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NATIONAL ASSEMBLY HANSARD 17 JUNE 2021 VOL 47 NO 62
PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE
Thursday, 17th June, 2021
The National Assembly met at a Quarter-past Two O’clock p.m.
(THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER in the Chair)
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon. Mayihlome, you are
not giving Notice but reporting to the House. Please stand guided.
HON. BRIG. GEN. (RTD) MAYIHLOME: I stand guided
accordingly Madam Speaker Ma’am. I rise to report to the House that in accordance with the provisions of Standing Order No. 22 (4) on Joint
Enquiries, I have to report to this House that the Portfolio Committee on
Defence, Home Affairs and Security Services and the Thematic Committee on Peace and Security have resolved to hold a Joint Enquiry on the Police Amendment Bill [H. B. 2, 2021]. I so report Madam
HON. NDUNA: On a point of privilege Madam Speaker Ma’am!
Thank you Madam Speaker Ma’am. I rise on a Point of Privilege
Madam Speaker Ma’am, if it pleases you, to request that the Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development responds to the reports of the
Eighth Parliament of your Committee on Transport and Infrastructural Development of the Eighth Parliament that in my view can ameliorate and lessen the number of road carnage incidences and also tell this House the issue of infrastructure development that has taken root then now and in the future; so that it is seen that there is something happening in your House. It is my request that the Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development responds to those reports, they number more than five. I thank you.
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon. Nduna, you referred to
the reports of the Eighth Parliament. The reports lapsed with the Eighth Parliament. Other Hon. Members are new and joined Parliament in the
Ninth Parliament. So we cannot go back to the reports of the Eighth Parliament.
HON. NDUNA: I stand guided Madam Speaker Ma’am but I
thought that Parliament was a place of record.
HON. T. MLISWA: Madam Speaker, may I first of all apologise to you for the conduct yesterday. I profusely apologise to you and the Chair.
Madam Speaker, I also want you to protect this institution too. I
think we have a situation where the Executive is in the tendency of bullying other pillars of the State. The Judiciary has been bullied and we as an institution that makes the law must be seen to be protecting the Judiciary. Secondly, Parliament is being bullied willy-nilly. We are born as triplets with each one having their role to play but outmost Parliament has the most important role to play of oversight. There must be respect of each institution as they stand.
I can say that Parliament cannot be used by leaders of Government business. We had the former Speaker and Leader of Government Business, the current President His Excellency, E. D. Mnangagwa who was Leader of Government Business and who was a Speaker. I worked with him when he was Leader of Government Business. With his experience and everything, he respected Members of Parliament and did not abuse his position. We also had Hon. Patrick Chinamasa who was also Leader of Government Business. Their conduct was mature and it was not emotional.
They did not use their position - if there is anything, they used their position to propel this institution so that it remains an institution of integrity, dignity and hope for the people. I say so because we cannot allow this institution to settle personal scores. We are guided by the Standing Rules Order of Parliament as you know and as such, it is important for us to visit that from time to time.
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon. Mliswa, if you are
referring to the issue of yesterday which you raised in this House, if you remember well, I said I am going to give a ruling tomorrow, meaning today but I am yet to give the ruling and you are bringing the issues today before I have made the ruling. I think you must learn to separate issues.
HON. T. MLISWA: I have not mentioned any name. I have just spoken about the Executive and I have not spoken about anybody bullying other institutions. The Judiciary is being bullied, Parliament is being bullied...
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: How?
HON. T. MLISWA: It is being bullied because there must be a separation, the doctrine of separation of power is not being exercised by the Executive and it is important that it is exercised because the country falls into anarchy when we have one arm of the State which has oversight over having power over the institution that is oversight. This creates anarchy and I would like you to observe that even the Ministers not coming to answer questions during Question Time, shows that they are much more superior than anybody else yet we have oversight.
So, these are the issues which I am talking about that there must be the doctrine of separation of powers that must be exhibited by the Executive not to be the bully. They can no longer be the bully because the moment that we have one institution stronger than others yet we are all equal, in fact no power if it becomes an issue which is intolerable and which creates anarchy. I thank you Madam Speaker.
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon. Mliswa, what I can only
say is that you are out of order and please take your seat.
HON. TOGAREPI: Madam Speaker, I think I should raise an issue here. Hon. Member Mliswa, what he was doing – was it a point of privilege or a debate? It is like he is allowed to say whatever he wants about anything without following procedures. I feel it is very important
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon. Chief Whip, that is why
I ruled him out of order. Please may we continue with the business of the day?
BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
HON. TOGAREPI: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir, I move that Orders of the Day, Nos. 1 to 21 be stood over until Order of the Day No.
22 has been disposed of.
HON. T. MLISWA: I second.
Motion put and agreed to.
REPORT OF THE PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE ON DEFENCE,
HOME AFFAIRS AND SECURITY SERVICES ON THE PETITION
FROM THE ZIMBABWE PEOPLE’S REVOLUTIONARY ARMY
Twenty-Second Order read: Adjourned debate on motion on the
Report of the Portfolio Committee on Defence, Home Affairs and
Security Services on the petition from the Zimbabwe People’s Revolutionary Army (ZPRA) Veterans.
Question again proposed.
THE MINISTER OF DEFENCE AND WAR VETERANS
(HON. MUCHINGURI-KASHIRI): Thank you Madam Speaker.
Firstly, allow me to thank the Portfolio Committee on Defence, Home Affairs and Security Services for placing a motion to present a petition for the amendment of the Veterans of the Liberation Struggle Act. I would like to appreciate the Hon. Members who participated in the debate. I realised that some were emotional, sincere and some frank and candid during the debate. This is a clear reflection of the seriousness that they attach to the issues of the veterans of the liberation struggle. The
Portfolio Committee’s petition was composed of two presentations, one from the ZPRA cadres and the other from the War Veterans League.
I appreciate the Portfolio Committee for consulting widely before submitting the petition for debate in this august House, suffice to say some of the administrative issues have already been addressed by His
Excellency, the President of the Republic of Zimbabwe on Saturday the 12th of June, 2021 when he launched the vetting programme and the economic structure for the veterans of the liberation struggle. I would like to thank all the Hon. Members who attended the launch. We hope that we shall allow all the veterans board to carry out its work as it is mandated to do.
Madam Speaker, I shall start by unpacking the petition. There was a request for the amendment of the definition for non-combatant cadre in Section 2 of the Veterans of the Liberation Struggle Act. Section 2 of the
Act defines a non-combatant cadre as any person accredited as such in terms of this Act, who having crossed any Zimbabwe’s borders for purposes of participating in the liberation struggle as a member of ZANLA or ZIPRA forces, but due to circumstances beyond his/her control, did not get military training and remained in the transit camp in Mozambique or Zambia until 29th November 1979. The ZIPRA veterans requested that this provision be amended as it excluded other countries wHere transit camps were established. They recommended the inclusion of countries like Botswana, Egypt, Cuba, Algeria, Ethiopia, Tanzania and Angola and Ghana. The war Veterans League also agreed on the need to amend the definition, but disagreed on the inclusion of other countries. They indicated that some of the countries highlighted by ZIPRA veterans like Angola and Tanzania had military training camps and not transit camps.
They asserted that only Zambia, Mozambique and Botswana had recognizable transit camps. After consultations with the veterans of the liberation struggle, the Ministry concedes to the amendment of this clause and the addition of Botswana to the definition. This means that only Botswana, Mozambique and Zambia had transit camps as a result of their proximity to the then Rhodesia. There were no transit camps in Egypt, Cuba or any of the other countries highlighted in the petition as these were camps that were a result of people being sent by their political parties and not specifically for liberation struggle .Whoever went to these other countries for the purposes of the struggle should have passed through Mozambique, Botswana and Zambia and naturally, would have been registered there.
Madam Speaker, I therefore, concede the inclusion of Botswana in the definition of non-combatant cadres in Section 2 of the interpretation clause so that it reads ‘non-combatant cadres means any person accredited as such in terms of this Act who having crossed any of
Zimbabwe’s boarders for purposes of participating in the liberation struggle as a Member of ZIPRA forces. Due to circumstances beyond his or her control did not get military training and remained in the transit camps in Mozambique, Botswana and Zambia until the 29th November
There was also a request for amendment of the definition ‘transit camp’ in Section 2 of the Veterans of the Liberation Struggle Act, Section 2 of the Act defines a transit camp as any camp for the temporary accommodation of any person who crossed Zimbabwe’s boarders whether or not for purposes of participating in the liberation struggle as a member of ZANLA or ZIPRA forces.
