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NATIONAL ASSEMBLY HANSARD 23 JUNE 2022 VOL 48 NO 57

PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE

Thursday, 23rd June, 2022

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

PRAYERS

(THE HON. SPEAKER in the Chair)

          ANNOUNCEMENT BY THE HON. SPEAKER

ADJOURNMENT OF THE HOUSE AND COMMITTEE BUSINESS

          THE HON. SPEAKER: I wish to inform the House that the business of the House and Committees will be adjourned from today until Tuesday, 12th July, 2022.

          The Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs having been consulting the Clerk-at-the-Table.

          Clerk, when the Chair is making some announcement, you wait with your measured advice – [Laughter.] – No that is alright.

          THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI):  I am sorry Sir.  It is my fault.  

          THE HON. SPEAKER:  I have two requests on one minute statements on issues of national interest.

          *HON. NYABANI:  Mr. Speaker Sir, it is the citizens of Zimbabwe’s right to have accommodation.  Our councils, especially Chitungwiza, are collecting money from citizens but cannot deliver stands.  There are waiting lists but we do not know whether these equate to the available land so that all people on the waiting list acquire stands.  Some citizens are pensioners and they are subscribing their hard earned cash to councils that are failing to allocate stands.

          As Parliament, we should exercise our oversight function and see whether our councils are providing the required service to residents.  I would like to propose that the Portfolio Committee on Local Government visits local authorities to see what is happening on the ground pertaining to this issue.

THE HON. SPEAKER:  The Hon. Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Local Government, Hon. Chikukwa, please take note and do your investigation accordingly.

HON. MARKHAM: Hon. Speaker, I rise for the third time on the same issues as I did before.  I can confirm that I received the Global Settlement Deed from the Ministry.  However, it was just an Executive Summary. As I previously indicated, I do need the original agreement. 

On the Dutch Farmers loan, I have received that and I am grateful for that and I thank you. The document I received pertaining to the 3.3 billion acquired is a VERITAS document which I have and I am struggling to reconcile it versus what was posted and declared to Parliament. However, I will get to the bottom of that. 

My concern is on ZAMCO – there is a deafening silence. I have heard nothing from the Ministry, not even a cough.  The Local Government has still failed to meet with me on the issue of land and land barons and the acquiring of agricultural land in urban areas.  The Road Repair Fund; the allocation of roads, the lists of roads – that is nowhere to be seen as is the Justice Uchena report.

Mr. Speaker, this will be the last time I ask.  I have pursued this as far as I can but I am not prepared to back off.  I thank you.

THE HON. SPEAKER:  Your interest in these issues; I committed myself and you are beginning to receive some responses. I will take advantage of the presence of the Hon. Minister of Finance. We wrote to your office on the 10th May, 2022 concerning some requests for ministerial responses on questions without notice that were not adequately covered. These relate to:

  1. All documents and addendum pertaining to the Global Settlement Deed,
  2. The agreement for the $38 million with the Dutch Government to compensate 11 farmers,
  3. Details of the US$3.3 billion assumed by the State in the 2022 Budget, including those whose blocked funds were also similarly acquired and to whom the funds were released, and
  4. The issue of a list of ZAMCO loans acquired by Government.

These matters are still outstanding Hon. Minister since our

communication in May.  So if you could kindly indulge the august House to have those documents as raised by Hon. Markham. Can I get clarification on which document was summarised Hon. Markham?

          HON. MARKHAM: The summarised document is the Global Settlement Deed. The Global Settlement Deed has financing behind it and there is also an issue of extensions. It is important to see the extensions because that payment is due in the next month.

          THE HON. SPEAKER: The request was for a full document which speaks to all the facts and issues so raised. Since we will adjourn until 12 July, 2022, that should give you sufficient time to get all the documents together and then they are tabled accordingly, as requested.

          THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (HON. PROF. M. NCUBE): I thank you Mr. Speaker for repeating those requests from Hon. Markham. Could I confirm with him as to what he has received so far and what he considers to be inadequate. I thank you

          HON. MARKHAM: On the Global Settlement Deed, I have received a three page summary and that is all. On the issue of the Dutch farmers, I have received the terms of payment to the farmers signed by the representatives of the Zimbabwe Government. I actually have not received the loan or the terms of the loan from the Dutch Government to the Government of Zimbabwe to pay the said farmers, but I am happy with what I have got on that one. The issue I have with the blocked funds, I have got the VERITAS thing which states the numbers and it adds up to two point something but we approved in this House $3.3 billion. So there is a slight difference. I would like to know who the blocked funds; we know who they were blocked. For example they were blocked for company A here but who did they pay? We would like to know who they paid because $3.3 billion is a huge sum of money and that is my reasoning.

          THE HON. SPEAKER: Is that clearer now Hon. Minister?

          HON. PROF. M. NCUBE: On the Global Settlement Deed, it was my intention to give him a three page summary and here are my reasons. This is still a document signed under restricted conditions of confidentiality. It only becomes public when they have signed the cessation and when we are ready to pay,  then it comes before this House for approval and I will table it before this House for approval properly. For now, it is still in abeyance as a negotiation document. We have no wish to release it and if I do, then I am violating the agreement with the farmers, they will be very upset.

          I am pleased that at least Hon. Markham is happy with the issue regarding the Dutch farmers. On the blocked funds, the list of the blocked funds is clear from the Finance Bill as to who we thought is eligible for this. What we did as a Ministry after Parliament approved that list, we went back to say we want to really audit all those loans to make sure that they truly qualify as what we would call blocked funds. So if you find that what we eventually took over is slightly less than what we reported earlier, that would be the reason.

          I did not understand where he said who was paid? It is quite clear as what company is owed what from that list because that is what you approved. Is he looking for a name, I am not clear because the way this would have worked or works is, the bank would have handed over the Zimbabwe dollars to the Central Bank on a 1 – 1 basis and expected USD, which USD the Central Bank was unable to release, hence it was classified as blocked funds. So it is clear that those names are the names that are seeking relief, unless I am misunderstanding Hon. Markham.  I thank you.

          HON. HON. SPEAKER:  On the question of audit, when do you think the audit will be completed?

          HON. PROF. M. NCUBE:  Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. We are close to completing that.  Some of the loans, we have agreed to take them over and the process of payments have begun.  This is what we have done, we basically tranche these loans, for example if you are owed a million and below in US dollars, we are paying that in cash as Treasury.  Payments have begun and signing of those payments.  If you are owed a million and above within a certain range, you will be paid within a three-year period, beyond that five-year period and beyond that ten-year period.  Beneficiaries have been issued with IOUs or bonds which will then be claimed on Treasury.  That is how we have structured the payments Mr. Speaker Sir.  The audit is still ongoing, there is still a bit that is remaining; we will conclude it but we have already taken over some and we have started paying.

          THE HON. SPEAKER:  So that the matter is on record Hon. Minister of Finance; perhaps you can tender a progress report on those issues and indicate some impediments where those impediments have arisen and how you think you are going to deal with them in the shortest possible time and then the august House will be advised accordingly.  Is that acceptable?

          HON. PROF. M. NCUBE:  Mr. Speaker Sir, I think that is acceptable and it is a very good proposition to keep producing a progress report as we go along.  Since we have already paid some of these, it will be wonderful in the shortest possible time for me to come before the House and say vis-à-vis entities that we have already so far and I think that will be a good start to that progress report.  I thank you.

          THE HON. SPEAKER:  Hon. Markham, you raised the issue, are you happy with that progress report on behalf of the august House? 

          HON. MARKHAM: Yes Mr. Speaker, I just want to reiterate that on the payment, we approved in this House, 3.3 billion and the Minister is already admitting that they are doing an audit which is only coming to 2.7, which is half a billion dollars which we would not know about if I had not asked the question.  Quite frankly, it is taking nearly two months to get that answer.  I want to thank the Minister for his honest response.

          On the issue of the blocked funds, what I would like to know is, if a few companies are paying someone, I would like to know to whom that money is going to.  I will tell you why Mr. Speaker. A lot of people are paying themselves outside the country. That is why I would like to know who the blocked funds were released to.  We are talking of 3.3 billion dollars, which we were quarrelling here and which throws us wherever our debt threshold is.  On the issue of global funds, it is exactly the same Mr. Speaker, USD3.5 billion going to some 4 000 farmers who have been waiting 20 years for it and it is still confidential. We as a House need to know what is happening and what we are tying ourselves to for the future.  I do not accept any confidential agreement on a loan that I have paid taxes to.  In my case, having lost a farm I am now paying tax to myself for that land which does not make sense.   Mr. Speaker, what that does highlight is that we have numerous loans in this country by the Government of Zimbabwe with confidentiality, and I may not bring it to this House.  What is the point of this House Mr. Speaker?  We changed the Constitution, you do not have to ask us anymore to borrow money, saka ngatiende kumba chete because we are doing nothing.  I thank you.

          THE HON. SPEAKER:  I think those points are noted by the Hon. Minister, they will be part of the progress report. Hon. Minister, is that agreed - some of these grey areas can be part of the progress report.

          HON. PROF. M. NCUBE:  Obviously, I will include that in the progress report. 

