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NATIONAL ASSEMBLY HANSARD 20 OCTOBER 2021 VOL 48 NO 3

PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE

Wednesday, 20th October, 2021

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

PRAYERS

(THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER in the Chair)

ANNOUNCEMENTS BY THE HON. SPEAKER

COLLECTION OF STANDING ORDERS

         THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER:  I wish to inform Hon. Members to collect hard copies of the Ninth Edition of the 2020 Standing Orders from Journals Office in Room 101, First Floor, Parliament Building.

PRE-BUDGET SEMINAR LOGISTICAL ARRANGEMENTS

THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: I have to inform the House that the departure time for the charter flight to Victoria Falls is 1400 hours on Friday 22nd October, 2021.  Hon. Members will be picked up from Parliament and respective hotels at 1200 hours. The return charter flight will leave Victoria Falls on Tuesday 26th October at 0700 hours.

In order to comply with COVID-19 regulations and to ensure the safety and health of participants, Hon Members are required to have a COVID-19 test undertaken within 48 hours of the commencement of the conference. COVID-19 testing facilities shall be provided in the Parliament courtyard from 20 to 22 October 2021. Hon. Members travelling by road who fail to get tested in Harare will be tested at the Elephant Hills Hotel upon arrival. Hon members travelling by air should be tested in Harare as the COVID-19 test results will be required on boarding the flight. Hon Members are therefore, required to bring their national identification cards and COVID-19 test results for boarding formalities.

Details of the logistical arrangements for the Pre-Budget Conference have been circulated through the Hon. Members’ emails.

APOLOGIES RECEIVED FROM MINISTERS

THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER:  I have received apologies from Hon. Ministers in respect of the National Assembly sitting on 20th October, 2021.

-Hon. Gen. (Rtd.) Dr.  C. G. G. N Chiwenga – Vice President and Minister of Health and Child Care,

- Hon. W. Chitando – The Minister of Mines and Mining Development,

- Hon. M. N. Ndlovu – The Minister of Environment, Climate Change, Tourism and Hospitality Industry,

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

-Hon. J. Moyo – The Minister of Local Government and Public Works,

-Hon. K. Kazembe – The Minister of Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage,

-Hon. Prof. Mavima - The Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare.

ORAL ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS WITHOUT NOTICE

HON. MUNETSI:  My question is directed to the Minister of Primary and Secondary Education. I would want to find out how far the Ministry has gone in constructing disabled friendly infrastructure in schools?  Thank you.

THE MINISTER OF PRIMARY AND SECONDARY EDUCATION (HON. E. NDLOVU):  I want to thank the Hon. Member for that question.  One of the assignments that I got from His Excellency the President upon my appointment was to facilitate infrastructural development in schools.  I am sure you are aware that we have a budget that the Ministry of Finance has promised to cover us in terms of the 3 000 plus infrastructure for schools that we want.

The second programme is for us to rehabilitate infrastructure in the schools.  Madam Speaker, you will realise that in some of the provinces, the schools are quite old and in other resettlement areas, there are totally no schools.

HON. T. MOYO:  My question is directed to the Hon Minister of Higher and Tertiary Education, Innovation Science and Technology Development. To what extent does the Centre for Education, Innovation Research and Development Act going to stimulate economic growth and development through industrialisation of Zimbabwe?

THE MINISTER OF HIGHER AND TERTIARY EDUCATION, INNOVATION, SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY DEVELOPMENT (HON. PROF. MURWIRA): We know that industrialisation of a country happens using two pathways which end up being one and I will explain.  Industry is a result of innovation and innovation is taught.  Innovation also comes from research and development.  A country’s industries are a result of innovation that happens from within the country, which I call endogenous innovation or industry that comes through investment but originally they also come from innovation.  So industry comes from innovation, research and development anchored by education.

From this point, this august House passed a Bill which is now an Act and is with the President called the Centre for Education, Innovation, Research and Development Act with the aim of making sure that it undertakes and sponsors research and innovation that is aimed at producing industries or goods and services.  This is an Act of its own kind which is actually showing that Zimbabwe is serious towards reaching its goal of vision 2030 and beyond, of becoming an upper middle income economy by deliberately producing industry in several areas of human endeavour.

Hon. Speaker, you will know already that so far through research, development and innovation, we at the moment have already shown the example that Zimbabwe can produce its own oxygen.  Now with the centre for education, innovation, research and development which is deliberate, you can just imagine what will happen because we have enough people in this country who have got good knowledge and enthusiasm, who were only left with good legislative or legal environment which makes them function.  We believe that this centre for education, innovation, research and development Act is Zimbabwe’s clear statement towards endogenous innovation for industrialisation.

The good thing about industrialisation is that once you have an innovation and industrialised environment, it attracts more investment even from outside.  We believe that this Act is a catalyst for the industrialisation and modernisation of Zimbabwe.  I wish to thank Parliament as well as the President of the Republic of Zimbabwe for making this an Act and the results will be there to be seen very soon.

(v)HON. CHIDAKWA:  My question is directed to the Minister of Finance and Economic Development.  In his absence, I will direct it to the Leader of Government business.

My question is on a follow up of the pre-budget seminar held on the 6th of October 2021 and specifically on the session on fiscal and monetary policy.  May the Minister update the House on the progress in implementing the High Court ruling of 1st December 2020 compelling Hon. Minister Mthuli Ncube to publish more loans and guarantees entered into by Government from 01 January 2019 to 31st December 2020?  The Ministry of Finance is also expected to gazette all details of the AFREXIM bank loans by January 2021.  However, I am aware that the Ministry then gazetted on the 12th of February 2021, 168 of 2021 - 500 million; 169 of 2021 – 600 million; 170 of 2021 - 300 million. When is this going to be brought to Parliament for debate?

THE MINISTER OF HIGHER AND TERTIARY EDUCATION, INNOVATION, SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY DEVELOPMENT (HON. PROF. MURWIRA): The Hon. Member is talking about a High Court ruling that compelled the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development to publish or apprise on the loans and borrowings by Government.  Madam Speaker, I want to say that Government is law abiding and they will do everything that was ordered by the Judiciary to the court to be done.  The only thing that I cannot say at this moment is when this is going to be done in terms of updating Parliament, but I can be very confident that it is soon.  Thank you.

HON. MADHUKU:  Thank you very much Madam Speaker. My question is directed to the Minister of Finance but in his absence, I direct it to the Leader of the Government Business.  Can the Hon. Minister shed more light as well as clarify the operational modalities as well as the intended beneficiaries of the policy that gives room to the withdrawal of US$50 at Bureau de changes by citizens?  I thank you.

THE MINISTER OF HIGHER AND TERTIARY EDUCATION, INNOVATION, SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY DEVELOPMENT (HON. PROF. MURWIRA): Thank you Madam Speaker.  The question by the Hon. Member is - who are the intended beneficiaries and the operational modalities of the withdrawal of US$50 by the public?  The intended beneficiaries are the citizens of this country.  I think from a policy perspective, it was meant for people to be able to access the foreign currency or the money for their intended businesses and to the public as the beneficiaries.  I would not know how best to answer this question except to say US$50 that is meant for the public is meant for the public’s benefit.  I want to thank you.

HON. MADHUKU: Thank you Madam Speaker.  I thank the Hon. Minister for the answer to my question.  I would like to add and say to the Minister, that it appears like this policy is causing a lot of problems.  I do not know whether you are aware that this requirement that the citizens get their money from the Bureau de changes is only targeting maybe only those people who live close to these areas because the people living in the rural areas have no such facilities.  What is in the rural areas are banks.  We would have opted for a situation whereby citizens are allowed to get the money from their banks and not from the bureau de changes which are non-existent in rural areas.

Hon. Minister, I also want to bring to your attention that it is there on record that some of the civil servants, including teachers and nurses are forced to abscond work and join very long queues in order to access this money.  This is jeopardising the whole education system and all the service delivery systems because they also need the US$50 but in order to access it, they have to go where it is accessible and join very long queues.  Also, we are getting information that the beneficiaries of this scheme, some of them are owners of the bureau de’changes, or some unscrupulous citizens who hire and give money to other citizens maybe 20, 30 to join the queues, get the money and give it back to the owners.  This money is purported to be in the black market doing the circles.  Hon. Minister, it is my plea that this policy is reviewed.  If it is supposed to benefit all the citizens, then there has to be modalities which reach out to such citizens like the banks.  No one should be left behind. I thank you.

