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NATIONAL ASSEMBLY HANSARD 11 MAY 2023 VOL 49 NO 38

PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE

Thursday, 11th May, 2023

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

PRAYERS

(THE HON. SPEAKER in the Chair)

         HON. NDUNA:  Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  My point of national interest borders on what I have already raised here in the House.   If it pleases you to request the Hon. Ministers as you have already ruled Mr. Speaker Sir, that they come to this House and actually deal with the issues of the right to shelter that borders on the compounds that people are living in which I had prayed, that due to the global agreement that is between Government and the farmers in so far as compensation is guaranteed; there is need, Mr. Speaker Sir, not to evict those that are in the compounds but work towards making sure that their accommodation and shelter is taken care of by them being given those compounds as theirs and in the future, maybe Government giving title deeds to those in those compounds. 

To that end, you ruled that the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries, Water, Climate and Rural Resettlement and the Minister of National Housing and Social Amenities should come and have a joint Ministerial Statement so that we can actually deal with the right to shelter in so far as it relates to those people in the compounds because Government is already paying compensation to the former farm owners so that the new farmers do not take those properties as theirs, but they be used for the good order of those people that are living in them, the former farm workers who are compound dwellers, Mr. Speaker Sir.

THE HON. SPEAKER:   Thank you.  Why do you want to address yourself to two Ministers?  Can you explain?

HON. NDUNA:  Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  Section 72 (7) (c)

of the Constitution says the people of Zimbabwe should be enabled to assert their right to land, which land is now being distributed to the urban sector for urban expansion. You find that these farms now fall under the urban local authorities and the Minister of National Housing. This is why I have addressed both the Minister of Agriculture who is mentioned in Section 72 (7) (c) and the Minister of Local Government and National Housing that is mentioned in Section 152 and Section 207 of the Urban Councils Act. Thank you.

         THE HON. SPEAKER: While you are upstanding Hon. Member, thank you for your erudition of the Constitution but you must be clear in your mind who is in charge of that land so that we can direct your request to the appropriate Minister. As it stands now, who is in charge of that piece of land?

         HON. NDUNA: It is the Minister of Agriculture Mr. Speaker Sir.

THE HON. SPEAKER: Are you sure?

HON. NDUNA: Certainly Mr. Speaker Sir.

THE HON. SPEAKER: In an urban area?

HON. NDUNA: No, Mr. Speaker Sir. It is agricultural land. These are compounds which are outside the urban area but they are being given to the Minister of Local Government for urban expansion. I will give an example of Chegutu where 12 farms are being given to Chegutu Municipality for urban expansion.

THE HON. SPEAKER: What would you like the Hon. Minister for Agriculture to say?

HON. NDUNA: I would want him to come in and address the issue of compound dwellers insofar as it relates to reduction of housing backlog. As it stands, those compounds look and seem as though they belong to the A2 farmers, whereas Government has paid compensation or is paying through the global agreement between the farmers and Government, which therefore means that property is not for the A2 farmer but is so far only Government property or State land which watch whether compound people can continue to dwell in those houses. Thank you.

         THE HON. SPEAKER: That sounds like Ministry of Local Government. Can we give you an assignment to go and investigate first to whom that land belongs – is it urban authority or State land? Then we will be guided accordingly.

         HON. NDUNA: I will do so Mr. Speaker Sir and I will present my report on Tuesday if it pleases you.

         THE HON. SPEAKER: Thank you.

         *HON. CHIDAKWA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. I rise on the issue of the old people and the disabled people. For four months now, those people are not getting assistance from Government. These people are now thinking that they have been forgotten.  Can the Hon. Minister respond so that they know what is happening? Thank you.

*THE HON. SPEAKER: Hon. Chidakwa, yesterday was Question time, you should have asked that question to the Hon. Minister.

*HON. CHIDAKWA: I had another question Hon. Speaker Sir.

*THE HON. SPEAKER: There is nothing like that, why do you not put it in writing so that it is answered next week and you make sure that you give all the details?

HON. CHIDAKWA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.

         HON. T. MLISWA: I rise in terms of Standing Order No. 80. Mr. Speaker Sir, the Standing Orders, in particular especially 80…

         THE HON. SPEAKER: Is that of national interest Hon. Member?

         HON. T. MLISWA: It is of national interest, if you can indulge me.

         THE HON. SPEAKER: No, our dress code in Parliament - national interest?

         HON. T. MLISWA: I am putting on hembe yenyika.

         THE HON. SPEAKER: Yes, it is a good shirt.

         HON. T. MLISWA: And I was told that it is not a suit, yet I am putting on black trousers.

         THE HON. SPEAKER: No, it has a black line, so please sit down because your attire is good. Nobody told you to get out.

         HON. T. MLISWA: I was told to actually leave the House because I am not well dressed.

         THE HON. SPEAKER: No, what you are putting on is acceptable. Your top must match somehow with the bottom. That is the bottom line.

         HON. T. MLISWA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.

         HON. MADZIMURE: Thank you Mr. Speake Sir. It is now almost eight months since I raised a point of national interest on the disappearance of Itai Dzamara. I asked the Minister of Home Affairs to come to this House and inform us on the investigations that he had said they were conducting on the disappearance of Itai Dzamara who disappeared on the 9th March, 2015. On two occasions the Minister promised to bring a Ministerial Statement updating the nation on the investigations. It is now more than eight years. Thank you.

THE HON. SPEAKER: I take responsibility with my Clerks-at-the-Table to ensure that the Minister will give that statement.

HON. MADZIMURE: I thank you.

HON. T. MLISWA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. I rise on point of national interest in terms of Section 6 of our Constitution which talks about the languages.  Mr. Speaker Sir, we are yet to have the Constitution in the 16 languages.  The Constitution is very clear in terms of what the State must do to advance the development of the use of all languages in Zimbabwe.  The last time we spoke about the Midlands State University working on it. I think we were misinformed to be told that they took to the Constitution in the 16 languages.  It could have been clear if Members of Parliament could have the Constitution in the 16 languages.  We represent the people because I do not know any Constitution in Shona, Ndebele, English unless I have missed out something.

