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NATIONAL ASSEMBLY HANSARD 14 February 2017 43-35
PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE
Tuesday, 14th February, 2017
The National Assembly met at a Quarter-past Two O’clock p.m.
(THE HON. SPEAKER in the Chair)
ANNOUNCEMENTS BY THE HON. SPEAKER
APPOINTMENT AS CHAIRPERSON OF THE JUSTICE,
LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS COMMITTEE
THE HON. SPEAKER: I have to inform the House that, the
Committee on Standing Rules and Orders has appointed Hon. Ziyambi Ziyambi as Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs. – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] – the appointment is with immediate effect.
NETWORKING DINNER FOR COTTON GROWERS
THE HON. SPEAKER: I also wish to inform all Members of
Parliament who had registered to attend the networking dinner hosted by the Cotton Company of Zimbabwe on Wednesday 15th February, 2017, that this event has been postponed. Hon. Members will be advised of the new date in due course.
VALENTINE’S DAY WISH
THE HON. SPEAKER: I want to wish all Hon. Members a happy Valentine’s Day – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] –
HON. D. SIBANDA: Thank you Hon. Speaker for wishing us a
happy Valentine’s Day and we also want to say happy Valentine to you too. We expected to see flowers as most of us here are happily single though but we expected to have flowers. - [Laughter.] –
HON. NDUNA: Thank you Mr. Speaker, happy Valentine to you too. I rise on a matter of urgent public importance…
THE HON. SPEAKER: Order Hon. Nduna, I had not finished my ritual. Hon. Sibanda, please be guaranteed that the flowers are in my heart. - [Laughter.] –
HON. NYAMUPINGA: Mr. Speaker, I was up before you
announced for Notices of Motions because mine is not a Notice of Motion.
THE HON. SPEAKER: So why are you taking the podium?
HON. NYAMUPINGA: I was up before and you ordered me to
THE HON. SPEAKER: But I never addressed you.
HON. NYAMUPINGA: I thought you were looking at me
because I was standing up. Maybe your eyes are blind because of the valentine greetings that you are getting – [Laughter.] –
THE HON. SPEAKER: I am going to indulge you because of
Valentine’s Day. Can I hear you?
HON. NYAMUPINGA: Thank you very much Mr. Speaker. I
wanted to respond to the Valentine wishes that you gave us on this Valentine Day. We also wish you the same and Mr. Speaker, you did a good thing to remind especially your fellow Members of Parliament in this House if they ever sent any valentine messages to their wives and partners home before they left to come to Parliament – [HON.
MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] - I hope they are learning from you Mr.
This is what we expect as women that when there are days like these where we need to be shown love, you always remind them. Thank you Mr. Speaker. – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –
THE HON. SPEAKER: Order, order, I can only trust Hon.
Nyamupinga that they did in the privacy of their bedrooms.
HON. MLILO: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir, mine is a point of priviledge and has nothing to do with Valentine’s Day or with love but a lot to do with the welfare of Members of Parliament, especially when they are crossing the road from the park coming to Parliament. I have noticed that motorists are…
THE HON. SPEAKER: I did not get the first part?
HON. MLILO: When Hon. MPs are crossing the road from the
park coming to Parliament; motorists are speeding there willy-nilly and have high disregard for human lives.
I would like to propose to Administration, through your humble office Mr. Speaker Sir, that let us lobby council to erect pedestrian crossing traffic lights so that Members of Parliament do not get struck by cars there. Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. – [HON. MEMBERS:
Inaudible interjections.] –
THE HON. SPEAKER: Hon. Mlilo, your observation is noted
and action will be taken accordingly. Thank you.
HON. MLISWA: Thank you Mr. Speaker, mine is more on a
point of clarity from you. Last week you indicated that you would write to His Excellency pertaining to the conduct of the Ministers. Has that letter gone to His Excellency?
THE HON. SPEAKER: I will indulge you. The letter went, yes and very detailed indeed.
BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF PUBLIC SERVICE LABOUR AND SOCIAL WELFARE (HON. ENG. MATANGAIDZE): Thank
you Mr. Speaker. With the leave of the House, I move that Orders of the Day Numbers 1 to 29, be stood over until Orders of the Day Numbers 30 and 31 have been disposed of.
Motion put and agreed to.
SECOND REPORT OF THE PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE ON
PUBLIC SERVICE, LABOUR AND SOCIAL WELFARE ON THE
WORKING CONDITIONS AT THE HWANGE COLLIERY COMPANY LIMITED, NATIONAL RAILWAYS OF ZIMBABWE
AND DETE REFRACTORIES
Thirtieth Order read: Adjourned debate on motion on the Second
Report of the Portfolio Committee on Public Service, Labour and Social
Welfare on the working conditions at Hwange Colliery Company Limited, National Railways of Zimbabwe and Dete Refractories.
Question again proposed.
*HON. TARUSENGA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir for according me this opportunity to add my voice on this report we presented as a Committee when we visited Hwange. On this journey, we did not want to see Hwange and the other companies that we visited only but it was a sign that we wanted to see how companies in our country are operating because of the challenge that we are facing of workers being retrenched. Many workers who are now on pension are not getting their dividends and others have had their companies closed.
The other thing that really urged us to go out as a Committee to see how workers are being treated is that we know workers are the backbone of our wealth but as we are seated in here, that is not being recognised. Everything works because of the worker. Even here Mr. Speaker, for you to be seated there and your work to be seen is because of your workers but if your workers are not being treated well, then you see that our economy is not growing because workers are the ones that help us in creating wealth.
On our visit, we met the workers at Hwange Colliery. We have workers who went on pension in 2009 but up to now, they have not received anything. They are just seated there and not being given anything. We also met workers who were retrenched and vacated from the company houses because they could not pay rentals and their children are no longer going to school. We saw that workers were now being treated as slaves. They are not given their pensions and those who were staying in company houses are being asked to vacate the houses.
The other thing that we observed is that companies prefer engaging contractors but in the Labour Relations Act, we say that a contractor is an individual not a company. At the Hwange Colliery Company, there are contractors there who are individuals but workers are not getting their salaries while contractors get their money. As a Committee, we recommended that if it were possible, to enable the workers at Hwange
Colliery to get their money, this issue of contractors should be stopped. There are many people there especially those who are skilled to do the work, provided that there is money. I think they should stop engaging contractors so that workers get their salaries because most of the money is being channelled to pay contractors.
The other thing that we noticed at the Refractory after visiting Hwange Colliery Company is that the workers there were being treated as slaves. They were not allowed to go for tea time or break and did not have protective clothing. They were not even given time to go for lunch and would only go for lunch after finishing work. The other thing which was happening to these workers is that they are not being paid their salaries but are being paid in kind. They are given bricks as payment and asked to go and sell the bricks. The company cannot get sales but it wants to give products to its workers as salary. The company itself is not able to sell its products but expects the workers to sell them and get their salaries from there.
We noticed that the way workers are being treated in all these companies is equal to slavery which is not in line with the Labour Act because we removed that and said workers should be treated well not as slaves. We see that in this 21st Century, there are still companies in Zimbabwe that are treating workers as slaves. With these few words Mr.
Speaker, that is my contribution from our visit to Hwange. Thank you.
HON. MATANGIRA: Thank you very much Hon. Speaker Sir
for giving me chance to air the same sentiments as have been aired by the last Hon. Member. We actually are experiencing in Zimbabwe a lot of mishaps and malpractices by companies who made a lot of money from our local people – the blacks working for companies like Hwange Colliery and National Railways of Zimbabwe. We have got a lot of companies in Zimbabwe; it is not only those that were visited. We have got in the country, I will give you an example of Madziwa Mine, Trojan Nickel Mine people have been laid off in retrenchments as well as pensioners who have been going without anything for years.
Mr. Speaker Sir, it is now actually an understanding that these people here entered an agreement with their former employers and the companies have changed hands in times where new companies come in and make arrangements for re-engagement of the same workers and some of these contracts will say when one reaches pensionable age, he has to be retrenched, given a truck or a certain amount of money and he must relocate to his rural home.
The problem is Hwange Colliery, we do not know when it opened and started mining but it is a long time ago. Madziwa and Nickel Mine opened a long time ago. Most of these people here were aliens. Their father came from Malawi and he had his children at Madziwa Mine. Now pensionable age has arrived, the father long died and now the children are the ones remaining. They have to go to their rural home. They do not even know where Zomba is and they are told to vacate the house that the parent used to live when he was born. They do not have any remuneration and come 2009, a lot of companies have failed and closed.
We have lots and lots of people who are not employed and the new contracts now, because of change of ownership in those mines is coming into effect. We are finding the people who have been there who were retrenched, they are able-bodied and have not reached pensionable age but are not being employed. These contractors come in with new people when those people are still living in the compounds.
Mr. Speaker Sir, from where I come from Bindura South, we have got this problem at Trojan Nickel Mine. People are being shipped out, they are told to go home and they do not have any home. Likewise in Hwange, one can imagine now - number 1 in Hwange, how old are those houses and the people who are there who have been retrenched? Where do they go? They had homes when they were still young and they came to find employment, they got it. Pensionable age came and he had forgotten about going back home because he was getting remuneration where he was working. We are saying honestly, Government has to put in place a policy whereby when one is still working, one contributes but when he goes on pensionable age or retrenchment, what they are being given, if at all they get it, is so minute; is so little, one cannot live on it; let alone to tell one to go to Jambezi.
He does not have a home there, the company does not actually go there and construct a home for them and may be one had quarreled with his relatives, he is no longer acceptable. It is also actually happening with the National Railways of Zimbabwe, it used to be the highly paying company and I worked for the same company. You go to Sizinda in Bulawayo, the people there are all aliens, most of them are aliens. You go to Matshobana, it is the same. You tell them to go back home, where do they go? There are no homes to be talked about. I think on the social welfare and labour, we have to revise and revisit what we call pensionable remunerable payments. One has to board a bus, maybe he has gone to settle in Matobo, he has to come to Bulawayo to get his pension or whatever peanuts he is going to be getting. He boards a bus, comes to the bank and does not get the money. He has to sleep in Bulawayo but what is he eating and what is the cost of going back home? What does he buy and how much is he getting - US$30.