HON. T. MLISWA:  On a point of order Madam Speaker.

THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: What is your point of order Hon. Mliswa?

HON. T. MLISWA:  Madam Speaker, this is a very pertinent question.  With your indulgence, can there be a ministerial statement on the issue because it is a serious issue and I think it needs the Minister of Finance himself to prepare one.  I think this is beyond the Acting Leader of Government Business, as much as he is a decorated academic.  I do not know him to be a decorated economist.  I think it is only fair, with your indulgence, that there be a ministerial statement as good as by tomorrow so that we can probe more on it.  I have got a lot more questions.  Thank you Madam Speaker.

THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER:  Thank you Hon. Mliswa.  I hear you and I agree with you.  May I ask the Hon. Acting Leader of Government Business to pass on the message to the Hon. Minister of Finance?

HON. PROF. MURWIRA:  Thank you Madam Speaker.  I will do that.

HON. BRIG. GEN. (RTD.) MAYIHLOME:  Thank you Madam Speaker.  My question is directed to the Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare.  In his absence, I direct it to the Leader of Government Business.  What is the justification for Government stopping or suspending food distribution to vulnerable families, especially people living with disabilities, the aged and the orphans when they fully know that these people cannot engage in Pfumvudza/Intwasa?  They have no other meaningful sources of income.  Their welfare grants are very little if anything.  These people living in rural areas now have to beg for food when the Government has adequate reserves. I thank you Madam Speaker.

THE MINISTER OF HIGHER AND TERTIARY EDUCATION, INNOVATION, SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY DEVELOPMENT (HON. PROF. MURWIRA): Thank you Madam Speaker.  I want to thank Hon. Brig. Gen. (Rtd) Mayihlome for the very important question.  Madam Speaker, I want to say that support for vulnerable people has not been suspended.  Right now, I think last week 80 thousand tonnes of grain had been mobilised for the benefit of vulnerable people.  It is not Government’s policy to make people who are vulnerable hungry.  Therefore, what Government at some point has just been asking for, is the retargeting exercise so that we see whether people benefitting are actually the people who are supposed to benefit.  Madam Speaker, it is very important in the interest of transparency and accountability that whatever Government is giving as aid to the vulnerable population is reaching the vulnerable population rather than people who might not be vulnerable.  The retargeting exercise is not commensurate to suspension of the programme.  I hope Madam Speaker; I have been able to answer the Government position on this issue.  I thank you.

*HON. TEKESHE:  Thank you Madam Speaker.  My question is directed to the Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare. I wanted to find out whether the programme of AMTO is still available?  I hear many people complaining out there that nothing is coming up yet they are supposed to be the beneficiaries.  I had a workshop with the disabled, they were also complaining of the same.  Is it still there and if it is there, how can they access that facility? I thank you

         *THE MINISTER OF HIGHER AND TERTIARY, EDUCATION, INNOVATION, SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY DEVELOPMENT (HON. PROF. MURWIRA): Thank you Madam Speaker Ma’am for such a pertinent question.  Hon. Tekeshe talked about AMTO, I might not understand what that means.  May I ask the Hon. Member to clarify?  I thank you.

                  *HON. TEKESHE: This means Assisted Medical Order, which is a fund that is given to the disabled, the vulnerable and those who cannot afford medical attention.  I thank you.

HON. T. MLISWA: On a point of order.  Madam Speaker, with due respect, the Cabinet Ministers are not here.  The Minister asked what it means, which shows that he does not understand that.  He is being asked a question, we want that question to be answered properly yet he does not even know what it is.  He is under pressure.  The Ministers who are responsible for these portfolios are not here.  The President just gave the State of the Nation Address and they are not here to respond.  This is really sad because we are just putting him under unnecessary pressure.  He is a man with so much credibility, integrity and dignity and he cannot keep on lying.  All we are doing is forcing him to misinform this House.  Where are the Cabinet Ministers?  It is Question Time today; they all do not sit in the Politburo.  That is why those State of the Nation Addresses become a waste of time.  Some of us do not attend them anymore because they do not respond to issues.

         This is sad, to be honest with you.  He keeps standing up and finding ways – AMTO, he does not know what it is, which I understand and it is fair for him because that is not his Ministry.  As an academic, he cannot know everything but now you want him to answer again.  Hameno, tinenge tava kungonyepera Mwari muno umu, kuti ndabvunza kuti chinorevei.  Hameno kuti Mwari angapindira sei kuma Ministers omunyika muno umu.  Zvava kutoda Mwari izvi.  It is better to defer certain questions.

THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Thank you Hon. Mliswa.  The Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare, send an apology.  So it means may be he is committed somewhere.

                  (v)HON. MARKHAM: Madam Speaker, can you advice us on which Ministers are present in the House for the benefit of us who are on Zoom.?

THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: I will announce the list of Ministers who are present in the House.  Just give me some few minutes.  Hon. Tekeshe, sorry, we are deferring your question.  You will ask next time.

         HON. NDUNA: Thank you Madam Speaker Ma’am.  My question is directed to the Minister of Primary and Secondary Education.  Hon. Minister Ma’am, congratulations for your new appointment.  My question relates to Government policy on sanitary wear for the kids in primary and secondary schools, aware that puberty stage is setting in far at a lower age than before.  You would find that a kid before grade five is already menstruating.  What is Government policy in so far as it relates to provision of sanitary wear for the children in primary and secondary schools to avert, to avoid and to completely annihilate the scourge of early marriages, child abuse and girl child abuse?  I thank you.

         THE MINISTER OF PRIMARY AND SECONDARY EDUCATION (HON. E. NDLOVU): Thank you Madam Speaker.  Thank you Hon. Nduna for asking such a pertinent question.  I think we were together here in Parliament, Hon. Member, when the new Ambassador spoke at length on the need for us to have sanitary wear in schools.  I am very grateful to this Parliament that we agreed that there should be a provision of sanitary wear in schools.  I am glad to report that we are implementing that Government policy for us to have sanitary wear provided in schools.  Challenges, yes we have some challenges but the policy is that we will provide and we are currently working on the provision of sanitary wear in schools.  I am not sure about the child abuse.  I thank you.

         HON. NDUNA: Thank you Madam Speaker Ma’am.  At the tail end of her answer, she said she was not sure where child abuse arises from.  May I just elucidate that before I go to the supplementary question?  It comes in where the girl child in particular is coerced, where she is getting a stipend from a ‘blesser’ or from someone who wants to take advantage of her.  This is where child abuse comes into place.  More often than not, it is older men taking advantage of the girl child either in primary or secondary school.

         Now, my supplementary question is, if it pleases you Hon. Minister Ma’am to favour this House with the information as it relates to the timelines, cognizant of the fact that we are about to get to the budgetary allocation or rather budgetary debate for 2022 national year budget.  Would it please you Hon. Minister Ma’am, to tell us so that it is not ad infinitum that we are perpetually talking about this issue.  If you can may be say it is next month that you are now going to give free unfettered access to the sanitary wear to our girl child.  Mind you, what men can do women can do better and everyone is born of a woman.  I am also a HeforShe champion.

HON. E. NDLOVU:  Thank you Madam Speaker Ma’am for the supplementary question.  We are happy to inform you that we are aware that the girl child might be abused by the supplier of sanitary wear if the parents are not able to provide, if the child herself has no sanitary wear but knows that she can get it from a boyfriend and yet she is under age.  That is why we came up with this policy in this Parliament.  Our Government subsequently approved that policy.  So we are really grateful for the explanation that you gave us.

In terms of being a woman, yes I understand the sanitary wear requirements compared to her male counterpart.  Since we are going towards the end of the year, we are actually going to mop up the resources that we have to make sure that we provide the girl child with the sanitary pads.  We are also advocating for support from you Parliamentarians so that in the coming Budget, we are given enough funds for this very important programme.  The girl child is the future of tomorrow because they will bring life to this earth.  I thank you.

