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NATIONAL ASSEMBLY HANSARD 15 FEBRUARY 2023 VOL 49 NO 22
PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE
Wednesday, 15th February, 2023
The National Assembly met at a Quarter-past Two o’clock p.m.
(THE HON. SPEAKER in the Chair)
ANNOUNCEMENTS BY THE HON. SPEAKER
ESTABLISHMENT OF FRIENDSHIP ASSOCIATIONS BY THE FOREIGN AFFAIRS AND INTERNATIONAL TRADE COMMITTEE
THE HON. SPEAKER: The Portfolio Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade has established friendship associations with India, Indonesia and Egypt for the purposes of financing the country’s engagement and re-engagement – [HON. DR. LABODE: Inaudible interjection.] – Hon. Dr. Labode, can you hold yourself. – [HON. DR. LABODE: I am sorry Hon. Speaker.] - re-engagement agenda premised on the idea that global integration is a sine qua non on global development with potential to all address trans-generation and trans-territorial challenges. Each association will have a minimum of 15 members of Parliament whose membership will be voluntary and is open to all Members of Parliament to join on a first come first served basis.
APOLOGIES RECEIVED FRIN MINISTERS
THE HON. SPEAKER: I have received apologies from the Executive: The Hon. Deputy Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Resettlement Hon. V. P Haritatos and Hon. Marapira, Deputy Minister for Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Resettlement.
(v)HON. T. ZHOU: On a point of clarification.
THE HON. SPEAKER: What is the point of clarification?
(v)HON. T. ZHOU: Is Hon. Marapira Deputy Minister of Agriculture or he is Minister of another portfolio?
THE HON. SPEAKER: Please repeat your question?
(v)HON. T. ZHOU: Hon. Minister Marapira, is he a substantive Minister or...
THE HON. SPEAKER: Who is speaking?
(v)HON. T. ZHOU: It is Hon. T. Zhou.
THE HON. SPEAKER: Can you please check in the Hansard. I am advised by the Hon. Chief Whip that he is a Minister of State, but Hon. Prof. Murwira can assist. Hon. T. Zhou, he used to be a Minister of State in Hon. Vice President’s Office; he is now Deputy Minister in the Ministry of Lands.
(v)HON. T. ZHOU: I am holding an appointment letter he was appointed as an Hon. Minister...
THE HON. SPEAKER: Are you Hon. Marapira.
(v)HON. T. ZHOU: I am not Hon. Marapira
THE HON. SPEAKER: We will check in the Hansard but what I got from a member of Cabinet is that he is Deputy Minister.
ORAL ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS WITHOUT NOTICE
THE HON. SPEAKER: I have a list I have been given. I have Hon. J. Sithole from ZANU PF.
HON. JOSIAH SITHOLE: Thank you Hon. Speaker Sir. My question is directed to the Hon. Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare. May the Hon. Minister inform this House as to when we are going to see selection of BEAM beneficiaries in our schools? Our children are staying at home now as most schools would like to see proof of payment. I thank you.
THE MINISTER OF PUBLIC SERVICE, LABOUR AND SOCIAL WELFARE (HON. PROF. MAVIMA): Thank you Hon. Speaker Sir, the BEAM programme has 1 800 000 learners registered on it. These schools already know of the identity of the learners. Schools are not supposed to turn these learners away because monies have not been remitted to the schools. That is the policy of Government. As we push for those funds to be transferred to the schools, the learners should continue to learn. BEAM was up to date up to the third term of 2022, and we are in the first term of 2023. There is no reason whatsoever for schools to turn away the BEAM registered learners. The leadership here should help to make sure that, that message goes out to all the schools so that they do not turn away learners because that money is coming to the schools. I thank you Hon. Speaker.
HON. CHIKWINYA: Thank you Hon. Speaker and I also want to thank the Hon. Minister for the response. I think the gist of the question does not lie on the students being expelled but it is about the administration of the school that is being hampered because of non-release of the funding from the Ministry to the schools. The schools are suffering in terms of administrative work because they do not have the money. Learners may continue to go to school but then the administrative work...
THE HON. SPEAKER: What is your supplementary question?
HON. CHIKWINYA: What is it that is hampering the release of the money, yet the budget has already approved of the same and we are collecting taxes?
HON. PROF. MAVIMA: Thank you Hon. Speaker, let me thank Hon. Chikwinya for that important supplementary question. That is why I indicated that as of the third term of 2022, we were paid up as far as BEAM payments are concerned. As usual, beginning of the year processes that have to be done with our budget and releases of money do not come at the time as we want. We are pushing for those releases to be done so that schools will not have problems with regard to whatever supplies they need for them to operate efficiently. We are pushing for those funds to go to the schools and as soon as that money is made available, it will go to the schools. I am happy that we managed to cover as much of the previous arrears as possible. It is only this term that we have to deal with. We are pushing for that money to go to the schools.
HON. GONESE: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. My supplementary question to the Hon. Minister is whether he is aware that these delays in payments are not just confined to the beginning of the year when the budget is yet to be released but that there are perennial problems which have been recurring time and time again. If the Minister is aware, is he also aware that the students concerned - apart from the adverse effect on the administration by the schools, but the students concerned are subjected to humiliation which sometimes affects the academic performance in terms of perhaps being excluded from the school? Even if there is intervention at a later stage but this embarrassment, this inconvenience actually affects them. If the Hon. Minister is aware of that, what steps has the Ministry taken to try to address these problems so that little prejudice is suffered by the students concerned?
HON. PROF. MAVIMA: I am aware of the fact that previously it has taken long for the BEAM resources to be released to schools. Like I indicated, at the end of last year, we managed to clear the arrears with regard to the previous obligations that we had as far as BEAM is concerned. As to the humiliation that the Hon. Member is referring to, indeed, it is not even supposed to happen because our Heads are in full knowledge of the policy of Government not to turn away learners, not even just the BEAM learners but any learners for that purpose. It is a policy of Government that payment arrangements have to be made with parents for learners not to be turned away so that they are not humiliated in the manner that he has referred to.
Mr. Speaker Sir, for BEAM, it is a crime knowing that Government is going to pay for a Head or a school authority to turn away learners. If that happens, we need to know so that the relevant Ministry can deal with those Heads. There is training that we give to heads on BEAM so that they understand clearly what is supposed to happen. Once they have enrolled learners on BEAM, those learners are not supposed to be turned away from school. The issue of humiliation is not an issue that we should deal with, especially among our Heads who are supposed to have full knowledge of how BEAM operates. I thank you.
Hon. Members having stood up to ask supplementary questions
THE HON. SPEAKER: Hon. Members, I will not allow further supplementary questions. We have dealt with this matter before. I have once indicated that three years ago, Justice M. Cheda when he was High Court Judge, ruled that no scholars should be chased away from school. What needs to be done is some conversation between the Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare and the Ministers of Education that will find some common ground on how to enforce that judgement. So I am not allowing any further supplementary questions.
HON. P. D. SIBANDA: I seek your indulgence Hon. Speaker.
THE HON. SPEAKER: No, no!
HON. P. D. SIBANDA: This is a very important question.
HON. MUDARIKWA: Mr. Speaker Sir, I am just buttressing your ruling.
THE HON. SPEAKER: Order, order. I have not cried for mercy and I do not need any embellishment to my ruling.
*HON. S. TSHUMA: My question is directed to the Minister of Primary and Secondary Education. From the results of Grade 7, O’ level and A’ level that were published, it is observed that the pass rate is way low when compared to their urban counterparts. What measures are you taking to remedy this situation in line with His Excellency the President’s policy of leaving no one and no place behind? Thank you.
THE HON. SPEAKER: Hon. Member, are you speaking about the pass rate?
HON. S. TSHUMA: Yes.
THE MINISTER OF PRIMARY AND SECONDARY EDUCATION (HON. DR. E. NDLOVU): Hon. Speaker Sir, I would like to thank the Hon. Member for the question that he has given to the House on equal opportunities of children in the rural areas and those in towns as it relates to the availability of teachers and also availability of learning for teaching materials. It is true that we have schools in our rural areas that do not have enough teachers. As a result, we appealed to the Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare, through the Public Service Commission, to have more teachers recruited this year.
Last year we requested for 50 000 teachers to be recruited into the service and we were supposed to be given at least 10 000 teachers because of budgetary constraints. This year in our budget, we have been allocated 7 000 teachers that are going to be recruited apart from those that we are replacing for instance, those who retired, what we call attrition. So we are working closely with the Public Service Commission to first recruit 2 500 to replace those teachers that were retired, those that have passed away or those that have resigned. The current position is that we are again working on the recruitment of the 7 000 teachers. So our teams are working on that to make sure that we get Treasury concurrence for the recruitment of the 7 000. Otherwise the 2 500 we are recruiting because they are already in the budget but the 7 000, we need to clear with Treasury so that at least we pay them.
As it relates to teaching materials, we are struggling to get enough text books for all our pupils in both rural and urban areas but Government will continue to strive to get those materials produced to make sure that our children are fully equipped.
Mr. Speaker Sir, I think that is the answer to the Hon. Member’s question. We are also concerned as a Ministry with the non-availability of reading materials. We would really wish children to have text books so that they can also read whilst they are at home. We have gone a step further and we are working with one of the development partners on what we call the working passport. It is a programme that we are using to make sure that some of the materials are uploaded into the gadgets so that teachers can teach our children in the rural areas. So the learning passport might cover some of the areas but it needs computers. We need our teachers to have gadgets to make sure that they can use the learning passport to teach our children. I thank you.
HON. MADZIMURE: On a point of clarification Mr. Speaker Sir. Through you Mr. Speaker, considering how long the Minister’s response was, would it not be better for the Minister to bring a ministerial statement where we will interrogate the statement so that a way forward is put in place?
HON. DR. E. NDLOVU: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. I think the Hon. Member is saying I have said nothing. I really cannot stand that because I am saying facts. – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections]-
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER (HON. MUTOMBA): Hon. Minister, can you please approach the Chair?
The Hon. Minister having approached the Chair
HON. DR. E. NDLOVU: I retract my statement and I apologise.
*HON. S. TSHUMA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. I would like to thank the Minister for her response but the response she gave was not adequate. We would like her to further explain on how they are going to distribute text books and other learning material in schools in the rural areas. Rural schools are usually disadvantaged compared to schools in urban areas because they do not have access to the internet for research purposes especially with this new curriculum that the Government introduced.
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Order Minister. It would appear to me that Hon. Madzimure has actually asked the Hon. Minister to come up with a Ministerial Statement pertaining to that question. So unless the Hon. Minister would like to respond now to the point of clarification but the request has been made for her to bring a Ministerial Statement.
