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NATIONAL ASSEMBLY HANSARD 20 JULY 2022 VOL 48 NO 62
PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE
Wednesday, 20th July, 2022.
The National Assembly met at a Quarter-past Two O’clock p.m.
(THE HON. SPEAKER in the Chair)
ANNOUNCEMENTS BY THE HON. SPEAKER
PETITIONS RECEIVED FROM ZISCO STEEL PENSIONERS, MANDLA TSHUMA AND LULU HARRIS, MISS V. A. INGHAM-THORPE AND HONDE VALLEY SMALL HOLDER TEA PRODUCERS ASSOCIATION
THE HON. SPEAKER: I have to inform the House that on Monday 18th July, 2022 Parliament received the following petitions:
- Petition from ZISCO Steel pensioners beseeching Parliament to exercise its oversight over the Executive in order for the Executive to ensure that ZISCO Steel pensions are paid out fairly with value retention without prejudice.
The petition has since been referred to the Portfolio Committee on Budget Finance and Economic Development.
- Petition from Mandla Tshuma and Lulu Harris beseeching Parliament to amend Section 73 of the Electoral Act to include journalists among persons who qualify for postal voting ahead of the 2023 harmonised elections.
The petition has since been referred to the Portfolio Committee on Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs.
- Petition from Miss V. A. Ingham-Thorpe of Veritas, beseeching Parliament to take the necessary steps to become part to the Convention against Torture and other Cruel Inhuman and Degrading Treatment or Punishment, to ensure that the convention and the protocol are incorporated into Zimbabwean law and enact legislation in accordance with the draft prohibition of torture Bill.
The petition has since been referred to the Portfolio Committee on Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs; and
- Petition from Honde Valley Small Holder Tea Producers Association beseeching Parliament to further the economic growth of the population of Hauna, in Honde Valley by establishing processing plants at growth points to market their produce.
The petition was deemed inadmissible as the petitioners did not meet statutory requirements and the petitioners have been advised accordingly.
APOLOGIES RECEIVED FROM MINISTERS
THE HON. SPEAKER: I have received a list of apologies from the Executive: the Hon. C. D. G. N. Chiwenga, Vice President and Minister of Health and Child Care; Hon. O. C. Z. Muchinguri-Kashiri, Minister of Defence and War Veterans Affairs; Hon. Sen. M. Mutsvangwa, Minister of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services; Hon. Dr. J. Mangwiro – The Deputy Minister of Health and Child Care; Hon. Kazembe – Minister of Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage; Hon. M. M. Ndlovu, Minister of Environment, Water, Climate Change, Tourism and Hospitality Industry; Hon. Dr. S. Kanhutu-Nzenza, Minister of Industry and Commerce; Hon. J. Moyo, Minister of Local Government and Public Works; Hon. W. Chitando, Minister of Mines and Mining Development; Hon. Kambamura, Deputy Minister of Mines and Mining Development; Hon. Dr. F. M. Shava, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, Hon. J. M. Gumbo, Minister of State for Presidential Affairs in Charge of Implementation and Monitoring; Hon. S. G. G. Nyoni, Minister of Women’s Affairs, Community, Small and Medium Enterprises Development; Hon. J. Haritatos – Deputy Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water, Climate and Rural Settlement; Hon. B. Rwodzi, Deputy Minister of Environment Climate Change and Hospitality Industry; Hon. R. Maboyi, Deputy Minister of Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage and Hon. J. Mhlanga, Deputy Minister of Women’s Affairs, Community and SME’s Development.
HON. GONESE: On a point of clarification! My point of clarification emanates from the long list of apologies which you have set out. Is there any limit to the number of times that one seeks leave of absence because we have seen for example, the Vice President and Minister of Health and Child Care, the Hon. Minister of Foreign Affairs, the Minister of Mines, Hon. Minister July Moyo are never here.
So if we have a scenario where week in, week out, ad infinitum, certain Hon. Ministers are always seeking leave of absence, will they ever be in attendance? My belief is that when you are seeking leave of absence, it should be for a specific day when one has a specific commitment, not a situation where you are perpetually on leave of absence. Today, it is particularly poignant because the list is long. Perhaps it should have been preferable for the Hon. Speaker simply to mention those who are there. We cannot have a situation where those who are not there heavily outnumber those who are present; to me it does not make any sense.
I know that there is no quorum for Hon. Ministers in terms of Question time but we cannot have a situation where more than half, if not 80% are absent even if it is on leave, otherwise that is the point which I seek clarity on, is it not something which needs to be addressed.
THE HON. SPEAKER: The ball is in your court because the Standing Orders do not give any limit at all. I think once I have even said the Standing Orders do not demand even the reason for absent. The ball is in your court Members of this august House to amend the Standing Orders accordingly so that your concerns can be satisfied.
I disagree with you that it would make sense to identify the Hon. Ministers who are here. It does not make sense because it is against the Standing Orders. The Standing Orders say you mention those who have tendered their apologies, so that one I do not take.
Having said that, I have been advised that there is a very important function at Cyber City where a huge investment is going to take place and there is a ground breaking ceremony. Some Ministers - of Mines for example, Small to Medium Enterprises are in Bulawayo for the mining exposition, they are there to take care of their stands. It so happens that they have these commitments that have taken place.
Permanent absenteeism - the ball is in your court to tighten up the Standing Orders.
HON. T. MLISWA: On a point of order! There was a motion moved on the late Hon. Chikomba. I am a bit disturbed that it has not been debated. It went through and at times it would be overtaken by events when other Members have passed on and so forth.
THE HON. SPEAKER: Check on your Order Paper, item number 4.
HON. MATANGIRA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. I would like to direct my question to the Minister of Agriculture. We are aware that there is shortage of wheat. When wheat germinates, then it becomes national. What is the Government policy regarding the operations of ZINWA which is disconnecting water whereas they are aware that wheat is one of our staple foods? Is the Ministry able to rectify this challenge so that wheat crop farmers are not affected by water cuts? I thank you.
* THE MINISTER OF LANDS, AGRICULTURE, FISHERIES, WATER, CLIMATE AND RURAL RESETTLEMENT (HON. DR. MASUKA): Government announced that there should be collaboration between farmers and Government in the production of wheat. During this cropping season, the wheat that we have produced as a nation has surpassed what has been planted in the past. There are things that are needed for a good harvest. We need water, electricity and machinery. Regarding water, this is a pertinent question which is very specific to a farm in a specific area. They should write to the Ministry so that we address this. However, to the general populace, Government has a policy that there should be a stop order that when they take their wheat to GMB, they are given money for electricity, water and other overheads. If that has not been done, farmers are urged to do that so that we have good harvests.
*HON. MATANGIRA: I thank the Minister for the response that he has given. In Hosea, we are told that “my people perish because of lack of knowledge”. If possible, it is important that this is communicated to the people. We are sending our maize to the GMB and we have not been paid. We have to do maintenance work and electricity needs to be paid in USD. How best can we help the nation? Can we go and put stop orders? They are refusing at GMB, are you aware of that Hon. Minister?
THE HON. SPEAKER: Order that is a new question altogether. You were asking about water supply from irrigation and the Hon. Minister explained that stop order arrangements can be made so that there is no disruption to the supply of water for irrigation purposes.
*HON. MUNENGAMI: My supplementary question to the response by the Hon. Minister that farmers should make stop orders is the purpose of our agricultural programme, which is what our fathers and grandparents went to war for is that people have access to land as Zimbabweans...
THE HON. SPEAKER: Please, go straight to the question.
*HON. MUNENGAMI: I want to contextualise my question so that the Minister understands that land belongs to us as the black populace. My question is that...
*THE HON. SPEAKER: Who does not know and understand the purpose of the struggle as Zimbabweans? Just go straight to the question Hon. Member.
*HON. MUNENGAMI: My question to the Minister after having said what I said is the reason why our parents went to war and the repossessing of land is how then does the purpose – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections] –
THE HON. SPEAKER: Order, this is not the time to educate each other about the liberation struggle but this is a Question and Answer segment only. So ask your question Hon. Member.
*HON. MUNENGAMI: Sorry Mr. Speaker Sir for the words and for straying but my question is that the purpose of our Government regarding what we fought for; will it be successful if the people who are empowered with land are told to make arrangements for stop orders? Is this not going to sabotage why we went to war? I thank you.
HON. DR. MASUKA: I would like to thank the Hon. Member for the history lesson that we got. Indeed; what we did is that we know that farmers who planted their wheat through the Presidential Input Scheme and other schemes were empowered with implements and inputs for free. The second part of farmers who also went through the Government Guarantee Scheme were given guarantees from CBZ and AFC. The third programme is of the wheat farmers which is for contractors and those who bake bread and millers. All these people we know that eventually they will be paid when they surrender or handover their wheat to GMB. That is why we are saying that these issues should be addressed so that they have water and they can get their payments after harvesting. Thank you.
HON. T. MLISWA: My supplementary question to the Hon. Minister is what measures has Government put in place to ensure that farmers keep farming in spite of the inflationary environment because the money for maize would have lost value and they cannot pay for electricity? Now they have put a wheat crop and that crop cannot see the end of the day because electricity has been cut down because they owe money. What is Government doing to subsidize all that so that agriculture can continue in spite of inflation because the Zim dollar has no value and we are not paid in US dollars in terms of the crops that we grow?
HON. DR. MASUKA: So Government is already cognizant of the suffering that Zimbabweans are going through and has put this framework to cushion farmers for the effort. The stop order facilities that we are talking about are payable in Zim dollars for water and electricity and this is the environment that we are creating to ensure that farming can be sustained. I thank you.
HON. NDUNA: Mr. Speaker, my supplementary is based on the timelines. Could the Hon. Minister, if it pleases him, with immediate effect implement the stop order system so that the water that has been terminated can be restored immediately and we do not unnecessarily lose the winter wheat and the other crop that is in the field, if it pleases the Hon. Minister?
THE HON. SPEAKER: Hon. Nduna, when you have been assisted by your friend, you should show appreciation. How can you leave the gadget half way to its owner? - [Laughter.] -
HON. NDUNA: I did show my appreciation, Sir.
