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NATIONAL ASSEMBLY HANSARD 21 JUNE 2022 VOL 48 NO 55

 

PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE

Tuesday, 21st June, 2022

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

PRAYERS

(THE HON. SPEAKER in the Chair)

          THE HON. SPEAKER:  Hon. Members who are just coming in now, this is your House.  You should be here by five past two, this is your House, you must respect it.  Do not come after prayers.

ANNOUNCEMENTS BY THE HON. SPEAKER

PETITIONS RECEIVED FROM RESIDENTS COALITION FOR ELECTORAL REFORMS, MR. MICHAEL ZINYONI, ALICE KUVHEYA AND OTHERS AND THE GREATER HWANGE RESIDENTS TRUST

          THE HON. SPEAKER: I have to inform the House that on 10th June, 2022, Parliament received a petition from the Residents Coalition for Electoral Reforms beseeching Parliament to request the Registrar-General to decentralise the issuance of identity documents and repeal Statutory Instrument 225 (a) of 2020.  The petition has since been referred to the Portfolio Committee on Defence, Home Affairs and Security Services.

On 13th June, 2022, Parliament received another petition from Mr. Michael Zinyoni beseeching Parliament to amend the legislation pertaining to the registration of collecting societies in Zimbabwe for the benefit of copyright owners. The petition has since been referred to the Portfolio Committee on Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs.

Furthermore, on 14th June 2022, Parliament received another petition from Alice Kuvheya and Others, beseeching Parliament to amend the Education Act to allow the incorporation of the Constitution into the school teaching curriculum and its translation into all officially recognised languages.  The last has been done, it has been translated already.  The petition has since been referred to the Portfolio Committee on Primary and Secondary Education.

On 8th June 2022, Parliament of Zimbabwe received another petition from The Greater Hwange Residents Trust beseeching Parliament to inquire into the unsustainable coal mining practices that are causing underground fires in Hwange communities.  The petition has since been referred to the Portfolio Committee on Mines and Mining Development.

Hon. T. Mliswa having stood to present a one-minute statement.

THE HON. SPEAKER:  You did not register with me Hon. Mliswa

HON. T. MLISWA:  That is very true.

THE HON. SPEAKER:  You want to take advantage of me by ambushing me.  You may proceed.

HON. T. MLISWA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir and good afternoon to you and colleague Members of Parliament.

I want to take this opportunity to thank the panellists at the APNAC Zimbabwe Chapter Capacity Workshop held in Bulawayo for their presentations which were exceptional, informative and certainly refreshing and educating...

THE HON. SPEAKER:  May I intervene?

HON. T. MLISWA: Yes.

THE HON. SPEAKER:  Please take your seat.  I thought this would come under your report.  We need a comprehensive report.

HON. T. MLISWA:  I seek your indulgence.  Yes, Sir.

THE HON. SPEAKER:  Incorporate this in your report.

HON. MLISWA:  Thank you Sir. I stand guided. 

*HON. NYABANI: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  I have noticed that at all our wholesalers, they are now selling basic commodities at USD only.  You can no longer buy in bulk using our local currency.  I am requesting that the Minister of Industry and Commerce to look into this issue and make investigations whether these people are getting money from the auction system. They get USD at a cheaper price and poor people like us, the Nyabani’s have to go and buy in USD. All the wholesalers no longer allow one to buy using RTGS but they require USD.

*THE HON. SPEAKER: The Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Industry and Commerce is unfortunately not available. Acting Chief Whip, may you inform him to carry out investigations, not only at National Foods but at all wholesalers? All wholesalers should be investigated. Please do not forget. Thank you.

Hon. Nyabani, because this is a very urgent matter of national interest, instead of us waiting for investigations by the Committee, raise that tomorrow under question time because it is urgent. Thank you.

          MOTION

BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE

HON. MUTAMBISI: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. I move that Orders of the Day, Numbers 1 to 22 be stood over until Orders of the Day, Numbers 23 and 24 have been disposed of.

HON. TEKESHE: I second.

Motion put and agreed to.

MOTION

REPORT OF THE PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE ON YOUTH, SPORT, ARTS AND RECREATION ON THE STATE OF YOUTH CENTRES IN ZIMBABWE

HON. TONGOFA: Mr. Speaker Sir, I move the motion standing in my name that this House takes note of the Report of the Portfolio Committee on Youth, Sport, Arts and Recreation on the state of Youth Centres in Zimbabwe.

HON. CHIPATO: I second.

HON. TONGOFA: INTRODUCTION

Mr. Speaker Sir, youth participation is a critical socio-political and economic development issue. The 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda is anchored on leaving no one behind, especially the vulnerable groups such as the women and youth. Section 20 (b) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe exhorts institutions of government to take reasonable measures, including affirmative action programmes to ensure that youths have access and opportunities for recreational activities and facilities. The Zimbabwe National Development Strategy 1 (2021-2025) which is also aimed at attaining the objectives of Vision 2030 in line with the Constitution recognises the youths as “a valuable resource” which should be allowed to build and strengthen its own qualities to facilitate growth and flourishment into responsible citizens. One of its strategies is establishing institutional mechanism with the capacity to identify and nurture youth innovations. To this end, the government has established Youth Interact Centres to provide sporting training skills in areas such as tennis, hockey, cricket, darts, theatre and arts, among others. These Interact Centres were established to nurture young talent into career sportspersons, thereby reducing high unemployment levels.

It is against this background that the Committee on Youth, Sport, Arts and Recreation resolved to conduct an enquiry on the state of recreational and Youth Interact Centres in order to investigate and establish the challenges bedevilling development of these facilities and proffer recommendations that could create opportunities for sustainable development.  

OBJECTIVES

The key objectives of the enquiry were to:

  1. a) Validate the functionality of Youth Interact Centres, sport, arts and recreational facilities,
  2. b) Assess the state of facilities, equipment and establish whether young people were benefiting from these facilities;
  3. c) Verify whether land set aside for recreational facilities has not been used for other purposes; and
  4. d) Identify challenges being faced in maintaining the existing facilities with a view to make recommendations

METHODOLOGY

As part of the enquiry, the Committee undertook the following activities:

3.1    It received oral evidence from the Ministry of Youth, Sport and Recreation on Thursday, 18 March 2021 on the state of Youth Interact Centres and recreational facilities;

3.2 It also analysed written submissions from Leonard Cheshire Disability, and Youth Empowerment and Transformation Trust (YETT) on the non-functionality of the interactive centres;

3.3    It further conducted field visits to Youth Interact centres and recreational facilities from the 31st of October to the 6th of November 2021 as shown in Table 1 below:

Table 1: Youth Interact Centres visited by the Committee

DAY

PROVINCE

ACTIVITY

1 November 2021

Mutare

Mutare main recreational park

2 November 2021

Masvingo

Nemamwa Recreational Park

Masvingo Urban Vocational Training Centre

 

3 November 2021

Matabeleland South

Esigodini Recreational Centre

 

4 November 2021

 

Bulawayo

 

Sizinda Vocational Training Centre

 

5 November 2021

Bulawayo

 

Khumalo Hockey Stadium

6 November 2021

Midlands

Gweru Sports Club

 

  • COMMITTEE FINDINGS

4.1 Oral Evidence from the Ministry of Youth, Sport, Arts and Recreation

Dr T. Chitepo, the Permanent Secretary for Youth, Sport, Arts and Recreation, informed the Committee that in terms of Section 20 (1) (d) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe (Amendment No 20) 2013, stipulates that government at every level must take reasonable measures to ensure that youths have access to education, training, recreational activities and facilities. In order to promote youth empowerment and sport development, the Ministry established various interactive centres across the country where youths interact, showcase their talents, share ideas for learning and growth.

In Zimbabwe, interact centres are owned by the Ministry of Youth, Sport, Arts and Recreation and are governed through the National Youth Policy which provides a framework for the development and empowerment of youth through sport, arts and recreation. The Secretary further submitted that in terms of maintenance, her Ministry works in collaboration with local authorities through a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU). She also indicated that her Ministry is responsible for the establishment and management of all Youth Interact Centres in the country whilst local authorities owns the infrastructure.

In addition to the above, the Secretary informed the Committee that interact centers accommodate multi-disciplinary activities such as computers, gym, theatre, arts gazebo, darts and other sporting activities to assist young people to develop and nurture their talents while discovering the power of service above self. Example of interact centres include: Meikles-Park in Mutare, Nemamwa Recreational Park in Masvingo, Harare Gardens in Harare, Bulawayo Park in Bulawayo just to name a few. More-so, the Secretary informed the Committee that the Ministry was in the process of establishing new interact centres at Concession in Mashonaland Central and Jotsholo in Matabeleland South. Thus, the thrust of the initiative was to transform the sports and recreation sector into a viable industry sufficient to absorb the youth as a source of employment…

THE HON. SPEAKER: Did you say Jotsholo in Matabeleland South?  Jotsholo is in Matabeleland North.

HON. TONGOFA: Thank you for the correction Mr. Speaker Sir. It is in Matabeleland North.

4.2 FIELD VISITS TO YOUTH INTERACT CENTRES

4.2.1 Maintenance of Interact Centres

During the field visits to Youth Interact Centres, the Committee noted lack of maintenance of the facilities by the Ministry of Youth, Sport, Arts and Recreation and local authorities. Some of the existing structures had broken down and have not been repaired. The Committee also observed that there were no security personnel to constantly monitor and check the facilities at most of the recreational centres visited, thereby exposing them to vandalism and theft. Typical examples to note were at Ncema Interact Centre in Esigodini, where the perimeter fence of a tennis court was stolen, and at Nemamwa Recreational Park in Masvingo, where goal posts for the soccer ground and playground tyres were all stolen.  The Committee further noted that both at Alio Park in Mutare and at Nemamwa Recreational Park in Masvingo, grass and trees were growing unattended in places reserved for sport and recreation and thus, rendering the facilities unsafe for recreational purposes.

The Committee discovered that in centres where corporate entities were participating in maintenance programmes, the facilities were in good shape. During the tour of Meikles Park in Mutare, the Council Town Clerk Mr. T. Mutewa informed the Committee that “Meikles Park” was currently being maintained by Nyaradzo Holdings in partnership with the City Council. Although the Khumalo Hockey Stadium is a property of Bulawayo City Council, it was being maintained by the Hockey Committee which was using the facility while the Gweru Country Club was being maintained by the Executive Committee of Gweru Community Sports Club. The Committee however, noted that in spite of all the efforts being made by corporates and other stakeholders in maintaining these facilities, there were still challenges of water, ablution facilities, and security, among others.

