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NATIONAL ASSEMBLY HANSARD 21 SEPTEMBER 2022 VOL 48 NO 77
PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE
Wednesday, 21st September, 2022
The National Assembly met at a Quarter-past Two o’clock p.m.
(THE HON. SPEAKER in the Chair)
ANNOUNCEMENT BY THE HON. SPEAKER
PETITION RECEIVED FROM ACTING DIRECTOR OF THE COMBINED HARARE RESIDENTS ASSOCIATION
THE HON. SPEAKER: Order, Order. I have to inform the House that on 11th August, 2022, Parliament received a petition from the Acting Director of the Combined Harare Residents Association beseeching Parliament to summon the Minister of Local Government and Public Works to appear before Parliament and explain among other things, the constitutionality of the Ministry’s actions of imposing its own developmental priorities on the use of devolution funds. The petition was deemed inadmissible as the matter had already been dealt with by the courts. The petitioners have since been advised accordingly.
ORAL ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS WITHOUT NOTICE
Hon. Nyabote having stood up to pose a question.
THE HON. SPEAKER: Hon. Members, may you exercise your humility and be more accommodative. We are not all of the same level. Thank you.
HON. T. MLISWA: On a point of order. If I am not mistaken, the Standing Orders do have a provision for an Hon. Member to ask a question on behalf of another Member. I do not know if I am correct. I was thinking that I would volunteer to talk to him and then ask a question on his behalf.
THE HON. SPEAKER: On written questions.
HON. T. MLISWA: That is why I am asking. But my real initial point of order was, yesterday you did announce that we must be here on time before the Speaker’s procession. The same message must go to the Executive Members. Hon. Ziyambi is Leader of Government business but he could be late at times and it does not stop him from communicating to who should act in his absence and so forth because he has so many duties. It is only proper for us to know who is really absentand who is not, and you did not call a list of Ministers who are absent. It is just a matter of procedure and courtesy to the Chair and other Hon. Members
THE HON. SPEAKER: Hon Ministers who are here present, you do not go to Cabinet 10 minutes after. You are always there on time. This is an institution that works with you as and when it is required to do so. Can you be on time? The Leader of Government business has accepted what Hon. Mliswa has said and I am sure he will act accordingly.
APOLOGIES RECEIVED FROM MINISTERS
THE HON. SPEAKER: I have just received the following apologies:
Hon. Dr. C. D. G. N. Chiwenga, Vice President and Minister of Health and Child Care;
Hon. Sen. M. Mutsvangwa, Minister of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services;
Hon. W. Chitando, Minister of Mines and Mining Development;
Hon. P. Kambamura, Deputy Minister of Mines and Mining Development;
Hon. Prof. M. Ncube, Minister of Finance and Economic Development;
Hon. C. Chiduwa, Deputy Minister of Finance and Economic Development;
*HON. PRISCILLA MOYO: My question is directed to the Minister of Health and Child Care and in his absence, to the Leader of the Government Business. My question is that in our constituencies, we have a lot of mental cases as a result of abuse of drugs by young people. What is Government planning to do regarding the construction of shelters for rehabilitation of such people? This is a serious issue which our people are facing.
*THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): Thank you Hon. Speaker. I want to appreciate the pertinent question regarding the issue of drug abuse that was asked by Hon. Moyo. However, the Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare is responsible for such issues. I notice that the Deputy Minister is in the House, he can respond accordingly. I thank you.
*THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF PUBLIC SERVICE, LABOUR AND SOCIAL WELFARE (HON. MATUKE): Thank you Hon. Speaker. Through the Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare, Government gave us the task of collecting data throughout the country, from universities. In the past two weeks, we have been talking to students. We encouraged them to form anti-drug abuse campaign groups and do peer education against drug abuse. On the same vein, we had police officers and other stakeholders in the fight against drug abuse. Currently, we have different ministries, including our police force. We work with them because most crimes like violence crimes, homicide and others are a result of drug abuse.
We do not have rehabilitation centres for now where we will be able to rehabilitate these young people. The most important thing that we are doing is the different campaigns where we educate people about effects of drug abuse. Most young people are showing interest in the discourse and some having shown remorse over drug abuse. The last thing that I want us to address is the source. We need to identify the source, those who supply drugs to these young people. We are investigating such people; those who sell mutoriro and other illicit brews which are affecting the psychological state of many people.
However, the issue of rehabilitation centres is an issue which is handled by the Ministry of Health and Child Care. We have a number of centres where we refer people through the Ministry of Health and Child Care. We normally identify people who are addicted to drugs and refer them to such centres. I thank you.
*HON. PRISCILLA MOYO: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. I did not get the Minister’s response concerning the rural areas. These are hotspots and citizens in the rural areas are facing challenges. I did not hear that part but he responded regarding the provincial set up; where should rural people go? I thank you.
*HON. MATUKE: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. Regarding those in the rural areas, this is a challenge. This is what I addressed and I said that we are moving around different provinces empowering young people with information regarding drug abuse. However, for those who are intoxicated already, who are deep into drugs, we take individual cases where we will rehabilitate them but we do not have a specific shelter for those who are in rural areas. I thank you.
HON. T. MLISWA: On a point of order Hon. Speaker. This is a very topical issue and you can see the interest from Hon. Members. Those sitting are equally interested in debating on this because there is a concoction of issues; unemployment, economy and all that. So, it will be good for a Ministerial Statement or a motion to be moved because it is a serious issue. We would not have done any justice if we do not really go that far. It really affects everyone in the society.
THE HON. SPEAKER: You are suggesting two issues - a Ministerial Statement and a motion?
HON. T. MLISWA: I think a Ministerial Statement.
THE HON. SPEAKER: Granted, Hon. Minister, prepare a detailed Ministerial Statement.
HON. NDEBELE: Thank you Hon. Speaker. I propose that when he prepares the Ministerial Statement, he should also include the rehabilitation of our veterans that have similar mental issues arising from their experience from the struggle. If he includes that, I will be most grateful. Thank you.
*HON. CHIDZIVA: My point of clarity is that whilst the Minister is coming with a Ministerial Statement, this is not a welfare issue but there are other ministries that should be involved in the statement, or is it going to be a joint statement so that there is clarity whether it is Home Affairs and other ministries?
THE HON. SPEAKER: That is a good observation. Hon. Minister you will coordinate with colleagues. There is a joint Ministerial Committee chaired by the Ministry of Public Service, so they will deal with the issue there and come up with a joint statement. Thank you.
*HON. NYABOTE: Thank you Hon. Speaker. I will direct my question to the Minister of Mines and Mining Development. We have problems in the mining areas and we find that communities are not benefiting from the mining activities in their areas. When can we expect the Mines and Minerals Act to be reviewed to consider communities surrounding these mines? How are they going to benefit from this law?
THE HON. SPEAKER: When can we have the Mines and Minerals Bill? It is long overdue.
*THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. I thought the act was gazetted last week. I am going to engage them so that it is gazetted tomorrow.
Hon. Nduna having stood up to ask a supplementary question
THE HON. SPEAKER: Honestly, where does the supplementary question arise? The Hon. Minister said he is giving the department responsible a directive that gazetting be done in the next two days. What the Hon. Leader of Government Business said is adequate. Let us wait for that Bill. Thank you.