We need actually to revive and say as a Government, let us look at the welfare of our people, those that have made the welfare of this country successful. Yes, they came from elsewhere like we also came from Zimbabwe then Rhodesia, we used to go to Wenela. We are crying to the Public Service, Labour and Social Services Ministry to say there has to be remuneration paid to Zimbabwe because the people went out there, they worked and came back without anything. Their pensions are supposed to be paid and repatriated to Zimbabwe. Let us pay our people what is meaningful so that they actually will have a decent life and maybe also to say if need be, if people who are contributing towards NSSA, if it could be increased to say when you go on retirement, how much do you get. This is across the board, never mind where one is actually working. If you retire, you become a reject and you get nothing.
The life that you used to live is no more the life that you are living now.
I want to thank you Hon. Speaker for this chance of airing my two words. I thank you.
HON. M. NDLOVU: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. I would like to contribute to this debate as one of those people that visited Hwange and Dete. It is a very sad script in our life as an independent Zimbabwe. What is sad about Hwange Colliery is that the majority of the people there, as has been said are aliens and they have now been retrenched.
The people who are left at the Colliery and jobless are a third generation.
Their properties including businesses that were created by Hwange Colliery, the bosses either working for Hwange Colliery or who used to be with this company have taken those businesses and are now in private hands while people are wallowing in poverty.
There is need may be that a commission of inquiry be instituted to check into what is going on at the Colliery. As a member of that
Committee, I think my contribution stops here. I thank you very much.
+HON. MKANDLA: I would like to add my voice to what others have said. I am one of the members who went to Hwange Colliery and Dete National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ). I will start with Hwange Colliery Company. Most of the employees at Hwange are of different races, both foreigners and nationals. People in that area are facing many challenges. Most of the workers, when we visited in 2015, were not getting paid and I do not know whether they are being paid now. What I know is that they were not getting paid and most of the children of the lower grade workers are not going to school or getting medical attention.
However, most of the Managers’ children are well educated and getting medical attention when they get sick. They still have maids and garden workers who are paid by the company yet lower grade workers are not being paid. Most of the contractors at Hwange Colliery are renewing their four year contracts though they are not being paid. Hwange Colliery gives people beans and mealie meal for food but they are not being paid. Some do not even have shelter and some have been retrenched but they do not have shelter. The company has shown that it does not even care about that, though those are the same people who have worked to improve the area.
Then going to NRZ in Dete, we met with the employees and most of them come from very far. I am speaking as one of the residents of Dete. There so many wild animals yet these people work night shifts and walk bare footed in the middle of the night. They do not even have money to pay for their rentals. I know that Mr. Speaker is aware of this because that is where he comes from. Most of the employees do not even have money to pay their rentals in the low density areas which are very expensive so most of them have resorted to living in the high density areas. It is difficult to stay and rent someone’s property and not pay rent.
If we do not do anything at Hwange Colliery, we will end up having a situation like at Kamativi mine where most of the employees are not being paid and people are facing serious challenges. When this committee came back, I realised that nothing had been done in terms of follow up on what was happening in Dete. Some of the workers are not even allowed to go to the toilet when they are working. When they go they are monitored on time taken to go and come back from the toilet. If one falls sick, the managers will blame them for going to seek medical attention. When we got there, we were told that most of the employees were given protective clothing, though it is okay for them to get that but that is not everything that they need.
There is also a bakery that was opened but it was not completed to become a bakery and at the end of the day, it was being operated as a flea market. In a community there is need for people to survive based on what is there in their community. There is also a hotel that is there but it is so expensive and at the end of the day people are not even able to use it. When someone is working it is a sign that someone is trying to survive. The situation that is at Dete NRZ and Hwange Colliery - most of the people indicated that they needed Members of Parliament to debate on the situation.
I also want to urge Hon Minister that when they are there in their offices, they should get time to also make site visits so that they get to know exactly how people are living. When we do not have any employment in Zimbabwe we should realise that we are killing the economy of the country. There is no one who can go to work on a hungry stomach and we have to take note that as we work, we will be doing so for the improvement of the country. With these few words I thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.
HON. NDUNA: I also want to add my voice as one of the members of this Committee. As alluded to by the earlier speaker, we are supposed to derive benefits from our own God given resources. Coal, gold and all the other minerals are finite resources which will never sprout out of the ground ever again if they have been extracted. There is a point that is very sad that obtains at Hwange Colliery, Dete Refractory and at NRZ in that area. At Hwange colliery, the workers are not being paid and the living conditions are deplorable in terms of houses and amenities. The amenities are nowhere to be found. The people that are there, one other way are not registered because first and foremost, their children do not have birth certificates and they are termed aliens. They were voting at one point but they are no longer voting because their alienship still subsists and they have been asked to retract that alienship.
That as it may be, if that worker dies today without a salary or any good conditions of service, immediately there is a coffin that is delivered by the parent company Hwange Colliery, the National Railways of Zimbabwe or the Dete Refractory. This can be brought to an end because we can utilize our God given resources first and foremost, in that locality before we expand to other cities and towns using importation of resources and mineral wealth from as far as Hwange. I say this because Hwange, Lupane and Nkayi road is in a deplorable state, plundered and put into a state of disrepair by coal companies and by coal laden bulk transporters from Hwange, coming all the way to
Harare in order to resuscitate, revitalize, revamp and you can name it Mr. Speaker Sir; Harare at the expense of Hwange. It is my clarion call that a quarter of all resources from all localities be given back to those localities before we enhance the images of other towns and cities at the expense of the locals.
It is my clarion call that if we can expand and enhance the welfare and well being of the localities - first and foremost given that we plough back a quarter of all extracted resources – aware that Zimbabwe has got an open cast mine at Hwange Colliery that is endowed with 1.2 billion worth of coking coal which is world acclaimed and which is of high quality and standard. If we can have a quarter of these extracted resources ploughed back to Hwange, there will be no want perse. The workers will go with pay but we have misdirected priorities.
I will give you an example of Zimplats, formerly BHP; we are the second largest producers of platinum in the whole of Africa. There is a low lying bridge within their locality, confines and spaces of operations where in 2015 in December a whole family of seven perished in their locality where they could have rehabilitated….
THE HON. SPEAKER: Order, order. I thought you were talking about Hwange Colliery – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –
HON. NDUNA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir for your guidance. I will take you back to using local resources for the locals in those areas. I am just saying, let us not just justify the issue of getting what we can and caning what we get at the expense of the formerly marginalised black majority. Let them enjoy their benefits in their locality; in particular in Hwange whilst they live. Let them not enjoy the benefit of being planted using expensive and expanded coffins. This is my point exactly. Let our resources first and foremost benefit the locals and then let us import them into other citizen towns.
The issue that the workers are walking long distances crisscrossing the width and breadth of the railway line in a wildlife infested area cannot be condoned. Immediately, we need to resource these people. We need to tool them with uniform and we need to make sure that they are also armed so that they can go to work to come back and not to go to work and come back in a disused state or in a state which can only be good for being buried –[HON. MEMBERS: Hatisikunzwisisa kuti arikuti chii.] – As I wind up Mr. Speaker Sir – [HON. MEMBERS: Ehe wind up.] –
In 2014, there was a rush for our ubiquitous amount of coal which is qualitative and quantitative, but to this day and age where we import more than 14 000 barrels of oil were we would be using our own fossil fuel championed by Hwange Colliery; we are seeing a situation where our locals are dis-enfranchisised at the expense of the global community.
Above the issue of empowering our own people with our own people with our own coal, let us use our own resources to produce our own oil – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – The people of
Hwange are listening here today and they want to know from you Mr.
THE HON. SPEAKER: Order, order. In terms of our Standing Order Number 106, we are not allowed to be repetitious or bringing in irrelevant materials. I am appealing to Hon. Nduna to be pointed and wind up please.
HON. NDUNA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. One of the directors at Dete Refractory is also on numerous boards here in Harare. It is also my recommendation and clarion call that board members be chosen after appearing before your Committees of Parliament so that it is known that they do not appear on more than three boards because they are then employing a lot of lethargy in their modus operandi in other areas at the expense of good service.
I want to thank you for giving me this opportunity to ventilate these points vociferously and effectively. I thank you.
THE HON. SPEAKER: Order, order. As your Chair, I hope those who speak after will talk about what they actually saw and raise substantive issues because unfortunately, I happen to come from that part of the country and I get disappointed when people become very superficial on issues on the ground. So, those who are coming after, please go for substantive issues that can help us.
HON. SANSOLE: Thank you Mr. Speaker. I am not a member of the Committee so I will not speak about what I saw but because I did not go – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – THE HON. SPEAKER: Order, order. Can we listen please?
HON. SANSOLE: I was saying I am not a member of the Committee hence I will not speak about what I saw because I did not participate. However, I will raise substantive issues….
THE HON. SPEAKER: But you can speak about what you know.
HON. SANSOLE: Yes.
THE HON. SPEAKER: Thank you.
HON. SANSOLE: Mr. Speaker, I think at the time that the report was presented to this House; Hwange Colliery was 23 months in arrears as far as salaries are concerned. The three entities that we are looking at are either state enterprises or parastatals and I am worried about the trend to meet obligations relating to remuneration by way of payments in kind. If you look at Hwange Colliery, members of the Committee raised the issue of payment in the form of food hampers. I have seen that happening and I think that it is indicative of the failure by the Colliery’s management to manage their cash flows and I think there is need for them to work on managing their cash flows so that they are able to meet their commitment in terms of salaries.
It is not just salaries, Mr. Speaker Sir, medical aid deductions are made from employees, but those deductions are not remitted to the medical aid society. Pension deductions, similarly, are made from employees and are not remitted to the pension fund. As a result, there have been workers that have found themselves in very difficult situations. I have actually seen people failing to meet their medical bills. Also, funeral assistance is not available. The company is no longer offering much in the form of funeral assistance. So, we have seen people being buried as paupers because of lack of assistance from the company.
The company has also subcontracted mining to companies like
Mota-Engil, in the process, rendering employees redundant. In spite of that, production is still going down because, according to the company, they are not being paid by companies that they provide coal to, such as the ZETDC, which has affected Hwange Colliery Company. I would actually call upon the company to address that issue as it affects worker’s welfare.