          *HON. TEKESHE: My point of privilege emanates from a discussion that I had with disabled people from my constituency who invited me to a meeting and they informed me that they have been begging in buses and public spaces.  However, they expressed concern that their benefactors are no longer able to give them anything.  So, the message is that the disabled are suffering.  I told them to write a petition but they said that would take time meanwhile they will be suffering.  My request is that the Ministry should consider these people who are vulnerable because they are suffering.  I thank you. 

          THE HON. SPEAKER:  Thank you Hon. Member, may you put your question in writing so that when we come back to this august House on the 12th of July, 2022, you will get a proper response.   

          (V)*HON. MADZIMURE: Thank you Mr. Speaker.  Looking at what is happening in other countries, where ...

          THE HON. SPEAKER:  Order Hon. Madzimure, we have a problem of connectivity, please try next time. 

          HON. MADIWA:  Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir, my point of privilege is that the Committee on Women’s Affairs, Community Development and SMEs tabled a report on minimum mandatory sentence on rape and other sexual offences.  I am kindly asking the Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs to come and give a ministerial statement in response to that report.  Thank you.

          THE HON. SPEAKER:  Hon. Minister of Justice, can you take note of that.

HON. T. MLISWA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. It is just something that needs to be addressed for certainty. When Hon. Members of Parliament wanted to check into the hotels this week, they were told they could not. I am glad that the Minister of Finance and Economic Development is here, I wanted him to pay attention to this one. It involves the issue of Parliament not paying, but I think it is the Ministry of Finance that has not paid Parliament to pay. It was quite embarrassing and humiliating for Hon. Members of Parliament to be told ‘you cannot check in.’ I am glad that there was some quick reaction to that.  There was a quick response to that intervention and they were accommodated but it is an issue which really talks about their welfare. Most Hon. Members of Parliament - if I am not mistaken, we were paid RTGs4 000 after deductions of PSMAS and it is quite something. If you think of RTGs4 000 for a mother and father to carry home to say this is the money, I do not know how we can comprehend and continue on that. So I know you have been looking at the welfare of Hon. Members of Parliament but an update would surely help Hon. Members to understand where they are in terms of those negotiations which we once did with the Minister of Finance and Economic Development and the Permanent Secretary pertaining to a number of issues. Hon. Members are not immune to inflation as well. So I know that they do not have the energy to speak about it, but a response is needed to what is the way forward for the welfare of the Hon. Members of Parliament in spite of the inflation which is there. Thank you.

          THE HON. SPEAKER: I am aware of what has been done following the meeting between the Hon. Minister of Finance and Economic Development on the welfare of Hon. Members of Parliament and generally Government at large. I do not think I will be privileged to announce what has been agreed to and I do not know whether the Hon. Minister may also want to announce that at this point in time. What I know is a substantial increase has been agreed to as well as an increase in your sitting allowances effective 1st July, 2022. So something has been agreed to. I think at the appropriate time, the Hon. Minister will make some pronouncements, not only for us here but for the entire State. Have I concluded properly Hon. Minister?

          THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (HON. PROF. M. NCUBE): Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. You have summarised it well. Maybe only to add that our three areas of focus for Hon. Members of this august House – they have been awarded a very good increase in the salary and basically putting them on a contributory medical insurance scheme which we are introducing as well as an increase in the sitting allowance. We are going to do those three areas – [AN. HON. MEMBER: When?] – Thank you.

          THE HON SPEAKER: Someone is shouting when, I had said with effect from 1st July, 2022. I have the figures and I have been told and I think they are very reasonable in the circumstances of hyper-inflation. That is all I can say for the time being but there has been some progress in terms of what the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development has done. I do not think that I can doubt what I have been told by the Hon. Minister. Let you judge by the action you will see beginning 1st of July, 2022.

          HON. T. MLISWA: I thank you for your response which is promising but you know it is difficult for one to really have peace of mind when they do not know what they will get. Hon. Speaker munenge matinzvenga ipapo. Tirikuda kumboombera kuti tapihwa ipapo tosvitsa maoko.

          THE HON. SPEAKER: Hon. Mliswa, if you cannot trust the Hon. Speaker, who are you going to trust?

          HON. T. MLISWA: No, I will rest my case, we trust you. So please trust the Hon. Speaker and that everything will be okay, your salaries.

          THE HON. SPEAKER: Please do rest your case and if that does not happen, I put my head on the block and then you can come with the guillotine. Thank you.

MOTION

REPORT OF THE ZIMBABWE ELECTORAL COMMISSION FOR THE YEAR 2021

          THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLOIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. I rise that this House takes note of the Report of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission for the year 2021 presented to this House of Parliament in terms of Section 323 (1) of the Constitution. I so submit Mr. Speaker Sir.

          THE HON. SPEAKER:  Hon. Members, I am being advised that the report was circulated.  Have you checked your e-mails?

          HON. CHIKWINYA:  Thank you Hon. Speaker.  I have tried to confirm with the Clerk if the report came any time after April and he said it was sent today.  There were e-mail challenges due to network.  I am trying to reason with the Hon. Minister maybe to postpone it so that we can be able to go through it.

          THE HON. SPEAKER:  There have been some incessant outages in the last four hours.

          HON. CHIKWINYA:  Hon. Speaker, we were just trying to see if the report was sent any time after April when some of us joined Parliament.  The Clerk confirmed that the report was sent today.  It is not yet on our e-mail list and therefore, I would propose that perhaps we adjourn the debate until we manage to go through the report so that we can make meaningful debate. 

          THE HON. SPEAKER:  As I have indicated, we have been having problems with electricity in the CBD in the last few days.  Hon. Minister and Leader of Government Business, I am sure you will agree with the request.

          THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI):  Thank you Mr. Speaker.  I move that the debate do now adjourn. 

          Motion put and agreed to. 

          Debate to resume:  Tuesday, 12th July, 2022.

MOTION

BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE

          THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI):  I move that Order of the Day, Number 2 on today’s Order Paper be stood over until Order of the Day, Number 3 has been disposed of. 

SECOND READING

COPPER CONTROL AMENDMENT BILL [H. B. 3, 2021]

Third Order read:  Second Reading: Copper Control Amendment Bill [H. B. 3, 2021].

THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI):  Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  I want to thank the Hon. Members who debated the Copper Amendment Bill, their contributions and support to ensure that we come up with a minimum sentence to those that vandalise our copper cables and those that do not have the requisite papers to deal with copper.  We value the support that has been offered.  The aim really being to ensure that we put up legislative measures that will act as deterrence to those that would want to deal in copper or to vandalise our infrastructure.  Having said that, I now move that the Copper Control Amendment Bill, [H.B. 3, 2021] be now read a second time.  Thank you.

Motion put and agreed to. 

Bill read a second time. 

Committee Stage:  With leave, forthwith.

COMMITTEE STAGE

COPPER CONTROL AMENDMENT BILL [H. B. 3, 2021]

House in Committee. 

 

          Clauses 2 to 6 put and agreed to.

          On Clause 7;   

          HON. NGULUVHE on behalf of HON. BRIG. GEN.  RTG MAYIHLOME: I move that the Bill be amended in Clause 7 on page 3 in line 7, by the deletion of “imprisonment for a period not exceeding ten years, or both” and the substitution of “twice the value of the stolen copper whichever is the greater; or to imprisonment for a period not exceeding 25 years or both”.

          THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): Thank you Hon. Chair. If we look at Clause 7, it is consistent with the other clauses in terms of sentencing.  If you put Hon. Mayihlome’s proposal, we realise that we would have lessened the sentence regime yet the import of this Bill was to come up with a sentence regime that is stringent so that we can see deterrence of those who are vandalising our copper cables and associated infrastructure that is essential for all of us.  So the proposition therefore would allow that those who have got money can get away, yet we want to come up with a sentence regime that is deterrent enough to ensure we preserve our infrastructure and copper cables.  Therefore, I urge Hon. Members to reject this because it will be a reversal of many efforts of introducing this Bill in the first place.  I thank you.

          Amendment to Clause 7 put and negatived.

          Clause 7 put and agreed to.

          House resumed.

          Bill reported without amendments.

          Third Reading: With leave, forthwith.

          HON. CHIKWINYA: On a point of order! There was a mistake.  Mr. Speaker, I want you to assist this House, we collectively made a mistake.  I do not think it is proper to pass a Bill without Parliament’s intention.  When the courts are interpreting the law, they seek to understand the intention of the Legislature.  So, in Section 7(2), in fact the import of the Bill from what the Hon. Minister said is to put punitive measures which are deterrent to would be copper cable thieves or material such like so that we preserve our transmission services for power.

          Now, Section 7 (2) has a clause that introduces a fine under special circumstances and a debate ensued where Members made a genuine mistake to say it must pass as it is.  I seek your guidance, can we not have a chance to rectify move in line with what the Hon. Minister intends to bring - which is punitive measures, and remove the clause of a fine.  This is the House that passes laws, we cannot pass a law that we say, we have made a mistake on and not want to correct.  Can we go back to Committee and rectify that mistake Hon. Speaker Sir?  It is a mistake that I agree we have made, unless if you are saying that perhaps the Senate is going to address but it is a mistake that we genuinely made – we acknowledge.  Can we go back to Committee and rectify the mistake?

          THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER (HON. M. KHUMALO):  Thank you Hon. Member.  Hon. Member, be advised that we cannot go to this debate because it has gone to another stage.  So we cannot go back to that debate.

