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NATIONAL ASSEMBLY HANSARD 18 AUGUST 2021 VOL 47 NO 76

PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE

Wednesday, 18th August, 2021.

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

PRAYERS

(THE ACTING SPEAKER in the Chair)

ANNOUNCEMENTS BY THE ACTING SPEAKER

APOLOGIES RECEIVED FROM MINISTERS

        THE ACTING SPEAKER (HON. MAVETERA): I have

received apologies from the following Hon. Ministers, in respect of the National Assembly sitting, Wednesday, 18th August, 2021:-  Hon. Rtd. General Dr. C. D. N. Chiwenga, Vice President and Minister of Health and Child Care; Hon. Prof. Mavima, Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare; Hon. Prof. Murwira, Minister of Higher and

Tertiary Education, Innovation, Science and Technology Development;

Hon. C. G. Mathema, Minister of Primary and Secondary Education;

Hon. O. C. Z Muchinguri-Kashiri, Minister of Defence and War

Veterans Affairs;  Hon. Dr. F. Shava, Minister of Foreign Affairs and

International Trade; Hon. M. N. Ndlovu, Minister of Environment, Climate Change, Tourism and Hospitality Industry; Hon. M.

Mutsvangwa, Minister of Information Publicity and Broadcasting

Services; Hon. J. G. Moyo, Minister of Local Government and Public Works; Hon. L. Matuke, Deputy Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare.  I thank you.

HON. GONESE: Thank you Madam Speaker Ma’am.  In relation

to the apologies that you have read out, there seems to be a disconnect between the apologies that you have read out and if you add the Hon.

Ministers who are present, it appears that there are Hon. Ministers and Deputy Ministers who are neither on the list of apologies nor present in the House.  Can we have some clarifications as to whether it means that those are just away without leave (AWL) or whether they are late?  In the event that they do not turn up, what steps and measures are going to be taken so that we comply with the Standing Rules and Orders which provide that they can be censured? If the Hon. Chair could clarify that for us?

THE ACTING SPEAKER: Thank you.  Indeed, some could be

on their way.  So we can only be able to come up with a conclusive response when we see that they are not attending.  For now, these are the apologies that I have and they are the ones that I read out.

(V)HON. MUSHORIWA: Madam Speaker, for the sake of us who

are on virtual, could the Chair kindly advise us the Ministers who are in the House so that we see which questions to ask?

THE ACTING SPEAKER: The Hon. Ministers who are

available; we have Hon. Chitando, the Minister of Mines and Mining Development; Hon. Dr. Masuka, the Minister of Lands, Agriculture,

Water, Fisheries, Climate and Rural Resettlement; Hon. Mhona, the

Minister of Transport Infrastructural Development; Hon. Kirsty Coventry the Minister of Youth, Sport, Arts and Recreation; Hon. Phuti the Deputy Minister of ICT Information, Communication Technology, Postal and Courier Services; Hon. Chiduwa, the Deputy Minister of

Finance and Economic Development; Hon. Simbanegavi, the Deputy

Minister of Housing and Social Amenities; Hon. Mhlanga, the Deputy

Minister of Women Affairs, Community, Small and Medium Enterprises Development and Hon. Maboyi, the Deputy  Minister of r Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage.

These are the Ministers that I can see now.  If others are going to come, I will be able to announce and advise you accordingly.  We have got Hon. Garwe who is also on virtual, so he can actually be able to respond virtually.

ERROR ON ANNOUNCEMENT OF NON-ADVERSE REPORTS        THE ACTING SPEAKER:  I have another announcement.  I

have to draw the attention of the House to a correction on yesterday’s announcement regarding non-adverse reports on the Statutory Instruments gazetted during the month of July, 2021; wherein it was reported that all Statutory Instruments had received non-adverse reports from the Parliamentary Legal Committee.  The correct position is that the Statutory Instrument 202, (High Court rules, 2021) is still under consideration by the Parliamentary Legal Committee.  I thank you.

ORAL ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS WITHOUT NOTICE

(v)HON. DUTIRO:  Thank you Hon. Speaker Ma’am.  My

question is directed to the Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water, Climate and Rural Resettlement.  What is Government policy in implementing a comparative productive advantage using our ecological systems?  To what extent is Government using ecological systems to a comparative and productive advantage?  To what extent have you come up with policies to try and rope in the private sector in the production of other agricultural produce in our provinces?  Thank you.

THE ACTING SPEAKER:  Hon. Dutiro, may you please repeat

your question.

HON. DUTIRO:  My question is on the comparative advantages

that we have in our ecological regions in this country.  To what extent has the Ministry gone to take advantage of these ecological regions that we have in the country? To what extent has the Ministry gone in order to rope in the private sector in the production of agriculture, taking advantage of the ecological regions that we have?

THE ACTING SPEAKER:  Thank you.  Hon. Minister, did you

hear the question? 

        THE MINISTER OF LANDS, AGRICULTURE, FISHERIES, WATER, CLIMATE AND RURAL RESETTLEMENT (HON. DR.

MASUKA):  Thank you Madam Speaker.  I thank the Hon. Member for

the question but I did not quite get the detail.

 THE ACTING SPEAKER:  The question is, what comparative

advantage have you put in place as a Ministry in terms of ecological regions in this country.  Is there a policy that also takes advantage of all ecological regions that we have in the country?  Have you also managed to put a policy in place to rope in the private sector to be able to benefit from these regions?

HON. DR. MASUKA:  Madam Speaker, I thank the Hon.

Member for this broad based question in relation to agro-ecological regions.  Agro-ecological regions in Zimbabwe have been classed in five categories.  With climate change, Cabinet recently adopted the adjusted agro-ecological regions that then show that the country has become drier.  So, from a policy perspective, we want to tailor our agricultural production so that it suits the agro-ecological zone. As an example, the Government policy is that because the country is becoming drier, we want traditional grains produced in the dry agro-ecological regions.  We have put in a deliberate policy to promote that.  Over and above that, we have put in a pricing incentive for that where we pay traditional grains

20% more than maize as a deliberate Government policy.

We have also put in place policies that promote livestock in the dry agricultural zones of Zimbabwe and also promote the smaller stock.  In fact, we are going to launch the rural goat pass on scheme, a poultry pass on scheme.  So at policy level, Government is clear that the agricultural activities undertaken in any agro-ecological region have to be context specific and Government has put in place policies that promote advancing agriculture that is sensitive to those agricultural regions.

With regards to the involvement of the private sector, I think that once Government has set at this broad policy framework to say in agroecological region1, for example, in Chipinge macadamia and tea, perhaps the trees of choice and we have got apples and peaches.

The private sector has come in a massive way to try and support and Government has also put in various schemes to try and assist the private sector to access financing, for example, the productive sector financing window that is available through banks for the private sector to be able to access.  Government has even gone further to enroll private sector companies for participation in Government schemes such as the accelerated irrigation development plan and also the mechanisation plan where the private sector is participating.  Madam Speaker, this is a very broad question, necessitating this very broad answer.  Thank you very much.

HON. NDUNA:  Thank you Madam Speaker Ma’am.  My

supplementary question borders around the small grains that the Hon. Minister has alluded to.  Is Government, GMB in particular, taking delivery of those small grains in the same way it is taking delivery of the copious amount of maize production that has been produced because of the copious amount of rainfall that we had this season?  Is Government taking delivery of the small grains in the GMB depots the same way it is taking in maize deliveries?

THE ACTING SPEAKER:  That is a new question.  I thought it was a supplementary.

HON. NDUNA:  It is bordering on the small grains that he alluded to in ecological region that is dry.

HON. DR. MASUKA:  Madam Speaker Ma’am, I thank Hon. Nduna for the supplementary question.  Indeed, Government has put in place mechanisms to encourage the production of small grains as you know.  Of the 2, 3 million households enrolled under Pfumvudza / Intwasa, we said two plots would be for maize on the Highveld, which is the higher rainfall agro-ecological zones and in the drier zones, we said we would give the two plots for traditional grains, not small grains.

They are traditional grains and also for oil seeds.

As of yesterday, of the 820 000 metric tonnes of grain delivered to the GMB, 75 000 metric tonnes were of traditional grains.  The bulk of that being sorghum, followed by pearl millet and then finger millet.  So, farmers have responded in terms of the production, taking advantage of the higher rainfall season.  Also, they have responded to the pricing incentive and they are delivering.  In fact, we are almost set to have a record traditional grains delivery.  The highest ever delivery of traditional grains since 1980 was 82 000 metric tonnes and I think that by next week, farmers in Zimbabwe will have delivered the highest amount of traditional grains to the GMB in the history of the country since independence.  Thank you.

HON. E. MASUKU:  Thank you Madam  Speaker. My question is directed to the Minister of Mines. What is the Government doing concerning the EPOs that delay processing of letters to the small mines where they are supposed to be working?

         THE MINISTER OF MINES AND MINING

DEVELOPMENT (HON. CHITANDO): Thank you very much

Madam Speaker. I would like to thank the Hon. Member for her questions relating to EPOs. There had been a huge backlog of EPO applications which had accumulated, but I am glad to state that

Government is now advanced and almost up to date in the processing of EPOs. The Hon. Member may have noticed that a number of EPOs have since been gazetted for approval and we have a number of EPOs which have also been rejected. I am pleased to state that by the end of

September, we will be fully up to date in the processing of EPOs. I thank you.

