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NATIONAL ASSEMBLY HANSARD 11 OCTOBER 2023 VOL 50 NO 05
PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE
Wednesday, 11th October, 2023
The National Assembly met at a Quarter-past Two o’clock p.m.
(THE HON. SPEAKER in the Chair)
ANNOUNCEMENT BY THE HON. SPEAKER
APOLOGIES RECEIVED FROM MINISTERS
THE HON. SPEAKER: Hon. Members, I have the following apologies from Members of the Executive: Vice President Dr. Chiwenga; Hon. J. G. Moyo Minister of Public Service Labour and Social Welfare, he is out of the country; Hon. Prof. M. Ncube Minister of Finance and Investment Promotion also out of the country; Hon. S. J Nyoni, the Minister of Industry and Commerce, in the country but on national duty in Victoria Falls; Hon. R. Bila, Deputy Minister of Industry and Commerce, he is attending to a foreign delegation from Egypt; Hon. Chitando, Minister of Local Government and Public Works is out of the country on national business; Hon. O. C. Z. Muchinguri, Minister of Defence and Security, on national business; Hon. Brig. Rtd. Mayihlome Deputy Minister of Defence and Security, again on national business; Hon. Z. Soda, Minister of Mines and Mining Development, national duty; Hon. P. Kambamura, Deputy Minister of Mines and Mining Development, on national duty; Hon. Dr. T. Mombeshora, Minister of Health and Child Care, also national duty; Hon. E. Moyo, Minister of Energy and Power Development, out of Harare and Hon. B. Rwodzi, Minister of Tourism and Hospitality Industry, out of the country.
A special welcome to our Hon. Vice President Col. Rtd. K. C. D. Mohadi. Thank you for coming.
ORAL ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS WITHOUT NOTICE
HON. TAFANANA ZHOU: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.
THE HON. SPEAKER: Do you still belong to the right?
*HON. TAFANANA ZHOU: We occupied the whole House. Thank you, Mr. Speaker Sir. My question is directed to the Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development, Hon. Minister Mhona. What is Government policy with regards to motorists that are being arrested for reflectors? The vehicles might have in built reflectors but they are required to put extra reflectors. What is Government policy?
*THE MINISTER OF TRANSPORT AND INFRASTRUCTURAL DEVELOPMENT (HON. MHONA): Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. I would like to thank Hon. Zhou for that pertinent question. Indeed, we have unscrupulous road users. Because of the ongoing programme, the police are searching for items like reflectors. Vehicles that come into this country must have reflectors that we in this country can recommend. So, when they are stopped on the roads, those are the things that the police will be searching for.
Still on that similar matter, I also would like to say Mr. Speaker, we have realised that there are some people who put extra lights or spotlights on their vehicles. Such people will also be arrested as we work in close collaboration with the Minister of Home Affairs, including motorists that may not have their number plates. They must obey the road regulations. I thank you.
*HON. TAFANANA ZHOU: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. My supplementary question is that, indeed the Minister has to ensure that our licencing meets the SADC standards. Some of the vehicles that come from South Africa may not have those reflectors, which means they breach the regulations that we expect. Do you not think it is retrogressive because we are opposing the SADC standards?
*HON. MHONA: Thank you Mr. Speaker. I would like to thank the Hon. Member for the question. The Hon. Member talked about the drivers’ licence meeting the SADC standards and also referred to the reflectors. Indeed as SADC, there are things that we agreed to synchronise and I believe as SADC, we will harmonise, be it the signs and regulations and all others. We expect to have a harmonised road regulation system. Indeed, some of those vehicles may have reflectors that may not be visible at night and sometimes may be visible. The intention is to preserve life. That is the reason why we ensure that we have those reflectors to show whether it is the front or the rear side, this is additional security. I believe we will discuss with the Minister of Home Affairs so that we may not be retrogressive. Indeed, we agree that we are human beings and if there is an outcry with regards to this matter, it means we have to look into it with the Minister of Home Affairs. I thank you.
Microphones having failed to switch on.
*THE HON. SPEAKER: ICT, what is happening to the gadgets? ICT!
*HON. MUSANHI: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. My supplementary question is, in this country we obey some of the SADC Protocols that we are signatory to. In this country when the traffic lights are not working, it is almost impossible to navigate. Is it not possible for us to invoke…?
*THE HON. SPEAKER: Order. Do not codeswitch. Stick to one language. We would want to promote the mother tongue.
*HON. MUSANHI: Thank you Mr. Speaker. Is it not possible for us to invoke the four-way vehicle regulation? I am referring to the law that is pertinent to the SADC region about the four-way stop. That is very helpful because the car that comes first is entitled to move first. Can that not assist us and ensure that street kids will not start controlling traffic? I thank you Mr. Speaker.
*THE HON. SPEAKER: Hon. Minister Prof. Murwira has started allowing that Science must be taught in vernacular just like what the Chinese, the Russians, South Koreans and others do. So let us try by all means to promote our mother tongue.
*HON. MHONA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. I would like to thank the Hon. Member, Hon. Musanhi for bringing up that important question. It is true Mr. Speaker that if we do not obey the road traffic regulations at places such as the intersections, what should be done to ensure that the vehicle that comes first should proceed first? That is what we are trying to do through the Traffic Safety Council of Zimbabwe to ensure that we do not start obeying road traffic regulations when we cross Limpopo. We should obey those road regulations in this country. That knowledge must be imparted to everyone.
We should respect each other at the road traffic intersections. Sometimes we have motorists who drive against oncoming vehicles. We will try, as a matter of urgency, to ensure that we campaign and the motorists to obey the road traffic regulations that are also found in the SADC region. It is true that we need to obey the same law whereby motorists respect the vehicle that reaches the intersection first.
Microphones having failed to switch on.
*THE HON. SPEAKER: ICT, your gadgets are not working there.
HON. MANDIWANZIRA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. My question is directed to the Hon. Minister of ICT. It is in connection with public statements that have been made by the Hon. Minister and officials of the Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority, particularly with regards to the licencing of a service by Mr. Elon Musk for the Star Link. The question becomes implied specifically given what the European Union did yesterday in that it wrote to Mr. Elon Musk expressing its disappointment and discontent with regards to one of Mr. Musk’s channels which is X previously known as Twitter, where the EU was complaining about misinformation that was being peddled via twitter. Given the concerns raised by the EU regarding one of Elon Musk’s channels, I wanted to ask the Hon. Minister of ICT through you Mr. Speaker Sir, if there is consideration by the Ministry to equally express concern to Mr. Musk, particularly with regards to the content disparaging of our leaders, our President and sometimes of our own political parties on X, here in Zimbabwe and whether the action by the EU will be considered when deciding whether to licence Star Link? I thank you.
THE MINISTER OF INFORMATION COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGY, POSTAL AND COURIER SERVICES (HON. DR. MAVETERA): Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. Let me also thank the Hon. Member for the important question. Indeed, as Zimbabwe, we have got a policy which is quite clear that we want to engage as a country and also, it is within our means to ensure that we allow anyone wanting to come and trade with Zimbabwe to do so openly. Star Link is a company that has shown interest, but we are still waiting upon POTRAZ to be guided by the regulations which guide us in this country. We need to follow all the procedures and protocols that we are supposed to adhere to as a country and that is what we are waiting for. However, as for now, they have not paid any fees though they have shown interest. So, they have not yet adhered to our rules and regulations.
Then concerning the issue of the X space, yes indeed we have all the policies such as the Patriotic Bill that guides us and ensures that we adhere to each and every regulation in the country and any other organisation that would want to come and trade with us is also guided by making sure that they adhere to that. So concerning that, we just want to say the moment Star Link adheres to those regulations, it will be able to come and trade with us and also be in line with the Patriotic Act. I thank you.
HON. MANDIWANZIRA: I would like to thank the Hon. Minister for her eloquent response to my question. My supplementary question is, what the EU has done is to warn Elon Musk that if X continues to fail to regulate the content, they are going to incur a penalty of 6% of their revenues. So my question is that, we continue to be bashed even by people locally and those who are outside on X and there are no consequences. Will the Minister consider consequences that will include billing them or charging them a penalty on their revenues because of its problems? I thank you.
HON. DR. MAVETERA: Thank you very much Hon. Mandiwanzira for that follow up question. I am sure as a country, we are governed by the Cyber Protection Bill and it also entails such acts and if ever they are going to act like that, we will adhere and use the Cyber Protection Bill to also take charge. I thank you.
THE HON. SPEAKER: Hon. Minister, you may also want to look at Section 61 of our Constitution which is the supreme law of the land, which will also speak to your answer.
HON. MURAMBIWA: Good afternoon Mr. Speaker Sir. My question is directed to the Minister of Primary and Secondary Education. What is Government policy with regards to the Grade Seven pupils after they have completed writing their final examinations? Are they forced to continue going to school or they have to stay at home?
THE MINISTER OF PRIMARY AND SECONDARY EDUCATION (HON. T. MOYO): Thank you Hon. Murambiwa for the question. It is Government policy to ensure that after students complete their Grade Seven examinations, they continue with their studies. This has emanated from the fact that if we allow students to loiter around not going to school, it means they are going to be under the influence of drugs and substance abuse. So we want to make sure students are kept busy in schools and so that they concentrate on Form One work whilst they are still in Grade Seven.
HON. MURAMBIWA: Thank you Hon. Speaker. What exactly will the children be learning, because we are saying they have completed primary school course. Is there a set syllabus they will learn during that period?
HON. T. MOYO: Hon. Speaker, I appreciate the supplementary question from Hon. Murambiwa. When students have completed their Grade Seven examinations, that is not the end of the learning session. We are advising schools and we have written to them directing that Grade Seven teachers can give some Form One lessons to their students so that they keep them busy concentrating on school work. If they are allowed to stay at home, a lot of things do happen and some of the parents will be going to work and have very limited time to monitor their children. So, that is the basis of our policy to ensure that they continue with their studies. That is an induction to Form One work and that is why we are emphasising the importance of students having to be kept busy in their schools. I thank you.
*HON. ZEMURA: My question is directed to the Minister of Finance or in his absence, the Leader of Government Business. We have a lot of bank notes in the form of the $50 bond notes which suddenly we were told were no longer in use. Is there no way of announcing and making people aware in advance? Some of the people run small markets that they find it difficult to accept these notes.
THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF FINANCE AND INVESTMENT PROMOTION (HON. K. MNANGAGWA): Given the technical nature of the subject, allow me to answer in English – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –
THE HON. SPEAKER: Hon. Minister, you can try and if you think you are in trouble, go to the technical language.
*HON. K. MNANGAGWA: At the moment, the law says we use the multi-currency system and it runs up to 2023 when it shall be reviewed. However, the business community is found in trouble because the banks are not settled, they cannot lend money that goes beyond 2025 since they are not sure which currency will be used then.
