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NATIONAL ASSEMBLY HANSARD 19 OCTOBER 2022 VOL 48 NO 86
PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE
Wednesday, 19th October, 2022
The National Assembly met at a Quarter-past Two O’clock p.m.
(THE HON. SPEAKER in the Chair)
ANNOUNCEMENT BY THE HON. SPEAKER
APOLOGIES RECEIVED FROM MINISTERS
THE HON. SPEAKER: I have received the following apologies from Hon. Ministers:
Hon. O. C. Z. Muchinguri-Kashiri, Minister of Defence and War Veterans Affairs;
Hon. Prof. P. Mavima, Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare;
Hon. Sen. M. Mutsvangwa, Minister of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services;
Hon. M. N. Ndlovu, Minister of Environment, Climate Change, Tourism and Hospitality Industry;
Hon. Amb. Dr. F.M. Shava, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Trade;
Hon. Dr. A.J. Masuka, Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water, Climate and Rural Resettlement;
Hon. E. Moyo, Deputy Minister of Primary and Secondary Education;
Hon. Z. Soda, Minister of Energy and Power Development; and
Hon. Prof. A. Murwira, Minister of Higher and Tertiary Education, Innovation, Science and Technology Development.
However, the Vice President and Minister of Health and Child Care said he should be here at 4 o’clock. Hon. Leader of Government Business, is there any explanation of other Ministers who are not here?
HON. T. MLISWA: On a point of order Hon. Speaker. I think for the benefit of others, it would be proper for Hon. Ziyambi to explain your question to us Members why the Ministers are not here. I think it would be proper for Hon. Ziyambi to explain to us Members why the Ministers are not here when you asked the question. It is us who should know why they are not here. You are well informed that he is the Leader of Government Business and he should respond to that.
THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. Mr. Speaker, I know the Ministers who have travelled and have commitments. Hon. July Moyo has travelled outside the country.
THE HON. SPEAKER: Minister, you are not connected.
HON. ZIYAMBI: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. I know some who are out on duty. Hon. July Moyo is not around, Hon. Masuka travelled, Hon. Murwira also travelled, Hon. Sen. Mutsvangwa travelled also, Hon. Muchinguri-Kashiri has commitments. She sent her apology, otherwise she would have been here. I am not very sure about the Deputy Ministers, why they are not here. I cannot speak for them. I hope the others will come. I am not sure why they are late but the message is very clear that we should be attending Parliament sessions and be able to discharge our constitutional duty to be in Parliament on Wednesdays to answer questions. I thank you.
HON. GONESE: Thank you very much Mr. Speaker. I am indebted to the Hon. Leader of the House and the Leader of Government Business and also the Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs for his attempt to explain the absence of the other Hon. Ministers. However Mr. Speaker, in terms of our Standing Orders, it is my submission that for those Hon. Ministers who are away on duty, as the Hon. Minister has indicated - they are Government officials, they are Ministry officials and I believe that if they take their responsibilities seriously, they would have endeavoured to send their applications of leave of absence to your office. Over and above that Mr. Speaker Sir, we have other Ministers for whom the Hon. Leader of Government Business cannot explain as well as Deputy Ministers.
Mr. Speaker Sir, for those who come late, that is a different story, but for those who will not come at all, it means that they have shown disdain and contempt for this institution and my humble request is that by the end of today, with the administration of Parliament, I believe that there should be a follow up so that those who would not have been able to come, who have not given an explanation, who have not sought leave of absence, that a motion of censure be put forward and it can only be done if we have those details at the end of the day. I think it is about time Mr. Speaker. It is something which we have been talking about over and over again. Those would be my submissions Mr. Speaker Sir.
THE HON. SPEAKER: Thank you Hon. Gonese for your accommodating observation. We will wait until towards the end of business and then the Clerk with his officials will then come up with a list which we can use to charge for contempt of Parliament because I have written to His Excellency more than once. Once I write, Hon. Ministers troop in. After two sessions they disappear and then they are reminded.
I am aware that they are reminded in Cabinet through the Leader of Government Business and they have not taken Parliamentary business seriously in terms of section 107 (2) of the Constitution. So we will have to move accordingly and charge those that will not appear in contempt of Parliament in terms of our Standing Orders.
(v)HON. NDUNA: Yes, Hon. Speaker Sir. I have noted we have forgotten to announce notices of motion.
THE HON. SPEAKER: We did. Do you have a notice of motion?
(v)HON. NDUNA: I do not have but just procedurally Mr. Speaker Sir.
THE HON. SPEAKER: Thank you very much.
ORAL ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS WITHOUT NOTICE
HON. MUNETSI: Thank you Hon. Speaker. My question is directed to the Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water, Climate and Rural Resettlement.
THE HON. SPEAKER: Proceed, the Leader of Government Business is here. I am afraid he is going to be burdened.
HON. MUNETSI: We discovered there are some inputs that are at GMB depots but there is no fuel to ferry the inputs to intended destinations.
THE HON. SPEAKER: Do you have a phone near you there that is on?
HON. MUNETSI: I am using this.
THE HON. SPEAKER: The other one, switch it off.
HON. MUNETSI: It is off. My question is; when are you going to avail fuel at GMB depots to ferry inputs to intended destinations?
THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. Mr. Speaker, the bit that I can confirm is that the…
THE HON. SPEAKER: Can you please unmute.
HON. ZIYAMBI: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. I want to thank the Hon. Member for the question and what I can confirm is that the distribution of inputs has started but the Hon. Member is asking a specific question on the availability of fuel at a particular depot. That question is very specific and if he can direct it to the officials within the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water, Climate and Rural Resettlement. They will ensure that fuel is availed to that particular depot so that the inputs that were delivered to that particular depot can be distributed. I thank you.
THE HON. SPEAKER: Hon. Member if your question has got specific elements, it invites that you put it in writing. Thank you.
HON. MARKHAM: Thank you Hon. Speaker. My question is a carry-over from yesterday pertaining to the Ministry of Health and Child Care. What is the Ministry of Health’s policy on paying suppliers who are reporting that they are more than six months behind on receiving payments for what they have supplied to the Ministry of Health, bearing in mind we already had an answer from the Ministry of Finance stating that they have paid everything that the Ministry of Health has asked for. I thank you.
THE HON. SPEAKER: The Hon. Minister of Health indicated that he will be here by 1600 hours, you can hold on to that question.
HON. MARKHAM: Thank you Mr. Speaker.
HON. MUSAKWA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. My question is directed to the Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development. What is the policy position on contractors who have been given major jobs to resurface and tar serious Government projects such as the Makuvaza-Mashoko-Nandi Road? They have demonstrated total lack of capacity and probably continue receiving payments from Government and they do not have even the equipment to do the job. What is the policy position because the public literally gets confused by seeing people wasting national resources?
THE MINISTER OF TRANSPORT AND INFRASTRUCTURAL DEVELOPMENT (HON. MHONA): Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir and let me also thank Hon. Musakwa for that very important question. I need to highlight the terms of the procurement process. The Hon. Member has raised a very important point which is quite pertinent in terms of performance by contractors. We promised as a Ministry in this august House that we will not tolerate shoddy work by contractors. Apparently, the current framework of the procurement work does state for the lowest bidder to the extent that we then focus on pricing model. At times we find some who would mislead in order to win the tender. This has been happening Mr. Speaker. I once also raised this point to say we need to revisit our pieces of legislation so that we punish those who would then wasted the time of Government.
Mr. Speaker, I am happy that the Hon. Member has cited a particular road, especially from his constituency. As a Ministry, we are seized with such a number of contractors. At this juncture, we detain and terminate the contracts in the event that you do not perform. As we speak, I am happy to advise Hon. Members that if the contractor was paid, we will not allow the contractor to continue receiving any further payment. I am sure the contractor is now failing to perform because he is not getting the funds that he was anticipating. It is not like Government is continuing to pay whilst the contractor is not performing. Since he has mentioned a particular road, I am also willing to engage bilaterally the Hon. Member so that we work closely with our provincial road engineer and in this particular case Masvingo, so that we go and advise accordingly on that particular stretch of the road.
I want to assure the august House that the time to continue paying shoddy work is no longer there. I want to also assure the august House that as we carry out the work, Hon. Members should be vigilant like what Hon. Musakwa did, so that we take to account those contractors who are not performing. Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.
*HON. MLAMBO: Thank you Mr. Speaker. What are you going to do to companies leaving construction equipment on the roads, some of them for three months? That equipment ends up causing accidents yet they will be lying idle, not being used at all. I am referring to a road from Chipinge to Mt. Selinda.
*HON. MHONA: I want to thank Hon. Mlambo for that pertinent question. It goes back to the same issue; there are some people who come and show Government that they have the capacity to work on the roads when they do not. I am glad that he referred to a road in Chipinge where he comes from. In fact, I am aware of that road and I also want to assure him that those are some of the companies that have misled Government that they have the capacity yet they lead to that disaster that the Hon. Member is talking about. It is not Government policy that when a contractor is awarded a tender to do a job, the contractor goes and sits there; they are supposed to go and work.
Mr. Speaker, we now know these bogus contractors that come and mislead Government. We now have that information and such companies will be blacklisted and not awarded tenders. I thank you.
HON. T. MLISWA: Hon. Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development, who does the due diligence because we keep hearing these stories. Which department is responsible for ensuring that this company has the reputation of making good roads and they must be given that, not only that but they should go and see the roads that they have done? I know you are a very competent Minister - unless this was happening before your time, why do you not review the current contracts and also do a due diligence on the companies?
There is also the aspect of payment, are you paying these contractors on time? If you go through the Harare-Beitbridge Road, the company that made that road stopped. It downed tools because they say they were not paid. The Mandamabwe Road, again they also say the contractors were not paid – so why do we contract companies, we do not pay them and they down tools? Is it a question of them not being paid and again the due diligence? I would want the Hon. Minister to respond to these issues Mr. Speaker Sir.
HON. MHONA: Let me also thank the esteemed Hon. T. Mliswa for the very important question that he has raised. The issues to do with procurement, I am happy that we are guided and we know that we have got PRAZ. Whatever we do, whether it is from the Ministry of Transport or any other Ministry, it goes through PRAZ and there is also the SPOC which does an oversight of all those contracts. I am happy in terms of the procurement, soon after flighting a tender, we then partake into the procurement processes and the due diligence that the Hon. Member has asked, this is the time when they are interrogating the contracts. They are supposed to make sure the issues to do with due diligence are addressed.
However, like what I have alluded to earlier on, the fact that they will not be focusing mainly on the pricing modalities, you find that one might be qualifying but when it comes to the lower price, for you to award the tender to someone who is pricing higher than the lower bidder, it will also be against the procurement regulations which is what I kindly ask Hon. Speaker to revisit and say it is not only the pricing modalities. One might tender with a lower price but without capacity.
I am happy that as we go onto the ground, we then see the elements, the signs of fatigue of that particular contract and that is when we then come in with the Department of Roads since we superintend over road authorities to say this contractor is struggling. However, because we have entered into a contractual obligation, there are also terms to exit that certain contract. We determine, give the right to the contract and the contractor also have to respond and justify why he/she is not up to scratch in terms of performance. So this is the process.
As the Hon. Member has indicated, the issues to do with payments, others would say we have capacity but when we ask them to go and perform, they will start demanding advance payment which is also problematic. The fact that you give someone advance payment, if he does not go to work, we also have another problem. We were looking for contractors who have got capacity and I am happy with the fact that as we engage our local contractors, we now know most of those that can perform and those that do not perform.
The Hon. Member has raised again a very important road which is Harare/Beitbridge. I am happy that the issues to do with payment to Government, the issues to do with pricing model where a number of contractors were not paid because others were overcharging, not relating to the contractors doing roads, I am just saying in general, the issues to do with Government payments, and others were not being bonafide players in the industry.
I am happy that we have done our revaluation. We have resubmitted to Ministry of Finance and payments have been coming slowly and we are happy that the road as we speak, there is no contractor who is not back on his particular section when it comes to Harare/Beitbridge. So as we speak, they are busy working on that particular road. I want to assure the august House that our target come next year would have been done by that particular stretch and we will be focusing mainly on Harare/Chirundu Road.
This is something that we are working on and also other players in the construction industry, payments are coming but there was no way we could continue just paying because we needed justification to those who were hedging. Unfortunately, where payments were coming, may be six months later, any business player would want to hedge, but alas! Now we want to get value for our programmes and this is particularly what is happening with Government to say you need to be paid for the actual value of the work that has been rendered. Thank you.
