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NATIONAL ASSEMBLY HANSARD 15 JULY 2020 VOL 46 NO 55
PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE
Wednesday 15th July, 2020
The National Assembly met at a Quarter-past Two O’clock p.m.
(THE HON. SPEAKER in the Chair)
ANNOUNCEMENTS BY THE HON. SPEAKER
PETITION RECEIVED FROM ADVOCACY CORE-TEAM THE HON. SPEAKER: I have the following announcements. I
wish to remind the House that on 14th July, 2020, Parliament received a
petition from the Advocacy Core Team ACT Campus Project requesting Parliament to amend the Public Health Act and other relevant laws to provide for access to reproductive health services by children from the age of 12 years and above. The petition has since been referred to the
Portfolio Committee on Health and Child Care.
ADHERENCE TO COVID-19 NATIONAL GUIDLINE THE HON. SPEAKER: I also wish to remind the House that in
line with the Ministry of Health and Child Care national guidelines on COVID-19, all Hon. Members are required to strictly observe the requirements for the temperature checks, wearing of face masks and maintaining social distancing when entering into the Parliament Building. Please note that anyone who fails to abide by these requirements will not be allowed entry into the building.
HON. NDEBELE: I rise on a matter of public importance, if you may allow me Hon. Speaker.
THE HON. SPEAKER: Not today.
HON. NDEBELE: I thought the rule says Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays.
THE HON. SPEAKER: No, not on Wednesdays.
HON. NDEBELE: So yesterday we were misled by the Hon.
Deputy Speaker. May I approach the Chair Hon. Speaker?
THE HON. SPEAKER: In fact you should have approached me
much earlier in terms of our Standing Orders.
Hon. Ndebele approached the Chair.
THE HON. SPEAKER: You can proceed.
HON. NDEBELE: Thank you, I shall speak for a minute on a matter of public importance. Hon. Speaker, I wish to address myself quickly to the Luveve water situation. From as early as May this year, residents of Luveve in Bulawayo have been getting sick from drinking Municipal water. The same has happened in Lobengula, Magwegwe, Mpopoma and elsewhere but without causing death. The Luveve water supply conundrum Hon. Speaker Sir, is not just a Luveve issue, it is a Bulawayo issue and by extension, a Zimbabwean issue.
I have a prayer Hon. Speaker for our Hon. Minister of Local
Government in line with Section 77 of our Constitution, if it pleases you Hon. Minister of Local Government, could you kindly and urgently declare the Bulawayo water situation a state of disaster so that the response thereto becomes global and we get cooperating partners assisting our Government in dealing with Luveve water situation urgently. Thank you Mr. Speaker.
THE HON. SPEAKER: The Hon. Minister of Local Government
I am sure has taken note of that and will respond accordingly.
ANNOUNCEMENT BY THE HON. SPEAKER
APOLOGIES RECEIVED FROM MINISTERS
THE HON. SPEAKER: I have the following apologies from the
The Minister of Industry and Commerce - Hon. Dr. Kanhutu-
The Minister of Women’s Affairs, Community and Small Medium Enterprises - Hon. Dr. S. D. G. Nyoni,
The Minister of Mines and Mining Development – Hon. Chitando,
The Minister of Defence and War Veterans Affairs – Hon. O. C. Z.
The Minister of Youth, Sport, Arts and Recreation – Hon. Dr. K
The Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare – Hon.
The Minister of State in Vice President Hon. Mohadi’s Office –
Hon. D. Marapira,
The Minister of Finance and Economic Development – Hon. Prof.
The Deputy Minister of Finance and Economic Development –
Hon. C. Chiduwa,
The Minister of Foreign Affairs – Hon. Dr. S. B. Moyo and The Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development Hon. Arch J. B.
Hon. Tsunga having stood to debate
THE HON. SPEAKER: No, no, his delivery was as clear as water, we do not want to dilute it.
HON. TSUNGA: I want to talk about your response.
THE HON. SPEAKER: My response was very clear as water as well. I said the Hon. Minister of Local Government take note and respond at an appropriate time. Thank you.
HON. MUSHORIWA: On a point of order Mr. Speaker.
THE HON. SPEAKER: Point of order with regard to what.
HON. MUSHORIWA: It is about the announcement that you have just made.
THE HON. SPEAKER: Which announcement.
HON. MUSHORIWA: About the apologies.
THE HON. SPEAKER: No debate on that.
HON. MUSHORIWA: Hon. Speaker, some of these Ministers always give apologies, they do not come to the House.
THE HON. SPEAKER: The Standing Orders require the Hon.
Ministers to give apologies in terms of our Standing Orders. That is all.
ORAL ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS WITHOUT NOTICE
HON. MUSIKAVANHU: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir, my
question is directed to the Acting Minister of Health and Child Care. In view of limited rates collection due to the lockdown, what is your Ministry’s position in ensuring rehabilitation of high risk substandard food markets in local authorities? Thank you.
THE HON. SPEAKR: Did you get the question Hon. Minister, can you repeat your question?
HON. MUSIKAVANHU: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. My
question is as follows, in view of limited rates collection – THE HON. SPEAKER: You mean refuse or rates?
HON. MUSIKAVANHU: In view of limited rates collection …
THE HON. SPEAKER: You mean refuse or rates?
HON. MUSIKAVANHU: Rates. In view of limited rates
collection due to the lockdown, what is your Ministry’s position in ensuring rehabilitation of dilapidated high risk food markets? Thank you.
THE MINISTER OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT, PUBLIC
WORKS AND NATIONAL HOUSING (HON. J. MOYO): Hon.
Speaker, the issue of rates is obviously a worrying one in all the local authorities, urban and rural. Like the rest of the economy, it has been affected by COVID-19. However, when it comes to food outlets, the local authorities obviously need to be capacitated in order to follow up and do inspections. This is a joint work that is done by the local authorities together with the environmental health officers of the Ministry of Health and Child Care. In this lockdown, we have tried to ensure that all the local authorities working with Government at provincial level do not stop inspecting some of the outlets that we are making sure are working.
This is a recent occurrence, in the first lockdown, all restaurants were not allowed to operate, later on only restaurants which are operating in hotels were allowed to operate.
Hon. Chinotimba having passed between an Hon. Member speaking and the Chair.
THE HON. SPEAKER: Order Hon. Chinotimba, you cannot
pass; you have to come through the other door.
HON. J. MOYO: I was saying, during the opening that has now taken place where some restaurants have been allowed to operate, the strict instruction has been, let us not open every eating place because we cannot supervise what is happening. So, it is the local authorities supported by the Ministry of Health and environmental health officers who can allow a food outlet to be opened because we are fully aware that if we open willy-nilly, the spread of this disease will continue in many of our places because of the overcrowding that can take place. We are very conscious that local authorities do not have enough money to supervise but let the Government support them through the relevant Ministry that I mentioned.
In addition, the law enforcement agencies in all the local authority areas, again because of the committees which have been set by the
President at national and provincial level led by the Minister of State for Provincial Affairs; and devolution and in the districts where these local authorities are operating led by the District Development Committees, they have to also assist and enforce so that these food outlets do not become breeding places for COVID-19. I thank you Hon. Speaker.
HON. MUSIKAVANHU: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. I
appreciate the response from the Hon. Minister. However, my focus was primarily more on markets where vegetables and fruits are sold as opposed to hotels.
THE HON. SPEAKER: What is your supplementary question?
HON. MUSIKAVANHU: My supplementary is that, having
clarified where I was coming from, is it possible Hon. Minister to designate officials from EMA to be permanently located at the markets where these vegetables and fruits are sold?
THE HON. SPEAKER: You have criss-crossed your questions.
The issue of EMA falls under the Ministry of Environment, Climate Change, Tourism and Hospitality Industry.
HON. MURAI: Thank you very much Mr. Speaker Sir. My
question to the Minister is that, it seems you always take ages to approve the council budget. By the time you approve those budgets, the money would be nothing. What measures are you putting in place so that you approve those budgets timeously?
THE HON. SPEAKER: Order, that is a totally new question
altogether. It is delayed payment of rates.
HON. MURAI: It has to do with rates; the rates come from the budget Mr. Speaker Sir.
THE HON. SPEAKER: No – [HON. MURAI: You cannot have
the rates without the budget.] – Order. You can ask that as a separate question.
HON. M. M. MPOFU: Thank you Mr. Speaker. My question is
directed to the Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Water, Climate and Rural Resettlement. I am asking on his concrete plans to mitigate the unfolding water crisis especially in the rural constituencies such as Silobela which are currently confronted with critical water shortages for both human beings and livestock. The situation has been exacerbated by a massive number of boreholes which are currently broken down and there are no spares available from the DDF. I thank you.
THE MINISTER OF LANDS, AGRICULTURE, WATER,
CLIMATE AND RURAL RESETTLEMENT (HON. RTD AIR
CHIEF MARSHALL SHIRI): Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. I am
preparing a statement to Parliament on the state of water in the country and my intention is to present it before this august House on Wednesday next week. With your indulgence, I would like to request that I be allowed to defer responding so that I can give a detailed response next week Mr. Speaker Sir.
