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NATIONAL ASSEMBLY HANSARD 13 MARCH 2024 VOL 50 NO 35

PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE

Wednesday, 13th March, 2024

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

PRAYERS

(THE ACTING SPEAKER in the Chair)

HON. MATEWU: On a point of order Madam Speaker.

THE ACTING SPEAKER (HON. M. NCUBE): What is your point of order?

HON. MATEWU: Madam Speaker, we come here week in, week out and always complain about the absence of Ministers. You must note Madam Speaker, that today, apart from the Leader of Government Business, we only have one Cabinet Minister out of a total of 23. Our role is well defined in Section 119 of the Constitution. We implore your Office to approach the Office of the President to report that as Parliament, we are not happy to not have Cabinet Ministers attending Parliament and executing their roles and being accountable to Parliament as they should be. Thank you.

THE ACTING SPEAKER: Thank you Hon. Matewu for raising that. We take note of that …

HON. MADZIVANYIKA: On a point of order Madam Speaker.

THE ACTING SPEAKER: What is your point of order?

HON. MADZIVANYIKA: Let me quote from Section 107…

THE ACTING SPEAKER: Order Hon. Member. Hon. Matewu, I said we are taking note of that and we will convey the message to the Speaker. Thank you.

HON. MADZIVANYIKA: Can I continue Madam Speaker?

THE ACTING SPEAKER: You can go ahead, what is your point of order?

HON. MADZIVANYIKA: My point of order Madam Speaker is, this institution of Parliament is not being taken seriously and I suggest …

THE ACTING SPEAKER: Order Hon. Member. We have already agreed that we have taken note of that. We cannot continue discussing the same issue. The point has already been made – [HON. MEMBERS: It is a different issue.] – The Hon. Member sitting next to you Honourable, you are not the one who raised the point of order. So, please be quiet. Go ahead Hon. Member.

          HON. MADZIVANYIKA:  On a point of order Madam Speaker.  Let me quote from Section 107 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe…..

          THE ACTING SPEAKER:  Order Hon. Member!  Hon. Matewu, we have taken note of that and we will convey the message to the Speaker. 

          HON. MADZIVANYIKA:  My point of order Madam Speaker, is that this institution of Parliament is not being taken seriously and I suggest ……

THE ACTING SPEAKER:  Order, Hon. Member, we have already agreed that we have taken note of that.  We cannot continue discussing the same issue. 

HON. MADZIVANYIKA:  It is a different version Madam Speaker. 

THE ACTING SPEAKER:  The point has already been made and we have taken note of it.  You can go ahead Hon. Member.

HON. MADZIVANYIKA:  The dimension I am taking is that I am moving a motion that we suspend Parliament business pending the coming on board of our Ministers so that we can ask all questions in respect of the people we represent.  We have a Minister and a Deputy Minister in each portfolio ….

THE ACTING SPEAKER:  Order, order! – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections] – We have a Leader of Government Business.  If Ministers are not here, he is there to answer your questions. 

Hon. Members, he did not move a motion, he raised a point of order.  Do you know the difference between a motion and a point of order?  Go to your standing rules and read.  Hon. Members on my left, it is very unfortunate for you because you missed a very important workshop where you were supposed to learn – [HON. MEMBERS:  Inaudible interjections.] – May the Chief Whip from my left please approach the Chair. 

Hon. N. Ndlovu having approached the Chair.

HON. MUTSEYAMI:  On a point of order Madam Speaker. 

THE ACTING SPEAKER:  What is your point of order Hon. Mutseyami and according to which standing order?

HON. MUTSEYAMI:  My point of order is to do with the absence of Ministers and they have not put apologies…..

THE ACTING SPEAKER:  Hon. Mutseyami, order and please be seated.

Hon. Hamauswa having approached the Chair. 

THE ACTING SPEAKER: May you please go back to your seat and bow down when approaching this Chair.  Order Hon. Members.

ANNOUNCEMENT BY THE ACTING SPEAKER

APOLOGIES RECEIVED FROM MINISTERS

THE ACTING SPEAKER: I have got a list of apologies from Hon. K. Coventry, Minister of Sport, Recreation, Arts and Culture, Hon. Mupamhanga Junior, Deputy Minister of Youth Empowerment, Development and Vocational Training Centres; Hon. E. Jesaya, Deputy Minister of Sport, Recreation, Arts and Culture; Hon. Dr. A. J. Masuka,  Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development;  Hon. D. Phuti,  Deputy of Information, Communication Technology, Postal and Courier Services; Hon. Z. Soda, Minister of Mines and Mining Development,  Hon. D. Kabikira, Deputy Minister of Local Government and Public Works; Hon. Prof. M. Ncube, Minister of Finance, Economic Development and Investment Promotion; Hon. Dr. S. N. Nyoni, Minister of Industry and Commerce;  Hon. Prof.  A. Murwira, Minister of Higher and Tertiary Education, Innovation, Science and Technology Development; Hon. V. Haritatos, Deputy Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development; Hon. D. Marapira, Deputy Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development and Hon. S. T. Kwidini, Deputy Minister of Health and Child Care.

ORAL ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS WITHOUT NOTICE

          HON. CHINODAKUFA: My question is directed to the Minister of Youth, Empowerment and Vocational Training Centres. We have youths with disabilities who also need vocational training but most of the Vocational Training Centres are not disability friendly. What are the Ministry’s plans in this regard so that youths with disabilities can access training in their respective provinces?

          THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. Z. ZIYAMBI): I want to thank the Hon. Member for the question. What the Ministry of Youth, Empowerment and Vocational Trainng Centre is doing is to do a needs assessment of all the VTCs. They are in the process of revamping and upgrading some of them and ensuring that where they are not there, they are available. Definitely, because of the inclusion of those that are disabled, they are going to factor that into consideration with a view of ensuring also that they are not left out in terms of the programmes that they would be offering. That is work in progress and the Ministry is taking care of that.

          HON. KARIMATSENGA-NYAMUPINGA: Talking about infrastructure that can be accessed by people with disabilities, not only Vocational Training Centres but even if they are trained and they want to approach the workplace, there is no infrastructure that is easily accessible by people with disabilities at every Government building. The issue needs to be looked at.

          HON. Z. ZIYAMBI: I want to thank Hon. Nyamupinga for that intervention. Indeed, it is correct. Currently, what is happening is that all the new buildings that are being built are taking care of members of our society with disabilities. Those that do not have, we are working towards ensuring that they comply with that requirement. It is correct that initially the buildings that were built did not cater for members of the society with disabilities but now all Government buildings that are being put up, we make sure that they are catered for. Those that are not, we are now renovating them to make sure they take care of members of society with disabilities.

          HON. MAKUMIRE: My supplementary question is,  what is Government doing to ensure that these youths which we are advocating for can also not be discriminated on employment opportunities especially to those who are qualified, but cannot be employed by different employers on the pretext that the employers cannot meet the cost of their aides?

          THE MINISTER OF PUBLIC SERVICE, LABOUR AND SOCIAL WELFARE (HON. J. MOYO): I want to thank the Hon. Member for the question. The discrimination against people with disabilities is taken care of in two pieces of legislation. The first one is in the Labour Act which makes sure that people should not be discriminated on the basis of disability. The second one is the Disability Act itself where the board is required to monitor those people who are being discriminated against on the basis of disability. Both Acts require that inspections be done at places of work and to make sure that people with disability are not discriminated against. So, we have been taking a whole Government approach and inspections are now done, not only by the Department of Labour but by those in Occupational Health and Safety and in other ministries. If we are talking about the Ministry of Mines, they are involved and if we are going for inspections in the Ministry of Agriculture, those in agriculture are now involved.

          We urge Members of Parliament or anybody in society who has something to report on those who are discriminating against people with disability, to come forward so that we can take remedial action. I thank you.

          HON. GANYIWA: What is Government’s position regarding the establishment or decentralisation of Vocational Training Centres to the administrative districts, taking into consideration that we have so many students that are school leavers who fail to access these Vocational Training Centres because some of these centres are at provincial level?

HON. Z. ZIYAMBI: Madam Speaker, I think Hon. Ganyiwa was not there when the original question was asked where I indicated that the Ministry of Youth and Empowerment is doing an assessment of all the vocational training centres. The thrust is to ensure that those that we have are operational to the maximum level and they also assess areas where there is a need but again, we also have to appreciate that this is subject to availability of resources. So if you go around the country, most of the VTCs are not being used to their maximum capacity and that is the thrust that the Ministry is doing.

Once they identify what is required, the first step is to ensure that those are capacitated because we already have infrastructure and everything. So we need to ensure that those are operational up to the maximum capacity then we can then look and say, can we decentralise to districts when we know that at that particular level, in fact, the majority of our VTCs are not at provincial level per se, but are in specific areas?

For example, we have a VTC at Murombedzi Growth Point, and the thrust is to ensure that it is operating at its maximum capacity, then we can decentralise to other areas. That is the work in progress that the Ministry is doing with a view of ensuring that we absorb a lot of our O’Level learners who would have finished, but could not get an opportunity to proceed with their academic education. I thank you.

ANNOUNCEMENTS BY THE ACTING SPEAKER

VISITOR IN THE SPEAKER’S GALLERY

THE ACTING SPEAKER: I wish to recognise the presence in the Speaker’s Gallery, of Ms. Kate Akello, the Assistant Secretary for Administration and Transport Logistics from Parliament of Uganda. May we all welcome her – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.]-

CLIMATE CHANGE SENSITISATION WORKSHOP

THE ACTING SPEAKER: I also wish to inform the House that the Climate Change Sensitisation Workshop scheduled for Friday, 15th and Saturday 16th, March, 2024 in the Multi-Purpose Hall at the New Parliament Building will now start with lunch at 1200 hours on Friday, 15th March, 2024.

COLLECTION OF CALENDARS

THE ACTING SPEAKER: Furthermore, I wish to inform the House that Hon. Members are advised to collect their calendars from the Public Relations Department in office No. 230, Second Floor.

I am seeing we now have more Ministers in the House. We now have Hon. Rwodzi and also Hon, Mavhunga, the Minister of War Veterans. Congratulations Hon. Minister on your new appointment – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.]-

HON. CHIGUMBU: On a point of order Madam Speaker…

THE ACTING SPEAKER: What is your point of order and according to which Standing Rule?

HON. CHIGUMBU: No. 65 – [AN HON. MEMBER: This is not fair.] -

THE ACTING SPEAKER: Can you read what is on No. 65 and if it is not fair, I am talking to the Hon. Member who is standing. Can you read that Standing Rule please?

HON. CHIGUMBU: It says a Member who is of the opinion that the rules of procedure have been breached by another Member may raise a point of order.

THE ACTING SPEAKER: Who has breached a rule here? – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –

HON. CHIGUMBU: That is why I have raised a point of order.

THE ACTING SPEAKER: Hon. Member, please be seated. I want to see the Hon. Member who said you have breached the order. Hon. Member stand up, apologise and withdraw your statement before I chase you out of this House. Stand up! Can the third Hon. Member in line number four stand up.