HON. MPARIWA:  Thank you Madam Speaker.  Mine is a supplementary request to the Minister.  I want to thank her for this important move by the Ministry and the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development as well.  Perhaps really to provoke another thought Madam Speaker, you will find that this is a taboo thing to be talked about when children are still young.  What initiatives are there by the Ministry so that everyone gets to understand in the communities that the Ministry is giving sanitary wear for free?

My further request is that a Ministerial Statement would do so that the public out there is in the know in terms of what is available – that it is no longer a problem for a parent to have a child menstruate at school as sanitary wear is actually given for free.  Thank you Madam Speaker.

HON. E. NDLOVU:  Thank you Madam Speaker.  Thank you Hon. Member for the question.  I think you are actually advocating for me to bring a Ministerial Statement, which I think is in order. That will assist this Parliament to understand how far we have gone in assisting the girl child.  Similarly, we will bring other papers but this one is critical at this stage to try and support the girl child.  I thank you.

HON. T. MLISWA:  On a point of order Madam Speaker, the last time we were here, about $20 million was allocated to that in the last Budget.  How much was bought?  There were also problems in terms of logistics, if you remember Madam Speaker Ma’am.  They could not get them to the points because there was no transport, so we as Members of Parliament are very keen to transport them.  To date, we still have not been notified.  Can you also update us in terms of the logistics, whether you are now on top of the situation and if not, can you let Members of Parliament know so that we can assist.  Last time the problem was logistics and I have not been informed by the District Education Office to come and pick up any.  If you can update us on that and see where Members of Parliament can come in and assist; probably there is a proper programme that once a month we go and pick up at this centre and we take to the schools and so forth.  Thank you Madam Speaker.

THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER:  Thank you Hon. Mliswa.  I am sure the Hon. Minister has taken note of that.  Hon. Markham, you asked the names of Ministers who are present in the House.  We have the Minister of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services, the Minister of Higher and Tertiary Education, Innovation, Science and Technology, the Minister of Primary and Secondary Education, the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, the Deputy Minister of Mines and Mining Development, the Deputy Minister of Primary and Secondary Education, the Deputy Minister of Local Government and Public Works and the Deputy Minister of Health and Child Care.  Those are the Ministers who are in the House at the moment.  Thank you.

(v)HON. CHITURA:  Thank you Madam Speaker.  My question is directed to the Minister of Primary and Secondary Education.  What is the Ministry’s position in facilitating efficient monitoring of food distribution in districts?  There are districts that do not have vehicles and some have one vehicle that they use to monitor the whole district.

THE MINISTER OF PRIMARY AND SECONDARY EDUCATION (HON. E. NDLOVU):  Thank you Madam Speaker Ma’am.  Thank you very much for the question that you have asked Hon. Member.  I have just realised when I was appointed into the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education, that our officers on the ground have no vehicles.  I promise that we are working on the provision of vehicles to our officers. Thank you.

*HON. NYABANI:  Thank you Madam Speaker.  My question is directed to the Minister of Primary and Secondary Education.  The examination dates have been set and I once raised the issue that there are no teachers in the rural areas. There is this new initiative of CALA where you find two teachers in a school from ECD to Grade 7 and secondary with 30% being taken from CALA as a contribution towards the students total score. May the Hon. Minister explain the correct position? We do not want to rely on hearsay and we do not want to come back to this august House to ask the Hon. Minister why our children are not performing well. I thank you

THE MINISTER OF PRIMARY AND SECONDARY EDUCATION (HON. E. NDLOVU): Thank you Hon. Speaker. Hon. Nyabani’s concern is with our Ministry. He wrote to us and so we are working to make sure that teachers are deployed there. In terms of CALA, we have been training teachers to make sure that they understand. We completed that training, and we trained quite a number of teachers throughout the country.  We have trained the few teachers that we have in the constituencies. We are sorry that there are very few teachers but we are working on a programme with the Public Service Commission to decentralise the recruitment of teachers so that we have teachers in schools. Thank you.

HON. MADHUKU: Thank you very much Madam Speaker and also the response which has been given by the Hon. Minister of Primary and Secondary Education. Allow me to highlight a few issues. I think it is on record that the educators today as well as the learners, are lamenting over the introduction of this continuous assessment learning activity programme (CALA). Why are they crying – it is because of the untimely introduction of this good assessment model but the timing is the problem. We are not actually condemning the whole system as an assessment model. It is very good and worldwide, that is what is being done but we are saying the timing, the learners have been hard hit by the COVID pandemic whereby they lost a lot of learning time and they are supposed to sit for the examinations.

THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon. Madhuku, please may you ask your question.

HON. MADHUKU: Thank you Madam Speaker. They have introduced this programme in the final exam year of Form 4 and Form 6. Even the training programmes have not been fully done to the teachers. So Madam Speaker, we are saying this is a good programme but the issues of reliability and validity of the test items is going to be missing. We are just pointing this out as legislators to say; they have to make a relook into the programme and assure the nation of the validity and reliability of the results. I thank you.

HON. E. NDLOVU: Madam Speaker Ma’am, let me assure this House that, as Government, we took time to think through this examination period because of the short time that we had by increasing the number of days in the semester that we have. It is equal to the size of the semester at a university. That is the first step that we took that this semester will be longer than usual.

The second point is that we came up with a compressed programme that took into account that the children are going to go through that syllabus which will be shorter than normal. We compressed the syllabus. We produced that compressed syllabus and facilitated its distribution to the provinces and districts so that at least the teachers work within a specific syllabus that is reasonable to cover the gaps which were brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic. We also introduced other methods of learning, which is the radio programmes other than the material that we produced ourselves and distributed to the schools. We assure you that we will continuously examine that programme to see if there are any problems so that we solve that. I thank you.

HON. BRIG. GEN. (RTD). MAYIHLOME: Madam Speaker, my supplementary question to the Hon. Minister is; what measures has the Ministry taken to ensure that CALA in the rural schools is effective? What we have seen on the ground is that teachers are making rolling business doing the CALA assessment on behalf of school pupils charging R100 in rural areas and USD10 in urban areas because parents and pupils do not have access to the internet and those who have access have no clue on how to go to the internet to do the CALA system. The assessment was supposed to have been done over a long period,  at shortest, maybe one year and not one semester. One semester is not just on. Practically, what is happening on the ground is that teachers are making a killing because they bring all the students, 40 of them, they charge R100 per student and they do the assignments themselves. What kind of students are we producing as a nation, what are we trying to achieve – and we give 30% for that? Are we really serious that we are giving 30% for work that a child has not done? If you give those children an assessment when they go to Form 1 next year, you will see how many of them will pass, because they know nothing about CALA. That is my contribution Hon. Speaker Ma’am.

HON. E. NDLOVU: Madam Speaker Ma’am, I think the information that the Hon. Member has given us, we are going to investigate the claims on the corruption that is taking place. We want to make sure that we understand the problem.  In terms of the ICT issues, we are working with the Ministry of ICT and the Ministry of Energy to make sure that the schools are connected.  It will take us time but we are really pushing as Government to have schools connected so that children get computers and the ICT Ministry is facilitating that.  On the issue of corruption, we are going to investigate that.  I thank you - [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] –

HON. T. MLISWA:  Madam Speaker, I applaud the Minister for trying.  The issues which the Hon. Members are talking about are a reality on the ground.  With the COVID pandemic, you cannot adjust upwards, you have to adjust downwards.  So how can you be a nation that adjusts downwards and compressing, you compress with resources.  It is not the fast track land reform, no, it is different. This is education, it is the foundation of any child.  For us to sit here and think that we are doing well, there is compression.  Now she is talking about energy, there is no electricity, there is no water, all these that she has just mentioned, she can talk to ICT but ICT works with electricity.  Already we have energy shortages in the country. So the question, from a practical point of view is, you as the great mother that I know, would you really say your child is getting the best education under such conditions?  We must be careful of killing a generation; two years, they have not gone to school!  Suddenly one who was Grade 1, he is now Grade 3, the pandemic was there, how do they develop in terms of growth?  I am sure Hon. Prof. Murwira will tell you that education has got motor skills which kids must develop when they are young.  They have missed that.  So in reality, I wanted her to speak as a mother and as Minister that would you say that your child is getting the best education with this compression that you are talking about with the shortage of electricity?  I know that you are true to a point and God is also watching while you answer.