THE HON. SPEAKER: Thank you.
HON. NDUNA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. My question borders on Hon. Minister of Local Government and Public Works. You will guide me accordingly. What is the Government policy in relation to rehabilitation and reconstruction of the main sewer line in the local authority purview in our constituencies in terms of timelines?
Reconstruction, rehabilitation or maintenance of the sewer lines Mr.
Speaker Sir. I have got a follow up to that, which is going to unravel the reason why.
THE MINISTER OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT AND PUBLIC
WORKS (HON. J. MOYO): Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. I want to thank Hon. Nduna for that question; it is an important question because of the dilapidation of our sewer systems in the country. The law empowers every local authority, particularly municipalities and town councils to be responsible for sewerage in the construction, reconstruction and maintenance of those sewer lines. It is the responsibility of the local authority. Most local authorities now have dilapidated and unworkable sewer systems and the Government is intending to make sure that we recapitalise those sewer systems. It can no longer just be maintenance because the breakdowns are so frequent and the lack of maintenance by some of the councils have also exacerbated the situation that we are in. We have reached a point whereby in most of our analysis, we send consulting engineers outside the engineers of those local authorities that there is now need for injection of capital expenditure in order to revive those sewer systems especially the main lines. Thereafter, we hope that the rates and sewerage charges that the local authorities will be charging to the beneficiaries will be able to have enough money to give maintenance for those.
However, for now, we think a lot of the local authorities; sewerage and water needs a capital injection. That is why the policy that the President has taken is to assist local authorities in the upgrading of water mains as well as sewerage mains. Therefore, we take this responsibility as a shared responsibility between Government and the local authorities but the maintenance of those, even though the construction is also theirs, has to be done by the local authorities.
HON. NDUNA: Mr. Speaker Sir, what then occurs during the reconstruction, rehabilitation and maintenance of the same in relationship to the ownership of the safety of the people engaged in the reconstruction of the sewer pipes?
THE HON. SPEAKER: What do you understand by ownership of
HON. NDUNA: Who does it resides with? Now, that the Hon.
Minister has said the local authority gets to be capacitated for reconstruction, rehabilitation of the sewer pipes where safety is concerned. Who is in charge of the safety of the members that are engaged in the reconstruction of the same?
HON. J. MOYO: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. The Government
makes sure that the reconstruction is done by the local authority even if Government helps with money. In a lot of cases, local authorities also contracts a contractor, so when it comes to safety, it depends on whether the local authority is undertaking the job itself using its own personnel. If that is the case, then it is directly responsible for the safety of the workers.
Secondly, if it is contracted, it has a contract with a contractor, that contractor has a responsibility and that supervision of the occupational health and safety of those workers, it is the responsibility of the Ministry of Public Works and Labour but the contractor or the local authority as it is undertaking those jobs, is responsible for the safety of the people.
HON. MURAYI: My question goes to the Minister of Local
Government which concerns the budget approvals for councils. It seems you take ages to approve the budgets. Do you have any plan to adjust such that you can approve these budgets timeously?
HON. J. MOYO: I want to thank the Hon. Member. Budgets are prepared during the previous year when that budget is supposed to operate. Local authorities sometimes bring their budgets in January instead of bringing them when time is still there, either in December or earlier. We have said to local authorities, submit budgets while you wait for the national budget to be pronounced so that you can incorporate some of the money that is allocated and appropriated by this Parliament as you all know which is in the blue book. That does not make you wait to prepare the rest of the budget which is your budget; both income and expenditure, then you can incorporate what would have been appropriated by Government through Parliament. When you do that, we still want those budgets to be with us by end of the year, at most by end of January so that we can start preparing for approvals.
I want to say to the Hon. Member that if he knows of a council where we delayed because the municipality had delayed or because of us, he should bring specific examples. We have made sure that all the local authorities that bring their budgets, we sit and try to approve in batches of when they would have come in so that we make sure they implement the budget.
I can also tell you Mr. Speaker Sir, that after our approvals, this year we even had two seminars for all the local authorities in the urban areas before COVID-19 and for all the rural district councils. So there cannot be a question of the Ministry delaying when we were able to hold budget seminars for implementation of those budgets by February this year. I thank you.
HON. NYONI: My question is directed to the Deputy Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare. The cost of living keeps going up all the time. The pricing of goods is now in USD. Many shops are rejecting the local currency. Therefore, when will Government policy be changed to allow payment of salaries in USD?
THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF PUBLIC SERVICE, LABOUR
AND SOCIAL WELFARE (HON. MATUKE): I think this question is
supposed to be directed to the Minister of Finance who deals with the currencies of the day.
THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND
PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): Mr. Speaker,
Government has no desire to abandon the Zimbabwean dollar.
HON. MADZIMURE: My supplementary question is the
Minister is fully aware that at all service stations, we are now buying fuel in USD. Actually, the currency that is now trading in Zimbabwe is the USD. Can he explain why he would not want the civil servants to also have the opportunity to use a currency that is acceptable, that works in Zimbabwe because it is official that we are using the USD?
HON. ZIYAMBI: Mr. Speaker, the Hon. Member is aware that when COVID came upon us, the Minister of Finance allowed the use of free funds that are available. There was no pronouncement whatsoever that we must go back to a currency that we do not have control on, that we do not produce and our desire at the moment is to ensure that we stabilise our currency and ensure that it becomes stable so that the earnings of our people are not eroded. So, at no point will we entertain the idea of abandoning our currency in the near future. I thank you.
HON. CHIKWINYA: My supplementary question arises from the mention of COVID pandemic by the Hon. Minister in his last response. Realising that the COVID pandemic is upon us, the Ministry of Finance announced that it was going to give US$75 allowances to cushion civil servants in this period. When…
THE HON. SPEAKER: Order! The Hon. Lady member seated on
the right of the pillar there, can you stop speaking across and making noise.
HON. CHIKWINYA: I was saying the last response by the Hon. Minister mentions the issue of the COVID pandemic upon us. In response to that the Hon. Minister of Finance announced a US$75 COVID allowance to cushion the civil servants during this period which is supposed to last for three months. My question is - we are now post one month, post -30 days after that announcement. When can the civil servants expect to be paid because they are still suffering from the prices pegged on the free funds which he has mentioned, which affects fuel and other basic goods and services. Thank you.
HON. ZIYAMBI: I want to thank the Hon. Member for the question. Mr. Speaker, a policy and a position was taken to pay a 50% salary increase and a USD75. That position was taken. Regarding the payment modalities, that is not my job to come here and give technical details as to how the Treasury is going to pay and when. Perhaps if he wants to know the specifics, he can put that in writing and then I can forward to the Minister so that he can explain but what I can explain is there is a policy position that a 50% salary increase be paid and a USD75 cushioning allowance for the next three months.
HON. CHIKWINYA: My point of order is that Parliament makes laws for the good governance of the country. As such, we are expected to be representatives of the people in terms of Section 119 of the Constitution. I am not seeking any technical modalities and the responsible Minister must be able to be responsive to the plight of the people of Zimbabwe. The Government took a policy in response to the pressures which were coming in from the workers and the workers are simply demanding a date upon which they are going to be paid. Is it month end, next year and I am sure Hon. Minister, with all due respect, a date suffices to ease the anxiety with the people in our constituencies. I beg you Hon. Minister that it is not a technicality but purely a response to the anxiety of the people in our constituencies. When are the people going to expect to be paid their USD75 in nostro accounts? Thank you.
THE HON. SPEAKER: Your point of order is asking for a technical exactitude which the Hon. Leader of Government Business may not provide. My understanding of technicalities is the modalities to translate that policy into action. That is what I understood by the response of the Hon. Minister, not technical in the scientific sense.
HON. BITI: My supplementary is directed to the Minister of
Justice. The original question is, when is Government going to pay civil servants? The Government itself is now levying its charges in USD.
Only last week on Friday, the Minister of Transport enacted Statutory
Instrument 162 of 2020 which now says that all vehicle licences in Zimbabwe must be paid in USD. Over and above that, the RBZ, through its exchange control directive that established the auction floor on the trade of foreign currency, has obliged every shop in Zimbabwe to display prices in USD and in local currencies. When you go on the ground in the shops Mr. Speaker, shops are refusing the local currency. Once the RBZ has made that determination, it means that we are now officially dollarising and if we are dollarizing…
THE HON. SPEAKER: What is your question?
HON. BITI: The question is when are you now going to officially
dollarise the salaries of civil servants?
HON. ZIYAMBI: Mr. Speaker Sir, I want to thank the Hon.
Member for the question. Mr. Speaker, let me repeat my earlier response. The Government has no plans whatsoever, to abandon the use of the Z$. Rather, we are working towards progressively ensuring that it becomes the sole currency of trade in Zimbabwe. Thank you.
HON. JOSIAH SITHOLE: My question is directed to Minister of Energy and Power Development. Is it now Government policy that fuel is charged in foreign currency? Thank you.
THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND
PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): Mr. Speaker Sir,
I would like to thank the Hon. Member. I have explained that the Minister of Finance allowed the use of free funds. As such, some service stations were also allowed to charge in US dollars – [HON.
MEMBERS: All service stations.] – However, we do not have a policy - like I indicated earlier on, of abandoning the use of our currency. We will continue using it and we will ensure that in future, it becomes our sole currency of trade.
THE HON. SPEAKER: Order, I had said Hon. Biti’s supplementary is the last one because they were now three – [HON.
MEMBERS: It is a new question.] – Wait a minute. May I persuade Hon. Members that some of these questions can be raised tomorrow when the Hon. Minister of Finance gives his Review?
HON. T. MOYO: Mr. Speaker Sir, my question is directed to the
Minister of Local Government and Public Works. May I know Government policy on urban agriculture as it impacts on poverty alleviation and food security? I thank you.
THE MINISTER LOCAL GOVERNMENT, PUBLIC
WORKS AND NATIONAL HOUSING (HON. JULY MOYO): Mr.
Speaker Sir, in the planning of all urban areas, a lot of them encompass areas that are arable before they are built up for either industrial, commercial and residential accommodation. It is the policy of Government to encourage families who are within those urban areas; even though an area has been designated as part of the master plan, as long as the master plan implementation has not reached the areas which are agricultural very viable, we encourage citizens to cultivate and to use this as supplement to their own income. This, as Zimbabweans we have practiced it over many years and we continue to do so. However, a lot of people end up going to wetlands and these are areas that are reserved for our waterways. We do not encourage people to start cultivating along stream banks because that has an effect of producing sand that ends up filling in the dams. While we encourage urban agriculture, we do not want that urban agriculture to end up being done on wetlands and on stream banks but only on areas that we think is not injurious to the ecosystem of the urban land. I thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.
HON. T. MOYO: My supplementary question is to what extent has urban agriculture impacted positively on livelihoods of urbanites and also impacted on economic development of Zimbabwe?
THE HON. SPEAKER: That is not a policy issue because that question invites research and you cannot expect the Hon. Minister to come up with the impact now.
HON. MAPHOSA: Mr. Speaker Sir, my question is directed to the Acting Minister of Health. What is Government doing in urgently addressing issues raised by striking nurses in public hospitals in light of the increase of covid-19 confirmed cases?
THE MINISTER OF HIGHER AND TERTIARY EDUCATION, INNOVATION, SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY DEVELOPMENT (HON. PROF. MURWIRA): Thank you Mr.
Speaker Sir. I wish to thank the Hon. Member for the timely important question. Mr. Speaker, as we try to make our national health system recover and become of service to this nation, we have emphasised that it is important to remove the toxic environment within the Ministry of Health and Child Care. Within that context, we have chosen the path of dialogue and teamwork in making sure that we all work together towards the common goal because anybody any day, any time can be sick. It could be a nurse or non-nurse. It could be a doctor or non-doctor.
We have chosen a path of making sure that we have dialogue with the nurses. We have teamwork with the nurses and stop the spirit of throwing things at each other, but rather ideas at each other. To this end, we have been having conversations and the last conversation that we had was a very productive conversation which was on Monday starting from half past eight in the morning ending at half past one, continuously talking and engaging. I believe this conversation and as we continue with that conversation, we are going to bring normalcy, peace and love within members of staff within the Ministry of Health for the effectiveness of the health system as well as containing the spiking cases of the covid-19 pandemic. I thank you.
HON. MAPHOSA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. My supplementary question is: I have understood what you are saying but how long is it going to take noting that people have not stopped being sick? They are going to hospital and there is no one to attend to.
HON. PROF. MURWIRA: Thank you Mr. Speaker. I wish to thank the Hon. Member for the supplementary question: I have talked about the conversation that occurred on Monday. I also want to emphasise the conversation that happened today. We are saying this thing is going to happen as soon as possible. As soon as possible might mean today in the afternoon or tomorrow in the morning but conversations are taking place. What is very important to us is to know that we are in this country together. It is our country together. It is not someone who should do while others are sitting. It is everybody who should do things. We have sat together and we had one of the most wonderful conversation that we have had based on the fact that nurses, Ministry staff and everybody else has to participate. There is no judge or anyone being judged. There are people that have to sit together and map the way forward based on the availability of resources. So, the answer is very simple which is as soon as possible and it could be now.
HON. TSUNGA: Thank you very much Mr. Speaker Sir, while I appreciate the response by the Acting Minister of Health, we cannot run away from the fact that the morale is at its lowest in the health sector and the salaries are far from adequate. What possibility is there that a component of salaries for the health sector be paid in US dollars? I think we must continue to hammer that point because this is the reality we are living. We cannot pretend that the US dollar is not a factor.
Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.
THE HON. SPEAKER: I thought that issue has been covered by the Leader of Government business.
HON. MATEWU: My supplementary question to the Acting
Minister of Health is that in such unpredictable time of COVID-19, is it wise for the Minister to dismiss hospital leadership in such a time of need. I thank you.
HON. PROF. MURWIRA: Thank you Hon. Speaker. I want to
emphasise and make it clear that health workers are under the Health Services Board (HSB), which hires and fires but if they consult and they have good reason, I have no reason to stop them from carrying out their constitutional duty. I thank you.
*HON. CHIKWINYA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. In your first answer Hon. Minister you talked about the path to dialogue and removing toxins in the Ministry of Health and Child Care. Am I correct to say path to dialogue means having nurses arrested by the police and giving the police and soldiers more money than nurses. What is your definition of path to dialogue?
THE HON. SPEAKER: Order, order that is a departure from the original question. We are done with supplementary questions.
HON. MHERE: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir, my question is directed to the Minister of Primary and Secondary Education. Since the reopening of schools has been deferred until further review what happens to the exam classes which are doing Cambridge syllabus and are supposed to register for the November exams by the 31st July, 2020. Are they allowed to go to their schools to register before the closing date?
THE MINISTER OF PRIMARY AND SECONDARY
EDUCATION (HON. MATHEMA): Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir, I
thank the Hon. Member for the question. Yes, the opening of schools has been deferred until further notice. We will communicate with the country as to when, depending on what we see on the ground - all of us by the way not just the Ministry. No school is allowed to open now but the June exams are going on now. Any school that wants to have examinations in November, I have never closed my doors to receive presentations from any authority at all about their situation. However, as to whether the schools will be open in November – nobody knows because nobody created COVID-19, so we will work accordingly and everyone will be informed.
HON. CHIKWINYA: Thank you Hon. Speaker, I thought the Hon. Member mentioned something about the November exams. Are November exams going to be written or not? Just clarify on that.
THE HON. SPEAKER: Order, order, order. There is some parliamentary language. You should say would the Hon. Minister clarify. Do not give the Hon. Minister an order.
HON. CHIKWINYA: Ok. Would the Hon. Minister clarify on the sitting of the November examinations with a specific answer?
HON. MATHEMA: Thank you very much Mr. Speaker Sir. We
had planned and indeed we were moving forward with the President’s directive that the schools should be opened on the 28th of this month.
For those students who will be sitting for Grade 7, ‘O’ and ‘A’ levels examinations but because of what is happening this is what we have now. As to whether we are going to write exams in November or not I do not know, unfortunately I do not know who created COVID-19. I would have phoned him. Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.
HON. MADZIMURE: Mr. Speaker, this House debated the issue
of reopening of schools and we all agreed it was not safe to do so. Did the Minister advise the President that it was not safe to open schools considering that he was vehemently saying he would go ahead and open schools? Was he advising the President accordingly?
THE HON. SPEAKER: Order, order Hon. Hon. Ndebele at the back. The exercise of wisdom has no timelines.
HON. P. MOYO: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. My question goes to the Acting Minister of Health. What is Government policy on having isolation centres in areas near the border where COVID-19 people are crossing into Zimbabwe? I thank you.
THE ACTING MINISTER OF HEALTH AND CHILD CARE
(HON. PROF. MURWIRA): Thank you Hon. Speaker and I wish to thank the Hon. Member for the question on the policy on quarantine centres. Our policy is that we have quarantine centres particularly close to those areas where we have the most traffic of people coming into the country. Thank you.
*HON. TEKESHE: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. My question is
directed to the Minister of Foreign Affairs. I did not hear the apology of the Deputy Minister. My question is - since COVID-19 started, all countries did lockdowns. Most of our children in the Diaspora are now destitutes and want to come back home. Is the Government going to help them with transport to come back home? Thank you.
*THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS (HON.
MUSABAYANA): Thank you Mr. Speaker for the question by Hon.
Tekeshe. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is a Government department. It is particularly looking at the lives of Zimbabweans outside the country and because of that, when COVID-19 started we help all those who want to come back home. As I speak right now, we have an aeroplane which will be leaving in nine days coming from China because we have about
200 children and even more who will be coming back home. Air Zimbabwe will be bringing these children and all our citizens who want to come back home from other countries are being helped by Government workers, our missions in those countries.