HON. G. SITHOLE: What is your issue Madam Speaker?

THE ACTING SPEAKER: My issue?

HON. G. SITHOLE: Yes.

THE ACTING SPEAKER: Hon. Member, please leave the House. I am the Chair here, leave the House.

HON. G. SITHOLE: Chair, what have I done?

THE ACTING SPEAKER: Leave the House Hon. Member.

HON. G. SITHOLE: You cannot just say I should leave the House. I have 19 000 voters …

THE ACTING SPEAKER: Serjeant-at-Arms, may you please help us.

HON. G. SITHOLE: Which section Madam Chair.

THE ACTING SPEAKER: Hon. Member, leave the House! – [HON. G. SITHOLE: We cannot operate like an animal farm] – what did you say. Is this an animal farm? Leave the House Honourable.

HON. G. SITHOLE: I asked for a section. Which section are you quoting from?

THE ACTING SPEAKER: Leave the House Hon. Member please.

Hon. G. Sithole was duly escorted out of the House

HON. CHIGUMBU: Hon. Speaker, you told me to sit down and I thought you were going to consider me now.

          THE ACTING SPEAKER: Order Hon. Members. Hon. Member, you can raise your point of order now.

HON. CHIGUMBU: The point of order that I want to raise pertains to calendars.  We are shocked that the entire calendar is full of Members from the other party whilst we are not on those calendars.  I think this has to be addressed.  It is not fair.  Even if you check the social media sites for this Parliament, you only see the Members from the other party.  This Parliament is for everyone, it is a national institution and this has to be corrected.  Thank you, Madam Speaker Ma’am – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] –

THE ACTING SPEAKER:  Thank you Hon. Member.  Let me defer that one to next week.  You will get a full answer next week [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –

Hon. Members, the Ministers are here.  You need to ask questions.  If you keep on talking and not listening, I do not know what you really want them to do.  They will leave without answering questions.  Please, let us be quiet.

HON. MURAMBIWA:  My question is directed to the Minister of Finance, Economic Development and Investment Promotion.  We passed the 2024 National Budget last year in December when the official exchange rate was around US$1:ZW5700.  The various ministries and departments set their targets basing on that official exchange rate.  Now, the rate has gone up so badly.  What is the Minister going to do to ensure that the various ministries and departments are going to achieve the set targets?

THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF FINANCE, ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT AND INVESTMENT PROMOTION (HON. K. D. MNANGAGWA):  Hon. Madam Speaker, I am starting to sound like a broken record.  I continue to reference the same issue. Once we have adjusted our exchange rate management system, there will be a re-calibration.  This will mean that the figures that are there will be aligned to the new system that is coming up.  The exchange rate management system which will be outlined in the upcoming Monetary Policy Statement – again Madam Speaker, without sounding like a broken record, I would plead that until this document comes, we allow debate and any oversight on any other issues to then come in on that.

HON. SAGANDIRA:  On that same note Madam Speaker, the concern is on the civil servant whose salary, the Zimbabwean dollar component, was pegged at 333 000 at that same period that the Hon. Member was talking about.  It was equivalent to US$60 at that time but today as we speak, it has reduced to US$5.  What plans have you put in place to make sure that the civil servants are covered?

HON. K. D. MNANGAGWA:  We do take note of the civil servants’ plight, especially the salaries to be of great importance.  You will find that there are two issues; one is the component of the salary that has been eroded by the exchange rate volatility and inflation and the other issue might have to do with a general adjustment.  Again, these are discussions that are under talks with the TNF. Without pre-empting that, you will see an indexing to avoid that erosion.  All these safeguards are measures that keep on revolving around the same issue that I keep on describing to be affecting almost every aspect of our governance which we are currently mapping out. 

HON. MADZIVANYIKA:  My supplementary question to the Minister is that – this subject is an elephant in the living room.  We have been raising this question since January week in, week out. Before, it was Monetary Policy and next week is, you are consulting. We need assurance from the Minister because this is a matter of national importance.  When are we going to have this corrected? Today, you are saying there is going to be a new currency management system; when is that coming because this is a matter of urgency?  We expect answers from the Minister, not to say can you be patient with me over and over again – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.]-

THE ACTING SPEAKER:  I think the Minister has answered that one – [HON. MEMBERS: When?]- Now. He said it is work in progress and it is under discussion.

HON. TSVANGIRAI: We understand that the Minister says that we are going to have the Monetary Policy in the next few weeks.  What is the Minister doing on the fiscal side of things to cushion those who are affected by the high inflation rate or high cost of living?

HON. K. D. MNANGAGWA:  I think the Hon. Member wants us to deliver half-baked solutions to the prevailing situation.  The Fiscal Policy will seek to align with the up-coming monetary policy, only then will those measures be in place. 

HON. MUGWADI: My supplementary question to the Minister is in respect of local currency.  It appears there is serious growing tendencies from business community and other institutions such as schools who have suddenly ceased to respect the Zimbabwean dollar as a currency and legal tender.  What is the Minister doing to ensure that at least we must see unconditional acceptance of the local currency as has been directed by the powers that be?

HON. K. D. MNANGAGWA:  As you have rightly pointed out, the Zimbabwean dollar is legal tender and anyone failing to accept the Zimbabwean dollar is operating outside the law.  If there are instances where one is operating in an illegality, we do have institutions like the Financial Intelligence Unit, which we can send a note to investigate why they are continuing with this process.  I would like Hon. Members to focus on the bigger picture which we keep on churning in, in the next few weeks and in the fullness of time, I believe we will have a more robust solution to these shenanigans. 

*HON. MURERI: Thank you Madam Speaker for affording me the opportunity to ask my question.  My question is directed to the Minister of Finance. What is Government thinking about pensioners in light of the deteriorating levels of the Zimbabwean dollar?  I thank you.

THE ACTING SPEAKER:  Order Hon. Members.  The Minister is not your friend. Withdraw your statement, ‘answer shamwari’. We do not have friends in this House.  He is an Hon. Minister.  Please withdraw your statement.

Hon. Hlatshwayo, the person who said answer shamwari, you know who he is.  Please withdraw Hon. Member, we want to move on.  We do not have friends in here, but Hon. Members and Hon. Ministers.

HON. SAGANDIRA:  On behalf of the Hon. Member…

THE ACTING SPEAKER:  Not on behalf, Hon. Member please be seated.  Hon Member withdraw your statement or you leave the House.  Chief Whip, please ask your Member to withdraw his statement.  It is that one, he is Hon. Ropa?  Withdraw your statement.  That is the Minister of Finance not shamwari.  Withdraw your statement Hon. Member.  We want to move on. Please do not defend each other when you are doing wrong things.  Ropa!

HON.  MAKUMIRE:  On a point of order Madam Speaker.  I think we need to conduct ourselves in an honourable manner when we are doing business in this House.

THE ACTING SPEAKER:  Yes, especially yourself. 

HON.  MAKUMIRE:  I am just getting into the House and you tell me that I said shamwari to the Hon. Minister.  Also, I am Hon. Makumire Ropafadzo and not Ropa.  When we are here, we are not your children.  We are Hon. Members of Parliament.  We are not your children, but Hon. Members of Parliament representing constituencies out there.

THE ACTING SPEAKER:  Order, Order Hon. Member.

HON. MAKUMIRE:  May you please withdraw that I said shamwari

THE ACTING SPEAKER:  You said so, withdraw that statement Hon. Member. 

HON. MAKUMIRE:  I never said that Madam Speaker.

THE ACTING SPEAKER:  Hon. Member, do you want me to chuck you out of the House?

HON. MAKUMIRE:  No, I will not go out and I will not withdraw what I have not said.  I am just coming into the House and you are saying I said shamwari to the Minister?  I am not leaving the House.

THE ACTING SPEAKER:  Hon. Member leave the House.

HON. MAKUMIRE:  Let us go to the camera, let us go to the VAR.

THE ACTING SPEAKER:  I said leave the House Hon. Member.  Leave the House.

HON. MAKUMIRE: Ndi Mr. Mudenda.

THE ACTING SPEAKER:  What did you say?

HON. HAMAUSWA:  Why are you so angry with our Members?

THE ACTING SPEAKER:  Hon. Hamauswa, please take your seat.

*THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF FINANCE (HON. D. K. MNANGAGWA): Thank you Madam Speaker.  I believe issues to do with pensioners is under the purview of Hon. Minister July Moyo who is the relevant Minister.

THE MINISTER OF PUBLIC SERVICE, LABOUR AND SOCIAL WELFARE (HON. J. MOYO):  Thank you Madam Speaker.  The issue of protection of those in the post labour market generally known as people who are on pension is very critical.  Those in the public sector which includes all of us here have what we call a defined benefit scheme.  This guarantees that you will be paid something that is defined at law and that it will not be reduced until you die.  When you die, it is also defined how your spouse will benefit and the calculations are there in the law.  If you have children under the age of 18 years, it is also defined how they will access that pension.  There is a difference however, for those who are in managed schemes, be it self-managed or managed by other organisations such as Old Mutual.  Most of them have the defined contribution scheme.  Both the worker and employer contribute, and that money is invested.  It is out of the contributions and the investment that we hope, at the end of the day, you will get a fair pension payout.  However, you know the vagaries of investment and those hap are impacted on by the macro economy such that at the end of the day, you might not get what you originally expected to get.  Government is looking into these two schemes that are coming either from the private sector or any scheme that is a defined contribution scheme to ensure that we can support and have people getting their pensions that are reasonable.   That is the situation that we find ourselves in.  Those in the public sector in defined benefits, those will not get eroded except by inflation, but those in the private sector can be eroded because either the investment has not done well or the contribution or the pension scheme itself has been eroded by inflation.  I thank you. 

*HON. MUROMBEDZI: Thank you Madam Speaker. The pensioners are being tossed from one Ministry to the other. This question was asked on 13th February. The pension for pensioners needs to be looked into but the Minister said they were going to look into it. It is now a month down the line and nothing has been done to correct the anomaly. We have pensioners who require medication on daily basis but they have not received any concrete response from the relevant ministries. They are living in poverty because the pensions that they are getting are meagre and insufficient. Ministers should tell us tangible things so that the money that they are getting as pensioners will be able to sustain them and buy drugs for them – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –

THE ACTING SPEAKER: Order Hon. Members on my right. Hon. Member, ask your question.

*HON. MUROMBEDZI: My question is that Ministers should come up with concrete responses in terms of what is being done about the plight of the pensioners who are suffering…

THE ACTING SPEAKER: Hon. Member, ask your question!

*HON. MUROMBEDZI: Ministers should give us concrete statements…

THE ACTING SPEAKER: Hon. Member, ask your question, then the Minister will respond.

*HON. MUROMBEDZI: What tangible measures has the Ministers done in order to alleviate the plight of our pensioners so that they can buy drugs and live better livelihoods? I thank you.

