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NATIONAL ASSEMBLY HANSARD 10 MARCH 2022 VOL 48 NO 31

PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE

Thursday, 10th March, 2022

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

PRAYERS

(THE HON. SPEAKER in the Chair)

          HON. MUCHIMWE: On a point of privilege Mr. Speaker Sir?

THE HON. SPEAKER: What is your point of privilege Hon. Muchimwe?

HON. MUCHIMWE: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. I am of the point that the allocation of CDF must be according to the current USD bank rate and the banks must issue out in USD because our service providers demand USD for their services. We are finding it difficult to get services using RTGS. Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.

THE HON. SPEAKER: Thank you. That should have been addressed to the administration of Parliament. I take note and we are going to engage the Minister of Finance and Economic Development.

          *HON. NYABANI: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. In this country, people are complaining. They are facing a lot of challenges because grinding mill prices and basic commodities’ prices have gone up. I was thinking that the Minister of Finance should come and give a Ministerial statement. The fuel price has gone up.  What plans does he have so that at least the hardships that people are facing will be alleviated because people want to live well manageable lives? My observation is people are not at peace with the way things are. I thank you.

*THE HON. SPEAKER: Were you around yesterday? This issue was asked by Hon. Mliswa and we agreed with Deputy Minister of Finance and Economic Development that he is going to table a statement which will touch on the issues that you have talked about.

*HON. NYABANI: Thank you Mr. Speaker. I hope the process will be speeded up.

*HON. SPEAKER: Next week he will bring in a statement. I hope you will be around representing your constituency and you will tell him your observations out there.

          HON. TEKESHE: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir, I want to compliment the Minister of Agriculture for commercializing the Command agriculture putting everything through the bank - it has saved the country a lot of money. People were just getting inputs and selling them. In Rusape, you cannot find anybody now selling the fertilisers and everything because when they go to the bank they are told you owe the bank so much, so you have to pay before you get something.  Though they have not taken every precaution to stop these people from gaining from Command agricultural inputs, I want to commend the Minister in commercializing command agriculture for the steps he has taken so far.  I thank you.

          HON. T. MLISWA: Mr. Speaker Sir, very good afternoon.  I want to alert the Hon. Members of Parliament for what is known as the BMI, Body Mass Index which is now available here in Parliament.  What it is - is that you are of a certain weight and a certain height and your height must be in tandem with the weight. It is not right for you to continue not going for such a test, Parliament has that provision and I urge all parliamentarians to go through that. You will be told the right weight for your height and what you need to shed.  In shedding off we invite you to the Parliamentary Sports Club for sessions in the morning, light sessions with others so that your health becomes your wealth. You do not want to be sick and you are told it is because you are overweight. Body Mass Index is now available at Parliament and all the gadgets are there.  Whether you come and train or not but just know how much of the excess weight is on you.  We do not want you to be sick and then you find out.  It is better you find out before you are sick and you do something about it.  We encourage you to go for it, it will compel you to train whether you like it or not.  I thank you.

          THE HON. SPEAKER: I have been and the results were disastrous, very disastrous indeed, and extremely overweight in terms of my current height.  So I have started reducing my weight.  It is quite good that a machine tells you all.  I would like to encourage all of us to go under that machine and you will be told exactly what to do and be able to act accordingly. 

          (v)HON. MOKONE: I am going to be very short. I rise as a follow up to the issue I raised last week on the 3rd of March pertaining to the Gwanda water crisis and Beitbridge has the same problem.  Madam Speaker has advised me to make a written question last week so that the Hon. Minister can respond but yesterday he did not come.  The issue has been on the Order Paper since the 2nd of March and I actually see this issue as a serious issue that needs to be addressed with urgency.  ZINWA has installed prepaid meters for both towns and the towns suffer dual ownership of water plants, as a result it is the residents who are suffocating because they are failing to pay the amount that ZINWA needs.  I therefore plead with your office to make sure that this issue is solved with the urgency that it deserves. Both towns, including those in Matabeleland South cannot afford to go without water. I thank you.

          THE HON. SPEAKER: Thank you very much Hon. Mokone, we will take the necessary steps to make sure that the Minister responsible addresses the question and it is disposed of expeditiously. 

          (v)HON. NDUNA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. When you sat in that Chair last year, I requested that the Minister of Transport comes to the House and gives the House the proper progress on infrastructural development, in particular as it relates to the road and he agreed. I ask if it pleases you that he be reminded to come  and explain to the House what progress we have in terms of infrastructural development in conjunction with his counterpart the Hon. Minister of Finance, if it does please you.

          THE HON. SPEAKER: Hon. Nduna, it does not please me because the Minister of Transport was in the House yesterday and you should have asked that question directly to the Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development.  He was there yesterday.

          (v)HON. NDUNA: So what is your judgment Mr. Speaker Sir?

          THE HON. SPEAKER: Justice Gubbay said those that do not take opportunity where the opportunity is available, it is their fate. 

          (v)HON. NDUNA: Meaning that this is disregarded Mr. Speaker Sir?

          THE HON. SPEAKER: Yes very much sure, take advantage of the Ministers; when they are here, they are here in full force and the Hon. Minister was here as well yesterday.

MOTION

ANNUAL REPORT OF THE ZIMBABWE ANTI-CORRUPTION COMMISSION FOR THE YEAR 2020

          THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): Mr. Speaker Sir, I move the motion standing in my name that this House takes note of the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission for the year 2030, presented to this House of Parliament in terms of Section 323 (1) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe which states that every Commission must submit to Parliament, through the appropriate Minister, an annual report on its operations by no later than the end of March in the year to which the report relates.

          Mr. Speaker Sir, I rise to present before the House although a bit late, like I said yesterday, the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission Annual Report for the year 2020 and this presentation Mr. Speaker Sir is in terms of Section 323 (1) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe which states that every commission must submit to Parliament through the appropriate Minister, an annual report on its operations.

Mr. Speaker Sir, I will just give a brief summary of the report for Hon. Members consideration before they can have a look at it and debate.  In summary, the 2020 operations of the Commission were as follows:

In the year under review, a National Anti-Corruption Strategy was formulated and launched on 11th July 2020 by His Excellency the President of the Republic of Zimbabwe, E. D. Mnagagwa.  The strategy is premised on six objectives which are public awareness, enhancing the structures of deterrence, detection, adherence and enforcement, transparency and accountability  and rejection of corruption in Government offices, ministries, agencies and State owned enterprises, public institutions, media houses and the private sector, protection of whistleblowers and victims of corruption, recovery of assets and proceeds from corruption crimes and increased level of political parties transparency and accountability.

In the implementation of the strategy, sub-committees aligned to the strategy objectives were established.  These committees are responsible for the implementation of the six strategic objectives.  The Commission convened a number of training workshops on the aspect of implementation of this strategy.

Mr. Speaker Sir, ZACC has four reporting offices in Harare and two others in Gweru and Bulawayo.  For the year under review, ZACC received a total of 1 133 reports, with Harare Province receiving 1057, Bulawayo Province 59, whilst Masvingo stood at 17.  By the end of December 2020, 90 dockets were referred to the National Prosecuting Authority. 

Mr. Speaker Sir, for the year under review with regards to asset recovery, the Commission gave priority to conducting parallel financial investigations where it handled a total of 36 cases.  Ten case files valued at US$4.8 million were referred to the National Prosecuting Authority for asset confiscation and unexplained wealth applications and by the time the 2020 report was compiled, the cases were pending at the High Court.  Eight vehicles valued at US$160 00 were confiscated and forfeited to the State and ZW$8 million and US$330 000 was recovered from unpaid customs and excise duty through a joint operation with ZIMRA.

Mr. Speaker Sir, section 12 (b) and (c) of the Anti-Corruption Act mandates ZACC to enlist and foster public support in combating corruption in society and educating the public on the dangers of corruption in society.  Pursuant to this provision, ZACC embarked on a massive virtual public education campaign on the digital and non-digital platforms. 

In support of the thrust to protect whistleblowers and digitalisation of services, ZACC launched a whistle blower reporting application on 8th September 2020 which provides easy access to an instant anonymous and straight forward reporting tool.

Mr. Speaker Sir, ZACC again is mandated by Section 12 (a) of the Anti-Corruption Commission Act to monitor and examine practices, systems and procurement procedures in both public and private institutions.  Pursuant to this provision, for the period under review, ZACC conducted spot checks on the examination of practices, systems and procurement procedures for personal protective equipment and drugs under the National COVID Response.  The findings were that there was non-compliance with PRAZ Circular 1 of 2020 and other relevant provisions.  The Commission recommended that the Ministry of Health and Child Care should comply with all provisions of PRAZ Circular 1 of 2020.

The Commission also did other spot checks at NatPharm, Bulawayo City Council and National Railways of Zimbabwe.  Under international obligations, ZACC represented Zimbabwe in the Southern African Development Community Anti-Corruption Sub-Committee meeting held in November 2020.  A comprehensive regional assessment report was submitted by the Commission covering issues of illicit financial flows, system of Government hiring and procurement services, Government revenue and control systems, whistleblowing mechanisms, money laundering, trafficking of persons and asset recovery among others.

As part of legal reforms which enhance the effectiveness, transparency and accountability of the Commissions operations, ZACC made several legislative recommendations to Government and approved several internal policies and manuals.

Mr. Speaker Sir, these are some of the highlights of the operations of the ZACC in the year 2020.  The detailed activities of the Commission are in the report which I believe Members have received and will have a look at them.  I therefore lay the report on the table, Mr. Speaker Sir. 

Mr. Speaker, I want to give Hon. Members time to read and digest and then we dedicate a day to debate this report, so I am moving that we adjourn debate on it.  I thank you.

THE HON. SPEAKER:  Hon. Minister, in terms of our procedures, as soon as you give notice, the staff of Parliament puts on line on platform parlzim to ensure that every Member of the House has sight of that report.  This has been done and in all fairness, despite the fact that the Hon. Minister has given a summary of what is contained in that report, I think you need to get into the details of the report so that you debate from an informed position.

HON. T. MLISWA:  On a point of order Mr. Speaker Sir.  I think the Minister is probably trying to be accommodating in terms of others who do not read.  What about those who are prepared, who read?  Some of us have gone through the report and we have got that ginger to deal with it.  He came with this notice to say that he will be presenting the report today.  So if Chief Whips have not done their part in whipping their Members and getting them to read this report, it must not prejudice those who are reading because he gave notice for it to be tabled.  It has been tabled, so I do not know how much time people need with what is going on.  By him giving notice, already alerts the Members that he is coming through.  You do your research; you read it and all that.  Some of us are quite ready for that.  You were correct in saying once the procedure has been followed it becomes difficult then to stop the train from moving unless I am convinced not to debate today but the Chief Whip would have to be very nice to me on that one, then I can probably consider that.