The petitioners requested that this provision be amended, particularly where it says ‘whether or not for the purposes of participating in the liberation struggle’. We appreciate there were gaps in this definition as it left possibilities for the inclusion of individuals who crossed the boarders in pursuit of their own motives which are not related to that of the liberation struggle.
Madam Speaker, I therefore, concede to the amendment of the
Transit Camp so that it reads ‘transit camp for the purposes of this Act means any Camp for the temporary accommodation of any person who crossed Zimbabwe’s boarders for the purposes of participating in the liberation struggle as a member of the ZANLA or ZIPRA forces’.
The Veterans League also complained that it was against international best practice for war collaborators and non combatant cadres to be called war veterans and therefore, demeaning to be referred under one umbrella term ‘Veterans of the Liberation Struggle.
Firstly, I wish to point out that the war collaborators and noncombatant cadres are not referred to anywhere in the Act of the Constitution as war veterans – that is misleading. Secondly, we do not go by what the international people say, we conform to the dictates of the people of Zimbabwe as provided for in the Constitution. The title in the Constitution of Zimbabwe in Section 23 reads ‘veterans of the liberation struggle’.
According to the dictionary, a veteran is a person who has had long experience in a particular field. The people of Zimbabwe recognised the four categories as groups of people who have had long experience in the liberation struggle, hence the umbrella term, ‘veterans of the liberation of the liberation struggle’.
The Constitution goes further to define who the veterans of the liberation struggle are in Section 23 as:-
- Those who fought in the war of liberation
- Those who assisted the fighters in the war of liberation and those who were imprisoned, detained or restricted for political reason during the liberation struggle who are veterans according to the Oxford Dictionary definition.
The Act was therefore drafted in compliance with the Constitution. The people of Zimbabwe made this provision, hence we cannot go against the voice of the people. If there is a requirement to amend this provision, it would imply that the Constitution has to be amended first.
The war veterans are not deemed in any way as each category has its own definition in Section 2 of the Act. The use of the umbrella term does not take away any rights that the war veterans or ex-political prisoners, detainees and ristrictees had in the previous Act. It simply adds the two new categories that were recognised in the Constitution and their benefits will also vary.
The Act is not clear on the awarding of benefits to all four categories of the veterans of the liberation struggle. It is the responsibility of Parliament to enact primary legislation which provides for the frame work for the policy idea or law that delegated legislation like Statutory Instruments will be used subsequently to feel out the precise details of the law. In this instance, the veterans of the Liberation Struggle Act provides the framework of law and details in relation to the benefits will be provided for in the Statutory Instrument. This has always been the case, even when were administering the war veterans Act and also the Ex-detainees Act.
Section 134 of the Constitution allows Parliament to delegate power to make statutory instruments within the scope of and for the purposes laid out in the Act. This, however, accords with the doctrine of separation of powers in which Parliament is the law-making body and the Executive enforces the law within the confines of the powers given to it by Parliament.
Furthermore, benefits need constant review as the economy changes. If there are stipulated in the Act it means that the Act will have to be amended occasionally which is not ideal. It should also be noted that it is to the intention of the veterans of the liberation struggle Act to change the way things were done before in the two Acts that I have made reference to.
The War Veterans Act was the legal framework for issues relating to war veterans. Benefits were provided for in the Statutory Instruments in the same vein, consultations are in progress for the gazetting of the benefits. The veterans board is representing the four constituencies in these consultations. The board is the link between Government and the people.
Concerns over the cut off point of war collaborators
The Committee recommended that the cut off age be reduced from 16 to 14 years. The period of 1975-1979 is when the war was at its peak and a person who was as young as 12 would have provided meaningful collaboration. In order not to raise international outcries on issues relating to participation of children in war, it was agreed during the stakeholder consultations that the Act provides for 16 years by 1979 such that a person who was 12 years in 1975 would also qualify. We are a part to your and conventions. We do not want to be seen as a country that promotes child soldiers, that is abuse. If there are genuine cases that need attention, they can be dealt with on an individual basis through an appeal to the veterans’ board as provided for in Section 10 of the Act. There was also a request to the effect that Section 13 (3) be amended by the removal of ‘may’, so that the section reads; The
Minister ‘shall’ within the resources available and after negotiations with veterans of the liberation struggle, prescribe a gratuity payable once only to a veteran of the liberation struggle.
Whilst gratuities are a noble cause, it should be borne in mind that they can only be given when resources permit. Section 23 (2) of the Constitution provides that the state must take reasonable measures, including legislative measures, for the welfare and economic empowerment of veterans of the liberation struggle. This implies that Government should provide when it is permitting. There is need for a lee-way for the Executive of this obligation. By using ‘may’, the law dictates to the Executive that they have an obligation to fulfill though there is need to give room for the Executive to plan accordingly.
Section 3 (2) (b) was also recommended for amendment so that it reads, “Chairmanship of the Board should be rotated between ZANLA and ZIPRA. This is a noble suggestion which we have no qualms with. However, it is important to note that the Executive is mandated to appoint chairpersons in most of the Government Boards and the issue of regional representation is always applied in compliance with the Constitution.
Request for a provision in the Act which caters for the reservation of Parliamentary seats for veterans of the liberation struggle. Whilst this is noble, the Veterans of the Liberation Struggle Act cannot accommodate this provision. This request should be channelled through the Executive and provided for in the Constitution. We conducted a survey just last week and the results proved that almost 20% of the current Members of Parliament are veterans of the liberation struggle. This shows that we are well represented and these are democratically elected members. I advise that we should not limit the people of Zimbabwe to vote for more veterans next time.
From the report, it was observed that the petitioners were concerned about the Act’s failure to explicitly state that all vetting officers were supposed to be veterans of the liberation struggle particularly those who hold positions of authority such as excommanders, chiefs and headmen.
The details relating to vetting are purely administrative. The office of the veterans of the liberation struggle being headed by the chief director only supervises the vetting process in terms of Section 7 (c) as this is a Government programme. However, the structure of vetting was changed. The vetting process this time around will not be done by the Ministry officials alone. Committees will be set up to carry out the exercise and these will include the war collaborators, the non-combatant cadres, chiefs, headmen, war commanders as recommended during the stakeholder consultations.
The petitioners also requested that the Act be amended on medical benefits such that veterans can access medical care from both private and Government hospitals.
The Constitution in Section 23 talks about Government institutions and public entities taking reasonable measures for the welfare of veterans. Once more, reasonable measures denotes reasonableness in regard to resources, hence the priority on the use of the Government hospitals in the Act.
Section 76 of the Constitution also implores the State to take reasonable measures within the limits of the resources available to it to achieve the progressive realisation of the right to health to every citizen and permanent resident of Zimbabwe. The priority on Government hospitals in the Veterans Act is a measure to provide the healthcare benefit within the resources available in accordance with the provision of Section 76 of the Constitution on the right to health.
Our Government has hospitals at District, provincial and national level. In situations where the District hospitals do not have facilities, one can approach the provincial or even national level. Parirenyatwa has state of the art facilities – the Second Republic has prioritised the improvement of our hospitals.
However, in exceptional circumstances where one can prove that they cannot access treatment in Government hospitals, we can allow that they seek medical care in private institutions. In a year or two, we will have our own state of the art memorial hospital with specialist services to support our comrades.
Customs and Excise duty exemptions on importation of vehicles and equipment of the veterans of the liberation struggle
There is no such facility available in Government. This can however be sought on an individual basis hence we should not use a blanket approach, otherwise it will be prone to abuse. It will not augur well with the general public to note that veterans are seeking such exemptions yet we are saying they do not have money and need welfare assistance.
The Act should have a Clause stating that the 1997 grant must be the yardstick for payment of gratuities to those who did not benefit during that time
Gratuities are a good cause but these should be provided for when the funds are available, hence the provision in the Constitution that the state must take reasonable measures. Also when drafting laws, careful consideration is made to different things and one of them is that the law should not be ambiguous. The 1997 yardstick on its own is difficult for us to agree today as to the monetary value concerned, difference in population as it was then and currently, and the economic impact thereof.
The Act is not explicit in defining the powers of the Chief Director in relation to the administration of schemes.
The veterans of the liberation struggle act just like the previous repealed two Acts establish a fund, in this instance called the Veterans of the Liberation Struggle Fund which is controlled by the Veterans Board. The board oversees the fund and delegates the day to day administration of issues relating to the welfare of the veterans to the Chief Director who is a civil servant. His duties are prescribed by Government, the
Executive and is an ex-officio member of the Board representing Government. He is there to implement the welfare issues as directed by the board and the Minister. The administration of empowerment schemes is the mandate of the corporate vehicles which were launched by His Excellency, the President on the 12th June, 2021.
