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NATIONAL ASSEMBLY HANSARD 24 NOVEMBER 2021 VOL 48 NO 15
PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE
Wednesday, 24th November, 2021
The National Assembly met at a Quarter-past Two O’clock p.m.
(THE HON. ACTING SPEAKER in the Chair)
ANNOUNCEMENTS BY THE HON. ACTING SPEAKER
LIGHTING CEREMONY IN COMMEMORATION OF THE 16 DAYS OF ACTIVISM AGAINST GENDER BASED VIOLENCE
THE HON. ACTING SPEAKER (HON. MAVETERA): I have to inform the House that a Zoom link will be sent to your e-mails later today to follow proceedings of the lighting ceremony of Parliament of Zimbabwe virtually, in commemoration of the 16 Days of Activism against Gender Based Violence. The ceremony will be held at Parliament Building today from 1800 hours to 1915 hours.
APOLOGIES RECEIVED FROM HON. MINISTERS
THE HON. ACTING SPEAKER: I also have got apologies which have been received from Hon. Ministers in respect of the National Assembly sitting of today:
Hon. General (Rtd) Dr.C.D.G.N. Chiwenga, Vice President and Minister of Health and Child Care;
Hon. O.C.Z. Muchinguri-Kashiri, Minister of Defence and War Veterans;
Hon. Zhemu Soda, Minister of Energy and Power Development;
Hon. S.G.G. Nyoni, Minister of Women’s Affairs, Community Small and Medium Enterprises Development;
Hon. W. Chitando, Minister of Mines and Mining Development;
Hon. Dr. S. Nzenza, Minister of Industry and Commerce;
Hon. Prof. P. Mavima, Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare;
Hon. Prof. A. Murwira, Minister of Higher and Tertiary Education, Innovation, Science and Technology Development;
Hon. Dr. F. Shava, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Trade; and
Hon. P. Kambamura, Deputy Minister of Mines and Mining Development.
(v)HON. GONESE: On a point of order, in terms of Hon. Ministers who gave apologies, could you please inform us which Ministers are in the House so that we ask questions accordingly. I thank you.
THE ACTING SPEAKER: Hon. Gonese, I am being advised that all the Hon. Ministers who are present are going to be put on the chat. So may you please check on the chat, you will actually be able to see the Ministers who are available today.
ORAL ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS WITHOUT NOTICE
HON. TOGAREPI: Thank you Madam Speaker Ma’am. My question is directed to the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, but I need to give a little bit of background. Madam Speaker, we have seen a lot of meddling and interference from the House of Lords in the United Kingdom. Recently, they came out debating Zimbabwe and vilifying our country, talking about us joining the Commonwealth as if they kicked us out before. In my view, we walked out of the Commonwealth.
I would like to hear from the Minister of Foreign Affairs, what is the position of Government, as regards these attacks from the British Parliament? These people, in my view, are breaking the international law. They are interfering with our internal affairs and our sovereignty. What are we doing in terms of raising this behaviour on the international platform so that they are seen by this behaviour that they would want to influence another country to interfere with another country’s processes? What are we doing as a country because we cannot keep on allowing them to attack us in the name of re-engagement? They are attacking us daily.
THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS AND INTERNATIONAL TRADE (HON. DR. MUSABAYANA): Thank you Madam Speaker Ma’am. I would like to thank Hon. Togarepi for a very important issue that is really topical, in terms of the social media. In terms of Zimbabwe as a sovereign State, we cannot determine what another sovereign State debates or discusses on their forum. Just like this august House, someone can raise a motion about the happenings in another country or another jurisdiction and is debated here but that does not amount to international engagement. So while it is not a good idea for those in the august House that is being referred to, to debate on issues of a sovereign State as if we are indeed a province or within their jurisdiction, it is not a good idea and it is not good international practice but as Zimbabwe, following from our Chief Diplomat, His Excellency Dr. E. D. Mnangagwa, he said that engagement is not an event, it is a journey and a process.
Recently, the Head of State was in Europe and had very sound engagement at the highest level of those same jurisdictions that you are talking about, which may actually explain that the lower tiers or structures of that governance were not happy with the way our Head of State was received or the level of engagement that we are now tapping into. So that should not discourage us and we should make noise about it because as a sovereign State, our engagement is moving well and is on course. We will continue to engage in good faith and spirit. I submit Hon. Chair.
HON. MANDIWANZIRA: Madam Speaker, thank you very much for giving me this opportunity to make the follow up question. I totally understand and agree with the Hon. Minister when he says that we cannot determine what a sovereign State or a Parliament in another area discusses in its deliberations, but I think the concern here is the misinformation. The Hon. Minister highlighted himself …
THE ACTING SPEAKER: May you please connect!
HON. MANDIWANZIRA: Thank you. For the benefit of those who are not in the House, let me start afresh. I want to thank you Madam Speaker for giving me this opportunity to ask a follow up question.
I totally agree with the Hon. Minister when he says that we cannot determine what other people, in their own forums decide to discuss on and if Zimbabwe is discussed in the House of Commons, it is their business to do so. I think the concern here is about the misinformation and propaganda that goes around as a result of some of the misinformation or misinformed positions taken by parliamentarians in the House of Lords in this instance. The Hon. Minister did admit to the fact that it is already doing significant rounds on social media. I would like the Hon. Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs to perhaps state categorically that when this Parliament makes laws, they cannot be determined to be not lawful because one of the issues that is being made in the House of Commons is that we have passed the Patriot Bill and as a result, certain measures must be taken against this country until we implement the rule of law - trying to suggest that any laws that we make here do not comply with the concept of the rule of law. Can the Hon. Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs please categorically state for the audience here, the recipients of that message, that in fact we make lawful laws in this House? I thank you.
THE ACTING SPEAKER: Order, order Hon. Mandiwanzira, you have now redirected the question to another Ministry which I believe now we are looking for point of any questions that you thought were going to be follow ups to the questions that were previously asked to the Hon. Minister of Foreign Affairs. So I would want you, if ever you can, you have to direct a question specifically to him and not then redirect it to the Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs unless if it is a new question. So I am going to indulge another person unless you have another question.
HON. T. MLISWA: On a point of order! The point of order is, we need to be very clear, the sponsor of the question was not specific to what the British have said. He just said they are saying this and that in the House of Commons. What is it that they are saying which is an attack on the people of Zimbabwe? It was a debate, the same way we debate about sanctions that the British must not push for sanctions, the Americans must not push for sanctions – it was a genuine debate. We must be very clear when interfering with debates of other countries.
He can move a motion for us to discuss on it. It is a clip and I wish I could be connected; you could listen to it. There was nothing, Zimbabwe wants to re-engage in the Commonwealth and in so doing, they are going to the British, they are lobbying the British who have got their own terms of re-engagement. They are saying, human rights violation, you are not adhering to it and so forth; persecution of people – I am one who has been persecuted by this Government. So to me, I also agree in terms of reforms that should take place. So I do not know when they are debating on issues which have not been put in this House to say, the British have said A, B, C and D.
We debate on sanctions, let us also sit down and debate on the wrongs that the British are doing if there are any. Each House debates on what it believes - sanctions for example. I do not expect a British Member of Parliament to say Zimbabwe House of Assembly debated on sanctions and they are attacking us. There was no attack. We must be an institution of integrity and I think we are really making our ministers appear foolish at the end of the day. If the British are out of order Madam Speaker, the Ambassador is called by the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Trade to put them in order – that is how we work in terms of diplomatic ties.
THE ACTING SPEAKER: Hon. Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, may you kindly respond to this very pertinent issue on what was raised before?
THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): Thank you Madam Speaker Ma’am. I want to thank Hon. Mandiwanzira for the follow up question. Madam Speaker, Zimbabwe is a sovereign State and a constitutional democracy that is a member of the United Nations and each State determines the laws that govern it. As such, I did not have the occasion to listen to the said debate on the so-called Patriotic Bill but my understanding is, perhaps they were ignorant as regards our law making process. We do not have a law that is called Patriotic Bill before Parliament but rather, we are looking into crimes against the State and ensuring that we amend our Criminal Code to include a crime where somebody lobbies for sanctions to be effected against his own country.
We believe that all patriotic Zimbabweans must not lobby for the suffering of Zimbabweans. The net effect of sanctions is a regime change tool to ensure that the ordinary people suffer and they effect regime change. We believe that is illegal, because the only organ that can impose sanctions is the United Nations. Therefore, when we put our laws to protect our sovereignty to ensure that we insulate ourselves from foreign attacks, we do not view that as a threat to any country or to the international community.
Coming to the debate within the Commonwealth as regards the imposition of sanctions, my understanding is that following the visit of His Excellency, we are engaging the British so that we can explain to them the democratic processes that we have done. Any concerns that happen after our exit from the Commonwealth. We will respond to the Commonwealth because they expressed an interest in us joining but there are certain issues that they wanted clarified which we are in the process of doing. His Excellency has explained very well that we are friends to all and enemies to none. We want to re-engage and will duly respond to the issues that they raised - so that we can join the Commonwealth as usual.
HON. NDUNA: Thank you Madam Speaker. My follow up question goes to the Minister of Justice on the same issue. Madam Speaker, listening to the social media clip, it will be viewed as though law in Zimbabwe is not law, as though Zimbabwe is a pariah State and as though Zimbabwe does not observe law. I am a student of law myself...
HON. T. MLISWA: On a point of order Madam speaker. This is Parliament, records cannot be discussed on social media. If we start discussing issues on social media, hazvipere. Mangwana ndinonzi ndine girlfriend pasocial media, torifeya. Hazvipere. Can we have facts? I therefore, implore somebody to put it there. I have got the video on my phone. If ICT can do it so that we follow properly what has been said. We cannot just refer to things on social media. Madam Speaker, so many things happen on social media and this House is not determined by social media, but facts. The precedence you set of social media, you will not deal with it moving forward. It will destroy all these Members of Parliament tomorrow if we are going to talk about social media. We must protect this institution by doing things which have credible evidence.
THE ACTING SPEAKER: Whilst we connect to that video, let me allow Hon. Nduna to be able to debate.
HON. NDUNA: Thank you Madam Speaker. What happened in the House of Lords is now in Hansard and on international record. As a student of law, we are a law abiding country. Law is law, just or unjust, moral or immoral. Any country is viewed by the way it upholds its own Constitution. What is just to us might be unjust to the Londoners but it does not make law unlawful because it is unjust to the House of Lords. My supplementary to the Hon. Minister would be because the Londoners are so aggrieved, firstly because of our land reform, would it please the Minister to engage with the House of Commons and the House of Lords in so far as it relates to Section 72 (7) (c) of our Constitution which states clearly that the people of Zimbabwe should be enabled to assert their right to land? This is not going to be reversible. The whole of Section 72 speaks to the pith, the heart, the core of interest of the British or the former colonial masters of Zimbabwe. This has not gone down very well with the former masters. Would it please the Minister to repeat and send record to them that the land reform is irreversible? It was the reason why some paid the ultimate sacrifice...
THE ACTING SPEAKER: What is your supplementary question Hon. Nduna please?
HON. NDUNA: Would it please the Minister to state and also –[HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –
THE ACTING SPEAKER: Order, order Hon. Moyo. We are not supposed to be debating Hon. Nduna. Please go straight to your point and ask the Hon. Minister your question.
HON. PETER MOYO: On a point of order Madam Speaker. I think we are just wasting time for nothing here. The Hon. Minister responded very well and clearly. I do not see any reason why we should continue debating something that has been answered clearly. I do not know why Madam Speaker. You should not allow this debate to go on and on because it is just nonsense.
THE ACTING SPEAKER: Order Hon. Moyo. If you do not have any points of order and others have, you are not supposed to be doing that – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – No, no. You will have your own point of orders. If he has got a point of order, he has to be allowed – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – Order Hon. Moyo. Hon. Nduna, please go straight to your question so that the Minister can indulge you.
HON. NDUNA: May the Hon. Minister create a pedestal, a platform for a one-on-one with the House of Lords with the National Assembly so that certain issues can be clarified including on virtual. Also restate the position of Zimbabwe in terms of its land reform programme. I thank you.
THE ACTING SPEAKER: Thank you Hon. Nduna. That is a good recommendation. Thank you.
(v)HON. MUTODI: Is this not the time that Hon. Minister can engage with their counterparts to clarify the Bill and ensure that there is no misconception or misinformation. The habit of just arguing without presenting facts and without being properly heard has caused a lot of economic misfortune on us yet we need to rejoin the global community of nations and also have friendship with every willing nation in this planet. Thank you.
HON. ZIYAMBI: Thank you Madam Speaker. If you combine what the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs said and what I said, I think we adequately addressed it. I indicated that there are desires between both parties for us to go back into the Commonwealth and for the Commonwealth’s desire for us to go back. There is engagement that is going on. We do not respond to isses that are raised in the House of Lords or House of Commons. The Deputy Minister was perfectly correct. If there is any issue that London wants to raise with us, there are appropriate channels that are used. Likewise, in our engagement and in our efforts to join the Common-wealth, there are issues that they raised that are indicating that we are responding to through the diplomatic channels. I believe that let us leave this case as it is. His Excellence is handling it in a manner that is extremely good. Allow those processes to proceed. I thank you.
HON. MADIWA: My question is directed to the Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare. What is Government policy in terms of post-care support for children discharged from residential care institutions or children’s homes?
THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF PUBLIC SERVICE, LABOUR AND SOCIAL WELFARE (HON. MATUKE): The issue is to do with children who are under our care as the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare. When we discharge them, the first thing is; we ensure that they have birth certificates. Before we discharge them, we have to look for foster parents to look after those kids. The new policy which is going to be in place in the near future is, we are going to take those children up to university level and make sure that the Ministry will be responsible for the payment of fees. For those who are not going for university, they will join others in our communities and we make sure that we register them under the normal food aid so that they continuously receive their food perks on a monthly basis.
HON. MAPHOSA: I would want to thank the Deputy Minister for the ambitions that he has for these children who come out of foster care because they are said to be adults. What he said is what they would want to do, but at the moment the children or young persons are discharged from care facilities at the age of 18 despite the grade or form or level of education that they have. I want the Deputy Minister to clarify where he said they give them post homes after the care homes. I would want to know the statistics of the children that they have discharged and given homes and the students they have helped through university after they have reached the age of 18.
HON. MATUKE: I think the last question is quite specific. I am sorry I cannot provide the statistics offhand, but if you want us to provide that, then we will be able to furnish that maybe next week. I can only say it is the responsibility of the Ministry when they graduate after 18 years and if they want to proceed to university, to pay for their fees and upkeep. When they go home maybe after O’Level then either we send them to parents who then look after those kids or we take them to the communities and ensure that we register them under social welfare so that they are able to receive whatever we give other people in the communities. For the specific figures, we may look around and see whether we can provide them because I do not have offhand.