+HON. MATHE: What is the period that is taken by the EPOs to process these documents? This is what causes the investors to end up turning back to their countries because they will be taking a lot of time waiting for the documents to be processed and they end up returning to their countries with their investments and giving makorokozas a chance.

What is the stipulated period in the Ministry’s policies before they get their response after the EPOs have been given the document? A lot of people apply and they end up failing because they lack investors. People end up engaging into illegal gold mining because the documentation will not have been presented to them. Thank you.   

        HON. CHITANDO: I would like to thank the Hon. Member for her supplementary question. The issue on the EPOs which has prevailed has largely been due to the fact that there has been a huge backlog of EPO applications. Now that we are up to date, all EPOs which come in will be processed timeously. However, the consent from the Hon. Member is valid in the sense that once an EPO application is logged, it prohibits the Ministry entertaining applications for mining title in the EPO.

The fact that we have some EPOs which had taken a number of years to process meant that other investors who would have wanted to participate to acquire respective mining title in that particular EPO application were prohibited. So they would not be able to make an application. In terms of the provisions of the law, if the EPO is granted and if anyone wants to undertake mining title in that particular EPO which has been granted, that can be done with explicit consent of the EPO holder. I thank you Madam Speaker.

                    HON. NDUNA: Thank you Madam Speaker. My supplementary

question to the Hon. Minister borders around the authority as exhibited by the tail end of your answer. The authority – who does it reside with from the time that an application for an EPO has been put? Where does the authority to give a grant or to give authority to artisanal miners or to small scale miners in so far as it relates to tributary - does it reside with the Minister or does it now reside with the applicant for the EPO?

      HON. CHITANDO: Madam Speaker, I would like to thank the

Hon. Member for the question. Unfortunately, the law as far as that aspect is concerned prohibits that immediately an application for an EPO is made, the whole area is sterilized and the Ministry cannot entertain any applications. That is in terms of the law until the EPO is rejected, in which case any investor can come and make an application or the EPO is accepted and any investor can come and acquire mining title with the consent of the EPO holder. Thank you.

         +HON. BGD. GEN. (RTD.) MAYIHLOME: Thank you Madam

Speaker. When these EPOs are taking their duties, they extend their duties even to the communal lands where people are supposed to farm. What is the Government saying on this issue? What is the Ministry doing about the EPOs who are now evacuating people from their place of residence?

  HON. CHITANDO: Thank you very much Madam Speaker. I

would like to thank the Hon. Member for question. In terms of the provisions of the law, we have two pieces of legislation amongst others which govern mining operations. There is a piece of legislation which governs acquisition of mining title and then there is another piece of legislation which governs the authority to be able to undertake mining activities.

One of the requirements in terms of any mining activity taking place in a given place is the granting of an EIA which is granted by EMA. Once someone gets mining title, that is stage number one but before any mining activities are undertaken according to the provisions of the law amongst other things, one has to get on EMA certificate, an EIA after which one can undertake mining activities and the EIA will then define what the interaction between the mining activity and the stakeholders in that particular area and what measures if any have to be undertaken by the miner at the commencement or during the mining process to be undertaken. I thank you Madam Speaker.

  THE ACTING SPEAKER: Let me also make it known to the

House that we also have Hon. Ziyambi, the Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs who is also the Leader of the House; Hon.

Chombo, the Deputy Minister of Local Government and Public Works;

Hon. Karoro, the Deputy Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries,

Water, Climate and Rural Resettlement; Hon. Dr. Mangwiro, the Deputy Minister of Health and Child Care and Hon. Paradza, the Deputy Minister of Information. Thank you.

HON. JOSIAH SITHOLE: Thank you Madam Speaker Ma’am.

My question is directed to the Minister of Environment, Tourism and Hospitality Industry.  Considering the yearly mass destruction of our fauna, flora, human life and their shelter by veld fires, what new technologies is the Ministry introducing or trying to come up with to ensure that such massive fires are extinguished without causing so much damage?  I thank you.

THE ACTING SPEAKER: Hon. Sithole, direct the question to

the Minister of Lands?  The Minister is not in the House; Hon. Minister of Lands, may you kindly respond to that.

THE MINISTER OF LANDS, AGRICULTURE, FISHERIES, WATER, CLIMATE AND RURAL RESETTLEMENT (HON. DR.

MASUKA):  I thank the Hon. Member for the question directed to the

Hon. Minister of Environment.  This is clearly for the Minister of

Environment. However, because most of the areas that are burnt are agricultural land, it is something that is of concern to our Ministry to an extent that the Minister of Environment and I have formed a coordination platform where we meet every fortnight. Our next fortnightly meeting is tomorrow to coordinate with the Environmental Management Agency and with Agritex and to be able to communicate to stakeholders, principally farmers, on the dangers of veld fires.

At our last meeting, the Environmental Management Agency highlighted that they now have a satellite added tracking system for veld fires and that they are able to detect fires as they occur. In our discussion and also we will be receiving a report tomorrow, we said that is not good enough, that a fire has occurred then you can detect it.  What we need is a rapid communication system throughout the Agricultural Extension Service system so that the nearest extension worker and councillor are alerted and everyone then goes to put out that fire.  More importantly, that we needed to activate the farmers to say each time a fire occurs, that is destruction, it is dangerous for flora, fauna and in some instances human life.  So, technology yes is available but technology can only work if the human resource base is sufficiently articulated to ensure that they utilise the gadget to prevent fires not necessarily to put out forest fires.  Thank you.

HON. NDUNA:  I am quite excited by the end of that response. Would it please the Minister for us to use what we have to get what we want?  For example, in terms of manpower to extinguish the fires by promulgating a Statutory Instrument to the extent that when a fire has been started, everybody has to extinguish it by force of law, which is a Statutory Instrument in the advent of lack of technology. Everybody in the vehicle can stop and extinguish the fire or anybody in the rural area can extinguish the fire.  We need a Statutory Instrument so that it can be an antidote or a panacea to this scourge of veld fires.

HON. DR. MASUKA:  I want to thank Hon. Nduna for the

supplementary question.  The law already exists, it obligates everyone to stop and assist in putting out a fire.  It is the awareness and the enforcement that has not happened and especially on the newly resettled farms.  We are now reviewing the conditions for the issuance of permits and offer letters to put in an environmental clause to ensure that there is more responsibility and awareness among the beneficiaries of the Land Reform Programme.

HON. GONESE:  My question is intended for the Hon. Leader of the House.  He indicated that he is present in the House unless my eyes are betraying me.

THE ACTING SPEAKER:  He was here when I announced, he

has gone out, I am sure he will be back soon.  I can indulge you as soon as he gets in.

*HON. TEKESHE:  My question is directed to the Minister of

Energy. You are saying the exchange rate is stable but the price of fuel is going up, what is causing that?

THE ACTING SPEAKER:  May I suspend the question for now.

HON. DR. MASHAKADA:  My question is directed to the

Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development.  What is Government Policy regarding the reduction of road accidents on our highways that are caused by untrained and poorly licenced drivers?

THE MINISTER OF TRANSPORT AND

INFRASTRUCTURAL DEVELOPMENT (HON. MHONA): The

issues to do with human life must not be taken for granted.  If you then witness the number of accidents that we see on our roads, 90% are attributed to human error.  This is something which must be of concern to this august House.

We have got the Traffic Safety Council of Zimbabwe which is mandated to do and raise awareness when it comes to safety.  At the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructural Development, one of the very important core values is the issue to do with safety.  It is the mandate of the Ministry to make sure that safety is upheld on all our roads.  I am glad to hear from my good friend Hon. Member Mashakada that the issue of accidents as we gravitate towards holidays, we usually witness an increase or surge in the number of accidents which then calls for awareness in particular to the Traffic Safety Council of Zimbabwe.

I will take it upon myself to make sure that we do public awareness.  You will be seeing us on the roads making sure that we raise awareness to the citizenry to emphasise the issues of safety.  Above all, even as legislators, let us take this back to our constituencies to say when we are using our roads, it is not about yourself but it is for the other user as well.  Let us try to embrace issues of awareness as ourselves and as the citizenry so that we make sure that we have got safety issues.

I am glad to advise the august House that we now have rapid teams on our major highways that are there to respond to cases of accidents so as to mitigate some of the issues that we see that after an accident, someone is not attended to after quite a time.  Now we are saying as soon as the accident happens, we must be there on time.  These are some of the initiatives that we are taking as a Ministry.  Above all, the issues of us as people of Zimbabwe to make sure that when we are using the road; let us take cognisance of the fact that we are not the only users.

You cannot be on the cell-phone and be drunk using our roads.  These are some of the awareness campaigns that we need so that we move with speed.

HON. DR. MASHAKADA:  My supplementary question to the Minister is, what is the Ministry doing to upgrade the standards of learner driver tests with respect to Class 2 drivers who end up acquiring Class 2 licence and end up also driving Class 4 vehicles and yet in their training, they omit certain basic things like parallel parking, 3 point turn and so on?  They then automatically drive Class 4 without having gone through those rigorous tests.

