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NATIONAL ASSEMBLY HANSARD 12 MAY 2021 VOL 47 NO 49

PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE

Wednesday, 12th May, 2021

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

PRAYERS

(THE HON. SPEAKER in the Chair)

ANNOUNCEMENTS BY THE HON. SPEAKER

PETITION RECEIVED FROM MR. S. MAKUREYA    THE HON. SPEAKER:  I have to inform the House that on 10th

May, 2021, Parliament of Zimbabwe received a petition from Mr. S. Makureya of ZANU PF Harare province, petitioning Parliament to exercise its oversight function regarding the amendment of Statutory Instrument 257 of 2020 which provides for benefits of veterans of the liberation struggle.  The petition has since been referred to the Portfolio

Committee on Defence, Home Affairs and Security Services.

APOLOGIES RECEIVED FROM MINISTERS

THE HON. SPEAKER: I have received apologies from the

following Ministers:-

-The Hon. Vice President and Minister of Health and Child Care

The Hon. Rtd. General Dr. C. G. D. N. Chiwenga,

  • The Minister of Defence and War Veterans – Hon. O. C. Z.

Muchinguri-Kashiri,

-Hon. F. M. Shava – The Minister of Foreign Affairs and

International Trade,

-Hon. M. N. Ndlovu – The Minister of Environment, Climate and

Hospitality Industry,

  • Kanhutu-Nzenza – The Minister of Industry and

Commerce,

  • D. Garwe – The Minister of National Housing and Social

Amenities,

  • Sen. C. Mathema – The Minister of Primary and Secondary

Education,

Hon. K. Kazembe – The Minister of Home Affairs and Cultural

Heritage,

-Hon. S. G. G. Nyoni – The Minister of Women’s Affairs,

Community, Small and Medium Enterprises Development,

  • Dr.J. Mangwiro, The Deputy Minister of Health and Child

Care and

  • P. Kambamura – The Deputy Minister of Mines and Mining

Development.

MOTION

LEAVE TO PRESENT A REPORT ON THE REAPPOINTMENT OF

  1. K. M. CHOKUDA AS CLERK OF PARLIAMENT FOR THE

SECOND AND FINAL TERM

THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND

PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): Section 154 (1)

of the Constitution of Zimbabwe provides that the Committee on Standing Rules and Orders with the approval of the National Assembly must appoint an officer to be known as the Clerk of Parliament to be responsible, subject to Standing Orders and to the control and supervision of the Speaker for the day to day administration of

Parliament.

Standing Order No. 68 provides that every motion requires notice in terms of Standing Order No. 68 (1), I therefore, seek leave of the House to present without notice the report of the Committee on Standing Rules and Orders on the appointment of Mr. Kennedy Mugove Chokuda to a second and final six year term as Clerk of Parliament pursuant to the provisions of Section 154 (2) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe. I so submit.

HON. GONESE: On a point of clarification in terms of procedure.

THE HON. SPEAKER: I have asked for any objections and in terms of procedure, it is as outlined by the Hon Minister and it is quite procedural.

HON. GONESE: It is not about the presentation of the motion but it is about the timing because today being a Wednesday, I thought that there is no objection to him presenting it without notice but it depends now on the timing. Because on a Wednesday, Question Time takes precedence and as long as it is after Question Time, I have no problem with that. There are two different issues. The issue of presenting without notice as far as I am concerned comes after Question Time and whereas if he had notice, we would not have been able to do it today but tomorrow. I have no problem with him doing it today; I only have a problem with the time that he wants to do it because he has not sought leave to suspend the Standing Order which stipulates that on

Wednesdays after notice of motion, the order of business is what follows Question Time. There is a difference there.

THE HON. SPEAKER: I thought you are agreeing in essence that the Hon Minister has sought leave in terms of Standing Order No. 68 and I have allowed it.

HON. GONESE: His seeking of leave relates to the failure to give notice because he was supposed to give notice a day before, that he wants to present a motion on the following day or any subsequent day. What he has sought is simply not to give notice which is a different thing with suspending the time for Question Time. He did not do that. If he has sought leave of the House to suspend the provisions of the Standing Orders relating to the order of business on a Wednesday, that would have been a different thing. What he said was the giving of notice which is a different thing.

THE HON. SPEAKER: I am sure the Hon Minister can correct that proposition.

HON. GONESE: If he had done, that it was going to be a different thing but he did not.

THE HON. SPEAKER: Hon. Gonese, you are repeating yourself. I said the Hon Minister will take note of that.

HON. ZIYAMBI: I submit that this is a small item where I am seeking leave to bring this motion. Once we do that, the House votes and we proceed to Question Time. My understanding was that there was no need for me to suspend Question Time because we are not going to spend a long time on this issue, unless there is a different view that this is a very difficult motion. That is the reason why I sought leave so that I can proceed. It is actually suspending in a way. Thank you Mr.Speaker. THE HON. SPEAKER: The Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs who is the Leader of Government Business seeks leave of the House to present without notice the report of the Committee on Standing Rules and Orders on the appointment of Mr. Kennedy Mugove Chokuda to a second and final term as Clerk of Parliament pursuant to the provision of Section 154 (2) of the Constitution. There being no objection, I call upon the Minister to proceed.

MOTION

REPORT ON THE REAPPOINTMENT OF MR. CHOKUDA AS

CLERK OF PARLIAMENT FOR THE SECOND AND FINAL TERM

         THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND

PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI):  Thank you Mr

Speaker Sir.  The Committee on Standing Rules and Orders met and considered the appointment of Mr Chokuda for a second and final term.  The Hon. Speaker who is the head of Parliament presented a motivation urging the Committee to reappoint the clerk.  The Hon. Speaker presented some of the major achievements that the institution achieved during the tenure of Mr. Chokuda.  The Committee on Standing Rules and Orders unanimously adopted the recommendation by the Hon.

Speaker and I therefore move that the House adopts the report of the Committee on Standing Rules and Orders that Mr. Chokuda be appointed for a second and final term in terms of Section 154 (2) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe.  I so move Mr. Speaker Sir.

HON. NDUNA:  Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  I just want to add my voice in support of the motion that has been presented by the leader of government business in conjunction and speeding up the decision of the SROC recommendation.  I have two issues in applauding the decision and the recommendation by the SROC in that during the tenure that Mr. Chokuda was appointed I was in the House in 2013 in the 8th Parliament leading to the 9th Parliament.  I have seen a progressive, robust and effective way of doing business in Parliament under the stewardship of Mr. Chokuda in that I saw the strategic initiative or a strategic document arising from the operations of Parliament.  There is no way we can go and find a place where we are going if we do not have a pathfinder.  To me, that strategic document leads the way in terms of how Parliament functions and it is applaudable.

The second issue which we are alive to and so are the people of

Chegutu West Constituency is the establishment of the Mt Hampden Parliament.  The man we call Mr. Chokuda, it is my hope, clarion call and fervent view that he sees the light of day in terms of the establishment of this humongous and gigantic infrastructure development that is going to see the migration of the Ministry of

Information from analogue to digital, thereby establishing frequencies that Parliament can also have a standalone 24 hr/day and the 6 or 4 days per week in terms of broadcast.  Having talked about these two issues I land my voice and congratulate your office Mr. Speaker Sir and the SROC for arriving at such a recommendation.  I wish Mr. Chokuda a very happy six year extension.  I want to thank you on behalf of the people of Chegutu West constituency.

HON. PETER MOYO:  Hon. Speaker I also stand to add my

voice to a motion raised by the Hon. Leader of government business.  I want to support the view that Mr. Chokuda be given a second and final six year term.  I have known Mr. Chokuda since 2018.  He has performed his duties diligently and efficiently.  He is a self motivated man and he is a team player.  He has worked very well with both Hon.

Members and staff of Parliament.  In that regard I support that Mr.

Chokuda be given a second term.  I thank you.

HON. NYATHI:  Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  I also want to add my voice to the recommendation that has been given by the leader of government business Hon. Ziyambi where he is seeking an extension of service for Mr Kennedy, Mugove Chokuda for a second term of six years.  I have known Mr. Chokuda ever since 2018.  I have seen that he is a man who works very well even under pressure and he discharges his duties without any questions that one can say he is not doing his job well.  I therefore do not see any reason why his term cannot be extended.

I recommend the extension of his second term in office.  I thank you.

HON. SIKHALA:  Thank you very much Mr. Speaker Sir.  I want to stand and support the motion moved by the leader of government business on the following grounds: firstly some of us who had an opportunity to witness two regimes reining in Parliament since the year 2000 up to the term of Mr. Chokuda have immense respect for the professionalism displayed by Mr. Chokuda in his institutional objectives.  We have been approaching his office several times as Members of Parliament with issues that we wanted him to attend to.  He has been attending to all Members of Parliament during the 9th Parliament.  We have immense respect for his professionalism in the way he handles the different interests.  You have heard from a number of us who have been in that Parliament in 2000 when we were young boys with the former Clerk of Parliament when he literally played politics, something that we have noticed that Dr. Chokuda’s administration does not play politics but plays professionalism and administration to the satisfaction of everybody.  I would support Mr. Speaker Sir, that with all due respect, Dr. Chokuda be given another six year extension of his administration of Parliament.  On behalf of the people of Zengeza West, I support the reappointment of Dr. Chokuda for another six year term.  I thank you Mr. Speaker.

HON. T. MLISWA:  Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  I support his reappointment but what is critical in his second term is to ensure that the welfare of the Members of Parliament is taken care of.  Him being the chief administrator of Parliament, he must ensure that with resources permitting, I know it is probably a constraint but the welfare of the Members of Parliament is very important.  The Clerk of Parliament is responsible for ensuring that MPs are happy and that their remuneration is also benchmarked with some of the Parliaments in this region.  Sadly, Mr. Speaker Sir, we have failed as Parliament to also benchmark ourselves to some of the SADC Parliaments due to resources which are totally beyond his control but he must push for a better welfare for the MPs in his second term and ensure that when they discharge their duties, they do so in a professional manner which is not compromising at all.

I must say, he is a calm man and I am not calm myself but when I go into his office, I end up being calm in the way that he conducts himself.  He will listen to you, he will give you the advice and he will give you options to pick what is good for you.  I really want to say he is still an asset to this Parliament in many ways.  I think before you also go to the Speaker, it is good to be the first stop because you need to be quite thorough when you approach the Speaker.  He does prepare you for your engagement with the Speaker.  He is also somebody who wants the rules of Parliament to be followed, which is important no matter what it is, he wants it to be done.  I wish him the best and I am hoping that in his second term, he will also try and push for a better welfare for MPs.

Finally, on a lighter note, I hope he will be joining the parliamentary sports club so that he deals with his Rhodesian front.  We look forward to see him there.

THE HON. SPEAKER:   Hon. Mliswa, as his immediate supervisor, he is working on Sports Policy which should be complete before June 2021 and he will take care of some of the issues that you have mentioned concerning sports.  Thank you.