HON. MATARANYIKA: On a point of order. My point of order is that the Hon. Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare received an assessment report from the respective Portfolio Committee sometime in 2020. In that report, issues regarding this matter were discussed in this august House. If my mind serves me right, I do not remember the Minister giving a response to the report. So I am requesting through you Madam Speaker, to ask the Minister to issue a statement regarding this post-care issue so that we get to know exactly what the Ministry or the Government’s policy is on this matter.
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Thank you very much Hon. Mataranyika, I am sure you have heard that Hon. Minister.
(v)*HON. KWARAMBA: I heard the Minister talking of the Bill, so I wanted to find out from the Minister when this Bill will be brought to Parliament because we want to hear about the after-care of children in homes.
HON. MATUKE: I think the question is when we are going to bring the Bill to Parliament. Let me assure the Hon. Member that as soon as the process is through - because it goes through other stages before it comes to Parliament. I can assure this House that come next sitting, we will be in a position to give a definite period when we are going to bring the Bill to Parliament.
HON. MAPHOSA: I think the Minister needs to commit on when he will bring the Ministerial Statement. Through you Madam Speaker Ma’am, the reason I am saying this is because we have heard that the Ministry was supposed to respond last year. We are approaching the end of year and there is still no response. We need to come to the finality of this human right issue. Imagine your child turning 18 and you say you are now an adult, whether the child is in form six or first year in university – you are 18, get out of my house. If we are to be seen as a serious country in terms of human rights and care for these children who are children to the Government and State, we should finalise this.
HON. MATUKE: I can feel that there is a lot of pressure and I think the Bill is quite important before this Parliament. May I commit that the Minister will give a statement on the next sitting or we give each other ten days to do that. After next week, we should be able to do that.
*HON. PETER MOYO: My question is directed to the Minister of Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage. Is it Government Policy that police officers refuse to accompany the Deputy Sheriff to where he is supposed to discharge his court directives because of the nature of the work that will be executed on private property that would have been invaded? Once the court has made a ruling that the invaders are illegal, the police refuse to accompany the Deputy Sheriff.
*THE MINISTER OF HOME AFFAIRS AND CULTURAL HERITAGE (HON. KAZEMBE): In terms of the law, the Deputy Sheriff is the one who is lawfully mandated to serve court processes or to evict people. It is not policy that police officers refuse to go and assist the Deputy Sheriff, but maybe we may require the details to find out the reasons that were there that did not allow the police to go and execute their duty.
We used to face resource constraints but if the Hon. Member has got a specific case, you can bring it to my attention so that I will investigate what took place since there could be valid reasons. The position is that once police help is enlisted, they must assist the Deputy Sheriff as and when they require help.
HON. PETER MOYO: Some of the court orders that are before the court are supposed to be executed. As I speak, I have a lot of evidence and if he wants it, I will go to his office tomorrow and he must call Commissioner Matanga so that I give them the files of people who are invading private property. We cannot create warlords. The police are saying we will accompany you tomorrow and when tomorrow comes, they do not accompany the Sheriff to go and demolish what was built on private property - [HON. TOGAREPI: That is specific.] - No, that is not specific but the entire country has witnessed the same issues. That is why the Minister is saying if I have evidence I should bring it to his office. I think that is in order. So tomorrow Hon. Minister, I will come to your office with the evidence but you must call Commissioner Matanga in that meeting so that I give you all the files that you want and then you will see that the police are not doing their work professionally.
*HON. NYATHI: I think the Hon. Member spoke very well but if he is now saying to the Minister that the Commissioner of Police should be present, he is now wrong. May he withdraw that statement?
THE ACTING SPEAKER (: Hon. Moyo, may you please approach the Chair.
Hon. Moyo approached the Chair.
HON. PETER MOYO: Thank you Madam Speaker for schooling me on that one. I withdraw that the Minister calls the Commissioner to that meeting. I will go to his office one–on-one and I think we will be able to solve the problem.
HON. MUNETSI: My question is directed to the Minister of Higher and Tertiary Education, Innovation, Science and Technology Development. Why is that subjects that are written at O’level, when students apply to do courses at tertiary education, you do not consider all those subjects?
THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF HIGHER AND TERTIARY EDUCATION, INNOVATION, SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY DEVELOPMENT (HON. MACHINGURA): I think we need to know which subjects are not permissible at tertiary institutions and then we can look into the issue.
HON. MUNETSI: Subjects like metal work, fashion and fabrics, Bible Knowledge and Wood Work - if someone has five subjects, Maths, English, Science, Shona and Wood Work, they consider that person to have four subjects if they apply for a course within our education system.
HON. MACHINGURA: Thank you Madam Speaker. Some subjects are very specific to certain areas, for example if somebody has Metalwork and wants to do agriculture, you will find that the two do not match. So each tertiary course has got three requisites and I think if Woodwork is a pre-requisite to a certain course, there cannot be discrimination but if it is not and somebody wants to do a course where it is not a pre-requisite, surely we can consider that the person does not have what it takes to study the course. I thank you.
HON. T. MLISWA: On a point of order: I do not know if I heard correctly, the Minister has referred to you as a Deputy Speaker, but you are not the Deputy Speaker when you are sitting there, you are the Speaker. I do not know if I heard correctly, I thought you said Deputy Speaker; she is not the Deputy Speaker there, she is the Speaker, so I think it is important to take corrective measures to address her correctly. I thank you.
THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF HIGHER AND TERTIARY EDUCATION, INNOVATION, SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY DEVELOPMENT (HON. MACHINGURA): Thank you Madam Speaker, if there was a slip of the tongue, I withdraw if I said that.
HON. MUNETSI: Thank you very much Madam Speaker. We are talking of point of entry to a course. Most of us here have degrees and some courses which we do when we do those degrees have nothing to do with that degree at all, it is a point of entry. Point of entry to a certain course in tertiary education is five Ordinary level subjects. You make these students to sit for Ordinary level examinations and pass those subjects and they have so many subjects which you deny, that is my question. It is a point of entry.
HON. MACHINGURA: Thank you Madam Speaker. Thank you Hon. Member for your question and suggestions. I would like to give you an example, if somebody wants to study medicine and they have the 15 points that are required but they have Shona, English and Geography, then you say it is a point of entry they must go and study medicine? This is why maybe we are in the situation we are and this is why Education 5.0 is going to solve some of those problems. We are saying, let us take a person who is inclined to a particular skill to go and do that skill, sharpen it and use it for industrialising and modernising our nation. Certainly we cannot say it is a point of entry and everybody should be able to do a particular course, no, we cannot do that. A course has got its own pre-requisites. If somebody who has the pre-requisite entry qualifications and is denied entry, we can look into that but if they do not have the pre-requisite subjects, they do not have. Thank you Madam Speaker.
HON. MUNETSI: Let me get it clearly from the Minister. Are you saying; a person has three subjects and these are Science, Maths and maybe Geography; Science can qualify that person to study and become a doctor, so a person can proceed without five ordinary level subjects, is that what you are saying. If that is not, then the point of entry requires you to have subjects which do not even relate to the course you want to do. As long as you meet the number of subjects that are required, then you can streamline, unless you are saying you have changed everything. Can I get clarity?
HON. MACHINGURA: Madam Speaker Ma’am, thank you very much. Thank you Hon. Member. That opinion, yes, we can look into it and I think I will have to take it back to the Ministry and give them your opinion. However, what we are trying to do in this country is to develop skill and that has some pre-requisites. So where the pre-requisites are, that person cannot be discriminated. I thank you.