HON. P. D. SIBANDA: On a point of order Mr. Speaker Sir. My point of Order Hon. Speaker deals with an issue of whether the Hon. Minister has to submit a Ministerial Statement or has to answer the questions. It is my submission that the Hon. Minister has got another outstanding Ministerial Statement with regards to free education. She has not come before the House to present that Ministerial Statement. So to burden her with another Ministerial Statement, Hon. Speaker, would be an injustice. So I am of the view that the Hon. Minister should continue to answer the questions that we have with regards to the declining pass rate in the country. I thank you.
HON. DR. E. NDLOVU: I would like to thank the Hon. Member for the question that he has asked which is also of concern to the Ministry concerning the distribution of text books and ICT gadgets into rural areas. We will make sure that we prioritise the rural pupils as it regards to the educational teaching materials that we receive as a Ministry.
I am glad to inform this House that we are working closely with the Ministry of Information Communication Technology, Postal and Courier Services to make sure that we take gadgets to the rural areas. We are also working closely with the Ministry of Information Communication Technology, Postal and Courier Services to make sure that wherever we have got electricity or we have solar power, we take the computers to the teachers and to the pupils. We have been doing that for quite some time and this particular weekend, we are taking them to Matabeleland South. The whole of last week, we were also in Matabeleland South. We have been to all provinces to try and work out a plan so that wherever text books are not available, the teachers could go on to the internet and try and raise some materials for teaching our pupils.
Mr. Speaker Sir, what we really need is more allocation of funding to the Ministry so that we can catch up with the numbers of children that are going into our schools. The target is moving. It is not a permanent target. We have a moving target that we are working towards to make sure that every child has got a text book. I thank you.
HON. HWEDE: On a point of order Mr. Speaker Sir.
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: What is your point of order?
*HON. HWENDE: Mr. Speaker Sir, I think it is important for Ministers to take issues in this august House seriously. Last week, the Minister of Primary and Secondary Education was in the House and failed to respond to questions relating to when free education will commence. Today again she has failed to respond to a very simple question concerning what the Ministry is doing to increase the pass rate that is declining every year and issues on learning materials. Do such issues need a Ministerial Statement? Now she is saying that the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education and the Ministry of Information Communication Technology, Postal and Courier Services will be going out to rural schools to hand over ICT equipment. I am in the ICT Committee but there is no budget for the Ministry of Information Communication Technology, Postal and Courier Services to hand out ICT gadgets in rural schools. We cannot sit in this House and let the Minister lie to us. We want Ministers to take their work seriously.
*THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: We have Hon. Madzimure who has asked for a Ministerial Statement from the Minister. So if you are saying the Minister is not giving you a satisfactory response, it means that you already have a response that you are expecting from the Minister. The Minister cannot give a response that you already have in your mind but she responds according to what is taking place within her Ministry. So the Minister will come and present a Ministerial Statement as requested by Hon. Madzimure.
Hon. Hwende, I am therefore requesting that you withdraw your statement where you said the Minister is not telling the truth –[HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.]- Order Hon. Members! Order in the House please!
*HON. HWENDE: Hon. Speaker, the Ministry of Information Communication Technology, Postal and Courier Services does not have the gadgets to hand out in rural schools as was indicated by the Minister. I then went on to say that the Minister is not being truthful because the Ministry of Information Communication Technology, Postal and Courier Services does not have the budgets. Children are failing in schools. We therefore cannot be given a solution that we know is none existent. What we want are practical solutions so that children continue with their education and pass. Maybe if the Minister says that the Ministry managed to acquire funds from somewhere yesterday because yesterday we had a Committee meeting where we called the Permanent Secretary to give oral evidence. Do they have ICT gadgets?
*HON. DR. E. NDLOVU: Yes, we have them.
*HON. HWENDE: Mr. Speaker, as you have requested that I withdraw my statement, we shall wait to see if they supply the gadgets to rural schools even though it is not stated in the Ministry of Information Communication Technology, Postal and Courier Services’ budget, I withdraw my statement Mr. Speaker Sir.
HON. P. D. SIBANDA: Hon. Speaker, I will preface my supplementary question by indicating that the Hon. Minister could be clueless on the extent of the problem that we are talking about.
In Binga District alone, 18 high schools came out with 0% pass rate in last year’s examinations. What is the Ministry doing to ensure that we reverse these kinds of pass rates that we are witnessing in the country? Hon. Minister should give us a practical…
HON. TOGAREPI: On a point of order. Mr. Speaker, my point has nothing to do with the facts that he is raising but the issue of using words like ‘clueless’ to a Minister, I think it is not correct. I think we need to respect our Minister if we expect answers from them – [HON. DR. MAVETERA: They are not respecting women these men.] - [HON. MEMBERS: ahhhh!]
HON. P. D. SIBANDA: Hon. Speaker, the Hon. Chief Whip should be forgiven for thinking that the word ‘clueless’ is unparliamentary. In fact, the word ‘clueless’ is very parliamentary because it means that the Minister does not understand the situation as it is. There is nothing unparliamentary about that term. I think he needs to consult his dictionary before he raises a point of order. There is nothing unparliamentary about that term.
The Hon. Minister appears not to understand the situation that is on the ground. The situation is pathetic. In fact, in properly governed countries, one would not stand up and call themselves a Minister of Primary and Secondary Education with the level of pass rate that we are getting…
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER (HON. MUTOMBA): Hon. Sibanda, what you have just said is so much unparliamentary. Can you withdraw?
HON. P. D. SIBANDA: Which one, which part Hon. Speaker? I have said a lot of things.
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: What do you imply by ‘in a properly governed country?’
Hon. P. D. Sibanda having approached the Chair
HON. P. D. SIBANDA: Hon. Speaker, allow me to withdraw the statement that this is not a properly governed country. Possibly let me call it, in other jurisdictions, the Hon. Minister would not have the courage to stand up and call herself a Minister of Primary and Secondary Education, with the kind of pass rate that we have. Let her tell us what are the pragmatic measures that her Ministry is taking to ensure that we reverse these down trends of pass rate that we are experiencing in the country?
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Thank you Hon. Sibanda. It is like Hon. Madzimure had actually requested earlier on that the Minister should bring a Ministerial Statement. So I say that at the moment there is nothing the Minister is going to answer to. She is supposed to bring a Ministerial Statement.
HON. MUDARIKWA: Thank you Hon. Speaker – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] -
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Order Hon. Members. You want me to ask you for absolute silence. All along I have been actually asking you to reduce your noises but it would appear you are not listening. Now, what I want is absolute silence in the House. Those who would want to talk, please could you just move out and do your business of talking outside. I want order.
HON. MUDARIKWA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. My question is directed to the Hon. Minister of Primary and Secondary Education. What is the Ministry’s policy as far as conditional selling of uniforms to students is concerned? If I get a place at a secondary school; secondary schools have moved away from their core business of teaching. They are now institutions selling uniforms at very exorbitant prices. What is the way forward? Are we going to have a Statutory Instrument banning all schools from selling uniforms in school premises? Thank you.
HON. DR. E. NDLOVU: I would like to thank – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] -
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Hon. Members, I said order! No more noise. Go ahead Hon. Minister.
HON. DR. E. NDLOVU: I would like to thank Hon. Mudarikwa for the question with regard to Government policy as it relates to production and selling of uniforms. Let me start by saying that as Government, we actually came up with a policy that each school should be a production centre. It is time that we facilitate children to learn both academically and using their hands so that when they complete their education, some might not qualify academically they can still do well in life using the skills they would have learnt in school. So there is a policy that dictates that we should make sure that each school is a production centre.
The Minister having been in confrontation with Hon. Members
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Hon. Minister, address the Chair, do not worry about them.
HON. DR. E. NDLOVU: The policy is there that we should make sure that each school is a production centre. Those schools that are doing Domestic Science, we used to call it Domestic Science long back, where children are taught garment making. We encourage schools to continue to produce even their own uniforms. If they have done enough of their own uniforms they can even produce for other schools, but we…
HON. P. D. SIBANDA: On a point of order Hon. Speaker Sir. Our Standing Orders do not allow anyone to speak and mix languages. May the Hon. Minister stick to one language.
* HON. DR. E. NDLOVU: Mr. Speaker Sir, as I said, we have a policy but we can engage those who are charging exorbitant prices.
*HON. CHINOTIMBA: Mr. Speaker Sir, the question that was posed was not talking about Fashion and Fabrics in schools. The question is, we have schools that are buying uniforms at OK Bazaars, Enbee or sourcing their own self made uniforms. They are buying these uniforms and resale them in schools. Some have a policy that says everyone should buy uniforms at the school. The school fees are exorbitant, school uniforms are expensive and parents are no longer affording to send children to school. What do we do about such schools? I am not talking about Fashion and Fabrics as a subject. What do we do about such an issue that schools are now selling uniforms at exorbitant prices? Thank you.
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Order, order, please. Please take a seat Hon. Minister so that I clarify this point. What Hon. Members are saying is that there are some parents that buy school uniforms from shops and take these uniforms to the school where the school is selling its own uniforms. They are asked to take back their uniforms because they should buy uniforms from the school. When comparing the prices, school prices for uniforms are expensive compared to retail shops elsewhere. That is the question. Thank you.
*HON. DR. E. NDLOVU: Thank you very much for the clarification. We are pleading with Hon. Members of Parliament that are here that if there are such schools, please give us the list of the schools. We are seeking your assistance so that we have these lists. We will send our representatives so that they can go and talk to the headmasters. We are going to look into that issue but we cannot attend to the issue when we do not have names. Let us have a list of the schools. Let us assist one another. I thank you.
HON. CHIKWINYA: Thank you Hon. Speaker. Today is a Wednesday and we are currently in a session of Questions without Notice. These questions seek to attract policy responses from the Minister. Despite being given examples of schools that are doing this act which we are talking about, can she speak to the policy? Is the policy allowed? If the policy is not allowed, what legislative measures can she put in place, including and not limited to a statutory instrument banning the same?
HON. DR. E. NDLOVU: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. I understand the question now that it is a policy issue. The policy that I spoke about first was policy on trying to make sure that schools become production centres. However, if schools are now overcharging our people, then we have to come up with a statutory instrument or a policy to control what is happening because it would seem that they are making money out of our people. So, we will come up with a statutory instrument or policy document that will control that.
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Hon. Minister, just to guide you. Since there is this request that you are supposed to bring a Ministerial Statement, maybe you are supposed to include that issue in your Ministerial Statement. Thank you very much.
HON. S. TSHUMA: Thank you Hon. Speaker. I recall Mr. Speaker Sir, that you gave a ruling on the type of dress that is befitting the dignity of this House. We observed some type of banned dress still being worn in this august House. May you revisit that issue? I thank you - [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.]-
THE HON. SPEAKER: Who are these people?
*HON. S. TSHUMA: We have Hwende, Chikwiya and Hon. Chamisa. They are not putting on the correct ties; if possible, they must go out and change their ties.
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Hon. Hwende, order – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – Hon. Hwende, approach the Chair please.