HON. MUTAMBISI:  Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  I would like to add my voice to a motion raised by the Leader of the House, Hon. Ziyambi Ziyambi.  Mr. Chokuda deserves to be given a second six year term.  He has transformed the Parliament of Zimbabwe to a paperless institution by embracing ICT skills and prioritising virtual debates in Parliament.  Lastly, he is a humble person and can interact with everyone.  Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.

THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND

PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): Thank you Mr.

Speaker Sir.  I want to thank the Hon. Members that have debated my motion on the reappointment of Mr. Kennedy Chokuda starting with Hon. Nduna.  His vocabulary was very rich indeed but basically he was in support and full of praise for the work that Hon. Chokuda has done...

THE HON. SPEAKER:  Did you say honourable? Not yet.

HON. ZIYAMBI:  Sorry.  Mr. Chokuda and chief among them being the establishment of the e-Parliament and also Mr. Speaker, you alluded to the awards that we got in 2016 from MISA.  The award for the most open and public institution of the year and last year at the Agricultural Show, for our response led by you Mr. Speaker and in terms of our response to COVID-19.  I want to thank all the Hon. Members who have spoken about his professionalism, impartiality and also what Hon. Mliswa said that perhaps we need to also ensure that the welfare of Hon. Members is considered and he also considered the way

Mr. Chokuda is very calm indeed and always be there to give advice to Hon. Members.

Having said, that I want to thank all the Hon. MPs for the support they have rendered towards the reappointment of Mr. Chokuda and move that the motion be now adopted.  I thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. Motion with leave, adopted.

THE HON. SPEAKER:  As an indulgent father, I want to preempty the question of time for Questions Without Notice and hope there will be some extension so that the concerns of Hon. Gonese are accommodated accordingly.

ORAL ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS WITHOUT NOTICE

(V)HON. CHIKWAMA:  Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  My

question is directed to the Minister of Finance.  Minister, is there any mechanism or plan which makes banks reduce their bank charges which are highly charged especially on payments, transactions or transfer, be it ZIPIT orRTGs?

THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (HON. CHIDUWA): I would like to accept what has been submitted by Hon. Chikwama that bank charges on transactions that are being levied by our banks are on the upper side.  We have engaged our banks and the primary reason they are fighting for high bank charges is because of the software system they are using. Most of the systems they are using are imported.  We need to continue revamping our availability of forex so that we reduce the costs of imported software.  We are also saying they should look at having those solutions locally.

In terms of the short term management of costs, we may not be having the solution on that but in the medium to long term, we are looking at the availing of forex to the bank and also trying to get the local solution.

HON. GONESE:  My supplementary question relates to the issue of the banks apparently trying to make money from bank charges.  My understanding of banking is that banks must make their profits from landing. In other words, they borrow money or get deposits at lower rates of interest and then lend money to borrowers who then pay higher levels of interest.  What is Government doing to ensure that the essence and principle of banking where banks are supposed to make money through lending and not through the lending of bank charges can be rectified thereby lessening the burden on people who have deposited their money having to bear the brunt and sustain the operations of banks?

HON. CHIDUWA: In terms of the operations of banks, commercial banks and all institutions that are allowed to lend are free to provide lending facilities, but it is up to the individual bank to look at the risk profiles of those who are applying for loans. We are not limiting.  What only limits the bank is the risk profile but the other issue that is also affecting banks is the unavailability of funds to do the lending programmes.  We should also take into account the issue of functions that have affected our banks in terms of the extent to which they can get international credit lines that they can give out to those who are looking for land.  Banks are free to provide loans but they also consider the risk profiles of those who are looking for loans.

HON. NDUNA: I am concerned that some of these banks are international banks and they are also resident, some of them in South

Africa for example NEDBANK, Stanbic and Standard Chartered where Zimbabwe is also an international bank.  If they can charge pittance in terms of charges outside Zimbabwe and using the same system, why is it usurias in Zimbabwe?  How much time are you giving them to install software that is affordable on the side of the customers?

HON. CHIDUWA: I still come back to the same point of the soundness of the financial system that we look at the profile of non- performing loans.  If you look at the proportion of non-performing loans versus the loan profile, this is what determines the risk profile.  As long as our non-performing loans are on the upper side, it then determines the risk profile.  In terms of when we are likely to have local solution, I think I would need to engage the Bankers Association of Zimbabwe and then come with a Ministerial Statement.

HON. T. MOYO: My question is directed to the Minister of

Higher and Tertiary Education.  How far has the recently promulgated

Manpower Development Act affected the operationalisation of

Education 5.0 in stimulating industrialisation and modernisation?

THE MINISTER OF HIGHER AND TERTIARY

EDUCATION, INNOVATION, SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY DEVELOPMENT (HON. PROF. MURWIRA):  I want to first of all

thank Parliament and His Excellency the President for enabling the enactment of the Manpower Planning and Development Amendment Act. Hon. Speaker, this Act for the first time in the history of this country gives a very clear intention of education. The clear intention of education as a means to modernise and industrialise this country that the purpose of education is not to have pieces of purpose, the purpose of education is seen in the effect that it has on the industrialisation and modernisation of any nation.

To this end now, all our higher and tertiary education institutions are required to provide an education that is derived from the national need and required then to cause industrilisation through the innovation and industrialisation fund so that we dispose of the idea of looking for work and adopt the idea of creating the work that is needed to feed into the needs of our people. So Hon. Speaker, I want to submit and say the Manpower Planning and Development Amendment Act is a complete revolution in terms of what our education is expected to do. So, we expect the effect to start showing very vigorously as we move in time as a nation within very few months to a year or years to come.

Mr. Speaker, I want to finally submit that this Act conforms to the spirit of creativity in terms of science, research as well as academic freedom that is enshrined by Section 61 of the Constitution which says

“if people are free  to think and create that is where the development of a country comes from”. Therefore polytechnics, vocational training centres, teachers’ colleges and industrial training centres are now within the league of universities in terms of being accorded the freedom that they need to create, modernise and industrialise this country. So I want to submit that this is the operationalisation of the heritage based education 5.0 that we have been looking for. There is now a legal basis to do so.

I also want to say Hon. Speaker that this Manpower Planning and Development Amendment Act now enshrines the country to have an ecosystem of scientific institutions including academies of science that are the driver of the strategic thinking and intelligence of a nation whereby  we anticipate new economies and not be befallen by new economies. Instead of adopting what they call now there is industry 4.0, Zimbabwe will start to say there will be industry 7.0 and it starts from here whereby we become participants in the knowledge creation ecosystem of this world rather than just consumers of the knowledge ecosystem.

So Hon. Speaker Sir, by this Act Parliament and His Excellency the President are saying nobody will be able to stop Zimbabwe now in terms of its development. Once a nation begins to learn to think on its own which we call mental sovereignty and do based on what it thinks nobody can stop that nation. I thank you.

HON. T. MOYO: May I applaud the Minister for the response, may be however, may he give us a timeframe in terms of import substitution industrialisation. In Zimbabwe, of late we have seen that the importation of goods into Zimbabwe, especially basic goods is on the decline. So to what extent can we expect this Manpower Planning and Development Act to substitute those imports?

HON. PROF. MURWIRA: I wish to thank Hon. T. Moyo for the supplementary question for us to be more explicit on timetables. Hon.

Speaker, I want to submit that through the National Manpower Advisory Council, we did a survey and from 2014 to 2018 - this country imported goods worth US$20 billion, which means on average this country was importing US$5 billion of goods. Now, what this means is that we then need to scroll down this list and start eliminating one by one what we need to import. There are still certain things that we need to import.

However, we cannot import everything.

As it is said Hon. Speaker with your indulgence, somebody said in academic circles if a country imports 90% of its requirements it means it is using 10% of its brain capacity. If a country imports 10% of its requirements, it means it is using 90% of its brain capacity. Therefore, what it means is that at this moment we have to up the use of our brain capacity so that we import substitute. We have started already eliminating certain elements. For example, through the innovation process at the University of Zimbabwe we have been able now to substitute the four armyworm medicines with a bio similar of that sort. You would know that the local authorities at the moment are using what we call the LAD (local authority digital) system which was developed by Harare Institute of Technology.

You would know Hon. Speaker that ZUPCO, the tap card system was developed by Harare Institute of Technology. You would also know that Finealt Engineering which is a company under the Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education, Innovation, Science and Technology is in the process of producing biodiesel which is actually within what we call the bio economy and we are developing more. As we speak, the National Bio Technology Authority is also doing, for the first time a marula factory because we were importing marula juice and wine when we have a lot of marula trees in this country. We expect the commissioning of this factory to start happening by the end of this month.

So Hon. Speaker, while we were being led by policy of Education 5.0 now we are emboldened by the enactment of an Act to make sure that it becomes imperative that universities and colleges are not created for pleasure. They are not decorations. They are a means to the liberation of a people. I thank you.

HON. CHINYANGANYA: My supplementary question is when

we can expect to see the alignment of the conditions of service for lecturers in colleges, polytechnics and vocational training centres in alignment to the Act because they play a critical role in the implementation of Education 5.0.

HON. PROF. MURWIRA:  Thank you Hon. Speaker Sir, I wish

to thank the Hon. Member for that supplementary question.

Hon. Speaker Sir, by Parliament and His Excellency enacting the Manpower Planning and Development Act, they have created what we call the Tertiary Education Service.  The Tertiary Education Service is in response to the requirements of Section 61 of the Constitution that Higher and Tertiary Education has to have that academic freedom, that creativity that is needed, that operational independence that is needed for such institutions to steer a country forward.  So, what the Tertiary

Education Council has done is to transfer all staff who were under the Public Service to the Tertiary Education Service which is actually headed by the Tertiary Education Council.

The Tertiary Education Council is similar to what a University

Council would be like, only that the Tertiary Education Council is looking after so many colleges where as a University Council is looking for one to one – one university, one council but this is a council for all tertiary education institutions.  So Hon. Speaker Sir, we believe that we will immediately implement this Act and it is just a matter of practicality but we have already started.  We are now looking for council members who will then recruit the secretary, head of the secretariat and we are on the move to try, to the best of our ability, to make sure that there is immediate implementation.  If immediate is time, it means as practicably as possible but we have already started working on it and I hope that by not saying in two weeks or two months, immediately would serve the purpose.  I thank you.

HON. T. MLISWA:  On a Point of Order!  Mr. Speaker Sir, I must commend the Hon. Minister.  I sat in this House when he was dealing with this Act …

THE HON. SPEAKER:  You sat where?

HON. T. MLISWA:  I was sitting in this House and went through

the debate of this Act.  It is a pleasure and a marvel to listen to a

Minister who, after the Act has been enacted, is implementing it and able to explain it.  Most of the Ministers are not even to understand or even explain the Act.  The Professor has certainly - he went through it and it is just amazing how he is able to explain and also give credit to his work of the innovative hubs.  The mask that he is wearing is from one of the tertiary institutions in this country.  When Covid was at its peak, most tertiary institutions in this country had the sanitiser and wipes.  My constituency bought three thousand from Chinhoyi University of

Technology (CUT).

So I would like to commend and say Hon. Ministers, I think you have a lot to follow.  It is a good Act and I commend you Hon. Minister.