*HON. J. MOYO: Thank you Madam Speaker. I would like to thank the Hon. Member. A tangible response requires a tangible question. I had been asked what Government policy is and that was the tangible response that I have given. If you have got a tangible question so that I can give a concrete statement, I will be happy if you do that.

*HON. MATSUNGA: Thank you Madam Speaker. I would want to direct my supplementary question to the Minister of Public Service. How far has Government gone in reviewing and disbursing funds that are given to pensioners? Pensioners travel from different corners of the country to the capital city to collect the pension which is not enough.

*HON. J. MOYO: Thank you Madam Speaker. I would like to thank the Hon. Member for that question. The response to the question on Government’s plan would be, for the civil servants and those in public institutions from the President to different Government officials and different civil servants, when they are no longer working and are pensioners, there is a clear policy regarding the monies that they are paid. For example, if you were a permanent secretary, the retired pensioner is given one third of their pension, which is commutation. That is a lumpsum of one third.

The difference is that if we were at the same level, earning the same amount, the commutation that you get as a woman is more than what I am getting. This is because they consider that you are going to live longer than me. This was done by those who do actuarial science that retired women normally live for 11 and 7 months, whilst as a man, I live for 10 and 2 months. So, I get lesser commutation than a woman. After taking that lumpsum, the residual pension which comes is less than the salary that is being given to a serving permanent secretary or serving officer.

Because I took my one third, then I will get the remainder of my pension bit by bit. It will not be exactly the same with the one who is at work. Inflation is adjusted for both those who are serving and those who are pensioners. However, those who are still at work in the private sector for example, the Railway Pension Fund or the Mining Pension Fund, is the one that I said is a defined contribution. Their money is channeled to a pool fund which is managed by trustees, either of the Railways or the Pension Fund. That money can be used to build houses, offices or be put on bonds so that it gives them dividends. This interest is the one which is going to be given as dividends to the pensioners.

However, some of the monies will be affected by inflation. When you are given the balance, the value will be eroded by inflation. That is why you find people sometimes suffering. What ends up happening is when we change our currency to dollarisation, you will discover that pensions which were pulled by different companies were affected by the migration from one currency to the other. Therefore, we need to deliberate as Government so that we cushion our people in order for them to have money for day to day living expenses. If you have specific names and the monies that they are getting, I will suggest that you put it in writing so that I go and research and come back with enough information. I thank you.

          HON. MAONEKE:  My supplementary question is, what is the Ministry doing to improve financial literacy, especially among pensioners considering its importance during this hyperinflationary environment? 

          * HON. J. MOYO: Madam Speaker, I believe that it is a difficult question regarding what could be done in educating people in financial literacy particularly pensioners.  If it pertains to educating people regarding their pensions and issues relating to their pensions, it is a difficult question.  Financial literacy is a big question for me, I cannot respond to the question.

          *HON. MATINENGA: Thank you Madam Speaker Ma’am.  My question is directed to the Minister of Women’s Affairs, Community, Small to Medium Enterprises Development.  What is Government plan regarding the enhancement of the knowledge of women in information technology so that they are able to move with the technological trends that are prevailing?  Technology is quite important especially during the women’s month which I believe is quite pertinent in bettering their lives.

          THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. Z. ZIYAMBI):  Thank you Madam Speaker Ma’am.  We have a whole of Government approach.  ICT issues, despite the fact that the Minister of Women’s Affairs is responsible for women, all ICT issues are channeled to the Minister of ICT.  The Minister of ICT is responsible for that even in terms of policy formulation and the implementation of such policies regarding the betterment of women.  May you please allow the Minister of ICT to respond?  I thank you. 

          THE ACTING SPEAKER:  The Hon. Minister of ICT, you may respond. 

          *THE MINISTER OF INFORMATION COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGY, POSTAL AND COURIER SERVICES (HON. DR. MAVETERA): Let me thank the Hon. Member for that pertinent question.  I believe that we have a programme which is meant to bring gender balance and the mainstreaming of gender, particularly during the women’s month.  The International Telecommunication Union has a programme called Girls in ICT.  As I am speaking, this programme is actually going to be running even this coming month.  In this country it is meant to empower women. 

          Madam Speaker Ma’am, I also want to congratulate girls from Tynwald and Milestone who came back today from Italy.  These young girls are studying robotics which teaches literacy to young women, even young girls are also empowered with computer skills.  We are teaching women digital skills which I believe even this august House has been doing this and we applaud this good job, particularly in the past two weeks.  What is disheartening is that Members of this august House did not attend this programme as we expected. 

          Madam Speaker, what we are saying is that when people are taught digital skills, then they should also go and enhance coding and robotics.  These digital skills are meant to benefit our women.  When they are empowered with general knowledge, then they can specialise in robotics and coding and other specialised fields. 

          Let me continue saying that this programme that we are referring to, for instance, where our young girls went to Italy, is a programme which is targeted at young girls and women.  The desire of the Ministry is that if most women would participate in such programmes, even the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education should also consider including in their curriculum, coding and robotics.  We have a whole Government approach and we are going to complement what other Ministries are doing.  This also will help everyone to have computer skills, I thank you.

          *HON. KARENYI: My supplementary question to the Hon. Minister is, I would like to know the plans her Ministry has in improving women’s lives, particularly those who are in rural areas who do not have smart phones which allow them to surf the internet and browse Facebook, X and YouTube sites. How is the Ministry going to assist such women so that they have phones which can assist the virtual market? I thank you.

          *HON. DR. MAVETERA: Let me thank Hon. Karenyi for her question. Indeed, the issue regarding smart phones is a programme that we are seized with because as Zimbabweans, we want to digitalise our communications and smart devices are needed. What we are doing is that firstly as a nation, I want to appreciate that we have such programme which is going to be run by a company called ZITCO where they will be assembling phones and computers. If they get enough funding, they will start manufacturing phones for our market.

          We also intend to engage manufacturing companies in other countries. The purpose of this programme is to create partnerships with other countries. We have been in talks with Huawei which promised to avail cheaper devices. We are engaging other companies besides Huawei and this is the plan that we have, of partnering with other companies so that we will be able to tap into the different information technology they are running. This is quite important. We need to make our devices affordable. We have three things which I believe are going to benefit everyone in terms of digitisation. The first thing is having good infrastructure, the second one is devices and the third one is the issue of data. These are very important three components which are needed in terms of bettering women’s lives through technology. I want to thank His Excellency, Dr. E. D. Mnangagwa who also initiated the issue of cheaper and affordable devices.

          HON. J. TSHUMA: I want to thank the Minister for her clear response towards the emancipation of women. My follow up question is on data. Coming from places where there are poor people, data is very expensive. What is the Ministry’s position in making sure that before we go and train these women, data is affordable and training can be accessed easily especially in our locations?

          HON. DR. MAVETERA: Let me thank Hon. Tshuma for that question. Indeed, it is imperative for us as a Ministry to see what we can do towards us making sure that we have affordable data. What we have tried to do is for us to engage the telecommunication companies so that we really come up with knowing what the cost drivers of data are. That, we have already done. What we are also going to do is for us to engage in line with the whole Government approach where we need to engage the Ministry of Finance and see what we need to do in terms of us making sure that we can work towards the cost of data.

          However, we are also looking at other ways and possibilities that we can have for us to make sure that we just do not look at fibre connections, but we also look at accessing satellite networks in order for us to have reliable and affordable data.

          *HON. JONGA: I want to direct my question to the Minister of Primary and Secondary Education. Our education standards are deteriorating, particularly in the rural areas and this is evident in the pass rate which is going down for Grade 7s and Form 4s. What steps is Government taking in terms of correcting the deteriorating pass rate? I thank you.

          *THE MINISTER OF PRIMARY AND SECONDARY EDUCATION (HON. T. MOYO): Indeed, it is true. In the past, BEAM funds were delaying but in 2024, the African Union declared that 2024 was a year for the African child. I went to Ethiopia with his Excellency the President to the summit and when we went there, the President said that he was going to make sure that our children learn in a conducive environment. As I speak, BEAM funds have been released and some have started trickling in to schools. They are clearing the debts that were there for last year.

          Through His Excellency’s wisdom, the fees were gazetted  in US$ but payable at interbank rate so that the school fees have value -  P3 schools might be charging US$5, P2 schools might be charging US$10 and P1 schools might be charging US$200, which means that when BEAM is paid, it is paid at interbank rate of that particular day. This is wisdom which seeks to preserve the value of school fees so that they are not left behind through inflation.

          HON. KAITANO: We applaud all what Government is doing through the BEAM programme. Given what has happened this year, I would want to hear the Government policy regarding the other learners that are not on BEAM because in rural Zimbabwe, many parents are not going to harvest anything. We know that they send their kids to school using money from their produce and there is high probability that parents will not be able to pay for fees from second to third terms. Has Government taken cognisance of this possibility and if it has done so, what probably has been put in place to ensure that school fees is paid and the schools are able to be operational?

          HON. T. MOYO: Hon. Speaker, may I take this opportunity to thank Hon. Kaitano for the question. The Government is seized with the prevailing conditions happening in Zimbabwe as a result of the El Nino phenomenon which has seen many families having shortages of food on their table. The Government will not stand aloof witnessing learners failing to access education which is their fundamental right as enshrined in Section 75 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe.

          In addition to BEAM, the Government is also providing what we call Grant-in-Aid of tuition where Government has identified all the most impoverished districts in Zimbabwe and learners, especially in primary schools. In those marginalised and impoverished districts, we have free basic State funded education and I want to applaud the Government for that innovation and initiative.

          Again, the committees that are involved in selecting prospective beneficiaries of BEAM – it is a continuous process Madam Speaker, where those families that are affected by the hardships as a result of the El Nino phenomenon, if they fail to pay, it means communities in those rural set ups will also meet and increase the number of beneficiaries of BEAM. I will also allow my brother, Hon. J. Moyo because he is the Minister responsible for social safety nets also to add to what I have said if you allow me Hon. Speaker.

          HON. J. MOYO: I can only add to the fact that yes, it is true there is a devastation in terms of climate induced drought this year which has seen many families becoming food insecure, but that food insecurity also means a number of social insecurities that they are going to face. As regards education as the Minister has said, we operate the BEAM system and that BEAM system is not fixed in terms of the number of children who can access that BEAM. We have the Zimbabwe Livelihood Assessment Programme which looks in every year, the number of children who must access BEAM.

So we have not done so yet and this coming year, I am sure ZimLAC assessment will show that there are more children. Last year we were assisting up to 30% of children in primary and secondary schools. When BEAM was originally conceived, it was supposed to look after 26% of the children in primary and secondary schools, but in some years, because of the pressures, we have gone up to 35%.

So that is informed by a scientifically determined assessment which is led by the food and nutritional council which is housed in the President’s Office. That is why when we are referring to all these interventions, these are presidential interventions that will have been undertaken, not just by the Food and Nutrition Council, but by whole of Government approach.  It also includes civil society and UN agencies, and in some cases, particular governments that also want to give us their technical assistance, both in terms of financial and technical input so that what we produce is something that is closest to reality of those who need assistance. That is what we will be undertaking for this year. Thank you.