HON. DR. MASUKA: I thank the Hon. Member for the question and the advice that we send a directive to ZINWA. In fact, every Thursday at 7am, I have a meeting with ZINWA, ZESA, PETROTRADE, RBZ, Treasury and Farmers’ Unions on wheat issues and this issue unfortunately never arose on that platform. We will send a signal tomorrow through Agritex and Members, if this happens, please alert us. We have a dedicated WhatsApp group for water cutoff, electricity interruptions and a further WhatsApp group and command centre for quelea control. So let us utilise these facilities so that we can secure the harvest. I thank you.
HON. MURAI: My question to the Minister is that he said a tonne is costing US$90 plus ZW$76000. I have seen from the retailers that a bag of fertilizer is costing the same. What is the rationale for a bag of fertilizer being equivalent to the price of one tonne of maize?
HON. DR. MASUKA: I thank the Hon. Member for the question. The price of fertilizer in US dollars ranges from US$25 to US$65. In Zim dollars, the price of a bag of fertilizer is from about ZW$26000 to ZW$50000 and these are the price monitoring surveys information that is collected every week by the Agricultural Marketing Authority. We can share with the Hon. Members the outlets that are competitive so that we can grow the crops profitably. It is in our interest to ensure that because farming is a business, farmers make profit and so we must share this information. We are willing to avail this if Members can also access the Agricultural Marketing Authority website so that they can get information about where to purchase competitively priced products and services.
HON. MURAI: On a point of clarity Hon Speaker.
THE HON. SPEAKER: Order Hon Murai, seek your clarification with dignity. What is your point of clarity?
HON. MURAI: My point of clarity is that he is saying a bag of fertilizer is costing US$25. We need to know whether it is a 5kg or 50kg bag of fertilizer. I was talking about a 50kg bag of fertilizer of Ammonium nitrate which costs US$76. I am well aware of that because I am also the Minister of Agriculture.
THE HON. SPEAKER: - [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – Order Hon members. Hon. Hwende, order, someone has asked a question, let us hear the response. Hon. Murai sought clarification and the price structure he has mentioned is US$76 per 50kg of fertilizer.
HON. DR. MASUKA: Mr. Speaker Sir, I thank the Hon. Member but he is not asking a question but advising me that where he went, he saw a bag selling at US$76. Thank you for the information. Can you avail more information on outlets such as these so that collectively, we can find a way forward? I thank you.
THE HON. SPEAKER: I think Hon. Members, if you come across such price structures, the Hon. Minister says bring it to his attention. You have been invited to submit your observations and rightly so that the Hon. Minister is informed accordingly and action can be taken accordingly. Thank you – [HON. T. MLISWA: Inaudible interjection.] – Go and see him. Can you share with the Hon. Minister?
HON. T. MLISWA: This is so that the Minister can be guided. This is the current price from Farm and City: Urea 50kgs is USD91, Compound D is USD56, Seed 659 5kg is USD34 and Ammonium Nitrate is USD89. These are the current prices from Farm and City. It is important therefore for Government to go to Farm and City and look at these prices. Like Hon. Zwizwai said, there are people who abused inputs from the Command and Presidential Input Schemes and you tend to find them cheaper. This is the current price and the argument is that the farmer cannot go back to the field with such a price. What measures is Government taking to mitigate, to come up with a subsidy so that we keep farming?
THE HON. SPEAKER: Thank you Hon. Mliswa for that information. I think it will be in good state for the Hon. Minister to go beyond Farm and City and have a quick survey and find out what is exactly happening.
(v)*HON. T. ZHOU: Mr. Speaker Sir, Section 219 of the Constitution speaks about the police reforms from force to police service. My question to the Minister is why is that police officers are still using force numbers instead of police service numbers as stated in the reforms, according to Section 219 of the Constitution?
THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. In this august House, there is the Police Service Act which I think the Hon. Member can go through and bring in his issue during the debate on the Bill so that it is addressed.
HON. T. MOYO: Mr. Speaker Sir, my question is directed to the Minister of Local Government and Public Works. May I know Government policy that provides and governs the appointment of village heads? Thank you.
THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT, PUBLIC WORKS (HON. CHOMBO): Thank you Mr. Speaker. Thank you Hon. T. Moyo for the question. The village heads are appointed through the Traditional Leaders Act. Thank you.
Hon. T. Moyo having stood for a supplementary question
THE HON. SPEAKER: Order. Hon. Moyo, I do not see a supplementary question arising. Go to the Traditional Leaders Act and you will be guided accordingly.
*HON. CHIBAYA: My question is directed to the Leader of the House, Hon. Ziyambi. Is it Government policy to victimize workers’ representatives so that they fail to discharge their duties?
*THE HON. SPEAKER: Which workers?
*HON. CHIBAYA: Worker representatives, the trade unionists such as Trust Holdings.
*THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF PUBLIC SERVICE, LABOUR AND SOCIAL WELFARE (HON. MATUKE): Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. It is not Government policy to victimize workers’ representatives. If there is a specific case, can we have the details so that we make follow up.
THE HON. SPEAKER: That question verges on written question because it seems to be quite specific. I would ask the Hon. Member to put it in writing so that specific situations are indicated accordingly and the Hon. Minister will answer accordingly.
HON. I. NYONI: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. My question is directed to the Minister of Health and Child Care, in his absence, leader of the House. Most Government hospitals in general are incapacitated in terms of essential medicines such that when citizens go for services in these hospitals, they are being asked to go and buy these essential medicines on their own. A good example is United Bulawayo Hospital whereby anesthetic drugs are not available resulting in the hospital not doing surgery. What is Government policy in ensuring that hospitals are capacitated so that there is adequate medication all the time?
THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. Every year, this House passes a budget and we have a Committee that sits to monitor the disbursement - that is the Portfolio Committee on Health. I implore the Members that when the Minister comes, be it with a supplementary budget or the actual budget, to ensure that our health facilities are allocated sufficient resources to last the financial year. This is a very important question but I believe that we as Hon. Members also have a part to play to ensure that our health facilities are adequately funded.
HON. CHIDAKWA: Is the Minister aware that as Parliament, we always pass this budget but the problem is when the Minister of Finance and Economic Development disburses funds to the Ministry of Health and Child Care. May we ask how much was disbursed against that which we voted for in this august House?
THE HON. SPEAKER: That seems to be a specific question relating to a specific observation. I think the Hon. Minister of Health will be coming to give a Ministerial Statement, so if you could ask that question accordingly.
HON. T. MLISWA: On a point of order! I want to concur with Hon. Ziyambi that the Portfolio Committees are supposed to get monthly, quarterly, yearly reports from the ministries to see if the money is coming through.
The Minister is correct, the Portfolio Committees are not working in your Parliament, they are sleeping on duty; that then supervises whether the money is coming or not and then they can call the Minister to come through. The Public Financial Management Act is not being adhered to; monthly, quarterly and yearly reports should be coming in so that you have a case to say the money is not coming through.
Portfolio Committees are not working, you have to whip the Portfolio Chairpersons. They are sleeping on duty and the Public Accounts Committee in Nyanga also came up with that recommendation. They must wake up and the Government Chief Whip must remove certain Members. Do not put them as friends, you need competent people. They are failures and they are making us look stupid, reshuffle them.
THE HON. SPEAKER: What the Hon. Leader of Government Business has stated buttressed by what Hon. Mliswa has clarified, the onus is on us to demand the monthly, quarterly and yearly reports. In the process, you should discover the anomalies. Thank you.
HON. HAMAUSWA: On a point of order! I wanted to add on the incapacity of the budget office of Parliament…
THE HON. SPEAKER: Order! Sit down Hon. Hamauswa. It has nothing to do with the Budget Office; it is to do with committee work. Let us all wake up and do our committees work as informed by our Standing Orders and the Public Finance Management Act and the Constitution.
HON. TEKESHE: A lot of school pupils are not going to school; they have been chased away because of non-payment of schools fees. I would like to know from the Minister why schools are not complying with the ruling by the High Court Judge Hon. Cheda that school pupils should not be sent back home for non-payment of school fees?
THE MINISTER OF PRIMARY AND SECONDARY EDUCATION (HON. E. NDLOVU): I have prepared a statement because yesterday, I was made aware of that there is a question from Hon. Tekeshe. I thank you.
THE HON. SPEAKER: I have the copy of the Ministerial Statement which covers the issues being raised. So, kindly wait for that ministerial statement.
Hon. P. D. Sibanda, in future when you want to ask a question, go through your Chief Whip so that you are registered accordingly.
(v) HON. P. D. SIBANDA: Thank you Hon. Speaker for your indulgence. I was not aware that when you are on the virtual platform you have to go through the chief whip. However, Hon. Speaker, my question goes to the Hon. Minister of Home. Affairs…
THE HON. SPEAKER: Order, can you withdraw your statement. I am trying to be helpful to you and you want to make a case.
(v)HON. P. D. SIBANDA: I withdraw Hon. Speaker. My question goes to the Minister of Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage and in his absence, the Leader of Government Business. Looking at the fact that we have graves in some parts of this country of victims of Gukurahundi -and we have heard a lot from Government about exhumations and reburials, some of the relatives of the victims are also getting aged at this stage and they would want to see their affairs sorted and having their matters brought to closure. What is Government’s policy with regards to ensuring that relatives of victims of Gukurahundi are given permission to exhume and bury their loved ones in terms of their culture in order to bring closure to their matters?
THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): Mr. Speaker, each chief is the custodian of the culture of that particular area and the President engages the chiefs in areas concerned. So, I would kindly refer the Hon. Member to his chief for information on what is happening. I thank you.
(v)HON. P. D. SIBANDA: The Hon. Minister might want to know that currently most chiefs have been referring the relatives of the victims to the NPRC which also refers the relatives of the victims to the President to an extent that last week, I had an opportunity to interact with three relatives that were travelling to Harare to handover their documents to the Office of the President. What it means is that the policy that the Hon. Minister refers to in the House is not existent on the ground. What is the Government doing to make sure that policy is actually implemented on the ground?
HON. ZIYAMBI: If he can kindly furnish me the name of the Chief who indicated that he is not aware of what is supposed to happen, then I will be able to help him. It is now very specific. What I alluded to is the general direction that the country is taking in terms of solving that issue but if there are specific areas where a chief is feigning ignorance of what they are supposed to do, perhaps he can bring forward that so that the necessary deliberations can be done.