          HON. CHIKWINYA:  Hon. Speaker, can it be on record that we have passed this Bill having noticed a mistake which we intended to rectify as Committee.  I move that this House takes note that Section 7

 (ii) is contrary to the intention of the Bill as stated by the Hon. Minister in his opening remarks.  I thank you.

          THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER:  Thank you Hon. Member, you allowed the Bill to go to another stage, and now you raise that one.  We cannot go back to that stage of the Bill; our procedures do not allow us to go back.

THIRD READING

COPPER CONTROL AMENDMENT BILL [H. B. 3, 2021]

          THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI):  Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  I move that the Bill be now read the third time.

          Motion put and agreed to.

          Bill read the third time.

MOTION

BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE

          THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI):  Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  I move that the rest of the Orders of the Day be stood over until Order of the Day, Number 23 has been disposed of.

          Motion put and agreed to.

MOTION

SUPPLEMENTARY BUDGET FOR WATER AND SANITATION

          Twenty-Third Order read:  Adjourned debate on motion on the erractic water supplies in both rural and urban local authorities.

          Question again proposed.

          HON. HAMAUSWA:  Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  I would like to appreciate the contributions by Hon. Members to the motion that I moved in this House calling upon the Government to consider bringing a supplementary budget to focus on water.  I am happy that the Hon. Minister of Finance and Economic Development is here, and that he can also take note of the important points that were raised by Hon. Members who were calling for the rehabilitation of dams in rural areas, and the completion of important dams such as Kunzvi Dam …

          HON. CHIKWINYA:  On a point of order Mr. Speaker!  Thank you Hon. Speaker Sir.  I understand that in terms of procedure, once the mover of the motion has wound-up his motion, there can be no other debate but because of the importance of this motion and it being directed to the Minister of Finance and Economic Development, can we have some input or comments from the Minister of Finance because I am sure he has gone through the motion, he understands the prayers, it is squarely on his level so that at least once he has given his comments, then the mover of the motion can then wind up?

THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Thank you Hon. Member, I am being advised that this motion is directed to the Minister of Agriculture.  He is the one who can respond to this if he so wishes to. 

          HON. MAMAUSWA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. I was saying that I am happy that the Minister of Finance is in the House and one of the prayer is that we humbly request for a supplementary budget that will cover the provision of water and sanitation facilities within this country and therefore, it is upon the mandate or the jurisdiction of the Minister of Finance to ensure that those responsible for construction of water bodies are funded. 

I also requested that can the water situation in this country be declared a national disaster and the Minister of Finance is here although the Minister of Agriculture will be responsible for other things, but the Ministry of Finance would then provide the resources that are required to ensure that we have adequate water bodies.  We will have these problems resolved because actually water is life and we cannot continue with this situation where people and their animals in both rural and urban areas go for days without water.

Therefore Mr. Speaker Sir, I really appreciate the contributions made by Members of Parliament, mainly those coming from the rural areas where it is noted that the dams in those areas need to be rehabilitated.  They need to recoup the dams and there is need to repair those that were affected by cylones like Idai. 

          In areas like Harare, we need Kunzvi and Musami dams to be completed as soon as possible.  The infrastructure was noted by all Members of Parliament that it needs to be rehabilitated.  I would want to conclude by noting the contributions as stop gap measures, the supply of solar powered boreholes in urban areas and this should be supplied in a manner that is not based on political affiliation but there must be a plan from the Government to make sure that all areas that have not been receiving water are given solar powered boreholes.  Hon. Members have raised important issues that the boreholes that are there are limited and only skilled people can repair those boreholes.  I now move that this motion be adopted.

          Motion that:

          AWARE that Section 77 (a) of the 2013 Constitution of Zimbabwe provides that: every citizen has the right to safe, clean and potable water and the State must take reasonable legislative and other measures within the limits of the resources available to it, to achieve the progressive realisation of this right;

          WORRIED that the water crisis in Zimbabwe has contributed to the outbreak of water-borne diseases and other unhygienic conditions in society;

          DISTURBED that the continuous erratic water supplies within both rural and urban local authorities remain a recipe for disaster especially in the context of the COVID-19 global pandemic;

          NOW, THEREFORE, this House resolves to urgently request for a supplementary budget from Ministry of Finance and Economic Development which will be devoted solely for water and sanitation in the year 2022, in view of the need to maintain hygienic standards especially during the COVID-19 global pandemic, put and agreed to.

          HON. CHIKWINYA: On a point of order Mr. Speaker.

          THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: What is your point of order?

          HON. CHIKWINYA: As I explained, the implementation of the prayer in the motion squarely depends in the hands of the Minister of Finance. Since he is here, maybe he can tell us when he can respond or give a comment to the issue of water especially that we are saying it has to be declared a national disaster.  I thank you.

          THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Hon. Member, we already have dealt with that motion, it has been adopted, and there is no further debate.

          (v)HON. MUSHORIWA: On a point of order Hon. Speaker Sir.

          THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: What is your point of order?

          (v)HON. MUSHORIWA: Thank you Hon. Speaker Sir. (Technical glitch) request for the budget of Finance and also Public Accounts Committee.  We note that they… – [HON. MEMBERS: We cannot hear him.] –

          THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Hon. Member, you are not audible please.  You can come to the House – [HON. CHIKWINYA: Tell him to put on his clothes and come to the House.] –

MOTION

BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE

          HON. JOSIAH SITHOLE: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir, I move that Orders of the Day, Nos. 2 to 23 be stood over until Order of the Day No. 24 has been disposed of.

          HON. TEKESHE: I second.

          Motion put and agreed to.

MOTION

SECOND REPORT OF THE PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE ON FOREIGN AFFAIRS AND INTERNATIONAL TRADE ON THE VISIT TO DUBAI EXPO

Adjourned debate on motion on the Second Report of the Portfolio Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade on the visit to Dubai Expo.

Question again proposed.

HON. JOSIAH SITHOLE: Mr. Speaker, I move that the debate do now adjourn.

HON. TEKESHE:  I second.

Motion put and agreed to.

Debate to resume: Tuesday, 12th July, 2022.

MOTION

BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE

HON. JOSIAH SITHOLE:  I move that the rest of the Orders of the Day be stood over until Order Number 33 on today’s Order Paper has been disposed of.

HON. TEKESHE:  I second.

Motion put and agreed to.

THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER:  Order, there are vehicles, ACH4392 and AFB0659 that are blocking others in the car park.  Please may you remove those vehicles, they are blocking other vehicles.

MOTION

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

Thirty Third Order read:  Adjourned debate on motion on the report of the Portfolio Committee on Information, Media and Broadcasting Services on the Zimbabwe Digital Migration Project.

Question again proposed.

HON. CHIKWINYA:  Thank you Hon. Speaker for allowing me to add my voice on this very important report by the Committee on Media, Information and Broadcasting Services.  Hon. Speaker, I was a member of this Committee since 2013 and this agenda has been on the table of the Committee of this Parliament and the nation at large since then - in fact, with regards to Zimbabwe and as the report perfectly captures, it has been on the agenda since 2006.

Hon. Speaker, the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) had put a deadline for SADC countries to have fully digitalised or migrated to digitalisation by June of 2015.  With that regard, the Government of Zimbabwe made the same commitment because it is a member to the ITU and began to systematically provide budgetary support to the digitalisation programme from 2011 so that we could reach 2015.  For now, Hon. Speaker, as the report actually captures, we have covered 43%of the digital migration programme having digitalised 18 digital sites out of 48, but this is a far cry from the deadline which we were supposed to have achieved of June 2015.

There are consequences, Hon. Speaker for not having achieved the full digitalisation programme by 2015 and the Executive has been fully briefed by the respective Ministers since then.  One of the issues is that there is frequency overarching between member States.  So this issue whereby people in Plumtree, Beitbridge and Zambezi receive airwaves from the neighbouring countries is because we have not yet managed to fully digitalise.  We must be able to ring-fence our border line if we are able to fully digitalise.  So equipment that is set up across the Limpopo, Botswana and across Zambia, if we have weaker equipment which is run on analogue, it tends to be affected by equipment that is stronger across the borders and that is why communities in our border line areas have always been crying out loud that they are failing to access Zimbabwean broadcasting services but foreign broadcasting services.

In response to that, the Government has set up community radio stations as a priority in those areas but that is not enough.  For example, Members of Parliament from Beitbridge, Bulilima, Mbire, as they make meaningful contributions in Parliament, their respective constituents are not able to access them.  The beautiful radio stations that they manage to listen to in Harare cannot be accessed by people in Beitbridge, Bulilima, Penhalonga, and Mbire.  This is because of lack of full digitalisation which was supposed to have been done in 2015. 

Hon. Speaker, in 2020, two cables were achieved under the digitalisation programme. The cables came; 1 – splitting into six, so each cable came with six channels.  Cable number 1 for example was given to ZBC and that is why you find that it is now going to have six channels and they have begun to roll out one entertainment channel on top of the current news and current affairs channel.  They are moving on to have six channels and they are taking advantage of this progressive move that is coming through digitalisation.  Cable number two was split into six as well and it is the one which gave rise or gave birth to the six television stations which were given licences in 2020.  You know now that we have television stations; 3K T.V, ZTN T.V and the other four which are supposed to be rolled out 18 months from the time they were given the licences. 

