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NATIONAL ASSEMBLY HANSARD 10 MAY 2023 VOL 49 NO 37
PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE
Wednesday, 10th May, 2023
The National Assembly met at a Quarter-past Two o’clock p.m.
(THE HON. SPEAKER in the Chair)
ANNOUNCEMENTS BY THE HON. SPEAKER
PETITIONS RECEIVED FROM SAM PARIRENYATWA, DAVID WHITEHEAD TEXTILES WORKERS, MEDIA ALLIANCE ZIMBABWE AND GODFREY GONESE
THE HON. SPEAKER: I have to inform the House that during the month of April, 2023, Parliament received the following petitions:
A petition from Sam Parirenyatwa of Subdivision 17, Danbury Park Farm, Mazowe, requesting Parliament to protect the Constitution and national interest by bringing Government to account for the deplorable and now inaccessible external shrines in Zambia and Mozambique where veterans of the liberation struggle were buried. The petition further requested Parliament to ensure that provincial and district Heroes’ Acres are maintained and that a budget is allocated to support the dependants of the deceased veterans of the Liberation Struggle. The petition has since been referred to the Portfolio Committee on Defence and Home Affairs.
Another petition from former David Whitehead Textile workers requesting Parliament to ensure that David Whitehead Textiles honours its obligations in terms of the labour rights. The petition was deemed inadmissible and the petitioners were advised accordingly.
Petition from Media Alliance Zimbabwe requesting Parliament to summon the owner of the Twitter account Tinoedza Dzimwe over cyber bullying and threats against journalists on social media. The petition was deemed inadmissible and the petitioners were informed accordingly.
Petition from Mr. Godfrey Gonese of Roraima Farm requesting Parliament to engage the Executive on the restoration of the title deeds for rural land after being dispossessed of their land in 2000 by the State without compensation. The petition was deemed inadmissible and the petitioners were advised accordingly - [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.]- Can you listen to what I am saying please.
APOLOGIES RECEIVED FROM MINISTERS
I have the following apologies from the Executive:- Dr. C. D. G. N. Chiwenga, Vice President and Minister of Health and Child Care; Hon. S. Nzenza, Minister of Industry and Commerce; Hon. K. Coventry, Minister of Youths, Sport, Arts and Recreation; Hon. O. C. Z. Muchinguri-Kashiri, Minister of Defence and War Veterans Affairs; Hon. W. Chitando, Minister of Mines and Mining Development; Hon. Kambamura, Deputy Minister of Mines and Mining Development; Hon. Prof. M. Ncube, Minister of Finance and Economic Development; Hon. Garwe, Minister of National Housing and Social Amenities; Hon. Soda, Minister of Energy and Power Development; Hon. Mavima, Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare; Hon. Matuke, Deputy Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare; Hon. Murwira, Minister of Higher and Tertiary Education, Innovation, Science and Technology Development.
May I address myself to the Hon. Leader of Government Business. There are Ministers who are perennially now giving apologies and although it is their right to give apologies, that right should not be abused. They have a responsibility to be in the House to answer questions from the Hon. Members. That is one observation.
The second observation where a full Cabinet Minister is absent and there is a Deputy Minister, the Deputy Minister must be available at all times in terms of Section 107 (2) of the Constitution. Those are the two observations Hon. Leader of Government Business. If you could kindly bring this to the attention of your colleagues.
HON. T. MLISWA: Good afternoon Hon. Speaker. My point of order emanates from your very important message to the leader of Government Business pertaining to the Ministers. I do not know if it is possible for this Parliament to come up with a list for the public, of the number of the Ministers who attend and those that are absent because we come from the people. The people must know how we are performing. It is taxpayers’ money.
So I propose that there be a list of every Minister’s attendance, where they would have asked for leave of absence, be put there equally and the Members of Parliament so that the nation is able to understand who is working and who is not working. Those who are absent with leave, people would know that. That would actually help. That would be my proposal to you. I think you have done enough. We belong to the people; we are from the people and the country must be informed on the performance of the people that they elected. The President does his bit and Ministers are expected to stick to the mandate they are given by the President to make sure that the Executive is strong. That would be my proposal.
THE HON. SPEAKER: Thank you Hon. Mliswa. On your Order Paper, there is a list of Members who are present. If you check with your gadget, you will see that. Also, in the Hansard, we do record the Ministers who are present and those who have tendered their apologies. Perhaps through your point of order, the public is encouraged to open our website and they will follow our Hansard and the Votes and Proceedings of the National Assembly in terms of the Order Paper.
ORAL ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS WITHOUT NOTICE
HON. MUGADZA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. My question is directed to the Minister of Primary and Secondary Education. Why should there not be a policy which stipulates that should schools open mid-month, parents be allowed or given up to the end of that month to square up school fees, those who are not able to meet that deadline be allowed to make payment plans? I thank you.
THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF PRIMARY AND SECONDARY EDUCATION (HON. E. MOYO): Thank you very much Hon. Speaker Sir. I would like to thank the Hon. Member for the question. First of all, when schools open, if parents do not have the money at hand, they are allowed to make payment plans with the school authorities.
However, in the case of boarding schools where schools supply like food and other necessary requirements, we encourage parents to pay schools fees before schools open to enable the procurement of supplies in bulk to sustain the students whilst at boarding facilities. However, in all cases the policy is there. Parents make payment plans with the school authorities. It is also important to note that when these payment plans are made, they must also be honoured by the parents. I thank you.
HON. T. MOYO: Thank you Hon. Speaker for recognising me. My supplementary question to the Hon. Minister is; is there a Government policy that deters schools from turning away students? Just this week when schools opened, some students were turned away on the very first day. Are there penalties to deal with those schools that defy Government policy?
HON. E. MOYO: Thank you Hon. Speaker Sir. Schools are not allowed to send away students. The contract of school fees payment is between the school and the parents and not the students. Where schools are sending away children who have not paid fees, there are penalties. The penalty is a charge that is attracted by that action. As I speak, yesterday we got information that some schools here in Harare sent away children who had not paid fees and this morning our officers were in those schools where we expect charges to be preferred against the culprits.
Hon. Zwizwai having shouted supplementary.
THE HON. SPEAKER: Hon. Zwizwai, if you want to ask a supplementary question, please do so; do not shout.
Hon. Zwizwai having started contributing without the Hon. Speaker’s permission.
THE HON. SPEAKER: I have not recognised you. Please do not embellish my ruling.
Hon. Nyabani having asked a new question instead of a supplementary question. – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –
THE HON. SPEAKER: Order! Your colleagues are helping you. We are still on supplementary questions. Hon. Nyabani, recollect yourself.
HON. CHINYANGANYA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. My supplementary question is directed…
Hon. Chasi having been standing and chatting to another Hon. Member.
THE HON. SPEAKER: Order, Hon. Chasi, you cannot be up standing when another Hon. Member is holding the floor. There is space there, why do you not sit down and whisper to your colleague?
HON. CHINYANGANYA: My supplementary question to the Hon. Minister is that this issue of turning away students and pupils is rampant across the country. It seems as if the headmasters and school authorities are not aware of this policy. Is this policy in their offices or it is just at the Head Office, because if it was in the headmaster’s offices, I am sure they would really be adhering to this policy? I thank you.
THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF PRIMARY AND SECONDARY EDUCATION (HON. E. MOYO): Thank you Hon. Speaker Sir and thank you Hon. Member for the supplementary question. That policy is given to all schools and as I speak, last week before schools open, we reissued these circulars where we find we are always having problems with schools so that we try and correct this situation. We have also encouraged our PEDs. There is a circular, this morning we were having a round robbing with professional institution directors on the same issue so that they send out teams to schools to curb this malpractice by school heads.