HON. MHONA:  I think this now comes to the issue of the structure of our licences.  To say for instance if you have got Class 3 which is for the motor cycle, you cannot drive Class 4 and if you have got Class 4, you cannot just put your helmet with a learner tag on it and drive a motor cycle.  I think you have raised a very important point to say yes, if you have got Class 2, similarly Class 1, you can drive any other class but the issues that you have raised in terms of the tests that we undertake when you do Class 2 – I am sure these are some of the gaps which we can also close.  I am happy that it is something that we can pursue to say how can we then add to the issues that you have raised in terms of some of those missing links when you actually do Class 4 and 2.

I am glad to say that this is something that we can initiate and say what is it that we can do?  When we look at Class 2, unlike Class 4, when you are 16 years, you can do Class 4 – so we also take the issue of maturity so that when you are driving Class 2, the assumption is that you are mature.  You have raised very important points that we will need to pursue as a Ministry.

(v)HON. KASHIRI:  My supplementary question is, Hon. Minister, we do appreciate that you realise that recklessness of drivers is causing a lot of accidents.  We have an issue of drivers who are driving cars without number plates and they are extremely reckless causing many accidents on the roads.  A good percentage of accidents are being caused by drivers who are driving cars without number plates.  What is the policy with regards to driving these cars especially those mushikashikas that carry people but do not have insurance for the passengers?

HON. MHONA: Surely Hon. Madam Speaker, like what I alluded to earlier on, the issues of accidents on our roads are worrying.  We need to move with speed and correct as a nation.  We were witnessing a shortage of number plates but I am glad to advise the august House that we have now imported adequate number plates that would make sure that we cover the backlog that we have as a nation.

Going forward, there is also a plant to make sure that these number plates are produced locally.  This has been a Cabinet resolution and we are actually moving with speed so that we start having our number plates locally.  In the meantime, we have managed to secure number plates that are adequate to cover those cars that do not have number plates.

To address the issues that the Hon. Member has raised, we do not allow people to use mushikashika.   A number of accidents that we witness on our major highways are normally caused by these mushikashikasmaWish are problematic.  I would like to urge the citizenry to say that the life belongs to you.  You need to make sure that you do not board the mushikashikas.  

I witnessed an accident in Zvishavane whereby a Wish was carrying eleven passengers.  You then start wondering how those people will be seated.  In most cases, you find that the front seat will be occupied by three or four passengers.  Surely, to the people of

Zimbabwe, as much as we would like to travel, with this advent of COVID, how can you be put in such a predicament where you are squashed in a car which is supposed to carry seven or so passengers?

These are some of the issues that we need to raise awareness in tandem with what Hon. Dr. Mashakada asked so that our people are conscientised that we must not play with our lives.  At the end of the day, we need to make sure that we uphold human dignity.  The issue of availability of transport is at the centre of Government to make sure that we also provide adequate transport.

(v)HON. NDEBELE:  Hon Minister, at what point in the House did you indicate that you are not averse to offering the learner’s test in the vernacular languages.  Minister, how far have you gone with putting that in place so that our people are able to do learners’ tests in the vernacular languages.

HON. MHONA:  Thank you Madam Speaker.  Let me also thank Hon. Anele Ndebele for that important question.  We are mandated constitutionally to make sure that we cover every person who is in Zimbabwe in terms of their language, in particular when it comes to the learner’s licence.  What I can also advise the House Madam Speaker is, currently we are seized with trying to digitize some of our processes.  As you know that we were witnessing a number of corrupt tendencies when it came to the issue of issuance of learner’s licenses whereby the number of papers were known and the questions were being repeated.  I am glad to advise the august House that now we have computerized the system, we are saying the learner’s licence will be taken online where you would sit, get the question, even the next person seated next to yourself would not get a similar question paper.  These are some of the initiatives that we are taking.  Above all, having done that Madam Speaker, we will then gravitate towards the issue that has been raised by Hon. Ndebele to make sure that other languages are covered but currently we are using

English as our test language in the learner’s licence.  I appreciate the question and the urgency with which we must move as a nation towards taking on board other languages.  Thank you Madam Speaker.

HON. NDUNA:  On a point of order Madam Speaker.  Seeing that the issue of road carnage where we are losing about five people each day in Zimbabwe is key and topical, would it please you Madam Speaker to request the Hon. Minister of Transport to bring into this House a Ministerial Statement that we can interrogate as it relates to the loss of lives due to road carnage and also to integrate his transport management systems to avert, avoid and to completely annihilate the issue of the scourge of road carnage in Zimbabwe.?

THE ACTING SPEAKER:  Thank you Hon. Nduna.  Hon. Minister, I am sure you heard the request from the Hon. Member.  May you please come with a Ministerial Statement in the House to look at those issues and also find out the policies and plans that you have put in place as a Ministry to curb road carnages that we have in the country.  Hon. Members, please reserve all the questions for the Minister until he comes with the Ministerial Statement.

(v)HON. P. ZHOU: Thank you Madam Speaker.  My question goes to the Minister of Lands.  I know that we had a bumper maize harvest this season.  Meanwhile, some of our GMB depots seem not to be fully equipped to receive the future bumper harvest as it appears some of the depots lack necessary basic infrastructure such as ablution blocks, weigh bridges and warehousing.  What intervention is the Government planning to introduce to improve the infrastructure at these depots?  I thank you Madam Speaker.

THE MINISTER OF LANDS, AGRICULTURE, FISHERIES

WATER, CLIMATE AND RURAL RESETTLEMENT (HON. DR.

MASUKA):  Thank you Madam Speaker.  I thank the Hon. Member for the question.  Indeed, there is lack of basic infrastructure at some of the GMB collection points, I know that most of our GMB depots have the requisite infrastructure.  For a long time we have not had a bumper harvest such as this one, for which we thank farmers.  Government made a decision a while ago, the strategic grain reserve will be increased to 1.5 million metric tonnes physical stock from the current 500 thousand metric tonnes.  With it Cabinet approved a raft of measures including the adequate resourcing of the GMB to put up the requisite infrastructure to ensure that we are prepared for the future harvest.  It is work in progress and I thank the Hon. Member, when eventually the budget is brought to the House, I also look forward to their support for the resourcing of the GMB.  Thank you Madam Speaker.

HON. TOGAREPI:  Thank you Madam Speaker. Mine is

directed to the Minister of Health and Child Care. It has been reported in various media and platforms that the Ministry of Health intends to upgrade nurse aids to PCN level.  There was a caption that they will only take 40 years and below.  Is it not Government policy that they reward loyalty - those who have served so much in the Ministry of Health.  I have been looked after by those nurse aids, some who are 45 and some 50.  I am told they are supposed to retire at 65 but they will not get benefits.  Those who have gone into the service two years ago are going to benefit at the expense of those who have been loyal.  Can the Minister clarify whether it has not been a mistake to say those who are younger should benefit while those who are old will not benefit?

THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF HEALTH AND CHILD CARE

(HON. DR. MANGWIRO): Thank you Madam Speaker.  I would like

to thank Hon. Togarepi for his question.  I am not sure it is a government policy to promote all nurse aids to PCN.  That is not correct.  Secondly, we have got three or more nursing programmes.  For the basic diploma, we have got those who go via PCN, who most of the time should at least possess certain pass marks for them to have the ability to understand what will be put across to them when they go to the school of nursing.  It requires a bit of science because this is a specialised profession.  Those Primary Care Nurses (PCN) will be the ones who will be looking after people mostly in small clinics in the rural areas.  In rural health centres, we have almost 1 800 of them.  We normally take them using certain subjects that they need.

We have State Registered General Nurses (SRGNs), normally these take three years to train and the PCNs take one to two years to train.  The State Registered Nurses need about three years with good Ordinary level.  We have the Emergency and Trauma Nurse who also needs to have good passes at Advanced level because the language used in this profession is quite specific. We definitely need people who will be able to comprehend whatever will be put across and be able to endure what is required in the training.

The age-groups vary and it is important to note that it is not correct to say that Nurse Aides are going to be promoted to PCNs.  People have to go into proper schooling for at least two years.  I thank you.

HON. GONESE: Thank you very much Hon. Madam Speaker

Ma’am.  My supplementary question to the Hon. Deputy Minister is whether there is any programme in place which can allow those who would have gone up to different levels which he has alluded to, to get further training so that they can upgrade themselves?  Is there an opportunity for those who would have gone in as PCNs to upgrade themselves to SRGNs for example, if the Hon. Minister can clarify that.

HON. DR. MANGWIRO: Thank you Madam Speaker Ma’am.  Thank you Hon. Gonese.  Yes, people can upgrade themselves and super-specialise.  A nurse can enter as a State Registered Nurse and then specialise in making sure that she/he is a good assistant to open heart surgery or a specialist in babies.  One can get specialised in making sure women deliver well and many other fields like the heart, diabetes and so on.  We have nurses who have studied hard and  have become doctors, so chances of climbing up the ladder are there. Itdepends on a person’s determination and direction.  Definitely, we need quality and we make sure people study in the rightful direction.  I thank you.

*HON. NDUNA: Thank you Hon. Speaker.  In terms of Public Service Commission (PSC) or Civil Service Sector, are you not interfering in their regulations if you speak of the age with which you want them to do their work when in fact their retirement age is set at 65?  It seems you are setting the age limit at 40. Are you not interfering in the Civil Service modus operandi or their terms and conditions of service when you are saying those who are aged but not yet reached retirement age are not considered?