*HON. HWENDE: Hon. Speaker with due respect, if you find fault at those who are asking what you do not approve of, it is not good. This tie is not yellow. It is black and yellow. Is it the problem that we are asking questions that will help the nation? I am now going out to change but I will come back.
HON. P. D. SIBANDA: Hon. Speaker, Hon Sen. Mutsvangwa is putting on yellow, can she also go out. Honestly that is yellow and she has to go out – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] -
+HON. MKANDLA: My question is directed to the Minister of Health and Child Care, what is the Government’s position on the Government ambulances? When they carry patients from rural areas to district hospitals after being referred, patients are asked to fuel the ambulances or pay a certain amount?
THE MINISTER OF HIGHER AND TERTIARY EDUCATION, INNOVATION, SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY DEVELOPMENT (HON. PROF. MURWIRA): Thank you very much. There is no policy of Government that speaks to people, individual citizens putting fuel into a Government ambulance. Certain cases are cases of irregularity that should be reported as such and they will be dealt with in the context of corruption.
HON. MOLOKELA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. The follow up question is about the measures that are supposed to be put in place to stop this practice because the Hon. Member said it is actually happening. What are the measures that are being put in place to stop this corruption?
Hon. Simbanegavi having walked into the House wearing a yellow African attire – [HON. MEMBERS: Yellow, yellow, yellow.] –
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Order Hon. Members, order Hon. D. P. Sibanda and Hon. Chibaya. Yellow yekuside uku is not representing her party haina basa. If you continue making noise, I will send you out – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – I have made a ruling and there is no one to contest my ruling. Yellow for the Hon. Member is not representing the party, yours represents the party.
HON. PROF. MURWIRA: Thank you Hon. Speaker Sir. As I said, we do not have a policy that says citizens should put fuel into an ambulance. It will be an act of corruption and should be treated in that context. It is important that when we want to curb corruption, it is the duty of every person in Zimbabwe to fight that. Once we know that as an incident, then the policy will kick in, in terms of investigating corruption within that context. I thank you.
HON. MARKHAM: Thank you Mr. Speaker. My question is, how does the Minister expect me to report corruption if I call an ambulance when someone is dying and they want US$30 for fuel? If I report corruption afterwards, do you think health personnel will come to my house again?
HON. PROF. MURWIRA: Thank you Hon. Speaker. The issue was dealt with within the context of people being forced to pay, so we are answering this question within that context. It is important to know that we are working very hard to have our people have access to good health and that includes logistics, which are ambulances. In the case where there is a reported case where people are being forced to pay, it is corruption, if I go and volunteer to give fuel to a hospital, that is a different case altogether. The most important thing is to look at the intention that is being pursued at any point so that we do not pursue a zero sum equation of saying yes, the other one says no, one says yes and the other one says no. It becomes a moribund argument. I thank you.
HON. P. D. SIBANDA: Hon. Speaker, the issue that is facing the nation is that Government is not resourcing public hospitals. If my relative falls sick and they need to be transferred to another hospital, when the hospital has no fuel for the ambulance, it is the situation that forces me as a citizen to give fuel to the hospital so that my relative is attended to. Possibly the proper question to the Hon. Minister is; what is Government doing to ensure that hospitals are fully resourced to give adequate health services to the citizens? Thank you Hon. Speaker.
HON. PROF. MURWIRA: Hon. Speaker, I want to thank Hon. Sibanda for that comment and also to say that it is Government’s responsibility to resource hospitals. We take that it is our responsibility to resource hospitals but the question that was asked is about forcing people to pay for fuel and I said that one is an act of irregularity or corruption and it is treated within that context. Where people of Zimbabwe wish to donate to a hospital, that is within the donation policy, and that fuel can be accepted. I think we might be talking about two different issues here; people being forced to say if you do not pay for the fuel, the ambulance will not work - this is the question that we are dealing with.
Mr. Speaker Sir, the wider issue is Government is working on making sure that our hospitals are resourced in terms of logistics, medicines and personnel. We are not saying the situation is perfect but who says life is perfect. We are striving towards that perfection and this is what we are doing. I thank you.
HON. BRIG. GEN. (RTD.) MAYIHLOME: Thank you Mr. Speaker – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] -
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Can you go ahead Hon. Mayihlome.
HON. BRIG. GEN. (RTD.) MAYIHLOME: My question is directed to the Minister of Higher and Tertiary Education, Innovation, Science and Technology. Recruitment to tertiary institutions is generally being published through online recruitment systems. This is excluding potential applicants from those areas where there is no internet connectivity. What is the Ministry doing to ensure inclusivity and ensure that we all subscribe to the President’s mantra of ‘no place and no person shall be left behind?’ Applicants from areas where there is no connectivity are being left out. Furthermore, the quota system which we have asked for, when is it going to be implemented? I thank you.
THE MINISTER OF HIGHER AND TERTIARY EDUCATION, INNOVATION, SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY (HON. PROF. MURWIRA): Thank you Hon. Speaker, I wish to thank Hon. Mayihlome for such a very important question on recruitment of our higher and tertiary education students. This is very important Hon. Speaker. We believe that it is important as a policy that we are inclusive in our recruitment. This is why it is hybrid, it is online but it can also be done physically when students apply for places at universities. We do not have a policy which says it should only be online. However, even for those ones who apply physically, we would have to put them into computer systems. Hon. Speaker Sir, it will be very important sometimes to know in general who is being excluded so that we can adjust our systems but our systems are not geared towards exclusion but inclusion. On the next one where we are talking about a quota system - we are having more than ten universities in this country and our recruitment is based on merit as per the Constitution. I might want to seek clarity on what the Hon. Member means by quota system but my general answer is, we want everybody who has a good brain to provide those brains to the country and we do that through affording them a chance to have an education.
It is very important for our people to have an education because that is the only way we can safeguard our future. It is not only for them to do it but it is for us that they are doing it because we wish to get as much as we can from them. So it has to be understood in that context. It is not a favour to bring people to the university but it is actually a favour to the whole country and not a favour to that individual. This is the way we coin our policy for higher education. I thank you.
HON. BRIG. GEN. (RTD.) MAYIHLOME: Thank you Hon. Speaker Sir. With regards to the Minister’s request that I clarify the second aspect on the quota system, we have seen affirmative action being applied to women and youth and this is why we are now going to have a quota system in this House. We have seen affirmative action being applied by certain departments of Government like the military. They make sure that every district is represented but with the trend that there is in this country, in the next ten years, we shall have teachers and nurses only coming from one region and that is a serious mistake that we are making as a country.
Every district should have a quota and apply affirmative action to ensure that people are also uplifted. We have just been discussing with the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education where it has been noted that results from those schools are zero pass rate. It is not applicable to Binga but it is applicable to many schools in Matabeleland. I come from a district where more than 50% of the schools recorded zero pass rates at secondary schools. Some of them have been recording zero for the past 20 years. If that trend continues, we shall never have a teacher coming from those regions. We shall not have a nurse, doctor or engineer and so we are requesting for quota systems so that every district is covered. I rest my case. Thank you.
HON. PROF. MURWIRA: Thank you Hon. Speaker. I wish to thank Hon. Mayihlome for his explanation on what he means by quota system. I would want to clarify our policy of expanding access to higher and tertiary education. I would also want to touch on the regions that he has talked about. We know there are gaps of higher and tertiary education institutions in Mashonaland Central, Manicaland, Matabeleland South, Mashonaland West and Matabeleland North. We have made sure that, for example, I will start from what we have done in the Second Republic.
For the first time, we have a Teacher’s College in Hwange which we call Hwange Teacher’s College and it has recruited a lot of teachers, most of whom are coming from Matabeleland North. We have for the first time started a technical college in Binga and we have recruited students there. We have started a technical college in Plumtree and we have recruited students there. We are expanding Gwanda State University and we are recruiting students there. We are expanding Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo Polytechnic in a very big way and we are recruiting students there. We are building a Polytechnic in Chivi and we are recruiting students there. We are starting a polytechnic in Beitbridge and we are recruiting students there. We are starting polytechnics in Chipinge and we are recruiting students there. It is all about being serious on how we are treating this country. We are very serious in taking into consideration the brains of our people and utilising every brain that is in every corner of this country. It is a very important national interest question that we will do that.
On a question of policy, I also want to say that we have done what is called the Zimbabwe National Qualifications Frameworks. What does this framework say? It says you can reach Grade 10, which is PHD or Dr. of Technology from any angle. You could be coming from a vocational training and then you upgrade to a polytechnic and then you go to the university. We are also having an approach which is called the integrated skills outreach and expansion programme where we are going to communities and having them access to higher education. Therefore, the issue of quotas and inclusivity has been dealt with very thoroughly by Dr. E. D. Mnangagwa’s Government and we are moving. I want to implore all our parliamentarians to move with us. I thank you.
HON. CHIKWINYA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. My question is directed to the Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs. The Zimbabwe Electoral Committee (ZEC) is, in terms of Section 239 (f) empowered to delimitate or conduct delimitation as well as set out in terms of Section 161, the entire part of it on how to conduct delimitation. Part of the process is that a final report is supposed to be submitted to the Head of State before gazetting.
On the 3rd of February 2023, ZEC was seen submitting a report to the Head of State and we are accepting that by the 17th February 2023, gazetting should be done. However, we have seen contradictory statements coming from the Government spokesperson. Can the Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs confirm at which stage we are in terms of gazetting the delimitation report? I thank you.
THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. Mr. Speaker, my understanding is that this question was asked and the Hon. Member wants me to contradict what was resolved by the Speaker, I will not do that. I thank you – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.]-
HON. CHIKWINYA: On a point of order Hon. Speaker. The Speaker gave an opinion. The Speaker has got no legal mandate to speak on behalf of the Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary affairs with regards to ZEC issues. So the Speaker gave an opinion and we respect that. We want the position from the Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs as the legal representative of ZEC in Parliament. If he is in agreement with the Speaker, he simply says so. If he is not in agreement, he states the position as according to ZEC. The Speaker gave an opinion and we have got no question time with the Speaker. We do not ask questions to the Speaker. The Speaker gives an opinion.
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Hon. Chikwinya, may I remind you that the Speaker of Parliament, once he makes a statement, once he makes a ruling on whatever question that would have arisen in the House, that statement is binding. So really for the Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs to again answer on the question that was responded to by the Speaker, it would be like he is now – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.]-
HON. CHIKWINYA: Hon. Speaker I am in agreement with you but the Speaker was not asked a question and it was not a ruling. The Speaker was simply directing Hon. P. D. Sibanda to follow the Constitution. It was an advice by the Hon. Speaker and the Hon. Speaker had no Standing Order that requires him to answer questions here. We do not ask questions to the Speaker of Parliament. Now we are asking the Minister who speaks on behalf of ZEC – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.]-
HON. ZIYAMBI: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. Mr. Speaker, I stand by what I said and I request you to defer it to the Speaker so that he can make a ruling – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.]-
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: May we have order in the House.
HON. P. D. SIBANDA: On a point of order Madam Speaker.