It is a cause of concern because this document is critical for the democracy of this country and people in the various areas must have it and read it.  We are short of democracy if we do not equip our people with this Constitution in 16 languages as enshrined in the Constitution because it is their right indeed.  How can we say that we are a democratic nation when other people are not privy to this Constitution due to the language? This is an issue as we are going towards election which is very important because you will agree that the Bible is written even in Shona, Ndebele and that is why the Kingdom of God is growing.  There is no way the country can grow, especially the people in the rural areas who speak Shona are not privy to the Constitution like the Tongas and Sign Language which is important.  This Parliament must be able to offer these languages to all legislators because they come from different areas.

I do not know what it takes Mr. Speaker Sir but it calls for concern, 43 years after independence we will have our Constitution in English.  I thank you.

THE HON. SPEAKER: I want to inform you first; it is not correct that there are 16 indigenous languages.  There are 16 official recognized languages and of those 16, 14 are the vernacular languages plus Braille aside.  Now, be informed that the Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs is working very closely with our language institutes. Midlands States University, two years ago, translated the Constitution into the 14 vernacular languages officially recognized. I requested for the copies and I was given by the Ministry.  Each time I go out to meet the communities in my other jacket, I carry some copies of those constitutions.  The other jacket, as Secretary for Legal Affairs is ZANU PF – [HON. MEMBERS:  Inaudible interjections.] – So, if I go for example to Hwange, I know they speak Nambya, Tonga, Shona and Ndebele – [AN HON. MEMBER: Dhombe]-   There is no Dhombe, it is Tonga.  I carry those copies and after our meetings or before, we distribute those.

We carry also a few copies of the English version and I encourage you to be in touch with the Hon. Leader of Government business, you will be able to get those copies. What I have requested though is that these are a bit bulky, we should reduce them to pocket size like what the Constitution of Malawi, Kenya and South Africa have so that they are portable. I think the Hon. Minister is working on that and we should soon have portable constitutions.  It will be very good that you will get copies of these, carry them to your various constituencies and discuss so that we can educate the electorate in terms of the contents of our national Constitution.

HON. T. MLISWA: Sir, kindly ask the Leader of Government business to probably put them in the pigeon holes for Members of Parliament.  I believe we represent people and before it gets out vakagona kupa baba saka isu vana ngatichipihwawo. Haunganhonge nyama baba vasati vanhonga, ngatipihwewo tiendese kuma constituency edu.  The purpose of pigeon holes serves the purpose of putting such material so that we go and disseminate to our people.

THE HON. SPEAKER: Muri vana hongu asi mabva zera.  The request to put in pegion holes is problematic for simple reasons; Hon. Member Gwanetsa, his electorate is Tshangani, so why would you have pieces of copies of all the 14 languages when his constituency is predominately Tshangani?  This is why I said treat the request on individual basis according to the linguistic environment where you operate from.  I thank you.

*HON. NYABANI. Thank you, Hon. Speaker Sir.  I wanted to thank you Sir that our problem regarding hotel accommodation has been sorted.

THE HON. SPEAKER: Zvipi handisi kunzwa mushe.

*HON. NYABANI: I want to thank you Hon. Speaker, now we have accommodation.  I thank you for solving our problems.  Now, as Parliamentarians and members of staff, some of our problems have been solved. I applaud you for the good work. 

Now, coming to my point of national interest, His Excellency the President said ‘no one must be left behind’…

Hon. T. Mliswa having stood up.

THE HON. SPEAKER: Order Hon. T. Mliswa, let him finish first.

*HON. NYABANI:  You had the floor and I never disturbed you.  Thank you, Hon. Speaker Sir. Looking at the new dispensation, we now have clean water provisions in some parts of the country. There are student teachers that are at Madziwa Teachers Training College that are spending a lot of time fetching water. What can be done to assist these student teachers?

*THE HON. SPEAKER: Hon. Nyabani, I urge you to put that question in writing so that it can be responded to next week. 

*HON. T. MLISWA:  On a point of order. I wanted Hon. Nyabani to be more specific to say accommodation not to say zviya zviya.   He should say we are now being accommodated in hotels, the issue of accommodation has been resolved.

MOTION

REPORT OF THE NATIONAL PEACE AND RECONCILIATION COMMISSION FOR THE YEAR 2022

         THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI):  I rise to move a Motion standing in my name that this House takes note of the report of the National Peace and Reconciliation Commission for the year 2022 presented to this House in terms of Section 323 (1) of the Constitution.  I thank you.

         THE HON. SPEAKER:  Before I ask for debate, may I congratulate you Hon. Minister that the majority of the Commissions that follow under your purview are up to date.  If they can maintain that Constitutional obligation, I think we will go a long way in complying with the requirements of the Constitution. Thank you. 

         HON. BITI: Mr. Speaker Sir, I rise on the report of 2022 by the National Peace and Reconciliation Commission which, as you know, is a Chapter 12 Commission.  The National Peace and Reconciliation Commission has important functions which are defined in Section 252 of the Constitution.  The key function is to prevent conflict, anticipate conflict and to ensure that there is reconciliation amity in communities.  Our country has gone through massive periods of scars, Gukurahundi for instance, the war of liberation and so on, all these are scars in respect of which the National Peace and Reconciliation Commission was formed. Mr. Speaker, you will agree with me that the issue of peace and reconciliation is a permanent one.  It leaves with all States, it does not matter what country it is, you are permanently arrested in conflict because human beings are what they are.  My regret Mr. Speaker Sir, is that Section 251 of the Constitution says for a period of ten years, there shall be a Peace and Reconciliation Commission.  That means the tenure of the Peace and Reconciliation Commission is only ten years yet the issues that it deals with are permanent issues, and these include issues to do with justice and reconciliation.

Mr. Speaker Sir, my submission is that we need to revisit this provision in the Constitution that limits the duration of the National Peace and Reconciliation Commission to ten years. 

Secondly Mr. Speaker Sir, it says for a period of ten years after the effective date, in other words, after the Constitution came into being, yet the law is giving rise to the existence of the National Peace and Reconciliation, that is. the National Peace and Reconciliation Act.  It was only signed into law by the President on the 1st of January, 2018.  So, it lost five years.  The Commission which was supposed to be ten years effectively becomes five years because the enabling legislation was only enacted in 2018 and it has suffered a double whammy. 