*HON. CHIKUNI: Thank you Hon. Speaker. My question is directed to the Minister of Energy and Power Development. In this country we have the problem of power shortages but I want to ask what the policy is concerning companies and Government offices where power is left switched on throughout the night and are only switched off because there will be power outages yet they are on day and night? – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] –
*THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF ENERGY AND POWER DEVELOPMENT (HON. MUDYIWA): Thank you Madam Speaker. I would like to thank Hon. Chikuni for her question which shows that she is so much concerned about the issue of lights left on in Government and other offices day and night without being switched off. As the Ministry of Energy and Power Development, yes we have the problem of power shortages but we do not have a law or policy to hold accountable those who leave their lights switched on day and night. However, we urge people to use power sparingly without leaving them on throughout the day and into the night, we say, ‘Switch Off Switches’ (SOS). We urge people through the Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission and Distribution Company (ZETDC) to save electricity by switching off lights but we do not have any law to enforce that.
*HON. CHIKUNI: I want to be helped because we then go on to hear that such and such an institution of Government owes ZETDC a certain amount of debt but they continue to leave their lights on. Is that not an offence?
*HON. MUDYIWA: Thank you Madam Speaker Ma’am. I would like to thank Hon. Chikuni for the supplementary question. It is like at home when you leave your lights on. If you do not conserve your energy, it is because you are able to pay. Should you run out of electrical units, then you can go and buy more power. Government Ministries must pay for their electricity depending on what they are consuming. If they are leaving them on, the bills still come. It is up to them to conserve the electricity in a proper manner so that they are able to reduce their bills. If they are using their electricity excessively, they should switch off switches.
As the Ministry, we have no other mechanisms that we have except to appeal to the public and Government institutions to ensure that they switch off switches and that we conserve electricity so that the majority of it is channeled towards agriculture, hospitals and other critical areas. I thank you.
(v)HON. GONESE: Thank you very much Hon. Speaker Ma’am. My further supplementary question to the Hon. Deputy Minister is in light of what she stated that we have got a deficit in terms of the supply and we are failing to cope with the demand, what specific measures have the Ministry considered in terms of sensitising and ensuring that the people of Zimbabwe embark in energy saving measures? What efforts have the Ministry done in order to ensure that we save electricity?
*HON. MUDYIWA: Thank you Madam Speaker. I would like to thank Hon. Gonese. As Minister of Energy and Power Development, through the Zimbabwe Energy and Regulatory Authority (ZERA) and ZETDC, we urge people to use gadgets that save electricity. In the homes, we urge people to use Led bulbs so that they save electricity. We have campaigns that are carried out through ZERA and ZETDC to enlighten people on how they can conserve electricity. In times when we have challenges with electricity, you see adverts in the electronic media, newspapers and other forms of media where they will be urging people to conserve energy. We also urge people to use solar geysers which are cheaper and they do not use electricity. These are some of the efforts that we have put in place in order to urge people to conserve energy. I thank you.
HON. T. MLISWA: On a point of order Madam Speaker. The Minister of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services was here and she left. The Deputy Minister sat again and he is gone. To me, I see the backbench having to deplete in numbers. Why are we not respecting this House? Can the Leader of Government Business respond to this because he is in charge of these Ministers? Where are they? Honestly, the Minister and the Deputy Minister were here but they have both gone. If there is a question directed to the Ministry, who responds to it? Today is Question Time and they must focus on it. We have got seasoned Ministers like Hon. July Moyo here sitting and Hon. Kazembe. Where are the others? Hon. Mhona is there. Where are the Cabinet Ministers? This is where we are getting it wrong. The 2030 Middle Income Economy will never be achieved unless these men here take seriously the responsibilities and the mandate given to them by the President. We have oversight over there. Where are they? I was very quiet. The Leader of Government Business must respond to this. It is our job of oversight.
THE ACTING SPEAKER: You left other Cabinet Ministers though. Hon. Leader of Government Business, may you please respond.
THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): Thank you Madam Speaker. I am not sure whether there is a point of order. People are allowed to go out to refresh and to go to the washroom. If he has a question, he can simply ask his question. There are adequate Ministers to deal with any information. In any event, Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Ministry does relate to information that pertains to all Government Ministries and the Ministers are here. So I do not think there is anything that he is asking for in terms of the Minister and the Deputy Minister who have gone out to refresh themselves and they will come back. I thank you.
HON. MUSIKAVANHU: Thank you Madam Speaker Ma’am. My supplementary question to the Minister responsible for energy is; in view of the current shortages we are experiencing with electricity, what is the Ministry doing to ensure that we have adequate maintenance of transformers at Government institutions so that we curb the recent rise in fires that are happening? We had a fire that broke out in Bulawayo the other time and yesterday we had a fire that was reported, resulting in the loss of a hospital and medical supplies. Thank you Hon. Speaker Ma’am.
*HON. MUDYIWA: Thank you Madam Speaker. I did not understand the question. Did the Hon. Member say that fires were caused because of electrical faults? May the Hon. Member repeat the question?
*HON. MUSIKAVANHU: Thank you Madam Speaker. Let me ask the question in Shona. What is the Government policy in improving maintenance of transformers, especially in Government institutions? Faulty transformers and faulty cables are causing fires. In Bulawayo, there was the issue of a hospital that caught fire and the doctors’ residence also caught fire. Yesterday, we heard that in Shamva a dispensary unit at a hospital caught fire and medical supplies were lost. What is Government doing to improve the safety of such facilities? I thank you.
*HON. MUDYIWA: Thank you Madam Speaker. I now appreciate the question. He is saying these fires were caused by faulty cables or transformers. There are several reasons why fires can erupt, which could be through faults that can occur on the cables and there will be fire. ZETDC is responsible for transformers maintenance. Once faults are done, there should be no faulty transformers. The issue of maintenance is the responsibility of ZETDC. Some of those faults just occur not because it has been switched off and on. ZETDC always goes there to investigate the cause of the fire. Once there is a fire caused by a problem that might have led to such a fire, ZETDC has the responsibility of maintaining the transformers to ensure that there is smooth flow of electricity.
We are in the process of having a computerised monitoring system for our transformers nationwide. It is not yet in place but we would want to come up with such a programme to look at all transformers. Once there is a fault or an indication that there might be a fault, it can raise the alarm. I thank you.
HON. T. MLISWA: Madam Speaker, my question is directed to the Minister of Environment, Climate Change, Tourism and Hospitality Industry and it is on Green Energy, COP 26. A lot of reforms and resolutions were reached at COP 26. Has that not affected your policy in terms of the environmental policy that you had after COP 26? What are you doing to have the resolutions of COP 26 into your policy here? Thank you.
THE MINISTER OF ENVIRONMENT, CLIMATE CHANGE, TOURISM AND HOSPITALITY INDUSTRY (HON. N. M. NDLOVU): Thank you Madam Speaker Ma’am. I would like to thank the Hon. Member for a very important question. Madam Speaker Ma’am, with your indulgence, it is my intention to present a detailed Ministerial Statement, which is a report on COP 26 with clear implications from the decisions of COP 26 on Zimbabwe going forward, including some of the measures that we are taking. I do not know if the Hon. Member is willing to hold on. Unfortunately, my hope is to present it next week on Wednesday. I could not present some of the recommendations in Cabinet yesterday but I believe this to be a very important report, for which I believe Members can then ask more detailed questions. We will be able to engage them following that presentation. I am able to respond here but I am thinking it will be fair if I present the report and you will be able to indulge from that report. I seek you indulgence, Hon. Member.