HON. E. NDLOVU:  I want to thank the Hon. Member for the question. I know he is speaking from his heart like me, I always speak from my heart.  Having seen that we had a challenge as a country because of COVID -199, we approached our development partners who came up with some solutions.  Yes, the compressed programme is not fully covering all the aspects, we appreciate but we are praying to God that in the coming year, children can cover some parts of the syllabus that we might have dropped in the process.  The collaboration in terms of borehole sinking, electricity and in terms of radio programmes, UNICEF and Microsoft also came to our rescue.

We have tried our level best, I know it is not the best but we have tried our level best as a country.  We do not want to have a generation of children who have spent the rest of two years without going to school.  That is why we came up with this compressed programme.  I thank you.

*HON. DZUMA: My question is directed to the Leader of the House.  I would like to know what programmes they have as a way of assisting children who are orphaned and in need of supplementary feeding? Back in the days, children used to get assistance through the Department of Social Welfare.  They used to be given porridge   which aided their growth but these days children are dying.  They could even assist with grants to assist them financially as a Ministry.  My plea is that the Department of Social Welfare assists these people.  The Ministry should revisit this issue.  The Ministry of Finance should direct funds to towards these Ministries.

*THE MINISTER OF HIGHER AND TERTIARY EDUCATION, INNOVATION, SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY DEVELOPMENT (PROF. MURWIRA):  Thank you very much Madam Speaker.  A country is judged according to how it treats its people.  As the Social Welfare Department, they have a programme to make sure that everyone who is in need gets assisted.  During the COVID-19 era those from the Department of Social Welfare went as far as urban areas.  If all these people being mentioned report to this department, they will get assisted.  Government policy is that we assist everyone who is in need.   It is important that they go to the Social Welfare offices so that they get the assistance that they require.  I thank you.

*HON. T. ZHOU:  My question is directed to the Deputy Minister of Local Government and National Housing. I would like to know the Government’s plan regarding rural service centres, particularly whether those who are building houses are receiving any title deeds?

*THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT AND NATIONAL HOUSING (HON. CHOMBO):  You referred to rural service centres expressing concern regarding those who are building in such areas, whether they were given title deeds or not.  The Hon. Member also wanted to know the Government’s position regarding title deeds.  As Government, we do not select areas but if you are building and whatever you are building is within the law, whether one is in rural areas having been allocated a stand by different councils, the correct procedure is that you go to the council and procure your stand, then there is need for servicing and all the rates should be cleared. There should be an agreement between the individual and council regarding the standard plan after inspections have been carried out. If all the stipulated requirements have been met, then you are entitled to receive the title deeds.

*HON. T. ZHOU: Madam Speaker Ma’am, the policy that the Hon. Minister is referring to pertains to growth points and other areas – I would like to know what policies are applied to business centres in rural areas where you find people who would have developed their stands legally but do not have title deeds.

*HON. CHOMBO: I heard what you said but I believe there is need for clarity, whether you are referring to business centres that have already been constructed. It then follows that if they acquire these businesses legally or they built them following council by-laws then they are entitled to title deeds.  Unless if I am not getting the question very well but if there is a specific area that you have identified which is different from what I am saying, then I will be glad if you approach my office or if you cite an example so that we look at that particular area.

*HON. T. ZHOU:  I will submit the names of the businesses.

*HON. NDUNA:  My supplementary question is as follows; is your office empowered to engage private developers who have been selling land to people in areas that are being referred to by Hon. Zhou in growth points and other outlying areas.  There are a lot of places which were sub-divided yet they do not have title deeds.  This was done by private developers in areas that are owned by local authorities.  Do you have the power to compel developers to give title deeds to beneficiaries who bought land from such developers so that they comply with by-laws?  This should be done so that stand owners do not die before getting their title deeds.

*HON. CHOMBO:  If I got your question Hon. Nduna, you are asking me about those individuals who subdivided rural land illegally and parcelled out the land to people.  Are you then saying that today as Government, do we have the legal right to force developers to generate title deeds?  May you please clarify Hon. Nduna?

HON. NDUNA: Madam Speaker Maam, land was given to private developers by the Ministry of Local Government in conjunction with the Ministry of Lands and the places that I am talking about where title is surveyed.  These private developers had farms that had title deeds which they sub-divided.  These farms, subdivided as they are, the current owners have not been given title deeds.  They subdivided their farms legally and sold according to an agreement between the buyer and the seller.  Does the Ministry have the power to compel those former owners to produce or to give the current owners the title deeds before they pass on because this is what has happened; some people have passed on without having benefited from title deeds which has a resultant effect of reversal.  The former owners can actually continue to hold on to title deeds and not give title deeds to the children of the buyer after they have passed on.

HON. CHOMBO:  Thank you for clarifying the question.  Let me take you back a little bit.  What happens when a farmer feels like he wants to develop into residential stands, he hands over that farm back to the Ministry of Lands, through a letter expressing no interest or not refusing the farm owner to use that land as residential.  The Ministry of Lands then hands over that farm to Local Government and now, it is no longer the farm for that farmer.  It is now Lands who have handed over that farm to Local Government.  Now, Local Government, in conjunction with local authority, has a master plan for every local authority.  If we see that the area falls within our master plan, we approve that development.  The farmer brings the plans to Local Government and we approve the plan.  Once we approve, we agree on what we are going to do to get to the development that has been approved.  We give conditions and he or she signs a memorandum of agreement stipulating what stages are to be taken, like servicing and so forth.  After the servicing, he/she is supposed to pay intrinsic value for that land he/she is going to sell to the prospective land owners.  Up until that is done, that is when he/she can now sell the stands to prospective buyers.  What has been happening is that 99% of the time, the land developer has not paid the intrinsic value of that land to local Government for us to be able to approve for those tenants to get title deeds.  Normally, once all the steps have been followed, we do not refuse.  We even support that they get title deeds.  As I said before, I will appreciate if you can favour me with the developers who are failing to produce the title deeds.  I thank you.

*HON. NYABANI:  Thank you Madam Speaker.  Can the Ministry of Local Government talk to local authorities so that people get title deeds because they are issuing out lease agreements.  There are no title deeds at local authorities in Rushinga and so forth.  Is it possible for the Ministry to meet local authorities and how long will it take so that we get title deeds in areas like Rushinga?

* HON. CHOMBO:  Thank you Madam Speaker.  I thank the Hon. Member for the suggestion on what we should do.  Currently, as Local Government, we have realised that if we issue title deeds to land owners who would have followed all the necessary steps, it encourages other developers to follow suite so that they also get title deeds.  On this programme, we are working together with the Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education and the Ministry of National Housing.  We are taking it as an example at Caledonia, Nyatsime and other areas so that the land owners there are able to pay for the service and get their title deeds.  All the other local authorities will be doing the same.  I thank you.

(v)HON. MARKHAM: Thank you Madam Speaker.  My question is on the informal settlements that are occurring within the Ministry pertaining to the title deeds that had been issued by the developer or by the Ministry anywhere in my constituency and across all places.  People are still paying the developer or the cooperative but no one is getting the value of it.  The Ministry or State is supposed to get the intrinsic value of the land and it is not happening.  What is the Ministry doing about it?  I am fully aware that the Justice Uchena Report quotes the value of the money that we have lost as Government on intrinsic value of land to developers as $3 billion. Can the Minister either release the report or explain why they do not want to release the Justice Uchena Report to us?

 (HON. CHOMBO:  Thank you Madam Speaker.  Thank you Hon. Markham for the question.  The Justice Uchena Report was not initiated by Local Government.  It was initiated from the Office of the President.  Therefore, Local Government cannot take ownership of the report.  We do not see where we are compelled to table that report when it did not emanate from us.  It is the Office of the President and the President who set up that Commission. It is not the baby of the Local Government.  I thank you.