4.2.2 Infrastructure and equipment

The Committee noted that most of the infrastructure at most Youth Interact Centres such as at community halls and recreational parks were obsolete since the facilities were constructed just after the attainment of Zimbabwe’s independence in 1980. Due to wear and tear, ablution facilities at Meikles Park in Mutare, Ncema Centre in Bulawayo and Ndlovu Interact Centre in Gweru were required to be replaced with new state of the art structures. The Committee also noted that the designs of these facilities are not suitable or user friendly to either artists or people with disabilities. Participants at Ncema Youth Interact Centre in Bulawayo, informed the Committee that 80 percent (%) of the community halls in Bulawayo were built in the 1960s before independence and they were not designed to accommodate people with disabilities.

The Committee further noted that 90% of the infrastructure and equipment at interact centres had deteriorated due to vandalism. For example, at Nemamwa Recreational Park, outdoor fitness equipment (arm wheel, air walker, sitting benches and sculptures) were broken before the centre was officially opened. In line with the above, the Committee toured Ncema Interact Centre in Bulawayo and noted that there were no lights in the arts theatre room and also the sound system for recording was no longer working.

Contrary to the above and on a more positive note, Members noted with appreciation that the Khumalo Hockey Stadium was a state-of-the-art hockey facility with internationally accepted standards. It had two playing fields namely; the main arena and the practice pitch. The Committee was informed that it was the only public stadium in Zimbabwe suitable for hosting international matches and was one of the best hockey stadia in the Southern region. However, the stadium needs a site office for the Hockey Association to facilitate regular maintenance and refurbishment of the facilities.

4.2.3Funding levels on Interact Centres

The Committee noted with concern that despite the Ministry of Youth, Sport, Arts and Recreation receiving ZWL$3.49 billion budgetary support from Treasury in 2020, only 2% of the budget was channeled towards interactive centres. Despite receiving devolution funds, local authorities were not paying attention to interact centres. A typical example is that of Masvingo Rural District Council which received a total ZWL$45 million from the devolution fund, but nothing was channeled towards interact centres, hence rendering these places less attractive to young people.  A case in point involves Nemamwa Recreational centre under Masvingo Rural District Council which did not have ablution facilities, administrative office, electricity, water and sewer connection since its establishment in 2019.

The Committee was also informed that the Ministry released the full total budget of $ZWL 240 000 required for the construction of a tennis court and a volley ball pitch at Ncema Interact Centre in Esigodini. It was further observed that all the materials required for the completion of the projects were bought in 2020. The Committee was however, dismayed to note that the projects were still at 50% completion since work had stopped in January 2021.

4.2.4 Accessibility of recreational facilities by young people

The field visits to recreational parks revealed the existence of an overwhelming demand for recreational facilities by young people. This was due to the fact that 80% of the youth population in Zimbabwe are not employed. Some are school drop-outs while others failed to come out with better results at Ordinary and at Advanced Level Education, hence they mainly rely on these interact centres to develop and nature their talents.

There was a general outcry by young people regarding the utilisation of interactive centres. Young people, particularly those in theatre and arts complained that they were unable to practice using these facilities due to high fees charged by local authorities.  Local authorities were charging an average of ZWL 1500 per day for use of the facilities. The youths at Masvingo Urban Vocational Training Centre informed the Committee that most of the community halls in various suburbs around Masvingo were no longer in existence except Charles Austin which was only accessible upon payment of ZW$1500 00 as service fee charge.

The Committee also learnt that in some areas such as Esigodini Interact Centre, there were no recreational and sporting facilities, hence depriving young people of their constitutional right to entertainment. In Manicaland Province, there were complaints from the youth that the only basketball pitch was no longer accessible to them since it was being used for skidding cars and the surface has been damaged. In Masvingo, the Committee witnessed that there were no rugby facilities despite having young talents who were doing well in that field of sport. 

4.3 Changes of use for land earmarked for Interact Centres

During the visits, the Committee discovered that the Mutare City Council had converted Chidzere and Chikanga recreational centres into vegetables markets without consulting the Ministry of Youth, Sport, Arts and Recreation. The Committee also noted the same trend in Masvingo where most of the community halls were now rented out for church services. In Bulawayo, it was noted that Hartsfield Sports Club was sold and converted into restaurant. In Gweru, the Music Academy which used to have studios popular to artists was now used as a kindergarten learning centre. 

4.4 Challenges being faced in maintaining these existing Youth Interact Centres.

The Committee noted that most of the challenges faced by local authorities in maintaining Youth Interact Centres were mainly due to negligence and lack of prioritisation and strategy as they perceived recreational centres as expenditure drivers rather than income generating projects.  The Committee further established that all recreational centres visited lacked expert groundsmen to maintain the surroundings. A case in point was that of Nemamwa Recreational Park which had neither deployed caretakers nor security officers to maintain the facilities. In addition, most of the recreational centres did not have reliable sources of water which is a critical resource for maintenance of recreational centres.

  1. COMMITTEE`S OBSERVATIONS

The Committee made the following observations:

  • The Committee observed that there is lack of collaboration between the Ministries of Youth, Sport, Arts and Recreation and Local Government and Public Works in terms of maintaining facilities at Interact Centres.
  • Local authorities generally make resolutions pertaining to the use and purpose of recreational facilities without consulting the key stakeholders. A good example is a situation whereby local authorities were prioritising churches in the use of community halls for church services at the expense of young people who were the intended beneficiaries of these facilities.
  • Although the Ministry of Youth, Sport, Arts and Recreation have structures at both provincial and district level, their officers were not visible on ground and were not effectively representing youths’ interests in local authorities.
  • The Committee further observed that most of the infrastructure and equipment in recreational centres was obsolete and in need of urgent refurbishment, a situation which is affecting sporting activities by the youths, thereby compromising their competencies.
  • The Committee observed that there is lack of supervision on projects currently undertaken by the Ministry of Youth, Sport, Arts and Recreation. For example, at Ncema Interact Centre, the construction of a tennis court and a volley ball pitch has since stopped in 2021 and the project was at 50% completion although the total budget of $ZWL 240 000 required for the whole project was released.
  • The Committee also observed that all the interact centres do not have facilities to cater for people living with disabilities.

6.0 RECOMMENDATIONS

The Committee made the following recommendations:

  • There is need for the Ministry of Youth, Sport, Arts and Recreation to consider financial investments through Public-Private Partnership for the purposes of upgrading and maintenance of Interact Centres by January 31st
  • The Ministry of Finance and Economic Development should allocate at least 20% of the total budget of Ministry of Youth, Sport, Arts and Recreation towards refurbishment and maintenance of the existing interact centres with effect from the 2023 National Budget.
  • Going forward, local authorities should desist from converting land set for Interact Centres for other purposes.
  • The Ministry of Finance and Economic Development should introduce tax incentives to corporates or companies which support the growth and development of interact centres in the country by 31st December 2022.
  • Local authorities must set aside at least 30% budget towards interact centres and also 15% from the devolution fund must be channelled towards youth interact centres by 31 December 2022.
  • The Ministry of Youth, Sport, Arts and Recreation should ensure that all interact centres have facilities which cater for people with disabilities by 31st December 2023.

7.0 CONCLUSION

The strategic importance of interact centres to the socio-economic transformation of Zimbabwe cannot be underestimated. Interact Centres are a resource that facilitates long-term benefits to the young people of varying communities. They help to equip youths with skills in various sporting disciplines and also in nurturing young talents into career sportspersons, thereby reducing high unemployment levels amongst the youths.  Closely linked to that, is the critical importance of recreational parks which provide a conducive environment for devoted coaches, teachers and staff members to interact, share ideas for learning and growth as well as talent showcasing and identification. Similarly, excellent interact centres attract better performance resulting in abundant socio-economic benefits such as employment creation and revenue generation, among others. Thus, there is an urgent need for a coordinated approach to the management of interact centres in Zimbabwe by the Ministry of Youth, Sport, Arts and Recreation and the Ministry of Local Government and Public Works. I thank you.

          *HON. CHIPATO:  Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  I want to add my voice on the report concerning our youths.  As a Committee, we went on tours and met a number of challenges that the youths are facing that we as the leadership, as a country, need to assist our children so that tomorrow they can be better adults. 

          Firstly, we witnessed young children  determined to progress in terms of their projects but their challenges were that they only have clothes and where they sleep but what they would want is for them to be empowered financially to embark on projects.    That can give them a source of livelihood for them to be able to look after their families tomorrow.  Each time they go to Empower Bank to access the funds, they are requested to produce proof of collateral but they do not have this except clothes. Our request is that as young people should be assisted in terms of financial inclusion. 

          The other issue was the percentage interest that is being charged is too high.  Most youths are eager to earn a living.  We further witnessed those who wanted to engage in sport.  For our children to be well behaved and to be better citizens, it is important for them to be availed an opportunity. 

          THE HON. SPEAKER:  Order, order, Hon. Members, please check your e-mail, that report has been circulated through your e-mail.  You can continue Hon. Chipato.

          *HON. CHIPATO:  I was saying that for the young people to be empowered and have a livelihood, we are requesting that they be assisted for example by way of training centres.    Most children are not privileged academically but if they go to training centres such as vocational training centres, they can improve themselves.  With these few words, thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. 

          (V)HON. SARUWAKA: Thank you Hon. Speaker Sir, for the opportunity.  I do not wish to repeat what my Chairperson has already raised but to use the opportunity to emphasise on the fact-finding visits that we carried out.  In general, the state of our Youth Interaction Centres throughout the country is deplorable, except for a few that have some form of corporate or private players’ intervention, as has been indicated by the Chairperson. 

          Our report has indicated that over 80% of our youths are unemployed formally.  It is your Committee’s submission that interact centres, if properly supported, will nurture and unleash the potential in our youths.  That can actually lead to economic benefit to the individuals and the nation at large.  Our country is abundant with artistic and sporting talents both visual and performing.  I become nostalgic Mr. Speaker Sir, if I read out the following names that lead and entertained the nation and the world at large.  Names like our comic Mutirowafanza, Baba Safirio Madzikatire were household names in the drama industry.  We have the Comic Pastor who has come up and we also had Gringo, we can talk of Tumbuka, Iyasa.  These are household names Mr. Speaker Sir, that came about as a result of an organised way of growing and promoting talent.  We have got T. Namate, I used to buy the newspaper Mr. Speaker Sir, just to look at the cartoons.