On the National Railways of Zimbabwe, the same issues have been raised to do with failure to meet salary obligations and it is also indicative of management’s failure to manage their cash flows and their salary arrears. The children of workers of the NRZ have failed to secure employment in the NRZ and actually, children of employees who have died in service of the NRZ are being neglected by the Railways. Those who have actually died in active service in railway accidents have not been taken care of by the NRZ.
Now turning to Dete Refractories, the issue of payment of workers in the form of products like tiles and bricks, I think the company is also taking a cue from Government which offers stands in lieu of bonuses and I think the trend is continuing of paying people in kind. I think employers should desist from that. While they may resort to paying in the form of bricks, what I am concerned about is that they are offering these bricks not at a discount. It would make sense if the company offered bricks and tiles to the workers at heavily discounted prices so that the workers are able to dispose of them quickly and get their money, but for a worker to acquire the product at the same price that the company is selling on the open market does not make sense because the workers cannot compete with the company. So, I would actually ask that the Dete Refractories address the issues of welfare of workers and take care of their obligations. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.
HON. CHASI: Thank you Mr. Speaker. I am going to be very brief and succinct. I want to thank the Committee for a report that is rather heart rending, but I want to address an aspect that I think does not quite come out from the report and that aspect relates to the aspect of environmental degradation and its impact on the workers at Hwange Colliery, in particular, its effect on pregnant women and the children that they bear.
I am quite certain that if an investigation were to be carried out, it would be established that women have been affected by the spontaneous combustion that is very visible if one visits the environs of Hwange Colliery because you can see yellow fumes all over the places where mining has taken place. Clearly, nothing has been done about controlling that aspect. I am quite certain that if an examination was carried out, that has affected the health of the people around that area.
Mr. Speaker, I want to say that this report is quite representative of most mines in this country. I come from Mazowe South and if you go to Jumbo Mine, you can see that the mine owners have clearly abandoned the environment. They have completely abandoned the workers in terms of where they live. The roads, especially now, have been completely taken by the rains and the mine has completely forgotten that it has a responsibility to look after the health of its workers apart from the mine
I want to say, Mr. Speaker, that the Minister definitely needs to be cognisant of the fact that our mining areas are, to a large degree, enclaves of stateless people. A lot of those people, as Hon. Matangira has correctly and in a very detailed manner stated, are largely the people that came from Malawi. They are the people that do not have identity cards. They cannot get passports; they know no one in Malawi, they cannot vote, they did not participate in the Land Reform Programme, they cannot really benefit from any Government programme and even as far as food distribution, they are in a very dire situation. They do not get sufficient food.
I would like, once again, to appeal to the Minister, to really craft policies taking this very serious situation into account. It is unfortunate that the Minister of Health and Child Care is not here. There are very serious health ramifications taking place in the mines because there are no facilities there. They were originally supplied by the mine owners in the past, but as of now, the mines have completely forgotten about the workers and are simply concerned about getting the gold or whatever mineral that is there to be extracted.
So, I would also like to suggest that the Minister of Mines and Mining Development carries out road shows in the fashion that the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructural Development, I think, has carried out around the country and visit some of the mines in collaboration with MPs in the areas and just see the state of dilapidation of mines and the environment in the area and be able to have a hands on, together with the Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Services, and see the exact situation in the area. Then, on that basis, be able to come up with practical solutions to deal with this situation.
Getting back to Hwange, I would really like to press on this point to say that the Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Services, the Minister of Environment, Water and Climate and the Minister of Health and Child Care should visit this area and study the extent of environmental degradation and the mine must have a responsibility to rehabilitate that area and have a detailed study and see the effect of what the mining process has done and its effect on the people. I thank you.
*HON. BUNJIRA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir for giving me the opportunity to make my contribution on this motion. I am a member of the Committee which visited the Hwange area. What we observed is very sorrowful and painful. Let me introduce my discussion on this. We have people who are selected as representatives of the country. The problem which we have is that some of these representatives are selfish. All they think of is nobody else but themselves. They forget about the welfare of the other people and the reasons why they were appointed to those positions.
I have a feeling that they are so happy when they see people suffering because if it was not for that, these people would have worked so hard that Hwange and Kamativi would not have been shut down...
*HON. CHINOTIMBA: Mr. Speaker Sir, my point of order is that as Hon. Members, who are representatives of the people, when she talks of representatives of the people, what does she mean and who is she referring to as a representative of the people who are very selfish? If she is referring to the Committee which visited that area and talking of Members of Parliament, she is off-side because when she talks about the representatives of the people, she is also included. I would like to say there is no debate; she is completely off balance and off-side.
*THE HON. SPEAKER: Order, I think the point of order has been misplaced. The Hon. Member may continue debating.
*HON. BUNJIRA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir for clarifying the point of order. I will explain why I talked about representatives. I am saying we have Ministries which represent many organisations which are under them and they play the oversight role. What we hope is that whenever there is any development, these Ministries should be holding discussions and strategic ways and means of upholding some of these organisations so that they do not go bankrupt and people do not lose their jobs. We also know that these organisations are spinners of foreign currency.
We have Hwange Colliery, the National Railways of Zimbabwe and also Dete. What has surprised me is that these organisations are handed over to people like the Chinese to come and work and make tiles. The workers who will be on that company are paid in kind. Instead of being given their cash as salary, they are given products manufactured by that company such as bricks and they are told to sell them. When they have sold them, that is where their money would come from.
Hwange Colliery is into coal mining. We were shown some equipment which had been imported from Germany. Unfortunately, there is under utilisation and poor use of that equipment. These machines are used under the instructions of top military brass that come and dictate the amount of coal which they want. When they have reached the target which was said by that Brigadier, the coal is loaded into the National Railways Wagons and the coal is transferred to Bulawayo. These generals will be using the railway line.
We also know of some BBR, the Bulawayo/Beitbridge Railway.
This is the institution which is being used. We realise that when a Minister or some top brass says they need such a quantity of coal, the mine goes into operation. But, for the other ordinary workers, they are told that we have no equipment or need to be doing this mining. We have some skeleton staff that has been put aside to look after the equipment. We also have the security guards who are employed to patrol the railway line so that it is not destroyed. They are at the mercy of wild animals which may devour them in the course of their duty.
Other general workers also lack the necessary cash to sustain their families. What hurts me is that the destruction which is being carried out in these mines is being done by the people of Zimbabwe and not foreigners. We go to the extent of depriving our fellow workers of cash and they die of hunger. When we think of the liberation struggle, we had sons and daughters of Zimbabwe who were prepared to sacrifice their lives so that we may have land of milk and honey. What we are realising is that there are some people who are saying these war veterans sacrificed their lives for nothing because these selfish people are benefitting.
We have companies such as the National Railways of Zimbabwe and Hwange Colliery. These are companies whereby we would have expected some think tanks to sit down and hold strategic plans of upholding the wealthy of this country and these companies. I am putting this blame on the Ministers who are not interested in their duties, but are interested in their selfishness. They only want to fatten their pockets.
They waste their time putting up strategies. Even when they go out to negotiate for the country, they are so corrupt that what they want is to be given something in return for offering that tender to the foreign companies who may want to come into the country.
We have realised that National Railways wagons are being sold.
The railway line is being taken by these people to sell somewhere. People are suffering in abject poverty. What hurts me is that this is being done by fellow Africans. We do not have a white man who is carrying out these diabolic and satanic activities. It is the black people, ourselves and we are saying none, but ourselves. Let me take an example - [Hon
MEMBERS: Inaudible Interjections.] -
*THE HON. SPEAKER: Order, order. Hon. Members, please
*HON. BUNJIRA: I am talking about all the companies which have gone bankrupt. They have been destroyed by Ministers who are indulging in corruption. I am also taking into account ZISCO Steel. We were told that the company is about to be re-opened, yet this was a blue lie. It was just taking people occupied hoping that one day the organisation is going to be opened and yet there was nothing going on. With rains and the weather playing havoc on the equipment and existing infrastructure. Mr. Speaker, a lot of things have been stolen from these parastatals.
I thank you Mr. Speaker for giving me the opportunity to put blame squarely on the shoulders of the Ministers that because of their corrupt activities, the nation is now in problems.
+HON. P. D. SIBANDA: On a point of order Mr. Speaker Sir.
We have some Hon. Members in this House who are turning this august House into a dining room. They are busy feeding and drinking yet we are doing business in this House. I think it is highly unfair. – [HON.
MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –
THE HON. SPEAKER: Order, order what the Hon. Member is saying that some Hon. Members on my right are busy munching something. That is not allowed in terms of our Standing Orders. If you want to eat anything, please leave the House.
*HON. MUPFUMI: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. I am not in the committee that visited the Hwange area but I am going to state what I know from previous experiences and explain how we managed to bring the country into bankruptcy. I am also a businessman and know how a country is run or destroyed.
What I know is that Zimbabwe is a land of milk and honey. We had our currency that was highly valued which was the Zimbabwe Dollar (Z$). During that era, companies in Zimbabwe used to pay workers’ salaries on time as these companies had banked their monies in financial institutions. We knew there was a time whereby if a company had not raised sufficient funds to pay salaries, they would go to banks for overdrafts and pay salaries. The National Railways of Zimbabwe had no financial problems as trains were traveling normally and workers were receiving their salaries.
Problems started when members of the opposition went abroad and begged the West to impose sanctions on Zimbabwe – [HON.
MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – The opposition members are the people who are responsible for the problems in which we find ourselves in because they begged for the imposition of these sanctions. During the Zimbabwe dollar era, the currency lost its value because members of the opposition who were defeated in the general elections went to the West. The Americas and the third war of liberation in the land reform and the countries of the West then imposed sanctions on Zimbabwe.
We could not trade in our Zimbabwe dollar. We then adopted the United States dollar which is what we are using to date – [HON.
MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –
HON. TOFFA: On a point of order Mr. Speaker Sir. Listening to the previous contributions, they were constructive and progressive contributions. The current Member of Parliament is diverting totally away from the debate – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – I think he needs to stay focused. I thank you.
THE HON. SPEAKER: Order, order Hon. Member, please
direct your observations to the Colliery.
*HON. MUPFUMI: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir, I will continue with my debate. The point I am bringing across is with regards to the issues and problems bedeviling Hwange. I am also trying to explain as to why the Hwange Colliery Company is failing to pay workers salaries because when we adopted the United States dollar, all the money that was banked within our financial institutions were declared null and void and could not be used yet we had no United States dollars in the banks.