          THE HON. SPEAKER: Thank you very much.  I do not know how you had access to the report in advance.  The report was put on parlzim, only today.  So, the rest of the Members of Parliament might be in the process of going through it online.  You may have some privilege, I do not know how, but it has nothing to do with the Chief Whips.  They will start whipping them from today and lining them up for debate, first thing next week.  So you are advised accordingly, Hon. Mliswa.

          Motion put and agreed to.

          Debate to resume: Tuesday, 14th March, 2022.

COMMITTEE STAGE

ZIMBABWE INDEPENDENT COMPLAINTS COMMISSION BILL [H. B. 5, 2020]

          Second Order read: Committee Stage: Zimbabwe Independent Complaints Commission Bill [H. B. 5, 2020].

          House in Committee

          Clauses 1 to 5 put and agreed to.

          On Clause 6:

THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): Thank you Hon. Chairperson. I move the amendments standing in my name that on Clause 6 (1) on page 4 of the Bill, delete paragraph (a) on lines 15, 16 and 17 and substitute:

                    “(a)   a Chairperson, being a person who is eligible for appointment as a High Court judge or is a sitting judge or former judge, appointed by the President (after consultation with the Judicial Service Commission) from a list of not fewer than seven nominees submitted by the Committee on Standing Rules and Orders of Parliament in terms of Section 237(1) of the Constitution”.  In the previous one, it did not have this provision.  I thank you.

                     Amendment to Clause 6, put and agreed to

          Clause 6 as amended, put and agreed to.

          Clauses 7 to 12 put and agreed to.

          On Clause 13;

          THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI):  Thank you Hon. Chair.  I propose amendments standing in my name as they fully appear on the Order Paper.

In Clause 13 on page 7 of the Bill, insert after line 42 the following paragraph to Sub Clause (2) (C) to read as follows:

 “Where the action complained of is the subject of an internal disciplinary process by the appropriate security service at the time the complaint is received by the Commission;

Provided that if the Commission is of the view, after consulting with the appropriate security service and taking into account any of its concerns, that the internal process in question has taken too long, then the Commission may fix a reasonable period within which such processes must be concluded, in default of which the Commission may itself thereafter entertain the complaint.”

Amendment to Clause 13 put and agreed to.

Clause 13, as amended, put and agreed to. 

Clauses 14 to 29 put and agreed to. 

Schedule put and agreed to. 

House resumed.

Bill reported with amendments.

Bill referred to the Parliamentary Legal Committee. 

MOTION

BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE

          THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): I move that Orders of the Day, Numbers 3 to 9 be stood over until Order of the Day, Number 10 on today’s Order Paper has been disposed of.

          Motion put and agreed to.

MOTION

PRESIDENTIAL SPEECH: DEBATE ON ADDRESS

          Tenth Order read: Adjourned debate on motion in reply to the Presidential Speech.

          Question again proposed.

          HON. T. MOYO: I move that the debate do now adjourn.

          HON. TEKESHE: I second.

          Motion put and agreed to.

          Debate to resume: Tuesday, 15th March, 2022.

MOTION

BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE

          HON. T. MOYO: I move that Order of the Day, Number 11 be stood over until Order of the Day, Number 12 on today’s Order Paper has been disposed of.

          HON TEKESHE: I second.

          Motion put and agreed to.

MOTION

FIRST REPORT OF THE PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE ON WOMEN AFFAIRS, COMMUNITY AND SMES DEVELOPMENT ON PUBLIC HEARINGS ON MINIMUM MANDATORY SENTENCING ON RAPE AND OTHER SEXUAL OFFENCES

          HON. MADIWA: I move the motion standing in my name that this House takes note of the First report of the Portfolio Committee on Women Affairs, Community and SMEs Development on Public Hearings on minimum mandatory sentencing on rape and other sexual offences.

          HON. GABBUZA: I second.

           (v)HON. MADIWA:

          INTRODUCTION:

          Mandatory sentences are typically given to people who are convicted of certain serious and violent crimes, and require a prison sentence. The primary goal is to promote uniformity in sentencing. It will not matter how strict or lenient the magistrate is, as the mandatory framework will provide a just base for the crime committed. Minimum mandatory sentences require that a convicted criminal serves a sentence for a specific length before being eligible for parole or release. Given that rape cases involving all ages are increasing at an alarming rate in the country, Musasa Project, on June 9, 2021, petitioned Parliament of Zimbabwe to enact minimum mandatory sentences for rape and other sexual offences. Pursuant to that petition, from November 15 to 18, 2021, the Committee conducted public hearings to gather public views on the need for minimum mandatory sentences.

          OBJECTIVES OF THE PUBLIC HEARINGS:

          The main goal of the public hearing, in line with Section 141 of the Constitution, on public access to and involvement in Parliament legislative processes, was to get the views of the members of the public on the need for minimum mandatory sentencing for rape and other sexual offences.  The specific objectives include:

  •     To engage the public and get their input on minimum mandatory sentence for rape and other sexual offences; and
  •     To appreciate the challenges that communities are experiencing with regards to reporting and sentencing of rape offenders.

          METHODOLOGY:

          The Committee initially received submissions from Musasa Project pertaining its petition on minimum mandatory sentencing in November 2021. From 15 to 18 November 2021, the Committee conducted public hearings in the country’s 10 provinces.

          BACKGROUND:

          Section 51 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe provides for the right to human dignity and section 52 provides for the right to personal security which entails right of protection to bodily and psychological integrity and freedom from all forms of violence from public or private sources. Be that as it may, rape remains a current topic of concern in the country. Challenges associated with rape prosecution include underreporting, low arrest rates, high dismissal rates, and low conviction rates, varying and light sentencing. Statistics of rape cases in

the country is shocking, as shown in the graph below.

 

          At least 21 women are raped daily in Zimbabwe, translating to one woman being sexually abused every 75 minutes, according to 2016 statistics from the Zimbabwe National Statistics Office (ZimStat). The data shows a 42% increase in rape cases over the previous six years. A total of 7 752 cases of rape were recorded in 2015 up from 7 551 cases that were reported in 2014. At least 4 450 cases were recorded in 2010 before the figure went up to 5 446 in 2011 and down to 5 412 in 2012. In 2013 a total of 5 717 were recorded. The first two months of 2019 recorded cases in January were 636 and 625 in February. Crime data from the ZimStat, compiled from police records show a 74% jump in rape cases between 2010 and 2018. Since 2010, the highest number of rape cases was reported in 2016, when 8069 cases were recorded, giving a daily average of 22.1

          According to the Ministry of Women Affairs, Community, Small and Medium Enterprises, some 900 young girls below the age of 18 were raped in the last quarter of 2020 alone, compared to 836 cases reported during the same period in 2019. Statistics also reveal that 1 222 cases of rape were received in the third quarter of 2020 and 1 274 cases countrywide in the fourth quarter. The Ministry further reported that a total of 4 959 teenage pregnancies as well as 1 774 child marriages were recorded between January to 5 February 2021.

          In 2017, the Government proposed a minimum mandatory 60-year jail sentence for people convicted of raping minors aged 12 years and below and the disabled, while a 40-year prison term would apply for all rape cases as deterrent measures. These drastic measures have become necessary in order to protect society against perpetrators of the inhuman crime of rape.

          In addition to high number of rape cases, members of the public and concerned civil society organisations (CSOs), in particular Musasa Project, have over the years noted with dismay the irregularities and inconsistencies in the sentencing of offenders being incarcerated for over ten years to a payment of mere fine or community service. Currently, sentencing is at the discretion of the presiding judicial officer and how he/she interprets circumstances of each individual case. Among other things, courts are the custodians of the law and part of their duty is to determine the length and gravity of sentencing of perpetrators of rape and other sexual offences. Magistrates arrive at different judgments after considering factors such as mitigation and aggravation. Through minimum mandatory sentencing, regardless of magistrates’ considerations of extenuating and aggravating circumstances, the penalty will ultimately still be just and deterring.

          The sentencing of offenders in cases of rape and other sexual crimes as defined in the Criminal Law Codification and Reform Act [Chapter 9:23] displays a significant variation due to the leeway for each judicial officer to apply their discretion based on the circumstances of each individual case. As a result of this discretion, sentences have been irregular, inconsistent and in many instances non-deterrent as is evidenced by the rampancy of rape and sexual violence in the country. Rape sentencing has fallen short of protecting women and girls as provided for in the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), and the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Protocol on Gender.

          The Constitution does make provision in Section 149(1) that any individual or citizen can petition the Parliament of Zimbabwe. Therefore, Musasa Project, on June 9, 2021, petitioned Parliament of Zimbabwe to enact a law for minimum mandatory sentences for rape and other sexual offences. Given the spiking cases of rape in the country, Musasa Project, petitioned the Committee to facilitate the enactment of minimum mandatory sentence for rape to achieve uniform deterrent sentencing for rape.

          FINDINGS OF THE COMMITTEE:

          The Committee was dismayed to be told that few reported rape cases end in successful trial and conviction, let alone long and deterrent sentencing - a very concerning situation, especially since it  is known that most victims are reluctant to go to make a report to police in the first place, due to fear of stigma and embarrassment.

          The Committee was informed at all public hearing meetings that victims of rape experience lengthy delays in seeking justice and care, partly due to long distances, lack of means to timely report to police and access medical care within 72 hours, procedural processes involved, as well as victims' fear of personal and family stigma surrounding sexual crimes. Lack of resources for police, such as shortages of transport and manpower, was also mentioned as contributory factors to ineffective investigation and corrupt conduct by investigation officers and prosecutors at courts.

          The Committee was further informed that police were viewed as contributing to the 'appalling' low conviction rate in the rape cases because they too often fail to take alleged victims seriously enough and lack of thoroughness in their inquiries. It was reported to the Committee that police officers often receive complainants of rape with scepticism and inertia.

          The Committee was also informed that where rape cases are reported and perpetrators are arrested and awarded bail, there is often lack of a condition that prevents the interaction between perpetrators and complainants. This situation was said to be underpinning the whole legal process because the perpetrator in most cases comes from the family or community that the complainant is resident.

          The Committee was deeply concerned to receive reports that the trauma of the violation and seeing the offender back in society within a short period of time has long term consequences on the victim, a situation that can only be addressed through long, deterrent and minimum mandatory sentencing.

          The Committee was told at most, if not all public hearings, that raping or sodomising especially children, in particular where the rapist knows that he is HIV positive should attract life imprisonment, while 60 years would be the minimum sentence for any case of rape.

          At most, if not at all public hearings conducted, the Committee received claims from both male and female attendees of how indecent dressing was contributing towards the rising rape cases and other sexual offences and assaults. The concern raised was that indecent dressing by victims of rape expose their bodies, claiming that under such circumstances, men find it difficult to control themselves.