          We have great painters.  I was surprised when I was looking around to find the name of Jonathan Samukange, our Hon. Member who is also a good painter and we also have Fiola Masoni.  If we support interact centres, we have a factory for such talent.  If you go into music Mr. Speaker Sir, can we go into the story without talking of the great late hero Oliver Mtukudzi and our great musician Thomas Tafirenyika Mapfumo.  We also have Alick Macheso, Jah. Prayzah; so Zimbabwe has abundant talent.  

          Mr. Speaker Sir, just to dwell a bit on the potential from the Arts Industry; I was reading a month ago about a Marilyn Monroe print which was sold for a record breaking price of  US$195 million.  So, you can imagine if we have someone in Zimbabwe who does that and the impact of such monies in our general economy will be huge. So the issue of talent sleeping giant is what we need to tap into and we cannot do it without promoting these interact centres because these are the hubs where our youth can find space and the direction to explore their full potential.

          Mr. Speaker Sir, if you go to football , the likes of Peter Ndlovu and Moses Chunga, these are the names of those who have also managed to take care of their families using their talent and it must not just end with them. Currently, we have got Nakamba who is doing wonders in England and has also been investing in Bulawayo. The potential to which our talent would be fully developed can never be overemphasised such that we really need to focus on these interact centres and the sporting facilities because they are a gem if we are able to utilise and invest in them.

          I wish to say investment infrastructure development is vital for creating an enabling environment for our young people to excel. It was sad when we moved around that it would appear that most of the facilities were built pre-independence and very few were done after we attained our independence. That is a sad situation because we should have taken over from where the colonialists left us and improved them for our people. It would appear that the colonisers cared more for our youth in the ghettos than we are currently doing. What we saw Mr. Speaker Sir as we moved from province to province, from town to town and from interact centre to interact centre, it really looks like a country at war. What I can say is that we are moving through some spirits of Ukraine if you look at some of the interact centres which are so run down and dilapidated that no youth can go there.

          These places can only be used for underhand operations like drug abuse and such other activities that we shun as society. Our local authorities have not helped the situation at all as they have converted some of the interact centres to other uses. Like my Chairman has indicated that most halls are now leased to churches who apparently are not doing much about preaching  but appear to be using them for profit-making, they are now having these profits using our youth interact centres to the disadvantage of the youth who are the beneficiaries of these facilities. There is a good story to tell in this bad environment and this good story emanates from there.

          When we went to Gweru Sports Club, we saw a good chapter in a horror movie. We saw evidence of the resuscitation of cricket, rugby and other activities being played and the facilities resembling what we see in private sports. So the story of Gweru tells us that if possible we can do it. It is not beyond Zimbabwe to create facilities that can be functional.

          It was unfortunate when we went to Bulawayo that some of my fellow MPs did not see the wisdom in visiting Bulawayo Country Club. It is an excellent place for benchmarking purposes. It is run by private players and it is a place where I would want to encourage our Youth Ministry to go and take notes. We lose nothing by learning from those who are doing it well. So it is not good to shun the place because it is being frequented by whites. These whites are Zimbabweans and we must be happy to engage with them and interact.

          On recommendations, I still emphasise the need for Government and local councils to open up these facilities for private partnerships because it would appear that where we went and saw private players taking part, this is where we saw something happening. For example in Mutare, Nyaradzo is doing a great job at NICOZ. So we must open up those facilities to private players because they have resources to do things properly. We must come down hard on any local authority that converts recreational spaces for any other things. We were saddened to see at Ascot Stadium, the B-Arena is now a suburb. So where are the kids from that environment going to play and interact?

          It is sad and I also want to believe that we can do a lot better if any corporate that invests in youth interact centres develop sports facilities gets some tax incentives so that they are encouraged to invest more. Ultimately, the country benefits a lot for our youth to get engaged and have their talent develop. It will remove them from the problems of drug abuse because when they are idle they become a factory for bad behaviour. Idleness in our youths is now becoming the biggest threat to our youth because it opens them up to other bad behaviour because of lack of activity. I wish to say if we invest in Youth Interact Centres and sport facilities, we will not regret it. If there is low hanging fruit for Zimbabwe, I do not believe it is the mining sector. I do not even believe it is agriculture-centred. I believe that our youth have got enough talent to tag Zimbabwe out of its current problems if we invest in their training and the development of the talent they have, whether sport, music and arts and that is a sleeping giant we can awaken our wealth through investing in the youth.

          I also want to say by investing in the Youth Interact Centres, we record double victory in solving other social ills because problems of pregnancies, crime and drugs can disappear as a result of our youth being engaged with super functional good facilities. They can also contribute to the economy bringing real money. We have got people who have made it through the arts industry and we have got people in Zimbabwe who have made it through sport. It will be my encouragement that our Ministry of Youth and Sport really takes time to engage and interact with these former players and hear what advice they have because they have made it. They know the path they followed to get wherever they are. If you engage them you will hear a lot of them speaking about the lack of facilities. Let us listen to their word and I am sure Zimbabwe will be a better place for our youth. I thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.

          (v)HON. MADZIMURE:  Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  The motion speaks to the issue of our sporting facilities being dysfunctional across the board.  However, the development is at cross purposes with what is happening right now; the issue of drug abuse in our societies.  Mr. Speaker Sir, these facilities must be taking away our children out of the streets.  It is through these facilities that our children should expand their skills to the extent that when they finish playing, whether it is basketball, swimming, hockey, et cetera, these children will retreat to their homes to go and get a bath, have a decent meal and they rest.  Thereafter, they can start thinking about their homework.

          Mr. Speaker Sir, we must ensure that our sporting facilities are up to date.  I can commend sport as a booming business and this is evidenced from the fact that we now have soccer players who originated from Africa and are now playing in Europe.  They are coming back to their countries to invest.  A typical example is of Sadio Mane from Senegal who has now built stadiums and hospitals.  Even his transfers to other clubs are now influenced by the money that he would get so that he would pay back to his community.  Imagine a whole stadium and a whole hospital being built by one of our own children without any strings attached apart from making sure that here is something that I have developed for the community. 

Where is our biggest problem Mr. Speaker?  Our biggest problem is that at the policy making level, we are not placing that importance and understanding of what sport is.  We have the Sports and Recreation Commission, which at most times when we hear about it, it is all about soccer.  It is not about soccer only; it is about swimming, hockey, cricket, tennis, volleyball, netball, et cetera.  Mr. Speaker Sir, it must be wide enough to cover all those areas and put in place structures that manage those particular areas and make sure that the facilities that we have can accommodate our children. 

Mr. Speaker Sir, I can cite a typical example in my constituency.  In ward 36, we have got a big swimming pool in Mufakose where all the western suburbs have been using for a long time for educational and training purposes.  That facility does not need a lot of money because the pools are already there.  They are now being used by these apostolic sects to do “majorodani” instead of our children using those facilities to swim and make their names like what we have in the name of our Minister of Sport, Arts and Recreation, Hon. Coventry.  It is a huge swimming pool Mr. Speaker that does not need a lot of capital for it to be renovated and start functioning. 

We also have got people who have been invading sporting facilities including houses.  I recommend through you Mr. Speaker, that where we have such situations, those open spaces that were invaded, where houses were built must be returned.  Houses built there must be demolished because it is criminal for people to allocate open spaces meant for recreational facilities for residential purposes.  We have got a lot of land and people can build uprising flats.  We must reserve what is there for the future of our children.  We want our children to have sporting facilities.  Imagine what a swimming pool can do to the community.  You hear people screaming, shouting and ululating in support of the participants.  That takes away people from their homes and it also reduces domestic violence.  There is a lot that we benefit from sporting.  I am of the opinion that we are not doing enough and the Ministry is not doing enough.  Local authorities must have a strong policy and a budget to the development of sporting facilities and maintaining them.  It is one thing to have a sporting facility and it is also another thing to have functional facilities.

Mr. Speaker Sir, my other recommendation is also that the money that we get as sports levy must be enough to at least develop some of the facilities and maintain them.  It is us Members of Parliament who are at very close contact with the people who are in our constituencies and we know exactly what they need.  I think all the 260 Members of Parliament, if you ask them a question on the facilities that are needed in their constituencies, the first one is the sporting facilities.  So, it is important that we raise enough money such that we can invest in making sure that sporting facilities are maintained.

Lastly Mr. Speaker Sir, we cannot have a situation where a whole country of Zimbabwe does not have a stadium that is up to standard.  If we have not been booted out of the AFCON preliminaries and the league games, we will be travelling to Zambia to watch our own team.  Mr. Speaker Sir, this is not acceptable.  Rufaro Stadium can be easily renovated to match the international standards. 

Mr. Speaker Sir, I would want to say, the Committee did a fantastic job to expose the situation in the country as far as sport is concerned.  It is also important that the report is taken seriously by the Ministry and the response by ensuring that it gives timelines as to what it is going to do to make sure that we have facilities that are functional.  Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.

          HON. T. MLISWA:  Thank you very much Mr. Speaker for allowing me to contribute to the motion moved by Hon. Tongofa, seconded by Hon. Chipato.  It is a very critical subject because the youth are the heart of the nation.  They must be given the priority and attention they deserve.  This report, as in Section 32 of the Constitution, talks about the recreational facilities and sporting facilities which are around and the Constitution is very clear.  The Constitution is very clear; it says ‘they must’.  This is a must, so in a way, we have to be seen to be adhering to the Constitution so that we align with the SDGs of the world that we are part of.  Now, if we cannot respect our own Constitution, how then are we able to really be part of the global world because the global world requires you to follow the Constitution?  So, 32 is very clear. 

We have looked at interact centres and the question here is, what is an interact centre?  I saw that the Chairman kept on talking about it.  I do not know if Members in their constituencies are privy to an interact centre.  What is an interact centre?  Interact means, of course talking. They are talking in terms of what, sport, drug rehabilitation, avoiding drugs, what is it?  Are they meeting to interact while drinking beer or what?  Is it where artistes can equally meet and so forth?

          So to me, it is a deeper situation, which requires a deep thought and analysis in terms of what needs to be done.  About 60% of the population and over is the youth but where are they in terms of many issues?  We heard of a fact finding mission where they went to a number of places and I do applaud them for doing that because when you go on the ground, you are able to see a true picture of what is on the ground and so forth.  They came to this House to report on the true picture, which in a way is a bit gloomy but again it is not their fault but there also has to be an aspect of certain authorities which control these areas.  As the Chairperson, Hon. Tongofa was saying – he spoke about rural and urban authorities being key to the development of these areas and how serious they are in terms of doing that.  What are the councils doing in resolving that there must be recreational facilities in each ward, in each area, so that people participate?  You will see that the level of corruption has escalated to a point that people do not want even recreational facilities.  Recreational facility is taken away and there is residential development because people want to make money.