The Act does not specify the extent to which vetting officers can act as commissioners of oaths. Vetting officers act as commissioners of oath in leading evidence during the vetting process which can be used against the applicant in the event that the person has lied on oath. The Act does not need to further explain on what a commissioner of oath does, moreover the applicant is explained of his or her rights before vetting commences. These are purely administrative issues which do not require the amendment of the Act.
There was a recommendation that the Act should provide for those who participated in the struggle but died before being vetted. Madam Speaker, this is a very good recommendation but the Constitution at the moment is silent on the recognition of deceased veterans, even the previous Act did not make any reference to them. I would recommend that these issues be discussed separately. It is a very emotional and serious issue which needs proper and detailed discussions at every level so that the issue is put to rest.
The War Veterans League advocated for a standalone ministry. I appreciate the concern from the veterans’ league but this is the prerogative of the President and we should not male prescriptions to the Executive.
Request for Medals to Honour all Veterans of the Liberation
This is an ongoing process. There is a Cabinet Committee which is chaired by the Vice President, which looks into these issues. Every year, the President awards medals and funds permitting this can be accelerated as we are cognisant of the rate at which our comrades are passing on.
We are now mobilising our own funds as a Ministry so that we can speed up the process.
Let me now turn to the debate which took place in this august House. I would like to thank Hon. Members for taking time to participate during the debate on this particular subject matter. Most of the Members who debated were positive in support of the petition and also recommendations thereto in the two reports from ZIPRA petitioners and the Veterans’ League which I have adequately responded to already.
I shall therefore turn to the other areas discussed in the august House.
Regarding the issue of veterans’ records raised by Hon. S.K. Mguni, we will indeed take advantage of the information which is available at social welfare to verify all applicants who wish to be considered as non-combatant cadres.
Hon. Dzuma, Hon. Gabbuza, Hon. James Sithole and Hon. Mguni raised concerns on vetting and that some bogus veterans are currently receiving benefits that they do not deserve. I wish to point out that this is a very serious criminal offence which should not be ignored but reported instantly. Some deserving comrades might not be getting what they deserve because of these fraudsters, so we need to assist the Government in reporting such cases.
Hon. Dzuma, your concern on the need for the vetting process to be expedited is very genuine. We agree that our veterans suffered a lot during the struggle and it has been so long before some of them received any benefits and recognition. However, I am pleased to inform the House that His Excellency officially launched the vetting process on Saturday, 12th June, 2021 and it is now in motion.
The first phase of the vetting exercise is registration which has already commenced. This first phase is intended to provide an indicative number of applicants and their locations. All those who wish to be registered as non-combatant cadres and war collaborators are completing registration forms at provincial and district offices of the Department of
War Veterans’ Affairs and selected military cantonments across the country. Registration forms will be sorted according to transit camps for non-combatant cadres and operational areas for war collaborators in preparation for vetting.
The second phase which is the actual vetting will be conducted by selected war time commanders and war veterans once numbers have been determined from the registration exercise. Dates are yet to be determined for the actual vetting but we want the process to be expedited. Our vetting this time around will not be done in cities; rather people who wish to be vetted will go to their areas of operation in the rural homes in order for them to be vetted. If we decentralise, we know that people know each other and villagers know who participated and who did not.
In addition, to avoid the enlisting of unscrupulous and bogus chancers who might want to take advantage of the vetting exercise and fraudulently obtain the veterans of the liberation struggle status, the
Veterans of the Liberation Struggle Act provides for steep penalties. Security services will be present at vetting centres to deal with such imposters.
Hon. Mguni, Hon. Dzuma, Hon. Mushoriwa, Hon. Mliswa and Hon. Khumalo also raised their concerns of the conditions of provincial and district heroes. This is a responsibility of the Ministry of Home Affairs, much as it is not my mandate, I strongly feel that this matter should be taken seriously and attended to. I shall relay the concerns to the Minister of Home Affairs so that we give a befitting status to our heroes. Their contribution to the independence of Zimbabwe is priceless.
Hon. Gen. (Rtd) Khumalo informed the House that there are many comrades who are currently not receiving any medical benefits and that only those who have connections are accessing these benefits. So far, Madam Speaker, we have not received such complaints. If any such unethical practices are in existence they should be reported to our offices or to me personally. Medical benefits were being availed to every vetted war veteran or ex-political prisoners or detainee in terms of the previously repealed Acts as long as an application was made in the prescribed form and manner. Likewise, once the new categories are vetted, they can also apply for medical assistance when the need arises
in terms of the Veterans Act. I am pleased to inform the House that in recognition of the principle of devolution in Section 264 of the Constitution, we have decentralised our services to district level so that every comrade even at grassroots level can easily access our services.
Hon. Mliswa, Hon. Mpariwa and Hon. Gabuzza also emphasised that our comrades’ welfare was not being prioritised the way we expected. They also highlighted that government ministries should contribute to the welfare of Veterans of the Liberation Struggle. The new dispensation being led by our visionary leader has been singing the same tune on the need to change the lives of our veterans. The President launched the economic empowerment vehicle for veterans through the establishment of a holding company and its subsidiary companies. Government has ceded assets which amount to billions of dollars and we hope that those who will be entrusted with responsibility to run these companies will do so with speed in order to raise wealth for the veterans. We have also received overwhelming support from various ministries in the form of provincial farms, mining claims, a hunting conservancy and laptops from the Ministry of ICT to facilitate e-programs. We are still pushing for more assistance from the ministries so that we have a solid structure for the welfare and economic empowerment of our veterans.
Lastly Madam Speaker, there were some accusations that the appointment of the Veterans board was not done fairly or in a proper manner. I wish to inform the House of the steps we undertook to appoint the Board. The Act provides that members of the Board should consist of persons nominated by their respective organisations that represent the interests of the four categories of veterans. Letters were sent to all organisations that represent the four categories and they all responded with their nominees. CVs were shortlisted based on the requirements and we consulted the leadership of ZIPRA and ZANLA during the process. The names were submitted for routine security clearance and then the required number was selected, in consultation with the President. Issues of gender balance and regional representation were considered.
In conclusion Madam Speaker, I would like to appreciate all the Hon. Members who contributed to this import debate. It is our responsibility as law makers to make a sound legal framework for our veterans in line with the spirit of the Constitution.
HON. BRIG. GEN. (RTD.) MAYIHLOME: Thank you very
much Madam Speaker. I also want to thank the Hon. Minister for the articulate response to the debate on this very emotional and important subject. I move that the report be adopted by this House.
Motion that this House takes note of the Report of the Portfolio
Committee on Defence, Home Affairs and Security Services on the
Petition from the Zimbabwe People’s Revolutionary Army (ZPRA)
Veterans appealing to Parliament to amend the Veterans of the Liberation Struggle Act, put and adopted.
HON. KASHIRI: I rise on a point of privilege. Hon. Speaker, chakanaka chakanaka.
HON. T. MLISWA: On a point of order Madam Speaker. We
have rules in this Parliament. He is rising on a point of privilege. He cannot do that at this point. You know when privilege comes in. He has to come through another angle. Can you guide the Hon. Member accordingly? Those are the rules.
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: You are right Hon. Mliswa.
Hon. Kashiri you stood on what point.
HON. KASHIRI: On a point of interjection Madam Speaker.
Thank you Hon Mliswa for the interjection. On a point of order Madam
Speaker, I was saying chakanaka chakanaka. In the House today I see Members of Pan African Parliament among us. Pan African Parliament consists of the Hon. Speaker J. F. Mudenda, Hon. Dr. Khupe leader of opposition, Hon. P. Togarepi our chief whip, Hon S. Mathe, Hon. Sen. Mwonzora, Hon. Mashakada, Hon. B. Rwodzi, Hon. Sen. Mupfumira, Hon. Sen. Chimutengwende and the staff of Parliament. I would like to express our sincere appreciation for a job well done in South Africa.
[HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] The Members fought viciously against the franco-phone nations who were fiercely fighting for the non rotation of the chairmanship of the Pan African Parliament. I would like to say makarwisa, makarwa semvumba. Well done. I thank you Madam Speaker.
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Thank you Hon. Kashiri. It
is true that they did well and did us proud, those Hon. Members who were at the Pan-African Parliament Session.
It is true you raised the Zimbabwean flag high. May we clap hands for them? – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] – A special mention goes to Hon. Barbra Rwodzi who snatched the ballot box which then foiled the unplanned elections because it was going to be an unfair election.
We thank you so much. Well done.
BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
HON. TOGAREPI: Madam Speaker, I move that we revert to Order of the Day Number 10.
HON. KASHIRI: I second.
Motion put and agreed to.
SECOND REPORT OF THE PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE ON MINES
AND MINING DEVELOPMENT ON THE FINDINGS OF THE
INQUIRY ON THE PETITION FROM WOMEN AND LAND ON
HON. MKARATIGWA: Madam Speaker, I move the motion
standing in my name That this House takes note of the Second Report of the Portfolio Committee on Mines and Mining Development on the
Findings of the Inquiry on the Petition from Women and Land on Farmer-Miner Disputes.
HON. TOFFA: I second.
HON. MKARATIGWA: Thank you Madam Speaker Ma’am.
On behalf of the Portfolio Committee on Mines and Mining
Development, I would like to present to this august House a report on the findings of the enquiry conducted in response to the petition from
Women and Land Zimbabwe on farmer miner disputes.
Pursuant to Section 149 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe, the Joint
Portfolio Committee on Mines and Mining Development and; Lands,
Agriculture Water and Rural Resettlement received a petition from Women and Land Zimbabwe, calling for the review of laws that deal with the farmer-miner disputes whilst at the same time ensuring that the laws address land rights vis-a-vis women in the rural areas. The petitioners were gravely appalled by lack of policy formulation by Government to respond to the problem being faced by farmers nationwide but in this case, focusing on the Midlands Province. In addition, the petitioners also raised allegations of lack of monitoring by the Ministry of Mines and Mining Development on operation by mining companies. The Environmental Management Agency was also accused of ineffectiveness in carrying out their mandate. Accordingly, they called for the Government to decisively intervene to rectify the conflict that is existing between farmers and miners.
Over the years, there has been a serious land-use dispute between farmers and miners in many areas around the country. The current law clearly states that mining activities supersedes every other activity including farming. It gives miners the right to extract minerals that are underground while farmers have the right to operate on the land surface. Mining activities have tended to encroach on the territory of farmers hence the disputes. Miners have been accused of deforestation on farmlands, degrading the environment with little or no rehabilitation of the areas. In other extreme cases, the farmers are slowly losing their small pieces of land to miners who are using the current law to displace the farmers. In most cases, women have been on the receiving end in this setup leading to loss of land for agriculture and ultimately loss of livelihoods.
The Joint Committee’s first step was to analyse and deliberate on the petition followed by a consultative meeting with key stakeholders. These included the Petitioner (Women and Land Zimbabwe) and the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Water and Rural Resettlement. The petitioner, Women and Land Zimbabwe outlined their concerns and expectations. In order to get a full appreciation of the issues raised in the petition, the Committee conducted a field visit and a public hearing at one of the hotspots, located in Shurugwi. The participants included; farmers, miners, local authority, officials from the Government departments (Ministry of Lands, Ministry of Local Government, Gender Commission, traditional leaders, communities among others. This was followed by a debriefing meeting where observations were deliberated. The joint Committee was disappointed that the Ministry of Mines and Mining Development failed to attend any of the engagements at different stages of the enquiry. The visit and subsequent meeting were highly interactive and the participants expressed their views on the existing land use conflict in the Shurugwi area.
4.1 Land use conflict
The field visit provided the Joint Committee an opportunity to appreciate the existing conflicts on the usage of land (land use) between small-scale farmers and small-scale miners existing in the area. The conflicting and competing interests were so clear as both the farmers and the miners expressed the need to exploit the land resource for their survival on one end and Government aspirations of coexistence of these two critical sectors. They clearly stated that, land was their only source for survival. In this regard, there is stiff competition for land, with the farmer fighting for land for cultivation while the miner is fighting for that same piece of land for the extraction of gold. The farmers, who are mostly women, are at the receiving end of this conflict as they are usually overpowered by their male counterparts engaging in mining activities. On one occasion, the Committee witnessed a conflict on the ownership of the family land between the mother and the son. The son was accused of bringing in mining investors on the mother’s farmland without her knowledge and consent.
4.2 Water management conflict
There is also pressure between farmers and miners for water in
that dry mountainous area. Farmers are desperately in need of water to irrigate their small pieces of land downstream while miners are in need of water for the winnowing and cleaning of their ores upstream. These miners have even blocked the natural flow of the stream through diverting the channel to their mining site, leaving farmers downstream without sufficient water of a good quality to support the production of their crops. The water quality has been greatly affected due to contamination through chemicals. Such contaminated water has become a public health hazard and a danger to the plants. It was disheartening to note that one of the farmers was on the verge of losing 45 thousand onion plants that are almost drying because of water shortages.
4.3 Land degradation
The land degradation is occurring at a fast rate from the illegal alluvial gold mining in the area. It was acknowledged during the visit that there is a sharp increase in the number of illegal miners occupying and digging the piece of land in question. The activities of these miners are not organised in any way and visuals of cleared land and unguarded mine shafts were observed. The joint Committee observed an environment characterised by loss of biodiversity and loss in aesthetic value on the degraded lands. It was also noted that the miners were ignorant of land reclamation efforts which rendered the land unproductive of any meaningful agriculture to take place. As such, the land for agriculture where women are practicing their farming is constantly shrinking as more deposits of gold are discovered in the area.
There is also threat of siltation as a result of riverbed mining.
4.5 Loss of livestock.
It was reported that cattle have been falling into pits left by the illegal gold miners. An emotional farmer told the Joint Committee that he had lost almost 42 beasts to the pits, while another one is left with just over 20 from a total of 63. The cattle farmers who have lost immensely submitted to the Committee that they had lost their source of livelihoods and their statuses of wealth in the communities. The cattle in many cases were also sources of draught power. This demonstrates the magnitude of the problem of land degradation as a result of disorderly mining activities.
4.6 Lack of law enforcement
There is a general consensus amongst stakeholders consulted that there is lack of law enforcement. The Committee was informed that the law enforcement agents have been doing nothing to address the farmerminer disputes despite the fact that these miners are illegal. Also noted was the inability of the various Government departments related to matters at hand to resolve the issues especially EMA, Ministry of Mines and Mining Development and the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Water and Rural Resettlement.
Allegations of rampant corruption were raised against the law enforcement agents who come to attend to this issue.
5.0 COMMITTEE OBSERVATIONS
5.1 The overall impact of these observations is that the conflicts are negatively affecting livelihoods of many families mainly the vulnerable groups such as women and children who depend on agricultural production on one hand and alluvium gold mining on the other, with a huge bearing on people`s health, environmental sustainability and community livelihood.
5.2 There is generally lack of harmony in the legal frameworks available which allows the coexistence of both farmers and miners. This is causing problems mostly to women in the agriculture sector who are constantly threatened by increasing number of illegal gold miners in the area.
5.3 Women are threatened by loss of land especially upon the death of the husband. A number of widows have been threatened by men and such cases have been escalated to the courts of laws. In this regard, Women and Land in Zimbabwe has been playing a very significant role in assisting women throughout the legal processes.
5.4 Mining Officers no longer follow the requirements of the Mines
and Minerals Act especially Section 31 (h) on ground not open to prospecting upon any Communal Land occupied as a village without the written consent of the rural district council established for the area. Pegging of mines is done within a distance of 90 meters, which is against the specified regulations.
5.5 In areas where compensation was given, it was mostly negotiated unfairly. In one case, it was more of a bribe than compensation as it was given to one family member at the expense of everyone else.
5.6 There is a general misconception that the Mines and Minerals
Act overrides all other Acts, hence it has been abused to the disadvantage of farmers and others who find themselves losing their prices of land.
5.7 Wetlands are not considered when pegging mines.
6.1 The Ministry of Mines and Mining Development should expedite and finalise the Mines and Minerals Amendment Bill by June 2021;
6.2 The Ministry of Mines and Mining Development should, on a regular basis, monitor performance, compliance to mining laws and operations of mining companies operating nationwide; EMA must be resourced to enable it to fully carry out their mandate;
6.3 The Ministry of Mines should conduct a research and come up with a model that will guide and inform the formalisation of artisanal and small-scale mining in Zimbabwe by December 2021;
6.4 The Ministry of Lands should enact a Land Policy by December
6.5 Going forward, Ministry of Mines and Mining Development, the
Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Water, Fisheries and Rural Resettlement and the Environmental Management Agency should work together to enable the harmonisation of land, mining and environmental laws and;
6.6 The above-mentioned Ministries should coordinate their efforts in order to ensure effective and efficient enforcement of the laws that prohibit illegal mining.
