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NATIONAL ASSEMBLY HANSARD 13 APRIL 2022 VOL 48 NO 39

PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE

Wednesday, 13th April, 2022.

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

PRAYERS

(THE HON. SPEAKER in the Chair)

          THE HON. SPEAKER: Hon. Ministers and your deputies, may you ensure that you are here in the House before the Speakers’ Procession so that we can start together, pray together before we start the Business of the House.

ANNOUNCEMENTS BY THE HON. SPEAKER

ADJOURNMENT OF BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE AND COMMITTEES

THE HON. SPEAKER:   I wish to inform the House that the business of the House and its Committees will be adjourned today until Tuesday 3rd May 2022; in light of the Easter, Independence and Workers Day Holidays as well as the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair.  We also of course, normally break in April to allow Hon. Members to be with their families, especially their children or their grandchildren.

APOLOGIES RECEIVED FROM MINISTERS

THE HON. SPEAKER: I have the following apologies from the Hon. Minister and Vice President:  Hon. C.D.G. N. Chiwenga, Vice President and Minister of Health and Child Care; Hon. Dr. F. M. Shava, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Trade; Hon. O.C.Z. Muchinguri-Kashiri, Minister of Defence and War Veterans; Hon. D. Karoro, Deputy Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Resettlement; Hon. Haritatos, Deputy Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Resettlement; Hon. J. G. Moyo, Minister of Local Government and Public Works; Hon. Dr. Masuka,  Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water, Climate and Rural Resettlement; Hon. Sen. M. Mutsvangwa, Minister of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services – family bereavement and Hon. Prof. M. Ncube, Minister of Finance and Economic Development.

May I bring this to the attention of the Leader of Government Business; where you have an Hon. Minister deputised by two deputies, I think it is expected that at least one of the deputies is in the House.  You cannot have the whole Ministry – the substantive Minister and the two deputies absent here in the House unless there are circumstances beyond their control. We expect at least one of them to be here.

HON. T. MLISWA: Mr. Speaker Sir, the Speaker’s Procession today was late by four minutes.  I am sure the Speaker was late somehow.  It is the first time that I saw that the procession was late by four minutes.  I do not think the Speaker was late but he was delayed.  I do not know what made him to delay but it is unbecoming of the Speaker’s procession in many ways.

THE HON. SPEAKER:  While you are still up standing, before you have heard me, you conclude by saying ‘unbecoming’.  I think you need to withdraw that.

HON. T. MLISWA: It is rare that the Speaker’s Procession is  late.  I do not know......

THE HON. SPEAKER:  Can you withdraw the ‘unbecoming’ part?

HON. T. MLISWA:  I withdraw unbecoming with the word rare.  Usually the Speaker is on time but it is rare that he is not on time.

THE HON. SPEAKER: Thank you for your observation Hon. Mliswa which is quite accurate.  I must admit to you and to Hon. Members, I should have tendered my apology for that because normally we keep time.  That is why I was emphasising the same for the Hon. Ministers that they should be here before the Speaker’s procession.  The reason is because I was on an international call which I could not cut as a member of an international Executive.  They wanted one or two things cleared from my side as a member of the Executive. Thank you very much Hon. Mliswa.

ORAL ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS WITHOUT NOTICE

          HON. T. MOYO: My question is directed to the Minister of Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage. We have observed the blitz that is going on in terms of acquiring identity cards; what penalties are in place to ensure that those people who are defying national policy as enunciated by His Excellency the President that everyone should have access to birth certificates and identity cards are punished?.  There are a number of officials who are defying that order.  We would like to know what measures have been put in place to punish those who are defying this directive. 

THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): I would like to thank Hon. Moyo for his observation.  If there are officials who are defying a presidential directive, this must be brought to the Minister of Home Affairs so that he can take appropriate action.  Indeed, it was a Cabinet decision that people be allowed to get birth certificates and national identity documents and that a blanket waiver be given so that people will not be unnecessarily asked questions and documents that they cannot provide.  If that is still happening, I think Hon. Members must be able to go and conscientise the members of the community so that they report such incidences and appropriate action will be taken.

HON. MUTSEYAMI:  My supplementary question with regard to the waiver by the Cabinet is, why do we not have a Statutory Instrument so that we manage this whole thing once and for all?  We should bear in mind that this is a Cabinet decision and it is there to help the Zimbabweans. 

HON. ZIYAMBI:  That is a good suggestion.  I will transmit that and if it finds favour, it will be done.

HON. T. MLISWA:  Are there enough resources like cameras and so on because your people are being deployed but resources are not there. At the end of the day, we end up blaming the civil servants yet there are not enough resources. Are there enough resources to undertake that programme?

HON. ZIYAMBI: Thank you Mr. Speaker. The original question was about officials who are still sticking to the requirements that are needed for somebody to obtain a birth certificate and national identity card. The second question is purely administrative and I would not be able to detail the resources that the Registrar’s Department has in order to undertake that exercise. Perhaps if you want to find out from them, you can go to the Minister to find out whether he has availed sufficient resources but from a policy position, that is the position, that we want everyone to get I.Ds and birth certificates and we have a registration blitz in terms of getting I.Ds and voter registration.

THE HON. SPEAKER: I am sure Hon. Mliswa will agree that your supplementary question was quantitative and that requires research and perhaps it should come under Written Questions.

HON. GONESE: On a point of order. My point of order is in relation to the response because I believe that the measures to be put in place to implement that policy to facilitate the people of Zimbabwe...

THE HON. SPEAKER: Order, when the Chair has ruled, you cannot then come up with a point of order which seems to castigate the Chair’s response and the questioner in this case was Hon. Mliswa. He has agreed to put his question in writing so that the details are given accordingly.

HON. GONESE: I was not debating the Speaker’s ruling. I was simply raising a matter which I think is important to the people of Zimbabwe...

THE HON. SPEAKER: Ndataura, that will be covered under the Written Question.

 (v) *HON. NYABANI: My question goes to the Minister of Primary and Secondary Education to say, what measures are they putting in place as a Ministry to ensure that children in rural areas where there is no connectivity are able to learn especially those in Grade 7 and Form 4 since the Ministry banned holiday or vacation lessons?

*THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): I want to thank Hon. Nyabani for the question. Hon. Speaker, the practice that was happening was to charge learners extra so that they can come to school. The policy position that was taken was that our school terms are sufficient to cover material required for an examination. What was now happening was, teachers were now concentrating on holiday lessons and charging an extra and therefore, a policy position was taken that the school calendar must be sufficient to ensure that learners are taught and are able to write exams. Should it be found that the school term is too short, I think it is another issue that can be discussed and adjusted accordingly. I thank you.

 (v)*HON. NYABANI:  Mr. Speaker Sir, students in rural areas have a disadvantage when it comes to learning materials and resources compared to those in urban areas.  There are teachers who are willing to go the extra mile and assist students so that they catch up with their learning.  My supplementary to the Minister is; why does the Ministry not allow those teachers willing to assist students in rural areas to have extra lessons instead of banning them completely?

*HON. ZIYAMBI: I do not think the statement coming from the Ministry of Education is to ban those who want to help the learners without asking for extra payment. If there are people who are teaching learners for free and are being questioned why they are doing so, I think they should approach the Ministry to have that resolved.

*HON. TEKESHE: It has been said the school term is sufficient but we are saying in the rural areas, children are learning only two days per week compared to the five days in urban areas. How can they be compensated?

*HON. ZIYAMBI: If teachers are only teaching two days per week during their normal working period, why is it they are now able to teach for the whole week during the holidays? Is that reasonable to say during the normal term, they are not able to teach for five days but when it comes to holiday lessons, they are able to? I think something amiss is happening that we are not aware of and that is why Government is saying for our normal term, they should be able to teach for five days per week until the term comes to an end.

#HON. L. SIBANDA: What is Government policy on the issue regarding learners attending class only two days per week instead of the five?

#THE MINISTER OF PRIMARY AND SECONDARY EDUCATION (HON. E. NDLOVU): Our policy says children should be taught for five days. That is the Government policy – [AN HON. MEMBER: Inaudible interjection.] –

THE HON. SPEAKER: Order. Hon. Sibanda, do not overstretch my ruling. Thank you.

+THE MINISTER OF PRIMARY AND SECONDARY EDUCATION (HON. E. NDLOVU): Thank you very much Mr. Speaker. The Government policy is that learners should learn for five days per week, whether in urban or rural areas. However, since I joined the Ministry last in October, I have observed that there are teachers who want to teach for few days because of COVID. Of late, we used to have hot sitting but they deliberately went on to use their own mode which they are in now.  I thank you Mr. Speaker.

Hon. Tekeshe having stood up on a point of clarification

THE HON. SPEAKER: I prefer a supplementary question and you are the last one.

HON. P. D. SIBANDA: On a point of order Mr. Speaker. It is in relation to your recognition. It is on record Mr. Speaker that you have not allowed points of clarity unless it is a Ministerial Statement. Now that you appear...

THE HON. SPEAKER: Hon. Member, please sit down - because I rejected a point of clarity and I said to Hon. Tekeshe there is no point of clarity. If you want to speak, ask your supplementary question and he will be the last one.

*HON. TEKESHE: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. I concur with the Hon. Minister that five days should suffice but the point that our children are only learning for two instead of five days, how are you going to make up for the lost time for rural learners?

HON. E. NDLOVU: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. We have a programme with our development partners where when we saw that there was a challenge because of COVID-19, we revised our syllabus to the shortest time that we can possibly have. We relooked at the syllabus and shortened it. We crushed it so that at least children can catch up faster than the usual teaching period. Secondly, we introduced ICTs even in rural areas. We are now busy introducing ICTs, working with the Ministry of ICT. I think you have seen the Hon. Minister of ICT launching ICT centres in schools. It is only that our pocket is shallow. Otherwise, if we had known, we would have gone to all schools and put up computers.

Just yesterday, I had a meeting with UNICEF discussing the issue of computers in schools and that we want to make sure that where there is no electricity, we come up with a programme to fit in solar power in rural areas so that children can have access to computers. Also where there are no computers, we have got radios. Where there are no radios, we have flash disks where we record the lesson and give the teacher so that children can continue to learn like those in town. Mr. Speaker Sir, this is the effort that Government is doing, together with the partners. We are glad that some partners are very helpful.

Hon. Members having stood up on points of order

THE HON. SPEAKER: Order, order. We allow a maximum of three supplementary questions.

HON. NDUNA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. My question is directed to the Hon. Minister of Finance in so far as it relates to NDS1 and NDS2. What is Government policy as it relates to presentation of progress made quarterly, monthly or annually on the NDS1 programme that started in 2021 to 2025 so that we can get to know what it is that is enshrined in that document as it relates to the economic development of this country?

THE HON. SPEAKER: Thank you Hon. Nduna. That question is subsumed in the Standing Orders and the Public Finance Management Act which requires the Committees to interrogate Ministers requesting them for monthly, quarterly and annual reports on the performance of policy issues and their budgets.

HON. NDUNA: Allow me to ask as to how and when...

THE HON. SPEAKER: Order, go through your Committee and follow Standing Orders and the Public Finance Management Act.

          HON. P. D. SIBANDA:  Thank you Hon. Speaker.  My question would have gone to the Hon. Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Trade but in his absence …

          THE HON. SPEAKER:  Hon. Member, you are taking your time – straight to the point – that is my job.

          HON. P. D. SIBANDA:  Thank you Hon. Speaker.

THE HON. SPEAKER:  That is my job to delegate who should answer.

HON. P. D. SIBANDA:  Thank you Hon. Speaker.  My question is, we have witnessed gruesome attacks on some of our citizens who are economic and political refugees in South Africa.  We have not heard an official statement from the Government of Zimbabwe…

THE HON. SPEAKER:  Ask your question Hon. Member.

HON. P. D. SIBANDA:  What is Government policy towards protecting those citizens who are under constant attack?  We witnessed the death of one of the citizens, Elvis Nyathi a few days ago.  What is Government policy to protect citizens from those gruesome attacks?  I thank you Hon. Speaker?

THE HON. SPEAKER:  Who was saying, wakavhiringwa nekudzingwa? – [HON. MEMBERS:  Paradza! Paradza!] – Ndiani? – [HON. MEMBERS: Paradza!] -  Hon. Paradza! Hon. Paradza, withdraw your statement.

HON.  PARADZA:  I withdraw Mr. Speaker Sir.

THE HON. SPEAKER:  Thank you.

THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS AND INTERNATIONAL TRADE (HON. DR. MUSABAYANA): Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  I also want to thank Hon. Sibanda for the very important question that he raised.  The foreign policy of Zimbabwe as enunciated in Section 12 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe where we at any one point we are particularly focused and interested in protecting the interests of our citizenry beyond our borders, is not only do we promote their interests but also we protect their interests.

Indeed, it is sad that we lost a dear life in South Africa and we continue to lose lives in South Africa.  We enjoy very cordial bilateral relations, and if you checked in the media, the President of South Africa issued a Press Statement where he distanced the people and nationals of South Africa from the gruesome murder, and said that it was not a representation of the South African culture, neither was it a reflection of the cordial relationship that we enjoy between Zimbabwe and South Africa.  So in terms of protecting those interests, we have our Missions in South Africa – our consular services are all over, and in assisting the whole process, our Mission was involved.

We continue to support, protect, and also to offer services whenever we think the interests of our nationals in other countries are compromised.  So we continue to assist those people in terms of evacuations, and whatever assistance we can render.  Whatever happened in South Africa was a criminal matter and the Government of South Africa is handling it.  We continue to support our citizenry out there, and as you see, our economy is also improving.  Going forward, we will see less and less of our people moving away to seek better opportunities.  We registered the highest growth in Africa over last year, thus pointing to the improvement in our economy and that is how we are dealing with issues of avoiding further movement of people outside the country.  I submit Hon. Speaker Sir.

HON. P. D. SIBANDA:  Thank you Hon. Speaker Sir.  I am glad that the Hon. Deputy Minister has highlighted that in their view, they are experiencing an economic growth.

However, as I indicated in my question earlier on Hon. Speaker, some of these citizens are there as political refugees.  What Government policy is being implemented to ensure that the rate of political refugees in South Africa and other countries is reduced?  I thank you.

HON. MUSABAYANA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  I want to thank the Hon. Member for raising an important question.  Why it is important is because this is the narrative that has been created on the international platform but Zimbabwe has been violating human rights and other Bill of Rights of our citizenry, which is not true.

So what we have done is, through our engagement and re-engagement process, we have a matrix that we have worked out, and through that matrix, we have been having meetings at local level through POLAD, where we have implemented and ensured that our policies are informed.  The policies that were seen as push factors or contributing to the push factors were policies like POSA - that has been repealed and replaced with a very progressive Bill, MOPA that we all participated in passing it.  We engaged in that progressive piece of legislation, even Hon. Biti was in this House, and he acknowledged that this was the best debate that we had gone through as we worked together to fashion that piece of legislation.