*HON. MATSUNGA: Thank you Hon. Speaker. My question is directed to the Minister of Local Government and Public Works. How far has Government gone with processing of title deeds of houses which were built in the 1960s where you find people still paying council fees without title deeds? These houses were occupied by our parents before we were born but up to now, there are no title deeds yet they are the owners of these houses. What is Government doing regarding that?
THE HON. SPEAKER: Order, order. The issue of title deeds is under the purview of the Ministry of Justice.
*THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. The issue of title deeds has been discussed and His Excellency, the President mentioned that we have a lot of people in different towns who are living without title deeds. He formed an Inter-Ministerial Committee which I Chair, that includes the Ministry of Local Government, Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education and other Ministries. We thought it was easy just to issue title deeds but there are some issues that need due diligence so that we do not give title deeds to people who are not deserving. We have a committee which is moving around. At the moment we have identified 6000 households in Epworth. The team is going door to door to check that the information which is at the local board and the documentation that they have is the same so that when we issue title deeds, we issue them to the correct people. The verification and review process is cumbersome but we are doing our best so that we take it to other areas like Glenview, Highfield and other areas where we find people occupying houses without title deeds so that they have collateral also.
*HON. MATSUNGA: Thank you Mr. Speaker. My supplementary question to the Hon. Minister …
Hon. Chidakwa having been conversing with some Members loudly
THE HON. SPEAKER: The Hon. Member behind the seat there, can you leave the House. Can you leave the House! Do not disturb the Hon. Member who is speaking. You were making noise there. Can you go out – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –
Hon. Chidakwa walked out of the House.
*HON. MATSUNGA: My supplementary question is, Hon. Minister, do you know that Epworth is a new location? Locations like Mufakose, Glenview and Highfield are older than Epworth. These were built in the 60s, earlier than Epworth. These are areas where there are houses and you will find that there are houses in Epworth which are not on plans. You cannot compare these to the locations that I am talking about which are locations which have houses on plans.
* HON. ZIYAMBI: The houses that the Hon. Member is mentioning are houses which are different from Glenview. We agreed that this should be applied to different locations. The City of Harare is responsible for these procedures. However, His Excellency the President said that because the City of Harare is failing to do this, it was decided that we are not going to choose whether it is Epworth, Glenview, Gwanda or any other location but we are planning anew, considering every urban location. So we are starting with the first location being Epworth then we are going to spread the programme to the other areas. I thank you.
HON. MUNENGAMI: Thank you Hon. Speaker. My supplementary question to the Hon. Minister is, he said in this House under oath that the Government is now taking over zvikwereti zvese zvekumashure zvaibhadharwa nevanhu.
THE HON. SPEAKER: Did you say under oath?
HON. MUNENGAMI: Yes, because if he is here, is it not that he is under oath in whatever he says? What we want Hon. Speaker is clarification. The Hon. Minister said that all the money that is owed…
*THE HON. SPEAKER: Ask your question.
*HON. MUNENGAMI: My question to the Hon. Minister is that the debts that you referred to in this august House and you said that Government is taking over the debts which were owed by citizens of the nation is what you are taking about.
THE HON. SPEAKER: Honourable what is the question?
HON. T. MLISWA: On a point of order Mr. Speaker Sir. With due respect, Hon. Paradza has not been around for a long time Mr. Speaker. I think we need to be very clear and fair. Hon. Paradza does not come here to Parliament. When he comes, he wants to make noise. He sits at the corner with Hon. Matangira there. They are there. They are strategically positioned to make noise. Being a former headmaster, bring them here so that you can watch them. When children are naughty in class, the one who is naughty is monitored. I therefore recommend you bring them close here so that they can behave themselves. He is disastrous. He is a member of the youth, but a shame to the ZANU PF Politburo. He must behave himself. He must behave like a member of the ruling party Politburo. This is nonsense to the youth. He is the leader of the youth, so what example is he setting? Musatore zvigaro kana musina kudzidza vana Paradza – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.]-
THE HON. SPEAKER: Order, order! Hon. Paradza, where are you? It is John Paradza. If you are going to be recognised now you will be out. Thank you.
HON. MAVETERA: On a point of order Mr. Speaker Sir. Thank you very much Hon. Speaker. Hon. Mliswa said he is a disgrace to the youth. May he please withdraw those words. As the ruling party, we have elected him as our leader. He has no right to say that we made a mistake. He has to withdraw. He is our leader as a party and that is what we have decided. He has to withdraw. Thank you Mr. Speaker. It is only fair for him to withdraw because it is also a disgrace to us as a party. He has to withdraw – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –
THE HON. SPEAKER: Order, order! I have understood the context of that statement. He said as a youth he must be disciplined. There is nothing wrong with that.
*HON. MUNENGAMI: Thank you Hon. Speaker. I would like to ask the Hon. Minister that - is Government going to cancel all the debts so that Government clears the debts?
*HON. ZIYAMBI: When I was explaining I said that what we are doing regarding the title deeds is that there are monies which are supposed to be paid and the President is saying that for people who have occupied these houses for a long time, Government is going to clear the fees for the processing of title deeds, for instance, surveys and plans and the verification process of the identities of the title deed holders. This will be done so that there is physical inspection to determine the person who is going to receive the title deeds. We do not want to issue title deeds to the wrong people.
These are processes which need funding. This is what Government is saying so that our people have title deeds which will benefit their families. I thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.
HON. NDUNA: Mr. Speaker Sir, I would want to know from the Hon. Minister the issue of timelines. The houses in question belong to the old aged and what is happening is, the councilors and the council officials are busy taking over these houses from those that would have passed on at the detriment and much to the chagrin of the families of our dearly departed. How much time do we expect that this exercise will be completed so that our people can and must not be unfairly disenfranchised after the demise of their dearly departed old aged owners of the houses, kana yava nyaya yechirungu.
THE HON. SPEAKER: Sit down, please do not make noise when you have asked a good question.
THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): Hon. Speaker, I want to thank the Hon. Member. At this juncture, I am extremely hesitant to give timelines. It is an exercise that we are learning every day. Initially, I thought we could do it extremely fast but we realise that we need to follow all the processes and it is an exercise that we are starting to do now, it has never been done. So, I believe that after the pilot project in Epworth, we will be able to now say we can do Caledonia within a month or within three weeks. As of now, I am cautious not to give timelines. I thank you.
HON. MURAI: Thank you Hon. Speaker. My supplementary question to the Hon. Minister is that I want to know the factors you consider when giving these title deeds to people?
THE HON. SPEAKER: Do you want factors or criteria?
HON. MURAI: Factors or criteria, to say of late...
THE HON. SPEAKER: Thank you, we got the question.
HON. ZIYAMBI: Thank you Mr. Speaker. The initial criteria is in every local authority area, the local authority is aware of people who are staying in houses but they do not have title deeds. The first port of call is to ensure that they visit the said local authority and get from their database, names of who occupy houses in that particular locality. There are visits to verify if indeed those people are the bonafide owners of those places. Once all that has been done, we then go further to start processing the papers so that the necessary deeds can come out.
(v)+HON. L. SIBANDA: I thank you Mr. Speaker – [rest of question inaudible due to network challenges].