HON. T. MLISWA: Madam Speaker, I direct my question to the Deputy Minister of Local Government.  There is the Rural District Act which protects people in the rural areas.  Why have we not seen your Ministry doing anything to protect ancestral land which is being taken over through mining operations, especially the Chinese taking over.  You seem to have been quiet about it.  Not only that, your Ministry must also be working with line Ministries, Mines and Environment to ensure that does not happen.  You have been quiet on that and it seems you are conflicted as Ministers.  Are you involved in the beneficiation of the mining activities because you cannot have a situation where ancestral land is exchanged for any resource?  It happened in Shamva and it is also still happening in Murewa, Motoko, Chironga and all over. What are you doing to protect people from ancestral land which you know is our pride, heritage and culture?

THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT AND PUBLIC WORKS (HON. CHOMBO):  Thank you Madam Speaker.  Thank you Hon. Mliswa for the question.  I agree with you that as Local Government, we have to protect the ancestral land but whatever projects or developments that are done in rural areas, there have been wide and deep consultations with the traditional leadership and with the local communities.  We have done that in most of the areas and where it has been seen that there has not been consultation and there have been disputes, we have gone back and resolved the issues.  Two months ago, we were in Muzarabani.  We met the traditional leaders.  We also went to Chiredzi and met traditional leaders.  We are trying as a Ministry to consult as much as we can.  I thank you.

HON. T. MLISWA: Madam Speaker, the worst that could happen is for one to ask you title deeds on ancestral land which is protected by Government.  The only title there is that Act which Government must support.  No wonder why there were many questions on title deeds for rural areas because people are panicking.  You know very well that they are protected and there is no one in the rural areas who has title deeds but you allow foreigners to come and question us where the title deeds are.  What Government policy is there that allows foreigners to question us on ancestral land for title deeds.  They are not there, what do you expect the chief to say.  Legally they are going to court; they are losing and Government is not stopping it or facilitating.  So to me, you need to be very clear in terms of the Rural District Act which you preside over, which protects them and you are absolutely doing nothing about it.  The other option now is can you give all of them title deeds because when they go to court, they have no title deeds. What other ways can they protect themselves?  That is the question, now that they are having their land taken away, how can they protect themselves? You cannot run around the whole country, nhasi kuNorton, nhasi kuUzumba, kuMberengwa, kwaGutu, mungapedze nyika yese muchingo dzimura moto iwoyo.  So what measures do you have and why are you not suspending it until a certain time?

         HON. CHOMBO: Thank you Hon. Speaker.  Thank you Hon. Mliswa for that follow- up question.  I hear you and I am still saying, whatever we do on the ground – you know if let us say you are talking of mines – for mines, I think there is a recent incident.  There are other Ministries that are involved and they all have their Acts that they abide by.  So you cannot just single out the Communal Lands Act, to say this is supposed to govern whatever the transaction that takes place in the rural areas.  There are many line Ministries and many Acts that govern whatever happens in the rural areas.  I thank you.

         HON. T. MLISWA: Madam Speaker, a point of clarity.  The Deputy Minister, you rushed as a Ministry to Chilonga to issue a Statutory Instrument to want to take people’s land in legal ways.  Why are you not coming up with a Statutory Instrument (SI) to protect people because the SI covers even the Ministry of Mines?  You are quick to have an SI to protect investors but you are not quick to produce an SI protecting ancestral land and the people.  Why can you not as a Ministry go and issue an SI in that regard?

         HON. CHOMBO: Thank you Madam Speaker.  Thank you very much Hon. Mliswa.  You singled out Chilonga.  The first SI that was send out, it was reversed and then the one that was issued – if you see the way we designed it; it is not going to affect as many people as people had purported.  Also those that were going to be affected were going to be relocated and the community is going to benefit from the development in that area.  So as Government, we had to look at who is going to benefit, is the community going to benefit from the development that is going to happen in that area?  For sure that was the reason why we issued that SI.  I thank you.

         HON. BRIG. GEN. (RTD.) MAYIHLOME: Thank you very much Madam Speaker Ma’am and thank you Hon. Deputy Minister for the effort to answer that very difficult question.  I know as a Ministry, probably your hands are tied because there are other Ministries that compete for this scarce resource in the rural areas. What we are saying is about EPOs that are found mostly in the Southern region part of the country which are now encroaching into ancestral land as what Hon. Mliswa said.  They are encroaching virtually everywhere and remember Hon. Deputy Minister, EPOs probably have only 10 votes but we have people who have over 20 000 votes that are being affected.  What are we going to do about it; where communal land, their fields, their homes are being overrun by EPOs, which may be constitute about 10 votes?

         The Ministry of Mines that is sitting just next to you is allowing communal lands to be overrun and the Ministry of Local Government is doing nothing about it.  We are ready to fight back on your behalf as Members of Parliament, against the EPOs and the Ministry of Local Government is quiet.  Thank you very much Hon. Mliswa for raising that very important question.  I thank you.

HON. CHOMBO: Thank you Hon. Speaker.  Thank you very much Hon. Mayihlome.  I understand and we are talking of the communal areas.  Of course as Local Government, I cannot shy away from answering that.  As you know, the Communal Land Act is also under the Ministry of Lands and here we are talking of EPOs and they are under the Ministry of Mines.  So, I would not be at liberty to venture into other Ministries’ areas.  I thank you.

         HON. T. MLISWA: Just a point of clarity.  Madam Speaker, the Hon. Deputy Minister must read the Rural District Councils’ Act, which falls under them.  Rural District Councils’ Act - just like the Urban Councils Act, which falls under them, this is what I asked, the Rural District Council’s Act, tinombo verengavo, ndosaka ndakupai. The Rural District Councils’ Act which you superintend, which you preside over, ndiyo inokupai simba.  Ndosaka kuchibhadharwa levy, levy iyoyo inobhadharwa kurural council.

         THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: So what is the question?

         HON. T. MLISWA: She is misinformed; she must answer to the Rural District Councils’ Act kunobhadharwa mitero.  Vanhu havabhadhari mitero ku Lands. Isusu Agriculture, tinobhadhara kuLands.  VaTogarepi, sabhuku vano collecta mari, vondobhadhara kukanzuru.  Rural District Council ndiyo yatiri kutaura not Communal Act, gugulai muone kuti iri pasi penyu.

         HON. NDUNA: Thank you Madam Speaker Ma’am. My supplementary question is very short.  Rural District Councils’ Act: 1996 speaks to and about these issues.  In Section 66 in particular and other sections in general, it still talks about the British Company.  Would it please the Minister to align that part of the Act to the Constitution in so far as it relates to consequential alignment that speaks to Zimbabwe as opposed to the British Company?  It is of 1996, so when I was reading it, I was quite astounded, I was quite ashamed that there is still an Act that speaks to that.

         Further to that, Section 152 (2) of the Urban Councils’ Act; would it please the Minister to align that one to the Constitution, Section72 (7c) of the Constitution.  Also, align Section 205 (1) of the Urban Councils’ Act to Section 72 (7c) as it relates predominantly around the issue of getting the people of Zimbabwe to assert their right to land, verbatim this is what Section 72 (7c) of the Constitution says.  I put this across to you as a supplementary question because Hon. Speaker, Hon. Adv. J. F. N. Mudenda said it was possible for the Minister to go into talks with the Parliamentary Legal Committee in order that we do not bring a Bill or we do not unnecessarily impede on alignment of Acts to the Constitution so that we can expeditiously align your Acts to the Constitution, much to the happiness of the innocent, unsuspecting formally marginalised black majority.

(v)HON. MARKHAM:  I have a point of order Madam Speaker before the Hon. Minister responds.

THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER:  Why can you not allow the Hon. Minister to respond first, then you come later?  You will ask your supplementary question Hon. Markham.

(v)HON. MARKHAM:  It is not a supplementary question, it is a point of order.

THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER:  Go ahead.

(v)HON. MARKHAM:  It is very simple.  Hon. Nduna, when he started his supplementary question, he said he was going to be brief.  He was not brief Madam Speaker.  I thank you.

THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER:  Thank you Hon. Markham.  Next time I will remind Hon. Nduna to be brief.