          COMMITTEE OBSERVATIONS:

          The Committee made the observation that in all communities’ visited, rape is viewed as amounting to murder, heinous and a gross violation of a person's privacy and human rights.

          The Committee also observed that in the majority of cases, rape and sexual assaults occur under the cover of darkness, in the residence of the victim, commercial buildings, inside a school building or and other properties and that the assailant is usually known to the victim.

          It was noted that rape cases often took long to prosecute, and more often than not victims were not prepared to relive the assault over and over again, especially if they have moved on with their lives.

          The Committee noted that low conviction rate and short sentencing for rape and other sexual offenses had a knock-on effect on public confidence in the criminal justice system.

          The Committee observed that the under-reporting of cases of rape was mainly due to, among other things, social stigma, and prejudice with regards to chances of marriage, fear of being considered promiscuous and responsible for the rape as well as attendant humiliation and shame. In the same vein, it was further observed that victims of rape fear embarrassment caused by appearance and cross examination in court, negative publicity in the press, risk of losing the love and respect of society, friends and that of one’s husband, if married.

          It was further observed that, across the provinces there is a pervasive myth that 'real rape' involves a stranger who uses physical violence or a weapon and that a 'real victim' fights back. The Committee was disturbed to note that society in general, the police and courts included, raise eyebrows and questions on the authenticity of rape claims, while the judiciary sometimes doubts the violent nature of the crime and the evidence that is submitted especially if the victim is viewed as a commercial sex worker or of a questionable social background.

          Notwithstanding that mandatory sentencing imposes undesirable restriction on judiciary discretion and independence, the Committee observed during the public hearings that communities view the benefits of enacting mandatory sentencing in rape as outweighing its disadvantages. Among other things, it is viewed as the only way through which rape victims will get relief which tallies with the crime committed, will put an end to anguish and the psychological stress of the victim and is deterrent to would be offenders and also reduces the time the courts need to decide on an appropriate sentence.

  RECOMMENDATIONS:

          The Committee is recommending the following measures in order to deter would be rape offenders: reduce time by the courts to decide on appropriate sentences, and protect potential rape victims.

Parliament to cure the lacuna in the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform Act) Chapter 9:23 by ensuring that it provides for a minimum mandatory sentence on rape. In particular, the Ministry of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs should amend the above-mentioned Act to include minimum mandatory sentencing for rape and other sexual offences during this session of Parliament.

          The Committee also recommends that the amendment should also state that raping or sodomising especially children and persons living with disabilities, in particular where the rapist is aware that he is HIV positive attracts a life imprisonment, while 60 years would be the minimum sentence for any convicted case of rape.

          That the Ministry of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs clearly outlines the definition of 'consent' in the Criminal Law Codification and Reform Act (2006) to avoid several different interpretations thereby causing challenges in respect of sentencing due to different interpretations.

          That the Ministry of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs aligns all relevant laws such as Marriage Laws with the Constitution especially Section 78 which provides that every person who has attained the age of 18 has the right to found a family. This will address the contention issue of age of consent to sex, which is still outstanding. On that note the Committee implores the expeditious passing of the Marriages Bill, which has been debated in the Senate for quite some time now.

          That the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform Act) Chapter 9:23 be amended by the Ministry of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs to ensure that it has adequate provisions detailing sentencing guidelines which take into account all relevant factors. Such guidelines may need to be statutory to ensure that they are strictly adhered with. These guidelines on sentencing are important since they would guide the courts on the type of aggravating and mitigating factors to be taken into account as well as the weight to be given to different factors. This would ensure consistency and proportionality in rape sentencing.

          That the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform Act) Chapter 9:23 should be amended to ensure that it involves the victim in the sentencing process by making use of a victim impact statement in  considering sentences as this would inform courts on the extent of harm suffered for  purposes of imposing an appropriate sentence.

          That the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development should urgently strengthen the ZRP and whole criminal justice system, through adequate provisions of financial resources, manpower and transport facilities in the 2023 National Budget, in order to improve the process of receiving, investigation, and prosecution and convictions and sentencing of rape cases.

          That the Ministry of Home Affairs must improve the Victim Friendly System in the country as well as decentralize it to all provinces through training and secondment. In addition, the Ministry of Justice Legal and Parliamentary Affairs should introduce trial of rape cases in camera to protect the victim from stigma and humiliation as well as increase special jurisdiction for Regional Magistrates in respect of all sexual offences to address the challenge backlogs of rape and other sexual offences by the end of June 2022. 

          The Ministry of Home Affairs must conduct a feasibility study by end of July 2022 on the creation of Women Police Stations in Zimbabwe as it has been successful in other countries such as Australia, Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Ecuador, Ghana, India, Liberia, Peru and the Philippines to increase women rape reporting rates and confidence in the force.

          That the Ministry of Women Affairs, Community and SMEs Development in conjunction with Ministry of Home Affairs should with immediate effect intensify community engagement to disseminate and sensitise communities on how to handle rape and other sexual violence cases, as well as influence change of attitude in reporting rape incidences.

          That the Ministry of Women Affairs, Community and SMEs Development should immediately ensure unimpeded and timely access to critical services by rape victims. For example, treatment of physical injuries, HIV prophylaxis, and emergency contraception should be accessed within 72 hours. In that regard, the Ministry of Women Affairs, Community and SMEs Development, in conjunction with other stakeholders, should expedite the construction of one stop centres (OSCs) to improve access to health facilities, counselling services, trauma treatment, legal services, and the ZRP, as well as by ensuring 24hr opening times all days of the week, since most rape victims come between evening hours and midnight.

          CONCLUSION:

          In light of the information gathered by your Committee it is very clear that there is urgent need for a minimum mandatory sentence for rape and other sexual offences. On the other hand, the amendment of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform Act) Chapter 9:23 cannot be overemphasised. I thank you Madam Speaker.

(v)HON. MAPHOSA: Thank you Hon. Speaker, I rise to debate on this motion that has been moved by Hon. Chido Madiwa, the Women Affairs Chairperson who was leading on the public hearings on the mandatory sentences on rape cases.
When looking at this motion, we can take it as simple because we are used to these things happening. When you go around the nation with such a topic and when you listen to people as they contribute, you then realise how we have ignored this topic as a nation and we have taken this for granted. I had the opportunity of chairing another group on behalf of my Chairperson, heading the other team that went to Mashonaland West, Bulawayo and Matebelaland North on this issue. The issues that were raised were so sad and we saw that the petitioners that came up with this petition did a lot of justice, especially to women. 

We do acknowledge that some boys and some men did come across such issues but people that are affected most are women and young girls.  When we went to Kariba, people lamented on the rise of rape cases, they also complained on the distances they moved to find the nearest police station.  Victims have to travel far away because maybe at their nearest police station there are no victim friendly police officers. For them to go far they find problems with transport and food. The reporting itself is not conducive and friendly to rape victims. Rape victims are not happy with the way police handle them when they come to report their cases.  You find the police officers judging the rape victims saying it is you who started this and it makes a lot of women not able to stand up and talk about these issues or report to the police. This cruel act of raping people made people to say that the minimum mandatory sentence for rape victims should be 30 years and above. 

Someone listening from outside might think that this is too much or they may think that this is not reasonable but taking into account the things women go through after rape, to  me this is very reasonable as rape cases have been happening from time immemorial.  We went to Bulawayo and of course we did not want to hear stories but you cannot stop people from venting their anger.  There is a woman who actually narrated how she was raped when she was only 16, not once but repeatedly for two years staying with a relative, an uncle.  The son of the uncle raped her repeatedly for two years when she was 14 years old.   That woman now is around 70 plus years and she broke down crying and saying even the perpetrator is now dead but that wound is still bleeding and it is painful.

Madam Speaker, it is these things that show us that at times we take for granted that being raped is just something.  A girl in Kariba told us how virginity is important to a girl child because it is the only thing that they have and it is the only thing that they can actually be proud of. She said being raped is bad because somebody just comes and takes away something that you think is your pride, taking away the only thing that you have as a girl.  The women were very clear that no, it has gone too long because it is also up to the magistrates and courts to decide and it can take the mood Madam Speaker, of the judge for the day.  For example, a case that was cited by the petitioners that happened in Beitbridge where a businessman raped a 15-year old child but when they went to court, he argued that the girl seemed very big.  The body was big enough to feel that this is a grown up woman.  So with that, the judge actually believed the businessman that yes, when looking at this girl, her body can be that of a 20 something year old woman.  So the matter was judged in a way that was not favourable.  Imagine Madam Speaker, the judge saying that the perpetrator should marry that girl as a condition for the case to be thrown away.

          Madam Speaker, it is these issues that have pushed the petitioners to say why do we not have a mandatory sentence when someone rapes a woman or a child.  There should be a mandatory sentence just like what we see with possession of gold.  If you are found in possession of gold and you do not have papers that show that gold is from a mine claim, you are sentenced to five years.  If you are found looking for gold just panning, when the police have satisfaction that you were looking for gold without any papers, you are given two years as a mandatory sentence.  So it will be up to the judge on how many to add on but the minimum Madam Speaker, would be two years just like with someone who steals cattle, they are given about 9 to 15 years, as a minimum sentence. 

So in that manner, the people of Zimbabwe and the petitioners are saying why do you not have a cut off number of years as the people were very clear that at least let us have 30 years as minimum sentence going forward.  So it is my plea to this House, to the Hon. Members, to go beyond being a man and being a woman, to go beyond the feelings of saying this thing has been there, to go beyond our personal thinking of this matter and to sit down and say what  if it was my child, what if it is my aunt, what if it is my mother being raped by someone that just comes and meets them maybe in the bushes or wherever they would have met.

So, I second the petitioners and I second the recommendations that have been made by the Committee.  I so submit Madam Speaker. 

(v)HON. ZEMURA:  Thank you Madam Speaker.  I support the petitioners on the alleged atrocities done to these young girls impregnated by unscrupulous people.  I also have an example of a child raped by a 30-year old man.  The case went to court this week.  Although he agreed that he is the one responsible for the pregnancy, it was said the case would be heard next on the 26th.  Why are they prolonging such cases?  They must just have that information and give the judgment of that person, not for him to spend days in remand.  Why should he be remanded yet he knows that he is the one and he has told the court that he is responsible for the pregnancy of that 14-year old girl.

These are some of the things that make women suffer. (Technical glitch

It is so painful to hear such things about the little girls who are being abused.  Their life becomes hell and the parent’s life becomes hell because you will always be thinking about what has happened to your child.  I think these people must have a period, not a long period to give judgment.  I beg for the courts to give judgment because they have been handling these cases nearly every day.  Thank you Mr. Speaker.