So we have done legislative reforms and all these legislative reforms are improving the ambiance, ecosystem of doing business, and also in terms of the environment where our nationals are living.  We have also come up with a slew of economic reforms like the Hon. Ncube calls them.  These reforms have also improved the standards of living and way of doing business in our country.  This is why we now see that we registered a surplus in our balance of payments.  We also registered a surplus on our fiscal budget – that goes to show that there is tremendous improvement in the economy, and we see the way in which our roads are improving – that also goes a long way in ensuring that our citizenry will find comfort in living in their own country.  I submit Hon. Chair.

THE HON. SPEAKER:  It is Hon. Speaker.

HON. MUSABAYANA:  I am sorry Mr. Speaker Sir.

(v)HON. SIKHALA:  Thank you very much Mr. Speaker Sir.  My supplementary question to the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Trade is, among the various available options for the protection of our citizens living in foreign lands, specifically in South Africa, to prevent the recurrence of such issues - is the Government considering a diplomatic protection?

HON. MUSABAYANA:  Mr. Speaker Sir, I want to thank the Hon. Member for raising such an important question. Mr. Speaker Sir, like I alluded much earlier on, we enjoy very cordial bilateral relations with South Africa.  In terms of that bilateral protection, all our citizenry are naturally protected but we cannot say where we find individuals attacking a Zimbabwean citizen in there would be taken to be a violation of our diplomatic relations with South Africa.  If it was a case where the South African Government had in any way caused or motivated such a case or incident, then we will make sense to invoke diplomatic protection.  However, in this regard, it is a mere criminal matter; we have seen it happening here in Zimbabwe where a Zimbabwean criminal attacks a tourist or any other individual who is in this country.  As a Government, we cannot be held accountable for such an offence.  In this respect, we are saying the Chief Diplomat of South Africa, who is the President, Hon. Cyril Ramaphosa, has issued a statement distancing himself from such inhuman cases of murder.  I do not think at this material time; it is important or necessary to invoke such diplomatic protection.  All the same, that mandate is for our Chief Diplomat who is the President, Dr. E. D. Mnangagwa, if he sees it fit that he invokes diplomatic rights, we will be directed accordingly but as of now, we have not done anything along that and we do not see its necessity at the moment.  I humbly submit Hon. Speaker Sir.

HON. MATEWU: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  I think this is not the first time that we have seen such xenophobic attacks in South Africa.  So I think when you try to isolate this incident as a criminal…

THE HON. SPEAKER: Hon. Member, please do not proceed with common cause issues, ask your question.

HON. MATEWU: Yes.  So my question to the Minister of Foreign Affairs is that, when is the Government going to have a compulsory approach and maybe approach SADC to deal with cases of xenophobia and afrophobia in South Africa?  I thank you.

HON. MUSABAYANA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  As SADC, we are one family and as such, we engage on a number of platforms and we are one.  South Africa is on the forefront of actually saying whoever touches any Member State or State Party of SADC would have also violated the rights of all other SADC Member States.  So in terms of xenophobia, yes this is not the first time it has happened and xenophobia is not only for South Africans, it is all over the world.  This is why you see nations, I will not mention them from a diplomatic perspective, building walls, we see nations refusing migrants from other nations in the West or the world-over.  I cannot give you a list in here.  So that is a form of xenophobia and by nature, every human being is xenophobic and that is why we have tribalism – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – yes, that is why we have tribalism all over but it is inhuman and as SADC, we have not accepted it and it is not within South African policy to aggravate or promote xenophobia. 

We cannot hold South Africa to account for the issues of xenophobia.  They are also speaking against it.  These are individuals who are xenophobic but it is not the policy of South Africa.  As SADC, we denounce any form of xenophobic attack and any such attack has also to do with any form of tribalism.  This is why we have had countries where there has been genocide, that is a form of xenophobia.  However, we are saying the 21st century will not condone or support any form of xenophobic attack or behaviour because we are now one global village.  So, we cannot hold South Africa in terms of xenophobia.  I am really sorry, I might not be right, but this is the position of our Government, to say we stand with SADC and AU to say, no to xenophobia.  I submit Hon. Speaker Sir.

*HON. MUCHENJE: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  My question is directed to the Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development, Hon. Mhona.  How far have they gone in translating the Highway Code so that it will be found in all the 16 official languages of Zimbabwe?  Most people who use different languages are buying cars and during the holidays like we are approaching now, they end up driving their cars without licences because they are not well-versed with the English language.  Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.

THE HON. SPEAKER: There are 14 official languages Hon. Member, not 16.

*THE MINISTER OF TRANSPORT AND INFRASTRUCTURAL DEVELOPMENT (HON. MHONA): Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  Thank you Hon. Muchenje for asking this pertinent question.  After the Second Republic, we discovered that a lot of things changed.  We have high class schools and universities which we are working with hand-in-hand.  We have universities like Midlands State University which we gave the Highway Code so that they will translate into all other official languages in Zimbabwe which they are currently doing.  I would like to thank Hon. Muchenje for the important question which will help our children to answer the Highway Code questions without missing anything.  They will also be able to use other languages of their choice, apart from English.  This programme is ongoing and at a fast pace so that we will be having the Highway Code in all the languages.  I thank you.

*THE HON. SPEAKER: I think the Hon. Minister has explained well.

*HON. MUCHENJE: Hon. Minister, this is the 5th or 6th time asking the same question in Parliament and the Ministry is always saying we are in the process of preparing the Highway Code.  May the Hon. Minister give the House timelines as to when the Highway Code will be in all the official languages?

HON. MHONA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  I would like to thank Hon. Muchenje for the pertinent question raised.  I would like to say this is my first time answering this question though the Hon. Member clarified that from the Ministry of Transport.  Yes, it is true that what is going on in the Second Republic is different from what transpired in the First Republic.  In the First Republic,some of the promises were not being fulfilled but if you take note of the Second Republic, promises are being fulfilled.  We do not leave issues unattended, that is why we have decided to give Midlands State University the opportunity to translate the Highway Code.  I thank you.

*THE HON. SPEAKER: Hon. Minister, whilst you are still standing, may you give the House timelines as to when this Highway Code will be ready.

*HON. MHONA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.   If you could please allow me to ask my fellow Minister colleague whom we work hand-in-hand with, with regards to the Midlands State University project.

*THE MINISTER OF HIGHER AND TERTIARY EDUCTION, INNOVATION, SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY DEVELOPMENT (HON. MURWIRA): Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  I would like to thank those who have asked the question and those who have seconded.  I would also like to thank the Hon. Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development for being aware of the process going on at Midlands State University which is the institute in-charge of all our processes of translating our Highway Code.

They are done with the National Constitution and the COVID-19 documents and Government programmes.  Now they are currently seized with the Highway Code project. 

On the issue of timelines, I would like to say this year, the Highway Code will be written in all the 16 official languages.

*HON. MAVETERA: My supplementary question is after the Highway Code has been completed in all the 16 official languages, what language is going to be used for the national provisional tests?

*HON. MHONA: After translating the Highway Code in all the languages, when attempting their tests, they will use their language of choice.  If you learnt in English, you will also write the test in English, nothing will change.  Those who are illiterate in the SADC region, we are going to use the pictorial form for road signs – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.]-

*THE HON. SPEAKR: Order, order! When we are in this august House, Hon. Members must listen to what the Speaker is saying and not fidget 

Hon. Member, you are not connected.

*HON. ZWIZWAI: I am a new Parliamentarian, I have not yet been given a tablet.  Thank you Hon. Mliswa for borrowing me your gadget…

THE HON. SPEAKRER: We do not want petty issues here Hon. Zwizwai, the tablet you had before was not taken. 

HON. ZWIZWAI: Residents in the rural areas have no access to computers and they do not know how to use them. The test is now done electronically and you get your mark there and then.  What is Government doing so that these people who do not have ICT gadgets are able to write their provisional licence test?

*THE HON. SPEAKER:  It is not only Binga that does not have computers – even Mutoko or Chiredzi they do not have computers.

*THE MINISTER OF TRANSPORT AND INFRASTRUCTURAL DEVELOPMENT (HON. MHONA):  It is true that provincial licence examination is now being done electronically.  We have not completely done away with writing the examination manually.  If Hon. Sibanda gives us an opportunity to come to Binga, we will come and people will be examined manually since there is no access to both ZESA and computers. We are going around with my VID team to make sure that everyone has access to provincial test in his or her constituency and in their mother language.

THE HON. SPEAKER:  Hon. Members, please take note that recording of proceedings is done by the transcribers. It is none of your business. Accordingly, Hon. Mutseyami, can you stop the recording please.

HON. MUTSEYAMI:  What recording are you talking about Mr. Speaker Sir?

THE HON. SPEAKER:  The one in plain English.  Thank you.

HON. NDUNA:  My supplementary question to the Minister is – seeing that this was about harmonisation of our SADC of our provincial licencing system, would it also be in tandem with the SADC signage, carriageway markings and all other issues that relate – [AN HON. MEMBER: Inaudible interjection.]-  Imbonyarara iwe wekuuya...

THE HON. SPEAKER:  Hon. Nduna, you are not the Chair.

HON. NDUNA:  Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. Would it also relate to harmonisation of the SADC standard of signage and carriageway markings?

THE HON. SPEAKER:  The original question was translation of the Highway Code. 

HON. NDUNA: Indulge me Mr. Speaker Sir, to harmonise the signage and carriageway markings – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.]-

*THE HON. SPEAKER:  No, let us focus on the Highway Code.

HON. NDUNA: The Highway Code embarrasses the signage carriageway markings, danger warning signs and all that – would it harmonise ours with the one in the SADC region – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.]-

THE HON. SPEAKER: Order, order!

HON. MHONA:  It is true that we are also partaking in the exercise of harmonising our road signage in terms of being compliant to the SADC protocol.  As we speak, there is a Committee known as Transit Transport Facilitation Programme (TTFP) that is underway which is superintending over the issues to do with harmonisation of road signs.  I am happy to say that my team is participating in the exercise.  There is a technical team which is engaged in trying to come up with acceptable standards – whether it is the Highway Code or drivers’ licence. This is on-going work.  In the near future, first or second week of May, we will be demonstrating those road signages in one of Harare roads.  I will invite Hon. Members to see what a role and real model of a SADC road will be like with all the signages that we are talking about.

HON. T. MLISWA:  My question is directed to the Hon. Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Trade.  There has been a lot of controversy pertaining some Chinese companies violating human rights on our people and also not complying with the laws of this country, for example Sunny Yi Feng in my constituency...

THE HON. SPEAKER:  Order, we do not debate.  Can you ask a policy question?

HON. T. MLISWA:  What is Government policy towards foreign investors who violate Zimbabweans’ rights and who do not comply with the laws of the country?

THE HON. MINISTER OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS AND INTERNATIONAL TRADE (HON. DR. SHAVA):    We do not make laws for companies that come to operate here in violation of those laws.  We make laws that protect companies and people. Those laws are governed by our own statutes.  If there is any particular violation that has occurred, I think the courts are available to deal with such violation.  I want to persuade Hon. Mliswa to say if there is anything that he has seen being violated, may he please bring this to the appropriate Minister and it will be dealt with.

            HON. T. MLISWA: My supplementary question to the Minister is, it seems that certain powerful nations like the Chinese have a monopoly over Zimbabwe because of their veto at the United Nations. The result is, they have made our own people become second class citizens. The issue of the Chinese violating human rights is well-known and it has made our people become weaker. Sunny Yi Feng (Pvt) Limited is a good example and I would even invite the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Trade to visit that factory to see how people are being treated. The Minister of Labour was there and he also issued a report pertaining to the labour laws which do not protect our own citizens.

So with that, I would indulge the Minister with other Ministers of Industry or probably a team to visit Sunny Yi Feng and hear from the workers what is going on. I would like to talk about a situation which is in my constituency, which I relate to. Not only that, they are also selling in foreign currency, not remitting to the banks as well. I would also want the Minister to interrogate further that the foreign currency that they are earning in this country, where is it going because we do not see them paying our own people in foreign currency. I thank you.

THE MINISTER OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS AND INTERNATIONAL TRADE (HON. DR. SHAVA): Mr. Speaker, I welcome the invitation by the Hon. Member to visit the company which he has cited but I also welcome the inclusion of appropriate Ministers who supervise the labour laws of this country. I am not so sure whether the Hon. Member would want to make such an appointment or he would want to wait for us to visit at our own time. I want to thank you.

HON. T. MLISWA: Mr. Speaker, I want to appreciate the Hon. Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Trade for accepting the invitation and I will write to his office to visit Sunny Yi Feng in Norton and in writing to his office, I am sure he will be capable of putting together line ministries that have to do with what is going on there. Thank you.

          HON. MAPHOSA: My question is directed to the Minister of Primary and Secondary Education. We have seen a very low pass rate in recent years, especially from schools in rural and resettlement areas. What is Government’s policy or what has Government done, especially issues that lead to the recruitment of teachers and infrastructure development?

THE MINISTER OF PRIMARY AND SECONDARY EDUCATION (HON. E. NDLOVU): I thank the Hon. Member for asking that question. Last week Hon. Members, I had a tour of the country’s 10 provinces to try and evaluate the level of development in our provinces, especially resettlement and rural areas but we also touched towns like Marondera to check also on the schools there. What we discovered is that most of our resettlement area schools have one or two blocks. Some do not even have a block like in the Midlands Province and are using the houses that were used by workers before we took over the farms. We count from the time we took over the farms. Those people who were resettled there, there is totally no infrastructure in most of those areas. This morning we sat down with my staff to come up with a programme that we will recommend to Government for us to construct schools in those resettlement areas because the people we took over the farms from do not want to assist us. So, we have to do it ourselves and build those schools for our children.

We have to build 3 000 from 2022 to 2025. This year we are supposed to build 35 schools but up to now, we have not received any disbursements from the Ministry of Finance. We are still pushing for the release of funds so that at least we build schools in those particular areas because we were asked to put at least one primary boarding school and one secondary school in each district but the shortfall is more than 5 000. We are saying in those schools that are in existence, those that are in the rural areas are not developed, so we better develop those that are in existence but are underdeveloped before we can start new schools. That is the policy that we are going to seek clarity from Cabinet very soon so that at least Cabinet allows us to concentrate on the resettlement and rural areas that have no school blocks.

HON. MAPHOSA: My supplementary question is for the Minister to confirm that we cannot be blaming teachers because the Government itself has failed, because even in her answer, she is saying she is not getting money for infrastructural development and does not know when they will start doing that. I just want her to confirm that it is not the teachers’ fault or others but it is the Government which is failing to provide an essential service that they should provide to the country.