HON. HWENDE: Thank you very much Hon. Speaker. I would want to suggest that the Minister of Transport, if they can prepare a report on all the major roads because if you have listened...
THE HON. SPEAKER: Ask your supplementary question.
HON. HWENDE: What I am going to supplement, is also that you have seen a lot of MPs...
THE HON. SPEAKER: Please do not confuse the process, ask your question Hon. Hwende.
(v)HON. NDUNA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. Would it please the Minister to change the law in so far as it relates to the time for payment of indigenous black contractors who are doing business? My question calls for a holistic approach to that. Thank you.
HON. MHONA: Hon Nduna has asked a question which calls for a holistic approach and he was talking about the Minister changing the law which I then have to pose again to this very august House that the Minister does not change the law. If we would want as the august House and agree, we then agree since we make laws as legislators. He was saying we need to shorten the period.
From the Ministry, if we request through the Budget, it is ideal to any Ministry to then get the funding. There is no way we would come here and ask for bids, get given the money and not perform. We know that everything goes to Treasury and the owners of the purse are the legislators, the august House. As we then take charge of the purse, you can make sure that ministries have adequate funding and you need to take the ministries to account for what you have allocated to them and disbursed. This is what we have that if we have got the funding, we will pay. Surely this is the issue that we are seized with to say as a Ministry, we want to pay our contractors on time - that is Government policy.
(v)HON. MAGO: May the Minister explain to me what the policy says on payment of NSSA pension benefits.
THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON ZIYAMBI): The question pertains to the procedure and the processes that NSSA is doing to disburse pension funds. I suggest if she can put that question in writing so that the Minister would then come and explain the procedure of how they are doing it. I do not think it is a policy issue. It is a question of the procedures that they are doing and when they are supposed to be effecting the pension funds. I thank you.
HON. CHIKOMBO: My question is directed to the Minister of Home Affairs and in his absence, I will direct the question to the Leader of Government of Business. Recently, we have realised the upsurge of politically motivated violence which started in Mbare and it is now across the country in Matobo. What is Government policy in assuaging the political violence that is taking place across the country?
THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON ZIYAMBI): The policy of Government is that we have zero tolerance to violence. His Excellency at each and every gathering emphasises that point. The spokesperson of the police recently also emphasised that particular point that we should not have violence. What we have noticed is that when certain events are about to happen, certain individuals would then fan this violence and dump it on a particular section of our society. The general message that has been portrayed and the President has been very clear that as we approach the elections, let us ensure that we are humane and we do not fan violence. The police are doing the same. In fact the police indicated that they will apply the law without fear or favour.
The call is that all of us as Zimbabweans must heed that call and ensure that we do not employ tactics of playing victim when we have started violence.
HON. CHIKOMBO: My question is - what have you done as Government to make sure that you bring those perpetrators of violence to book because what happened last weekend in Matobo is reminiscent of Gukurahundi where women were subjected to torture and there is banditry and insurgence that is taking place in this country? Is it just an issue of talking through ZTV and other platforms or it is about walking the talk? The issue of violence is rearing its ugly face across and we cannot fold our hands and stand akimbo when such an increase continues unabated. What have you done as of now to make sure that you bring those culprits to book? I thank you.
HON. ZIYAMBI: The Hon Member is excitable and he believes in abusing the word ‘Gukurahundi’ in areas where things are not related – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections]. He must withdraw the word ‘Gukurahundi’.
HON. GONESE: On a point of order Mr. Speaker Sir, if I can have your indulgence. My point of order is that when the Hon Minister who is the Leader of Government Business is responding - I think we must be sensitive. We are dealing with a very critical issue and when certain things have happened, I do not believe that it is appropriate to refer to the Hon Member as being ‘excitable’ and when the Leader of Government Business is responding and he is making insinuations…
THE HON. SPEAKER: What are you saying Hon. Gonese?
HON. GONESE: I am talking of the language used by the Hon. Minister of Justice. The Hon. Minister of Justice, in responding, indicated that Hon. Chikombo was excitable. This is why I am making this point of order. That language is not appropriate. So my submission is that the Hon. Minister of Justice must be brought to order in terms of the language; in terms of the sensitivity. When we are looking at a situation where – he might not be privy to the images which Hon. Members on the left have seen, I have seen pictures of Hon. Toffa. I have seen pictures – yes, it is important Mr. Speaker Sir.
When responding, the Hon. Minister should be sensitive. The point I wish to emphasise is that when the Hon. Minister of Justice is responding, he must also appreciate that we are dealing with a very sensitive subject. He may not be aware of some of the information. As a result, he should not be dismissive because his first response was of a dismissive nature, that people are now playing victim when they would have been aggressors.
When Hon. Chikombo raised a supplementary question, he was emphasising a point based on the information that he is privy to. At the end of the day, I believe that it is not appropriate for an Hon. Minister of this Government to actually refer to him as being excitable. Reference to Gukurahundi emanates due to the fact that when Gukurahundi occurred, you are very aware that initially it was just dismissed. Later on, our late President acknowledged that mistakes had been made. I want to say, in the case of Mark Chavunduka and Ray Choto, we had a situation where the late Hon. Minister Moven Mahachi said that the two had scratched themselves when there was clear evidence that they had been tortured at the hands of officers in the army.
I believe in those circumstances, it is not proper if the police are being accused of being partisan, but it is because so many cases have been reported and no action has been taken.
THE HON. SPEAKER: You are now debating.
HON. GONESE: I know. This is the way I believe that the Hon. Minister of Justice should be asked to withdraw, particularly the word ‘excitable’. I do not think it is appropriate. I do not think it is proper and I think he is being dismissive of a situation where an Hon. Member of this august House, Hon. Jasmine Toffa has been subjected to beatings. I have seen the pictures. They have been circulated. She is in hospital as we speak. This is something which is very serious Hon. Speaker Sir.
HON. ZIYAMBI: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. There is a tendency among some Hon. Members to speak more than the bereaved. Each time some Hon. Members stand up, they try as much as possible to smuggle in issues of Gukurahundi, which the President is addressing. Everything that happens in Matabeleland, whether political or not political, they want to bring in issues of Gukurahundi, which they know themselves they do not know how to solve.
I believe it is inappropriate to use this Parliament to bring in issues of Gukurahundi which the President is addressing. I have never seen any one of them acknowledging the good work that the President is doing to ensure that it goes to closure. So, the reason why I said he is very excitable about the word Gukurahundi, not about what he said is because each time he stands up, he tries as much as possible to smuggle in the word Gukurahundi. They should have acknowledged that the President is doing a lot to ensure that we remain a unitary State, but each time they try as much as possible to do that. That was the point that I was making Mr. Speaker Sir. – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.]-
THE HON. SPEAKER: Order, order! Hon. Members.
HON. T. MLISWA: On a point of order, Mr. Speaker Sir. The decorum is critical for this Parliament to be respected. The Hon. Minister used the word ‘excitable’ and Hon. Gonese’s call was - can he withdraw. Fire to fire does not help when issues are brought up, which he said were not relevant. He does not mean that he has the ammunition to now go ahead and attack. We must respect this – he must behave appropriately. The word ‘excitable’ was not good, and to also talk about us crying more than the bereaved. This is an Hon. Member of Parliament we are talking about, who was beaten up and prior to the prayer from the Hon. Member was that it be investigated thoroughly. We cannot have us as MPs being beaten up despite which side. It hurts us. We represent people. When we are here you must know we represent people. There is never a day I have asked why Mliswa has been arrested. No. Why is the law not taking its course in a fair and just manner?
*HON. MACHINGAUTA: On a point of order Mr. Speaker Sir.
THE HON. SPEAKER: Do not abuse the points of order. I thought Hon. Mliswa had wrapped it up.
*HON. MACHINGAUTA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. My point of order is important Mr. Speaker Sir. On 29th September 2022, in this august House, I raised an issue with regards to politically motivated violence and requested the Hon. Minister of Home Affairs, Hon. Kazembe Kazembe to bring a Ministerial Statement into this august House to inform about the roadmap towards free and fair elections touching Sections 155 to 157 of the Constitution, Section 66 of the Constitution which speaks to the same as well as 67 of the Constitution that address that issue. I also asked him to look at Section 219 that addresses the conduct of the police services as they transform from police force to police services. We have realised that there are now issues coming up where there are reports of politically motivated violence. We want peace in this country. I hereby request Hon. Minister Kazembe Kazembe to bring that Ministerial Statement. Hon. Prince Dubeko Sibanda also requested that the Chief Whip must inform the Hon. Minister to bring that statement. We were told that it was the role of the Parliament Administration to inform the Minister to come and respond to that. So I hereby request that that statement be speedily brought to this House so that we address the issue of peace before elections so that there will not be any disputes. I thank you.
*THE HON. SPEAKER: Were you answered with regards to your request?
*HON. MACHINGAUTA: Nothing came up but the cases of violence are increasing. That is why I am now requesting that the statement be brought to this august House as a matter of urgency so that the issue is attended to.
*THE HON. SPEAKER: Thank you. Your request will be taken up to the Hon. Minister and that will wrap up some of the issues that may come up. Thank you very much.
(v)HON. MUCHIMWE: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. My question goes to the Minister of Transport. Having been informed that the funds for servicing the Marange Road were allocated, may I know the problem that is causing the work not to be done?
THE HON. SPEAKER: Hon. Muchimwe, that is a specific question – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – Hon. Chikombo and Hon. Hwende, can I be heard in silence please. Hon. Muchimwe, the question you are asking has been covered already by the Hon. Minister.
(v)+HON. E. MASUKU: [Technical glitch.]
*THE HON. SPEAKER: Hon. Masuku, your line is bad. Your connectivity is poor. Can I have Hon. Chidhakwa?
HON. CHIDAKWA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. I am directing my question to the Deputy Minister of Finance. It has become expensive to transfer and withdraw money from banks and other money transfer systems or agencies. What is Government policy position on tax exemption for the poor and vulnerable population such as pensioners and those living with disabilities? Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.
THE HON. SPEAKER: What is the issue about the people you have mentioned?
HON. CHIDAKWA: It is on the exemption Mr. Speaker Sir. The charges are too high.
THE HON. SPEAKER: The tax exemption?
HON. CHIDAKWA: Yes Mr. Speaker Sir.
THE HON. SPEAKER: Thank you.
THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (HON. CHIDUWA): Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. I would like to thank the Hon. Member for the question which is specifically asking about the high bank charges. I think this is an issue that we have been talking about in this Parliament. The bank charges that are being levied by our financial institutions are very high. Even if we look at the performance of our banks, above 84% of their profits comes from bank charges and we have engaged the banks and BAZ, and the major reason that they have given us is that most of their solutions are imported.
We have implored on BAZ to say let us try to ensure that the solutions that we use in Zimbabwe are local solutions. At the moment we cannot direct them to reduce the bank charges but what we are saying is collectively as BAZ, they need to re-look at their charges so that they are in-line with the market and they need to make sure that they are competitive and seek for local solutions, especially for the software they are importing.
HON. BITI: I have a supplementary question for the esteemed Deputy Minister of Finance. Bank charges are too high and the fact that even on his admission, banks are making profits from bank charges, seventy nine percent of bank profit is coming from bank charges when the business of banks is selling money and therefore making money from interests. Surely, the Ministry of Finance must regulate or cap bank charges. Equally, the interest rate of 200% is too high. Most people in this august House are farmers and business people. You cannot borrow money at 200%. The interest rate of 200% is choking business.
THE HON. SPEAKER: Can you please ask your supplementary question?
HON. BITI: The interest rate of 200% is unprecedented in the history of economics. The Government must lower the rates of interest to allow business to have oxygen. High interest rates of 200% are driving this economy into a recession because business is of borrowing. I thank you Mr. Speaker.
THE HON. SPEAKER: Order, you did not ask your supplementary question.
HON. BITI: My supplementary question is, can the Government cap bank charges? Can the Government lower the punitive rate of interest of 200% which is leading businesses to collapse because the oxygen of business is working capital derived and obtained from commercial banks?
HON. CHIDUWA: I think what Hon. Biti mentioned to say the interest rates are very high and it has never been seen in our history. I think what we have done as a Government is, we just applied basic economics. This is basic economics because the interest rate is supposed to follow the inflation rate. At the end of the day, what investors want is to ensure that they will get a positive return. As the inflation rate moves, the interest will also move in tandem but for this peculiar case in Zimbabwe, what we wanted was to nip the speculative bubble that was there. People were borrowing money in order to participate in the parallel market and there was no production which was happening. In the case of production, what we have done as a Government is, for those who are borrowing for speculation we will apply the 200% interest rate but for those who are into production we are using 100%. So, I think this is in order and is basic economics.