HON. CHOMBO:  Thank you Hon. Speaker Ma’am, and thank you Hon. Nduna for the follow up question.  If you listened to the SONA that was presented last week by the President, he listed the laws that were in the process of being aligned with the 2013 Constitution.  Among them is the Rural District Councils Act, the Urban Councils Act, the Provincial Councils Act, the Traditional Councils Act and the Regional Town Country Planning Act.  These, we are seized with and very soon you will see that they will come through Parliament.  So we are fully aware of the laws that need to be aligned and we are alive to it.  Thank you.

(v)HON. MARKHAM:  Madam Speaker, I have a supplementary question on the issue of land.  My issue is going back to Hon. Mliswa’s question which is very simple for the Ministry.  The issue is, it took 20 years to build Tokwe-Murkosi.  Why are negotiations with the people on their ancestral land rushed in 20 minutes?  Why were people not educated about the influence and the probability of movements when Tokwe-Murkosi was started?  There must have been some plan that showed what would happen 20 years ago.

HON. CHOMBO:  Thank you Hon. Speaker.  Maybe I missed something.  Are you saying that we rushed through the consultation process?

(v)HON. MARKHAM:  Thank you Madam Speaker.  My question is, Tokwe-Murkosi took 20 years to build.  Hon. Mliswa’s question about the movement of people on their ancestral land reverts to the fact on why we are trying to rush talking to people in the last 18 months when we should have been doing that as the dam was being built.  Thank you.

HON. CHOMBO:  Thank you Hon. Speaker.  Thank you very much Hon. Markham.  When the initial plans and construction of Tokwe-Murkosi Dam started, there were consultations.  This time when it was all in the media, it was the tail end of the consultations that were being done.  So it is not really that we started the consultations within 18 months.  It started way back.  I thank you.

HON. TOGAREPI:  Thank you Madam Speaker.  My question goes to the Minister of Mines and Mining Development.  The people of Zimbabwe had been advised by the Ministry that we have a target of a $12 billion business that is going to be generated by the mining sector.  My question is: where are we?  What milestones have we achieved to date?  Are we on target?  Who is contributing to that $12 billion?  Is it the small scale miners or the large scale miners?  I think if the Minister can give me that run down, I will be able to go and tell my constituents.

THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF MINES AND MINING DEVELOPMENT (HON. KAMBAMURA):  Thank you so much Madam Speaker Ma’am.  The $12 billion milestone is being achieved day by day.  When His Excellency launched the vision in 2019, gold is supposed to contribute $4 billion, platinum and other PGMs are supposed to contribute $3 billion, diamonds will be contributing $1 billion to the sector, coal and hydro carbons will be contributing another $1 billion, chrome and steel another $1 billion, lithium half a billion, other minerals, including copper and granite $1.5 billion.  So far, there has been a boom in the sector due to various projects that are ongoing in all these key minerals that I have mentioned.  We have seen a lot of projects coming up in the coal sector, the platinum group of metals and the chrome sector, the biggest project being done by Tsingshan in Manhidze.

We have also seen big projects coming up in the gold sector.  Some of the projects which include the project being done by Caledonia at Blanket Mine.  We also have big projects being done by Pickstone –Peerless at Eureka.  We also have projects under Kuvimba, which include Shamva Mine.

We have managed to touch on key imperatives for boosting the $12 billion milestone.  Some of the imperatives that we initiated were pronounced in the Transitional Stabilisation Programme which involves reopening of closed mines. We have seen opening of mines that have since closed. We have seen new mines being opened in the country and one of them being opened at Darwendale under Great Dyke Investments. Another key imperative is the expansion or ramping up of production on existing mines.

Two months ago, I have been going around the mines and I have noted that there is an extensive expansion of current production at mainly mines around the country. Another key imperative that we worked on was value addition and beneficiation of our minerals, which is again another game changer imperative in the NDS 1. So currently for gold, we have managed to increase or to ramp up gold production which now stands at about 20 tonnes valued at about USD1.104 billion.

The other minerals that have been sold through MMCZ, excluding gold, we have managed to bring in USD3.57 billion. If we add these two, you can see that currently we are at about USD4.7 or USD4.8 billion. We look forward to seeing this figure going up by the end of the year to around USD5.5 billion, which means we are already approaching about 50% of the now sold minerals. So, we are moving in the right direction towards His Excellency’s vision to come up with a USD12 billion mining revenue or USD12 billion mining industry by the year 2023. A journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step and we have passed the single step, we are now gathering momentum. I thank you.

HON. TOGAREPI: I want to thank the Hon. Minister because he gave me some detail that I am excited about, that we are approaching the half mark and I think by 2023, the USD12 billion mark is achievable. I would like the Minister to elaborate more on the contribution of the small scale miners and what Government is doing at the moment to capacitate the small scale miners. We hear in the newspapers that they are contributing so much but sometimes they find themselves at risk of mining accidents and so forth. What are we doing as a Ministry to ensure that these people are capacitated?

         HON. KAMBAMURA: Thank you Hon. Togarepi for the supplementary question. Currently, we are mobilising resources so that we will be able to find or buy mining equipment for our small scale miners. As a Ministry, we have come up with an initiative which we have termed orderly mining, whereby we will be giving equipment to our small scale miners in clusters. This programme is going to be operated the same way Command Agriculture was operated with the small scale miners paying the loans over a period of time. We are also working a way to formalise the artisanal small scale miners operations whereby we will come up with a database. We are going to make sure that all artisanal small scale miners are registered. So, very soon, we will be rolling out this programme. The Ministry will also be going out on an awareness campaign on safety because we have experienced a lot of accidents in the past and with the coming of the rain season, we will be going around together with the Civil Protection Unit to warn our miners against mining where the ground is not stable and also to educate them on safer mining standards. I thank you.

HON. T. MLISWA: Madam Speaker, I am impressed with the presentation by the Deputy Minister but the proof of the pudding is in the eating. These have been great words and I am glad you have such a sharp memory. Can your favour this House with a ministerial statement documenting all you have said because we are not seeing any change on the ground. We would want to know where the money has gone to as well, so that we see that there is money because we do not see any change whatsoever. Madam Speaker, if you could allow the Minister to come with a comprehensive ministerial statement.

I know the platinum price has gone up despite the COVID but there are other minerals which have gone down too. So, that will be good for the House to know because it is such good news that we are on course and we are doing well.  Why not sharing it with everybody and then we know exactly where the money is going to and so forth, but on the part of mining, they are doing well. The next question is; where is the money going to because we are not seeing any change at all? The rate is going up and mining should be held with that foreign currency for the rate to come down.

In terms of Afrochine, I read that they have been given a US1 billion to bring to Zimbabwe. When is the US1 billion coming because they announced that they went outside and US1 billion dollars has been announced? I am sure the Hon. Minister will agree on that – has it come in? There has been talk about money coming in but there is no money. There is also the aspect of putting capital money into producing at a certain time. We must not mix putting money to produce and immediate results. So a ministerial statement therefore is sought so that we can at least probe more and also take away the good news he is mentioning to us.  Thank you Madam Speaker.

THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Thank you Hon. Mliswa. I am sure the Minister has taken note of that and I am sure that he will bring a detailed ministerial statement to the House.

HON. T. MLISWA: Madam Speaker, can he just respond so that it goes on record?

HON. KAMBAMURA: Thank you Hon. Mliswa for the supplementary question and thank you Madam Speaker Ma’am. We have taken note of what Hon. Mliswa said but Afrochine announcing that they have secured funding for their project. They did not say they have brought US1 billion into the country but they just indicated that they had secured funding. The other issue when it comes to how revenue is used, it is not the mandate of the Ministry of Mines and Mining Development. I am not quite sure whether Hon. Mliswa wants a ministerial statement on revenue accountability or on projects pointing to the $12 billion milestone, which we can avail without any challenges.

HON. T. MLISWA:  Thank you Madam Speaker, let us not talk about Afrochine, let us remove it, let us not talk about the Consolidated Revenue Fund but if you are saying you have made money, you must tell us where the money has gone to. That is part of the job, because you are doing well, it means there is money.  We also want to know where the money has gone to in the Ministerial Statement.  If it cannot answer to that one, it is okay, we still have oversight role over other Ministries but the breakdown that you gave is quite critical for us.

