sector pensioners as regards access to the USD COVID-19 allowances.

THE MINISTER OF PUBLIC SERVICE, LABOUR AND SOCIAL WELFARE (HON. PROF. MAVIMA):  Thank you Madam Speaker. NSSA pension entitlements are calculated based on the contribution period and one’s salary at the time of retirement, subject to the prevailing insurable earning ceiling. The existence of the ceiling curtails the levels of benefits.  However, measures have been taken to ensure that contribution rates are self-adjusting in line with the Poverty Datum Line.  This will ensure that that contributing member will receive a more meaningful pension at a time of retirement.

In addition, NSSA is also exploring ways of complementing prescribed benefits with non-monetary benefits in-order to improve the welfare of its pensioners.  While this is under consideration, NSSA has, with effect from March 2021, started disbursing grocery vouchers for its beneficiaries with priority being given to orphans and persons with disabilities.  This disbursement will be rolled out in a staggered way, and all beneficiaries will have received their grocery vouchers by May, 2021.  Furthermore, NSSA is reviewing benefits in April 2021 as a way of ensuring improved social protection of its pensioners.

As to the second part of the question, since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020, basically since the lockdown Madam Speaker, NSSA began paying COVID-19 allowances to its beneficiaries as a way of protecting them from the harsh impact of the pandemic.  The allowances denominated in US dollars have been paid at the prevailing auction rate, owing to foreign currency constraints.  I thank you Madam Speaker.

(v)HON. MADZIMURE:  Thank you Madam Speaker. Can the Minister explain the method that they are using to identify persons with disabilities and the elderly they are giving vouchers?  I just want to find out if the Minister cannot come up with a way of paying pensioners a certain amount in US dollars.  We know that their pension should be commensurate with the cost of living.

HON. PROF. MAVIMA:  Madam Speaker, if I heard the Hon. Member correctly, I would like the Hon. Member and indeed Members of this august House to understand that the resource that we have as NSSA is a resource that in bulk is ZIM dollar. The payments are calculated based on the ZIM dollar denomination.  If we then say pensioners are supposed to be paid a certain amount which is denominated in US dollars, that will be a sure way of bankrupting our social security system.  I am saying this because if there are large devaluations of the ZIM dollar, then we will have serious problems in terms of the ability of NSSA to pay.  So, it makes sense to pay based on ZIM dollar denominations because that will indicate to us our ability to pay.  The idea is to make sure that going forward, NSSA should not just be able to pay now but we should be able to pay going into the future and we want to avoid factors that could lead to bankruptcy.  Thank you.

UPGRADING OF GWERU GENERAL HOSPITAL TO A CENTRAL HOSPITAL

  1. HON. B. DUBE asked the Minister of Health and Child Care to explain to the House when Gweru General Hospital will be upgraded to a Central Hospital considering that it is servicing more than 3 million people drawn from Midlands, Mashonaland West, Mashonaland East and Masvingo.

THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF HEALTH AND CHILD CARE (HON. DR. MANGWIRO):  The modalities for upgrading Gweru Provincial Hospital to a central hospital status are in our plans. We have a number of issues that need to be addressed before we accord it the status. The following are the problems that have been identified;

  1. Limited working space, especially theatres. Clinicians have to give each other operating schedules so that every specialty is accommodated in the two theatres.
  2. Consultation rooms are limited such that issues of privacy and confidentiality are compromised due to the working space challenges.
  3. ICU and renal services, we have seen a surge in the number of patients requiring the services in Government hospitals. Three beds in ICU and 4 beds in the renal area are not able to cater for the growing number of patients.
  4. For ward space, currently in female surgical ward, we are mixing gynaecological with surgical patients compromising infection.
  5. An increase in the number of medical personnel joining the institution has need for the expansion of accommodation for medical personnel within the institution.

Requirements are;

  1. Construction of theatre block with four theatres.
  2. Acquisition of the following equipment; CT Scan, laparoscopy and endoscopy equipment.
  3. Upgrading staff establishment; super specialities are required.
  4. 10-bedded ICU unit, 8-bedded renal unit, 10-bedded high dependent unit, 20 bedded wards for females and males and 5 x 3 bed roomed houses for medical staff. I thank you

HON. B. DUBE: I would like to know the Ministry’s timelines for

the planning since a lot of people are suffering and there are people who are travelling more than 600 km to go to a central hospital either in Bulawayo or Harare. This issue must be treated urgently so we need to understand the timelines when, in terms of time, the Ministry is planning to do that upgrade since already other facilities are there including the teaching hospitals. It needs just to have certain standards upped.

          HON. DR. MANGWIRO: Allow me Hon. Dube to bring the timetable next week Wednesday. Please give me time to go and check the timelines.

          Questions with Notice were interrupted by THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER in terms of Standing Order No. 64

TABLING OF AUDIT REPORT

ZIMBABWE BROADCASTING CORPORATION FORENSIC AUDIT REPORT

          THE MINISTER OF INFORMATION AND BROADCASTING SERVICES (HON. SEN. MUTSVANGWA): Madam Speaker, following your ruling on 3rd March, 2020 regarding the tabling of forensic audit reports, I thereby table the comprehensive and forensic audit services to Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation, July, 2014 in terms of the Audit Act 9 [Chapter 22: 18]

Report duly tabled.

MOTION

BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE

HON. MUTAMBISI:  I move that Orders of the Day, Numbers 1 to 3 be stood over until Orders of the Day, Numbers 4 to 6 have been disposed of.