(v)HON. WATSON:  Thank you Hon. Speaker for this opportunity.  I would like to commend the Committee for the report and support the petitioners plea.  I would also like to reinforce the points raised by the two Hon. Members and Hon. Zemura.  It is not just about sentencing, it is about actual quick investigation where women and young girls particularly, are treated with much more empathy and respect when they report these things.  As a society, we look to end the stigma attached to reporting these kinds of crimes that lurk in our society and hold people back, but it will help deeply if the ZRP, the courts, hospitals and clinics that deal with these cases do so with great speed, great empathy and support to the victims because sentencing alone is not sufficient.  It is a means to an end but it is not sufficient in itself.  Thank you Hon. Speaker.

(v)HON. MBONDIAH:  I would like to add my voice Hon. Speaker, to the motion raised by Hon. Madiwa, seconded by Hon. Maphosa.  I support this report that has come from the Committee and I would like to buttress the issue of rape, in particular in rural areas.

Mr. Speaker, there is serious lack of resources by the police within the rural areas.  You would find that by the time the police attend to a crime scene or to a victim, the perpetrators would have fled and the wounds that stay with those victims stay for life and it destroys their morale, it destroys the victim’s confidence, hence we are breeding a very toxic society within our young girls.

I would also like to buttress on the issue of relatives who are covering up rape cases.  You would find that a relative rapes a child and the mother or even the father would cover up for their family member.  Whether they are getting a livelihood from that particular person or they fear that particular person, you would find that a parent is covering up issues to do with rape.  I would like to encourage Mr. Speaker, parents and relatives to support victims of rape by reporting earlier on in life.  Rape victims have succumbed to suicidal tendencies and drug abuse because they have no one to talk to.  There is also need for counselling within police stations in our rural areas.  Within the police stations in urban areas, there is an office where they get counselling; somebody to talk to but in rural areas, you do not find those offices where there are police officers who help victims with counselling.

          I would also want to highlight an issue that happened in Kwekwe, where a housemaid who was helping a family looking after the children, repeatedly raped a 10-year old boy for more than a year.  So, I would also want to plead with parents and guardians to be on the lookout, it is not only girls who are being raped, even young boys are being raped by people we take to our homes as house helpers.  They should be on the lookout of whoever we bring into our homes.  I thank you.

          (v)*HON. MANGORA: Thank you Hon. Speaker Sir.  I would also want to add my voice to this motion raised by Hon. Madiwa.  As someone who was also part of the Committee that went to the rural areas, I got the opportunity to visit Midlands as well as Matebeleland Provinces.  We had a good experience in Gokwe, when we spoke to the women.  Their outcry was on sentences given to rapists.  They were saying the minimum sentence should be pegged at 30 years.  It was their idea that everything should be considered, be it incest relationships, minor or a grown up woman, those different kinds of rape and abuse should be considered when factoring the sentence for someone who has committed a crime of such a nature.

          It is their view and suggestion that everyone involved in a rape case should be put to book. Even those who would have aided in trying to sweep the case under the carpet, especially crimes  committed between family members, all those involved in trying to obstruct justice should be arrested.  There should also be a sentence for women who are raping young boys, even if they are people of the same age, there should be a sentence suitable for them.  The minimum should be 30 years.  Just like cattle rustling, if you are involved in stock theft, it is clear how many years you are going to get.  This should also happen to rapists. For those who would have been abused, they lose their confidence.  Psychologically, they would have been disturbed in their future.  Even sexually, they would have been disturbed as well.  Physically and mentally, people would have their lives disturbed because of such heinous crimes, gruesome acts being done on them.  Thank you.

          (v)HON. MOKONE: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  I want to support the motion which was moved by Hon. Madiwa, seconded by Hon. Maphosa on the mandatory sentence on rapists.  I would like to start by saying that rape is tantamount to murder.  Why do I say so, if someone has been raped, for instance a 15-year old girl has been raped, she does not become normal at all in society?  Rape actually kills the future of the child because it brings about unwanted pregnancies, a lot of diseases and the like.

          When I am talking about this issue, I am not referring to the girl child alone but the boy child as well.  Boys are being raped time and again at home but they choose to be silent, maybe because of cultural beliefs.  Our culture says that a boy child does not actually cry out, but conceals what would have happened to him.

          Let me also hasten to say that when those people are raped, when they go to the police station, the police should not judge them but accept them and hear their cases.  Women are being raped across the country and some of them also choose to keep silent.  This also is attributed to our culture.  There are certain sections of our society that refuse to see culture as dynamic.  In some societies, they still believe that if you come out and say that you have been raped, it means that you are of loose morals.  They are refusing to accept that the world has changed; the world is dynamic.  The girl child now has rights as well.  The old  system is very wrong because it actually says that the girl child is inferior  to a man.  As a result, we have seen some families after a girl child has been raped, sitting down and negotiate with the perpetrator on how they can settle the crime.  This is very wrong.

          I would also like to call upon various organisations to help both the girl and boy child, once they have been raped.  If these kids are raped, they lose it in society.  They also take blame from the society.  It is upon the various civic society organisations that exist around the country to help these young people to gain self-esteem after rape.  With these few words, I support the report and I support that there has to be mandatory sentence towards perpetrators of rape.  I thank you.

          HON. T. MOYO:  Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir for recognizing me.  May I thank the mover of the motion, Hon. Madiwa and the seconder Hon. Maphosa.  The discourse that we are debating here is very important and topical.  Rape per se is bad and is sinful.  The impact of rape on victims is highly prodigious and the consequences are grave.  Their psychological, emotional, physical effects of rape to the victims are not always easy to deal with, particularly for the victims of rape.  Survivors are traumatized and the effects of trauma can last for a very long time. 

          Mr. Speaker Sir, a girl child or a boy can be sodomised at a very early age and the consequences will affect the victim for the rest of his or her life.  It has to be condemned in whatever strongest words that are found in the dictionary.  Victims of rape would suffer depression, prolonged sadness, feelings of hopelessness, unexplained crying, weight loss and sometimes people would have suicidal tendencies.  It is even worse for a person to be raped by someone suffering from HIV.  Such culprits - whether one has contracted a disease or not – to rape another person should not be allowed to happen because that person’s rights to dignity would have been violated to a very large extent. 

          Mr. Speaker Sir, there are no circumstances that justify rape.  Some people would rape under the pretext of “chiramu” and they end up abusing their sisters-in-law and that is very bad.  Those tendencies should be condemned.  When you rape a woman, it means you have destroyed that lady for her entire life; you have destroyed a boy or a man if sodomy is done on a particular individual.

          Mr. Speaker Sir, there is an expression which says, justice delayed is justice denied.  I want to call upon the Judicial Services Commission to change their way of doing business.  Perpetrators of rape must be investigated and need to be convicted without much ado so that justice prevails.  As Parliament of Zimbabwe, we need to come up with legal framework to amend our laws so that we come up with deterrent measures on would-be criminals.  Whoever wants to practice rape should be afraid to do it because the conditions that we are going to put in this august House will force whoever may want to practice rape to desist from the exercise.

 I think a minimum mandatory sentence of 100 years as far as I am concerned is better or life imprisonment.  We need to come up with such measures in this august House.  It is even worse for raping children under the age of 12.  I as Hon. Torerai Moyo would recommend that whoever practices rape on young children must be castrated – [HON. MEMBERS:  Hear, hear.] -  That is a recommendation which I am making so that it becomes a deterrent measure for whoever may want to practice rape. 

Mr. Speaker Sir, the issue of information dissemination is very important, particularly to issues associated with stigma.  Married women are raped and are afraid to report perpetrators of rape.  Some women and girls are afraid to report because of the embarrassment that is associated with rape.  Also, our courts and the police stations may not provide good ambience, the environment under which people would report discourages people from reporting.  We want to encourage the Ministry of Finance to provide 4X4 vehicles to police stations so that if rape is practiced in remote areas, the police should go there without delay.  Otherwise, if the police do not have good vehicles, it would take long for perpetrators of rape to be brought to book.  We want to encourage the Ministry of Finance to provide resources to members of the police force.

  There is also need for police officers to go for in-service training because some of these cases need someone who has gone back to college or has received in-service training.  Sometimes, there is a lot of psychology that is needed for victims of rape to open up.  We need to condemn all forms of abuse on women.  Violence against women, rape perpetuated on women must be condemned in whatever strongest word that we can find.  May I thank Hon. Madiwa and Hon. Maphosa for bringing this very important subject in this august House.  Thank you.

HON. DR. MURIRE:  Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir for giving me this opportunity.  I rise to add my voice to the motion by Hon. Madiwa and seconded by Hon. Maphosa.  I debate on the side of the law.  Mr. Speaker Sir, recently we had a tour of prisons.  What we observed is that there are number of people who are incarcerated for having committed rape.  Being in prison, they also have their concerns which I rise here to present.  Mr. Speaker Sir, whilst we have to condemn rape in the highest order, we also look at the circumstances where some people are committed to prison without sufficient evidence of them having committed the said offence. We also observed that we have a significant number of juveniles, some as young as 13 years, who are in prison having been convicted of rape. Their concern is that the law currently does not provide sufficient processes to establish whether truly the offence of rape would have been committed. Because of that, they are saying they are convicted unjustifiably.

          Firstly, we do not have enough equipment so far in the country to    obtain proper forensic evidence to establish truly whether rape has been committed. Whilst we have to condemn rape at most, we urge Government to ensure that the courts or the police are given sufficient equipment so that people are provided with sufficient proof that indeed an offence of rape was committed by that specific individual. On that same note, we have cases of people in prison who are committed to prison after a case was reported two years later and the argument is, two years later, is there enough biological evidence that can be obtained for a case of rape having been committed.

          My debate is on the premise that we have to condemn rape but at the same time, we have to respect the justice system. People have to enjoy justice and they do not need to be incarcerated on the basis of evidence that would not have been sufficiently obtained. The law which provides for people to report rape after two years and on the basis of two or three people having said yes, we are the witnesses, those who are in prison are saying the law is being abused against other people to score certain differences that would be existing. For example, one 14-year old said I was working for a family and they did not pay me and when I was asking for my salary, I ended up being called to the police. The accusation was that I had raped their daughter who was 13 years old. His argument is that the basis of conviction was the witnesses, that is the mother and father.

          So yes, let us condemn rape but also let us look at the law so that it provides sufficient evidence and that when we say somebody should be imprisoned for 100 years, then he should be imprisoned for 100 years for having committed an offence that has been proven beyond reasonable doubt and with sufficient evidence. That is the voice from the prisons which I thought and felt having met the prisoners, I should represent them here and air their views. I thank you.