The point to worry about is that because we still lack full digitalisation, these television stations are failing to operate whilst they are broadcasting from Zimbabwe or using Zimbabwean airwaves.  This is why they are riding on the digital transmission by DStv which is domiciled in South Africa.  If we had fully digitalised, they were supposed to have full jurisdiction or to operate using Zimbabwean airwaves.  So I implore Parliament that, whilst the principle of budgetary support  has been given by the Ministry of Finance for the digitalisaiton programme, it is the amount which is too little and having very little impact in terms of achieving this digitalisation programme.

Hon. Speaker, you would know that Zimbabwe was known for one television station but with the coming in of all these other television stations, jobs are being created and talent is being discovered.  You Hon. Speaker now know of a person called Kudzai Violet Gore (KVG), there is Miss V. Candy, Amard of Zifm.  There are so many other people like that who are talented, like Candice Mwakalyelye, who are failing to get jobs because we have not yet unlocked more television and radio stations because we are not fully digitalised.  So I implore Parliament that, whilst we are going to be enjoying more television stations, please think of the young son and daughter who are supposed to have an opportunity to showcase their talent as we begin to enjoy the fruits of full digitalisation.

There is an issue of set-top boxes; the digitalisation programme is coming with set-top boxes, these are basically receivers of the airwaves.  There was a commitment by the Government that these set-top boxes were supposed to be supplied by the Ministry of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services to the residents and households but this has not been realised.  There is still a question out there, who is supposed to bear the cost of set-top boxes because the budget has provided for that?  If the Minister of Finance and Economic Development is going to be able to read through the Auditor General’s Report, it is coming out as they are auditing ZBC that you were given money for set-top boxes but you have not yet bought them, what is the problem?  We know of CEOs who have been fired for the misuse of funds and I want to draw you back that this is part of the funds that have been misused by the CEOs at ZBC as they were abusing money which was supposed to be used for set-top boxes.  Without set-top boxes, you cannot access the airwaves, so these are basically your decoders.

The other recommendation by the Committee is can Parliament pass a law that every television that is now going to be imported must be capable of receiving digital airwaves?  This then deals with the issue of the Government having to buy set-top boxes because they are there to mitigate for those television sets that are not able to convert analogue transmission to digital transmission.  It has to go through a set-top box.  However, there are now smart televisions which do not need these set-top boxes, they automatically receive the signal and transmit automatically. Yes, the Committee made an observation but they were not full in terms of asserting their authority as to who is supposed to then foot this bill of set-top boxes.  Whilst they mention the Ministry of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services, the Ministry is actually working through ZBC.  There is also another issue of ZBC having contracted Huawei– the contractor doing a parallel programme and having received parallel funds from what I believe ZBC should actually be doing because it has a set of engineers, and Information Technology experts.  I do not think it was actually necessary, Huawei could have been supplying equipment but not necessarily being project managers of the same. I just rose to try and demonstrate to this House that in the absence of digitalisation, we will continue to be able to broadcast one television station through our own airwaves.  So we are going to year number 43 as we celebrate independence; 43, 44 and 45, perhaps with the same dispensation or any other new dispensation - if we do not solve the issue of digitalisation, you will continue to see one television station, which is ZBC.  If you want to begin to transmit more television and radio stations using our own airwaves, we need to go full digitalisation as we were supposed to have done in 2015.  Thank you Hon. Speaker.

HON. HAMAUSWA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  I would like to add my voice to this important motion moved by the Chairperson of the Media Committee, Hon. Mokone on the digitalisation progress in Zimbabwe.  I want to touch on a few aspects.  We are privileged that the Minister of Finance and Economic Development is here.  I am going to start by highlighting that the Government of Zimbabwe, from 2015, sponsored this digital transmission.  The Government has used more than $50 million in terms of upgrading the system to go on the full digitalisation programme.

However, the equipment that was bought using the above $50 million funds, tax-payers’ money, is about to be obsolete because it is not being used.  So, without coming up with a proper framework of making sure set-top boxes will reach the viewers, it will turn out that the Government did not use the funds appropriately.  This is because $50 million that was used for upgrading the transmission sites is not being utilised.  If you go to Kotwa, there are transmission sites which only require the set-top boxes for the people of Kotwa to enjoy the digitalised airwaves.  However, the challenge is on set-top boxes.

As a Committee, it will also be important to note that the funds that were allocated for set-top boxes were eroded by inflation. Maybe there is need to see how the targeted groups who were earmarked for the free set-top boxes are going to benefit because we will end up having reports that are not being implemented. The people in the rural areas are waiting to realise this digitalisation programme becoming a reality to them but the challenge is on set-top boxes. Therefore, I reiterate what my colleagues have said that there is need for a plan from Government especially focusing on how much Government had already given out in terms of supporting the digitalisation programme.

          I will repeat that the Government has already used more than US$50 million and we cannot then fail as a Government to add US$3 million to make sure that the US$50 million that we have given out is actually being utilised. If Government fails to provide US$3 million, the US$50 million equipment will actually reach its expected lifespan without being utilised by the people of Zimbabwe. This is my plea Mr. Speaker Sir to say that this project must be regarded as a national project which requires the full attention of Cabinet, especially the Ministry of Finance to make sure that what they have given is actually going to make sense by making sure that US$50 million is now being enjoyed by the people of Zimbabwe who are the taxpayers in this country.

I would also want to talk about the situation at the transmission sites. For this ditilisation programme to be enjoyed by the people of Zimbabwe, the transmission sites have to be secured. When we visited some of the areas, there were no fireguards and fire was actually destroying those areas at the transmission sites. We know of other players who share the premises with the transmission sites and they can share in terms of security.  There is need for improvement because these transmission sites are established in areas that are remote where there are mountains and we cannot expect Government to just leave that equipment without proper security because we would have used money to construct those sites but in most cases, there are no transmission sites.

There is another important issue which can stand in the way of enjoyment of digitalised airwaves in Zimbabwe. The issue of electricity; there is need for the electricity supply company to be supported because in some cases, they do not have engineers who can actually work on electrical faults which then affect the effectiveness of those transmission sites. There is need for more support to ZESA to make sure that the engineers are readily available whenever there are electrical faults because this will then affect the working of transmission sites.

Another alternative energy source such as solar can also be considered to power the transmission sites. Another point is that the transmitters are not easily accessible to the extent that engineers from Transmedia and ZESA struggle and in some cases, you would feel that they need risk allowance for them to be able to reach the hill tops where the transmitters are erected because the roads are not properly maintained. It is a danger to the employees of Transmedia who would then go regularly to maintain those transmitters. There is a lot that needs to be done. Once Government has made a commitment to make sure that this digitalisation programme is a reality, the Government cannot then, in the middle of the way, fold its hands without completing this project.

I call upon this House to make sure that as we move towards 2023 budget formulation and implementation, there is need to make sure that there is a clear framework on how set-top boxes are going to be imported. There is need to waive duty for those who are importing set-top boxes because information is a public good and as a Government - I hear you Mr. Speaker Sir, saying you are not connected – the people in Mt. Darwin, Kotwa, Buhera West and even in Warren Park, will always be complaining that we are not connected because there is no electricity and set-top boxes, yet they are supposed to be enjoying the digitalised airwaves but now we do not have these set-top boxes yet information is a public good. We need the people of Zimbabwe to be receiving information and to have high quality viewing options.

I will conclude by highlighting that digitalisation and the opening of airwaves is going to create more employment opportunities. I am not going to repeat what Hon. Chikwinya said but I will add that even the content producers will also have more opportunities because there will be a number of takers of their products. Government departments such as New Ziana will have more opportunities because they are going to be producing more content that will be ready for the uptake by new players that are going to come in. This is an important programme which needs the support of the Ministry of Finance and without their support, we will continue going year-in year-out coming up with reports and the people of Zimbabwe will just see those big towers and will not even make sense to them.

If you go to Kotwa and all those other sites in Gwanda, the transmitters are there but people living in those areas cannot connect yet the airwaves are there but the set-top boxes which cost US$5 are not there. There is need for more research and if it was possible, coming up with alternative ways of funding these set-top boxes, bringing in more players who are actually going to support Government. We have the private sector and there is need to create a platform where private sector come in and give their options and proposals to the Ministry of Finance to say when they come, how best are they going to provide set-top boxes especially to those people who can manage to buy but also a plan for those who can be supported by Government. If you are targeting 300 000 people, let us see that those targeted people receive the set-top boxes before the end of the year. I thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.

THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (HON. PROF. M. NCUBE):  Mr. Speaker Sir, I rise to add my voice and contribute to this very important debate on digitalisation. We, as Government, take this agenda very seriously as it is very important for all our citizens to get to receive a media signal from within our borders and not to be crowded out by signals from neighbouring countries. So it is very important that this programme is well supported and we are supporting it.  What we have done as Government is, the Minister of Information has sent us a request in Treasury to pay US$2 million to a supplier outside in order to acquire Set-Top Boxes (STBs).  We have paid US$2 million to the supplier and we hope to receive the STBs soon.  So I can assure this House that by year end, we should receive these boxes and be able to connect most of our citizens who are currently not connected.  This is a very important issue which we will continue to fund as Government going forward, and I will be coming back to this House for us to continue with the financing of this digitalisation programme into 2023 and who knows into 2024 as well.  This will enable us to operationalise our investment worth US$50 million from the transmitters.  I thank you.