THE HON. SPEAKER: The Hon. Minister has indicated that where there is problem with specific areas and the Chief does not appear to be aware of the policy and so on, can the Hon. Minister be advised accordingly so that appropriate action is taken.
HON. BITI: Mr. Speaker, it is an offence in our law for anyone to simply dig up a grave. Therefore, the communities in Matebeleland that were victims of Gukurahundi, no chief or family has the power to simply dig up a grave. So, the logical thing for the authorities and the Government is to come up with an Act of Parliament that clarifies and deals with the issues once and for all; that codifies the policy that empowers traditional leaders and families to deal with the issue. I ask the Minister of Justice why there is no Act of Parliament that deals with the issue once and for all. Remember, there is the issue of children without birth certificates because the death of their parents due to Gukurahundi was not recognised. This Act of Parliament could deal with all these issues. I thank you.
HON. ZIYAMBI: Firstly, it is not correct that we do not have an Act that allows exhumations. I put it to you that he is not saying the truth that we do not have an Act in that regard. Secondly, I did not say the traditional leaders will perform the ritual alone. They are in charge because each particular traditional leader is in charge of the customs and traditions in their own area. They are the custodians of our culture and leaders in our communities. Naturally, His Excellency then gave them the power to lead the process. So, if they have any difficulties in leading the process and ensuring that the issue comes to close, then they know where to go. Mr. Speaker, the processes are ongoing. If he wants me to show him the law he may come to my office and I will show him.
HON. BITI: My point of order is that my learned friend Hon. Speaker, is as a lawyer, the major differences between lawyers and journalists is that we cite authority. Can my good friend cite the Act and Chapter he is referring to? I thank you.
HON. ZIYAMBI: When we come to Parliament, we interrogate policy. I am not in a court of law to be citing all the laws. We are not here to be regurgitating Acts of Parliament – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] -
THE HON. SPEAKER: Order! Order! Order! Order Hon. Members. I thought the Hon. Minister and Leader of Government Business said he can favour whosoever wants with that specific Act. What is important here is we are discussing Government policy and if you want, the Hon Minister has been indulgent enough, he can favour us with that Act of Parliament. Order Hon. Members. Hon Gonese, I have not recognised you. Please sit down. I close this matter by asking the Hon. Minister to give us the proper citation at our next meeting. I thank you.
HON. T. MLISWA: Thank you very much Mr. Speaker Sir. The onus is on Members of Parliament to also know the law. It is not one sided but it is both sides. Moving forward, my question is directed to the Minister of Labour. In terms of the unfair labour practice being meted on the citizens of this country by most foreign companies, especially the Chinese, for example the Chinese factory in Norton which I am happy you did visit and there are some findings you came up with. However, the issue has escalated to a point where 20 people have been disabled and fired. At the new Lithium Company in Buhera, Manicaland; our people are being whipped by the Chinese again. So there is great abuse of our own people. What is the Ministry doing to ensure that there is fair labour practice upon our people in this country because they are suffering at the hands of foreign investors, especially the Chinese in the two institutions The Buhera Lithium Project and the Norton Tile Company?
THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF LABOUR AND SOCIAL WELFARE (HON. MATUKE): I think the Hon. MP is quite aware that we responded to one of those issues which were reported to our office. Now that he is mentioning two other cases, I am sure we will take them on board and make thorough investigations.
HON. T. MLISWA: Mr. Speaker Sir, there has been no action and I have said things have become worse. I do not know what monitoring or evaluation system the Ministry has to ensure there is compliance and really what I want to say from the bottom of my heart is that our ancestors are not happy because their people are being abused by foreigners. We are a spiritual country and people are not happy. Why are we making our own people second class citizens?
HON. MATUKE: Thank you. Once again, I want to comment on the companies. They are just like any other foreign investors. The Hon. Speaker is aware that Zimbabwe is open for business and we have attracted quite a number of investors coming from different nations and China is one of them. However, when you present an issue like what you did Hon. Member; we will follow up and ensure that we investigate the issues which are reported but not to single out the Chinese as our enemy. I think there are different investors with different behaviour. We will get to the bottom of what you reported Hon. Member and make sure that we come up with a solution.
HON. MUSAKWA: Thank you Mr. Speaker. My question is directed to the Minister of Finance. What are the policy measures in place to capacitate members of critical ministries in districts to carry out their supervision work in terms of transport, in particular the Ministry of Health and child Care? In my constituency, you have a DMO using the only ambulance available in the district to do her monitoring. The Ministry of Education does not even have transport for the DSIs and the schools’ inspectors. They rely on well wishers.
THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): Thank you Mr. Speaker, I do not think I quite got what he wanted to ask. Is it a question of resources being availed to the respective clinics or whatever...
THE HON. SPEAKER: To the respective Ministries, particularly at provincial and district levels, transport.
THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): Mr. Speaker, again my earlier response covers what he is asking to indicate that we have Budget, we have Committees that are supposed to be ensuring that they have an oversight and interrogate the respective Ministers to say this is the scenario that is obtaining. You requested this budget. I am not sure what exactly he is asking from me.
THE HON. SPEAKER: Very sure, Hon. Minister you have covered it.
THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): Thank you very much Mr. Speaker.
An Hon. Member having insisted on posing a supplementary question
THE HON. SPEAKER: Engage your colleagues in the relevant Committees. They must do their work.
HON. MURAI: Thank you Mr. Speaker. My question goes to the Minister of Energy, Hon. Soda. As citizens of Zimbabwe, we are experiencing a lot of inconsistence in load shedding. For the past two weeks, we have experienced the worst load shedding ever. May you clarify if you have got any plans to provide consistent supply of electricity to the citizens?
THE MINISTER OF ENERGY AND POWER DEVELOPMENT (HON. SODA): Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. It is true that last week we experienced the worst in terms of load shedding. That was occasioned by the failure of one of our units at Kariba Power Station. Unit 6 went out of the grid last week which produces about 125 megawatts. We also had problems with generation from Hwange Power Station where for the major part of last week, the station was running on two units but by the end of last week, two units had been recovered from Hwange Power station. By yesterday, the generation had risen to 407 megawatts from Hwange Power Station.
The last part of the question from the Hon. Member was what efforts are there to ensure that there is adequacy in the supply of electricity. Mr. Speaker, I think the Hon. Members are aware that the Government has undertaken the process of upgrading generation from Hwange Power Station. By way of expanding the power station, there are two units which will be coming through; one by the end of this year, that is unit 7 which will be producing 300 megawatts. We will also be having another unit, unit 8 coming through in the first quarter of 2023. That is among other interventions that are being done. We will also see the rehabilitation of Hwange power station which is now very old. The intention is to bring it back to its installed capacity of 900 megawatts. All those are efforts that the Government is making to ensure that we get to self-sufficiency in terms of energy generation.
Mr. Speaker Sir, we also have the private sector which is participating. Yesterday alone, we presented in Cabinet that Blanket Mine is almost through with their plant in Gwanda which will produce 12 megawatts which will be fed into the grid. Also, there are discussions to add supply from Eskom and HCB of Mozambique. I thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.
HON. MURAI: My supplementary question to the Minister is yes, you have highlighted that you are having a lot of intervention. Can you give the timeframe as to when the load shedding issue will be improved? In your interventions, have you ever considered going into green energy?
HON. SODA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. I am happy that the Hon. Member has acknowledged that there are some interventions which are being made. Mr. Speaker Sir,...
Hon. Musakwa having stood when another Member was still holding the floor
THE HON. SPEAKER: Order. Hon. Musakwa, you have one Member up standing there, you cannot be up standing as well. Take your seat. Sorry Hon. Minister.
HON. SODA: Mr. Speaker Sir, like I indicated, we have one unit at Kariba Power Station which went out of the grid and some work is being undertaken on that unit. Already the bearing which had faulted was taken to South Africa and is expected to be brought back by the 12th of August. That is to do with Kariba Power Station.
Mr. Speaker Sir, the other question was when should we expect load shedding to end? We would not know these interventions because currently we are working on aged equipment. We can only give assurance when Hwange Power Station is up and running, that is Unit 7 and Unit 8. That is when we will have self sufficiency from internal generation. Thank you Mr. Speaker.
HON. MAHLANGU: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. My supplementary question to the Minister is as much as we appreciate you are doing something, out there, there is an outcry by the citizens. It is nearly a month you have been doing that load shedding. Part of the areas, the electricity goes from 0500hrs until 1200hrs. So what are you going to do with the billing system, not all the houses use metre system but are doing direct payments?
HON. SODA: With regards to billing, it is one thing we would want to correct. We have realised that there are a lot for inefficiencies which are coming from the old metres which are post paid. We are installing new metres which are prepaid metres.
Billing only happens when there is consumption, when there is no consumption, no one will be billed for something that has not been consumed. I thank you.
HON. MARKHAM: Mr. Speaker, before I ask my question, I would like to remind the Minister, he promised us over a month ago the detail of the taxes being asked against fuel and he was going to bring it to Parliament but until today we have heard nothing.
My question is very simple; we should have a load shedding schedule that is equal and equitable to everybody. Some people are getting 12-hour power cuts, some 18 hours and some nothing. Can the Minister not organise a load shedding schedule?
HON. SODA: The schedule can be produced but what we said was at the moment, there are some works that are being carried out to ensure that some of the units that went out are restored back on to the grid. Until that time when ZESA would have failed to bring back those units, that is when we can issue a load shedding schedule.
HON. MARKHAM: The first part of my question was to remind the Minister that we still require from him the components on the reasons on the amounts for the tax that is charged on fuel in this country.
HON. SODA: Mr. Speaker Sir, this question seems not to be related to the first question which was asked. For the benefit of this august House, the issues of taxes are in the purview of the Minister of Finance and Economic Development.
HON. T. MLISWA: On a point of order! My point of order is to get the Minister to come with a Ministerial Statement because the issue of power is important. You could see that there were a lot of Members who wanted to contribute.
First of all, how far have we gone in increasing the capacity of power from the Hwange-Kariba and so forth including alternative energy as well because there has been a talk? Can we come up with a fair billing system and what are you doing to ensure that the farmers are not also affected because there has been a question where the farmers have wheat being cut off at this time yet it does not make sense. So, that Ministerial Statement must cover all these issues so that there is a position.