HON. I. NDUDZO: My supplementary question to the Hon. Minister of Primary and Secondary Education is a follow up on the question earlier on raised by Hon. Jonga in relation to the need to improve on the pass rates. My question is, apart from the payment of fees, what are the other policy measures and interventions being implemented by the Ministry to make sure that we improve on the Grade 7 and Ordinary Level pass rates, particularly for our rural schools?

HON. T. MOYO: It is not true that pass rates are going down. The point is every year we have seen an increase in pass rate from Grade 7 up to A’ Level. At Grade 7, the pass rate rose from slightly above 40% to more than 50%, and we cannot say that is poor performance. It is an increase in performance of our learners. At A’Level, the pass rate rose from 91% to 95% and that is the national pass rate at A ‘Level. At O’Level, the pass rate rose from roughly 25% to 29%. That is not pleasing and in the majority of cases, rural schools do not perform well compared to urban schools because of the differences in disparities.

As a Ministry, we have already reviewed the curriculum and embarked on the Heritage Based Education where we are emphasising issues of connectivity and rolling out information communication technology from ECD. What the Hon. Minister of Information, Communication and Technology was referring to on coding, robotics as well as artificial intelligence, because of this new curriculum, we are going to roll out all those new strategies of ensuring that even a student at ECD is able to access a tablet or laptop like I said two weeks ago.

We have already engaged development partners and patriotic Zimbabweans who are in America and New Zealand who are going to roll out this programme to ensure that we provide laptops and gadgets, starting from Chipinge, Beitbridge, and Chivi until the whole country is covered. If we do all that, obviously, that will lead and culminate into an increase in pass rates. As a Ministry, we are seized with the issue and we will make sure we work very hard and tirelessly.

Let me take this opportunity to thank our teachers who are dedicated to duty and hardworking. We are continuously motivating them to ensure that they produce excellent results come end of this year. I thank you.

HON. BAJILA: I want to ask a supplementary question which takes us back to Hon. Jonga’s original question on BEAM and the pass rates.  There are some learners who are unable to get their results for Grade 7 or Form 4 simply because there are BEAM arrears.  Over the years that the Minister mentioned that we are trying to clear the backlog, what is Government’s policy on schools withholding end of year results to learners on the basis of BEAM arrears?

HON. T. MOYO:  Government policy is very clear. Withholding of results at either Grade 7, Form 4 or A’ Level is illegal.  It is a violation of rights to education.  As soon as results are out, schools are forced by law to release the results regardless of whether they owe the school or not.  The question should not be restricted to BEAM.  It may also apply to trust schools.  We have seen some learners suing schools – those schools for the elite and those that have violated the law, the law will apply.  No one will be spared.

HON. NKANI:  My question is directed to the Minister of Mines and Mining Development.  In his absence, I will direct it to the Leader of the House.  What is Government’s position on the resuscitation of Government owned mining companies which are not operational?

THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. Z. ZIYAMBI):  Just a point of clarity, is the Hon. Member referring to Government owned mines that the Government is using or private mines that are not under use?

HON. NKANI:  I am referring to Government owned mines, for example those under ZMDC.

HON. Z. ZIYAMBI: The question is extremely broad.  A mine is closed for a specific reason.  You cannot have a ‘one size fit all’ why mine A is not operating and mine B is not operating. You need to focus on that specific mine.  If the Hon. Member is worried about a specific mine that is not operating or specific mines,  perhaps if he can put it in writing and the responsible Minister will be able to articulate that this particular mine was closed because of one/two/three/four and Government is undertaking the following steps to ensure that the particular mine is resuscitated. 

HON. M. SIBANDA: My question is directed to the Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development. In the past weeks, we have seen the law enforcers ruthlessly dealing with illegally settled villagers.  What is Government’s position in dealing with the land barons who are the real perpetrators of illegal settlements?

THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. Z. ZIYAMBI): Before I respond to the main question, I just want to make a clarification that the police never ruthlessly went for villagers.  The police are there to ensure that law and order is maintained.  Where an individual decides to go and occupy State land without authority, it is the duty of the police to ensure that, that particular individual does not occupy that particular place. 

Coming to the main body of the question, it is very correct that we have a menace of land barons, land barons who are deliberately misleading innocent citizens, allocating and fleecing them of their hard-earned money, allocating them land which does not belong to them.  Government is now going to undertake an exercise where we will involve everyone; the community, the lands officers, our chiefs and be able to go area by area addressing the issues and identifying the culprits.  Those culprits will then be arrested and dealt with.  What Government requires is that all those who want land must follow the lawful procedures of acquiring land.  People must desist from being swindled by these land barons that you refer to.

We believe that undertaking a peace-meal approach to this, we may not realise the desired result.  We are going to have a whole of Government approach or whole of society approach where we say if we are dealing with Harare, we are going to Caledonia and we want everyone involved to be in that particular area.  We then ask the real issues, who has been doing what?  Among the people who are there, we then separate the innocent from the culprits and we deal with the culprits.  We look at the situation and say, how can this situation be remedied and we get a full solution to it.  That is an exercise that is going to come very soon and we are prepared as Government to deal with this issue once and for all. 

HON. M. SIBANDA: My supplementary question is, in each election cycle, we always see people being settled illegally and after elections, we realise that these people are evicted.  This has been recurring, immediately after elections people are evicted from spaces …

THE ACTING SPEAKER:  Ask your question Hon. Member.

HON. M. SIBANDA: The Minister has said we will try and deal with this, but we are saying this has been recurring in each election cycle.

THE ACTING SPEAKER:  You did not ask a question Hon. Sibanda.  I do not know whether it was a comment.

HON. M. SIBANDA:  It was a comment.

THE ACTING SPEAKER: Alright.

HON. SAKUPWANYA:  Section 295 of the Constitution recognises that we compensate illegal white farmers who were not the owners of the premises where improvements were made to the places within which they settled but did not belong to them.  My supplementary question is, are we considering a compensation tool for some of these people deemed to be illegal settlers considering that some of them have stayed for 10 to 20 years?  As the saying goes, what is good for the goose should be good for the gander. We are in this sense, the gander.

HON.  Z. ZIYAMBI:  Madam Speaker Ma’am, in my earlier response, I indicated that we are going to look at each area and analyse the situation that is obtaining there.  Once we do that, we then look at the feasible options.  The President is for people to have adequate accommodation where they have proper housing.  The President is not for demolishing people’s houses.  In fact, on the contrary, the President is saying even those in urban areas who do not have title deeds, despite having stayed in the same house for several years, and all they know is a card at the Municipal offices, let us ensure that they have title deeds.  It is true that if somebody has been occupying a land for over 20 years, technically we cannot go there without violating that particular individual’s rights and say we are demolishing.  The law does not allow us to do that.  What we are saying is that we will go area by area with all the stakeholders involved and interrogate whether it is feasible to do that or not.  We have already started doing that.  We were taken to court by some commercial farmers under the bi-lateral arrangement whereby we were not supposed to take their land.  Our solution was that if the farm is still vacant, we can return it to that particular farmer, but it is impossible because of the settlers that are already there.  The best solution is to look for an alternative farm so that we satisfy our legal requirements.    That is what we are going to do even to our settlers.  We do not have an appetite of making our own people homeless.  That is not the policy of our President.  His policy is to ensure that everyone has got a house that they call home and this is the Vision 2030 that the President is talking about.  By the time we get to 2030, we will have housing for all.  That is the reason why you saw under His Excellency’s leadership, a whole Ministry of National Housing and Social Amenities to tackle those issues.  So it is not correct to say that Government is going to evict villagers that have stayed on their land or on the land that they occupied for over 20 years without compensation.  We are not going to do that, but we will analyse if it is feasible for them to continue in that particular area.  I thank you Madam Speaker.

HON.  JAMES:  Thank you Madam Speaker.  Will Government take into account the Justice Uchena Report that was presented in 2019 that deals with these issues in peri-urban and urban areas?  I believe the report has not been made public.  Will it be made public?

HON. Z. ZIYAMBI:  I want to thank the Hon. Member for the question.  In fact, the Hon. Member was not listening to what I said.  I said this will be a whole of society, so anything that will assist us to ensure that we resolve the issues area by area, we are prepared to do that.  What we are reluctant to do is to do a piece-meal approach to it.  We want a final solution to this issue, whether we deal ruthlessly with land barons, but we will secure the interests of ordinary citizens.  So we will go to a particular area and the Ministry of Housing, Local Government, Lands and their officials, our chiefs, the villagers and every stakeholder will be there.  We know each other in our villages.  The villagers will be able to tell us who was there and who was not there.

HON. MBIRIPIRI:  On a point of order.  I think the Minister did not get the question properly.  The question is not about what they are doing.  The question from the Hon. Member….

THE ACTING SPEAKER:  But you are not the one who asked the question.

HON. MBIRIPIRI:  I heard the question, I am just trying to help because he is going at a tangent.

THE ACTING SPEAKER:  Hon. Member order.  Let the Minister finish responding.

HON. ZIYAMBI:  Madam Speaker, the Commission of Enquiry Report gives a recommendation.  It does not prescribe what we should do.  If I am recommended to go with him and I do not want, I will not go with him.  I am saying that we are taking an approach that will be inclusive of what was recommended by Uchena if it helps us have the final solution.  So I do not see any tangent in that.  In a nutshell, what I am saying is that Government is prepared to ensure that we have order and we deal decisively with land barons.  That is why I was very grateful to the originator of the question who asked specifically what we are doing about land barons.  Those are the culprits.  The ordinary citizens are victims and we want to protect the victims by ensuring that when we go to a specific village, which I said kumusha tozivana kuti akauya gore rakati uyu akanga asipo.  They will tell us and we will be able to give those people an opportunity to tell us why they are there when they do not have papers. 

We will have a solution whereby the Minister of Lands will be there because we do not want to throw our people out there in the cold.  He should be able to find land for them.  So this will be the Government approach which will even include the Minister of Social Welfare because we need the welfare of those individuals to be taken care of.  So all I am saying is that it is work in progress.  We have a working party that is looking at this and once it is finalised, we will make it public so that whoever wants to attend will do so and contribute, then we deal decisively with the issue of land barons. I thank you.

HON. CHIDUWA: What is government policy regarding the importation and consumption of GMOs in general, and grain in particular?

THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. Z. ZIYAMBI):  I want to thank Hon Chiduwa for the question.  I just want to make a correction.  We are faced with a drought, but we are not yet food deficient.  We have pockets that did not perform well the previous season.  Every year we harvest towards April/May, so the season that we are facing is the one that we are food deficient, but currently we have pockets whereby we have food insufficiency and the Ministry of Social Welfare is dealing with that.  So we are in the middle of assessing the extent of the ravages of El-Nino and we are coming up with a package to ensure that as a nation, we will be food self-sufficient. So it is not scientifically and technically correct, to say that we should import either GMOs or maize. We are not yet there. We are waiting for the statistics of what we can expect given the ravages of El Nino.   What we have in stock, be it private sector or the GMB and we assess what we require later on. We do not want the nation to panic that we are not food self-sufficient right now. It is not correct but we are doing the assessment so that at the end of the day, we will come up with a plan of action that will ensure that Zimbabweans do not starve. I thank you Madam Speaker.

HON. CHIDUWA: I think the Hon. Minister did not get my question well. I said, what is Government policy regarding the importation and consumption of GMOs, in general, and grain in particular? The follow up question that I want is the Government position on the likely health side effects of consuming GMOS. Maybe for this one, we can get assistance from the Minister of Health and Child Care. I submit.

HON. Z. ZIYAMBI: Thank you Madam Speaker. I got distracted when he was posing his supplementary. Can he repeat so that I can capture correctly and respond accordingly?

HON. CHIDUWA: Thank you Madam Speaker Ma’am. What is Government policy regarding the importation and consumption of GMOs, in general, and grain in particular?

HON. Z. ZIYAMBI: Thank you Madam Speaker. The short response is, we do not allow GMOs. My earlier response which the Hon. Member said I did not get his question was, when the time comes, we will look at options that would need GMOS if need be. Currently, Madam Speaker, we do not have a policy of allowing importation of GMO grain because we do not want to contaminate our fields with GMO grain. However, when the time comes, if need be, we will have a look at it and the nation will be advised. I thank you.

Questions Without Notice were interrupted by THE ACTING SPEAKER in terms of Standing Order No. 68.

THE ACTING SPEAKER: Allow me to thank the Hon. Ministers who managed to answer your questions. Thank you, Hon. Minister., Once again, I am appealing to Hon. Ministers who have questions to answer to remain in the House.

ORAL ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS WITH NOTICE

INFRASTRUCTURAL DEVELOPMENT AND COMMUNITY     WELL-BEING OF HURUNGWE CONSTITUENCIES

  1. HON. KANGAUSARU asked the Minister of Finance, Economic Development and Investment Promotion to inform the House the Ministry’s plans to enhance infrastructure development and the overall well-being of the community considering Hurungwe Constituencies contribute immensely to foreign exchange earnings compared to other provinces that produce tobacco.

THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF FINANCE, ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT AND INVESTMENT PROMOTION (HON. D. K. MNANGAGWA): Thank you Madam Speaker. I thank Hon. Kangausaru for the question. Hon. Members must recall that our National Development Strategy 1 gives priority to infrastructure development across the country’s provinces and districts taking into account needs assessment and priorities from grassroot level whilst top-down approach also gives direction to needs of communities. The Development Plan envisages restoration of basic infrastructural services including, expansion in critical areas mainly targeting the key sectors of energy, transport, water and sanitation, housing, health, education and information and communication technology.

Madam Speaker, putting policy into practice, Government normally relies on the bottom-up approach towards infrastructure delivery, using the existing structures at village, ward, district and provincial levels. Additionally, the development agenda provides further impetus for development of our communities, especially the marginalized and the requisite structures at all levels that should support Government’s thrust towards infrastructure development which has an important bearing on sustainable long-term economic growth. The advent of the Second Republic and in line with His Excellency, the President of the Republic of Zimbabwe, Cde. E. D. Mnangagwa of leaving no place and no one behind, our Annual Infrastructure Investment Programme Investment Programme involves an extensive consultative process that starts at grassroot level.

Madam Speaker, under the auspices of the 2024 National Budget and specifically for Hurungwe, a number of projects have been included for implementation during the year which include the following among others: - Construction of Hurungwe modern prison, including staff houses, Karoi-Binga Road, Siakobvu Turnoff to Karoi Road, Mana Pools National Park Roads and Construction and upgrading of schools and clinics through devolution.

Furthermore, the implementation towards the widening and upgrading of the 352km Harare-Chirundu Road which is a critical artery along the North-South corridor will definitely stimulate economic activity in the district. Noteworthy, is that the ongoing project covers over 200km of road works in Hurungwe that should see employment of the locals during construction as well as reduction of traffic accidents upon completion.

Madam Speaker, over and above the normal budgetary allocations on specific Votes, the Inter-Governmental Fiscal Transfer Support to lower tiers of Government continues to be a key strategic conduit of ensuring enhanced implementation of critical social infrastructure in line with our thrust of empowering and emancipating our rural communities. Notably, in the district, is improved roads rehabilitation by the local authority through the use of procured pieces of equipment utilising devolution funding.

Madam Speaker, Treasury reaffirms its commitment towards financing and implementation of critical infrastructure projects in order to improve efficiency and effectiveness in the execution and achievement of sector outcomes. At the same time, Government is also reviewing the payment framework of tobacco farmers to ensure that the beneficiary farmers are fully empowered in terms of proceeds.

HON. KANGAUSARU: Thank you Madam Speaker. Thank you very much Deputy Minister for your response. We have seen tremendous improvement in Hurungwe but yet we still need more. In ploughing back, we need to have an agricultural college in Hurungwe in order for us to increase the production of tobacco - that would be very handy and also to improve on the schools that you are embarking on so that even our pass rate and the life of the people in Hurungwe can be improved.  Please could it be possible for us to have an agricultural college that will teach us to do farming and vocational training colleges?  Yes, we thank your Ministry for the schools, we still need more schools.  If you look at Magunje, it is only vocational, it is not empowered in terms of training people with the skills that are needed.  I thank you.

          THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF FINANCE, ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT AND INVESTMENT PROMOTION (HON. D. K. MNANGAGWA):  Thank you Madam Speaker. I think that intervention is well noted.  I thank you.

          HON. CHIDUWA:  Supplementary question Madam Speaker….

          THE ACTING SPEAKER:  Hon. Members, can you allow us to have only one supplementary question so that we cover a lot of questions considering the Ministers have stayed in today?  I will allow supplementary questions from the originator of the question.  Thank you.    

COMPENSATION FOR FORMER COMMERCIAL FARMERS

  1. HON. JAMES asked the Minister of Finance, Economic Development and Investment Promotion to explain to the House the following; (a) Whether the total National Debt of US$18 billion includes the money for compensating former commercial farmers who had title deeds; (b) To further explain with whom the Compensation Agreement has been signed; and (c) Whether the Ministry received a fully reconciled Valuation Consortium (Valcon) database.

          THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF FINANCE, ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT AND INVESTMENT PROMOTION (HON. D. K. MNANGAGWA):  Thank you Madam Speaker and I also want to thank the Hon. Member of Parliament, Hon. James.  In his first question, my response is the National Debt of USD18 billion includes compensation of former farm owners of USD3.5 billion. Kindly take note this was tabled in Parliament in the Public Debt Report on 30 November 2023.   

The Hon. Member’s second question, the answer is, the Global Compensation Deed of USD3.5 billion was signed between the Government of Zimbabwe and representatives of the former farm owners which was the Commercial Farmers Union of Zimbabwe represented by Mr. Andrew Jon Pascoe, the Southern African Commercial Farmers Alliance Zimbabwe which was represented by Mr. Cedric Robert Wilde and the Valuation Consortium Private Limited represented by Mr. Anthony Nield Purkis. 

On the last question, the Global Compensation Deed contains a schedule of all names of former farm owners.  However, the database is kept at the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Resettlement. 

          HON. JAMES:   Thank you Hon. Speaker.  My supplementary question is, there appears to be another group that is involved.  Are you aware that both the CFU and the Southern Africa Commercial Farmers Alliance from the Southern region have distanced themselves from PROFCARE?  Would the Minister be receptive to further consultations with a larger group of title deed holders who are not compromised by conflict of interest?  To me, it was updated as a course.  The reason why I ask is that properties are still being acquired and valuations to those properties need to be done, they are not on the Valcon database. Also, there are some 615 indigenous black farmers who were removed from their farms, they are no longer on the database.  Further consultation is needed.

          HON. D. K. MNANGAGWA:  Thank you Madam Speaker. As to whether the CFU or the Southern African Commercial Farmers Alliance of Zimbabwe has distanced themselves from the process,  this will be news to us.  As I mentioned, there were signatories to this Global Compensation Deed. 

As to whether the Minister would be open or receptive as to new entrance of new discussions, I believe this process is a multi-stakeholder process through some of these unions, through the Ministry of Finance, Economic Development and Investment Promotion and the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development.   I believe those affected know the appropriate channels and the Government does have an open-door approach.  With that, I would like to say those affected know the appropriate channels and should do so accordingly.  Thank you.. 

IMPORTATION OF CARS THAT ARE MORE THAN 10

YEARS FROM THE DATE OF MANUFACTURING

  1. HON. GUMEDE asked the Minister of Finance, Economic Development and Investment Promotion to explain to the House the rationale behind banning the importation of cars that are more than ten years old from the date of manufacture considering that the country no longer has a vehicle manufacturing plant.

 THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF FINANCE, ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT AND INVESTMENT PROMOTION (HON. D. K. MNANGAGWA):  Madam Speaker, the Government has prioritised the motor vehicle assembly industry as sub-sector that is key toward the industrialisation drive.  Pursuant to that policy thrust, the National Development Strategy (NDS) 1, further underscores the importance of revamping the existing idle capacity within the motor vehicle assembly industry, in particular, the bus and trucks sub-sector. 

In addition, Hon. Members, a strategy has been adopted to also enhance the local assembly of passenger motor vehicles, thus maximising on the potential for job creation and reduction of the unsustainable import bill. 

The Minister of Finance, Economic Development and Investment Promotion through the 2021 National Budget, proposed to restrict the importation of second-hand motor vehicles aged ten or more years from the date of manufacture.  The proposal was based on the then existing policy framework, which included the Zimbabwe National Industrial Development Policy and Motor Industry Development Policy which focus on promoting the local assembly of motor vehicles. 

The Ministry of Industry and Commerce concurred with this proposal and subsequently promulgated Statutory Instrument 89 of 2021 which gives effect to the pronouncement.  This is in view of the fact that the Minister of Industry and Commerce is in charge of administering the Control of Goods Act [Chapter 14:05]. 

The restriction of importation of second-hand vehicles which are above ten years …..

Hon. Mutseyami having passed between the Chair and the Hon. Member speaking. 

THE ACTING SPEAKER: Order Hon. Minister.  Hon. Mutseyami, you know that you are not allowed to cross between the Chair and the Hon. Member speaking.  Go back and use the proper entrances.  Go back and go round, you know how you are supposed to do it.  Do not delay, go back and do it properly. 

HON. MUTSEYAMI:  I am not allowed to cross before the Member speaking. 

THE ACTING SPEAKER:  I will allow you to cross as of now. Hon. Mutseyami, let us be reasonable. Let us do things the right way.