These mining companies went to borrow money from the banks and thus went into overdraft. Hence what they had as collateral were the minerals in the ground and this meant that both the coal mine workers and railway workers had no money. I wish we could dig deeper into the reasons why people are not being paid their salaries. Let us not just scratch this issue on the surface.
I am pleading with our colleagues to go and beg those countries to remove the sanctions. The incumbent President of the United States, Mr. Donald Trump, said he does not want to see people suffering. – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – If they could approach him, they would rescue the country because what has been done by the people is tantamount to asking for your family members and relatives to be attacked by robbers then you start blaming somebody else.
The National Railways of Zimbabwe should be given an overdraft so that workers are paid their salaries and development recurs in these organisations. We have no problems in our country; all these companies that are failing to cope at this stage are not having the expected profits. Again, this is tantamount to paying your domestic workers with foreign currency yet they are not generating any foreign currency.
I will be blunt and not hide from the truth. Members of the opposition are very much against the development of Zimbabwe. They hate progress in Zimbabwe. Zimbabwe looked for ways of resolving our problems through the Look East Policy yet members of the opposition are against it. To my surprise, they are saying, ‘Zimbabwe has gone to the dogs’, yet they are responsible for the imposition of these sanctions. *HON. MUCHENJE: On a point of order Mr. Speaker Sir. In
Parliament, we do not have ‘chefs’. We are all equal as Members of
Parliament. – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –
THE HON. SPEAKER: Order, order there is a vehicle registration number ABY 4196. It is a black Mercedes Benz and another ADL, 9103, a black Jaguar – both vehicles are blocking other vehicles.
*HON. MAPIKI: Thank you very much Hon. Speaker for giving me this opportunity to make this contribution. Hon. Speaker, when we have Committees which have gone out to make some investigations, they should be given a chance to make their presentations on time because when we go out on these outreach programmes, we will be using State funds. I may say that our discussion has been diverted and is like a Malaysian aircraft which has gone astray.
I am a member of the Committee which went to Hwange to discuss with the workers and also made our own observations. The workers told us that Government has a Community Share Ownership Trust which dictates that workers should be given 10% for empowerment but the workers were not receiving anything from that Community Share Ownership Trust. The workers were also pleading with the Government to give them access to some of the claims which were used by the Government. They proposed that these reserves be taken by the trust and when they are paid for, the monies will then be used for the workers’ expenses and salaries.
We are therefore pleading with the Minister of Indigenisation that they should look at such a project so that the 10% empowerment is handed over to the workers because the company has been running for quite some time through the hard work of the workers. We also noticed that the company which was subcontracted to do coal mining, these are owned by individuals and the Government from that. We hope that the Minister of Indigenisation will craft a policy to empower the workers.
We then visited the coal mining areas and there was some equipment which was being used, bought from Germany which is a very cold country. We realised that when such equipment is manufactured, it is supposed to operate in an atmosphere of zero degrees, yet in Zimbabwe we operate in an atmosphere of 26ºC and this equipment is not adaptable to such an environment. Hence, there are continuous breakdowns as the machine cannot be used and as a result, we then have some small indigenous people who are invited to come and do some mining which does not benefit the nation.
We also received some information that the workers of Hwange Colliery who have been working for quite some time are now suffering from lung tuberculosis because when they are working underground, they inhale that hazardous and toxic gas. We also saw one worker who when he coughs you would think there is some booming sound coming from somewhere. I am saying we have a lot of gases coming from the mines. We also noticed that some of these workers had blisters on their feet because they were treading on hot coal. I completely sympathise with the people of Hwange.
We realised that whenever there is an explosion, there is a lot of coal dust which rises and these people inhale that gas. Also, the pigment of their skin is now dark because they suffer from the coal dust. Not only that, we also noticed that there are some people who have nothing to do with Hwange but because they are within that environment, they also suffer from those toxic waste.
We were also informed that the workers had NSSA deduction on their salaries, yet the monies were not directed to NSSA and as a result when workers have problems or when they die, they do not receive any social assistance from NSSA because there were no contributions forwarded to NSSA. Our belief was that if an organisation has paid money to NSSA, the workers would benefit upon retirement. All we have noticed is that NSSA is taking that amount buying some properties and when the workers need that money, they do not benefit because it is redirecting its efforts.
We also looked at the PSMAS or health insurance funds. There was a man whose wife had died because she could not access medical services because the health medical funds were not working. Again, we realised that despite the fact that monies were being deducted from their salaries, Hwange Colliery Company had not directed that money to the health fund. We are robbing these people and yet biblically we say, give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar. What is happening to the people of Hwange shows that they have problems and there is nobody who can come forward to help them. There is another issue which is promising in getting somebody to help them revive operations at Hwange but we cannot talk about it because it is at a small scale.
We then moved to Dete. Mr. Speaker Sir, we need to lay out a clear policy on the appointment of board members. There is only one person who was said to come to that company maybe once a year. We were told that this individual or board member belonged to 12 boards. Definitely, regardless of how hardworking you are you cannot meet all the needs of the organisations that you are representing. Therefore, we are saying as this august House, let us make a recommendation that the number of boards or portfolios held by an individual should be limited because one cannot travel to all these areas.
We were also told that some of the executives were giving themselves some meager salaries yet the workers were paid in kind, being given bricks to sell and after selling them then got their salaries. We also realised that some companies are going bankruptcy because the executives are giving themselves meager salaries and benefits, yet the shop floor worker is receiving peanuts or better still, monkey nuts. We need to relook at some of these issues. I thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.
*HON. CHINOTIMBA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. I will make
a brief contribution on this motion. I am very grateful to these
Committee Members who visited Hwange and Dete and then gave us a report on their observations. My observations are that most of our companies seem to have political interferences in their operations – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] – Mr. Speaker Sir, may you please protect me. The Hon. Members should not clap hands while I am speaking because I may lose concentration and divert. When I talk about interferences, I am so happy because the Minister of Social Welfare is in the House. The Minister of Mines is also in the House but the Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development is not in the House but the Minister of Industry and Commerce is in the House. Let me give an example, when coal miners mine the coal, they sell it to ZESA. ZESA is giving court orders to defaulters when they have not paid for electricity, yet it is not paying Hwange Colliery for the coal supplied to them, but they are paid for electricity. If Hwange Colliery complains they do not get a positive response from ZESA; this means political interference is dominant in parastatals.
Let me give you a second example of what I am talking about. In most companies of Government, they determine prices for their services - for ZUPCO to travel to Beitchnough they charge a certain amount. At Hwange, the price of coal is being set so, how do they make money for example if we say 1 tonne of coal must sell at US$10, how do they pay their workers? We have people in the transport business who go and import maize from Mozambique because of hunger in the country, but these people are not paid. As representatives of the workers, we are saying these people who import maize must be paid. When Railways have a breakdown and we ask for money they are told that they are not given anything and nobody benefits from such transactions - as a result the railways becomes bankrupt.
I am glad we have a representative of Hwange and Dete and what I am saying is if Hwange fires a worker for misbehaving, there will be political interference. Politicians will go to the executives of that company to enquire on why they have fired that individual. I am pleading with this august House that we should not have political interference in the operations of these parastatals. Mashava and Zvishavane Asbestos Companies were working properly and were progressing. After the political interference, these companies went bankrupt, in other words we are shooting ourselves in the feet.
I am pleading with the powers that be that we should not interfere in the operations of parastatals. We have politicians either from MDC-T or ZANU PF, these people really go and interfere into the operations of these parastatals. When authorities in an organisation have taken a decision to punish some errant workers, political interference will say
the companies should exonerate such errant workers. I am glad the Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Service is here.
We had an occasion where Hon. Zindi said she had been arrested by NSSA for failing to pay US$15 and yet NSSA is failing to go and arrest the authorities of Hwange and Dete. As an individual who owns a farm, if I fail to pay NSSA, they will quickly come to arrest me. It means there is political interference. NSSA deducts money from people’s pay slips and yet at the end of the day they will say there is no money at NSSA.
NSSA is a parastatal, why is it not going to correct the problems in some of these organisations. I am pleading with the Minister under whose ambit NSSA fails to take steps. What we know is that NSSA will visit company by company and make them pay, why are they not going to ZESA and Hwange and yet they are supposed to be getting money from them? It is their responsibility and I am very glad that you fired the corrupt executives at NSSA because they were awarding themselves mega salaries. The Minister of Mines and Mining Development should be empowered so that he determines the price of coal. The board members of these organisations should be the people who set down these prices and they should not be dismissed willy-nilly. They should be given time to operate. Some of the board members are relatives of Ministers or any other high ranking officials.
We want people to be appointed into these boards through merit and not use this idea of cronyism. I am a representative of the workers and I have vast knowledge as to the needs of the workers. Some individuals have natural intelligence and wisdom bestowed on them by the Lord like Jesus Christ the son of man. We just appoint people, we do not even look at whether they are intelligent we just appoint. We are failing to run these companies and at the end of the day we blame the parties the Government yet we are our own enemies.
The other reason why these parastatals are not progressing or growing is that these workers are not paid, regardless of the amount of work they would have put in like they may ferry people or goods from one place to the other successfully but they are not paid for that work.
This is my contribution which I felt I have to make because I wonder if the Committee that visited these companies really assessed the situation. On the issue of housing in Hwange, it is now a town and I am suggesting that the houses should be given to workers and the companies concentrate on coal mining. We had workers who had been given houses meant for pensioners but last month they were evicted from these houses, and when they are being evicted where do they go? They are not given any form of assistance. I am pleading with the Committee that visited Hwange; they should be a laid down Statutory Instrument which says the houses at Hwange should be allocated to workers, especially pensioners so that they own those houses. This is my contribution for the time being and I am asking is for NSSA to follow up on organisations so that they pay their dues. If only the Minister of Energy and Power Development was here, I would have taken him to task for failing to pay for the coal supplied to them by Hwange Colliery. Nevertheless, when they fail to pay people, they are not taken to court yet when people fail to pay for electricity, ZESA asks people to pay upfront. I am saying down with those people who are misbehaving in such a manner. People need to be paid and there should be minimal political interference.