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: What is your point of order?
HON. P. D. SIBANDA: Hon. Speaker, our Standing Orders and our Constitution do not contemplate a situation where a Cabinet Minister refuses to answer a question. I submit that any attempt by the Hon. Minister to – [HON. ZIYAMBI: Inaudible interjection.]- What court have you ever appeared in, you seniour lawyer?
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Ask your question.
HON. P. D. SIBANDA: No, I am not asking a question. I am simply saying the Hon. Minister is not allowed in terms of the law to refuse to answer a question and therefore what the Hon. Minister did is contrary to the provisions of both the Constitution and the Standing Orders. The Hon. Minister should be forced to answer the question. Thank you Hon. Speaker.
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Thank you Hon. P. D. Sibanda. I am being advised that the Speaker who was in the Chair before has already ruled on that matter. So we are going forward.
HON. MARKHAM: For clarity, what was his ruling Madam Speaker?
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Please may you take your seat.
HON. MADZIMURE: Madam Speaker, on a point of order.
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Please may you take your seat.
HON. MADZIMURE: No, Madam Speaker you have not heard me.
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Take your seat.
HON. MADZIMURE: Madam Speaker you are there to preside over what happens here.
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Take your seat.
HON. MPARIWA: Thank you Madam Speaker. My question is directed to the Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare. Can the Minister highlight to this House on what progress the Ministry has made towards the ratification of ILO Convention 190 on Sexual Harassment? Why I ask this question Hon. Speaker, is that we have seen in the past the rampant increase in sexual harassment at work places, border places, everywhere else in the country. Vana vanzwa nekubatwa mazamu mudzimba umu. Thank you.
THE MINISTER OF PUBLIC SERVICE, LABOUR AND SOCIAL WELFARE (HON. PROF. MAVIMA): Thank you Madam Speaker. Let me thank Hon. Mpariwa for that very important question – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.]-
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: May we have order please. Order Hon. Chibaya.
HON. PROF. MAVIMA: Just to inform the House that the Ministry is seized with the issue of ratification of Convention 190. I have already taken it to Cabinet and Cabinet has approved that we move forward with the ratification.
The Hon. Member would also be happy to know that we have also developed a policy based on the provisions within the Convention 190 to cover the entire public sector where we now have a policy against sexual harassment in the public sector. We have also incorporated the essential provisions of Convention 190 into the Labour Amendment Bill that is already going through the legislative process. This ratification is also an issue that we are working on and working on very seriously. I thank you.
HON. TOGAREPI: Madam Speaker, my question is directed to the Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare. Madam Speaker, I have an experience where I have schools that have come to me to say, for the past twelve months they have shortage of teachers, especially secondary school teachers. I have a particular school that has a shortage of four teachers, in English, Computer Science, Mathematics and Science. This school has been going to the Ministry of Public Service to get teachers but they are not getting them. What is Government policy in ensuring that all schools are adequately provided enough teachers to teach in those schools?
THE MINISTER OF PUBLIC SERVICE, LABOUR AND SOCIAL WELFARE (HON. PROF. MAVIMA): Thank you Madam Speaker Ma’am. I would like to thank Hon. Togarepi for that very important question. I know that there are other Hon. Members who have indicated the same problem in their various constituencies, for example Hon. Mudarikwa. Government has instituted a recruitment programme for teachers as resources become available. Last year we recruited- this year we are currently on a recruitment programme. I understand the Public Service Commission is working together with the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education to recruit about 7 000 teachers right now.
However, there is another important thing that is happening as far as recruitment of teachers is concerned; the special dispensation that has been given to areas, especially remote districts where we have had problems with the national centralised recruitment that has been taking place. We have now said these districts should find trained teachers within the district so that we do not have the problem of teachers going there for just two months or three and then they seek transfer. If they recruit locally then teachers would stay.
So, there is this general recruitment that is taking place where we are now targeting 7 000 teachers but there is also the special dispensation that has been given to places such as Mbire, Gokwe South, Gokwe North and Binga to recruit locally so that teachers can be available in our schools. I thank you.
+HON. E. NYATHI: Thank you Madam Speaker Ma’am. My question is directed to the Minister of Agriculture. After Government allocates one a farm, how long does it take for them to get offer letters, especially those in rural areas? I thank you.
THE MINISTER OF HIGHER AND TERTIARY EDUCATION, INNOVATION, SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY DEVELOPMENT (HON. PROF. MURWIRA): Thank you Hon. Speaker Ma’am. The Hon. Member is talking about what time it takes for Government to give the farmers offer letters when they are already on the land. I want to think but with due respect, I cannot put a question in her own head. I would like to think she is referring to 99 year leases. If it is about offer letters, the policy is to give a person an offer letter before they go into the land.
When it comes to 99 year leases, it is based on the productivity record and also surveying of the land. You would know that in the Press, I think it was in The Sunday Mail or Sunday News, there was an advertisement by the Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water, Climate and Rural Resettlement, asking farmers to bring their returns so that they can be assessed in view of being given 99 year leases. So it is about whether the land has been surveyed and productivity record, and then they can qualify. In terms of the time, it really depends on the farmer, on how productive they are and whether the land has been surveyed but in non-mathematical terms, I would say as soon as possible.
HON. BRIG. GEN. (RTD.) MAYIHLOME: Hon. Minister, does it mean then that those that have been allocated land can occupy those pieces of land without offer letters and start producing while they are waiting for offer letters because they cannot have productivity returns before they start any production, before beneficiary occupation of those farms? Such situations where there have been indications, saw the farm but they do not know where to start because there is no offer letter.
HON. PROF. MURWIRA: Hon. Speaker Ma’am, I believe that Hon. Mayihlome is asking about people who are on the farm without offer letters. Basically, if it is a supplementary, we say how long it takes? From a policy perspective, it is the desire of Government to do its work efficiently and proficiently. That is why I said in non- mathematical terms, as soon as possible. I thank you.
HON. MARKHAM: Thank you Hon. Speaker. Madam Speaker, I stand guided here but I think the Hon. Minister must explain how someone can be on a land without an offer letter? When you get on to a land with no documentation, the first step is an offer letter. The second method of acquiring land is the 99-year lease and to my knowledge, up to October last year, not one 99-year lease has been issued by the Ministry of Agriculture. It is not organised, it is chaos. Thank you.
HON. PROF. MURWIRA: Hon. Speaker Ma’am, I would like to first of all, say there is no chaos at all. There can be speed that might not be as fast as what other people might want. The land issue could be an emotive issue but surely there is no chaos at all. We are here and we are making sure, especially in the Second Republic, that there is order on the land. This is why we have produced 13 months’ supply of wheat which has never happened in the whole history of this country where we were producing three months supply of wheat and importing nine months. It is a mathematical fact.
As I said, systems may not be perfect but our policy is perfect. So it is a matter of now trying to fill the gap between our aspiration and our actions but the desire of Government is to make sure that there is order on the land and to make sure that those people that are settled on the land are properly documented with offer letters. It does not mean that there are no irregularities but that is exactly the purpose of the law to make sure that we do things lawfully and legally. Other things which avail judgements like chaos or no chaos, I do not know whether I can comment about that but what I can say is that there is no chaos. I thank you.
HON. BITI: Thank you Madam Speaker Ma’am. My supplementary to the esteemed Minister is that the land reform commenced in the year 2000. So 23 years later, we cannot still be issuing offer letters and our farmers cannot rely on offer letters. Why are we not complying with Chapter 16 of the Constitution which obliges the Government to put a full stop to the land question by making sure that farmers who benefited from the Land Reform Programme have title deeds or some other title to land that can be hypothecated? The Hon. Minister says there is no chaos. I can tell him that there is chaos because the original beneficiaries of the land reform are now dying. So, there is now serious estate dispute and the beneficiaries have nothing except an offer letter. There is need to ensure that we comply with Section 6, Chapter 16 of the Constitution and give legal clarity to the beneficiary of the Land Reform Programme. I thank you very much Madam Speaker Ma’am.
HON. PROF. MURWIRA: Thank you very much Madam Speaker Ma’am. I would like to thank Hon. Biti for the supplementary question. In answering this question, I want to say that there is a difference between process and destination. The process of giving people 99-year leases is ongoing. Government has not stopped its obligation to do what it has to do. Issues to deal with disputes are dealt with according to how they arise but the issue of whether land reform happened or not has been finalised. Land has been reformed and it is what it is today. In terms of regularisation of things, the process and the speed with which we do things, it is a completely different question altogether. The issue basically is, as we can see, progress is happening and is being done by Zimbabweans in total, to make sure that the heritage of the land - because the country is land anyway, which has already been finalised. The process of doing things might not be the speed that other people might want or whatever but nobody has abrogated the responsibility to make sure that everything goes well. It is not a matter of patience or impatience because Zimbabwe does not die. I thank you.
+HON. S. NDLOVU: Thank you Madam Speaker. My question is directed to the Minister of Home Affairs. In his absence, I will direct it to the Leader of the House. Madam Speaker Ma’am, we have Bills that are going on and we have Bills that are going to Bulawayo. *I was phoned to invite the public to attend public hearings. I called the police to inform them that we wanted to conscientise the people around that area so that by the time the Parliamentary Committee comes, they will have an appreciation of what they are supposed to discuss. The Officer in Charge for Luveve asked me to apply seeking for permission to conduct the meeting. The meeting will be held on 22nd February, 2023. If you are to apply, it takes two weeks for the police to respond. If we were to apply today, the Committee will come before we receive the response. I wanted to ask the Minister on what we should do. This is Government business that we are talking about. When asked to apply, we are expected to wait for two weeks for the application to be processed. Hon. Minister, we want to conscientise people so that they are able to participate in that hearing and make relevant contributions. If these sessions are conducted and people do not participate reasonably, we are then blamed for not doing our duty. So I hereby ask the Hon. Minister to assist. Thank you.
THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): Thank you Madam Speaker Ma’am. Madam Speaker, if I got the question correctly is about the Hon. Member desiring to call a meeting before a public hearing so that the members of the public can be conscientised about a Bill in preparation of the actual public hearing. If that is correct, then you need to write to the police requesting that you need to make an application to the police so that the meeting can be cleared. If I got that correct in a nutshell, I thank you.
Madam Speaker, that is correct, if you want to hold any meeting, you need to make an application to the police but if they are taking more than 7 days, they are wrong. Within 3 days, they must respond and by the 7th day, the whole process must be complete. However, if it pertains to Government business like public hearings, the districts administrators, the new terminology, district development coordinators should coordinate that meeting in conjunction with Members of Parliament if it is a meeting prior to the actual public hearings because this pertains to Government business.
What the Hon. Member can do is work in conjunction with the district development coordinator to say we want a pre-public hearing meeting where we conscientise people and it is his or her responsibility to then coordinate with the police. If you take it upon yourself to organise outside the structures of Government, the law is very clear. Once you gather above a certain number, there is need for police clearance. The period that is required should not be more than 7 days.