HON. E. NDLOVU: Mr. Speaker, I am developmental-minded. Government has not failed. It is the budget and the availability of resources that has failed us. The resources are limited. Secondly, the issue of recruitment of teachers lies directly within the Public Service Commission (PSC). I just send a list to the Public Service Commission so that they can give me the teachers. I only identify gaps and send to the PSC for recruitment. We are currently working on recruitment and very soon, we are going to publish the list of those that we are recruiting to make sure that our children have got teachers. I thank you.

HON. BITI: Mr. Speaker Sir, my question to the Hon. Minister is that the results are showing that there is now a growing divide between rural schools and urban schools. There is now growing inequality with children in rural areas suffering more and failing more. Can the Minister undertake to provide a paper on how the Government is going to address this growing inequality between rural areas and urban areas? I thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.

THE MINISTER OF PRIMARY AND SECONDARY EDUCATION (HON. E. NDLOVU): Mr. Speaker Sir, I would like to thank Hon. Biti for the recommendation that I come up with a paper. I have recruited a chief director to make sure that she comes up with a paper which will give me a roadmap on how to address the zero pass rates in Matebeleland provinces and Mashonaland Central province. I have identified the provinces that are not doing very well to make sure that the whole country is attended to, so that we have good quality results that match the towns. We can do that if we have a roadmap and we are going to come up with that roadmap. Thank you.

HON. S. MAHLANGU: Thank you Mr. Speaker. My supplementary question is as I am looking at what is happening now, you are talking about ‘trying by all means to do’ A, B, C, D. Let us look at especially rural areas and the peri-urban areas whereby CALA is being downloaded and printed. The challenge now is CALA is now part of the syllabus.  What are you doing as the Ministry to equip those pupils who do not have the gadgets? That is the reason why the pass rate is zero because there is no one to provide them with the laptops to print CALA and file them. What are you doing as the Ministry?

HON. E. NDLOVU: Mr. Speaker Sir, I would like to thank the Member for raising issues of logistics. We have a department at the University of Zimbabwe that is taking care of that. We have got partners like UNICEF who are assisting us with some computers but we are also having the Ministry of ICT to assist us. I think I spoke about that. We are working closely with the Minister of ICT to make sure that we have got laptops in schools. The laptops are not given to children only but they are also given to teachers. This is what we are doing. Thank you very much Mr. Speaker.

(v)HON. MUSARURWA: Thank you Mr. Speaker. My question is directed to the Minister of Health and Child Care. What measures have Government put in place considering that they have scratched the COVID PCR test for those who will be visiting Zimbabwe yet there are some countries which are on lockdown?

THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF HEALTH AND CHILD CARE (HON. DR. MANGWIRO): Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. The question is quite pertinent. She is saying that we have removed PCR as a requirement for entry into the country. I am sure she is referring to COVID-19 problems and there are other countries that are on lockdown. We are saying for anyone to come in to Zimbabwe, they must be vaccinated more than two dosses and above. This is a sure thing that if they are vaccinated, we are protected but if the person has not been vaccinated or they have been vaccinated once, we do the PCR by the airport to screen them, so we are safe in that regard.  I thank you.

          (v)HON. MUSARURWA:  Thank you Hon. Speaker. From the knowledge that I managed to pick from councils like Catania, there are people and residents who have already been vaccinated, and received booster shots but have still tested positive.  My question therefore is, what if someone has already received a COVID booster and we do not request for PCR, will we not be putting our people in danger because there is no measurement that can prove to us that someone will be negative?

          HON. DR. MANGWIRO:  Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir, I want to thank the Hon. Member for the supplementary question.  What she is basically saying is correct in that if a person has been vaccinated, it does not prevent the virus from entering their nostrils or sinuses – it does.  We are saying that if they are vaccinated, they are unlikely to harbour the disease to the extent that they can get the disease and spread it. 

          We are also saying to ourselves, our population is well vaccinated, especially those around the airports.  So this is very important in that vaccination is not to say a person will not harbor the virus either in their hands or nostrils.  We are saying if a person is vaccinated, these people are unlikely to get the disease.  They may carry the virus in their nostrils but it does not follow to say that they have the disease.  I thank you.

          HON. BRIG. GEN. (RTD.) MAYIHLOME:  Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  My question is directed to the Hon. Minister of Higher and Tertiary Education, Innovation, Science and Technology Development.  It relates to the issuance of certificates to students graduating from tertiary institutions around the country.  When is the issuance of certificates going to be decentralised to vocational training centres and tertiary institutions instead of students being asked to come to Harare to collect them?  I thank you.

          THE MINISTER OF HIGHER AND TERTIARY EDUCATION, INNOVATION, SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY DEVELOPMENT (HON. PROF. MURWIRA):  Thank you Hon. Speaker.  I wish to thank Hon. (Rtd) Gen. Mayihlome for his question.

          Hon. Speaker, it is in our interest that our students conveniently get their certificates.  I can promise that we will look into the issue because it is a matter of policy that we should be able to have our students access their certificates at the point where they have been studying, especially so for polytechnic students and others because for the universities, they go back there.  I think the Hon. Member is referring to the polytechnics and teachers colleges, especially polytechnics.  We will make sure that happens because it is not policy that everybody has to travel to Harare to get a certificate.  I thank you.

          *HON. MATSUNGA:  Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  My question is directed to the Minister of Finance and Economic Development, Hon. Minister Ncube.  I understand the Government had said that it will purchase radiotherapy machines that will help those who are living with cancer.  As you all know, cancer knows no age; infants in hospitals are being diagnosed with cancer.  How far has the Government gone with purchasing those radiotherapy machines that will help Zimbabwean citizens together with those that I lead in Mufakose Constituency?

          THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (HON. PROF. M. NCUBE):  Thank you very much Mr. Speaker Sir.  I thank the Hon. Member for that very important question regarding the purchase of machines for assisting our cancer patients.

          We stand ready, with resources to purchase the equipment.  What is going on in the Ministry of Health and Child Care is that they are scoping the kind of demand for this equipment but we stand ready.  We have adequate resources to equip our critical hospitals.  For example, if you go to Harare South where we just completed the development of a new medium sized hospital, we are determined to keep equipping our hospitals and to build new hospitals.  So the issue really is not one of resources but just planning and we are working with the Ministry of Health and Child Care to roll-out the acquisition of this cancer equipment.  Thank you.

          *HON. MATSUNGA:    My question was not concerning Harare Hospital because it is not functioning well due to shortage of nurses.  I am asking concerning radiotherapy machines that will help those who are suffering from cancer.  Our economy is in a bad state that it cannot allow people to access health facilities from other countries.  I am asking about machines so that we do not have to look for health facilities in other countries for radiotherapy treatment.

          I am not asking about hospitals in Harare, there are a lot of hospitals.  I am specifically on radiotherapy machines.

          HON. PROF. M. NCUBE:  Thank you very much Mr. Speaker Sir.  I thank the Hon. Member for that impassioned question once again.  As I said earlier, we have the resources to purchase the equipment.  We are going through a scoping exercise with the Ministry of Health and Child Care to purchase such equipment.  We will update the Hon. Member as we progress with the programme of purchasing that equipment.  I thank you.

          HON. MARKHAM:  Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  Mr. Speaker on the supplementary question, the issue is not only the machines.  The issue is running the machines - simple blood tests for cancer cannot be done in this country at the moment.  There are a lot of people who are sending their blood samples to South Africa for diagnosis.  Can the Hon. Minister assure the House that something concrete will happen in the next couple of months?

          Mr. Speaker, with your indulgence on a point of order, the Hon. Minister a month ago, in answer to my question on the Global Settlement Deed in Agriculture promised me the documents and I am still waiting for them – I have not received them.  A similar situation arises on my second question which is the loan to this Government by the Netherlands Government…

THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Hon. Markham, you are not connected.

HON. MARKHAM: My apology.  Can the Minister please ensure that those documents are sent or I can come and collect them?  I thank you.

HON. PROF. M. NCUBE: Thank you Hon. Markham, you asked three questions.  I can assure you that as Government, we stand ready to support whatever is required in terms of testing for blood services.  As I said, we always wait for line ministries to make requests and we have the resources for such services and it is not difficult in terms of resources.

In terms of the documents that he asked for, again we will forward these documents to him with a bit of delay but they are ready and we will forward them both for the Global Compensation Agreement and the Loan Agreement, it is not difficult.  I thank you.

HON. BITI: Hon. Speaker Sir, my question is to the esteemed Minister of Finance.  The Dutch Auction System is costing around US$40 million a week, so the RBZ is disbursing around US$40 million a week to finance and support the Dutch Auction System.  If you multiply that by 52 weeks in a year, that brings you to around US$2 billion, which money the RBZ does not have. 

Hon. Speaker Sir, only in December, this House approved the Assumption of Debt from the RBZ, of around US$3.5 billion.  My specific question to the Minister is that, why are we maintaining a Dutch Auction System that the country cannot afford and is creating indebtedness to the ordinary average Zimbabwean?  Why not simply float the Zimbabwean dollar so that there is an open market and the market will settle at a price? As I am talking to you right now, yesterday the Dutch Auction System was $150 but in the supermarkets, it is now $320 and by June, the parallel rate will be 1:500.  Why not simply float the Zimbabwean dollar?  I thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.

HON. PROF. M. NCUBE: Thank you Hon. Member for the question.  The gist of this question is that we cannot afford the Dutch Auction System and therefore, it ought to be replaced by something else, a floating exchange rate.  We can afford the Dutch Auction System.  If you have noticed in the last few weeks, what happened to the auction yesterday; we sold foreign currency to the tune of about US$32 million.  We have adequate resources to basically follow through with the provision of foreign currency to those who were successful in bidding for the foreign currency.  However, it is also correct that in the past, we have had a gap, a lag in the disbursements and that gap is being closed; it will be closed.

What we have done in terms of the price discovery process, we have been fine-tuning it, we have noticed that – the first thing we did as the first step was to introduce the SME window.  We then followed that up last week by introducing a window through the banks on a willing-buyer-willing-seller basis up to US$1000 through the normal banking system.  Again, this is meant to improve our price discovery process. 

The auction was designed and set up to deal with the price discovery process as well as to supply the much needed foreign currency.  The resources that the Hon. Member refers to per annum that the Central Bank is able to outlay in terms of the foreign currency is what this economy needs and this is what is also driving this economy in terms of foreign currency requirements.  You will notice the amount of goods that are on our shelves which are domestic, companies have been able to manufacture substitutes and import critical raw materials.  All this has gone a long way in improving our economic performance.  So the auction has really delivered in the supply of critical foreign currency to this economy.  I thank you.

HON. BITI: Hon. Speaker Sir, any importer and any person dealing with the auction will tell you that there is a time lag of nearly two months, an average of two months or eight weeks between the time when your bid is accepted on a Tuesday and the time that an actual disbursement of foreign currency is made by the RBZ.  That means that the system is not coping, there is no sufficient foreign currency.  We also know that there is no sufficient foreign currency because according to the RBZ itself, the auction system is only meeting 26% of the demand.  So most business persons, including you and I Hon. Speaker, are sourcing our foreign currency on the streets at 4th Street, that is why as a result of supply and demand, the rate on the market is shooting.  Today, it was $320; official shops are trading at $280.  That means that the Dutch Auction System is not working.  Why are you maintaining something that is not working? Just allow the floating of the exchange rate so that those who have money will get the foreign currency in the system and those who want to buy will purchase and the Zimbabwean dollar will find a fixed open market rate.  Why are you maintaining something that is broken?  I thank you very much Hon. Speaker Sir.

HON. PROF. M. NCUBE: Thank you Hon. Biti for that follow up question.  He implies that the auction was designed to supply all the foreign currency that the economy needs, that is not true.  The auction was never designed to supply all the foreign currency that the economy needs.  It was designed to supply a part of the demand for foreign currency.  So, its main design was to make sure that we can improve the price discovery process for the exchange rate and supply some foreign currency.  Other sources of foreign currency include own sources.  For example, there are companies such as Delta Corporation which is basically able to raise enough foreign currency from the sale of its products in US$ and is able to fund its own import requirements from its foreign currency. 

We have own sources of foreign currency from the companies’ sales.  Other companies are also working with their banks to source foreign currency on a bilateral basis. So, there are several sources of foreign currency apart from the auction.  The auction is only supplying a part of the foreign currency required and so far it has done a fantastic job in making sure that foreign currency is available to those who are unable to find it.  It acts as an aggregator, aggregating the foreign currency and channeling it through one channel so that it can be accessed and the results have been phenomenal. That explains why the economy is doing so well as a result of that auction among other policies that we have introduced.

HON. MARKHAM: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  Can the Minister explain if the auction rate is working? Why are we eight weeks behind because eight weeks at $40 million a week is $320 million. Can the Minister guarantee us or explain to us how they can clear the backlog?  Secondly, can the Minister also guarantee that we will not have another RBZ debt acquisition at the end of this financial year?  Thank you.

HON. PROF. M. NCUBE: Thank you very much Mr. Speaker Sir.  I thank Hon. Markham for that question.  Basically, the backlog that you referred to will be cleared in 3 steps.  I can also assure you that we will not be accumulating any debt from the auction within the next 3 months.  I thank you.

          Questions without Notice were interrupted by THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER in terms of Standing Order No. 68. .

MINISTERIAL STATEMENT

FEES LEVELS AND REQUIREMENTS OF STATE UNIVERSITIES AND COLLEGES

          THE MINISTER OF HIGHER AND TERTIARY EDUCATION, INNOVATION, SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY DEVELOPMENT (HON. PROF. MURWIRA): Hon. Speaker, allow me to start by premising my presentation again on Section 13 of the national Constitution which talks about national development that our institutions are central to national development and therefore, they must be supported as such.  His Excellency, the President of the Republic Dr. E.D Mnangagwa pronounced a national vision in response to this national Constitutional requirement of Vision 2030 of becoming an upper middle income economy.

 In response, the Higher and Tertiary Education sector made sure that capabilities to meet this requirement are done through reconfiguring the education from Education 3.0 to Education 5.0.  In other words, our education has to answer to our human needs and produce industry.  Our grant plan is to look at how human capital is developed and how innovation is promoted.  It therefore, makes education central and we contribute by all means to make sure that the education is of value.

          In the race between education and technology, education must dominate.  This takes us to the question of the institutional fees needs analysis.  This paper serves to shed light on the fees approval process for higher and tertiary education institutions, financial state of higher and tertiary education institutions and what it takes to run universities and colleges which are the institutions of higher and tertiary education.  The paper also explains the rationale behind the current fees levels in state universities, colleges, polytechnics and industrial training colleges since 2 years ago.

          Section 27 of the national Constitution states that “the State must take all practical measures to promote access to higher and tertiary education, the State must take measures to ensure that girls are afforded the same opportunities as boys to obtain the education at all levels”.  These are Sections that referred to higher and tertiary education. 