Not only that, why do you cut off electricity from people when you know that there will be no industrialization going on, you expect them to pay for non-payment. We in fact must be suing the ZESA for not supplying energy because they are losing business. So what can you do to ensure that there is a win/win situation so that the citizenry does not sue ZESA because it only takes one citizen to sue ZESA for cutting off electricity yet they are losing business because of ZESA?
Therefore, may the Ministerial statement cover all these issues including the issue of transformers as well? There are a lot of transformers which are being stolen which have not been replaced; as a result, what measures are you taking to ensure that they are replaced and they are not stolen.
HON. GONESE: On a point of order! I would like the Hon. Minister to also include issues relating to fairness in terms of the load shedding. From the people whom we represent, I am looking at areas like Sakubva and other high density suburbs; it looks like the load shedding is skewed against the poor. So, if the Hon. Minister in his Ministerial Statement could clearly indicate whether there is fairness in terms of the load shedding or not.
In addition, the Hon. Minister to state whether they have also explored other avenues of power sources as well as explains issue of policy inconsistencies. There was a time when the Ministry of Energy and Power Development indicated that they were going to discourage the use of electrical geysers for example, but as a matter of fact, there seems to be a back tracking on that. So, on all the previous undertakings, promises which ZESA had promised to do which have not been undertaken, may the Hon. Minister address that to explain to the nation as to why some of those measures have not been implemented.
HON. SODA: Mr. Speaker Sir, with your indulgence, I want to make certain issues straight in this Parliament – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.]-
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Order!
HON. SODA: The point I wanted to be clear about is the issue of provision of electricity to farmers. I think you heard from the response that was given by the Minister of Agriculture. Farmers are not being disconnected. They are encouraged to make some arrangements with ZETDC, knowing that they only have one pay day in a year. When they sell their produce, they enter into a stop-order arrangement with ZETDC and supplies will not be disconnected. This is what I wanted to clarify and that is the policy of Government.
With regards to the issue of electricity geysers, we are not backtracking Mr. Speaker. We are saying for all new housing units and new installations, ZESA will not allow and will not pass that facility if it has an electricity geyser installed on it. One has to have a solar geyser in order for that facility to pass and for the connection to be enabled. The statement that has been requested will be provided.
(v)HON. SVUURE: My question to the Hon. Minister of Agriculture is who does the selection or identification criterion of where the boreholes should be drilled?
THE MINISTER OF LANDS, AGRICULTURE, FISHERIES, WATER, CLIMATE AND RURAL RESETTLEMENT (HON. DR. MASUKA): I thank the Hon. Member for the important question regarding the selection of sites for the drilling programme. With your concurrence Mr. Speaker, you could allow me to contextualize the Presidential Rural Development Programme which envisages drilling of a borehole in each of the 35 000 villages throughout the country? So far, we have received and distributed eight drilling rigs, one per each of the rural provinces. The selection for now is that two villages per ward will have a borehole drilled. That is the same selection committee that distributes inputs with the councillor, representative of the chief and Agritex as the Secretary. The Committee that distributes inputs selects the two villages per ward.
ZINWA as the technical arm will come and do the hydrological survey and will see whether it is feasible to drill on the chosen site and whether we can get some water. In some instances, I think ZINWA may decline to drill at a particular portion for reasons that it will be a dry well, but the general concept is that we will start with these two villages per ward and when we get more rigs as we will next month, 30 more additional rigs we will be able to deploy a rig in each district. We will continue to drill in these districts until every village has a borehole.
HON. MADZIMURE: My supplementary to the Hon. Minister is that has the drilling already started and if it has, how many have been drilled. Are they also consulting Members of Parliament to help in the identification of suitable areas?
HON. DR. MASUKA: Let me start by referring to the involvement of Hon. Members of Parliament, the suggestion is that they be involved in the identification of these sites. The drilling has started and we have launched in all the eight provinces. The President launched the Presidential Rural Development Programme in December 2021 in Mangwe and we did our last provincial launch on Saturday in Mashonaland East. Yes, over a 100 boreholes have been drilled to date and I expect that 5 000 boreholes, that is 5 000 villages will be covered before 31st December, 2022 resources permitting. Thank you.
+HON. M. M. MPOFU: My question is directed to the Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development. What is the Government’s position in making fuel available to those working on the roads who are handicapped in terms of their work due to lack of fuel? For example, the road from Kwekwe-Lupane-Nkayi which is at a standstill because they have no fuel and they are saying they are failing to get fuel from CMED. So, what measures are you taking to ensure they have fuel considering that soon it will be rainy season?
*THE MINISTER OF TRANSPORT AND INFRASTRUCTURAL DEVELOPMENT (HON. MHONA): The question pertains to the Kwekwe – Lupane – Nkayi Road, saying CMED does not have diesel. It is true that at times CMED will not have diesel, but at times they will have it. That is why I asked how I can assist outside this august House since it is a question which should be put in writing to enable me to give a comprehensive response.
THE HON. SPEAKER: Hon. M. M. Mpofu, may you put your question in writing so that the Minister can give you a comprehensive answer to your question.
HON. MUTSEYAMI: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. My question is directed to the Minister of Finance but in his absence, I will direct it to the Leader of Government Business. What is Government policy pertaining to companies which are given tenders firstly by Government to do work and their payment is made in RTGs of huge amounts? There is a tendency now of taking the RTGs payment which would have been given to those companies and offload those big amounts on the black market to quickly access US dollars. In that regard, as they dispose the huge amounts of RTGs, they cause a rise in inflation and also inflate the rates on the black market. How is Government going to manage that scenario which is now a daily occurrence? I thank you.
THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): Mr. Speaker, this issue was addressed by both the Minister of Finance and the Reserve Bank Governor and they indicated that they have now directed the Financial Intelligence Unit to monitor those transactions when those companies have been paid. They are monitoring the movement of the funds with a view to ensuring exactly what he is saying does not happen. I believe that action is being taken into control by the relevant Monetary Authorities. I thank you.
HON. MUTSEYAMI: Hon. Minister, can you clarify if there are any chances of the Minister of Finance coming to this august House and giving a Ministerial Statement so that Hon. Members will debate on the issue because there are a lot of questions which would arise as a result of that. As we speak right now, the huge amounts are being offloaded on the black market and this is done mostly by the so called big companies.
HON. ZIYAMBI: Thank you Mr. Speaker. Indeed, the Minister of Finance is now due to come to this august House to present his Mid-Term Financial Statements and also a Supplementary Budget if he believes he needs a Supplementary Budget and a Finance Bill. During that time, we should be able to debate and interrogate what has been happening. I am not very sure that he will be here tomorrow because of other commitments but next week, he will be making a presentation and thereafter we should be able to interrogate his statement and everything that has been happening with a view of coming up with solutions as Parliament. I thank you.
HON. T. MLISWA: Mr. Speaker Sir, Hon. Mutseyami has come up with a very good question. We are appreciating the infrastructure development which is going on by the Second Republic but it is coming at a cost. The Chinese companies – the whole thrust was to empower the local companies because they did not need foreign currency. If they needed foreign currency, they would go to the auction after being paid by Government in RTGs. Now you have got foreign companies that are coming in and this is where the problem is, the local companies must go to auction. They are being paid especially the Chinese companies, they go on the black market and the inflation goes up and then they externalise that money. So, a lot of money is being externalised as a result of that because they are not interested in the RTGs. Why is Government engaging foreign companies and then paying them in RTGs knowing very well that they are saboteurs in terms of increasing inflation. So, may there be a response in that statement from the Minister which Hon. Ziyambi has alluded to. It is these foreign companies, especially the Chinese companies which are coming with equipment and no money but they then offer a service and they are paid in RTGS. They go on the black market and the rate goes up. That is how they are doing it. There used to be a serious measure taken to curb that. If we decide to go for our local companies, we pay them in RTGs and we can monitor our local companies but we cannot monitor the foreign companies at the end of the day. So, it is important also to appreciate what monitoring mechanisms have been put in place. At the end of the day, Government comes under pressure because the money that they pay to the civil service has no value. So that is important. I thank you.
(v)HON. NDIWENI: My question is directed to the Leader of Government Business. We very much appreciate the issuance of e-passports by the Ministry of Home Affairs. The e-passports are coming out on time and efficiently. My question is on the original Zimbabwean passport, the old one. There are people that have been waiting for these passports for more than a year and are still being told that they are not yet out. What is happening on the issuance of those old passports Mr. Speaker Sir?
THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. If I got the question correctly, the Hon. Member is making reference to those that applied for the normal passport before we started migrating to the e-passport, whether they can be issued those passports. The policy that I know is going forward, we are now issuing e-passports to comply with international standards. The specific question as to what happens to those that had applied prior, I think the Hon. Member can put that question in writing so that the Minister can specifically respond speaking to the effect that surrounds that scenario.
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Thank you very much Minister. Hon. Ndiweni, you are being advised to put your question in writing so that the Minister can answer specifically to the question that you have raised. I thank you.
Questions Without Notice were interrupted by the TEMPORARY SPEAKER in terms of Standing Order Number 64.
HON. MARKHAM: Mr. Speaker, I move that the time for Questions Without Notice be extended.
HON. C. MOYO: I second.
Motion put and agreed to.
*HON. CHIKUNI: Thank you Mr. Speaker. My question goes to the Minister of Primary and Secondary Education. What is Government policy on mentally challenged learners who go to school but do not have teachers?
THE MINISTER OF PRIMARY AND SECONDARY EDUCATION (HON. DR. E. NDLOVU): I would like to thank the Hon. Member for the question regarding the request for teachers. We are running short of teachers in different schools. Our Ministry is trying its best to secure qualified teachers to augment those that are already in schools. This morning, I engaged the Ministry of Labour regarding this particular situation. We were promised 5000 teachers this year but because of inflation, we have managed to engage a small percentage of the required teachers. So we hope that the supplementary budget will come as a panacea to our problem which will also allow us to look at the issue of salaries, to secure vehicles. The issue of ECD teachers is critical because without elementary level teachers, the child does not have a good foundation because this is the level where the future of any student is cultivated, from Mathematics to other subjects. From ECD to Grade 3, students need strong foundation. I thank you for such a pertinent question.