If those cases are reported to us, we take corrective measures like I have already indicated – I may not name the schools in Harare where we sent officers this morning to go and interview the children, interview the teachers, the heads, with a view of preferring charges on those headmasters. So, we could be held by this House to send in information. Yesterday I received one Hon. Senator who brought that information and we sent people there and charges are already being preferred against that kind of head.
When I say charges, I am referring to disciplinary processes where we prefer a charge and say in terms of this section, you have committed an act of misconduct. The sections are in terms of Statutory Instrument 1 of 2000. I may not off hand, without the Statutory Instrument, refer to the specific clause of the Statutory Instrument. Thank you.
HON. MURAI: Thank you very much Hon. Speaker. My supplementary question to the Minister is that in 2008, 2013, 2018 towards elections, the Government came up with a policy that there shall be free education for all. Now, I am deeply disturbed that the Minister is saying we must come up with a payment plan for school fees when it is on record that the Government said there must be free education for all. Can the Hon. Minister clarify on that? Where is the free education for all Hon. Minister?
HON. E. MOYO: Thank you very much Hon. Speaker Sir. I am sure he is referring to Section 75 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe subsection 1 (a) and (b) of the Constitution…
THE HON. SPEAKER: Order Hon. Minister. Hon. Members on my left, Hon. Zwizwai and Hon. Chibaya, you listen to the answer. If you do not agree with the answer, Hon. Zwizwai do not interrupt me or I will discharge you. Thank you.
HON. E. MOYO: I will restate that again that in terms of Section 75 of the Constitution, there is provision for State funded education and not free education. Subsection 1 (a) and (b) speak to the qualifications of one to benefit from State funded education and it speaks to primary and secondary students and further education in subsection 1 (b). Subsection 4 of the Constitution then speaks to how that is going to be realized and it says, I may not say the words verbatim but the import of subsection 4 says that the Government shall take reasonable legislative measures or otherwise, within the limit thereof of its resources to realise the provision of subsection 1. That is what we are doing and what we have done is that two districts per province, as pilot projects for that exercise, have been identified and Government is fully paying for all schools in those two districts for all the provinces.
There is also BEAM – last year it paid for 1.5 million children and this year the target is 1.8 million children. Those children under BEAM, if they fall under the category of examinations - Grade 7, Form 4 and Form 6, their fees are wholly paid by Government. We also have those children who may not be under BEAM but who qualify to be BEAM beneficiaries, are also covered for their examination fees.
Further to that, those children who may not fall within those categories but wish to write Grade 7, O’ level and A’ level examinations and may not have the means to do so, we are currently up to this Friday enlisting the names of such children for onward transmission to ZIMSEC so that they are registered and Government pays for them. That is how far State funded education has gone to date. Thank you.
Hon. Murai having stood to make another supplementary question
THE HON. SPEAKER: Order, the Hon. Minister referred to the supreme law of the land which overrides whatever other subsidiary legislation comes to. So, the Minister’s response has been extremely comprehensive.
HON. TEKESHE: On a point of order Mr. Speaker Sir.
THE HON. SPEAKER: What is your point of order?
*HON. TEKESHE: My point of order is, this question is asked every term when schools open. A few months ago, you said the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Public Service must come together regarding the judgement that was done 10 years ago. This judgement was passed but the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education is failing to implement that judgement. If a ministry cannot implement a High Court judgement, then who else will they listen to? I thank you.
THE HON. SPEAKER: Your point of order is administrative and I am sure the Hon. Deputy Minister has taken note. What is missing here is the process of how to raise alarm with the ministry where there is lack of adherence to the ministerial policy as far as the payment of fees is concerned. I think there must be some process so that if in school A there is that problem, where do they go first and foremost, to report so that the ministry can act expeditiously.
*HON. NDUNA: Thank you Hon. Speaker Sir, I will speak in vernacular for the good of the people of Chegutu. When will the Government pilot project ‘reach Chegutu’ in terms of assisting vulnerable children who cannot afford to pay fees?
*THE HON. SPEAKER: We are not talking about constituencies; we are talking of problems facing all schools in the country. You should have listened to what the Hon. Deputy Minister said. You must read Article 75 subsection (4) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe, you will find the answer there.
HON. T. MLISWA: Mr. Speaker Sir…
THE HON. SPEAKER: Chii chamuka Hon. T. Mliswa. Shumba haifanire kuvhura maziso zvakanyanya.
HON. T. MLISWA: Mr. Speaker Sir, shumba yazongomuka payanga yakarara ikaona Nyathi. I think the issue here is just more than the education sector, I think we must accept that we might be lying here if we are saying that this is happening in our constituencies and we do not understand it. We have understood it to a point where we actually sympathise with the headmasters and the teachers. That is the reality on the ground because there are no resources and they are relying on school fees. Relying on the school fees is a broader aspect of the economy to be honest with you.
THE HON. SPEAKER: Hon. Member, this is not a general debate. Whilst you are saying very substantial issues but this is not a general debate.
HON. T. MLISWA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir and I will end by saying this is a broader picture of the economy and it would have been good for the Hon. Minister of Finance, on an important day like this, to respond to all these issues. You know yesterday I spoke about inflation and all that and today he is not here.
THE HON. SPEAKER: Hon. T. Mliswa, you have answered yourself. Why not reserve your observations for a day when the Hon. Minister of Finance presents his policy as you requested yesterday? Reserve that energy.
HON. T. MLISWA: Thank you Hon. Speaker, I stand guided.
*HON. NYABANI: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir, for giving me this opportunity. My question goes to the Minister of Finance and Economic Development, in his absence the Leader of the House. We heard about gold coins, now we are hearing about gold tokens. I wanted to be enlightened how these gold coins and gold tokens work. In rural areas, we are not aware of this even when we go to our constituencies, we are not able to explain to the people.
*THE HON. SPEAKER: Thank you Hon. Nyabani. You ask that question to the Hon. Minister of Finance when he comes to the House.
*HON. NYABANI: He might fail to come.
*THE HON. SPEAKER: I have summoned him to come, he will do so.
HON. NYABANI: I am asking that he does that soonest.
HON. CHIDAKWA: Thank you Hon. Speaker, I am directing my question to the Hon. Minister of Mines and Mining Development. If he is not in, I will redirect it to the Leader of Government Business. Mr. Speaker, my question to the Minister of Mines and Mining Development is when is Zimbabwe going to ratify the African Mines statutes because ratifying this centre will play a key role in assisting Government in implementing the African Mining Development. Given that Zimbabwe is also in the process of aligning its mining laws, when are we going to ratify the African Mining Development Centre Statute as Zimbabwe? Thank you.
THE HON. SPEAKER: That is a protocol, I will ask the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Trade to respond.
THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS AND INTERNATIONAL TRADE (HON. MUSABAYANA): Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. I want to thank the Hon. Member for a very important question. However, I feel it is a bit specific. I will check how far we are gone in terms of the procedures that are supposed to be followed before we ratify that Treaty. As a Ministry, we stand ready to bring to Parliament any Treaty that should be ratified, should it qualify the other important statutes that should be satisfied before it is ratified by Parliament. Thank you.
HON. MADZIMURE: Thank you Mr. Speaker. As a policy of Government, CALA which is an educational activity that demands students to demonstrate and perform their understanding and have knowledge of the subject they are learning, it contributes 30% to the overall marks of a child. As a policy, it requires children to carry more than nine books in a satchel - we are talking here about primary school children. If you see them carrying those bags going to school, you feel sorry for them that this might have an effect on their backs.
THE HON. SPEAKER: What is the question Hon. Madzimure?
HON. MADZIMURE: How is the Ministry going to streamline the subjects so that children carry manageable loads when going to school on a daily basis?
THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF PRIMARY AND SECONDARY EDUCATION (HON. E. MOYO): Thank you very much Mr. Speaker Sir. I want to thank the Hon. Member for the question. Currently we are running a curriculum review process. This week we are finishing the training for people to conduct the reviews. I think, next week on the 16th, that is when we are going to have the national review session which is going to run nationally in all settings. It is there that we expect to receive recommendations from different stakeholders on how to view the entire curriculum including this formative examination situation which we call Continuous Assessment Learning Areas (CALA).
On the issue of packaging the assignments that are given to students, our school heads and teachers have been trained to package the assignments into manageable units not to choke the children by giving them everything at once. If that is happening, it is happening against the policy of Government. We expect them to package the assignment into manageable units so that our children are given a period of time when that activity is taking place. We expect that observations like the Hon. Member has made are brought to the review sessions so that they can be taken on board. If there is need for further training, then that should be planned and conducted. Thank you.
(v)*HON. MASENDA: Thank you Hon. Speaker. My question is directed to the Deputy Minister of Primary and Secondary Education. School heads are refusing to accept the Zimbabwe dollar, they prefer US dollar only. Again, those accepting local currency, they rate it using the illegal rate.
THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF PRIMARY AND SECONDARY EDUCATION (HON. E. MOYO): In areas where school heads are refusing to accept the Zimbabwe dollar and they only prefer the US dollar, that is illegal. I will repeat again, if that happens, let the parents get in contact with the district schools inspectors so that corrective measures are taken. What I did not say earlier when I spoke about teams that were sent into schools, that is part of the issues that they were going there to investigate. We are already talking to the Ministry of Finance and the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe on measures to be taken to correct those things. I may not speak about them here because they are still under discussion but we are very much alive to that situation. We wonder what the interest is in heads who do not want to accept the Zimbabwe dollar as legal tender in their schools when the laws of the land are very clear. We want to take this opportunity to warn them to say that there must not be a reason for stern measures against schools. They have to comply - the issues of compliance were discussed here and we have to find ways of strengthening our statutes to ensure total compliance by our officers on the ground. That is not allowed not, to accept any legal tender in the country. A circular was sent together with the other circulars I spoke about, actually there is a section on the circulars on the issue of the currencies to be accepted in schools. I thank you.
HON. MUSHORIWA: My supplementary question to the Hon. Minister is that if indeed the policy of the Government is to say the local currency has to be accepted, what measures is the Government taking in terms of making sure that schools continue to function? I am saying this because the fact that our dollar has been losing value and the schools tend to procure whatever they want for the schools using the illegal market rate in the shops, what measures have they put in place for the schools to continue functioning? What is Government doing to support all the schools so that at least the education system is not affected?
THE HON. SPEAKER: That question titillates on inflationary pressures, the original question is whether schools demand payment of fees in US dollars and rejecting Zimbabwe dollar.
HON. HAMAUSWA: Thank you Hon. Speaker for recognizing me. I want to also highlight to the Hon. Minister that yesterday I visited a school in my constituency in Mufakose and I was informed that they are requested to charge school fees in USD…
THE HON. SPEAKER: Hon. Member, we are dealing with national issues. Can you revert to the question that was asked originally?
HON. HAMAUSWA: There are reports in some parts of this country that the Ministry actually approved school fees to be pegged in USD. What is the response from the Ministry?
HON. E. MOYO: Thank you very much Mr. Speaker Sir. I think we have to make a distinction between what is approved and what it means. We allowed schools to peg their fees in USD but if a parent wants to pay in ZWL, they use the prevailing interbank rate on the date of payment. Approving the fees being paid in USD does not imply that then it is the USD that must be paid only and no other currency. It was done so that the frequency of applications for approval to raise fees is reduced because the rate of inflation on the Zimbabwean dollar is quite high. However, in terms of payments, parents pay using the locally accepted currencies they have and that is the position.
HON. T. MLISWA: Indeed, the Ministry of Education has allowed school fees to be paid in USD. If the School Development Committee sits down and makes a resolution at a meeting that school fees must be paid in USD, it is a resolution. Can any parent go against that and pay in ZWL when there is that resolution, especially with this new instruction that they have passed that school fees must be paid in USD?
THE HON. SPEAKER: With all due respect Hon. Mliswa, as lawmakers, the law is above the resolution of a school council, so it is null and void.
HON. MUSHORIWA: The SDCs are a creature of law, there is a Statutory Instrument that establishes the SDCs to run the affairs of the school…
THE HON. SPEAKER: Hon. Member, consult Hon. Biti for guidance.
*HON. CHINOTIMBA: Why are you pegging school fees in foreign currency as if we do not have our own currency? You cannot blame the public when they are accusing you of pegging school fees in USD as if our currency is redundant.
THE HON. SPEAKER: May I request Hon. Chinotimba to go and sit down with the Hon. Minister of Primary and Secondary Education to explain fully his question?
*HON. CHINOTIMBA: Thank you Hon. Speaker. However, I cannot go and sit down with him to discuss a national issue as if it is a private matter. The Government must not peg school fees in foreign currency…
THE HON. SPEAKER: Order! Chakafukidza dzimba matenga!
HON. BITI: My question is directed to the esteemed Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, and the Leader of Government Business in the Chamber. On Friday, 5th May 2023, there was issued in the Government Gazette, General Notice 635 of 2023, which was made in terms of Section 3 (6) of the Public Procurement and Disposal of Public Assets Act Chapter 22:23. This public proclamation purported to suspend the provisions of the Constitution, in particular Section 315 of the Constitution which says that public procurement must be transparent and also the provisions of Section 4 of the Public Procurement Act, which also says public procurement must be transparent in respect of the acquisition of construction or medicines under the Ministry of Health.
Today, the Office of the President has issued a statement disowning that Statutory Instrument. My question to the esteemed Minister is; on what basis does an arm of Government issue a Statutory Instrument which is not authorized by your Ministry and by the Attorney General’s office, by the Attorney General himself? Is that not a form of a legal coup d’etat? How can that be allowed and how did that happen? I thank you.
THE HON. SPEAKER: Hon. Leader of Government Business, deal with the coup that has dissipated. – [Laughter.] –
THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. Mr. Speaker, Hon. Biti stated what the President indicated and he indicated that we are investigating how it happened. So, I cannot comment further than that; everything that he said, he actually repeated what His Excellency the President said in the statement that was issued earlier. The issue is being investigated and once the investigations are completed, we will be able to issue another statement. I thank you. – [HON. BITI: Supplementary! Supplementary!] –
THE HON. SPEAKER: There cannot be any supplementary. Hon. Biti, do not flog a dead horse. Hon. Biti! Hon. Biti…
HON. BITI: Mr. Speaker, in future, someone can actually suspend the Government through statements like that. It is a serious matter Mr. Speaker. It is a constitutional coup Mr. Speaker.
THE HON. SPEAKER: Hon. Biti, just a second. When you are driving in four forward gears and are just to hit a tree, you apply your brakes - right? The most sensible thing is to apply your reverse gear and come back to the correct route – that has been done. – [AN HON. MEMBER: So ndivo vanga vazviita!] –
HON. MARKHAM: Good afternoon Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, my question is following two issues of the importation. The first one was the importation of fire tenders into this country or supposed importation of fire tenders from Belarus and I do not think that there is anyone in this House who knows how many or how much, when they are going to be paid and when they are going to arrive.
The second one is also from Belarus. There are thousands of tractors in my constituency that are being distributed from Belarus and none of us here know anything about that contract. Could the two Hon. Ministers indulge us, either with the contracts or the general concept of borrowing or buying tractors from Belarus with no accountability or transparency to this House? I thank you.
THE HON. SPEAKER: That is a specific question that requires your written approach and allow the respective ministers to answer accordingly. In terms of procurement, I think that would be in the purview of the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development. So, why do you not put it in writing for next week?
HON. CHASI: Thank you very much Madam Speaker. My question is directed to the Hon. Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development. I wish to begin by commending the Hon. Minister for the great work that he is doing.