          The recently approved fees levels…

          HON. T. MLISWA: On a point of order! Mr. Speaker Sir, you can see that Hon. Members are not in this House to listen to a very important issue which involves students in their constituencies.  On that left side of the House, we have the ruling party which is good at heckling, they are not here to listen to what the Minister will say.  These Ministerial Statements are well thought, well prepared and they have detail and this is the information that they must be taking to their constituencies.

          The Government chief whip and the whip for ZANU PF, Hon. Togarepi is only good at encouraging Members of the ruling party to heckle when Hon. Biti stands up but he is not able to mobilise them to listen on issues which are critical to this country.

          It is sad that the Minister of Finance, Minister of Foreign Affairs and the Minister of Higher and Tertiary Education are here and yet the Hon. Members of Parliament not here.  It is an absolute waste of tax payers’ money.  Mr. Speaker always wants everybody to be here in attendance. 

          I implore you Mr. Speaker Sir, to get the Government Chief Whip, to get all the Members of Parliament here.  They are staying in hotels using tax payer’s money.  What are they doing not being here? That is his job to whip them to come here.  So, it is important that these issues be dealt with because we cannot be blamed by the people.  I must say as a legislator, I am ashamed of colleague Members of Parliament. So may you please call out the Government Chief Whip to get all his Members here because this is an embarrassment.

          THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Thank you very much Hon. Mliswa.  I remember very well that you raised this point of order last week and that was addressed to the chief whips of both sides.  So, your point is noted.

          HON. PROF. MURWIRA: The recently approved fee levels are meant as a step towards achieving SDG 4 which is ensuring inclusive and equitable quality education and promoting lifelong learning for all.

          Maintaining 2021 tuition fees per semester would threaten the achievement of SDG 4. In fact, it would result in education and training institutions cutting down on essential budget lines such as internet bandwidth e-library subscriptions, workshop practice for engineering, practical sessions for life sciences, outdoor field trips seeking supervision of students on attachment would be totally removed.  This would be death of the credibility of our education system.

          My Ministry has created safety nets to protect vulnerable students currently pursuing their studies in various education and training  institutions by the Government backed student loan facility and university student vacation part time employment which we call work for fees programme to facilitate learners to work for their fees.  University of Zimbabwe and Midlands State universities are doing well in this regard.

          Fees changes procedure at university, when it is spoken in general terms it would seem like it is the Minister who charges fees at universities. This is not true. I will explain what the procedure is. Fees adjustments are proposed by the university based on the financial needs of both the student and the university. The Bursar compiles the needs based on what is presented by different departments and faculties. The Bursar submits the compiled information to the Dean of Students. The Dean of Students convenes a meeting with the students to discuss the fees adjustments. After that the matter is taken to the Student Affairs and Fees Revision Committee. The composition of this committee includes a member of the University Council, the Vice Chancellor, Pro Vice Chancellor, Registrar, Bursar, Dean of Students, Senior Chaplain, President of the SRC, a member of the Senate, dean’s representative and Director of Campus Life and Student Development Programmes.  This is where the origin of the fees comes from.

          The Ministry is not part of the student affairs or Fees Revision Committee. The committee’s terms of reference include reviewing fees charged by the university and to submit recommendations through the Finance Committee to Council. All the views of the students are considered and taken into account at the dean’s meeting and at the committee meeting. Council will adopt the recommendations of the committee with or without changes. I have all the minutes of the Fees Revision Committees of the universities with the evidence of the involvement of students. I have a copy of the signed minutes which shows that all the fees that have been charged and approved had student approval. If there is a problem from a certain person then it would be outside the procedure and people have to return to procedure.

          I have explained the Fees Revision Committee which is basically an independent body that has got students and university staff at the university. Now comes the Ministerial approval. The university then compiles a draft application in the form of draft statutes or evidence which it will send to the Minister for approval, the reason being that as already alluded to earlier in terms of the above cited provisions of the University Act, the statutes are made by Council with the approval of the Minister. The mischief that the legislature intended to remedy by including the Minister as the ultimate approval of the fees is to safeguard decisions which may frustrate the constitutional obligations explained earlier. The state must take practical measures to promote the right to education. If the universities are allowed to charge exorbitant fees beyond the reach of many, it will be tantamount to frustrating the right to education as provided for in the Constitution.

          Having satisfied ourselves that the students were consulted and I have all the minutes of all state universities with students available. So if there is a student who is complaining outside of this mechanism, the student has to go back to the mechanism and make sure that if there is any revision it starts from there. However, we have satisfied ourselves that students were consulted and once we see that we approve. This is the procedure of fees revision. There is nothing like the ‘Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education has charged’ - the Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education does not charge fees.

          The rationale behind the change in fees after we have seen that it is reasonable -the newly introduced fees levels will improve access to quality education. It is important to state from the outset that tuition fees in state universities were about $450 from 2015 onwards. The current tuition fees today are between $33000 for arts to $42000 for sciences. These are the tuition fees. If you do a calculation by dividing by 145, it will show you that the fees that we are charging have not increased. In terms of equivalent value the fees have not gone up. This is purely based on fact and mathematics. Hence, it is correct to say the fees have not increased from what they were before.

          With regard to tertiary institutions, the fees structure that was agreed in 2020 has never changed except for catering and practical fees that are determined by market forces. Specifically, tuition fees in tertiary education institutions have not changed since 2020. In order to answer the question on what are the appropriate fees to be charged at state universities and colleges, one has to first look at what it costs to run these institutions and the grants that the state provides to these institutions, that this august House provides to the universities. I will be able to demonstrate what was approved, what is required, what is the gap. I would introduce an equation here. A very simple one, if I say institutional needs are satisfied by Government support, student fees and other income - the institutions need money for their daily operations to pay salaries, to buy teaching and learning consumables, to pay for bandwidth, to licence computer software, e-library subscriptions, insurance, maintenance of grounds and buildings, affiliation fees, external audit fees and examination processes, purchase, repair and maintenance of vehicles and for construction of buildings and other utilities. This will either come from Government support which is voted by this august House or students fees or any other income. I will demonstrate what other activities we are doing to ensure that our education remains competitive and affordable.

          Whilst universities get a Government grant to pay salaries they normally have to meet all other costs from fees and externally generated resources if available. However, the student fees and other income are generally inadequate to meet all other costs because we always have to moderate them. This is because the income source and student fees are generally inadequate as I have said. It is this deficit that is generally the cause of hardships in our state universities and colleges. To ensure institutions operate on a balanced budget, universities and colleges should receive more support or charge more fees instead but normally we say do not charge more fees, we will ask for more support.

          Strategic Development Goal 4 speaks to promoting three main critical educational elements which is access, quality, inclusivity and sustainability. These all have to be attained without compromising any of the three. As highlighted earlier Section 27 of the Constitution states that Government must take all practical measures to promote access to higher and tertiary education. It is clear from the Constitutional provision, that higher and tertiary education in Zimbabwe shall not be free.  It is in fact, a fact that my Ministry and institutions have no control over what happens on the market place, specifically the cost of learning and teaching consumables, internet bandwidth, software licencing, infrastructure, maintenance and expansion, laboratory and workshop equipment.  However, my Ministry and its institutions have to devise strategies to ensure that there is an institutional probability in State Universities to meet the market needs.

          Hon. Speaker, I want to basically talk about universities. At this moment, our populations according to submissions of universities show that universities require 1.7 billion per semester.  The ideal student fees considering what was given by this august House would be around 17.6 billion, which means each university will be charging an average of 320 000 per semester.  These are facts.  What the universities had proposed as their fees was around 68 000 tuition on average which was going to come to 7.1 billion Zimbabwe dollars which will still mean than 19 minus 7, they will still have a deficit of 12 billion.  This gap would either be filled through Government support, which is basically this august House.  So, if today this august House would give me as a Ministry 19 billion, I will say thank you, nobody is paying anything but because we moderated this thing, we said 68 000 is too much, can we really  discuss again.  After the discussions, we charged 33 000 and 42 000 instead of 68 000 to 73 000. 

          Mr. Speaker, the fees as we speak that have been charged to universities were amounting to 4.5 billion and if I round up, it is five billion.  It means from 19 billion, we have a deficit of 14 billion. This is very important to know that if we need quality education and make sure that our education is not about cheating but teaching, this is what it requires.  When I come to polytechnics, they need about almost one billion per term.  The ideal student fees, if they are charged according to a support of one million or so, it would be 965 million which basically means every student must be charged about 35 000 but we have moderated this so that instead of 965 million, we have 715 million. 

Hon. Speaker, deliberate efforts have been made by the Ministry to meet institutional needs and ensure inclusive and equitable quality education in promoting lifelong learning opportunities.  We are doing this by availing Government funds for operations which the Ministry of Finance, through this House, has been increasing over the years although we know that national demands are many and it cannot always be enough.

          A Government backed student loan support scheme has been put in place which has an amount of 105 million.  What has been disappointing about this student loan support scheme which has been agreed and granted by Treasury is that the uptake is very low.  We are still looking at why the uptake is very low.  I would rather have a discussion about how to access this loan than a harsh tag which says fees must flow, from where to where? 

          On reconsideration of our education system and training model, Education 3.0 to Education 5.0, in order to cause industrialisation and production of goods and services, it is set to alleviate the burden of student fees.  So far as we speak, about 150 students at MSU are being supported through our industrialisation drive because they are working in our construction projects and so forth.  The Ministry has also established a Study in Zimbabwe Programme where we believe that we can attract foreign students, thereby alleviating the problems of high fees in this country. As I have proven Hon. Speaker, universities have not increased fees but mathematically speaking, they have actually decreased in real terms. 

          Hon. Speaker, in 2019, we did not review fees at all because in 2019, we were having austerity measures but what we received when we went online, we discovered that they were now telling us that there is poor food, this and that and we kept quiet.  We were resilient because we knew we were trying to serve the national economy and we knew that we were under austerity.  To that effect, the State Universities continue to charge tuition fees between 350 to 450 Zimbabwean dollars at that time.  This time the 33 000 to 42 000Zimbabwean dollars  is still lower than that figure.  Towards the end of 2019 when fees were now 350 Zimbabwean dollars to 450 Zimbabwean dollars, reports from Higher and Tertiary Education institutions actually were coming to say, the conditions have gone very bad but we had stood our grounds.  Now, when we look at the approved fees, let me run down them; Medicine and Veterinary Sciences - in 2019, the fees were an equivalent of US$450; 2021, they were an equivalent of US$185 and in 2022, there was an equivalence of US$219 which basically means that our fees are lower than the baseline that we have been talking about.

 In terms of sciences and technology, they fall from US$400 to US$267.  Hon. Speaker, what I am basically saying is that although we know we have to strive to make sure that students are at school by making sure that we have payment plans, we cannot compromise it to the extent that we become a laughing stock in terms of the conditions at our institutions.  We have to balance because in any ways, problems will come and as soon as we begin to compromise the quality of our learning environment, people will start saying the quality of education has gone done.  So, we have to make sure that we remain resilient and maintain the quality of education or even make it higher in Zimbabwe. 

          Mr. Speaker, when I compare our fees country by country, South Africa is US$4077 per semester, Botswana is US$3242 per semester, Zambia it is US$1 728 per semester. Zimbabwe is US$290.00 per semester.

          I have talked about the current cost drivers in the institutions; e-learning subscriptions, examination expenses, internet subscriptions, work related costs and so forth. Our assumption is that universities and polytechnics are offering engineering and technology as well as applied sciences. We know when they do this they incur massive costs in laboratories.

In terms of infrastructural development, the State universities and college infrastructure gap is still very big. The State universities infrastructure gap is at US$3,8 billion, so we have to build our universities. Over 66% of higher and tertiary education students are enrolled in the country’s universities. On average, each university has the capacity to accommodate less than 20% of the students’ population which results in significant gaps in available beds compared to the required student beds and related infrastructure. There is thus, an acute shortage of university accommodation that we have to take care of.

We cannot require one thing and then require another. If we require quality education that is based on Education 5.0 then we still have to do many activities. Let me just say Hon. Speaker, our strategy is like this. Today we had an AGM for Harare Institute of Technology. It is not a mass university. It has 2 000 students. We said maintain the 2 000 students. What we want to do through Education 5.0 is for these universities to acquire an industrial base. Once they have acquired an industrial base, it might not happen during our time. When I say ‘during our time’, I mean when I am a Minister but we have to start it.

Now, it then means universities will switch from demanding fees to giving scholarships because the students will be working in their industrial establishment. We have seen this at MSU and University of Zimbabwe, and it is working. It is important to note that, for example in the year which is the baseline year 2018-2019, fees ordinances inherited the US$ figures and 2020 was the first ordinance level using our local currency ZW$, so we adjusted the fees since then. The Ministry did not increase tuition fees for the 2022 ordinance. It is a fact that we did not increase any fees. I have all the ordinances with me for inspection.

Hon. Speaker, we believe that we have demonstrated how fees are determined. They are not determined by the Minister but they are moderated by the Minister. Students are involved all along. So, if somebody is saying students are saying this, we want to know which students are these? Are they part of the SRC because their president was there or is it another group and from where? Although we allow them to be very free and speak, it is allowed to speak but it is not allowed to lie.

In order to answer the question of affordability, sustainability and reasonability of our fees based on what the public can afford, it is important to note that the past decade, low income civil servants for example which people talk about, nobody even myself can pay fees with one salary. It is not true. We save for students’ fees payments. So, trying to compare directly to say it is because my salary is this or is below that, we plan for our children and if we cannot, we have to help them somehow. That is why the Ministry is helping a lot of students who cannot afford. That is the reason why students have to come individually and state their case. All students that have come individually and stated their cases went away with help.

The Ministry has also increased access to higher education by 10% through this process. It can safely be concluded that all State universities and colleges are currently having an operational budget deficit of $14 billion due to the low student fees and Government support. Annually, the operational deficit for universities is around, as I said $15 billion and it is very important that we know this for any discussion that we make. I look forward to this Hon. House to approve the budgets to the extent that is possible that we would have asked for. We also have to take into consideration that if all of us collectively are asking for these fees, it is not a Minister. It is the country that is asking for the fees according to the Act which was passed through this House and it is this House that voted for the budget that is leading us to a deficit of $15 billion. Sometimes it is very ironic that question comes from here again.

Hon. Speaker, it should be noted that students are already paying the fees. After one week of announcement, we have a total of 113 693 students who have paid of which 56 000 paid within four days, which constitutes 50% of the students. Thirty-five percent (35%) of the students applied for payment plans and have been granted. Zero point three percent (0.3%) of the students are on work for fees programme and we granted them work for fees programme so that we can run our universities.

Hon. Speaker, I believe I have been able, to the best of my ability and humbly, to demonstrate how the fees making process takes place so that in any near future nobody can say the Minister charged fees. The Minister does not charge fees. The fees are decided upon by institutions that include students and I have evidence that the students were there. After we satisfy ourselves we then charge what we think is affordable. Even when we adjusted fees, I even increased the deficit to $15 billion because if what the universities had asked for had been granted we were going to have a deficit of $11 billion but we said no, people might not be able to afford what you are asking for. So, we moderated it. I really humbly submit Hon. Speaker.