*HON. DR. MANGWIRO: Thank you Madam Speaker Ma’am.

In my understanding, if someone is 40 years of age and intends to enhance their qualifications, they are free to do that.  If a nurse who is aged 50 intends to add on to their qualifications, say they intend to become a doctor and is qualified to be trained for that profession, he/she is not prohibited.  I trust that you intended to say those who wish to become State Registered Nurses, whose qualifications for training in terms of age is set at 30 and below, but that is the age which is set for recruitment purposes.  However for PCNs, from what I gather, we have the age group set up to 37 or even 40.

There is an analysis that is made to say, what is expected of the incumbent professional, if someone who is aged 55 is recruited, he/she is likely to complete the State Registered Nurse training at 58 years and will serve the Government for the next 5 years.  We do this so that young people who are able to go through training will be afforded the opportunity.  However, we do not deny any person from training if they are 40 years of age and are able to add on to their qualifications.  No one will deny anyone that opportunity as some will be sent to specialise in nurse training or specialise in kidney transplant surgery and so on.

We work together with the Public Service Commission which you are referring to.  When all this is done, there are departments from the

Ministry who would have evaluated these options together with the PSC.  We also have what is called the Health Services Board which also evaluates these issues, especially the age requirements.  However, we will not deny a nurse from improving their qualifications to a higher level in any given field.  If you intend to have a deeper understanding concerning these issues, we can go and talk to the Health Services Board so that we give you a report from an informed point of view in terms of the accurate age groups and the qualifications.  I thank you.

(v)*HON. NDEBELE: Supplementary question Hon. Speaker

Ma’am.

THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Hon. Minister, you said you

are going to bring forward a Ministerial Statement, is that so?

HON. DR. MANGWIRO: Yes.

THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Hon. Ndebele, when the Hon.

Deputy Minister brings the Ministerial Statement, you are going to ask all those questions.

(v)*HON. NDEBELE: Can you indulge me so that I also give him what I would like to see covered in that Ministerial Statement on nurse training?

THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: May you please just state what

you want in the Ministerial Statement only.  Thank you.

(v)*HON. NDEBELE: Thank you Madam Speaker.  Over the years, we have seen a sharp decline in the recruitment of nursing students from Matebeleland.  I believe this is owing to corruption within nursing services.  I would like the Minister to address that in his

Ministerial Statement.  Thank you.

(v)*HON. PETER MOYO: My question is directed to the Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water, Climate and Rural Resettlement.  They presented a Ministerial Statement to say all the people who are on the waiting list will be given their offer letters.  I would like to know

how many people have been given the offer letters to date who are looking for land.  I thank you.

*THE MINISTER OF LANDS, AGRICULTURE,

FISHERIES, WATER, CLIMATE AND RURAL

RESETTLEMENT (HON. MASUKU):  I think they did not

understand what I explained on this particular issue.  Allow me to repeat: as of now, most of the land has been distributed.  If you go around, you will not find a place that is vacant.  Even where there is no farming but in the Registry, these farms will be having owners.  Actually, there is a problem underway for us to distribute land to those who are waiting.  Firstly, we are making a follow-up on those who have more than one farm. We refer to them as multiple farm owners.  We are following up also on those who abandoned their farms.  We also take note of those who are underutilising their land. We take action on derelict farm owners.

                 You will see that we are actually taking from those whom we once gave these farms, but for now, we are looking at the nation rising to demand pieces of land.  We are very happy that people have seen that it is important and fruitful and beneficial to engage in farming.  We now have more than 250 000 people who are on the waiting list.  Those whom we gave farms in A2 are only 20 000.  We are now looking at downsizing farms and redistributing to others.  The opportunity to get a farm is very slim as of now.

This is how we distribute these farms: you go to the District Lands Committee to register your name.  The Committee will sit down and deliberate on the issue on where they can actually give someone land.  They will take that to the Provincial Lands Committee.  Then the Ministry will also closely look at it and the Minister will give an offer letter.  It does not then mean that someone can just wake up and get a farm.  It takes a very long period, depending on where there is a place which is vacant.

(v)* HON. PETER MOYO: The Minister is not saying the

truth.  In the Ministerial Statement that he gave in this House, he was saying the Government was done distributing land.  There is a lot of farm land that is not being utilised.  So if the Minister is not telling the truth, it means that he stands aside on this particular issue – [HON.

MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] -

                   *THE ACTING SPEAKER: Hon. Members order! Hon.

Moyo, I am happy that the Minister has clearly stated how land is distributed.  He also mentioned how many people are on the waiting list.  What you are saying Hon. Member has been mentioned by the Minister, unless you have a new question.

                       (v)HON. NDEBELE: On a point of order Madam Speaker

Ma’am.  Madam Speaker, I want you to take note of the fact that I have requested the same Minister to bring a statement to the House.  I have been waiting for that statement for more than three months now. I just want you to take note of that.

             THE ACTING SPEAKER: Hon. Minister, there was a

Ministerial Statement that has been asked for, concerning land distribution, how far you have gone?  May you kindly make sure that you expedite that so that at least it comes to the House?  Have you heard about it?

                     HON. DR. MASUKA:  Madam Speaker, the Hon. Member

requested a list of farms that were offered for settlement by the late Minister and that I have offered for settlement.  That list is nearing completion and I will be able to submit it by next week.

                         HON. NDEBELE: Madam Speaker, when is he bringing it,

the list in its own right is a statement.  He is as a learned man.  The list is a statement in its own right.

               THE ACTING SPEAKER:  Hon. Ndebele, I am sure the

Minister said they are finalising it  and is going to bring it as soon as it is finished.

                           HON. NDEBELE:  Madam Speaker, he keeps postponing

and postponing.  Let us pin him down to a specific day so that requires you   tomake that ruling.

                 THE ACTING SPEAKER:  The Hon. Minister said next

week.  So let us wait for the Ministerial Statement next week and then we can be able to discuss about that issue.

              (v)HON. PETER MOYO: Thank you Madam Speaker.  In

his Ministerial Statement, he must also mention where the Provincial Minister comes in because it seems as if there is a duplication of work between his Ministry and the Provincial Lands Committee.  He must come up with a timeframe to say by such and such time, we should have finished this thing once and for all, because this is a topical issue if it is not handled carefully.

THE ACTING SPEAKER:Thank you Hon. Moyo.  I am sure the

Hon. Minister has taken note.

HON. BRIG. GEN. (RTD.) MAYIHLOME:  I have a point of order Madam Speaker Ma’am.

THE ACTING SPEAKER:  What is your point of order?

        HON. BRIG. GEN. (RTD.) MAYIHLOME:  My humble request

also is that maybe the Hon. Minister in his Ministerial Statement can say something about the four chiefs of Umzingwane in the former President Banana’s family who applied for land.  This question was raised in this august House.  The Hon. Minister said we should write to his office and two months down the line, we have not received a response from the

Hon. Minister.  Maybe he should cover these four issues as well for Umzingwane.  Thank you.

THE ACTING SPEAKER:  Hon. Minister, I am sure you heard

the request from the Hon. Members so that it becomes one Ministerial Statement that you come with to the House, which encompasses land distribution and all the challenges that they have in line with land distribution.

HON. DR. MASUKA:  Thank you Madam Speaker.  I thought the

issue by Hon. Ndebele was a provision of a list of farms given to beneficiaries since 2017 and by the late Minister, Hon. Perrance Shiri and the list of farms that have been given to beneficiaries since August

  1. This list Hon. Speaker Ma’am, I indicated is being compiled, is nearing completion and will be availed next week. So, I was not too sure whether that is equivalent to a Ministerial Statement.

Regarding Hon. Brig. Gen. (Rtd) Mayihlome, I said the land reform process is almost complete.  All the farms that are available have been given.  One may move around and see an unsettled farm but invariably on our records, that farm would have been offered to someone.  So on our database it will appear as if it is occupied to an extent, because there is no additional land that is available to give to people, we now have gone back to look at re-distributing that which we have given to others already.  We have formulated from a policy perspective, four categories of how we are going to guide the Provincial Lands Committees and the District Lands Committees to identify such land.  The first category is that of multiple farm owners and that we are identifying.  The Provincial Lands Committees and District Lands Committees will then look at those that are on their waiting lists and allocate.

The second category we indicated is for abandoned farms.  The third category is underutilized farms and the fourth is that of derelict farms.  There is no guarantee that if someone applies for land today, they will then think that two months, a year or ten years down the line they can get something.  We have people on the waiting list that have been there in some areas since 2002 because we have 250 000 applications for land where 99% of the land has been allocated but has only been given to 20 000.  Therefore, it is impossible to accommodate the 250 000 applications and the many that we receive every day for land.  This is the reality Madam Speaker.  Thank you.

THE ACTING SPEAKER:  Thank you Hon. Minister.  There are

issues here Hon. Minister.  We need to come up with a composite Ministerial Statement.  Inasmuch as you have got that list coming up, there is also a request now that I feel you are supposed to come with, which encompasses issues that were highlighted by the Hon. Members so that all these questions will then follow up after you have responded to the request by Hon. Members.  May you please help us so that at least when you come next week, you will respond to the issue of Provincial Ministers, their role and also on the issues that Hon. Mayihlome have raised about allocation of land to the chiefs from Matabeleland.