My submission, in conclusion, is that we need to revisit Section 261. The issues of peace, transitional justice, reconciliation, amity in communities is a permanent one and cannot be restrained or constrained to a period of ten years and in this case, a period of five years because the National Peace and Reconciliation Commission was only enacted in 2018. 

HON. T. MLISWA:  It is an issue that I was also hoping to debate on.  I think we have been overtaken by events.  I think there is a court ruling which is out which has been very clear that it cannot continue and I think it was also important that this institution looked at it much earlier than now because the court has ruled that it cannot because peace is an ongoing agenda.  There is never a time where you do not want peace and because of that I think it was important it be there, but it would also be important that for it to continue, there is still other commissions I think which  would be able to deal with the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission and I think peace in its own way is a right for people to exercise peace. 

It is unfortunate that we then have Hon. Biti who does know that once the court has spoken, again and I do not know if the Government has appealed – [HON. BITI:  Inaudible interjections.] – Yes, but then the court says you extend.  The court was very clear that you could not extend and there has not been an appeal on that, but what he is saying is quite important, I think at some point because some years were also missed out.  The time we did it was a bit late and I think as an arm of the State which is responsible for legislation, it is also important for the various Portfolio Committees to be looking at all these clauses so that we are in line with the expectations of the people because that was important in terms of the future of the country.  That will be my contribution Mr. Speaker Sir.  

THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI):  Mr. Speaker, I agree with Hon. Biti that we need what the National Peace and Reconciliation Commission has been doing and Hon. Mliswa is very correct to say that we cannot extend unless if we amend the Constitution. Be that as it may, we are working on transferring the functions of the National Peace and Reconciliation Commission to the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission.  We are working on a sunset clause so that we can have a transitional period where the functions can be transferred to the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission.

In other jurisdictions, that function is housed there.  I do not think we will lose anything.  We cannot amend the Constitution now.  We are out of time, Parliament is about to be dissolved.  I think we will continue working towards ensuring that the critical functions of the National Peace and Reconciliation Commission are done by the other Commission which is the Human Rights Commission.

Having said that Mr. Speaker Sir, I move that debate be now adjourned so that Hon. Members can read and be familiar with the report and then we can debate later on. 

Motion put and agreed to.

Debate to resume:  Tuesday, 16th May, 2023.

MOTION

REPORT OF THE HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION FOR THE YEAR 2022

         THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI):  Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  I rise to move the Motion standing in my name;

THAT this House takes note of the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission Report for the year 2022 presented to this House in terms of Section 323 (1) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe.  I thank you.

         Mr. Speaker, I again rise that the debate on this motion do now adjourn to enable Hon. Members to study the report and then we debate next week.  So, I move that the debate do now adjourn.  I thank you.

         Motion put and agreed to.

Debate to resume:  Tuesday, 16th May, 2023.

MOTION

BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE

THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI):  Thank you Mr. Speaker for recognising me.  I move that Orders of the Day, Numbers 3 to 5 be stood over until Order Number 6 on today’s Order Paper has been disposed of.  I thank you.

Motion put and agreed to.

SECOND READING

PRISONS AND CORRECTIONS SERVICES BILL [H. B. 6, 2022].

         Sixth Order read:  Adjourned debate on Second reading of the   Prisons and Corrections Services Bill [H. B. 6, 2022].

         Question again proposed.

         HON. MADZIMURE:  Thank you Madam Speaker.  I just want to make a few comments and observations on the Bill in general.  Madam Speaker, naturally prisons must be used for the purpose of rehabilitating the prisoners and also preparing them to – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible Interjections] –

THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER:  Order Hon. Members.  May the Hon. Member be heard in silence please.

         HON. MADZIMURE:  I was saying naturally, prisons must be used for the purpose of rehabilitating the prisoners and also preparing them to rehabilitate the prisoners and make sure that they receive psychological support.  Madam Speaker, this cannot be done when we have people who are not well trained in the prisons to do the social work.  I think that it is important that as we debate this Bill, we must take this opportunity to ensure that there are provisions that prepare prison officers to help the prisoners.

Madam Speaker, I think that it is important that the incarceration itself is enough punishment for a prisoner.   I think the next thing is to prepare the prisoners to come and be integrated into the society after he or she has served his or her time in prison.  The issue of social workers or those officers with good training as far as counselling is concerned is very important and we now have people who are now specialised in this job, who would be employed in prisons or to train prison officers to render such services to the prisoners. On the issue of how we treat our prisoners, I once visited another country in the NORDIC region where they have got this system that helps a prisoner. The moment a prisoner is incarcerated or is brought to prison, that prisoner is helped to find his/her feet in terms of where he/she can be placed in the prison. You have got people who are mechanics and you have got people who are teachers and people who have various skills. As a result, those people must be categorised so that they are used to do productive work whilst they are in prison.

         The other issue that I would want to raise is on the issue of conjugal rights for prisoners. In a country like Sweden, what they do is that the moment you are arrested, you are interviewed and you submit the name of your wife if you are married and if you are a married woman, you submit the name of your husband and if you are a person who is not yet married, your girlfriend. So every Thursday, you are allowed to be visited by your wife or husband in private. The reason is very simple. The issue of sexuality is not a secret and for us to expect someone to go to prison and spend ten years alone in prison without enjoying his/her rights, I think it is wrong.

         This can be corrected so easily by making sure that we have prisoners with private accommodation that can be used for that purpose because let us not assume that there is nothing happening in prisons. A lot of things happen in prison - so let it be clear that this is the facility that we have in prisons. There is also one thing that I admired that they do. After you have served a quarter of your sentence, you are even allowed to go out in the company of an officer and visit your family.

         In Zimbabwe, we may not be able to do that but we can have a situation where at the end of every month, you have a day maybe a Saturday or a Sunday where we allow prisoners within the confines of the prison to meet their families, especially the children. We have got a typical example of people who were incarcerated for seven years for having not committed any crime, but they were denied the opportunity to meet their families.