HON. MUTSEYAMI:  I agree Madam Speaker. What I am saying is the Standing Order does not allow me to cross in between the Chair and the Member speaking. 

THE ACTING SPEAKER:  You are not allowed to cross.

HON. MUTSEYAMI:  There is no such an Order, you need to get advice from the Clerk.

THE ACTING SPEAKER:  Hon. Mutseyami. I want you to respect the Chair. 

Hon. Mutseyami left the Chamber.

THE ACTING SPEAKER:  Can you proceed Hon. Minister? 

 HON. D. K. MNANGAGWA:  Thank you Madam Speaker. The restriction of importation of second-hand vehicles which are above 10 years from the date of manufacture is also aimed at minimising the importation of unroadworthy vehicles which do not meet quality, environmental and safety standards. Currently, there is no ban on importation of second hand vehicles. However, the Minister of Industry and Commerce may consider extending a ban depending on the merits of pursuing that avenue. I thank you

          EFFECTIVENESS OF PENALTIES ON DRUG PEDDLERS

  1. HON. GUMEDE asked Minister of Home Affairs to inform the House the measures in place to apprehend drug traffickers in the Bulawayo Central Business (CBD) District and to elaborate on the effectiveness of penalties imposed, particularly for those found selling drugs to teenagers.

THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF HOME AFFAIRS (HON. SANYATWE): I would like to start by thanking the Hon. Member for the important question. I remain alive to the fact that the issue of illegal drugs has become a major hazard, not only to Bulawayo youth but it is threatening our future and national security. To that end, the Zimbabwe Republic Police is engaging in a number of strategies and operations which include but not limited to the following;

Riding on the strength of collaborative efforts. All stakeholder approach is very key in managing drug and substance abuse cases. It is however saddening that while the youth are abusing these drugs which are being manufactured, trafficked and traded in our communities, it will be under everyone’s watch. In my view, it is high time we put our heads together for the common good of our society. Surely, the cost of doing nothing about a problem far exceeds the cost of doing something. As such, let us be responsible citizens taking an urgent and collective stand and report drug peddlers, drug manufacturers and drug abusers to responsible authorities.

In an endevour to cut the supply chain, the Zimbabwe Republic Police deployed sniffer dogs at ports of entry and exit to detect contraband as they get into the country from external sources.

The Zimbabwe Republic Police continues to maximise on intelligence network.

Intensifying awareness campaigns and educating members of the public on the dangers associated with drug abuse. Policing rides on societal cohesion.

As Government, we continue to capacitate the Zimbabwe Republic Police with the requisite tools of trade. Towards that end, allow me Madam Speaker, to inform the House that my Ministry recently received a shot in the arm from the People’s Republic of China, of anti-narcotics analysis equipment worth US$136 998.00 to be used in the Zimbabwe Republic Police Forensic Laboratories to enhance their operational efficacy in the war against drugs. It is beyond any shadow of doubt that such equipment makes a huge difference and helps the country rebuild the social fabric that has been devastated by drugs.

The Government of Zimbabwe, under the astute leadership of His Excellency the President, Dr. E. D. Mnangagwa, is also adding a fit to the fight against drug and substance abuse by constituting a National Committee on Drugs and Substance Abuse. The committee’s mandate is centred on supply reduction, demand reduction, harm reduction, treatment and rehabilitation, psycho-social support and community reintegration.

Madam Speaker, I have no doubt in the commitment of our police officers to eliminate the scourge of drugs. Their efforts are yielding positive results. I am pleased to inform the House that police in Bulawayo, from February 2023 to February this year, have carried out a number of operations such as “Operation No to drugs and substance abuse” and managed to arrest 1 460 accused persons. Saddening enough, of the aforesaid number, 1 267 are the youths under the age of 35 and also 58 were suppliers of these illicit drugs. Total value recovered was Z$62 321 150.00.

To evaluate on the effectiveness of penalties imposed, in particular to those found selling drugs to teenagers, the onus lies with all of us in this House. As lawmakers, the Police Command is engaging the Judiciary, urging them to impose stiffer penalties as prescribed by the law, which are deterrent on perpetrators of violent crimes such as these. I thank you.  

          HON. GUMEDE: My supplementary question is; are the current drug trafficking offences punitive enough to deter offenders? I am saying this because in my constituency, we have got a severe problem of drug abuse amongst youths. Upon community investigations, we are finding that there are so many complaints coming from our residents which indicate that drug traffickers can be taken today by the police when the community reports, but the following day, they will be in the same corner selling drugs again to our youths.

Secondly, we also hear reports from people who engage in these practices who confess that if you want to catch …

          THE ACTING SPEAKER: Hon. Gumede, I want you to go straight to your question.

          HON. GUMEDE: My question is; are the current drug trafficking offences punitive enough to deter offenders?

          HON. SANYATWE: I will advise that we will continue to review and amend. I thank you.

MEASURES TO CURB THEFT OF COPPER CABLES, HOUSE BREAKINGS AND ROBBERIES

  1. HON. GUMEDE asked the Minister of Home Affairs to inform

the House the measures put in place to curb theft of copper cables, house

breakings, and armed robberies.

       THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF HOME AFFAIRS AND

CULTURAL HERITAGE (HON. SANYATWE): I wish to appreciate the Hon. Member for the second question and acknowledge that vandalism of critical public utilities infrastructure such as copper cables among other violent crimes attracts a glut of measures.

          May I take this opportunity to inform the Hon. Member that my Ministry, through the Zimbabwe Republic Police’s Criminal Investigation Department, has a specialised section called the Minerals, Flora and Fauna Unit which deals with mineral related crimes. I am happy to mention that through such specialisation, the ZRP working with the related stakeholders, has been able to detect and arrest several organised criminal syndicates and individuals vandalising public infrastructure and stealing copper across the country.

          Furthermore, a number of strategies aimed at curbing such illicit activities continue to be adopted. I wish to advise the Hon. Member that some of the strategies put in place include the setting up of a multi-stakeholder taskforce comprising ZRP, ZESA, NRZ and Tel-One, to look into the issuance of Copper Dealer’s Licences as well as dealing in scrap metal.

          In addition, we continue to appeal that deterrent sentences be passed to all criminals convicted for vandalism and theft of public utilities infrastructure. This will go a long way in sending a strong message to all such criminal elements not to vandalise or tamper with our public utilities’ infrastructure.

          As a Ministry, we are as well concerned with robbery cases. You will agree with me that one robbery is a robbery too many. According to the briefings availed to me by the Commissioner General of Police, the police continues to intensify their operations throughout the country to curb robberies and house breakings. Police have put in place various strategies and initiatives which include, but not limited to the following;

  1. Intensifying foot, cycle and motorised patrols in crime prone areas.

The Commissioner General has directed all officers commanding

Provinces, to deploy Support Unit, Criminal Investigations

Department, Duty Uniform Branch and Police Intelligence in hot

spots to curtail robbery cases;

  1. Mounting of security roadblocks, intensifying stop and searches;
  • Heightening awareness campaigns encouraging members of the

public to desist from the habit of using paths that pass through

secluded and unlit areas at night, and strongly discouraging the

keeping of large sums of money at home or business premises or

even moving around with it;

  1. Promotion of public participation in policing through joining the

popular Neighbourhood Watch Committees to patrol respective

neighbourhoods;

  1. Engagement of various stakeholders with a view to enhancing inter-

agency cooperation in the fight against crime;

  1. Police have also established that some of the armed robbery cases

being recorded across the country are as a result of the influx of

unlicenced firearms. Some of these firearms were illegally brought

into the country by criminal syndicates through the country’s porous

borders. Furthermore, some licenced firearm owners are also

securing their weapons and in the process, end up losing them to

criminals who then use them to commit robbery cases. Accordingly, the police are appealing to firearm licence holders to adhere to the provisions of the Firearms Act which demands the safe storage of firearms at all times; and

  • Lastly, at a national level, the Police Command is engaging the

Judiciary urging them to impose stiffer penalties on perpetrators of

violent crimes which include armed robberies for deterrence.

          In conclusion, let me take this opportunity to say it here and say it loudly, that the police will never, under its watch, let some misguided elements continue to reign terror among the society. I thus, wish to send a very strong warning to all drug traffickers, copper cable thieves, house breakers and armed robbers that their net is closing in. We are appealing for information from members of the public to assist in our efforts to account for these dangerous criminals. I enjoin every responsible citizen to be a whistleblower as we collectively work to save our nation. I thank you.

HON. GUMEDE:  I really appreciate the fact that there are multi-stakeholder task forces which is all well and noble.  We really appreciate also the intensification of patrols and deployment of the Support Unit.  My supplementary question is, as crime is rampant, are there plans to increase police bases in these hotspot areas? 

HON. SANYATWE: Yes, there are plans and there is a budget for that.

POSITIONING OF ZIMBABWE AS THE BEST TOURIST DESTINATION IN AFRICA

  1. HON. MUWOMBI asked the Minister of Tourism and Hospitality to explain to the House the strategic measures being taken by the Ministry to position Zimbabwe as the best tourist destination in Africa.

       THE MINISTER OF TOURISM AND HOSPITALITY (HON. RWODZI):  To start with, we have reconfigured the structure of the Ministry as a strategy to align with the mandate that we are directed by the Tourism Act.  The Tourism Act is dissected into two; domestic tourism and international tourism.  Our mandate is to promote the destination Zimbabwe and to develop tourism facilities, infrastructure and its operations.  I would want to assume that this question is directed more to international tourism as it reads - ‘strategic measures being taken by the Ministry to position Zimbabwe as the best destination in Africa’. It speaks more to international tourism.

           The first strategy is, we have assigned tourism attachés in eleven countries since October 2023.  Nine of them have already been deployed to their destinations.  Two are awaiting confirmations from the countries - USA and India.  We are awaiting their confirmation and anytime they will go.  The tourism attachés are there to market the country and to attend various marketing platforms that they can sell the destination Zimbabwe to.

         Secondly, we promote the destination through ZTA and the development of our tourism facilities and infrastructure is done through ZTF.  In essence, ZTA is the marketing company for tourism in Zimbabwe.  Various marketing strategies are there that include also attending international conferences where we get opportunities and platforms for pitching our destination and what we offer as Zimbabwe destination.

        We are also strengthening our relations with UN Tourism which was popularly known as UNTWO and now called UN Tourism for the past one month and all its members for us to also take advantage of its platform to market Zimbabwe as a destination. One of the examples that I can give to show that strengthening the relationships is advantageous to us is that in July from 26-28 this year, 2024, we will host the first ever Africa Gastronomy Tourism Forum that will be held in our capital city of tourism – Victoria Falls. 

         We also have digital marketing that we are currently working on thoroughly so that we can market our destination robustly outside and internationally.  We want to be on all digital platforms and we want to be known as a destination as well as getting on international television channels, for example to be marketing ourselves on CNN and Bloomberg – those popular channels.

        We are also going to physical printing of magazines that we will be distributing on all airlines that come to the country so that people can know whilst they are flying or people who are in their destinations or areas can read about destination Zimbabwe.