HON. MPARIWA: I second.

Motion put and agreed to.

MOTION

DOMESTICATION OF CONVENTIONS WITH REGARD TO STATELESSNESS

HON. MAYIHLOME: I move the motion standing in my name that this House;

          NOTING that all persons have a right to nationality as guaranteed by Article 15 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other

International instruments;

          CONCERNED that statelessness remains a human rights crisis

affecting negatively on individuals and families globally with at least

10 million people estimated to be stateless;

          RECOGNISING that in October 2013, the UNHCR called for the

total commitment of the international community to end statelessness

resulting in the Global Action plan to end statelessness in 10 years;

          ALSO RECOGNISING that Zimbabwe is party to various international and regional human rights instruments including the 1954 Convention relating to the status of statelessness persons which it acceded to in 1998;

          ACKNOWLEDGING THAT Zimbabwe is not a party to the 1961 Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness;

          AWARE THAT that the Constitution of Zimbabwe Amendment (No. 20) Act 2013 provides a progressive basis for addressing issues of nationality and statelessness by, among others, providing for the possibility of dual citizenship, especially with respect to persons of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) heritage.

         NOW, THEREFORE, resolves to recommend:

          (a) That the Ministries of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs;

Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage and Foreign Affairs work hand in glove to conclude the necessary processes to domesticate the conventions which Zimbabwe is party to with regard to statelessness;

          (b)That the Executive immediately takes steps to accede to and domesticate the 1961 Convention on Reduction of Statelessness, the 1990 Convention on the Protection of the Rights of all migrant workers and Members of their families and the 1957 Convention on the nationality for all and ending statelessness by 2024;

  1. c) That the Executive champions the eradication of statelessness

within the SADC region during Zimbabwe’s chairpersonship of the SADC organ on Politics, Defence and Security by supporting and advocating for the adoption of the SADC Joint Action Plan; and

          (d)  That the Ministry of Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage urgently aligns the Citizenship Act [Chapter 4:01], Births and Deaths Registration Act [Chapter 5:02] and the Immigration Act [Chapter 4:02] with the Constitution in order to effectively address issues of statelessness in order to contribute to ending statelessness by 2024.

HON. SHAMU: I second.

          HON. MAYIHLOME: I will start my presentation with a quotation and I quote: “To be stripped of citizenship is to be stripped of worldliness.  It is like returning to a wilderness as a caveman or as a savage.  A man who is nothing but a man who has lost the very qualities which make it possible for other people to treat him as a fellow human being they could live and die without leaving any trace, without having contributed anything to the common world” BY HANNAH ARENDT, THE ORIGINS OF TOTALITARIANISM.

ARTICLE 15 of the 1948 Universal of Human Rights states that “Everyone has the right to a nationality; no one shall be denied the right to change his nationality”.

Countries have signed to international and fegional treaties that ensure every man, woman or child has a nationality. But, 10 million people worldwide have no effective nationality and are stateless. Stateless people are found all over the world.

          Introduction 

Statelessness is sometimes referred to as an invisible problem because stateless persons often remain unseen and unheard.

They are not allowed to go to school, visit the doctor, get a job, open a bank account, buy a house, buy a car or even get married, or to vote.

Denial of these rights impacts not only the individual concerned but also on society as a whole. It can lead to social tension and significantly impair economic and social development.

What is Statelessness?

          In international law, a stateless person is:

Someone who is not considered as a national by any state under the operation of law.

Some stateless persons could be refugees, although not all refugees are stateless.

Many people who have not crossed international borders may still be stateless.

What Causes Statelessness?

          Statelessness is caused by a number of factors.

Many stateless people are people born in the countries they currently live in, but are denied nationality. Statelessness is caused by among other things:

  • Forced displacement and civil wars
  • Conflict of laws
  • Transfer of territory especially when resulting from wars
  • Migration
  • Marriage laws
  • Administrative practices
  • Discrimination
  • Lack of birth registration
  • Denationalisation (rescinding nationality)
  • Renunciation

          Global Context

          Stateless people are found in all corners of the world and the majority born in countries where they live their entire lives.

They are not recognised as nationalities and denied basic human rights, the things which we all take for granted like documentation, education, health, employment, property, travel and political rights.

African Context

 It is a major problem but statelessness is poorly documented.

The stateless population overlaps with many undocumented persons (nationals) such that it is unclear who is who until put to test through efforts to acquire documentation.

Many people do not realize they are stateless, but merely that they do not have documentation.

Eventually when the reality of being documented as stateless kicks in the damage has been done, several generations would have been affected.  Mr. Speaker Sir, during the December period when we were on a break, I conducted feedback meetings in my constituency and I raised this issue to many of my constituents who did not have any documentation, some at the age of 70, 80.  I was reminding them that they were stateless and they were deemed not Zimbabweans. That is when it kicked to many of them that they were not regarded as citizens of any country.  Eventually, this leads to stress  and destruction of family unity, making life meaningless and creates a cycle of hopelessness and degradation.

The African Commission for People and Human Rights published a 2014 study which highlighted the main causes for statelessness and that possible solutions to statelessness lay in addressing gaps in nationality laws.

Statelessness in Zimbabwe

          The Committee on Defence, Home Affairs and Security Services and the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission conducted inquiries on the access to primary documents which are critical in the elimination of statelessness. The following factors were identified:

Migration, historical developments and amendments to the laws, mainly farm workers, mine workers, railway and their descendants who migrated to Zimbabwe in the 1940s and 1950s mainly from Zambia Malawi and Mozambique.