6.7 The Ministry of Mines and Mining Development should always follow what is on the site of works plan when supervising the operations of mining companies as it will address the boundary disputes.
6.8 The Ministry of Mines and Mining Development should undertake a research on the most suitable Artisanal Small-scale Mining Model for Zimbabwe by December 2021.
6.9 The Ministry of Mines and Mining Development should go on the ground and check if the land owners, communities and the Rural District
Councils were consulted and during the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) consultations conducted by miners.
6.10 EMA should ensure that the EIA consultations are made public to deal with the corruption which has become rampant in this area.
6.11 EMA should make sure that they do not approve any mining activity on wetlands.
The Committee greatly appreciates the proactive role played by Women and Land Zimbabwe in unraveling the challenges being faced by farmers specifically women in areas were both farming and mining are being practiced. The Committee was convinced that the gesture by the petitioner was a noble cause that if left unchecked and unaddressed, the communities will be destroyed in terms of food security, environment and even loss of water due to siltation. In this regard, the Government is compelled to intervene and address the concerns raised by both the petitioner and the affected communities. I thank you.
HON. TOFFA: As I add my voice, I would like to thank our Hon Chair, Hon. Mukarakatigwa for presenting our report eloquently and factually. Mr. Speaker Sir, I would like to first of all thank Women and Land Zimbabwe for bringing this issue forward with regards to women farmers and conflict with miners. I say this because as we went round on our fact finding mission, in most instances, people that were visible were the men and the women would be in the background. We also found that in most instances where women’s land was being taken away from them, women were powerless, they did not know what to do and they would sort of take their position in the background.
I must also hasten to say and thank the Gender Commission. They were also present in our rounds as we went from place to place. There was an incident that the Hon. Chair referred to, where a woman had her land taken away by her son who went into a deal with a mining institution or contractor. This woman got absolutely nothing. She did not even know how much her son had got. What is mind boggling is the fact that this man was able to do the whole process, taking papers which included his father’s death certificate, his mother’s papers and the whole deal went through. The poor woman, who is the owner of this land was now having disputes or was facing ridicule and animosity from her neighbours because they felt that she had gotten a benefit.
When we, as a Committee, asked for this young man to come forward, it was quite shocking to see what was before us. Without belittling any God created human being – this man, you could not say this was a person that had been able to pull such a big deal because there was a mining company that had different types of equipment. He had graders, earth moving equipment and huge generators. When we brought this man forward, he was visibly intoxicated meaning that some form of corruption had taken place. We then called the woman forward
I think it was after the intervention of Women In Land and the Gender Commission; her name has just slipped my mind (the name of the woman representing the Commission has just slipped my mind) for the woman to come and state her case. She could hardly speak because she was now emotional. She had become an enemy of the community. Never mind the fact that she had actually been dispossessed of her land and property. Her son did not even give her anything.
Let us move to another area where we went talking to the issue of the environment and water. People are doing river bed mining. Holes are being dug – if you stand in the hole, I think you need three or four people – it is quite deep in the river. When it rains, those holes are all covered. This is where the loss of livestock come in. Not only livestock, people also tend to have short memories when it rains. Maybe they want to go fishing or they are chasing after their goats or cows even human lives, we were told that they were actually lost.
We were taken to see the point of conflict which was water – in the mining. It was mostly young people because of the way our economy is; the lack of jobs. These young people have no choice but to find whatever means they can to make a living. There was a water point which was up on a rise and it was higher than the river. At the top there, the miners diverted water or there was a forked point where the miners would divert water to where they are mining and the women’s gardens would be starved of the much needed water to water their vegetables. The miners seemed to have the upper hand or would decide when they would give them water. In engaging the miners and the farmers, we were trying to see how they would relate and come to some kind of compromise so that there would be a win-win situation.
In the report that the Hon. Chair Mkarakatigwa presented, young children are also being affected. We saw some very young boys that were participating in river bed mining because of the economic situation again. This is where this child can help their family to farm. When we look at the environmental degradation that the Hon. Chair highlighted, there is no enforcement. EMA lacks the teeth and muscle to enforce. EMA does not have enough staff and vehicles to go around and check on what is going on.
Women need a more friendly environment and it is of paramount importance that Government finds a middle way so that the women that are doing farming and feeding their families and those very miners have access to the land without being disturbed. Women in mining take about 10% of the miners in Zimbabwe and people that are mining still need to leave off the land.
The river bed mining has a lot of ripple effects. Not only are they damaging the environment, they are also poisoning the water because they are using mercury. The animals are being killed; the quality of meat that we are getting is not good; the quality of crop that we are getting as well is not good. As the people eat these vegetables that are being contaminated by the chemicals that are being used, their systems are being poisoned as well.
I think that women need a better deal. Women especially in the rural areas have no real voice to speak with. People like Women and Land Zimbabwe and the Gender Commission help in such situations. I say this again Mr. Speaker Sir, if it was not for the courage that they were given by the presence of this organisation, Women and Land Zimbabwe as well as the Gender Commission, I do not think that they would have gotten the attention that they did get. I still believe as I stand here today that as much as we went as a joint Committee to attend to the issues, the issues are still not yet solved.
I think it is also very important that when Committees go around to the communities and have public hearings and attend to issues and situations, it must not be just a talk show. It must not be a situation where a Minister will come and round up an issue. We need to be seen to be an effective Parliament that makes a difference. Even for us as parliamentarians, it is very disheartening because when we go out there and we speak to people and they look into our eyes, they actually think and believe that we are sincerely coming to do our work and there is going to be a solution. However, you find us going back term after term. I will just refer to a situation where Hon. Nduna was referring to last term’s report and the Speaker ruled accordingly, of course. But I do not think he will need to do that if we as a Parliament made sure that we solved all our problems and the people’s issues.
Having said the Mr. Speaker Sir, I would like to support all the recommendations that were made by our Committee and stand by our report. Once again, I plead with you Mr. Speaker to make sure that these issues and all the women’s issues that we attended to maybe taken seriously. Thank you.
HON. BRIG. GEN. (RTD.) MAYIHLOME: Mr. Speaker, I would like to applaud the Committee on Mines and Mining
Development, the Chair’s report seconded by Hon. Toffa. I would like to add my voice really because this is a very topical and emotional subject in the constituencies that we come from because mining, particularly illegal mining has ridden rough shod over everybody else in this country ever since somebody told them you can bring as much gold, we will not ask where you got it from.
This unwritten or is it written law which says mining takes precedence over any other activity on the land could also be our source of problems as farmers in this country or the people of this land. Yes, I also applaud the Women and Land Zimbabwe for highlighting this issue. I would want to inform this august House that the effects of mining and illegal mining are felt right across the board whether you are male or female, if you are in agriculture you are at their mercy. As I speak Hon.
Speaker, I have a personal experience of having lost 30 herd of cattle in 2020 to illegal miners’ pits.
A farmer perhaps was said to be subordinate to the miner when mining was assumed to be underground but the mining of nowadays is on the surface. It is opencast and is reckless. Anyone can just mine anywhere. They dig the pits and no one follows up to see to it that the pits are closed. No provision is made by local authorities or the Ministry of Mines to make sure that the miners are taxed so that revenue or income is used to employ people who are going to close those pits. So, it is the farmer’s mess. At this rate, if this country continues at the rate at which we are proceeding all areas that have minerals or gold in particular and also having farming land would be non-existent 15 years from now. I do not think that is what this country wants.
A farmer for example, is supposed to pay land tax for an area that is designated say, 200 hectares you are supposed to pay so much tax to the Government. Regardless of what damage the miners do to your farm or how much land they take away from you, the Government still wants their pound of flesh for the 200 hectares and they do not make any effort to come and check to see whether the 200 hectares is still all useable. They just want their money. One Ministry of Agriculture on the one hand or the local authority demand payment for the 200 hectares, yet Ministry of Mines or the miners are allowed to destroy whatever they want out of that farm.
The law says if you farm is more than 100 hectares a miner can come and peg with or without your consent. These are some things that are so wrong with the current situation which the Mines and Minerals Act should address if it is to come to this august House. We have waited and now it is the third year that we have been waiting for that Bill and it is nowhere near being gazetted so that it is fully debated and a solution is found. A farmer does not get any royalties from minerals that are found on his farm. It all goes to Government but the damage is to the farmer.
I know of a registered sturdy breeder in my constituency of a
Brahman breed who was forced off his land. He is presently renting land elsewhere because he was chased away by gold panners. These same gold panners took that gold produced illegally to Fidelity and they were applauded for bringing gold to the fiscus but the farmer gets nothing. He has lost his land and everything that he has invested on that piece of land.