I ask this question as the expiring Member of Parliament for Mazowe South – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – Maybe expired. I am aware that Government came up with a very great programme concerning the development of rural roads and I want to commend Government for that. I would like to know from the Hon. Minister whether this programme has actually taken off and if so, when we can expect it to arrive in Mazowe? I say this Ma’am Speaker because there is no longer public transport in the form of buses in Mazowe. You get to Gweshe, if you want to go to Kanyemba, Shopo, Shutu, transporters have now refused to ply that route. Even if you have a 4 x 4, you cannot use those roads.
So, there has been an exponential growth in the number of vehicles in the rural areas. The damage is huge and I would like first of all, to appeal to the Hon. Minister to please do something because the population in Mazowe South in particular where I have expired, people are now having to walk distances …
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon. Chasi, please may you go straight to your question without debating?
HON. CHASI: I am certainly going to do that before I expire Madam Speaker. People who were walking 100 metres to get to the bus stop are now having to walk 10kms to catch a bus, and they wake up at one o’clock a.m. This is a desperate appeal to Government.
HON. T. MLISWA: On a point of order Madam Speaker! With due respect, it is a good question but it is a specific question as it talks about Mazowe South. I think let him put it in black and white and let him be answered. It is very specific. All these issues are about Mazowe South and since he has expired, he needs to make sure it is done. So, I think it would be good for it to be in black and white as well. It is a very specific question because I will also get up and say in Norton, this road is not done and others will get up and so forth. It is purely specific and I think it needs to be put in black and white. I also think that Hon. Mhona will make a good response of that and maybe knowing him, he will probably go on the ground and speak to his expired colleague and Member of Parliament.
HON. CHASI: Madam Speaker, the Hon. Member of Parliament may be correct but I think it is in your province to make that ruling.
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon. Chasi thank you for that question. Hon. Mliswa is right that it is a specific question. You need to put that in writing so that the Hon. Minister will make some investigations and come to this House with the response - [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.]- Order please! Hon. Chibaya order!
HON. CHIBAYA: Maybe I should then ask a more generalised question. When can we expect the Rapid Rural Roads Programme to come to Mazowe or to any rural area because we have not seen it there? Thank you.
THE MINISTER OF TRANSPORT AND INFRASTRUCTURUAL DEVELOPMENT (HON. MHONA): Thank you Madam Speaker. Before this august House Hon. Madam Speaker, I was requested to bring a Ministerial Statement on the Emergency Road Rehabilitation Programme and with the indulgence of the House, next week I will table the same which will then address some of the concerns raised by the Hon. Member. Just to address his question Hon. Chasi talked about the rural programme - to appraise the august House of the architecture of road authorities in this country, we have got the Department of Roads, local authorities, rural district councils and DDF which is now known as REDA.
Normally, 90% of roads in rural constituencies are under the purview of rural district council and REDA but now because of the declaration of the Emergency Road Rehabilitation Programme, we have assumed the role of making sure that we also follow up with these road authorities. I am happy that this august House must take note that we have got equipment within the various rural district councils that is lying idle because of lack of fuel and I want to say to my fellow Hon. Members, it is high time we must also rehabilitate our roads, make sure we do the regravelling, the rehabilitation, whatever we can do using the equipment that we have.
What I am appealing to the Hon. Members is a list of the equipment that they have in their jurisdictions, whether it is under REDA or it is under rural district council, so that we now furnish and give them fuel so that they take charge of some of these roads. Some of the roads just need grading and regravelling. So, we are appealing now to my fellow Hon. Members to say let us work together on this particular disaster that we have of roads that are not trafficable.
It is my humble plea to say in terms of what we have because of devolution funds, I am sure others managed to buy whether they are tippers or graders. So let us make use of the available equipment as we speak so that we do not need to wait for Government, but above all, I will table a number of roads we are also superintending under the Emergency Road Rehabilitation Programme in some of the constituencies. Thank you Madam Speaker.
*HON. HAMAUSWA: Thank you Madam Speaker. My supplementary question to the Hon. Minister is there was a programme on the Road Rehabilitation that had been suspended last year because local contractors had not been paid. As a result, work on roads that were under rehabilitation such as Kawi and Pleasant Valley had been stopped. Can the Minister update us on the current situation? Were the local contractors paid and when should we expect the rehabilitation of those roads to continue? I thank you.
*HON. MHONA: What the Hon. Member has just said is true. Last month there had been discussion on this issue and it was agreed that there would be a reevaluation of the charges charged by these local contractors where it would be looked into to see if the Government was receiving its value for money and if they were charging fairly. As a result, many companies had to stop operations because of this programme. The programme went on well that at the end of last year, most of the companies reviewed their charges to see if they were charging fairly according to the work they were doing on the roads.
I would like to remind Hon. Members that Parliament is responsible for allocating resources to the Ministry through the budget. I would urge Hon. Members to ensure that they allocate enough resources to the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructural Development so that the Ministry can carry out its mandate of road rehabilitation.
Going forward, the Ministry is not starting work on new roads but rather we are committed to finishing the work on those roads where work had been stopped. So you will see the continuation of work on those roads after which we will move on to new roads.
*HON. CHIBAYA: Thank you Madam Speaker. Last year in this august House, the Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development, Hon. Mhona, indicated some of the roads that would be rehabilitated. The people back in Mukoba constituency whom I represent in this House would be eagerly awaiting the rehabilitation of their roads and therefore the Minister should report back to the House on the progress made on those roads so far. I appeal to the Minister to give us the progress made to date on those roads. I thank you.
*THE MINISTER OF TRANSPORT AND INFRASTRUCTURAL DEVELOPMENT (HON. MHONA): Thank you Madam Speaker. Some of the questions on issues that are asked in this House, I would have held discussions and consultations with some Hon. Members and provisional road engineers within my Ministry. It is the Ministry’s wish, especially pertaining to the residents of Mkoba 12, as Hon. Chibaya has mentioned that he would be representing them in the House, that the roads be tarred but it was agreed that we would first re-gravel the roads so that they are passable. I would however like to inform you that we will be coming to tar those roads. It is your right as Hon. Members to come and appeal to us that there are roads within your areas that need to be fixed and we as a Ministry, will make sure that those roads are rehabilitated. We may fail to tar them as you would have us do but we want our roads to be passable.
As a Ministry, we appreciate those questions that those roads be passable. All those with such questions on roads - most of them, I will be aware of because most Hon. Members normally notify me, even through cellphones. I want to assure you that such roads – all Hon. Members who are concerned about roads in their areas which were done but dumped before completion, we will start with those roads before we do new roads. I thank you
*HON. MUTSEYAMI: Good afternoon Hon. Speaker. My supplementary question to the Hon. Minister of Transport is: what is going to happen to certain companies which were awarded tenders to do certain roads but they did a shoddy job? The road has not even been completed in a year but it is already damaged. These people were already paid for the job but the state of the road is so bad. The construction was substandard because they did not have the required equipment. How do you work with such companies? They are given tenders but they have no knowledge of road construction. Now, other companies are going to be contracted to complete such roads. Some of those people are relatives of people that are well known by Government top officials.
HON. MHONA: Thank you Madam Speaker. I would like to thank Hon. Mutseyami for that question on road construction. We used to have such problems where some people were contracted to do road construction without going deeper to check whether they have knowledge of proper road construction. It was learnt that those people would later subcontract other companies to do the job and also those would not be knowledgeable on road construction; they had no proper equipment which led to poorly done roads.
Now, together with ZINARA, we gather with all local authorities to verify if those who are being contracted are the right people with requisite knowledge to carry out the work. On our side, no one is going to be given money before satisfactorily completing the road. That has to be clear to all contractors. After a company is contracted, the Ministry officials will follow up before payment to check whether the company has done a perfect job. I agree that it happens that some people contract people who do not have knowledge on the work to be done but I promise that this will never happen, especially on the issue of infrastructure.