HON. P. D. SIBANDA: When we are talking about higher education we are talking about the immediate citizens of this country that are supposed to run this country into the future. So we are talking about posterity and therefore, it is important that we speak about it. What is saddening is to hear not only a ZANU PF Cabinet Minister coming to Parliament and seeming as if he wants to blame Parliament for allocating whatever it allocated to the Ministry when he was…

THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Hon. Sibanda, in this House you are not supposed to talk about party names. He is a Minister for the Government not for ZANU PF.

HON. P. D. SIBANDA: Yes, the Government that is currently ruling is ZANU PF Party Mr. Speaker.

THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: I am here to guide you. Can you withdraw that?

HON. P. D. SIBANDA: That is a ZANU PF Member.

THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: If we are in the august House, he is a Government Minister.

HON. P. D. SIBANDA: I withdraw Mr. Speaker. One wishes that the speech that the Hon. Minister was giving here...

THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Hon. Sibanda, the time that I have given you is to raise questions where you would want to understand more or to raise points of clarification, not to debate.

HON. P. D. SIBANDA: Hon. Speaker, it is okay. Thank you.

HON. MAPHOSA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. You will allow me to give a brief background on the fees issue. Hon. Minister you recall that we had a petition from the students about the fees raise. As a Committee we tabled a Report in this House after having called you as the Ministry and the petitioners which were students. As a Committee, we gave recommendations. Mr. Speaker, we cannot have semester after semester, the same problem rising and the same Minister giving Ministerial Statements. It cannot happen. The first recommendation was when you came to the Committee you brought the same report that you tabled. If it is not the same, it is almost the same with everything because I have the report here.

We said whilst in your papers, despite stating that students are part of the fees meetings that happen in institutions, we established that some students will not be there in those meetings. If they are there, they are not given enough space to air their views. So we recommended that there should be a deliberate effort by the Ministry to consult and understand the students’ issues. The students were not against the fees raise per se but they had their issues. First it was the issue of timing. The timing of the fees raise vis-a-vis the economic hardships that we have was always a problem. For example, students are about to sit for their examinations and fees are raised. It means that the student…

THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Order Hon. Member!

HON. MAPHOSA: Mr. Chair, I do not want to disrespect you but every time you are in the Chair, you do not give me time to speak. I do not know why?

THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Honourable, I am guided by the rules of this House...

HON. MAPHOSA: But as the Chairperson of the Committee, you should exercise lenience for me to express myself.

THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: This is the time for questions and raising areas of clarification.

HON. MAPHOSA: That is exactly what I am doing Mr. Speaker.

THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: You asked me to give you time to give a little bit of your background, where you are coming from but it would appear now you are extending. We have got a lot of other Hon. Members who would want to ask questions. It is not just you Hon. Member.

HON. T. MOYO: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. May I thank the Hon. Minister for a comprehensive presentation and also to thank him for the procedure in terms of fees adjustment that students are indeed consulted? My clarification is on the issue regarding scholarships for students in Zimbabwe. In the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education, we have seen the Government introducing grant-in-aide where the Government is paying fees for students especially in the most rural and marginalised districts. As a Ministry when can we expect Government to introduce some form of funding for university students? Some of the students come from poor backgrounds. I am aware there are Government scholarships when you are studying in India, China, Russia, et cetera but I am looking at a student who wants to study in Zimbabwe and may want to be assisted by the Government. At what stage can we expect that to happen? What measures have been put in place by the Ministry to ensure that those students who come from poor backgrounds are not disadvantaged in accessing tertiary education? I thank you.

HON. T. MLISWA: I would want to thank the Minister for such a detailed elegant response. I think $290 per semester is the cheapest education in the entire world with the greatest environment, greatest whether, a great country and a great academia. It is known that Zimbabwean education is the best. The issue of the school fees is a bit interesting because first of all, there is economic hardship which is there. We also talk about disposable income and I think this is where Government needs to move in and subsidise. Where the citizens are having a problem, Government comes in and subsidise. Even the farmers when they do well, the price is high, the Government comes and subsidise at the end of the day.

The real issue here is you have got the students who are there. Primary and secondary education, from a point of clarity has got BEAM. I do not see BEAM at tertiary level. Why is it not there because it is the very same child who is suffering at primary and secondary? What guarantee do you have that they are not suffering when they get to tertiary? Can we see the BEAM going all the way? Yes, there is Presidential Scholarships for people going overseas. Are we not promoting other countries? Why does that money not be used in supporting our own local students who do well? The Presidential has got to be quite specific. I would like to urge and from the point of clarity, why do we not also look at it assisting.

Yes, the Minister is correct that this House passes the budget at the end of the day and I think you articulate it well. I think we need to just meet half way so that education continuous at the end of the day. With the COVID pandemic which was there, we need to react to it positively not negatively. That would be my contribution; otherwise I think the Minister spoke a lot of sense. Thank you.

(v)HON. CHARLES MOYO: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. How is the Minister going to manage operational needs? I heard the Minister saying our fees have remained constant but there is a problem with operational needs from our institution. What would be the measures by the Hon. Minister as he moderates as a structure to make sure that we manage the operational needs or demands of the institute?

Hon. Minister mentioned about SDGs. As he moderates the fees structure, how do we achieve SDG Number 1 in terms of eliminating poverty and SDG 10, in terms of reducing inequality and SDG 12 in making sure that inclusivity is attained? There is general perception that future and current students that university fees are very expensive and they may not think of attending university.  How is the Hon. Minister going to work so that we achieve those SDGs?

          Then last one Hon. Speaker, the Hon. Minister compared fees paid in South Africa, Botswana as well as Zambia – mind you Hon. Speaker Sir, I think all these countries that he mentioned use one currency.  Is the Hon. Minister also lobbying, as he is part of Cabinet, to make sure that we use one strong currency?  I can assure you Hon. Speaker Sir that one currency would be United States Dollars.  I thank you.

          (v)HON. MOKONE:  Thank you very much Hon. Speaker Sir.  I would like to thank the Hon. Minister for a well detailed Ministerial Statement.  I have about three issues for clarity from the Hon. Minister.

          The Hon. Minister mentioned that there is the Fees Revision Committee.  I would like to know from the Hon. Minister what measures are in place to make sure that there are no loopholes in this because many a times we hear that students have agreed for fees to be hiked but that is not what will be happening on the ground.  The students would not have agreed to that.  We see a few people sitting down and agreeing to that.

          The second issue is the issue of e-learning.  What measures are in place to make sure that students access gadgets for e-learning such as laptops and cellphones?  We know that these gadgets are very expensive and beyond the reach of many, and again, data is very expensive.  What measures has the Ministry taken to ensure that this is made possible, especially as we are faced with COVID-19 when everything has gone digital?

          Still on the issue of e-learning, I would like to know what measures has the Ministry come up with to address the plight of the girl child because as we see data, and these gadgets being expensive the girl child comes at the receiving end and at times end up engaging in immoral behaviour to get some of these gadgets.

          Then my last issue would be, the Hon. Minister in his last statement actually said that some students have paid the new fees structure.  Yes, they have paid the new fees structure and the parents had no choice.  So I would like to know from the Hon. Minister, what measures are there to assist the under-privileged students or rather the orphans because these students who have paid are students who have parents who are still alive whilst the orphaned students do not have anyone to pay for them.  What measures has the Ministry come up with to help these students to pay their fees?

          *HON. DUTIRO:  I would like to thank the Hon. Minister for the detailed statement that he has rendered which clarifies a lot that covers a lot and he came prepared so that we understand clearly.  I have a complaint that you mentioned about funds not yet paid to the universities which the students owe due to failure to pay fees on time.  This means that the institutions are suffering and might end up closing due to lack of funds.

          What are you going to do as Government to help those institutions so that they get back to normal, and function as well as they used to do since in Zimbabwe, we value education?  This is my only concern Hon. Minister. 

          +HON. M. NCUBE:  Thank you Madam Speaker.  I would like to direct my question to the Minister of Primary and Secondary Education.  What is Government policy regarding the awarding of scholarships or bursaries to deserving students whether local or international?  For instance, the Presidential Scholarship Scheme, you will find some students who are able to pay benefiting from such schemes whilst deserving ones are prejudiced.

          THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER (HON. MAVETERA):  May you please use one language Hon. Member, it is either you use SiNdebele or English.

          +HON. M. NCUBE:   Sorry Madam Speaker.  Should I repeat my question?

HON. MAVETERA:  Yes, you may.

+HON. M. NCUBE:  My question then is what avenues are available to deserving students who are in need of such Government schemes.  I thank you.

          HON. TEKESHE:  Thank you Hon. Speaker Ma’am.  I would like to ask the Hon. Minister the issue of student loans.  In rural areas, students are not aware of the loans.  We have many cases of students asking for help with school fees.  They are not aware of the loan schemes.  Are you telling all students about the loans?  I would like to know the terms and conditions of the loans.  How will they repay?  Do they repay whilst they are still in school or not?  I thank you.

          *HON. MUDARIKWA:  Thank you Madam Speaker.  I would like to thank the Hon. Minister for coming to clarify the issue of school fees.  The Hon. Minister is in charge of tertiary education but he did not explain how private universities and teachers’ colleges are going to pay the fees.  Is there any difference with universities?  Are the fees different? 

          In primary and secondary education, private schools apply to the Ministry for permission to increase fees.  Are the private universities and teachers’ colleges also applying to the Ministry because they are too expensive for one to afford?  If you are selling cattle, you need to sell 10 for every term.  It is difficult for students to complete their studies.  There is a university in Bindura called the Zimbabwe Ezekiel Guti University.  If you look at Ezekiel Guti University, it is very expensive and yet the Constitution provides that people have the right to have education.  If it becomes difficult to pay for school fees, go back to Parliament and Parliament will prepare a supplementary budget to allow our children to go to school and they will be able to pay after they graduate.  Most of the Hon. Members here who are degreed, I have a diploma from the Communist country – those degreed who are in here got free education as they received pay-outs from the Government.  Let us go back to that era because our economy has skilled people but they are unable to continue with their education because of poverty.  Some people even sang the song to say Hurombo hunodzamira, poverty will restrain you from progressing forward.  That is my question.  I thank you.

HON. MOLOKELA-TSIYE: Thank you so much Madam Speaker Ma’am.  I just have one or two questions for the Hon. Minister; I wanted to know if the Ministry has a clear strategy of engaging students who are not attending lectures at the moment protesting against the fees?  Is there a clear strategy from the Minister to come up with a solution?  Secondly, I want the Minister to highlight – he highlighted the fees in other countries in the region but the Minister must also highlight the income disparity between those countries like South Africa and Zimbabwe because you cannot compare apples to oranges.  So the Minister must also highlight how much Zimbabwean civil servants in Zambia, South Africa and Botswana are earning compared to those in Zimbabwe because that is where the problem is.  The income is low in Zimbabwe, it is not just about the fees but the income.  Thank you so much.

THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: On your second question, the Hon. Minister is not in a position to respond to that one.  That will be related to the Hon. Minister of Public Service.  So that one is not going to be answered but the first one will be answered.

(v)HON. HAMAUSWA: Thank you Madam Speaker Ma’am.  My point of clarity to the Minister is that; since this is now a repeat of what has happened before, are there no plans to enhance the way in which the universities increase fees without jeopardising the process of learning for the disadvantaged students?

(v)HON. S. BANDA: Thank you Madam Speaker Ma’am.  My point of clarity concerns people with disabilities.  I just want to find out from the Hon. Minister; do you have statistics of people with disabilities who have failed to pay fees?  I thank you so much Madam Speaker Ma’am.

(v)HON. S. NDLOVU: Thank you Madam Speaker Ma’am.  I want to seek clarity from the Minister; does he know that there are children who dropped from school because of these fees after they have gone up?  Thank you Madam Speaker Ma’am.

HON. BRIG. GEN. (RTD.) MAYIHLOME: Thank you Madam Speaker Ma’am.  The point of clarity is on industrial attachment Hon. Minister Sir.  The burden now lies on the individual students to look for industrial attachment.  Why is it that tertiary institutions do not make efforts to seek industrial attachments for students at institutions of higher learning?  Thank you.

HON. PROF. MURWIRA: Thank you very much Hon. Speaker.  I really want to thank Hon. Members for asking very important questions that in my view lead to the improvement of policy and make sure that we run our higher education system properly.  So all questions no matter what their character is, are welcome.  I think it is very important that we debate this issue in a very important way. 

Hon. Speaker, there has been a question which has been like, ‘why are you giving us the same answer that you gave us last year and a year before?’  It is because I was being asked the same question.  If I begin to answer differently, I might be lying.  I have to be as truthful as I can and I normally do it under oath like now.  So, I will give the same answer if it is the same question – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] –

On the issue of scholarships, Hon. Speaker, it is very important that we look into this matter very seriously.  I think it will be in good order if we have a scholarship fund that is funded through this House.  Any Minister of Higher Education would enjoy such a privilege.  I really thank Hon. Moyo for asking this question about the possibility of scholarships.  It will be very necessary because we have to run our institutions properly and it will be very nice if we can have a scholarship fund especially for students who deserve that fund.

It is related to a question by Hon. Mliswa about subsidies; when I revealed the deficit that we have as a Ministry for Higher Education of about $15 billion – I am basically humbly asking this Hon. House to take note of that and therefore help in the budget making process.  What I was trying to say is not like trying to give the burden to Parliament and say, it is you who charged the fees, no.  It is to highlight that, let us take our national things as collective and never start pointing fingers at each other when we have a problem in the House.  Let us face it and let us also know that whoever is speaking is also responsible.  That was the basic point.

How do we manage operational issues at universities?  You would now know that we have gone to Education 5.0, and this is our attempt to make sure that universities are able to raise their fees.  In the very near future, universities might begin to offer scholarships because they are trying to look for the brightest students to work in their industrial parks.  This is our real aim and I think we will be able to achieve it. 

Hon. Speaker, I have talked about the issue of helping students that are disadvantaged.  We have talked about having students who are on Work-For-Fees Programme at Midlands State University and at the University of Zimbabwe.  It is my humble plea to all our students that if you have problems, do not go toy-toying in the streets because there is no office in the street.  Go to the Students’ Affairs office and be open enough to talk about your plight and it will be addressed.  All students who approached these offices are helped.  I am aware of students and there are a lot of messages that come to me which are almost like an attack to say ‘fees must fall, fees must fall!’  We know those students but we know very well that it is important – that is their age, they do that at that age, so I am not bothered. 

The most important thing is that we still have to pay fees and make sure that our universities run.  I can tell you, because I was going to make a Ministerial Statement today, they have been sending messages saying at least the fees must fall.  That is not the way we run a country.  However it is allowed at that age to be excitable but not too much.