HON. GONESE: The original question’s import was whether the Government had a policy relating to vulnerable groups and in particular those with disabilities; the elderly were mentioned. I would also add those people who have chronic illnesses and so on, pensioners. My supplementary question is whether Government has considered having a moratorium for those specific groups who are disadvantaged and vulnerable because his response was just general. The question was whether he can come up with a position of Government.
HON. CHIDUWA: On pensioners, I think they are exempt from IMTT and on the bank charges; the issue that is being asked is whether we should come up with a moratorium. I think this is something that we can consider but at the moment we do not have such a policy.
HON. TEKESHE: I just want to know from the Minister, we are talking of interest rates which are very high but banking is about interests. We are supposed to be getting interests when we bank our money but at the moment you bank your money and it is all eroded by bank charges. Why are we not getting any interests from the money we are investing in the banks?
THE HON. SPEAKER: Hon. Member, I thought Hon. Gonese had brought us back to the relevance. It is a question of the pensioners – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – Can I hear Hon. Chinyanganya, what were you saying? I had closed supplementary questions.
HON. CHINYANGANYA: You have ruled him out, so it follows that there is supposed to be another one.
THE HON. SPEAKER: Yes, you have not spoken. Hon. Mliswa is speaking a lot.
HON. CHINYANGANYA: Thank you Mr. Speaker for indulging me. My supplementary question is, the Hon. Minister was only responding on the issue of bank charges but there is the mandatory Government aspect of taxes; the 4% and 2% tax charges on transfers. He never talked about those. What is...
THE HON. SPEAKER: Hon. Member, we were talking about the pensioners and other vulnerable groups. Do not go into another field please. Stick to the original question.
HON. CHINYANGANYA: Hon. Speaker, can you give me the chance to ask my question. I am saying they are also affected by those Government mandatory taxes on money transfers. So, what is Government doing to assist those vulnerable groups not to be charged IMTT?
HON. CHIDUWA: On the issue of IMTT, I think I had responded to that.
THE HON. SPEAKER: The question is; can the pensioners be exempted from that tax?
HON. CHIDUWA: Mr. Speaker Sir, I think these are issues that have been asked, whether there can be a moratorium on that and I said those are issues we can look at and deliberate further on.
HON. T. MLISWA: On a point of clarity Mr. Speaker Sir. The Hon. Deputy Minister said inflation is high and because of that, the banks have increased the interest rates but the salaries that people are getting are not high. So, how then can interest be high when the people’s salaries have not been increased according to inflation? If inflation is high, the people’s salaries must be increased so that the bank interest is high. I want clarity on that from an economic point of view. How does it work?
THE HON. SPEAKER: That point of clarification does not arise because it does not relate to the pensioners.
Hon. Members, I want to remind you that we have not forgotten the issue of attendance by the Hon. Ministers. At the close of the session, we will do a wrap up of those Members who have not come and then on Thursday, a motion shall be moved accordingly in terms of Sections 27 and 67 of the Standing Orders as read together with Section 107 (2) of the Constitution. I thank you.
HON. NDUNA: I have been waiting and it so seems that my name is not on the list again.
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER (HON. MAVETERA): Order Hon. Nduna, you were called and you did not respond. So, it is not like your name was not called. You were not available at that time.
*HON. CHAMISA: My question is directed to the leader of the House in the absence of the Minister of Home Affairs. What is the reaction time of the police in case of violence? How much time should they take spraying teargas in a residential area where there are pregnant women and young children? What is Government policy regarding that issue? I thank you.
*THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): Thank you for the pertinent question Hon. Chamisa. The response is that our police follow laws and apply reasonable force to maintain peace and order. They do not use excessive force which harms people, so I cannot say it is a minute, hour or five hours. It depends on the extent of violence and the situation on the ground determines the response, which does not injure people but which stops violence. So we cannot limit that to a specific period of time as it depends on the situation on the ground.
*HON. CHAMISA: My question was that after violence, how much time does it take the police to stop tear-gassing people resulting in accidents. Right now you find people in a stampede. Some people will just be selling their wares but the police are now perpetuating a stampede and violence. We are not violent people in Zimbabwe but we have pregnant women and children who live in that congested area. I am talking about the post violence era, how much time does it take for calmness to prevail? I thank you.
*HON. ZIYAMBI: I would like to thank Hon. Chamisa for his supplementary question which speaks to a specific event and those who are directly in charge of that can respond to a written question. So, I urge the Hon. Member to put it in writing. I was talking about policy issues but this is a specific issue which can only be responded to by those dealing with the issue. I thank you.
HON. CHAMISA: My question was, what does the law say?
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: That is what the Minister responded to. Unfortunately, you were very specific but the policy issue has been addressed.
*HON. P. MOYO: My question is directed to the Minister of Transport. What is government policy regarding tollgates? It has been a number of years before tollgates have been constructed. Government said that this is being worked on. So, I want a response on the purpose regarding tollgates.
THE MINISTER OF TRANSPORT AND INFRASTRUCTURAL DEVELOPMENT (HON. MHONA): I would like to thank the Hon. Member for the question. Those who know the tollgates we have, we have two different types of tollgates. Longer roads, the Mutare to Plumtree Highway - there are nine tollgates. Then we also have other tollgates in other parts of the country which are twenty-two altogether. Government policy is that we want them to be uniform so that they are similar to the Plumtree to Mutare Highway. This means that the question which was posed by the Hon. Member indeed is true in that it is specific and those who are directly in-charge of that to a written question. So may the Hon. Member put his question in writing? I was talking about policy issues but this is quite specific, on a specific event. It requires those who are dealing with the issue. I thank you. – [*HON. CHIKOMBO: My question was on policy!] –
*THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER (HON. MAVETERA): That was the Minister’s response Hon. Member. He explained that unfortunately, you were very specific but that has been addressed. I thank you. – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – Order, order Hon. Members!
(V)*HON. PRISCILLA MOYO: Thank Madam Speaker Ma’am. My question is directed to the Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development. Hon. Minister, what is Government policy regarding tollgates?
*THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: What exactly about tollgates Hon. P. Moyo?
(V)*HON. PRISCILLA MOYO: It has been a number of years before tollgates were constructed and Government said that this is being worked on. We want a response on the progress regarding construction of tollgates.
*THE MINISTER OF TRANSPORT AND INFRASTRUCTURAL DEVELOPMENT (HON. MHONA): Thank you Hon. Speaker Ma’am. I would like to thank the Hon. Moyo who asked about tollgates which means that she is one of those who know the tollgates we have. We have two different types of tollgates along the Mutare to Plumtree highways amounting to nine. Then we also have other tollgates in other parts of the country that are 32 in total.
Government policy is that we want uniform tollgates; we want them to be uniform so that they are similar to the Plumtree to Mutare highway. This means that the question that was posed by the Hon. Member is indeed true. When we sit down to deliberate on the annual national budget, then we need to have a budget for our tollgates. Let me promise that the new tollgates that we are constructing are they new type called plaza tollgates. Hon. Moyo, this is the type of tollgates that we are going to build, the model is called, plaza. The current tollgates are in disrepair and not in good condition. We are going to eliminate them one by one as we replace them with the plaza tollgates. I thank you.
(V)*HON. PRISCILLA MOYO: My supplementary question to the Hon. Minister is, since he mentioned that the tollgates are being fixed, may the Hon. Minister give us a specific timeframe as to when these tollgates are going to be constructed? I thank you.
*HON. MHONA: Thank you Hon. Speaker Ma’am. As I am speaking, we are currently working on designing our tollgates. We have a number of tollgates that were in residential areas and these tollgates are being moved outside residential areas to the peripheries of towns. So when our budget has been …. – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: No, no, Hon. Members, the Hon. Minister is not being heard in silence. – [*HON. MEMBERS: It is those on virtual who are making noise.] – It is alright, we have done that. Hon. Minister, you may proceed.
*HON. MHONA: Thank you Madam Speaker Ma’am. I was saying that pertaining to the question that was posed by Hon. Moyo; as a Ministry, we are through with the designs. Those who know, there were a number of toll gates that are found in residential areas totaling six. So, I believe that as time goes on, and when the budget is available, we will need to continue working on these tollgates so that we fulfill that promise. I thank you.
(V)*HON. NDUNA: Madam Speaker Ma’am, would it please the Hon. Minister to rejuvenate the issues of the payment systems on the tollgates because what you get is a receipt that says whether you pay in foreign currency, the United States Dollar or in RTGS. It is just written cash $2.00; if you pay in United States Dollars, then the receipt should reflect USD2.00 and if payment is made in RTGS, then it should reflect the same because that is used for arbitrage.
There may be instances where the accounts people or tellers take the United States Dollars and exchange them with RTGS at the official rate as opposed to banking the United States Dollars. So, a lot of money is being lost through theft at the tollgates because of an accounting system where they are supposed to write that they have received RTGS and where they are supposed to indicate that they have received United States Dollars. Would it please the Hon. Minister to change that mode of accounting at their tollgates so that there is no further hemorrhage and pilferage by the tellers at the plazas and tollgates?
HON. MHONA: Thank you Hon. Speaker Ma’am. Let me also thank Hon. Dexter Nduna and to correct the statement Hon. Madam Speaker Ma’am. The hemorrhage that the Hon. Minister is talking about, I want to allay his fears that we now have cameras in each cubicle. We can now monitor all those cash transactions from a central point whether they are swipe cards that the cashiers are managing from their cubicles.
So, it is a thing of the past for cashiers or tellers to exchange money in the cubicles which used to happen. I concur with the Hon. Member that yes, it was a cash cow in the organisation where people were stealing. Yes, there is no way you can actually eradicate pilferage but we have minimised that through the installation of cameras in various cubicles for each and every tollgate that we have. I thank you.
*HON. MUNENGAMI: Thank you Hon. Speaker Ma’am. My question is directed to the Leader of Government Business…
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: May you please be connected?
*HON. MUNENGAMI: Am I connected now? Thank you Hon. Speaker. I would like to direct my question to the Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare. The Government introduced the Basic Education Assistance Module (BEAM). This is a programme where Government urged those who cannot afford to register with BEAM, which resulted in 60% or 90% of children in schools, especially in primary schools registering with BEAM. Unfortunately, after urging these children to register with BEAM, some are not receiving payments from Government. This has affected the operations of schools. What is Government planning to do regarding the payment of BEAM to children so that their future is assured? Thank you Hon. Minister.
*THE MINISTER OF PUBLIC SERVICE, LABOUR AND SOCIAL WELFARE (HON. MATUKE): Thank you Hon. Speaker. I would want to thank the Hon. Munengami for such a pertinent question. Indeed, Government is paying for a lot of young children, which could be 90% of our children like what was said by the Hon. Member. This was affected by the fluctuation in rates. When this money cascades down to schools, you find that it is eaten by inflation and is no longer enough to cater for the needs in schools. However, there is money that is being released by the Ministry of Finance. We are two terms behind but as I was speaking with the Deputy Minister of Finance, I was saying that this is quite a pertinent question. We agreed that in the near future that money is supposed to be paid. Looking at the parallel rate at the moment, the official rate is not much different from the parallel rate. When the money is going to be paid, it should cater for the needs of schools. We know that there is an exercise that has been ongoing. The audit of public finances will culminate in the release of funds so that schools benefit from this. This is a pertinent question which needs to be addressed so that schools get their monies.
*HON. MUNENGAMI: Thank you Hon. Speaker. In short, schools will be closing soon and in January school children will be back. Can you give us a rough estimate on when BEAM monies will be paid so that we have timelines on when they will be paid? I am saying that because we want schools to know that this is the state of affairs. Most schools have been affected. My request is; may the Hon. Minister please engage so that we have feedback as soon as possible? Thank you very much.
*HON. MATUKE: Thank you Hon. Speaker. I believe your question is very important. The issue is that schools should receive funding as soon as possible. My request is that before answering the question, I sit with the Minister of Finance. We distribute funds that we receive from the Ministry of Finance. My request is that maybe we engage so that we come with a response next week on Wednesday.
*HON. MUNENGAMI: My request is that since the Minister of Finance is here, may he respond because they were discussing?
*THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Hon. Member, you asked your question directed to the Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare. That is not procedural. You can ask your question directing it to the Minister of Finance.