+THE HON. SPEAKER: Your question cannot be heard.
(v)+HON. L. SIBANDA: Inaudible due to network failure
+THE HON. SPEAKER: Please put your question in writing so that we understand it; write your question down so that we understand it.
*HON. MAVETERA: Thank you very much Hon. Speaker, my question is directed to the Minister of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services. We witnessed the death of an actress by the name Mai Sorobhi. There were some challenges but I am glad that our Government managed to intervene. I once asked about the welfare of content creators. What is Government doing to better the lives of these people who entertain people through acting? What is Government policy in bettering the lives of these people because when they die, that is when we see that they were living in poverty and needed assistance? I thank you.
HON. T. MLISWA: On a point of order Mr. Speaker Sir.
THE HON. SPEAKER: What is your point of order?
HON. T. MLISWA: On the question of Hon. Mavetera, she is constantly saying - what is the Government doing to support the artists? As a seasoned politician, she should push for a law to be able to accommodate the actors. As long as there is no law talking about that, it will not happen; it becomes rhetoric or political statement. As a legislator, bring the law here; move a motion and we support you. It is a genuine cause. For as long as you are just talking about it, they say you are working for nothing. Bring a motion and that will help you because we are tired of this question at the end of the day. They are dying and more will die. Bring a motion and we will support you. I thank you.
THE HON. SPEAKER: Hon. T. Mliswa, Hon. Mavetera has a right to ask a question and the Minister is supposed to answer that question.
HON. T. MLISWA: If it is not Government policy and law, why is she asking?
The Hon. Minister having stood up to answer the question.
HON. NDEBELE: Hakuna mubvunzo, what are you answering?
THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF INFORMATION, PUBLICITY AND BROADCASTING SERVICES (HON. K. PARADZA): Can I answer in English?
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Yes please.
HON. K. PARADZA: Madam Speaker, through our communication strategy as a Ministry, we have established a number of platforms and outlets...
HON. T. MLISWA: We need to be clear; this institution is about responding to the law and policy. He must tell us about policy not strategy, strategy is not a policy, it is a question of semantics and be honest because we are wasting time. What policy has the Ministry got in assisting artists and actors who die as paupers...
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon. Mliswa, please do not keep on disrupting the Minister, may the Minister be allowed to answer please.
HON. PARADZA: Thank you Madam Speaker, what we have done as a Ministry is that we have drafted a film policy which is what we are dealing with right now. Not only that, we have also established several platforms and outlets whereby content creators can be creative and produce quality content which they can monetize. We have up to seven television stations right now which they can sell their content to. On top of that, we also have radio stations where they can create their dramas and sell to those radio stations.
The country is now poised to transform this media industry to become a multimillion dollar industry. How are we going to do that? We have not amended the Broadcasting Services Act so that we allow foreign investors to come and invest in the media, especially the broadcasting services media. These investments will create a lot of outlets and not only television, I am also talking about radio – [HON. BITI: The Hon. Minister is not answering the question.] – What we are encouraging Madam Speaker is for our Zimbabweans to be creative and create quality content which they can monetize. This content will create money for them.
Madam Speaker, those who are film makers, can make use of these outlets and those who are able to do dramas or skits can also do that. This can be done through several platforms. Through our film policy, these are some of the things we are doing as a Ministry. Thank you.
*HON. MAVETERA: Thank you Madam Speaker. My supplementary question is that since the Hon. Minister is saying that there is a film policy, you find that some actors and actresses go and perform then they will submit their productions but they are not paid or they are paid late. What policies are there which protect artists so that artists are paid in time? Thank you.
*HON. PARADZA: Thank you Madam Speaker. I said that as a Ministry, we have enacted polices which protect content creators especially those who produce dramas, they must produce entertaining dramas which will be monetized, which can be sold to televisions like ZBC. They are saying that they are not being paid. , As the Ministry, we gave a directive that when independent producers and content creators have sold their productions, they must be paid by ZBC. Those who were not paid, including artists who were not paid, ZBC cleared their debts even for artists, musicians and for dramas. It is not ZBC but those who sell to ZTN are given their monies, those who go to 3KTV are paid their monies and those who send to DSTV are paid their monies. We also gave AZ Television in East Africa permission to buy content from Zimbabwe.
As Government we want the media industry to make money, that is why we say that even foreign investments should be injected into the Ministry. I thank you.
*HON. MURAI: Thank you Hon. Speaker, the Hon. Minister is not responding to the question. The question is: what is Government going to do in terms of empowering our content creators, actors and other artists so that they make money. The Hon. Minister is talking about media houses making money, we are not saying that media houses are poor but we are talking about the late Mai Sorobhi, Paraffin and other actors.
*HON. PARADZA: I think the Hon. Member wants to confuse the Information, Publicity Ministry and the Social Welfare. We are not a social welfare ministry but we urge people to make money through their creative work. However, we think that when we are going to come up with the film policy, we are going to include the different content creators and we are going to engage them so that they make money instead of them to receive money, we are not social welfare but we want to monetize their productions. Thank you.
HON. T. MLISWA: The Hon. Minister is failing to grasp the situation. They go to Social Welfare because you have made them poor, you are not paying them. There is the aspect of patent and intellectual property rights. What are you doing to ensure that when somebody has a song or a play, there is no pirating that happens, you protect that, it is called patent and intellectual property rights which then becomes the way to manage monetize and so forth. Can you respond to your policy on patent and intellectual property rights so that we avoid pirating and they become poor and you refer them to the Social Welfare because already they have a gift and their gift must be monetised through intellectual property rights. I see the Hon. Minister of Justice is agreeing. If you do not understand what intellectual property right is, he can help you and I think we can make some progress.
HON. PARADZA: Actually you are right, it is not within our purview but it is within his purview. Also, because you have digressed from the focus of the question, I will refer that question to the Minister of Justice who is the Leader of the House and who will deal specifically with patents. Madam Speaker, tati isusu – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –
(v)HON. KASHIRI: My question is directed to the Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, Hon. Ziyambi in the absence of the Minister of Mines. Do we have a lithium policy which we will ride on to set up a lithium manufacturing plant in Zimbabwe?
THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): I was hoping that the Hon. Member being a legislator from Mashonaland West, followed attentively proceedings at State House on Friday, where the mine to Energy Park was signed - that with essence speaks to what he is asking about. That particular area in Mashonaland West, Mapinga area, will be mining and beneficiating and a plant will be set up exactly in the way he is asking. I would kindly refer him to the text of that speech and the proceedings if he was not aware that something like that is happening within his backyard. I thank you.
HON. BITI: My question is directed to the Leader of the House, Hon. Ziyambi, the Minister of Justice. Minister, I was very pleased with the indications and the Government actions that are being taken towards the provision of title deeds to urban dwellers, but 70% of our people actually live in communal lands occupying about 19 million hectares of land. Despite the war of liberation that we fought, people in communal lands actually do not have land rights. Section 4 of the Communal Lands Act actually diverts them from land. As a person who comes from Dotito, I am wondering - yes it is okay to give title deeds to people in Mufakose, Glenview and Vhengere but what about us in Murewa South, Dotito and Chiendambuya whose land was taken away by white people and dispossessed through the Land Apportionment Act of 1941? Up to now - 43 years after independence, we cannot own land in our own rural areas. We now have Chinese people and the likes of Billy Rautenbach coming to take our land. Can you address the issue of our own land rights for us people who live in communal lands?
THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): Thank you Madam Speaker for the question that Hon. Biti asked. My response is that there is a difference between the processes that we are doing to issue title deeds to urban dwellers and the land tenure system within agricultural and communal areas. We are issuing title deeds in urban areas because that is exactly what is supposed to have been there within the confines of the laws currently. That exercise is being done to satisfy what should have been done. So there is a separation between that and the issue of title deeds and the land tenure system within communal areas and where we have rural land for agriculture.
Coming to the issue of title deeds within the communal areas and other designated land tenure systems that is a conversation that as Zimbabweans we can start but currently, the communal land is vested in the President. It is for the people and should not be sold. Equally, agricultural land, we have a tenure system that obtains now of offer letters and 99-year leases. That is what is obtaining but the Hon. Member is not precluded from starting a conversation to say let us come up with a different land tenure system. If a policy is adopted in that regard then we can move in that direction but the urban title deed process, let us not mix it with historical issues that arose out of the land tenure system that was brought upon by the colonisers. I thank you.
*HON. BITI: Madam Speaker ma’am, I would like to pose my supplementary question to the Minister. We went for war to fight for land and the Hon. Minister is saying that every citizen of this country has the right to own a house in whatever part of the country. However, people are not getting the land and you find some people coming to take away that land, claiming to be owners of that land. We need to examine the land tenure policy because we had people playing different roles as war collaborators and war veterans but you find that even village heads and traditional leaders are not empowered to deal with land tenure issues; for those who come from rural areas and need land. Some have their ancestors’ graves in different localities but do not have legal right to that land. I thank you.
*HON. ZIYAMBI: Thank you Hon. Member for the supplementary question. People did not go to war because of title deeds but it was an issue of right to land, which is a very critical issue. We want to compare title deeds in urban centres with land in the rural areas. I do not believe that the Chinese are taking over people’s land, whether it is those in mining or farming. When the Mines and Minerals Act comes to this august House, it is going to clarify a lot of issues. However, land in the rural areas is not sold. There are Chinese or white people who are taking over such land and no one is selling such land to them but there are people who were coming to prospect for minerals. You will discover that the Hon. Member has a right to engage us in how the Land Tenure Act should be reviewed. I thank you.
HON. NDUNA: Thank you Madam Speaker. I want to know, if it pleases the Hon. Minister, to attach Section 72 (7) (c) of the Constitution which is the background of the issue of this land. The land which is agricultural is the one that has now been urbanised through the master plan for the urban expansion. So the urban land is now residing in the agricultural land. Fast forward, when you now bring the agricultural land into the urban society, Section 205 (1) (c) of the Urban Councils Act has three provisions that speak to selling the land, leasing and also giving it for free. Section 152 (1) (a) of the same Urban Councils Act speaks to those three issues as well. Would it please the Minister to align those provisions of the Act of Parliament to the Constitution, which is sui-generis? Section 2 says it should be repudiated to the extent of inconsistency if it is inconsistent with the Constitution so that the 10 hectares of land which is being given for free in the agricultural land can also be given with title for free in the urban society. Would it please the Minister that the 10hectares which is now 100 000 ha and if it is sold to the urbanites costs US$25 million which all the civil servants will not have? Would it please the Minister to align those provisions of the Act of Parliament with the Constitution so that the people can at least have 200sq meters of agricultural land which has title deeds, which land is being given for free to the agricultural society? The urbanites are made to buy that land because we have not aligned the Urban Councils Act with the Constitution. Would it please the Minister to give title to the agricultural land to the urbanites in the same way that we are giving title to those that are in the rural side? I say this with conviction because I have also been incarcerated for misalignment.
HON. ZIYAMBI: Thank you Hon. Speaker ma’am. I am not too sure I understood what Hon. Nduna is trying to say. We have urban land that will be designated by the relevant Minister as urban land. Then we have communal land and agricultural land. The Minister of Lands and Agriculture is the one who transfers the land upon gazetting when it has been designated urban land. Once it is urban land, then it can be subdivided and there will be value addition because you need to do the necessary processes to ensure that people stay in that particular area. So, let us differentiate land that has been converted for urban development to agricultural land and State land that is vested with the Minister of Lands and Agriculture.
My position is, we have a land tenure system within the communal land and our agricultural sector that exists. If we need a conversation of changing that, then as a people, we can start that conversation. However, currently we have a system that is there and let us not confuse it either with our war of liberation or our incarceration or whatever. It is the system that is there now. I thank you.
HON. NDUNA: Point of clarity Madam Speaker Ma’am. Will it please the Minister to align those provisions of the Urban Councils Act expeditiously with the Constitution? That question has not been answered.
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Your problem Hon. Nduna is that you do not ask a straight forward question but you go round in circles.
HON. NDUNA: It is not for the faint hearted Madam Speaker Ma’am. Let him take his time.
HON. GONESE: Thank you Madam Speaker for recognising me but it looks like the Hon. Minister has just dashed out of the building. I will just ask the question, I do not know whether there is an Acting Leader of the House who can take up the question.
The Hon. Deputy Speaker conferred with the Government Chief Whip.
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: I am sorry Hon. Gonese; I am being advised that the Hon. Minister has been called by the Speaker.
The Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs having returned to the Chamber
HON. GONESE: He has just come in; he has come in now Madam Speaker, saved by the bell. My supplementary question to the Hon. Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs is: is the Hon. Minister not aware that this conversation relating to title deeds both in respect of agricultural and communal land started ages ago, as long back as 2000 when the Land Reform Programme started? As the Opposition, we were very clear that in order to empower people who were getting land, people should get title deeds. I do not know whether the Hon. Minister was in this country when that conversation started?
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Ask your question Hon. Gonese.
HON. GONESE: I want to find out from the Hon. Minister that since this is a conversation that has been topical in this country, what is Government thinking because Government must also have a thinking in respect of that particular aspect; in terms of empowering the people of Zimbabwe who reside in agricultural and communal lands and were allocated stands? In fact, the issue of the 99-Year Leases not being bankable was actually raised, and was one of the critical issues…
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: It seems as if you are debating Hon. Gonese. Why can you not just ask your question Hon. Gonese?
HON. GONESE: Yes, I am asking the Hon. Minister to indicate as to whether he is not aware that this conversation started ages ago? More importantly, what is Government’s thinking about it as it is something that has been topical in this country?
HON. ZIYAMBI: Thank you Madam Speaker. Our thinking is that we have a functional system that is open to improvements.
HON. T. MLISWA: My question is directed to the Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water, Climate and Rural Resettlement. Hon. Minister, it is a double-edged sword in that first of all; what action is the Grain Marketing Board (GMB) and your Ministry taking to ensure that the payments for farmers are on time? What plans do you have for the 2022/23 season? How well prepared are you so that the farmers understand and are confident and hopeful of the coming season? So basically, it is the outstanding payments of the 2022 season and the future plans for the 2022/23 season. Thank you.