          Gweru Sports Club is a good example.  If I am not mistaken, they have resolved that it is turned into a residential place or some industrial place.  So where will people then participate in recreational facilities.  I used to play rugby at Gweru Sports Club.  There is tennis court, swimming and so forth.  In terms of the council, rather than raising enough funds to rehabilitate those facilities, they are busy in wanting to sell and resolutions are being made by corrupt people so that they make money.  So, who has the youth at interest, when local authorities themselves are not setting aside money to be able to rehabilitate those facilities?  It is going to cost more to build a new facility but common sense would allow somebody to raise money and rehabilitate the facility, than allowing them to die and build another centre.

          The population of Zimbabwe has increased.  How many new recreational facilities outside those built by Rhodesia are there? All these country clubs you see; the recreations you see are a result of Rhodesia having realised that recreation was critical for a man and woman’s body.  It helps your mind.  It helps in a number of issues and so forth.  So we must take stock and say how many recreational facilities have been built by local authorities with the land which is there. It is a Constitutional provision and who is against that Constitutional provision?  Where they have earmarked a school, they put housing there because they are making money.  On wetlands, they have done the same, they put housing.  You now see a scourge of drugs; who is responsible for these drugs?  It is the leaders of today, who have neglected their responsibilities to adhere to the provisions of the Constitution. 

          Why is the Portfolio Committee on Local Government not calling the councils to give a master plan?  When I got in as a legislator in Norton, I asked for the master plan of Norton.  It had been done; it has to be reviewed from time to time.  I implore all Members of Parliament to go to council and say can I see the master plan of this Constituency.  The master plan is able to give a way forward in terms of all the schools, where are the recreations and with the population growing, are we able to absorb this population from a housing perspective; from social amenities, which are critical.  When I talk about social amenities, I am talking about health centres, schools, recreational facilities. For as long as you are a legislator here and you have not asked for a master plan then you are going blind.  You must be able to ask for that and I asked for it.  I invited people from the University of Zimbabwe and now Norton has a master plan.  We have not yet reviewed the master plan.  When you see the master plan, where there is supposed to be a recreational facility and it is not there, you are able to say where is it?  Now you can bring in ZACC to be able to arrest people because the master plan is talking about a recreational facility but you have built houses.  So why do you build houses where it should be a recreational facility.

          There is drug disheartening all over – vana vanotamba kupi?  Imi makakura muchitamba, ko vano tamba kupi?  Because Havana kwekutambira, vanoputa mbanje, vava kutora guka, vava kutora madrugs ese, mutoriro vari kutora.  Tozoti a, icourge yemadrugs. Without realising that recreation is important for them to interact and we knew when we were growing up kuti mwana ari kutamba kwakati.  Vana mai nana baba vaitoziva kuti mwana anotamba nanhingi nanhingi, bhora ropera odzoka kumba.  But today, how do you take stock of your children when they have no recreation facility that you can say, uku tinofanira kunge tichienda tichinovaona ikoko.  Not only that, those recreational facilities were monitored by experts in sport, child care, zvese, even vana kucreche vanenge vachionekwa kuti vari kutamba sei, mabhora ariko…

          THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER (HON. MUTOMBA): Hon. Mliswa, may you use one language please?

          HON. T. MLISWA: So, to me these were structured in such a way that you would get – there was food.  This is where you would give your son or daughter $1.  With $1 they would get food, drink, water, everything because the council would be able to subsidise.  That is the key word, it is able to subsidise because it is getting rate payers’ money and because they have to explain; for ratepayer money they have to come up with a good package.  To me that is not happening.  Not only that, those facilities are income generating facilities.  Weddings were held there, churches can be there, conventions, my fellow colleagues who belong to political parties here, can do rallies there.  You can pay, they are not interested in which political party you belong.  What they are interested is in you paying your money.  That money goes to council, it is able to now assist that club to sustain itself.  Without you ploughing back, it becomes a problem.  So there is now a way of having funding.  The balls are there.  Not only that, it has an effect on the national sporting agenda.  We are dismally performing in all sports, why, because there are no centres.  Cricket, if you go to the West Indies, they play cricket on the beach.  We have never heard that they sold the beach. There is Bryan Lara and Viv Richards, if you know of cricket.  The great legends of cricket were playing on the beach.   That is how they learn cricket, that is in West Indies.  Where are we in terms of our own people?  You go to the rural areas, they go to the schools, you see them playing football.  Vofudza mombe, but varikutamba bhora, umwe arikunoona mombe and so on.  Sorry Mr. Speaker Sir, I need to come from time to time.  There are times when I go to English and then Shona but English becomes the key language.  So to me, we need to really understand all these issues.  We spoke about the corporate social responsibility. Hon. Members here, you have got companies in your constituencies, how much are they contributing to the constituency in terms of corporate social responsibility?  How many clubs have they built, how many schools have they built, how many clinics have they built? Surely, there is no Member of Parliament who is excited about being given fuel to get around yet at the end of the day you are getting around - for what?

It is there in the Constitution, Section 13 (4) of the Constitution talks about your local resources being the ones that you used to empower your people.  Why are you not using that provision?  Surely, no one should come and tell you. We have the Constitution, we make laws, that is why people are saying Zimbabwe is good at making laws but they never implement the laws.  Section 13 (4), zvinhu zviri munzvimbo imomo hupfumi hwevanhu vari imomo, and that is it.  Go to every company and say how much are you putting into this area to grow?

          So, corporate social responsibility - they do it willy-nilly, they are not serious, they are fake companies who have not done anything to grow this country.  They are taking out more than they are ploughing back.  In that aspect, I regret the suspension or the repeal of the Indigenisation Act which was 49% to the majority, 10% was to the locals, 10% to the workers, 31% was to the Sovereign Wealth Fund which in case of emergency, where there is COVID, can be utilised.   Today how much has the Sovereign Wealth Fund got?

          I am talking about laws which had been there which were good - were taken out; we were hoodwinked by the foreigners saying no, 41-59% is too much.  We relaxed it, how much foreign direct investment has come in after we repealed this?  It is our people who are poorer because we removed a law which empowered the people.

          The late former President R.G Mugabe was critical and was serious about the empowerment of the people, may his soul rest in peace.  We were given farms, he then said let us go for these companies, we did it.  He fought for this country to be empowered. 

          We have lost the economic emancipation of this country through wanting to appease the foreigners at the expense of our people. This is emotional.  How then do you explain to generations to come that the country is ours with nothing tangible?  The youths are now abusing drugs.  We need to revisit our laws; we need to be serious if we are true legislators.  We need to stop being whipped at the demise of people suffering - they will not bring you back.  I pray that any leader or legislator who believes in being whipped and not representing the people, may God do what he has to do and may the ancestors of our country make you to suffer because when you were in power, you made people suffer.  You went before the people and said I will represent you.  Are you representing the people?

          The Khumalo, hockey stadium, state of the art, I am glad that the Chairman talked about it.  The reason, hockey is being played but Mr. Speaker Sir; why not use that as an international stadium for SADC tournaments?  You need to have a swimming pool to swim; you need to find a swimming pool.  So we do not need to be playing hockey for people to find a good hockey stadium here – that is state of the art.  I am glad that Bulawayo with the little resources it gets sets the example.  They are marginalized in many ways but they have maintained it.  Go to Chitungwiza to the Aquatic Complex; go to the National Sports Stadium, avemarara but Bulawayo and the people of Matabeleland must be applauded for maintaining this stadium because it is totally opposite to what is happening in Harare and Chitungwiza.  Let it be put out there to the nation, to all countries as a stadium that they can come and be able to do that where they can visit the city of queens and kings where you will see the most beautiful women, light skinned, that is our country – that is important.

          I want to also talk about the disabled; we have been talking about the disabled here and we talk about it when it suits us.  It is not on the agenda.  What have we done about the disabled? Where are the disabled people’s sporting facilities? There must be a hockey stadium for the disabled, a football stadium for the disabled.  It is not a choice to be disabled; that is the way that God has made it. They are over a million 10 to 15% of the population.  Should we honestly remind each other that there must be a toilet, way, car for the disabled? Why are we letting God down? Which God do we pray to?

          At Danhiko, you could show a lot about the former First Lady but I do not want to talk about the bad, she used to do something at Danhiko for sport.  So I am not about looking at what bad people do, I am different, I look at what good they do.  So who is sustaining those sporting activities there?  She used to do it and it was important from a national point of view, Danhiko would be there.  The late President R.G. Mugabe would be there, pulled by the wife that these are our orphans, let us take care of them.  So, what are we doing now to ensure that the orphans are taken care of?  Right now, they are crying, there is no one to help them.  You ladies are here, Women’s Caucus; why not caucus with the First Lady to continue with that programme?  Who is stopping you? You are being whipped again, you are afraid to talk to the First Lady?  If I speak, you say ah atuka vakuru!  No, I will keep on telling the truth; when things are not good, they are not good.  We will not mince our words.  The Executive must be able to act in terms of disbursement of money.

Finally, the information centres for Members of Parliament; those could be a conduit to doing a lot.  May it be a law that a Member of Parliament is given four hectares, not under any Hon. Member’s name but under Parliament so that anybody who goes into office, people make use of that area.  Four hectares are there, it is a centre   with everything, why are we not being given money for that? 

          We have passed the budgets here, we have not received the information centres, and we are going towards the elections.  So whatever we have passed in this House, 30% has been disbursed, so how can you say you are a nation moving forward? How can you curb corruption? Without resources, you are wasting time. We burn midnight candles here to pass the budget but 30% is given.  So, how can the Minister even come for a supplementary budget when he did not disburse all the moneys? 

          Corruption is on the rise because of 30% disbursement. Hon Porusingazi for example is given insufficient coupons to go to his constituency in Chipinge, he will be forced to ferry people along the way to supplement his fuel.  We are at a threat from a security point of view because of poverty, because of the non-delivery of the budget in this country.  For as long as the budget we pass here, money is not disbursed on time, it is a problem and people will continue to suffer.  May those that were given the gift by God to say the truth, say the truth without fear or favour, may that spirit of people being true legislators speak and may that spirit of whipping and being intimidated come to end.  It is about time you get up and represent people.  I thank you.

           *HON. RAIDZA: Thank you Mr. Speaker.  I want to thank you for the opportunity that you have given me to support this report that was tabled by Hon. Tongofa, seconded by Hon. Chipato.  The issue that they raised is very important, and is pertinent for our country as well.  In order for us to be a nation, we need to consider our youth and their future as well.  So the work that was done by the Committee as it went on tours to assess the recreational facilities in different areas for various sports was important.  What the Committee witnessed is the case in all the other areas that they were not privileged to go to, especially in Mberengwa East Constituency.