HON. P.D SIBANDA: I am literally going to translate into English what Hon. Chinotimba was saying. Most of my colleagues were speaking about the current situation at Hwange Colliery. I think it is important for me to try and go back into the history of this company. I grew up in Hwange town in the 1970s. My father was employed there during that time. Hwange Colliery was the largest coal producer then within the continent and internationally. When we were growing up, Hwange Colliery town was a hive of activity. There were buses that transported school children from one point to another throughout the day. There was free transport available to ferry people who wanted to move from one point of Hwange town to the other. Every week employees of Hwange Colliery used to get rations, not as a salary but as an addition to the monthly wages that they used to get as an incentive that was given to workers.
Now I begin to be very surprised when I go back to Hwange and see how much it has become a ghost town. I begin to ask myself what kind of a devil came into Hwange Colliery and ate away all that activity and profitability that was there during the pre independence era. Hwange Colliery was a wholly Government run entity preindependence. Now there are some private investors that are in there, with about 40% shareholding. The reason why I am talking about a devil is because the Bible, in John 10:10 says, “the thief comes but to steal, kill and destroy” As we speak right now, Hwange Colliery is producing coal because there is no shortage of coal. The demand for coal and coal products in the domestic and international markets is still high. From time to time, Hwange is staffed with boards and management who are tasked with the responsibility to run that organisation. So, there is no real reason other than stealing, killing and destroying that has taken away the activity that was in Hwange during the pre-independence era.
Like my other colleagues said, there are unsaid issues that are happening at Hwange Colliery and I always question these things. Why would you continue to appoint boards in a company that is literally not functional or no longer producing? I think one of the reasons as pointed out by one of my colleagues is that if you look at the appointment of members of the board at Hwange Colliery, apparently I have knowledge of the various boards that have been operating in Hwange Colliery for the last few years. The boards are mostly made up of girl friends with no qualifications. Right now we can go to Hwange Colliery and check the board’s credentials. It has people without even the basic five O’ levels. But because those people are either girl friends or relatives of some Cabinet Ministers, they remain on those boards. If people think I am lying, let the Minister, who is here, show us the composition of the board and the qualifications of those people that sit in the board. We have now become a country that appoints people into boards because they are either relatives or lovers and that has become a means through which those people are earning their living.
We have got stories of deliveries of coal. At one time a huge tonnage of coal was delivered to the DRC from Hwange Colliery. An instruction was given from a very high office in the Executive to the fact that the delivery should be priced at a discount of 50%. I am talking of something that is factual and is known. It is known that the other 50% that was officially discounted went into accounts of individual Cabinet Ministers. So, political interference that has been mentioned by my colleague Hon. Chinotimba and pure thieving that is taking place at Hwange Colliery is what has killed that company and nothing else. It is pure theft by Cabinet Ministers; I want to repeat that it is Cabinet Ministers that are stealing from Hwange Colliery. How else can we explain the folding of a company that is still producing a product which is still in demand on the market?
I think the curing of tobacco in this country is dependent on coal. Our power station is dependent on coal and therefore if all these products of coal are still in demand on the market, why is it that the company is failing to stand on its feet? The problem that we are having is the same problem that is affecting all Parastatals. Political interference, the culture of people entitlement, patronage and the culture where people simply steal and they are not made to account. That is the kind of way that we are running our companies in this country. We know of people that are stealing in multiple parastatals that we have as a country but no one is made to account. It is not a lie that Hon. Bunjira indicated that some army generals are actually pilfering from Hwange Colliery. They are taking loads and tonnages of coal and they are not paying even a cent yet no one asks them to account. I believe that if we are going to turnaround Hwange Colliery Company and any other parastatal that we have in this country, let us stop the culture of patronage and entitlement and then we make people to account like it happens in a private sector – otherwise right now, when we compare what Hwange Colliery was when I was growing up and what it is right now, we can safely conclude that the Rhodesian Government was doing far much better than the current or our own Government.
In simpler terms, our own Government in terms of running economic entities is a failure. It has failed in ZESA, NRZ and Hwange Colliery. We need to pull up our socks and ensure that we change the way that we do things.
Hwange Colliery Company produces coal and one of the major products of coal besides power generation is tar that is used to make our roads. It is funny that if we conduct researches, we find that the areas that are less electrified in this country are found in the same region where Hwange Colliery is located. The worst road network is found in the region where the only producer of coal is situated. That is how we run our things. We are having better road networks and electricity provision in the other regions of this country but leaving the people that are surrounding Hwange and that are being affected by the pollution of Hwange Colliery without electricity and without roads. Right now, if you look at the state of the Bulawayo-Hwange Road, it is pathetic but where does tar come from? It comes from the same Hwange area that we are talking about. If we look at all the surrounding areas, we are all aware that by electrifying and also by ensuring that you put up good roads in an area, you are improving the welfare of people.
Instead of improving the welfare of the people and communities that surround Hwange Colliery Company, we are busy looting. Who are the people who are looting? Are they the communities that surround Hwange Colliery Company? The answer is no. They are people from other regions. I think we need to change the way we deal with these issues. People around Hwange and surrounding areas in the region are looking forward that they should benefit from the operations of Hwange Colliery Company. They should benefit in terms of employment creation. They should benefit in terms of creation of opportunities of business that come out of the operations of Hwange Colliery. They expect that they should also benefit in terms of the products of coal that are coming out of Hwange Colliery so that their welfare may be improved. Thank you Hon. Speaker.
*HON. MATSUNGA: Thank you Mr. Speaker. I would like to support those who have spoken before me. I am not a member of this particular Committee but I belong to the Mines and Energy Committee. When I visited Hwange Colliery, as a woman, I was really touched especially with the conditions of service for workers. The workers are not being paid. They were being given hampers excluding any salary to cater for such things as school fees for their children. Parents expect that when they are employed, they should be able to pay school fees for their children so that these children will look after them in future.
The second thing that touched me is that there are machines that were imported from Belarus at Hwange Colliery – looking at the story that we got from Hwange Colliery, the coal that we produce in Hwange is the best coal and it is sold in Botswana and South Africa. The energy that we use, the coal comes from Hwange Colliery. I am saying we should investigate the cause of all this.
We should look at the board members; there are some members who are there because of nepotism. The executive is also paying themselves salaries. They do not have a heart for the workers who are working hard so that we get foreign currency in our country.
Lastly, for me to be a woman like this, I was born of a father who was working. If a father is working, I have some expectations. The way of transportation of coal is not being maintained. The NRZ employees are not receiving any salary. It is really painful. We should investigate what has caused all this.
What is also at stake is the issue of corruption. On his State of the Nation Address, His Excellency said that all those who are corrupt should be jailed but that is not happening. Why is it not happening; because we are pointing fingers at each other? We should remove our political jackets so that our nation should be rich. The cake of the nation is not going to increase because of us. We are the leaders and people are waiting for us but at the end of the day, we are after each other.
NSSA is prosecuting people and issuing out debt collector letters but it is not giving anything to Hwange Colliery despite their contributions. The workers there are suffering. Our country should be rich because the coal that is mined from Hwange Colliery is very special and is exported to other countries but at the end of the day, we are not getting anything. We should investigate this matter. Thank you Mr.
HON. J. TSHUMA: May I also add my voice on this matter. I grew up in Hwange and did my primary education there. I know exactly the services that Hwange Colliery Company used to give from time immemorial even after independence. After that, it is so disheartening to watch how the trend started slanting and going down and down and further down.
Now, I would like to add my voice on one particular issue. We can speak about all things that we have spoken about but the fundamental issue for us as Members of Parliament is to be able to defend and represent our people at all given times and at any cost without fear or favour. What we are lacking now as a nation or what we are doing wrongly as a nation is that we want to glorify bad things. We want to defend a thing that we cannot defend at all. That has no defence at all. Why do I say so? Mr. Speaker Sir, I have heard several speakers here, come up with their contribution about the demise of Hwange Colliery Company, but I will tell you one thing, the question comes back to management of the company. People have been put and entrusted with running that company as a parastatal and while they are doing that, have we taken time to assess and say, have they done it correctly and if they have not done it correctly, what have we done?
I speak so, Mr. Speaker Sir, because at one point I was in Hwange and I discovered that some engineer ordered a part and when they ordered that part, they knew it was a wrong part, but that part still came to Hwange Colliery Company and it cost over a million dollars for that part to only come and then be put in the store room. That is a million dollars gone which could have been used to pay workers at Hwange Colliery Company and we allow that engineer to stay at work. He is still employed by Hwange Colliery Company up to today. So, you have managers that do whatever they please at the expense of the people and then we sit back here and want to play blame games and want to justify the unjustifiable.
It is wrong, Mr. Speaker. We need to be true to ourselves. Are we putting the right people in those positions for them to run those companies? I can give you an example of even NRZ. We took out a man who knew what he was doing at NRZ just because he did not agree with somebody. Archford Mabena was taken out of NRZ. He had come up with a proper strategy to turn around NRZ and where is it today? People are suffering and we condone that and say it is okay, we are going to build a nation. Really?
So, what we need to do is say, let us look at the people that we entrust to run our things. Is that person competent enough? Let us do management based result strategies and say that we are giving you a certain period to perform and when that period comes, let us sit and earnestly review and say what have you done, what have you accomplished. If you have accomplished nothing, we show you the door and get the next person. Zimbabwe is not short of brains. Zimbabwe is not short of people that can do things. They have actually gone out.
They are serving other nations. In South Africa, Zimbabweans are doing very well, in Cameroon they are doing very well and even in America itself, they are doing very well these same Zimbabweans. Why are we not bringing them in and putting the right people, the right candidates to do our jobs so that our parastatals can run properly.
I say so because when these things start happening properly, then it will cleanse even the name of the party and it will cleanse the name of the Government. Everyone will remain clean and the economy is going to start working. The NRZ right now is being sesigcwalisa amagonyethi ethareni and then at the same time sibulala iNRZ. Is that right? It is not right, Mr. Speaker Sir. When we are here, in this august House, let us put things properly and clearly. It is not about politics, but it is about the worker that we represent.
We have sworn an oath here to say we are going to do it diligently. Are we doing it diligently if we want to protect and sort of glorify wrong things? We should not do that as Members of Parliament. We should not do that as this august House. We should never be held accountable for things that we could have exposed and corrected as a people. Let us correct those things. Let us put the right people to run our institutions the right way. If the person is failing, show them the door and we get the next person. We have got enough people that can do those things.