*HON. MBONDIAH:  Thank you Madam Speaker Ma’am.

There are people who purchased farms and they have title deeds to these farms but they are not fully utilizing the farms.  I want to understand what the Ministry is doing pertaining to the farms.  Are they going to be repossessed or they will be left just like that because they bought the farms?

HON. NDIWENI:  Thank you very much Madam Speaker.  My

question is directed to the Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare.  In his absence, maybe the Leader of the House assist.  My question Madam Speaker Ma’am is with regards to the policy on distribution of supplementary feeding in urban wards.  We were advised sometime early this year or last year, that there is a scheme of distributing supplementary feeding to urban wards and the scheme had been initiated in Harare and Mutare, if my memory serves me right.  We want to know where this scheme is at the moment because we have urban wards in our areas like in Karoi where there are poor people in our urban wards. With the advent of COVID, most of these vendors have not been working; they have not been going out to sell their wares.

THE MINISTER OF MINES AND MINING

DEVELOPMENT (HON. CHITANDO):  Thank you very much

Madam Speaker Ma’am.  We will note the question and will get the Minister to give a response next week.  Thank you.

THE ACTING SPEAKER:  Thank you Hon. Minister.  Hon. Ndiweni, you will get your response next week.  The question is quite detailed and it needs the relevant Minister to respond.      

+HON. L. SIBANDA:  Thank you Madam Speaker Ma’am. My

question is directed to the Minister of Transport. What measures are you putting in place in fixing the Bulawayo/Tsholotsho Road? In most cases, we spend more than three hours from Bulwayo to Tsholotsho and my question is with regards to getting that road tarred? Thank you.

THE ACTING SPEAKER: Thank you Hon. Sibanda. I want you

to ask a policy question because this is not a policy question.

+HON. L. SIBANDA: Thank you Madam Speaker. My question

is saying - what does Government policy say with regards to the

Tsholotsho Road?

THE ACTING SPEAKER: Hon. Sibanda, we want a policy

question and not a specific question. Thank you.

+HON. L. SIBANDA: Madam Speaker, what is Government

policy with regards to the Bulawayo-Tsholotsho Road and what plans are in place in getting that road tarred? Thank you.

         THE MINISTER OF TRANSPORT AND

INFRASTRUCTURAL DEVELOPMENT (HON. MHONA): Thank

you Hon. Sibanda for that important question. It is a specific question but also to take this opportunity to advise and update the House that with the advent of the Emergency Road Rehabilitation Programme, it was staggered in phases. Phase 1 was the issue to do with emergency works which we have currently done. We are now seized with phases two and three where we are talking of major roads and trunk roads. I want to thank the Hon. Member very much because those are some of the emotional roads that we talk of. You find that they are at the centre of the Second Republic and we have moved with speed to make sure that such roads can be rehabilitated as we speak.

You find that not necessarily the one that you have talked about Bulawayo-Tsholotsho, but we also have Bulawayo-Nkayi and those are some of the roads that we are seized with now in terms of procurement to make sure that we correct the state of those roads. I want to assure you and assure the House that these are some of the roads that were abandoned for quite a number of years and we are moving with speed to show that the Second Republic is listening. Thank you.

   HON. GONESE: Thank you Madam Speaker. Hon. Minister, we

have seen an increase in the upsurge and an increase in the incidents of child marriages. My question is in view of the fact that we do not have a specific law in place as yet to criminalise and penalise the transgressors. Can the Hon. Minister enlighten us as to what policy measures and action plans the Government has put in place to arrest this trend? I think the Hon. Minister can inform the nation.

         THE MINISTER OF MINES AND MINING

DEVELOPMENT (HON. CHITANDO): Thank you very much Madam Speaker. With your permission, I would wish to request that my colleague Hon. Minister Nyoni gives an answer to that question.

                           THE MINISTER OF WOMEN’S AFFAIRS, COMMUNITY,

SMALL AND MEDIUM ENTERPRISES DEVELOPMENT (HON.

  1. S. NYONI): Thank you Madam Speaker. That is a very pertinent question and I would like to assure the Hon. Member that the nation and Government is concerned about child marriages. I am sure the Hon.

Member is aware that there is a Bill that is coming – the Marriages Bill. That Bill is very strong also on protecting child marriages. Apart from that, our Constitution is very clear that children under the age of 18 years, it is illegal for them to get married.

My Ministry is going through all the Acts that have something to do with children and child abuse especially the girl child so that we make the public know which legislation they can use and which Act they can use in order to protect the girl child. Let me say that I am sure that the Hon. Member is bringing this up because of what happened in

Marange. I am very happy to announce that the police have now arrested some of the culprits including the family that has already given another child for marriage. So, together with the Ministry and the Police, this scourge is being dealt with. I thank you Madam Speaker.

THE ACTING SPEAKER: We have also been joined by Hon.

Dr. Garwe, the Minister of National Housing and Social Amenities.

Thank you.

        HON. GONESE: My supplementary question to the Hon.

Minister is outside or apart from the legislative measures. What is Government doing to sensitise, conscientise societies about the evil nature of this particular scourge? I believe that it is critical to ensure that our communities are aware – our traditional leaders, church leaders and so on are sensitised? What is Government doing with regards to that because the law might be there but outside of the law, we then need that.

Secondly, in relation to the Bill, it has been stuck in the Senate. Can the Hon. Minister enlighten this House and nation at large as to what is the problem because the Government has been taking a lackadaisical attitude; they have been in a state of inertia. That Bill was passed by this National Assembly a long time ago but for some reason, it is in the Senate and it appears to be stuck there. If we can be advised and appraised of what is the problem? Thank you. 

        HON. DR. S. NYONI: Thank you Hon. Speaker. I am sure the Hon. Member will remember that we have put together the laws that affect the family, but apart from that, we have put a National Action Plan Against Child Marriage.  That was launched in 2019 and that has been cascaded down to provinces, but I must admit that we have not done enough.  Therefore, we are inviting this House that that plan is on and we will make it available to Members of Parliament so that we can help each other because this is a scourge, this is a national problem in which all of us must work together to protect our girl children.

On the last question, the leader of the House who is also the Minister of Legal and Parliamentary Affairs can answer to that one because he is responsible for seeing that the Bills are passed in this

House and in Senate.  I thank you.

         THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND

PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI):  Thank you Mr.

Speaker Sir, on the last part, indeed the Bill has been in the Senate for quite some time.  When the Bill was passed here, the Hon. Senators were of the opinion that and they are very strong about it that we must legislate for the payment of lobola.  Our position is that it is against several international conventions that we signed. It even contravenes the Constitution and the legal age of majority.  Once you indicate that you cannot marry without paying lobola, it means that that particular woman is an adult minor, she cannot make a decision on her own. What I have said is that our officials must engage the Chiefs so that we can reach common ground on that particular issue.

I was not of the opinion that it should pass in that form and we take it here and allow a disagreement but to respect each other so that we negotiate and come to a common position, that we all agree, that is the position.  Having said that, the Marriage Bill does not have a criminal sanction for marriages under 18 but it outlaws them.  In other words, what we need to do is to look at our other laws, the Criminal Code, already it criminalises having sexual intercourse with a young girl.  In the case of issues at hand, it is not about marriage per se because marriages are outlawed.  That Marange man does not have a marriage certificate, he is not married to the girl but they cohabit.  What we want to do, which I agree with Hon. Gonese is it is not about criminalising but also engaging our communities so that our communities will appreciate that certain practices are now out of date which is what the Ministry of Women’s Affairs is saying that they are going to do.

I believe that we can then look at our Criminal Code and see how we can tighten it but we must also engage our communities so that some of the harmful practices that we do, we do away with them.  Thank you.

HON. GONESE:  On a point of order Mr. Speaker Sir.  If I understood the Hon. Minister correctly, he said that the Bill does not criminalise the participation of people in child marriages.  If he said that, then my point of order would be that would be incorrect.  I think in terms of Clause 3, if my memory serves me right, there is actually a penalty provision. There is a penalty provision in terms of which the person who would have purportedly entered into a marriage as well as the parents, particularly those who are in loco parentis like the guardians actually commit an offence if they purportedly enter into that kind of arrangement. If that were to come into law, it would then enable the

Police to actually arrest those parents, ‘ husband’ and so on, perhaps if

the Hon. Minister can clarify that.

HON. ZIYAMBI: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  The Bill did not prescribe a criminal sanction, it merely outlawed.  When it was drafted, we were very cautious because it would mean that we would send to jail a lot of young adults.  So, the approach was we will outlaw but there was no criminal sanction that was inserted into the Bill.  I thank you.

HON. DR. LABODE:  The Minister, about early this year, came to Parliament and gave a report of over 5 000 girls who had become pregnant on a period of three months.  These are all below 15 and 16.  Currently Mr. Speaker Sir, if you go round all maternity homes where children are delivering - even the statistics within the Ministry, there are 14, 15 and 16 year olds.  So, when we are talking of child marriages, let us not isolate it as if it is a Marange thing, it is a national epidemic and we really need to deal with it in that form.  First of all, we must say what is causing a normal mother to want to marry out a 14-year-old, let us forget about Marange, it is poverty.  People are unemployed, parents cannot pay school fees and they opt to marry them out - if they do not marry them out, they go out there and get pregnancies.