HON. KASHIRI: Thank you Madam Speaker. I wanted to ask my question to the Hon. Minister to say we have seen some headmasters expelling school pupils that are on BEAM because the Government has not paid their school fees. Is there such a policy? Are they allowed to do that?
HON. MATUKE: Thank you very much for such an important question. There is no policy that would allow the headmaster to send pupils under BEAM back home. I think it is an issue of advising the headmasters not to send those pupils away. It is not within our policy to do that. Thank you so much.
HON. MARKHAM: Thank you Madam Speaker. I just want to seek clarity from the Minister. Does that include schools that have not had BEAM for three years? Do they get carried forward and the total would just lapse at the end of the year? They have not been paid and they never can be paid. I have a school that has not received BEAM in three years. I thank you.
HON. MATUKE: Thank you Hon. Speaker. I think our arrears are not exceeding two terms. If there is any school – [HON. MUNENGAMI: It is more than three years.] – No. As far as I know, we have paid BEAM for the whole of last year. I think we have paid off that, but as for this year… [AN HON. MEMBER: Three years.]- Not three years. I would be very happy if I could…
HON. BITI: Tafara Primary School.
HON. MATUKE: It is fine, it becomes specific. I could go and check and then provide a record of those who were not paid for the past three years. It is not a problem. We can still go back and check because it becomes specific. Thank you so much.
*HON. MADZIMURE: Madam Speaker, my supplementary question is; Hon. Minister, because Government disburses the payments late, most of the schools are saying by the time the payment is done, due to inflation that money will be valueless. May the Hon. Minister liaise with the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development before they disburse the funds to ensure that they adjust it according to the inflationary rate so that it retains its value from the time it is supposed to be paid because they are saying the schools are unable to use that money to pay for the services they would have used. So may Government adjust the payments to cater for inflation? I thank you.
*HON. MATUKE: Thank you. I think what the Hon. Member said is not a question but a suggestion. We will consider the Hon. Member’s suggestion. Thank you.
*HON. TEKESHE: My question is directed to the Minister of Higher and Tertiary Education, in his absence the Leader of Government Business. There was a judgment that was done 12 years ago that said children are not supposed to be sent away from school but up to now, that judgment has not been implemented.
Twelve years ago, Justice Mafios Cheda made a judgment that pupils are not supposed to be sent away from school but up to today, that is still happening. Last month the Minister stated in a statement that children are not supposed to be sent away from school. Up to now, nothing is happening. How long does it take for Government to implement the judgment that would have taken place in the court?
THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): Madam Speaker, I would like to thank Hon. Tekeshe for the question about what Government policy is with regards to sending away of pupils and he answered himself that the Minister responded and said pupils are not supposed to be sent away from school.
The second question is; how long does it take in terms of implementation? That requires the respective Hon. Minister to respond to that whether they do not have the requisite tools to implement the judgment. I thank you.
*HON. TEKESHE: Supplementary question Madam Speaker.
*THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: I am wondering what your supplementary question is because the Hon. Minister said that question needs the Minister to respond.
*HON. TEKESHE: My supplementary question is; 12 years ago the Minister came here in this House and lied that children were not supposed to be sent away from school yet 12 years later, they are still being sent away from school. How can we have trust in the Hon. Minister?
When the judgment was passed by the honourable judge, it was with regards to the right to education. So my question is; 12 years after that judgment, are you not infringing on the children’s rights to education? I think now I have rephrased my question better.
*HON. ZIYAMBI: Thank you Hon. Speaker. I would like to thank the Hon. Member for the supplementary question. Firstly, we cannot say the Minister lied. The Minister should come and explain why the Ministry has not yet implemented what the Hon. Minister promised that children are not supposed to be sent away. So in my view, that has become a specific question so that the Hon. Minister can explain and then we can look into their explanation or reasons so that we get satisfaction. At the moment, we cannot say the Minister has lied. That would be a bit too forward in my view.
This question is supposed to be put down in writing because it is specific and the question may refer to specific schools, and refer to that judgment arguing with specific examples of schools where pupils are being sent away, then the Minister can respond accordingly. After that he may now accuse the Minister of lying in front of the Honourable House. I thank you.
HON. T. MLISWA: My question is directed to the Minister of Finance and Economic Development. Minister of Finance and Economic Development, there are late payments of Zimbabwean dollars to farmers who are supposed to be paid in RTGS.
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: May you please connect Hon. Mliswa.
HON. T. MLISWA: My question is directed to the Minister of Finance and Economic Development and it relates to the late disbursements of funds to farmers. They have delivered maize, two to three weeks RTGS is not there. Bonuses for the civil servants again, they have not been paid in Zimbabwean dollars yet we print the Zimbabwean dollar, it is our own currency. We are in short supply of the United States Dollar, now we are in short supply of the Zimbabwe dollar. How can the farmers pay their workers in Zimbabwean dollars when they have not been paid for what they have produced at the end of the day? For at least three weeks now, they have not been paid and there is inflation. Are you going to factor in a percentage to the civil servants who have not received bonuses and to the farmers in terms of the late payment which is currently going on? Thank you.
THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (HON. CHIDUWA): Thank you Madam Speaker Ma’am and thank you Hon. Mliswa for the question. As a matter of correction, for us, our currency is the Z$, not the RTGs and in terms of the investments...
HON. T. MLISWA: As you say, we never do RTGs in USD, we do RTGs in Z$, so I do not know what you are trying to say.
HON. CHIDUWA: As a matter of policy, we endeavour to make sure that we make all the payments on time. This is what we have done through the Grain Mobilisation Committee where I am a member. So with regards to the late disbursements, I think this is just administrative because for us Ministry of Finance, we only disburse upon request. If there are any late disbursements that are there, I think this is an administrative issue that we can manage between the Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Lands and GMB. Thank you.
HON. T. MLISWA: Madam Speaker, the Minister cannot say three weeks without people getting their income they can survive - they need to buy food. Are you telling me that people must go without food for three weeks and it is okay? This Z$ component we are talking about is available and I think it is only proper to say that we will look into it and we disburse the money because you seem to now be starving people of Z$, whether you want to make it strong or not, but you are making it weaker because of the bubble burst. It was pretty clear and I think you are excited about starving people of Z$ which is their money, may be thinking that the currency will strengthen but this bubble burst is a danger because farmers who are in the rural areas need to pay school fees and people need to pay rates in Z$. So if we work and we are not being paid in Z$, the bonuses of the civil servants are paid in Z$ - what do you then expect people to survive on for three weeks and you are happy in that Committee that people have not been paid?
HON. CHIDUWA: Thank you Madam Speaker Ma’am. I think I have already responded to the question that this is an administrative issue. What is just needed is for us as Treasury, Ministry of Lands and GMB to ensure that the payments are disbursed if there are any that are outstanding. This is administrative.
Questions without Notice were interrupted by THE TEMPORARY SPEAEKR in terms of Standing Order No. 68.
HON. TEKESHE: Thank you Hon. Speaker. I move that time for Questions with Notice be extended.
HON. TARUSENGA: I second.
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER (HON. MAVETERA): Hon. Markham, I understand there was a question which the Hon. Speaker said you are supposed to ask when the Hon. Minister of Health and Child Care and also our Hon. Vice President comes in.
HON. MARKHAM: Thank you Madam Speaker. My question originates from my point of national interest yesterday. We were told in this House by the Minister of Finance and Economic Development that all money is disbursed immediately when it is asked for by the Ministry of Health and Child Care. My question is why are suppliers holding and complaining that they were not being paid six to nine months after they delivered goods? Is it because of delays within the Ministry of Health to call for the money or is it the Ministry of Finance delaying in paying? I thank you.
THE VICE PRESIDENT AND MINISTER OF HEALTH AND CHILD CARE (HON. (RTD). GEN. C.G.D.N. CHIWENGA): Madam Speaker, the issue of payments in Government systems are supposed to be a matter which Hon. Members of Parliament will know and should understand. We do not print money but we collect revenue and revenue has to be collected by the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development. When the money is available, then it gets disbursed. If we print money which is not there, there are consequences and that is inflation. So as the Second Republic, we took a position to never print money when it is not there but only money which is there is disbursed. We pass budgets and we allocated money to different ministries but it is against the revenue anticipated and if there is something which causes fissures in that process, there might be delays.
There are also administrative delays which can be caused in the payments. For instance, yesterday there was an issue which was raised here about us parliamentarians going for the budget seminar. The hoteliers whom we have summoned – a room which was costing USD120, when they heard that there is a seminar for parliamentarians, some of the rooms shot up to USD600 and we said why? That is what delayed and these are some of the practical things where you get some people greedy out there. You have discussed several things in the parliamentary Committees where there will be administrative issues to be sorted out and Government, by policy, cannot just dish out the money.
We are aware that there are delays which are there and some of the delays have been legacy issues which have to be solved. We try our level best, together with the Ministry of Finance, to make sure that whoever delivers is paid and no tender or demand for supplies should be done when the monies are not there. Some of the issues might have been legacy issues where people were used to just order even if the money was not there on the books. That causes delays and these are some of the areas which Government is addressing and the Ministry of Finance, together with all the ministries is addressing and when I put on my other hat, we have said to the ministries you must stick to corporate governance practice.
On those who have not been paid, I want to assure the august House that they will be paid and we thank the Hon. Member for having raised this issue to remind us. I thought I should explain the procedures we take but we are going to look into the matter because we do not want somebody to suffer when they have provided the resources and as Government we do not pay on time. This is a matter we will address together with our colleagues in the Ministry of Finance. I thank you.
HON. MARKHAM: I want to thank the Minister for his response. However, on a point of clarity, I would like it noted that the Minister of Finance told us that he paid immediately. He actually misled us as a House but I thank the Minister of Health for his clarity on the situation and also the comfort that he gives to the suppliers that they will be paid eventually for the goods that they have supplied.
HON. HWENDE: Supplementary question. I appreciate the response from the Vice President and the Minister of Health. My supplementary question is that the Minister of Finance was here some two months ago and was asked about the cancer machines – I am sure you are aware of the problems that we have with lack of cancer machines in the hospitals. His response was that the money is there at the Ministry and he is waiting for the Ministry of Health to request for the money so that they can import the cancer machines. When are you going to request for the money from the Ministry of Finance so that you can acquire the cancer machines because a lot of Zimbabweans are dying because of the absence of cancer machines? I thank you.
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Hon. Hwende, that is a totally different question from the initial question – [HON. HWENDE: It is an extension.] No, that is a new question. You have to ask it next time. If you want to be indulged, it will be for a new question and not for you to do a supplementary question which is different from the initial question.
HON. T. MLISWA: I have a point of order in terms of PSMAS which has been closed and Hon. Members are all subscribed to PSMAS to support Government. Right now when we are sick, where do we go? It is an emergency issue and our families are on PSMAS. I have 19 children and their medical aid is on PSMAS and if one of them is sick, what do I do now when we are in this situation? This is a service that we have already paid for. Clarity is sought from you Vice President and Minister of Health on PSMAS which has closed. Where can Members of Parliament go to when they are sick when they have already paid medical aid which is being deducted?
I want to end by thanking you for coming to this House. There are certain Ministers that had left this august House. When they saw you coming they ran back like little kids showing that they do not respect the Leader of Government Business. I do not know why they have not gone to continue with businesses that they were going to do in their offices. Hon. Ministers, you must be ashamed to see yourselves running like small kids because the Vice President is here. You must be here whether he is here or not. Hon. Ziyambi has been getting a tough time. Today we have just censured Members of the Cabinet and Deputy Ministers who are not coming to Parliament. You must know that Hon Vice President. Ndanyara kuona vanhu vakuru kunge vachadonha pamapinda muno umu.
THE VICE PRESIDENT AND MINISTER OF HEALTH AND CHILD CARE (HON. RTD.GENERAL DR. CHIWENGA): Thank you Madam Speaker and let me first address the question by Hon. Hwende. We have five cancer machines which are working and they are not enough. We have done our shopping list as we discussed and agreed with the Ministry of Finance in order to address all our hospitals in terms of equipment. Some of the equipment was dilapidated and some were now no longer compatible with the times. We have to standardise all our equipment so that even if we transfer a professional from Plumtree to Mutare, he will not have a problem. They will have the same type of equipment and this way, we can guarantee our citizens that wherever they will go, they will be attended to.