        We have a division in ZTA that is for International Convention Bureau and their mandate is to bid for mice business or what we call conferencing or workshops that are international.  With the new Bill that is coming to Parliament, you shall see that we are asking that division to now become a business unit so that they can only focus on biding this conference so that the mice business can come more to our country.  It is also another platform that can market Zimbabwe destination to be the best in Africa as well as many other strategies that we are coming up with, that include domestic tourism and many for international tourism

DISTRIBUTION OF FOOD BY SOCIAL WELFARE TO THE ELDERLY AND VULNERABLE

  1. HON BONDA asked the Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare to inform the House on the following:
  2. a) Why the distribution of food by the Social Welfare to the elderly and vulnerable was discontinued thereby violating Section 77 (b) of the Constitution which provides that every person has a right to food; and
  3. b) What plans are in place to give financial support to the elderly as provided for under section 82 (c) of the Constitution which provides that the elderly are to receive financial support by way of social security and welfare.

           THE MINISTER OF PUBLIC SERVICE, LABOUR AND SOCIAL WELFARE (HON. J. MOYO): The Hon. Member might be informed that there are two distinct strategies that the Ministry administers to ensure compliance with Section 77 (b) of the same Constitution of Zimbabwe; Vulnerable Groups Feeding which is under the Food Mitigation Strategy and is informed by the Zimbabwe Livelihood Assessment Committee Assessment Report which comes every year.  This was formerly called the Zimbabwe Vulnerability Assessment Committee (ZIMVAC).    We also have the Contingency Feeding where the Ministry always has a contingency quantity set aside to enable it to respond to distress calls as and when they arise and sometimes to respond to emergencies.  The Hon. Member may be informed that my Ministry has a mandate to ensure provision of improved access to inclusive rights based social protection to vulnerable people.  Thus, this guides the targeting, selection and registration of beneficiaries under the food deficit mitigation strategy.  Clearly, those who are targeted are the elderly, persons with disabilities, the chronically ill and the child headed households who are food insecure.  Everybody else who might be able bodied and in that particular year does not have food is considered after these categories.  Food distribution is guided by a manual which indicates the phases of food distribution in Zimbabwe and when we have insufficient food, we distribute from October to December as a category.  Then January to March, which we consider as a peak hunger period in any year where we have food deficit, outside this period, assessments are undertaken such as the ZIMVAC and the Crop and Livestock Assessment, which are evidence based and informs programming.  However, during this period the Ministry continued to respond to distress calls received from across the country to ensure that no one dies of hunger and we have insisted that these distress calls should be channeled from your DDCs or from your Chiefs to the District Development Coordinators and to the Ministers of State so that we know any area which is in distress. 

As we speak, food distribution has gained momentum under the Food Deficit Mitigation Strategy and we have managed to go and witness some of the distributions to vulnerable groups such as the elderly.  Our target, which was coming out of that assessment, is 2.7 million people.  This is the peak hunger period from January to March, but because we thought that by April, people would be getting their food from their harvest, this will definitely change because of El Nino.

However, late disbursement of funds might have affected and delayed the commencement, but let me assure you that the programme continues to be guided by the mantra of the President which says; leaving no one and no place behind in terms of food distribution.  It is comprehensive in all the areas that I visited in the last week, be it in Bubi, Mangwe and in Zvishavane.  That food distribution which is targeted for the immensely food insecure people from last year’s cropping is going very well.  Let me advise the Hon. Members also that the current response is informed by the 2022/2023 ZIMVAC Assessment.  We have not assessed the El Nino induced food deficit which we are looking at, but are still looking at the 2023/2024 assessment.  Assessment is to be done, and we will also be informed by what we are looking at right now after the Ministry of Agriculture has given us their final crop assessment which we hope will be end of this month.  We will then be comprehensive in looking into the future.  The food distribution will continue until June, so instead of ending in March because we now know there is nothing in the fields based on last year’s assessment, we will continue until June and a new programme will start.  That is the response to the first question.

The second question was on plans in place to give financial support to the elderly as provided for under Section 82(2) of the Constitution which provides that the elderly are to receive financial support by way of social security and welfare. 

This august House should be aware that the Ministry has a mandate to ensure the provision of improved access to inclusive rights based in services to vulnerable groups which include access to financial support.  Under Section 82 (c) it states that: to receive financial support by way of a social security and welfare and the State must take reasonable legislative and other measures within the limits of the resources available to it to achieve the progressive realisation of these rights.  This august House gave me the resources that I am going to use this year to undertake what is required by the Constitution.  Therefore, the elderly, under the Ministry’s mandate and guided by policies and it acts within the confines of available resources that the ministry has for the elderly.  Currently, we are giving the elderly who are in homes US$20 every month for their upkeep and the welfare within these homes.  Monthly Maintenance Allowance is a programme that is designed to strengthen the household socio-economic sphere within the community.  It is a remedial as it provides support throughout the year and payments are done every month. It is a flat figure no matter how many people are in that household. 

Thirdly, Harmonised Social Cash Transfers similar to Monthly Maintenance Allowances.  The programme provides bi-monthly allowances.  Beneficiaries under this programme are paid according to the size of the household with a one member household receiving US$20 up to US$65, depending on the number for a four member household, payable at the prevailing inter-bank rate.  So it is paid in Zim dollars, but because it is linked to the US$65 at a particular time, the prevailing interbank rate is what we end up using.  So there might be challenges as I have indicated and the challenges normally relate to late payment by Treasury or lack of tools or administrative working tools.  Policies are not in alignment, for example, for the age of elderly persons under the Older Persons Act is 65, while in the Constitution it is talking about 70.  So to curb these challenges, we will make sure that we align what the Constitution says and we increase the age from 65 to 70.  Right now we are paying from 65.  I want to thank you Madam Speaker and thank the Hon. Member again.

HON. BONDA:  Madam Speaker, I would like to thank the Minister for the clarification although I will look for him for some more information because I still need to know which offices the elderly should approach to benefit the US$20.  My supplementary question however is, since this year we are facing this ravaging drought, how vulnerable is vulnerable considering the people who are stuck in the villages in the rural areas who do not have any jobs or source of livelihood?  Are they also going to be considered this year on the criteria of selection in the sense that they are stuck and disabled in the village?  I thank you.

          THE MINISTER OF PUBLIC SERVICE, LABOUR AND SOCIAL WELFARE (HON. J. MOYO):  I must admit if I miss exactly what you said, please repeat, but if I understood what you implied, yes this year our assessment is that it is a very difficult year, but we have had difficult years in the past and what we now need to do is to be comprehensive.  The assessment that we are going to be undertaking, again a scientific one, is not only to look at what has come out from the fields.  We are looking at the number of cattle that anybody might have, livestock, but we are also looking at the strategies of mitigation but at the same time, strategies of resilience.  We must combine mitigation with resilience and what the Government is wanting to do while we are looking at mitigation and making sure that there is food distribution throughout the country which is massive, and we also are looking at what resilience strategy we can put.

          These gardens that the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development is doing and we saw some where families can actually end up having supplementation from their own food growing because there is water that is available to them either as small dams or these boreholes that are now driven by solar.  So, we are looking at all strategies to make sure the household food security is enhanced and where there are no other resilience programmes, food distribution becomes our only measure of making sure that food insecurity at the household is undertaken.

          Secondly, we also know that there is food that is being distributed at Primary and Secondary Schools and we are looking to make sure that we enhance that distribution also so that children do not get out of school because of food or lack of food.  So, we are going to be working very well as a wall of Government approaching working sometimes directly with the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education, but because of the zero to five years, we are also going to be working very closely with the Ministry of Health and Child Care.  Malnutrition of children is a concern because we can end up having stunted children.  So, this food mitigation is across the board.  We look at those who must have good nutrition, especially the young people, the children zero to five years and then we look at those who are in school and lastly, we look at the household as a whole. 

The elderly, I must emphasise, the elderly are our priority, the disabled, the people living with disabilities, those child-headed families, they are our major targets in order to make sure that we come out of this drought with dignity.

          We emphasise to all our frontline people to say in a year like this one, it does not challenge the dignity of our people.  They must come out of this with dignity.  That is the only way we can move from drought to resilience and Zimbabweans have demonstrated that even the deepest droughts, as long as rain comes, they come out of that drought very quickly because they are not dehumanised by this food distribution.  All the partners that we are working with, we allow this to happen.  How comprehensive it is going to be, how the communities are going to select, we are now working with the villages, the headmen and the chiefs so that we give neutrality because a village head, chief, headman must look after everybody in Zimbabwe to again fulfil the mantra that the President wants.  No person, homestead, place, region and ward should be left behind. 

I want to thank the Hon. Member again.  Thank you very much.

WRITTEN SUBMISSIONS TO QUESTIONS WITH NOTICE

ELECTRIFICATION OF SCHOOLS IN EPWORTH NORTH

  1. HON. MHETU asked the Minister of Energy and Power Development to explain to the House; a) Why schools in Epworth North such as Chinamano Primary, Mabvazuva Council Secondary and Muguta Council Secondary have gone for more than twenty years without being electrified; b) What steps the Ministry has taken to ensure these schools are electrified; and c) When these schools are expected to be electrified.

THE MINISTER OF ENERGY AND POWER DEVELOPMENT (HON. E. MOYO):

     a) Muguta Council Secondary and Mabvazuva Council Secondary Schools applied for connection and were given quotations in March 2018.  Chinamano Primary School submitted their application in March 2023.  All the quotations were not paid hence the connections could not be made.  Unfortunately, ZETDCs quotations expire after 7 days and are not printable once they expire.

     b) As a Ministry, we have since requested ZETDC to reproduce new quotations in case the schools are in a position to pay (the quotations for the respective schools are attached herewith).

     c) ZETDC will need time to mobilize and procure materials especially those they do not have in their stores. Chinamano and Muguta will need a little more time but Mabvazuva will be connected within a month from the time they pay for their quotation. 

UPGRADING OF CHIREDZI’S WATER AND SEWER

RETICULATION PLANT

  1. HON. MAKUMIRE asked the Minister of Local Government and Public Works to inform the House the Ministry’s plans regarding the upgrading of Chiredzi Town’s off-site water and sewer reticulation treatment plant as proposed by Zimbabwe National Human Settlements Policy wherein section 40 provides that off-site infrastructure provision is the responsibility of Government.

THE MINISTER OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT AND PUBLIC WORKS (HON. CHITANDO): Government is working with all local authorities in terms of the Blueprint to entail sufficient provision of water specifically to Chiredzi.  Chiredzi Town Council has undertaken significant efforts to secure the necessary funding for the upgrade of the Chiredzi Water Treatment Plant and Makondo Sewage Treatment Plant.  The council has budgeted US$800,000 for this purpose and has sought borrowing powers from the Ministry of Finance, Economic Development and Investment Promotion to obtain a loan from BancABC Bank. This demonstrates the council’s dedication to improving the infrastructure and services for the residents of Chiredzi.