I think the Minister of Women’s Affairs needs to call a national dialogue on this issue, it is not a small thing.  Go to Matabeleland South, you will see 14, 15 and 16 year old girls who have fallen pregnant.  It is a national problem so let us not cover our heads in the sand and think that we have dealt with the issue.  We have not dealt with the issue, it is a reality which is going on the ground, please call for a dialogue.   Thank you.

HON. DR. S. NYONI:  Thank you Hon. Speaker. I would like to appreciate what Hon. Labode has said.  This calls for the whole nation not just to dialogue but to really share and make sure that we protect the girl child together.

As a Ministry we have already started.  We had a meeting in Mbire in which we had all stakeholders there.  These included chiefs, teachers, the children themselves and parents.  This was well received.   I think it is good that my Ministry is saying to the girl child getting impregnated, being victimised and sexually abused is not the end of life.  You can restart your life. You can rise and re-launch yourself into life.  As we were dialoguing in Mbire, a young woman stood up.  She had been impregnated and had been abused but she went back to school, pulled herself together and went up to form six.  She got twelve points.  We were very happy that she is now leading a ...

HON. DR. LABODE:  Hon. Minister, let us stop the epidemic.

HON. DR. S. NYONI: Yes, I am going there but you cannot stop the pandemic if you do not strengthen the girl child also.  We need to talk to the adults to protect the girl child but you also need to strengthen the girl child and make them see that there is possibility after the abuse.

This is what I am talking about Hon. Labode.  I think it is important that we rally together and protect the girl child, period. It cannot be a responsibility of one sector.  It is a national responsibility.  I thank you.

HON. MPARIWA:  My supplementary question goes to the

Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs who is also the Leader of the House.  He mentioned that there was collaboration between the chiefs and him in the Senate where the Bill has been stuck for some months. I am worried because in a few months’ time, we will be reaching the end of this particular session without any success on this very important Bill which we have highlighted and talked about.  His Excellency came and mentioned it in his State of the Nation speech but alas, we are getting to the end of the session without any success.  When does the Minister think he will be able to come back to this House to inform us what the Senate has now settled and agreed on the nittygritties where the chiefs have expressed some reservations?  Without any timeframe, we will come back to the next session without any success.

HON. ZIYAMBI: Mr. Speaker Sir, the rules allow me to proceed if I so wish.  I can allow the Senate to vote.  If they decide that they want to vote against what happened here, I can still bring it here and explain what has transpired in the Senate and then this House will vote.  If this

House votes and the vote in this House is different from the vote in the Senate, what would have happened in this House is what is supposed to go to the President.

I have indicated that we need to resolve this before the end of this session.  If it is not resolved and we are approaching the end of the session, I will then request the Senate to proceed, vote and I will bring it here and then we conclude and proceed.  It is my desire that some sort of agreement is reached, rather than follow the rules and procedures. For some reason, it may happen that the vote in the Senate may be different from here, then our chiefs may think that I did not listen to them, but I want dialogue to happen.  Definitely, I can assure you that before the end of this session, we must have concluded the Bill.

(v)HON. MUSAKWA:  My question is directed to the Minister of Finance and Economic Development.  What is the policy position on the functionality of export promotion financial interest structure, with particular focus on manufacturing products and agriculture exports? I understand we have an institution, the Export Grading Guarantee Company and I would like the Minister to comment on its functionality

if it still exists.

THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (HON. CHIDUWA): In terms of the policy position of the Government, we are very clear that we are promoting exports but from the point of view of Ministry of Finance, our role mainly is to provide incentives.  We have provided quite a raft of incentives to ensure that the export sector is going to be boosted.  We have also provided quite a number of incentives to make sure that productivity is going to be enhanced.  On the issue of exports, the policy is very clear; we want to earn foreign currency and we will continue to provide incentives.

In terms of the export guarantee scheme, it is still operational and again it is performing the same function to ensure that we enhance exportation, local beneficiation and productivity.

(v)HON. MUSAKWA:  My supplementary question goes to international best practice.  The Minister has mentioned the overall drive to increase exports through incentives but I am talking of the financial infrastructure.  Most countries now have export credit bank which gives financial support to exporters.  I say this because if you go through major national roads, production is no longer an issue.  You see horticultural products like carrots, potatoes and so forth.  This means that our farmers are now producing but there is no financial infrastructure to bank the money for export.  We need a deliberative policy position where the Minister can state in the neighbouring countries as to what financial infrastructure has been put in place to drive not just incentives.

HON. CHIDUWA: Thank you Mr. Speaker.  Thank you Hon.

Musakwa for the follow up question.  Again as I have mentioned, we do have a number of structures that are there, the financial incentives that we have are channelled through ZimTrade.  We may not be having a specific bank that is dealing with exports and imports but we have got ZimTrade managing that.  We have been supporting ZimTrade to ensure that we promote exports.  This is happening and will continue to happen.

I thank you.

HON. GONESE: On a point of order Mr. Speaker Sir.  In relation to what I had submitted earlier on, I went to the Hon. Minister and showed him the relevant clause.  I want to clarify for the record so that it is recorded in Hansard that in fact, the Bill criminalises the offence in terms of Clause 2, whereby anyone who contravenes that particular clause, whether it is the spouse who is above the age of 18 or the parents, they are guilty in terms of Clause 3.  Only the child concerned is the only one who is not penalised.  The penalty provision is a fine not exceeding level five or a period not exceeding five years.  I just wanted that to be put on record that the Bill would criminalise the offence except the child concerned.  That is the only person the exception has.

Questions With Notice were interrupted by THE TEMPORARY

SPEAKER in terms of Standing order No. 67.

ORAL ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS WITH NOTICE

PLANS TO REDUCE WALKING DISTANCE FOR TRAVELLERS

AT KEZI TO COVID-19 VACCINATION CENTRES

  1. N. MGUNI asked the Minister of Health and Child Care to inform the House what plans are being put in place to reduce the walking distance that people at Kezi in Matopo South Constituency have to travel in order to have the COVID-19 vaccination administered.

THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF HEALTH AND CHILD CARE

(HON. DR. MANGWIRO):  Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  Government

has released funds to support operational costs for outreach teams starting with one team then increasing depending on need and subject to resource availability.  In addition, an integrated outreach team is already available per district to provide health services including COVID-19 vaccination.  I thank you.

MEASURES TO ADDRESS ENQUIRIES FROM PEOPLE

AFFECTED AND AFFLICTED BY THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC

  1. N. MGUNI asked the Minister of Health and Child Care to inform the House the measures being put in place to address enquiries from people affected and afflicted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF HEALTH AND CHILD CARE

(HON. DR. MANGWIRO):  Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  The Ministry of Health and Child Care operates a call centre which uses the toll free number 2019 where those affected and inflicted by COVID-19 can call and get assisted through provision of detailed information.  The call centre operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week and callers are rest assured that they will be assisted accordingly. Others can send a message to the Ministry of Health twitter handle at Ministry of Health

ZW(@moHCCZim) and face book account Ministry of Health and Child Care and they would be responded to.  Emails can be sent to pr@mohcc.gov.zw or mohcccc.com@gmail.com.  Meanwhile, the

Ministry of Health and Child Care’s Health Promotion Department has been instrumental in educating the community about COVID-19 through the risk communication and community engagement pillar.  I thank you.

WRITTEN SUBMISSIONS TO QUESTIONS WITH NOTICE RESURFACING OF CHIENDAMBUYA-MAYO-CHIKARE ROAD

  1. HON. MUNETSI asked the Minister of Transport and

Infrastructural Development to explain to the House :

  1. When Chiendambuya – Mayo – Chikare Road will be resurfaced.
  2. When construction will commence on the Chinyika River Bridge in Ward 9 in Makoni.
  3. When the Datatan Road in Ward 9 Makoni North is going to be upgraded.

THE MINISTEROF TRANSPORT AND

INFRASTRUCTURAL DEVELOPMENT (HON. MHONA):  The

Chiendambuya-Mayo-Chikare Road covers a stretch of 93.5km of which 18.5 km  is surfaced and the remainder of 75km is  gravel.  Indeed, the road is in a state of disrepair.  Under the Emergency Roads

Rehabilitation Programme Phase 2 (ERRP) being implemented through my Ministry and whose mandate is to restore navigability of roads, some repair works are underway and progress is as follows:

  1. Pothole patching is in progress on the 18.5 km surfaced section and to be completed by end of August 2021.
  2. The 32.5km of the gravel section is being re-gravelled and vegetation clearing is being done.
  3. Due to budgetary constraints, the remainder of the road, 22.5km will be included in 2023 programme.

Mr. Speaker Sir, as I alluded to earlier on, the ERRP2 mandate was restricted to restoring navigability of our national roads.  All capital intensive and new projects are earmarked to be undertaken under ERRP3 to be implemented in 2023.  You may agree with me that surfacing 75km is a capital intensive exercise.  My Ministry will include this section of the road in our ERRP3 programme for 2023.

Mr. Speaker Sir, on the second part of the question, my Ministry is aware of the two bridges on the Chinyika River, which are both in state of disrepair.  Although my Ministry has the mandate to construct and maintain the national road network, some roads managed by different roads authorities that include local authorities and DDF.  The Chinyika River Bridges are under the auspices of DDF.  We are also concerned as a Ministry if the local communities are handicapped in their daily social and economic activities due to the state of disrepair of the bridges.