(v)+HON. MOKONE: My supplementary question Mr. Speaker is the Hon. Minister indicated that there is a shortage of teachers in various schools around the country, I would like to find out where the problem is exactly because we have a lot of graduate teachers who are not employed. These are qualified teachers who are looking for jobs but cannot secure vacancies in schools despite the shortages that the Minister alluded to. In that regard, Hon. Minister, when should we expect the decentralisation of employment of teachers? I thank you.
HON. DR. E. NDLOVU: Thank you Mr. Speaker. The challenge is that our budgeted resources were affected by the hyper inflation, which culminated in Government failing to remunerate teachers. So I would like to request that we be considered during the supplementary budget. The second reason is that this Parliament reversed decentralisation of the recruitment of teachers. This was done in a purported quest to curb corruption and this is really affecting the Ministry. I therefore implore this august House to consider intervening in this issue so that the recruitment of teachers is decentralised. This morning my Ministry was discussing with the Minister of Labour regarding the deployment of teachers to schools in their respective areas of origin. There are a lot of trained teachers all over the country. For instance, if someone comes from Gokwe, then they should be deployed in schools in their local areas. The Ministry is therefore seized with the issue of coming up with a policy to address this anomaly. I therefore request that the Portfolio Committee on Primary and Secondary Education should consider reversing the decision on the centralisation of recruitment of teachers.
HON. C. MOYO: Thank you Mr. Speaker. My supplementary question is, do they debate issues of inflation at Cabinet level because the Hon. Minister is highlighting here that inflation has eroded the money that was targeted to be given to our teacher? Do they discuss issues important issue of inflation at Cabinet level? Thank you.
HON. DR. E. NDLOVU: Mr. Speaker Sir, the issue of inflation should be directed to Hon. Prof. Ncube. Parliament must tell the nation that the issue of black market is affecting the performance of our economy, especially in the urban areas. Thank you.
HON. CHITURA: My question is directed to the Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water, Climate and Rural Resettlement. What is the Government policy on interest by CBZ bank to farmers? Thank you.
THE MINISTER OF LANDS, AGRICULTURE, FISHERIES, WATER, CLIMATE AND RURAL RESETTLEMENT (HON. DR. MASUKA): Mr. Speaker Sir, I thank the Hon. Member for the question. The question is very specific about an interest rate by a specific institution. I gather it must have some history that the Hon. Member might have. I would appreciate so much if the Hon. Member can avail the specific details so that we can respond fully. Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER (HON. MUTOMBA): Thank you very much. Hon. Chitura, you are being advised to put your question in writing.
ORAL ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS WITH NOTICE
REVAMPING ZESA AS AN ENTITY
- 2. CHIDZIVA asked the Minister of Energy and Power Development to inform the House when the Government will revamp ZESA as an entity to ensure that it timeously responds to electrical faults in this country.
THE MINISTER OF ENERGY AND POWER DEVELOPMENT (HON. SODA): Thank you Hon. Speaker. Let me thank the Hon. Member for raising the above question. Allow me Mr. Speaker Sir, to respond as follows. The restructuring of ZESA Holdings Group of Companies is now at an advanced stage. A consultant that was engaged to facilitate the process has already submitted his final report with recommendations of an optimal operational and organizational structure. The report is receiving further consultations from key stakeholders, namely; ZESA Holdings Group and the energy regulator, which is ZERA. Upon receiving these inputs, the Hon. Minister will then table the report with recommendations to Cabinet for its considerations, guidance and approval.
I would like to bring to the attention of the House that most of the electrical faults in Zimbabwe are cable faults. In that regard, ZESA has procured cable fault detection equipment which became operational last week. This will go a long way in reducing the turnaround time of attending to electrical faults. Moreso, ZESA introduced a regional call centre where all faults for the region are reported. It has started with Harare as a pilot which has been effectively implemented. They are now extending the services to other regions. This will improve the reaction time as and when one gets in touch with the call centre. Timeous distribution and allocation of the query will be re-routed to the operatives throughout the region. This implies that areas which were difficult to reach are now covered.
I would also like to bring to the attention of this House that in an effort to timeously respond to electrical faults, His Excellency, the President of the Republic of Zimbabwe commissioned 155 operational vehicles last year, which were procured from ZESA’s own resources. This augmented the existing fleet of 719 vehicles. The total requirement to ensure efficient service delivery is 1725 vehicles. This implies that ZESA currently is operating with a fleet which is 40% of its requirements. I thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.
*HON. CHIDZIVA: Thank you Hon. Speaker Sir. My supplementary question to the Hon. Minister is, at ZESA Harare depots, they complain about shortage of vehicles. You said there are vehicles that were commissioned last year and what it means is the vehicles were not dispatched to the depots. When we report faults, they request residents to provide them with transport. When are you going to dispatch the vehicles to ZESA depots so that they work efficiently?
*HON. SODA: Mr. Speaker Sir, the vehicles that were bought and issued to ZESA depots last year were only 155. It is actually showing that we do not have enough vehicles as yet. We are looking forward to having more vehicles and 1725 vehicles should be availed to all the depots in the country. Before they received the 155 vehicles, they had 719 vehicles. They are actually at 40% capacity looking at the vehicles that they need. The Government is working round the clock to see to it that funds permitting, more vehicles will be bought and channeled towards ZESA. This is one of the problems that we know. There are few vehicles to attend to faults. ZESA has experienced personnel at their depots but in most cases, they do not have transport to attend to faults. It is our desire to equip them with the vehicles they need so that they are able to attend to faults. Thank you.
*HON. MADZIMURE : Thank you Mr. Speaker, what we heard with ZESA, it was said that work was being slowed down because people were not paying their debts but now people have prepaid meters in their homes, what is the problem ?. I think it is easy because people are now paying for their electricity and since it is prepaid, you have no way out but to pay for your electricity. What is happening with ZESA, Mr. Speaker, money is being paid but the situation is not improving at ZESA. What is making them fail to manage funds coming through so that they are able to buy cables or vehicles? Is it corruption that is actually failing them to meet their target or obligations? Thank you.
*HON. SODA: Thank you Hon. Speaker and I want to thank Hon. Madzimure for a very good question. Hon. Speaker Sir, we have so many houses that do not have prepaid meters right now in Zimbabwe but we have a deadline of around end of year, we want to move houses from post paid metering to prepaid metering. This is what we see to be beneficial and brings revenue to ZESA. There are people for many years who have not been paying electricity bills because they have a meter that is not known to the entity. That is why we came up with prepaid meters to say if someone has recharge for electricity, that way he is able to have electricity. We are looking forward to have all houses in the country having prepaid meters including farms and companies. As we move forward, we will be communicating the exact position to people. It is not that it is because of corruption that we are failing to acquire vehicles as alluded to by Hon. Madzimure. If you look at the electricity usage in the country, even the electricity that we are importing from South Africa or Mozambique, we are getting that electricity and importing at 14 cents per kilowatt and farmers are paying 6 cents per kilowatt so if we do not get a subsidy to that, it becomes very difficult for ZESA to supply electricity. That is why we see that ZESA is finding it difficult to acquire vehicles for use on their duties. Thank you Hon. Speaker.
COMPLETION ON INSTALLATION OF POWER LINES TO HATCLIFFE EXTENSION BY ZESA
- HON. MARKHAM asked the Hon. Minister of Energy and Power Development as to when ZESA will complete installing power lines to Hatcliffe Extension and the Consortium.
THE MINISTER OF ENERGY AND POWER DEVELOPMENT (HON. SODA): Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. The main power line to Hatcliffe Extension was constructed and it is now complete. What is left are the tee offs to the main line. This is an ongoing project. Extension of the line will depend on the availability of materials which ZESA has now procured. All things being equal, we anticipate that connection for Hatcliffe residents will be done before end of this year. I thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.
HON. MARKHAM: I thank the Minister for the response. What I would like to highlight to the Minister is that in Hatcliffe Extension and the Consortium, there are now 120 000 houses with no electricity. Thank you.
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: That was sort of a comment.
PROGRESS MADE TOWARDS CONSTRUCTION OF THULI- MANYANGE DAM
- (v)HON. MOKONE asked the Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Water, Fisheries and Rural Resettlement to inform the House on the progress made towards the construction of the Thuli-Manyange Dam in Matabeleland South.
THE MINISTER OF LANDS, AGRICULTURE, WATER, FISHERIES AND RURAL RESETTLEMENT (HON. DR. DR. MASUKA): Thank you Mr. Speaker, I want to thank Hon. Mokone for the question. Thuli-Manyange is a 33 million cubic metre dam currently being constructed with an initial target completion date of December 2022. The current works are centred around the main dam foundation excavations and works on the two saddle dams have been done though not yet completed. However, the coffer dam has been completed so you are able to impound water for the communities to begin to benefit. Overall, the stage of completion of the whole dam stands at 12%. The other dam components include the development of irrigation canals and infield works to support 1600 hectares irrigation in the Guyu, Makokwe Hills area and clear water supply station for Ntepe, Guyuwe and Manama centres.
We are also looking at developing a mini- hydro around Thuli-Manyange. So the rate of progress would have been better had resources been made available on time so it is highly unlikely Mr. Speaker Sir, that this dam will be completed as originally scheduled.
(v)HON. MOKONE: May the Minister kindly avail the projections as to when he thinks the dam will be completed.
HON. DR. MASUKA: Mr. Speaker Sir, I thank again the Hon. Member for that supplementary question. When the Minister of Finance comes to this House, if she can be here and ensure that more resources are directed towards dam construction, then I will be able to indicate to her when this dam is likely going to be completed. I thank you.
HON. MADZIMURE: Can the Minister explain why then have a lot of projects dotted everywhere that they are not able to complete when it would make sense for them to target a few and complete them? You talk of Gwayi-Shangani. It is more than 10 years and they still continue starting on new projects when the correct thing is to target a project at a time and finish it.
HON. DR. MASUKA: May I suggest that I answer the next question and then provide the correct context and an update on all the 12 dams?