Questions Without Notice were interrupted by THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER in terms of Standing Order Number 68.
HON. MADZIMURE: Madam Speaker, I move that Time for Questions Without Notice be increased by 15 minutes.
HON. MARKHAM: I second
Motion put and agreed to.
HON. MARKHAM: Thank you Madam Speaker. My supplementary question to the Minister is with all the goals that they are pushing through so quickly, how do we get the 7 days or the 14 days -depending where you are? The second issue Madam Speaker is: are we requesting the police to authorise the meeting or we are notifying the police about the meeting?
HON. ZIYAMBI: Thank you Madam Speaker. The first part I did not get it. May the Hon. Member repeat.
HON. MARKHAM: Just as quickly, some of the Bills you do not get 7 days notice for the meeting. You do not get 7 days notice that they require for a meeting or a gathering coming up.
HON. ZIYAMBI: Thank you Madam Speaker, if you do not get 7 days, then you proceed to the actual public hearings. It is Parliament that is supposed to make sure that people are given adequate time. If you are Members of Parliament, you agree to that, we cannot then violate the provision of the law because Parliament has failed to give sufficient time.
The second part of the question whether it is notifying or it is seeking approval, it is a matter of semantics, you notify the police if the conditions are such that you cannot proceed, they will tell you not to proceed. So it is up to the Hon. Member to make a decision what he wants to call that. I thank you.
HON. CHIBAYA: Thank you very much Madam Speaker. My question is directed to the Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare Hon. Prof. Mavima. Most patients from both private and NSSA have lagged behind the inflation rate and also currency depreciation. As a result, the majority of our pensioners are earning far much below the poverty datum line. What is Government doing to make sure that you alleviate the plight of our pensioners who have worked tirelessly in building our nation? I thank you.
THE MINISTER PUBLIC SERVICE, LABOUR AND SOCIAL WELFARE (HON. PROF. MAVIMA): Thank you Madam Speaker, let me thank Hon. Chibaya for the question. The issue of pensions in general does not fall under my purview but I can talk about Government pension that is NSSA and I can also speak about the Public Service Pensions. With regard to NSSA, what has since happened is that all pensions are now paid in US dollars even though they are paid at the going rate at the time of paying the pensions.
In 2019, the minimum pension paid was US$12, that was the minimum and we made a very specific policy suggestion to say as a nation, we should reach the threshold of US$60 for that social security pension, the minimum which is the international standard for countries like Zimbabwe.
I am happy to say that by the end of 2022, we had reached that 60 dollar minimum payable to NSSA pensioners, which is quite some progress that we made. We hope that the economic upturn that we have started to see continues so that we can then continue to improve on the payments that go to our pensioners.
With regard to Public Pensions, we are moving away from the previous situations to where now the system is going to vary from time to time according to the contributions that people have made but also according to the performance of the pension fund on an ongoing basis. Currently, what we have done with pensions is that each time that we review the salaries of civil servants, the pension pay-outs are also reviewed to keep up with the inflation and the erosion that has been taking place. In terms of the values of those pensions,this is the situation. The general pension of course is a different matter altogether but for these two schemes, this is what we are doing in order to make sure that we provide for our pensioners. I thank you Madam Speaker.
HON. WATSON: Thank you Madam Speaker for this opportunity. With all due respect to the Hon. Minister, with regards to NSSA pensions, people have been contributing through their working lives, with support properties, for example my rates and taxes on my small property are equivalent to US$70 a month. Mr. Speaker, US$60 as a benchmark is actually insufficient for a lot of those pensioners to return to their homes. What is the solution to that? Thank you.
HON. PROF. MAVIMA: Hon. Speaker, I hear what the Hon. Member is saying but I would want the Hon. Members to understand that NSSA pensions are a social security safety net which is supplementary to whatever people have put together during their working lives. Also, the scheme that we run under NSSA can only pay to the extent that it remains sustainable. If we raise without consideration of what we have in our coffers, then we run the risk of bankrupting that scheme.
My previous answer says that there is a lot of progress that is being done in addition to raising that minimum threshold. We have also undertaken quite a number of programmes including periodic bonuses to pensioners as a way of cushioning them against the erosion that has been taking place. The bottom line is that NSSA Pension Scheme is supplementary to the other schemes that our pensioners may have contributed to. We are doing everything that is possible to make sure that it remains meaningful to the pensioners. I thank you.
HON. BITI: Madam Speaker, thank you for allowing me to ask this question to the esteemed Minister of Labour, Prof. Mavima. NSSA clearly is struggling, not because it does not have a lot of money; it has a lot of money but it cannot pay meaningful benefits to workers because it can be bankrupted as you were just saying. In the past you have spoken about transforming the pension industry by moving from the defined contribution to the defined benefit. This will allow pension houses that are strong to emerge and that can look after workers. Why is that policy not being translated into reality?
Madam Speaker, NSSA now have huge assets and huge investments. If you look at the minutes of NSSA board meetings, they are spending a lot of their time on their investments as opposed to their core business of social security. When are you going to split and delink NSSA, the social authority entity and NSSA, the capitalist enterprise to protect workers? Thank you.
HON. PROF. MAVIMA: Hon. Speaker Ma’am, let me thank Hon. Biti for that question. With regard to the movement to a defined benefit, that is what I referred to earlier which is already taking place with the reform that is taking place within the Public Service. Like I said previously, I can only speak about the NSSA pension and the Public Service one. The Public Service one is the one where we are working to where we move towards more of a defined benefit and with the possibility to investments, that will help us to build that fund to where it will meaningfully sustain our pensioners during time of retirement.
With regard to the issue of separating NSSA social security and investment, these are two sides of the same coin. Indeed, currently we are trying as much as possible to improve and strengthen the investment component within us. There are audits that have been conducted that indicate to us that we need to diversify the way in which we invest and that is already taking place. We have started to deal with NSSA assets some of which were sitting idle especially land, buildings, to make sure that they contribute towards the welfare of our pensioners. At the same time we have these programmes that I have already referred to. I agree that we need to boost the investment component of it. The way we do it could strengthen in-house investment capacities or delink. But each time we try to de-link, we get questions about - are you now siphoning resources away from a public enterprise or a State enterprise to private sector which might actually lead to a prejudice for our pensioners?
It is a delicate balance that we have to push but I agree that we need to and we have been advised that we need to improve and capacitate the investment aspect within NSSA. Thank you.
Questions Without Notice were interrupted by THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER in terms of Standing Order No. 68.
ORAL ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS WITH NOTICE
ESTABLISHMENT PROCESS OF KUVIMBA MINING HOUSE
- HON. MARKHAM asked the Minister of Finance and Economic
Development to explain the following to the House—
- the establishment process and date of creation of Kuvimba Mining House;
- the legal instrument for its establishment given that Government is the majority shareholder;
- who the shareholders are, the percentage of their shares, and what their contributions are in the company;
- where the company is registered, and what its sister or sub-companies are;
- who are the other shareholders directors with interests in the company and to further clarify whether the directors of the company since its inception have changed;
- what the current asset value of Kuvimba Mining House including definable resources is; and
- to further confirm whether a tender was issued for any disposal or acquisition of State assets or/and enterprises.
THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (HON. CHIDUWA): Thank you Madam Speaker Ma’am. Questions No. 1 to 7 require a lot of detail on Kuvimba, ZAMCO and the Sovereign Wealth Fund and the detail required quite some time to gather. I want to commit myself that by next week, I should be ready with the responses. I submit.
HON. MARKHAM: Madam Speaker, I accept the Minister’s request but I would like to draw the attention of the House that the same was requested last week. On top of that, I would also want to make a point of order that there are two statements that we are still waiting for over a long period of time. Since the wheat crop came in, I have asked for an update on payments to wheat farmers but we did not have that. I have asked for the review and to bring to the House the software that is being put into the TIMB computers to stop orders, I have not had that. Now I have got seven questions which are now delayed again.
Madam Speaker, out of frustration, I have put ZAMCO and justice internal report on the questions so that we can have a record of what we are getting which is nothing.
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: I am sure the Minister has taken note of that.
CONSULTATION WITH MEMBERS OF PARLIAMENT AND COUNCILLORS ON DISTRIBUTION OF DEVOLUTION FUNDS
- HON. MARKHAM asked the Minister of Local Government and Public Works to explain to the House whether Members of Parliament and Councillors have been consulted on the distribution of devolution funds in the absence of the Devolution Bill.
THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT AND PUBLIC WORKS (HON. CHOMBO): Thank you Hon. Speaker. I would like to inform this august House that there is no Devolution Bill in place. Devolution issues are addressed in the Provincial Councils and Administrative Act, thus according to Chapter 14 of the Constitution. However, to clear the concerns of the Hon. Member, Section 301 (3) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe instructs the distribution of at least 5% of revenues collected in that year to metropolitan and provincial councils and local authorities as their share. I wish to advise this august House that the distribution of devolution funds is the responsibility of the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development.
My Ministry started in 2014 to work with a team of local authorities officials to come up with a formula that will sufficiently respond to the constitutional requirements, the major one which is to address marginalisation. The formula has three parameters; population, poverty, prevalence and infrastructure with 20%, 30% and 50% weightage respectively. This formula has been put before Hon. Members several times at different fora. Different committees have requested further clarification and my Ministry has never missed an opportunity. The formula has been kept simple for everyone to understand. Furthermore, the formula remains a product of the people and is open to scrutiny and adjustments.
HON. MARKHAM: Madam Speaker, I thank the Hon. Minister for her response. My concern is that two years ago, there was a judgment against her Ministry to get on with the Devolution Bill. To date, her Ministry has failed to do so two years later. I can advise this House that we have been more than generous in proportioning times and offer to work with them to assist to do the Bill because it is quite obvious after their capability and to date, nothing has happened. They have not done anything. It is in contempt of our Constitution for them to deliver money without the Act.
Secondly, if they were concerned about the constitutional requirement of 5% to the Bill, they could, as a matter of temporary measure, given to a ministry like Public Works to distribute that 5% with the understanding of this House that the Bill is in process. The Bill has not even got to the House Madam Speaker. So what the Minister is saying, she has said it before but the bottom line is, the Government has failed since 2013 to introduce the Bill to this House and yet the Government consistently and continuously talks about devolution. There is no devolution. They have centralised the power of 5% of this budget to the Minister and hence my question which was not answered - which stakeholder including MPs and councillor did you consult to get the 5% distributed even for this year or last year? No-one was consulted. Thank you.
HON. CHOMBO: Thank you Hon. Speaker and thank you very much Hon. Markham for that follow up question. I hear you and I stated earlier that, that question has been raised in this august House so many times and my Ministry has offered responses to that effect. I concur with you that the Bill is late and I also told you before that the Bill is within the Attorney-General’s Office.