Therefore, we have instructed DDF to attend to the bridge.  My Ministry will therefore take a keen interest in the construction of the bridge and will assist DDF in doing so.

On the third part of the question, Mr. Speaker Sir similarly, as I have alluded earlier on, Dalatan Road is one of the roads outside our mandate.  Dalatan Road is managed by DDF.  We are aware that the road is 60km and requires re-gravelling.  We have since directed DDF to attend to the road.  We will closely monitor the developments on that road.  I thank you.

COMMISSIONING OF BANGALA CENTRE PILOT IRRIGATION

SCHEME

  1. HON. MURAMBIWA asked the Minister of Lands,

Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Resettlement to inform the House when the Bangala Centre Pilot Irrigation Scheme will be commissioned taking into account that the scheme was approved in

2017.

THE MINISTER OF LANDS, AGRICULTURE, FISHERIES,

WATER AND RURAL RESETTLEMENT (HON. DR. MASUKA): 

Hon. Member, the project is actually Mushaya Irrigation Scheme with a potential of 40 hectares.  It is located in Zaka District and gets its water from Bangala Dam.  The project first got its budget allocation in 2017.  It went through the procurement processes but the contractor who was awarded did not take up the construction works citing unstable macroeconomic conditions, a common scenario then.

The project was retendered under the turnkey phase 2 programme and has since been awarded.  The Ministry is currently signing a contract with the successful bidder and expect the project to be complete by the first quarter of 2022.  The scope of work will entail the construction of a 4.5km electricity line, pump station, mainline and a 40-hectare centre pivot.  The electricity line apart from benefitting the irrigation scheme will supply power to local school and grinding mills.  

MOTION

BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE

HON. MUTAMBISI: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  I move that Order of the Day, Number 1 be stood over until Order of the Day

Number 2 has been disposed of.

HON. MPARIWA: I second.

MOTION

THIRD REPORT OF THE PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE ON MINES

AND MINING DEVELOPMENT ON FACT FINDING VISITS TO

AREAS AFFECTED BY MINING ACCIDENTS

HON. MKARATIGWA: I move the motion standing in my name

that this House takes note of the Third Report of the Portfolio Committee on Mines and Mining Development on the fact finding visits to areas affected by mining accidents.

HON. MPARIWA: I second.

HON. MKARATIGWA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir for indulging me.  On behalf of the Portfolio Committee on Mines and Mining Development, I would like to present a report on the fact finding visits to areas affected by mining accidents that we conducted as a Committee.  By way of introduction Mr. Speaker Sir, allow me to give an overview.

INTRODUCTION

The mining sector has become the mainstay of the economy and according to the 2020 Mid-term Budget and Economic Review, the mining industry accounted for 60 percent of the country’s export receipts. The gold sector has been playing a key role in terms of revenue generation for the fiscus.  However, the gold sector has been saddled with a number of challenges in the past few years and of major concern has been the increasing level of mining accidents especially in the artisanal and small-scale mining sector (ASM).  These accidents have been prevalent amongst unregistered artisanal and small-scale miners, and sadly the country has lost hundreds of its citizens through these accidents.

It has to be acknowledged that that over one million people are directly involved in artisanal and small-scale mining and the majority of them operate as unregistered miners.  In the process, ASM become vulnerable to poor working conditions that disregard mining safety regulations outlined in Statutory Instrument 109 of 1990 on Mining

(Management and Safety).

The Committee had an opportunity to engage all the key stakeholders responsible and affected by mining accidents.  The general observation by the Committee was that it would be difficult for the Government to prevent mining accidents that operate outside the confines of the law.  However, on humanitarian grounds, the

Government has a responsibility to rescue its citizens trapped in mines and where death occurs to retrieve bodies.  This is also in line with our cultural values as Zimbabwean and African people.

BACKGROUND

Since 2018, mining-related accidents have been recorded. Some of them include but not limited to the Chinhoyi Eldorado Mine incident, the Battlefield (Kadoma 2019) which claimed 28 Miners, the Mazowe Mine incident which claimed 8 Miners and the Wonderer Mine collapse which trapped 50 Miners and Nugget Mine collapse which claimed 8 Miners. In 2020, major accidents have been recorded including the

Esigodini Mine, Task Mine collapse, the Mutare Premier Mine and the Mazowe Mine accident which was reported to trapped more than 30 miners. The Midlands Provincial Affairs Minister Hon. Mavima revealed that since February 2020, the province, recorded 61 minerelated deaths involving artisanal and small-scale miners as a result of health and safety issues. The artisanal and small-scale miners continue to be at the receiving end regardless of being major contributors of gold output in the industry. Such developments prompted the Portfolio Committee on Mines and Mining Development to make an enquiry into this phenomenon.

METHODOLOGY

The Portfolio Committee on Mines and Mining Development undertook fact-finding visits to Premier Estate Mine (Mutare), Esigodini and Task Mines (Chegutu) from 21-24 November 2020. The objectives were to have an appreciation of the causal factors that necessitated the collapse of mines; assess the extent of the damage caused to both human lives and the environment. This would enable the Committee to come up with informed recommendations aimed at closing policy gaps among the interventions that the Government has been prescribing over the years aimed at minimising the occurrence of such incidences. It was of paramount importance that the Committee physically visits the accident hot spots.  Secondly, the Committee engaged the Civil Protection Unit (CPU) to understand its role in disaster related cases particularly in the mining sector.  The Committee also had an opportunity to interact with the Minister of Mines and Mining Development and his officials to appreciate the response and work being done by the Ministry pertaining to mining accidents.

FINDINGS

Causes of Accidents

A number of causes of mining-related accidents have been uncovered and they are as follows;

  • Unstable ground as a result of geology causing the ground to collapse. This explains the collapse of the Task Mine in Chegutu.
  • Flooding as a result of surface runoff after raining in the upstream as was the case of the Esigodini Mine.
  • Depillaring and unplanned workings. Miners have been found wanting when it comes to the way they extract ores especially the small-scale gold panners. The Committee found out that in some instances, miners tend to dig supporting pillars leading to the collapse of the ground. This is something common among most of the ASGMers who tend to prioritise gold output more than anything else, not even their safety at work place.
  • Absence of or poor safety and emergence response mechanism and failure to comply with safety and emergency regulations. It was noted with great concern the visible absence of safety mechanisms. Many of our medium and small-scale mines around the country operate without any safety plans or personnel. At such mines they are only worried about maximising profits, casting a blind eye of the safety and welfare of the miners, let alone the environment. In Mutasa South, it was reported that the two victims left home to extract some ores to buy some food. Despite serious warning of the risks associated with such a mission, given the fact that their pits were being closed, these miners did not give up.
  • Negligence is also another worrying factor. At Premier Mines, there was no one responsible for the safety, health and environment (SHE) office. It was alleged that when Jonk Jin Investments initiated the reclamation process, some artisanal miners were still sneaking into the prohibited pits. There was no one enforcing safety measures, physically search and confirming that the pits were clear. The company management confirmed that they heavily relied on the police who were also present. This therefore clearly shows that there was no procedure which outlines how the process was going to be undertaken. It is not surprising that some unfortunate locals met their fate while trying to bring food on the table for their families.

The Committee also found out that besides the abovementioned direct causes, there were other factors that complicates the situation. These include;

  • The Ministry of Mines and Mining Development for one reason or another is failing to effectively implement its regulations including conducting regular mine inspections. If such inspections were being carried out, lots of accidents can have been avoided.
  • Corruption between government officials and miners, allowing

ASMers to slip through regulations and safe regulations.

  • Bad attitude towards emergency response - Accidents have been reported as soon as they occur but the response has not been forthcoming. At both Esigodini and Task Mines, the Engineers from the Ministry of Mines and Mining Development concluded that the environment was unsafe, halting the CPU’s rescue efforts to retrieve trapped miners. It was a rather surprising response, the shaft at Task Mine was condemned, rendering it a grave for the trapped miners.
  • Poor communication - Some of these accidents could have been avoided if there were effective communication at the mines. It was confirmed that at both Esigodoni Mine and Task Mine, the warning signs were there but there were no effective ways of relaying the warning message. At Esigodini, surviving miners testified that they heard the flood coming but they could not save those who were underground. The same was said at Task Mine.
  • Lack of technical knowledge and information concerning occupational safety.
  • Some accidents are also occurring at old mines that have been used and closed but they have been illegally occupied. In the event of an accident like in the case of Esigodini, there was nobody recognised as the legal owner of the mine, who could respond to the important questions that should have been directed to the mine owner.
  • The miners were also found wanting by failing to produce maps showing the mining site as well as operations, a requirement which one is allowed to submit during the initial stages of getting a licence. Such maps could have been useful to try and locate the direction of underground tunnels.