*HON. NYABANI:  Mr. Speaker Sir, I want to talk about the issue of digitalisation.  Information is power.  When we get to Harare, we have our eyes glued to our television screens because in the rural areas, we know not of such television programming.  So there is a gap between those that live in the urban areas vis-a-vis those that are in the communal lands.  It is my wish that digitalisation should be quickly spread to the rural areas because people in the rural areas do not know about television sets or what it is.  Especially in places like Rushinga and Mbire, the only sound we hear is when birds chirp. The radios are inaudible.  It is our hope that after the announcement of a payment of US$2 million by the Hon. Minister of Finance for set-top boxes, we will also be covered because we are not sure what type of people are eligible to be covered.  What is the population that will be covered and how about some of us in the backward areas, will all of us be covered?  How is distribution going to be conducted?  What about those who cannot afford to pay, will they be made to pay?  All those issues should be addressed openly so people are made aware.  What if the set-top boxes are given to people living in the urban areas only?  Did you check how many people are in the rural areas when you made the two million STBs payment?  I encourage information which is said to be powerful to be given to everyone, be it in the urban or rural areas at the same time.  So digitalisation should be done equally and fairly between the urban and rural dwellers so that no one is left behind. 

I encourage the Minister of Finance to empower everyone with knowledge because nothing is done without knowledge.  Knowledge is very important because if we did not have knowledge about Parliament, we would just be sitting because we would be lacking the knowledge.  This country is now being driven by technology in all spheres, be it education, farming et cetera through television and radio.  Now, in Rushinga, there is no community radio station, no televisions or anything.  We get information after it has been in circulation for two weeks and it will be out dated information.  It is like eating sadza that will have been cooked three or four days back.  It is our wish that digitalisation should be quickly brought to all areas so that we move along with our counterparts in the urban areas as is the President’s mantra that no one should be left behind. 

          If I look at the radio stations being installed in different places, I start to wonder whether Rushinga or Mbire belongs in Zimbabwe.  What do they consider for an area to get the radio stations and satellites?  Are we regarded as part of Zimbabwe and when are we also going to enjoy having radio stations, satellites and digitalisation?  If it is being said no place must be left behind, why are we being left behind?  It is our plea that we be included as quickly as possible and people in Rushinga need to see the STBs for themselves and not be left to wonder whether these boxes are animals or what type of boxes they are.  People in the rural areas do not know what these things are.  I urge the Minister to ensure that people of Rushinga benefit.  I could continue saying a lot but in the rural areas, there is no network and many more things.  It is my wish that the Minister of Finance seriously considers marginalised places such as Rushinga and Mbire.  If you say things should be done starting from the outskirts/rural areas coming into the urban areas, it would make a great difference to us.  Mr. Speaker Sir, if you look at your hand, there is skin and if that skin is removed, you will see its importance because all the blood will flow out of the body.  So, we at the borders are the skin of this country and we need to be properly looked after.  With these few words, I want to thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.

          HON. MOKONE: I would like to thank all the Members who contributed to this debate on digitisation.  I am sure that to the Minister of Finance, I am beginning to sound like a broken record because every time I stand up, I speak about digitisation.  The reason why I am so passionate about this is because the programme of digitising Zimbabwe brings with it a lot of goodies.  For instance, we were hit hard by COVID-19 and everything was done on line.  Even school children depended on television and radio lessons for them to carry on with their education.  So, when we completely digitise it will mean that school children can access educational lessons through televisions especially those who live in rural areas.  The digitisation programme also involves a situation whereby the transmission on our television sets will change completely because people in Zimbabwe are complaining that the picture quality of our television is poor and has showers.  So, this programme will ensure that people receive good quality pictures. With those few words Mr. Speaker Sir, I move for the adoption of the motion that this House takes note of the Report of the Portfolio Committee on Information, Media and Broadcasting Services on the Zimbabwe Digital Migration Project.

Motion put and agreed to.

MOTION

BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE

HON. JOSIAH SITHOLE: I move that we revert to Order of the Day Number 9.

HON. MPARIWA: I second.

Motion put and agreed to

SECOND READING

CHILD JUSTICE BILL [H. B. 11, 2021]

Adjourned debate on motion on the Second Reading of the Child Justice Bill [H. B. 11, 2021].

Question again proposed.

HON. MATARANYIKA: INTRODUCTION

  • The Child Justice Bill [H.B. 11, 2021] (hereinafter referred to as the Bill) was gazetted on 3 December 2021.
  •         The Bill was developed with the aim to establish a separate

justice system for children who get into conflict with the law.

  •         In line with the values and principles underpinning the

Constitution and international obligations, this child justice system will be largely premised on principles of restoration and rehabilitation of juvenile offenders as opposed to a punitive justice system.

1.4    In compliance with Constitutional provisions and as part of public consultations meant to enhance participatory democracy, the Joint Portfolio Committee on Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs; and Thematic Committee on Human Rights, conducted nationwide public hearings on the Bill. The consultations were held from 3 to 8 April, 2022.

  •         The public consultations were attended by the general

members of the public, school children and Civic Society Organizations like Children Youth Volunteers Association, Educational Trust, Justice for Children, Young Women Christian Association and Matebeleland Development Trust.

  •         Prior to holding the public consultations, the Joint Portfolio

Committees underwent a workshop on unpacking of the Bill hosted by the Southern African Parliamentary Support Trust (SAPST), with a view to enhance their understanding of the provisions of the Bill.

  •         The Committee on Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs

 undertook a second round of consultations from 9 to 13 May 2022 under the spotlight initiative sponsored by Centre for Applied Legal Research in partnership with UNICEF.

  •         These consultations were targeting children in high schools,

primary schools and junior Parliamentarians.

  • BACKGROUND

2.1    In Zimbabwe, there has been no specific legislation on how

cases of juvenile offenders are to be handled. As such, handling of matters of children who come into conflict with the law was left to the existing legislation and child-specific policies developed over time.

2.2    For many years, the question of child justice in Zimbabwe’s

jurisdiction has been a vexing question.

2.2    Like everyone else, people under the age of 18 years do come into contact and conflict with the law.

2.4    The Convention on the Rights of the Child and the African

Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child, provide for child justice.

2.5    Section 19(1) of the Constitution provides that the State must adopt policies and measures to ensure that in matters relating to children, the best interests of the children concerned are paramount.

  •          Section 19 (2) (c) further gives a critical mandate to the State

to adopt policies and measures, within the limit of the resources available to it, to ensure that children are protected from maltreatment, neglect or any form of abuse.

  •          It is against this backdrop that this Bill seeks to establish a

criminal justice delivery mechanism that is designed specifically for child offenders who are currently treated in the same way as adults when facing arrests and pre-trial detention in conventional prisons like adults.

  • METHODOLOGY

3.1 As part of its law-making function, Parliament through the Portfolio Committee on Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs and the Thematic Committee on Human Rights, embarked on public hearings on the Bill for the general public to make an input.

3.2 This is a legal requirement set out in section 141 of the Constitution which stipulates that Parliament should create an environment that enables the public to participate in the law-making process.

  • The public hearings were attended by persons from all walks of life that included men, women, the youth, the disabled, children and civic society organizations with some even sending written submissions to Parliament.

Public Hearings

Team A

DATE

PROVINCE

PUBLIC HEARING VENUE

04 April 2022

Manicaland

Mutare Civic Centre,

Mutare

 

05 April 2022

Masvingo

 

Midlands

Chitsanga Hall, Chiredzi

 

Chiedza Hall, Zvishavane

06 April 2022

Midlands

 

Mashonaland West

Gweru Theatre, Gweru

 

Bosbury Primary School

Chegutu

07 April 2022

Mashonaland Central

 

Chipadze Hall

Bindura

08 April 2022

Harare

New Ambassador Hotel

Harare

 

Team B

DATE

PROVINCE

PUBLIC HEARING VENUE

04 April 2022

Matabeleland North

Freedom Square

Binga

05 April 2022

Matebeleland North

Lwendulu Hall

Hwange

06 April 2022

Matabeleland South

GwandaHotel

Gwanda

07 April 2022

Bulawayo

Selbourne Hotel, Bulawayo

Beit Hall, Luveve

 

Consultations targeting school children and Junior Parliamentarians

Team A

DATE

PROVINCE

PUBLIC HEARING VENUE

09 May 2022

Masvingo

Victoria High School, Masvingo

 

Gokomere High School, Masvingo

10 May 2022

Masvingo

 

Gutu High School, Gutu

 

11 May 2022

Manicaland

 

 

St Dominics High School, Mutare

 

Bemhiwa Primary School, Marange

12 May 2022

Manicaland

 

Gombakomba High School, Vumba

13 May 2022

Harare

Deaf Zimbabwe Trust Academy, Harare

 

Team B

DATE

PROVINCE

PUBLIC HEARING VENUE

09 May 2022

Matabeleland South

Gwanda Government High School, Gwanda

 

Sabiwa High School, Gwanda

10 May 2022

Matebeleland North

Fatima High School, Lupane

 

Mabhiwa High School, Lupane

11 May 2022

Bulawayo

MbuyazweSecondary School, Bulawayo

12 May 2022

Midlands

St Daniels Rehabilitation and Vocational Training Centre, Gweru

13 May 2022

Mashonaland West

Rimuka High School, Kadoma

 

  • SUBMISSIONS ON SPECIFIC CLAUSES OF THE BILL

4.1 Centre for Applied Legal Research highlighted that, from the onset, this Bill seeks to change the minimum age of criminal capacity. However, it was their submission that this position is difficult to find as it only fully emerges in later clauses of the Bill that seeks to amend sections 6 and 7 of the Criminal Law Code.