          Mr. Speaker Sir, this is a matter that requires us to work together so that we preserve the future of our children for sustainability.  As a country, our young people are now abusing drugs and that is leading them into so many challenges.  When the issue of recreational facilities was initiated, it was because it was important in bringing up well-mannered youth in the society.  This initiative must be taken up.  We need to ensure that the future of our youth is preserved so that our country can have well-mannered good leaders with sound minds, and educated leaders who have grown up in a good society.  Some of the things that we have heard are sorrowful Mr. Speaker.

          Some of the planning that was done for particular cities, some areas were reserved for recreational purposes or even if you were to travel to other areas, the high density suburbs where most people stay, there are areas whereby the recreational facilities are not in place. The grounds were left for them to engage in recreational activities but you find that those areas are no longer available.  The absence of such areas is all because of the corrupt individuals, especially those who are voted into office as councillors.  Instead of making sure they preserve these lands, that is where we hear of them being selfish and forgetting about the youths, and from the media, we hear that such areas where children used to engage in recreational activities, they end up allocating residential stands to people, and these are not given to people for free but people have to buy them as stands.

          This is corruption Mr. Speaker, and this is a matter that has been raised. We expect the Government to look into it and investigate so that the corrupt individuals can be interrogated because they are destroying the livelihoods of our children as well as sustainability.  People now are more concerned about money forgetting about the future of our children.  They do not have foresight as well. So it is one issue that we need to consider that is happening in the local councils.  We are saying that such areas left for recreational purposes should be left as they are so that children can be able to engage in different sporting activities such as soccer, netball, and other things so that they do not lie idle and end up abusing drugs.  They are engaging in drugs because there are no recreational facilities for them.

          Mr. Speaker, if we are to look at the outlook of other areas that are there, we will find that as outlined in the report, there is a lot of work that needs to be done for face-lifting such areas.  We know that other countries have reasons for failure to assist in terms of corporate social responsibility but we want to urge companies that they need the young people to be brought up and be well groomed so that they can work in those companies.  So I want to promote the issues of the triple Ps, that is public-private-partnerships, and we request that these private players also partner with the Government in face-lifting these recreational areas because we want to assist the youth of Zimbabwe.  We thank you Mr. Speaker because the report has come in at the right time, and as leaders, we need to come up with measures as to how we can assist our youth so that they do not engage in drug abuse.

          The other thing that I want to urge the Ministry of Youth, Sport, Arts and Recreation is that these centres can create opportunities for youths to be self-sustainable.  What is of note is that the structures are no longer in place to assist the youths.  We have heard that even the grounds-men who are there to maintain the area are no longer there.  So we need to ensure that we address the issue of coming up with structures that enable the youth to get money.  They can also hire out these facilities to raise money, and we can preserve such areas to ensure that at the end of the day, we protect our youth because our future is in the hands of our youth that we see today.  I thank you Mr. Speaker for giving me this opportunity.

          HON. KASHIRI:  Thank you Hon. Speaker Sir, for giving me this opportunity to add my voice to the report that was presented by the Chairperson of the Committee on Sports and Youth. Hon. Speaker, most of the things have been said by the previous speakers.  What I just need to do is to pose a couple of questions to ourselves as Hon. Members. We have identified the problems within the centres but as Parliament, did we allocate enough funds to these centres?  Did we allocate money for the centres to look after themselves? It will be remiss for us to keep talking about lack of resources and the running down of centres when we have not supplied them with the requisite resources.

It is my thinking that we need to identify projects for each and every centre in every province whereby our youths can get a project to sustain their centres.  For example, I will speak about Magunje Constituency, we have an irrigation scheme at Magunje Centre and we also have a centre for the youths there, it is hardly financed. If we were to allocate 1 acre stand in that particular irrigation, I will produce enough resource to support the centre and other facilities on the centre.

As we go forward, every region has its own comparative advantages. In Matabeleland North and South, there is somewhere that we can pick up a project for each particular centre Hon. Speaker Sir and this will go a long way in looking after these youths.  The youths are our future, if we do not support them, who is going to support them Hon. Speaker Sir?  I do not have much to say, I just wanted to share that kind of thought with the Hon. Members, I thank you. 

 (v)+HON. S. NDLOVU: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir for giving me this opportunity to deliberate on the report which is before the House regarding recreational facilities for young people which was moved by Hon. Tongofa.  This is quite an emotional report in that Zimbabwe was endowed with different recreational facilities before independence and young people could engage in different sporting activities in halls, stadiums, swimming pools and other amenities.  However, such facilities have deteriorated after independence and they are in a deplorable state.

Mr. Speaker Sir, we are not seeing any effort being taken to make amends, in that regard, I would like to implore the Government to take action.  Young people are slowly degenerating into a normless society where you find young people engaging in different illicit activities like drug and alcohol abuse.  The only activity which we find our young people engaging in is the slug, these are found in shopping centres and such facilities are exposing young people to alcohol, drugs, marijuana which has calumniated in our young people being continually intoxicated.  I would therefore like to propose that we converge as Hon. Members to map a way forward for posterity, in the upcoming Parliament. I would then suggest that for the 210 constituencies, Hon. Members should be empowered with their constituency development fund to rehabilitate recreational facilities all over the country.  If we do that, then our young people would have proper recreational facilities which will in turn take them away from the streets as they participate in constructive activities, from drugs, alcohol and other vices to swimming pools, soccer pitches and halls. 

Our young people are very talented but they do not have the right platform where they can demonstrate their creativity. Mr. Speaker Sir, I believe that recreational facilities do not need much capital but a small budget can make a difference.  Our halls are not user friendly to the disabled. Funds permitting, then the CDF would resuscitate sporting facilities which will culminate in user friendly halls for the disabled who use chairs and other aids.  This is a passionate issue to different Members of Parliament. It is our desire as Hon. Members to have a neutral platform outside this august House where we can deliberate on these issues for the sake of our young people who are the future leaders of our nation.  We will not be here in the near future and our young people need to be sober people who will take over the leadership of our nation. We need to stand together and speak with one voice as we fix the broken down sporting and creational facilities.  Our young people are spending most of their time seated on bridges watching pornography as groups and doing other illegal activities. 

I would therefore implore this august House to capacitate Members of Parliament so that this issue is dealt with forthwith. 

HON. MAVETERA: Thank you very much Hon. Speaker, I thought I could also add my voice to this very important report by the Portfolio Committee of Youth.  Hon. Speaker Sir, I just have a few issues that I thought we could also add to making sure that at least when we talk about youth issues they can be addressed very well.

It is quite important for us to look at the budget that we bring forth, especially here in Parliament for the youth.  I have noticed that a lot of times you will come to realise that when we speak about the youth budget - we have got a youth bulge in the country and also when it comes to the demographic dividend, the youths constitute 67% of the population.  I think this is quite important that we need to then be able to look at it and also find out that when we are talking about the budget, it also has to be reflected because of this demographic dividend.

Hon. Speaker Sir, if you look at the state of the interact centres, it needs for us as a country, to at least have a flagship interact centre that we have to put forth which will be able to make sure that any young person who is supposed to then be able to benefit from these interact centres can be able to actually go there.  I know we have decentralised them but I think it is quite important for us, just like what His Excellency Dr. E. D. Mnangagwa is talking about whereby we have got a flagship school which is a model school.

I also feel it is quite important for us to have a model interact centre whereby we are going to look for a budget which will go forth to make sure that at least we have got one interact centre which will be recognised that this is one of the best interact centres and whenever we need to then be able to renovate, when we need to then be able to also revamp these interact centres we will be looking forward to one which has done well.  I think this is quite important for young people to feel that they can also be part of the interact centres and for young people to also feel that at least it is something which is quite modern.

I feel that the modernisation of interact centres like what the Portfolio Committee said is very important.  The moment that we do not look at us modenising these interact centres, it only means that we are investing, but the young people will not feel that at least they can be able to associate themselves with these.  I think this is quite important for us to go forward.

On the youth budget Mr. Speaker sir, I think we need to get to a point whereby we need to make sure that at least the youth budget really becomes meaningful.  I am being honest with you Mr. Speaker Sir.  Every time when we come to budget time we are here debating about the budget for the youth and I know a lot of times that we speak about this Hon. Mthuli Ncube, our Minister of Finance and Economic Development always says that the youth budget resides in other ministries.  So now, what we are calling upon is that at least since it resides in ministries, we need to be quite clear to say each and every Ministry has to be allocated a portion of the youth.  Let me thank this New Dispensation which has brought about the invention of youth desks.  So it means that we have got a youth desk which is in each Ministry.  It also then entails a budget which will go towards this so that at least we can have modernization and we can then be able to effectively look at youth issues. 

Mr. Speaker Sir, let me also speak of the issue of the Zimbabwe Youth Council.  Let me applaud the Ministry for appointing, at least we now have got a youth chair who is also a female.  Let me applaud the Ministry for also choosing a female candidate to be a Zimbabwe Youth Council chairperson.  We had talked a lot of times about the Zimbabwe Youth Council and we are happy that now we have got female representation and we have got a woman who is also representing the youth of Zimbabwe.  So for us, we feel that it is quite a great honour and indeed when we see this happening, it also means that we are also acknowledging what young people and what the youth are doing, especially the women.  Let me thank the Ministry of Youth, Sport, Arts and Recreation for doing that.  However, there is still the issue that it has not been fully constituted.  If it comes to the issue of these interact centres, if we have elected or if we have appointed all these other sectors which are agriculture, mining, which are sectors which are supposed to then constitute this board, it means that they have got now greater emphasis on looking at these interact centres so that at least now, in line with NDS1, we have got the three pillars of NDS1 which are agriculture, mining and of course tourism.  So it means that all these will also be able to feed into making sure that the interact centres will be able to speak into NDS1.  We have had a challenge of us making sure that at least it is quite important for us as a country going forward.  For us to achieve Vision 2030, it is quite important that we are able to make sure that all these programmes can then be able to interlink.  All these programmes, we will be able to make sure that they can then be fused in so that at least we can then be able to move forward. However, let me be able to applaud the recognition that we have got when it comes to the issues of arts.

Let me go on and say it is quite important for us again to also be having even studios.  I have spoken about this a lot of times but let me appreciate that now within the last budget we had $100 million which was supposed to go to the people that are supposed to be into arts and people that are also supposed to be into media.  I think this is something that we need to applaud.,   When I look at the interact centres, they  are skewed towards making sure that at least we have got the arts also going there, but we  need studios in these interact centres.  It would be good for us when we look especially on the budget to make sure that at least we have got a studio, be it an arts studio, it would be good. 