We have children who are coming from Botswana every week. We are getting citizens from South Africa and we are helping them until a time when workers from Foreign Affairs who were affected by COVID19 when they were assisting our citizens to come back home, if you are aware of our citizens who want to come back from any country but are not able to do so and have no assistance, we are ready to assist them to come back home safely. U.S.A has got eight citizens who will be coming back to the country very soon and we are assisting. If you know those who are not getting assistance, please inform us and we will assist them. Thank you.
*HON. TEKESHE: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. I did not
understand from the Minister’s answer, are they offering free transport for those who are coming back?
HON. MUSABAYANA: Thank you Mr. Speaker for the
supplementary question from Hon. Tekeshe. We also hear that we have citizens of this country who can afford to use their money to come back home but we assist them by preparing documents. We have citizens like students, those who are working and people who visited those countries for other reasons. If the Government has the money it will assist. We are talking with CBZ bank for those who cannot afford to come back home. CBZ bank will assist them through issuing of loans which they will pay back in installments but the Government would have assisted like in China where we sent an aeroplane. As Government we are saying on the engagement and diplomacy where we are negotiating for easy access through the borders, we are using that department to assist people to cross the borders coming home including the issue of getting loans from CBZ. Thank you.
*HON. TSUNGA: Thank you very much Hon. Speaker Sir. My
question is directed to the Minister of Home Affairs. People are having problems in travelling especially from the places of residence to their workplace but before they get into town, they are asked to disembark from the buses whilst they are very far away from town. Is it
Government policy that when people are getting into town they have to leave their cars away from town?
*THE MINISTER OF HOME AFFAIRS AND CULTURAL
HERITAGE (HON. KAZEMBE): Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. I want
to thank the Hon. Member for his question which I will try to answer in different parts. Firstly, there is no law which says someone has to disembark and finish his journey by walking but we have a law which is explaining how we are supposed to be travelling during COVID-19. It explains how we are supposed to travel during these times and it explains how we are supposed to be seated in the bus. If they are private cars, we do not allow more than two people in the car. We do not want people to be overloaded in buses and disembark once they see a roadblock. We do not encourage that. There is no law which says people have to walk but the law explains how they are supposed to get into town. Hon. Speaker, we should be disturbed by the increasing number of COVID-19 cases. It is not only police duty but it is everyone’s responsibility to get worried of the increasing numbers of COVID-19.
We have a responsibility to follow the law to avoid the spread of COVID-19.
HON. TSUNGA: I want to thank the Minister for the answer. I wanted us to go back and tell our constituents how they are supposed to travel. People who are coming from Nyakatsapa, Penhalonga, Old Mutare and so on are made to disembark at Christmas Pass and asked to walk from there into town. That exposes them to accidents as there are a lot of heavy trucks along that road. Some people will be carrying luggage. We are asking the Minister of Home Affairs to talk to the police so that people are assisted; they should allow people to pass.
HON. KAZEMBE: Madam Speaker, Hon. Tsunga is giving us
advice of how we can assist people; I do not think that is a question. When we meet as a Task Force, we will discuss those issues. Thank you.
*HON. MUCHENJE: Hon. Minister, we have noticed that
registered ZUPCO buses are now ferrying many people. Is it a policy that registered ZUPCO buses should carry many people?
*THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: I think that question is not
relevant, that is totally a new question that should be directed to the Minister of Local Government.
*HON. MBONDIAH: Thank you Madam Speaker. I would like
to find out from the Minister, how many passengers is the ZUPCO bus supposed to carry? I am asking this because when they get close to urban areas police say ZUPCO buses are overloaded hence they ask some of the people to disembark.
*HON. KAZEMBE: Thank you Madam Speaker. The law is very
clear; the ZUPCO buses had been instructed to carry 50 people but now they are carrying 25 people because of social distance. There are other laws that need to be followed, for example checking of temperatures and passengers should be wearing face masks. Those are some of the requirements when people use the ZUPCO buses. Yes, we had
increased the number of people to be carried by the ZUPCO buses but there are other conditions that need to be adhered to, such as checking temperature and social distancing. We may argue on how many people the ZUPCO bus can carry but as we move forward, I think we should be looking at tightening these conditions because of the increasing number of COVID-19 cases. I thank you.
*HON. CHIKWINYA: Hon. Minister, you explained the
conditions of people who may want to go into urban areas as well as maintain the safety of people. My point of clarity is, since yesterday in towns such as Harare and Mutare, soldiers were moving around telling people to wind up their businesses within ten days. What sort of development is that?
HON. KAZEMBE: Madam Speaker, I think that is a new
question – [Laughter.] –
HON. CHIKWINYA: The question is to do with your concerns around COVID-19 which you have implored us Members of Parliament to be concerned with. Soldiers and police are warning people to vacate the CBD in ten days. What is that new development?
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon. Minister, may you
please respond to that question.
HON. KAZEMBE: I would like to thank the Hon Member. I am
hearing that case right now, so I will go and look into it to find out whether this is really happening.
+HON. S. K. MGUNI: Thank you Madam Speaker. My question
is directed to the Minister of Social Welfare. We are affected by issues to do with climate change. There are people given food on monthly basis but I have realised that sometimes they can stay for almost a month without getting food supplies. People from our constituencies ask what has happened to the food supply that they were supposed to have received previously. I thank you.
*THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF PUBLIC SERVICE,
LABOUR AND SOCIAL WELFARE (HON. MATUKE): I did not
quite understand the question but I heard as if he said food is no longer reaching some areas. We have maize allocations going to every province, so every month our Ministry takes maize to the people. If there are areas that are not receiving maize allocation, may you please get the information of what area it is so that we correct the anomaly but I believe maize will be delivered at the provincial depots for further redistribution.
*HON. MATAMBANADZO: Thank you Madam Speaker. My
question is directed to the Minister of Home Affairs because he is responsible for the security in this country with regards to the Covid-19 pandemic. I would like to know where we are as a country in terms of technology to prevent people so that they may travel around freely. We have tried a lot to control. Right now there is a problem, sometimes you get beaten by police and soildiers even if you may have masks. People are suffering because of such harassment. So we want to know where you are instead of copying what other countries have done. If South Africa does a thing, you copy and any other thing that it does, you also copy from them. Look at what God has done, He has blessed us but where are you regarding the free movement of people with the knowledge that they should abide by the law of wearing their masks? The economy should move forward and people should carry out their businesses freely for them to survive. Our people are hungry.
*THE MINISTER OF HOME AFFAIRS AND CULTURAL
HERITAGE (HON. KAZEMBE: Thank you Madam Speaker. I do
not think I understood the question. I will try to answer but if I fail, forgive me, I will ask him to repeat the question. I think I heard him ask where we are, because when people move, he wants them to abide by the laws. I do not know if I heard correctly that people should follow – he first asked how far we have gone in terms of technology but I do not understand the question.
THE DEPUTY SPEAKER: Let us give him an opportunity to
repeat the question.
HON. MATAMBANADZO: Thank you Madam Speaker. The
Minister did not understand. Which language should I use Hon.
Minister so that you understand? – [Laughter] –
THE DEPUTY SPEAKER: Use the language that you are
HON. MATAMBANADZO: Alright, English. I asked where we
are now as Zimbabwean people, very intelligent and educated and up to today, we are still in education and have the intelligence. What new technology is now in place or is expected to be put in place so that people move freely to and from their work places and attend funeral wakes without any harassment from the police and soldiers? I ask this because the police and the soldiers are harassing people when they are coming from work. These people will be wearing their masks. As a country, we should not follow other countries on everything. South
Africa do that, we follow suit, they ban beer, beer is now illegal –
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: I think you have finished asking your question Hon. Matambanadzo.
HON. MATAMBANADZO: Madam Speaker, we want to show
other countries that Zimbabwe has educated people, Ministers and so on.
HON. KAZEMBE: Thank you Madam Speaker Ma’am. I would
like to thank the Hon. Member for the question. The Hon. Member is asking what technology are we thinking of deploying to ensure that people are not harassed when they move around. If that is what I understood, I am not so sure if there is such technology to date, which can monitor people as they move around to ensure that they are complying, in this particular case with Covid regulations. I am not so sure but we stand open to suggestions. I know that Education 5.0 is trying to cure such things to try and ensure that we come up with our own products and services developed in this country. So, if there is need for such technology, I believe and trust, Hon. Prof. Murwira will look into that.
However, I would like to say that the issue of conforming to regulations; like I alluded to earlier on, I am kindly appealing to even us as Members of Parliament to spread the word. You do not need a police officer to tell you how to protect yourself and save your own life. Let us all spread the word, it is a question of attitude amongst our people. We do not expect a police officer to be everywhere to monitor and see if a person is wearing a mask or practicing social distancing. We are simply saying, we are kindly asking this august House to speak to our people out there to try and encourage them to conform to the regulations in the best interest of all Zimbabweans.