         I think it is important that we have a special day at the end of every month where the prisoners can interact with their families because we have already punished the inmate by incarcerating him. I think it is important that we also work along those lines and do something to make sure that we have got full rehabilitation of prisoners. A prisoner who spends ten years having left a one year old child, that child will be nine years by then.  For you to go home and say I am your father and I am back and expect the child to really embrace the father and understand that this is the father, it is a torrid time for both the prisoner and the child.

         I think it is important that we continually make it easier for people outside to interact with those people in prison because this is the only way it will be easier for them when they get out of prison to go and join the community and start creating better relationships. I think that is also important. On the treatment of prisoners, I think this Bill must make it clear that you cannot be leg-ironed just like that. I have got typical examples of Hon. Members who are in this House who would come to prison in leg irons for a crime that is not even murder, for a crime that at the end of the day may just require that particular person to pay a fine. Why dramatise some arrests? I think the use of leg irons must be a last resort for those known dangerous criminals, not ordinary Members of Parliament or members of society who have been arrested for being accused of spreading falsehood.

         The status of an individual should not end up affecting to the extent that just because you are probably a councillor or an MP, you are leg-ironed. I do not think that is proper. I am of the opinion that the Minister will take that into consideration.

The other issue that I would want to raise is the issue of solitary confinements. If you are still on remand, you must be in a remand prison. You cannot because of the status of an individual or politically exposed person, to suddenly decide to keep that person in a maximum prison. The prisons should not be given that power to just decide where a person is supposed to be detained. If you are still on remand, you must be remanded in a Remand Prison. The moment you take the person from the Remand Prison to a Maximum Prison, you have already imposed a judgement on the individual. I do not think it is necessary the way we handle some of the issues as far as the prisons are concerned, munhu ngaagarewo kujeri revanomirira kutongwa kana asati awanikwa anemhosva.

It must not be the prerogative of the prison just to take someone to a certain prison. Everybody must be treated as a suspect and when found guilty, then the person will be sentenced and taken to a particular prison. These are the issues Madam Speaker that I wanted to raise and I hope the Minister will find it in his wisdom to put in place measures that will not expose our prisoners. I thank you.    

HON. NDUNA: Thank you Madam Speaker Ma’am. The issue of this Bill touches to the core, the pith, the heart of my concerns as it relates to mental health, separating the hospital from prison. I say this on two issues. The issue of complete board that deals with mental health of prisoners. The constitution of the same is key, otherwise we will continue to incarcerate mentally challenged people and have four holes of prison as a hospital. I ask that the constitution of the board for those charged with adjudicating and pointing out that these are mental health patients be constituted expeditiously completely so that these people are not unnecessarily held in prison when they are mentally challenged.

The second issue of depression and disorders does develop, some come with exiting conditions but some develop these conditions in prisons.  It is my hope that standing on this pedestal and platform of this Bill, we can actually do a final blow to the issue of amalgamating imprisonment to those that are healthy mentally and making sure we are separating these from those that have health problems. 

Still it is very key to actually fish out and identify that we now have mentally challenged people who are now suffering from depression, anxiety and mental disorders after they go into prison. In particular, you will now find that 30 to 40 years ago we would not have as many people in prison that abused drugs like we have now. Now we have 65% more people that have drug abuse-oriented crimes in prisons than we had 20, 30, 40 years ago. So, it is quite concerning and it is something that we need to really look closely into and make sure that we use this Bill to annihilate that scourge. It is because of the physical and environment of prison that actually gives stress. Besides just the issue of incarceration, the issue of rehabilitation should really take center stage because of some conditions that develop while somebody is incarcerated.  Madam Speaker, the people that we are talking about are separated both from their livelihood externally as foreigner and their loved ones internally as indigenous players.

Madam Speaker this brings me to my next point, when a foreign criminal is arrested, it should not take prison to be a social welfare centre. Prison should be prison and we should not unnecessarily have our prisons keeping people that are awaiting deportation. It is my thinking, in other countries, in Europe for argument’s sake when you are an illegal traveler, you go out as soon as you arrive. The flight that brought you in is the one that takes you back.  So, it should not be an issue of debate that somebody came boarding Ethiopian Airlines and was caught at Beitbridge Border Post and now he is awaiting deportation.  Whether his country of origin requires him or not, we should send him on the flight that he came on. Where he is going should not be an issue of Zimbabwe, otherwise we are necessarily burdening our prisons because we have people that are awaiting deportation.  We have food and a lot of expenses that our prisons are bearing because of people that are awaiting deportation.

Madam Speaker, as I wind up, I want to say prison definitely should be a place of last resort because once you are there you are exposed to issues to do with violence and issues to do with trying to turn your sexual orientation to be skewed in the liking of those that are around you all the time. I say this because I also experienced prison life but I got out of prison before I could be changed. So, I say prison should be a last resort because you are exposed to violence including sexual violation. 

The issue of solitary confinement actually disturbs your mental aptitude. As much as we can say prisoners and inmates are taken care of, the issue of treatment really when somebody gets to be ill is not as versatile as it is when you are outside. When you are outside you also have private treatment that you can also deal with. When you go inside you even lose the support of your loved ones in terms of monetary support. So, you cannot even adjudicate and point out somebody, a doctor who is private to attend to you. 

Madam Speaker, I want to end here, but I want to vociferously, eloquently, effectively and efficiently get to be heard about the deportation immediately of those that would have been found to be on the wrong side of the law if the courts actually talk of deportation.  We have no reason to deal with people that would want conjugal rights and procreation rights such like in our prisons. They should go back on that same vehicle or in that same direction. I thank you.  

THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): Thank you Madam Speaker, I want to thank the Hon. Members who debated my Second Reading speech on the Prisons and Correctional Services Bill, especially the Committee Chairperson of Justice, for a very good report and the other Hon. Members.

I just want to start by responding to the Portfolio Committee’s report.  In the Committee report, there was a general submission that young inmates and older inmates should be separated.  I agree Madam Speaker, Clause 76 of the Bill provides for separation, classification and re-classification of offenders. In Clause 76 (1), the Bill states that inmates shall, on admission to prison or correctional facility, be separated by the Officer in Charge into one or more groups and these groups include the juvenile inmates, young offenders and adults.  There was also a submission by the powers that be, of promotion being given to the Commission and the indication was that this was inconsistent with the Constitution. Madam Speaker Ma’am, on the contrary this is not correct. The powers that are listed to the Commission do not include that but include the power to appoint.  Generally, across our service Commissions from a certain rank, this is reserved for the Head of State. 