I delayed coming here because this was exactly one of the issues which we were discussing on equipment, including the cancer machines for our people because cancer is a non communicable disease but it has now become one of the major killer diseases. We never thought kids could be affected by cancer but we are now having young kids being affected by cancer and we need to address the issue because it is not everyone who has got the money to send kids outside the country for treatment. We have to do it here and we have got the experts. All what they have been missing has been equipment. This is a matter which we have discussed seriously with the Ministry of Finance and we have now presented our list of all the equipment to them which we want to put in all our hospitals. Currently, we have got five machines working and we are aware that they are not enough.
On PSMAS, the issue of PSMAS is now common knowledge to every Zimbabwean that there is a forensic audit which is taking place. I am happy that Hon. Mliswa said that he has got 19 kids. If you have got 19 kids and you pay $40 for 19 kids, how do they get treated? So, these were some of the issues which we are saying if we have got the money, it has to be a maximum. If you want to have many kids, in fact I want Members to get this right. Because the population has got to balance, we have got to have children but if you are to have children, you must be able to support them. The way you support them is, you increase your contributions. The Government pays 80% and the member only pays 20%. That 20% had become meaningless. There are so many problems which are currently sub judice, Madam Speaker, if I can be excused on that matter because the issue is under thorough investigation of what was happening. A lot of things were not going right at PSMAS.
Having said that, we have said all PSMAS institutions must be opened and we have put medicines. I have directed the Permanent Secretary and the staff to open all PSMAS institutions which had closed down. We are putting medicines into those institutions so that our people get attended to. The issue of what should be done now, it is a matter which we will be discussing with the Ministry of Finance, the regulator and all stakeholders concerned, to say in the meantime, whilst the investigations are going on, we want the services because people will not stop to be sick. Therefore, they have to be attended to.
Right now the equipment which we are procuring include equipment for surgery, chemotherapy, immunotherapy equipment, humeral therapy and external beam radiotherapy machines. These had gone out of service and we had the old machines. We are ordering but those which had gone out of service, we are getting them repaired so that at any given time, we do not have a machine breaking down and then we do not have a replacement immediately. I thank you.
Questions Without Notice were interrupted by THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER, in terms of Standing Order Number 68.
An Hon. Member on virtual having wanted to be indulged in order to seek points of clarity.
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Order, the time has been extended and we have already exceeded by 10 minutes. I am sorry we are just acting on our Standing Rules and Orders.
HON. MUTSEYAMI: On a point of order! I think it is appropriate for the Hon. Ministers who are failing to respond to these questions to be addressed through the office of our Speaker. I have seen questions which have been on the Order Paper for quite some time and it looks like it is becoming more of a culture. Probably the Minister of Health who happens to be the Hon. Vice President as well as a Member of the Cabinet takes note that we have a serious problem here.
We have in the House Hon. Ministers who do not respond even to written questions and when they come here, they always give excuses that these questions took long to be in the office but they would have been there for months and it is quite sad. So there is need for the office of the Hon. Speaker to address this to the Ministers.
However, it is fortunate that the Hon. Vice President is here and he is as well listening to the challenges and he has done quite a number of presentations here but these other ministers are failing to address written questions which are given a jurisdiction to respond to the Permanent Secretary. Hon. Speaker, may you make a ruling.
THE VICE PRESIDENT AND MINISTER OF HEALTH AND CHILD CARE (HON. RTD. GEN. DR. CHIWENGA): Thank you Madam Speaker. The concerns of the Members are noted…
(v)HON. GONESE: On a point of Order. My point of order relates to the extraordinary circumstances of this week, in terms of our normal procedures where a Member is not present, the answers are handed over to Hansard. However, this week Parliament had specific challenges in terms of accommodation as a result of which Hon. Members are not physically present in the House.
I have noted that there are a few Members who had questions on the Order Paper who were not able to attend Parliament both physically and virtually, may the Hon. Ministers present answers, notwithstanding the absence of the Hon. Member who has asked the question? I would request that the Hon. Ministers actually give an oral response, the reason being that the Member in question would have failed to attend because of circumstances beyond their control.
In this regard, I want to point out that I was in the House earlier on, when I tried to connect I faced some challenges and I had to use my own data because where I am, there is no WiFi. So for that reason, Madam Speaker, I would ask that even if the Hon. Member may not be present, may the Hon. Minister indulge because it is also important to produce oral answers to enable other Members who may have supplementary questions. I think it is in the interest of the country because this week it is not as if some Members did not want to attend but those from outside Harare were told to connect virtually and we have got serious connectivity challenges. I thank you
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Thank you very much Hon. Gonese. However, you also need to understand that everyone was told to join in virtually and also there is a provision for data that we have as Parliament. One thing we need to understand is that when the Member is not available, the Minister is supposed to handover to Hansard and that is what was happening. So, it will be not in line with our Standing Rules and Orders for us then to be asking the Minister to respond when the Hon. Member has been given an opportunity to go virtually.
HON. (RTD). GEN. DR. CHIWENGA: Thank you Madam Speaker. I was saying the concerns raised by Hon. Members - we have taken note seriously and Members of Cabinet will attend and answer the questions. When they are given the written notice, they must within the stipulated time respond. We are going to address the issue, yes, we send Members out to various tasks for Government but the Deputy Ministers in those circumstances will then have to come but we do not send all Cabinet Members out of the country at once, maybe it will be one or two. So they will attend forthwith.
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Thank you Hon. Vice President for that response, I am sure a lot of Members really wanted to get that response. I thank you.
WRITTEN SUBMISSIONS TO QUESTIONS WITH NOTICE
RUMBLE STRIPS ALONG MUTARE-NYANGA HIGHWAY
- HON. SARUWAKA asked the Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development when the Ministry will put rumble strips along the Mutare-Nyanga Highway at Watsomba Business Centre where the incidents of accidents is extremely high as a result of speeding.
THE MINISTER OF TRANSPORT AND INFRASTRUCTURAL DEVELOPMENT (HON. MHONA): My Ministry has been informed of the accidents happening at the business centre and is in the process of mobilising materials required for construction of rumble strips. Rumble strips are grooves of indents on the road designed to alert inattentive drivers through noise and vibration, thus reducing the number of accidents. Our reasonable expectation after construction is that motorists will reduce speed when approaching the centre and are alerted by the strips to exercise caution. I thank you.
CONSTRUCTION OF BRIDGES DESTROYED BY CYCLONE IDAI
- HON. NYAMUDEZA asked the Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development to inform the House when the reconstruction of the following bridges which were destroyed by Cyclone ldai will commence:
- Tanganda Halt Bridge;
- Musani Bridge; and
- Nyamure Bridge.
THE MINISTER OF TRANSPORT AND INFRASTRUCTURAL DEVELOPMENT (HON. MHONA): The devastating effects of Cyclone Idai are still being experienced in affected areas and my Ministry has plans in motion to improve road infrastructure for easy accessibility. My Ministry is committed to ensure that the Tanganda Halt Bridge under the Department of Road Chipinge will be constructed. DOR has already done geotechnical investigations and forwarded the same to the design office. The finalisation of the design is imminent as well as the funding for the project. In the interim, there is another high level bridge crossing 200-300m upstream of Tanganda River that can be used whilst awaiting completion of construction works. I thank you.
MEASURES TO ENSURE COMMUNITIES ENGAGING PRIVATE PLAYERS ON WASTE MANAGEMENT ARE NOT CHARGED BY LOCAL AUTHORITIES
- HON. HAMAUSWA asked the Minister of Local Government and Public Works to appraise the House on the following
The measures being taken by the Ministry to ensure that communities engaging in private waste management are not charged again by their respective local authorities;
The legal instruments that have to be put in place in order to regulate activities by private players in the course of solid waste management which do not deprive councils of their resources or impose extra tax burden on the citizens.
THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT AND PUBLIC WORKS (HON. CHOMBO): The Urban Councils Act (Chapter 29:15) and the EMA Act specifies that local authorities are the providers of, inter alia, solid waste management services within their areas of jurisdiction. Notwithstanding the foregoing, nothing prohibits communities in voluntarily engaging private players in waste management, collection and disposal which is a welcome initiative and a best practice. However, it will be prudent enough if such an arrangement or engagement is done in consultation and consent with the respective local authorities. This would enable the local authority of the community concerned to agree on payment modalities or a free structure, taking cognisance of the pre-arrangements entered into. It also enables local authorities to supervise quality control service in delivery.
On part B, legal instruments which regulate the activities by private players in local authorities’ service delivery already in place. This includes subsidiary legislation in the form of by-laws of Parliament.
Questions with Notice were interrupted by THE HON. TEMPORARY SPEAKER (HON. MAVETERA) in terms of Standing Order No. 68 .
BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): I move that Orders of the Day, Numbers 1 to 16 on today’s Order Paper be stood over until Order of the Day Number 17 has been disposed of.
Motion put and agreed to.
HEALTH SERVICES AMENDMENT BILL [H. B. 8, 2021]
Seventeenth Order read: Committee Stage: Health Service Amendment Bill [H. B. 8, 2021].
House in Committee.
THE VICE PRESIDENT AND MINISTER OF HEALTH AND CHILD CARE (HON. RTD. GEN. DR. CHIWENGA): Sorry Chair on Clause 3 (III), I propose an amendment of subsection 3 to read ‘On appointing members of the Commission, the President shall pay due regard to fair representation based on gender and region.’
HON. T. MLISWA: I think if we can give capacity there, it is gender; region but there must be capacity too. Capacity is critical because you can put gender but capacity must be there. If you just put gender, region, it means nothing, it must be clear – [THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS: Capacity is there, it is there on appointing.] – I am not getting you there. Ko nyaya yema youth? – [THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS: Inaudible interjection.] – Gender mataura but youth.] – Hon. Vice President is happy with youths, he is not refusing. Imi munoda kuvarambira sei? That is why they are not here in Parliament because we are not specifying it in the clause – [THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS: Inaudible interjection.] – Gender, region you have considered but there is nothing wrong with youths. That is why he came up with that amendment because he did consider the aspect of gender because we had debated but what about youths?
THE TEMPORARY CHAIRPERSON: Hon. T. Mliswa, please give the Hon.Vice President a chance to reply.
HON. RTD. GEN. DR. CHIWENGA: Mr. Chair, yes the Hon. Member makes a valid and candid point, that is why there is a Ministry of Youth in this Government. There is a Ministry of Youth which is a stand-alone, which means Government has paid attention to that issue. The youths, remember in terms of our Constitution are from the ages of 16 up to 35 years. So they are already covered in this, I do not know what we will be talking about but in terms of our Constitution, youths are up to the age of 35. We have got Members of Parliament who are below the age of 35 and Ministers who are below the age of 35, so they are youths. This means that youths are taken care of. I am not very sure if that is going to be a real fundamental issue that we want to put each and every apostrophe and comma to everything. I submit Hon. Chair.
(V)HON. GONESE: Thank you very much Hon. Chair, I have listened to the proposal by the Hon. Vice President and Minister of Health and Child Care. In my respectful submission Hon. Chair, I do not think there is actually a substantive difference from the original sub-clause. When you look at what the Hon. Vice President has said, it is simply to specify issues that are already covered by Sections 17 and 18. My request and my plea to the Hon. Vice President is to separate the two issues which are covered by Section 17 and 18. Yesterday we had extensive debate on these matters and I submit with due respect that the two issues should be separated. The reason being that in terms of fair regional representation, it is very difficult to come up with a question of equality because there are 10 provinces, so at the end of the day if you are going to have five members in that Commission together with the Chair and Vice Chairman, making a total of 7, you cannot cover all the 10 provinces.
However, in respect of gender Mr. Chairman, whilst we have got two genders - male and female, so we are talking of two categories, I know that in other jurisdictions in other countries they will have other categories that we do not have in Zimbabwe. In Zimbabwe, we are only talking of two and yet again in our debate we firstly asked that the provisions in this clause should specify that where the chairperson is male then the vice chairperson should be female. I know that the Hon. Vice President’s response indicated that it is something that they are always going to consider but it is better to have it in black and white because this will be administered by another person in the future. We want to pass legislation for posterity; why not have a scenario where we specify that the chairperson and vice chairperson should be different genders? More importantly, when it comes to the provisions of section 17, because we have got only two genders, what is the harm in saying that at least two shall be women, because we are going to have five, then we know there is a guarantee. We had made a proposal to have an even number, then the Hon. Vice President indicated that we already have the chairperson but it will take the chair, the vice as well as the five and it still remains as an odd number. So we cannot guarantee that we have an equal number of the two genders. If the Hon. Vice President is not inclined to take my proposal to have an even number, be that as it may, let us still have the protection of the gender which was previously disadvantaged. Whoever is going to administer it, kindly if the Hon. Vice President being the current Minister is sensitive, it does not mean we will always have a sensitive Minister of Health and for that reason, I still insist that we lose nothing Mr. Chairman, we lose nothing tezvara vangu soko mukanya, Hon. Vice President by simply separating those two issues in subclause 3. Talk of gender representation in specific terms so that whoever administers is bound by those provisions that at least half or if it is not half because we have an odd number, be specified that two shall be women. I believe that guarantees fair representation of the gender which has previously been marginalised, which has previously been disadvantaged.