Personally, Madam Speaker Ma’am, I would probably not even allow anyone to speak next to me without wearing a mask. I do not need a police officer for me to do that for the simple reason that I need to protect myself. So, I am simply saying, let us all act responsibly out there. It could be the shop-owner or company owner; let us just ensure that we follow the procedures as regulated by the Minister of Health and Child Care and the World Health Organisation, not only in the interest of public health but our own health. I thank you.
HON. MATAMBANADZO: My supplementary to the Minister Madam Speaker is; he said they do not have any new technology, which is very bad as I see it. He should also answer and give us a very good answer because we have had Covid for so many months and we do not want a Minister who relaxes in the office, that is why we end up following what other countries do– [Laughter.] –
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon. Matambanadzo, ask
HON. MATAMBANADZO: No, it is a supplementary. You know what Madam Speaker; they know that we have got a very good Minister Prof. Murwira from the University of Zimbabwe. He is trying his best; he is the one who gave us all these sanitisers and masks, if I am not mistaken…
*THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon. Matambanadzo, ask
HON. MATAMBANADZO: Alright. My question is this; you were supposed to sit with the Minister, Hon. Prof. Murwira before hand, in order to solve this issue. The gentleman is very smart and intelligent but the ministers, they are sitting, they are not doing anything…
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: That is not a question Hon.
HON. MAVETERA: Thank you very much Madam Speaker Ma’am. My supplementary question goes to the Hon. Minister to look at issues concerning Covid currently, especially in terms of security concerns. If you look at what is happening currently Madam Speaker, you find that results are coming after a person has died yet people would have been in contact with certain people who would have been in contact with the deceased who would have died of Covid. My question now is, are there any measures that the Government is taking to make sure that results come early or other measures to prevent people from getting in contact with people who are infected with Covid 19 in the current situation? Thank you.
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: That is a new question to the
Hon. Acting Minister of Health and Child Care.
THE ACTING MINISTER OF HEALTH AND CHILD CARE
(HON. PROF. MURWIRA): Thank you very much Hon. Speaker. I would like to thank the Hon. Member for asking a question of such importance. Hon. Speaker, what is very important is that we continue testing and we test to the best of our ability and up our game in testing. However, our first line of defence is basically to assume that everybody whom you see, you assume they are infected and you also assume that you are infected. At the end of the day, it is very important that all the preventive measures that are talked about in our guidelines, that include temperature checks, sanitisation, social distancing and putting on a mask and so forth be observed. However, we are also in the process, to the best our ability, to develop mobile based applications for tracking the affected people and we hope that this helps. Whatever technology can only help when people understand why certain restrictions are being put.
So, it is very important that this education for us becomes so important. At the end of the day, Government can set rules but it is the citizens themselves that have to take them inside in the interest of their own health and the health of their loved ones.
Therefore, it is very important to say we are upping our testing as much as we can and we are in the process of acquiring as many test kits in the shortest possible time. To date, we have tested up to 90 000 people. We want to make sure that we continue testing even up to millions. However, the bucks stops with taking care. I thank you.
HON. CHIKWINYA: The question from the Hon. Member is
results are coming after people have died. Why not have a mechanism of having results coming before people have been pronounced dead. I think you need to direct your answer to that question.
HON. PROF. MURWIRA: I would retake but I think I really
answered the question but clarity is important. So, I take that criticism with grace. The issue is that testing has to be increased. We cannot be so theoretical as to say we can test everybody, loopholes happen. It is unfortunate but it happens but it is also very important that a person has been tested when they are already dead but as a country, together as citizens, nobody is living alone. The issue is results take time that they take up to 3 hours or so and we are making sure that to the best of our ability, we are buying more test kits so that people are tested.
However, we cannot be at every corner. We are trying to be at every corner to the best of our ability. That is why I said it is very important that we take the first line of defence which basically is to assume I am infected and I am assuming you are infected. Let us do the best we can to protect each other against this creature.
*HON. HAMAUSWA: Thank you Madam Speaker. In my view,
the question asked was not answered because when the Minister of Health and Child Care made a presentation in this august House, he gave reasons that when swabs are taken, they would want the tray to be filled first so that it goes to the testing machine. So, the question is, why is it that the results are coming late, after the person would have already been buried.
As I am speaking right now, in Warren Park there are two people who are said to have died of Covid-19 and results came after their burial. Now, due to water crises in the area, the neighbors are now locking their wells because they are afraid of contracting Covid-19 from those who attended the funeral. So this is where the challenge is and I am kindly asking the Minister to clarify on that issue. If the Minister does not know, then he can admit that this is not his area of speciality since he is standing in for the Minister of Health and Child Care.
HON. PROF. MURWIRA: Thank you Hon. Speaker. I want to
thank Hon. Hamauswa for his supplementary question and also to humbly submit that knowledge is based on the fact that we do not know everything, that is how we seek knowledge. So if a person says I know everything, that person is very ignorant but I do what I do and we try to do it with the best of our knowledge.
Therefore, we are ramping up the test, we are going to make sure that we increase the level of testing, the accuracy and our responsiveness has to increase. Of course, I cannot speak on behalf of anybody who previously spoke but I am saying as we move forward, the Government of Zimbabwe, through the Ministry of Health and Child Care, is going to up its game in trying to make sure that we protect the lives of Zimbabweans with honesty and integrity, making sure that we do everything in our power together as citizens to protect our people through rapid testing and also responsiveness.
HON. MARONGE: My question is directed to the Minister of
Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare. What plans does the
Government have to increase the number of people being assisted by the Social Welfare department with regards to Covid-19 and poverty that is in the rural areas?
THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE LEGAL AND
PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI: The Minister
responsible for social welfares issues said all those who want help should go and register with the Ministry of Social Welfare so that they can get assistance. I thank you.
HON. DR. MASHAKADA: My question is directed to the Minister of Higher and Tertiary Education. Minister, in view of the announcement by the Minister of Information that the opening of schools will be deferred indefinitely, what is Government policy regarding those tertiary institutions like the University of Zimbabwe, Africa University and other tertiary institutions which have already opened and are conducting lessons as we speak? What policy measures are you going to effect? Thank you.
THE MINISTER OF HIGHER AND TERTIARY
EDUCATION, INNOVATION, SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY
DEVELOPMENT (HON. PROF. MURWIRA): I wish to thank Hon.
Mashakada for a very important question. Hon. Speaker, universities already started opening on June 1 and they are using the regulations to conduct their business. Universities were given guidelines to make sure that everything is done according to the health guidelines. What does it mean, we said the final years are going to be the first on campus, followed by finale years minus one, then final years mines two and final years minus three. This minimises crowds at our universities.
While the final years are on campus, the other years minus one, minus two and final years minus three are doing online learning. We have been privileged to have been supported to doing online learning and we have heard discounts from the telecommunication companies and so forth. We have been very well supported in this. While we are carrying out our studies, we call it blended learning, which is a mixture of face-to-face which is minimised in terms of numbers as well as online.
When it comes to colleges, most of them were being used as quarantine centres. So, colleges already opened this week also using the same logic of final years, then final years minus one and final years minus two - following strictly the COVID-19 guidelines. What was announced by the Hon. Minister of Information was no further relaxation was going to be done. It basically means it is not saying universities should be closed, it is saying any further cannot happen. This is the way we are implementing the policy. Universities and colleges are already in session following the guidelines.
HON. DR. MASHAKADA: Thank you Hon. Minister for that response. When you talk of admission of final year minus one, then final year minus two and final year minus three, does that happen alternatively or pari passu? Thank you.
HON. PROF. MURWIRA: I wish to thank Hon. Mashakada for
his question for me to clarify. When final years are done, they leave campus and what we are trying to do by all means is by taking each year by each year; we try to make sure all students to the best of our ability are on campus so that they are like in quarantine as well. It is final years in and out, then final years minus one in and out, in that order.
*HON. HAMAUSWA: My supplementary question pertains to
transport, since universities are adhering to compulsory guidelines - what measures are being put in place so that there is adequate transport for students. I want the Hon. Minister to explain.
*HON. PROF. MURWIRA: Hon. Speaker, I am glad that universities were given a facility by ZUPCO of providing buses for all colleges. When you observe the route to the University of Zimbabwe, you will discover that there is a ZUPCO bus which is written University of Zimbabwe. We all know that we cannot be perfect but we are trying our best to make sure that teachers and their students are able to go to learn, taking advantage of the transport provided. However, we said to limit travelling final year students for universities like UZ, CUZ and MSU are supposed to be living on the campus.
For example, we heard that at Chinhoyi University there were a few students left staying at home because they had already paid rent. So the transport issue was addressed when we engaged ZUPCO. The President went to Chinhoyi to officially launch the provision of such buses and also announced that there were some buses that were going to be left in Chinhoyi to provide transportation for both students and lecturers. However, we continue making sure that our higher and tertiary education centres are continually supported. I thank you.
HON. SIKHALA: Hon. Minister, you have told this House that there are two distinctive groups at the university: those who are doing elearning and those doing formal learning. I want to know in terms of your fees structure, because we understand that university students on elearning are paying full fees. Could that be the same fees those in formal learning are paying? Is that commensurate with the way how the fees structure should be structured in a manner where those on e-learning and those on formal should have differences.