It was a pleasure to sit in that debate and to see this being done and may

God bless you.

THE HON. SPEAKER:  Thank you.

HON. GONESE:  Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  My question is

directed to the Hon. Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs.  Can the Hon. Minister explain what is the Government policy regarding the implementation or the provisions of Section 70 (1)(c) which relates to the rights of accused persons and which actually provides that any person who is charged with an offence is entitled to be given adequate time and facilities to enable them to prepare their defence.  I ask this question in the context of the failure by the State to provide free of charge, copies of the documents that are required by accused persons such as the charge sheet, the State Outline, witness and statements and any other documents which the State intends to produce or rely upon during the course of the trial.

What the police have been doing is to produce just single copies and the indigent accused persons are not able to make copies of those documents.  So I want the Hon. Minister to explain the Government policy in that regard.

THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND

PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI):  Thank you Mr.

Speaker Sir.  I want to thank Hon. Gonese for the question and applaud him for clearly spelling out the Government policy or the constitutional requirement in terms of Rights of Accused – that is exactly the position of Government.

As regards the shortage of resources within the police service to ensure that they give the necessary documents, that is a specific question that relates to lack of resources.  Perhaps if you can put it in writing so that the Minister of Home Affairs  and Cultural Heritage can interrogate and address.  I thank you.

HON. GONESE:  Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir, my supplementary

question is, is the Hon. Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs aware that at some of the courts, there are private players who are operating there and making copies of documents for a fee?  Those players who are operating and I am going to refer to Rotten Row Magistrates Court where this practice is rampant and they are asking for payment in either ZWL or USD cash and are not accepting swipe or Ecocash?

HON. ZIYAMBI:  Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the Hon. Member for highlighting the malpractices that are happening but I also want to applaud him that he has clearly spelt out the ideal situation …

THE HON. SPEAKER:  Order, order!  You are not connected Hon. Minister.

HON. ZIYAMBI:  Mr. Speaker Sir, I was indicating that I am happy that he has highlighted the malpractices that are happening at the courts in terms of those who are offering services.  I am also happy that he highlighted the ideal situation that should happen to ensure that everyone has got access to justice and that they have all the necessary documentation.  It is a situation that pertains to availability of resources. That is why I indicated that he puts that in writing so that we can also follow-up with the police and the Judicial Service Commission with a view to ensuring that access to justice is realised.  I thank you.

HON. KAPUYA:  Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir, my question is directed to the Minister of Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage and the Leader of the House may respond in his absence.  What is Government policy towards the issuing of fire arms to civilians?

THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF HOME AFFAIRS AND

CULTURAL HERITAGE (HON. MABOYI): Thank you Mr. Speaker

Sir and I want to thank the Hon. Member for the question. The answer is; you tell them or show them that you have that firearm and then you can apply for a licence. Thank you.

HON. KAPUYA: The reason why I have asked that question is that every week you read in the newspapers...

THE HON. SPEAKER: Order, can you ask your question - I

have justified the first question.

HON. KAPUYA: My question is - why is it that we are having misuse of firearms from the money changers, car dealers and artisanal miners? Is the Government not doing due diligence when they are issuing licences to those people because every day there is blood-shed in this country because of misuse of firearms. Thank you.

HON. MABOYI: Thank you Mr. Speaker. I think this is a different question altogether. When you talked of those firearms, I thought you were talking about the illegal firearms that you go and register, but when you are talking about these other firearms which are brought illegally, you find that some might be bringing those weapons illegally and for sure they are not recorded.  If you have that information, please give it to us so that we can arrest those who are doing that. Every illegal firearm must be registered through the Ministry of Home Affairs. Thank you.

HON. T. MLISWA: My question to the Deputy Minister of Home

Affairs is – it seems that the vetting process is not in order.  What are you doing to ensure that you update the due diligence exercise and what is your Ministry doing about the illegal firearms which are currently going around?

HON. MABOYI: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. We are also very worried about the illegal weapons which are being used. Once we are given information, we will arrest those with illegal firearms, but what we are doing as you notice is that we have problems and the police are really on top of the situation. Of course, we cannot say we have managed to curb those people who are moving around with illegal weapons, but remember that illegal weapons usually are coming through our porous borders.  That is our problem and we looking into the issue.

Thank you.

HON. NDUNA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. When yours truly was Chairman of the Portfolio Committee on Transport in the Eighth Parliament, we sought to hear about computerisation of the firearms registry on the same platform that had computerised your vehicles along the tollgates. My question as a follow up is- at what stage if any, have we computerised the firearms registry in order to curtail, avert, avoid and to eradicate the proliferation of those crimes of firearms? Tave papi maringe ne computerisation ye firearms registry?

HON. MABOYI: Thank you Hon. Nduna for your observation.

We are in the process of computerising everything but our problem is the resources. Thank you.

HON. CHASI: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. My question is directed to the Minister of Lands. Government has pronounced itself on the issue of youth and land.  The question that I would like to direct to the Hon. Minister is – are there any logistical modalities that have been put in place to ensure that young people have got access to land? The related question is; in the event that young people get land, what manner of support has Government put in place in financial and technical terms to enable these young people who are so desirous of participating in the Land Reform Programme to access land. I thank you so much.

THE MINISTER OF LANDS, AGRICULTURE, FISHERIES, WATER, CLIMATE AND RURAL RESETTLEMENT (HON. DR.

MASUKA):  Thank you Mr. Speaker. I thank the Hon. Member, Adv. Chasi for the question.  The land issue is a national one, not just for the youths.  When we started the Land Reform Programme, 21 years ago, the accelerated phase, most of the youths were perhaps still suckling then.  So, it was their fathers that were youths.  Their mothers were the youths then.  So, we have given youths the land.  However, those who were babies are now 21 years old and the legal age of accessing land is 21 years.  Yes, they will clamour for land.  Zimbabwe is a finite geographic space, so the land is finite.  We have distributed over 99% of the land.  Currently, in order to ensure that deserving Zimbabweans including youths access land, we have issued revised policy guidelines that focus on multiple farm owners, abandoned farms, derelict and underutilized farms.  So, the new instructions policy guidelines have now gone to the Provincial Lands Committees and the District Lands Committees.

Mr. Speaker Sir, in the latest communication of 16th March, 2021, we included a policy directive on ensuring that at least 20% of the land that is given out is given to youths between 21 years and 35 years.  Youths and the Hon. Members are encouraged to visit the District Lands offices where land is in the districts.  The District Lands offices and the District Lands Committees will then recommend deserving applicants to the Provincial Lands Committee who then sit and also forward those to the Ministry through the lands directorate.  That is the policy position regarding youths and I look forward to some stage where we will be able to get feedback from MPs as to what extent they have gone to encourage their constituents to apply for this land.

Mr. Speaker Sir, the second aspect relates to the support mechanisms that Government has put in place.  These are indeed multifarious.  The Hon. Member will know that the Government has various programmes, depending on the scale of farming starting with even small holder level through the Presidential Climate Proved scheme,

pfumvudza, intwasa” where we avail inputs for serial production.  We also have a similar scheme for cotton for the Presidential Cotton Inputs scheme for cotton production.  For those that are on bigger pieces of land, A1 and A2, small scale Matenganyika and old resettlement, they can access Government support through the CBZ guaranteed command agriculture scheme and that has been largely successful.

Those are the avenues that are currently available but last week Mr. Speaker Sir, Government unveiled a far reaching resource envelope in terms of re-moulding, rebuilding and re-configuring the agricultural finance cooperation to have a land bank dedicated to the various classes of farmers and perhaps commercial and a leasing company to be able to provide tillage services to farmers, youths and also to be able to provide insurance services.  Therefore, Government has gone to a very large extent to providing all the services that are required.

Mr. Speaker Sir, as the Hon. Member would know, Government is in the process of accelerating the capacitation of extension services and I have often said that we have provided motorbikes.  Three thousand motorbikes have been availed out of the 5000 that we are looking for and we are in the process of putting in paradigm shift in terms of the approach of the extension officers so that they do not become optional extensionists but become business advisors as we transform agriculture so that it becomes a business.  Mr. Speaker Sir, these are the many support aspects that Government has put in place to ensure that farming is successful and I urge the youths to take advantage of that.  Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.

HON. T. MLISWA:  My supplementary question to the Minister is on the disabled youths.  Of the 20% that you are going to allocate to the youths, what percentage are you going to give to the disabled youths who quite clearly even in the land reform, their parents who were youths never benefited from the land as a result of their disability.  Thank you.

HON. DR. MASUKA:  Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir and I thank Hon. Mliswa for the question.  The categories that were given special highlight in the new land policy guidelines of 16th March are war veterans, women, the disabled and youths.  These classes have actually been separated to indicate and direct the District Lands Committees and Provincial Land Committees to give special focus on that.  Since this is just a new clarification, we will be able to see the impact in this manifestation in the fullness of time but we have taken cognizance of that and I thank the Hon. Member for highlighting that.  Thank you Mr.

Speaker Sir.

(V)HON. PETER. MOYO:  Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  My supplementary question is that the Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water, Climate and Rural Resettlement should take a proactive action pertaining to the land re-distribution.  We do not want a situation whereby we have the mentality of the G40 scenario where opposition members are denied land in their motherland.  We have applied for land a long time ago and the Ministry has not responded.

Even the lands committee that he is talking about has not yet responded to our request.  We have so many people in our constituency and we have got disabled people, like Hon. Mliswa has already alluded to who are not even benefiting from the Land Reform Programme in their motherland.  If he wants evidence, I am here to give him.  We must work towards the attainment of middleclass economy by 2030.  The

Minister must be able to follow what they are saying.

THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER (HON. KHUMALO):  What is

your follow up question Hon. Member?

HON. PETER. MOYO:  The disabled people need land.  This mantra should come to the lands officers and his office as well.  Thank you.

HON. DR. MASUKA:  Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  I did not quite get the question.  Perhaps you may wish to assist the Hon. Member so that I can clearly understand where he is coming from.  Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.

THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER :  I think the major question

was on disability.  He is saying your committees down there are not giving them priority – [HON. PETER MOYO:  Hon. Speaker Sir, can I repeat my question?] -  Can you do so Hon. Member.

HON. PETER MOYO:  I am saying we have applied for land in different districts as the opposition.  Do you get me?

THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER (HON. M. KHUMALO): Hon.

Member, that is a statement, ask your question.

(V)HON. PETER MOYO:  I am saying we have applied for land

in different districts as the opposition and they have not responded to our applications.  We have so many people in our constituencies…

                  HON. T. MLISWA: On a point of order.  Mr. Speaker, Hon.

Moyo says that they have applied for land as opposition.  You apply for land as a Zimbabwean, not as opposition.  So, it is important that he is corrected that land is not for ZANU PF.  Land is not for the opposition, land is for Zimbabweans.  May he withdraw that statement kuti opposition? Thank you.

         Hon. Peter Moyo having continued to argue.

         THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Hon. Moyo, I think the

Minister is clear that District Committees are dealing with land issues and they have sent some circular there.  I think you should go to your district.