In concluding, I want to respectively disagree with my colleague Hon. Mliswa. He is talking about merit, about women not being there in Parliament. That is not what we are talking about. We are referring to women who are already covered by subclause (2) where it says that, ‘must be chosen by their knowledge and experience in the health service’. We are not talking about elections. So let us not conflate the two issues. Issues relating to election and issues relating to appointment are different. Here we are talking about people who are already competent but there is no guarantee that we will have equal gender representation. That is the reason why I am still pleading with the Hon. Vice President, my tezvara that look, we lose nothing by separating those two. I know fairer representation in terms of Section 18 is already covered in specific terms but in terms of Section 17, please, please, please, let us have that specific provision so that whoever administers the Act will be bound by those specific conditions. I so submit Mr. Chairman.
HON. GEN. (RTD). DR. CHIWENGA: Mr. Chairman Sir, I take note of Hon. Gonese’s concern but Hon. Gonese is a learned Hon. Member. Section 320 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe which talks about membership of commissions and conditions of service of members, sub-section (4) reads, ‘where a Commission has a Chairperson and a Deputy Chairperson, they must be of different genders’. Now I do not...
THE TEMPORARY CHAIRPERSON: Sorry Sir, you are not connected. May you be connected?
HON. GEN. (RTD). DR. CHIWENGA: Mr. Chairman Sir, I am repeating again that Section 320 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe which reads, ‘membership of commissions and conditions of service of members’, subsection (4) clearly stipulates, ‘where a Commission has a Chairperson and a Deputy Chairperson, they ‘must’ be of different genders’. It is not ‘may’. It is a command in the Constitution of Zimbabwe. Therefore, the repetition required by Hon. Gonese is of no consequence. It is there, the Constitution is supreme to any Act. I submit Mr. Chair.
(v)HON. GONESE: Hon. Chair, I have raised my hand Mr. Chair, I have heard the response and I want to indicate, can I be recognised?
THE TEMPORARY CHAIRPERSON: Hon. Gonese, I can give you the floor but I think the Hon. Vice President has given you a very good response to your concerns.
(v)HON. GONESE: No, I need a response so that I can show that his response is not correct. Can I be given the opportunity to show why it is not correct?
THE TEMPORARY CHAIRPERSON: Go ahead.
(v)HON. GONESE: I am reading Section 320 and I am opening my Constitution, it says except as otherwise provided in this Constitution, every member of a commission appointed for a term of five years which is renewable for one additional term only and it is talking of specific commissions which are in Chapter 12. Let us look at (2) of Section 320, it is talking of commissions which are provided for in terms of Chapter 12, they are actually mentioned. It is my respectful submission that what the Hon. Vice President has pointed out only applies to the constitutional commissions. It does not apply to other commissions which are established by the Act of Parliament. There is a distinction and I submit, and I want to reiterate that the answer given by the Hon. Vice President does not cover commissions which are established in terms of an Act of Parliament. I so submit.
THE TEMPORARY CHAIRPERSON: Hon. Gonese, it is very clear and it is there. I do not think it is worth our time to continue labouring on this. It is actually in the Bill again on point 4, that Section 320 of the Constitution shall apply with the necessary changes to the Constitution. I do not know what else you are trying to raise. What is it that you want to add on this because it is very clear Hon. Gonese?
HON. T. MLISWA: The Hon. Vice President has given me more oomph because when I spoke about the youths, he clearly referred to the Ministry of Youth being there and he will consider that but there is also the Ministry of Women’s Affairs. While there is a Ministry and they are recognised in Government, gender has been put there to recognise women. So on the same token, I would like the youths to be involved because they are 60% of the population from the demographic point of view. The Hon. Vice President went on to further talk about Section 320 of the Constitution which talks specifically about the gender aspect being dealt with, that where there is one sex, the other will be vice and the other will chair and so forth. With the youths, that was not done and unfortunately we missed it out when the Constitution was being done. Now, we need to correct it by ensuring that it is there because we cannot go anywhere without 60% of the population not being factored in anything that we have to do in this country. This is the time we must represent the youths properly and I demand that, that clause for the youths be there. We would have done injustice to the youths. The very same struggle that we enjoy, that we won – the Hon. Vice President went there when he was young, there was no need for a Constitution but it was the young people who drove the struggle. Why are we not including the youth to sit in the boards? Currently, all the other boards, the youth are not incorporated so we have learnt lessons, we do not want to repeat the same mistake. May the youth be included? – [HON. ZIYAMBI: They are included. They are not excluded.] – In all the boards that we have in the entire country, how many in terms of percentage are youth? We have done a disservice to the youth and I know the Hon. Vice President will push for the youth agenda in incorporating them and all we have to do is to put “comma, youth”.
HON. RTD. GEN. DR. CHIWENGA: Whilst I appreciate what Hon. Mliswa is saying, if he wants that to be done, then it must go into the ‘mother Bible’, the mother law, the ‘Holy Bible’ and then when we go to the legislation, we are aware about the issue of the youth. This is why we have said and they are being taken care of but we do not make pieces of legislation. If we want to do that, I ask the Hon. Member to propose an amendment to the Constitution and not to make an amendment to an Act of Parliament or Statutory Instrument, then it will not have been aligned to the Constitution. Whatever we do must be aligned to the mother law.
HON. T. MLISWA: The Constitution is very clear about the involvement of the youth. In so doing, then the alignment must be in the Act and there is no way we must amend the Constitution first then the Act. It does not work like that Madam Nyawo. Educate them on that. The Act is different. You do not use the Constitution to deal with the Act. The Act is coming through to support the Constitution and that is why I am saying the youth aspect must be there. I will debate this until tomorrow. The incorporation of the youth is critical and if we have to vote, we vote but let us not have a situation where the citizenry thinks that we are against the youth. We must support the youth and if we have to go for a vote, we will.
On this one, it is about principle more than else. You want to rush. We do not want to be rushing Bills in Parliament. We have got to incorporate the youth. Not only that, I would also want to incorporate the disabled, handichamira manje. You need to incorporate them in terms of the percentage. There is the aspect of the disabled as well. The disabled are 15-20% of the population, where are they? You have gender and religion, it is important. Those are vulnerable groups and we cannot leave out. The Constitution is very clear about the people who are disabled. The youth and disabled must be part of that.
HON. RTD. GEN. DR. CHIWENGA: Hon. Mliswa has gone academic, there is nowhere either in the Constitution or Acts of Parliament where youth have been excluded. Nowhere, the law is open-ended. If we are now going to be putting everybody in the Acts of Parliament and Constitution, we shall certainly say we want war veterans, female and male war veterans to be identified and so on, and here we are talking of a board of only five members. The Constitution is very clear when you go on to Section 320 (4), it is not excluding anybody. So we can take a disabled and put him if that person is competent. We can take the youth if they are competent because we are talking of ‘gender’ here and ‘gender’ talks of female and male. We are not talking about the size or age of that ‘gender’. It has to be understood that way. What the Constitution is talking about here is about ‘gender’ and the ‘gender’ has not been qualified to say adults. It is ‘gender’ and so it is whole encompassing.
(v)HON. GONESE: After listening to Hon. Mliswa and the response by the Hon. Vice President, I have looked at the Constitution and I am holding it as we speak. The Hon. Vice President made reference to the provisions of the Constitution and has suggested to Hon. Mliswa that there is need for an amendment to the Constitution. When I looked at the document myself, I respectfully wish to point out that there is actually need for an amendment because Section 20 of our Constitution makes specific reference to the youth and it also talks about the youth being given opportunities to associate and to be represented and participate in socio-economic and other spheres at large.
I have also looked at Section 22 which refers to persons with disabilities. Again, the provision is there that the persons with disabilities must also be given those opportunities. Whilst I understand and appreciate where the Hon. Vice President is coming from but having listened to the submissions by Hon. Mliswa, I think he makes a valid point. We are not talking of all the groups but we are looking at those particular groups which he believes, and I believe that he is on point that the youth should also be covered not because the Hon. President making the appointment is going to cover everyone but because the Bill has already made recognition of the provisions of Sections 17 and 18, which the Hon. Vice President has gone on to further elaborate by making specific reference to the persons covered by those two sections. I submit that we will not lose anything because it is not going to be binding in terms of having all the groups covered at the same time but that those specific groups which are being mentioned have to be taken into consideration when the appointments are being made. At the end of the day, it is simply a question of appreciating that let us try to recognise some of these critical groups. We are not saying that we have to cover the elderly, whatever, but I think that in making his submissions, Hon. Mliswa was making specific reference to the youths being the future of this country. They are the leaders of tomorrow and I believe that if that particular provision is inserted, it does not prejudice anything because the discretion is still going to be left with the appointing authority. The appointing authority will be properly guided to include specific categories which will be: gender, regional representation, youths and persons with disabilities. Let me conclude and say that the Constitution covers youths and persons with disabilities and appeal to the Hon. Minister to give serious consideration to the insertion and addition of those two groups.
HON. T. MLISWA: Let me concede that the Hon. Vice President will ensure that the youths and the disabled are incorporated. There is no reason why I can doubt the Hon. Vice President, especially being a retired renowned General.
Amendment to Clause 3 put and agreed to.
Clause 3, as amended, put and agreed to.
Clause 4 put and agreed to.
On Clause 5:
HON. HWENDE: I think the only problem that I have is that Clause 5 of the Bill is inserting a new section into the Act, which restricts the right of members of the health services to engage in collective bargaining, meaning the right to go on strike. Under the new section that is being proposed, the health service will be deemed to be an essential service referred to in section 65 (3) of the Constitution, which currently states that except for members of the security services every employee has the right to participate in job action. So, only security services are mentioned in the Constitution. So, the attempt by this clause to amend the Constitution is ultra-vires. It cannot stand because we need to amend the Constitution first since the Constitution is clear that only members of the security services and we need to drop that. Also, it is assuming that everyone in the health service sector is essential service and that is not correct. There are people that are working there. Some are gardeners, secretaries and some are serving tea, therefore we need clarity but our biggest problem is the attempt to amend the Constitution which makes that clause unconstitutional.
(v)HON. GONESE: I have looked at the clause and the attempt to include members of the health sector as an essential service as envisaged in Section 65 (3) of our Constitution. The first point I want to make is that the framers of this Constitution, in their wisdom decided that only the security services should be specifically mentioned as an essential service. It is in that respect that only they are precluded from engaging in collective job action and also from going on strike. I am in disagreement with the attempt to include the health sector, partly for the reasons given by Hon. Hwende but I also want to add that in my respectful submission, this would be a very bad law. Hon. Hwende has already mentioned that there are some members of the health services who are not an essential service. Even if they were essential services, I believe that they are not in a sensitive sector like the security services. We cannot allow soldiers or police service to go on strike but when we are talking of the health services, just like the other civil servants, that is the teachers and so on; if there is poor remuneration as is currently obtaining, they should have every right to engage in collective job action.
Whilst the Constitution allows for a law to be passed, to add other people to essential services; I submit that firstly, the proposal is not good law. In saying this, I am also looking at the provisions of Section 86 of the Constitution which places a limitation on certain rights and freedoms. I believe that limitation is not applicable in casu or in the present case, for the simple reason Mr. Chairman that the fundamental rights and freedoms that are set out in Chapter 4 in terms of the fundamental rights and freedoms enjoyed by the people of Zimbabwe can only be interfered with if there is a law of general application and I am going to read the provisions to illustrate my point, ‘…and to the extent that the limitation is fair, reasonable, necessary and justifiable in a democratic society based on openness, justice, human dignity, equality and freedom taking into account all relevant factors and the nature of the right of freedom concerned.’
I believe that this limitation does not extend to the Bill or to the provision that is intended to be covered by the Bill. Why do you want to…- [Technical glitch.] – workers if we do not allow them to participate in collective job action? The Constitution in its wisdom, only identified the security services and I submit, let us leave it at that. Let us allow our doctors, nurses, radiographers, laboratory technologists and so on, if they are not being properly remunerated, to also be able, like the teachers and other civil servants, to engage in collective job action. In particular, if their concerns are not addressed, let us allow them to go on strike. After all, the Labour Act has got specific provisions that actually allow due process to take place. Let us allow that due process to take place but let us not … - [Technical glitch.] - What it means is that the Government must recognise the essential nature of the service they are providing by giving them adequate remuneration.