The Minister in charge of AG’s Office has also come in this office and stated that they are trying to beef up their staffing complement to make sure they speed up the processing of the outstanding Bills. Your suggestion that we should try to give another Ministry to distribute the 5%, I think it can be proffered through this august House and will be deliberated on and we stand guided as a Ministry. I thank you.
HON. BITI: Thank you Madam Speaker. On a point of clarification to the esteemed Minister of Local Government – Devolution is provided for in Chapter 14 of the Constitution. So Chapter 14 demands two things which are that there must be an Act of Parliament dealing with the mechanisms of devolution. So we are concerned that this Parliament is almost coming to an end but that law has not been there. There are two judgments of the court forcing and compelling the Minister to come up with that law but he has not come up with it and this Parliament is a few months away from natural expiration.
The second issue is, all political parties in this House, in 2018, submitted a list for provincial councils. So all these political parties have provincial councils that are being paid but their term of office is coming to an end yet they are not working because there is no enabling legislation. Some of them had been recalled without even working. So what kind of explanation does the Minister have for sleeping on the job, not for five years from 2018 to now, for 14 years because the new Constitution came into being in 2013 and the devolution law ought to have been enacted in 2013? I thank you.
HON. CHOMBO: Thank you Hon. Speaker and thank you very much Hon. Biti for highlighting what I had already stated that I agree that we are behind and my Ministry and Government at large are also concerned. They are making all efforts to ensure that those Bills are speeded up through the AGs Office. I thank you.
Questions with Notice were interrupted by THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER in terms of Standing Order No. 68.
MANAGEMENT OF THE LEAKAGE OF SOME ORDINARY LEVEL EXAMINATION QUESTIONS PAPERS
THE MINISTER OF PRIMARY AND SECONDARY EDUCATION (HON. DR. E. NDLOVU): Madam Speaker, I would like to thank you for giving me this opportunity to present my Ministerial Statement on the leakage of some Ordinary Level examination questions papers. I brought with me ZIMSEC officials who will assist me in some of these issues.
The Zimbabwe Schools Examinations Council conducted the 2022 examinations at Grade 7 Ordinary and Advanced Levels and published the results on 30th November, 2022, 3rd February 2023 and 13th January 2023 respectively. The results publication dates returned to the normal dates when the school calendar ran without any disturbances. In 2020 and 2021, there was COVID-19 pandemic induced disruptions to the school calendar.
The Grade 7 and the Advanced Level examinations went on without any incidence. However, the administration of the Ordinary Level examinations experienced some problems which were caused by a leakage of some subjects at a standalone cluster centre, Thokozane Secondary School in Matabeleland South Province.
This statement will focus on the following:
- The investigations of the leakage when it was reported.
- The brief that was given to the Portfolio Committee on Primary and Secondary Education.
- The Board meetings that were held to give direction on how to deal with the leakage.
- The questions which were forwarded to the Hon. Minister, which is myself, from Parliament, and
The Investigations of the Leakage when it was reported
The ZIMSEC security worked with the Commercial Crime Division of the CID and the Central Intelligence Organisation to trace the source of the leakage after the leakage was reported on 16th October from the Zvishavane area. The team found out that:
- The question papers in three subjects leaked from Thokozane Secondary School in Matabeleland South Province and circulated on WhatsApp and some social media platforms.
- The question papers were peddled by some ordinary citizens and some Advanced Level candidates charging those who needed the question papers.
Candidates and school officials and ordinary citizens who posted question papers on WhatsApp and those buying them were arrested and appeared in court. The sentences they got, however, were either community service or fines. Mr. Kudakwashe Betserayi who fraudulently registered an ECONET SIM card in ZIMSEC’s name and sold question papers was arrested in Masvingo and is still on remand. The Head and the Deputy Head of Thokozane Secondary School are still in custody in remand in Filabusi.
It is important for Hon. Members to understand the system that was used by ZIMSEC in the examination process. The system was introduced after 15 000 candidates were implicated in the leakage of English Paper 2 in the 2017 examination session. In addition to all other measures that were in place:-
- A cluster system of keeping question papers was introduced which had a three-tier system in the keeping of keys to the question papers at a cluster point. Madam Speaker, no one person would access the question papers when the system was used correctly at school level.
- A ZIMSEC monitor, a hired retired educationist was third tier at each cluster point.
- The cluster points are in two categories – one that services more than one centre and the other type which is called a standalone which keeps its own papers because it is far away from all other schools.
- The examination starting time was also changed from 8.00 am to 9.00 am so that all schools are able to collect the candidates’ question papers in the morning of the examination and administer the examination.
- Each cluster centre is guarded by two ZRP details at night to ensure security at night.
It is very sad that with all these measures in place, the Head and Deputy Head of Thokozane Secondary School who had the keys to where the question papers were, broke the keys which belong to the monitor and stole the examination papers and sold them to an attendant at a pharmacy in Zvishavane. He sold the question papers on social media platforms. Ordinary Level examination had 278 760 candidates but only 4 961 were involved in examination malpractice that included either pre-access to examination question papers, collusion or other as found and reported by the investigators, school authorities or concerned stakeholders. This represents 1.78% of the candidature. Arrests were made to candidates who received and sent papers on WhatsApp. School officials who were implicated as well and ordinary citizens were also arrested. It is important for Members to know that one Kudakwashe Betserai was arrested for fraud. He registered an Econet line in the name of ZIMSEC and he fleeced members of the public as he masqueraded as a ZIMSEC official.
Madam Speaker Ma’am, it did not come from internal operations of ZIMSEC but came after the question papers had been deposited at cluster centres where Heads are entrusted to keep the question papers safe. ZIMSEC used three tools to fish out candidates who had pre-access to question papers. These are:
- Investigations which involved ZIMSEC Security supported by the Commercial Crime Division (CID) and the Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO);
- Marking by examiners, there is a way of noticing candidates who could have had pre-access to papers;
- Grade review process – the grade review process, this is where the ZIMSEC computer fishes out of the data, candidates who have significant grade differences between component and subject.
I must assure the Hon. Members that no candidate will have results nullified without evidence of malpractice. There were no whole centres that were not given their results. There was a delay in giving four centres because evidence of malpractice by some candidate had not been authenticated. The results of the whole centres were released immediately after the receipts of the evidence. Members of this House must know that the results that have been received are provisional results. It is a common practice in all examination boards across the world to act in the manner our own board has acted. There is a 42 day period in which any candidate who is implicated in malpractice can have their results nullified or considered. Any results that are nullified is because there is evidence of malpractice.
The brief that was given to the Portfolio Committee on Primary and Secondary Education read as follows:
The Ministry and ZIMSEC were called for information by the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Primary and Secondary Education. We presented a report to the Committee on 15th December, 2022. All the facts were presented at that meeting. The document that was presented is part of my submission today. I have submitted the document to the office.
The board meetings that were held to give direction on how to deal with the leakages – the ZIMSEC Board met on 30th October, 30th November 2022 and 1st February, 2023 to give guidance on ZIMSEC management over the matter of the leakages. The board meetings were a culmination of recommendations that were coming from the committees of the board. On 1st February 2023, the board resolved that the results of the majority of candidates be published and culprits would have their results nullified. We cannot have 4 961 candidates out of 278 750 candidates hold the system to ransom. The questions which were forwarded to my office are as follows; One of them reads - what measures ZIMSEC is going to take to instill confidence and the security of ‘O’ and ‘A’ Level examinations because these examinations were marred with excessive leakages.
First and foremost, ZIMSEC’s Act has to be amended so that it becomes a deterrent instrument to the culprits. The route to the amendments is already at an advanced stage. Our lawyers are looking at this document to make sure that it goes through.
Madam Speaker Ma’am, the distribution and safekeeping of question papers system will be revised in the coming season, to add more security when the ownership of question papers becomes a shared responsibility of ZIMSEC and its stakeholders. The security at the printing press is already enhanced and more security measures have been added to the system. No November 2022 question papers were leaked from the printing press. No marking scheme leaked from ZIMSEC as reported in the media. The circulated marking scheme was one which had been developed by fraudsters who wanted to fleece the unsuspecting public. It had so many wrong answers to the extent that some candidates were caught because of this issue.
The other question is; what measures are going to be taken in terms of recourse for those students who believe that genuinely they did not have pre-access to the examination papers. Our response to that is; candidates who cheated were identified because there is evidence. No candidate will have his/her results nullified without evidence. The work of investigators, markers and grade reviewers was to collect evidence to show that there was malpractice or no malpractice. The message must be driven home; if you cheat, you will have to deal with the consequences of cheating.
In conclusion, examination malpractice is a scourge throughout examination boards across the world. A good example, this year it has come from South Africa, Uganda, Singapore where even the services of Interpol were solicited. We in Zimbabwe have to deal with the scourge squarely, with the measures being put in place. As a Ministry, we need to ensure that those who write examinations according to the rules and regulations continue with their education system. Corrupt school officials and ordinary citizens who were at the forefront of disrupting the examination system must face the consequences that face them. I thank you.
(v)+HON. MAHLANGU: Thank you very much Madam Speaker Ma’am. May the Hon. Minister clarify on the examination questions that leaked? How about the markers? This thing is happening each and every year towards examination time. The Ministry has done nothing since the leakages of the examination papers. May the Hon. Minister clarify to us where the leakages started? Was it from ZIMSEC or somewhere else? May the Ministry make an enquiry on ZIMSEC because that is where the leakages start from?
HON. GABBUZA: Thank you Madam Speaker. I have three clarifications. We know that at A’ Level, you just need three subjects to enter into any university. Of late, we have seen people writing 20 subjects and coming up with 20 As. Do you ever investigate such cases? Are those not indicators that there could be some leaking? ‘A’ Level with Maths and all subjects, somebody getting 20 As. Secondly, will you allow these cheating students to write this year? Is there any mechanism perhaps to suspend them?
Lastly, with all these scandals which are increasing every year; last year it was less. It is becoming worse. What do you think is the implication to the confidence in our education system? Are you considering perhaps bringing back Cambridge to manage the exams until we are confident of our system? Currently, if I see my kid with 20 As, I have no confidence that indeed he has got the brains for 20 As. Thank you.
HON. HWENDE: I wanted clarity on something; just to add on to what Hon. Gabbuza has said. *Hon. Minister, are you not seeing that there is an area that you have not responded to? It is quite clear that the majority of these culprits are members of your staff. Papers are being leaked from ZIMSEC to prospective candidates. In your investigations, you have concentrated on the innocent children, bearing in mind the meager salaries that you are paying and the fact that they run such an important examination. The payments that you are giving to the workers such as ZWL$86.000 for such an important examination, that on its own causes people to be involved in underhand dealings by leaking these papers and sell them so that they get US dollars which they use for sustenance of their families. If that is not nipped in the bud, you are going to have a perennial problem. Even those that are marking the papers are being paid. People no longer have confidence with ZIMSEC. If it were possible, could you also bring back the Cambridge system which pays very well unlike what you are doing? The Ministry should have a policy as has been mentioned by Hon. Gabbuza. In here, there are people who used to be very good at school. We never heard that there was someone who could attain 20 As at A’ Level, including the Hon. Speaker’s sister. She got 17 As and we even congratulated him. That has never occurred. Can you please attend to that issue? Thank you.