  HON. PETER MOYO: I am saying the lands officers must be

professionals.  Those people are party activists, they are denying us….

  THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Hon. Member, we hear you.

What is your question?  That is a statement, what is your question?

    HON. PETER MOYO: My question is why is the land being

politicized.  That is my question.

         THE MINISTER OF LANDS, AGRICULTURE, FISHERIES, WATER, CLIMATE AND RURAL RESETTLEMENT (HON. DR.

MASUKA): Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  I would like to thank the Hon. Member for the question.  Certainly, there are issues of clarification that are required.  On the application form, in our view, fairly straight forward and does not request one to indicate their political affiliation –

[HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] – However, the Hon. Member seems to have a specific interaction and a specific experience with a specific location.  May I then, therefore, request the Hon. Member to furnish me with additional information that would allow us to address this specific aspect? Thank you Mr. Speaker.

      HON. RTD, BRIG. GEN. MAYIHLOME: Thank you Mr.

Speaker Sir.  My question is directed to the Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare.  Minister, what policy measures are in place to ensure that children who are released from foster care homes are given sufficient skills or resources to get out of the poverty or vulnerability cycle because in 2020, they were being given 200 RTGs and that was translating to about US$2.50.  Currently, we are told that they are getting about1 200 RTGs and that translates to about US$14 and they are released to the world.  Given that situation, how does the Ministry expect them to break out of the poverty or vulnerability cycle?

I thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.

    THE MINISTER OF PUBLIC SERVICE, LABOUR AND

SOCIAL WELFARE (HON. PROF. MAVIMA): Thank you Hon.

Speaker Sir.  Hon. Speaker, the amounts that are being referred to by Hon. Mayihlome, are amounts of per capita grants that are given to children when they are in our institutions on a monthly basis.  Indeed it used to be very little, 200 RTGs per child per month but we have reviewed upwards to 1 500 RTGs.  However, these are not the only support that we give the institutions who take care of those children, but his question is referring more to children, when they leave.

         Hon. Speaker, we look after children until they are, in some cases, even above 18 years, especially when they are going to school.  The whole idea is to leave these children at a point when they have become independent.  So we send these children to school.  We also take care of their tertiary education needs and at the time that they leave, we would have already given them skills that can sustain them.  You can also be interested to know that in cases where children have not been very good in the academics, we also train them in livelihood skills in various areas so that they can actually go out and fend for themselves.  So, there is no situation that the Ministry just leaves these children.  Hatiiti senyoka dzinongobara dzosiya.  We are a Ministry that nurtures these children, give them livelihood and at that particular point in time, we then give them their independence and they can join the general community or society.  I thank you Hon. Speaker.

HON. RTD. BRIG. GEN. MAYIHLOME: Thank you Mr.

Speaker Sir.  Hon. Minister, can you inform the House whether the Ministry has capacity to monitor all the foster care homes and to see to it that the children that are in the foster care homes get requisite skills or the support for them to integrate back to society.  Thank you.

         HON. PROF. MAVIMA:  Thank you Hon. Speaker.  The

Ministry is decentralised into districts.  I think about 65 districts

THE MINISTER OF PUBLIC SERVICE, LABOUR AND

SOCIAL WELFARE (HON. PROF. MAVIMA)...districts and in each

of these districts, we have the Social Welfare officers who are responsible for supervising not just the foster homes but also the various institutions like old people’s homes and children’s homes. We could be having one or two cases where at a particular point in time we have lost social welfare officers.  They are in big demand internationally and therefore we continue to lose these social welfare officers to greener pastures especially overseas. We continue also to fill these positions.

There could be one or two cases where we do not have social welfare officers in position in specific districts.  Generally, I think the Ministry is up to task in terms of supervising both the homes as well as the foster care homes where children have been placed for safekeeping. I thank you.

HON. N. MGUNI: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  My question is directed to the Minister of National Housing and Social Amenities.  Members of Parliament were allocated stands in the Eighth Parliament through Local Government and apparently now they are also handing in their names to get more stands.  The Eighth Parliament stands, are still not serviced.  What I want to find out from the Ministry is; what action are they going to take and when?  Is it the local authority that is supposed to do that because I think these stands were a wonderful gesture that was going to address the welfare of the Members of Parliament that keeps being spoken to especially by Hon. T. Mliswa.  May I know what action the Ministry is going to take because they will soon have two stands that are not serviced and there is no development?

The agreement says they should put structures by 2022.  I thank you.

THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT

AND PUBLIC WORKS (HON. CHOMBO): Thank you Mr. Speaker

Sir.  I thank the Hon. Member for that question.  It is true that as Local

Government we undertook to give stands to Eighth and Ninth Parliament Members of Parliament and we identified the stands, but as you know we made a resolution that we could only give out stands once we have put on-site infrastructure.  Right now, we do not have enough financial muscle to be able to do the servicing.  In the meantime, we have been in discussion with the Speaker of Parliament to see if they can service the stands and hand them over to the Ninth Parliament.  So, definitely, you are going to get your serviced stands because we do not want to make the mistake that we did in the Eighth Parliament.  It is an issue that lies with both the Ministry and Parliament.  I thank you.

*HON. MAKONYA: I thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  If the

Government does not have money to service the stands, I am suggesting that Local Government must just issue the stands and we will service the land using our own resources.  Most of the Members of Parliament do not have decent accommodation and when they are out of Parliament they will become paupers.  When you meet them and say, ‘honourable how are you,’ if there are people around who do not know them, they will ask you what kind of an honourable member you are because of the state they will be in when they are out of Parliament.

People cannot have all they need or the luxuries but shelter is very important for everyone.  Members of the Eighth Parliament we do not own any stand.  We were just given papers and not even shown the stands yet we are in our second term now.

THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER (HON. M. KHUMALO): Hon.

Member, please ask your question.

*HON. MAKONYA:  My question is - the Ministry must give us

stands and we will do the servicing.

*HON. CHOMBO: Thank you Hon. Speaker and I thank the Hon.

Member for that follow up question. I think as Parliamentarians you have witnessed that across the board, we have a problem with Caledonia whereby we had given land to people and they started building.  Even if you go there today, you will find that they just dug pit latrines of which nearby there will be a well.  This causes diseases in the rain season.  As a Ministry, we thought it would be wise for us to give stands when they are fully serviced.  People just agree that they will do the servicing but when we allocate stands, they rush to build one roomed structures yet nearby there will be awell and a pit latrine.  As Government we will not continue to do that.  We must source for funds and fully service the land before we allocate the stands.  There must be roads, water and sewer.  I thank you.

HON. T. MLISWA: Mr. Speaker Sir, those stands were not for free, we paid for them and the money that we paid was for servicing the land.  Why are you not servicing the land and why are you saying you have no money?  There were no hand-outs.  I have a receipt, and I fully paid for mine - why is the land not serviced?  Why not use this as a model to the country, that you are a reliable Ministry that does what it says.  This does not put you in good light with the public when you cannot honour Hon. Members of Parliament.  I repeat honourable Members of Parliament, where is our honour when we have nowhere to stay?  Where is your honour when you are totally dishonouring everything that you say?

HON. CHOMBO: Thank you for the follow up question.  I hear you and I concur with you but if you recall, the monies that were paid as service fees, when we went out to try and do the servicing, there was inflation and so forth.  So, it was not enough for us to be able to give out the service of sewer and water reticulation and the road mantainence.  However, be rest assured my ministry is seized with that and we are going to make sure that we deliver and your Honourable will be honoured.

         HON. T. MLISWA: On a point of clarity! The mere fact of you paying from a contractual point of view, you are obliged to deliver.  In seven days if you do not do anything, I am taking the Ministry to court myself because you have gone against the contract.  You must respect contracts in this country as a Government.  It cannot be a Government that does not respect contracts; it is contractual obligation which must be met by the state.  So, within 7 days, speak to the Minister and say that I am sending you to court and I cannot be expelled from any party by the way.

         (v)HON. M. DUBE: My question is directed to the Minister of Energy and Power Development.  REA has put up power lines for rural electrification programme yet these polls and lines have been redundant for 15 years or more.  We are now worried that the transformers will also be stolen or vandalised before they are used.  What measures are in place for the immediate attention on the dysfunction of the overdue and neglected programmes of REA, particularly in Lupane where I come from?  I thank you.

      THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF ENERGY AND POWER

DEVELOPMENT (HON. SODA): Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir, let me

also thank the Hon. Member for the question that he has raised.

Unfortunately, I did not hear the question properly but it seems the question is very specific to Lupane. I would request that the Hon. Member provides the actual details of the area where there was some reticulation which was abandoned so that we look into that as a particular case.  I thank you.

HON. GABBUZA: If the Minister could assist us with regards to infrastructure; where infrastructure for example, collapses and becomes a danger to human life and to animals.  Transmission lines, live wires and damaged transformers lying on the road and REA or ZESA does not attend what should communities do?

HON. SODA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  Let me thank Hon.

Gabbuza for the question.  It is not Government policy that when power lines collapse are they supposed to be left unattended.  They are supposed to be attended immediately and obviously the backbone infrastructure once it is constructed by REA it is handed over to ZETDC.  So, that is the responsibility of ZETDC and we will be expecting that when such incidences happen that must be reported to the local customer service centre that is within the locality where that would have

happened.  Lines are supposed to be put back and allow for the flow of electricity to where it will be intended.

         (v)HON. MPARIWA: My question is directed to the Minister of Finance and Economic Development.  Hon. Minister, How can women be confident that policies on gender main streaming will be achieved when the NDS 1 does not have indicators to track this and when we have not seen any deliberate efforts to generate gender disaggregated data?

THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC

DEVELOPMENT (HON. PROF. M. NCUBE): Thank you very much

Hon. Speaker.  I thank the Hon. Member for the very important question around gender issues.  I think the Hon. Member should take a look at the NDS again because we have spent a considerable amount of time as Government to make sure that there is gender mainstreaming in what we say and also what we do.  There is a whole section that looks into youth and gender issues and we call this chapter cross cutting issues, issues which cut right across the board of issues of gender.  Also for what it is worth, if you open the Blue Book and I am assuming the Hon. Member has had an opportunity to open it, at the beginning of the Vote allocation for every Ministry there is a report which is signed off by the Permanent Secretary for that Ministry that refers to the mainstreaming of gender issues, employment within Government in term of percentage of female employees.  That is just one of the matrix, but a lot of other issues as well and the Permanent Secretary signs this off and it is the first component of the report for each vote allocation for each Ministry.

If you look at the access to finance for example, we have promised and are active on it that we will continue to recapitalise Women’s Bank, but that is not the only source of financing.  The more youthful women who are entrepreneurs can also access the Empower Bank but it is a dedicated financial institution to make sure there is gender parity or equal access to finance and I am very pleased with the performance of the Women’s Bank.  It is a model bank.  It has very low bad debts.  Women conduct their businesses properly and it has also been an innovative bank in the sense that they have introduced what we call quassi asset backed financing which means that the default rates are very low and they are able to access loans to buy small equipment for whatever they desire to do.  So I can assure the Hon. Member that gender mainstreaming is present in the NDS.  It is also present in the way we go about our business as Government and I am happy to walk them through the NDS plan myself personally.  Thank you.