The Committee Chairperson and the seconder of the motion, Hon. Toffa have spoken at length about the damage to the environment and water, pollution from mercury, defecation and such things, these I will not belabour on but what I can say is that mining should be regulated. Miners should also observe the laws. The registered miners are perhaps easier to deal with because at least you know where to find them and you can perhaps cause them to stop their mining operations. It is the illegal miners that this Government has turned a blind eye to over the years that have wrecked havoc in this country. Not just in Shurugwi, but nationwide, everywhere. In the recent past, the Hon. Minister Marapira was at Matopo Research Station which is a major international research centre for livestock and crops. They ordered the miners out but they refused and told the Minister they would not leave. They have dared the police, they always play cat and mouse with the authorities because the law allows them to bring that illegal product to the market without any questions asked.
I just want to talk about the Water Act which Hon. Toffa and Hon. Mkaratigwa mentioned here. Our understanding is that precedence for water is prioritised as followsl; firstly to humans for consumption, secondly to livestock, thirdly agriculture and fourthly mining and then other activities. However the illegal miners have turned the tables around and they believe that they have the first preference on water. They do not care about human beings, livestock or agriculture. To them gold takes precedence over everything else. We cannot have a nation where laws are followed by some and not followed by others. They snare, cut wood and they move wherever they feel like moving to. Even the laws of trespassing do not mean anything to them, they do not observe them. In the past they used to at least listen when you told them not to go to certain areas. Nowadays the illegal miners tell the farmers what to do. You cannot challenge them, so my last appeal to you Hon. Speaker is for government to consider compensating farmers who lose their land and livestock to illegal miners. These illegal miners are the government’s baby. We cannot say we do not know who they are because government recognises them by accepting their gold.
Farmers need to be compensated for illegal mining on their land. Government must bring the Bill on Mines and Minerals so that mining is properly regulated and there is order in agriculture. Without farmers, there is no future and worse still, basic livelihoods of rural families headed by women, for that matter, are deprived of their land and source of living. You however turn a blind eye, all because you want the pieces of gold. It is not right for that to happen in this country. In my view, are the fundamental issues that the Ministry of Mines and Mining
Development must address as a matter of urgency. I thank you.
(v)HON. R. R. NYATHI: Thank you Hon. Speaker. I also want to add my voice to the motion raised by Hon. Mkaratigwa, seconded by Hon. Toffa. It is very true that for a long time in Zimbabwe we have had a serious problem with disputes between the farmers and miners. For a long time we have seen no solutions to this dispute. In my experience - inasmuch as you know that I come from Shurugwi which is also one of the mining towns, there are a lot of such disputes between the farmers and the miners. So I want to appreciate the petition that was given by the women and men of Zimbabwe concerning that which is a cry which is long overdue, seeking assistance to come up with a solution to the dispute.
There is land degradation by the miners. Our miners are destroying the areas they are mining, the environment and everything.
Moreso, the miners are not operating in terms of corporate governance. I also want to mention that the resources are non renewable, so much of our minerals are going out and even outside the country. There are so many leakages which I think if we do our mining responsibly without even going into agriculture, we can sustain and upgrade the standard of living for our people in Zimbabwe. Even when we look at the Vision
2030, it can be achieved with little or bare minimum resources. I think that very soon we are going to be having some water woes and this has been alluded to by Hon. Mkaratigwa that some of our miners are … -
[Technical glitch.] –
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER (HON. MUTOMBA): Hon.
Members, we are having challenges on virtual. So maybe I should give this opportunity to Hon. Chikukwa who is in the House. I will come back to you Hon. Nyathi when the problem has been resolved.
*HON. CHIKUKWA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. I want to add
my voice on the issue that was raised by the Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Mines and Mining Development, Hon. Mkaratigwa and seconded by Hon. Toffa. This is a very pertinent issue and it is very painful especially to womenfolk as in the majority of cases, they find themselves on the wrong end of the stick.
I am pleading with this august House to ensure that the current law that is being used by the Ministry of Mines and Mining Development be urgently reviewed because it is a very old law that was enacted to protect the interests of the minority few. This minority regime never imagined or thought that the Land Reform Programme would come to pass. I am pleading for the urgent review of this law. When we look at the proposed amendment, issues that were raised, it means that a farmer is only responsible for the land on the surface and the foundation and the underground does not belong to the farmer since it belongs to the miner. Mr. Speaker Sir, because of this relationship between the farmer and the miner, it means that in some of the areas, many people wake up shocked to find cracks in their houses since mining activities will be taking place underground.
Even in other areas where there are no farming activities like Hwange, people will be into livestock farming but once the miner comes into the area, his priority is to mine the minerals underground. What must be done is for this august House, led by the Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Mines and Mining Development, to urge for the promulgation of a completely new law to regulate this sector. Furthermore, Hon. Speaker, the culprits that are engaging in such practice are self-centered bullies. Take an example of a widow who is in peaceful occupation of her land - one with children is better off than the one who is childless. In the majority of these cases, the people who attack these defenseless widows and children are armed with machetes.
In order to preserve one’s life, the victims will not stand up to these bullies. It is now even worse for these defenseless people because they can no longer report the culprits to the police for it appears that even the police are afraid of these machete wielding gangs.
I was pained by the story that I heard of a child who sold some property after having taken advantage of his semi-literate mother, whom he misrepresented to. The mother, in her innocence, appended her signature to the document that the son had proffered to her for signing. In order to avoid such innocent people being taken advantage of, I propose that all signing of documents be done at the local Ministry of Mines and Mining Development offices. This method will curtail the issuing of mining licences without the blessing and knowledge of the farmer.
I further propose that the farmer be given the first right of refusal to any claim that is going to be issued. That method will conserve the land and also control chaotic mining. I heard other speakers extolling the virtues of the sanctity of life. It is important that we respect human life. We are now facing a problem with people who are abandoning formal employment under the belief that there are easy pickings in artisanal mining. As a result, there is now also the danger of the introduction of chemicals such as mercury into the river system in a bid to do some artisanal mining by members of the community. Such activities are depriving people of water and also causing illnesses related to chemical use such as cancer. It is not only the people who are being affected, livestock is also not being spared and as a result, farmers are losing their valuable livestock.
I urge that before any mining activity takes place, there be proper environmental impact assessment, which deals with issues of land reclamation once excavation has been concluded, so that the miners conduct is legal. I thank you.
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Order, order, Hon. Banda, you
are not appropriately dressed for Parliament.
HON. S. BANDA: Sorry Hon. Speaker, I do not understand.
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Sorry Hon. Banda, you are not
appropriately dressed for Parliament.
#HON. S. BANDA: With all due respect Hon. Speaker. Thank you Hon. Speaker, let me address you in my mother tongue. I have come here wearing my genuine national dress, that is why you always Hon. Mliswa wearing his national dress together with the hat and this shows that he is of Muslim origin. We are christians hence we do not wear the head gear as is the case with Hon. Mliswa’s dressing but when you look at the dress code, you will realise that the two attires are the same. It could appear as if this is now discriminatory since Hon. Mliswa is allowed to come to Parliament in the same dress code. I have come here in genuine African attire and you discriminate against me.
I hear what you are saying and with all due respect Hon. Mutomba,
I am properly before the House and properly dressed. I thank you.
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Order, order, I would indulge you Hon. Banda if what you are wearing at the moment is a complete suit of the African attire, but unfortunately it is not. – [HON. S. BANDA: Hon. Speaker!] – I do not have to argue with you, I have already made a ruling Hon. Banda, what you are wearing is not a complete suit or African attire.
HON. S. BANDA: Hon. Speaker even if you look at me...
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER (HON. MUTOMBA: I do not
want to argue, I have already made a ruling.
HON. S. BANDA: Hon. Speaker, even if you look at me, I do not know because all of this is just like one material. So, I do not know where have I gone wrong.
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER (HON. MUTOMBA: Would
you come along Hon. Banda.
Hon. Banda having walked to the Speaker’s Chair.
(v)HON. MASANGO: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. I would like to add my voice to the motion which was raised by Hon. Mkaratigwa and seconded by Hon. Toffa. My contribution is mainly on what I have seen in my constituency. The issue of makomba, holes being dug in Mhangura by illegal miners has gone viral. I have seen daring illegal miners going to dig in someone’s yard, field, and garden or even in a school yard. People are having conflicts everyday pertaining to this and I am really afraid that in one of these days, they will kill each other. These illegal miners do not even build toilets when they get to a place because they know that they will be leaving that place very soon. Even their lives are in danger because they may end up contracting diseases and even having COVID due to their large numbers when they are in an area.