In 1985, efforts were made by the Zimbabwe Government to register some of these persons while others opted to remain as aliens. So we do have second and third generation descendants who remain without documents. In some cases, these persons we consider aliens are not recognised as in their original countries, rendering them stateless.

In 2001, Zimbabwe amended the Citizenship Act which prohibited dual citizenship, but the new Constitution provides for the regularisation of their citizenship.

Children born of single parents or out of wedlock were the parents, especially where the mother has no documents, making it very difficult for children to acquire primary documents. A visit by the DHASS Committee to Matabeleland South, Kezi; we were informed that at Halale Primary school, out of 700 pupils, 300 of them had no birth certificates, including seven from one family.

The Citizenship Act provides for the processing, acquiring citizenship, renunciation, deprivation, loss and restoration of citizenship.

Then there is the Births and Deaths Registration Act Section 10 of that Act provides for the compulsory registration of all births, still births and deaths. A number of challenges are associated with acquisition of birth certificates and the registration of deaths such as travel costs, distance, administrative processes, lack of documentation of parents especially the mother, lack of information of the procedures in acquiring the birth documentation.

The lack of birth registration and documentation leaves children at the risk of statelessness hence denying them the rights to access education, health care, and other services.

The Immigration Act also regulates the status of aliens and the National Registration Act which provides for the registration of all persons within the country.

Migration of parents to neighbouring countries, children are left in the care of grandparents or guardians. As a result, children fail to get birth certificates. On the other hand, children born out of the country, and when parents return, they fail to provide birth records making it difficult for children to get primary documents.

Internal disturbances and natural disasters, the classic case being the 1980s disturbances in Matabeleland and the Midlands, and the natural disasters like cyclone IDAI.

Refugees with children born in Zimbabwe who fail to access primary documents.

Effects of Being Stateless

  • Stateless persons are denied birth registration
  • No travel and identity documents
  • Denied health care at public institutions
  • Denied education
  • Marriage and jobs
  • Political rights
  • Property rights
  • Even at death denied any records
  • Pass statelessness to their children, then to the next generation

How Can we Prevent Statelessness

  • Resolve existing major situations of statelessness.
  • Ensure no child is born stateless.
  • Remove gender discrimination from nationality laws.
  • Prevent denial, loss or deprivation of nationality on discriminatory grounds.
  • Issue nationality documentation to those with entitlement to it.
  • Accede to UN Statelessness Conventions, especially the 1954 Convention on the Status of Stateless Persons and the 1961 Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness.
  • Grant protection status to stateless migrants and facilitate naturalisation

          UN Initiatives on Statelessness

  • 1954 Convention relates to the status of stateless persons.
  • 1961 Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness aims to reduce statelessness over time.
  • It provides the framework for very person to acquire a nationality.
  • It requires member states to set up safeguards in their nationality laws to prevent statelessness at birth and later in life.
  • In particular, it provides for children to acquire nationality where they are born if they do not acquire any other nationality as well as safeguards in the case of renunciation of nationality.
  • It limits the states from arbitrary deprivation of nationality if this would result in statelessness. Only three SADC countries have acceded to the 1961 convention.

 

# I BELONG CAMPAGN

2014 the UNHCR launched a 10 long global campaign # I BELONG CAMPAIGN aimed at eradicating statelessness by year 2024.

  • Recognises that the right to citizenship/nationality is a central to human rights.
  • Since launch in 2014, 20 states have acceded to the stateless conventions.

As at November 2018, 91 states had acceded to the 1954 Convention, and 73 states acceded to the 1961 Convention with 166,000 people getting nationality, this out of 10 million is still low but a step in the right direction.

          Mid Way Events

          In 2019, the UNHCR organised a mid way campaign to measure progress, achievements and provide a platform for renewed commitment to eradication of statelessness. High Level Segment (HLS) on statelessness has galvanised commitment to end statelessness by 2024.

As a result, 66 countries submitted 252 pledges at HLS, 13 states in Southern Africa providing 53 pledges, being the second highest number per region in the world.

Sustainable Development Goals SDG 16.9

          SDG 16.9 establishes the goal for providing legal identity for all, including registration of birth by 2030, and provides for connection between proof of identity and access to rights and services.

Ending statelessness contributes to SDG targets relating to gender equality, education, health, property.

The world can only be a peaceful and prosperous place if no one State or person is left behind.

SADC Context

Having done so in 1998, Zimbabwe is one of seven countries to have acceded to the 1954 Convention (Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Swaziland and Zambia).

Accension to the 1954 Conventions makes Zimbabwe legally bound by the provisions of the Convention which accords stateless persons the same rights as would be accorded legal aliens living in this country.

Zimbabwe, like all other countries in the world do have stateless persons, and like every other country, have persons who consider themselves Zimbabwean but regarded as stateless in other countries.

In 2016, the Parliamentary Forum adopted the  SADC Resolution on the Prevention of Statelessness hosted by Zimbabwe with proposed measures including reviewing legislative frameworks, administrative practices, addressing gaps that lead to gaps in legislation, gender equality, granting citizenship to children who would otherwise be stateless, establishing functional birth and civil registration systems and acceding to the 1954 and 1961 Conventions.

In 2016, the Sothern Africa Migration Dialogue followed up by producing conclusions and recommendations on statelessness.

In December 2020, 1700 out of around 4000 stateless people of Shona origin who settled in that country in the 1930s were granted citizenship/nationality largely through the assistance from the UNHCR.