Questions with Notice were interrupted by THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER in terms of Standing Order No. 64.

         HON. NDUNA:  I move for the extension of Questions Without Notice.  Hon. Speaker, if you can allow us to take advantage of the Ministers that are here and also the impetus that has been occasioned by the question by the esteemed Chief Whip of the mainstream party.

HON. T. ZHOU:  I second.

Motion put and agreed to.

HON. T. MLISWA:  On a point of order, he is the Government, Chief Whip. He is a party Chief Whip, but here he is the Government Chief Whip.

HON. T. ZHOU:  On a point of order Madam Speaker.  Thank you very much Madam Speaker, I think Hon. Togarepi raised a critical subject of the economy so I therefore request for a Ministerial Statement from the Hon. Minister so that we debate the subject.  Thank you.

THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER:  Thank you Hon. Zhou. I am sure the Hon. Deputy Minister has taken note of that.

HON. NDUNA:  Thank you Madam Speaker, my supplementary question is that, I appreciate the answer by the Hon. Deputy Minister of Mines but the devil is in the detail.  I will go on to say why and I will ask that the Hon. Minister favours us in his Ministerial Statement when this devil in the detail is going to be aligned to the ethos and values of the Constitution.  The first one is the Act that he presides over, the Mines and Minerals Act.  When is it coming to be repealed in the House? If he can favour us with that information in that Ministerial Statement so that we can expeditiously dispose of the issues that Hon. Togarepi has spoken to and about;  in particular, Section 343 of the Act that does not recognise the provincial mining directors. It only recognises the district mining directors but we see that we have the provincial mining directors in position that are not supported by the Act.

Section 3 of the Gold Act that criminalises gold possession without a licence Madam Speaker,  is retrogressive. When is that Act coming into Parliament for us to repeal and make sure we chastise it?  Madam Speaker, Section 368 of his Act, it outlaws prospecting without a licence, ad infinitum.  We have a lot of our Hon. Members including yours truly in the courts because we have Acts of Parliament that are not aligned to the Constitution. This current Act has a propensity and could reverse the agrarian Reform Programme and Act of 2000.

So, my question is, the devil is in the detail; when can we have the Minister bringing in the Mines and Minerals Act so that we can continue to be forward looking  and stop being moribund, rudimentary, antiquated and medieval in our way of doing mining and mining development issues and ethos and values - [Laughter.] -  Thank you Madam Speaker.

HON. KAMBAMURA:  I want to thank Hon. Nduna for his contribution.  We have taken note of the request for a Ministerial Statement to tell the House on the progress made towards the achievement of the $12 billion milestones and also to update the House on the progress made towards the amendment of the Mines and Minerals Bill.  We will definitely bring the Ministerial Statement but I am not sure about the date because the Hon. Minister is not in the House at the moment.  Thank you Madam Speaker.

*HON. TEKESHE: My question is directed to the Deputy Minister of Local Government and Public Works.  When should we expect ZUPCO transport to reach the rural areas?

HON. CHOMBO:  Thank you very much Madam Speaker and I want to thank the Hon. Member for the question.  I hope the Hon. Member can acknowledge that inasmuch as we have few buses, we are still receiving buses into the country to boost our fleet.  Some of the buses will not survive the rural areas terrain.  So we are working on a programme of fixing buses that can withstand the terrain in the rural areas.  It is also of paramount importance that if there is a particular route that is in need of a bus, you may notify the ZUPCO company.  They will look into that and see to it which mode of transport is suitable.  We promise you that we will supply buses in the rural areas.  As for now, we only have a few.

*HON. TOGAREPI:  Thank you Madam Speaker, we have the same buses such as the ZUPCO but they are run by Inter Africa and they ply the rural area routes.  These should continue plying the rural routes, there is nothing wrong with that.

*HON. CHOMBO:  Thank you for your contribution Hon. Chief Whip.  I will convey it to my Ministry and to ZUPCO so that they will do exactly that.

Questions with Notice were interrupted by THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER in terms of Standing Order No. 64.

MOTION

PRESIDENTIAL SPEECH:  DEBATE ON ADDRESS

First Order read:  Adjourned debate on motion in reply to the Presidential Speech.

Question again proposed.

HON. T. MLISWA:  On a point of order Hon. Speaker...

THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER:  Your points of order are too much Hon. Mliswa.

HON. T. MLISWA:  I am sure that the Government Chief Whip will agree with me that we should have a timeframe when these debates must end because it is either you give it two or ten weeks or whatever.  The last time, we continued.  May you implore your members to debate because there is no point? Today maybe three or four will debate yet there is a lot of time.  May I propose that by next week the debate must come to an end?  We cannot keep on extending debates because the Ministers must respond quickly too.  The timeframe is critical because certain things are overtaken by events.

THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER:  Next week Hon. Members will not be here.

HON. T. MLISWA:  Oh sorry.  When we are back, can it be debated on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday and it is done?  I am sure the Chief Whip will find people who...

THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER:  Hon. Mliswa, you think it is possible for 280 Members of Parliament to debate on the Presidential Speech in two days?

HON. T. MLISWA:  It is the capacity, it could be 210 but brains of ten people – [Laughter.] –

THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER:  Hon. Mliswa, may you withdraw that statement?

HON. T. MLISWA:  Madam Speaker, you could be 210 and maybe only ten can be allowed to debate.

THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER:  Why?

HON. T. MLISWA:  Because they have the capacity.

THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER:  Who does not have capacity in this House?

HON. T. MLISWA:  Capacity differs. It is like a car. Others are four wheel drives and others are not.

THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER:  I think you are out of order Hon. Mliswa.

HON. T. MLISWA:  But the point is, we cannot continue because the last time we went on for a long time.

THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER:  We are wasting time because some people want to debate.  Please allow other Members to debate.

HON. T. MLISWA:  Yes, if we can just come to a close.

HON. NDIWENI: Thank you very much Madam Speaker Maam for giving me this opportunity to debate on the State of the Nation Address by the President, His Excellency Dr. E.D. Mnangagwa.

The President’s speech touched on two topics that are pertinent and I would want to delve on these.  These topics are corruption and sanctions.  The timing is very pertinent again.  This is the time when Zimbabwe is hosting the United Nations rapporteur, Ms. Alena Douhan who is coming to Zimbabwe to do a fact finding mission on the effects of sanctions. The timing for us to dissect the effects of sanctions is more than appropriate right now.

Initially, I would like to put a disclaimer that I do not condone corruption and that corruption is a despicable scourge, much as said by the tone of His Excellency.  Corruption is a cancer just like the disease itself.  Cancer is not easily treatable.  If it is not treated early, it spreads throughout the body, a process called medically metastasis.  The cancer usually spreads and eventually kills the host organism, which is the human body. If corruption is not nipped in the bud, it spreads throughout all sectors of society leading to the death of a nation economically.

Allow me to dissect the unholy though unavoidable relationship between sanctions and corruption.  It is not by coincidence that the supposedly most corrupt nations, according to Transparency International, are the following countries:  In Africa, we have Somalia as the most corrupt.  Somalia happens to be at the bottom even if we look at worldwide the global index.  Somalia happens to be the most corrupt nation worldwide.  In this group Madam Speaker, there is South Sudan, Sudan and Libya.  Let me take you to how they come up with this index.  There is something they call Corruption Perception Index and it is rated out of a hundred.  So the most corrupt the nation is means they score less out of a hundred.  If you have one out of a hundred you are very corrupt but if you have 99%, that means you are less corrupt.  You are transparent.  The nations that I talked about that are listed in Africa are all below 20.  Those that are most corrupt mostly are below 20.  Also in this group, worldwide I want Parliament to take note, you find in that group of countries, there are countries like Venezuela, Russia, Yemen and last but not least Iran.  Madam Speaker, Zimbabwe finds itself slightly better because we are above 20.  We are on the scale of 24 at the moment.  So in Africa, the most corrupt countries are below 20 and Zimbabwe is not amongst those 20.  We then unfortunately find ourselves in an enviable position globally.  We are on number 157 where Somalia that I mentioned is at 179.  You can tell where we are positioned globally.  The common denominator to the nations that I have listed Madam Speaker, is that all these countries are under sanctions. Whether we are looking at Europe, South America, Africa, all these countries that are perceived to be corrupt are under sanctions of one way or another.  The corruption perception index was established in 1995 by an organisation that calls itself Transparency International.  In 1995, unfortunately or fortunately, Zimbabwe was not put to the scale.  We were not measured.