HON. MADZIMURE: Thank you Madam Speaker. I heard of only two people that the Hon. Minister said were arrested but this thing was wider than two people having been on the centre of the corruption scandal as far as examinations were concerned. The majority of the distributors were actually teachers. That is how it happened because the teacher would then pass on, sometimes not even issuing the papers themselves but to advise on areas to concentrate on. How are you going to deal with the fact that the teachers were involved? Secondly, to those children whom you are saying you were quite sure they were beneficiaries, what information did you manage to get from those students to tell you who actually gave them the examination papers?
*HON. KWARAMBA: Thank you Madam Speaker. I would want to comment on the issue of leakage of examinations this year. As a parent, my child sat for O’ Level examinations last year. I feel pained as a parent because the students were innocent. You should deal with the culprits. Deal with the person who leaked the papers. The children did not commit any crime. They should be given their results. You are punishing the parents by asking them to pay examination fees for the second time. Thank you.
HON. MOLOKELA-TSIYE: Thank you so much Madam Speaker. I have a follow-up question with the Hon. Minister. The first one is around the changes to the law governing ZIMSEC. We do know that Parliament is about to end. We are going to have elections soon but we will still have examinations this year. When do you intend to have the changes to that law before this Parliament ends? If you do not do that, it means we will use the same ZIMSEC law for the coming exams. I want you to clarify on when you intend to change the relevant law governing ZIMSEC in order to avoid repetition.
The second clarification is around the issue of ZIMSEC being exonerated. There is no logic in exonerating ZIMSEC because the institution that has been given the mandate to make sure that there are credible examinations in this country is ZIMSEC. So if there are 5000 disqualified learners, it means ZIMSEC has failed. So, the buck stops at ZIMSEC. Can you not have an independent commission of enquiry to investigate ZIMSEC because it is the problem as the examination board? I went through the education system of Zimbabwe and I never experienced ZIMSEC as a person. I experienced Cambridge and in my entire education from primary to university, I never experienced what I am seeing these days since we changed to ZIMSEC. When Cambridge was administering exams in this country, it was a completely different case. Yes, I do not say it was perfect but what we see today, I think, it is related to ZIMSEC. So, Hon. Minister, is there no possibility of an Independent Commission of Enquiry to investigate the conduct of ZIMSEC? ZIMSEC is the problem.
Last but not least, a lot of people who have got financial capacity are migrating to Cambridge. So as long as you do not address ZIMSEC; Cambridge had exams in this country, not even one learner from Cambridge got 20 ‘As’, and not even one person from Cambridge was disqualified in the same country. The rich in this country are using Cambridge, what about the poor? A discredited Examination Board that will not give them a future after they spend time and endless hours studying and preparing for an exam only to be told that your Examination Board has failed you -
Hon. Minister, if you do not give the responsibility of the administration of exams to ZIMSEC, then the buck stops with you. You are the next in line, either you resign or ZIMSEC is dissolved. Otherwise you will be fired. Thank you so much.
*HON. MUTAMBISI: Thank you Madam Speaker. I would like to ask the Hon. Minister when did ZIMSEC realise there was cheating? Was it before students had already written the paper and if it was, why did they not produce a supplementary paper? If they became aware of it during marking, why did they not withhold the papers and issue a supplementary paper? Thank you. – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] -
*THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER (HON. DR. MAVETERA): The Hon. Minister says that she wants to respond. Let us allow her to respond. We will give opportunity to those who are on virtual after her responses. Thank you.
THE MINISTER OF PRIMARY AND SECONDARY EDUCATION (HON. DR. E. NDLOVU): I will respond to your questions first because you posed pertinent questions.
*THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Was there anyone else who posed questions in Ndebele besides Hon. Mahlangu?
HON. DR. E. NDLOVU: Madam Speaker, I hope the Ministry officials noted the first question for me.
+THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Yes, the question was in Ndebele.
HON. DR. E. NDLOVU: Yes, dealing with culprits, the Act states that the results of cheating candidates will be nullified. Is that your answer? – [Laughter.] – Let me respond the way I see it.
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Hon. Minister, I can indulge you to read so that you can consolidate your responses.
HON. DR. E. NDLOVU: Let me respond to the questions that I noted. There is the challenge on salaries that teachers are underpaid and as a result, they go out there to do these malpractices.
The salary issue, I think, we have been trying to address in the country. The challenge that we have is the budget – the amount of money that is allocated to us. I think this year; I would like to thank the parliamentarians because you pushed for a higher budget for salaries so that, at least, our teachers are paid; if we improve on remuneration, I think probably, they will also be happy and do good for the nation.
Then people have lost confidence in ZIMSEC. Yes, we appreciate that people have lost confidence in ZIMSEC. ZIMSEC was started so that we can own our own examinations. Recently, I travelled to South Africa and they were asking us to actually introduce ZIMSEC as part of our agreement between Zimbabwe and South Africa because they admire the result of ZIMSEC at university level. Our students who have completed ZIMSEC examinations in this country cannot compete at higher institutions of learning with South Africans – they are way above the South African grade. So, I still believe …
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Hon. Minister, may you please connect!
HON. DR. E. NDLOVU: Thank you Madam Speaker. So, I still believe that our children who write ZIMSEC Madam Speaker …
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Hon. Minister, may you please connect!
HON. DR. E. NDLOVU: I am not connected again? – [AN HON. MEMBER: South Africans have a poor education system because they spend five years in primary school.] - I still believe that ZIMSEC is an examination center of credibility; I still believe, from the performance of our children outside the country. I still believe that the body is credible.
Then ‘A’ level, how can people believe in people who attain 20 points? Yes, that one was criticised online and I felt so bad I tell you. I think we need to come up with a policy to limit the number of subjects that are written by our children. We really need to come up with a policy Madam Speaker as a Ministry that, at least, mwana ngaanyore four subjects pa ‘A’ level. Izvi zvekunyora ma10 chii chii why? There is confusion, so I think; we will come up with a policy Madam Speaker so that, at least, our children can write four subjects. After all, our universities require only three subjects? – [AN HON. MEMBER: Three!] – Yes, they need three. So the maximum, we will recommend, as a Ministry, that we come up with a policy where we reduce the number of ‘A’ level subjects.
Then the distributors were teachers – well, I cannot confirm but if really the distributors were teachers, the team that was doing the investigations should have caught those people because they apprehended a few people consisting mainly of school children and those two teachers who originated the papers, betshontsha because no other area had a break-in except that iThokozani Secondary School – no other center.
At other centers, the people who we employed who are retired teachers came and unlocked the last key. The two keys stay with the schools and then one key does not stay with the school; it is given to a retired teacher to come and unlock. So, I think, we really need to be serious. If they are teachers, then I think the team would have caught them. I do not know how because we had the CID Section investigating this. So, I do not believe that they were teachers; if they were, then they would have been caught – [AN HON. MEMBER: Because they pay!] – So they paid the police and CIO? Heee then we really need to put a team on the ground.
Probably his recommendation that we come up with an independent board of inquiry. We need to do that and we will consider that recommendation as a Ministry. Of course, we are going to change the law. I went through that document and checked the reason why the document has been stuck in the Ministry for many years. I am trying to push it, like any other document that I found so that we can punish and the punishment must be prohibitive, it must be harsh. At the moment if you are going to do community work, you do not feel the pain. We want the law to take its course and I am going to push it so that it comes to Parliament before the end of the Session. I will work with ZIMSEC and the Ministry’s Legal department to make sure that the document comes to Parliament before the elections.
On introduction of Cambridge – Cambridge is already here and Hon Members, let me talk in Ndebele. +Let us not look down upon ourselves to that level, to the extent to say that we are better off with the British in this country. Let us fix this matter. If it is ZIMSEC at fault, let us all unite and fix this matter and retain our examination board. Let us be proud Zimbabweans. Truthfully, after so many years of gaining our independence, we want Britain to dominate us again! No Honourable Members, I am committed to and will stand my ground that if there is a leakage, we must go through and an independent commission must investigate. If we find that there is something within ZIMSEC, we correct that. If the leakage is with the centres as we said, we correct that but we retain our pride. This is my feeling as a Zimbabwean that we should try.
I am informed also by the ZIMSEC Board that the Cambridge examinations – actually my grandchildren sat for the Cambridge but the subjects are many. *In the schools for the rich people they sit for Cambridge examinations but surely the subjects the children are doing are just too many. The other day I had to call after communicating with somebody whom I respect in this country on the Cambridge issue. The person said, why Ndlovu do you allow the private and trust schools to write more than three subjects? Why do we allow that? We must put it in the new amendment Bill. We have to limit the number of subjects to be written by anybody. Even in the teaching field, the lessons and subjects are too many that our children and grandchildren are doing – [HON. MADZIMURE: The satchels for our primary school children are now like 10kgs.] – Yes, they are full. We need to reduce the number of subjects that are done by our children and I am going to work on that immediately when we leave this place – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] –
You might say your child, your daughter should not be punished but some of those children when we are now looking at the results and the answer sheets, the markers discovered that some of the children were using a fake answer sheet which had wrong answers. We proved beyond reasonable doubt that these children copied because they just copied the answer sheet. There is real proof to that. The answer sheet was fake; it was originated by these other people who want money and they bought that answer sheet and put the answers. The markers then discovered that some of the children used that fake answer sheet. So we have proof that those children cheated.
+HON L. SIBANDA: Those are the 5 000 students that were suspended?
+ HON. DR. E. NDLOVU: Yes, because the students were soliciting for examination papers or maybe it was a parent who solicited for an examination paper and gave to the child. The child is the one who was now at fault at school, and when the examiners were going through the answer sheets they discovered that the student had cheated. As the board, we had already received a tip off that there is an answer sheet which was wrong and was circulating.
The independent commission of enquiry will look into it if it is feasible. We will consult and look into it. The ZIMSEC discovered it in October. I read it in my document but after discovering it, ZIMSEC then informed me and my office. I then directed ZIMSEC to engage the security forces so that we investigate and bring the culprits to book. That is why when I came to Parliament, some of you tried to raise the issue and said no, it is prejudice. We are still looking at it. We have engaged the State security to make sure that we find out what happened. I engaged them including the Board Chair. I think the results speak for themselves. I do not know the issue of teachers that they were involved; they were not caught and we will continue to investigate.
On the supplementary paper – They did not withdraw because it was too late. If we discover it on time then we can withdraw the paper. Also, it is costly to set and sit examinations. The whole process is very expensive. That is why we said it is now late, let the children write and then we will discover who really copied and who did not copy, and then punish those that have copied and put measures to stop copying. I have quoted in my paper that there are serious leakages that are happening in the Republic of South Africa, Singapore and Uganda, not this – [HON. BITI: 5 000 ihombe.] – Yedu is 1,78% vaBiti, dzavo it is higher.