          Zimbabwe Context

          The Constitution of Zimbabwe 2013 Amendment (No. 20) Act of 2013 provides for a progressive basis for addressing the issues of nationality and statelessness. Chapter 3 of the Constitution outlines that citizenship is acquired by birth, descent and registration, especially Section 43 (2) which entitles possibilities of dual citizenship for persons of the SADC heritage. Statelessness in Zimbabwe maybe traced to:

  • Migrant laws
  • Internal displacements
  • Mozambican conflicts
  • Laws that are not aligned to the Constitution

          Zimbabwe Position in SADC

          Has held several key positions in SADC like Chair of Organ on Politics, Defence and Security;

Must be seen to lead by example.

Zimbabwe made seven pledges to end statelessness by 2024 at the HLS on Statelessness in 2019, which included the accession to the 1961 Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness and alignment of Nationality laws with the new Constitution and international standards.

          Role of Parliament

  • Help with awareness campaigns to bring statelessness to the fore in the eyes of every citizen.
  • Carry out oversight to ensure that the Ministry of Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage comply with the relevant laws to prevent and eradicate statelessness.
  • Can assist the process by ensuring that national legislation is consistent with international conventions on Statelessness.
  • Need to understand fully the causes, implications and roles in the eradication of statelessness.
  • National laws need to safeguard against arbitrary deprivation of nationality and that everyone is given a nationality.
  • Parliament needs to ensure adequate resources are allocated towards eradication of statelessness.
  • Carry out oversight on ensuring that statelessness timelines and targets are met.
  • Promote and advocate for the accession of the United Nations Conventions to eradicate statelessness, which by the way as a country Zimbabwe acceded to the 1954 Convention in 1998.

          The notice of this motion is therefore a step towards the implementation of the pledges alluded to:

Prevention has been regarded as a bold step towards eradicating statelessness. The first step being identifying stateless persons, determining how they became stateless and understanding the legal, institutional and policy frameworks relating to those causes and offering solutions.

Recommendations are that the Ministry of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, the Ministry of Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Trade work together to conclude the process to align the statute book to the Conventions which Zimbabwe is party to on statelessness as well as assessing the level of implementation and domestication of these Conventions and that the Executive immediately takes up steps to accede and domesticate the 1961 Convention on Eradication of Statelessness, the 1990 Convention on Protection of all Migrant Workers and members of their families and the 1957 Convention on the Nationality of Married Women in order to contribute to nationality, hence ending statelessness by 2024.

Way Forward

  • Urge the Executive to use its positions of influence in SADC to champion issues of statelessness within the region and support for the SADC Joint Action Plan.
  • Assess and conduct a one-time amnesty and exercise to address issues of undocumented persons living in the country, particularly in those provinces that were visited by internal conflicts in the 1980s as well as migrant labour.
  • Recommend that the Ministry of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs and Ministry of Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage quicken the process of aligning the Citizenship Act (Chapter 4:1), Births and Deaths Registration Act (Chapter 5:2), the Immigration Act (Chapter 4:2) with the Constitution of  Zimbabwe Amendment (NO. 20) (2013) (Act 10.1) which will ensure safeguards to prevent statelessness.

Parliament and the respective Committees to closely monitor and assess the impact of measures taken to address statelessness so that the issue of statelessness remains at the top table of agendas.

Relevant ministries and civil society organisations working with UN agencies to conduct awareness and information campaigns to explain the laws and the impact of statelessness on people. We need to end statelessness in our time. I thank you.

HON. SHAMU:  Thank you Mr. speaker Sir.  May I begin by expressing my sincere appreciation for giving me the opportunity to second this important historic motion on statelessness raised by Hon. Mayihlome. Mr. Speaker Sir, L. WaRren who served as the Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court said statelessness is the total destruction of an individual’s status in an organised society.  When one has no nationality the individual faces an existence characterised by insecurity.  You are marginalised.  When one is stateless they become the most vulnerable.  Stateless people do not enjoy rights such as equality before the law.  Stateless people are deprived of the right to work and if employed are seriously exploited.  Mr. Speaker Sir, stateless people are deprived of education and even health care.   Therefore, statelessness is an evil we have had for far too long.  It must be eradicated and eradicated now.

Mr. Speaker Sir, as Hon. Mayihlome stated, Zimbabwe acceded to the 1954 Convention which relates to the status of stateless persons.  Now, this convention lies at the heart of the international regime for protection of stateless persons.  It provides a set of principles for the treatment of stateless persons.  Zimbabwe has however not acceded to the 1961 Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness which provides a comprehensive set of tools for eradicating statelessness.  This, Mr. Speaker Sir, is an unacceptable contradiction.

Mr. Speaker Sir, we have Zimbabwe as legally bound by the 1954 Convention relating to the status of stateless persons while on the other hand Zimbabwe is not party to the 1961 Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness which is the convention which provides the tools for eradicating statelessness.  This, Mr. Speaker Sir, we appeal must be corrected now.  Therefore, I do hereby stand to endorse in its totality the recommendations made by Hon. Mayihlome and 2024 is only three years away.  We must move with speed.  I thank you Mr. Speaker.

HON. DR. MASHAKADA:  Thank you Hon. Speaker for this opportunity.  I rise to support this very important motion moved by Hon. Mayihlome on the problem of statelessness in Zimbabwe and indeed the whole continent of Africa.