THE MINISTER OF LANDS, AGRICULTURE, FISHERIES, WATER, CLIMATE AND RURAL RESETTLEMENT (HON. DR. MASUKA): Madam Speaker, I thank Hon. Mliswa for the questions. The first question relates to the outstanding payments by Grain Marketing Board (GMB) to farmers. Perhaps to put this into context, in previous years, GMB would go for months to years without paying farmers. Over the past two years, Government has endeavored to pay farmers timeously, and GMB as of today, the outstanding amounts are less than seven days old. GMB intends to pay the $2.7 billion that is outstanding to farmers for grain delivered before the end of the week. We thank Treasury for acting expeditiously in this regard.
May I also take advantage and indicate that we will also announce a price for the wheat season next week? It will be a very lucrative one and GMB and Government have put in place all the necessary mechanisms to ensure that farmers are paid as expeditiously as is humanly possible.
Madam Speaker, coming to the second aspect which is critical on preparedness on summer 2022-2023; riding on the successful and historic performance that we had for winter where we put 80 000 hectares under wheat, and predicting 385 000 metric tonnes which is a record for the country. We want to build on this capability, this competence that we built so that we can do similarly for summer, and for summer, there will be four financing arrangement.
The first is those who fail to self-finance themselves and the second one and most popular and wide ranging is the Presidential Climate Proofed Input Scheme for Pfumvudza traditional grains, maize and also for cotton. We are going to support 3.5million households for Pfumvudza/Intwasa; 500 000 of these would be peri-rural rather than peri-urban. Then the third one is where we are looking at the Government guaranteed schemes for commercial agriculture being financed via AFC and CBZ. Again, we expect a very good performance because they are marshalling the resources that are required to enable them to finance farmers.
We also have the private sector coming on board to finance farmers and we are looking at value chain financing as a way of assuring the 40% raw material supply to those contractors as per Government policy. So, we are very prepared for this season and for those Government supported schemes, we have now started the rolling out for Pfumvudza which has gone extremely well over 1.7 million households as of yesterday. We have done rolling out, out of the target of 3.7 million.
May I also Madam Speaker, highlight that we have two new variations to the Presidential Climate Proofed Scheme. The first one is we will have farmer field schools and will have 35 000 schools, one in each village. So there will be one at every sabhuku’s homestead to ensure that the principle of sustainable intensive farming, which is Pfumvudza/Intwasa are inculcated into everyone so that we can climate proof ourselves at household level.
The second variation and perhaps an innovation tool of fine tuning Pfumvudza/Intwasa is that what a grower or farmer produces in an agro-ecological region is not determined by what they want but is determined by the requirements and exigencies of that particular agro-ecological region. It therefore follows that what Government supports in a particular agro-ecological region is determined by the requirements of the agro-ecological region and less what Government wants and less what the farmer wants. I thank you.
HON. T. MLISWA: Hon. Minister, I am happy with your responses but what is always a problem in agriculture is the finance model. You have got CBZ that has been getting farmers to pay in USD and then you have got AFC which is a noble cause and which really is supposed to be the bank for farmers. What have you done to ensure that AFC is well capacitated in giving out loans to the farmers, because they are finding it difficult to go to CBZ now? If you do not have another financing vehicle, it will be very difficult for farmers to continue farming the next season. I thank you.
HON. DR. MASUKA: I thank Hon. Mliswa for the supplementary question. The Government is resuscitating AFC to see the changing agricultural landscape and the need to finance farmers from communal A1 owned resettlement, Matenganyika through to A2. It is in this regard that AFC has the four windows, Land and Development Bank, a dedicated development finance institution to provide financing for farmers irrespective of category. The AFC leasing which we have capacitated with tractors and combine harvesters so that farmers that do not have the capacity to purchase their own equipment can get access to tillage services and combining services as well as insurance so that insurance becomes the collateral rather than asking brick and mortar collateral. So we have to the extent possible capacitated AFC to finance at least 65 000 ha. of commercial agricultural.
Additionally, AFC will also finance a very substantial amount of irrigation schemes via the Agricultural and Rural Development Authority. Over and above this, AFC has received Government guarantees worth or equivalent to 156 million USD to enable them to finance agriculture in the 2022-2023 agricultural season. I thank you.
HON. MADZIMURE: May the Hon. Minister explain the kind of arrangement we have on the payment of grain that would have been delivered to the GMB. Is it the GMB that pays for the grain delivered or it is the Government that pays? If it is so, what happens to that grain that would have been delivered to the GMB? Year in, year out, there is an outcry from farmers and for all these years, including this year, the Government has not got it right because it is not clear whose responsibility it is to pay the farmers. Is it that the GMB gets money from the Government so that it pays the farmers or the GMB because it receives and purchases grain, it then uses the funds it gets from those processes to pay for the grain?
HON. DR. MASUKA: I do not know where the confusion is arising; I explained that Treasury has done extremely well in availing resources to GMB in order to pay farmers timeously. Therefore, it follows that the money comes from Treasury to GMB for the payment of farmers. When the farmers are paid, they deliver grain to the GMB and the GMB issues a warehouse receipt to Treasury and when GMB sells, returns the money to Treasury. So the arrangement is quite straight- forward.
HON. BITI: My question is to the esteemed Minister of Agriculture, Hon. Dr. Masuka. As a farmer, my biggest concern is with the pricing models. Grower prices are announced but because of the macro-economic environment, by the time that the farmer plants, that price would have been eroded by inflation. If you take grain at the present moment, farmers are actually not delivering to the GMB because the price of USD90 and ZWL100 000 is simply not competitive. More-so, in the context that the Government itself is importing maize from Zambia, Tanzania at a price that is between USD270 to USD300, so the pricing model is devaluing the farmers. May I ask the Minister why he is simply not allowing the market to determine the price so that farmers are not prejudiced? You will get the price that is prevailing at the market on that day. Why are you not introducing a commodity exchange like in tobacco, you go and sell your tobacco and you get the price prevailing on that day just like we do at Mbare Musika; you sell your tomatoes from Mutoko and you get the price of the day. May you revisit the issue of pricing because it is affecting us farmers? I thank you.
HON. DR. MASUKA: First of all, before I answer the question, some clarification; the first clarification is that Government is not importing maize. Secondly, the pricing that we have for commodities, I think in the current macro-economic environment, it is actually the best in that in an inflationary environment, we use the cost plus model.
The cost today will be different tomorrow; we announce from a policy perspective two prices, the first is a pre-planting price which we announce weeks before the commencement of winter or the summer season. This is an indicative price for each of the major grains to be produced in that season to motivate farmers and to direct their efforts towards certain crops from a policy perspective.
Because of the inflationary environment, we then review the price during the marketing season taking into account the total cost of producing a hectare at the time of sale, which then takes into account the inflationary aspect and then we put a 15% return on investment. This, we think is the way to go in an inflationary environment.
Government announces what we call a floor price, this is not a price control, and it is merely the price that Government will purchase at GMB at. It does not preclude any other purchasing at twice, three times that price, so market forces can rule. When we announce the wheat price next, we will make this clearer because I think that there has been some confusion in this regard.
Government is determined to ensure that farmers find farming as a viable and profitable business and this is Government policy. I thank you.