You know Hon. Speaker, I was once an actress and because of that, I know what it means when it comes to the value which is in one being able to get on the limelight and involve themselves in media.  You get this exposure, you get this confidence.  We have got a lot of young women, young men who are out there who have got a lot of talent.  What we want is capacity and I am very happy that we have got this $100 million which was set aside.  We want now to also go to these interact centres so that we can get studios which we can then find young people also going there involving themselves in drama.

Mr. Speaker Sir, let me be honest with you, everyone in here especially politicians, most of them are actors and actresses.  So I think they should be able to also make sure that when they talk within this Parliament they speak of making sure that we promote the actors and actresses of this country.  If you look at the entertainment that they are getting right now, most of it is coming from actors and actresses.  I am being honest with you.  Some people may not know they are MPs but people who are acting in Zimbabwe, people who are actors and actresses, they know them.  That is one thing we should understand.  So there is great need for us to make sure that we set up studios, we set up a model which will make sure that the interact centres become very effective, but I am very happy and I really want to thank the Portfolio Committee on Youth.  It had to go out of its way to make sure that at least they come up with a very good report which they came with today so that we can really speak about the youth issues.

Let me say I am quite happy that now we, as a Parliament, are speaking about youth issues, which I think we need to really applaud.  Hon. Speaker Sir, let me take this opportunity to thank this Parliament for  we are now seeing a lot of youth issues coming through and   certain issues which are burning, but however the final issue before I sit Hon. Speaker, is that of the Youth Bill.  I think the Hon. Minister of Youth said that it is now at the Attorney General’s office and I am very happy that His Excellency, Dr. E. D. Mnangagwa also spoke about it that there is need for us to conclude on that Bill.  We are waiting for that Bill as young people, unfortunately now I am 36 years old and no longer a youth but I am very happy that during the time that I was a youth, I really would speak about the issues of the youth.  I am still a bit youthful, so I am sure I can still speak about the youth but we want a conclusion on the Bill so that now we can see a lot of young people also benefitting from all the provisions contained in the Bill.  We are kindly asking from the Hon. Minister, Hon. Kirsty Coventry – I am very happy that she is a very energetic young woman who is doing very well for the country of Zimbabwe. 

We are happy that recently we had a Junior Parliament which was well attended.  There were a lot of young people out there and we are happy that we also had a gender balance.  I know that a lot of men always argue to say, why is it that when you talk of gender balance, it is only to women but now we are happy that it is also men and women.  We are happy that we had Hazel who was differently abled and she managed to make sure that she finished her term.  Now we have Unathi from Bulawayo and that balance is very important for us going forward as a country.  We are grateful that we have a male candidate now so that it also helps us as a country; I know people vote for it but it helps us so that everyone is included.  His Excellency said that “nyika inovakwa nevene vayo.”  So if the country is built by its citizens, everyone should participate in building the country. So everyone is important.  We are happy that even Amai, Her Excellency Amai Mnangagwa also has an all-inclusive agenda which takes everyone on board.  I think when we do this, that is how we can be able to make sure that we go forward as a country.  Thank you very much the Portfolio Committee on Youth and I think all the Hon. Members who went there, thank you very much for also valuing the issues of the youth.  I thank you.

(v)HON. MAGO: Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank our Chairperson, Hon. Tongofa for presenting our report on the state of youth centres in Zimbabwe.  I would like to thank Hon. Chipato for seconding.  Mr. Speaker, youth centres are not being taken seriously out there as recreational or infrastructural synergies are not seen as important.  It should be noted that youth are busy bodies. When they are left idle they tend to indulge in things like drugs and alcohol abuse and even making babies when there is no training and there are no resources to look after their babies and then we end up with yet another problem of baby dumping and street kids.  The Ministry of Youth, Sport, Arts and Recreation needs to be provided with adequate funding, especially for youth recreation. 

Existing facilities need to be maintained and secured to remain in good shape.  The current state that they are in now, they will surely remain places for drug activity by the youths and most painfully, school going children.  At Nemamwa in Masvingo, there is a very vibrant athletic club but they do not have the grounds or facilities to do their activities.  At one time they had to use Mashava as their home ground, 70 kms away, hence expensive to run for a rural club, with little funding or sponsorship.  There is a facility in Mutare which is a joint venture between council, businessmen and Nyaradzo Funeral Services.  Such good effort is encouraged and councils around the country should try and emulate that.

Generally, the youth felt neglected, they stressed that councils do not consider their issues at all.  All they are concentrating on are issues related to making money.  Councils should desist from the habit of fleecing out facilities that should benefit the youth, especially churches.  Yes Mr. Speaker, churches should not be ignored as they help in giving direction to our youth but they should be offered places that do not prejudice the rightful people to utilise their designated areas. 

As already alluded to, most facilities we toured have no provisions for people with disabilities, and this cannot be over-emphasised.  Lastly, when local authorities do their budgets, we hear them talk about so much money having been allocated for recreational facilities and wonder what happens on implementation.  I thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.

HON. TONGOFA: Hon. Speaker Sir, I move that the debate do now adjourn.

HON. NDUNA: I second.

Motion put and agreed to.

Debate to resume: Wednesday, 22nd June, 2022.

MOTION

BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE

THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  I move that all Orders of the Day and notices of motions for today be stood over until the notice of presentation of Bill is disposed of.

Motion put and agreed to.

FIRST READING

JUDICIAL LAWS AMENDMENT BILL [H. B. 3: 2022.] 

THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI) presented the… – [AN HON. MEMBER: Not audible, we are not hearing him] – Let them come to the House, we are no longer prohibiting Members to come to the House Mr. Speaker Sir, I cannot strain myself.  I think an announcement has been made that people can now come into the House.  Mr. Speaker Sir, – [AN HON. MEMBER: We cannot hear] – come into the House… 

THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER (HON. MAVETERA): Hon. Minister, may you please connect.

HON. ZIYAMBI: Madam Speaker, I do not think there is any need to connect.  An announcement was made that everyone must come into the House.  I cannot be laboured by people who do not want to do Parliament Business whilst they are somewhere, they must come to the House.

FIRST READING

JUDICIAL LAWS AMENDEMENT BILL [H. B. 3, 2022]

THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI) presented the Judicial Laws Amendment Bill [H. B. 3, 2022].

          Bill read the first time.

          Bill referred to the Parliamentary Legal Committee.

MOTION

BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE

THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): I move that Orders of the Day, Numbers 1 to 20 on today’s Order Paper be stood over until Order of the Day Number 21 has been disposed of.

Motion put and agreed to.

MOTION

REPORT OF THE PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE ON INFORMATION, MEDIA AND BROADCASTING SERVICES ON ZIMBABWE DIGITAL MIGRATION PROJECT

          HON. MOKONE: I move the motion standing in my name, that this House takes note of the report of the Portfolio Committee on Information, Media and Broadcasting Services on Zimbabwe Digital Migration Project.

          HON. SHAMU: I second.

          HON. MOKONE:

1.0. Introduction

1.1. The call by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) required that all states in the Southern region completely migrate from analogue to digital broadcasting by June 2015. In an effort to comply with the ITU requirements and improve the broadcasting environment, the Government of Zimbabwe embarked on the Digital Migration Project, with the aim of digitalising the whole broadcasting chain from the studios to the transmission equipment.  The project commenced in 2015 and was expected to be completed in 2017. Pursuant to its oversight function, the Portfolio Committee on Information, Media and Broadcasting Services conducted an inquiry into the progress made towards the Zimbabwe Digital Migration Project. To that end, this report provides highlights of the Committee’s findings, observations and recommendations with respect to the progress made on the Zimbabwe Digital Migration project. 

2.0 Objectives 

2.1 To assess progress made towards the completion of the Zimbabwe Digital Migration Project; 

2.2 Assess the state of the transmission sites in view of the Community Radio Stations and the 6 television players which are coming on board;

2.3 Have an understanding of the challenges being faced in completion of the project; and

2.4 Offer recommendation for speeding up the completion of the project.

3.0 Methodology 

3.1 The Committee held oral evidence sessions on the progress made on Zimbabwe Digital Migration Project with the following institutions: Ministry of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services; Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe (BAZ); Transmedia Corporation (Pvt) Ltd; and Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC).

3.2 In a bid to assess the progress made towards the completion of the digitization project, the Committee conducted verification visits to transmission sites in Kotwa, Harare, Gwanda, Bulawayo and Kamativi, Hwange.

4.0 Committee’s Findings

4.1 Background of the Digitisation Project in Zimbabwe

4.1.1 The Committee was informed that the process of digitisation started in 2006 during the regional conference held in Geneva with the International Telecommunication Union (ITU). An agreement was signed in Geneva (GE06) heralding the roadmap for the migration of television broadcasting from Analogue to Digital. It was submitted that ITU members of states in the Southern Africa region were expected to complete the migration by June 2015, Zimbabwe having commenced in 2015, it was expected to complete in 2017. At the time of the Committee’s enquiry, the project was 43% complete. The Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe (BAZ) Acting Chief Executive Officer (CEO) highlighted that the migration to digital television comes with a number of advantages, amongst them were more television channels, better picture and audio quality, high-definition television supported and efficient spectrum utilisation.

4.2 Progress on Analogue to Digital Migration

4.2.1 During an oral evidence session with BAZ, Transmedia and ZBC it was submitted that eighteen (18) out of the forty-eight (48) sites were digital-ready. The Permanent Secretary informed the Committee that fourteen (14) new transmission towers were completed and were awaiting equipment installation whereas four (4) transmission towers were at different stages of construction. It was further submitted that seven (7) transmission towers were to be decommissioned and no construction work was commenced on six (6) new identified sites. It was highlighted that five (5) out of twenty-four (24) radio sites were digitally installed.

4.2.3 The Committee was informed that the digital signal was to be received through Digital Terrestrial Television (DTT) on the eighteen (18) sites and Direct-to-Home (DTH) for the rest of the country. Additionally, it was highlighted that two (2) live uplink terminals which relay the digital signals to the satellite were installed, the main one in Harare and the backup in Bulawayo. 