         Madam Speaker Ma’am, there were other submissions.  I want to thank Hon. Biti for his submissions.  He spoke about the shift that we are now doing from a penal regime to a correctional rehabilitation regime.  Our thrust as you rightly put it, is to shift from this philosophy of revenge to restoration.  In fact, the curriculum of our prisons and correctional officers has shifted so that it focuses and we concentrate on the correction aspect.  You can notice, we have a programme on our national television where we try to link up the offenders and their families and our correctional officers go out to communities and having meetings so that they can reconcile the offender with the community.  That programme is actually speaking to what the Constitution wants us to do.  We want to move away from what used to happen where we would call a prisoner a bandit.  We should not call a prisoner a bandit because some of you who are here are lucky that you were not caught but those in prison were unfortunate to have been caught, tried and incarcerated.   We want the mindset to change. 

         Hon. Mushoriwa spoke about rights of prisoners, saying the Bill does not give rights to the prisoners, it gives too much power to the Minister, I do not know what he meant.  Madam Speaker Ma’am, the Bill in fact is giving rights to prisoners.  In fact, this Bill is coming at a time when we are aligning it to the Constitution.  I submit Madam Speaker that as we go clause by clause, the Hon. Members will see that we are indeed speaking to what the Constitution requires us to do in that regard. 

         Hon. Biti also spoke about the issue of rights and I agree but he was more inclined as a politician to say we must give them the Section 67 rights to vote.  These are not absolute rights and we have several court decisions in that regard. For now, Madam Speaker, the Bill does not include that right because it is not a right in prison, it is a right outside.  He also spoke about the majority of our prisons having been built during the colonial era and are not fit and are substandard.  To a certain extent, that is correct.  Some of our prisons are very old.  This is a budgetary and fiscal issue.  We are very much eager to have our prisons revamped and some built and if we can get funding to ensure that we do that, the happiest people will be myself and the prisons and correctional officers because the conditions are not conducive. I think as a country, we must applaud them, because the way they are ensuring that our prisoners are taken care of under conditions that are very difficult, is something that is commendable. 

         Hon. Speaker, we want each and every Parliamentarian to lobby for us to be given funding even though it is an issue that is outside the purview of this Bill.  What we included in the Bill is we are now having community correctional facilities, open prison, so that we decongest. There are certain prisoners that we feel can be accommodated in community centres and open correctional facilities.  Again, he spoke about the right to human dignity that parole must be extended to all prisoners including those convicted of murder.  I agree we need to refine the parole system so that it speaks to that.  The issue of solitary confinement also came in and the argument is that we must allow our prisoners to mingle.  We are developing our system and I believe that the rights that are in the Constitution, our desire is to shift from a purely penal to a correctional facility which will be realised and this is the first step Madam Speaker by bringing this Bill forward. 

         Hon. Dube spoke about the living conditions which I have already alluded to that what he mentioned, we agree with that and he indicated that conditions must be better.  We agree and it is a budgetary issue; we would gladly want to improve our facilities like one Hon. Member said anyone can find himself or herself in prison.  It is in the best interest of everyone to ensure that the living standards there are up to the standard required of a prison facility.

         Hon. Musarurwa spoke about a starter pack for prisoners when they are coming out of prison.  Our prison officers are always looking out for well-wishers - I think perhaps in future, we might need funding to ensure that those that acquire skills, we can also give them starter packs to go out there and start their own businesses.  We have excellent mechanics, welders, teachers and so forth. We are now encouraging our prisoners to study and be able to work for themselves when they go out. 

         Hon. Madzimure spoke about prisons for rehabilitation and indicated that they must receive psychological support.  I think that is what is happening. Believe me, the training that we are now giving our correctional officers when prisoners get in, they try to make them adjust psychologically to the reality that is there.  They will speak to them so that they relax and accept their situation and then work on a programme that will ensure that as they progress through their journey, they will get out of prison as rehabilitated individuals.  So, our curriculum now speaks to exactly what you were saying and we also have psychologists in our prisons by the way.  The Hon. Member also stated that people who go to prison have various skills.  We are now trying to educate the public that if we have people with various skills, we must utilise them.  The last time we tried to utilise people with various skills, to train people, there was an uproar.  Our mindset is such that if somebody goes to prison, he is a bandit, he must not do anything but we want to utilise their skills and rehabilitate them whilst they impart the skills on other people.  I remember there was an outcry that why is that happening, it is a special treatment to a prisoner, but it is utilising the skill and ensuring that they also impart on others. 

         Madam Speaker, our liberation war heroes were forming classes to teach each other and some graduated from prisons because of that.  We are saying now the thrust is correctional, if we have somebody with a specific skill, I agree with Hon. Madzimure, we must use them so that they become productive.  He also spoke about the issue of family visits, we now have a day where prisoners are visited by their families.  That has been introduced and they are very popular. 

You also spoke about conjugal rights.  I think we must start by first things first.  Let us go through the Bill and ensure that we have a Bill that speaks to our prisons as a place where our people are incarcerated, corrected, rehabilitated and then reintegrated.  As we improve our facilities, we can then start talking about that - but currently, I think it is premature to start talking about that without first of all having reached a certain level in terms of how we perceive our correctional facilities.

Hon. Nduna was very passionate about the issue of prohibited immigrants and I agree, but it is a conversation not for this Bill but a conversation with the relevant Department of Immigration.  Again, they also need to create their own safe homes where they can hold their own prohibited immigrants before they are deported.

Having said that Madam Speaker, once again, I want to thank the Hon. Members for the debate and hopefully some of the issues that they raise as we go clause by clause, they will be able to highlight if there are any pressing issues that they believe we must amend.  I believe that at this moment in time, allow me Madam Speaker to move that the Bill be now read a second time.  I thank you.

Motion put and agreed to.

Bill read a second time.

Committee Stage:  With leave, forthwith.