HON. T. MLISWA: The Minister is correct. Can you take these two issues that you must include in your report? Zimbabwe is sitting on over 12 billion of coal. How does that affect us and how do we intend to clear it? I heard the Prime Minister Boris Johnson trapped about 10 billion being available for those countries willing to comply. If so, what measures are you taking to receive that so that we also benefit from this, especially with this clean energy that wants to happen and the 10 billion that is available? What are you doing to make sure we have access and the 12 billion that we have, reserves in coal? How is that going to affect us as an economy and again from the energy point of view and also coming up with better ways of making it clean? So if you can factor this in your report. I thank you.
(v)HON. GOZHO: Thank you Madam Speaker Ma’am. My question is directed to the Minister of Health. What is Government policy with regards to a raped patient traveling cost, when a patient is required to travel to the nearest police station, hospital and courts for hearing together with the witnesses?
THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI) Thank you Madam Speaker Ma’am. I kindly request the Minister of Home Affairs to respond to that question because he is the one who deals with cases that are under investigations and all that. The question pertains to rape victims, their transportation costs going to hospital and courts - who bears the costs.
THE MINISTER OF HOME AFFAIRS AND CULURAL HERITAGE (HON. KAZEMBE): Thank you Madam Speaker Ma’am. I want to thank the Hon. Member for such a pertinent question. If I got it right, the Hon. Member wants to know who bears the costs when a raped victim is going to hospital or court. It depends on the moment the case is reported and it is under investigation – that person becomes a State witness and those costs are supposed to be borne by the police. I thank you.
HON. NDUNA: Thank you Madam Speaker Ma’am. I am also hoping that as you directed yesterday, the Hon. Minister of Information Communication Technology, Postal and Courier Services is going to favour us with a Ministerial Statement as it relates to the International Termination Centre.
My question is directed to the Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare. In so far as it relates to pensions, in the advent of the mortality and the life expectancy, especially of those who would have been affected by natural attrition or those who would have gone into pension. What is Government policy in so far as it relates to bulk payment accosted or in the face of people who are now dying at a much faster rate than age 70 and above? In so far as it relates to giving their pension in bulk after they have retired. What is Government policy as it relates to that?
THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF PUBLIC SERVICE, LABOUR AND SOCIAL WELFARE (HON. MATUKE): Thank you very much, I think that is an important question but in the majority of cases when somebody retires, they can receive their bulk pension. Supposing they have been employed for 10 to 20 years and they retire today, they may request to get their pension in full but in the event that somebody retires on age. We do not have a policy that would then allow the system to give you the full amount – the bulk payment.
Maybe as you are putting across that important question, we can also see whether we can bring this policy for ratification. I thank you.
HON. NDUNA: Thank you Madam Speaker Ma’am, my supplementary question to the Hon. Minister is that the people whom we are speaking to and about are people of a frail age whose bodies are being gnawed, their vitals from within are being gnawed and they have failing health. Would it please the Hon. Minister if approached by these people to give them that bulk total payment so that they can elongate their livelihoods using that pension by addressing their failing health?
In particular, where I come from, there are a lot of them in Chegutu. Would it please the Hon. Minister that you give them that bulk payment so that they can go to hospital using that money and enjoy their pension instead of them dying before they enjoy their pension which is a look forward for those staying behind?
HON. MATUKE: Thank you Madam Speaker, that is a very good proposal but that is not policy and this is why I said, if you want to push that proposal, maybe people could visit and see whether it is worth doing what you are proposing, but it is contrary to the current policy. I thank you.
THE ACTING SPEAKER: Hon. Stella Ndlovu, is that another supplementary question?
(v)HON. S. NDLOVU: No Madam Speaker Ma’am, it is a new question.
THE ACTING SPEAKER: Thank you, I am following certain lists here, my apologies.
*HON. PRISCILA MOYO: Thank you Madam Speaker, my question is directed to the Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development. I once asked a question on tollgates. What is Government’s policy as regards tollgates that continue working using substandard structures? I rest my case, thank you.
*THE MINISTER OF TRANSPORT AND INFRASTRUCTURAL DEVELOPMENT (HON. MHONA): Hon. Madam Speaker, I would want to thank the Hon. Member, Hon. Moyo; your question is very pertinent. First and foremost, we expect that the road users and the workers who work on the roads are protected. Once there are these drums that you are talking about or substandard structures, it is a danger to the road users and to the workers as well.
It is not Government policy that we have substandard tollgates and to collect revenue from such structures. Hon. Moyo, if there are such tollgates that are in existence, we should not be using such tollgates but I would want to assure you that as Government, we are busy trying to ensure that such tollgates are developed to world class level, especially those who use the Bulawayo, Plumtree and Mutare Roads – that is the model tollgate that you will see and within a short time, we are going to be putting in place such structures. We should not use substandard tollgates.
I want to reassure the House that of those tollgates that you mentioned, we are going to ensure that we develop them as Ministry of Transport and Infrastructural Development. I thank you.
*HON. PRISCILA MOYO: I want to thank the Hon. Minister for the response but I want to know their timeline. This has been the response that we have been getting from time immemorial. May he give me a timeline because we are observing that criminal activities are even becoming worse because people continue to collect revenue from drums and substandard structures on the road?
*HON. MHONA: I would want to thank you again Madam Speaker and Hon. Moyo. I am grateful for what she is saying because the first Government had such tollgates that she made reference to. It would take the second dispensation led by President Mnangagwa to rectify the situation. We are coming up with the right tollgates. It is our hope that when the national budget is going to be delivered, the Minister of Finance and Economic Development, Hon. Prof. Mthuli Ncube would have allocated sufficient funding to ensure that we upgrade our tollgates. If it is not contained in that budget, we will then ask the Hon. Minister of Finance and Economic Development that this should be given priority in terms of our road maintenance. As you have said, it is also our wish as a Ministry that we should not continue to have substandard tollgates on our roads in the form of the drums that you have referred to. We are going to remove tollgates that are built within residential areas. It is one of the issues that we are going to address. I will give you the opportunity to listen to the budget tomorrow. Once it is tabled, we will also be looking as a Ministry to see if your issue has been prioritised in that budget. I thank you.
* HON. TEKESHE: Thank you Madam Speaker. What is the duty of the police officers at the tollgates? Some would be busy playing draft game or basking in the sun. What is their duty at the tollgates?
*HON. MHONA: Thank you Madam Speaker. I would want to thank Hon. Tekeshe. It is true and I concur with the observation. Whenever we invite our colleagues to work together, those that are in the law enforcement and peace and security in Zimbabwe, we expect them to do their duties. What you have observed Hon. Tekeshe is true. At times these are the ones that are working with people that we have been seeing at the tollgates. It is my sincere hope that with my counterpart, the Minister of Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage, we are going to look into all these issues of tollgates and visit them to see whether officers are performing their duties to ensure that there is smooth flow of traffic. We do not call police officers to be bystanders or to bask in the sun. They are there to ensure that there is peace and order that they also deal with offenders that want to bypass tollgates. Thank you for the observation that some of them are now so rude and are no longer discharging their duties. I thank you.
(v)HON. CHINYANGANYA: We really appreciate the measures that have been contemplated by the Ministry to ensure that there is no congestion at tollgates. However, those measures seem to be falling short because at times some tollgates will have queues stretching kilometres. What other measures are being put in place by the Ministry to ensure that there is smooth flow of traffic at tollgates now that we are getting into the festive season where there will be volumes of traffic, especially with the diasporans coming back home? Thank you Madam Speaker.
HON. MHONA: Thank you Madam Speaker. With your indulgence, I did not get the first part of the question. Can the Hon. Member repeat the question?