So, Mr. Speaker Sir, I want to implore and I want to beg this House to say, as a way forward, let us see, let us look – I can even reiterate the points that were said by other Hon. Members here, even the board members, are we putting the right people there because that same board member is going to sit in an interview to then hire the Managing Director of Hwange Colliery, of NRZ or of whatever parastatal. If you put the wrong person in that board, then we have lost it already from there. So let us have people coming in deservingly with proper CVs and with proper background checks.
I remember one day, a person who had worked for CMED for time immemorial tried to apply to go into the CMED board. They refused him and they put someone who did not even know what a car distributer is. But you are going to run a board that deals with such issues. Then do you think we are serious? So, let us not defend things that we do not want to defend. Marara marara. Let us have things done straight so that we do not all get painted with the same brush when somebody has benefited and I have not benefited, yet I am made to defend something that I have not benefited from. It is out. We will not accept that.
So, as this House, let us have it clear, let us put the right people for the right job so that Zimbabwe goes forward. I thank you Mr. Speaker
*HON. MATAMBANADZO: Thank you, Mr. Speaker, for
giving me the opportunity to make my contribution on this motion regarding parastatals, Hwange Colliery Company and Nation Railways of Zimbabwe.
We have realised that the former workers faced such big problems and as the august House, we need to look for solutions to this problem. My recommendation would be the following. We need to look first at who caused the bankruptcy and the shutdown of these companies. My answer is, the responsibility of this breakdown is on the executive of these organisations. So, what we need to do is look at the leadership of these organisations such as Hwange Colliery and the National Railways of Zimbabwe because this is a wide spread phenomenon, but particularly pinpointing at Hwange Colliery and the National Railways of Zimbabwe, we need to remove, to retrench the executive and the board members because for as long as these people are in place, the companies will continue to be bankrupt, resulting in them shutting down.
We know that Hwange Colliery is a parastatal, which means it falls under a certain Ministry and the National Railways is also a parastatal.
We have said there is no production at Hwange Colliery and yet we have Ministers who are changed now and again. Even when the President sets out the Cabinet, there are some people who are removed from their positions, but the people in those Ministries such as Permanent
Secretaries, they are not changed, yet the fault lies with the Permanent Secretary. I am saying, this is where the problem of these parastatals emanates from. It is from these Permanent Secretaries. I recommend that these Permanent Secretaries be removed. When we have a new
Minister, there should be a new Permanent Secretary.
If we implement this plan, the companies will grow. When we look at the National Railways of Zimbabwe, if that solution I have given is implemented, we will have progress. Some of the Permanent Secretaries also chair some of these boards and when we look at the reason why the Permanent Secretary is still there, we are told that there is nepotism, but then I ask myself this question, does it mean to say that this Permanent Secretary is the relative of a ZANU PF member, an MDC-T member or any other party because when Ministers are changed, they come from different Ministries.
I wanted to change into English because I now have a command of English. Some Member of Parliament once referred to me as a Grade 2, but I may inform them that I am now in Grade 3. I am progressing in my education development.
Let me now speak in English. Let us be serious if we want to do business, run this country, turn around the economy of this country and stop the problem which is facing this company. – [HON. MEMBERS:
Hear, hear.]- Solution number one is to look at what project we can do in Hwange which gives us money in a fast way so that we can overcome the problem. I am a member of the Mines and Energy Committee. We went to Hwange and heard about these problems from the Workers’ Committee.
The management lies, but our Ministers rely on that advice which is very dangerous. If you want to get the truth about the problem of that company, listen to the Workers’ Committee. The Hon. Member who contributed about the contractors who are now contracted in Hwange said they are paying their workers’ salaries, but Hwange workers are not getting any. Why is this happening? The Workers’ Committee told us plainly that all the equipment which came from Belarus was taken there by Government. They are working day and night making very huge production. That production which is now produced by that machinery and the workers who are not being paid are making some open and straight forward deals.
The production being made by the Government department which is the Hwange workers, are now taking that production for sale. They are going through the channel of the contractor, yet the contractor did not even spend anything out of that production. It is a mafia selling those products. At the end of the day, the workers are going to work but they are not earning anything. They are doing production and those big trucks which carry about 200 tonnes, the Belarus ones, they are now being damaged and used to work for something that is not coming into the fiscus. That is where the problem is.
Let us look at the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare; I think they must also be involved in this problem. Before the company collapses, the Ministry should go and find out the problem and the cause of urgency. For example, Hwange needs only $5 million to mine the best coal underground than the top one which we can call alluvial coal. There is alluvial and underground coal. The best coal is underground and that is needed in Africa and the world over. There is machinery which has got a problem and the money needed is only $5 million so that Hwange comes back to normal. Who is supposed to fund this?
I think Hwange workers contributed their pensions to NSSA which is not being given to them because they are not ripe. Why can NSSA not inject that $5 million to Hwange and make production? It is also good for NSSA to make double profit because the workers are going back to work and get more pension deduction from their salaries. They are also making profit from the sale of the coal. I think this Ministry, especially with their department when they opened this NSSA bank, should have considered doing such kind of a project.
There is also a problem at NRZ. NSSA should assist NRZ because it is only short of the locomotive heads which pulls the wagons. They only need those heads but how much is the head in America? I found out when I was doing the project for ZISCO Steel that the head only costs about $900 000, which is less than a million dollars. Let us say it is a million dollars, how many heads do they need? If we take ten heads, it still needs $10 million and five heads need $5 million, then you inject it in NRZ. This should be done by NSSA through the pension fund which was contributed by these workers.
I think that is the type of business that they should do rather than going for the Stock Exchange, selling shares and whatever. Today you buy shares at $2 and tomorrow it is being sold at $1. It is not good business. What about the housing business that they are doing? How many people are failing to pay rent for the houses? Even the workers of NRZ are staying at Makokoba and other areas in Bulawayo and they are failing to pay rent. NSSA is doing the same project to build houses for the people and tomorrow, they are not going to get their money.
It is not a good turn up business. I am talking about NSSA because this is the only Ministry which suffers when people are facing problems like at Hwange and NRZ. The other project which I think if they want help, they should also engage me and sorry to say that, but I can give advice. For example in mining, we have got so many people who are suffering the same as Hwange, but Hwange only deals with coal. In gold, my colleague Hon. Nduna always talks about production.
NSSA should take $10 million and inject it into gold mining and fundraise tomorrow so that they can have money to assist these other companies which are collapsing. The machinery that I saw in China, if you heard that I was lost there; it happened that I saw the best machine which I am now bringing to Zimbabwe through my investors in
Kwekwe. If they inject $10 million buying this equipment and bring it to Zimbabwe, definitely they will earn not less than 13 tonnes of gold, which 13 tonnes of gold can give them about $520 million.
I am telling you through my calculation of being in Grade 3 and that today I am now advanced from Grade 2 to Grade 3. They get such kind of money. Is it not free money on average of three grammes pe tonne. In this country, we are rich and our gold and ore, with three grammes per tonne, it is the lowest that I am talking about but we can go as far as a kilogramme per tonne. Let us not go as far as that but let us talk about three tonnes only; they get 13 tonnes of gold. So, the Ministry of Labour and Social Services through NSSA bank, why can they not be involved in this kind of business? Thank you Mr. Speaker
HON. GABBUZA: Thank you Mr. Speaker. A lot of issues have been raised and perhaps I just want to emphasise on a few points regarding the issue of non-payment of salaries to Hwange Colliery workers. To date Mr. Speaker, it is of interest to note that workers are owed about three years of salary backlogs. I do not think that any of us would appreciate it for himself to be in a similar situation. Mr. Speaker, there is absolutely no reason why Hwange Colliery should not be able to pay its workers because it is the most viable business that we can think of in this country. There are ten characteristics of Hwange Colliery
Company which makes it not a good candidate to fail to pay its workers.
Firstly, Hwange produces coking coal and we know that coking coal is used in the steel making industries and how many steel making industries do we have? Locally, we have ZISCO Steel and of course, it is not functioning but there are many others. We have Essar, Isil Metal in South Africa and many other steel companies. So, there is still a market for coking coal. Secondly, Hwange produces power coal which is that coal that we use for generating electricity. All thermal power stations make use of this coal. Therefore, there is no shortage of a market for power coal because we have our four thermal power stations locally, which are all in short supply of coal. We have several thermal power stations in Zambia and several in South Africa.
Hwange Colliery produces what we coal high value coal which is that coal which burns with a lot of energy. It has a high calorific value and if you burn gramme to gramme, it produces more energy. So the world over, everyone is looking for the type of coal that you find in Hwange and it fetches a very high price. So, that should bring more money to the coffers of Hwange. Hwange produces low sulphur coal which is very good grade with very less impurities. Hwange also runs open-cast mine which is the cheapest mining method in the whole world and that open-cast mine reduces, of course the operation cost. Then, Hwange Colliery Company has a long conveyor belt. I think it is more than 5 km long and there is no need to tram coal from the mining area to the workshops or to the working areas by trucks. It simply moves cheaply on conveyor belts with two or three artisans monitoring the operations of the belt. So, that reduces the operation cost because the transportation of coal is by conveyor belt and it is the second longest from the one that is in Ngezi Platinum in terms of length.
Hwange Colliery also has a very good market in the tobacco industry. All the coal like has been said, is used for tobacco drying. Then tar like my colleague has mentioned, it is a by-product which is an extra additional amount of money after selling coal because the bitumen tar is a by-product of coal. There is also sulphur which comes when you are producing coke. That sulphur is sold to produce sulphuric acid which is an additional amount of money. So in a nutshell, there is no shortage of market for Hwange coal and Mr. Speaker, there is therefore no reason why the Colliery Company must fail to pay its workers for three years.
What are the problems in Hwange? I will just give you a synopsis.
Like Hon. Members who have spoken before me said, the problem of Hwange is corruption, corruption and corruption – mismanagement and corruption. Just a few pointers to that – to get to a general manager, if you are just an engineering foreman, you have to go through 25 managers before you can get to the General Manager. So, you can imagine exactly the situation that we were told about Air Zimbabwe by the Minister last week. There are too many managers in every department. You get manager for mining, mining manager, underground mine manager and then you wonder what is the difference in all those managers. So, each one of that manager gets a special perk – children are taken to school for free or the Colliery pays and many other various perks. A junior manager gets some special vehicles which is equivalent to our Deputy Ministers in terms of the range of vehicles that they get. You can imagine the other managers that are above, what they get.