Mr. Speaker Sir, it is without doubt that human beings are not animals therefore, it is important that every human being carries a document or be documented to show citizenship, to show nationality but if you are just living without any documentation you are as good as an animal and the Declaration of Human Rights of 1948 clearly provides rights and obligations to protect humanity and statelessness is a major problem affecting human kind.

Stateless people can cause security problems or security risks because they can commit crimes and cannot be accounted for because they do not have documents.  Stateless people cannot contribute to the economic development of the country because they are not documented; they are not in the national database.  So countries lose, Zimbabwe loses if we are not documenting citizens.

In Zimbabwe we have a lot of stateless persons arising from migrant workers who came in from Mozambique, Zambia and Malawi for many years.  Up to now their generations cannot get national IDs or birth certificates because their parents are aliens or foreigners and that must be addressed because they are now Zimbabweans.  They have been here for 50 or 60 years.  So, they must be able to get documentations and also be able to vote in Zimbabwe.  That is the problem of statelessness that must be addressed as a matter of urgency.

 The other problem that has worsened statelessness is our Citizenship Act.  A lot of people have been stripped of their citizenship yet the Constitution of 2013 guarantees dual citizenship but we have not implemented the Constitution to its fullest.  Therefore, many people cannot enjoy dual citizenship, they remain stateless yet they must get national ID documents and passports showing that they are Zimbabweans.  So, let us implement the Constitution, especially the dual citizenship provision, so that we do not render our citizens to statelessness unnecessarily.  We have a lot of citizens in the diaspora in South Africa, United Kingdom, New Zealand and Australia.  Those remain stateless if we do not implement the dual citizenship provisions.

The other area which needs attention to deal with statelessness is the Citizenship Act.  You find that for a long period of time single headed families, the mother could not go and get a birth certificate for the child because you are asked where the father is and so forth.  We need to amend the Citizenship Act

          HON. DR. MASHAKADA [Speaking]:... if we have not yet so that even single parents, especially single mothers can go and get national documents for their children.  These are measures that we can control at national level, but we also need to comply at international level to ratify and domesticate all international conventions that deal with the elimination of statelessness is concerned.  I have heard that we are already party to the 1954 convention that we have ratified but we then need to go a step further the 1961 convention on the reduction of statelessness because those international instruments go hand in hand in so far as the protection of  people from statelessness.  Let us go a step further and ratify the 1961 convention and I hope this House will adopt this motion by Hon. Rtd Brig. Gen. Mayihlome.

          The other convention that we need also to implement, I know we have ratified the 1951 convention on refugees - it is very good to domesticate and implement that convention because statelessness arise out of refugee situation.  So, if we want to eliminate statelessness, we must implement all protocols and conventions relating to refugees such as the 1961 Convention and its 1961 protocol relating to the status of refugees.  We also need to implement the AU protocol relating to the status of refugees of 1969, then it was OAU convention.  We also need to domesticate and implement the Kampala Convention on the rights of displaced because it is from displacement that these issues of statelessness also arise.

          So, Zimbabwe needs to act in so far as the ratification of these international instruments concerning migrants, migrant workers, refugees and stateless persons so that we adopt a holistic approach in protecting stateless people.  In short, I want to support this motion and I want to congratulate Hon. Rtd Brig. Gen. Mayihlome and Hon. Shamu for this motion, I thank you.

          HON. MUTAMBISI: Mr. Speaker Sir, I move that the debate do now adjourn.

          HON. MPARIWA: I second.

          Motion put and agreed to.

          Debate to resume: Thursday, 11th March, 2021.

MOTION

BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE

          HON. MUTAMBISI: Mr. Speaker, I move that Orders of the day No. 5 be stood over until Order No. 6 has been disposed of.

          HON. MPARIWA: I second.

          Motion put and agreed to.

MOTION

REPORT OF THE ZIMBABWE DELEGATION TO THE FOURTH INTER-REGIONAL SEMINAR ON THE PARLIAMENTARY CAPACITY BUILDING AND ACHIEVEMENTS OF THE SDGS FOR PARLIAMENTS OF DEVELOPING COUNTRIES

HON. MADIWA:  Mr.  Speaker, I move the motion standing in my name that this House takes note of the Report of the Zimbabwean Delegation to the Fourth Interregional Seminar on the Parliamentary Capacity Building and Achievements of the SDGs for Parliaments of Developing Countries, Beijing, China from 11th-19th June, 2019.

          HON. KASHIRI: I second.

          HON. MADIWA: Thank you Mr. Speaker, I am going to present a report on the Zimbabwean Delegation to the Fourth Interregional, Seminar on the Parliamentary Capacity Building and Achievements of the SDGs for Parliaments of Developing Countries, Beijing, China from 11th-19th June, 2019.

Introduction

At the invitation of the National People’s Congress of China and Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU), Parliament of Zimbabwe sent a delegation to attend the Fourth Interregional Seminar on Parliamentary Capacity Building from 11th to 19th June 2019.  The Zimbabwe delegation comprised the following:

  • Hon. Sen Chief Mtshane-Khumalo (Chairperson of the Thematic Committee on SDGs);
  • Hon. C. Madiwa (Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Women’s Affairs, Community, SME’s Development);
  • Hon. A.Chibaya (Member of Parliament);
  • Mr. A.  Kunzwa (Secretary to the delegation).