(v)HON. MPARIWA:  Supplementary question Hon. Speaker Sir.

Perhaps just to shed light to the Minister that the National and Sectoral Result Framework lacks indicators to track gender mainstreaming and I hope I will not be asking too much from the Minister if I were to request that the results framework be revised to incorporate the gender perspective.  Thank you Hon. Speaker.

HON. PROF. M. NCUBE:  If the Hon. Member feels that we could add more indicators, I will be very happy for us to take a look at that.  I thought that we had done quite a bit and in fact, if you go to the section that pertains to the specific Ministry that covers women’s affairs they have got so many targets and they have to meet those targets.

These pertain to creating equality between the two genders but we are always happy to fine-tune these targets, Mr. Speaker Sir.  There is no harm in taking a second look, but I thought we had done quite a bit, but as I just said, I offered to speak with her directly so that we can look at these issues.  I take them very seriously and it is my job to report on the performance of those indicators as the Minister of Finance and Economic Development.  I take it so seriously, I am happy to do it on a one to one basis.   Thank you.

Questions Without Notice were interrupted by THE HON. TEMPORARY SPEAKER (HON. M. KHUMALO) in terms of

Standing Order No. 64.  

HON. T. MLISWA:  Mr. Speaker, there was an announcement that there was going to be an extension of time for questions, so I am rising to extend for another 15 minutes.

HON. NDEBELE:  I second.

 (v)HON. MOKONE:  My question is directed to the Minister of Home Affairs.  Minister, I would like to know what is Government policy on eradicating massive drug abuse and establishment of drug lord syndicates across the country who are causing serious social instability and also killing the future of children.  I ask that because children of school going age seem to have fallen victim particularly in the province where I come from, in Matabeleland South.  I thank you.

THE MINISTER OF HIGHER AND TERTIARY

EDUCATION, INNOVATION, SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOTY DEVELOPMENT (HON. PROF. MURWIRA):  Hon. Speaker, the

question that has been asked is extremely important because the fabric of society in terms of making sure that everyone is behaving according to its norms is very important.

Drug abuse, as the Hon. Member says, is actually a crime and

Government policy is against use of dangerous drugs and drug abuse.  So in terms of policy, we are very clear that the policy is against that kind of misdemeanor.  However, if there are specific cases where there is suspected negligence on our part, we will be very happy to know of those particular cases so that remedial action can be taken, but when it comes to policy, the policy is very clear, we do not like drug abusers, drug traffickers and drug lords.  In other words Government fights against those.  That is what the policy says.  I thank you.

(v)HON. E. MASUKU:  Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  My question goes to the Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare.  What is Government policy in protecting the many women and young people who lost their jobs unfairly due to COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown?  I thank you.

THE MINISTER OF PUBLIC SERVICE, LABOUR AND

SOCIAL WELFARE (HON. PROF. MAVIMA):  Mr. Speaker Sir, in

2020 we ran a programme for people who lost…

HON. E. MASUKU:  The Minister is not connected Hon.

Speaker.

    THE MINISTER OF PUBLIC SERVICE, LABOUR AND

SOCIAL WELFARE (HON. PROF. MAVIMA) Thank you Hon.

Speaker.  With reference to people who were affected especially with regard to earnings during COVID-19, you recall that in 2020 Government instituted a payout arrangement for those who had lost income as a result of COVID-19.  At the latest count, we were very close to 400 000 people registered.  This programme ran up to the end of 2020 and was not extended into 2021, obviously because of the relaxation that had taken place.  Hon. Speaker, should there be people who were retrenched as a result of the income losses to companies during COVID-19, these are already protocols relating to how people are retrenched and how they are compensated.  This is what people should follow in order to get their retrenchment packages which then are supposed to sustain them even as they look for other alternative means of livelihood.

The Temporary Speaker having called Hon. Tekeshe to take the

floor.

HON. T. ZHOU:  On a point of order Mr. Speaker Sir, you skipped my name.

     THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Hon. Zhou, you were not there

when I called you.  I called you three times, thank you.

HON. E NYATHI:  On a point of order Mr. Speaker.  Can you hear me? Thank you Hon. Speaker …

THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER:  Order, order, let us have

order. I called you and you were not there now, there is somebody on the floor please.  I have not called you. Hon. Tekeshe, may you continue.         *HON. TEKESHE:  Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  My question is directed to the Minister of Primary and Secondary Education.  We know that students need an average of five hours per day.  Now the challenge is that in the rural areas students are going for only two days instead of having 15 hours per week.  How are you going to compensate for that time?  Taking this into consideration, how are they going to recover their school fees because there are no changes in school fees despite the few hours that they are attending?  Thank you.

THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF PRIMARY AND

SECONDARY EDUCATION (HON. E. MOYO):  Thank you Hon.

Speaker and I want to thank the Hon. Member for the question.  There is no policy in the Ministry that says teachers should teach for two or three days per week.  Teachers should teach every day.  Now, due to COVID restrictions and loss of time that we experience, we found it imperative that we introduce strategies. What is actually happening is what we are trying to correct, that through the ‘no work no pay policy’ to demonstrate that, that is not allowed.

Coming to pupils who are attending may be for five hours or so,  we have introduced this as a result of COVID-19 restrictions which resulted in the loss of learning time, strategies such as blended learning where we are saying that we are putting together syllabus topics for the ease of coverage across the curriculum so that we are able to cover the curriculum.

In addition to that, we have also put in different modes of teaching and learning like radio lessons, television lessons so that even when students are at home they continue learning.  There is also a robust programme of homework where additional learning also takes place when children are at home.  This is to accommodate COVID-19 restrictions such as social distancing which has resulted in reduced class numbers.  These are the measures that we are taking to cover-up for time.

On the school fees aspect, yes the fees are charged and we expect that our teachers teach the whole week like we have indicated, and if they do not, corrective and disciplinary measures will be taken. I thank you.

THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER:  Order, the fifteen minutes

extension has expired.

HON. NDEBELE:  On a point of order Mr. Speaker, we had one of your members disturbing us here online, you must instill discipline in your members.

THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Order please Hon. Ndebele,

you are also taking our time.

MINISTERIAL STATEMENT

CONDITIONS OF SERVICE FOR CIVIL SERVANTS

THE MINISTER OF PUBLIC SERVICE, LABOUR AND

SOCIAL WELFARE (HON. PROF. MAVIMA):  Thank you Hon.

Speaker.  Hon. Speaker, this statement is in response to issues raised in

Parliament during Question Time regarding conditions of service for Public Service. Information also was requested on staffing levels in schools in the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education.  Consequent to the request for information pertaining to conditions of service for the civil servants raised in the august House, below is a chronology of how Government has endeavoured to address the following questions.  Firstly, what Government has done to better conditions ….

THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER:  Hon. Minister, I do not think

you are properly connected, they are not hearing you.

HON. PROF. MAVIMA: Let me restart Mr Speaker Sir. This

statement is in response to issues raised during Question Time regarding conditions of service for the Public Service and also there was a request for information on staffing levels in the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education. Consequent to those requests below is a chronology of how Government has endeavoured to address these questions.

In its endeavour to improve the conditions of service for civil servants, Government in the 2020 financial year put in place various wage improvements strategies that are highlighted below. First in 2020 Government awarded an average increase of 140% on total package, basic salary, transport, housing and representation where possible, effective January 2020 resulting in the following wage improvements. As of August 2019, principal officers who fall in the E3 grade were getting $1384. After this increment of January 2020 they were getting

$3771.  Degreed officers who are in D3 were getting $1291 in August 2019 and in January 2020 they went to $3171. Diploma holders in D1 were getting $1265 and they went up to $3108. Certificate holders who fall in C5 were getting $1168 and they went to $2733 in January 2020. Office orderlies (B1) which is the entry level in Government were getting $1045 and they went up to $2500 in January 2020.

Secondly an increase of 50% cost of living adjustment was effected on 1 June 2020 resulting in the following wage improvements and please note that effective 1 June 2020 a non taxable US$75 COVID19 allowance was introduced and was paid concurrently with these monthly salaries after converting it to the prevailing auction rate which translated to an extra income of $6100 per month across the board. The grade E3 of principal officers which was at $3771 went up to $5656 then you can add the $6100 which was the COVID allowance. D3 grade went from $3171 to $4755 and again with additional COVID allowance. The D1 went from $3101 to $4661. The certificate grade (C5) went from $2733 to $4100. The office orderly grade went from $2500 to $3749.  A further increase of 40% increase adjustment was effected on 1 September 2020 again raising the grades across the board. The COVID allowance was also continued. Whatever amounts were obtaining at this point we would also add the US$75 COVID allowance converted to Z$ at the auction rate. E3 were to $7919 at that stage. D3 went to $6657. D1 went to $6526. C5 went to $5739 and office orderly $5249.

An average increase of 60% to 98% on total package was effected on 1 November 2020. Different percentage increases because of age resulting in wage improvements and this agreement was signed with workers in November 2020. By the way, the January one was also signed with the representatives of workers. After November the package for E3 went to $15680. D3 package went to $13181, D1 package went to

$12921. C5 package went to $9183 and the basic salary went to $8399. Again on all these basic packages you would add the COVID-19 allowance which has continued.

In the year 2021 there has been a cost of living adjustment of 25% effective 1st April 2021. What this has done to the basic packages is that the E3 is now at $19600, D3 is now at $16477, D1 is now $16151, C5 is at $11479 and the basic entry which is you office orderly is at $10496. To these one should add the US$75 COVID allowance which has continued. Further to the 25% that was effected on 1 April 2021 Government has offered an increment of not less than 45% with effect from 1 July 2021. This is going to be effected on 1 July 2021.

In addition to these salary increments there are a number of non monetary incentives that Government has instituted. Over and above the monetary benefit highlighted, Government through the Public Service Commission also put in place a number of non-monetary incentives or benefits.

  1. Government Employees Mutual Savings Fund popularly known as GEMS which was operationalised in February 2021. Civil servants will access affordable loans for various developmental needs. For example, building residential accommodation for themselves, for farming and starting small businesses.
  2. Solar Power Loan Scheme which is being introduced and engagement with Treasury for release of funds is ongoing. Plans are underway to carry out study visits in other countries for competitive business modelling.
  3. Government is and will continue to pay its dues to PSMAS in time so that the civil servants can access quality and reasonable health benefits from the medical insurance.
  4. Government in October 2020 reviewed the Funeral Assistance from at that particular point in time RTGs700 to US$500 to all civil servants and all pensioners. This will assist members in time of bereavement.  This is payable at the prevailing auction rate.
  5. The Rebate on Duty Scheme wherein civil servants will be exempted from paying duty upon importation of personal vehicles was operationalised and a total of 2535 members of the public service have since benefitted through the waiver of rebate on duty on vehicle schemes. The facility will continue until the end of June 2021.
  6. Government also introduced Employer Liability Insurance Cover to cater for those who contracted COVID-19 whilst in the course of their duties. This insurance was made in terms of their levels within the hierarchy of Government with directors and equivalent and above levels being paid US$1000 and deputy directors and lower levels being paid US$650 equivalent.  Further, Government would pay shortfalls arising from the treatment of the member if one becomes sick due to COVID-19 and sick leave of 90 days has been waived to 180 days on full pay in the event that the member takes long to recover if sick from COVID-19.  Government will continue to honour this facility as long as the pandemic is still with us.
  7. Government is working on the Provision of Low Cost Housing to civil servants and various consultations are ongoing in order to operationalise the various schemes.
  8. There is also Subsidised Transport Facility for Civil Servants. The Public Service Commission is also working on a facility to ferry civil servants on outlying districts on pay days to growth points of rural service centres to facilitate their shopping and access to other services.
  9. Government has resuscitated and introduced Sector Specific Allowances in various sectors and suffice to say the work is ongoing and various consultations are taking place with regards to this issue in order to motivate and retain civil servants.