What I want to assure the nation is that as a nation, we are looking into that but the Zimbabwean currency is here to stay and 2025 was suggested by industry and stakeholders. They required Government to specify when the multi-currency regime would come to an end. We decided to benchmark it on the NDS1 and that deadline is approaching, industry and its stakeholders have approached us to clarify on that position. The Ministry of Finance is saying we can leave it open but how best can we address that request.
On another note, we also have ZIG which is another way of restoring value. It is an alternative. The local currency that is being rejected can actually be used to purchase the ZIG which is valued at gold stored at the RBZ. We thought our plans with regards to our currency as a country, everything is in place. We have considered all the reports that are coming from all the stakeholders. The money will still be in use and people must not panic. I thank you.
*HON. NYABANI: My supplementary question to the Minister is that many people, especially in rural areas, cannot afford to purchase ZIG. Most of the people only have local currency and are in the rural areas, what are they going to do? ZIG can only be afforded by people with a lot of money, what is going to happen to people who are rejecting the local currency?
*HON. K. MNANGAGWA: Hon. Member, one ZIG is valued at $0,06c. If you look at how the ZIG is pegged, it is one milligram of gold, which means the ZIG has been made in such a way that it is affordable to everyone. This arrangement will be clarified to people when the banks open such accounts but the people who reject our local currency, as Hon. Members, let us make those reports to the Financial Intelligence Unit. If you are not aware of them, come to the Ministry because we want to know who is not accepting the local currency so that we may investigate. We continue to use the multi-currency regime and no one should reject the local currency.
*HON. NYABANI: We want to know, for example, for people in Nyanhewe in Rushinga, where can they access the ZIG?
*HON. K. MNANGAGWA: Thank you Mr. Speaker. ZIG is electronic money, which means that when you have RTGs or USD in your bank account, the banks will come up with a system where one can easily change or transfer your money from RTGs or Nostro and be able to buy ZIG just like how we use Inn Bucks or Ecocash. That is how we want ZIG to operate. At the moment, ZIG has not spread in the country and is operating on the equivalence of the available gold at the RBZ. The more gold reserves increase the more ZIG increases.
HON. MUKUHLANI: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. My follow up question to the Deputy Minister is in relation to the comments that he made that the ZIG is backed by gold reserves. My question is why are we not backing the Zimbabwean dollar with gold reserves?
THE HON. SPEAKER: Hon. Member, can you please repeat your question?
HON. MUKUHLANI: The question is why, if ZIG is backed by our gold reserves, why are we not backing our Zimbabwean dollars as well to induce trust in the Zimbabwean Dollar?
HON. K. MNANGAGWA: Thank you Hon. Speaker. I had mentioned earlier on that it is a bit technical, but ZIG is not a currency, it is store valued; similar to the way we had our gold coins, we have tokenized these gold coins into a digital token.
THE HON. SPEAKER: Hon. Minister, address the Chair please.
HON. K. MNANGAGWA: My apologies Hon. Speaker. The ZIG is a tokenized coin which should be differentiated from our currency. As Zimbabwe, we only have one currency and it is the Zimbabwean dollar. What ZIG is then becomes a store value similar to what we have with the gold coins, which means that the ZIG does not earn interest at the same time similar with the gold coins. It provides an avenue for both the Central Bank and our agencies to mop up liquidity, but for our agencies as well to find a store value. So, in that regard, we cannot to answer the Hon. Member’s question, it is because we are talking about two different instruments. I do not know if I have been clear in my response to the Hon. Member.
THE HON. SPEAKER: I should have announced this at the beginning, please help us by identifying yourself because most Members are new, so that it is easier for the Hon. Ministers and myself.
*HON. BUTAU: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. My question is directed to the Hon. Deputy Minister of Finance. The gold coins did not publicly circulate, especially in the rural constituency that we represent. This ZIG we are discussing here, how do we access it? People in the rural constituency, some of them do not have bank accounts and have never seen the coins. Some do not even know they exist. So, how are the rural electorate going to benefit from these gold coins? Most of the shops in the rural areas are the ones that are rejecting the local currency in favour of the foreign currency. I thank you Hon. Speaker.
* HON. K. MNANGAGWA: Those who refuse to accept local currency are against the law. On the ZIG, the people in rural areas, I can say, I am here in Harare and I have never accessed gold coins in the banks, but those who wanted it have accessed it. These measures that we put in place are meant for some people who may want to transact in huge local currency and are not sure of the value or the consistency of the use of that money, which is why they were given that as an option. So, the ZIG is an alternative, instead of taking your gold to your house, you will now keep it in the bank and you access it through your phone and your card. That is where we want to get to use the gold that we mine in this country. As we increase our gold reserves, it will also be increased. Once the banks work on the platforms, US dollar codes will be accessible even in the rural areas. They will be able to go and get the cards from their banks. We will be working in collaboration with the Reserve Bank, Government and Commercial banks. I thank you.
*HON. MUTOKONYI: Thank you Hon. Speaker Sir. I direct my question to the Hon. Minister of Agriculture, Hon. Masuka; my first question is …
THE HON. SPEAKER: You ask one question only.
*HON. MUTOKONYI: My question is the Government has offered funds to the youths, most of the youth got land around 2015. My question is, most of those youths who have not been given offer letters, what is Government policy with regard to giving the youth offer letters? I thank you.
*THE MINISTER OF LANDS, AGRICULTURE, FISHERIES, WATER, CLIMATE AND RURAL DEVELOPMENT (HON. DR. MASUKA): There is an issue here where people were given land and they were not given offer letters. That means they settled there illegally. So may I have the names of those people so that we investigate who gave them the land? If they were given that land legally, we will then regularise, but if they settled there illegally, the law must be applied to ensure that they do not repeat that.
*THE HON. SPEAKER: Hon. Mutokonyi, did you hear what the Hon. Minister said? Please present the names of those people to the Minister.
*HON. MUTOKONYI: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. We will bring the names.
HON. MASVISVI: My question is directed to the Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water, Climate and Rural Development. Hon. Minister, what are your plans on the payment to transporters’ dues so that they resume the transportation of inputs from GMB depots to the farming community?
THE MINISTER OF LANDS, AGRICULTURE, FISHERIES, WATER, CLIMATE AND RURAL DEVELOPMENT (HON. DR. MASUKA): Mr. Speaker Sir, I thank the Hon. Member for the question. Ordinarily, I would say that this question should be directed to the GMB because it is a business transaction. However, because it is a question of national interest as the rainy season is almost upon us, a lot of people are expecting inputs to be moved. The GMB has made Government aware of the challenges that they are facing paying transporters. We have engaged Treasury and we think that there will be a resolution shortly.
To those that are transporting inputs to the various wards, be patient with the GMB, you will be paid shortly. I also directed the GMB last Thursday that they avail Zimbabwean dollar fuel through PetroTrade and Agricultural Marketing Authority to alleviate – [AN HON. MEMBER: On a point of order. Hon. Speaker Sir, we cannot hear him properly. Can he please raise his voice?]
*THE HON. SPEAKER: Okay, he will repeat what he has said.
HON. DR. MASUKA: I thank the Hon. Member for the question. Ordinarily, I would have said this is a specific business transaction between the transporter and GMB for which GMB and the transporter ought to resolve. However, the question is of national interest because we are moving inputs that are to be used for this season and largely under the Presidential Input Scheme.
I know that the GMB has approached Government and indicated that they are having challenges paying transporters timeously and they have requested for support. We have engaged the Ministry of Finance, and Investment Promotion to expedite the raising of funds to support this parastatal, the GMB. In the interim, I have directed the GMB to access Zimbabwe dollar fuel facility through PetroTrade and the Agricultural Marketing Authority to alleviate the plight of these transporters. To the transporters, I say be patient with the GMB. We are mobilising resources to enable payment. Thank you Mr. Speaker.
*HON. MUCHEMWA: Thank you Mr. Speaker, I represent people from Uzumba in the rural areas. I want to thank the Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water, Climate and Rural Development for the Pfumvudza Programme. However, we are facing challenges with the prices of fertilizers. If our farmers want to increase their hectarage for farming, they cannot afford to buy the fertlisers on their own. If the Minister could clarify on this issue. I thank you.
*THE MINISTER OF LANDS, AGRICULTURE, FISHERIES, WATER, CLIMATE AND RURAL DEVELOPMENT (HON. DR. MASUKA): Thank you Mr. Speaker. The Presidential Input Scheme known also as Intwasa is not the responsibility of the Minister. It is a Presidential Input Scheme and not a Ministerial Input Scheme. What farmers are given are fertilizers and seed. This year we will also be given chemicals that kill weeds. For those who want to increase their hectarage on crop production, we buy the fertilizer from countries such as Russia. As a result, this fertilizer comes with the price from the country we import them. When the war between Ukraine and Russia started and when we had the COVID-19 outbreak, it was difficult to transport those inputs and as a result, there was an increase in prices where a tonne of fertilizer cost more than US$1000. More recently, a tonne of fertilizer now costs US$750, meaning that the price of fertilizer has decreased and we hope that this means it is more affordable to our farmers.
As for the fertilizer that is manufactured within the country, manufacturers have to import some of the raw materials from outside the country, thereby resulting in the prices of fertilizer being high. For example, let us say for every hectare of land, we can expect to harvest about five tonnes of maize and fertilizer makes up 36% of the total cost of production. It is the most expensive input. The Government is looking into how the price of fertilizer can be reduced, but right now fertilizer prices on the international market continue to decrease. We are also encouraging those that import to also decrease the price of fertilizer. I thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.
*HON. KABIKIRA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. Let me begin by congratulating His Excellency the President for his re-election into the office. My question to the Minister is, I am one of those who benefited from His Excellency’s constituency borehole drilling programme. After the drilling was completed, there were no installations. Our constituents would want to know when the installations will be done because currently people do not have clean water? I thank you.
THE HON. SPEAKER: Question time is for policy questions and not grievances. What is Government policy on A, B, C, or D not grievances. That is a grievance.
*HON. KABIKIRA: Thank you Mr. Speaker. Let me rephrase my question. What is Government policy when it comes to provision of potable water to people in rural areas?
*THE MINISTER OF LANDS, AGRICULTURE, FISHERIES, WATER AND RURAL DEVELOPMENT (HON. DR. MASUKA): Thank you Mr. Speaker. I thank the Hon. Member for the question. His Excellency’s Vision 2030 is for Zimbabwe to become an upper middle-income economy by 2030. It means to reach there, every person would be having access to potable water in the country. Women and girls in rural areas would not be travelling long distances to fetch water. This is the first stage. Every thirty-five thousand in a population should have water. For all these thousands to have water, there are several things that should be done Mr. Speaker Sir. Firstly, there are experts who should go and survey places for borehole drilling.
If the Hon. Member’s constituency is at this level of drilling, that means they are now even far ahead of other areas that are queueing for the same programme. The Government will revisit those areas that have been drilled to assess the amount of water in the boreholes so that they can assess whether it is only enough for household use and we install the boreholes. Another assessment would be to see whether the water is more than for household use and see whether we can use the water for gardening as well and other businesses.