In addition to the borrowing option, the council has explored and the Ministry is assisting with the possibility of resuscitation of the partnership established in 2017 with the Zimbabwe Infrastructure Development Bank (IDBZ).  This partnership is aimed to upgrade the Chiredzi Waterworks and Makondo Sewage Treatment Plant, with the loan to be repaid through user charges over a ten-year period.

To date, engineering designs for the project have been completed by Brian Colquhoun, Hugh O’Donnell Consulting Engineers (BCHOD).  The proposed upgrades include the construction of four clarifiers, four filtration tanks, and 7600m3 water reservoirs at Chagarapasi Hill.  Furthermore, considering that Makondo suburb was constructed downstream of the existing Tshovani Sewage ponds, the construction of a new Sewage Treatment Plant is necessary.  The designs for these projects are being finalised after which funding options will be secured.  The sewer reticulation of 32km is also under consideration in this exercise.

SALE OF UNSERVICED STANDS BY CHIREDZI TOWN

COUNCIL AND CHIREDZI RURAL DISTRICT COUNCIL

  1. HON. MAKUMIRE asked the Minister of Local Government and Public Works to inform the House the Ministry’s position on the sale of unserviced stands on the 750 hectare housing development project jointly administered by Chiredzi Town Council and Chiredzi Rural District Council.

THE MINISTER OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT AND PUBLIC WORKS (HON. CHITANDO): In accordance with Government directive, councils are prohibited from selling unserviced stands.  Cases of illicit sales if ever they are happening, need to be looked into and reported to law enforcement agencies.  In support of Government policy, the councils made a public press statement in November 2023 condemning any such underhand dealings happening behind its back by either its partners or whosoever in the housing development project.

This joint venture housing development project which will yield 6162 properties, is being carried out on State land in the Buffalo Range that was acquired for urban growth.  A private developer by the name Full Life Open Arms Africa Housing Trust is implementing the development on behalf of both councils.

Numerous project components have seen notable advancements to date.  To evaluate the viability of the housing development, an extensive feasibility study was carried out.  In order to assess and reduce any possible environmental risks connected to the project, an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) was also completed.  In addition, a Title Survey and land use planning were finished, and the ensuing paperwork was properly filed with the Deeds Office for the entire 750 hectare project.

In addition, 41 kilometres of roads have successfully seen the completion of bush clearance as part of the project’s 350 hectare servicing portion.  At this time, the subgrade and sub-base pavements are being prepared through road formation.  Apart from that, the water treatment plant’s appropriate location has been found, and the water reticulation system is currently being set out.

Upon the project’s conclusion and the hand-over of stands to both councils, the allocation of stands to beneficiaries on the council’s waiting lists will be conducted.  It is important to note that the stands will be distributed in equal proportional between the two councils, ensuring a fair and equitable approach to the allocation process.

OWNERSHIP STATUS FOR HOUSES IN TSANZAGURU

AREA OF RUSAPE

  1. HON. SAGANDIRA asked the Minister of Local Government and Public Works to explain to the House:

Why residents of Tsanzaguru area in Rusape, who fully paid for ownership of their houses have been requested to pay for rentals as stated in a letter by the Permanent Secretary for the Ministry of Local Government and Public Works on 5 February 2024; what the current ownership status of these houses is, and when the occupants will be offered title deeds.

          THE MINISTER OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT AND PUBLIC WORKS (HON. CHITANDO): We have since written to the City of Rusape to send a written confirmation and clarity over this issue and if we could be allowed to give detail once this is availed.

DEVELOPMENT PROJECTS IN MAHENYE WARD 29 IN

CHIPINGE

  1. HON. HLATSHWAYO asked the Minister of Local Government and Public Works to inform the House why Chipinge Rural Council has not undertaken any developmental projects in Mahenye area under Ward 29 in Chipinge despite collecting proceeds from hunting and levies under the Campfire programme.

          THE MINISTER OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT AND PUBLIC WORKS (HON. CHITANDO):  Mr. Speaker, allow me to inform this august House that human-wildlife conflict is prevalent in Mahenye area.  It is important to note that;

          Mahenye Ward 29 is prone to human-wildlife conflict as it is adjacent to Gonarezhou and Mozambique.  Elephants, lions, wild dogs, buffalos among others, mostly invade crop fields and attack both humans and livestock.  Council spend much of its budget (26% from hunting proceeds and bed night levies) mitigating human and wildlife conflict.

On share of proceeds and activities being done, council adopted a model that was developed by National Parks when it introduced the Campfire programme in the early 80s.  The model gives the producer communities to benefit more than the local authorities in terms of revenue share.

          Out of any proceeds from hunting or bed night levies, the community gets 55% which they have independent use; they can do projects of their own choice.

From the 55%, they have managed to undertake a variety of

  •    Casual payments and builder’s payments
  •     Workers allowance for Campfire staff and scouts
  •     Sitting allowance for the Campfire Committee members and traditional leaders.
  •     Food and refreshment for the staff
  •    Tractor, motorbike and grinding mills services.
  •    Chiefs, clinic, schools and individuals’ assistance
  •     Assistance to problem animal control victims
  •    Council waived payment of communal levy
  •    Council constructed Jamanda Bridge connecting Mahenye and Jack Quinton on DDF (RIDA) Road.
  •    Council established a plus 7000 ha conservancy.
  •    Council facilitated a heifer pass on project that is ongoing.
  •    Continuous training and awareness programmes on human wildlife conflict.
  •    Council assists in maintaining Jack Quinton Mahenye Road.

PRIVATISATION AND COMMERCIALISATION OF TOILETS IN PUBLIC PLAC

  1. HON. P. ZHOU asked the Minister of Local Government and Public Works to explain to the House the following;

The Government policy regarding privatisation of toilets in public places as a strategy to increase number of toilets as well as curb the spread of Cholera.  What are the plans being put in place to strengthen the Water, Sanitisation and Hygiene (WASH) programme to ensure there is provision of clean, safe and potable water as well as clean toilets in public places?

  THE MINISTER OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT AND PUBLIC WORKS (HON. CHITANDO): Government, as party to the second Blueprint, will be outlining measures to encourage and facilitate privatisation and commercialisation of toilets in public places to increase convenience to the public.

LEGAL AID SERVICES TO CHILDREN AND WOMEN

  1. HON. MUTANDI asked the Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs to inform the House the plans being put in place by the Ministry to ensure legal aid services are available to women and children at district level as recommended under the Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW).

THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. Z. ZIYAMBI):  Madam Speaker, the Hon. Member’s question is pertinent.  The Government of Zimbabwe welcomes and takes seriously the recommendations by the Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination against Women Committee on the creation of Legal Aid Offices at district level to strengthen the standards of service delivery at all levels.  This is in line with Section 31 of the Constitution which recognises the importance of legal aid in ensuring access to justice and enjoins the State to ensure that legal representation is provided in both civil and criminal matters for the indigent.

Madam Speaker, the Legal Aid Directorate is a department in the Ministry of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs which provides legal aid to the indigent and special groups of persons that are more vulnerable such as children and women.

In addition, it works closely with civil society actor in facilitating the provision of legal services through a system of referrals.  The Ministry has made strides in ensuring access to justice by decentralising the Legal Aid at district level.  The Legal Aid offices and services are now present in four districts with full operational offices and staff namely Gokwe, Chiredzi, Chipinge and Chivhu.  Moreover, the Ministry is also in the process of setting up offices in Beitbridge, Plumtree and Binga and the Public Service Commission has already employed staff for the mentioned offices. The Ministry is committed to opening at least three district offices on a yearly basis with a target of reaching at least thirty new district centres by the year 2030.

The decentralisation efforts will enhance access to justice by women and children who disproportionately experience a myriad of barriers in securing legal recourse.

Madam Speaker, regarding children and their access to justice, the Ministry has been offering legal representation to all children under the age of 18 years as well as to those who have recently become majors.  They are represented from the commencement of their cases until their matter is concluded.  This was from the realisation and acceptance that children cannot stand trial alone.

All these progressive efforts in enhancing access to justice for all as per the CEDAW recommendations.  I thank you.

ACCESS TO RADIO, TELEVISION AND PHONE NETWORK

COVERAGE FOR AREAS ALONG THE ZIMBABWE/MOZAMBIQUE BORDERS

  1. HON. HLATYWAYO asked the Minister of Information Communication Technology, Postal and Courier Services to inform the House the Ministry’s plans to ensure that areas along the Zimbabwe/ Mozambique Border in Chipinge South have access to both local radio, television and phone network coverage, particularly in areas such as Mabee, Chinyamukwakwa, Garahwa, Mashubi, Maparadze which rely on the network from Mozambique.

THE MINISTER OF INFORMATION COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGY, POSTAL AND COURIER SERVICES (HON. DR. MAVETERA):  Let me begin by outlining that I will restrict my response to the area of phone network coverage which our Ministry oversees.  Television and radio network coverage fall under the purview of the Ministry of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services.

  1. Mobile network coverage (NetOne and Econet)

Maparadze – covered by existing base station Mutandahwe - 2G/3G and Makose 2G/ 3G/ 4G.

Mabee and Garahwa – Site survey completed at Rusongo Beacon, awaiting development, planned 2025.

Chinyamukwakwa – Covered by existing base station Greenfuels 2G/ 3G/ 4G, additional coverage to be provided by planned new base station Rusongo Beacon.

Mashubi – is partly covered by existing base stations Greenfuels 2G/ 3G/ 4G, Mutandahwe 2G/ 3G and Makose 2G/ 3G/ 4G.

  1. Fixed network coverage

TelOne currently provides internet and data services to over 250 clients in Chipangayi, Checheche and Chibuwe located within parts of Chipinge South.  TelOne offers VSAT connectivity covering the entire Chipinge South area with service available upon demand.  Presently, 17 VSAT terminals are deployed within the district facilitating internet access for various institutions including Mabee Clinic, Chinyamukwakwa Clinic, Maparadze Clinic, Rimai School and Chisuma School among others that have been established.

Furthermore, TelOne successfully completed fibre planning for the Musikavanhu, Chibuwe and Tongogara areas.  However, the implementation of connectivity is, these underserved areas has been delayed due to funding constraints.  Despite these challenges, TelOne remains committed to expanding services and bridging the digital divide in these communities.

In conclusion, it is important to note that operators have plans to connect the underserved areas nationwide.  However, the implementation of these plans has been constrained by funding limitations.  The Ministry of ICT, Postal and Courier Services continues to lobby Hon. Members of Parliament to advocate for funding to be availed to the Ministry and to State owned entities for these areas to be covered.  There is also need to review our policies to ensure that we improve the operating environment for all telecommunications operators both private and State owned.  

Questions with Notice were interrupted by THE ACTING SPEAKER, in terms of Standing Order No. 68.

On the motion of THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. Z. ZIYAMBI), the House adjourned at Twenty-two Minutes past Five o’clock p.m.

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