4.2 As such, a suggestion was made that there be a clear substantive provision towards the beginning of the Bill that sets out this new position on the age of criminal capacity. An insertion of Clause 3A was proposed which provide as follows:

3A Age and Criminal Capacity

For purposes of this Act

  • A child below the age of 12 years is irrefutably presumed to lack the criminal capacity to commit a crime and cannot be prosecuted for that offence, but must be dealt with in terms of section 94 (1) of this Act
  • A child over 12 years has criminal capacity to commit a crime unless the evidence establishes that the child lacked criminal capacity.

4.3 Clause 5: Sets out principles of child justice. These include, among others,

‘‘…adherence to the rights and obligations of children as contained in international and regional instruments, with particular reference to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child and the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child’’, and that a child may not be deprived of their liberty before or after conviction, save where detention is necessary.

4.4. Majority of the general public welcomed this clause with much enthusiasm. It was highlighted that child offenders between the ages of 12 years to16 years are being treated in the same manner as adult offenders, arrested and detained in same prisons as adults.

4.5. Parents and organizations representing rights and interests of children raised concerns over the trauma that a child is likely to face upon getting arrested, brought before the court of law and eventually given a custodial sentence. As such, the general public was in support of the principles of child justice as contained in the Bill.

4.6. In the same vein, Law Society of Zimbabwe submitted that the principle as provided for by Clause 5 (j) must be holistic enough to also include reformation and rehabilitation (not just reintegration) as per article 17 (3) of the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child.

4.7. It was further submitted that the use of the phrase “a child may not be deprived of liberty for an offence”, in Clause 5 (m), waters down section 81(1) (i) of the Constitutional provision that says every child has a right “not to be detained except as a measure of last resort”.

4.8. Clauses 8 to 11: touch on the procedure in which police officers, child protection or diversion officer, and the courts may estimate the age of a child whenever there is doubt about the age of a person alleged to have committed an offence.

4.9. According to the Law Society of Zimbabwe, the procedures for age determination set out in the Bill are too broad.

4.10. It was therefore suggested that in coming up with the procedures for age determination, the drafters of the Bill must take guidance from paragraph 34 of the Committee on the Rights of the Child’s General Comment 24 of 2019 (CRC/C/GC/24)[1] which provides for assessment of the child’s physical and psychological development by professionals skilled in evaluating different aspects of development.

4.11. It was also submitted that age estimation should be done by medical professionals like dentists who are well trained in that field, rather than having police officers to do age estimation.

4.12. During public hearings in Matebeleland North Province, different organizations representing children’s rights pointed out that often times many children are being treated unfairly by the police and the courts because they do not have birth certificates.

4.13. As such, a call was made for the law to make it mandatory for parents to ensure that their children have birth certificates. Moreover, it was advocated that, in line with paragraph 33 of the Committee on the Rights of the Child’s General Comment 24 of 2019, whenever it is required to determine age of a child, the State must provide a birth certificate promptly and free of charge.

4.14. Clause 12: stipulates, that a child under the age of 12 years shall not be arrested and lays out the processes for dealing with such, which include handing the child over to his or her parents. The aim of this clause is to increase the minimum age of criminal responsibility from 7 years to 12 years.

4.15. The general public welcomed this provision as a positive initiative by the government. However, the majority pointed out that a 12-year-old child is still too young to be considered mature enough to knowingly commit a crime.

4.16. It was submitted that evidence in the field of child development indicates that maturity and reasoning capacity of children aged 12 to 13 years is still evolving. Therefore, children under the age of 13 are less likely to knowingly participate in criminal activities or let alone understand the impact of their actions.

4.17. During consultations in schools, school children and their junior parliamentarians had conflicting opinions on the criminal age of criminal responsibility.

4.18. Some children where suggesting that the Bill should maintain the definition of a child in the Constitution and set the minimum age of criminal liability at 18, whilst majority children population proposed that children below the age of 16 years must be protected by the law.

4.19. While these children appreciated the increase of the age of criminal responsibility to 12 years, it was clear from their submissions that they are acknowledging that children as young as 7 years are also engaging in crimes either intentionally or unintentionally.

4.20. A call was made by children that those below the age of 12, if they find themselves in conflict with the law, efforts should be made to correct and rehabilitate them in juvenile rehabilitation centres that cater for their health, education and mental needs.

4.21. Lawyers advocated for the Bill to take into consideration provisions of Part O of the African Commission’s Principles and Guidelines on the Right to a Fair Trial and Legal Assistance in Africa, which set the minimum age of criminal responsibility at 15.

4.22. Clauses 13 - 21: Speak on police powers and duties together with the procedure and manner in which cases of child offenders are to be handled by the police from the time of their arrest to the time they are brought before the child justice court.

4.23. The general public called upon the police to be sensitized on the Bill and laws that provide for children’s rights to ensure that they handle cases of child suspects as prescribed by the law.

4.24. It was suggested that Clause 17 be revised and replaced with a provision that provides that detention of child suspects should not last longer than 24 hours. This is in tandem with the recommendation from the United Nations Global Study on Children Deprived of Liberty published in 2019.

4.25. A high school student from Gokomere High School in Masvingo submitted that government should ensure that the police officers are well trained in handling children’s cases. He referred to the manner in which the police brutally attacked school children who were demonstrating over their welfare on 8 November 2021.

4.26. Clause 33: It was submitted that payment of monetary bail should not be a requirement as it is discriminatory against those who are not able to pay monetary bail. Also, the expectation of either parents, guardians or others to be drawn into an inquiry relating to their ability to pay is not justifiable in principle. The whole requirement to pay monetary bail was said to be defeated by Clause 33 (3) because it appears that there is still a discretion by the courts to release a child without having to pay monetary bail.

4.27. Clause 41: This clause provides for purposes and general principles of diversion. Professor Geoff Feltoe, a Retired Law Lecturer at the Faculty of Law at University of Zimbabwe, submitted that a scheme of pre-trial diversion has been in operation for a number of years. However, this has lacked legislative framework.

4.28. The rights of a child, like any other accused person, must be protected. He submitted that the child must be informed of his or her rights and an acceptance of responsibility must always be made on a free and well-informed basis.

4.29. Consequently, he proposed for the insertion of additional provisions he strongly believes are fundamentally important in ensuring that a child is not unnecessarily pressured into accepting responsibility for a crime when in fact that child is still asserting his or her innocence or rather has a defence to the charge. 

4.30. The proposed insertion was therefore captured as follows:

41A Conditions under which diversion applies

  • A child will only be admitted to a diversion programme if the following conditions are met –
  • The child voluntarily accepts responsibility for the act or omission that forms the basis of the offence that the child is alleged to have committed;
  • The child understands his or her right to remain silent and has not been unduly influenced or pressured into acknowledging responsibility;
  • The child has been advised of his or her right to be represented by a legal practitioner, if he or she wishes to exercise such right;
  • The child and a parent or guardian of the child or an appropriate adult have been informed of the diversion options and the child fully and freely consents to participate therein;
  • The Prosecutor-General or designated prosecutor is of the opinion that there is sufficient evidence to proceed with the prosecution of the offence if the child is not diverted
  • Where circumstances as referred to in subsection (1) exist, diversion must be considered by a child protection officer, a diversion committee, the Prosecutor-General or designated prosecutor, as the case may be, or in the circumstances provided for in section 80, a child justice court.
  • Diversion must not be used to deal with a child alleged to have committed an offence if the child-
  • Denies that he or she committed the offence or was involved in or participated in the commission of the offence; or
  • Expresses his or her wish to have any charge against him or her dealt with by the Child Justice Court.
  • No admission, confession or statement accepting responsibility for any act or omission made by a child alleged to have committed an offence as a condition of his or her being dealt with by diversion is admissible in evidence against the child in any subsequent criminal or civil proceedings.

4.31 Clause 45: It was suggested that Clause 45 should be deleted. It was submitted that diversion should be available to all the children in conflict with the law. As such, Clause 41 (5) is sufficient without the further qualification of the inclusion of Clause 45.

          4.32. Clauses 57 – 60: Provide that a child has the right to legal representation and that where a child cannot afford legal representation, one may be provided for at the State’s expense.

4.33. However, it was proposed that Clause 59 (2) must be removed. Submissions were made that the use of “a child protection officer” as an alternative will create a scenario where the State can avoid accountability when it fails to provide a child in conflict with the law with a legal practitioner.

4.34. It was further submitted that Clause 60 wholly defeats the principle that legal representation must be provided speedily and at the State’s expense. A fair alternative is to have a process that is wholly set out by this Bill not to leave it to the mercy of the Legal Aid Act.

4.35. Moreover, it was recommended that government should capacitate the Legal Aid Directorate to ensure that legal assistance will always be made available for children whenever and wherever required.