In short, Government is trying its best to better the civil servants’ conditions of service and livelihoods both through monetary and non- monetary benefits.  Further to this, the avenue for negotiations through the National Joint Negotiating Council remains open and negotiations are ongoing.

Let me add Mr. Speaker Sir, that like many other countries, it is a modern bureaucracy which operates on the principle of lifelong commitment.  Most of our civil servants are in it for life and if you want them to perform and not shrink on their responsibility, you have within the power of Government, to compensate them in ways that are commensurate with the motivation that you want to achieve and also with the aim of not having them shrink on their responsibilities or engage in corrupt activities simply because they want to achieve a livelihood.

So, we fully understand the obligations that we have as a

Government in providing sufficient compensation to civil servants. What might limit Government is the fiscal space that we have.  We have to balance between paying out in terms of wages and salaries and other benefits and the overall developmental programme of Government.  There was a time when this Government was using upwards of 90% for salaries and leaving very little for other developmental programmes.  At this particular point in time, a conscious decision has been made to raise resources for infrastructure development and the evidence is there for you to see and that is what Government is doing even as it commits to continuously improve on the wages and salaries and other benefits for civil servants.

Let me now move to the issue pertaining to staffing levels in schools especially by the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education.  This House also requested information pertaining to staffing levels in schools run by the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education.

Suffice to say that apart from trust schools, it is the Government of Zimbabwe that pays all the teachers in this country, including those in local authority schools, central government schools and indeed all teachers in ‘not for profit organisation’ including church schools are all paid by Government.

According to the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education, we currently have an establishment of 136189 teaching staff in the

Ministry.  Additionally, there are other 4000 staffers in that Ministry.

So, this includes your head office staff, your provincial office staff, your district office staff, all these and other general hand staff that are paid by Government.  In total, the establishment of the Ministry is 140 589.

This Ministry is the largest contributor to the civil service.  In 2020, the

Ministry was authorised to recruit 11 thousand teachers.  In January 2020, they were authorised to recruit 2 700 and this was achieved in that particular month.  In June 2020, they were authorised to 2 300 and this was achieved.  In September 2020, they were authorised to recruit 3 000 and this was achieved.  In April 2021, they have been authorised to recruit another 3 000 and this is pending.  This is the process that they are undertaking now.  The figure of 11 000 from the beginning of 2020 up to the current recruitment that they are undertaking will be achieved once the 3000 that are currently being recruited has been finalised.  It will enable the Ministry to reach its authorised teaching staff establishment of 136 189.  However, this total number still falls short of the requisite teachers that have been brought about by COVID-19 standard operating procedures issued by the Ministry of Health and Child Care, hence if the Ministry, was to recruit according to those standard operating procedures for COVID-19, would require an additional 50 470.  That is what would allow for sufficient social distancing under COVID-19.  It does not end there Mr. Speaker, what it also means is that there has to be accommodation in terms of classrooms for the learners under COVID-19 pandemic operational procedures.

Another fact Mr. Speaker, is that prior to recruitment of the 11 000, we were estimating that we had about 23 000 to 24 000 trained teachers.  After the recruitment of the 11 000, we are currently looking at the current stock of trained teachers being at about 14 000/15 000, which means that to a very large extent that 50 000 figure for COVID operational procedures is very difficult to meet, both in terms of making sure that we have enough space for the learners but also in making sure that we have sufficient numbers of trained teachers to fill the gap.

The breakdown of the number of teachers at each teaching level which is ECD-A and B and primary Grades 1 to 7, lower secondary

Forms 1 and 2, middle secondary Forms 3 and 4 and upper secondary

Forms 5 and 6 as well as the learner enrolments have been calculated with the aid of the Ministry’s Education Management Information System (EMIS) as illustrated below:

Level Learner Enrolments Current situation Ideal situation Shortfall
  Males Females Total TPR Teachers in post Teachers  needed    
ECD 328 258 323 955 652 213 1:73 8 883 1:20 32 611 23 728
PRIMARY 1 399845 1 389 847 2 789 692 1:37 75 356 1:35 70 705 4 349
TOTAL 1728 103 1 713 802 3 441 905   84 239   102 353 28 077

 

The total learner enrolment at ECD level stands at 654 213 learners and the current number of ECD teachers in post is 8 833 which gives a teacher-pupil ratio (TPR) of 1:73 at this level.  At the secondary level, lower secondary we have 262 113 males and 274 434 females.  The ratio is 1:33 which is okay because generally the preferred goes up to 1:35, preferred teacher pupil ratio except for very special areas like Science where we may not have teachers but in terms of teacher-pupil ratio, we are okay at that level.  At middle secondary, the total number is 486 987 and we have a teacher-pupil ratio of 1:30.  We do not have a shortfall again there except for very special areas like Science and Mathematics.  At the upper level, we have a total of 100 457 with a teacher-pupil ratio of 1:20.  Again, we do not have a challenge there except for issues relating to special teachers.  For technical and vocational teachers at primary and secondary levels, we have 9780 schools in the country both primary and secondary and we need at least two teachers per school.  We are assuming that a school should have two learning areas that are technical and vocational.  The teacher-pupil ratio is 1:100 and we are supposed to have an ideal staff situation of 45 659 teachers. What we have at the moment is 19 000 teachers for Tec/Voc but the ideal number is 45 659.  We have less than half the teachers that we need as far as Tec/Voc is concerned.

Summary of teacher requirements under current conditions is as follows;

 

LEVEL No. Of Teachers Required
ECD 23 728
Primary 4 349
Secondary 2 833
Tech/Voc at 2 teachers per school 19 560
Total 50 470

 

The Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education is lobbying for the creation of an additional 50 470 teacher posts in all the schools in this country and it will allow them to manage even under COVID.

In conclusion, I want to restate that Government is committed to improve conditions of service for members of the Public Service and will continue to engage the Apex Council to solve all issues related to conditions of service.  It is however imperative to note that we should always take stock between employment costs and economic stability and development.  Any salary adjustment can be inflationary and can lead to erosion of purchasing power immediately after being awarded if we are not careful and if we do not analyse properly.  Therefore, we should guard against adjustments that result in a zero sum game scenario.  It is also important to note that the issue of managing staffing levels in  schools is noted and will be addressed in a staggered manner in the spirit of managing the wage bill and also making it commensurate with infrastructural development at the school level, particularly classrooms and accommodation for teachers.

We have about 1800 or so schools throughout the country where infrastructure is virtually non-existent; these are the so called satellite schools.  Attempts by parents, various stakeholders concerned about this are now also the local authorities mainly using devolution funds – all these are commendable.  However, for us to fully mitigate the problem of infrastructure, I think there is  need for a marshale plan on the part of this nation where we mobilise enough resources in order to provide sufficient and optimum infrastructure in our schools.  I thank you.

HON. GABBUZA: I would like to thank the Minister for the presentation on the civil service.  I would need the Minister to clarify a few grey areas.  Given the figures that the Hon. Minister read, is he convinced that there is need for the prolonged  negotiations because the salaries that you are paying civil servants is ranging between US$50-80.  In your wisdom, do you strongly believe that there is need for prolonged negotiations and yet children are not learning in schools because the salaries do not need any debate?  Is it not automatic that the civil service is underpaid?

The Minister spoke about the vehicle rebate scheme that is benefiting civil servants when they import vehicles.  I have interacted with staff at Parliament, I do not know of anyone that has benefited from that scheme; let alone teachers in my Constituency.  I am not aware of anyone that has imported a vehicle free of duty with the assistance of Government.  How as Ministry, Government or chief employer, how do you ensure that these noble schemes do not just benefit ‘chefs’ in Harare, the directors and deputy directors because the ordinary civil servant is not benefiting from this vehicle import duty rebate.

Clearly, you have indicated that the civil service is continuously being given the COVID allowance and Government is committed to continuing giving this allowance.  If Government is so benevolent to continue with the COVID allowance, why not convert it to a salary so that it has an implication on the pension of the worker when he or she retires. If it remains an allowance, it has no effect on the future retirement plan for the civil service.

Lastly, I wonder who is in charge of chiefs’ salaries – I was looking at their wage bill.  I thought a chief was a chief but it looks like some chiefs earn more than the others. At the same time, the salaries range between US$50-80; that is about RTGs 5000 to 8000 and you keep referring to the auction rate which does not apply anywhere in the world other than at the auction floors.  When you go into the shops, there is nothing called the auction rate, neither is it available at the industries where you buy spares for vehicles.  I need to understand or get clarification on these issues.

(v)HON. NDUNA: Mr. Speaker, I am worried about the pensions,

first and foremost, of the civil servants that have left active service.

Their pensions’ quantum has been eroded. The Hon. Minister has said by December, he is going to make sure that they are now US$65 equivalent but my issue is, when they where at US$80 at the time, they were able to pay for their utilities, bills and local authorities rates and services but they are not able to at the moment. Would it please the Minister to go into bed with his counterpart at Local Government so that whilst he is trying to ameliorate or mitigate the issue of the eroded pensions that there be a waiver from rates and services from local authorities because the pensioners can no longer afford. They are on

US$30 as we speak, whereas they could pay when they were at US$80.

Can you go into bed, if it pleases you, with the Local Government Minister in order that they waiver the rates and services for the pensioners in the local authorities.

The second one Hon. Speaker, I see in today’s press the Minister of National Housing has put the civil servants upfront in terms of provision of housing. Would it please the Minister that in the same vein, that the civil servants, for instance the teachers, if they can have their children getting schooled free of charge in the schools that they are teaching so that further to the salaries and monies that they get from the Minister, they are also having the issues of non-monetary incentives in order that it augments, complements their meagre salaries.

The third one Hon. Speaker, would it please the Minister that he goes into bed with the gold finger or the Minister of Finance and in the same way that the Minister of Tourism has afforded the tourism sector duty free vehicles for their operation so that civil servants can actually have the Minister fight for them in terms of at least getting a brand new or whatever vehicle every five years duty free so that we can at least have happy teachers, nurses and civil servants. I rest my case.