The Hon. Member’s constituency is among the 20 thousand areas that have been attended to out of 35 thousand areas that are supposed to be attended to so far. I thank you.
*HON. TSHUMA: Thank you Mr. Speaker. My supplementary question to the Minister of Agriculture is, what steps are being taken to assist those in areas that have salty water in their boreholes which is not suitable for drinking and even for gardening? The water is hot and such areas are found in the western side of our country that is from Midlands to Matabeleland North? I thank you.
*HON. DR. MASUKA: Thank you Mr. Speaker. When we went to that area for borehole drilling project, after drilling 60 meters, we get to the coal level and the water that comes from that place is not potable. We have now decided to look for nearby rivers and weirs for water catchment and harvesting so that together with the experts, we can use that water for our livestock and other household chores. We had not yet done the underground survey of the country so that we know which areas have such kind of water underground but because of His Excellency’s borehole programme, we now know. We will look for means and ways on how we can assist them.
You are also encouraged that whilst the drilling is still on and that has been identified, you must urgently contact us for assistance. You should not wait until you come to this august House so that you inform us. That is His Excellency’s intention. I thank you.
*HON. ZIKI: Thank you Mr. Speaker. I have a supplementary question on the response by the Minister on the issue of fertilizer price. Are there any plans in place to increase the producer price…
*THE HON. SPEAKER: Hon. Member, what is your name?
*HON. ZIKI: My name is Richard Ziki. I represent Hurungwe Central.
*THE HON. SPEAKER: Hon. Ziki, when the question has been asked and passed, we do not go back. That is in respect of our Standing Orders. You should have asked a supplementary question in line with the question of water. Therefore, there is no supplementary question on that one.
*HON. ZIKI: Thank you.
*HON. MAHACHI: Hon. Speaker, my name is Admire Mahachi, I come from Mutare North constituency. My question is directed to the Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development. I would like to find out government’s policy on irrigation because I have noted that the dams which have been constructed are not benefitting the surrounding community for example the Osborne Dam.
THE HON DEPUTY SPEAKER: I encourage you not to mix languages. Irrigation is English so please stick to one language.
*THE MINISTER OF LANDS, AGRICULTURE, FISHERIES, WATER AND RURAL DEVELOPMENT (HON. DR. A. MASUKA): Thank you for that important question Hon. Member. We have been talking about Pfumvudza and how we deliver inputs for Pfumvudza, now you are referring to irrigation, but I am happy with the question. The issue that you raised is that the dams that have been constructed are not benefitting surrounding communities through irrigation, for instance the Osborne Dam. The residents of Mutasa think the Osborne Dam is not functional yet that is not true. The Osborne Dam was not constructed for the people in Mutasa. Rather, it was built so that the water can be channeled to the Middle Sabi. That is where the water is going. However, the coming in of the Second Republic relooked at the issue of the Osborne Dam and decided that the surrounding communities should benefit first from that water. We then came up with the idea that the dam is not the only benefit, but everywhere we have a dam, we should have drinking water, irrigation, fishing projects and electricity for the communities in that area. As far as the Osborne Dam is concerned, we are through with our research on how the community should benefit. We are at the stage where we can have irrigation schemes in Middle Sabi, an area of about 6000ha. The next stage is to identify which households will benefit from the water and how they will be allotted the water. We are not just looking at people located where the dam is, but also communities along the path that take the water to Middle Sabi. They will all get a portion which is in line with the Vision 2030 Accelerator Irrigation Scheme which states that we should be able to have small irrigation schemes of about 200ha. That is how far we have gone with our plans for the Osborne Dam.
We also have dams amounting to over 10000 horse power. Most of them have water, but they are not being used and that is why we came up with this programme that a dam itself is not a project, but the use of water is. So those are the five areas that we have covered.
*HON. PRISCILLA MOYO: My question is directed to the Minister of Primary and Secondary Education. Students on BEAM are being sent home when Government does not pay the fees in time. What is Government doing so that these children are not sent home since it is known the money will be paid by Government? At the end of the day, some of the parents will be forced to pay the fees to ensure their children are not sent away from school. So it means the fees is being paid twice because when BEAM comes, that child will be covered again.
*THE MINISTER OF PRIMARY AND SECONDARY EDUCATION (HON. T. MOYO): Thank you Hon. P. Moyo for the question. It is true that most students, despite being on BEAM, were being sent away from school. We have now put in place a law that ensures that anyone who sends a child away from school because of fees whether on BEAM or not will have committed a crime. They will have breached the children’s right to education. Our Constitution does not allow pupils to be sent away from school. Those schools are double dipping because they make the parent pay and they will also take money from BEAM when it eventually comes. We now have district command centers and this was advertised in all newspapers last week. Those living in Rutenga, Mwenzi where the Hon Member comes from, there are people waiting for that phone call reporting anyone who will have sent children away from school. We are using a Statutory Instrument of 2000 which gives penalties for sending children away from school. The school head can be charged for breaching the children’s right to education. Should anyone hear of any school still sending children away from school, please quickly let us know.
*HON. PRISCILLA MOYO: Thank you, I am so happy with the Minister’s response. What measures has Government taken to let the parents in the rural areas know so that they are aware of the centers and communication details when they want to report the cases?
*HON.T. MOYO: Thank you Madam Speaker. What we have done is that we have gazetted in the papers, but it is not enough because those in the rural areas do not have access to newspapers. We are thinking of sending Government officials so that they meet with parents and the teachers who are committing the crimes so that they know that when they chase away school children, they are committing a crime.
*THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Those who want to ask questions, you should register your names with the Chief Whips so that I know that those who will be standing up want to ask supplementary questions.
*HON. CHIKWINYA: My supplementary question is, if I give birth to ten children and do not have money, does BEAM cater for those ten children or there is a limit on the number of children that can be paid for?
*HON.T. MOYO: Madam Speaker, I think we have to clarify this. BEAM caters for parents who cannot afford. It is not given to anyone who gives birth to say that now you have ten children and BEAM takes care, but only to those families that are struggling to pay school fees for their children. If a mother has ten children and they cannot afford, she should approach the school and fill in forms for all the ten children and Government will pay. For those who are capable, they should pay fees for their children for the smooth running of schools, but schools should not chase away children from school for non-payment of fees. If all parents do not pay, it means the school will come to a standstill.
*HON. MUNEMO: What is the Government policy when looking at children who should benefit from BEAM? It looks like in all the schools in rural areas, all the children are under BEAM, so there is no development in schools. For example, most toilets are dilapidated because parents are not paying school fees and schools do not have money for development projects such that schools face closure by health officials. So, what is Government policy because it looks like everyone now is under BEAM?
*HON.T. MOYO: It is very true that in some places, you find that the whole school is under BEAM and what it means is that the SDC at that school is sitting down and doing a proper job. There is what we call Grant-in-Aid. For example, where I come from in Gokwe-Chireya, in all the primary schools in Gokwe North, children are not paying fees and those children are not under BEAM because they are benefitting from the Grant-in-Aid. What parents pay is levy and sports fees.
So, when they have their annual general meeting, when they agree to build a library or teachers’ quarters, each and every child is supposed to pay say $5. It is true that in some schools, all the children are under BEAM and the BEAM fees do not come in time. We encourage that the BEAM money should be disbursed timeously. We are going to meet with the Ministers of Finance and Social Welfare so that the BEAM funds do not take long and schools do not struggle to develop. When they take long to disburse those funds, it means all the development work stops. We do not encourage that as Government. In areas where parents are able to pay fees, people should pay fees, but in areas where they cannot afford, the Government should allow those children to learn for free.
HON. MUKOMBERI: My question is directed to the Minister of Finance and Investment Promotion. What measures do we have as a country to encourage small to medium enterprises to also register in paying taxes and avoid tax evasion? Most of these firms usually evade taxes through providing separate records, a set of records with understated profits and another record for their own consumption. This record with understated profit is meant to pay a low tax than they should pay. What are the measures in place so as to improve our revenue as a nation?
THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF FINANCE AND INVESTMENT PROMOTION (HON. K. MNANGAGWA): I would like to thank the Hon. Member who raised the question. Our small to medium enterprises have actually become the larger part of our economy, hence the realisation that if they continue untaxed, we lose out on a lot of tax revenue. What we are doing as Treasury, through our institutions as ZIMRA, is firstly moving from your more manual systems to what will be dubbed TaRMS. This will be the new ZIMRA system that will ensure that – when it comes to SMEs you have two types.
You have those who are informal, but in formal structures. So, they are trading informally, but are in formal structures and those who are trading informally and also in informal structures, I would say mobile, I think the first step is to cater for those who are trading informally and have informal structures; just to make sure that we have everybody captured. This new system will make sure that from an inventory perspective and reporting, everything is more aligned and is less dependent on human personnel. There are continuous engagements between the SMEs themselves, the big retailers and our officials to come up with the best model to make sure that we garner the maximum benefit in as far as tax revenue is concerned.
What we have realised is the evasion of taxes from the SMEs sometimes is not a result of wanting to evade but it may not be as easy for the SMEs to pay these taxes. The easier it is for small traders to pay their tax, the more they will actually come and pay. So, these are systems that are being put in place, with time being the first step and continuous engagements are ongoing. So, this is something that Treasury is continuously cognisant of and is actually in the process of coming up with frameworks that evolve with the market as it evolves. I thank you Hon. Speaker.
*HON. NYABANI: Thank you Hon. Speaker. I want to ask the Deputy Minister of Finance if it is possible; there are tuck shops and small SMEs that operate downtown, is it possible to connect their machines to ZIMRA? The shops downtown do not pay taxes. Is there anything that can be done to link their machines to ZIMRA so that you can monitor their profits and are made to pay tax? I once witnessed this in other countries, so I think we can do it in our country as well.
*HON. K. MNANGAGWA: Thank you Hon. Speaker, are these swipe machines?
*HON. NYABANI: These are machines that they use to record their inventory so that they can calculate how much profit they have made and the value of goods they have sold.
*HON. K. MNANGAGWA: The fiscalised devices are connected to ZIMRA. The question that was asked by the first Hon. Member is that they are SMEs that can be accessed by ZIMRA and there are other SMEs that cannot be accessed by ZIMRA. They have other products that ZIMRA can monitor and with other products, they develop a separate book that cannot be accessed by ZIMRA. That was the Hon. Member’s question. On fiscalised, the machines are connected to ZIMRA.
*HON. NYABANI: My worry is that we buy goods downtown, those people do not pay taxes. They do not pay taxes, especially foreigners. As a Ministry, you must supervise those SMEs downtown because they are making a lot of money. ZIMRA must go and supervise these SMEs.
*HON. K. MNANGAGWA: Thank you Madam Speaker. ZIMRA officials will be visiting those places and there is a taskforce in place that is working with Immigration. These are the tuckshops and SMEs that the Hon. Member is speaking about. We will now encourage ZIMRA to have a look at those SMEs.
*THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Let me advise Hon. Members that when I am sitting on this seat, I will be the Speaker of Parliament. So if you are addressing me, do not labour yourself by calling me Hon. Deputy Speaker, you just say Madam Speaker, or if there is any woman that is not me, it is Madam Speaker and if it is a male Mr. Speaker.
HON. CHIWANZA: Thank you Madam Speaker. I just wanted to add my supplementary on the submissions made by our Hon. Deputy Minister of Finance. In their deliberation to try to make sure there is no leakage and tax collection, I think it is no secret that our market is now heavily informalised and a lot of people are employed in the informal sector. I think there must be harmony between Government and our tax to make sure that we do not bracket everybody. Being a person who started in the informal sector myself, I know that sometimes the relationship between the tax man…
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: What is the question?
HON. CHIWANZA: It is a submission.
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: This is question time.
HON. CHIWANZA: I am giving a submission to the question that was raised.
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: This is question time, you must ask a question.
HON. CHIWANZA: Madam Speaker, can I then say as a question, can the Finance Ministry find a way to harmonise their relationship with the informal sector not to put everybody in the same bracket?
*HON. MUDEKUNYE: My question is directed to the Deputy Minister of Finance and Investment Promotion. I see that we are only targeting taxes from the formal sector. A 2% was once introduced. Do we have innovative ways that work in our country that are different from other formalised countries? Our country is now highly informalised. We must devise ways like taxing gold panners and so on. If a person is selling oranges, how can we get tax from them because for them to have bank statements, we are using what other countries have been using which are not applicable in our country. Are there no other ways or means? I have given an example of 2% tax, if someone is using transport, then you will take that from fuel and we take our money from there.
THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF FINANCE AND INVESTMENT PROMOTION (HON. K. MNANGAGWA): Thank you Hon. Member. These are some of the ways that we are looking at. As I have alluded to before, when we talk about informal and small traders, they are two. There are those who move from place to place and there are some who have addresses whom we know where to find them. Those are the ones who get to council so that when they go and renew their licences, they will pay their taxes there. If it is mining, it will be difficult to follow those who are into mining, but when they are rectifying their inspection certificates, that is when we can get them. I think all the ministries involved should come together and engage each other on how we can get hold of those people. We know that our law is in the SMES and those informal sectors. Thank you.
HON. OBEY BVUTE: My question is directed at Hon. Minister Mhona. Let me first begin by commending you on the wonderful job that you are doing with our roads. Would Government consider it as policy to use concrete as the basis of making our roads? I note that we have a significant Import Bill related to bitumen whereas concrete is used in our neighboring countries, there is a mixture of cement and three-quarter stone of which is readily available. I thank you.
THE MINISTER OF TRANSPORT AND INFRASTRUCTURAL DEVELOPMENT (HON. MHONA): Thank you Madam Speaker Ma’am. Let me hasten to thank Hon. Bvute for that very important question. Indeed, the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructural Development under the Research and Development, is pursuing that narrative, but the preliminary results are indicating that it is more expensive to use concrete, but you find that when you are rehabilitating a road, especially on intersections and shoulders, it is ideal to use concrete. So, I want to commend and thank the Hon. Member that yes indeed, as a Ministry, we are amenable to such very important suggestions and we will continue on that trajectory to ascertain whether we can go the route of using the concrete. I assure this august House that we will come forth with the results. Thank you.
HON. NGWENYA: Thank you Madam Speaker. My supplementary question refers to dust roads in rural areas since we are fast approaching the rainy season. I have observed that our rural areas such as Gokwe North and other areas have a lot of potholes which have developed into dams in our roads. Are there any plans being done by the Ministry of Transport to merely grade those roads so that they are movable? Thank you.
HON. MHONA: Thank you Madam Speaker Ma’am. Let me also thank Hon. Ngwenya for that important question. Indeed, with the advent of the 2nd Republic, we must commend His Excellency, Dr. E. D. Mnangagwa for his wise leadership. He introduced Emergency Road Rehabilitation Programme 2, which is running and we are saying as we gravitate towards the rainy season, we are witnessing that Treasury is now seized to have a budget towards that regard so that we rehabilitate our roads. I want to appraise the august House that we have got four different road authorities and mainly in the rural constituencies we have got RIDA, which was known as ARDA before. We are saying if the road is not under RIDA, it could be under Rural District Council and the major roads will be under the Ministry of Transport which is the department of roads.
So, because of the ERP2, we are no longer saying this road belongs to this particular road authority, but we have taken ownership in terms of administering and routine maintenance of our roads so that our roads are trafficable. I want to assure the Hon. Members that we have been grading roads year in, year out. We are also moving towards a new innovative way of rehabilitating our roads where we are going to be introducing non-technology pieces of equipment and in terms of issues to do with rehabilitation of gravel roads where we can use our earth roads and mix with other attributes so that we have a durable road that we do not grade each and every rainy season.
These are some of the initiatives that we are taking as the Ministry of Transport. I want to assure Hon. Members that above all, we are liaising with ZINARA so that we also get fuel because in most instances, we have equipment within the Rural District Councils where they have got graders, but they do not have fuel. We also need to think outside the box where we cannot just wait for the Ministry of Transport, but as Members of Parliament, come forth, present your roads that you think are very important and if we can avail fuel, it then becomes quicker so that we do not need to wait for Hon. Members to have the funding of roads from their own pockets which is not sustainable.
As we move towards the rainy season, let us be innovative as Members of Parliament – whether the grader is there belonging to RIDA, approach the Ministry so that we reason together and make sure that we avail adequate fuel to have the roads graded. In the long term, that is when we are pursuing other sustainable methods of rehabilitating our roads. Thank you.
*HON. MACHINGURA: Thank you Madam Speaker. I want to thank the Minister of Transport when it comes to the Import Bill. The money that is used to buy bitumen from outside, I wanted to suggest that the good work that he is doing, the roads that they are rehabilitating are very good, but those that have been rehabilitated are in the past. There are potholes that are developing and it requires a lot of money. Is there a way that the roads can be maintained before it goes bad? Thank you.
*THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Thank you Hon. Machingura for your question, but before the Minister responds, I want the newcomers to learn that when we want to ask a question, we should go straight to the question instead of going into statements. We should ask questions like- what is government policy on roads that have been constructed so that they will be maintained so that we do not have potholes et cetera, so that the newcomers will learn that we do not go round and round giving suggestions. I think this is clear. Thank you.
*THE MINISTER OF TRANSPORT AND INFRASTRUCTURAL DEVELOPMENT (HON. MHONA): Thank you Madam Speaker Ma’am. I would also like to thank dhodha rekhanye, Hon. Machingura, who has raised a very pertinent question. It is true that most of our roads are overused. When you try to mend this pothole, you would find that another one emerges. That is why the President is looking at a total rehabilitation, not just to mend the roads. You find that most of the roads, if we do not rehabilitate them completely, the foundations are no longer strong. They will easily crack when heavy loaded trucks use such roads, but we cannot do it all at once. We have about 88 to 90 000 km of our roads, but you will find that when we are constructing new roads, we will not get those challenges. That would not stop us from mending the roads, we are carrying on despite those challenges.
I also inform this House that each and every province has a resident Engineer who is in charge. You should have their numbers. If you come across a challenge of potholes, you should let them know so that they attend to that. It is not worth coming here with questions, instead you should come with testimonies that the roads are being rehabilitated. I thank you.
HON. DR. MAKWIRANZOU: Thank you Madam Speaker. My supplementary question to the Minister of Transport is that he mentioned about repairs of roads. I would like to know if Government has plans or policies regarding repairing or rehabilitation of the Harare-Nyamapanda Road. That road is getting damaged by over-loaded trucks carrying granite. I thank you.
HON. MHONA: Thank you Madam Speaker Ma’am. I want to thank Hon. Dr. Makwiranzou for that very important question. As you have alluded to earlier on, it is a specific question, but I will hasten to address the question which is of national interest and also to appraise Cabinet that indeed we have got an investor who has earmarked that specific road. It is going to start from E. D. Mnangagwa, which is known as Enterprise at the intersection of Samora Machel and Enterprise, which is E. D. Mnangagwa. That is where we are going to be widening the road up until Nyamapanda Border Post. Also, the border post will be rehabilitated, just to mirror what we have at Beitbridge and also that we are going to do that at Chirundu and Forbes border posts as well.
So, I want to inform the Hon. Member that we are on the final stages now regarding the concession agreement, where we are going to be having tollgates and the investor is going to be collecting his funding through tolling. We are happy that such kind of models is what we are desiring as a Ministry so that we lessen the burden on the fiscus. If possible, we can have such a number of concession agreements in a manner that would enhance the Ministry to move and execute with speed in terms of rehabilitating our roads.
Therefore, I want to assure the Hon. Member that yes, we are from the same province and within the next few months, you will see us descending heavily on that particular road and it will be a marvel to see. I thank you.
HON. GANYIWA: Thank you Madam Speaker. My follow-up question - we want to know the Government policy and the Ministry’s technical approach when it comes to the dualisation of our roads. Thanks to the Ministry and Government for the dualisation of Beitbridge Road, but at the moment, there is what we call detours; the temporary roads that the public will be using whilst the construction is taking place. We see these detours being abandoned later after having to transport the gravel to construct these roads. We see them again being covered by the top soil. Is it not a waste of resources after the same detour would have already compacted, which we can capitalise on resurfacing when we are dualising? The last one is about…
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon. Member, please ask your question.
HON. GANYIWA: My question is, what is the technical approach from the Ministry regarding those detour roads? Are they to be abandoned or new ones to be constructed?
HON. MHONA: Thank you Hon. Madam Speaker Ma’am. Let me also thank Hon. Ganyiwa. By the nature of the name detour, it means it is a temporary road. This would not have been earmarked in terms of proper planning. It is just a leeway so that we allow traffic to maneuver easily. He has talked about dualisation; as we speak, we have got our major highways, our trunk roads – he has talked about Beitbridge. We also have Bulawayo and Mutare, those are the roads that we are currently seized with in terms of dualisation, but I want to also buy into his suggestion to say, yes some of the detours are compacted and they are navigable, but at the end of the day, we abandon them. Just to say in terms of planning, scoping, these are not permanent roads. You will find that even those that we want to continue dualising will then revert to such detours. So, it is not basically a waste of resources, but it is also to allow traffic to maneuver whilst we are working on the major trunk roads. I thank you.
HON. MUSA NCUBE: Thank you Madam Speaker. I would have loved to ask this question in my mother language, but for the interest of others, allow me to ask it in English. My question is directed to the Minister of Home Affairs regarding the issue of drugs and dangerous substances. Madam Speaker, we are no longer safe as a country. I want to find out from the Minister of Home Affairs, what measures has the Ministry put in place to address the issue of the influx of drugs on the streets? These drugs have found their way into the rural areas. The number of mental cases has increased in hospitals due to drugs. Madam Speaker Ma’am, the drug dealers are arrested two days and the second day they are released. I want to find out from the Minister of Home Affairs on whether we have an instrument or a policy regarding the drug dealers. We cannot let the drug dealers destroy our future generations.