PROGRESS MADE ON GWAYI-SHANGANI DAM AND GWAYI-SHANGANI-BULAWAYO PIPELINE
- HON. C. MOYO asked the Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development to inform the House the progress made on the following projects
1) Gwayi-Shangani Dam
2) Gwayi-Shangani-Bulawayo Pipeline
MINISTER OF LANDS, AGRICULTURE, FISHERIES, WATER AND RURAL RESETTLEMENT (HON. DR. MASUKA): The construction of the Lake Gwayi-Shangani (634.3 million m3) which will be the third largest inland reservoir is progressing well. The overall construction progress is at 67.5% complete. The height of the dam is now 33m out of the total height of 72m representing 45.83% stage of completion. The total concrete volume placed to date since inception of the project amount to 111,958.7m3 out of the 274,350.00m3 required, thus 40.80% of requirement.
The project was allocated ZWL3,600,000,000 in the 2022 National Budget. Of the budget allocation about ZWL2,527,022,000 (70.19%) has been disbursed so far. Allocated resources are inadequate to complete the outstanding works on the dam, and more resources are required in order to ensure this project is completed as scheduled.
The project consists of other related components such as water supply, irrigation development, power generation, tourism and fisheries. As we said, the dam is no longer the project but what the water is intended to do. There is an irrigation component for 10000 ha affecting the five districts. There is also a potable water supply arrangement to 16 service centres around Gwayi. There is also fisheries project and we are also generating electricity to be able to supply these communities. Identification of irrigation land in Lupane, Binga and Hwange Districts is in progress. The process of identifying irrigation pumping points and infield work designs for the established 2,160 ha of the first phase of irrigation development was completed on 28 February 2022.
- Gwayi-Shangani – Bulawayo Pipeline
The Phase II of the National Matabeleland Zambezi Water Project kick started this year and the pipeline length from Gwayi to Bulawayo is 252 kilometres with a diameter of 1200mm. The project was awarded to 11 contractors of which 21 kilometres were allocated to each contractor and the site hand over was done on 10 March 2022. To put things into context, we are moving water from Mutare to Harare, that is the distance. To date, all the contractors are on their sites and some have finished clearing their portions while others have since started pipeline excavations. A total length of 139.8km (55.47%) has already been cleared for the pipeline with 8.62 km already excavated. A total of 960 metres of pipes have been received from the supplier.
Progress is being slowed down due to non-payment of claims and collapsing trenches in sandy sections. None of the 11 contractors have been paid to date and the supplier of the pipes has also not been paid.
As dam projects have attracted justified additional public interest, the Zimbabwe National Water Authority published the progress on all the 12 dams being constructed throughout the country which report I need to share with Parliament. To put things into context, we have said when was the project first mooted? For example for Gwayi-Shangani, this project was first mooted in 1912 and then what has happened over the years, we have chronicled this. Gwayi-Shangani only started in 2018 when resources were allocated. Between 2018 and 2022 we have done close to 70% and I think that the President and the Second Republic ought to be given credit where it is due. The Bulawayo-Gwayi-Shagani pipeline also mooted in 1912 and nothing has happened and the Second Republic has now put in 11 contractors on the ground to ensure that this is expedited. We can go through all these dams to indicate the commitment by this Government to ensure that water is a right.
The context is different. We cannot go to one place and complete. Climate change is real and Zimbabwe is predicted to become drier in the decades ahead and therefore we must climate-proof our agriculture which is why we have changed this concept that the dam is not the project but what the dam is intended to do. You already see on 25 August 2022 this concept at Chivhu Dam where we have already conveyanced water to Chivhu town and we are irrigating 120 ha of wheat and this is the Second Republic committing to ensuring that all these projects that were mooted a long time ago are actually brought to fruition so that rural development can happen. It is agricultural development that will lead to rural industrialisation for Vision 2030.
HON. C. MOYO: First and foremost, I do not know whether Hansard is going to capture properly because the Hon. Minister then intertwined Hon. Madzimure’s question and he then answered my question. I hope Hansard will be able to capture properly that it is Hon Charles Moyo who posed the question.
I have got the problem with what the Hon. Minister is highlighting; irrigation and fisheries issues as per his purview but I am concerned about having water in Bulawayo. People are having five days without water. Can we get an assurance, having the 11 contractors on the ground that we may have water in Bulawayo to solve this perennial problem as he indicated that it was mooted in 1912 and more than 100 years now we are still in that difficult stage of not having water. Can we get an assurance to say the contractors are on the ground and by December, we will be having water in Bulawayo? I have got a problem that you are talking of irrigation and fisheries, you may take money now and put it in fisheries and irrigation and forget that we need water in Bulawayo before December 2022. That is my question.
HON. DR. MASUKA: I thank the Hon Member for the supplementary question. Again as the Minister of Finance comes here next week to present a supplementary budget I urge this august House to ensure that adequate resources are availed for these national projects. I thank you.
HON. BRIG. GEN. (RTD.) MAYIHLOME: My question relates to the ownership of the Zambezi water pipeline. You will recall Hon. Minister that the project was started by the Matabeleland Zambezi Water Trust and there are some Members who invested their money into that project. However, when Government took over, there has been no clarity as to what was going to happen to the structure and whether we were going to benefit or not.
HON. DR. MASUKA: This is a matter that is being handled by Minister of Justice as it relates to Government relations with the Trust. My understanding is that there are quite a lot of actors that were involved in this project before it was given to my Ministry as a technical Ministry responsible for the development of water or for national projects.
(v)HON. MOKONE: Thank you very much Mr. Speaker Sir. Minister, in response you said that Gwayi-Shangani now has contractors for finishing the project. I would like to find out from you why not also get contractors for Thuli-Manyange Dam so that it does not become like Gwayi-Shangani project that has taken long to be completed?.
HON. DR. MASUKA: I have provided details regarding Thuli-Manyange having been mooted in the 1950s but that only the Second Republic has accelerated this project. I think that the Hon. Member ought to be grateful to this republic for accelerating this project that has been in abeyance for a very long time. Currently, the communities can utilise water around Thuli-Manyange because we had constructed a coffer dam that the communities can utilise. The contractor is only hamstrung by unavailability of financial resources to expedite the completion of this dam and when the Member comes to Parliament next week to support, we will be able to get more resources.
(v *HON. NYABANI: What measures are you going to put in place to ensure that Semwa Dam in Rushinga comes to completion since the contractor has stopped working due to non-availability of funding?
*HON. DR. MASUKA: The Hon. Member is very much aware that we visited the dam together twice. The first time we went to see the dam, progress was at 0% and the second visit was for the purposes of pushing progress and now there is much progress. However, if funds are disbursed, there will be great improvement so may the Hon. Member continue to push so that funding is availed.
HON. MADZIMURE: Even though the Minister did not respond to my previous question where I talked about having dotted projects everywhere, he went on to shower the Second Republic full of old republicans.
Mr. Speaker, of the eleven contractors along the Gwayi-Shangani, how many contractors have been paid, how much has been paid for the Minister to assure this House that by such a period they would have constructed this distance of pipes?
Secondly, the Gwayi Shangani itself, the Minister shares the same Cabinet with the Minister of Finance and Economic Development. Has the Minister of Finance refused to pay or told the Minister that I do not have enough budget that was allocated by Parliament?. If not, why not push his colleague to pay the contractors?
HON. DR. MASUKA: I have read and let me repeat, Gwayi-Shangani was allocated $3, 6 billion. We have spent $3,527 billion of that allocation. That allocation because of the macro-economic environment, is insufficient to enable us to complete the dam – which I have highlighted in the statement that I have just made.
Secondly, 12, we think is a very manageable number and we have made very good progress based on the resources that we have and as Parliament, they can do a value for money assessment on the works that we have done and we welcome that very much. So that is the oversight role of Parliament.
In terms of additional resources – yes, resources will never be enough because they will be prioritised and re-prioritised for other projects. What we are simply asking for Members to do is to understand that with climate change, we need additional resources. Therefore, if in the supplementary budget they can also add their voice so that we can get additional resources for these dams, we would be grateful.
Regarding the specifics of which contractor is where of the 11 and has been paid what and what is outstanding – Mr. Speaker Sir, with all due respect, I do not have those numbers and perhaps we can have that question in writing so that I can then avail the necessary information.
HON. C. MOYO: On a point of Order! Hon. Speaker, my question is being deferred but the Hon. Minister of Local Government was here in this House. I am disappointed that the Hon. Minister disappeared deliberately and citizens of Bulawayo are waiting to hear the feedback from the Hon. Minister.
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKR: I have noted the point that you have raised but still your question still remains deferred to next week.
REPAIR OF MALFUNCTIONING TRAFFIC LIGHTS IN CITIES THROUGHOUT THE COUNTRY
- HON. TSUURA asked the Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development to inform the House the measures that have been put in place by the Ministry to repair malfunctioning traffic lights which are causing road carnage and traffic jams in cities throughout the country.
THE MINISTER OF TRANSPORT AND INFRASTRUCTURAL DEVELOPMENT (HON. MHONA): With your indulgence Hon. Speaker Sir, that question was supposed to be directed to the Minister of Local Government since the Ministry of Transport does not superintend over traffic lights which is under the purview of local authorities.
CHILDREN SENT AWAY FOR NON-PAYMENT OF SCHOOL FEES
THE MINISTER OF PRIMARY AND SECONDARY EDUCATION (HON. DR. E. NDLOVU): Mr. Speaker, I was asked to present a Ministerial Statement on children who are sent away for non-payment of school fees. In 2019, the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Primary and Secondary Education directed the Minister of Primary and Secondary Education to issue a circular against the chasing away of pupils from school due to their parents and guardians’ failure to pay school fees.
The Secretary’s Circular No. 3 which I have handed a copy to your office dated 15 April 2019 clearly states in Item 5.3.1 that no school aged child shall be denied a place at any registered school or turned away from school on the grounds of failure by the parents or guardians to pay school fees or levies. A copy of the circular is attached to my presentation for ease of reference by Hon. Members regarding the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education’s policy position on the practice of sending away children from school on grounds of non-payment of school fees and levies.
Another illegal practice that the Ministry is dealing with at this time of the year is the insistence of payment of fees arrears before registration for public examinations which may result in some candidates missing the examination deadline. This is illegal and a violation of the right to education for all school going citizens. The most practical way of addressing this illegal practice is for Hon. Members of Parliament and Senate to provide specific details of schools that continue to violate Government policy in this regard so that the corrective administrative processes can follow.