4.2.4 Digital Television Reception Equipment

4.2.4.1 The Acting CEO, submitted that for one to receive Digital TV services in Zimbabwe, the following reception equipment was required:

  • Option 1: Digital or Integrated TV and an Ultra High Frequency (UHF) antenna/ Aerial pointing to the nearest digital TV transmitter site.
  • Option 2: Analog TV, Set Top Box (Digital Terrestrial TV decoder) and UHF Antenna/ Aerial pointing to the nearest digital TV transmitter site.
  • Option 3: Digital/ Integrated TV set with a digital satellite TV tuner and a satellite dish pointing to Eutelsat 7B, the satellite used for signal distribution in Zimbabwe. This is the same satellite Kwese TV used to use; so former Kwese TV viewers may need little or no dish tuning at all.
  • Option 4: Analogy TV, satellite dish pointing to Eutelsat 7B and free to air Digital Satellite TV decoder.

4.3 Status of Funding of the Project 

4.3.1 The Zimbabwe Digital Migration Project is funded by the Government of Zimbabwe and initially the project was costing US$175,000,000 and after rescoping the project, the amount was reduced to US$145,000,000. The Committee was informed that funds were allocated towards the project since commencement in 2015 as shown in the table below:

Year

                     

Amount

 Amount

Disbursed by

Disbursed to

 

USD

ZWL

 

 

2015

     4,986,301.37 

 

Interest Accrued

BAZ

2015

  14,629,456.95 

 

RBZ T/Bills

Huawei

2015

  13,139,460.00 

 

RBZ T/Bills

BAZ

2016

  16,207,595.64 

 

RBZ

BAZ

2017

     5,000,000.00 

 

RBZ/MIP

Huawei

2018

  10,000,000.00 

 

MIP

BAZ

2018

         582,000.00 

 

MIP

BAZ

2019

 

       35,738,000.00 

MIP

BAZ

2020

 

     199,400,000.00 

MIP

BAZ

2021

 

     300,778,000.00 

MIP

BAZ

 

Key: Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe (BAZ), Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Treasury Bills (RBZ), Ministry of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services (MIP) Table 1: showing the amount disbursed from 2015 to 2020.

 

          4.3.2 The Committee was informed that the Project was initially allocated ZWL $684,682,000 for the 2021 financial year by Treasury and the allocation was further increased by ZWL $ 213 million. From this budget allocation, ZWL$300,778,000.00 was disbursed to the Project with the balance of ZWL$596,904,000.00 still expected to be disbursed before the end of 2021. It was submitted that US$71,360,059.00 was required to fully complete the project and conservatively the project will end in 30 September 2022 if the funds were to be disbursed timeously. 

          The breakdown and status of the utilisation of the $300 778 000 is shown in Table 1 below: 

Item (Scope of Work)

Amount ZWL

Contract renewal with Eutelsat satellite service lease

$ 70,200,000.00

Revamping of FM Transmitters

$ 98,400,000.00

Procurement of Frequency Planning Software & Portable Spectrum Monitoring

Equipment

$ 9,800,000.00

Procurement of Aucom Service Level Agreement for Head end

$ 4,000,000.00

Huawei Legacy Debt

$ 62,000,000.00

Procurement of TV Studio Media Asset Management (MAM) equipment

$ 32,800,000.00

Procurement of Digitalization of 2 Radio Studio (Mbare Studios)

$ 20,000,000.00

Project Management

$ 3,570,000.00

Table 2: showing the status of utilization of the disbursed amount.

            4.4 Appointment of a Project Manager

4.4.1 The Permanent Secretary informed the Committee that the project lacked a drive, thus they were considering employing a project manager whose focus will be the fulfillment of the project and his/her performance contract will be centered on the DTT project.

4.5 Digitalisation Tour: Status of Transmission Sites   

4.5.1 Kotwa Transmission Site

4.5.1.1 The Committee visited Kotwa transmission site which is one of the eighteen (18) sites that was completed through the Project. The Committee was informed that the site was an abandoned Tel-one site and it houses digital television only including the recently licensed television broadcasters. Kotwa has two (2) digital transmitters integrated in one rank which accommodate twelve HD services and at the moment its running three that is two ZBC channels and ZTN. The installed transmitter covers a radius of forty (40) to sixty (60) kilometer (km) and providing coverage to Nyamapanda, Pfungwe, Suswe and Susamoya. Additionally, the site had a downlink satellite that receives signals, generator, power system (automatic voltage regulator and uninterrupted power supply) and the Set-top box. The Committee gathered that the use of a generator is unsustainable as it consumes fifteen (15) litres per hour.

4.5.2 ZBC Pockets Hill

4.5.2.1 The Committee toured ZBC Pockets Hill during which they were informed that two out of eleven studios were installed. Six channel playout system which play six high-definition channels that are used for monitoring, play out and signaling were installed. Additionally, ZBC has a Master Control Room which receives signals for internal and external studios.  The power room consists of back up batteries, the Uninterrupted Power Supply (UPS) and an 800KVA Generator. It was highlighted that US$1.3 million is required for procurement of equipment whilst US$200 000 is required for construction of structure for studios in every province so that all languages are catered for. 

4.5.2.2 The Committee was informed that the satellite uplink system civil work was completed and satellite capacity was secured from Eutelsat. The satellite uplink system is used to send signals to transmitters in other areas and to receive satellite directly from the uplink using UHF antennas. It was submitted that the site has radio and television transmitters, power bank and two generators for continual supply of power to the equipments. It was further highlighted that the Head- end equipment was installed at Pockets Hill and is the section where signals converge. The Committee was informed that at the head-end the Transmedia monitors the reception of signals by the citizens and they also conduct quality assurance. 

4.5.3. Gwanda Transmission Site

4.5.3.1 The Committee was informed that the Gwanda Transmission Site is one of the eighteen sites that was completed under the digitisation project and it is one of the existing sites. The site had TV and an FM radio stations, but the radio services need to be revamped as they would require it to cover at least a radius of about 100km and the equipment had outlived its lifespan. It was submitted that currently FM Transmission site has a range of 40 to 60km because the transmitters and antenna systems are old and they need to be replaced. The Acting CEO, BAZ highlighted that they submitted a budget proposal for revamping of radio service for 2022 and nothing was allocated. 

          4.5.3.2 The Committee was informed that the site had small air con units which did not cope with the temperatures, however they were in the process of buying one big unit for the cooling system.  The site had two transmitters covering a radius of 50km covering parts of West Nicholson, parts of Filabusi and other areas which are within the 50km radius. The official from Transmedia highlighted that they were ready to avail the digital TV services to the viewers, however the challenge was of unavailability of receiving gadgets known as Set-Top boxes. 

4.5.4 Bulawayo Montrose 

4.5.4.1 The Committee visited Bulawayo Montrose and was informed that it was the second biggest transmission site with a redundant system whereby if a fault is experienced on the satellite in Harare, the satellite in Bulawayo will take over for the distribution of the signals. It was submitted that the site has eight transmitters with analogue and digital system. The site was 50% complete as they installed the digital TV transmitter and they were yet to renew the FM radio system. The Committee was informed that Montrose has the analogue TV transmitter currently servicing the Bulawayo area and covering a radius of about 50km. 

4.5.4.2 It was further submitted that the site had six national radio services, four for ZBC and two for the private players that is Star FM and ZiFM and two commercial radio stations. The site also houses transmission system for Khulumani FM and another one for Skyz FM. The Committee was informed that they were going to install 5 000 watts transmitters so as to improve on quality service and availability in the interim. It was highlighted that the transmission site did not have an allocation for community radio stations since there were no licensed community radio stations for metro areas.

4.5.4.3 The Committee was informed that the site had two satellite distribution system, the primary was the internet protocol (IP) based fibre network which connected Montrose and Pockets Hills and the standby facility from the satellite system. It was highlighted that an approximation of US$20 million is required for all sites to be fibre connected. It further highlighted that the procurement process for equipments was cumbersome as they had to follow the national procuring procedures and the PRAZ sits once per week to review all submitted bids from a whole of Government departments. It was highlighted that the BAZ purchases broadcasting equipment from different countries and the importation of some equipment was affected by the issue of sanctions for instance the purchase of spectrum monitoring equipment in Germany.  

4.5.5 Kamativi Transmission Site 

4.5.5.1 The Committee toured the Kamativi Transmission Site and was informed that the site was one of the existing sites. The site was 100% done with both TV, radio and the signals from the site covered up to Binga centre which was 120km.  It was highlighted that the coverage also goes as far as Victoria Falls Airport, Jotsholo and overlapping with the site in Lupane. The site has 5 000 watts transmitters. The Transmedia Corporation submitted that they decided to put a gap filler (small low cost transmitters) in Binga as the Kamativi site was not reaching areas after Binga side going to Siabuwa and Siakobvu. It was highlighted that the gap fillers cost about US$10 million.  

4.5.6 Challenges being Faced in Completion of the Digitisation Programme

4.5.6.1 Unavailability of Set-Top-Boxes

4.5.6.1.1 The Committee was informed that for the majority of Zimbabweans to receive the new television services either on DTT or DTH platforms, there was need for Set Top Boxes (STB) which were not available. It was submitted that Zimbabwe required approximately of 3.5 million STBs to meet the intended target of viewership. The Permanent Secretary highlighted that the Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe published the Broadcasting Services (Digital Terrestrial Television Broadcasting Services) Regulations of 2020 which provide the conditions for the supply of television receivers (STBs). The invitation to supply STBs was extended to any potential supplier, provided their samples meet the specifications prescribed in the regulations.

In 2021 the Authority had certified two (2) suppliers through a type approval process to distribute the approved STBs in the market. However, there has been no significant traction from these suppliers to provide the commercial units. This turned to be another hurdle hindering the migration process.

4.5.6.2 The Committee was apprised of the following recommendations with regards to the purchase of set-top-boxes:

  • The Central Government may consider stimulating the local market by injecting funds towards the provision of set-top boxes;
  • As the market has been opened to private players who, however, remain skeptical about uptake, the central government can waiver import duties to lower economic barriers and give confidence to the private sector;
  • The Government may consider providing subsidies to vulnerable families to offset market failure. This will be made available in the form of coupons that will be given to the vulnerable people who wish to buy Digital TV reception equipment; and
  • BAZ to monitor the retail market to ensure the availability of type-approved receivers to protect consumer interest purchase of Set-top Boxes.

4.5.6.3 The Committee was informed that underfunding, late disbursements of funds, inaccessibility of foreign currency on auction floor and shortages of foreign currency were other impediments of the completion of the project. It was submitted that to date

ZWL$300,778,000.00 was disbursed to the Project with the balance of ZWL$596,904,000.00 still expected to be disbursed before the end of 2021.  It was highlighted that the above-mentioned challenges had affected the procurement of equipment and installation of digital transmission sites, hence affecting the dissemination of information to the citizens especially the marginalised community.  

4.5.6.4 The Transmedia Corporation submitted that load shedding was affecting service provision and transmission of signals. The transmission sites were using generators as a back-up plan, however, it was submitted that the cost of fueling backup power was unbearable. 