HON. NDEBELE: On a point of order! Madam Speaker, the question preceding the heated question of Hon. Mliswa’s was on the land question in this country. The conversations that took place here really underscored the need for us to seriously apply our minds to that question. In pursuit of that, three years ago, I personally rose in this House and requested that the Hon. Minister of Agriculture brings to this House, a ministerial statement by way of a list or a schedule, province by province, of all those farms that his predecessor and himself has redistributed to date. I just asked for that detailed list so that we review it in this House in line with the President’s call that no one and no place must be left behind in terms of important national conversations. Let me plead with you Madam Speaker, to have a conversation with him because I know that desk has phoned him several times pursuing that list. This is where I have a problem with these so-called technocrats or super numeral ministers – they believe they are more special than all of us here. I need that ministerial statement. It is the people who want to see it. Thank you.
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Thank you Hon. Ndebele. The Hon. Minister has taken note of that.
HON. CHIMINA: Thank you Hon. Speaker Ma’am. My question is directed to the Minister of Local Government and in his absence, I direct my question to the Leader of the House. As you are aware that most of the people in this country earn their living through the informal sector and considering the economic effects of COVID-19 and lockdown regulations, what measures do you have in place to protect the attachment of residents’ property by local authorities for failing to settle their bills? Thank you.
THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): Thank you Madam Speaker. That question relates to a relationship between a local authority and residents, and Government at this juncture would defer interfering with that and allow the local authorities to deal with the residents since they have that particular mandate. It is not a subject that has come to Central Government for me to competently say that we will come up with a policy to specifically look at the issue of rates as a result of the effects of COVID.
I am aware that during the COVID era, there was a reprieve and we put a Statutory Instrument that would ensure that the generality of our population would not be subjected to demands for rates and we also put in place measures whereby some assistance was given. As to the specific question as to the rates that would have accrued, I think that is best addressed at that particular local authority level. I thank you.
HON. CHIMINA: Thank you Hon. Speaker Ma’am. I understand there is Local Government Circular No. 3 of 2010 which prohibits local authorities from attaching residents’ property. What are you going to do with the local authorities who are defying that circular?
HON. ZIYAMBI: This becomes very specific and that circular was issued by the Ministry of Local Government. I would advise the Hon. Member to put it in writing so that the Minister can come up with a specific answer that deals with that particular circular. I thank you.
HON. MURAI: Thank Mr. Speaker Sir. My question goes to the Leader of the House, Hon. Ziyambi. The Minister of Finance and Economic Development has suspended payments to contractors based on parallel rates. It has affected some SMEs, those with running contracts which use the money from the contract to pay their workers. Do you have any plan to exonerate those with running contracts from the suspension which was effected by the Ministry?
THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. It is not entirely correct that payments were suspended but what the Minister directed was - let us verify so that we get value for money. Those contractors that have genuine contracts that have been verified are being paid. I would urge the Hon. Member, if he has got specific SMEs that are not being paid but have genuine contracts; perhaps he can put that in writing and forward it to the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development so that they can interrogate it as there is no blanket ban on payments.
Questions Without Notice were interrupted by THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER in terms of Standing Order No. 68.
ORAL ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS WITH NOTICE
PROGRESS MADE TO PROMOTE VALUE ADDITION OF BLACK GRANITE
- HON. NYABOTE asked the Minister of Industry and Commerce to inform the House what progress has been made in promoting value addition of raw granite stone, considering the June 2019 Government policy pronouncement banning the export of raw granite stones.
THE MINISTER OF INDUSTRY AND COMMERCE (HON. DR. KANHUTU-NZENZA): May I request to postpone the question to next week.
HON. MOKONE: On a point of order. I am realising that most of our questions are not being captured at the Journals office. If you check that Order Paper it refers to deferred questions. There are no new questions there. I actually put some questions about a month ago and they are not captured.
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: I am advised that a follow up will be made and they will be put back.
TITLE DEEDS FOR RESIDENTS OF MABUTHWENI AND IMINYELA IN MPOPOMA-PELANDABA
- HON. C. MOYO asked the Minister of National Housing and Social Amenities to inform the House when the residents of Mabuthweni and Iminyela in Mpopoma-Pelandaba would be issued with their title deeds?
THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF NATIONAL HOUSING AND SOCIAL AMENITIES (HON. SIMBANEGAVI): As has already been indicated by the Leader of House before with regards to the issue of title deeds, there is an inter-ministerial committee that has been set up that includes the Minister of National Housing, Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, Minister of Local Government and Public Works, Minister of Higher Education and the Minister of Finance and Economic Development.
With regards to the issue of Mabuthweni and Iminyela, what I can add to what the Leader of Government business has already indicated is, those suburbs are very old and as they wait for the process that has been explained for them to be issued with title deeds, is to go to council inspectors to ensure that their houses are inspected and are up to date because the issue of standard will also be looked at once the issuance of title deeds begins.
As an old suburb, what they need to do now is to make sure the issues of water reticulation and other required standards that are required by building inspectors are up to date so that when the inspections are done, their houses can be able to qualify for the issuance of title deeds. I thank you.
(v)HON. C. MOYO: Bulawayo City Council inspectors are saying they cannot issue title deeds if you do not have your own ablution facilities but there is no space to put their ablution facility since you said it is an old suburb. Secondly, these are pensioners and they do not have the money to construct those ablution facilities. How true is that and what is the way forward?
HON. SIMBANEGAVI: I can advise the Hon. Member to discuss with the residents of Iminyela that there is no hurry. They can take their time to find the funds to renovate and upgrade their houses as we wait for the technical processes that are happening within the inter-ministerial committee. I am hoping that by the time that the technical discussions are done, probably by then, the residents would have been able to find some funds to upgrade their houses.
(v)HON. C. MOYO: I also highlighted that there is no space since it is an old suburb. How are they going to put even one toilet because you realise that there are 30 families which are using one toilet because there is no space. How are they going to come up with that space because it is not there?
(v)HON. GANDAWA: Hon. Moyo is raising a very important question and I am not sure if the Hon. Minister had come with prepared answers or the answers that she is giving to Hon. Moyo are coming off the cuff. I would have expected the Minister to give specific answers to his specific questions which he put up as written questions. The Hon. Minister seems to be giving us general answers and we would want to benefit from this discussion. I thank you.
HON. SIMBANEGAVI: I am not sure what the Hon. Member specifically wants me to respond to because the question that I had on the Order Paper was asking when title deeds were going to be issued to Mabuthweni and Iminyela. That was the question that I was responding to indicating to him that as the Leader of Government business indicated that there is no timeline for now. What they can do in the mean time as they wait for when Government is going to be ready to issue title deeds is what I was advising. They should upgrade their houses because those houses are in old suburbs. I was simply advising the Hon. Member to go and speak to Mabuthweni and Iminyela residents to upgrade their houses in the meantime as they wait for Government to start issuing the title deeds.
With regards to that, the Hon. Member was asking in terms of space, in most of the old suburbs, most of the houses use common offsite infrastructure and there is no need for them to start digging for septic tanks and other infrastructure. What they can do is to make sure that community offsite infrastructure with regards to sewer or water reticulation is upgraded. They can even start residential associations where they can come together and put together funds to ensure that their properties are upgraded. These are personal properties and it is up to each and every individual to ensure that their property is up to date.