          It is very important that we are open, we cannot have universities where we do not want students - we want them but at the same time we are teaching them leadership.  That is why we are saying, come let us talk about it and see what is going on, not specialising in insults.  It does not help anyone. 

          On the issue Hon. Moyo talked about, are you saying that we should charge in US$, no, the only basis of comparison between countries is on international convertible currency.  So, in South Africa, they charge in Rands, Botswana in Pula, Zambia in Kwacha, so we had to standardise them and see what the differences are.  That was the basis of our comparison.  There was also a question about the submissions of the fees revision committee.  I have been able to try humbly to say the fees revision committee submits to the Ministry, where they are trying to make assigning auditors and from the $7 billion that they wanted, we ended up making sure that it is only $4.5 billion. 

          Therefore, taking into consideration the problems that our economy might have and our students might have, there is no student who goes to the students’ affairs office and plead that they do not have money and they are chucked away from the university.  It is only those – we have been observing some students who were toy-toying at the University of Zimbabwe and we discovered that they were not students anywhere.  They are coming from an address, somewhere in Baines Avenue.  There is no university there.  So, it is also important to this House to know that it is not good to destabilise our own education sector.  It does not help anyone. It does not help anyone to use our students as  fodder for their political whims.  It is not correct.

          On the plight of the girl child - we are in the process of building hostels.  Every hostel that we build we start with female students.  We have just completed a 750 student hostel in Bindura.  It is all for girls.  All what we are trying to do is to make sure that we alleviate these problems.   I want to thank this House for continually reviewing the budget of the Ministry.  I can say since my humble tenure from 2017 up to now, this august House has been giving universities, for the first time some operation fees.  This has not been happening before.  So we are very happy that this is the direction that we are taking.  I also wish to thank you within the constraints of the resources that we have.

          On the issue of Presidential Scholarships, I want to say that, that office is no longer in the Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education, Innovation, Science and Technology Development but it has a specific department under the OPC, where it is run.  So I may not be able to competently answer this question. 

          Now, when the loan is there, Hon. Tekeshe asked, how is it published?  We try by all means, also through this means that the Hon. Members have asked me to make a Ministerial Statement to make it public that again there is a loan.  I am hoping that this then cascades to the people that need that information.  You know sometimes our students are under so much pressure that they do not want to say that they are poor.  It is not a problem to say you are poor.  Some of us also went to school through the mercy of other people but by actually telling those people that ‘you know, I cannot afford this, can you help me.’  It is very important for this society to confront its poverty and not try to say they are ‘cool’ when you do not have fees.  Just say I do not have and go to the appropriate office.  Do not be told to go and make noise and destroy property because you cannot pay fees because that will put the whole system into much bigger problems.

          I would also want to answer a question on private universities.  Private universities and colleges are by nature private.  Therefore, they charge fees according to their privacy. What I can talk about competently is our public universities, which are funded through this august House and we are saying we are trying by all means to make them affordable and attractive at the same time.  Our education quality in this country is improving and is improving very well.  If somebody says education standards are falling down.  I would say no, we are actually going up very well because that higher education has been able to produce in the past five years is showing improvement.  Now we have oxygen, sanitiser, masks, we are building new hospitals et cetera.  It shows that movement is taking place.

          Hon. Molokela talked about the strategy of engaging students.  When we talk about our students, it is like we are always accessible to our students any time but we are talking about the rule of law.  We are in the House of Law as we speak today – there are procedures that people use.  Students have got a Dean of students, they have got faculties, they have got a council et cetera.   All these are procedures that they can follow.  If students are to be helped and they are genuine, they will always be helped.  If students are used by some people as political fodder – they are mature people, what can we do?  They are adults, they can go and engage in those circles but if they want to engage in education, they can always engage and be helped.  There is no problem.

          I want to say we are open to discuss with our students, every time, any time.  I had had sometime a meeting with students’ leaders, as a way to make sure that we know where we want to go with our education.  It is not a problem, we are accessible but it is very important that if people are advocating for the rule of law, they  must not shy away from that very same law which they are saying the rule of law. 

          Coming to people with disabilities, I want to report very clearly that all students with disabilities, especially at institutions that can involve them, that can handle this issue, like University of Zimbabwe, they pay nothing.  They pay no fees, no accommodation, nothing. They are completely sponsored by Government.  All students with disabilities at the University of Zimbabwe, I think you can go and prove that now. –[HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] –

          Do you know that there are some students who dropped from school?  There is no student that should drop from school.  I am saying let us face our poverty.  It is not a problem to tell people that I cannot afford, I am poor.  If you can do that, you can always be helped.  As I said if you want to be known to be ‘cool’ and pretend that you can afford and try to prevent people from knowing that by toy-toying in the street, it does not help.  You still are not going to school.  If you ask for help you will be helped.  There is no student that should drop from school but if we say now, go and work in these grounds so that we can get your fees, do not be too big to work in the grounds for your own fees.  That is the humbleness that we need in our students.  No student should drop from school.  No student should drop from college.  They present their case and we will always help them.  All those that have asked for help have been helped.  All those people that we helped tried to exercise their democratic right of shouting, they have been allowed to shout but the most important thing is go to school and follow the procedure.  We allow our students to be free to talk, free speech, free to associate and so forth but still you have to go to school and have a degree.  It is very important that we go back to this centre and say it is not about how much noise you make, it is not about how you call me Mr. Murwira when I am a professor when you are at university.  It does not help.  Go and read for the degree that you applied for and pass.  That is the most important thing.  That is the message that I want to give.  It does not help to be used by people who are old in a wrong way.  Go to school and read.  If you have a problem with fees, talk to us and we will see how we can make you remain in class.  However, the price of bread does not change and it is not being changed by the Minister of Higher Education.  It changes and bread still has to be bought, so we have to understand that.

          Hon. Speaker, the last issue is about industrial attachment.  I think it is a very good suggestion that our students find places for industrial attachment.  One of the things that we are doing is to make sure that with our industrial parks, for example if you go to Gweru where we have done the MSU industrial park, it is interesting how many students you find there.  It is interesting to see that we are building a state of the art diagnostic centre at the MSU.  It is interesting to see how all the students are involved in putting the lawn there so that they can pay their own fees.  As I said, it is not bad to review your plight to say I think I will be able to help.  This is how people build their country.  We do not build our country through confusion.

          Once again, I want to say if we are truthful and we ask the question and if I am truthful, I should be giving you the answer during the morning, afternoon and evening, same answer.  Next month and next year, I will give you the same answer.  Thank you. 

          THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER (HON. MAVETERA):  Thank you very much Hon. Prof. Murwira. I would like to thank you for the Ministerial Statement and for the responses that you had to go on to give.

MINISTERIAL STATEMENT

RESPONSE TO THE PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE ON FOREIGN AFFAIRS AND INTERNATIONAL TRADE ON THE REPORT OF A VIRTUAL MEETING HELD WITH THE FOREIGN AFFAIRS COMMITTEE OF THE NATIONAL PEOPLE’S CONGRESS OF CHINA

          THE MINISTER OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS AND INTERNATIONAL TRADE (HON. DR. SHAVA):  First and foremost Madam Speaker, I would like to thank Parliament for complementing the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Trade in enhancing the country’s relations not only with the people’s Republic of China but with other countries as well.

          Madam Speaker, we welcome the close co-operation between Zimbabwe and China and I am pleased to say that relations between Zimbabwe and China continue to grow from strength to strength each year.  As you may be aware, Zimbabwe-China relations were elevated from “all weather friends” to “comprehensive strategic partnership.” 

          Madam Speaker, recently, we attended the eighth edition of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) in Dakar, Senegal which was held under the theme “Deepening the Sino-Africa Partnership and Promoting Sustainable Development” to build a China-Africa Community with a shared future in the new era.

          The conference sought to elevate the implementation of the follow up actions of the 2018 Beijing Summit and the situation of China-Africa solidarity against COVID-19.  The conference also sought to map out the direction of the China-Africa relations in the next three years.  The conference provided a platform to review progress in the strategic partnership between Zimbabwe and China in the areas of mutual interest. 

          On the sidelines of the FOCAC meeting, I am pleased to highlight that I had the opportunity to meet with the State Councillor and Minister of Foreign Affairs of the People’s Republic of China, Honourable Wang Yi and we discussed the state of bilateral relations between China and Zimbabwe, which we both acknowledged were very strong, characterised by regular communication between our two Heads of State and Government.  We agreed to continue working together to further strengthen bilateral relations and cooperation. 

          Through cooperation between Zimbabwe and the People’s Republic of China, already our country has benefited from several projects which include;

  •     Construction of the new Parliament building in Mount Hampden;
  •     Rehabilitation and upgrading of the R.G. Mugabe International Airport in Harare;
  •     Rehabilitation of Victoria Falls Airport;
  •     Dualisation of Beitbridge-Harare-Chirundu Road;
  •     Expansion of Hwange 7 and 8 Thermal Power Stations;
  •      Expansion of the NetOne broadband;
  •     Government approved Dinson Iron and Steel Company, a subsidiary of Tsingshan Group Holdings to establish a steel plant in Mvuma. The plant is expected to become the largest steel plant on the continent; and
  •     Zimbabwe is cooperating with China in the agricultural sector at Gwebi Demonstration Centre.

Madam Speaker, I am very pleased to note that China has remained a strategic partner for Zimbabwe in the health sector through donation of vaccines and rehabilitation of Mahusekwa Clinic.  Currently, there is close cooperation between Parirenyatwa Group of Hospitals and Hunan Provincial Hospital, a partnership that promotes medical institutional capacity.

The Chinese business community through the Chinese Embassy in Zimbabwe, have also donated PPEs and other medical supplies to the Government to assist national efforts in combating the COVID-19 pandemic.

Zimbabwe has benefitted immensely from the Chinese investments and assistance in the areas of energy, agriculture, health, ICT and infrastructure development as I have alluded to.  With regards to energy, the Chinese investors have assisted the country to address power deficit in the country through power generation, namely the Kariba South Project which contributes 300 megawatts to the national power grid, and the Hwange 7 and 8 Thermal Power Project, which when completed will add another 600 megawatts to the national grid.  Once these projects are completed, there will be steady power supplies which will assist in the recovery of the country’s industries which in turn will create jobs for the people of Zimbabwe. 

With respect to agriculture, the Chinese have facilitated irrigation development and provision of inputs through contract tobacco farming. This helps in improving livelihood of citizens and guarantee food security.

          With regards to ICT, there has been corporation in the NetOne broad band expansion phase project.   You will be aware of the Government programmes to be inclusive in terms of access to technology.  It is true that Government will be able to facilitate greater access to ICT which is now critical in all sections of the economy.  Madam Speaker, China has also assisted Zimbabwe with human resources development through provision of scholarships to Zimbabwean students to study in China and on the job training to local companies like the Chinese Factory in Norton which has been talked about earlier on in this House today.

          The Chinese business community has transferred technical expertise and created employment for thousands of our people.  The Chinese investment has helped to increase the country’s GDP and volume of exports, particularly in the tobacco sector. I am also pleased to highlight that through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, on various occasions we have written to the Government of the People’s Republic of China expressing our gratitude for the support that Government has extended to Zimbabwe.  In February 2021, His Excellency the President, Dr. E. D. Mnangagwa wrote to his counterpart expressing gratitude for the donation of a total of 400 000 COVID-19 vaccines availed to us in two batches in the true spirit of friendship and fraternal corporation.  I so submit Madam Speaker.

MOTION

BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE

          HON. TOGAREPI: Madam Speaker, I move that Order of the Day, Nos. 1 to 30 be stood over until Order of the Day, No. 31 has been disposed of.

          HON. TEKESHE: I second.

          Motion put and agreed to.

COMMITTEE STAGE

AMENDMENT OF STATE UNIVERSITIES STATUTES BILL [H. B. 13, 2021]

          Thirty First Order read: Committee Stage: Amendment of State Universities Statutes Bill [H. B. 13, 2021]

          House in Committee.

          Clauses 1and 2 put and agreed to.

          Schedule put and agreed to.

          House resumed.

Bill reported without amendments.

Third Reading: With leave, forthwith.

THIRD READING

AMENDMENT OF STATE UNIVERSITIES STATUTES BILL [H. B. 13, 2021]

          THE MINISTER OF HIGHTER AND TERTIARY EDUCATION, INNOVATION, SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY DEVELOPMENT (HON. PROF. MURWIRA): Madam Speaker, I now move that the Bill be read the third time.

          Motion put and agreed to.

          Bill read the third time.

MOTION

BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE

          HON. TOGAREPI: Madam Speaker, I move that we revert to Order of the Day Number 1 on today’s Order Paper.

          HON. MPARIWA: I second.

          Motion put and agreed to.

MOTION

REPORT OF THE 50TH PLENARY ASSEMBLY OF THE SADC PARLIAMENTARY FORUM HOSTED VIRTUALLY BY THE UNITED KINGDOM OF LESOTHO

          HON. MPARIWA: I move the motion standing in my name that this House takes note of the report of 50th Plenary Assembly of the SADC Parliamentary Forum hosted virtually by the Kingdom of Lesotho from 10 to 12 December 2021.

          HON. MUDARIKWA: I second.

          HON. MPARIWA: 1.0       INTRODUCTION

  • The  50th Plenary Assembly Session of the SADC

Parliamentary Forum was hosted virtually from the 10th to 12th December 2021 under the theme, “Celebrating a new era of democracy towards consolidating the vibrant voices of SADC Parliamentarians.”  The theme of the 50th Plenary Assembly which resonated with commemorations of the Golden Jubilee of Plenary Assembly sessions, was aimed at celebrating the achievements of the SADC PF since its inception, including but not limited to the landmark decision of the 41st SADC Summit meeting held in Lilongwe, Malawi, from the 17th-18th August 2021, which approved the Transformation of the Forum into a SADC Regional Parliament, with the accomplishment of other formalities such as the amendment to the SADC Treaty and the incorporation of the Protocol to establish the SADC Parliament commencing immediately.

1.2    Hon. Advocate Jacob Francis Nzwidamilimo Mudenda,

Speaker of the Parliament of Zimbabwe, led the delegation which comprised the following Members of Parliament:

Hon. Tambudzani Mohadi, Member of the Standing Committee on Food, Agriculture, Natural Resources and Infrastructure;

Hon. Goodluck Kwaramba, Member of the Standing Committee on Gender Equality, Women Advancement and Youth Development and Chairperson of the Zimbabwe Women’s Parliamentary Caucus (ZWPC);

Hon. Dought Ndiweni, Executive Committee Member and Member of the Standing Committee on Democratization, Governance and Human Rights;

Hon. Anele Ndebele, Chairperson of the Standing Committee on Trade, Industry, Finance and Investment; and

Hon. Paurina Mpariwa, Member of the Standing Committee on Human and Social Development and Special Programmes.