Also in attendance of the seminar, were delegations from Combodia, Gambia, Ghana, Lesotho, Sierra Leonne, Trinidad and Tobego. The purpose of the conference was to foster inter-regional exchanges on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) implementation between Asian and African parliaments. In particular, seminar objectives were as follows:

  • To conduct exchanges and cooperation between legislative bodies of the two countries;
  • To share knowledge about sustainable development goals;
  • To share experiences and best practices on the implementation of SDGs;
  • To exchange notes on the role of parliaments towards the realisation of SDGs targets;
  • To share experiences of the role of Parliament as a bridge between CSOs and Government;

         Opening Ceremony

The opening ceremony of the seminar was held at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China on Wednesday 12th June 2019. The Great Hall of the People houses the National People’s Congress (NPC) which is the highest organ of state power in China. Welcoming delegates, Mr. Ding Zhongli, the Vice-Chairperson of the Standing Committee of the 13th National People’s Congress underscored the critical need for open, inclusive, shared, balanced development and stronger cooperation among developing countries. In achieving SDG’s, developing countries were implored to remain human oriented and development focused.

It noted in particular that since they face various risks and challenges, developing countries need closer international cooperation to secure more consensus, and resources in order to and pool more strength for sustainable development. On the same note, H.E M Chungong, IPU Secretary General stressed the SDGs mantra, “leave no one behind”. As champions of SDGs, and to ensure that no one is left behind, parliamentarians were encouraged to utilise SDG’s self-assessment tools to ensure effective implementation, identify institutional gaps, opportunities identification, and meet set performance benchmarks.

          Highlights of Proceedings and Deliberations

System of the People’s Congress; Mr. C Yong (Deputy Director, Research Office of the General Office of the NPC Standing Committee).

Delegates were briefed on how, as the representative of the people, the National People's Congress (NPC) functions and how it represents all citizens and achieve shared inclusive development. Among other things, the Constitution vests State power to the people through the NPC which is the highest organ of state power. The NPC and the local people’s congresses at various levels are constituted through democratic elections, and are responsible to the people and subject to their supervision.  All administrative, supervisory, judicial and procuratorial organs of the State are created by the people’s congresses to which they are responsible and by which they are supervised.

Powers and functions of the NPC include, but not limited to the following:

(i)                          To amend the Constitution and to supervise its enforcement;

(ii)                       To enact and amend basic laws governing criminal offences, civil affairs, the State organs and other matters; and

(iii)                    To elect, decide to appoint and remove from office members of central State organs.

          'One Belt, One Road’ and its Implication for Global Development (Dr.Prof.  HE Wenping - Institute  of West Asian and African Studies)

The concept of  ‘One Belt One Road’, derived from the two millennia 'Old Silk Road' which allowed traders of Eurasia to explore and opened up several routes of trade and cultural exchanges that linked the major civilisations of Asia, Europe and Africa. In 2013, the same idea was rejuvenated code-named 'One Belt One Road' and this time China seeks to integrate Eurasia's economic development, linking Europe, Asia and Africa through the sea. Neither the belt nor the road follows any clear geographical line, but they serve more as a road map for how China wants to further integrate itself into the world economy and strengthen its influence in these regions.

Vital to note is that central to this grand idea, is the centrality of diversification of China’s investment pattern, industrial connectivity between China’s industrial structural adjustments and other countries, in particular leveraging on Africa’s industrialisation strategy. Statistics given to delegates indicated that the contribution of China to global growth was at 35.2%, and China is the largest trade partner in 124 countries. The take home message for African delegates, including Zimbabwe delegates, was that parliaments should provide guidance through right laws and engagements with stakeholders, within regional blocs such as SADC, in this grand Chinese project which has potential risks and benefits. It was noted already, China’s trade volume and investment with BRI countries is over US$ 6 trillion and US$ 86 billion respectively. It is vital that Africa should have its fair share in this global trade matrix.  

Tour of China Communications Construction Company (CCCC).

On 13th June 2019, delegates toured China Communications Construction Company (CCCC), otherwise the world’s largest designer and builder of ports, roads and bridges, port machinery manufacturer and dredging company. It is established in 157 countries.

Delegates were informed that CCCC has many other strategic projects and a few listed below;

  • Mombasa-Nairobi SGR Project, Kenya. The first railway constructed in overseas that adopts Chinese standard and Chinese techniques with a length of 479.31km and a contract value of USD3.8 bn.
  • Island & Tunnel Project of Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge, the longest cross sea bridge in the world which took seven years from 2010 to 2017 with a total length of 49km.
  • North South Highway BOT Project of Jamaica. The first infrastructure concession project outside China, 65km toll road BOT project with a total investment of US$700 million and a concession period of 50 years.

          Ensuring Better Food Security through Innovation in Food Systems: Zhang Zhongjun (Assistant FAO Representative in China)

Delegates were advised that the world faced many food security challenges such as under nutrition, overweight and obesity, biodiversity, climate change, food loss and waste. In that regard, concern was expressed that SDG 2 (End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture) therefore would be difficult to achieve as the food system is at cross roads. A call was made for an urgent supply of safe, quality, and nutritious food in a sustainable manner (systematic approach). More important by delegates were informed that China had adopted the food system approach that encompassed innovative solutions with ecological, nutrition sensitive, digital and climate resilient agriculture.

          Delegates were further informed that ecological agriculture consists of diversity, co-creation and sharing of knowledge, synergies, efficiency, recycling, resilience, human and social values, culture and food traditions, responsible governance, circular and solidarity economy. Due to climate change, African countries including Zimbabwe have been affected by drought and cyclones, so ecological agriculture can go a long way in improving food security. On the other hand, digital agriculture entails that digital technologies are applied throughout the whole agriculture value chain and it ensures precision agriculture. Chinese farmers use drones for spraying their fields and monitoring of plant development and disease detection. Electronic shopping is also used to connect producers with retailers.