We know that in Mutare, there is a road which has a problem. When it is hot, the road surface appears as if it is about to melt but I promise you, this will not continue to happen because we will be following up on all jobs of the Ministry. I thank you.
HON. NDUNA: Thank you Madam Speaker Ma’am. This question arises after the directive of the Hon. Speaker, yesterday where I spoke about a judgement which was handed down by Justice Chitapi on 24th December, 2019. The applicants were Godfrey Mhihwa and other 105 vendors from Chegutu. The respondents were the Municipality of Chegutu and Officer Commanding, Zimbabwe Republic Police of Chegutu. So the Hon. Speaker directed that this question be asked today and I request that you direct it accordingly Madam Speaker Ma’am.
It follows that if a judgement has been handed down in the High Court and there is no appeal against that judgement in the requisite time, would it please the Hon. Minister of Local Government to both conscientise the relevant municipalities of the judgement which is present and indeed, because it is now a locus standi, and it was a test case, that it cascades to all local authorities that they have no mandate to confiscate the wares of vendors both in Chegutu and indeed in the whole country?
Also, to say to the local authorities, return the wares according to this judgement, if those wares have been confiscated. As we speak, this has to be done in order to avert and completely annihilate the scourge of confiscation of vendors’ wares because Chegutu Municipality is now going to be sitting on a very big bill in terms of compensation, running into millions of dollars, which might see them getting their properties attached. Would it please the Hon. Minister to conscientise the local authorities and to also make sure that the judgement that has been handed down is adhered to, to the ethos and the values of this judgement so that there is compensation which indeed will be approaching the courts to get the compensation because the wares have not been returned according to this judgement? I thank you.
THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT AND PUBLIC WORKS (HON. CHOMBO): Thank you very much Hon. Speaker. I would like to thank Hon. Nduna for that very pertinent question. My Ministry, like any other Ministry abides by the law. If there was a judgement that was passed as you alluded to, we encourage our local authorities to abide by that judgement. As such, I am going to make it a point that I will visit Chegutu Municipality which you have highlighted, to see to it that they implement the judgement. Thank you.
HON. MADZIMURE: Thank you Madam Speaker Ma’am. Madam Speaker, can we have a timeframe from the Minister, when that communication is going to be made to local authorities? This is now happening on a daily basis and there have been fights even in the street between the Municipal police and people. What I witnessed yesterday after I had left Parliament was terrible, a fight in the middle of the street where a woman was fighting a police officer. I cannot even say he was a municipal police because he was not in uniform, trying to grab the wares of that woman. Also, there is no register to keep the list of what would have been confiscated. Can the Minister give us a timeframe as to when the communication is going to be given to local authorities so that we know it is now illegal for them to do so.
HON. CHOMBO: Thank you very much Hon. Speaker and thank you Honourable for that follow-up question. I cannot really say when but I will make sure that I prioritise this because I have to also look at the by-laws of that specific local authority and make sure that I do not hand out a circular or a directive just for the sake of it. I will have to get my Legal Department to look at the specific cases, in this case I have been given Chegutu and Harare. I will try to indulge the Hon. MPs to give me specifics so that I look into that. I thank you.
*HON. HAMAUSWA: Thank you Madam Speaker. My supplementary question is that as Government that says it listens to the people’s concerns, as Members of Parliament here, we are the ones who carry the concerns of the people from our constituencies. The concerns of the vendors out there are that everyone is struggling economically. They are requesting Government to declare that vendors should freely sell their products without being harassed by municipal police because everyone is struggling in this country. The question is; why is Government failing to give vendors in this country a chance to operate freely without being arrested so that when the economy improves, they can now implement those by-laws that they are referring to? I thank you.
HON. CHOMBO: Thank you Hon. Speaker and thank you very much Hon. Hamauswa for that follow-up question. Every country has its laws and we have to follow the laws and by-laws by local authorities. As I represent Local Government Ministry, we tried by all means to implement some programmes meant for vendors. We have also tried to allocate space meant for vending stalls but people sometimes do not want to go and put up their market at such places.
As a Minister, there is no way I can declare that people should operate on undesignated areas because tomorrow if something happens, I will be accused again. We will try by all means that as Government we implement various programmes that should be implemented according to the laws and by-laws. As legislators, I hereby request that we should encourage the electorate to follow the laws and by-laws and encourage them to work from designated sites. I thank you.
HON. T. MLISWA: My question is to the Leader of Government business pertaining to false prophets that come to this country after they have done a research in terms of prophecy. They go and talk to families to make you believe that what they are saying is true. They take money from our people yet things are so difficult, in particular the one called Prophet Chris Okafor from Nigeria who has been banned in South Africa and Namibia but he is coming to Zimbabwe.
He also prophesied in 2015 that the former late President Mugabe will die. Indeed, everybody dies but he then died in 2019. You can see that he has an agenda. What policy has Government got to vet these people before they come to this country because they also come for our money? Do we not have enough prophets in this country? We have Prophet Magaya, Prophet Makandiwa, churches and so forth. Are we short of faith as a nation to want to import faith into this country? Are we not a God-fearing country? Why are we allowing prophets to come to this country and milk money from our people?
I would like the Minister to speak on Prophet Chris Okafor from Nigeria who is coming. He was banned from South Africa and it will be worth investigating him before he comes. There is need for there to be a panel of men of God who are able to vet these people because it is not good for the country for us to have these false prophets who come and perform prophecy which they would have done research before they come here. May the Minister of Justice who is Leader of Government business respond to the policy on Government on such people. Thank you.
THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): Thank you Madam Speaker. I want to thank the Hon. Member for such an interesting question regarding prophets who come from other countries and the majority of them being very intelligent people who then do researches on how we live as a people. They will come and say exactly how we are surviving here and make false predictions.
I am saying it is an interesting question because we have a legal lacuna to deal with such people in the country. Admittedly, I think we need to have a look at it and have a policy. This is because some of the prophecies cause alarm and despondency in the country and eventually, you will then realise that those prophecies were false. I take note and I will ask my Policy and Research Department to investigate whether we can find a way of dealing with that, together with the Ministry of Home Affairs. I thank you.
HON. MARKHAM: Thank you Madam Speaker. Just to buttress on the Honourable’s question. Could the Minister also answer the question whether they are deserving of any protocols and concessions given to formal churches pertaining to taxes and benefits? I say so because a lot of these prophets are businesses and they should be taxed as a very profitable business. You only have to come into my area to see shops on mountains owned by prophets and so they should be taxed. Can the Minister look seriously into taxing these people formally and properly? Thank you.
HON. ZIYAMBI: Thank you Madam Speaker. The general rule is that churches are not taxed but when churches get involved in investments, those are subject to taxation. Even when some of the prophets own property in their own personal names, they are subject to taxation. I am sure the Hon. Member is aware of one local prophet wherein ZIMRA went there to audit the assets of that particular prophet and requested that he was supposed to pay taxes. It is not correct to say that if I declare myself a prophet today, I will not be taxed. My earnings will be subject to tax, but if it is a church that is involved in charitable work, then those charitable funds are not subjected to taxation. I thank you.
HON. TEKESHE: Thank you Madam Speaker Ma’am. My question is directed to the Deputy Minister of Local Government and Public works. Why are local councils charging exorbitant fees which they refer to as part of the lease agreement when you have already bought your stand?
*THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT AND PUBLIC WORKS (HON. CHOMBO): Thank you Hon. Speaker and I want to thank Hon. Tekeshe for the question. We have a department of valuations; they are the ones that evaluate the value of each stand for purposes of either leasing or purchase of that particular stand. The figures which these councils come up with are not thumb suck. Furthermore, these lease agreements are made with the two parties agreeing to the conditions set out in the contract and they have to honor the conditions of their specific contract.