(v) HON. NDIWENI: I want the Hon. Minister to clarify the issue of Mukaro Secondary School where the whole school’s results were withheld. What really happened there?
(v) HON. MOKONE: Hon. Minister, you are saying the first leakages were recorded in Matebeleland South at Thokozane Secondary School. Are you really sure that these were the leakages that were recorded or the kids from this secondary school are just sacrificial lambs because I do not think these papers actually leaked in Matebeleland South. There is somewhere where they leaked and this issue was out-blown because these papers were discovered in Matebeleland South. If these papers actually leaked in Matebeleland South, may you kindly furnish us with the results from Matebeleland South because if these kids from Matebeleland South had papers, Matebeleland South should have performed better in these exams? From what I know and from what I have read, Matebeleland South performed poorly in these exams.
Every year we hear stories of ZIMSEC papers leaking, why can we not have a stop-gap measure to this so that we do not hear about these leakages anymore? In your Ministerial Statement, if I heard you correctly, you said your own muzukuru did not write ZIMSEC but sat for Cambridge exams. What does it say? It means that you, yourself the Hon. Minister of Primary and Secondary Education, has lost faith in ZIMSEC and that is the reason why your muzukuru wrote Cambridge exams.
+HON. L. SIBANDA: I want to ask the Hon. Minister over the continuous leakages of examination papers. If those perpetrators are not being arrested and prosecuted, the examination papers will continue to leak each and every year.
HON. S. NDLOVU: Hon. Minister, whose fault is it? Is it ZIMSEC, parents or the children? You have decided to withhold the results for these students, schools opened on Monday for Form 5 classes, what mechanisms have you put in place to make sure that these children are not left at home because what will happen is, we will see these children now taking mutoriro because they have nothing to do? These are idle minds that are sitting at home.
*HON. TEKESHE: I wanted to find out when the new curriculum was started, were the pupils prepared? I see Grade One pupils using 11 textbooks. The developed countries that we are copying from have Wifi and Internet all over. Our children in the communal lands are not coping with the CALA projects because they have no access to Wifi, neither do they have the tools of trade such as gadgets. Also, some schools in the rural areas in Manicaland are not taking Ecocash and RTGs payments in ZWL. They demand payment in USD because they say they buy chalk in USD. Where do you expect the rural folks to get the USD when they are refusing our own currency? Is that policy?
HON. BITI: My question to the esteemed Minister is that we support fully the principle of localisation of examinations and the idea of ZIMSEC. So, the principle of localisation is uncontested.
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: You are not connected.
HON. BITI: I am now connected Madam Speaker, so can I proceed.
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Yes you can proceed.
HON. BITI: So the principle of localisation is uncontested, the problem to the Hon. Minister is that virtually each year, ZIMSEC is experiencing these leakages - the leakages are not abating, they are actually increasing. This year 5 000 students were affected, that is not a small number. It is not enough, with great respect to you that South Africa, Singapore, Uganda might have had more people - we are Zimbabweans, and we want to create a proud incorruptible system. What we are doing now is that we are undermining the credibility of our education system because the localisation is failing because of whatever challenges that ZIMSEC is facing.
The greatest legacy of post independent in Zimbabwe is and has been education. President Mugabe’s biggest achievement is education but we are now undermining it through ZIMSEC. What the nation wants to hear from the Minister, which was not in her policy statement read this afternoon, is what concrete measures are you now going to make to restore credibility of ZIMSEC and our examination system,it will take some time but what concrete measures are you taking?. I do not think it is possible to effect those concrete measures without fundamental legislative changes. I do not think it is possible without also instituting an independent commission of inquiry into why these leakages are occurring because you have nothing to hide. The independent commission will help us and discover the mischief. Is it poor salaries? I heard you saying you have exonerated ZIMSEC. We know that some of the leakages were actually online leakages. There were online, a soft copy was sent to students and a soft copy is only generated at source. So, we need legislative measures, we need a commission of inquiry.
I heard you say when ZIMSEC saw this, they phoned you. It is not a problem that they are not sufficiently independent to take corrective measures on their own? I heard you saying you contacted security agencies. Should security people not be part of ZIMSEC to protect the integrity of examinations? Some of these questions are reflecting that at a theoretical level, there is a lot that needs to be done.
Finally Madam Speaker Ma’am, there is no way a child can come up with 20 to 28 points at Advanced level. I did Advanced level, it was very hard, I did not even have time to play. At university level, it was much easier than Advanced Level. We even formed a soccer club and we had time to play. Now Madam Speaker, we are hearing of students that are coming with shocking results and you just wonder what kind of education system we have in Zimbabwe – [technical fault] – [AN HON. MEMBER: Madam Speaker magetsi aenda network yaenda] – THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER (HON. MAVETERA): You can proceed Hon. Minister they will read the Hansard.
THE MINISTER OF PRIMARY AND SECONDARY EDUCATION (HON. DR. E. NDLOVU): Thank you Madam Speaker, I can hear the cries of our people in the House about ZIMSEC and the measures that we are taking. I will start to answer the Matabeleland South issue. Matabeleland South did not benefit from the papers; the papers were stolen at Thokozane which is in Matabeleland South. According to the paper that I read to you, the papers were then taken to Zvishavane in a pharmacy and that is where the paper was then distributed; from Zvishavane not from Matabeleland South. So Matabeleland South did not have access to the paper.
The teachers, whether they come from Zvishavane, I do not know but they had a link in a pharmacy in Zvishavane. The paper was then sold all over the country but Matabeleland South did not have access to that paper. The majority of the culprits were in the other part of the country from Zvishavane coming this way. People were arrested but it is the sentence that is weak, that is why I said we need to review the law to make it stiffer so that these people are punished enough to feel the pain. If we review the law and punish these people, then the leaking will stop. As long as the law is lenient on the culprits, then we will continue to have a leakage. There were measures that dealt with effects of the leakage - that is why the examinations went on so we took the measures as ZIMSEC to make sure that they contain the leakages. It was quick, it was ZIMSEC that approached the security forces after my recommendation but it was them that approached the security forces. The principle of localisation, I agree with you Hon. Biti but the measure that we should take is that we must bring the Amendment Bill here so that we can tighten the screws and make sure that there is no leakage that is going to happen.
You are right to say we might look at an independent commission to investigate them; they might come back to us again saying there is nothing wrong with ZIMSEC. As I said, we are going to consider the House’s recommendation that we come up with an independent commission to investigate ZIMSEC and the systems around ZIMSEC. The online leakage, I am told that there was a soft copy and I do not know where that soft copy came from. According to them, they said that the soft copy came from a Zvishavane lady - [HON. BITI: Inaudible interjection.] – They said they had a scanned copy not a soft copy – [HON. BITI: Says who? That is why I am saying let us investigate these people.] - Ivava; takukuinvestigatai vakomana, there is no choice. – We have to investigate and see if they were correct.
On the introduction of the new curriculum, unfortunately it happened before I came in. I think they did a thorough research in the education sector that resulted in the production of the new curriculum – [AN HON. MEMBER: Now the network and electricity is back, it is now working Madam Speaker.] – Kwakaitwa serious research into the education sector yeZimbabwe. There was a recommendation that we reviewed and we came up with the new curriculum. Yes, you might say we do not have enough resources or equipment to implement but that curriculum is a good system. It is there in South Africa and all over the world. Countries are using that curriculum. I think also it is the understanding at school level and at parent level. Complaints do not come from children; the complaints are coming from the parents. The children are enjoying the research that they are doing.
For instance, if you go to a rural set up, a child is asked to be innovative and come up with their projects. Some use grass which is around them, some use wood and come up with a product which product is going to be assessed by the teacher. Some come up with beads using the trees and fruit which they see and they come up with a project which is admirable and the teacher gives the mark. So having computers or not having computers, CALA still remains a good practice because it drives the child to think positively and address the challenges around him or her. For example, our schools are producing sanitizers because there was the COVID challenge in our schools. Some of our children produce gas in their schools, for example in Goromonzi, there was no electricity in their schools, they had to produce gas.
Madam Speaker, in terms of CALA we have to work together, explanations should be given to parents on why we introduced the CALA. Complains are not coming from children, they are coming from parents. Parents are saying they are doing the CALA, you are not supposed to do the CALA, it is the child who is supposed to do the CALA - [HON. BITI: CALA is now causing us parents to be students, that is the problem, I am now a core teacher but I do not get paid by your Ministry] – Hon. Speaker, I think CALA is now a problem. I think I must come and explain the issue of CALA.
Madam Speaker, we are already doing a review of the curriculum and we want you to write to the Ministry giving us your input so that we improve on CALA. We will not do away with CALA, it is progressive - we do not want to lag behind as a nation – [HON. BITI: Eleven subjects are too much for a Grade one child.] – Madam Speaker, I think on the CALA issue, I have to come back and explain.
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Hon. Minister, I think you have a Ministerial Statement, I am sure you can attach the CALA.
HON. DR. E. NDLOVU: Yes, we will do that.
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Hon. Minister, there were two questions you did not respond to. There was the issue of how you are going to restore credibility and the issues of legislative changes.
HON. DR. E. NDLOVU: I think we will restore credibility by having a commission of inquiry which will assess whether ZIMSEC is doing the right thing or they are leaking the examination papers. The results and recommendations will guide us accordingly.
On legislative changes, I promise that we are going to push for the ZIMSEC Amendment Bill to go through the relevant committees, it goes through Cabinet then it comes to Parliament.
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: How far have you gone with that Bill?
HON. DR. E. NDLOVU: We have a draft amendment Bill in place. That draft must go through the Cabinet process then come to Parliament for approval.
I had forgotten Hon. Tekeshe’s question and Hon. Ncube’s question as well. On the issue that some schools are not accepting our local currency; any school that refuses to take the local currency, please write to me so that I deal with that headmaster, we have got rogue people in offices, we need to deal with them.
On what we are doing with the children that had their results withheld by the Ministry; those children can rewrite their examinations in June or whatever, they will be allowed to write but we cannot allow them to go to Form 5 because they cheated.
On the Mukaro issue, they got their results except those who cheated. So Mukaro itself as a school, it got its results but those children that we discovered through the assessment that they cheated, their results were withheld and they will be allowed to sit for June examinations.
HON. BITI: So the most affected province is Masvingo?
HON. DR. E. NDLOVU: Yes.
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Thank you Hon. Minister, we would like to thank you for the Ministerial Statement which was very detailed. You responded very well, we await the other Ministerial Statement. Hon. Minister, can you please approach the Chair?
On the motion of HON. MUTAMBISI, seconded by HON. P. MOYO, the House adjourned at Eight Minutes past Six o’clock p.m.