          2.0    OFFICIAL OPENING CEREMONY

2.1    In delivering the keynote address, the Guest of Honour, Rt

Hon. Dr. Moeketsi Majoro, Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Lesotho, recognized SADC PF as a key cog of SADC and paid tribute to the Strategic Lobby Team of Hon. Speakers for its unwavering commitment to the Transformation Agenda. The Premier acknowledged that as a late convert to the Transformation Agenda, he had since become a fervent advocate for the speedy amendment of the Treaty to ensure that the Regional Parliament becomes a reality in accordance with the laid down roadmap.

2.2    In their congratulatory remarks, the East Africa Legislative

Assembly (EALA) applauded the model law-making initiatives at the SADC PF and indicated that they stand ready to share their experiences and also assist the institution in the transformation process agenda.

2.3    The Regional Women’s Parliamentary Caucus (RWPC),

called for the active consultations of women in all decision–making processes.

          2.4    Hon. Christophe MBOSO N’KODIA PWANGA, President

of the SADC PF and Speaker of the National Assembly of the

Democratic Republic of Congo, profiled the achievements made by the

Forum since its inception and applauded Member Parliaments for their

resilience in the endeavour to see the birth of a SADC Regional

Parliament.

          2.5   In proposing a vote of thanks, the Speaker of the Parliament

of Malawi, Rt. Hon. Catherine Gotani Hara, graciously thanked the

Kingdom of Lesotho for unpacking a well-choreographed 50th

Anniversary Plenary Assembly and reminded the meeting of the

significant socio-economic contributions of the Kingdom of Lesotho to

the region.

3.0   STATEMENT BY THE SPEAKER OF THE

NATIONAL ASSEMBLY OF ZIMBABWE, HON. ADVOCATE JACOB FRANCIS NZWIDAMILIMO MUDENDA ON THE SYMPOSIUM AND THE KEY DELIVERABLES

3.1    Hon. Advocate Jacob Francis Nzwidamilimo Mudenda was

part of the team that reflected on the Symposium topic, The Windhoek Initiative and the Birth of the SADC Parliamentary Forum: Celebrating the Emergence of the Voice of Parliaments in SADC Regional Integration”.  In his delivery, the Hon. Speaker urged the Region to activate an enduring consultative framework between the Executives and the Legislatures within SADC to keep the momentum going on the Transformation Agenda.

3.2    He indicated that this could only be achieved by ensuring that key structures such as the Joint Task Team led by the Secretary-General and the SADC Executive Secretary working under the stewardship of the Strategic Lobby Team of Hon.  Speakers continue to collaborate as guardians and custodians of the Transformation Agenda.  The Strategic Lobby Team has to guide the Technical Working Group at the political level in order to keep the Transformative Agenda within the SADC Summit decision radar.  

3.2.1 The Symposium Statement recommended that all SADC PF

Members should studiously read the Proposed Protocol on the Transformation Process once it is submitted by their respective Ministers of Foreign Affairs so as to make incisive input that will accelerate the transformation process to take place before 2023.            

3.3    The Symposium noted the persistent impediments to regional

integration due to the prevailing visa regimes and artificial barriers in the mould of borders which continue to act contrary to the spirit of total regional hegemony. To this end, the spirit and letter envisaged in regional integration and cooperation by SADC founding fathers should be foisted to achieve total regional harmony.

3.4    The 50th Plenary Assembly Meeting also took time to

celebrate the life of Dr. Kenneth Kaunda, a luminary and founding patriarch of African independence who died on 17 June 2021. The glowing tributes acknowledged the work of the illustrious son of Africa who contributed immensely to the liberation of many African countries in the region including Zimbabwe. The participants acknowledged that the life of Dr. Kaunda ably demonstrates the sacrificial servant leadership principle of putting others first before considering one’s own situation.

3.4.1 It is important to note that the Speaker of the Parliament of

Zimbabwe spearheaded the publication of a Condolence Booklet commemorating the life of the late President of Zambia which has been shared with the Zambian Embassy in Zimbabwe for distribution to the National Assembly of Zambia and Dr. Kenneth Kaunda’s family, among others. 

5.0   ADOPTION OF THE REPORT OF THE EXECUTIVE

COMMITTEE AND THE TREASURER’S REPORT

5.1    The Executive Committee tabled its report for consideration

and adoption during the 50th Plenary Assembly meeting.                  

5.2    The Report acknowledged the work of the Strategic Lobby

Team of Hon. Speakers and the consequential approval of the Transformation of the SADC PF into a Regional Parliament and pledged to chart the way forward in terms of amendments to the SADC Treaty and the finalisation of the Protocol establishing the SADC Parliament.

5.3    The Plenary Assembly adopted the proposed salary reviews

for SADC Secretariat Staff and the recommendations for Member Parliaments to second staff as a stop-gap measure to mitigate the prevailing manpower shortage.

5.4    The Plenary Assembly deliberated on and adopted the SADC

Model Law on Gender-Based Violence. The Model Law was interrogated clause by clause after undergoing the same processes in the Joint Standing Committee Meetings.

5.5    The 50th Plenary Assembly meeting adopted the Trust Deed

and urged the host Speaker, Hon. Professor Peter Katjavivi, to finalize the process of registration and the deposit of the first pledge. The meeting was advised that a number of donors were waiting in the wings to see this initiative through, which will naturally improve the finances of the Forum.

          5.6   The 50th Plenary Assembly expressed profound appreciation

to the Parliament of Lesotho through Hon. Speaker Sephiri Motanyane,

for hosting the 50th Plenary Assembly Session. Though Speaker after

Speaker yearned for the alternate in-person Plenary Assembly, the

region appreciated the demonstrated heightened magnitude of

preparations by the Basotho which reverberated throughout the Plenary

Assembly.

6.0    MOTIONS ADOPTED DURING THE 50th PLENARY

ASSEMBLY MEETINGS

6.1    Consideration of the Report of the Standing Committee

on Trade, Industry, Finance and Investment

6.1.1 The Plenary Assembly Session adopted a motion on the

establishment of one-stop investment shops to provide both local and foreign investors with fast, efficient and business-friendly services. In this regard, the work of the Zimbabwe Investment Development Agency (ZIDA) needs to be enhanced in view of the Second Republic’s operative mantra. “Zimbabwe is open for business.”

6.1.2 The Report also stressed the need to promulgate

comprehensive laws to fend off the ills of illicit financial flows.

6.2    Report of the Standing Committee on Food, Agriculture

and Natural Resources

6.2.1 The Report encouraged Member Parliaments to push for the

implementation of policies that encourage water harvesting in their countries and legislate for deliberate trans-boundary water sharing measures. This will help mitigate the effects of climate change and the prevalent droughts in the region.

6.2.2 The Report also urged Parliaments in the region to leverage

on the power of the purse to increase budgetary allocations towards the water sector to promote investments that can guarantee a water-secure region.

          6.3    Report of the Standing Committee on Democratisation,

Governance and Human Rights

6.3.1 The motion adopted encouraged virtual election observation

missions as an alternate yet effective substitute to in-person missions.

6.3. The report applauded SADC for deploying its Standby Force –

the SADC Mission in Mozambique (SAMIM) – to quell the terrorism threats in Cabo Delgado and for deploying the Force Intervention Brigade (FIB), in support of the United Nations Organisation Stabilisation Mission (MONUSCO), to counter the negative forces in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). In that regard, the Plenary Assembly commended SADC for implementing various initiatives aimed at ensuring that the region continued to enjoy sustained peace and security and that Member States remain politically stable.

7.0    RECOMMENDATIONS AND WAY FORWARD

7.1     Parliament of Zimbabwe to hold an All-Stakeholder

Workshop spearheaded by the Zimbabwe Women’s Parliamentary Caucus (ZWPC), Portfolio Committee on Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, and the Portfolio Committee on Women Affairs, Community, Small and Medium Enterprises Development and other relevant stakeholders to provide a common platform to deliberate on the domestication of the Model Law on Gender-Based Violence. This initiative is to commence by 15 March 2022.

7.2    The Plenary Assembly noted the inequalities emerging in the

education sector due to COVID-19 related school closures which saw over 1.6 billion learners in more than 190 countries out of school. In this regard, deliberate efforts should be made by the relevant Portfolio Committees to assess the impact of the pandemic on school-going pupils and the effectiveness of policies implemented to rectify the situation, especially in Zimbabwe. The Portfolio Committees on Health and Child Care and the Portfolio Committee on Primary and Secondary Education to initiate Fact-finding Missions and virtual submissions on the impact of COVID-19 on the education sector. This should enhance the already tabled reports on the matter and should consider the trans-mutative nature of the pandemic. The initiatives are to commence on 15 March 2022.

          7.3 Urgent action is needed to streamline visa and immigration

procedures to ensure the smooth movement of goods and people in the

region. There is need for Member States to formulate policies that open

up borders for the movement of people and even animals inter-

territorially.  This should be the beginning of the collapse of artificial

borders created by colonialists in their endeavour to divide and rule. The

Portfolio Committee on Defence Home Affairs and Security Services to

call for submissions from its stakeholders on the need to streamline inter-

regional cooperation through removal of stringent border controls. This

initiative is to commence by 01April 2022.

   7.4   Member Parliaments were encouraged to continue making efforts to domesticate the Model Laws developed thus far to enable the general populace to benefit through sound policies envisaged at the regional level. In this regard, the SADC PF Secretariat will be engaged to present the modalities for the implementation of the scorecard on Model Laws as an appropriate tool to measure the domestication of Model Laws into the national legislative agenda. Parliament of Zimbabwe to engage Secretariat to give a briefing to SADC PF delegates on the proposed scorecard by 31 March 2022.

               7.5   There is need for Parliaments across the region to continue raising

concern on the negative effects of destabilizing forces such as the insurgency in Cabo Delgado Province of Mozambique. Parliament of Zimbabwe to monitor closely developments at the SADC Summitry to ensure that it pitches appropriately its contributions during the forthcoming Plenary Assembly and related meetings.

8.0    CONCLUSION

8.1   The Plenary Assembly concluded by calling Member

Parliaments to continue programming towards the celebrations of the 50th Golden Jubilee celebrations aware that the decision of the Summit is only but the beginning of a long and arduous process inclusive of the adoption of the protocol and the consequential amendment of the SADC Treaty.

8.2     Parliament of Zimbabwe continues to play a highly effective

leading role in the Transformation Agenda in its role as the holders of the Chairpersonship of the Strategic Lobby Team of Hon. Speakers on the Transformation of the Forum into a SADC Regional Parliament. This role naturally mutates into a Strategic imprimatur apparatus for the Transformation Agenda.

 8.3   Parliament of Zimbabwe commits itself to the full

implementation of the resolutions of the Plenary Assembly which have been shared among all Members of Parliament to facilitate action by different Portfolio Committees of Member Parliaments. 

8.4   Parliament of Zimbabwe also stands ready to ensure that all

mechanisms towards the operationalisation of the SADC PF Trust are fulfilled.

8.5   The 51st Plenary Assembly of the SADC PF will be hosted by

the Republic of Malawi in a format to be agreed upon in view of the exigencies of the highly mutative COVID-19 pandemic.

8.6    Notably, the Speaker of the Parliament of Zimbabwe, Hon.

Advocate Jacob Francis Nzwidamilimo Mudenda, was unanimously elected Chair of the 50th Plenary Assembly Session with Hon. Dought Ndiweni presenting the Executive Committee Report. Members of Parliament from Zimbabwe were also incisive and pointed in their contributions to the Plenary Assembly.

 RESOLUTIONS

PREAMBLE  

The SADC Parliamentary Forum 50th Plenary Assembly Session was held from 10th to 12th December 2021, virtually, under the theme “Celebrating a New Era of Democracy towards Consolidating the Vibrant Voices of SADC Parliamentarians.”

In accordance with its constitutive mandate, the 50th Plenary Assembly deliberated and made resolutions on various issues of regional importance and concern which were contained in various reports tabled by respective organs, namely the Executive Committee (EXCO), Standing Committees, Regional Women’s Parliamentary Caucus (RWPC) and the Regional Parliamentary Model Laws Oversight Committee (RPMLOC), as well as statements delivered during the Plenary Assembly.

SADC PF has five Standing Committees which focus on SADC sectoral areas as follows:

i) Democratisation, Governance and Human Rights; ii) Human and Social Development and Special Programmes; iii) Gender Equality, Women Advancement and Youth Development; iv) Trade, Industry, Finance and Investment; and v) Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources.

Pursuant to Rule 6 (3) of the SADC PF Rules of Procedure, Plenary Assembly resolutions are to be “submitted to the SADC Secretariat and to relevant National Ministries through National Parliaments.”  

RESOLUTIONS ON THE SYMPOSIUM ON THE THEME: “CELEBRATING A NEW ERA OF DEMOCRACY TOWARDS CONSOLIDATING THE VIBRANT VOICES OF SADC PARLIAMENTARIANS” (SADCPF50PA-Res 001/12/2021)

The SADC Parliamentary Forum,

REITERATING the critical role of Parliamentarians in building vibrant and sustainable democracies in Southern Africa and the need for sustained capacity building programmes for SADC Parliamentarians and parliamentary staff in order to enhance the work of the Parliaments.

DEEPLY CONCERNED by the failure by some SADC Members States to attain the 50:50 gender parity in political decision-making positions, specifically the diminishing numbers of women in national Parliaments.

STRESSING that SADC countries need to take affirmative action to promote the equal representation and participation of women in decision-making structures in the region.

CONCERNED by the perpetual failure by the SADC PF to deploy election observation missions to observe inter alia, the performance of Member States on gender equality in elections on a consistent basis.

 The SADC Parliamentary Forum therefore calls upon SADC Members States to devise measures to promote the inclusion of more women in decision-making positions in order to reach the 50:50 gender parity;

CALLS on National Parliaments of Members States to enact legislation to compel political parties to have gender quotas for parliamentary seats and to allocate funds in national budgets for women empowerment; 

IMPLORES National Parliaments to continue prioritising the provision of tailor-made capacity development programmes for Members of Parliament and staff of Parliaments.

URGES Member Parliaments to ensure mobilisation of adequate financial resources for the participation of their Members in SADC PF Election Observation Missions in order to enhance democracy and good governance in the SADC region;

COMMENDS the SADC Summit of Heads of State and Government for the decision to transform SADC PF into a SADC Parliament and urges all SADC Members States to continue to offer unwavering support to the transformation process.