We do not have the figures on how Zimbabwe faired in 1995 but we came on the index in 1997.  In 1997, out of a best possible score of a hundred, Zimbabwe found itself slightly above 30.  Take note of these figures Madam Speaker, they speak to what we want to present.  We should also be very pertinent when we present to the UN rapporteur what sanctions have done, what they are fuelling, other things that people do not talk about.  Sanctions fuel other ills in our nation.

Madam Speaker, after 1997, I took a couple of years for comparison.  In year 2000, our Corruption Perception Index (CPI) was at 30.  We had come down.  This is where the turmoil began when we started on our land reform.  This is where all these countries started to talk about rule of law and all the ills that have been perceived to have been happening in our country, and sanctions came in.  In 2001 Madam Speaker, is when the illegal sanctions were imposed on Zimbabwe.  In 2005, we had dropped to 26, we are going down but this is now when sanctions were imposed.  In 2010, we dropped again to 24.  In 2015, we had come down again to 21 and that was the lowest that Zimbabwe has ever gone.  We have never gone below 20.  Last year in 2020, we had gone up to 24.  Madam Speaker, looking at the period between 2015 and 2020, which is when the Second Republic came in and opened up and started the policy of re-engagement, there was easing of these sanctions by some other nations during that period.  His Excellency took it upon himself, as a policy, to reach out to some of these nations and some of them accepted Zimbabwe and slowly released the tightened sanctions.

I am bothering you with these figures because my core-theme is those that imposed sanctions on us the poor countries; our poverty is being exacerbated by these sanctions.  We plead on these countries to let off these sanctions because as I put it to you Madam Speaker, when a country is under sanctions, that means you cannot do business over the counter.  That means you have to do business under the counter because they do not only sanction your nation, they sanction other entities that want to do business with you.  What then happens?  It is almost like a foregone conclusion.   A country cannot let itself run dry.  For example, if you are sanctioned that you cannot buy fuels, an Executive cannot let a country run dry. The Government will then definitely undertake under-the-table type of transactions which will lead to middlemen who will charge their commission.  You have to bust the sanctions in order for your country to survive.  You cannot go to your populace and say we cannot get oil because we have sanctions.  You have to find ways and means for your country to survive.  So there comes in the middlemen and unscrupulous companies.  You will realise that the companies and individuals are corrupt, but what do you do if you are sanctioned?  Madam Speaker, that index is being pushed down because we are sanctioned.  Instead of doing business over the counter transparently like everyone else, we have to do our business under the counter.  We are being forced to do business under the counter, which then leads to corruption going up.  The Western countries that imposed sanctions on us are causing the increase in corruption that we are experiencing Madam Speaker Ma’am.

                  When a country is on sanctions, it means it is prevented from doing business transparently and like I said, you are forced to do business otherwise.  Most of the business is done through middlemen, like I said, and this results in products being expensive.  Even the products that we have, in a sanctioned country, you are increasing poverty because now instead of getting a product in a straightforward route, we have to go through a rigmarole in order to get a product.  There are so many mark-ups on the way.

If a product was to come directly from England to Zimbabwe, it will have to go to a middleman in Saudi Arabia and pass through Kenya.  All those people will be putting their mark-ups because we are trying to bust our sanctions.  So the products that we get in our country end up being expensive.  What does that do, it increases corruption, what does it do inadvertently, it also leads to poverty.

In conclusion, this debate comes at an appropriate time when the UN rapporteur is within us.  We should try by all means to explain to her some of the effects of sanctions, what they have caused in our country.  They have caused poverty and more so the corruption that they keep on hitting on us to say, these countries are corrupt.  As I have said to you, all the most corrupt countries are under sanctions. Is that by coincidence?  No, it is not by coincidence, it is not by omission either but it is by commission from these countries that have extended illegal sanctions on us and many other poor countries.  I thank you.

HON. BUSHU: Thank you Madam Speaker Ma’am. Madam Speaker, I stand to add my voice to the debate relating to His Excellency the President’s State of the Nation Address.  My first observation is that we missed the President here in the august House, probably for the first time and this is the direct result of the responds to the COVID-19 pandemic, which has brought a lot of turmoil to our nation.  A lot of diversion of resources that could have gone to development, defence for the health of our people.  The COVID -19 virus is an indictment to mankind.

What I would like to say is that the President actually outlined a lot of our successes, which we all know.  Successes related to roads, successes related to the defence of our nation from the pandemic, the successes related to the handling of disasters that struck our nation like Cyclone Idai et cetera.  Also the successes related to the hunger that had struck our country because of the incessant droughts over a three-year period and the fact that our own people grew enough food to save the nation.  It is true because at every point whenever we met our people, they would be asking about food.  Now when we meet them, they would not ask about food.  They will ask about other things outside food, like roads, dams, ICT connectivity, which is a good thing.

When you look at what the President said in the past SONAs, you could actually see that Government has been following through their reporting to Parliament and Government has been showing us the roadmap as to where they are going.  I would like to thank the President for giving attention to detail and also for the unwavering movement or the unwavering straight road towards achieving the goals that have already been set by the Second Republic.

When you look at health, when you look at the word network, ICT network, you can actually see the successes that are there. Now as regards the legislative agenda, we have got 41 Bills that are going to come through Parliament in the Fifth Session and this says a lot about what we are supposed to do.  It says a lot about the need for commitment on the part of Members of Parliament. I say to myself, this much work and also the preparation for 2023 election is going to be a lot of hard work for Members of Parliament.  It is going to be a lot of hard work for Parliament because Members of Parliament need to push through this legislative agenda but also need to take care of the interests of their constituents.

There are two areas that I want to end with, that cannot be avoided.  The first one is corruption. I know Hon. Ndiweni went to town regarding this one but Madam Speaker, a lot resides in what the people are earning.  What is it that is causing people to ask for more? What is it that is causing people to ask for something before they can do anything?  When I look at the civil service, civil service salaries just have to be adjusted to the poverty datum line and upwards.  You cannot have a seniour officer in Government begging for school fees.  You cannot have a seniour officer in Government begging for bus fare. It is not right. We know Government is the largest employer and certainly this is something that we must look at when we are debating during the budget period.  We know that the President is committed to ensuring that life of all our people is enhanced and becomes better but this is an area that I think requires a lot of attention.

The other one is inflation, this is a big task.  The value of our money is being depreciated through inflation.  The value of our money is being depreciated through the exchange rate mechanism, both in black-market and in the pricing itself.  I cry because a lot of it is caused not by Government but by ordinary citizens of Zimbabwe.  We are saying, why can we not be patriotic enough, defend and support the Government position also in ensuring that the value of our Zimbabwe dollar that we are committed to remains stable?  As it stands right now, the value of the dollar continues to decline.  I am not sure this is caused by people who are outside the country.  If we look at it, it is people who are within.  Let us all work towards stabilizing our Zimbabwe dollar.  Let us work towards reducing the inflationary spiral that we are in.  I cry if I think of the times of 2007/8 when we lost control of what was happening.

The forex auction platform was very good.  It helped control the situation.  What is it that we really need?  As Parliamentarians and national citizens, we must ask ourselves what part we are going to play in ensuring that this scourge – I think this is the only scourge, together with corruption that we are left with.  Everything else, I think is on course but this requires our effort as the President indicated.

I would like to thank the President for being honest and forthright and for being the father figure who is encouraging us to continue pressing ahead and to be confident of our future and the fact that Zimbabwe still remains our only home and place to be proud of.  Thank you Madam Speaker.

HON. TOGAREPI:  I move that debate do now adjourn.

HON. TEKESHE:  I second.

Motion put and agreed to.

Debate to resume:  Thursday, 21st October, 2021.

On the motion of HON. TOGAREPI, seconded by HON. TEKESHE, the House adjourned at One Minute to Five o’clock p.m.     

 

 

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