          +HON. L. SIBANDA:  I want to add my voice on the motion raised by Hon. Madiwa, seconded by Hon. Maphosa.  This issue of rape cases is very painful. During a rape case, it will be an activity that will not be consensual. The person who will have been raped at times will be infected with a disease and in that case, the disease is transmitted to the victim. Sometimes you will have been blessed with 40 years to live, but unfortunately one would live for two years because of rape.

          The victim will be traumatised within a community because of this rape case and people will make that person a laughing stock. At times some victims would have been raped at a young age and impregnated and that person would have no option other than to abort. The victim can lose her life during abortion. I urge all the judges and magistrates to give stiffer penalties to the offenders so as to send a message to the community. At times there are other offenders who rape children who are very young and those offenders may be relatives of the victim. I urge those persons who commit such kind of offences to face life in prison. If indeed there was a death sentence, I would gladly support it. 

Sometimes you find there are some cases of rape which are brought before the courts and there will be sufficient evidence to prove the matter beyond reasonable doubt. Even at hospitals, the victims are examined. It is so sad that when the matters are brought before the courts, the perpetrator is sent for remand. What exactly will have happened to prolong the case, for the matter not to kick off at once? In prison, those suspects will find so many culprits like murderers, stock theft thieves and those suspects will advise each other whilst in custody. At the end of the day, the suspect will end up denying the case. If the case takes long to go on trial, the witness might end up forgetting about the ordeal. I urge the courts that if there is a rape case reported, they should expedite the matter at once and complete it. If the offender is found guilty, he should be given a sentence of 50 years so as to send a message to would-be offenders. If a person likes me, he should approach me properly on the roads other than to commit an offence. I thank you.

          (V)*HON. C. MOYO: Thank you Hon. Speaker. I rise to add my voice on the motion that was raised by Hon. Madiwa, seconded by Hon. Maphosa. Let me say that anyone who commits the crime of rape is the same as a murderer. We should see the sentence that a murderer gets and they should be treated with the same seriousness. They would have infringed on the rights of the person they would have raped, it is the same as just killing someone who used a knife. Let us just consider that this one has forced himself on someone and it is just the same as a murderer and they should be given the same sentence so that our country can be developed because maybe in 2023, we may not have floodgates of rape cases. I advocate in this august House that rapists and murderers be treated the same. Thank you Hon. Speaker.

          *HON. MUCHENJE: Thank you Hon. Speaker Sir. I would want to thank the mover of this motion Hon. Madiwa, seconded by Hon. Maphosa. I would want to emphasise on the people that are in communal lands. Communal lands dwellers bear the brunt of rape cases. The majority of these cases are not reported to the courts of law. As a result, the victim cannot get justice. The majority of the children that are being raped in the communal lands and because of the tall grasses that we have at the moment and the flooding of rivers during this season, a lot of children that are coming from school are meeting rapists because they will be using foot paths.

          Majority of school children are victims of rape. There is one dump girl that was raped and she is at a certain homestead that I know.  I was hoping that courts, especially the traditional leadership such as village heads, should as quickly as possible, give assistance to their subjects once they have received such reports of rape cases as they are the custodians and leaders in communal lands. At times there are certain village heads who would want to be compensated by payment of a goat and it may take some time. 

          As a result, justice is being denied to the victims of rape in communal lands. I urge that the headmasters should not turn away students from schools. A girl is turned away from school for not having paid school fees and on her way home, she passes through a forest alone and she can be raped. The rapist may be unknown to her and she cannot make a report to anyone. The rapists that we have nowadays should be sentenced to life imprisonment with hard labour as a form of deterrence because if you rape a child, you have destroyed her for life. I would want to appeal to married women that men should know that there is also marital rape.

          If a woman is not willing to be intimate with you and you end up raping her, she could be suffering from a disease and she may not have disclosed the ailment to you and you are forcing this disease on you. Men are also infecting their wives because of their being married. There is still this wayward behaviour in our culture which says, that a woman should not deny her husband conjugal rights. It is an issue that needs to be relooked into specifically as it refers to the dwellers in the communal lands.

          It is now an offence for a husband to force himself on his wife. It is called marital rape. Once she is infected, she may want to protect the husband’s dignity by not disclosing that she has been raped. At times she feels that there might be a counter claim of her being accused of infertility. A lot of things happen in our communal lands. These are issues that my constituents come across because I reside amongst them. It is a daily occurrence. I reiterate that there is rape of school children, marital rape and rape by people who assist in crossing rivers, people who remain with children at home when the mother goes to fetch some firewood. Let this start by the village heads that they should be made aware of the sentence that should be given to rapists. Government should put up mechanisms to ensure that the rape victims are timeously attended to whilst the evidence is still there. I thank you.  

 (v) HON. MUNETSI: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir for giving me this chance to air my views. I would like to thank Hon. Madiwa for bringing up this motion in Parliament for discussion and I would also want to thank Hon. Maphosa for seconding the motion. I want to say rape is something that is perpetrated by people who do not have a heart at all. A person must be respected. We do not want to make God’s creation   victims of such diminutive way of life which is something that must be denounced to the fullest. I was looking at the effects, in one’s eyes, of a person who is raped. The pain that someone goes through, the suffering, the way one is dehumanised and the embarrassment that one faces on earth. It is inhuman to rape someone, let us not hide the fact.  I feel one must face the consequences of the misdemeanor.  Some people would say 10 years or so but I would prefer a conviction of not less than 60 years to a person who would have committed rape.  

          Let us make sure that when we put stringent laws to this case of rape, there must be no negotiations at police stations whereby parents of the victim negotiate and make an out of court settlement.   Parents and relatives who try to hinder the law to take its course must also be brought to book.  It is not good to rape someone, let us denounce it to the fullest.  I thank you.

          (v)+HON. M. MPOFU: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir for giving me this opportunity to add my voice on the motion which was raised by Hon. Madiwa, seconded by Hon. Maphosa.  I want those who would have committed the offence of rape to be given stiffer and rigorous penalties.  That person should also be castrated or face life in prison because that person would have affected the livelihoods of innocent children.

          My request is that the chiefs and village heads should not at all be allowed to try these matters of rape cases because they will start some negotiations and compensation issues and the victims are the ones who are left to suffer.    I urge that such matters be brought before the courts.  I thank you.

          HON. S. BANDA: I want to thank Hon. Madiwa and Hon. Maphosa for bringing this report which is a response to the petition.  When I look at my good sister, Hon. Mbondiah or Hon. Maphosa, you can see that around 10 years of age they may have had big bodies.  Imagine somebody going to them at that tender age thinking that they are adults just because their bodies are inclined to be slightly big.

          Mr. Speaker Sir, that is very unfortunate, anybody who tries to do that, what should happen to them is exactly what happened to a Zimbabwean who committed murder and rape cases in South Africa.  There is a man called Wellington Kachidza and I am ashamed that he is Zimbabwean who had gone to South Africa to perpetrate wrong behaviour.  Zimbabweans are known to be peace loving, good people yet some Zimbabweans are going outside to tarnish the name of the country by raping and murdering people there.

          I would like to commend the Judiciary and police system in South Africa for a job well done on the matter of Wellington Kachidza.  Once they discovered what Wellington had done, it did not take long before he got arrested.  Once he got arrested, the speed with which he was dealt with is what I want to commend the South African justice system for.

          Mr. Speaker, Wellington had six counts of murder and for that he got life sentences for each of the six murders.  On top of that, he had three counts of rape, and on each of these three counts of rape herein is the same - what happened in South Africa is what the petitioners are seeking. 

          In South Africa, for those three rape cases, Kachidza was given 90 years which is equivalent of 30 years for each rape.  That is also what we are supporting here.  I put my words and support on this motion to say let 30 years be the minimum custodial sentence.  They should not get out of jail before the 30 years are out.  After rape, they would have destroyed the life of the key person concerned. 

          What is wrong with you men? There are so many ladies out there.  In Zimbabwe, there are more women than men, can you not find a woman of our age or a woman who is above the age of consent whom you can fall in love with than for us to go and victimize innocent children?  Therefore Mr. Speaker Sir, the custodial sentence should be minimum of 30 years.  I thank you. 

          (v)*HON. MPAME: The biggest challenge that we are facing is that our police force is not well versed in carrying out investigations.  Despite there being scientific means that use DNA to further boost investigations, I do not believe we do not have such laboratories where DNA tests can be carried out.  DNA looks at evidence in the form of semen and blood..  They also look at hairs which could remain on the clothes of the victim or on the clothes of the perpetrator of this rape.

          DNA by its very nature helps in ensuring that conviction is properly secured by identifying the perpetrators.  Once we have the requisite equipment, less allegations or false incrimination can be obtained.

          My request as I support this motion is that our Hon. Minister of Finance together with the help of this august House, should disburse funds to train specialists in the police force in terms of investigations.  Let there be funds to ensure that our hospitals are able to deal with DNA cases.

          A week or two weeks ago, we were talking about the same issue.  In support of this motion, I am saying let us help our police officers to have the requisite tools of trade that ensure that our specialist investigators are trained in the handling of DNA.  I wholly support this motion Mr. Speaker.  I thank you.

          (v)HON. P. ZHOU: Thank you Madam Speaker.  I want to add my voice on the motion raised by Hon. Madiwa, seconded by Hon. Maphosa.  I was also in that particular Committee that carried out the investigations to find out what people say.  During the course of an inquiry, people were unhappy with the type of sentences that are being imposed on rapists.  You find that in a case where a sentence of ten years would be expected, one is sentenced to two years.  We also looked at the question of a  young girl being raped by an old man and that old person is sentenced to five years.  People would want deterrent sentences to be passed so that would-be offenders would not commit these offences.  

          During our investigations, we also observed that even the disabled are being raped.  People are advocating that there should be a mandatory sentence so that the discretion is not with the magistrate in terms of sentencing as they are currently doing.  Hon. Speaker, may be the complainant looked like an elderly woman because she is fat, we should have deterrent sentences as the case with stock theft.  That is if you steal one beast, the sentence is known as theft of seed maize.  We want heavy sentences which are mandatory, something like 30 years.  A first offender in South Africa is sentenced to ten years and a second time rapist is sentenced to 15 years. 

          Mr. Speaker, as Zimbabwe, we are advocating that we have a mandatory sentence of 30 years for any rapist who is convicted.  You find that the relatives are raping their relatives ranging from wives, sisters and grand children.  I think the sentence should be from 30, 40 going up and be treated as murder; I feel 100 years will be appropriate.  I thank you.

          *HON. MPARIWA:  I would like to thank the mover of the motion Hon. Madiwa and her seconder for such an important motion.  When a Committee is going out to carry out field visits, there will be a problem that they want to investigate.  Hon. Speaker, the issue of rape on women and children is prevalent and that has been upon us for a long time.  It is quite sad to hear that once a child has reached ten years, or looks stout, she is now strong then she can be raped. 