COMMITTEE OBSERVATIONS

The Committee made the following observations:

  • In all the three circumstances where visits were conducted, accidents are avoidable if all the regulations and procedures were followed. At Premier Mines for example, if all the evacuation procedures were religiously followed, the trapped miners could have been rescued. These accidents demonstrated that the Mining Inspectors were not conducting the regular physical inspections but, they seemed to heavily rely on desktop reviews.
  • The Ministry is running away from its responsibility to respond to accidents alleging that there is dual responsibility between the Ministry of Mines and Mining Development and the Civil Protection Unit which makes decision-making difficult in times of emergencies. However, SI 109 of 1990 is very clear that miningrelated accidents falls under the armpits of the Ministry of Mines and Mining Development.
  • The Ministry of Mines and Mining Development which has the responsibility to deal with mining related accidents, lacks the right staff with expertise in dealing with mining related accidents hence failure to decisively deal with mining accidents especially among the ASM.
  • The Chief Engineer in the Ministry of Mines and Mining Development seemed to be intimidated to make difficult decisions to save lives in life-threatening circumstances because he is liable to answer for anything wrong that may happen as a result of his decision and actions he authorised. As a result, he makes conservative decisions.
  • There is bureaucracy in the decision-making process. Following the visits to areas affected, the Committee took a step further and set up taskforces to assist in the mobilisation of resources for the rescue efforts. A number of well-wishers expressed interest but there was no authorisation from the Ministry. There was need to reserve the decision that was made by the Chief Engineer that grounds were unsafe for any rescue effort to be kick-start, clipping the efforts of the taskforce and the well-wishers.
  • The CPU on the other hand is inadequately resourced in terms of both human and equipment, to deal with related accidents and to save lives.
  • The issue of safety is actually foreign to many in the ASM whose objective is to increase output at all costs.
  • Disused mines have been illegally occupied and operated, in some cases; such operations involved the participation of children especially during the peak of the lockdown and the school closure period exposing them to the risk of accidents. Such a situation violates the Africa Mining Vision of responsible gold sourcing.
  • The Ministry of Mines and Mining Development has shown its willingness to set up rescue teams in various mining districts.

These need to be speeded up so as to avert more fatalities.

  • There seems to be delays by the Ministry of Mines and Mining Development towards formalization of ASM. This will go a long way in addressing issues of compliance with safety regulations.
  • Some mining accidents have been politicised and this makes rescue operations difficult for the different government agencies and private sector, which include large-scale miners.

RECOMMENDATIONS

The Committee made the following recommendations:

  • The Ministry of Mines and Mining Development should set up a Safety Fund, funded from mining operations for the purchase of or hiring of equipment to be used in mine rescue operations or retrieval of dead bodies by December 2021.
  • Going forward, the Ministry of Mines and Mining Development should play its role in all mining accidents in line with Statutory Instrument 109 of 1990 Mining (Management and Safety). This responsibility should not be delegated to other State agencies such as the Civil Protection Unit or Local Government authorities.
  • The Ministry of Mines and Mining Development officials that include mine engineers and inspectors need to be adequately capacitated on their roles and responsibilities vis-a-vis mining accidents through periodic training (refresher courses).
  • By January 2022, each mining district in Zimbabwe should have a rapid response unit which is adequately resourced to deal with mining accidents. The Response Unit should be coordinated by the Ministry of Mines and Mining Development.
  • The Ministry of Mines should regularly conduct training on mining safety and regulations especially to small-scale miners starting January 2022. Prevention is better than cure.
  • The Government Mine Engineer should work with experts in assessing the impact of mine accidents. This will enable the government and other stakeholders to take proper measures in the rescue or retrieval of bodies buried underground.
  • The Ministry of Mines and Mining Development should come up with a plan with mandatory timeframes in which trapped bodies should be retrieved underground by end of April 2022. There are bodies buried in several mines in various parts of the country for years and family and friends of these departed persons need closure. It should be a simple, safe and timeous response procedure.
  • By April 2022 the Ministry of Mines and Mining Development should have finalized formalizing the artisanal and small-scale mining sector. This will make it easy for this sector get training on safe mining regulations.

CONCLUSION

The Portfolio Committee on Mines and Mining Development is convinced that, mining-related accidents can be reduced especially among the ASM. This can be done mainly by formalizing the Artisanal Small-scale Mining sector as well as through having physical and periodic mine inspections in all mining areas. This by no doubt will help the Ministry to be aware of every mining operation taking place at each and every corner of the country. Not only that, the Inspectors will also advice the miners on the risks associated with the mining methods being employed and measures to prevent accidents. If a pro-active role is taken by both the Ministry and miners, lives will be saved and so is our environment.

(v)HON. SVUURE: Thank you for the opportunity that you have given me to say a few words and to add onto what my Chairperson has just reported.  Zimbabwe has been plagued with these mining disasters for the past years, often resulting in deaths of a lot of people and resulting from collapsing of various sources ranging from disused mines and mainly among the small scale miners.

Zimbabwe’s plague of mine deaths exposes the need for a more efficient rescue mechanism in the country or in the mining sector.  Since July, 2020, the country has witnessed a series of fatal mine deaths with dozens of people still trapped underground even as we speak and unlikely to be retrieved alive.

We are persuaded to then make a critical analysis on what should be the reason for so many accidents.  There is need for orderly mining in the country.  According to the current law on mining, inspections at mining concessions should be done at least as they need to mine, then they could do more than 49 per year, but you will realise that the truth has to be said.  Some mines have gone uninspected from the time they were incepted. There has been not any mining which have been performed and no inspection happening to see whether they are safe for the community.

The other factor that we noticed on the tour that we underwent was the issue of disused mines.  Owners of those disused mines should make sure that they protect their shafts where they have been doing their mining.   Now shafts are left open when mining is discontinued and this has caused a lot of problems to the community when doing their normal businesses. They have fallen victims of mine shafts that have been left open by the users that have left the shafts. Often the small scale miners usually prefer the shafts that have been used before.  They have a certain perception that some shafts that have been used usually by the Germans are the ones that have high yield.  Often they target such mines without pre-knowledge or pre-assessment on how safe those shafts would be.  That is one area that we have observed that there is real cause of mine accidents.

The other reason is the premature stoppage of rescue operation, which the Chairman alluded to.  The current mining rescue approach leaves a lot to be desired.  On the three mines that we visited on the tour that we conducted at the end of 2020, it was evident that more could have been done.  It was also evident that not enough in our view was done to rescue the people, most of whom lay dead in the mines.

We begin then to question whether our rescue operation as it stands at the moment is adequate at all.  We are still of the belief, especially from what we have observed, that lives could have been served for at least a minimum number. What we witnessed is when accidents happen, the current procedure is followed where the Chief Mining Engineer has to assess on whether it is possible to retrieve the bodies.  You will find that in most cases, a decision would be made that it was not possible to retrieve the bodies.  As such, our mines now have been reduced to cemeteries insignificantly, where a shaft collapses and people are not retrieved and are left there.

Of particular note is the Esigodini accident where six bodies remain trapped in this mine to this day.  When we went to Esigodini Mine, we saw an atmosphere of hopelessness after the Ministry of Mines, through the Chief Mining Engineer had gone there to declare the accident scene inaccessible for everyone.  No one was allowed to get close to that accident scene, which was about 10 metres deep.  Now due to the statement that he has made, he declared that place inaccessible.  So not even the relatives of the six bodies that lay trapped there even got close to that shaft at least to see where their children lay dead.

When we got there, we made our own assessment and resolved that we were going to take risk and move those bodies out.  So when we got to the accident scene, we also had to get to the parents of the people that lay dead in that shaft.  From our own assessment, we realised that it was possible to bring in equipment and open that shaft and at least bring out the dead bodies and allow the parents to bury their children.   Even in circumstances where at least bodies could be retrieved because of our incapacitation, especially of the Civil Protection Unit at the Ministry, we condemn our mines to cemetery state because in some cases, we monopolise judgments of the various cases.  We say as a Committee, let us not allow the decision to abandon the rescue operation to lie on one end.

It is very unfortunate that the decision to say rescue operation should continue or stop lies within one man, the Chief Mining Engineer. Once he says this must not happen, it cannot happen.  As human, as he is, there is something that…

THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Order. Hon. Svuure.  You only

have three minutes to conclude your debate.

(v)HON. SVUURE: Thank you.  I am concerned also about the Esigodini situation where we say six bodies lay unretrieved in the collapsed shaft mine as we speak.  I also call upon the reversal of that contract for the apathy of safety and mobilise resources to retrieve bodies especially that lay in the Esigodini Mine because there are other mining communities around that place who offered equipment to say we can help to retrieve these bodies.

It is also opportune time that we review the CPU capacity to respond to accidents.  Not all accidents are of the same nature.  Mine accidents are unique.  They are unique in the sense that when they occur, the dead bodies will remain buried under the shafts.  It is unlike other kinds of accidents where you can easily retrieve the bodies like road accidents, fire accidents and something like that.  So we must be honest with ourselves and say, is CPU able to attend to all points of accidents including mining accidents.  There may be need to have a special unit that only takes care of the mining accidents and leave CPU to handle other points of accidents. So, I would like to thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  I wanted to say these few points just to support what the Hon. Chairman has said. I am of the belief that mining accidents can be minimised if we inspect our mines properly and improve on our rescue operation system.

I thank you.

 HON. MKARATIGWA: I move that the debate do now

adjourn.

HON. MPARIWA: I second.

Motion put and agreed to.

Debate to resume: Thursday, 19th August, 2021.

On the motion of HON. TOGAREPI seconded by HON.

MPARIWA, the House adjourned at Five Minutes past Five O’clock p.m.

 

 

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