Questions Without Notice were interrupted by THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER in terms of Standing Order No. 68.
HON. TOGAREPI: Madam Speaker, I move that we add 30 minutes more to Questions Without Notice.
Motion put and agreed to.
THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): Thank you Madam Speaker Ma’am. I want to thank Hon. Musa Ncube for the very important question on drug and substance abuse. Government is very much seized with the issue of drug and substance abuse. In fact, His Excellency set up a Committee that is chaired by the Minister of Defence to look into this problem, with a view of ensuring that the Cabinet Committee comes up with recommendations to ensure that we tackle this issue.
It is not an issue that is isolated to Zimbabwe alone but it is a problem that is worldwide. However, as a country, we are dealing with it through that Committee; the Deputy Chairperson of that Committee is actually here, Hon. Machakaire.
The Hon. Member asked what the Ministry of Home Affairs in particular was doing. The issue of substance and drug abuse is cross-cutting, it is not only confined to what the Ministry of Home Affairs can do but everyone else including all of us who are here. We must all be advocates ensuring that we eradicate the issue of substance and drug abuse. All of us here, one way or the other, may know who the drug peddlers are. So, the responsibility is on all of us to come forward since we now have a Committee that is dealing with it to proffer solutions to that.
Of course, the Ministry of Home Affairs, through Immigration and Customs, ZIMRA, are looking into ways of tightening the way drugs come into the country. We have got a lot of leakages. They are also strengthening the enforcement laws. We are going to have a Committee that will look at our laws with a view of ensuring that we review them and see whether they are still relevant to the environment that we are living in. So, the Ministry of Home Affairs, through the Drug Unit, are looking into ways of ensuring that we deal with the drug menace. You are aware that only a week ago, there was a consignment that they managed to recover from someone, it was a cough mixture that was not allowed to be used in the country.
So, we are tightening up to ensure that we deal with that issue but most importantly, we have a Committee that was appointed by His Excellency to ensure that we deal with that specific issue. However, the call is, everyone else should ensure that we deal with this matter decisively. It is a real threat to our future, the majority of our youth have been affected hence I want to thank the Hon. Member for raising such a pertinent issue. It allows all of us as Hon. Members to go out there and ensure that we conscientise our constituents that we have a real existential threat that is coming from drug abuse. I thank you.
HON. S. ZIYAMBI: Thank you Madam Speaker. As a follow up to what has been said by the Hon. Minister, my question is with regards to those that are already affected by drug and substance abuse who are living with it in our communities. What is the Government policy with regards to those people who are living or have been affected by drug and substance abuse?
HON. Z. ZIYAMBI: Thank you Madam Speaker. I want to thank Hon. Ziyambi for the question regarding those who need rehabilitation. Now that COVID-19 is under control, we are identifying those COVID isolation centers around the provinces with a view of converting some of them so that we can make them rehabilitation centers for drug addicts.
Over and above that, we also have rehabilitation units within our prisons, Mlondolozi and Chikurubi, we are using those. Within our hospital institutions, Harare hospital and Parirenyatwa, we also have those institutions. However, we want to remove some of our children from mental institutions and set up rehabilitation centers within our provinces where they can be rehabilitated and taken away from drugs. We are very much aware that it is not prudent to take them away from society and put them in prisons but rather, if we create these rehabilitation centers that would help.
Like I have alluded to, we have a committee that is looking into this matter and any Hon. Members who have brilliant ideas that can help to ensure that we solve this particular problem, are at liberty to get in touch with Hon. Machakaire who is the Deputy Chair of that Committee and the Minister of Primary and Secondary Education, Hon. T. Moyo; Minister of Women’s Affairs, Hon. Sen. Mutsvangwa are also part of that Committee including myself. We are ready to receive all the information that can help to ensure that as a nation, we eradicate this scourge. I thank you.
*HON. NYABANI: Supplementary question. With reference to drugs and substance abuse in communal lands, the ordinary man believes it is the abuse of dagga. What is meant by “substance”? What are you referring to when you say substance? I have brought a sample of this type of beer and no one is being arrested. I was going to make reference to it when debating the State of the Nation Address by His Excellency, the President. This beer has 65% alcohol. It is being sold for $1 for three. Wives have become widows when husbands are still alive due to consumption of this substance. If these substances area a menace to the community, we would want to make sure that tomorrow all retailers supplying them are arrested because we do not want anybody to use this substance. If they are not arrested tomorrow, it means you are condoning the sale of this substance.
*HON. ZIYAMBI: I would like to thank Hon. Nyabani for the rather lengthy question which is more of an explanation. I said this issue is spreading across the country and it may affect the young people. He has said that men are no longer behaving like men because they have lost their virility to this substance commonly referred to as “kambwa”. The other issue that has now become a cause of concern is that we now have shops that are sprouting up, some people are using the boot of their vehicles and some of them no longer know that for one to sell beer, they must have a liquor licence. Beer is now being sold everywhere. The Ministry of Home Affairs is now seized with moving around to ensure that if it is a grocery shop, any retailer selling liquor must be arrested. If you are selling liquor, you must be selling liquor that is legal, because some people are smuggling some types of alcohol through our borders.
In Zvimba, I was shown a substance which if mixed together with maize chemical and sprayed at the edges of the fields, rats and other birds die. So, the Ministry of Home Affairs is ensuring that people are compliant and that the goods that they are selling are legal. In terms of our law, we say anyone below the age of 18 years is not allowed either to buy or to be found inside a beerhall. Some of the children that you find holding these beer bottles are below the age of 18, and you wonder who would have supplied them with this beer. I urge all of us to be vigilant citizens and arrest these people that are doing illegal activities. I thank you.
*HON. MAPIKI: The problem that we have is that if people are arrested today, they are released tomorrow morning. The committee that has been put in place should look into the issue whether Government departments are doing their work diligently because some people are arrested today and only to be released the following day. So, they may be in the habit of bribing police details. Secondly, is there a law that bars the sell of alcohol which is beyond 5%. Do we now have a law that bars the sale of substances such as “tumbwa”?
*HON. ZIYAMBI: The Hon. Member posed many questions, but nonetheless, I will endeavour to respond to the best of my ability. On the question that people are being arrested today and only to be released tomorrow, our Constitution says that once a person has been arrested, they have a right to be allowed on bail. They can give surety or pay a deposit so that they can be tried whilst on bail, it is part of our laws. It is permissible. The problem is that the person who has caused this person’s arrest is now afraid to come forth. Yes, we are still looking into it and we would want to come up with specialised courts that will deal with, such as issues of those that deal in illicit drugs so that their cases are fast tracked.
Secondly, you asked whether there is a law that prohibits the sale of liquor above 5%. I had already touched on that, but the challenge that we face is that the person who sells liquor is supposed to be licenced. These types of illicit brews that you make reference to are not manufactured in Zimbabwe. I am saying these people should be arrested. If these liquor forms are being brewed in Zimbabwe, the majority of them do not have licences. If they are not licenced, they must be arrested because those issued with liquor licences have certain rules that they have to follow and they should not flout the law, because they are not allowed in terms of conditions of the licences that they were given.
*HON. NYABANI: Thank you Madam Speaker. I will direct my question to the Minister of Youth, Sport, Arts and Recreation. We have Vocational Training Centres in the country. What is Government policy on Vocational Training Centres so that the facilities can be put to use and train our youths in various skills instead of them engaging in drug abuse?
*THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF YOUTH, SPORT, ARTS AND RECREATION (HON. MACHAKAIRE): Thank you Hon. Nyabani for your question. I would like to thank His Excellency the President for establishing a department that looks into the welfare of the youth in this country. We have a large number of youths. If you look at the number of children that start Grade 1 who go through to complete their Grade 7, we have a high number but if you look at those same children, the number that completes Form Four is greatly reduced. This shows that many children are not completing their education. As a result, the Government created a department to look into Vocational Training Centres. Extensive research has been undertaken so that the Government is able to help those children so that they can be trained in different skills such as carpentry and electronics. With time, the Government will be going around different areas and rehabilitating our Vocational Training Centres so that they can become operational. The problem of drug abuse amongst the youth is as a result of the youth not having anything to do. If we come together as a country, we can overcome this drug problem by ensuring that our youths receive training and can become employed and self-sufficient. I thank you.
*HON. NYABANI: My supplementary question is that since those youths coming from the rural areas do not have money to pay fees to those Vocational Training Centres as most of them have their school fees being paid by BEAM until they reach Form 4, what is Government’s plan when it comes to fees for these Vocational Training Centres? Will the youths be paying fees or will they be going around engaging in Government projects such as building schools where they will be given some allowances so that they can complete their training?
*HON. MACHAKAIRE: Thank you Hon. Nyabani. It is our wish as Government that there be free education for our children, but we will look into the issue that the fees be affordable to those especially in the rural areas. We are grateful that we have our President who has the nation at heart. We will definitely look into this issue and try to ensure that as many of our children receive training so that this benefits our nation Zimbabwe.
+HON. B. NDLOVU: Thank you Madam Speaker. My question is directed to the Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development. Are there any measures that have been set aside by his Ministry to complete these roads that were under construction before the onset of the rainy season? Looking from where I come from, Vungu and Maboleni, this road was not completed. There is a small stretch which needs to be attended to. Paying particular attention to the President’s mantra of leaving no place and no one behind, in Vungu we are lagging a little bit behind because our road has not yet been completed. Thank you, Hon. Speaker.
*THE MINISTER OF TRANSPORT AND INFRASTRUCTURAL DEVELOPMENT (HON. MHONA): The Hon. Member spoke about areas that have roads that have not been completed. It is true I was once in Vungu and I saw it for myself. I would like to inform the House that the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructural Development is seized with the matter. The Hon. Member said no place should be left behind as our President has been constantly saying. The Hon. Member mentioned a specific area and it would have been more proper to put the question as a written question. As Ministry of Transport and Infrastructural Development, we visit different areas looking at the state of our roads. Many Members of Parliament can attest to the fact that the Ministry has been in their area. I would like to appeal to the House that the budget allocation of the Ministry be increased so that the Ministry has enough funds to look into the resurfacing of all roads.
*THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon. Members, let me take this opportunity to inform the new Members of Parliament that when asking questions for Questions Without Notice, they should be on policy issues. When you want to ask questions about a specific issue on a specific area, you have to go to Papers Office and submit your question for Questions With Notice. This will enable the Minister to research on the issue and bring to this House a comprehensive response to the question. I thank you.
Hon. Tafanana Zhou having stood up for a supplementary question.
*THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: I am sorry Hon. Zhou, the extended time for question time has expired.
PRESIDENTIAL SPEECH: DEBATE ON ADDRESS
First Order read: Adjourned debate on motion in reply to the Presidential Speech.
Question again proposed.