These people are rogue elements and no one can rein them in.
My other worry is that in Mhangura, farmers will end up not farming due to the fact that their land will be invaded by these miners and most of their time will be spent going to courts just to try to displace those miners so that they get off their land. As Hon. Chikukwa alluded to, in some instances when the police are called to intervene, they do not even take any action because they will also be mining there lest something really needs to be done to these illegal miners. I thank you.
HON. MUSANHI: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. I would like to applaud the Mines Committee Chairman for the motion that he raised and it was seconded by Hon. Toffa. There is a huge conflict in the country right now between the farming and mining communities. In 2017, I lost a head of about 150 cattle that were poisoned through cyanide in my farm. I called EMA to come and have a look at these cattle and the post mortem was done by the Department of Veterinary
Services. They gave a report to say cyanide was the cause for the death. They closed the mine for about 2 to 3 months but within the 3 months, it was reopened. The people were also on the same mine, mining illegally.
I think in the Eighth Parliament, we debated about this issue and we thought the Mines and Minerals Act was due for amendment but it was not done. I do not know for what reason but it seemed like everybody was hopeful that this long and outstanding colonial law that was made by the colonial masters in order for them to amass our minerals as much as they would want would come to an end. It could not end just like that and it looks like it is going on and it is carrying on.
After losing a head of cattle of 150, I thought we had debated enough in the Eighth Parliament to have this law amended but it was not amended. I do not know whether it will help us in this House to debate this issue for as long as the Executive does not want to take part and come to the table to amend this. In the same farm of mine, this issue, I have gone up and down to the police and EMA department but this has totally failed. We have had females in my farm, more than 2 or 3 of them who have fallen into the open holes that are left by illegal miners. No one seems to turn an eye on this very important issue where people are losing their lives. It looks like our lives are no longer valuable and what is important is the gold now.
For as long as we turn a blind eye on this issue that was raised by the Committee of Mines, I do not think this country will go anywhere.
People are going to laugh at us and it will not help this country at all. If valuable lives are being lost and people do not seem to take any heed of that, it is a bit frustrating and shameful on our part as a Parliament.
We have debated and complained that all the water sources are now polluted. They are putting cyanide and mercury into the water. If someone takes water which has cyanide it will go a little while but that person will succumb because of that poisoned water.
I think this is a very important point that we think must be loud and clear to our Executive so that they amend this long and colonial law that was put well before we got independent. Now we are 41 years into our independence and this law is still there. I pray that this must be looked at urgently. Thank you.
(v)HON. NGUNI: Thank you Hon. Speaker Sir for affording me this opportunity to air my voice on this important debate which was presented by Hon. Mukarakatigwa and seconded by Hon. Toffa.
Hon. Speaker Sir, mining is a major employer of our local communities, especially the youths but it goes with some negative impact also. So many lives have been lost due to the mining activities most probably because of the way how we apply our laws. I think there is a need to come up with relevant laws that will have control over these mining activities in this country.
I come from Bubi where there are major activities. In Bubi, mining has employed a lot of youths and so many local communities are surviving with mining, but the challenge which goes with mining activities is the licencing. These prospecting licences; once one gets that licence, they go to work whereever they want.
I think there is need for the Government to look at that licence for a prospector. The prospecting licence should be indicated where one is going to prospect so that these people will be traceable. You will find that someone who got a prospecting licence for example, from Midlands, can come and mine in Matabeleland North. This contributes to a lot of confusion because in most cases, those people who will be coming from afar are the ones who are causing some conflicts.
In most cases, those people would have left their places where they are known so that when they come to other areas they embark on attacking others or doing some other negative activities that are not associated with mining.
Therefore, I would like to urge the Government to have that prospecting licence limited to where the mining is going to take place so that these people can be traceable.
The other conflict that I have discovered is on the miner versus the farmer. People with mining prospecting licenses just go to any place where they think they can find gold. They can even start prospecting in your maize field or in the area where people are grazing their cattle. That has caused a lot of confusion or conflict. That is why I am suggesting that the prospecting license should have some boundary limits and that when one gets the prospecting license for a certain area, they should first approach the local leadership starting from the local council going to the village heads. If one just gets a licence then goes to the bush and start prospecting and when they sees somebody’s beast, slaughter it and start causing confusing.
Yes, I concur with all other members who have contributed that mining is a business and it is a major employer of our local youth. So many families are benefiting and surviving from the mining activities. I think we have got proper laws of governing mining because mining is causing a lot of confusion. These so called makorokoza, they come from mining prospective. So, the only way to curtail these people is to have proper laws that govern these licences.
The licence of mining or the prospecting licence should not be issued just for someone to go for the prospecting where ever he wants. Before one is issued with a licence, they should indicate where he is going to prospect and that should be noted down. There should also be an impact assessment that should go with his certificate because those people do not even do the land survey when they are mining.
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: I think your gadget is playing
games, we cannot hear you.
(v)HON. S. MGUNI: I was saying the impact that was left behind by the miners when they mine is so dangerous because they leave a deep pit where by cattle are being trapped. I was suggesting that these people should have guidelines that guide them so that after mining, they should fill the pits before they leave.
The other thing that I also noticed is that mining has its positives and negatives. I have mentioned mostly the negatives but of course there are positives. There is a lot of employment and our communities are developing. People are buying cars, pay school fees and so forth. Communities are gaining a living out of mining. Mining can also help us to import cars because people have money for that. It is a major income for some of our communities. People increase their wealth due to mining activities. It also helps to increase the economy of the country. Most countries are developing due to mining activities but what is only left out which is a missing link is maybe to craft proper laws to govern mining activities.
(v)HON. SVUURE: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir for affording me this opportunity to also contribute to the debate. I would also want to thank Hon. Edmund Mkaratigwa for the report that he has proffered and seconded by Hon. Jasmine Toffa.
I was part of the team that went on a tour responding to the petition that was brought forth by women in farming. What we observed from the tour that we took was a sorrowful state of things. There is the assumption on the co-existence of the miner and a farmer premised on the belief that a miner will do his mining from underground and a farmer would do the farming on the surface. Practically, this is not so. You will find that when a miner mines on the same land on which the farmer is supposed to do their farming, sometimes they dig surface trenches. After the trenches are done, it renders that land not so useful for agricultural purposes. These are the experiences that we saw because the law at the moment assumes that a miner and a farmer can co-exist but practically that is not sustainable.
We also experienced the notion that mining supersedes farming. It is not a disposition because this brings mining above every other economic sector which is not fair at all. This assumes that everyone in involved in a viable economic activity must be involved in mining yet there are those that would rather invest in something else or farming for example. I think the law must critically address this notion that mining and the unwritten law like someone described it that mining supersedes everything else but like I said, not everyone can be a miner.
The law must be clear on land use. If one gets a title for farming, then they must restrict themselves to farming. If the other gets the title for mining, they must restrict themselves to mining. This co-existence phenomenon is only a myth. The practicability of it is very questionable.
There are rules and regulations that govern mining. These rules contradict with farming. In mining, there use explosives. There are set regulations that govern the distance from which people must be able to do other operations from where the mining activity or the blast is being done. For a miner to be able to co-exist with a farmer where the miner is doing rock blasting and using explosives, you will notice that the safety of the farmer is at risk.
Because of women’s natural vulnerability, they are in a pathetic situation especially those that are doing farming in mining areas. For instance in Shurugwi, we encountered one situation where there were miners endeavouring very nice market gardening projects but just above their piece of land, is a mine. The artisanal miners that are doing their mining adjacent to this farm where the women are doing their farming have got no respect for the farming activities. Both are getting water from the same weir for irrigation and mining. I do not know what makes these young miners believe that they have the first priority on the water before the women. When we got there, we observed that they divert the same canal that is supposed to take water from the weir to the women’s garden to their operations. When the women tried to raise this issue with the artisanal miners, they became aggressive and rowdy. They also told us that even if they try and report the issues to the police, they are not respected at all or the police hardly attend to the scenes. They were saying they were actually now tired of making reports because no follow up is done. If anything, their reports are ignored as if they do not mean anything at all. We noticed that women are at the receiving end of the rowdiness of the artisanal miners. Their co-existence has proved to be impossible.
We also noticed land degradation – a very massive degree of land degradation especially in Shurugwi where the artisanal miners have no respect for land use at all. Once they perceive that there is a mineral underground, they just come in, ruffle the land, dig trenches, get the mineral and they go away. The next time the farmer comes to try and do their farming activities, you find that the land is already distorted and it is no longer possible to do farming activities.