          Madam Speaker, 52% of our population consists of women.  What problem does a man have if we have 52% women?, What causes them to go and rape?  There are women who are willing to have love affairs, and there are others that are also willing to engage in open relationships.  May be the ones that rape would not want to be committed to a relationship; there are places out there for one night affairs with no strings attached.  Even in entertainment places, such people are there offering services.  In fact, they talk of sexual harassment because sexual harassment starts with people patting one another and in the process abuse women; for instance saying Jane you are very smart today.  When you conduct such investigation, it helps us whether it is in communal lands and in urban centres.  It touches on all these things because it helps us when we come up with recommendations so that our Executive can also come up with a position.

          The Committee did well Hon. Speaker, because a lot has been said by Members who have spoken before me.  I would want to believe that it is a motion that was well supported by both male and female Members of Parliament.  We are in agreement that this problem should be eradicated and that even the police should professionally handle rape victims such that there will be no stigmatisation.  It is stigmatisation that causes people not to report for fear that people will then label them and they cannot move freely in their areas. 

          Those that are in relationships, once a partner says that they are not willing to engage in sexual activity, marital rape is an offence.  People might think that we are being mad because this is a new area but we want to thank Zimbabwe that we are a member of the United Nations because such issues are discussed.   We would also want to be in sync with global trends.  I want to thank Hon. Moyo, he actually advocated for 100 years in prison for the rapist or even castration of the rapist. 

          Hon. Speaker, in this country, there are many things that people can do instead of raping women.  If the victims of rape have knowledge of the law that protects them, they are not prohibited from reporting their case and confiding in someone concerning the incident of rape.  This will ensure transparency in terms of reporting rape cases.  These cases are being concealed in the communities that we live in. 

As I conclude, I want to suggest that there should be a desk at the police station for counselors who are able to counsel the rape victims so that they are not intimidated or threatened for reporting such cases.  These cases should also be handled with confidentiality as some involve married women who end up being called names which you all know. The police should be able to handle that well. 

In hospitals, there should also be a department which does thorough checking on alleged rape victims as sometimes people end up arguing on whether the rape victim was indeed raped or not. The last speaker alluded to the fact that they examine a lot of things for them to ascertain that rape actually took place on an alleged victim.  However, there are cases where a little child is involved and does not know how to explain what would have transpired.  A child cannot fight or defend herself whilst sometimes they do not even know what happened.  In hospitals, the staff involved should also be able to handle such sensitive cases with the highest level of confidentiality so that the victims will be able to freely open up concerning their case and not feel unworthy and degraded.

Finally, the media should also be able to disseminate information concerning rape cases with the highest level of professionalism and ethics.  We have often heard them saying, the name of the victim concerned was not revealed in order to protect them and their dignity.  I request that the media should make use of journalists who are trained to deal with such sensitive matters so that the victims of rape are well protected and their names should never be published or broadcast to the public.  I laughed earlier on when I heard someone saying, ‘people are raped,’ and I had to ask my Chief Whip whether men too are being raped.  So there is need to protect victims so that they feel safe to go and report. 

This motion has been debated by many Members and I request that the Minister concerned should come and give a reply to this motion so that we will be able to move forward and get results from the work that the Committee has done whilst there is still time.  I agree with the speaker who suggested that those who commit rape should be incarcerated for many years or even be castrated.  If someone is unable to take care of their part of the body; it becomes problematic, it becomes a monster which cannot be tamed.  If I have livestock which is difficult to herd and keeps on straying, we end up putting a leash with a bell on and if it continues, we end up putting it down to end the problem.

I would like to thank the Committee for coming up with this report because they were there on the ground listening to the problems and taking in suggestions from the public.  We look forward to a revised sentence for perpetrators of rape; the sentence should be prolonged so that these people live in their secluded areas for good.  The Hon. Doctor indicated that there were also complaints from the prisons which they visited; their concerns should be addressed as they live there, that is their home and they should just be well-fed and receive vocational training so that they are restrained for good.  Thank you for giving me this opportunity.

*HON. TEKESHE: Thank you for giving me this opportunity.  I thank Hon. Madiwa for bringing in this motion and Hon. Maphosa for seconding.  I do not have much to say because many things have already been said. I just want to refer to an incident which happened where a mother falsely accused her husband of having committed rape because she wanted to inherit their properties.  The husband later died in jail and yet it was later investigated and found that the woman had given false evidence.  Therefore, I think that these laws are important - yes, but there should be enough evidence beyond doubt to ascertain that the offence would have indeed been committed.  Someone might be given a sentence of life in prison for an offence which they may not have committed.  There are people who just throw accusations to settle personal scores and end up punishing others for an offence that was never committed.  I second what Hon. Dr. Murire said that there are many people who are in jail who were accused and sentenced for having committed rape yet they are innocent and the people concerned just wanted to punish and settle personal disputes.  If possible, there should be a special court with people who are skilled in dealing with such cases of rape and abuse so that they will be able to handle such cases with the expertise it deserves.  An ordinary court might not be able to handle such cases because if the Magistrate looks at you and does not like you, he/she might just find you guilty of the offence and you are imprisoned.  You might just have given a reply which will not be favourable to the Magistrate and he/she feels you are being arrogant and proud, gets offended and punish you for that.  It might be after years of imprisonment that it will be found out that the accused will be innocent but the damage will already be done.  We therefore request that thorough investigations be done so that people are convicted for offences they would have committed.

HON. MADIWA: Thank you Hon. Speaker. I want to thank all Hon. Members for their contributions to this motion, especially the contributions from…

THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Hon. Member you are not connected.

HON. MADIWA: Thank you Hon. Speaker.  I want to thank all Hon. Members for the contributions they have made towards this motion.  I want to specially thank our male Hon. Members of Parliament because they are also against this idea of rape and sexual offences.  The general sentiment is that harsh punishment should be given to perpetrators of rape and sexual offences. 

I now move for the adoption of the motion that; this House takes note of the First Report of the Portfolio Committee on Women Affairs, Community and SMEs Development on Public Hearings on minimum mandatory sentencing on rape and other sexual offences.

Motion put and agreed to.

MOTION

BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE

HON. T. MOYO: Mr. Speaker Sir, I move that Orders of the Day, Numbers 13 to 15 be stood over until Order of the Day, Number16 has been disposed of.

HON. TEKESHE: I second.

Motion put and agreed to.

MOTION

FIRST REPORT OF THE PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE ON ENERGY AND POWER DEVELOPMENT ON THE OPERATIONS OF THE ZIMBABWE ELECTRICITY SUPPLY AUTHORITY

HON. GABBUZA: Mr. Speaker Sir, I move the motion standing in my name that this House takes note of the First Report of the Portfolio Committee on Energy and Power Development on the Operations of the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority.

HON. TEKESHE: I second.

HON. GABBUZA: Mr. Speaker Sir, let me from the onset indicate to the Hon. Members that this Report would have been presented in the last Session but because of time factor, it was prolonged by the end of the last Session. Therefore, some of the issues raised in the report might have improved but as we all know, issues about electricity have never improved. Certainly, where we note some progress, there might have been worse off situations than it was at the time of reporting. The Hon. Members must appreciate that some of the information where we say things have gone better, evidence on the ground currently might not be in agreement with what is being reported. Mr. Speaker, the Report covers period beginning around mid-2021 up to end of 2021. Therefore issues relating to energy in 2022 might remain the same or could have been some significant or slight changes.

1.0 INTRODUCTION  

The power sector witnessed relative stability in the supply of electricity services from April 2020 despite the challenges induced by the COVID-19 pandemic which affected both the human and the financial resources capacity. The improved supply of power was attributed to increased water inflows into Lake Kariba as well as the availability of imports from regional power utilities. However, the thermal power plants in the country remain constrained due to age related failures and this continues to affect the capacity of the power utility to be self-sufficient in meeting the ever-increasing demand of electricity in the country. Accordingly, the Portfolio Committee on Energy and Power Development resolved to conduct an inquiry into the operations of Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority that is responsible for the generation, distribution and rehabilitation of power infrastructure in the country. 

2.0 OBJECTIVES

  1.     To enhance the understanding of the Committee on the operations of the Authority;
  2.     To appreciate challenges being faced by the Authority in delivering services on its part; and
  3.     To recommend strategies that may enhance productivity for the Authority.

3.0 METHODOLOGY

This report is informed by written and oral submissions from the Minister of Energy and Power Development, Board Chairman of Zimbabwe Energy Regulatory Authority (ZERA) and the Executive Chairman of Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority Holdings (ZESA). The oral evidence meeting was held on the 4th of March 2021.

4.0 COMMITTEE FINDINGS

4.1The structure of the power sector

4.1.1. The sector is primarily controlled by state-owned Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (ZESA) which generates, imports and distributes all electricity in the country through its subsidiary companies. ZESA was established by the Electricity Act Chapter 13:05 of 1985. The Ministry of Energy and Power Development has the overall responsibility for the energy issues in Zimbabwe and oversees the performance of the power utility and its subsidiaries. Zimbabwe Energy Regulatory Authority (ZERA) is responsible for regulating the energy sector.

4.2 Overview Performance of ZESA Group in 2020

4.2.1 During the meeting held on the 4th of March 2021, the Executive Chairman of ZESA, Dr. Gata indicated that, ZESA Group managed to reduce load shedding with effect from April 2020. He reported that there was growth in the electricity distribution network such as new distribution lines (304kM) and installation of 960 units of transformers. The challenges encountered with the prepayment vending system (3E Itron), were being resolved through a modernisation and upgrade project expected to be completed in May 2021.

 4.2.2 The Group repaid Electricity Supply Commission (ESKOM) about US$35 million for outstanding power import arrears and made arrangements to repay US$73 million to Hidroelectrica de Cahora Bassa (HCB) and US$35 million to Electricidade de Moçambique (EDM) in Mozambique through a bank loan facility. Meanwhile the Group imported power from ESKOM, HCB and EDM on a monthly current account payment basis. However, the improved inflow at Lake Kariba was expected to reduce more reliance on imports to augment internal power generation.

4.2.3 ZESA managed to repay US$15 million of the outstanding loan owed to China Exim Bank. As a result, there was disbursement support for Hwange Stage 3 Expansion Project. The Authority secured a loan of US$310 million from India Exim Bank and US$50 million from Standard Bank to finance the Life Extension Projects meant to restore plant dependable capacity, improve efficiency and plant availability at Hwange Power Station. 

4.2.4 He again highlighted that, the Authority procured about 83 new operational vehicles and 11 pole augers in the first quarter of 2021 that were expected to improve response to system faults and support for new electrification developments. Additional 94 operational vehicles were expected to be delivered by July 2021.  