Mr. Speaker, in addition, the general public is encouraged to contact the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education through their nearest provincial and district education offices or on the following Toll Free No. 317.
The Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education would further like to advise its valued stakeholders that non-Government schools who are increasing fees and charging levies without consulting parents or getting permission from the Ministry’s Permanent Secretary, will attract severe sanctions. The Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education therefore warns all responsible authorities to ensure they charge appropriate fees and levies. Section 21 of the Education Act Chapter 25.04 as amended provides that:
- No responsible authority shall:
- charge any fee or levy;
- increase any fee or levy in respect of any pupil attending a non-Government school unless the fee or levy or increase therein, as the case may be, has been approved by the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Primary and Secondary education;
The Permanent Secretary shall not approve any increase of fees or levies sought in respect of the next term of the non-Government school concerned unless;
- the increase of such fees or levies are justified by reference to some basic other than the application of the Consumer Price Index;
- the proposal to increase fees or levies has been approved by the majority of the parents at a meeting of the school parents’ assembly attended by not less than 20% of the parents.
From the above quoted sections of the Education Act, any fees and levies charged by all non-Government schools should be approved by the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education but non-compliance with this law is a criminal offence as provided for in terms of Section 21(6) which provides that any person who contravenes this section or fails to comply with any notice in terms of Subsection 5 shall be guilty of an offence and liable to a fine equivalent to the excess amount charged or imprisonment for a period not less than three months or both such fine or such imprisonment.
It is therefore imperative that responsible authorities follow proper procedures highlighted above in increasing fees and levies. Schools that had charged unapproved fees or levies should revert to the approved fees and levies and reimburse parents accordingly.
The Ministry of Primary and Secondary education continues to strive to provide quality, relevant, inclusive, equitable and wholesome education for all Zimbabweans. I thank you.
*HON. TEKESHE: I want to thank the Minister for the response on the issue of school fees but what is surprising is that you have been singing the same song that children should not be chased away from school because of non-payment of fees for almost five years. You are saying policy says this and that, meaning judgement has been made but you are not enforcing that policy. Is there anything you can do to make sure that the policy is enforced?
*HON. TOGAREPI: I would like to request the Hon. Minister to explain to us whether the school heads have the right to refuse to collect fees in RTGs and opt for US dollars only? When you have RTGs, they are not accepting payment in that currency. I thank you.
(v)*HON. NYABANI: The question that I want to ask the Minister is where do headmasters derive the mandate to chase children away from school for non-payment of fees? Where is this coming from? Children are being chased away from school in front of the Ministry of Education personnel. Where is the circular to that effect? What are we supposed to do? When parents see their children being chased away from school, what should they do? What measures are you going to put in place as Government to ensure that parents who do not pay fees will do so in time so that their children are not chased away from school?
HON. MADHUKU: I would like to thank the Hon. Minister for giving us a very detailed explanation of what is transpiring in the Ministry. I would however, want to raise a few issues. We are very much aware that Section 75 of the Constitution mandates the right to Free Basic Education by all Zimbabweans. We are also aware that this is a progressive issue because it depends upon the availability of funds by Government but education is a basic human right. You are also aware that schools need to function, they need money but they also have challenges because the Government is not yet capacitated to provide free basic education. Parents are also coming in, in their own way but that should not take away the right to education for learners. We are very much worried because we had the COVID-19 pandemic and learners lost precious education time because of the pandemic. I think this problem is compounded because the system itself has no adequate supervision by the education officers or inspectors. We are seeing it happening in the constituency and we phone them to let them know that learners have been returned home. Even on collection of results, they are denied getting results yet they would have paid the examination fees.
So I think Mr. Speaker Sir, with all due respect,, the Hon. Minister needs to do something in terms of implementation of the policies because we will be forced to think that the education inspectors need that money as they also benefit from the money. If the children do not pay fees, then they also fail to get funds even for movement to supervise the schools. So my point is we request the Hon. Minister to ensure that the good policies that she has talked about are implemented. It does not work to have good policies without implementing them. I thank you.
(v)HON. JOSIAH SITHOLE: I would like to thank the Minister for a very wonderful Ministerial Statement. My response is that we have urged Government and proposed that 1500 children be covered under BEAM but as we speak, a number of those children are already at home. What is the Ministry going to do because these children who are now at home due to non-payment of fees through BEAM will definitely not come back to school because they will not be called back and money is going in the wrong direction because we are paying money for people who will not be there. So, I want clarification from the Minister.
Secondly, our schools, especially in the rural areas are now charging fees using the black market rate. As a result, this is propounding a lot of dropouts because they will not manage to get the money which is supposed to be paid due to the high black market rates. I thank you.
(v)HON. WATSON: Thank you Hon. Speaker for giving me this opportunity. I want to thank the Minister for the statement. Several years ago, in fact when we first started this Parliament, I asked the then Minister Hon. Matema about the piece of legislation which actually governs what we are already talking about which is school development levies. It was redone in 1998, S.I 379. It has never been updated or altered since then. All discussions are saying payment of fees but what we were talking about is where children are not asked to pay Government school fees but school development levies. In fact, that piece of legislation says that Government development levies may only be 50% of Government school fees and this should as well be updated. When is the Ministry going to look at that piece of legislation? Thank you.
(v)HON. I. NYONI: Let me first thank the Hon. Minister for the statement. Can I have clarity on the issue of children who are being chased back home? This issue has been happening for a long time now. Can the Minister give clarity on whether the headmasters and their bosses are aware or not of the relevant legislation or circular that says that children cannot be sent back home because their parents will pay school fees or school levies? If they are aware of that, what measures are being taken also to discipline such leaders in the school? Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.
HON. MUNETSI: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. I want to seek clarification from the Hon. Minister whether it is now policy that pupils at primary school pay registration fees in Grade 6 and when they are in Grade 7, they pay again? I have been asked that question in some schools. Thank you.
*HON. MADZIMURE: Thank you Mr. Speaker. It is as if there are a lot of challenges in the education sector. The Government is finding difficulties in funding the education sector. There are things that can be done that will be appreciated by people. The announcement has been that next year there will be free education. Is the Government still committed to its call that education will be free? Are they looking for funding to ensure that this is achieved beginning next year?
(v)HON. MOKONE: Thank you Madam Speaker. I would like to ask the Minister on the issue of examination fees. What measures have been taken this year for students who are finding it difficult to raise their examination fees?
*HON. CHIDZIVA: My first question is what measures does the Ministry have in place concerning examination fees because I heard that the payment period is only for a week for people who are making payment in RTGS. Are there no measures that you can put in place to ensure that there is extension and people are able to pay their examination fees be it ‘A’ level, ‘O’ level or Grade 7? Secondly, I would like to find out from the Minister that since people are being chased away from school, do you have any measures as a Ministry to subsidise the fees so that they can be able to operate from the assistance given by Government? We see that the BEAM is no longer functioning as it should. What have you done as Ministry to ensure that children under BEAM continue to receive basic education? I thank you.
THE MINISTER OF PRIMARY AND SECONDARY EDUCATION (HON. DR. E. NDLOVU): I want to thank the Members for the response that I got which is very good. They asked why I am not enforcing this circular. The circular was sent to Principal Directors, Head Office Directors, Provincial Education Directors, Head Office Deputy Directors and Deputy Provincial Education Directors. That time they were still deputies but now they are provincial directors. It was sent to the District Schools Inspectors, Schools Inspectors, Education Officers, Heads of Primary Schools, Heads of Secondary schools, all Staff Associations, Associations of Trust schools, responsible authorities in various schools, Church Education Secretaries and Principals of independent colleges. All those in charge of implementation got the circular on 15th April 2019.
Yesterday the secretary resent this circular again to all these people to remind them. We need to have you as Members of Parliament and communities calling on us informing us on what is happening because our staff members do not have transport. The DSIs do not have transport to go and supervise them. Enforcement is very difficult unless you also assist us with the names of schools and the children that have been sent home.
On the question on whether schools are allowed to refuse the local currency, I think there is a circular which went around even today from ZIMSEC warning parents and school heads that anyone who refuses to take local currency will be persecuted. Everyone must adhere to the circular that this is a multicurrency country. The local currency and foreign currency are both accepted in schools. No one is expected to refuse any currency that is allowed in this country. One of the Members questioned whether the circular was sent to headmasters. It was sent to headmasters.
How can we enforce parents to pay school fees? At times, parents will not have the fees. If the headmasters inform us timeously that this parent is unable to pay, the schools are supposed to apply for BEAM to the Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare so that the particular child is assisted with payment of school fees by Government.
The schools need money. I agree with you Hon. Member. Schools need money for them to operate. School fees being charged are very low and that makes it difficult to run the schools. Some of the schools do not get Government assistance because their enrolments are high. There is a school in Bulilima that has got more than a thousand children but the parents there do not pay. The school has got difficulties in terms of running the school. I agree that we need to assist the schools to run by having parents paying school fees. I hope that parents will assist us to make sure that we support the schools.
As I said, supervision of the schools in terms of headmasters chasing children away, it is very difficult without transport. We continuously appeal for assistance in terms of transport for our Schools Inspectors so that at least they can be mobile. School development levies need to be updated, I agree with the Hon. Member. When I get back to my office, I will look at that circular to make sure that we update it so that we review the monies that are retained for school development. We are trying our level best to oversee and supervise schools.
On the issue of examination fees, within my paper that I presented, I had written about it but I thought it was not necessary to read it but I have it here. The issue of examination fees has been addressed by ZIMSEC. Even today, there was a publication to try and assist the parents in terms of those that are refusing to accept the fees. The fees are pegged in the following manner: USD33 per year at Grade 6. This is to make sure that the parent starts paying for the examination fees a year before so that they can manage the payment of examination fees. At Grade 6, they are supposed to pay USD33. When the child gets to Grade 7, the parent will then pay USD66. For those at O’ level, it is USD24 per subject and for A’ level it is USD48 per subject with an option to pay over a two-year period before writing the examinations. So there is an allowance for parents to stagger payment within two years in order for them to be able to look for the money and pay.