Coke is produced in Hwange but who is producing it? It is the Chinese who are not paying a single cent to the Colliery. They are producing it and sending or exporting it to their own country. So, how can the Colliery not fail to pay its workers and such shady deals in the coke production are visible in Hwange. The conveyor belt was deliberately destroyed by the Colliery so that the managers now have their own private companies of lorries that are now carrying coal for 6 km, instead of using the cheapest form of transportation. They have put their own companies subcontracted to the Colliery which are now carrying coal. Of course, you cannot compare the conveyor belt to the lorries. The lorries need a driver, they need several people and other equipment to load and on top of that, you need diesel but the conveyor belt simply needs two artisans carrying the coal 24 hours but it was destroyed. When they tried to replace it, the conveyor belt was bought for about $3 million, it crossed the border and there were documents to show that the conveyor belt was replaced but it never arrived in Hwange. It was never found in the warehouses of Hwange. Up to now, nobody knows what happened to the conveyor belt and the cars are still tramming bringing the coal to the coke works. That is an expense because if you brought in the conveyor belt Mr. Speaker, then it means that the managers’ companies that are subcontracted to carry the coal would lose business.
There was talk of the Belarus equipment and there is something again, a synopsis of corruption Mr. Speaker. Equipment was bought from Belarus and Hwange Colliery artisans (diesel plant fitters) were pulled out from the Colliery to go and train on how to fix that Belarus equipment. The moment they graduated, they formed a separate company under the engineering manager to provide services to the company and at the same time getting a salary from the company. So, we have artisans getting a salary from the company and at the same time subcontracted by the engineering manager by that time who resigned and brought in the same engineers to work with him to provide services to the Colliery. All these issues are in the public domain and workers have tried to go to the courts about them, the Minister was engaged about them and nothing is coming out.
Now, there is a structure of how to pay. Whenever Hwange Colliery gets money, there is an agreed structure of how to pay the prioritisation and firstly, who gets the money – it is the contractors.
They are priority number one. Who are the contractors? The contractors are companies that are owned by the managers themselves. So, even if the managers do not get a salary, they will still get money from the contracts that they have within the company. So, that is why we are saying the issues about Hwange, it is corruption and more corruption. Unfortunately, the Minister of Mines and Mining Development was engaged on these issues and he promised that within three months all workers would be paid, but up to now workers are still not paid. They agreed on a system of paying where the Minister gave a directive that whenever you get money, first priority is the workers - at least part of their salaries. Then second priority you go to the contractors and other service providers, but the moment the Minister left the management argued that we can follow that system because the software system that the Minister provided has collapsed so we go back to the old system.
So, that is why I say the issues about Hwange - for some of us, we believe that it is deliberate destruction to suffocate that particular region.
I have a lot of reason not to believe that it is deliberate because the
issues of Hwange could be solved overnight, just fire the whole management. Hon. Sibanda was talking of one board member whom I went to school with she does not have a single O level but she has been in the board ever since the previous Minister Mpofu, and many other Ministers. Others are removed but that particular lady remains on the board. She does not have a single O level - then you wonder, how can you turn around a company with people who have absolutely no knowledge of what mining is about?
Hon. Speaker, the issues of Hwange are slightly are beyond the Minister, perhaps we need to engage His Excellency directly to say can you deal with this. There are no problems that cannot be solved but it is just people are not interested to sovle the problem because all the big bosses have lined the pockets in Hwange; they are getting monies continuously. No wonder why we hear of community share ownership scheme in Ngezi, Ngezi Mine is paying but we never hear of a Community Share Ownership in Hwange. If it is there ZESA is not paying. Colliery is not paying, Hwange National Paying are not paying to the Community Share Ownership, hence that whole region if you go there, that is where you smell the largest amount of poverty in that area and yet they are the richest. For some of us, we become so emotional about these issues that are why we have been saying perhaps this issue of decentralizing the powers to bring back the local issues to local people, I think it would assist us a lot. We have a national asset that is benefiting a few relatives and friends at the expense of the local people who are supposed to benefit. By the time their tummies are full, I think there will be no coal left and that is very pathetic, it will be detrimental to the country and also to the communities around.
I thought I needed to raise this Mr. Speaker; the issue of Hwange is very emotive. If Government does not solve it, one of these days I think we will mobilise as a region and fight whoever is responsible for our poverty in Hwange because we know what is happening. I thank you.
THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF PUBLIC SERVICE, LABOUR
AND SOCIAL WELFARE (HON. MATANGAIDZE): Thank you for this opportunity to respond to initially the report by the Portfolio Committee on Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare on the working conditions at the Hwange Colliery Company Limited, National Railways of Zimbabwe and Dete Refractories.
Allow me to thank initially the Chairperson, Hon. Kwaramba and indeed all the Hon. Members who have passionately debated on this motion today. A lot of the issues which came up, particularly in today’s debate, you will appreciate that they transcend to other ministries. But of importance to my submission now, dwell to a great length on the issues which are peculiar to our Ministry. I hope as well as I make that submission that other Ministers will indeed take up the very positive submissions that were made in this debate and follow up on the issues so that together as inter-ministerial task force we can get a solution to, not just Hwange, National Railways and Dete Refractories as well.
Mr. Speaker Sir the import of the Committee’s report alleged gross violation of labour laws by the three companies, Hwange Colliery Company Limited, National Railways of Zimbabwe and Dete Refractories by breaking the fundamental rights of employees in terms of the Labour Act Chapter 28:01 and even more importantly Section
65(1) of our Constitution on labour rights which reads, ‘Every person has a right to fair and safe labour practices, standards to be paid a fair and reasonable wage’.
Mr. Speaker Sir, your Committee’s report and the subsequent debate highlighted that the labour law violations manifested in, firstly,
- Failure to honour collective bargaining agreements
- Rampant dismissals of employees through taking advantage of ambiguity in the labour laws. A case in point, being taking advantage of the Supreme Court judgment on Zuva
Petroleum Pvt Ltd vs. Nyamande and another 43/15
- Failure by the companies to uphold expected safety and health standards, and
- Generally poor working environment and relations.
Mr. Speaker Sis this House implored my Ministry to take cognisance of these violations, more so in light of the fact that the three companies are significant players in our countries economy and in light of the fact that failure to pay salaries and wages is a serious breach of the
Labour Act Chapter 28:0, Section 2A (1) (C), Section 6 (1) (a) and the Constitution Section 65 (1). In addition, terminations on notice are regulated by Section 12 of the Labour Act and read with convention 158 and recommendation 166 of the International Labour Organisation
Standards. Article 4 of Convention 158 reads “The employment of a worker shall not be terminated unless there is a valid reason for such termination connected with the capacity or conduct of the worker or based on the operational requirements of the undertaking, establishment or service”
Mr. Speaker, accordingly your Committee’s expectation from my Ministry as validated by Hon. Members was as follows:
- To conduct an inquiry into the working conditions at the three companies
- To ensure that the three comply with the labour laws of this country, and
- To expedite the comprehensive alignment of the labour Act to the Constitution in order to guarantee fair satisfactory conditions of work in the country.
The House particularly requested for speedy implementation to avoid piecemeal solutions such as the Labour Laws Amendment Act of 2015. Mr. Speaker Sir, we concur that workers are key assets for the realization of optimum output by organisations which leads to a country’s economic prosperity. We again agree that there is urgent need for concerted efforts to restore the dignity of the workers in pursuit of our ZIM ASSET goals. Accordingly, Mr. Speaker Sir, my Ministry instituted investigations and requested and independently established the following:-
- At the National Railways of Zimbabwe, outstanding salaries are now over 16 months. Currently there is law production against targets.
- Employees are also on record alleging that machinery is obsolete, thereby posing potential danger to themselves.
- At Hwange Colliery Company Limited outstanding salaries are now over three years but Human Resources stated that they have since secured a loan from RBZ to the tune of US$7 million. On further inquiry, the employer outlined their proposal that they intended to pay the employees 22% of their salary initially in the first month and then to stagger the remainder over 36 months.
- The Hwange Colliery Company Limited confirmed the report that the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee that safety clothing is now available.
Dete Refractories is a very old plant with primitive machinery and they have no capacity to recapitalise so that they can buy modern equipment.
Issues in Dispute
For the three companies, the main contentious issues relate to non- payment of salaries and alleged lack of commitment by the employers to find solutions to the problem. There are concerns that even if a plan is put in place there is no commitment by management to adhere to such plans. The employees alleged acts of unfair labour practice by Dete
Refactories where tiles and bricks are said to have substituted salaries.
- The other issues in dispute relate to non-payment of pensions which were deducted but not remitted, as well as medical aid and funeral assurance schemes for employees. It was the employees’ case that management was not prioritising their welfare.
- The employees from the three companies alleged that the employers were breaching health and safety issues, thereby putting them at risk. Of concern was the use of obsolete machinery and lack of safety or protective clothing. Others at National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ) are said to be working in areas with dangerous animals like lions for the railway patrolmen in Dete area.
Further allegations against the employers were that for the NRZ, the July, 2015 dismissal of targeted vocal employees, thereby alleging victimisation.
- The workers also lamented high rental charges for company accommodation despite the companies’ failure to pay salaries.
- There were further allegations of corruption leveled against
Hwange Colliery Company when outsourcing or hiring machinery. The employees stated that they have other options to repair the machinery which is cheaper than hiring, which require immediate payment and is also less expensive.
- The three companies are of strategic importance to the country considering the workforce in its employ and dependence of the workers.
- The railways is of strategic importance as bulk carriers and its importance to the economy cannot be overemphasised.
Hwange Colliery Company Limited and its workforce is also the backbone of the economy in terms of power supply, particularly, its supply of coal to the Zimbabwe Power Company and tobacco farmers.
- Dete Refractories has become a source of livelihood for people in the area and if it functions below capacity it will lead to loss of employment and loss of livelihood for the people.
- It is common cause that the working relationships between the parties have deteriorated, as it is characterised by mistrust.