*HON. TEKESHE: You did not understand my question, I said that the prices that are being charged for these leases are exorbitant and the councils are not selling any land to business stands in rural areas.
*HON. CHOMBO: The Hon. Member should appreciate that lease agreements are drawn and agreed to by the two parties. It is in the business person’s interest to ensure that they set up their operations in an area which is affordable to them. Furthermore, they should be careful when coming up with these agreements because they are not easily broken and they have serious repercussions once they are breached.
HON. NDUNA: Thank you Madam Speaker Ma’am. My supplementary borders on the final word from the Hon. Minister. Would it please the Hon. Minister that in order that we bring down the housing backlog and indeed the issue of land ownership on the business side, to adhere to the ethos and values of Section 72 (7) (c) of the Constitution which states that the land can revert to its requisite owners. This is the section that was used in the land reform and coupled with the Urban Councils Act of Section 152 and Section 205 that speaks to and about estate management. There are three issues in those two sections that speak to leasing, selling and donation of that land in those local authorities. Same in Section 152 and similarly in Section 205, in order to bring down housing and indeed, the land ownership backlog. Would it please the Hon. Minister to repudiate or advocate for striking down of the two sections that do not speak to donation so that the Constitution which is sui generis is indeed attached to those two sections of the Urban Councils Act? This will enable Section 2 of the supremacy of the Constitution to be adhered to otherwise the two sections in the Urban Councils Act have two provisions that are ultra vires the Constitution which will never see the housing backlog going down. Would it please the Hon. Minister to advocate for the striking down of those two provisions in those sections in order that we marry it to Section 72 (7) (c) of the Constitution and indeed, so that Section 2 comes alive Madam Speaker?
HON. CHOMBO: Thank very much Hon. Speaker and I also want to thank Hon. Nduna for the longish explanation. My Ministry is in the middle of realigning the Urban Councils Act. We are looking at all those legal provisions to make sure that they align with the current Constitution. I thank you.
HON. MATEWU: Thank you Madam Speaker. My question goes to the Minister of Local Government and Public Works. In terms of the Building Control Act of 1992, it made provisions for accessibility to people living with disabilities so that any new infrastructure, be it pave-ways and so forth, has to be in compliance with that Act for people living with disability. We have seen a lot of buildings and pavements nowadays that do not pay any attention. What is the Ministry going to do to ensure that this Act is implemented so that people living with disability have access to infrastructure? Thank you.
THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT AND PUBLIC WORKS (HON. CHOMBO): Thank you very much Madam Speaker. Thank you very much Hon. Matewu. As the department of public works, we make sure that we adhere to the current building requirements. As such we are supposed to make sure that our buildings are friendly to everybody. I cannot say it is an oversight, if there is a building that is being erected in the current day and it does not have that friendly environment, I urge you to bring it up to my office. It is a prerequisite that all the buildings are accessible by everybody. I thank you.
*HON. JAJA: Thank you Madam Speaker. I direct my question to the Minister of Health. What is Government policy regarding those that are diabetic and hyper-tensive? Most of these patients are surviving on traditional therapy, they are taking in the leaves of avocado tree and guava tree as medication. They do not have money to buy medication.
THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): Thank you Madam Speaker. The diseases that the Hon. Member has mentioned are chronic diseases where the majority of our clinics have provisions to ensure that those that live with those conditions access the relevant medicines. If the medicines are not there, it is not a policy question but it is a logistical and administrative issue that would then need the Ministry to interrogate and find out how the supply chain is being handled. I thank you.
*HON. JAJA: Thank you Madam Speaker. I am of the opinion that the Ministry treats these chronic diseases the same way as HIV and AIDS who have free access to ARVs. Most of these patients are old aged and they cannot afford to buy the medication. These people really need assistance. I thank you.
HON. ZIYAMBI: Thank you Madam Speaker, there are plans which are at an advanced stage to set up a levy for non-communicable diseases so that the specific group that the Hon. Member is mentioning can access drugs for free. I thank you.
Questions Without Notice were interrupted by the Hon. Deputy Speaker in terms of Standing Order No. 68.
ORAL ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS WITH NOTICE
DELAYS IN TABLING THE JUSTICE UCHENA REPORT
- MARKHAM asked the Minister of Local Government and Public Works to explain to the House: -
- Why the Justice Uchena Report has still not been brought before this House even though it was completed and handed to His Excellency, the President in December 2019; and
- To further elaborate how much money was used by the Commission and to state when it was paid out.
THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT AND PUBLIC WORKS (HON. CHOMBO): Thank you Madam Speaker. I would like to thank the Hon. Member and my response to part (a) is that I would like to inform this august House that the Commissions of Enquiry Act [Chapter 10:07] is reserved for the President through S.I 94 of 2018.
My response to part (b) is that Madam Speaker, you may wish to redirect the question to the Leader of Government Business in Parliament who happens to be the Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs. I thank you.
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Thank you Hon. Deputy Minister. Hon. Markham, I am sure you have heard it from the Hon. Deputy Minister.
HON. MARKHAM: Madam Speaker, this has been going on. This is actually the twenty-seventh time I have asked this House for that Commission and I have never …
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Please may you redirect your question?
HON. MARKHAM: I will Madam Speaker, but I just like, for noting purposes. If Hansard can note that I have asked this 27 times to this House for that. That is the first attempted answer I have heard and it is pathetic. Madam Speaker, I redirect my question back to the Leader of the House, the Minister of Justice. Thank you.
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER having moved on to the next question.
HON. MARKHAM: Madam Speaker, is he not going to answer me now on number one – [HON. ZIYAMBI: No, I will bring a written answer.] – but he has had 27 times to answer a written question but he has never done it –
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: No, he cannot answer your question now but he will bring a written answer – [HON. MARKHAM: Kubvunza chete, 27 times?] – [HON. ZIYAMBI: Kupindura chete.]
TRANSFERENCE OF LAND AROUND NORTH-EASTERN BOUNDARY OF HARARE EAST CONSTITUENCY TO HARARE METROPOLITAN
- HON. MARKHAM asked the Minister of Local Government and Public Works to inform the House:
- whether the land around the north-eastern boundary of Harare East Constituency which borders Goromonzi West has been transferred to the Harare Metropolitan Province?
- whether there is a masterplan for its development.
- how the City of Harare or Goromonzi Rural District Council can authorise such transfer when this land has not yet been designated?
- how the Ministry allowed this to happen when it is already failing to regularise the existing informal settlements of Harare North and East.
THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT AND PUBLIC WORKS (HON. CHOMBO): The area referred to is at the interface of two constituencies whose boundaries were delimitated by ZEC. ZEC should therefore be asked to confirm which properties are covered by the relevant piece of land and if that piece of land was transferred to Harare Metropolitan Province. In respect of provincial boundaries, the Minister of Local Government and Public Works is not aware of any provincial boundary that has changed.
My response to the second part is that the status of the area in terms of preparation and approval of master plans and related spatial plans can only be determined once the names of the affected properties are provided by ZEC and/or the Hon. Member.
On the third part, the transfer of land from one constituency or province to another, is effected through delimitation by ZEC and as such, ZEC should provide the requisite response.
My response to the last part as highlighted earlier, the transfer of land from one constituency or province to another, is effected through delimitation by ZEC and as such, ZEC should provide the requisite response.
HON. MARKHAM: Madam Speaker, the Minister has given a very comprehensive answer of what should happen. What is happening is very different. Residents are being charged by Goromonzi West. The whole masterplan or the local Government plan has been done by City of Harare. Could the Minister investigate at least because stand holders and home owners are getting fleeced by land barons and cooperatives. When you leave the boundary of City of Harare, you travel for seven kilometres in full fledged Borrowdale type of houses and there is no plan. There is no plan from the Minister’s own admission. I am quite happy to take her for a ride and show her that on the ground it is totally different to what she is telling the House.