4.36. Clause 69: Provides for privacy and confidentiality when dealing with cases of child offenders. Members of the legal profession submitted that provision under Clause 69 (1) must be made without any qualification. To this end, an amendment to Clause 69 (1) was made to read as:

“no person shall publish the name of a child, or any other information related to a child if it would identify the child as a child dealt with under this Act”.

4.37. It was highlighted that exceptions set out unwittingly throw children into a complex litigation process. As such, Clauses 69 (3), 69 (4) and 69 (5) should therefore be deleted.

4.38. Clause 77: It was proposed that if the minimum age of criminal responsibility is not set at 15 as suggested earlier, it is just and fair to consider that no child under the age of 15 should be sentenced to imprisonment.

4.39. It was further highlighted that Clause 77 (5) is contrary to section 81(1) (i) of the Constitution which provides that detention of a child must be “for the shortest appropriate period”. Setting a maximum custodial sentence at 12 years for a child is still excessively long, considering that a child would have been in conflict with the law while in their formative years.

4.40 The maximum sentence that should be imposed on a child should therefore be reduced in line with the Constitutional requirement that the detention of children should be for the shortest appropriate period.

4.41. Clause 79: Participants were against the idea of payment of a fine by parent /guardian, which they said seem to encourage children from rich backgrounds to commit crimes. They suggested that the Bill should consider other methods to deter children from committing crimes. Some participants even suggested the re-introduction of corporal punishment as an effective way of deterring delinquent behaviour among children.

4.42. Clause 94: Provides for amendment of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act [Chapter 9:23].

4.43. Law Society of Zimbabwe submitted that setting of two ages, although devised as a protective measure, has proved inefficient in practice. Thus, Clause 94 should rather aim to amend sections 6, 7 and 8 of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act to read as follows:

“A child below the age of fifteen years shall be deemed to lack criminal capacity and shall not be tried for or convicted of any crime which he or she is alleged to have committed before attaining that age.”

 Or alternatively, “No child below the age of 15 shall be arrested or detained on allegations of having committed a crime.”

4.44. Organizations representing the rights of people living with disabilities acknowledged and commended the commitment of the drafters of this Bill towards inclusion of disability provisions in Clauses 2, 5 and 64 of the Bill.

4.45. However, during unpacking of the Bill, one of the legal experts and drafters of the Bill acknowledged with great concern that the Bill is not adequately providing for the rights and interests of children living with disabilities who may come in conflict with the law.

4.46. During consultations, it was submitted that it is equally important to remember that children with disabilities are also capable of committing crimes. In that regard, it is crucial to ensure that when they do come before law enforcement agencies and the judiciary, reasonable accommodations are put in place to safeguard their rights to be treated equally before the law.

4.47. A call was made that in every provision that requires a child to be provided with information, that said information or communication must be in accessible format, that is, sign language interpretation must also be provided for the benefit of children with hearing impairments and Braille for the visually impaired.

4.48. Deaf Zimbabwe Trust suggested some amendments to the Bill to ensure that children who require reasonable accommodation are adequately catered for to reduce any chances of undue prejudice.

4.49. It was proposed that in provisions of Clauses 16, 20, 22, 26, 35 and 39 there be insertion of sign language interpreter or that a stand-alone section that provides for the presence of a sign language interpreter could be adopted.

4.50. A potential conflict of interest in Clause 64 (8) was also brought out during the consultations by presenters representing deaf children.

4.51. It was highlighted that some parents or guardians of children with hearing impairments may not been truthful and are biased when called upon to be intermediaries. In some cases, they are abusive towards the child, instrumental in the commission of crimes and they further abuse their role as intermediaries and use it to conceal crucial information that the child might wish to convey.

4.52. With this in mind, it was proposed that the Bill should provide for the use of a Relay System where a deaf intermediary as well as a court sign language interpreter are both employed at police stations and courts in support of the Victim Friendly Unit.

  1.       GENERAL SUBMISSIONS

5.1. The general public submitted that the Bill should put specific time limits in relation to conclusion of trials for children. It was proposed that all trials should be concluded within one month.

5.2. The public was in support with the principles of child justice as they promote rehabilitation of juvenile offenders, instead of punishing them. However, concerns were also raised over lack of adequate juvenile correctional and rehabilitation facilities in Zimbabwe.

5.3. It was highlighted that the country only has one juvenile correctional facility, Whawha Young Offenders prison. Concerns were also raised over how government is going to fully capacitate all the structures being introduced by the Bill since the already existing structures are currently underfunded.

5.4. It was therefore, recommended that government should ensure that this piece of legislation be adequately supported by infrastructural development of rehabilitation centres for its implementation to be a success.

5.5. It was also submitted that the Bill should also cater for children born and living in prisons by virtue of their mothers saving prison sentences.

5.6. Organizations representing interests of children and youths recommended that, in line with Clause 22, support groups should be created and healthcare givers within correctional services should be well trained in youth friendly services. Moreover, there is need for viral load monitoring for children detained and on Anti-Retroviral Treatment.

5.7. It was further submitted that children in correctional facilities and detention centres should have access to Comprehensive Sexuality Education so that they acquire accurate information about sexuality, sexual and reproductive health and human rights.

  1.       COMMITTEE OBSERVATIONS

6.1. Despite the Bill setting the minimum age of criminal responsibility at 12, concerns were being raised that 12 years is still low. Calls were being made to increase the age of criminal responsibility to meet international and regional standards.

6.2. Concerns were raised over Clause 17 which sets the maximum time limit for children to remain in police custody at 48 hours.

6.3. The public was advocating for a provision that clearly prohibits the media from covering and publishing cases of children.

6.4. It was noted that different organizations were advocating for inclusion of members of Civic Society Organizations in Child Justice Committees at all levels.

6.5. There was generally low turnout at the public hearings with Mutare recording three attendees.

6.6. Concerns were raised over the maximum custodial sentence set at 12 years. This was said to be too harsh for children.

6.7. The Committee also noted that the Bill is not addressing third degree crimes like treason, rape and murder.

6.8. The Committee also took note of the concerns that the public made in terms of the financial resources that Government needs to inject in order to implement fully the Child Justice System.

  1. COMMITTEE RECOMMENDATIONS

The Committee therefore recommends the following: that

  1. The minimum age of criminal responsibility be set at 12 years as proposed in the Bill.
  2. The Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act be amended so that it is in line with the Child Justice Act on the age of criminal responsibility.
  3. Government should ensure construction of more correctional and rehabilitation centres for juvenile offenders with health and education facilities in place.
  4. Members of the Civic Society Organizations and other interested stakeholders in child rights and child welfare be included in Child Justice Committees at all levels.
  5. The Bill should have a provision that covers serious crimes like rape, murder and treason.
  6. The maximum custodial sentence for juvenile offender be increased to 18 years especially for more serious crimes like murder, rape and treason.
  7. Members of Parliament to take part mobilizing participants in their respective constituencies to attend and participant in public hearings.
  8. Government should capacitate the structures being created by this Child Justice Bill to ensure effective operation on the child justice system.
  9. There be insertion of Clause 3A to read as follows:

3A Age and Criminal Capacity

For purposes of this Act

(a)         A child below the age of 12 years is irrefutably presumed to lack the criminal capacity to commit a crime and cannot be prosecuted for that offence, but must be dealt with in terms of section 94 (1) of this Act.

(b)         A child over 12 years has criminal capacity to commit a crime unless the evidence establishes that the child lacked criminal capacity.

              (c)         There be an additional insertion of Clause 41A which provides for process of diversion as follows:

41A Conditions under which diversion applies

(1)     A child will only be admitted to a diversion programme if the following conditions are met –

(a)         The child voluntarily accepts responsibility for the act or omission that forms the basis of the offence that the child is alleged to have committed;

(b)         The child understands his or her right to remain silent and has not been unduly influenced or pressured into acknowledging responsibility;

(c)         The child has been advised of his or her right to be represented by a legal practitioner, if he or she wishes to exercise such right;

(d)         The child and a parent or guardian of the child or an appropriate adult has been informed of the diversion options and the child fully and freely consents to participate therein;

(e)         The Prosecutor-General or designated prosecutor is of the opinion that there is sufficient evidence to proceed with the prosecution of the offence if the child is not diverted

(2)       Where circumstances as referred to in subsection (1) exist, diversion must be considered by a child protection officer, a diversion committee, the Prosecutor-General or designated prosecutor, as the case may be, or in the circumstances provided for in section 80, a Child Justice Court.

(3)       Diversion must not be used to deal with a child alleged to have committed an offence if the child-

(a)         Denies that he or she committed the offence or was involved in or participated in the commission of the offence; or

(b)         Expresses his or her wish to have any charge against him or her dealt with by the Child Justice Court.

(4)       No admission, confession or statement accepting responsibility for any act or omission made by a child alleged to have committed an offence as a condition of his or her being dealt with by diversion is admissible in evidence against the child in any subsequent criminal or civil proceedings. 

  1. CONCLUSION

This Bill is a long-standing legal project that marks significant progress in the treatment of children in conflict with the law in our jurisdiction. However, the Bill needs to fully meet international law stipulations and standards in child justice as provided for in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child and the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child. In addition, there is need to raise community level awareness in order to prevent children from falling into a life of crime, as well as to protect children from exploitation and abuse. It is therefore imperative to combine institutional and community approaches to improve the administration of child justice in Zimbabwe. I thank you.