THE MINISTER OF HIGHER AND TERTIARY
EDUCATION, INNOVATION, SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY
DEVELOPMENT (HON. PROF. MURWIRA): Thank you Madam
Speaker. I wish to thank Hon. Sikhala for that very important question. It enables us to explain for the way education is delivered. When one pays schools fees or tertiary fees, tuition fees and so forth, they are not paying for a particular method of delivery. They are paying for the service of making sure that the university runs. Whether I will do it by video, whether we will do it by internet, whether we do it by standing on a stool and talking, it is the same. So fees do not vary because now we are teaching via the internet, because the content is what is important. It is important to clarify that the method of delivery – even when people are paying fees, I do not know where it is written that the teacher will be standing in front of you. There is nothing like that in our regulations. It is saying we are going to deliver knowledge. It is very important at this moment that this question is taken as a very important question because it enables us to clarify the issue that it is not where the lecturer will be standing. It is not how they will be speaking, it is the delivery of knowledge itself either via internet, via video, via radio and so forth. I thank you.
Questions Without Notice were interrupted by THE HON.
DEPUTY SPEAKER in terms of Standing Order No. 64.
ORAL ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS WITH NOTICE
REBUILDING OF MATERNITY WARD AT ST LUKES
- HON. NKOMO asked the Minister of Health and Child Care so as to inform the House on the Ministry’s plan to rebuild the maternity ward at St Lukes which was gutted by fire.
THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF HEALTH AND CHILD CARE
(HON. MAGWIRO): The affected department of the family health care, the hospital through the church, who are the owners have raised US$18 000 and have since done the quotations for the roof.
Government has also allocated $2 million through the Public Service Investment to augment the construction of the mission hospital. I thank you.
PROGRESS ON IMPLEMENTATION RECOMMENDATIONS OF
THE NATIONAL AGRICULTURAL LAND AUDIT REPORT
- 36. CHIKUNI asked the Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Water and Rural Resettlement to inform the House on progress made towards implementing recommendations of the National Land Audit Report since it was tabled in Cabinet.
THE MINISTER OF LANDS, AGRICULTURE, WATER
AND RURAL RESETTLEMENT (HON. RTD AIR CHIEF
MARSHALL SHIRI): I am pleased to inform you that the
Comprehensive National Agricultural Land Audit Programme Report
Phase I was tabled to Cabinet on 6th July, 2020. Cabinet directed my Ministry to proceed as follows:
- The issuance of tenure documents will be expedited;
- The married beneficiaries are given joint tenure documents to protect spouses on land ownership;
- That the 255 abandoned and 112 land units are re-allocated to deserving applicants.
- That the 24 farms under multiple-ownership are withdrawn and reallocated to deserving applicants.
- That the 71 identified farms exceeding the maximum gazetted sizes are downsized and measures are put in place to safeguard production thereof; and
- That the allocation of land is in line with the gazette policy quotas with respect to War Veterans, Women, Youth and people living with disabilities.
My senior managers in Lands Management Department are already seized with the afore-stated issues. I would like to report that there is no meaningful progress to date, given that it has only been one week from the time of Cabinet approval.
HON. TSUNGA: Thank you very much Madam Speaker. I
would like to thank the Minister for a very satisfactory response to that specific question. The Hon. Minister has indicated that because of the short time since the recommendations by Cabinet were made, not much progress has been made in implementing the recommendations. I just want to establish from the Minister whether there can be an indication as to when the roll-out of implementing these recommendations can begin so that we are able to catch up with the impending agricultural season, so that those who are allocated this year can start farming in earnest. I thank you.
HON. RTD AIR CHIEF MARSHALL SHIRI: Thank you
Madam Speaker. The roll-out has already been done. What is needed is to expedite the process so that people will get to the allocated pieces of land on time to prepare for the impending summer season. We are very much alive to that and we will do everything within our power to ensure we do not unnecessarily inconvenience the people allocated the land. I thank you.
RESUMPTION OF RUTI DAM IRRIGATION SCHEME
- HON. DR. NYASAHNU asked the Minister of Lands,
Agriculture, Water and Rural Resettlement to inform the House when the Ruti Dam Irrigation Scheme Construction Project will be resumed.
THE MINISTER OF LANDS, AGRICULTURE, WATER
AND RURAL RESETTLEMENT (HON. RTD AIR CHIEF
MARSHALL SHIRI): Madam Speaker, the contractor for Ruti Dam Irrigation Scheme is on site but the obtaining challenge is that prices for this winning bid are no longer in tandem with escalating prices. The government is currently working towards addressing that challenge so that construction resumes.
STATUS OF THE MUDZINDIKO IRRIGATION SCHEME
- HON. SARUWAKA asked the Minister of Lands, Agriculture,
Water and Rural Resettlement to inform the House on:
- the status of the Mudzindiko Irrigation Scheme which was pegged along the Nyadera River in Ward 15 in Mutasa Central Constituency in 2017 and to further clarify whether the Ministry approved the scheme and
- if so, why have there been delays in the commissioning of irrigation equipment, considering that the Scheme offers food security to local communities amongst other benefits.
THE MINISTER OF LANDS, AGRICULTURE, WATER AND RURAL RESETTLEMENT (HON. RTD AIR CHIEF
MARSHALL SHIRI): My response to that is that the said irrigation scheme was indeed approved and through my department of irrigation development, the project was tendered for and the Ministry is at an advanced stage of concluding the procurement process. As such, commissioning will follow after construction of the same. Thank you.
HON. SARUWAKA: My supplementary to the Minister is; I have heard his answer where he was saying they have approved the project and they are going to work towards establishing it but I wanted to get an indication of time, whether he thinks it is going to be done this year or next year or is it a 2030 project? Is it something that we can likely have it working in the next year?
HON. RTD AIR CHIEF MARSHALL SHIRI: Thank you
Madam Speaker. I do not want to commit myself. I have got a whole list of irrigation schemes to be either rehabilitated or developed starting this current year. I can go back and check on the starters of this particular scheme and I will advise the Hon. Member accordingly. Thank you.
PAYMENT OF POLICE OFFICERS DURING PREMIER
- HON. I. NYONI asked the Minister of Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage why Police Officers are paid for providing security during Premier soccer league matches taking into account that they are conducting normal duties.
THE MINISTER OF HOME AFFAIRS AND CULTURAL
HERITAGE (HON. KAZEMBE): Thank you Madam Speaker. Soccer
matches are private functions meant for entertainment and to raise funds for the various stakeholders involved. In short, it is a business venture where the organisers of the matches can even hire private security companies to prove security to protect their interests. It goes without saying that police has an interest in security of such events notwithstanding that it falls outside the purview of normal police duties. At any given time, the number of police officers usually requested by football authorities out-numbers those that are on duty, hence the need to call some who will normally have gone on time off. The size of the crowd determines the number of police officers to be deployed for any given event. Such members who partake in these duties are therefore entitled to a special allowance. May I hasten to point out that it is not only soccer matches where such allowances are paid to police officers.
This includes among others; cricket musical shows and private escorts.
VEHICLE FOR REDCLIFF POLICE STATION
- HON. MUKAPIKO asked the Minister of Home Affairs and
Cultural Heritage when Redcliff Police Station will be issued with its own vehicle?
THE MINISTER OF HOME AFFAIRS AND CULTURAL
HERITAGE (HON. KAZEMBE): The Government of Zimbabwe has
been prioritising the issue of resources. Currently, procurement of vehicles is in progress and Redcliff Police Station is one of the many stations that will be considered for allocation. The Commissioner General of Police has made an undertaking to ensure that each police station has at least one operational vehicle. Of course, the timeframe for the arrival of the new vehicle is yet to be confirmed. The Commissioner General of Police has assured me that once the vehicles arrive the situation will be addressed. I thank you.
HON. CHINYANGANYA: Thank you Madam Speaker Ma’am
for giving me the opportunity and I want to thank the Hon. Minister for his response. If we look at Redcliff, it is a municipality and in terms of population, it has a large population such that it is tantamount to travesty of justice. The big wigs in the ZRP have more than three vehicles each and for a police station like Redcliff not to have a vehicle allocated, it is not fair to the residents of Redcliff. So, may the Minister pursue this matter as a matter of urgency? I thank you.
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Thank you. I think you are
advising the Minister to pursue the matter.
REHABILITATION OF THE SEWERAGE AND WATER
RETICULATION INFRASTRUCTURE AT BUCHWA POLICE
- HON. RAIDZA asked the Minister of Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage to explain when Buchwa Police Station will be rehabilitated?
THE MINISTER OF HOME AFFAIRS AND CULTURAL HERITAGE (HON. KAZEMBE): Thank you Madam Speaker. The
issue of sewer and water reticulation is of utmost importance to the Ministry. We are working flat out to rectify the situation although it is not unique to Buchwa only. Resources need to be mobilised but currently due to the financial constraints, we are unable to rehabilitate all needy areas or infrastructure at one go.