HON. MUKUHLANI: Thank you Madam Speaker for giving me the opportunity to debate on the State of the Nation Address (SONA) by His Excellency the President. Let me start by congratulating His Excellency the President for winning and being elected to lead the nation of Zimbabwe. Once again, the result came not as a surprise to many of us because this is a Government that is people centric and a Government that is geared to leave no place and no one behind. As such, the people of Zimbabwe befittingly elected him to be the leader of this country. Let me again Madam Speaker, congratulate Advocate Mudenda and yourself for being re-elected as Speaker and Deputy Speaker of this House. In the past five years, you have led us wisely and we have learned from your wise counsel as Speaker and Deputy Speaker.
Madam Speaker, the SONA by the President of the country is historic in many ways. The last time that he addressed this House, we were emerging out of the COVID-19 pandemic in which post COVID he pronounced major infrastructure initiatives to this country. Not only did he lead us out of the pandemic but he also initiated major economic and social programmes to develop the country of Zimbabwe. In his SONA on the 3rd October, the President presented Government priorities from a broad spectrum of portfolios, chief among them, industrialisation and modernisation of the economy, stabilisation and consolidation of the economy, increase in agricultural productivity, infrastructural development and investment in our national railways.
Madam Speaker, he spoke also to the effect of our education. Madam Speaker, let me comment on the areas that the President mentioned and spoke about in his Address. In so far as industrialisation is concerned, I will go historical. The generation of Mbuya Nehanda, Sekuru Kaguvi, Chaminuka and others have a legacy of fighting the colonial masters. The generation that followed has a legacy of having brought the independence of this country. Madam Speaker, as spelt out by the President in his SONA about industrialisation, it is for this generation to work to industrialise Zimbabwe. We have it upon our shoulders to leave a legacy of industrialising this country.
I will speak to an industry that I am familiar with Madam Speaker. It is an anomaly that 43 years after independence, we still import 99% of our medicines. We need to have legislative framework and regulatory framework that allows the pharmaceutical industry in this country to be able to produce medicines that are affordable and accessible to the people of Zimbabwe. It augurs with what the President has mentioned with industrialisation and modernisation of our economy. To that effect, the President spoke about the National Health Bill which touches on the availability and affordability of medicines. Madam Speaker, health is a right not a privilege. We therefore, as a nation, have to provide national health insurance to our citizens to make access to health and access to medicines easy and affordable.
Madam Speaker, the President also spoke about the legislative agenda and I will dwell again on an area that I am too familiar with, the area of sport. He spoke about the Sport Integrity Bill which deals with issues of malpractices, unfairness, match fixing, corruption, bullying and other vices that we find in the industry of sport. He also touched on the sport industry, on the Sport, Recreation and Leisure Bill. Madam Speaker, not so long ago, Zimbabwe cricket hosted 10 countries in Zimbabwe with an audience of 200 million viewers globally. That speaks to an industry that has capacity to build, employ and to bring revenue to this country. Not only that, I have spoken of 200 million viewership, that means we have got power in marketing our country from a sports tourism point of view. I want to thank the President in his wisdom to bring about the Sports, Recreation and Leisure Bill which seeks to enhance the position of sport in the economy.
Madam Speaker, the President also spoke of a phenomenal growth in the mining industry from $2 billion in 2017 to $12 billion to date. What a phenomenal growth that we have experienced. He also spoke of a $10 million facility for the artisanal miners. What is important Madam Speaker is that as we cherish this growth in the mining industry, it is important and imperative that the $10 million facility that the President has availed through Government for artisanal miners, that health and safety for artisanal miners becomes a priority. It is not good that we have our artisanal miners who continue to be trapped in mines as they work to contribute to the fiscus.
Madam Speaker, the President also spoke on consolidation of the economy, stabilisation of the economy and I believe many of us are aware of the fact that prior to elections, we had run-away inflation, which Government timely intervened and stabilised the currency.
Madam Speaker, earlier on, we spoke on the need to use our own currency. There is no nation that has developed without using its own currency. There is no nation that has developed without using its own language. I want to commend the President for the effort that he put prior to the elections to stabilise the currency, but having said that, unscrupulous business practices are still on the rise within the economy. It is important that such vices are dealt with and are dealt with precisely. I have spoken about the mining industry which has recorded phenomenal growth, but what is also important is to deal with the leakages in the gold industry and in all the precious minerals of this country so that we can continue to grow. The President spoke about increased agricultural productivity. I stand here as testimony of a son of a peasant farmer. Pfumvudza has changed lives. It is meant to be an economic empowerment to alleviate poverty and to make food security a reality to our people. Here is a problem Madam Speaker, the same names that we see receiving Pfumvudza year after year is not progress. We need to see progression from the good will that the office of the President has extended to the people of this country. When pfumvudza is given we must see different names and a change in terms of the economic status of the recipients of Pfumvudza. There must be a change in their welfare status in our society. It is not that the President will continue to feed and to give inputs to the same people without change. There must be a recorded progression that we see from the recipients of Pfumvudza.
The President spoke about Education 5.0 which speaks to the issue of Science and Technology. In 1947, at the inception of the new India, Jawaharlal Nehru spoke of nuclear Physics and nuclear Science. In 1997, fifty years after the independence of India, a long time after he had gone, India set in space their first nuclear war head. Madam Speaker, it is the same spirit that the Second Republic has come up with Education 5.0, which seeks to deal with issues of science and technology. The world has moved and we must move with it. We cannot be left behind.
Madam Speaker, it is important for our nation to be part and parcel of the growing world in the field of artificial intelligence. We cannot continue as a nation to be a consumer of goods and services, we must be a producer and a player. We must contribute to the well-being of the world. We must be part and parcel of the world economy. The President also spoke about climate change which is affecting the world. Africa and the rest of the world, Zimbabwe included; we have been at the receiving end of climate change. We have been good stewards to the climate. We have kept our animals, forests and fisheries, but we are at the receiving end of climate change. As we speak, our summer season is threatened by Elnino, but we are no polluters at all. It is important that the Bills that are tabled in this Parliament that relate to climate change are expedited so that we take part in protecting the climate, the world and our heritage.
Not long ago in this august House, we spoke about the scourge of drug and substance abuse which the President also highlighted in his SONA. The issue of drug and substance abuse is more of a health issue than it is a legal matter. We need a health delivery system that speaks to issues of mental health and is equipped at primary healthcare level and at clinic level that can deal with issues of drug and substance abuse. In his speech, the President also spoke about an increment in devolution funds which will look at road development in the remote areas of our country. It also talked of education and health. Madam Speaker, our health is premised on a proper and sound primary healthcare system. Today what we see at our tertiary national hospitals is because we have a weak primary healthcare delivery system. I want to thank the President in his wisdom that he has increased the devolution funds which is going to help in building new clinics, equipping clinics and making sure that our primary healthcare is delivering. We should also decongest our healthcare centers, our Parirenyatwa, Harare Hospitals, Chitungwiza hospital, UBH and Mpilo Hospitals.
In conclusion the President said nyika inovakwa nevene vayo, which is a clarion call that does not speak to any religion or any political party, but speaks to Zimbabweans in their entirety in all walks of life. The clarion call is that for those who are with us we will stand rooted together in developing the country. We will stand shoulder to shoulder in developing our nation. As he made this clarion call he makes it at the backdrop of illegal sanctions that have been imposed on this country for over two decades. For those that do not believe that sanctions are actually a reality, I come from a background of cricket where we have not played England for the past twenty years and those are economic sanctions. Economic sanctions in themselves are an abuse of basic human rights. I thank you Madam Speaker for the opportunity to debate.
*HON. TSHUMA: Thank you Hon. Madam Speaker. Let me start by congratulating you for being appointed again to lead this august House, yourself and Hon. Adv. Mudenda. Let me also take this opportunity to congratulate our President Cde. Dr. E. D. Mnangagwa for winning the election in a fair, credible and very peaceful environment which silenced our enemies.
During his SONA address our President touched on a lot of pertinent issues to do with our mineral wealth, making of laws, and other issues that help our people to live peacefully in the four cardinal points of the country. I will speak more in relation to where I come from because most of the issues have already been debated by those who spoke before me.
There is the issue of human-wildlife conflict in this country especially in Gokwe Kabuyuni where I come from. There are two national parks which are Chizarira and Chirisa national parks. It is in these parks that the human-wildlife conflict is being experienced and the President spoke about it at length. The President said there is a fund that is being put aside to assist those that are going to be involved in human-animal conflict that might lead to the loss of their relatives, limbs, crops or livestock due to attacks from wild animals.
It is a good vision that the President has, but as Parliament, we also have a duty to encourage ministries that are responsible for the management of wildlife to also look at other issues such as the funding that is going to be put in place to assist the victims of human-wildlife conflict. We should not only be assisting those that will have fallen victim. We should be proactive and ensure that we protect the people from these wild animals because year-in, year-out we are experiencing these problems. For example, this year we have lost two people who were trampled to death by elephants. We have livestock such as cattle, goats and sheep that are being devoured by lions.
In my constituency, three to four wards have been heavily affected and this attack by animals is now rife, especially the time when people are about to harvest their crops. These animals come to these settlements. So, we urge those that are responsible for the upkeep of these animals to ensure that electrical fences are put up because in the past, we used to have such infrastructure in place to separate the boundaries between the communal settlements and wild parks. The fences have been vandalised and some of them were no longer working because the solar powered fences could not be repaired as they had outlived their lifespan. As a result, they could no longer be used and resulted in the attacks to the people.
We must support His Excellency’s vision through deeds so that when they say they want us to control this menace of human-animal conflict, the Government departments should be looking into it so that when they embark on empowering the people through Pfumvudza, we score a success as the animals will not come and destroy our crops. The areas that I talked about; wards 32, 27, 2 and others are already starving as a result of the animal-human conflict.
Furthermore, the residents and those people that we represent now believe that the animals are now more sacred or special than people. Those found poaching are either arrested, shot or killed, but if wildlife like elephants, hyenas and lions were to leave the national parks and encroach into human settlements, they are not being killed. Animals have now more rights than human beings. What makes me happy is that His Excellency the President is talking about the need to come up with the Parks and Wildlife Act. I want to believe that it will help in reviewing laws that are now giving more rights than the humans because we represent people and not animals. If crops and people are now being destroyed by animals with impunity, then it means we are failing in our duty to properly represent our constituencies.
These are the problems that they are crying foul about. I say so because there are some people that are from the Parks and Wildlife who work with our RDCs who have put in place guards that are armed. So, they shoot warning shots because the shotguns that they have cannot even kill a guinea fowl. We are putting the lives of these guards in danger if they are armed with shotguns and there is nothing much that we are trying to protect. We are saying that they can only kill a problem animal. An animal that has killed a human being is classified as a problem animal. Once there is this problem animal, that is when they put it down. In majority of cases, they do not find the rogue animal and in the end they kill a different animal altogether.