HON. CHINYANGANYA: I want to thank the Hon. Minister for

his statement. My point of clarification stems from the civil service vehicle scheme that is the duty free. If we look at it, they are supposed to buy vehicles that are not older than 10 years. If you look at the value of those vehicles, it is too high that teachers and other civil servants who earn around US$200 cannot afford them but it is a facility that has been availed. It only benefits those who earn high salaries. What is the Ministry going to do on that aspect so that civil servants, no matter the grade can afford to import vehicles duty free because they deserve to be mobile and to have their morale boosted?

HON. NDEBELE: Hon. Speaker, there are just a couple of things that I want to verify with the Hon. Minister. Let me begin by applauding him for bringing that Ministerial Statement to the House but on the question of salaries, I just want to check with the Minister when exactly we are going to put this issue to rest because civil servants’ salaries are so bad that almost every month they are now subject to negotiations. What is so difficult with at least trying as much as possible to bring them to such levels that they are at par at least with other civil servants in the SADC region, even if we are going to be paying them in the local currency? Our civil servants are just requesting for a restoration in their livelihood. They are not asking for way too much. It has become a song that Government is giving negotiations a chance but for how long without a tangible outcome Hon. Minister?

On the vehicle scheme, I also want to buttress what the other Hon. Members have said. This vehicle scheme seems to be unknown to most civil servants. I have also done a survey in my constituency with teachers for instance, they did not know about the scheme. One or two that attempted to benefit from the vehicle rebate scheme got frustrated in the process because there is a lot of red tape. You need to write to the regional office and there is this back and forth until people give up. Is it possible Minister to make sure that the scheme is known to everyone and that conditions attendant thereto are less restrictive and frustrating?

In that regard Hon. Minister, I am appealing to your good office to extend that June 21 deadline. Why? Because a lot of our civil servants did not know about this scheme and those who knew got frustrated and in some cases when I listened to the stories, they were frustrated by superiors who themselves could not afford to procure the vehicles – such is human nature.  So my appeal to your good office Hon.  Minister, is that the Vehicle Rebate Scheme be extended beyond 2021 because certainly if you say 2 375 civil servants benefited from the scheme, this figure is negligible if you consider the whole civil service deployment.

The other compounding factor is that if I am putting away a little from what I am earning as a civil servant, it may take so long to get to the target of affording a vehicle now that we are insisting that all vehicles should be less than 10 years.  Then on the issue of staffing, I realise that we have somehow surreptitiously retreated to the scenario where Harare especially in teaching is bamba zonke.  A school as far down as Tsholotsho is staffed from Head Office – that on its own deserves to be reconsidered because it creates problems, problems that we have been raising with your office in this House that in some cases you get people being deployed to teach infants yet they cannot converse in the local languages.  With that, I thank you Hon. Minister.

         (V)*HON. NYABANI:  I heard them saying that we do not have enough teachers but I want to know why in places like Rushinga from ECD to Grade Seven there is only one or two teachers for the whole school?  As I am speaking, there is a shortage of 215 teachers in the whole constituency, which means that students are not learning.  Is the Government not aware because I have tried to engage the authorities there and they are saying that they are sending the information here in Harare.  When are they going to give us three or four teachers in every school?  They are saying we have half to half teachers, where is the larger group going to?

I also want to understand why they employ teachers and send them to Rushinga then after two weeks they take them back to Harare?  We want to know how long teachers are deployed before they are transferred.

Coming to the employment of teachers, in my rural constituency there is no network, transport and clean water.  When you compare that to a teacher who is based in Harare and is used to WhatsApp, you will find that those teachers are not attracted to rural areas and you will also find that if you go to Muzarabani, Rushinga and Mbire, there is only a single teacher because teachers do not want to go there.  So when are we going to have teachers as well?  We are tired of having 0% pass rate at our schools.  Are you considering us as people living at the peripheries Hon. Minister?  When are you going to consider us?  Do you value us so that we get teachers?  I thank you.

(V)HON. C. MOYO:  Thank you Hon. Speaker.  I heard loud and clear the Hon. Minister saying that it is the Government that pays all the teachers in local and Government schools and that there is a policy that says, ‘no work, no pay.’

My question then Hon. Speaker is - number one, is this improving the teachers conditions of service?  In fact, who is benefiting from such a policy?  Is it the students who are supposed to learn who are benefiting?  Is it the parents who are paying school fees who are benefiting?  Are teachers benefiting from this ‘no work no pay policy’?  Lastly Hon. Speaker on staffing, I did not hear how much students who are on teaching practice are earning in terms of salary.  Is it motivating so that one day they will be qualified and join the other teachers?  I thank you.

HON. PROF. MAVIMA:  Thank you Hon. Speaker.  Let me thank all the Hon. Members who have contributed through questions and other interventions, some of them suggestions on what Government should be doing.  I really welcome suggestions especially because we are in this together and we need to work as Zimbabweans to resolve some of the issues that affect our education system and indeed, the operations of the entirety of Government.

Hon. Gabbuza asked questions that have been repeated by other Hon. Members.  For example, the issue of the Vehicle Rebate Scheme, the Hon. Member from Kadoma also asked that and Hon. Ndebele asked that question as well.  I have heard Hon. Members on that issue Hon. Speaker.  One is to say that there should be more information dissemination to the rest of the civil service so that people are aware of the existence of that scheme.  I am going to be communicating with the Public Service Commission as well as all the ministries so that there is information dissemination on that scheme.

There has also been an appeal to say since not many people benefited, it will be good to extend it and this recommendation will go to the Minister of Finance and Economic Development because it lies within his purview.  I also heard that this age limit on the vehicles that can be imported is an issue that needs to be looked at.  Again, this is a Cabinet resolution and I will convey these sentiments.  This concerns mainly two ministries; the Ministry of Finance and Economic

Development and I think also the Ministry of Industry and Commerce.  I will make sure that those two colleagues are informed about this issue. There is an issue that was common to Hon. Gabbuza and Hon. Ndebele with regards to the issue of negotiations and they were both saying why waste time with the negotiations when Government already knows that teachers are underpaid and those salaries are not enough to give them the livelihood that are expected of teachers and other civil servants.

Hon. Speaker, that aspect was one of the aspects that were central to my presentation. I have indicated clearly that as far as Government is concerned, there is something that is known as ability to pay. So even though Government understands the principles of a modern organisation where remuneration for whoever is opting to work in an organisation should be sufficient enough to motivate them to continue to contribute their labour and creativity and intellectual capacity sufficiently to move the organisation forward. We have to consider the Government’s ability to pay. There is an important balancing that has to take place, a tradeoff between how much we commit to wages and salaries and what we commit to the provision of infrastructure, including schools and health services.

In 2020 for example, we were in a second year of drought and after being affected with Cyclone Idai, the Government had to import food. We had to make very tough choices like do we put resources into feeding the nation or we put resources into paying civil servants? Even under those conditions, Government managed to move civil servants salaries from a paltry $1300 of the lowest being paid when combined with Covid allowance, to an equivalent of almost USD200 and you can see the effort that Government made under very difficult conditions where we have to balance.

So it is not just a matter of waving a magic wand and say let us pay this amount. We have to consider the consequences of that in terms of not just balancing what I was talking about, but also in terms of what it does to the economic stability that we had already achieved and what it would help to give an increment that does not mean anything. It is only nominal because as soon as it is granted, it will again be eroded. We have achieved stability to a very large extent in our economy and it is a delicate thing that we have to maintain in order to go forward, hence the incremental approach that we have taken.

I am glad to say it has yielded some considerable improvements in the salaries and wages of civil servant. I have taken to heart the contribution that Hon. Gabbuza made in terms of saying let us take the

USD75 and just convert it into salary, so that it can also have a positive impact on the pension contributions. That is one thing that I will again take to the Minister of Finance for consideration and he will take it to

Cabinet so that we can do that conversion. I am open to that suggestion.

Hon. Gabbuza referred to issues of chiefs and saying there are disparities in the manner that they are paid.  Suffice it to say that I will bring this to the attention of the Minister of Local Government because the chiefs do not fall under my realm as far as payments are concerned. Hon. Nduna, I hear him as far as non-monetary benefits are concerned because he is also saying consider housing for civil servants and the

Ministry is already working on that with the participation of my Ministry because we have some fund resources that we could use for that purpose.

We see a possibility of a real mortgage scheme coming back to the country through NBS and which could also benefit the civil servants. We are glad about the stability that we are now enjoying because it will also mean that maybe for a S100/$150, someone can take a mortgage for a long period of time going into 25 years. We have not seen those schemes of late in our market. That is a good suggestion.

He is referring to civil service pensioners and saying why do we not bring them back. When I was talking about $60-$65, these were paid NSSA pensioners. It is a completely different scheme from the civil service scheme. The civil scheme almost has an auto adjustment programme to it because it is pegged a percentage of what you earned when you were a civil servant. I think it is about 60%/65% and it adjusts as those salaries in the civil service adjust. The NSSA scheme has a completely different manner in which it adjusts. It depends on considered viability of the funds and remunerate on the basis of what the actual tells us is a sustainable remuneration level that gives the fund sustainability into the future. It was that one that we said we were going to gradually increase from the $12 equivalent that it was at the beginning of the year to the current $25, we go to $30, $45 and then $60 by the end of the year.

The $60 is what is recommended internationally for economies like ours. So, we will have reached an optimal level according to ILO recommendations, but it does not mean to say we will not breach that level if resources permit. If resources permit, we go over that. The question as to when we should put the issue of salaries to rest – we cannot put it to rest but we always have to look and see what resources we have in Government, but we have to do it in a manner that is collaborative in a real spirit of negotiation with the representatives of the workers. So we will not put that matter to rest, we will continue.  Even as we give these adjustments, we gave 25% and the workers said no but we went ahead and just instituted it.  We are still negotiating and come July, even without an agreement, Government will honour what it has committed to.  But we will continue to engage the representatives at the Apex Council level so that we achieve that.

Hon. Ndebele raised a different matter relating to the manner in which we hire or staff our schools which has now been centralised at head office by the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education.  There are unintended consequences of that and one of which is inappropriate deployment where people are made to go into areas and teach infants the infant module but they cannot converse in the local languages.  That is not proper.  There is a reason why the recruitment has been centralised and those reasons reside within the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education but it is again a recommendation that I will make.  My own consideration will be to have a sort of a hybrid recruitment process, where there is some centralisation and also a lot of decentralisation to the district offices because the district offices have knowledge of local people who can be willing to remain in those areas and teach.  It will actually solve a lot of problems, including the issue of transportation to and from the posts, housing issues can be solved and the issues of language again can also be solved.

I come from one of those districts that are shunned by teachers.  They come for a term or two terms and after that they ask for transfer to go elsewhere because the roads are bad, there is no communication and the housing for teachers is not palatable to them.  So, they ask for transfers but when you are recruiting them, they say take me anywhere in the country and I will go there. However, like Hon. Nyabani was saying, soon after being recruited they say, I want to go because my mother is sick or some other excuse and they end up going and those schools end up with no teachers.  I know schools that are running from ECD A to Grade 7 with only one or two teachers.  One of those teachers is also the head who has to be away most of the times attending workshops and other things like that. So, we need to have a balance between centralised recruitment and de-centralised recruitment to address some of these issues.