There is also a belief that farming is agronomy only but we must also realise that farming is also animal husbandry. When we talk of rearing of animals on a farm where mining activities are being done, you should take note that mining activities also involves chemicals like mercury and cyanide which are very dangerous to animals. We have heard reports where on a farm, cattle ranging from over a herd of 100150 animals died from consumption of contaminated water that has been contaminated with mercury. This is something that is worrisome.
The other issue that I would also want to mention is when a husband and wife own land and the husband dies while the wife survives. There is a notion and one of the Hon. Members made specific mention of an incident that we heard of in Shurugwi where the son after the father had died, he naturally believed that he was the heir to that piece of land. He began to enter into concessions with investors, apportioned some pieces of land and entered into some agreements without the knowledge of the mother. When the mother woke up one day, she found this investor had brought some equipment on the farm that she believed was hers.
We also want to speak of the rights of women pertaining to inheritance. I think when the father dies; naturally the farm should remain in the hands of the mother and not the son, unless the mother asks the son or the eldest son as is believed to takeover. So, we had a situation where a son naturally felt he was the one that had to take control of the farm. Without consulting the mother, he entered into concessions and agreements on a farm that was not even his. This kind of thing disadvantages women.
We also would like to appeal on long pending Mines and Minerals Bill that when it finally comes to Parliament, it should address clearly the long time dispute between farmers and miners. I would suggest that let it be clear that when someone gets a license for mining like I mentioned earlier, let that piece of land be restricted to mining only and if it is a license for farming, let that piece of land be restricted to farming because it has proved beyond any doubt that the co-existence of these two is not practical at all.
I would like to thank the mover of the motion and also would like to appeal that the law will critically look at this issue. This valid concern by the women in farming can address their genuine and realistic grievance even as we noticed when we went round on the tours. Thank you.
(v)*HON. NYAMUDEZA: First and foremost I would want to thank Hon. Mkaratigwa for such a good motion. The Mines and Minerals Act allows anyone who wants to do mining to go and mine anywhere they fancy, when you look at the ground, agriculture is more in terms of production and the works that needs to be done viz-a-viz mining. This has something to do with the prospecting licenses that are issued.
At the moment there is conflict between miners and farmers because they have conflicting interests. One is a miner and that is their domain and the other one is a farmer and that is their domain so we need to reconcile the two so that they can co-exist harmoniously so that the miner concentrates on mining and farmer on farming.
We know that our Zimbabwean economy is based on agriculture. In fact, agriculture is the mainstay of the Zimbabwean economy. If we are to allow everyone to just go and prospect at any piece of land that they would want it would then produce chaos. We want sanity to prevail in the mining sector so that people can be able to co-exist and work together. A person was given a 99 Year Lease for agricultural purpose and before that 99 Year Lease is through one suddenly finds someone busy in their field.
This has been happening in Penhalonga and Mberengwa where
people are mining in other people’s fields. The miners will tell you that they have come through the normal provincial channels to do that. It is not good for people to have conflicts between the miner and farmer. My plea Hon. Speaker is that we should quickly resolve and come up with a solution.
As Members of Parliament we should pass a law that mining should not supersede any sector of the economy. As one Arm of the
State we should say that there should not be any of the three Arms of the State that overrides the other. Before this conflict is resolved, no miners should go on to anyone’s land and start mining. I hope and trust that the Minister of Mines will be called within a short space of time so that he can deal with issues to do with mining and how the miners or artisanal miners are going to rehabilitate the land.
They should also bear in mind interests of the women and we should not lose sight of the fact that women are the majority. We should be asking women because they are more responsible people and they have a bigger responsibility looking after the family. They even have a bigger part to play in the development of this country. Once we do not give women their proper position our country will remain underdeveloped. I thank you Mr. Speaker.
HON. S. BANDA: Thank you Hon. Speaker. I also want to contribute to this topical issue which deals with factor endowments. When speaking of factor of endowments we are speaking of the theory of production. This theory talks of parameters mainly three or four which are the issue of entrepreneurship whereby we are comparing farmers and miners. The issue of land, which is the major issue in this particular instance and the issue of labour where some will chose to be miners and others will chose to be farmers. Research which was conducted in Ghana showed that Ghana was the second largest producer of cocoa in the world. Ghana was also the second largest producer of gold in the world.
Now they are very good in doing two things at the same time whereas when you look into the theories of competitive advantage and comparative advantage in international trade, sometimes you may have to chose one over the other but it is not necessary to make that choice. The research which was done showed that more people preferred farming to mining. It may not necessarily be the same, depending on where we are. If we look at Zimbabwe at this particular moment, I think it is divided into six agricultural regions. Sometimes if you look at the economic cost of foregoing one over the other, you may find that it may be better, economical and more strategic to do mining than farming or it can be vice-versa.
There is a nexus which does not make life very easy. What I think is that in terms of diversification we need to look into zoning and see what is best to produce sustainably in which area then we clearly zone it as a mining zone or agricultural zone. The problem that we have is we have one which is over the other and that balance is not there. If we look into history there are studies that were conducted which show that this area has got such mineral or is best for maize or cotton.
If we go into that research we will be able to follow the zoning that was done pertaining particularly to land and we will be able to divide it accordingly. Some areas have erratic rains yet farmers try to go and farm and year-in year-out there is drought. On the other hand had we allotted such areas to mining we may have made a better decision. So, there is need for co-existence between these two.
Let me go to a study that was carried out in Peru. The mining and agriculture industries signed a co-operation agreement whereby they would not fight but agreed to do things in agreed areas. Reconciling it might be very difficult but when push comes to shove and the juxtaposition is compared to nexuses at the end of the day, I think we need to zone our country in a way where the factor of production that gives the maximum benefit is the one that is followed. I thank you Hon. Speaker.
HON. MUTAMBISI: I move that the debate do now adjourn.
HON. N. MGUNI: I second.
Motion put and agreed to.
Debate to resume: Tuesday 29th June, 2021.
HON. MUTAMBISI: I move that all orders of the day be stood over until order number 26 has been disposed of.
HON. T. MOYO: I second.
Motion put and agreed to.
RIGHT TO BASIC STATE FUNDED EDUCATION
Twenty-sixth Order read: Adjourned debate on motion on the right to basic state funded education.
Question again proposed.
HON. JOSIA. SITHOLE: Thank you Mr Speaker Sir. I would like to express my gratitude over the debate on composite classes.
Among the Hon. Members who contributed are; Hon. Madhuku, Hon.
Shamu, Hon. Mushoriwa and many others. It was noted throughout the debate that composite classes are not easy to teach, particularly when we have got the new competence based curriculum. Primary schools are now geared for six subjects, which are set for examinations. These subjects are a local language, English, Mathematics, Social Science, Physical Education and Arts, Sciences and ICT. Such subjects if disintegrated will culminate into eleven components which a teacher has to scheme or plan for and in this case it becomes really difficult for a teacher who has to teach two or three classes because that load will not be manageable. Actually the competence based curriculum is not an easy one where a teacher teaches two or three classes because it involves a lot of practical components and in some cases the teacher has to leave the classroom, go outside and do some other activities with a class while the other one remains unattended or even two classes remaining without a teacher.
Mr. Speaker Sir, I felt quite elated as Hon. Members showed that a head of a school cannot be part of the full time teaching staff because that head will actually leave doing all other duties and also that the Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare needs to bring about more teachers so that we are not going to have composite classes and hence improve the pass rate in our primary schools because it was observed, through researches, that a number of schools practicing composite classes were producing zero percent pass rates in most cases. So with that, Mr. Speaker Sir, I want to move that the report now be adopted.
NOTING that Section 75 (1) (a) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe states that every citizen and permanent resident of Zimbabwe has a right to a basic state-funded education,
WORRIED that children attending composite classes are given less learning time than their counterparts who have fulltime teachers,
COGNISANT that primary school learners in Zimbabwe who are taught in composite classes register poor Grade 7 results,
DISTURBED that heads in composite class schools are fulltime teachers within the teacher to learner ratio,
NOW, THEREFORE, calls upon:
- The Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education to completely remove composite classes from our Education System.
- The Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education to apply the teacher/class ratio for all small schools as opposed to the teacher/pupil ratio.
- The Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare to progressively recruit more teachers to increase the establishment of teachers in schools with composite classes.
- The Ministry of Finance and Economic Development to increase funding during annual budgets to facilitate provision of infrastructure and learning materials in these schools, put and adopted.
On the motion of HON. MUTAMBISI seconded by HON. MPARIWA, the House adjourned at Eighteen Minutes past Five o’clock p.m. to Tuesday, 29th June, 2021.