COMMENCEMENT OF THE GOWE IRRIGATION SCHEME
- HON. JOSIAH SITHOLE asked the Minister of Lands,
Agriculture, Water, Climate and Rural Resettlement to inform the House as to when the Gowe Irrigation Scheme Construction Project in Ward 3 in Bikita South Constituency will commence.
THE MINISTER OF LANDS, AGRICULTURE, WATER, CLIMATE AND RURAL RESETTLEMENT (HON. RTD AIR
CHIEF MARSHALL SHIRI): The Gowe Irrigation Scheme
Construction Project in Ward 3, Bikita South Constituency is being planned under the 200 ha per district irrigation development facility. Commencement of the construction project shall be prioritised in either 2021 or 2022. Thank you Madam Speaker.
WRITTEN SUBMISSIONS TO QUESTIONS WITH NOTICE
INSTALLATION OF A BOOSTER AT MZOLA BH10 LUPANE
- HON. M. NKOMO asked the Minister of Information
Communication Technology, Postal and Courier Services to state when a booster that was sited at Mzola BH10 in Lupane will be installed in order to address the challenge of mobile network coverage currently affecting the area.
THE MINISTER OF INFORMATION COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGY, POSTAL AND COURIER SERVICES (HON.
MUSWERE): Mr. Speaker Sir, allow me to thank the Hon. Member for the question. This project is being done by NetOne and it was temporarily put on old before completion because of funding challenges. Net One has however put Mzola Site on its Mobile Broadband (MBB) Project Phase 3 which was approved. This site is among the first projects to be done and by end of the fourth quarter this year 2020, the base station will bring mobile network coverage in the area.
ADJUSTMENT OF STIPENDS FOR APPRENTICE STUDENTS
ON RASM SCHEME
- 18. GOZHO asked the Minister of Higher and Tertiary Education, Innovation, Science and Technology Development to explain when the Ministry will adjust stipends of apprentice students on RASM Scheme in line with inflationary prices being experienced.
THE MINISTER OF HIGHER AND TERTIARY EDUCATION, INNOVATION, SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY DEVELOPMENT (HON. PROF. MURWIRA): Thank you Hon.
Gozho for the question. I would like to reiterate that the Ministry of
Higher and Tertiary Education, Innovation, Science and Technology Development (MHTEISTD) is a Ministry of students and therefore, issues to do with the welfare of students are a priority to us. Without students, there is no MHTEISTD). The Ministry acknowledges that the stipends of apprenticeship students on RASM scheme have been eroded by inflation and as such need revision. In this regard, the (MHTEISTD) revised the allowances for RASM or special scheme apprentices with effect from 1st June, 2020. It is a virtue of the Ministry not just to react but be pro-active in addressing issues and therefore, going forward the Ministry shall continue to revise the allowances from time to time based on the availability of resources. Siyabonga, Tatenda, I thank you.
REPORT OF THE PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE ON YOUTH, SPORT,
ARTS AND RECREATION ON THE PETITION TO SET UP A
HON. TONGOFA: Thank you Madam Speaker. I rise to move the motion standing in my name on the Report of the Portfolio Committee on Youth, Sport, Arts and Recreation on a petition on the need to set up a Youth Commission in line with Section 20 of Constitution.
HON. TOGAREPI: I second.
HON. MUKUHLANI: Thank you Madam Speaker.
Pursuant to Section 149 of the Constitution, the Portfolio Committee on Youth, Sport, Arts and Recreation received a petition from Mr. Believe Guta of 2141 Nyandoro Street in Kadoma on Government’s compliance with Section 20 and the establishment of a
Youth Commission. The Petitioner’s prayer was that Parliament should compel Government to establish a Youth Commission which will investigate all agencies of State and Government to make sure that they are complying with section 20 of the Constitution.
Section 20 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe places five fundamental obligations on the State and all agencies of the Government which are:
- To ensure that the youths are accorded access to appropriate education and training;
- To ensure that the youths have opportunities to associate and to be represented and participate in political, social, economic and other spheres of life;
To ensure that Youths have opportunities for employment and other avenues to economic empowerment;
- To ensure that the Youths have opportunities for Recreational activities and access to recreational facilities;
- To ensure that youths are protected from harmful cultural practices, exploitation and all forms of abuse.
In the exercise of its oversight role, Parliament was obliged to assess and oversee Government’s compliance with Section 20 of the Constitution.
The Committee received oral evidence from the Minister of Youth, Sport and Recreation, Hon Kirsty Coventry, written submissions from Community Youth Development Trust(CYDT) and undertook public hearings in Ngundu , Gweru, Bulawayo , Gwanda , Kadoma , Harare,
Hwedza and Mutare.
3.1 The Minister of Youth. Sport, Arts and Recreation
The Committee found out that the Ministry of Youth, Sport, Arts and Recreation implements a vocational training and skills development programme throughout the country in accordance with Section 20 (1) (a) of the Constitution. Currently there are 51 vocational training centres (VTCs) with an additional 21 new sites. The target is to have a vocational training centre in each district in order to meet the needs of employment for the youth.
The Ministry, in accordance with Section 20(1)(c) established production and incubation hubs in some VTC’s and other service centers in order to capacitate the youths and give them practical business exposure. These hubs are in the areas of cosmetology, horticulture, dairy and livestock production in Bulawayo, Mashonaland East, Matebeleland North and Matebeleland South provinces. The Ministry had also established the Empowerbank which provides financial support to business projects being undertaken by youths.
The Ministry with respect to Section 20(1) (b) is reviewing the
National Youth Service Training Programme in order to ensure that young people are nurtured to become responsible citizens who are able to contribute meaningfully to national development. The programme saw a total of 1436 youths being trained in 2018, with 990 being males and 446 being females.
On Section 20 (1) (d), the Ministry is establishing multipurpose sporting facilities in every province and refurbishment of existing facilities is also underway in the 10 provinces. The Ministry is in the process of establishing recreational parks at Nemamwa Growth Point in Masvingo, Concession in Mashonaland Central and Jotsholo in Matebeleland South. These projects have received funding and work has already started. The thrust of the initiative is to transform the sports and recreation sector into a viable industry sufficient to absorb the youth as a source of employment.
The National Youth Policy was reviewed in 2007 and it will enable the creation of an enabling environment to ensure the flourishing of arts, culture and heritage sectors for its practitioners. The policy will also help in ensuring that young people are protected from harmful cultural practices, exploitation and abuse as prescribed in Section 29 (1) (e) of the Constitution. The policy underscores the need to safeguard the diverse cultures and enable cohesion, unity and holistic sustainable socio-economic development.
The Ministry has no plans to establish a youth commission but is working towards strengthening the existing Youth Council including amending the Zimbabwe Youth Council Act [Chapter 25:19], as amended in 1997, in order for the Council to fully carry out its mandate. The Zimbabwe Youth Council is a quasi-government institution established through the Zimbabwe Youth Council Act [Chapter 25:19] to enhance youth participation and advocate for youth empowerment with its main functions being: -
- To co-ordinate, supervise and foster the activities of national youth associations and clubs,
- To ensure the proper administration of associations and clubs;
- To participate in national and International youth activities,
- To advise the Government on the needs of youth and
- With the approval of the Minister, to undertake projects designed to create employment for young people, including fundraising, marketing and trading activities.
3.2 The Zimbabwe Youth Council (ZYC)
The Zimbabwe Youth Council (ZYC) is an interface between
Government and young people through Youth Associations and clubs.
ZYC therefore, coordinate, supervise, and foster activities of National Youth Associations, while at the same time advising Government on the needs and aspirations of the youth. ZYC has currently no board but the Ministry is working to constitute the board so as to strengthen its efficiency and effectiveness. A substantive director must be appointed to see the day to day running of the Youth Council and strengthening it.
The Zimbabwe Youth Council highlighted that it is trying its best to conform to Section 20 but funding support was required to strength its operations and the Secretariat. The Zimbabwe Youth Council as an interface between Government and young people, organises youth forums where the youth and stakeholder organisations interact to share on potential business opportunities in the country.
It underscored the need to amend the Zimbabwe Youth Council
Act in order to provide the Ministry with operating frameworks for the National Youth Service, Youth Development Fund and other youth development and empowerment programmes. ZYC Act also needed to be amended to provide for the regulation of the activities of youth and youth-serving organisations.
3.3 Community Youth Development Trust(CYDT)
The Community Youth Development Trust (CYDT) together with other youth organisations bemoaned that the Zimbabwe Youth Council was partisan. They were therefore in support of the Youth Commission. They felt that the Commission must also cater for youths with disability as they were being left out of most programmes. They underscored that institutionalisation of youth participation and engagement at all levels was going to be possible with an independent Youth Commission. This would aid full participation and engagement of young people, youths defining their role in social development, political aspirations and economic revitalisation.