4.2.5 At the time of the inquiry, it was indicated that, the Authority was in the process of finalising a Customer Contact Centre meant to respond timely to customer complaints and to provide regular information updates on the status of the system. ZESA had also promoted investment in renewable energy by signing over 50 Power Purchase Agreements with Independent Power Producers in solar power projects.

4.2.6 The Committee was also informed that, ZESA diligently implemented all the recommendations in the 2017 External Forensic Auditor Report through external hearings. As a result, there were staff dismissals, demotions and transfers that affected 22 senior staff. A Board Committee was appointed to help oversee the process and address other recommendations raised in the report.

4.3    Power Generation and Demand in the country

4.3.1 Presenting oral evidence before the Committee on the 4th of March, 2021, the Minister of Energy and Power Development, Hon. Soda stated that, the power supply balance on 03 March 2021, showed that the country’s total maximum available capacity was 1 417 Mega Watts (MW) against a maximum demand forecast of 1 445 Mega Watts (MW). It was reported that Harare and Munyati Thermal Power Stations were generating around 29MW each and Hwange Thermal Power Station around 218MW from the 2 functioning units (Unit 4 and 5). Of the licensed Independent Power Producers, Nyangani Renewable Energy Stations and Tsanga were estimated to be generating 25MW and 3MW respectively. However, there were challenges associated with the capacity of Bulawayo Thermal Station to generate power. 

4.3.2 He also explained that the country augmented its internal generation capacity with imports of about 50MW to 400MW on firm basis from regional power utilities such as ESKOM of South Africa and HCB & EDM of Mozambique. Non-firm additional imports of about 250MW were sourced through the Day Ahead Market from Eskom and HCB. The country was still exporting up to 80MW to NamPower of Namibia in fulfilment with the loan financing agreement advanced towards the construction of the Kariba Power Station.

4.4    Pricing Framework of Electricity in Zimbabwe

4.4.1 In October 2020, Zimbabwe Energy Regulatory Authority (ZERA) awarded Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission and Distribution Company (ZETDC) a tariff indexation formula meant to maintain the value of the tariff. The indexation award would be implemented based on a monthly tariff indexation formula for any changes above 10% starting 01 November 2020. The implementation of the indexation formula involved consultation with stakeholders including government as the shareholder.  

4.4.2 It was stated that, any application for reviews on the indexation formula were considered by the regulator in consultation with government as provided for in the Electricity Act (Chapter 13:19). The power pricing indexing was designed to preserve the value of the tariff during the time when the tariff is denominated in ZWL and susceptible to loss of value due to movement in inflation and exchange rate. The indexation formula is constantly reviewed to ensure that it achieves the desired tariff level for the utility in local currency.

4.5 Ongoing Initiatives to Increase Internal Electricity Generation

4.5.1 The Hon. Minister Soda stated that, a number of capacity expansion projects were being undertaken at public and private sector levels to increase the internal generation capacity to meet ever-increasing demand. The ongoing initiatives sought to ensure that the country becomes self-reliant and a net exporter of electricity. They also sought to ensure there would be increase in access to modern energy services as Zimbabwe moves toward a middle-income economy by 2030. The following were highlighted as some of the ongoing power projects:

Name of project

Total cost of each project

Unit cost per megawatt/hour of energy produced

Level of progress

Hwange (Unit 7 and 8) Thermal Expansion

Project-600MW

$1.1 billion

1.83million/MW

-As at 11 February 2021, the progress was estimated at

59.98% against a target of 79.4%.

Batoka    Hydro     Electric

Project (Zimbabwe and

Zambia joint operation)2400MW

$4.5 billion.

1.88million/MW

-An updated feasibility study conducted by a project developer under Built Own Operate and Transfer (BOOT) arrangement was under review at the time of the inquiry.

Zimbabwe          Zhongxin

Electrical Energy (Pvt)

Ltd-50MW/phase

$10 million

0.2million/MW

-First phase of 50 MW is at 95% completion rate 

-Expected to commission at the end of April 2021.

-The total generating capacity of the complete project is 720MW.

Hwange Life Extension Project

$360 million

0.41million/MW

-At the time of the inquiry, procurement of a Project Management Consultant in line with Exim Bank of India guidelines was underway and was expected to pave way for an updated detailed project report and procurement of project contractor. 

 

4.6 State of Electricity Infrastructure

4.6.1 According to the submissions from ZETDC in September 2020, the sector was experiencing vandalism and theft of electricity infrastructure. Vandalism was derailing progress for the Authority as it kept on restocking supplies to repair the network instead of focusing on network expansion. At that time, about US$5,405,487 was required to replace the vandalised transformers and US$4,335,162 to replace the stolen power lines.

4.6.2 According to the submissions from the Ministry of Energy and Power Development, ZESA Group was operating with aged infrastructure which required frequent maintenance.  However, the current revenue base was not adequate to fund all the maintenance works. Therefore, the maintenance program was implemented with priority to key infrastructure in order to reduce outages and loss of revenue.

4.6.3 The Ministry of Energy and Power Development also indicated that there had been a decrease in cases of vandalism experienced in 2020 compared to 2019 and this was attributed to on-going strategies adopted to curb vandalism. The following were the improved cases of vandalism experienced in 2020 compared to 2019 as highlighted by the Ministry:

 Infrastructure vandalised 

Year

Number

of cases

Value stolen (USD)$

Value recovered (USD)$

Recovery rate

Theft and vandalism of

transformer

2020

 

243

 

$2,303,592

 

$181 116 

 

8%

 

2019

302

$3,472,250

$199 105

6%

Theft of copper

2020

374

$1,509,945

$516 055

34%

2019

611

$2,516,100

$354 200

14%

Theft                   of

Aluminium

2020

52

$132 592

$37 360

28%

2019

57

$158 120

$86 580

55%

 

4.7 Manufacturing Capacity for Electricity Infrastructure

4.7.1 According to the submissions from ZESA Enterprises (ZENT), the entity has the capacity to manufacture around 3 600 to 4 800 transformers annually which could meet national demand. However, the utilisation of this capacity has been affected by shortages of foreign currency that resulted in erratic supply of adequate raw materials over the years.

  1. CHALLENGES

5.1Techno-Industrial Capacity Deficit

 5.1.1 It was highlighted that, ZESA was unable to attract or retain technical and managerial professionals it required due to uncompetitive remuneration. The Committee was informed that, a junior engineer at Zambia Electricity Supply Corporation (ZESCO) earned a gross salary of US$3600 per month, compared to US$832 for a ZESA junior engineer. As a result, ZESA suffered from an unsustainable high employee turnover as employees left for better conditions in power utilities in the region and beyond. In 2020, ZESA lost about 32 engineers and 41 technicians. This was after the entity suffered a loss of about 740 skilled labour between 2006 and 2009.

5.1.2 The Executive Chairman, Dr. Gata explained that, there were over 450 ex ZESA technical and engineering staff at ESKOM in South Africa, 72 staff at National Power UK and 65 staff in power utilities in Australia and New Zealand. He stressed that, failure to retain skilled staff was a threat to the electricity industry in Zimbabwe and as such it would be impossible to attain Vision 2030 with such rate of attrition. Additionally, ZESA invested in skills development and the loss of employees reduced it to a training ground for other power players in the region.  

5.2 Sub-economic Tariff

5.2.1 It was indicated that, economic viability of the Electricity Supply Industry (ESI) was threatened by a grossly inadequate tariff structure and its ad hoc regulation. The current tariff levels negatively affected current operations, new investment and lending in the ESI. Government introduced a cost reflective tariff in October 2020, which operated for only 2 months before it was suspended in December 2020. It was further stated that, the reviewed tariff effected on 1 November 2020 was an average rate of 7.5cents/unit which was sub-economic in comparison to the expected average rate of 10cents/unit. As a result, ZESA was not able to respond to faults, inquiries and connect new customers with the prevailing tariff levels.

5.3 Lack of Investment Incentives and Securities

5.3.1 The Committee was informed that, there was need to increase investment incentives and securities for both investors and lenders in the ESI. The current licensed Independent Power Producers were failing to attain financial closure due to power price risk, un-bankability of the power purchase agreements and failure to provide security in the Government Implementation Agreement whereby primary infrastructure investments were not being covered by government guarantees.  

 5.4 Inadequate Operational Vehicles

5.4.1 At the time of the inquiry, the Authority required about 2,287 operational vehicles but had a shortfall of 1,081 vehicles. ZETDC had the bulk of the vehicle requirements because its vehicle availability was 43%.  Therefore, it affected service delivery which was characterised by poor reaction time to faults and increased waiting period for new connections. Efforts by the Authority to purchase operational vehicles were affected by shortages in foreign currency as suppliers were failing to deliver the operational vehicles. As a result, most of the 74 Distribution Depots of ZETDC were operating with one or no vehicle at all.  

  1. STRATEGIES PUT IN PLACE TO CAPACITATE ZESA

 6.1 It was highlighted that, restructuring of ZESA and its subsidiaries was ongoing and a consultant was engaged to improve operational efficiencies in the sub-sector. The process was expected to take three months to develop a roadmap which could be considered by Government for implementation. The Committee was also informed that, ZESA was making use of short-term funding (borrowing) to cover working capital requirements as a short-term measure. Expenditure was on a priority basis towards maintenance, new connections and capital projects.

6.2 During the meeting held on 04 March 2021, the Board Chairman of ZERA, Dr. Madzikanda informed the Committee that, ZERA advised ZESA to recover debts from its domestic customers and private sector. At that time, ZERA was working on engaging the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development to subsidise government institutions that were not able to repay electricity debts. The Authority was also expected to reduce non-technical losses through conducting audits, installing smart meters and enforcing stiffer penalties on vandalism of ZESA properties.

6.3 It was again indicated that loss of skilled professionals was being addressed through capacity building and exchange programs. The ZESA Holdings board and management were involved in a staff remuneration benchmarking exercise with other regional power utilities and the information surveyed would be used to inform critical decisions around retention of skilled personnel. At the time of the inquiry, negotiations with workers were on a continuous basis to review the packages for remunerating employees. Government was also developing a staff remuneration framework to guide parastatals based on the capacity level of each entity.

6.4 It was highlighted that vandalism and theft of electricity infrastructure were to be addressed through replacement of copper cables with aluminium. ZETDC was implementing a programme on retrieving copper conductors from the grid network in exchange for aluminium conductors. The Committee was informed that, there was need for Parliamentarians to support the amendment of the Copper Control Act in order to reduce theft. It was stated that, ZESA Enterprises (ZENT) was working on manufacturing aluminium wound transformers and pilot units were expected to be availed during the course of 2021. The Group was also working towards utilizing advanced technologies such as drones, CCTV and GIS Surveillance to protect its infrastructure from theft and vandalism.