We are not eradicating this problem, so I am appealing to Members of Parliament that when this Act comes maybe through an amendment in this House, we ask that the amendment be to an extent that it places more importance on the lives of humans instead of animals. If both animals and human beings are important, there should be proper demarcation of boundaries to protect the animals from the people. They can put bases where trained guards can be stationed so that they can be in a position to drive away animals in these problems and that it does not take long for them to timeously attend to problems that the people will be facing, because it is taking a long time for them to react. In the meantime, the crops and livestock will have been killed.
Seeds were given to the people so that they can grow vegetables in their gardens through the programme by His Excellency the President. At harvest time, a number of villagers had their harvested crops being attacked by elephants in the temporary storage areas. It is a problem that our people are facing. This was also echoed by Hon. Nguluvhe that he is experiencing the same human-animal conflict. I observed and I believe that these are not the only two places that this problem is. Several Members of Parliament will speak to that subject. I once again reiterate that when this amendment comes before this august House, we must ensure that it is looked into so that people can be protected and His Excellency the President’s vision of eradicating hunger is achieved.
I also want to thank the President for drilling of boreholes across the provinces. He said that he wants to ensure that 35 000 boreholes are drilled. It will make life easier for people in rural areas by accessing water. By so doing, the people’s lifestyles will improve and they will do gardening. It will enable people to access clean water for humans and animals. Water is a problem, like in my constituency, we have salty water. Water supply from ZINWA is limited and for someone to drill a borehole, they go as deep as 300m. It is expensive even for the Government to drill boreholes because at 40m which is the average in other areas, you can get water. It costs US1500 to drill 40m. As a result, the villagers end up drilling shallow boreholes where the water cannot be used for drinking or cooking because it is salty.
I am urging the Ministry of Agriculture and the Ministry of Finance to assist so that such places have small to medium dams constructed in their areas. This is economic as compared to drilling boreholes. I also urge ZINWA to complete their projects and not leave them halfway once they have started working on the projects. I had two boreholes sunk in my constituency under the Presidential scheme. As we speak, ZINWA has been promising to come and ensure that solar units and pumps are put in place. This will not help much because they do not complete their projects.
Lastly, I would like to talk about the issue of Pfumvudza. We are very grateful to His Excellency the President for this programme which avoids starvation. We are pleading with His Excellency that as Hon. Members, we have youths in our constituency who are strong and energetic. During the Presidential scheme, they must be given inputs such as fertilizers and seeds so that they can also produce for themselves and the market. They will also be able to look after themselves and their families and improve their lives. They also will be able to contribute to the bread basket of the nation. I thank you.
HON. M. NKOMO: Thank you Hon. Speaker. I want to thank you for giving me this opportunity to debate on the State of the Nation Address (SONA) delivered by the President of the Republic of Zimbabwe, His Excellency Cde Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa on 3rd October 2023.
Hon. Speaker Sir, I want to thank the President and the Second Republic for delivering on a number of promises in the 9th Parliament. In this SONA, the President spoke about the increase of resources disbursed towards devolution and decentralisation programme, giving priority to projects which improve access and quality of education.
Hon. Speaker Sir, in Lupane District, schools like Simunyu Primary, Kwarayi, Ndubo, Thokozoni and Sibomvu Secondary as well as Malube, Mucheni and Khumbu have infrastructure built using the Devolution Fund. Section 75 (1) (b) of our Constitution provides that; “Every citizen and permanent resident of Zimbabwe has a right to further education, which the State, through reasonable legislative and other measures, must make progressively available and accessible.” In this regard, Mr. Speaker Sir, through the devolution and decentralization funds, education has been made accessible in areas around Lupane. I want to thank the President for prioritising access to education in our rural province for education is the only inheritance we can leave as legacy to our children. To better empower these learners through access to education, I strongly recommend for recruitment of more teachers in these rural areas, prioritising indigenous qualified teachers.
Hon. Speaker Sir, in Binga, clinics were constructed in areas such as Malaliya, Sinamunsanga, Zambezi, Chipale and Kalungwizi after years without these health facilities. In Hwange, we have Leona clinic completed and Mashala clinic at roof level. In Lupane, we have Pupu clinic. All these were built using devolution funds. People in those areas are grateful for the Government gesture in not leaving them behind.
Hon. Madam Speaker Ma’am, Devolution and Decentralisation Fund has empowered our people through their councils to determine how to develop their areas, the President mantra goes; Ilizwe lakhiwa ngabanikazi balo. Unlike in the past where Harare always decided how and when a clinic in the rural areas of Hwange, Binga or Lupane or Tsholotsho could be built. The Second Republic, through the leadership of His Excellency President E. D. Mnangagwa has empowered the rural areas to make decisions and prioritise things that affect them. I therefore, Mr. Speaker Sir, support the increase of resources for Devolution and Decentralisation Fund in the Tenth Parliament, by the Second Republic.
Hon. Madam Speaker Ma’am, water is life, Section 77 of our Constitution speaks to right to food and water, that “Every person has the right to safe, clean and potable water; and sufficient food”. The President in his SONA, talked about the drilling of 35 000 boreholes set to consolidate national agriculture productivity and food sufficiency.
Madam Speaker, as you know Matabeleland North is Region 5, hence the challenge of water and food sufficiency. However, the President’s borehole drilling programme has seen a number of our communities benefiting and accessing clean water. This has not only helped our people, but also our livestock which are now getting drinking and dip tank water. These boreholes have also become a source of water for our nutritious gardens for most farmers. More than 20 boreholes were drilled in Lupane, Binga, Hwange and Tsholotsho under the Presidential Scheme. Besides drilling for villages, this project also benefited Government Departments such as schools, clinics and the veterinary. This project, together with the Gwai-Shangani Dam, is a game changer in Matabeleland North as far as water and food supply is concerned. I fully support the continuity of President Mnangagwa’s borehole drilling project. Let the project penetrate into all rural areas of Matabeleland North.
The President spoke much about the increase in drug and substance abuse, especially among the youths, which I want to debate jointly with his statement on sport as an integral part to job creation as well as promotion of healthy lifestyles. As a woman and a mother, I share the same concern with the President on drug abuse by our youths. You will remember that the 21st National Youth Day was this year hosted by Lupane District and the President talked about drug abuse again.
Drug abuse is on the increase and is now spreading into the rural areas. What may be different is the drug or substance that the youths are taking in different locations, but toxicity is the same. Old people and business communities are into the selling of these drugs and substance for quick money. They are taking advantage of these children and what is more heart-breaking is the ignorance and corruption level by some law enforcement agents. I want to urge the nation to support the President and Government in punishing those individuals found producing and selling the drugs.
I am happy that in the 9th Parliament, you had introduced Parliament Sports Club in which Honourable Members and Staff of Parliament could go for sports every week and travel to various constituencies to campaign against drug and substance abuse. Madam Speaker, such programmes should continue in support of President Mnangagwa’s call against drug abuse.
The other cause of the increase in drug and substance abuse among the youth is chasing or returning of children by school authorities for non-payment of fees. School authorities in rural schools are defiant of Government policy of not returning learners for unpaid fees. The children mostly affected are the vulnerable; the double or single orphaned, child-headed family, those living with old, chronically ill or disabled parents or guardians. A milestone achievement has been realised in the access to information, media and broadcasting services through opening Community radio stations; Twasumpuka FM in Binga. Lyeja FM in Hwange, Lupane State University and the other one in Umguza. Our people, Mr. Speaker, are using their own languages to broadcast. This is in line with Section 6(4) of our Constitution which reads, “The State must promote and advance the use of all languages used in Zimbabwe, including sign language and must create conditions for the development of those languages.”
Madam Speaker Ma’am, there is no better way of promoting and advancing the use of all languages, let alone creating conditions for the development of them except creating a platform where the users of these languages can openly and freely use the language as the medium of communication. I want to thank the President and the Second Republic for opening airwaves in these areas as is mantra; “Leaving no one and no place behind”.
Access to information is a right and that information should be accessed in the language that a person understands. By commissioning Radio Stations in less developed areas, our Government is therefore making it a point that everyone gets informed and be heard, in his own language. This project has not only enabled access to information, but created employment for our young people in Lupane, Binga, Hwange and other districts that have benefitted.
Lastly, I want to speak to the matter of human wildlife conflict which the President alluded to. Matabeleland North is wildlife infested, the Hwange National Park, Chizarira National Park and the Victoria Falls city are all full of animals. Our people are losing lives early as a result of wild animals. Hunger in most parts of Matabeleland North is contributed by elephants eating in the fields of our people without compensation. I am happy and in agreement with the President’s idea of compensating victims of the human wildlife conflict. Even though nothing can buy back life, but what the affected family can get may sooth their loss and give them somewhere to start from.
Once again, Madam Speaker Ma’am, I want to thank you for giving me this opportunity to debate the President’s State of Nation Address (SONA).
HON. SPARE SITHOLE: I rise to add my voice on the State of the Nation Address which was delivered by His Excellency the President on the Official Opening of the 10th Parliament. Firstly, I want to congratulate the President, His Excellency, the Commander-in-Chief of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces, Dr. E. D. Mnangagwa on his resounding victory in the recently held harmonised elections. I also congratulate you Hon Speaker Sir, your Deputy and all Members of the National Assembly.
In his State of the Nation Address, His Excellency gave all of us as Members of Parliament, to accelerate the completion of the 10th Parliament Bills. He highlighted to the nation that our economy has been on an upward trajectory, recording positive growth rate across sectors, even against the background of the illegal sanctions imposed on us by our detractors who thought when they impose sanctions on us, they thought we were going to fail to strive on our economy and to develop our country Zimbabwe. As Zimbabweans, we are using resources of our country, so we have challenged them.
I would like to urge Members of Parliament to participate in the enactment of laws that will improve the quality of life in rural communities because when we enact these laws and united like we are today, the communities which elected us will have quality life in our rural communities. I want to urge Members of Parliament that during the time of our outreach and public hearings, we should emphasise on targeting rural communities as well since focus has mainly been in towns during the previous Parliament.
I would also like to thank the 2nd Republic for providing free dip and tick grease for the cattle farmers in my district Insiza which is more affected by unknown livestock diseases. Cattle are both national herd and a village wealth symbol. Therefore, we must have more boreholes close to the dip tanks. This is because most of the dips have no boreholes close and no water to supply to those dips. That is why we are being affected with these diseases mostly in Matabeleland where I come from, region 5, where the rainfall is not much. Therefore, we must have more dip tanks, boreholes or dams for us to thrive in livestock production and growing of the national herd.
In Matabeleland South, when ZINWA and DDF drilled boreholes, they say they are supposed to drill up to 40 meters. All those 40 meter drilled boreholes are dry. I hope that they should drill up to 80 meters instead of drilling two boreholes in a village which are 40 meters deep each. I think one borehole which is 80 meters deep can work well in Matabeleland in a village. They drilled three boreholes, each 40 meters and all of them got dry. So, it means it is a loss to Government and I feel that they should drill one borehole which is 80 meters or 100 meters and the community will have enough water.