5.0 Committee Observations 

5.1 The Committee noted with great concern the slow pace of progress with regards to the installation of digital transmitters as this is slowing the completion of the digitisation project.  It was noted that BAZ was installing 2 or 3 transmitters per year since commencement of the project in 2015. At their current pace they would take almost 15 years to install all the 48 transmitters.

5.2 The Committee observed that the slow pace of migration to digital was short changing the players putting investment into broadcasting as they will operate on an analogue system which is associated with poor quality. The Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe licensed 6 new television broadcasters and these players are expected to produce quality programmes, yet only 18 transmitters were digitally completed. This will affect their profitability due to low viewership. 

5.3 The Committee did not agree with the idea of employing a project manager considering that institutions such as ZBC had engineers who can assist in the monitoring of the Project implementation.

5.4 It was noted that several transmission sites did not have the much-needed security which made them vulnerable to theft and vandalism of equipment. 

5.5 The Committee noted that there was need to educate members of the public on the use of satellite signals. Transmedia should provide education to the citizens especially in remote areas on how they can use the satellite signals to receive news and information. Transmedia should also demonstrate how the gadgets (Set-top boxes) can be used in order to receive satellite signals. 

5.7 The Committee was disturbed by the slow pace being taken by ZBC with regards to installation of digitalised studios. Further, the Committee was concerned that some of the technologies at ZBC were being redundant way before their use due to lack of adequate funding on time. It was observed that a further delay in the completion of the digitization project would lead to the equipment reaching its lifespan to the point that it would require replacement before being used for the benefit of the citizens. 

6.0 Recommendations 

6.1 The Committee recommends the following

6.1.1 That the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development should timeously disburse the funds to the Ministry of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services to enable the Ministry to complete the digitization project;

6.1.2 The Ministry of Finance and Economic Development should assist the Ministry of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services in accessing foreign currency so that they can acquire digital transmitters by August 2022; 

6.1.3 The Ministry of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services should by September 2022 delegate responsibility of the project management to the engineers that are within the ZBC who are already on the payroll and they should report to the Ministry on progress regarding the completion of the Project on a monthly basis;

6.1.4 The Ministry of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services should provide set-top-boxes to the citizens so that they will be able to access high quality signal on both TV and radio by

October 2022; 

6.1.5 The Ministry of Finance and Economic Development should waive import duty on Set-top-boxes by August 2022 to make them affordable;

6.1.6 The Ministry of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services should introduce a law that restrict the importation of television without a digital tuner and that does not comply with the current waves of the digitization programme by December 2022;

6.1.7 Transmedia should ensure that at every site there are adequate security measures by September 2022;

6.1.9 The Ministry of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services in conjunction with the Ministry of Energy, Power and Development should install solar power plants at all transmission sites as back-up in case of power cuts by December 2022.

7.0 Conclusion 

7.1 The Zimbabwe Digital Migration Project is an important national programme which will bring a lot of development and employment creation. Progress on the ground has been done, as eighteen (18) transmission sites were now digital. However, late disbursement and underfunding of the project has stalled the progress hence the   Ministry of Finance and Economic Development should prioritize the funding of the project.      

Mr. Speaker Sir, as I conclude, let me say that as a nation, we are very behind in as far as digitisation is concerned. We are amongst the few Southern African countries that have not digitised fully. The other Southern African countries have done that and we as Zimbabwe can do that. We can only do it if we get funding from the Treasury, only if Treasury gives us the foreign currency that is required for the completion of this project. So far, out of 42 transmitters, only 18 transmitters have been installed. The project was begun before 2020 and right now we are in 2022 and have only installed 18 transmitters. With those few words Mr. Speaker Sir, I thank you.

HON. SHAMU: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir for giving me the opportunity to second this very important motion that has been moved by the Chairperson of the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Information, Media and Broadcasting Services which is dealing with the Zimbabwe digital migration project. In a nutshell, the report is saying money must be made available in order for us to complete this project. The report is underscoring the need for Zimbabwe to comply with the call by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) for all States in the Southern region of Africa to migrate from analogue to digital broadcasting. It has been made abundantly clear that Zimbabwe is lagging behind. We are now five years late from the date that had been earmarked for this project to have been completed.

          Mr. Speaker Sir, the issue of money has become the major challenge and when we listened to the Chairman of the Committee as she presented the report of the Portfolio Committee, we continued to go back to the issue of why are we not progressing? The answer goes back to lack of funding or delay in release of funds. In the allocated budget for the remaining sub-systems of the Media Asset Management, the amount of money that was allocated has been almost halved by now because of the ever changing exchange rates and this obviously affects the functioning of the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation because MAM is an integral part of the functional play out system of the ZBC.

          Now, we know that this project was earmarked for completion but it has not. Mr. Speaker, when you look at the equipment that is needed to be used by ZBC and especially, if you look at the Montrose Studios, lack of funding for MAM will result in Montrose Studios remaining a white elephant. We will be soon going for elections and we know that the whole country will want to hear what it is that will be happening because it is an important stage in the democratic purpose of our country. Therefore, ZBC would welcome the equipping of their two digital units for outside broadcasting news gathering. Unfortunately, these were not included in the last budget for funding and therefore completion will no longer be a thing that we can expect to happen.

          These delays Mr. Speaker Sir, adversely affect the performance of the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation. These delays in funding also affect the creation of employment amongst media practitioners. Each and every year, we chain out young men and women from the various institutions that train our journalists, where do we think they will go to? We need to create employment and this can only be done by supporting Zimbabwe’s digital migration project for it to be carried out to its logical conclusion.

          Mr. Speaker, we have spoken about the lack of funding and that this process does affect the performance of the television channels. Indeed, we cannot increase the number of television channels if there is no funding for availability of the necessary equipment or infrastructure that is needed in order for us to move forward. Furthermore, the issue of audio and picture quality and efficient use of the spectrum, they need to use their ability to produce, broadcast and deliver service in an efficient manner but at the same time, ensure that there is efficient spectrum utilisation.

          The mover of the motion, Hon. Mokone, has come out with very clear recommendations. We are appealing through this august House for Government to take these recommendations seriously. They are very clear. We know what it is that has got to be achieved and the question of there being that political will to make sure that funds are made available. It is very embarrassing when our Minister of Information and Deputy Minister here goes on various international fora, meeting colleagues from Africa and for us to be able to stand up and contribute to debate knowing very well that we are the ones who are lagging behind. Yet, countries that are even much smaller than us in terms of economic power have already succeeded in achieving complete migration from analogue to digital. I am therefore appealing to this august House to give full support to this report and hopefully that the powers that be will also respond positively as quickly as possible. I thank you.

(v)HON. JOSIAH SITHOLE: I also want to add my voice to this report by Hon. Mokone and it was taken up by Hon. Shamu. The attempts by Zimbabwe to migrate from analogue to digital project by 2015 which already shows that we were far behind, I just want to pick some areas like if you look at Kotwa. A challenge which we saw there whereby the generator which was being used to generate power was quite disturbing considering that at Kotwa, the site has got connection to ZESA power. As we got there, the power was stopped and it was reported that they had gone for quite some time without power from ZESA, which shows that some of the issues that make us lag behind are not all that expensive, it is a question of making sure ZESA works together with those who are doing digital projects and also that ZESA be capacitated so that we do not see a transmission sign that is using a generator. A generator is very expensive and it then hinders progress in the digitisation process. 

Mr. Speaker Sir, when we went to Gwanda we saw a transmission signs that needed simple security around the transmission.  In Gwanda, right round the fence that protected the transmission sign, the fire had burnt the site. Next time we do not even know what the fire might end up doing.   I am trying to say that we need to have security around our transmission sign.  Even the Kotwa one, they were relying on TelOne security which was nearby, implying that we are not very much serious about security issues because these transmission signs have got some gadgets that can be vandalised at any time. 

          While we were at Gwanda, we also learnt that sanctions play a role in some material that is supposed to be imported.  They indicated that their material is ranked in the military group where they would say we would not allow Zimbabwe to import such material.  The issue of sanctions was actually spelt out, hence when people say there are no sanctions, they should know that there is one predicament that we face because of the sanctions.  Mr. Speaker Sir, our rural communities are not even aware that there are satellite signals and it is very important that rural communities are educated. They also need to be told about these sets of boxes which go together with signals.  Mr. Speaker Sir, I recommend that the Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education should research into the production of these boxes so that they can be made available to many users as much as possible before they generate interests in the migration process. 

          Mr. Speaker Sir, I want to congratulate Zimbabwe for having 100% completion of Kamativi.  If more funds could be made available so that we have more stations and get to the same status, and also improve on those machineries because we were told that we are not even halfway the required number.  Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. 

          HON. MOKONE:  I move that the debate do now adjourn. 

          HON. TEKESHE: I second.

          Motion put and agreed to.

          Debate to resume: Wednesday, 22nd June, 2022.

MOTION

BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE

          HON. MUTAMBISI: Mr. Speaker Sir, I move that Orders of the Day, Nos 24 to 26 be stood over until the rest of the Orders have been disposed of.

          HON. TEKESHE:  I second.

          Motion put and agreed to.

          Debate to resume: Wednesday, 22nd June, 2022.

MOTION

REPORT OF THE PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE ON INDUSTRY AND COMMERCE ON THE FACT FINDING VISITS TO PROJECTS IMPLEMENTED UNDER THE INDUSTRIALISATION PROGRAMME

            Twenty-Seventh Order read: Adjourned debate on motion on the Report of the Portfolio Committee on Industry and Commerce on the Fact-finding visits to Projects implemented under the Industrialisation Programme.

          Question again proposed.

          HON. MATAMISA: I move that the debate do now adjourn.

          HON. TEKESHE: I second.

            Motion put and agreed to.

          Debate to resume: Wednesday, 22nd June, 2022.

MOTION

SECOND REPORT OF THE PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE ON ENERGY AND POWER DEVELOPMENT ON THE RURAL ELECTRIFICATION PROGRAMME

          Twenty-Eighth Order read: Adjourned debate on motion on the Second Report of the Portfolio Committee on Energy and Power Development on the Rural Electrification Programme in Zimbabwe.

          Question again proposed.

          HON. MATAMISA: I move that the debate do now adjourn.

          HON. TEKESHE: I second.

          Motion put and agreed to.

          Debate to resume: Wednesday, 22nd June, 2022.

          On the motion of HON. MATAMISA, seconded by HON. TEKESHE, the House adjourned at Eleven Minutes past Five o’clock p.m.

 

 

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