3.4. Public Hearings
Members of the public especially the youths were grateful that
Parliament had come out to hear their views on the establishment of the
Youth Commission. However, some members of the public felt that Parliament should improve on its publication of notice for public hearings and communicate through other channels such as social media and also through the District Administrator and the local Member of Parliament. Mr. Morris Johwezha of the Hwedza Residents Youth Trust bemoaned the lack of participation of youth in the public hearings yet the issues were youth related. It was highlighted that the youth constitute about two thirds of the total population in the country and because of the economic challenges, the youth will therefore end up getting married earlier, thereby reducing the gains on reducing child marriages.
Most of the youth felt that the Zimbabwe Youth Council was partisan in nature and that it was not fully helping the participation of youth as it was mainly targeting youth organisations. Youths who are not part of youth organisations would not gain much with the involvement of the Zimbabwe Youth Council. Youth Empowerment
Transformation Trust (YETT) said they felt that the ZYC is partisan. They further outlined that it is more oriented towards youth organisations whose membership to it is voluntary and fits a required criterion which will show its shortcomings.
YETT would envisage the establishment of the Youth Commission but in the interim, would want to see ZYC strengthened while a National Youth Act will be legalised. The National Youth Act would then give the Youth Commission its mandate to ensure that youth are fully represented in company boards of director membership, and state agencies. The Youth Commission would ensure that a certain quota is reserved for youth which will see that youth are properly empowered. The Youth Commission must be properly funded so as to carry out its mandate. The Commissions’ engagement with the youth can be improved if the youth commission is decentralised and have provincial structures in line with devolution.
YETT underscored the need for the Youth Commission to be disability sensitive. It highlighted the need for the Commission to include youth with disability and that the majority should be the youths. This will help on the inclusivity of the Commission as the disabled youth have the same rights to able bodied youths. The youth in Mutare lamented on the partisan nature of the Ministry of Youth, Sport and Recreation and Zimbabwe Youth Council officials to the effect that it was detrimental in pushing the youth agenda. They implored the need for the Youth Commission to be multifaceted. They requested for the commissioners to undergo public interviews to reduce chances of nepotism, and for them to have a minimum educational qualification. They further suggested that they should serve at most a term of five years.
3.5 COMMITTEE OBSERVATIONS
The Committee noted that currently there is no legislation to enforce or compel line Ministries to comply with the provisions of Section 20 of the Constitution as well as the provisions of the National Youth Policy.
Members of the Committee felt that Government was doing its best to comply with Section 20 the of Constitution. The Committee noted that in view of the current economic challenges, it is difficult to have an independent Youth Commission, hence the need to strengthen
Zimbabwe Youth Council. It underscored the need for the Zimbabwe Youth Council to be supported financially to improve efficiency and effectiveness. There is need for a financial strategy for Zimbabwe Youth Council to effectively implement its programmes, for example, to establish offices at ward level, recruitment of a substantive director and other members of the secretariat.
The Committee noted with concern that the partisan nature of the
Zimbabwe Youth Council was a drawback in ensuring Government’s compliance with Section 20 as this would exclude other youths with a different political view. For maximum involvement of the youth, the Committee underscored the need for the Zimbabwe Youth Council to be
In the long term, the Committee underscored the need for the Government to set up an independent Youth Commission through enactment of a National Youth Act. The National Youth Act would outline the setting up of the Youth Commission and its duties and also how Government can enforce a youth quota on employment, boards and other programmes to ensure maximum youth participation.
The Ministry of Youth should endeavor to strengthen the Youth Council by ensuring that the full secretariat headed by an Executive Director is in place by June 2020. In the interim, the Ministry of Youth should come up with a legislation to compel Ministries to comply with the provisions of section 20 of the Constitution by end of June 2020.
- The Ministry of Youth, Sport, Arts and Recreation must provide frameworks for the National Youth Service, Youth Development Fund and other development empowerment programmes by April 2020.
- The Government should safeguard the independence of the ZYC by ensuring that there is a board in place by June 2020 and the board should be constituted by youth representatives appointed through an inclusive process.
- The Zimbabwe Youth Council should be decentralised by April 2020 to ward level and enjoy total independence without Government interference.
- In the long term, The Youth Commission should be included in the Constitution like every other independent Commission as mentioned in Chapter 12 of the Constitution.
- There should be financial strategy to make sure the Zimbabwe
Youth Council is adequately funded by June 2020.
Currently, there is no enabling legislation to enforce or compel line
Ministries to comply with the provisions of Section 20 of the
Constitution as well as the National Youth Policy provisions. However, it is the Committee’s view that while it appreciates what the Ministry is doing to enforce that compliance, there is need for black and white legislation for compliance with section 20 of the Constitution as this will make it easier to enforce. The mechanisms in place fall short of the compliance required and therefore it is the Committee’s submission that legislation must be enacted immediately. I thank you Madam Speaker.
*HON. TOGAREPI: Thank you Madam Speaker. Let me honour
and appreciate our Chairperson who presented this report, especially looking at the expectations of young people. The Government should provide for their needs as young people. I was impressed by the report, particularly the area regarding the Empowerbank, which is important to young people and which can assist young people to develop and generate their own income and not just be young people who expect to get a job after completing their education but those who can create their own employment.
However, what we got from young people is that they were saying that the Empowerbank should ensure that the livelihoods of young people should be enhanced. They were saying that what is expected from them, particularly collateral security is something that they do not have. The young people were saying that those who are responsible for the youth bank should consider the livelihoods of young people and their lifestyles; they do not have collateral security. So, I would like to say that what young people desire is that where they perform their jobs and leisure activities, the Government should deliberately ensure that they are empowered for posterity. This means that if they are empowered with skills to work, they will be future leaders.
The other thing that touched me is that young people were saying that they want to be given the opportunity to go to Vocational colleges and these should be found in every district and in schools so that those who complete their ordinary level studies can be taught vocational skills so that they are empowered in their own areas. Not all school leavers can be accommodated at vocational colleges, be it in secondary schools where carpentry is taught, boiler making, agriculture and other vocational skills. This will benefit many children in their own localities.
However, we also noted that young people were appreciating what Government is doing. The expectations were that there could be a vocational college in every province. However, at this moment, we have 51 vocational colleges around the country. This means that their future is assured. They were saying that these things should be done in all areas of the country. They were saying, there is need to identify what can benefit young people in terms of competitive advantage. For example, in Manicaland where there are a lot of guava fruits; if they are being taught vocational skills, they must also be taught skills like juice making so that they can make use of the fruits and produce guava juice.
They were also looking at mining areas where the help would be given according to the natural resources within the area. For example, in Kadoma or Shurugwi where mining is done, young people should be empowered with skills that are relevant to their particular area. This is because empowering them with a skill that is not compatible with the resources found in that area might not benefit them. Even in agriculture, these are things that are expected. What impressed me is that young people expressed the need and interest to make decisions. Some were saying that they were happy that the Government also appointed young people but they were saying that young people should also be appointed to be board members so that young people are trained to lead companies in the future. So, this report to me is important because I believe that it should also emphasize that between Parliament and the Ministry of Youth must be engagements analyzing the practical thing these young people were saying so that it is implemented. This should be done as soon as possible so that our young people can serve our nation.
*HON. MAGO: I would also like to add my voice to this debate of the report on youth. When we were moving around, we discovered that the young people wanted a youth commission because they are not seeing the role of the Youth Council and that it is not necessarily moving around the whole country. Therefore, the youth commission should be there so that it oversees all activities.
These young people spoke about sporting facilities, saying that where they stay there are no recreational facilities. After school and during holidays, they can only engage in discussions, there are no libraries, swimming pools and soccer pitches which result in young people engaging in delinquent behaviour. They recommended that in different boards and in the leadership of the youth council, it is necessary for young people to be incorporated so that they run these organisations. When they visit youth council offices, they noticed that they are short staffed, at one point they only find one person in the office who does not understand their needs.
Young people were saying they are the ones who know what they want so they expect all other young people of their ages who understand them. If we do not treat young people properly, in the near future we might not have adults with good training.
*HON. P. MOYO: Thank you Hon. Speaker. I would like to add
my voice on the report on youths. It is a good report, we are happy about what the young people are doing. however, I would like to encourage them to continue but I have noted that in most rural areas, young people are not getting the opportunity to do what those who are in the urban centres are doing. In particular, we are requesting that information centres should be found in different parts so that they can be at par with technological advancement. Technology does not discriminate whether they are from rural or urban areas. So my request is that our children should be given equal opportunities.
With regards to youth empowerment, the Empowerment Bank is a good initiative and we appreciate the Government for introducing such a bank. So, this should be of benefit to both rural and urban areas. As a representative of a rural constituency, I know that young people are not empowered; they do not have enough knowledge regarding this Bank which is supposed to be assisting young people. As a parent I cannot assist these young people so that they qualify for a bank loan.
Therefore, the requirements should be at par with what they can afford as young people.
HON. TOGAREPI: I move that the debate do now adjourn.
HON. MHONA: I second.
Motion put and agreed to.
Debate to resume: Thursday, 16th July, 2020
On the motion of HON. TOGAREPI seconded by HON.
MHONA, the House adjourned at Thirteen Minutes past Five o’clock p.m.