Hon. Nyabani asked when places like Rushinga will be remembered.  This is a question that could be asked by Binga, Mbire, Muzarabani, Gokwe North and South.  As a Government, we need to improve infrastructure in all those areas.  Responsibility to Ministry of Transport and Infrastructural Development, we now have a very comprehensive road rehabilitation programme that is taking place.  We also need like I was saying, within the Ministry of Education itself, the martial plan to make sure that we have adequate infrastructure in every part of the country so that we can equalise opportunities, with teachers housing, classrooms themselves, specialised rooms, electricity in those schools and also issues of connectivity.

We have seen what happened during COVID 19 lockdown where some of the schools, especially those in urban areas could continue with online learning but there was virtually no learning in the remote parts of the country.  We need, as a nation, to look at these things and clearly target infrastructure that equalises opportunity for our learners and even for the communities across the country.  That we have to do; we cannot run away from it.   It is currently an issue of resources but we have to do.  We have to put our minds on it.  Vision 2030 is saying that, NDS is saying that, devolution programme is also saying target areas that do not have infrastructure and amenities and provide those amenities.

Hon. Charles Moyo actually ties himself in contradictions.  He says Government should not do “no work no pay” but teachers are not working. So, even if we say nothing, the teachers will not go to work.  Therefore, the learner suffers.  Given what Government has done over the last year and continues to do in order to improve the conditions of service, I humbly submit that we also need to continue to see commitment on the part of our teachers.  We cannot have teachers who have moved from earning an equivalent of maybe something like $50 last year to earning according to the auction rate, above $200 saying that

Government has not done anything.  That, Hon. Speaker Ma’am, cannot be tolerated.  We cannot have civil servants just doing as they wish.  I will not go to work today but expect to be paid at the end of the month.  That one, we really have to continue insisting on but at the same time, as we continue, improve the conditions of service of our teachers.

The teachers on teaching practice, it will please Hon. Members to know that we have just recently upped the remuneration for teachers on teaching practice.  I think it will be backdated to December last year.  They were earning very little but it has been pushed up now to about $10000.  They are same as the basic entry level in the civil service.  In addition to that, they also receive the COVID allowance of $75.  Hon.

Speaker, these are my responses to the interventions by Hon. Members.

I thank you.

HON. MUTAMBISI: Thank you Madam Speaker Maam.  Thank

you Hon. Minister for the presentation.  In your presentation, you talked about standard COVID procedures which recommend social distancing in schools.  How then does this happen without improving infrastructure.  Secondly, you talked about teacher/pupil ratio, which stands at 1:73, what measures have you put in place to reduce this overcrowding?

         Last but not least, what is your policy from bundling civil servants on negotiating forums rather than segmenting them?  Why not respond to issues as they come considering that they offer different services?  I thank you.

HON. T. MOYO: Thank you Hon. Speaker for affording me this

opportunity to thank the Hon. Minister for the Ministerial Statement.  I have two issues.  The first one concerns low hanging fruits for civil servants.  I am referring to the Land Audit report which was released.  I propose that civil servants should be beneficiaries of this land audit.  They need to be given arable land once the land audit is out, as an incentive to motivate them to work.

         Last but not least, is the issue of the allowances for COVID-19 for those who were affected, including Hon. Members of Parliament.  Can you make sure those people receive allowances which will take them a long way in improving lives of civil servants and of Hon. Members of Parliament?  Can we have timeframes as to when this money is going to be paid?  I thank you.

HON. H. MGUNI: Thank you Madam Speaker Maam for giving

me this chance.  I would like to thank the Minister for the presentation.

My point that I have picked in his presentation is on vocational training.  May the Minister clarify what kind of vocational training and whether the teachers that are going to be doing this are well trained, from what level to what level of education?  I want to know whether the Government is ready to absorb these vocational trainees or we end up with the same problem of brain drain.  When they finish, they have got no employment and are taken by other countries which is a big loss to us.  I thank you.

    (v)*HON. CHINOTIMBA: Thank you Madam Speaker. I just

want to find out if the Minister is aware that allowances are not part of one’s salary.  Let me take the example of COVID-19 allowances.  If all the countries in the world were tomorrow going to say that they are now COVID–19 free, it would mean that the teacher who was receiving US$75 will lose that amount.  That is why allowances are non-taxable and can be withdrawn any time.

On the issue of salaries, you said that it  requires the collaboration of three Ministers including the Minister of Finance.  So there is not much you can do about it, but I want to bring it to your attention that teachers are the lowest paid people in society.  The lowest paid teacher is receiving a salary of 10 000 RTGs, which is lower than the one being paid to a security guard.  Security guards used to be people who are not well educated but now they are earning more than a teacher.  This is the point of clarity that I am appealing to the Minister to ensure that this imbalance in salaries for teachers who are professionals is addressed.

There is a disparity between the salaries of teachers and soldiers.

Even if they want to seek medical attention, considering the civil servants’ salaries, they cannot afford those shortfalls.  If they are renting, they cannot afford to pay the rent amounts.  As Hon. Members, since the Hon. Minister is here, we are negotiating on behalf of civil servants so that their salaries can be reviewed. I thank you.

(V)  HON. MOKONE: Thank you Madam Speaker.  Most of the points that I wanted to raise have already been raised by other Hon. Members.  However, I will touch on the issue of teacher/pupil ratio which you raised. Do you have any lasting solution for this considering that those who are considered to be at work now are not even attending due to poor remuneration?  My point is that you cannot recruit more teachers when you are failing to take care of those who are already in the service, improve the working conditions of those in the service then you can recruit more. I thank you.

THE MINISTER OF PUBLIC SERVICE, LABOUR AND

SOCIAL WELFARE (HON. PROF. MAVIMA): Thank you Madam

Speaker.  Hon. Mutambisi - yes, I mentioned that there are serious infrastructural implications of the COVID-19 Standard Operation Procedures.  What it is saying is that there should be social distancing, which means less learners per teacher.  As a result the Ministry itself says over 50 thousand teachers may be recruited in order to meet those Standard Operation Procedures.

Even before the COVID-10 Standard Operating Procedures, our infrastructure still needed to be upped in terms of provision of infrastructure in some schools - about 1800 that do not have infrastructure.  Indeed, yes the infrastructure element is very important to consider as we look at these issues. In fact, in many ways COVID-19 has indicated to us things what we need to do, some things that we have not done and we need to speed up those developments.  This is why I am referring to maybe a similar programme of dealing strategically with infrastructure in education to the one that we are now using so that we deal with issue of satellite schools.  When we are done we would have dealt with the issue of high student teacher ratio, it is a national issue that we address in time, I definitely agree with you.

You also said why are you bundling civil servants as you discussed recently.  It will be very difficult to undertake negotiations with the various stakeholders.  What is known as the Apex Council is a board that represents all the unions of the civil servants, all the sectors but also all the levels are represented by this council.  It brings members from the various sectors and members from the various levels on to the negotiation table, it will be very difficult to do it separately.

I appreciate situations where the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education, because of the uniqueness of the issues that teachers are dealing with, sit down regularly, sound off the unions, especially on education - specific conditions of service that I have seen being done several times.  There is also a time when we brought in the unions from education to a meeting with me as well as the Minister of

Primary and Secondary Education, together with representative from the Public Service Commission.  So that can be done but it does not take away the fact that when we do salary negotiations at Government level, the Apex Council brings in representatives from all sectors and from all levels of the civil service.

Hon. Moyo, the issue of land, again is a good proposal but you heard the Minister of Lands today referring to the fact that land is not limited, the current he has referred to we have done more than 95 to 99 percent of the allocation but as citizens, teachers need to be considered. Also, I think a specific representation can be done to the Ministry by the education sector.

You then talked about payment of allowances and the timeframe that I actually assume that the allowances are being paid.  I will have to find out from the Public Service Commission where they are, what are the delays and what we need to do in order to make sure that those are paid timeously.  There was reference to Members of Parliament - this is an issue that is outside my purview. It is dealt with here at Parliament.   There are protocols to be followed in order to find out what is happening there.  For civil servants, definitely, I will find out with a view to expedite the payment, if the payments are not being paid in an expeditious manner.

Hon. Mguni, yes, I was refereeing to TECHVOC subject area or learning areas in primary and secondary schools. It is not TECHVOC as the vocational training centres that are run by the Ministry of Youth but these are your subjects like what was called Metalwork before, woodwork which is now wood technology or something like that.  It is fabric that was previously known as Fashion and Fabrics. It is like your home economics and other things like that, it is your Agriculture, and these are the TECHVOC subjects that I was referring to at primary and secondary education we are saying we are short staffed there.  The COVID-19 based curriculum says learners should be exposed to this from an early age so that they can discover their talents and decide what they want to do and also so that we can move away from a curriculum that is only academically oriented but gives learners an opportunity to discover talents and be developed in those areas.

We cannot do that if we do not have adequate teachers to teach.  Secondly, also if we do not have the infrastructure that is needed like workshops and the like. You mentioned what happened and how they are absorbed.  In actual fact, in many ways that is one way in which we can solve the problem of unemployment and idle youths.  If they are trained properly, most of them complete secondary school with a skill that they can use in order to get a livelihood. Someone who has done good technology, if capacitated with an enterprise loan or something repayable, can start doing things that can give them a livelihood.  So, it is one of the ways in which we could even address the issue of unemployment in our areas.

Hon. Chinotimba again referenced to COVID-19 allowances and earlier, I think Hon. Gabbuza had referred to it and said why not convert it to part of salary.  I responded saying that I have taken that recommendation so that we know where it was 15 000 plus the ZWL$6 or 7 000 COVID-19 allowance is at and someone’s salary is now at

ZWL $22 – 23 000.

You vice-versed the teacher and the security guards; I sign the collective bargaining agreements.  In actual fact, Government is way above most of the NEC’s as far as remuneration is concerned.  I genuinely say we did quite a lot in 2020.  We also did quite a lot in terms of stabilisation of the economy.  The only issue is that is it enough? Maybe not and I have said as we go forward, we need to continue to look at our situation, review it and work towards making sure that we are paying optimal levels that motivate our people to work in a very committed manner and that is what we need if we are to move Government programmes.  That is what we need if we are to move NDS1, if we are to achieve Vision 2030; we really have to look at that issue of motivation.

Why do you recruit more when you cannot take care of the ones that you have – every trained teacher, every trained potential civil servant wants to join the civil service.  We are not going to be constrained by current situations.  We know that this situation is going to pass, the economy is going to improve and we will pay competitive salaries when that happens.  That is the whole essence of Vision 2030 and the specific programme designed to make us achieve that NDS 1, gradual improvement on our economy and as we do that, also gradual improvement on the conditions of service of the men and women who run our different Government departments and agencies.  I thank you.

         On the motion of HON. MUTAMBISI seconded by HON.

TEKESHE the House adjourned at Twenty Minutes past Six o’clock p.m.

 

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