          +HON. L. SIBANDA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. Firstly, I want to thank Hon. Mataranyika for the report on Child Justice Bill.  We went around the country as a Committee and we found that people were not aware that we were coming for public hearings on the Child Justice Bill.  A child with 7 years should not be taken to prison. Firstly, we found out that they were parents instead of children. Later on, we went and found out that there were children attending these hearings and they said they were not aware when they committed some of these crimes. They agreed that when someone is 12 years, it is not an age of maturity where he/she can decide to commit a crime.

          Most of our submissions said that there should be Child Friendly Courts where these children are taken to without elders in those courts. The other people submitted that once these children who are offenders are found to have committed an offence, they should not be taken to our prison but they should be taken to solitary places where they are going to get education so that when they come out of the prison, they can continue with life.

          The other thing that we have found is that the 12-year old children now learn a lot from technology. Technology shows them a lot of things in their phones to an extent that they can commit rape knowing that this is a crime. Therefore, such a child should go into prison but a child who is below 12 years, he/she should not be taken to prison. There should be an arrangement between the two families, the family of an offender and that of a victim where they can settle the matter.

          Some submitted that these children should be taken for disciplinary hearing. What we encourage is that if this Bill can sail through, these children should be educated and so they should find a conducive place where they are taken to while they are serving their sentences. The other issue is that if this Bill is to pass through, Government should look at how other countries are treating children. Thank you Hon. Speaker.

          (v)HON. S. BANDA: Thank you Hon. Speaker Sir, for giving me this opportunity to speak to the Child Justice Bill. Allow me to firstly thank Hon. Mataranyika for presenting a report on this very important Bill and also the seconder. When it comes to the issue of children, I want to thank the coming forth of this Bill because we really were not comfortable as what was going on was contravening what the Constitution says. According to Section 81 of the Constitution, children, both boys and girls, under the age of 18 - nothing like that was happening and so the coming in of this law is something that we need to welcome with both hands particularly when it says when should a child be detained and when should a child not be detained and for what crime should a child be detained. That is very important Mr. Speaker Sir.

          In international law, Zimbabwe is a party to two international instruments. The first one is the United Nations Convention on the rights of children where in Article 14, it states that those children who infringe the criminal law must be accorded the same basic rights to which all accused persons are entitled to in terms of Section 70 of the Constitution. The second one is the African Charter on the rights and welfare of the children particularly Article 17, which gives a few indications in particular that the verdicts of children must be determined as speedily as possible.

          The public and the Press must be excluded from their trials. This goes on to support what the mover and seconder of the motion have been saying to say let us shield our children from the public and the Press. Those are some of the things I do appreciate that this Bill is trying to bring in. The Bill is proposing that children who are below the age of 12 are incapable of committing crimes on their own. I agree with that even though in South Africa, according to the South African Child Justice Act of 2008, the criminal capacity of children is stated at 10 years rather than 12 years.

          I think Zimbabwe is peculiar because I think we do not have the kind of crimes that we see in our neighbour South Africa. So indeed, I support that children under the age of 12 should be considered to be legally incapable of committing crimes. We have seen demonstrations that will be going on, children below the age of 12 and 10 who may not be able to make sins on their own are found to be in police cells in prison. I think with this law, it is going to make all that an abomination and so I support it.

          I also support what they say that a child between 12 years and 14 years will be presumed incapable unless something contrary is proving to show that and I also support it. I also support that children between the ages of 14 and 18 years must also go through this process.  However Mr. Speaker Sir, when I go to the assessment of age, that is where I think I have got a problem.  It looks like the processes are too complex.  For instance, the children have to go to child protection officers who assess their age; they go to what are called diversion committees, prosecutors and then magistrates.  All that process, for it to happen and for the child to be brought to court, it differs from the spirit of this Bill which says that they want to make sure that the issue is related to child justice.  They are solved as fast as possible Mr. Speaker Sir.  So I believe that this procedure must be relaxed and simplified so that it does not take too long to bring to court the children who may warrant going into the court system. 

          I also applaud the fact that it will not be necessary to use force to arrest children.  Sometimes we use force to arrest them but I do not think that is really necessary Mr. Speaker Sir.  So I trust that this Bill will indeed do what we want our children to have, that is, to be detained as a last resort.  It also gives room for children to go to certain facilities which are not for adults.  That is the kind of system that we appreciate.  I did admire this Bill. 

          Mr. Speaker Sir, I want to conclude by saying that the sentences that are going to be imposed on children, I believe they should not be extra stiff.  They should be in such a way that whilst there should be restorative justice, there is also humanity and symbolic restitution and there is also a correction before the child gets completely off.  Sometimes what they will be doing is due to forces that would have pushed them to do that.  Though there may be a few problems that I may have noted in this Bill, the general spirit of the Bill is well-noted.  I believe during the Committee Stage, we will be able to panel-beat one or two issues, but this is a Bill that I also support.  Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.   

          HON. MPARIWA:  Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  Let me begin by thanking Hon. Mataranyika for the report and also for the work that they did as a Committee in actually going out for public hearings and getting information and comments so that this Bill will be a proper Bill that addresses a problem or the facts from the communities – [AN HON. MEMBER:  The Hon. Member is not connected Mr. Speaker Sir.] –

          THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER (HON. MUTOMBA):  Yes, please connect. 

          HON. MPARIWA:  Thank you Hon. Speaker, my apologies.  Let me begin by thanking the Chairperson of the Committee, Hon. Mataranyika and his Committee, for actually conducting public hearings on this very important Bill which takes into consideration the views of the communities and the affected people.  I hope and trust that even the children themselves had something to do because of the NDS1 of leaving no one behind and with the thrust of the children themselves to say “nothing for us without us” so nothing for children without them.  I hope that we will be having the children’s wishes and views. 

          Mr. Speaker Sir, I see this Bill to be very positive which addresses certain aspects and also some kind of alignment in terms of laws that deal with issues to do with children.  So I want to appreciate that it has come at a better time.  There is no better time that this Bill could have come to Parliament.  I am glad and celebrating that I am one of those MPs who have been privileged to be in this Ninth Parliament when this Bill has been tabled. 

          Mr. Speaker Sir, justice pertains to everyone.  If you look at the Constitution and international treaties, there are issues that are dealt with within the framework of those instruments.  In our own Constitution, several sections, for example 16, 19 and 81 deal with rights of children.  If you look at our set-up in terms of the Parliament of Zimbabwe, we have several ministries and arms of Government that deal with issues pertaining to children.  Here we are talking about the justice delivery system in terms of dealing with children.  I say this is progressive because it separates those that are old enough to be dealt with separately.  Sometimes we attack them when having done something. 

          Hon. Speaker, a lot has been said by both the Chair of the Committee and those who have spoken before me.  What I want to dwell on is, there has to be protection even during the process of taking the children to court. 

On the issue of violence and intimidations, I hope and trust that there will be enough training for officers that would be dealing with the children.  I am saying so because we may have a very good law, positive as it is but if it is not implemented in the right way, it may not address the reason why that law is being proposed.  I want to thank the Minister of Justice for bringing this particular Bill to Parliament.

          There has to be in the Bill some kind of developmental proposals or clauses. When the child has been in conflict with the law, what other alternatives do we have as a Government, Parliament or as a Committee?  This is to ensure that the child is not left in the state he or she was before.  This includes rehabilitation.  We now have the Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Services.  The correctional component, I term it developmental because in the case of children, they have to be developed so that they do not turn to be what they were before they were brought before the justice system.  That has to be part of the Bill.  Without anything new that you can teach the children that can make the children rehabilitated, we would not have done anything. 

          The child caucus is critical in this component.  There has to be a network and connection in terms of all the arms of Government.  Everyone in the country needs to speak with one voice when it comes to this particular Bill.  There is need for interpretation so that people understand it.  There is need for awareness in terms of the children themselves; the parents of children in such conflicts need to know that there is such a law that protects children from harmful practices that might be carried on the child in conflict with the law.  There should be separation in terms of what was in the past and the new era.  There has to be awareness of the law and I propose that it should be part of the curricula in the schools so that they get to understand that there is such a law and also in the communities.  So, there is a lot of work that needs to be carried out. 

          My final point is on the training aspect.  When this Bill has become law, there is need to train everybody so that everyone understands that there are rights of children.  They are not supposed to be treated like the ones in other courts, but there is a law that protects children from several other cruelties that dwell around children who are part of the justice system in terms of protection.  I stood to support that this is a positive Bill and I hope and trust that at the implementation stage, we should be having the various arms of Government lined up to actually implement so that the effectiveness of this law turns out to be the intention of the Minister when he tabled this particular Bill.  It should also show the intention of the Chairperson, when he actually tabled the report and the responses of the communities when they did the public hearings.  I thank you.

          HON. JOSIAH SITHOLE:  I move that the debate do now adjourn.

          HON. TEKESHE: I second.

          Motion put and agreed to.

          Debate to resume: Tuesday, 12th July, 2022.

          On the motion of HON. JOSIAH SITHOLE, seconded by HON. TEKESHE, the House adjourned at Eight Minutes past Five O’clock p.m. until Tuesday, 12th July, 2022,

           

 

 

 

 

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