As we speak Mr. Chairman, we have had situations where the health workers have been going on strike ad infinitum because their concerns have not been addressed. Let us be sensitive, let us address their concerns and prevent the brain drain. As we speak, so many doctors are in the United Kingdom, South Africa, Namibia and this applies to all other health workers who have ….- [ Technical glitch.] – …the essential service that they are providing, not by preventing them from engaging in strike but giving them adequate remuneration… - [ Technical glitch.] -...for them to be able to carry out their work.
Once we do that, there will be no need to try to come up with an Act of Parliament that precludes them from engaging in strike action because there will be no need for them to strike because they are being taken care of. Those will be my submissions and I am vehemently opposed to … - [Technical glitch.] -
(V)HON. TOGAREPI: Thank you Mr. Chairman for recognising me. I would like to also debate on the issue of health workers going on strike. We need to be very conscious of health workers being very important and those who benefit from the service of health workers have rights enshrined in the Constitution, that is right to health, right to life and if health workers were to go on strike and these people are denied health services; from the word go, that strike is illegal and criminal because the law says people must be given the right to life.
So in my view, I would like to persuade fellow Members of Parliament to allow this law to pass and to ensure that health workers do not go on strike because what they provide is critical. I agree with Hon. Gonese that it is important that they are paid well, looked after, their expectations are looked after but also every citizen must also get the service. These health workers, important as they are, having also the need to have incomes that look after their families; they also sign a contract and swear that they will ensure that people get service and they will not deny their patients/clients service when they need it.
So I think Hon. Members, with all due respect to the expectations and needs of health workers, if we allow them to go on strike, if we allow a situation where they go on strike, we are also saying to hell with people’s lives, to hell with the health of our people, to hell with the health of delivering mothers, and to hell with the health of children. So I think we need to understand that the import of this section is to save lives and it is enshrined in the Constitution. I think we need to allow the Minister to proceed with this law as is so that our people can gain and get health services when they want it.
*HON. CHIDZIVA: Thank you Hon. Chairman. My point is that it is important for the Hon. Minister to look into the concerns. This is a service that we require and we anticipate that professionals who are in the diaspora should come and take up responsibilities. In that vein, those who provide this service at times might feel that Government is not looking into their issues, plight, welfare and this result in mass exodus of professionals who seek greener pastures.
So it is important that those who are in the health services are comfortable that Government and the Ministry is looking into their issues instead of just saying that they have no right to demonstrate or strike. The moment that is done, then it means that their plight will not be listened to. I do not know how this can be phrased in such a way that their plight is taken seriously. I thank you.
(V)HON. WATSON: I am sure that the Hon. Minister is aware that the health issue is a big issue in Zimbabwe. He is also perfectly aware that in the amendment to the Health Services Act, he is providing for access by every Zimbabwean to private medical facilities. So, in the event of a Government worker or doctors strike action, Zimbabweans will have the right to access private medical facilities so that their right to life will be better guaranteed than they are at the moment.
So I am also in agreement that this clause is meant for health workers themselves to simply resolve issues in the health sector that cannot be resolved by legislation. Thank you.
(v) *HON. C. MOYO: Thank you Hon. Chairperson. Let me say that this is the boundary between life and death. For them to suffer in silence, we will find a lot of people dying because they know that they are not allowed to strike or demonstrate. Health workers should be happy so that they preserve people’s lives. If they suffer in silence, this will culminate in patients suffering. As a listening Vice President, it is important that he listens to what the people want so that the health professionals protect and look after the health of patients. I thank you Hon. Chairperson.
(v)HON. MBONDIAH: Thank you Hon. Chairperson. I would like to add my voice and to just say it is of paramount importance that we cater for the needs of nurses and doctors. I am more particularly concerned about women who have been neglected by nurses and doctors who have lost children during child birth because nurses are not attending to them because they have their concerns which have not been addressed. “Wari kufiramukati se socks, sezvataurwanaHonourable.” I do not think this clause would save lives in Zimbabwe because the moment you put that clause through, these nurses and doctors would just sit and say we have been denied the right to demonstrate and express ourselves. Hence, they will just sit and watch patients die. So, that is my submission Hon. Chairperson. I thank you.
HON. GEN. (RTD).DR. CHIWENGA: Mr. Chairman, I listened very attentively to Hon. Members’ concerns but I think they are shooting the issue from the hip. I am not very sure what the Hon. Members are basing on if they have read the Act and the Constitution. Let me first start with the mother law. On Section 65 (3), which they have quoted, it reads …
HON. HWENDE: On a point of order, I have noticed the manner in which the Hon. Minister is responding. I think it will help if he refers to what the individual Member has submitted.
THE ACTING CHAIRPERSON (HON. MUTOMBA):Hon. Members were actually hitting the same thing from different points.
HON. GEN. (RTD).DR. CHIWENGA: Thank you Hon. Hwende. I am answering to issues which you have raised, Hon. Gonese, Hon. Togarepi who was in support, Hon. Chidziva, Hon. Watson and Hon. Moyo. I have combined because all what you have said is all the same but you were using different verbiage, but you were talking the same point.
So, if you might allow me Mr. Chairman Sir, I was on the issue that the issues raised by the Hon. Members, firstly I will start with Section 65 (3) where it says, “Except for members of the Security Services, every employee has the right to participate in corrective job action including the right to strike, sit in, withdraw their labour and to take other similar concerted action but a law may restrict the exercise of this right in order to maintain essential services.” That is exactly what this act is all about.
When we go to Section 48 (1), “every person has the right to life.” Nowhere in the mother law is written that any person can withdraw somebody’s life because you have got a grievance to settle with whoever, be it an employer, somebody else and you say you must die because I have got a bone to chew with my employer. It is writtennowhere. In terms of being human, you cannot take somebody’s life because you have a score to settle with somebody else.
We have been very considerate in this Act. Section 5 (2) reads, “notwithstanding anything in the Labour Act, [Chapter 28:01] –
(a), the Health Service shall be deemed an essential service referred to in Section 65 (3) of the Constitution and
(b) no collective job actionwhether lawful or unlawful shall continue for an uninterrupted period of 72 hours or for more than 72 hours in any given 14-day period”.
So, we have given them the chance to strike but that strike must be restricted because there is life to be saved. If Hon. Hwende you are there in the ICU, people abandon you and you die, your family will take the Ministry of Health to court to say our relative died because of negligence.
Now, the issues which are being raised by Hon. Members are administrative issues which are affecting the entire country and this is what we are addressing, the conditions of service for our members and I took time yesterday to talk about what we are doing in terms of conditions of service for our professionals. It is not only about salaries. Salaries come at the tail end but we are talking about their accommodation, transport, tools of trade, the equipment which they use in hospitals and this is what we are doing. As I speak now, we have already done - in terms of the equipment, a shopping list which is more than US$4 million to equip our hospitals to make sure that whoever goes to the hospital receives attention and services and given, in particular a citizen of our country, the life which God decreed, that the individual must be on this mother planet either for 60 years, 70 years or for 100 years. We must try and achieve that.
So I want to thank you Mr. Chairman that nobody has been refused. We have taken note. They can put their point, but they must not extend what they are mixing to say people are now going to other countries and so forth, that is an issue. It is a matter which is affecting, not only Zimbabwe but all countries in the world and as Zimbabweans we are trying to address the matter of conditions of our members. So I want to thank the Hon. Members but all their concerns are captured in the Act itself. Thank you.
*HON. CHIDZIVA: The third point that says the members of the health service who incite or organise any job collective action contrary to subsection whatever as it goes; this particular section is discouraging members of the health service from joining unions because unions can organise demonstrations. What it then means is that those who would have joined will be affected, the issue that individual members who would be members of a union will be charged because unions incite or organise demonstrations. So maybe there should be a specific wording that should be used so that those who participate in a demonstration are charged instead of approaching it from a holistic point.
HON. HWENDE: Just to add on to what Hon. Chidziva is saying because the implication of this clause is that all the members of a union - let us assume that…
THE TEMPORARY CHAIRPERSON: You are not connected.
HON. HWENDE: This issue is a simple one. I think it just needs rewording because let us assume that you are a member of the union and you disagree with the decision to strike but you are still in the executive, the way it is worded, you can actually also be criminally liable. That is where the problem is. So it needs to be reworded.
THE TEMPORARY CHAIRPERSON: What is your proposal there?
HON. HWENDE: Also even the three years imprisonment for labour work is excessive. Being a union leader you cannot be sentenced for three years. The problem we have is that the Government is failing to pay its employees and you have seen that even in the past where a custodial sentence has been proposed, it has never worked as a deterrent because people still strike since there are a lot of issues that result in people striking, particularly where you are paying doctors US$300. What do you want them to do?
THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): Let me come and explain.
HON. HWENDE: If you want to explain, it is also better. You can come and explain and then we can come again so that maybe if there is a misunderstanding, you can help.
HON. ZIYAMBI: Let me explain so that we do not labour on issues that are not correct. Thank you. Let me just speak to the clause, what it is saying and then allow the Hon. Vice President to explain the Act.
If you go to Clause 5 (2), it explains the restrictions that are there. Firstly in (a), it says the health services is now deemed an essential service consistent with section 65 which indicates that a law may designate any other as an essential service. It then says no collective job action, whether lawful or unlawful shall continue for an uninterrupted period of 72 hours or for more than 72 hours in any 14 day period. So what this provision is doing is, it is restricting the time line which the health services can go on strike, then it goes on now to say on what you were now reading. It says now, if you are a member of a trade union do not incite people to go on strike or organise a strike which is not within the timeframes that have been stipulated within the law.
So it is saying any individual who is a member of the governing body of any trade union or representative of a body of members of the health service which incites…
HON. HWENDE: Which union now?
HON. ZIYAMBI: Any, it does not matter - any union that incites members within the health services, which incites or organises any job action contrary to subsection 2 (b). So when you are reading this, you must go to what subsection 2 (b) says; that individual who organises shall be guilty of an offence, and it is not a mandatory jail sentence. The judiciary is given a leeway to give a fine depending on the gravity of the situation, a custodial sentence.
So it is the standard way that legislation is drafted. It is not saying it is a mandatory custodial sentence but it is giving a level of fine or. So it is consistent with ‘to organise’ as an individual, contrary to Section 2 (b). That is what it is saying and if you do not understand the law, I do not know...
HON. HWENDE: Wait Hon. Minister. This section is saying ‘any individual who is a member of the governing body of any trade union or a representative of members of the health service which incites’, this ‘which incites’, is not referring to the individual man. It is referring to the body and the union. That is where the problem is to say that if your union incites and whilst you are may be a committee member who is not also agreeing with this...
HON. ZIYAMBI: It is saying any individual who belongs to a body...
HON. HWENDE: And the body which incites, that is where the problem is. That is what it is saying.
HON. ZIYAMBI: Hon. Chairman, if you read the way subsection (3) is couched, it is saying any individual who is a member of the governing body of any trade union or if you are a representative of a body of the health service, and you go on to incite, which incites. So you want ‘who incites’.- [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections]-
(v) HON. LABODE: As the Committee, we recommended that this whole section be deleted because they are unfair to the Labour Act than the Labour Act to take precedence. What the health workers told us categorically is that if this law passes and this clause becomes law, they will make sure that they will not go on strike but they will go slow, which means where they were seeing ten patients they will see one patient and we will see how you are going to sue them when they are at work. That is what they were saying everywhere, that they would go slow while they are working. Thank you.
(v) HON. GONESE: Thank you very much Mr. Chairman. I find myself in a very difficult position. I heard the Hon. Vice President responding to the submissions made by Hon. Members. Yesterday I realised that the Hon. Vice President is my tezvara and it is very difficult to say to your tezvara you are lost, but the bottom line is that I do not think he actually understood the import of my contribution. To start with Hon. Vice President, I was very alive and cognisant of the provisions of that section. The first point I want to make is that in my contribution earlier on, I alluded to the fact that a law may restrict the exercise for this right in order to maintain it.
I was very alive to that particular provision but I then took a ride and went on to indicate what the circumstances are under which such a law abides and that is when I made reference to the limitation of rights and pretexts set out in Section 86 of the Constitution. In reference to that particular section, I pointed out that such a law must be reasonable and justifiable in a democratic society based on openness, just human dignity, equality and speed.