RESOLUTIONS ON THE ADOPTION OF THE SADC MODEL LAW ON GENDER-BASED VIOLENCE SADCPF50PA-Res 002/12/21)

The SADC PF Plenary Assembly,

ALARMED by the prevalence of gender-based violence (GBV) across the SADC region which disproportionately affects women and children;

 CONCERNED by the lack of harmonised legislation on preventing and mitigating GBV in SADC Member States; 

WELCOMING the various efforts by SADC to deal with GBV, including initiatives such as the SADC Protocol on Gender and Development (1997, 2016); the Regional Strategy and Framework of Action for Addressing GBV (2018-2030); the Regional Strategy on Women, Peace and Security (2018-2022); the SADC SRHR Strategy for 2030, and the SDG targets related to SDG 5.1;

REITERATING the need to evaluate the effectiveness of current regional and national strategies on combating GBV with a view to improve GBV prevention and mitigation interventions;

ACKNOWLEDGING the importance of developing the SADC Model Law on Gender-Based Violence in order to provide effective and efficacious legislative and institutional frameworks for preventing and mitigating GBV in SADC Member States;

REITERATING the importance of the SADC GBV Model Law as a non-binding tool, in providing general principles for adoption and adaptation by Member States based on their specific contexts.

The SADC PF Plenary Assembly therefore:

URGES all Member States to adopt and adapt the SADC Model Law on Gender Based Violence to ensure harmonised legal frameworks and integrated approaches to the prevention and mitigation of GBV and speedy domestication of the principles espoused in this Model Law.

 CALLS on Member States to enact and ensure enforcement of legislation that prohibits all forms of GBV.

 CALLS UPON Members States to review and reform national criminal laws and procedures applicable to cases of sexual offences and GBV.

APPEALS to SADC Member States to enact and adopt specific legislative provisions to prevent human trafficking and provide holistic services to victims, with the aim of re-integrating them into society.

RESOLUTIONS ON ENHANCING THE ROLE OF PARLIAMENT IN PROMOTING DOMESTIC AND FOREIGN DIRECT INVESTMENT (SADCPF50PA-Res 003/12/21)

 The SADC Parliamentary Forum,

 

COGNISANT that the Standing Committee on Trade, Industry, Finance and Investment (TIFI) had received and considered presentations from subject experts from the SADC Secretariat, Investment Promotion Agencies of selected SADC Member States and independent experts;

AWARE that the measures that most countries had employed to contain the COVID-19 pandemic had regressed investment and disrupted economic activities;

 COGNISANT that the SADC Vision 2050 was built on a firm foundation of peace, security and good governance;

 ACKNOWLEDGING that the SADC Protocol on Finance and Investment (as amended on 31st August 2016) constituted an important instrument that governed investment in the region, alongside the SADC Regional Development Fund (RDF), whose overall purpose was to create a regional financing mechanism for economic development and sustainable growth in SADC;

ALARMED that no SADC Member State had ratified and deposited instruments of ratification of the Agreement to operationalise the Regional Development Fund with the SADC Secretariat, despite a total of nine Member States having signed the Agreement;

SERIOUSLY CONCERNED that the slow implementation of the regional investment policy framework by Member States, among others, was among the major obstacles to achieving greater levels of investment at regional level;

WELCOMING the critical role of the SADC Secretariat in providing technical support to national Investment Promotion Agencies (IPAs) to domesticate the investment framework;

ALARMED by the shocking prevalence of corruption and the massive rate at which the SADC Region was losing resources due to illicit financial flows;

STRESSING that while Special Economic Zones (SEZ) were an enabler of investment returns, domestic investors were not benefitting from equal opportunities with foreign investors in these enclaves;  

OBSERVING that governments tended to sign investment agreements and contracts in the absence of public scrutiny and without due diligence;

NOTING that non-tariff barriers, high transportation costs, a mismatch between the available skills and industry requirements, policy inconsistency and limited land access were the major obstacles to attracting and enhancing investment in the region.

The SADC Parliamentary Forum Plenary Assembly therefore:

CALLS on Members States to work vigorously to contain the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and implement investment policy responses in order to register meaningful investment returns. 

ENCOURAGES SADC Parliamentarians to familiarise themselves with investment policies, regulatory and institutional frameworks as well as various incentives available in the region and at national level in order to adequately provide oversight on matters of domestic investment and FDI.

URGES SADC Member States to domesticate international investment agreements and the SADC Investment Policy Framework and to harmonise international and regional frameworks with the national investment framework in order to enhance the flow of FDI, especially intra-SADC FDI.

URGES SADC Members States to participate in global investment promotion events in order to promote the SADC region as a preferred investment destination.

URGES National Parliaments to play an active role in facilitating the ratification process of the Agreement on the Operationalisation of the SADC Regional Development Fund, and Member States to deposit the instruments of ratification in order for the Fund to facilitate mobilisation of meaningful resources to support regional value chains, mineral beneficiation and other industrial projects in the Region.

CALLS on SADC countries to leverage on available opportunities through trade agreements to which the region is party and strengthen diplomatic relations among SADC countries to boost intra-regional investment and optimise the potential benefits of intra-regional investment.

ENCOURAGES Member States to eliminate non-tariff barriers to trade in order to facilitate free movement of goods and services, in addition to movement of individuals, especially within the region.

STRONGLY URGES SADC Parliamentarians, in collaboration with the civil society, to advocate for foreign investment that prioritises the interests of the people and recognized participation of the local investors.

RECOMMENDS a collaborative approach among SADC Parliamentarians, the civil society and the media in scrutinising investment agreements in order to ensure that contract terms were designed to create opportunities for sustainable and pro-people development.

URGES SADC governments to take drastic measures to eradicate corruption, which has a corrosive impact on business operations and investment in order to provide a fair environment for competition by all investors and boost investor confidence.

URGES Parliamentarians to probe governments to put in place investment incentives for local investors to stimulate domestic investments, especially in the tourism and energy sectors. 

RESOLVES to collaborate with national Parliaments, to facilitate capacity building programmes to strengthen the capacity of Parliamentarians on issues relating to trade and investment and the SADC investment framework.

URGES Member States to establish one-stop investment shops to provide both local and foreign investors with fast, efficient and business friendly services, especially at start up stage.

URGES Member States to embrace SEZs as a key investment promotion tool in a bid to accelerate diversification and export expansion and to regularly assess their performance and economic impact so as to ensure that they remained relevant to both local and international investors. I thank you.

          (v)HON. NDIWENI: I rise to second the report that has been presented by Hon Mpariwa on the historic 50th Plenary Assembly Meeting of the SADC PF. Hon. Members, it has been a coincidence of history that the meeting that foresaw the need to establish a SADC PF took place in Malawi back then in 1997 and it so then happened that the meeting that agreed to the transformation process into a regional Parliament also took place in Malawi in August 2021.

          Let me say that the final drive to achieve the transformation journey, we applaud our Speaker, Hon Advocate Mudenda for having spearheaded the whole process and he was the chair of the Strategic Committee. You will realise that among other issues they highlighted in the report, there was a deliberate move by the Forum which met on model laws, to figure domestic laws, we know that model laws are not binding, but it is up to individuals of a country to then pick these model laws and then domesticate them according to the needs of the individual countries. If we are to transform successfully to a SADC Parliament, then we are going to be a Parliament that is capable of coming up with laws that are binding. 

          It is in this regard that the report has called for the Zimbabwe Women Parliamentary Caucus, the Portfolio Committee for Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs and the Portfolio Committee on Women Affairs, Community Small and Medium Enterprises Development and other relative stakeholders to work on all stakeholders’ meeting to provide a common platform to deliberate on the domestication of the model law on gender based violence.  I am sure that such a law, if incorporated into our already existing laws on gender based violence, will be a very good intervention. 

          Madam Speaker Ma’am, amongst other resolutions that were presented, you realise that the call for the Portfolio Committees on Health and Child Care, Portfolio Committee on Primary and Secondary Education to initiate outreach programmes and virtual submission on the promotion of sound education, good health and wellbeing of all adolescents and young people;  this will see the young people being equipped with information and skills to save and help in making decisions about their health, lifestyles and the future.

          COVID-19 has seen innovative ways of doing business. In this regard, we urge the Portfolio Committees mentioned above to work hard in ensuring that the different situations can be used to sustain in our rapid digitalisation and eventually become a middle income class and prosperous economy by the year 2030. 

          It is also worth mentioning that during the same plenary session, true to the adage or the motto that says an injury to one is an injury to all; we saw and applauded the SADC States for coming together when one of their own was under attack by terrorists in Mozambique.  All the SADC member States, organised the SADC standby force. It was then deployed to Mozambique and to this day, we know that the violence that was in Mozambique has drastically reduced.  The unfortunate thing that the plenary was informed of was the late deployment of such is unfortunately due to the member State affected.  SADC has to wait for an invitation of the member State.  Without the invitation, SADC Forces cannot be deployed.  So the delay that might have been experienced was because the member States were waiting for the affected country to invite the deployment of the force. 

          Finally, I would like to urge Members to read through this report and the attached resolutions and then use them in their various Committees that they belong to.  Our colleagues as well in the SADC PF delegation who were mentioned in the report will be contributing to this report to ensure that there is feedback at the ongoing SADC Parliamentary Forum especially at this stage when it is transforming to a fully fledged SADC Parliament.  I thank you.

          HON. MUDARIKWA:  Thank you very much.  My contribution to the presentation by Hon. Mpariwa is that I think we need to hold a workshop where people understand what is actually happening within our region.  SADC region was a creation of what was then known as the Frontline States.  Frontline States were a creation of a desire by the Pan-Africanist countries that felt that we are independent but our independence meant nothing when any part of Africa remained colonised.  SADC is a creation of the late, Samora Moises Machel, Julius Nyerere and Kenneth Kaunda.  They put a lot of effort to make this thing happen and we must also salute them for the job well done. 

          On the issue of Women’s Forum in SADC - they must also move forward and encourage SADC member countries to put legislation in their Banking Act. They should say every country within the SADC region, if there are portfolios of loans, at least a minimum of 25% of the loans must be given to women.  Women constitute 52% of the population and yet if you see the books of all banks, the loans given to women constitute just about 1%.  What does this mean? It means that we are following what our colonisers wanted.  The British, when they came to Zimbabwe, realised that an African woman was not a person.  If Hon. Mpariwa wanted to open an account in Rhodesia, she would need to invite the son of her brother.  The whole thing was male dominated.  The desire of the colonisers was that they make sure that women are not given the legal entity. If we are working doing the same job, women would be paid less.  It is within this framework that the SADC Women Parliamentary Forum must push forward for the banks to give loans to women because once you are given a loan, it is a process of economic development.  When women are developing, you are developing a nation.  So, these are some of the critical issues which we need to highlight. 

          The issue of trade, there are cross border traders that exist in many countries in Africa but mostly going to South Africa to do shopping and coming back.  Those people must be protected, those people must also be given a chance to explain and get funding so that their business continues to grow.  The issue of free trade in SADC is very critical.  At the present moment, one country which is South Africa has modernised its production levels and everything and the cost of production is very low because of modernisation. It is my humble submission that SADC must develop industries.

If you go to South Africa, my daughter works for the South African Government. She tells me that Zimbabwe now needs to build a pipeline from South Africa to pump cooking oil to Zimbabwe because the amount of cooking oil coming from South Africa to Zimbabwe does not require the use of roads. It now requires a pipeline to pump cooking oil into Zimbabwe. Obviously, sometimes our cooking is wrong. We use a lot of cooking oil but as SADC we also need to realise that we need to develop industries in other countries so that there is no influx of people to South Africa.

Most SADC countries have now been turned to consumers. They do not produce anything. Everything comes from South Africa. I was into the milling industry. I used to produce an average of 7 000 tonnes of maize meal per month but I stopped the day when South Africa was allowed to bring GMO maize into Zimbabwe. It was like a quote of my price. So all those things must be looked into. The issue of genetically modified food must also be looked into by SADC because it disadvantages other people.

In conclusion Madam Speaker, the issue of Cabo Delgado, a national and SADC’s responsibility to protect Mozambique because Mozambique is our all weather friend. They supported us during the most difficult times of our lives. We need to support them. We need to defeat those people who are creating wars in Africa. Religious fanatics are all over and it is unfortunate that they are in SADC. It is my humble plea that we need to get updates of what is happening.

I want to thank you Madam Speaker for allowing me to make my contribution and also thank the Hon. Speaker of the House of Assembly for spearheading the unity of the region. SADC people are one group of people but they have just moved from one place to another. We moved from Tanzania to Mwenezi, from Mwenezi to Bikita to Wedza to Chishawasha. That is us and also the Ngunis moved from KwaZulu Natal to Zimbabwe. Zwangendaba moved from KwaZulu Natal, Chipinge to Malawi. Some moved from KwaZulu Natal to Zambia. We are one group of people but because of ignorance and also admiring colonialists - some of our people’s DNA, they admire.

These borders were created by the Berlin Conference. The Berlin Conference realised that if you want to rule Africans you must divide them. They created the Kingdom of Lesotho, a small island. They created this and that country. If you look at the borders, like our border with Mozambique, it was designed by Major Forbes. There is that Forbes Border post there. Major Forbes was here after he had been defeated by General Mjana Khumalo. He moved into Mozambique and said this is the British’s position. With all this education, I do not understand why we still celebrate these colonialist and Berlin Conference given borders. We must be out of these Berlin given borders. We must move an inch ahead. 

The Hon. Chief Whip moved a motion which I thought many people would contribute to and explain why we are where we are at this stage. We are where we are because the British or Europeans and the Berlin Conference decided that this corner must be for you. Let me thank you very much Madam Speaker but there is a need to have a workshop where the Speaker, Hon. Mpariwa and Hon. Ndiweni would educate other Hon. Members not to take ownership of imperialism and say this is my product. You know, the day when you know you are ignorant, that is the day when you start learning.

HON. MPARIWA: Let me begin by thanking the seconder of the motion, Hon. Ndiweni who is also a member of the Executive of the SADC PF and also thank Hon. Mudarikwa for actually speaking to the motion. He speaks with wisdom and knowledge in terms of uniting people of the SADC region. Yes Madam Speaker, the artificial boundaries are the ones that even the African Union is battling with in terms of having them removed because of the travels, visas, the treatments when people arrive in the various countries and so on can actually hinder development where one wants to tap from the other brother.

The accents and names Hon. Speaker, if you see them in the vernacular languages of say Tanzania, Kenya, Malawi or Zambia, You will see that we are all one and the same. I think truly speaking this actually gives us lessons and food for thought that we need to move with speed, unite, formulate and transform the SADC PF into a legislative assembly. I want to thank the Speaker of the Parliament of Zimbabwe once again. He has been busy on this agenda of transformation of the SADC PF into a legislative assembly.

Having said that Madam Speaker, like I highlighted that some of the dates of commencement in terms of activities are actually far behind in terms of beginning, may I kindly persuade and move that the House adopts this report so that we can begin some kind of work in operationalisation of the moves in terms of what has been recommended in the seventeen recommendations. I therefore move for the adoption of this particular report.

Motion put and agreed to

On the motion of HON. TOGAREPI, seconded by HON. TEKESHE, the House adjourned at Twenty-Two Minutes to Seven o’clock p.m. until Tuesday, 3rd May, 2022.  

 

 

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