COMMITTEE STAGE

PRISONS AND CORRECTIONAL SERVICES BILL [H. B. 6, 2022]

         House in Committee.

         Clauses 1 and 2 put and agreed to.

         On Clause 3:

         HON. B. DUBE:  I move the amendment standing in my name that Clause 3 is amended on page 11 of the Bill between lines 10 and 11, by the insertion of a new paragraph in sub-clause (2) after paragraph (c) as follows – ‘(d) reserve force of not more than two retired correctional officers.’

         Amendment to Clause 3 put and agreed to.

         Clause 3, as amended, put and agreed to.

         On Clause 4:

         HON. BITI:  May I suggest Hon. Chairman to the Minister, that on ‘the principles that guide the services and provision of functions are…’; I think number 1 should be ‘to uphold the Constitution and the rule of law in the protection of prison and inmate rights. I thank you.

         THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): Thank you Chair. The Preamble sufficiently covered all those issues, I think we will be labouring ourselves with things that are already there. I submit and reject that amendment.

         Clauses 4 and 5 put and agreed to.

         On Clause 6:

         HON. MUSHORIWA: Thank you Mr. Chairman. My suggestion is on 6 (5).  I want the Hon. Minister to consider amending that by just putting one word under (5) so that it reads – ‘in the exercise of his/her powers and the performance of his/her duties, the functions under this Act, the Commissioner General is accountable and subject to policy directive of the Minister’. I want the word ‘policy’ there to be stated rather than to leave as the direction of the Minister as if the Minister will be micro-managing the Commissioner General.

         THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): Thank you Hon. Chair. I think it was an omission and I agree. So, it should read, “in the exercise of his/her powers and the performance of his/her duties and functions under this Act, the Commissioner is accountable and subject to policy directions from the Minister”. Thank you.

         Amendment to Clause 6 put and agreed to.

         Clause 6, as amended, put and agreed to.

Clause 7 put and agreed to.

On Clause 8:

HON. MUSHORIWA: It is actually on subclause (1). I need the Minister to say ‘subject to this section, the Commissioner General shall be appointed for a period of five years, with a maximum of two terms’. So I need an addition to say that yes, he is appointed for five years but the standard is that senior officers are allowed to be appointed to a maximum of two terms. The way it is put there, it appears as if it is just one term.

THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): Thank you Hon. Chair. I agree and I think it should be subject to this section, the Commissioner General shall be appointed for a period of five years renewable once.

Amendment to Clause 8 put and agreed to.

         Clause 8, as amended, put and agreed to.

         HON. MUSHORIWA: It is actually on number (4) Mr. Chairman which I thought the Minister could also with his indulgence, it says ‘the Commissioner General may be removed from office by the President for any reason after consultation with the Minister and the President shall cause Parliament to be informed as soon as practicable about the offence and such removal. I am not comfortable with the word as soon as practicable, and I thought maybe three months would be a reasonable period rather than to simply say as soon as practicable. More-so, without a definition of the terms as soon as practicable in the definition.

         THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): Hon. Chair, I want to check in the Constitution. The reason why it is problematic is the assumption that Parliament will be sitting. You need to make reference to sitting days, the next after the removal. If we say 90 days, the assumption is that Parliament will be there sitting always. So, it is problematic to put it that way. I am trying to find a way of doing it. I would have been comfortable leaving it like that. Hon. Chair, with your indulgence, can we go to the next while I try to get the wording that may be suitable because 90 days might be problematic.

         Clause 8 deferred.

         Clauses 9 and 10 put and agreed to.

         On Clause 11:

HON. B. DUBE: The movement of the amendment as it would appear in the Order Paper as follows:

Clause 11 of the Bill is amended on page 14—

 (a) in line 16 by deletion of “twelve months” and the substitution of “five years”;

 (b) in line 24 by deletion of “twelve months” and the substitution of “five years”;

(c) in line 32 by deletion of “twelve months” and the substitution of “five years.”.

         THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): Thank you Mr. Chairman, I agree with the amendments as moved by the Chair of the Committee.

Amendment to Clause 11 put and agreed to.

         Clause 11, as amended, put and agreed to.

         On Clause 12:

         HON. B. DUBE: Thank you Hon. Chair. The proposal is as it appears on the Order Paper as follows:

Clause 12 is amended on page 14 of the Bill in line 46, by the insertion of a new sub-clause after sub-clause (1) as follows—

         “(2) In the event that a retiring correctional officer is not promoted to a higher rank, he or she shall retain the rank held on retirement and be allowed to wear his or her uniform at State functions”. and the subsequent sub-clause shall accordingly be renumbered. Thank you.

THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): Thank you Hon. Chairman, I agree with the amendments as they appear on the Order Paper as proposed by the Chair of the Committee.

Amendment to Clause 12, put and agreed to.

         Clause 12, as amended, put and agreed to.

Clauses 13 to 21 put and agreed to.

On Clause 22:

HON. MUSHORIWA:  Hon. Chair, on subsection (a), I actually think that the Correctional Service Commissions should submit to the Minister an annual report after 90 days. I want therefore to suggest that we replace the words ‘shall as soon as possible after 31st December’, to read ‘shall within 90 days after 31st December, to submit to the Minister an annual report’.  Leaving it open ended is problematic and in any event, Hon. Chair, most of our statutes stipulate 90 days by the end of March, any organization and any department should be in a position to have submitted a report to the Minister.

THE TEMPORARY CHAIRPERSON (HON. KHUMALO): You are not connected Hon. Member.

HON. MUSHORIWA: I am suggesting that we replace the word ‘as soon as possible after 31st December’ to read ‘shall within 90 days after 31st December, submit to the Minister an annual report’. The idea is to put a timeframe which I think is in tandem with most of the statutes that we have actually passed through with this Parliament.

THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): Thank you Hon. Chair, I agree with Hon. Mushoriwa that we amend so that Clause 22 subclause 1 (a) reads as follows: ‘The Commission shall within 90 days after the 31st of December…’. I submit.

Amendment to Clause 22 put and agreed to.

Clause 22, as amended, put and agreed to.

HON. BITI:  We have that answer to the clause that we said we will revert to.  We just said the President shall lay before Parliament in one of the 14 days.

THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGALAND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): Let us finish the one we are doing first then we revert to that.

THE TEMPORARY CHAIRPERSON: I go back to Clause 8; Retirement and Removal of Commissioner General.

THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): The clause we parked, sub-clause 8, it will read: ‘the Commissioner General may be removed from office by the President for any reason after consultation with the Minister and the President shall cause Parliament to be informed on one of the 14 days in which Parliament next sits’.  So, it should read here instead of ‘as soon as the President shall cause Parliament to be informed on one of the 14 days on which Parliament next sits’. 

         What it now means is, once we have removed and written a letter that the Commissioner General has been discharged through the Minister when Parliament sits within 14 days, if we adjourn today and we start on Tuesday, we count 14 days and within that period then it will not make sense. Otherwise simply saying 90 days if Parliament is not sitting, it will be impossible to execute.  I submit and move that the amendment be now made.

Amendment to new Clause 8 put and agreed to.

New Clause 8, as amended, put and agreed to.

Clauses 24 to 31 put and agreed to.

On Clause 32:

         HON. MUSHORIWA:  My Intervention is actually on subsection (1).  It says that the correctional officer inspects each prison or correctional facility at such intervals as may be prescribed by the Commissioner General.  I think we should put at least twice.  We do not want to leave it open because we have had a situation where certain prisons or correctional facilities, there are no visits by senior officers.  I think if we could actually put timeframes to say twice a year or any other period that the Commissioner General may direct.  Let us have timeframes, the word may direct is not obligatory and I think we should have something at least once a year or as the Commissioner General may prescribe.

         THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMETNARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI):  I want to thank Hon. Mushoriwa but this time he missed it.  The way he is reading it is not what it is saying, it is saying that correctional officers shall inspect each prison or correctional facility at such intervals as may be prescribed or as the Commissioner General may direct.  In regulations, or in rules that they will prescribe, that will be indicated but they will come certain times when the Commissioner General may direct that the inspection must be done.  The Hon. Member concentrated on the Commissioner General, it is his discretion to say I want an inspection but there should be prescribed times in regulations.  I think the way it is, is correct.  I submit Hon. Chair and move that we adopt it as it is.

         Clause 32 put and agreed to.

         On Clause 33:

         HON. BITI:  The proposed section is saying a correctional officer should be familiar with the Act rules and Standing Orders.  I think the starting document that he should be familiar with is the Constitution.  So I would suggest that every correctional officer shall be familiar with the provisions of the Constitution, this Act and other rules.  You could add a Bible if you wanted to but the Constitution should be there before the Act. 

         THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI):  Thank you Hon. Chair, it does not offend anything.  I agree that we can put that amendment to read ‘be familiar with provisions of the Constitution, this Act’ and then it reads like that.  I agree and move that that amendment we can incorporate it.  I thank you.

         Amendment to Clause 33 put and agreed to.

         Clause 33, as amended, put and agreed to.

         Clauses 34 to 38 put and agreed to.

         On Clause 39:

HON. B. DUBE:  I move the amendment standing in my name on Declaration of Cantonments.  Minister may, by notice in a statutory instrument, declare any area or place to be a cantonment for the purposes of this section.

THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENT AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI):  So it is an insertion of a new Clause 39 and others being numbered accordingly.  I agree with the amendment that we insert after Clause 38 on page 23 a new Clause 39 entitled declaration of cantonments and then we renumber and then we introduce another Clause 40.  Let us deal with the new Clause 39 which we are proposing.  I support the amendment made by the Chairperson of the Committee. 

Amendment to New Clause 39 put and agreed to.

New Clause 39, as amended, put and agreed to.

On New Clause 40:

HON.B. DUBE: I move the amendment standing in my name on Prohibition of entry into cantonments.

No person shall enter a cantonment except a person who is:

(a) a member of the Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Service; or

(b) the spouse or child of a person referred to in paragraph (a) who is residing in the cantonment or any other member of his family if such other member resides in the cantonment; or

(c) a member of a reserve force who enters a cantonment in the course of any service, duty or training under this Act; or

(d) employed by the State or acting under the orders of the Minister and who enters a cantonment in the course of his duty; or

(e) permanently residing within the cantonment at the time of the publication of the notice referred to in section 39; or

(f) a person or member of a class of persons authorised to enter the cantonment under section 41.

(2) Any person who contravenes subsection (1) shall be guilty of an offence and liable to a fine not exceeding level 5 or to imprisonment for a period not exceeding six months or to both such fine and such imprisonment.

         THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI):  I want to thank the Hon. Chairperson.  I agree that we insert a new Clause 40 as it fully appears on the Order Paper on prohibition of entry into cantonments.  I thank you.

New Clause 40 put and agreed to.

On Clause 39, now Clause 41:

         HON. B. DUBE:  I move the amendment in my name on authority to enter cantonments. The officer in charge of a cantonment may, in writing, authorise any person or class of persons to enter that cantonment on such conditions as shall be specified in

such authority.”.

and the subsequent clauses shall accordingly be renumbered.

         THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI):  Hon. Chair, I agree with the amendments as proposed by the Chairperson of the Committee as it fully appears in the order paper.

Amendments to Clause 39, now Clause 41, put and agreed to.

Clause 39, now Clause 41, as amended, put and agreed to.

On Clause 40, now Clause 42:

         On Clause 40 now Clause 42:

         HON. BITI:  Mr. Chairman, Subsection 39 (2) where it says ‘as far as practicable’ I think that should be removed.  I think it should simply read ‘a correctional officer shall not enter into a cell in which inmates of the opposite sex are confined unless accompanied by correction officers of the same sex.’  If you put ‘as far as practicable’ it is almost permissive and you know what will happen.  I think we should remove ‘as far as practicable’ and put ‘no correctional officer shall enter into a cell where members of the opposite sex are without someone accompanying’.

         HON. ZIYAMBI:  Hon. Chair, under those circumstances I would agree with Hon. Biti but it is not correct to put it that way.  There may be cases of emergency and it may be extremely necessary that the correctional officer enters the cell. That is why we battled and we had to leave it like that to say ‘as far as practicable’.