With the thrust towards value addition and beneficiation, African agro-sectors, including Zimbabwe, have to urgently adopt new technology. Given the anticipated population growth and urbanisation, international mutual agricultural cooperation is needed more than ever as there will be a 60% impending food shortage by 2050. China has reached food self-sufficiency through investment in irrigation, agriculture techniques and promotion of infrastructure development. Government has also provided subsidies on organic fertilizers and other soil structure improvement materials to ensure sustainable and green agriculture. It was also submitted that China had realised the need for an awareness of its citizens on food wasting from household to corporate levels. To realise this objective, the Chinese government has rolled out the, “Empty the plate, dish Campaign” in Colleges where students are being sensitised on the need to put food in a plate that you will be able to finish.

          Women and Youth Employment and Empowerment (Mr T. Lihua - Public  Interest Lawyer).

Concern was expressed that rural youth in most developing countries are leaving the countryside to seek employment in urban areas. It was highlighted to delegates that according to the 2018 report on Income and Consumption Expenditures issued by the National Bureau of Statistics, rural youth employment in both agricultural and non-agricultural industries helped lead to a per capita disposable income of 14 617 RMB for rural residents, of which 5 996 RMB per capita consisted of wage earnings. Wage earnings thus comprised 41% of disposable income, making it the largest single component of disposable income. Delegates were informed that China has a Long-Term Youth Development Plan (2016-2025) which ensures that as youth employment grows, youth employment rights continue to improve. Youth payroll benefits, labour protection, social security, and other rights and interests are being more fully protected. The youth entrepreneurship system is also improving, accompanied by a rise in entrepreneurial spirit.

Further, delegates were informed that advancing the empowerment of rural women and expanding women’s access to employment is the top priority of the Chinese government. It was noted that males comprise 65.2% population and females 34.8%. The number of female migrant workers is increasing each year. Guaranteeing women equal access to labour rights, eliminating gender employment discrimination, and raising the number of female workers in urban work units, was critical to development and gender equality.   Delegates were further informed that beginning in 2004, ministries including the Ministry of Agriculture, the Ministry of Finance, and the Ministry of Labour and Social Security of China jointly implemented the “Sunshine Engineering” plan. Included as part of this plan were efforts to improve the quality and skills of women rural labourers in the countryside, as well as to promote women’s employment and entrepreneurship opportunities in non-agricultural sectors. Similar policies have since been rolled out, such as the 2009 “Notice on Perfecting Small Guaranteed Loans, the Fiscal Discount Policy, and the Promotion of Women’s Entrepreneurship and Employment,” the 2011 “Project to Employ Millions of Handicapped Urban Workers.”

          Tour of Yinchuan city

On 15 June delegates toured Yinchuan, a capital of Ningxia, a province in Hui autonomous region. The purpose of the field trip was to enable delegates to appreciate Chinese government in fulfilling Agenda 2030. The delegates toured Runfeng village and a Mining Town in Ningxia. Runfeng village is one of the key projects of ecological immigration which has resettled 1 328 people (317 households) on 22 hectares of land from Banzigou village, Baiya Town, Xiji county. The delegation witnessed a changed life of the immigrants who had been given modern accommodation and decent jobs in a modern type of village. The village has public facilities inclusive of a kindergarten for the children, clinic, and police post and government office. Mining Town, in 1997 more than 40 000 immigrants from six national level poor counties of Ningxia were resettled.

Delegates made the observation that the project had become a model of poverty alleviation and development for other regions to reciprocate. These initiatives, targeted first the country’s poor ethnic minorities. In 2017, the farmers average income reached 11 976Yuan (US$1 842) which is about 23 times more than they got before these initiatives. Ningxia is one of China’s twelve commodity grain production bases and one of the top ten pastoral areas. The region has ensured competitiveness in sustainable agriculture, industry and tourism resources. For African countries such as Zimbabwe which are still grappling with achieving high agricultural productivity after resettlements, a number of best practices can be drawn from this Chinese experience.

          Tour of Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province

Delegates also toured Hangzhou, which is the political, economic, cultural, education, transportation, financial center of the province and most importantly e-commerce center of China. Hangzhou is an emerging technology hub and is home to the e-commerce giant Alibaba. Hangzhou has a per-capita income of 49 832Yuan and has 2 844 high-tech enterprises. The Internet economy has become a new economic growth point of Hangzhou driven by high-tech enterprises like Alibaba. The delegation visited Alibaba Group which was established in 1999. The company was established based on the belief that the Internet would level the playing field by enabling small enterprises to leverage innovation and technology to grow and compete more effectively in the domestic and global economies. Since launching its first website - helping small Chinese exporters, manufacturers and entrepreneurs to sell internationally, Alibaba Group has grown into a global leader in Online and mobile commerce.

BABA’s mission is to make it easy to do business anywhere. It provides the technology infrastructure and marketing reach to help merchants, brands and other businesses to leverage the power of new technology to engage with their users and customers and operate in a more efficient way.