I want to add that the purpose of that limitation in particular, should be considered in the context of whether it is necessary in the interest of defence, public safety, and public order and so on. I want to distinguish the health services from the security service. I want to go back to Section 65 and I want the Hon. Minister of Justice as well as the Vice President to pay particular attention to what I am going to say. When you look at Section 65 (3), do not read it in isolation, you must look at the whole section. The section says ‘Every person has the right to fair and safe labour practices and standards and to be paid a fair and reasonable wage’. The second one says, ‘Except for members of the security services, every person has the right to form and join trade unions and employee or employers’ organisations of their choice and to participate in the lawful activities of those unions and organisations’.
So you find that the Constitution is aware of the right to the general labour rights. It then goes on to separate members of the security service. Obviously, members of the security, we are talking of the army, the police; if they go on strike for example, that is tantamount to a coup and that is the reason why they include it. We must not equate their position with that. I am aware about the right to life but what I said earlier on still applies. I am also going to join what I am going to say with what Hon. Dr. Labode indicated. The intention of the enforcement of labour rights is to allow the employee to engage in negotiations, active job action and if that fails, it should be given the further option to go on strike. If you now pass a Bill in the manner it is formulated, you are actually saying that this law puts the health workers in the same bracket...
THE TEMPORARY CHAIRPERSON: Hon. Gonese, may you stop repeating yourself.
HON. GONESE: I am not repeating myself but I am simply responding to the fact that in their responses, the Hon. Minister of Justice as well as the Vice President, seem to imply that all of us in our Constitution were lost in terms of the provisions of the Constitution and this is what I am emphasising. I used the word ‘it is bad law and when I say it is bad law, I am saying that it is not good for the good order of this country. That is the point I am making. I am aware that a law can be passed in order to include other sectors under security services. I am saying it is a bad law and that is my point. I thank you.
THE TEMPORARY CHAIRPERSON: Why would you want to repeat that one Hon Gonese.
HON. GEN. (RTD). DR. CHIWENGA): I want to refer to the issues raised repeatedly by Hon. Chidziva, Hon. Hwende, Hon. Labode and Hon. Gonese. All what is contained in here has given the professionals the right to strike. All what has been put by this Bill is in terms of the Constitution whether you go to Section 48 or 65, it is covered. Even the one which Hon. Gonese is talking about on the limitations and when you go to section (b) the purpose of the limitation in particular, whether it is necessary in the interest of defence, public safety, public order, public morality or public health, it is contained. It is there. I do not see where the argument is.
In terms of the law, when you are putting the law, you give the judiciary the right or space when they look at the matter. This is why there will be a fine or a mandatory sentence. This is why we are proposing a fine or a jail sentence and that is the maximum that they can go to. They cannot go beyond. We are saying we are dealing with human life and it is a right for everyone, including Hon. Members here who are talking about this. You want to come and debate tomorrow – you cannot debate when you are in Zororo or Warren Hills Cemetery or wherever you are buried. We want to protect you. Let us not mix conditions of service of paying people and then try to put them in there. This situation is not going to be there.
Had it not been for sanctions where this country lost US$40 billion over this period, we could have been away from this. We would not have been talking about conditions of service which are being referred to. Now, the Second Republic has said sanctions or no sanctions, even if anyone calls for sanctions daily, we do not care. We are going to build this country on our own. Nyika inovakwa nevene vayo. I thank you.
HON. HWENDE: In a country like ours where people are being paid meagre salaries, to criminalise workers who go on strike for getting low salaries such as US$300 for doctors and nurses which is not enough for them to pay monthly rentals is not good. How many years have we been paying doctors and nurses US$300? –[AN HON MEMBER: You called for sanctions]. We have never called for sanctions. No one has ever called for sanctions. You are always using sanctions as an excuse. Why do you always have to use sanctions as an excuse? No!
THE TEMPORARY CHAIRPERSON: What you are raising now is not relevant to the clause.
HON. HWENDE: With due respect, the reference to me calling for sanctions must be withdrawn because I never called for any sanctions. I am an elected Member of Parliament for Kuwadzana East Constituency and no one has ever called for sanctions. I come from CCC, a party that is new which has never been on record for calling for sanctions.
THE TEMPORARY CHAIRPERSON: Can you highlight your issue that I have given you the floor to highlight.
HON. HWENDE: The reference to sanctions cannot stand because with due respect, I stand here on behalf of the people ofo Kuwadzana. No one has ever called for sanctions in Kuwadzana. I also represent CCC. CCC has never called for sanctions. It is unfortunate that my contribution is being disregarded by the Minister on the excuse that I called for sanctions that I do not know of. You must protect me as the Chairperson.
THE TEMPORARY CHAIRPERSON: This is why I have given you the floor to highlight what you want to highlight. All what you are highlighting is completely out of the clause. Can you highlight the issue that you want to hammer home?
HON. HWENDE: I have never called for sanctions. I do not know and I cannot answer for that. Why should I talk about sanctions?
HON T. MLISWA: Hon. Zhou usashamisire nokuti Vice President vari pano, uchida ku promotwa. Wapedza vasikana vese ma intern pano paParliament iwe – [HON MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] - unoabuser vana iwe. Uri gunguwo iwe –[ HON. ZHOU: Dzoka kuZANU PF] – ndagara ndiriko ku ZANU PF, baba vangu was a liberator not iwewe. Uno abuser vana, ndinayo report yako.
THE TEMPORARY CHAIRPERSON: Hon. Mliswa please! Hon. Zhou, please!
HON. T. MLISWA: Unotora vana uchivapa masweets mumota mako, haunyari – [HON. ZHOU: Hauna nyaya iwe]- Yaa utaurise, vakauya kwandiri vakati tanzwa tashaya zvokuita, uri abuser wevana iwe. Ma intern otadza kuuya kuzoita basa pano nokuda kwako, wasvibisa Parliament.
HON. HWENDE: Thank you very much Hon. Chair. I will go straight to my submission. When we started debating this Bill, we highlighted a very important point that came from the public consultations. One of the reasons why this Bill was rejected throughout the country was because of this same clause that we are now discussing. People do not agree that genuine trade union work must lead to union leaders going to jail for three years. They rejected it and they are rejecting it here also.
As a Government, we know the problems that we have. This Government cannot pay people sufficient salaries. We have got doctors that are earning US$300 and nurses are earning US$300. So it is inevitable that strikes will be an order of the day. Why do we not concentrate on improving the welfare of the doctors instead of concentrating on jailing them, people that are raising important issues? We are forcing our health services workers to go to work without any medical equipment. Hamuna kana magloves chaiwo; hamuna kana zvinhu zvekushandisa but then you want to criminalise genuine work…
THE TEMPORARY CHAIRPERSON: Order Hon. Hwende. Some of the issues that you are raising have been answered already.
HON. HWENDE: Chairman, imi magamuchira mari yenyu, vashandi vomuzvipatara havasi kutambira. The crisis iri muzvipatara does not call for custodial sentence dzatiri kuita pano apa. The people rejected it and you must accept that we must debate on this issue thoroughly because we cannot pass a law inosungisa vanhu vari kumirira vashandi
THE TEMPORARY CHAIRPERSON: Hon. Hwende, order. Respect the Chairperson please. I think your concentration must be on the imprisonment. Everything that you are actually saying…[HON. HWENDE: I am motivating you to see why it is wrong to imprison a union worker arikumiririra a doctor who is being paid $300. That is all I am trying to highlight here. My suggestion is, we must scrap this whole section because it is this section that was rejected by people. If this Parliament respects the people and respects the legislators who are here, kana this amendment isiri a command law, then it must be dropped. So I submit] –
HON. T. MLISWA: Thank you Hon. Chair. I think in many ways the Hon. Vice President has convinced us that it is a profession which should be taken seriously and we cannot have people who commit themselves to profession, allowing people to die in hospital. I think that has been taken on board but quite critical is the aspect of the labour rights that people have that has not been understood. The fact that we send people to jail, I think the best jail is, even if you have to suspend them from that profession, it makes sense.
The aspect of jail like you said is not something that we would want us to be seen to be doing that. The Second Republic, Hon. Vice President and Minister of Health know that it needs to reform from the First Republic. As such, this is the opportunity to reform. The engagement, re-engagement which is happening is premised on reforming and we cannot reform for the worst. We have got to reform for the best. So my appeal and prayer is that the Hon. Vice President considers a lesser sentence than jail. I think there are many issues that have been put in, in terms of people not going out there to think strike, 72 hours; you have given them a right to strike for 72 hours, which is good but for 14 days, they cannot. I think those ones actually help in ensuring that we continue with a better health system.
The people again in terms of the consultations which were done, we represent the people, they were very hard on this one. They did not want it to be there. So it will be unfair for us to speak against the people. Here we are representing the concerns of the people during the consultation time which we do. As such, we are mandated and obliged to speak on behalf of the people. I am sure you know that even for this Bill to come through there were arguments. They wanted it to be thrown out, but they were told to let it continue and we express the will of the people while we debate. So what we are doing is expressing the will of the people, having come from the people. The Hon. Vice President must be privy to this, that there was an argument on debate on this Bill not sailing through; not being accommodated but I got up and said no, it must proceed and anybody who has got anything to say against it or for it can debate. That is the reason why I am also debating the fact that this issue was not welcome by the people. As such, it must find its way out. I thank you.
*HON. CHIDZIVA: Hon. Chairman, on the issue of insulting, I would like to know from the Minister, if a union calls for a demonstration, according to Part b which says 72 hours, after 72 hours, the union will call off as required but the individuals continue with the demonstration, what will happen?
HON. RTD. DR. CHIWENGA: Mr. Chairman Sir, I fully understand what the Hon. Members are saying here but they are running short that we will also be treading into one pillar of Government which is the Judiciary. If you put something and limit the judiciary, what are you going to be saying? You want to make the law and be the jury and judge also?
On this section, it is clear, it is not ‘shall’ but it is saying ‘a fine not exceeding level 10 or to an imprisonment for a period not exceeding three years or to both such fine and such imprisonment’. It will be depending on the case where somebody has caused the death of a person; there have to be consequences which must go with it.
Now, those who spoke about the action that can be taken against a union, I believe that I had responded to this issue that we are removing ‘which’ replacing with ‘who’ – that we have agreed to. It is the individual, not the union but that individual who has caused the strike so that it is in line with that individual.
However, on the issue of the promulgation of the law, as the Second Republic, that is why we are running with these programmes and projects. We will convene and work on things. It is not that we have money to throw away into Manyame River but this is money for the benefit of Zimbabweans, including professionals. When we give them a lot of money, then we have to come back to this august House to amend the law. We do not do that with laws but it is important that we enact laws then we can work on the amendments.
Poverty is there but it is not permanent, it can be alleviated, we are the Second Republic. We need to work together, that is why you find that we have Clean up Campaigns and you find some people believing that taking such actions, people believe that this is correct. The Sunshine City was destroyed because of that. We do not want such things to continue but we want to be progressive instead of being retrogressive.
We build our nation together; it is not going to be built by anyone else. We should not focus on the past but we need to look at the future. Let us not concentrate on the past but let us work hard so that we have a tomorrow.
I want to respond to Hon. Chidziva who spoke about this issue. We do not live in the past Hon. Hwende but we want to look into the future. Do not be pasted in history. We do not want to live in the past, so even in this august House, the legislature is a collective decision. When a law is enacted, then it is enacted by Parliament.
We are not talking politics, we are going to concentrate on politics next year when we go towards the elections in the right platform, and then we do politicking. Here we are in the legislature; we are here to enact laws, so we need to focus on that instead of politics. When people insult one another, it is because some are being childish.
*HON. CHIDZIVA: I noticed Hon. Chairman that the Minister did not get my point. My point is that an individual who has incited people to demonstrate, then after 72 hours he decides to withdraw his call for a demonstration but workers then continue with the demonstration, what will then happen?
(v)HON. GEN. (RTD). DR. CHIWENGA: The law is clear, it is not selective. If workers go ahead with their demonstration, then they are violating the law and the law will take its course. We cannot continue discussing such issues. If a demonstration has been called off and you continue with the demonstration, then you are violating the law. This is misconduct and the law of misconduct will apply.
These are nitty gritties and I do not believe that minor issues like that should be dwelt on especially when discussing the law.
THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): I move that we report progress and seek leave to sit again.
Committee to resume: Thursday, 20th October, 2022.
On the motion of THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI), the House adjourned at Nine Minutes to Seven o’clock p.m.