         Again, you must always be mindful that these prisons and correctional officers are part of our security forces and they are subject to disciplinary measures if they breach protocol, so the way it is - is okay.  If they go an extra mile, then the disciplinary procedures will ensue, but there are certain times when - I will give a good example that the only nurse available is a female nurse and somebody is having a heart attack, no correctional officer is in sight.  You will budge in and get in there and assist that particular prisoner and then explain that this was an extreme emergency.

          I believe that the way it is, bearing in mind that this is a security sector where members within this particular force are supposed to be highly disciplined, is okay.  If they were civilians like you and me, I would have agreed.  I submit Hon. Chair.

         Amendments to Clause 40 now Clause 42, put and agreed to.

         Clause 40 now Clause 42, as amended, put and agreed to.

Clause 41 now Clause 43 to Clause 43 now Clause 45 put and agreed to.

On Clause 44 now Clause 46:

HON. B. DUBE:  I put the amendment standing in my name that Clause 43 of the Bill is amended - (a) on page 23 sub-clause 1, lines 44 and 45, by the deletion of ‘officer specifically mandated by the Commissioner-General’ and the substitution of ‘member of the internal police unit, (b) on page 24 by the deletion of the proviso to sub-clause (1) and the substitution of the following – ‘Provided that the member of the internal police unit may effect arrest on any correctional officer regardless of rank.’

Amendment to Clause 44, now Clause 46, put and agreed to.

Clause 44, now Clause 46, as amended, put and agreed to.

Clause 45, now Clause 47 and Clause 46, now Clause 48 put and agreed.

On Clause 47, now Clause 49:

HON. BITI:    My suggestion is this provision gives the Commissioner-General powers to suspend correctional officers.  Subsection 2(b) says ‘a disciplinary hearing shall be instituted forth with in terms of the Act, if it has not been instituted.’   I am proposing that 2 (b) should read ‘additional hearing shall be instituted forthwith and, in any event, no later than 14 days’ and then you just leave it like that.  That provision, if they have not been instituted is totally unnecessary.

         THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): Thank you Hon. Chair. I agree that we amend the old Clause 46, subsection (2) (b) to read: ‘disciplinary hearing shall be instituted forthwith and, in any event, not later than 14 working days from the date of suspension.’

         Amendment to Clause 49 put and agreed to.

         Clause 49, as amended, put and agreed to.

         On Clause 48:

         HON. MUSHORIWA: I actually think that subsection (1) should be amended to say, a correction officer suspended in terms of section 46, shall receive full pay. I think it is in sync with general labour practice and if you also look the way this is crafted, it gives the discretion to the Commissioner General to decide whether or not a person suspended should be on full pay or on half pay. I think you then read the other clauses that are underneath this and you will realise that a suspension should not last more than three months. I do not think there is any harm to ensure that a suspended officer gets his full pay within that period and it also helps in terms of the delivery of justice in terms of having the hearing happening as soon as practicable.

         THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): Thank you Hon. Chair. I am not seeing anything offensive in this clause. Rather, it is very accommodating because if you are found not guilty you will get all your money and here the Commissioner General is being mandated to pay not less than half. If you go further, he can even say allow him to get full pay. I think it is not offensive to the extent that we may boggle our minds and say it must strictly be on full pay. There are certain disciplinary actions that dictate that, that particular individual must not get full pay and that discretion must be allowed as this is a disciplined service and there are limitations. I think it is in order. I respectfully reject the amendment. I thank you.

         Clause 48, now Clause 51 put and agreed to.

         On Clause 49, now Clause 52:

         HON. BITI: There is a disaster Hon. Minister. It says the law to be applied in these disciplinary proceedings, if you read Section 49 (c), the law to be applied shall fall as closely as possible criminal cases. Then it says for the avoidance of doubt, the guilt of the accused shall be on a balance of probabilities. It is a contradiction because you cannot on one hand say you are applying criminal law which is a proof beyond reasonable doubt and then you say guilt is on a balance of probabilities. My suggestion is to just remove the entire Section 49 because the law of Zimbabwe will apply. These are disciplinary cases, labour cases will apply and so you do not need that section, just remove it.

THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): Hon. Chair, I move that we delete this Clause 49. It is not necessary because we have disciplinary procedures in terms of the rules that are already there. I do not think we need it and if there is need for that, it will be covered in regulations. The last part is contradictory. I so move Hon. Chair.

Amendment to Clause 49, now Clause 52, put and agreed to.

Clause 49, now Clause, 52 deleted

On Clause 50, now Clause 52:

HON. BITI: I think there is a conflation here and it now explains why 49 was worded the way it was. If there is a disciplinary issue then the matter is a disciplinary issue.  So, disciplinary issues are labour issues, either absenteeism, willful disobedience to a lawful order, or any conduct inconsistent with the fulfilment with the express or implied terms of one’s contract.  So, your board is a disciplinary board. However, if a correctional officer commits an offence, it is now a different issue and the board that is envisaged here is a board where the prison officer has committed an offence.  That is where the difference is and that is where the criminal element comes in.

This section, we are dealing with labour issues, and section 50 should refer to a disciplinary board or a Disciplinary Committee.  The issue of a board where there is prosecution and where in terms of the next section, section 51, the officer can elect to be tried at the Magistrate Court must pertain to breach of the country’s criminal laws, where he can now say I do not want to be tried internally, I want to go to the Magistrate Courts.    

Here we are talking about labour issues, so labour issues cannot be prosecuted, there is no prosecution in labour issues. Section 50 needs to be revisited so that we restrict to labour matters and it is a disciplinary matter. However, where a prison officer commits a criminal offence, that is different and that is where 46 was talking of criminal proof beyond reasonable doubt because that is now a criminal offence and that is where the correctional officer can elect to be tried in the Magistrate Courts, which is a different thing. So, this needs to be revisited.

THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): Hon. Chairperson, I move that we report progress and seek leave to sit again.

House resumed.

Progress reported.

         Committee to resume: Tuesday, 16th May, 2023.

         On the motion of THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI), the House adjourned at Ten Minutes to Five o’clock p.m. until Tuesday, 16th May, 2023.   

        

 

 

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