HON. CHOMBO: I think I have noted what he has raised.
TITLE DEEDS TO TENANTS UNDER THE RENT TO BUY SCHEME IN HIGHFIELD WEST CONSTITUENCY
- HON. CHIDZIVA asked the Minister of Local Government and Public Works to inform the House what the Ministry is doing to give title deeds to tenants who have been under the rent to buy scheme in Highfield West Constituency for more than 40 years?
THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT AND PUBLIC WORKS (HON. CHOMBO): Let me start by thanking the Hon. Member for asking the question. The flats in Highfield West Constituency are under the Harare City Council and not State land. As such, the title deeds are processed by City Council conveyancers and as the parent Ministry for local authorities, we only play an oversight role if there are any challenges. The beneficiaries are therefore supposed to engage the local authority for the title deeds. If, however, they were under State land such flats are now under the mandate of the Ministry of National Housing and Social Amenities.
The Ministry of Local Government and Public Works only receives recommendations from Ministry of National Housing and Social Amenities recommending title processing for the tenants who would have been under the rent to buy scheme who are fully paid and they have met all the conditions. After receiving the letter, we verify, survey and the tenant pays administration fee of $10 at the prevailing interbank rate. The tenant also pays deduction fees to the Surveyor General’s office and stamp duty to Deeds office. We then prepare draft deed and lodge with the Deeds office. I thank you.
HON. HAMAUSWA: My supplementary question is, if we read the Constitution, it says the Cabinet Ministers are individually and collectively responsible and accountable for their duties. I want to relate this issue to the issuance of title deeds to Epworth and highlight to the Hon. Minister that it is not only the flats in Highfield West but also a number of houses in Harare where the owners do not have title deeds after they were promised that after 25 years, for example in Warren Park and some parts of Mufakose. They were promised that after 25 years, they were going to be issued with title deeds. Those owners are still paying fees they were supposed to have stopped 25 years after 1981. Now, we are 43 years after the attainment of independence and they do not have tile deeds.
My question to the Hon. Minister is, is it not also correct and I think it can be prudent enough for the Government to consider rolling out the programme of assisting homeowners in Harare and other Urban Areas to get title deeds since they were promised they were going to get title deeds after 25 years and this has not yet happened and we are now 43 years after the attainment of independence? I want to hear the response from the Hon. Minister, what is going to happen to those homeowners who do not have title deeds in all other parts of the City of Harare?
HON. CHOMBO: As I said, if those houses or flats that you raised on the issue of title deeds, if they belong to City Council, it is City Council’s responsibility to make sure that they process the title deeds. Of course, I am not trying to run away from the responsibility as I am the parent Ministry but we are rolling out the title deeds processing to all the towns in Zimbabwe. We just started with Epworth and we have a long list that we are addressing. I have not looked at my list to make sure that the ones you have raised are on the list but it is a project that was initiated by His Excellency that we have to make sure that even the illegal settlements have been regularised and have been given ownership through title deeds. So it is something that we are doing in earnest. I hope that you will give me the area that you have highlighted so that we put it on our list if it falls within State land or is within the city council.
*HON. CHIDZIVA: Is the Hon. Deputy Minister of Local Government aware that residents in areas such as Western Triangle and Zororo in Harare have been living in these houses for a very long time now but they do not have title deeds? It is now an urgent matter because the previous owners of these houses are deceased. So if you do not urgently attend to this issue, it may be difficult to deal with in the near future.
I observed that you have rushed to regularize Epworth at the expense of these old suburbs. There are some people that were supposed to have benefited as way back as 1980 but they have not received anything. What was the rationale for rushing to regularize Epworth?
When do these tenants in Highfields suburbs receive their own title deeds?
THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL, AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): Thank you, Madam Speaker, I happen to chair the committee to do with the issuance of title deeds. What the Hon. Member is referring to is exactly the first point that my Deputy Minister of Local Government indicated that the local authority was supposed to process the title deeds.
However, when His Excellency noted that people were just staying without any title deeds, that is when the issue of Epworth came up. Everything that the Hon. Member was explaining was bound to happen because our local authorities, particularly in Harare and Bulawayo, neglected to do their duty. His Excellency the President took it upon himself to say ‘I am setting up a Committee but we are starting with Epworth, we will roll it out to Highfields, Glenview, Cowdry Park, etcetera. So that is the programme, we cannot be held accountable now to say why are you not moving with urgency when there are local authorities that have been under certain political parties for over 20 years but they never thought to regularize.
Now, His Excellency is saying I have come in, I want each and every household in urban settlement to have title to their stands. This is the programme that the Deputy Minister is indicating that it is a massive programme but there are certain issues that we cannot do shortcuts. We need to be sure that the person who is occupying that particular property is indeed the correct one. There are officials from Local Government who need to physically visit and inspect the pegs so that they satisfy themselves that the information that is there with our local authorities is exactly the same as what is on the ground.
It is not a process that you can say we rush and complete in a short space of time, lest we end up giving little to underserving people, but we have the willpower to ensure that we complete this exercise. We believe that it will unlock a lot of value, the majority of our people will be able to borrow against those title deeds. They will be able to develop or even do certain business. So, this is the thrust that the Second Republic is undertaking. I thank you.
*HON. CHIDZIVA: On a point of clarity! Should members of the public continue to pursue local authorities for title deeds or they should just wait for this Presidential programme?
*HON. ZIYAMBI: Thank you Madam Speaker. The truth of the matter is that nothing is coming out from these municipalities, so the people might as well wait for the programme that was rolled out by His Excellency the President.
The Hon. Member has confessed that the processes were supposed to have been done as way back as 1981 but no-one did anything about it. Thanks to His Excellency the President, Dr. E.D Mnangagwa who has now come up with a programme to regularize these anomalies. Be that as it may, if there are those local authorities that are capable of regularizing the ownership issue, they may well go ahead and do so because it is their duty. I thank you.
*HON. HAMAUSWA: On a point of order! My point of order is that the Minister has spoken very well about what the President’s intentions are. We are happy that you want to give title deeds to these people that have been in occupation of these houses but in certain areas, how is this programme going to be implemented in the rest of the country?
Since the Hon. Minister has said that he chairs the regularizing committee - as Hon. Members, we want to be furnished with the contacts of the rest of the committee so that our communities and us as Members of Parliament may get directly in touch with them since they will need this access to give details as residents. We would want to ensure that your good programme becomes nationally acceptable so that there will not be any discrimination based on whether you are a child of the senior wife or the junior wife. You may follow the same trend where committees of blitz programmes are published in the newspapers for the benefit of the generality of the public.
*HON. ZIYAMBI: Thank you Madam Speaker. This programme does not look at the colour of your skin. It merely looks at a specific area to ascertain whether the mapping is properly done and if there are houses that are affected - along the way the occupants will be relocated if they are built along the road.
Furthermore, those whose houses are okay, are paid a visit and their documentation is interrogated and if found to be in order, then they will be issued with title deeds regardless of whether they are children of senior or junior wives. They are not looking at who is your father or mother but if you are eligible, you are entitled to the issuance of the title deeds. As soon as the programme moves to Warren Park, the Hon. Members will be informed. The programme is at its inception stage and Epworth was a test case. It would be naïve at this stage to open the committee’s contacts to the public. It is neither here nor there that the programme started in Epworth. If we had started it in Warren Park, residents of Glenview would have asked why the programme started with them. The long and short of it is that the President’s programme has started and it is a juggernaut - it is unstoppable. His wish is to see that everyone benefits from the regularisation through the issuance of title deeds so that if an old lady in Highfield were to die, the heirs to the estate will use her title deeds. This will put a stop to the practice of municipalities tampering with the names of the owners of these properties. For example, one might find the ownership of the house now in the name of Jonathan instead of Hamauswa.