In Government schools, Government pays 55% of that money for examination fees for the pupils at all public schools. This means that effectively, candidates this year will pay an equivalent of USD15 for those in Grade 6. Those in Grade 7 will pay USD30 to cover subjects written at Grade 7 level. At O’ level, they will pay USD11 per subject. It is reduced and we are paying half the price. Those at ‘A’ level are paying USD22. We are trying to help parents because we are aware of the difficulties that are there in our economy. Those are the figures that we have to try and assist.
Those in private schools, trust schools and churches are paying the examination fees in full because they have got money. If you do not have money, you send your child to a Government school but if you can afford, you can take your child to a private school. So we cannot assist them because they have the money and they have chosen to take their children to private schools. On the deadline for payment of examination fees, it is not indicated in my paper. The reason why you think examination fees is high is because ZIMSEC is underfunded. We introduced six subjects. Children used to write four subjects, so the more the subjects, the higher the cost. It also requires more resources and more markers. With the CALA curriculum that we initiated, it means more money is needed. Those are the issues as it relates to school fees that I would like to share with you.
Those that are unable to pay for their examination fees, last year we had to chip in to pay for some of the pupils. If we are informed on time, we organise with the Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare to try and pay for those children. Last year, we fully paid school fees for those that were not able to pay. There is need for timeous information coming to our office to make sure that we prepare for those children to be assisted timeously. Thank you Hon. Speaker.
HON. MADZIMURE: Madam Speaker, the Minister did not respond to my question where I said is the Minister sure that next year there will be free education when they are failing to fund BEAM.
THE MINISTER OF PRIMARY AND SECONDARY EDUCATION (HON. DR. E. NDLOVU): Madam Speaker Ma’am, next year the Head of State and Government has already pronounced respectively that pupils form ECD right up to Grade 7 will be assisted by Government. We are working on a policy to implement the directive that the Head of State has pronounced. That policy is almost ready and is going through the process so that at least our people are relieved of school fees. We are working on that policy to assist our people.
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Hon. Members, we are going to have another round of questions. I am kindly requesting you to seek points of clarifications that are straight to the point and not start debating.
HON. JAMES SITHOLE: Thank you Madam Speaker. The clarification that I wish to seek from the Minister concerns the payment of fees. It is common knowledge that the payment that children or students are required to make is in two parts, these are tuition and levy. Which exactly between the two that the Government is making a commitment to pay for? Is it both or one of them? It is common knowledge that the levy is more than the fees in most cases. Thank you.
HON. MUNETSI: Thank you Madam Speaker. Let me just find out from the Minister, is it mandatory that people should pay in Grade 6 and 7 for their examinations fees, what about if someone is able to pay once in Grade 7. What is the position?
+HON. MAHLANGU: Thank you Madam Speaker. You said people should be referred to BEAM if they have challenges of payment of fees. If you check, you will realise that BEAM has not paid fees for the first term and there is high inflation so there is a big gap between first and second term. When you make a supplementary budget, are you going to ask for closure to the gap? Our schools are not developing because of the late payments by BEAM.
(v)*HON. NYABANI: Hon. Minister, I want to speak on behalf of my constituents. In Rushinga, there is no water, right now there is drought. As we speak, people are unable to get food and children are being sent home from school. What I want to know is that if children fail to pay the $20 dollars, will they be able to write their Grade 7 examinations considering the fact that we are experiencing drought, poor rainfall? In the event that they fail to pay school fees, are you going to pay for them? They do not have money and they are being sent back home. Once they fail to pay the required examinations fees, what is going to be your next move? I thank you.
(v)HON. I. NYONI: Mine is a follow up, the Minister mentioned that the circular directing that school children should not be send back home was distributed as far back as 2019, however, we see that school children are still being send back home because they have not paid school fees. What are the disciplinary measures being taken by the Minister because it is clear that headmasters and other staff members are disregarding this circular?
(v)HON. MOKONE: Thank you Madam Speaker. Hon. Minister, you said that the education officers do not even have vehicles to move from one point to another. With this free education model that you want to introduce next year, are you going to be able to sustain it or we must just agree that the education sector is in a state of collapse in Zimbabwe. Thank you.
HON. BRIG. GEN. (RTD.) MAYIHLOME: Thank you Madam Speaker, sending a circular and citing the law that sending children back home for non-payment of school fees is illegal is quite very attractive but it is another issue altogether for the schools to survive. I see here Government passing the buck and saying children must not be chased away from school whereas at the same time not protecting the schools administrators on how they are expected to fund the gap. The infrastructure is crumbling; teachers are not being paid or I do not think recruited because there is no money. They need consumables to run the schools. They need consumables for sanitary requirements like for cleaning toilets; textbooks - how are they supposed to survive because there is no remedy that is obvious for the school administration. They do not have money to take legal action against the parent. So, what are they supposed to do? Thank you.
HON. HAMAUSWA: Thank you Madam Speaker Ma’am. My point of clarification to the Minister is that together with their Ministry, have they considered the issue that in certain areas such as Warren Park where in Ward 15, we only have one public secondary school. Children are opting for private schools not because they have money but because they have no other option. There are limited public schools in those areas. Therefore, for Government to say we will not support those who are going to private schools because they have money, I think it is really unfair. This is something that the Minister might not have an answer for today but to consider it to say in farming areas, we have many areas where we have limited public schools. I kindly request the Minister to reconsider the position of not supporting students who are going for private schools, especially in terms of examination fees.
She indicated that she supports those who are disadvantaged and if you are informed in time, then your Government supports them with school fees. My suggestion is that is it not a good thing for the Ministry to come up with a formula that then says by such and such a date, schools with disadvantaged children should submit their names for those who need to be supported and also to keep a track record so that even here in Parliament, we know that Government every year is going to support maybe 30% or 10% of examination students. It would be good to have a formula of selecting those who are disadvantaged.
You have talked about disabled students; I suggest they also need to be considered in terms of examination fees. What is Government doing in terms of those who are living with disability? If Government is not having a policy, it is something that really needs to be considered.
*HON. TEKESHE: We have said a lot on this issue Hon. Minister. The situation on the ground is very difficult because children are not going to school. As a Ministry, what are you going to do to tell children in rural and remote areas to go to school because they have not paid their school fees? Some children have stopped going to school because they are only learning how to walk to and from school.
HON. C. MOYO: I did not hear the policy position in terms of using our local currency to pay for examination fees. Maybe if you can clarify on that.
I am worried and disappointed that the Hon. Minister is not aware in terms of the deadline to pay the examination fees. I am of the mind that I propose that the examination fees be paid from 22 July up to 2 August so that those who get their salaries around 31 July are also able to pay the examination fees of their children. I am worried that the Hon. Minister said that she is not aware of the deadline.
THE MINISTER OF PRIMARY AND SECONDARY EDUCATION (HON. DR. E. NDLOVU):On tuition and levy, we are working on a policy and it is going through Cabinet process. We have not yet finalised for me to comment on it and say we are going to support school fees or we are going to support levy or both. I will need to brief Parliament when the policy has been approved by Cabinet.
It is not mandatory for those that have got money to pay examination fees. They can pay all of it at once. We had suggested splitting because we felt some parents might not be able. This is done to cushion those that are not able to pay. Those with money can pay at once. It will be good for ZIMSEC because there is inflation.
On the issue of BEAM, there are problems. BEAM delays payment of fees depending on the availability of funds from Treasury and this is the reason why they delay payments. You will note that when companies pay their taxes, they pay sometimes quarterly or annually, at the end of the year, that is when most companies pay their taxes enabling the Ministry of Finance to make payments to schools under BEAM. BEAM is meant to relieve vulnerable children. I am under pressure due to inflation on the amount of money that has not been paid.
Hon. Nyabani is worried about Rushinga because there was drought this year and parents cannot afford to pay. Yes, we will assist those children that have parents who are in dire straits but we cannot assist all the children because Government money is also limited. Our cake is very small. We are working with a small cake with a big number of children. So wherever possible and when given the names of the children timeously, we can intervene on time for the child to continue to go to school or to write examinations. I think the Hon. Member can assist us with lists of children that are in dire need. , Of course, we cannot take the whole of Rushinga because there are children throughout the country and the drought has also affected the whole country.
Hon. Nyoni asked on disciplinary measures – the challenge I mentioned is that we need information from the Members of Parliament and the communities so that we can take the relevant measures if we have the information. The problem is that we do not get the information about the misconduct timeously so that we can react and punish those that are going against the circular. As I have said, we sent the circular again yesterday throughout the country so that people understand and appreciate it.
Is free education possible – I think the person who is saying the education system is collapsing in this country is not well informed. Zimbabwe’s education system is alive and I am not sure whether the Hon. Member has got facts. We would like to have those facts, they can submit through Parliament to make sure that we address the collapse which is referred to here.
Hon. Mayihlome, it is true the schools need funding, they need to survive. They need working capital and that working capital comes from levies and school fees. It is really difficult for the headmaster but the headmaster has to adhere to the circular nevertheless and appeal to the parents and Government for assistance. We have funding at the moment for rehabilitation of schools and I think you can assist us by giving us the list of schools that need attention in terms of infrastructure rehabilitation.
We have got funding for new schools, especially satellite schools. You can give us information about those schools so that we can assist with the construction of additional classroom blocks. That programme is going up to 2025 but this year we are attending to 35 schools.
Areas with no public schools – yes, the Hon. Member has appealed to us to put up a school in his constituency to assist. We have considered that request and we will continue to try and get funding probably next year to make sure that they have got additional public schools in Harare.
The deadline for examination fees – I think it is end of this month, I am not sure. The reason why they gave that three day was because within those three days, the value of the exchange rate will not have moved. However, I take note of your proposal; I will approach to see if we can extend the day so that parents can be given more time.
Hon. Tekeshe, I really appreciate the question that you put before the Ministry. The situation on the ground is not rosy and we will really appreciate if Members of Parliament can give us the list of schools that have thrown the children out of school so that we send out teams from head office because the districts and provinces do not have cars. Every child has a right to be in school whether from a poor family or from a rich family, it is constitutional. I thank you.
On the motion of HON. MUTAMBISI seconded by HON. TEKESHE the House adjourned at Sixteen Minutes past Six o’clock p.m.