Madam Speaker, I propose the enactment of the National Livestock Herd Bill and Insurance Bill that will protect the rural farmer from the mass loss of livestock through current unknown diseases. I also refer to such diseases that are prevailing now and similar disaster or loss that has wiped out cattle in the district. For example, in Insiza District, some parts of Chiweshe and Murehwa and other parts of the country.
Under the health sector, I also propose free medical service to those affected by silent diseases like diabetes, cancer and heart problems. I urge the Members of Parliament during budget time that we must support the budget allocation of the health sector because of these silent killer diseases which should be treated for free to those who fall victim. I do not want to take much of your time Hon. Speaker and I want to thank you and God bless the 2nd Republic of Zimbabwe.
HON. MARUPI: Thank you Madam Speaker. Firstly, I would like to congratulate the President of the Republic of Zimbabwe, His Excellency, Dr. E. D. Mnangagwa for having won the elections and I congratulate the Speaker and his Deputy for having been elected into their respective positions, my colleagues in the House for also having won the elections and lastly, my constituency Gwanda South for having voted positively. I would like to acknowledge and appreciate the pragmatic and practical speech by His Excellency that I believe it is a speech that came from an able President who has his country at heart, a President who would like to see continuity as a leader. Taking a cue from the past five years, under the 2nd Republic, we have seen a lot of infrastructural development that he emphasised in his speech.
I was so much attracted and fascinated by his emphasis in drilling 35 000 boreholes across the whole country. I believe it is from a leader who has looked back at his background that he grew up walking long distances to fetch water and hence in his leadership, he wants the people to have access to a life that has water nearby for the adage, “water is life” to be fulfilled. While this is so from where I come from, I am waiting eagerly for the boreholes to be drilled because with our African background and belief that water is fetched by the girl child, I do believe that the distance travelled by the girl child to fetch water is going to be reduced – [HON. MEMBER: Hear, hear.] - Now that I come from region 5, which is dry and receiving minimal rainfall, what we saw happening under the Second Republic, under the able leadership of His Excellency, the Gwayi-Shangani Dam is not going to bring water to the communities around the dam itself but is going to be a belt right up to Bulawayo, where I believe people will get probably to understand what the President is having at heart for the people of Zimbabwe. With that said and done, we also have this similar project in Gwanda South, the Thuli-Manyange Dam that I believe is going not only to provide water but to provide food in the form of fish; to provide employment in the form of the irrigations that are going to be established around that area. Noting that a lot has happened under the Second Republic when it comes to irrigation projects.
A lot of Bills were tabled and the President is really concerned in speeding up aligning Zimbabwe’s economy with the other international economies. Hence his emphasis on seeing Zimbabwe reaching the middle-income economy status by 2030. As such, repealing some of the Acts such as the Frederick Taylor Act is something that I believe was long overdue for it is an Act that celebrates the Pioneer Column Day, when instead we are supposed to be celebrating the Heroes and Heroines Day for those who lost their lives and those who sacrificed their lives for us to be in this independent Zimbabwe today. Its repealing, to me is really exciting because it contains the celebration of the Commonwealth Day, when in fact we are supposed to be emphasising the celebration of the 18th April, for it came with the freedom that we have, as you can see us filled in this House today – [HON. MEMBER: Hear, hear.] –
Let me say and emphasise that by bringing and including a visit into the Mining Act Bill, the President is concerned with aligning some of these Acts with his vision and with the Constitution of Zimbabwe for we have seen what has happened in mining in the past years and as such, he is concerned that the artisanal miners should also be given space. Hence the allocation of a loan that is going to empower them. On the same token, what is going to be added, I believe when we debate it is going to add value to the Act by seeing into it that there is transparency, recognition of the communities where mining activities are taking place. The President always emphasises that no community should be left behind when it comes to the development of this country. On the same token, he emphasises that whoever is engaged in any mining activity in an area where there has been a mineral discovery, culture should be respected and as such, we have seen a lot of activities disturbing the livelihood of the communities that for long have identified and occupied communities that they have called places of their birth.
Without dwelling much, I believe some of the things have been discussed and touched by my fellow Members. Once more, I would like to thank the President for his speech. To me, being here for the first time, was the most welcoming speech because what he touched on is what brought me here. Thank you.
*HON. NYABANI: Thank you Madam Speaker Ma’am. I would like to add my voice on the issue that was raised by Hon. Nguluvhe, supported by Hon. Zhou. His Excellency talked about good education. The President’s words were good and when Ministers look into the system of education we have in the country, they should also take into consideration pupils in Rushinga. At the moment, Grade 7, Ordinary Level and Advanced Level pupils are travelling long distances in order to write public examinations. We urge that such schools be upgraded to become examination centres so that school children do not walk long distances to write their examinations. We also wish that network be upgraded so that children in rural areas can also do online lessons like what those in urban centres do.
Health matters is something that the President talked about. He talked about the need for provision of sufficient doctors and provision of drugs and adequate nurses so as to improve health of the people and save lives. I always think of Rushinga, hopefully that we will have sufficient drugs, doctors and nurses. As Hon. Members of Parliament, we are no longer going to act as funeral parlours ferrying bodies from Parirenyatwa Hospital to bury them. We are only going to ferry those who die in the local areas due to the non-availability of drugs. If medication and medical staff are readily available in our constituencies, it will be a welcome move.
On the issue of the state of roads, His Excellency promised that the state of the roads is going to be improved. When I first came to Parliament, we used to complain that ZUPCO buses are no longer travelling and reaching certain areas, so now it brings to mind that once good roads are there, ZUPCO buses will be available and reaching all areas.
Madam Speaker, the President talked about the industries. I am glad that once the industries are booming, it means that goods are readily available. Foodstuffs, farming inputs, animal stock feeds, drugs and other things will be affordable because the country will be producing on its own. Unemployment will also be a thing of the past and the country will now be developing.
His Excellency spoke about building houses for the people, I was quite happy about that development. The majority of people, myself included, I once bought a stand in Chitungwiza in 2008, up until now I have not yet done any construction because the stands were being sold fraudulently. So, if the Government intervenes on the issue of residential stands, we will no longer loose our hard-earned money due to these land barons. We will not also have people building in wetlands, right now in Cameroon, people are having problems of floods, so if this happens in our country, some houses will be swept away. Therefore, if the Government builds houses for people, we will not have people building in undesignated areas.
Madam Speaker, I was very happy to hear His Excellency saying you are the representatives of the people, you shall be legislating laws and doing all that you were sent to do by your people, so it is my desire that for Members of Parliament’s welfare to be looked into so that we are able to execute our duties diligently. Members of Parliament end up having chronic diseases like hypertension due to difficulties and challenges back home. It is my plea therefore, that the welfare of Members of Parliament be looked at.
Madam Speaker Ma’am, His Excellency spoke about sports. Sport unites people, people who are fighting when they watch soccer together, at the end of the match, they will be united. It is my desire that our stadiums at schools be of high standard and the school curriculum should include various sporting activities. It is not only the academics that are giving people a way of life, but also sports. I thank you.
HON. ZIKI: Thank you Madam Speaker for giving me this opportunity. I would like to start by congratulating His Excellency, Hon. E.D Mnangagwa for a rigorous and very vibrant campaign which brought him to a resounding victory. I would also like to congratulate all of us here in these new positions as a result of either appointment or contestation - I say to you all congratulations.
Coming to the State of the Nation Address by His Excellency, I would like to thank the President for his visionary leadership which has seen a huge change of the nation from the advent of the Second Republic. He has done more than 7000 projects and most of the projects covered every aspect of the economy, but most importantly, the commissioning of the Hwange Power Station’s Units seven and eight; a feat done by a country under sanctions which is quite commendable – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.]
We have also seen the growth of the mining sector; we have the biggest lithium mine coming up. We also have steel works in Chimwizho which is anticipated to employ more than 10 000 people, which is quite a feat also. Together with that we are also expecting the resuscitation of ZISCO Steel. All these projects have come through the mantra ‘Nyika inovakwa nevene vayo’.
On the issue of boreholes – we are very grateful about the promise made by His Excellency on drilling boreholes. Where I come from, as a DCC Chairman, I have five constituencies which I retained. We have had boreholes started in one of the constituencies, but we would want these now to cascade to the other four constituencies. We are glad some of them have been equipped with solar units and community gardens are already working.
Education – we have a dire situation in my constituency and I would like to believe the situation is the same in some other places as well. Our population growth is at a faster rate than we can build school infrastructure. In some new resettlement areas and the farming communities, we have the need for schools in order to cut the distances being traveled by the children.
Some of the infrastructure, in terms of development, the situation is quite dire. Some of the kids are learning from under the trees and it is very pathetic. We are glad about the Constituency Development Fund which I would request that it be increased so that we are able to construct reasonable structures.
Whilst on the issue of schools, we also have a challenge of non-registration of these schools as alluded to by the previous speaker earlier on. Most of these schools need to be registered from satellite schools to proper examination centers. We would also want assistance from the Ministry on the speedy registration of these schools.
I come from an agricultural background and we are the biggest producer of tobacco, but now we are having challenges with some contractors, of not paying the farmers on time. Right now, we have farmers who have not been paid for the season before the previous one. This is quite a problem. We had mooted as farmers, coming up with an auction system or auction floor for Karoi because we are having these contractors working in cahoots. We tried to engage them, but they are not very keen on an auction system. It is like TIMB is protecting the contractors. We are pleading with the powers that be, that if this comes as a directive or a request from high up for us to have an auction, I am sure that is the only way we can help our farmers. We have farmers who have not been paid for quite a long time.
Coming on to devolution funds, this has come at a good time. This has been the salvation for most local authorities. Most local authorities could not buy capital equipment, but now this has been realised. We have seen the purchasing of capital equipment by these local authorities. Here comes the challenge with these local authorities. It is my humble submission that there be a supervisory role from Government which scrutinises how service delivery is done for those local authorities who do not do any service delivery yet are collecting rates and taxes and have sewage flowing all over. I think it is not right for us to continuously look at the decay of our local authorities on our watch. I would suggest that commissions should take over from these non-performing local authorities.
Hon. Nyabani having passed between the Chair and the Hon. Member speaking.
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order Hon. Nyabani, you may not cross between the speaker and the Chair.
HON. ZIKI: Because some of the items I had listed here have already been spoken about. I would like to mention something on the producer price of maize. As alluded to by the Hon Minister, fertilizers are expensive and farmers are saying the producer price is falling a little short of a productive viable price that would make them to just break even. I would ask for the review of these prices continuously and timeous payment of such so that the portion of their RTGS is paid timeously whilst it is still valuable.
I would like to conclude by promising on behalf of all the Hon. Members here that what the President has asked for, we are up to the task to deliver on the outstanding Bills of the Ninth Parliament. I thank you.
HON. TOGAREPI: I move that the debate do now adjourn.
HON. S. SITHOLE: I second.
Motion put and agreed to.
Debate to resume: Thursday, 12th October, 2023.
On the motion of HON. TOGAREPI seconded by HON. S. SITHOLE, the House adjourned at Thirteen Minutes past Six o’clock p.m.