THE ACTING SPEAKER: The question was on congestion on tollgates?
HON. MHONA: Thank you Madam Speaker. Let me also thank Hon. Chinyanganya for that important question which has been before this august House for some time. I am glad to say that it resonates well with the question that has been posed by Hon. Moyo on what we are doing in terms of rehabilitating and modernising our tollgates. I want to assure Hon. Chinyanganya that we also have it on our agenda as we are rehabilitating our roads that we are expanding to have the model that we desire as a nation that will accommodate a number of lanes as you gravitate towards the tollgate. The mitigatory measure that we have taken is to enlarge the road as you approach the tollgate. As we are rehabilitating the tollgates, this is the measure that we are taking as a Ministry. I assure the Hon. Member that besides the technology that we are also working on so that as you move towards the tollgate, within 100m radius, the number plate would have been picked by the system so that you would not queue, especially if you have got an exemption or if you are using a tap card. These are some of the measures that we are taking. I would be glad to continue updating the august House on the measures that we are taking. Thank you Madam Speaker.
*HON. RAIDZA: Thank you Madam Speaker for allowing me to pose my supplementary question. When you look at the tollgates which are being made reference to by Hon. Moyo, besides being properly constructed, what else is the Ministry doing to ensure that Government does not lose revenue through leakages from the sub standard tollgates? We have observed that there is no proper system at such tollgates.
*HON. MHONA: Thank you Madam Speaker. I would like to thank Hon. Raidza for his supplementary question. It true and it is a problem that we are facing nationwide that we are having leakages through criminal and corrupt activities. From the way we conduct business in terms of our culture, if you are handling funds, we must know that the funds do not belong to us. The money that you are stealing is not any individual’s money but it is money for the Zimbabwean people. We are having problems with people that are working for ZINARA who are enriching themselves. They were stealing enriching themselves but because of the New Dispensation, we now have inspectors that go about unannounced and make observations and find out how much money did the person have when they got on duty. Majority of them are dishonest characters and are being weeded out. As Parliament, we should open our eyes to fight the scourge of corruption so that our country’s development is not stifled.
When I assumed my role, I said we were going to come up with state of the art systems to ensure that I can be able to mount computerised systems to see whether there are any problems and why vehicles are not moving faster at tollgates so I can directly deal with the manager or supervisor at a particular tollgate. This, we are doing so that people are able to know that we are now enforcing transparency in the manner in which we are doing our systems. We are doing this so as to enhance the speedy flow of traffic or curbing this country of corruption. This corruption is now a cancer, so I am grateful that these are some of the measures that we are putting in place Hon. Raidza. As this august House, you are free to advise and we do have such a Committee that carries oversight over our Ministry; come and we put our heads together. I thank you.
HON. T. MLISWA: My supplementary to the Minister is that you have companies that were given contracts in terms of registration plates and tollgates monitoring, companies like UNIVEM. Is it not their responsibility in terms of the contract to make sure that the tollgates are accessible and they are also putting money there because they cannot just be making money and not improving that? It should not be the burden of Government. What are you doing to approach those companies which were given contracts and are still making money, especially UNIVEM who have a contract which I am told will last for years and years yet they are not performing according to expectations because Government at times takes the burden when it is not supposed to take the burden? The contractor must be able to expand things accordingly because they are making money. So, why are we not approaching companies like UNIVEM who I am told are responsible for some of the tollgates and Group Five to expand, of course people are fast but when it comes to the tollgates, they are not slowing down. The question is; what can we do to engage the companies that were given these contracts to ensure that they serve their purpose by improving these conditions rather than giving the burden to Government?
HON. MHONA: Let me thank Hon. T.P Mliswa for that important question. It is true Hon. Madam Speaker that there are companies that have been engaged and I also want to make it clear in this august House that at times the issues of technology, you face resistance when you try to implement. We have been hearing what has been happening at ZINARA whereby systems were actually being denied to be implemented in terms of the process flow.
Hon. Mliswa has cited a company called UNIVEM. If you then interrogate after the Auditor-General’s report, you find that some of the issues and in the first republic that were being talked of in terms of the implementation matrix, the company in this particular case ZINARA, was resisting some of the digitalisation of the institution. It is very clear and if you then go to that same company, it would tell you how many cars have passed through a tollgate but that information was not being shared by the company. So, these are some of the issues that we are also addressing as a Ministry.
In terms of their contracts that were just haywire, we have amalgamated the contracts to say we cannot have contracts that will run in perpetuation and we must have a contract that has got a termination date. This has been what the institution has been seized with in order to try to harmonise all those haywire contracts so that we have got one vibrant contract that will specify the terms and conditions, and deliverables so that no one does not doubt what one is covering.
I want to assure the august House that in terms of implementation, Hon. Mliswa you are very right. The burden is not within the Government but this is an arrangement of working together. So, what has been done now is to say, what are the expectations from the Government and the service provider, and this has been well spelt out as we speak. The implementation matrix also involves the service provider. I thank you.
HON. GABBUZA: My supplementary is; is there a standard operation procedure given to the tollgate operators? I am raising this Minister because one tollgate is very busy but efficient like Norton yet another tollgate is not even busy but very inefficient. Do you give them times as to how many minutes they must take to serve a customer?
HON. MHONA: Why the delay that we witness on some of these tollgates is to create chaos and corrupt tendencies so that you start stealing money. If you then monitor those tollgates, they then create the detours and one will just be pocketing money. We are saying no to such practices and this is why we have seen that the performance of tollgates from Plumtree, Bulawayo and Mutare are very efficient and vibrant because the systems are intact and the cameras were actually mounted. One would not try to pilferage because of the cameras that are in place but if you then go to the other tollgates that were there, about 22 of them, there were no cameras and one would just do willy nilly in terms of the work ethic.
As we speak, we now have cameras on all our tollgates so that they monitor some of these activities which will then mirror and report to Head Office to say what is happening. Truly speaking, we do not want. If you then measure the timeframe that you then stand, we are saying as you then move you must be processed within a minute so that you do not have to queue for some time. Now, we have introduced some marshals so that as the queue gets longer, they come through, swipe or use tap cards and these are some of the initiatives that we are making to reduce the issues of congestion.
Above all, the only solution is to expand the infrastructure which will then address some of these anomalies that we are seeing as a nation but that kind of observation is well noted Hon. Gabbuza. The idea behind, of taking time is to frustrate motorists so that they do not queue and try to use the detours.
HON. NDUNA: I have been listening to the Hon. Minister and he spoke to the issue of Committee playing oversight on his Ministry. It would have been prudent if that Committee had put in a report insofar as it relates to the issue of tolling systems is concerned. The Hon. Minister would have eloquently espoused himself on the matter.
It is my hope therefore, in the clear absence of clear oversight by the relevant Portfolio Committee which has decided to go to sleep by word and deed, that the Hon. Minister in his wisdom puts in the issue of the tolling infrastructure in the Ministerial Statement that we requested for so that we can also give or proffer to him other revenue streams and tightening measures so that he can receive a bigger cake and chunk from the Minister of Finance, if it pleases you Madam Speaker Ma’am, if the Hon. Minister can put that in a package together with a Ministerial Statement before this Budget so that we can proffer some solutions, coupled with information from him. I rest my case.
Questions Without Notice were interrupted by THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER in terms of Standing Order No. 68.
ORAL ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS WITH NOTICE
REHABILITATION OF MTSHABEZI BRIDGE
- HON. MOKONE asked the Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development what the Government plans are as regards the rehabilitation of the Mtshabezi Bridge which connects Blanket Mine and Gwanda town.
THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF TRANSPORT AND INFRASTRUCTURAL DEVELOPMENT (HON. MADIRO): Madam Speaker Ma’am, The declaration of state of disaster on all roads around the country by His Excellency the President of Zimbabwe, Cde E.D. Mnangagwa led to the promulgation of S.I. 47 of 2021 – Civil Protection (Declaration of State of Disaster: Rural and Urban Areas of Zimbabwe) (Road Infrastructure Network). In response, Government launched the Emergency Road Rehabilitation Programme 2 (ERRP2) being spearheaded by the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructural Development.
The national roads rehabilitation under ERRP2 is a massive task in terms of scope of work and financial resource requirements. For implementation, ERRP2 was being done in phases as follows:
Phase 1: Emergency works that included wash aways, potholes patching, drain clearing and verge clearing. This was executed in the first three months of the ERRP2.
Phase 2: Preventative works that included reseals, re-gravelling grading and selective rehabilitation. This was executed within six months of ERRP2.
Phase 3: Rehabilitation and reconstruction works. These include full road rehabilitation, full road reconstruction and construction of drainage structures. This is currently being executed.
Phase 4: Other works that included major bridge reconstruction and major repairs of structures damaged by earlier disasters is earmarked for 2022.
From the above chronology, Mtshabezi Bridge is going to be rehabilitated in the Emergency Road Rehabilitation 2 (ERRP2) Phase 4, which is going to be implemented next year 2022. All the planning activities were done and the designs are available.
Questions with Notice were interrupted by THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER in terms of Standing Order No. 68.
UPDATE ON THE IMPLEMENTATION OF THE TELECOMMUNICATION TRAFFIC MONITORING AND REVENUE ASSURANCE SYSTEM (TTMS)
THE MINISTER OF INFORMATION COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGY, POSTAL AND COURIER SERVICES (HON. DR. MUSWERE): With regards to the question by Hon. Nduna on international traffic, in particular grey traffic in this country. We have responded appropriately through the implementation of a telecoms traffic revenue monitoring system. Through the Traffic Monitoring and Revenue Assurance System project (TTMS) as of 22 November 2021 – we have ensured that we signed a Build-Operate-Transfer (BOT) with GVG to provide the TTMS which will run jointly through our implementation agent POTRAZ for a period of 54 months, thereby sharing revenue from the TTMS levy in order to ensure that GVG recoups its investment. This equipment will then be transferred to POTRAZ after 54 months.
The project objective in the implementation of the TTMS is primarily to ensure that there is traffic measurement, monitoring, quality of service and detection and localisation of fraud management. This is a civil regulatory tool that monitors the telecommunication traffic using non-intrusive passive probes. The TTMS does not monitor the telecommunication content in the networks.
In terms of capabilities, these are as follows:
Real-time measurement, monitoring and billing of international incoming and outgoing telecommunication traffic flows between international carriers and operators in Zimbabwe, including data and internet traffic;
Real time measurement, monitoring and billing of national interconnection traffic flows between the various operators within Zimbabwe;
Real-time measurement monitoring and billing of all mobile money transactions by mobile operators;
Fraud detection – the TTMS fraud module detects, tracks and identifies fraudulent routing of telecommunication traffic at both international and national levels.
The system is scalable and will be used to accommodate other applications, including Mobile Number Portability (MNP) and SIM Registration.
Real-Time monitoring of the Quality of Service at the Interconnection;
The system has the capability for measurement of international incoming and outgoing Short Messages Services (SMS).
The expected outcomes because of the implementation of the Telecommunications Traffic Monitoring System (TTMS) Project are:
- Improved regulatory overview on international and national interconnection telecommunications traffic,
- Reduced bypass fraud traffic on international traffic,
- Improved accountability and surveillance of revenues on international incoming traffic.
The TTMS Project implementation is managed by a TTMS Project Management Team comprising experts from GVG and POTRAZ. The project management teams meet every two weeks. GVG has three dedicated experts in Zimbabwe based at POTRAZ. The three meet with POTRAZ Engineers daily.
PROGRESS TO DATE/ KEY MILESTONES ACCOMPLISHED
The TTMS Contract was signed by POTRAZ Director General on 22 September, 2020 and Global Voice Group Chief Executive Officer (CEO) signed the contract on 2nd October, 2020.
The TTMS Regulations were gazetted on 9th April, 2021 as Postal and Telecommunications (Telecommunications Traffic Monitoring System) regulations Statutory Instrument 95 of 2021.
The project was granted the National Project Status by the Government of Zimbabwe in August 2021.
The following stages have been completed:
Site surveys, the opening of an escrow account, preparation and approval of high level TTMS engineering, shipment and clearance of the equipment, excluding Visual Fraud Systems which are actually part of the work in progress. The installation of the FMS and CDR processing system is done and currently we are working on ensuring that before 31 December, we will have set up the installation of this system and commissioned it. That is my Ministerial Statement. Thank you Madam Speaker.
HON. NDUNA: Thank you Madam Speaker Ma’am. My points of clarity are as follows;
First and foremost, I want to congratulate the Hon. Minister for signing that agreement on the 22nd of November, 2021. What it therefore means is; point A, R T D of Real Time, Real Time, Real Time, on audit, billing and accountability is now going to come to fruition. My question therefore is: what cost has the Global Voice Group (GVG) Company set to this International Call Termination Centre? Irrespective of that, we are going to recoup it under a Build-Operate and Transfer basis. What cost is the installation for the establishment of that international call termination centre?
The second issue, will this system be able to interrogate the International Telecommunications Union with a view of applying or recouping our monies in retrospect for over 15 years ago, seeing as you have mentioned that we are in line to recoup our international call termination amounts that we have not been receiving as a country; data and SMS monies that are attributed to Zimbabwe that we have not been receiving because we did not know what it is that was due to us and we were at the mercy of telecommunications players, Econet, TelOne, NetOne, Telecel, Zol and a few other internet providers. Will we be able to also recoup monies in retrospect, even going back as much as 15 years in ICT and give to content creaters?
I am alive to ZBC/T.V online on Facebook content creation, which is viewed by more than 15 000 viewers each night at 20 00 hours. Will they be able to recoup monies owed to them by international or diasporians who are watching ZTV online on Facebook?
There are local content creators in Zimbabwe who are sending their content on You-Tube or other platforms including WhatsApp - will they be able and to what extent, to recoup monies paid for viewing this content because there is an expense that is incurred by anyone outside the country who is viewing that content that has been created?
Last but not least, would it not have been good to the Ministry of ICT, POTRAZ in this instance, to negotiate and show sincerity from GVG Company that you speak to and about, that this issue of International Call Termination Centre or Gateway solution is an in-thing and there is a lot of money owed to Zimbabwe because of the absence of an international Gateway solution in the past and maybe advancing Zimbabwe? Let us say maybe US$3 billion because we know that there is money that has accrued and is there outside and has not been paid, or that was paid but without the knowledge of how much you are being paid.
Madam Speaker Ma’am, in conclusion, it is my hope and view that this system can now make us know as a country that there is ubiquitous amount of money out there through ICT. ICT is the way to go all after the BBC age. We cannot continue to lose monies through ICT because we are moribund, rudimentary, antiquated and medieval. We received US$1 billion from diasporians in 2020 and for us to receive such an amount, there had to be some facilitation minutes and moments which I attribute the amount to be 10% of the amount received by the Minister of Finance as diaspora remittances.
It is my thinking that unless the Minister …
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon. Nduna, you just need to ask questions and not to debate.