- Identified breach of regulations in particular Section 25 (a) of the
Labour Act [Chapter 28:01], where Hwange Colliery Company Limited has gone for three years without convening a works council meeting. These meetings would be of strategic importance where the companies are facing the alleged challenges.
- The Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Services, labour
inspectors together with designated agents from NEC Transport, Energy and NEC Bricks will move immediately to make further enquiries on the issues raised on the working conditions at these companies. There is need to conduct inspections in loco to safeguard the rights of employees and promote fair labour standards.
- Since the companies are of strategic importance to the economy, there is need to map the way forward so that they are revived to their former glory.
- On the issue of hiring machinery at Hwange Colliery Company which lack transparency, the company has to invoke proper tender procedures to the satisfaction of stakeholders concerned. As for hiring of contract workers by NRZ during peak periods, management has to follow procedures which uphold corporate governance principles.
- It is also important to highlight that for the NRZ, advancing technology will increase efficiency and productivity. This calls for repairing of electric signals which will enhance service delivery.
- On the of housing for NRZ employees, the company should consider heavily subsidising these for the employees. This is so, considering that they are not paying the employees their salaries and wages as well as meeting their welfare concerns.
- Dete Refractories should cease paying employees in tiles and bricks as there are limited market for these products in the area. It is also ultra-vires the Labour Act [Chapter 28:01]. The company should instead, look for buyers outside Dete and sell the products, then pay employees their salaries.
- Health and safety issues were of concern in these companies. The
Ministry and NSSA will conduct special inspections to check compliance and impose penalties for breaches. Hazardous working environments should be avoided at all costs. Mr. Speaker Sir, because this issue came in debates quite a lot, let me also inform this House that NSSA has since acquired the mobile clinic which will be moving from site to site checking for diseases related to pneumoconiosis,
Tuberculosis and other related diseases
- We are calling for frequent dialogue between employees and employers in a bid to improve the working environment.
- We urge the organisations which have alleged financial incapacity to henceforth enter into payment plans with their employees so as to clear the backlog in outstanding salaries. Failure of which they should approach our Ministry and /or NEC for redress.
Mr. Speaker Sir, I would like the House to take note of the significant progress Government has achieved in aligning our labour laws to the Constitution. I am happy to report that Cabinet approved the Principles of the new Labour Law on 12th December, 2016 and authority has since been granted to proceed with drafting the Bill for Parliament’s consideration.
Mr. Speaker Sir, I hope my presentation covers the broad issues that are particular to my Ministry in this regard and again emphasise that by no means have I adequately covered the other issues from other Ministries. May other Ministries take that on board so that we get a proper solution to this issue. I thank you.
HON. KWARAMBA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. I would like
to thank the Minister for responding to our Report on the working conditions at Hwange Colliery Company Limited, National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ) and Dete Refractories and in the process wind up this motion. On behalf of the Portfolio Committee on Public Welfare, Labour and Social Welfare, I would like to thank the Minister for the detailed report on the issues we raised in the Report. We hope that all the recommendations will be taken on board.
Mr. Speaker Sir, allow me to thank all members of your Portfolio Committee on Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare who in pursuit of Parliament’s oversight role undertook the inquiry into working conditions at Hwange Colliery Company Limited, NRZ and Dete
Let me extend the same to the following Members who contributed to this debate: Hon. Tarusenga, Hon. Matangira, Hon. Ndlovu, Hon.
Mkandla, Hon. Nduna, Hon. Sansole, Hon. Chasi, Hon. Bunjira, Hon.
Mupfumi, Hon. Mapiki, Hon. Chinotimba, Hon. Sibanda, Hon.
Matsunga, Hon. Tshuma, Hon. Matambanadzo, Hon. Gabuza and Hon.
Mr. Speaker, I now move for the adoption of this motion and its removal from the Order Paper.
Motion that this House takes note of the motion on the Second
Report of the Portfolio Committee on Public Service, Labour and Social
Welfare on the working conditions at the Hwange Colliery Company Limited, National Railways of Zimbabwe and Dete Refractories.
Put and agreed to.
BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF PUBLIC SERVICE, LABOUR AND SOCIAL SERVICES (HON. ENG. MATANGAIDZE): Thank
you Mr. Speaker Sir. I move that Orders of the Day Numbers, 31 to 39 be stood over until Order of the Day Number 40 has been disposed of.
Motion put and agreed to.
ACTION TO END VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN AND GIRLS
Fortieth Order read: Adjourned debate on motion on the Activism against gender-based violence campaign.
Question again proposed.
THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF WOMEN’S AFFAIRS, GENDER AND COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT (HON.
DAMASANE): Mr. Speaker Sir, I stand up to humbly submit a response to a well thought-out motion on a belated note. This was not the choice of the Ministry of Women’s Affairs, Gender and Community Development. It is the way we structure the Order Paper. It could come as Order of the Day Number 32, 52 or 75, we thought that the motions per ministry, were put in alphabetical order.
Nevertheless, today I submit to this House that the Ministry of
Women’s Affairs, Gender and Community Development think highly of this motion and would like to thank the members who debated and gave a robust debate on it.
The Ministry commemorates together with the nation the 16 days of activism against gender-based violence which run each year from the
25th of November to 10th of December. The theme for the past year was,
‘From Peace in The Home, to Peace in the World: Let us Unite to end Gender Based violence’.
Mr. Speaker Sir, the Ministry kicked off the year’s commemorations with a press statement on the 25th of November, 2016, paving way for several activities that were carried out around the country. On the Saturday of 10th of December, 2016, the Ministry held the national commemoration in Harare. We did this deliberately on the last day of the 16 days to ensure that we mark the beginning of 365 days of action against gender-based violence.
Mr. Speaker Sir, the Ministry has since 2010 adopted the 365 days approach with the 16 days only utilised to amplify voices together with our partners and organisations and make the noise a little more louder in raising concern on gender-based violence. Basically, the 16 days are there to spell out the theme of the United Nations (UN).
Let me furnish this august House that every single day, week and month, the Ministry carries out activities targeted at preventing and responding to gender-based violence. We are working with religious and traditional leaders, communities, young girls and boys daily to address the scourge of gender-based violence.
The Ministry is running One-Stop-Centers in Rusape, Gweru and Gwanda which provide a complete service package for survivors in the form of legal aid, counselling, health services as well as police services. This is to get response and help for the survivor in one area because in the past, you would go to the police camp before the Ministry intervened and you are told to go and get the address of the perpetrator. On getting to the hospital, you would be told that such a machine or liquid is not available and the poor survivor is shuttled around for help which they do not have. So the Ministry saw it fit that we build these One-StopCenters. All the services are free of charge and critical to ensure genderbased violence survivors have their dignity restored.
The Ministry is in the process of setting up additional One-StopCenters in Masvingo and Mashonaland Central. I assure you that all ten provinces will be covered soon with the pace and the way we are engaging our partners and all the well wishers.
The Ministry continues, Mr. Speaker Sir, to work so well with the media who provide a very useful platform to raise awareness on genderbased violence. Every day we read stories in the press of deterrent sentences passed for convicted rapists, an issue which we want the public to know that if you rape, you will be locked up in jail. Let me add on that with the press on our side, we are able to read every minute, from every type of media, be it print or electronic media about these issues. You will recall that last week there was a case at Emganwini where a young man butchered up his mother into pieces before burying her and so forth. So there is no time to rest for the Ministry or our partners.
Mr. Speaker Sir, Hon. Members, we must know that the media is in our courts and is a powerful tool to send out messages and information every single day of the year. Our partnership with the media will ensure that every day 24/7, we reach out to Zimbabweans with information on gender-based violence. You will recall that through the partnership with the police, we agreed and it is happening that there be third party reporting because some people are not able or asked to hide any form of gender-based violence because it is done by a relative or somebody who is the income earner in the home. So, we have agreed that there be third party reporting, which has been taking place. I am sure you have seen that if it is a young girl or boy at the school, this thing is reported through a secret to the next person whom they confide in and then it gets to the apprehension of the perpetrator. We are not resting and there is no honeymoon for the Ministry. We are using every way to engage partners, even those that are well-wishers are very welcome to come to the Ministry and we strategise other new tactics, be it ICT or whatever.
In conclusion, several activities are done so well using the 10-Point Plan directive on Private Public Partnerships. This we do by working together with civil society partners such as Musasa Project, Padare, Women’s Action Group, Say What, Shamwari yeMwanasikana and I am sure that you have seen Dr Rebecca Chisamba’s Show now incorporates a lot of these activities through dialogue. So, we are not resting on our laurels Mr. Speaker Sir. All these complement Government efforts in raising awareness on the negative effects of gender based violence. We are to seek help should it happen to anybody. So, I urge Hon. Members to join the crew in the Ministry of Women’s Affairs, Gender and Community Development in their constituencies to encourage people to speak out, not to seal in information. This way, we will get a long way and the motion will get two times 365 days attention. I thank you Mr.
HON. KHUPE: Thank you very much Mr. Speaker Sir. First of all, I would like to thank all Hon. Members who contributed to this very important motion on the 16 Days of Activism against Gender Based Violence. I would also like to thank Hon. Deputy Minister Damasane for responding to this motion and for advising us that as a Ministry, they have already 365 Days of Activism against Gender Based Violence as opposed to the 16 days. I hope that their efforts will ensure that violence against women and girls is ended. So, I would like to thank you all and move that this motion be adopted:
Motion that this House:
NOTING that the 16 days of Activism against gender-based violence campaign is a time to galvanise action to end violence against women and girls around the world.
ACKNOWLEDGING that in 2016 the ‘Unite Campaign’ strongly emphasises the need for sustainable financing for efforts to end violence against women and girls towards the fulfillment of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
RECOGNIZING that this year’s theme is “From Peace in the Home to Peace in the World, Make education Accessible and Affordable for Women and Girls and end Violence against Women and Girls”
CONCERNED that violence against women and girls happens 365 days and yet this campaign is for 16 days, from 25 November to 10 December.
NOW THEREFORE, this august House calls upon:
- The Ministry of Women Affairs and Women’s Organisations to campaign throughout the whole year and advocate for ending violence against women and girls. They must not limit the campaign to 16 days; and
- The government to make sure that Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development is funded to fulfill these goals; put and agreed to.
On the motion of HON. RUNGANI seconded by HON. D. SIBANDA, the House adjourned at Twenty-Nine Minutes past Five o’clock p.m.