If title deeds were issued, one would not be able to tamper with them. This is the President’s wish which will be nationally implemented. It had to start somewhere and Epworth was chosen as a pilot project, which will be implemented nationwide.
ABLUTION FACILITIES FOR HOUSES IN NEW CANAAN OF HIGHFIELD
- HON. CHIDZIVA asked the Minister of Local Government and Public Works to inform the House when the Government would construct ablution facilities for 25 houses in New Canaan Highfield from House Number 5753 to 5799.
THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT
AND PUBLIC WORKS (HON. CHOMBO): Madam Speaker Ma’am, let me inform the House that Stands Number 5753 to 5799 are old council houses constructed sharing one ablution facility per two properties. The setting or development is connected to reticulated sewer network and council under Nenyere building section, constructed additional ablution facilities. This was meant to provide a separately connected ablution per family or household. What remains are some connections to the new structures which will be completed in the 2023 budget year. I thank you.
REPLACEMENT OF OLD SEWER PIPES IN HIGHFIELD WEST
- HON. CHIDZIVA asked the Minister of Local Government and Public Works to inform the House when the Ministry would replace old sewer pipes in Highfield West in order to curb sewer bursts.
THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT
AND PUBLIC WORKS (HON. CHOMBO): Thank you Madam Speaker Ma’am and thank you Hon. Chidziva for your question. Madam Speaker Ma’am, let me thank the Hon. Member for asking the question. The city has an ongoing pipe replacement programme that is funded by devolution funds and the revenue budget. The city has a network of waste water pipes in excess of 5 000kms, with 98% due for replacement.
Highfield West, with a sewer network over 50 years old, also overloaded is no exception. The programmed timelines are also hampered by the availability of funds, making it difficult to give defined rehabilitation end times. It is also important to note that currently 99 to 100% of reported blockages are cleared within 24 hours of reporting daily. I thank you.
HON. MARKHAM: Thank you Madam Speaker, sorry my gadget has dropped. Madam Speaker, my supplementary is; I commend the Hon. Minister on her answer. My concern in what the Hon. Minister has just answered, is both the master plan for the water and the master plan for the city sewerage has not been upgraded for the past 20 years. Could the Hon. Minister give us assurance that the master plan for water and for sewerage, for the 98% sewerage pipes that need to be replaced will and when will it be done? Thank you.
HON. CHOMBO: Thank you Hon. Speaker Sir and thank you Hon. Markham. I cannot give definite timeframes of when it will be done but the blockages are of major concern and also as I stated, there is a roll-up programme to replace all the pipelines that are over 50 years old. It is a priority to both the local authorities and Government. We try to encourage the local authorities to use the devolution funds to make sure they address that as it will improve the service delivery.
BLOCKED DRAINAGE SYSTEM IN HIGHFIELD WEST
- HON. CHIDZIVA asked the Minister of Local Government and Public Works to inform the House when the Ministry would address the problem of blocked drainage systems in Highfield West that has seen New Canaan and Zororo communities experiencing water logging.
THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT AND PUBLIC WORKS (HON. CHOMBO): Madam Speaker Ma’am, I would like to inform this august House that an annual storm water drainage was conducted in Highfield West. However, there are two critical challenges that are being addressed progressively; illegal dumping of waste in storm water drains which clogs the system. This is being addressed through collection of refuse and removal of illegal dumps.
The second issue relates to two infill stands that were created and houses were built on the open spaces that were originally meant for storm water drains. Internal investigations on why stands were allocated on these areas are being conducted in the city and the results of such will be shared.
HON. MARKHAM: On a point of order Mr. Speaker Sir! I would like to draw to your attention the fact that the Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water, Climate and Rural Resettlement has two deputy ministers and they are normally not here for question time. I would like to take my hat off to the Deputy Minister of Local Government and Public Works, at least she has answered her questions and she is constantly here.
Mr. Speaker, my issue with the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water, Climate and Rural Resettlement is; I have two outstanding questions. Since August 2022 on re-entry, the software in the tobacco buying system that blocks stop orders while people are selling so that they do not have to pay their stop orders, we were due for a statement and still it has not come; that is from last year and we have already bought a quarter of the crop and have not had a statement on this major issue that is stopping payment of Government debt.
The other issue is from last year winter. We are now planting and this month is the main winter wheat planting but from last year, we wanted a statement from the Hon. Minister as to why there are such massive delays. This question was asked in September 2022 as to why there were massive delays in the payment for the winter wheat for farmers. To date, we have heard nothing and every time I ask the question, the Hon. Chair says yes, we will get the Minister to answer; he has not done so. He gave us a statement two months ago that he had issued 500-99-year leases. We asked for a statement on that, and it was granted. He has not come to us to answer as to where the 500 were issued and to whom.
On the other hand, and only yesterday, we had the issue that I brought up. We have 650 indigenous farmers who were vacated off the land during the Land Reform Programme and not one of them has a 99-year lease. Why is he giving 500 to other people who did not buy their land? So could the Minister or the Leader of the House force the Minister to come here and respond to these questions. I thank you.
THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): Thank you Mr. Speaker. What he is alluding to has been addressed by the Speaker earlier on when we started the session today. So we have already taken note of that. I thank you.
Questions with Notice were interrupted by THE HON. TEMPORARY SPEAKER (HON.KHUMALO) in terms of Standing Order No. 68.
BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): Mr. Speaker Sir, I move that Orders of the Day, Numbers 1 to 26 be stood over until Order of the Day Number 27 on today’s Order Paper has been disposed of. I thank you.
Motion put and agreed to.
CONSIDERATION OF AN ADVERSE REPORT BY THE PARLIAMENTARY LEGAL COMMITTEE ON THE MINES AND MINERALS AMENDMENT BILL [H. B. 10, 2022]
Twenty-Seventh Order read: Committee Stage: Consideration of an Adverse Report by the Parliamentary Legal Committee on the Mines and Minerals Amendment Bill [H. B. 10, 2022].
HON. SAMUKANGE: Thank you Mr. Chairman. I will start by saying that I am the Chairman of the Parliamentary Legal Committee which is established in terms of the Constitution, being Clause 152 (3) (a). Your Committee deliberated on the Mines and Minerals Bill and after serious consideration of the whole Bill, we came to the conclusion that it was necessary for us to issue an adverse report, unfortunately.
The Adverse Report is almost as huge as the Bill itself. It covers literally from clause 1 up to the end of the clauses. In addition to that, we also found some grammatical mistakes which we had to correct. It is my submission that if I were to read clause by clause, we would be here the whole evening which is not desirable.
I appreciate that not all Members of Parliament have been able to go through the Adverse Report. My suggestion is that all Members, hopefully by tomorrow or the day after, will be able to meaningfully read it, compare it with the proposed draft Bill so that we can all debate, maybe interact before and after Parliament has decided. It is my humble submission that I present the Adverse Report of the Committee. The whole Committee, consisting of five Members, all lawyers and all practicing attorneys, have agreed unanimously to have this issue dealt with by issuing an adverse report. I thank you Mr. Chairman.
[The Chairperson of the Parliamentary Legal Committee (Hon. Samukange) laid the Adverse Report of the Parliamentary Legal Committee on the Mines and Minerals Amendment Bill [H. B. 10, 2022] on the Table].
HON. MARKHAM: All I am asking is when we get that draft report, can you also send the Bill? Thank you.
THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): Thank you Hon. Chair. I move that you report progress and seek leave to sit again. I thank you.
Committee to resume: Thursday, 11th May, 2023.
On the motion of THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI), the House adjourned at Three Minutes past Five-O’clock p.m.