HON. MADZIMURE: On a point of order Mr. Speaker. I just want to remind the Minister on Hon. Gandawa’s point of order. This question is a written one. From what the Minister is saying, she is generalising. The Ministry was given time to prepare, that is what Hon. Gandawa said. The Minister must read the answer that was already prepared, not to ride on what the Leader of the House said in this House today. The Minister should come up with a policy; the real response to the question.
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER (HON. KHUMALO): Thank you Hon. Member. I wanted to also concur with that. The Minister responded very well at the beginning and the Minister of Justice clarified that there is a Committee working on that. So there are no other questions that arise. I think there was no need for the Minister to put something written because already, this thing is being taken up by the Inter-Ministerial Committee.
Hon. C. Moyo on virtual having raised a point of order
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: I think I am moving to Question Number 3 because this question was well answered by two Ministers.
(v)HON. C. MOYO: Hon. Speaker, this question has been there on the Order Paper and the Hon. Minister is not supposed to say the Hon. Minister said this today. She must give the answer…
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Hon. Member, I think the issue of title deeds was dealt with by Hon. Minister Ziyambi. We believe that the question has been answered.
(v)HON. C. MOYO: It is my question for Mpopoma-Pelandaba, Hon. Speaker Sir.
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: I think this one has been answered. You can write another one if you feel it has not been properly answered.
Questions With Notice were interrupted by THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER, in terms of Standing Order Number 68.
BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
HON. TOGAREPI: I move that Orders of the Day Numbers 1 to 34, be stood over until Order of the Day Number 35 has been disposed of.
HON. TEKESHE: I second.
Motion put and agreed to.
JUDICIARY LAWS AMENDMENT BILL [H. B. 3: 2022]
Thirty-Fifty Order read: Second Reading: Judicial Laws Amendment Bill [H.B.3, 2022].
THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF INFORMATION, PUBLICITY AND BROADCASTING SERVICES (HON. PARADZA) on behalf of THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): Thank you Hon. Speaker. Allow me to present my Second Reading for the Judicial Laws Amendment Bill. This is a very short Bill which seeks to amend a number of our judicial laws. The Bill seeks to amend the following Acts:
- Constitutional Court Act.
- Supreme Court Act
- High Court Act
- Labour Court Act
- Administrative Court Act
- Magistrates Court Act
- Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act
As narrated in the Memorandum of this Bill, its purpose is twofold. It seeks to provide for virtual court sittings in both civil and criminal proceedings and to align various provisions of judicial laws to the Constitution.
Mr. Speaker Sir, the advent of COVID-19 pandemic presented a challenge to the conduction of trials in our courts. It however presented an opportunity for our courts not only to come up with adaptation methods to COVID-19 but to synchronise conducting of trial and the new Integrated Electronic Case Management System. This gave birth to virtual courts. The Bill before this House seeks to provide for virtual court sittings in both civil and criminal proceedings provided the parties consent to have proceedings conducted virtually.
Mr. Speaker Sir, in addition, the Bill seeks to insert a new section to the Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act [Chapter 9:07]. Presently, all criminal proceedings are conducted in person with certain exceptions such as those involving vulnerable witnesses. This has been found however to be wasteful of time and resources for certain criminal proceedings of a formal rather than substantive nature to be conducted in person. Accordingly, this amendment will provide for virtual court sittings in bail and remand other than initial remand proceedings. This is however subject to the availability of facilities and also provided that the prosecutor and the accused have the right, by means of the virtual procedure, to question a witness and to observe the reaction of that witness.
Mr. Speaker Sir, importantly, there was an order which was issued in the case of Legal Resources Foundation and Deaf Zimbabwe Trust vs Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs compelling the suspension of Section 193 of the Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act. The reason being that in a case where the accused is deaf or mute, the rights accorded to them are rendered insignificant if the law does not provide for a Sign Language Interpreter. This, therefore, necessitated the amendment of Section 193 of the Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act.
It is also necessary to amend Section 246 of the Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act, which describes persons with disabilities in a derogatory and offensive manner, which is contrary to the provisions of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
Mr. Speaker Sir, the Bill before this House seeks to repeal and replace Section 193 of the Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act and substituting it with a section that places an obligation upon the State, of ensuring the availability of a Sign Language Interpreter in a case where the accused person has hearing or speech impairment or both. Further, the Bill gives power to the court to release the accused person on bail or remove such person from remand where the State has failed to secure the services of a Sign Language Interpreter.
In addition, with regards to derogatory descriptions, the Bill removes and replaces words like idiocy, malady and mental disorder and adopts the wording of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
These amendments with regards to the provisions in the Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act on persons with disabilities, once enacted will offer protection of the rights of accused persons with hearing or speech impairment or both, and also uphold the rights of persons with disabilities through the use of the correct terminology.
Mr. Speaker Sir, I therefore urge Hon. Members to support and pass this Bill. I so submit and move that the Bill be now read a second time. Thank you.
HON. TOGAREPI: I move that the debate do now adjourn.
HON. TEKESHE: I second.
Motion put and agreed to.
Debate to resume: Thursday, 22nd September, 2022.
BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
HON. TOGAREPI: I move that we revert to Order of the Day, Number 22 on today’s Order Paper.
HON. TEKESHE: I second.
Motion put and agreed to.
REPORT OF THE ZIMBABWE GENDER COMMISSION FOR THE YEAR 2021
THE MINISTER OF WOMEN’S AFFAIRS, COMMUNITY, SMALL AND MEDIUM ENTERPRISES DEVELOPMENT (HON. S. NYONI): Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. I rise to give a report of the Zimbabwe Gender Commission;
That this House takes note of the Report of the Zimbabwe Gender Commission for the period 2021 presented to this House in terms of Section 323 (1) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe, which states that every Commission must submit to Parliament through the responsible Minister, an annual report describing fully its operations and activities.
The Zimbabwe Gender Commission is one of the independent commissions established in terms of Section 245 of the Constitution and operationalised through the Zimbabwe Gender Commission Act, Chapter 10, Section 31.
The Commission discharges its mandate in the spirit of the objectives provided for in Section 233 of the Constitution, which are:
To support and entrench human rights and democracy;
To protect the sovereignty and interests of the people;
To promote constitutionalism;
To promote transparency and accountability in public institutions;
To ensure observance of democratic values and principles by the State, all institutions and agencies of Government and all Government controlled entities; and
To ensure that injustices are remedied.
The Mandate of the Zimbabwe Gender Commission
The Commission has an overall obligation to promote, protect and advance gender equality and equity in all spheres and ensure the enjoyment of fundamental rights as enshrined in various instruments the State has subscribed to. Section 246 of the Constitution specifically mandates the Commission to do the following:
- To monitor issues concerning gender equality and to ensure gender equality as provided for in the Constitution.
- To investigate possible violation of rights relating to gender equality.
- Receive and consider complaints from the public and to take such action in regard to the complaints as it considers appropriate.
- Conduct research into issues related to gender and social injustice and to recommend changes to laws and practices the lead to discrimination based on gender.
- Advise public and private institutions on steps to be taken to ensure gender equality.
- Recommend affirmative action programmes to achieve gender equality.
- Recommend prosecution for criminal violations of right related to gender.