  1. COMMITTEE OBSERVATIONS

The Committee made the following observations;

There is no clarity and policy consistency in handling the structuring of ZESA by the Ministry of Energy and Power Development.

There are no alternative payment methods put in place by ZESA for payment of electricity in any preferred currency by local customers. As a result, ZESA is not able to access foreign currency from alternative sources like local customers that have the capacity to pay in foreign currency.

There is reluctance from both the Ministry of Energy and Power Development and Ministry of Finance and Economic Development to finalise a viable tariff structure for investors in the power sector to be able to repatriate their investor dividends and service their offshore loans.

There is reluctance from the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development to provide security in the Government Implementation Agreement whereby primary infrastructure investments should be covered by Government guarantees. 

ZESA is not utilising the manufacturing capacity of its subsidiary company, ZENT, to meet local demand on transformers. It is also under utilizing the capacity of ZENT to contribute to its foreign currency revenue base by manufacturing and exporting transformers.

There is no innovation and efficiency from ZENT to generate its own financial resources without reliance on funding from Government.

There was delay in the amendment of the Copper Control Act from the Executive which contributed to vandalism and theft of copper wires for illegal trading of copper products.

There was excess loss of skilled human resources due to uncompetitive remuneration and this affected the operations of the utility.

  1. COMMMITEEE RECOMMENDATIONS

In light of the above observations, the Committee recommended the following:

Ministry of Energy and Power Development should synchronize its policies to ensure clarity and consistency in handling the structuring of ZESA by December 2021.

ZESA should put in place alternative methods of paying for electricity utilised by local costumers, by September 2021, such that it expands its sources of accessing foreign currency and address some of the challenges such as procurement of vehicles that are associated with shortages of foreign currency.

The Ministry of Energy and Power Development and Ministry of Finance and Economic Development should finalise a viable tariff structure for investors in the power sector to be able to repatriate their investor dividends and service their offshore loans by December 2021.

The Ministry of Finance and Economic Development should review the Government Implementation Agreement and ensure that primary infrastructure investments are covered by Government guarantees by September 2021. 

ZESA should utilise the manufacturing capacity of its subsidiary company, ZENT, to meet local demand on transformers and contribute to the foreign currency revenue base by December 2021.

ZENT should come up with innovative ways to improve its efficiency in generating foreign currency and reduce reliance on the funding from government by December 2021.

The Ministry of Finance and Economic Development should equally distribute foreign currency to all cross-cutting sectors in the economy and minimise challenges associated with inaccessibility to foreign currency. 

ZESA should implement the findings of the benchmarking exercise conducted to power utilities in the region, in order to reduce skills flight and retain skilled personnel by September 2021.

Ministry of Energy and Power Development and ZESA should embrace and implement both affordable, environment friendly energy solutions and new technology in the energy sector by January 2022.

There was need for the Executive to expedite the amendment of the Copper Control Act responsible for curbing illegal possession and trading of copper products given that it had been highlighted in the inauguration speech of the Third Session of the Ninth Parliament as an urgent measure against vandalism.

  1. CONCLUSION

ZESA as a state-owned company, is part of the economy’s nervous system with a critical responsibility to ensure that there is adequate energy for the country. However, the power utility’s current operating environment is an impediment to the vision of the country to become a self-reliant and a net exporter of electricity as Zimbabwe moves toward a middle-income economy by 2030. In that regard, the Committee is expectant that the relevant authorities will consider the above recommendations proffered for the purposes of establishing a vibrant energy sector that responds to the growing economy and targeted vision. I thank you.

          (v)HON. NDIWENI: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir for according me this opportunity to second the report from our Committee, Energy and Power Development, which was presented eloquently by our Chairperson, Hon. Gabbuza.  ZESA, as of 2021 had stabilised but it has stabilised whilst we appreciate the myriad of problems that ZESA faces.  Everyone appreciates the problem that they face, chief amongst them is the sub-economic tariff that they are charging.

          If we look at the tariff that ZESA charges and we compare it in the region, you will find that it is the lowest.  It really boggles the mind because at times you will find that we import electricity from South Africa, which is so expensive and we sell it at a loss. Number one, you will realise that ZESA cannot release a big percentage of power that it is importing and then selling it at a loss.  They will be kick starting off from a loss. 

It has got other problems that we appreciate, like skills flight, ZESA has a huge problem of skilles flight because manpower at the moment is very fluid.  You know we live in one global village, so you can only offer your staff livable wages so that they are about to move around and Zimbabwe is one of the countries with highly skilled manpower.  So, our manpower is wanted everywhere.  If we cannot pay them well, our engineers will obviously move.  So we have got a big skills deficit.  What happens at the moment is, all the experienced engineers have left ZESA.  They are very scarce, if you move around the region - you go to ZESCOM, Zambia, South Africa, all the top guys there are ex-ZESA employees.  So we trained for them.  That is another problem that we appreciate.

The other problem that they face, which everyone appreciates and we know – but they can do something about this problem  is the fact that ZESA is owed millions and millions of dollars.  I am glad that I am speaking to you, and coincidentally you happen to sit in our Committee and I know you understand what I mean.  ZESA is sitting on millions and millions of money that it is owed by users.  Why do they not follow up all this money that they are owed, definitely they will be at another level.  Definitely all the accessories, all the spares that need local currency would not be a problem.  Let me take an example of coal that ZESA always cries about.  There is an electricity fault and poles have fallen, it will take them weeks to purchase poles that are done locally.  It gobbles the mind again why they do not have local currency to buy poles locally or even better still, ZESA should have their own plantations by now to make their own poles and not buy from anyone.  They are not innovative enough.  It is just one of the problems that they are facing in the rainy season, poles have been falling and you spend weeks without replacing a wooden pole.  If they can recoup the debts that they are owed, it will definitely go a long way. 

          Whilst we are talking of debt Mr. Speaker Sir, what I always wonder and what the Committee wonders is, ZESA had a big problem over the past three years.  We give ZESA some money without having used energy.  Let me give an example Mr. Speaker. You pay ZESA a thousand dollars for energy which will last you ten days but every day maybe you are using $20 to $30.  You have given them money, they are like a bank.  Some of their problems could have been alleviated by the pre-paid meters but we do not see the advantages of pre-paid meters.  Where are they putting this money?  Now, we are making them a bank by pre-paying for our energy.  They should be at another level but there is no difference between the time when there were no pre-paid meters and now.

          The other problem that ZESA cries about is vandalism and theft.  We appreciate that but they are silent on the fact that a big chunk of the vandalism and theft is done by their own employees.  When they come and tell you about vandalism, they are doing something.  They are doing digitalisation, they are trying to do everything to try and curb thefts but I personally feel the greatest thing they should do is to pay their workers well so that theydo not go engineering some of these thefts that we are experiencing.  In some instances, you notice that the thefts are done exactly the times when ZESA switches off power.  Who knows when ZESA is supposed to switch power on and off?    It is people who are within the organisation.  Some of the problems I would say are a bit self-inflicted. 

          Mr. Speaker Sir, I am now turning to self-inflicted problems which ZESA should look at in order to improve the supply of electricity. ZESA decries lack of foreign currency but the Government has been pro-active.  They have allowed ZESA to sell some of its power in foreign currency.  When you ask for figures, for them to be transparent about how much inflows they are getting in foreign currency, they are not very open.  I wonder why they are not open.  We have tried several times to say come clean, tell us what percentage you are getting in foreign currency so that when we are engaging the Reserve Bank Governor, we go fully well with all the information in our heads to say, these guys are getting 5% in foreign currency,  you should allocate them so much.  I think these are some of the problems that maybe the Reserve Bank Governor is also facing.  When you ask them, are you paying your employees in foreign currency, they would tell you they do not, they just peg allowances in foreign currency and pay in RTGs.  I am not sure whether this is what is happening.  Why are they not transparent when we ask for proper figures when it comes to their foreign currency inflows and outflow?

          The other thing that I see that ZESA could do that they are not doing is, they have got a subsidiary called ZENT.  We have visited this subsidiary of theirs and that company is capable of manufacturing world standard transformers.  All that the company needs is the foreign currency.  Mr. Speaker Sir, if we take the foreign currency that we are giving to South Africa and Mozambique buying electricity and transformers and capacitate ZENT, they can produce transformers.  They are even sitting on orders.  There are companies in Mozambique that have placed orders because they realised that ZENT is producing world class transformers.  However, we are not capacitating them.  If we capacitate ZENT, we are going to produce transformers for ourselves, for export, create foreign currency and employment.  There are plenty of side industries that are going to benefit but unfortunately, ZESA would rather import transformers.  Then you wonder at times whether it is somebody just getting cut somewhere by importing these transformers instead of us making them. 

          As it is now in 2022, they are expecting a large number, I think over 9000 transformers they are expecting around July this year.  You can imagine if we were to capacitate ZENT to produce 9000 transformers, how much employment would we create?  How much foreign currency would we save?  If you put $1 at ZENT, you create $4 but if you put $1 in SA to import the transformer or electricity, you end up with 20 cents, so we will be losing out Mr. Speaker Sir. 

          We appreciate the problems that ZESA has.  The President has a vision for rural electrification.  What ZESA is doing, it is not doing a service to REA.  REA benefits when ZESA is doing very well.  What we are seeing now is that electricity expansion to the rural areas is suffering even worse because of ZESA’s inefficiency.  It is not only inefficiency but some of the money that they charge.  When you are paying for electricity, there is a percentage that is supposed to go to REA.  When they get that money, they take their time before they transmit it to REA.  Therefore, you find that REA has got plenty of projects that lie idle for years without being completed because they have no resources.

 The other thing that we realise Mr. Speaker Sir, is the 6% that is supposed to go to REA from ZESA which would really promote the spread of electricity provision in the rural areas, they restrict it to RTGs but they are receiving foreign currency as well.  We queried why they are not passing the 6% if somebody pays in foreign currency.  If you ask REA whether they get an allocation from ZESA in foreign currency, there is nothing that they get.  That is something that Parliament has to really probe further in order to assist rural areas and promotethe President’s Vision for 2030, which one of them is complete or maximum electrification for the rural areas.  Mr. Speaker Sir, with those few remarks, I thank you for giving me this opportunity and I submit in support of the report presented by Hon. Gabbuza.  Thank you. 

          HON. T. MOYO: I move that the debate do now adjourn.

HON. TEKESHE: I second.

Motion put and agreed to.

Debate to resume: Tuesday, 15th March 2022.

On the motion of HON. T. MOYO, seconded by HON TEKESHE, the House adjourned at Four Minutes to Six o’clock p.m. until Tuesday, 15th March 2022.

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