          Recommendations

  • Government of Zimbabwe through the Ministry of Agriculture to urgently engage local FAO representative on the South-South initiative to ensure Zimbabwe adopts a sustainable food system approach.
  • Government of Zimbabwe is encouraged to send a delegation to China to take a leaf from the Chinese devolution model which has ensured ownership by the people of all development initiatives.
  • Government of Zimbabwe must adopt modern technology in agriculture to boost food security.
  • Government to perfect its comparative advantage in key sectors such as tourism, beef and tobacco industries and join the global trade through the Belt and Road initiative.
  • As part and parcel of leaving no one behind, the government should put in place incentives for companies to employ disabled persons so that they are economically active, productive and depend on their own income and lessen state burden. I thank you.

          HON. KASHIRI: Firstly, I would like to thank you for giving me this opportunity to support the report tabled by Hon. Madiwa on the IPU Parliamentary Capacity Building in China.  Hon. Speaker, the report is quite clear.  I just want to run through some take home points which I thought were critical and clear from the report, the one-road concept that was read in the report. I think this is the way to go for African Parliaments.  We should engage regional stakeholders like SADC who, if we collude, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Malawi and Botswana in the Southern region and become one major force and adopt this concept we will go a long way.

          Hon. Speaker, I then further looked at the global trade market that was also alluded to in the report.  This is a very good concept.  It is a very good idea and I believe if Zimbabwe adopts and gets into action and participates in this global trade market, we will have food security.  We will also have worked towards our SDG 2 which talks about food security.  This will definitely end hunger and achieve improved nutrition for the country.

          Mr. Speaker Sir, you cannot ignore the digital technology which is a way to go as it is now talking about the fourth industrial revolution.  I think we have heard many times our Hon. Minister of Higher and Tertiary Education talking about the fourth industrial revolution.  This is the way we should be going.

          The use of drones as explicitly mentioned in the report and the monitoring of diseases by hi-tech equipment is also very good.  So, in a nutshell Hon. Speaker, I would say let us adopt the recommendations of the Committee.  I thank you.

HON. MADIWA: I move for the adoption of the report.

HON. MUTAMBISI: I second.

Motion with leave, adopted.

MOTION

RESTORATION OF THE MOTION ON PROVISION OF NON-MONETARY BENEFITS TO GOVERNMENT WORKERS

          HON. MADHUKU: Madam Speaker, I move that the motion on  the Report of the Privileges Committee on allegations of Corruption raised against Hon. Mliswa, Hon. Chikomba, Hon. Ndebele and Hon. P. D. Sibanda which was superseded by the end of the Second Session be restored on the Order Paper in terms of Standing Order No. 75. This is to allow the Chairperson of the Committee, Hon. Senator Chief Charumbira to properly close the debate on the motion.

          HON. KASHIRI:  I second.

          Motion put and agreed to.

MOTION

BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE

HON MUTAMBISI:  I move that the rest of the Orders of the Day be stood over until Order of the Day, Number 1 has been disposed of.

HON. TEKESHE:  I second.

Motion put and agreed to.

MOTION

REPORT OF THE PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE ON WOMEN’S AFFAIRS, COMMUNITY, SMALL AND MEDIUM ENTERPRISES DEVELOPMENT ON THE CONSOLIDATED BUDGET PERFORMANCE REPORTS FOR THE MINISTRY

Twenty-Fifth Order read: Adjourned debate on motion on the Report of the Portfolio Committee on Women Affairs, Community and SMEs Development on Budget Performance Reports.

Question again proposed.

          HON. CHINGOSHO: Mr. Speaker, in seconding the well-detailed report of the Portfolio Committee on Women’s Affairs, Community, Small and Medium Enterprises Development presented by the Chairman, Hon. Chido Madiwa, I would like to commend that the report is the first of its kind where a detailed analysis of a Ministry and its performance is presented. In my seconding the report, I am going to make six brief comments;

The Ministry of Women’s Affairs, Community, Small and Medium Enterprises Development is a huge Ministry which needs to be split into two ministries. Before, it used to be two ministries; Women’s Affairs, Gender and Community Development and Ministry of Small and Medium Enterprises Development. As big as it is, the Ministry’s budget allocation is too little and the release of the allocated funds is erratic and is affecting the Ministry’s implementation of its planned programme.  Bulk release of the allocated budget funds is therefore recommended.

The Ministry has too many vacant posts of ward development coordinators especially in Matabeleland North and South Provinces, which makes it difficult to implement the Ministry’s programmes effectively.  Thanks to the new measures being taken by the new Permanent Secretary where interviews to fill the vacant ward development coordinators posts have been done.

The Ministry’s district offices furniture and transport leaves a lot to be desired.  There is need for more funds for the Ministry to have its own offices which are furnished and at least have one vehicle per district.  At present, the Ministry staff at district and ward level rely on lifts from other ministries and departments.

The Ministry’s only two training centres, which are Jamaica Inn in Mashonaland East Province and Roger Howman in Masvingo Province need to be upgraded and well equipped.  It is recommended that the training centres be increased so that each province has its own training centre.

          Last but not least, the Ministry is encouraged to produce its quarterly reports timeously and not to produce all of them at once at the end of the year.  This makes it difficult for the Portfolio Committee to exercise effectively its oversight and monitoring role.  I thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.

          HON. MADIWA:  I move the motion that the Report of the Portfolio Committee of Women Affairs, Community, Small and Medium Enterprises Development on the Consolidated Budget performance Reports for Ministry of Women Affairs, Community, Small and Medium Enterprises Development be adopted.

          Motion put and agreed to.

          On the Motion of HON MUTAMBISI seconded by HON. MADIWA, the House adjourned at Twenty-four Minutes past Six o’clock p.m.

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