- Secure appropriate redress where rights relating to gender have been violated.
- Do everything necessary to promote gender equality.
In terms of Section 323 of the Constitution, every Commission must submit to Parliament, through the responsible Minister an annual report describing its operations and activities. On that note, the Commission has fulfilled its statutory obligation of submitting reports covering previous years since 2016. Meanwhile, it has finalised its 2021 annual report which is now ready for submission to Parliament for its consideration.
Major Milestones of the 2021 Annual Report
The Commission made commendable progress in carrying out activities as per agreed 2021 annual work plan that contributed towards fulfilling its mandate. Progress made was despite the harsh operational environment compounded by the unprecedented nature of COVID-19, especially its disruption on implementation of activities during the beginning or end of the year.
Despite constrictive operating environment the period under review witnessed several milestones in the following thematic focus areas:
Investigation of possible violation of rights relating to gender equality is one of the major mandates of the Commission in accordance with Section 246 (b) and (c). Furthermore, this role is buttressed by the Zimbabwe Gender Commission Act which allows the Commission to initiate public enquiries on possible gender violations. During the period under review, the Commission managed to investigate several cases including the following:
- Received 66 cases on violation of rights relating to gender with the majority cases being of sexual and gender based violence accounting to 42. Child marriages and property disputes complaints were amongst the other cases that were received by the Commission.
- The Commission launched and gazetted a National Enquiry on Sexual Exploitation and Abuse of Young Girls and child marriages in the apostolic sects triggered by the tragic death of a 14-year old girl Anna Machaya who died giving birth at a shrine in Marange. Preliminary investigations were carried out in Manicaland Province covering Marange area which showed high prevalence of child marriages and sexual exploitation of young girls among the Marange apostolic sect.
- The Commission offered legal advice through its tall free number and assisted walk-in clients who visited the exhibition stand at the ZITF and the Harare Agricultural Show.
- Engaged the advisory work for legal reform through partnering likeminded organisations and lobbying for the enactment of the Gender Equality Act and Sexual Harassments Act.
In line with its mandate to monitor issues concerning gender equality with a view to ensure compliance with gender equality provisions in the Constitution and other regional and international normative frameworks, the Commission managed to do the following:
- Finalise the Monitoring and Evaluation Framework that will be used as a benchmark to assess gender equality trends in the country and guide the Commission on effective discharge of its oversight role.
- Submission of the Universal Periodic Review parallel report to the Human Rights Council on 15th July 2021. The UPR provides a mechanism for accountability on actions being taken by member States to promote human rights including gender rights and empowerment of women.
- The Commission launched the training and mentorship programme dubbed the Women Rise in Politics, a joint initiative between the Commission and UN Women aimed at building capacity of women political aspirants through building their confidence, equipping them with requisite skills, information and knowledge essential for participation in politics.
- Roll out of the Women Rise in Politics in 12 electoral districts namely Harare, Bulawayo, Bindura, Chinhoyi, Gwanda, Gutu, Hwange, Marondera, Mutare, Kwekwe, Plumtree and Zvishavane with 237 women successful capacitated with political skills and knowledge.
- Issue advisory notes to Government ministries on non-compliance with constitutional gender equality principles in appointment of boards of State enterprises.
- Convene stakeholder consultation on Local Government Women’s Quota.
Convene 2021 National Gender Forum (NGF) on 10th December in Gweru under the title “Action Towards the Eradication of Harmful Practices which breeds Child Marriages and Sexual Exploitation and Abuse of Young Girls”. Precursor to the forum were District Community Dialogues held in eight provinces.
Research and Knowledge Management on Gender
The following activities were conducted around research and knowledge management on gender:
- Production of the Monitoring and Evaluation Framework and its dissemination to key stakeholders.
- Develop and launch of the national strategy on sexual harassment and ending GBV in the world of work working in partnership with the tripartite forum with support from the International Labour Organization.
- Conduct research on access to SRHR and SGBV services for homeless women and girls which identified push factors that push women and girls to live on the streets.
Public Education and Information
In order to increase awareness on gender issues, strengthen public understanding on the role of the Commission as well as improve its visibility, the following activities were pursued that include:
- Exhibitions at the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair in Bulawayo and the Zimbabwe Agricultural Show in Harare.
- Media appearance in print electronic media with several press statements issued notably on Child Marriages, International Women’s Day and other commemorative events and shared via social media platforms to raise awareness on pertinent gender issues.
- Awareness programmes on sexual harassment conducted targeting both public and private institutions.
- Conducted gender sensitization and capacity building training to POLAD Actors from 4 to 5 June at Carribea Bay Resort Hotel, Kariba.
- Conducted gender training of ZGC secretariat and team building from 16 to 23 May at Manna Resort, Harare aimed at improving organizational efficiency in service delivery.
Finance, Human Resources and Administration
The report on governance and administration issues which include among others; human resources, budget performance, expenditure, employment costs, acquisition of fixed assets and submission of statutory returns to Treasury and the Auditor General’s Office in terms of the Public Finance Management Act and Statutory Instrument No. 1 of 2000.
Some of the key challenges that were faced during the year include:
- COVID-A restrictions delayed execution of most activities and some of the activities had to be shelved.
- Inadequate tools of trade such as laptops to enable officers to effectively work from home amidst the upsurge of COVID-19 cases.
- Over reliance on one cooperating partner for most of the planned activities.
- Limited capacity especially among new staff members on conducting investigations and on gender and human rights.
- Inconsistent disbursements from Treasury negatively affected planned activities and procurement of requested resources.
- Absence of a Commissioner with legal background which affects the work of the legal investigations section.
- Continuous increase in office space rentals, making the need for own premises a priority.
- Inadequate tools of trade such as desktops, laptops, due to insufficient budget.
Informed by our work during the period under reporting, ZGC recommends the Parliament of Zimbabwe to do the following:
- Expedite the re-alignment of laws in line with the Constitutional values on gender equality.
- Facilitate enactment of Gender Equality Act to make constitutional provisions justiciable.
- Ensure the alignment of the Electoral Act in line with gender balance as provided for on section 17 and the gender equality clause, section 56 (2) of the Constitution.
- Consider the adoption of full proportional representation as a sole electoral system shifting from the current hybrid system with First-Past-The Post.
-Prioritise the adoption of recommendations emanating from Chapter 12 Commissions towards meeting their shared objectives of ensuring constitutionalism, among others.
- Adopt strategies for the regulation of activities of faith-based organisations to eradicate child marriages and sexual exploitation and abuse of women amongst other harmful cultural and religious practices.
- Urgently fill the two vacant posts of two men, one with a legal background within the Commission. Legal work particularly, has lagged because of the vacancies.
Lastly, prioritise increased budget allocation for Commission’s programmes, procurement of office buildings and decentralisation in line with the devolution thrust. Mr. Speaker Sir, I would like to thank you and table to Parliament the 2021 Gender Commission Report. I thank you.
HON. TOGAREPI: I move that the debate do now adjourn.
HON. TEKESHE: I second.
Motion put and agreed to.
Debate to resume: Thursday, 22nd September, 2022.
On the motion of HON. TOGAREPI, seconded by HON. TEKESHE, the House adjourned at Twelve Minutes past Five o’clock p.m.