HON. NDUNA: Thank you. There is going to be a windfall to this country if you allow me to interrogate ICT. It is my thinking however, unless the Minister can dispel that notion that somehow because of that US$1 billion remittance that we received, over and above that, telecommunications networks and Government are supposed to receive at least 10% of that money, which could have been monies used for telephones and communications to facilitate the remittance of that US$1 billion. That in my view, in conclusion, would it also please the Minister to establish that international call termination centre in Chegutu West Constituency so that we can also get the numbers of direct employment to that call termination centre coming in from Chegutu West Constituency because they are the ones that have raised this point? I thank you.
HON. GABBUZA: Thank you Madam Chair. I have a few points for clarification by the Minister. Do we have a mechanism of establishing how much we have lost or prejudiced because of the absence of this termination centre? If we have a mechanism to establish the kind of prejudice, what is the scope of recovering? What is the possibility of recovering and from who?
Secondly, is it because of the lack of human resources capacity in the ICT or it is the machinery that we did not have? Of course you have contracted a company to put up the equipment but how about the human resources? From the way I heard it, it would look like we did not know. How can that be an explanation that we did not know there was such a thing unless Hon. Nduna has misrepresented us?
Lastly Madam Speaker, some of us are a bit skeptical when we hear about Government contracts with international players. We know of our own incapacities in terms of negotiating international contracts. How can the Minister assure us that this company GVG, is a reputable company? Are we likely not to sign a contract and two years down the line, nothing has been done like has happened all over. Can the Minister assure us that this is a reputable company and they have got the capacity? Are there other people who have tendered them and they did a successful job? We do not want to be playing the same politics of contracts signed and nothing happens and we go back to the drawing board.
THE MINISTER OF INFORMATION COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGY, POSTAL AND COURIER SERVICES (HON. DR. MUSWERE): Thank you Madam Speaker. I would like to thank the Hon. Members for the pertinent questions. The solution in terms of the project design, supply, installation and commission is valued at $19 million. The scope of the TTMS project will run with effect from 1st January, 2022 for the next 54 months. This is a Build-Operate and Transfer PPP project where Government does not invest any money.
The second question which he asked in terms of computation of numbers, that do we have capability in terms of invoicing the previous grey traffic that might have been invoiced through Scene boxes. The current contract covers from January going forward. Madam Speaker, I assume what Hon. Nduna is asking is related to a DST platform, a national digital tax system which will then contribute to the fiscus. This, we have developed a framework and in the framework, we are now working on the modalities on how best we can ensure that we recoup what was lost in the past and going forward.
The other question related to Hon. Gabbuza is that this has been an ongoing project and it was an international public tender which started way back. The signing only took place in September, 2020. The gazetting of the TTMS regulations was done on 9 April, 2021. We are fully aware of what was going on, especially when I became Minister of ICT. We then intervened through the implementation of the TTMS project.
In terms of competency, GVG is a very reputable organisation which has established TTMS projects in a number of African countries, including the African Union where they have installed a number of systems as well. In terms of human resources, part of the TTMS project involves skills transfer mechanism where Zimbabweans will be trained since this is a BOT project, which will then take over after the end of 54 months tenure. This will be implemented to ensure that we have got a skills transfer base. This has been an ongoing project which was disrupted because of the COVID-19 pandemic but we certainly are on course to ensure that by December, we will have commissioned this project. Thank you Madam Speaker.
HON. NDUNA: Thank you Madam Speaker Ma’am. I have just two issues.
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Please be brief Hon. Nduna.
HON. NDUNA: Thank you Madam Speaker Ma’am. I am worried that the Hon. Minister does not give us assurance that we can recoup now going 15 years back. I am worried that the Hon. Minister is not telling us that GVG might establish a relationship with ITU to go into an audit process for monies that were supposed to come into Zimbabwe, which otherwise could have been billed or given as remittance for local calls as opposed to international calls. These international or local telecommunication people are gullible. I am very worried that we cannot go to ITU and get an audit. The Auditor-General cannot go to ITU. It was my feeling that by engaging GVG, GVG can stand in the gap and be allowed to go into an audit process with ITU for us to recoup monies that were due to Zimbabwe for the past 15 years. Madam Speaker Ma’am, I pray that there are trillions of dollars that are sitting outside this country from all local content creators who have been accessed internationally.
Madam Speaker Ma’am, ICT is the in-thing and ICT is a game changer and a cash cow. It is my request that he responds to that. Otherwise, it is only prudent if GVG cannot go into the ITU audit database, to recoup our monies to terminate this country and ask for someone who can go into the ITU database and audit process for us as a country to benefit. I thank you.
THE MINISTER OF INFORMATION COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGY, POSTAL AND COURIER SERVICES (HON. DR. MUSWERE) Thank you Madam Speaker. I think I assured this august House that we have developed a framework in terms of international digital tax services. That will finalise the framework. What happens with grey traffic is that this is when international traffic is re-directed into Scene boxes and becomes grey traffic. Instead of Zimbabwe recouping foreign currency, we end up getting our local currencies. That diversion is done through techno bridges or these illegal Scene boxes.
Through our capabilities, as a Ministry, we have managed to identify some of these scene boxes. In order to respond to this, we brought in the TTMS and this Traffic Monitoring System has a capability also to detect, identify and locate any scene box that is re-directing traffic in the country and obviously hand over the culprits to the courts of law.
In terms of the content which was created in this country or if – I am sure I got your question that all these international social media platforms that are participating in this country, I have said we have developed a framework and in the framework we have capability to be able to calculate going backwards. This is called a national DST Platform, which we are currently developing. In order to ensure that the TTMS is buttressed in terms of the law, as a Ministry, we then issue SI 95: 21, with the following capabilities: Real time measurement, monitoring and billing. So this is real time of international incoming and outgoing communication traffic flows, between international couriers and operators and Zimbabwe.
One of the questions that you have asked me in terms of the establishment of the TTMS project- this will be established, obviously through the players currently in the country. Like I have indicated in my Ministerial Statement that the TTMS surveys has been done. The operators were requested to complete cite survey forms and the cite forms were completed and submitted to GVG on 16 August, 2021. The second stage was to carry out physical surveys by POTRAZ and GVG. The physical cite surveys were carried out and the purpose of these physical cite surveys was to ascertain the information submitted on the survey forms and prepare the high level designs for the TTMS. So, these are done through the players.
Secondly, the preparation and approval of the high level TTMS engineering designs are also done. The installation of part of the machinery will be at the POTRAZ headquarters. This I am responding to your question that this system be established in Chegutu West. So, this has been done also including by working through the players in the ICT sector. Precisely, your last point of clarity in that ICT is the future, surely ICT is the future. It is electricity of the 21st Century. It has replaced every function, obligation and responsibility. It has replaced the classroom. It has replaced the physical interaction between doctors and patients.
I am sure you are aware that Cabinet also approved the Smart Health Pillar, where you will be utilising tele-medicine. So, ICT has also revolutionised agriculture. It has revolutionised everything. Every sphere, we have changed the way we live, the way we work, just like now in Parliament, we are able to interact virtually. So ICT Broadband is the new oil. That is the future and I totally agree and support what you said. Also that most of the responsibilities that we currently have will change as we journey towards Vision 2030. This has also been underlined by the President, last year when he launched the NDS 1 in that he prioritised a digital economy as one of the key and critical pillars which is going to turnaround this economy. I thank you.
On the motion of HON. TOGAREPI seconded by HON. NDUNA, the House adjourned at Six Minutes to Five O’clock p.m.