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NATIONAL ASSEMBLY HANSARD 26 AUGUST 2021 VOL 47 NO 80

PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE

Thursday, 26th August, 2021

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

PRAYERS

(THE ACTING SPEAKER in the Chair)

ANNOUNCEMENTS BY THE ACTING SPEAKER

ERROR ON THE ORDER PAPER

    THE ACTING SPEAKER (HON. MAVETERA): I have to

draw the attention of the House to an error on today’s Order Paper whereby the Cyber and Data Protection Bill [H. B. 18B, 2019] and

Forest Amendment Bill [H. B. 16B, 2019] which were received from the Senate with amendments, were set down for consideration instead of being recommitted to the Committee of the whole House.

PETITION FROM MR. J. SHONHIWA

THE ACTING SPEAKER: I also have to inform the House that

on the 24th of August 2021, Parliament received a petition from Mr. J. Shonhiwa beseeching Parliament to carry out its functions and protect the constitutionally guaranteed rights of children to education and the rights of parents from abuse of public funds.  The petition has since been referred to the Portfolio Committee on Primary and Secondary

Education.           

MOTION

BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE

         HON. MUTAMBISI: I move that all Orders of the Day on today’s Order Paper be stood over until Orders of the Day, Numbers 20 and 27 have been disposed of.

HON. B. DUBE: I second.

HON. T. ZHOU: Thank you very much Madam Speaker Maam.

Following the pronouncement of the opening of schools by the Hon. Minister of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services yesterday, some modalities were not laid out, for example whether the students are going to be on second or third term and that when is the term going to end?

I therefore, I urge the Hon. Minister of Primary and Secondary Education to hold a press conference clarifying those issues as soon as possible so as to guide the parents for clarity purposes.   

THE ACTING SPEAKER: Thank you very much Hon. Member.

Are you requesting a press statement or you would want the Minister to come with a ministerial statement to the House?

HON. T. ZHOU: The schools are going to be opened on the 30th of August 2021, which is on Monday next week, so the House is going to be sitting on a Tuesday maybe and it would have already been overtaken by events.  Therefore, I would request a press statement. I thank you.

THE ACTING SPEAKER: Thank you very much Hon. Member.

Your point is noted, we will inform the Minister about that request.

HON. A. NDEBELE: On a point of order! The Chief Whip Hon.

Mutambisi was not connected.

THE ACTING SPEAKER: Hon. Ndebele there was something

wrong with your gadget, she was connected.

MOTION

JOINT REPORT OF THE PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE ON PRIMARY

AND SECONDARY EDUCATION AND PUBLIC SERVICE, LABOUR AND SOCIAL WELFARE ON THE PETITION FROM

TEACHERS UNIONS ON TEACHERS WELFARE

    HON. MISIHAIRABWI-MUSHONGA:  I move the motion

standing in my name that this House takes note of the joint Report of the Portfolio Committee on Primary and Secondary Education and Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare on the petition from Teachers Union on teachers’ welfare.

HON. T. MOYO: I second.

        HON. MISIHAIRABWI-MUSHONGA:  May I give my

gratitude to the Chief Whip of the ruling Party and of the Opposition for allowing me to dispose of this particular motion. This is a report of two Portfolio Committees on Public Service Labour and Social Welfare and the one on Primary and Secondary Education. The report is about a petition that was received from the Teachers’ Unions namely ZIMTA and PTUZ as way back as June 2019. Let me begin by apologising for the delay in responding to the petition by the Committees but you would know that we went past our 60 day timeframe largely because of the issues that are to do with COVID-19 and therefore bringing people together and having conversations was a bit difficult.

1.0 INTRODUCTION

The joint Portfolio Committees on Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare and Primary and Secondary Education received a

petition from Teachers’ Unions, the Zimbabwe Teachers Association (ZIMTA) and Progressive Teachers Union in June 2019. The delays in responding to the petition by the Committees within the stipulated time frame of 60 days can be partially attributed to the COVID pandemic lockdown restrictions. In light of Parliament’s oversight and legislative roles, the petitioners beseeched Parliament to:

1.0 Undertake, insist and ensure that the State promptly reviews, calculates and pay teachers’ salaries in line with the rate of inflation obtaining at the prevailing moment;

2.0 Ensure that salaries and allowances of teachers pegged in RTGS dollars are reviewed and paid in full consideration of the interbank rate since the said salaries and allowances were computed on contracts which were consummated before the 2019 monetary policy; and

3.0 Undertake, to insist and ensure that the state immediately reviews its budget to cushion teachers by paying teachers at least

USD200 over and above the RTGS dollars being paid as salary.

              2.0 OBJECTIVES

The Committees inquiry was guided by the following objectives;

  • To respond to the petition from the Teachers’ Unions;
  • To appreciate the challenges being faced by Teachers; and
  • To offer policy recommendations for improvements on the welfare of teachers.

3.0 METHODOLOGY

As part of the inquiry, the Committees jointly received oral evidence from the petitioners. In addition, the Committees invited Dr. S. Ndlovu and Mr. L. Zunde from ZIMTA and PTUZ to a Strategic Interventions in the Education Sector workshop held from the 26th – 29th of March 2020, at Holiday Inn Hotel, in Mutare to further discuss the petition. Ambassador J. Wutawunashe, the Secretary for the Public

Service Commission was also invited to participate at the workshop.

 4.0 COMMITTEES FINDINGS

4.1 Petitioners’ Grievances

The petitioners registered a myriad of grievances including:

4.1.1 Low Remuneration

ZIMTA and PTUZ representatives decried that while teachers and other civil service workers have been negotiating for the upwards review of their salaries and improvement of working conditions for several years, the Government has always responded by awarding paltry increments. An illustrative example was the RTGS$69.00 awarded to workers in the Civil Service across the board in April 2019 on a salary that was initially awarded in United States Dollars (US$) without taking into account that the two currencies were no longer at par and that the inflation rate was estimated to be 900 percent. In addition, the petitioners complained that it was difficult for teachers to access critical services such as health care as they were priced in US$. Consequently, teachers could not meet basic needs of their families such as food, accommodation rentals and school fees. The reduction of student teacher grants to dating back to 2017 by 43 percent was also noted to be an issue of concern as they can no longer sustain themselves. Further, the petitioners lamented that salaries in the education sector were not commensurate with rank and authority as grading was last done in 2000.

The difference between a headmasters and teacher’s salary was reported to be RTGS$20.00, while that of a Senior Teacher and Schools Inspector was RTGS$15.00. The reluctance of ZIMSEC to pay examinations setting and invigilation fees was also flagged as a key factor causing the recurrent paper leakages. Finally, the petitioners bemoaned that teachers’ salaries ceased during Manpower Development Leave which incapacitated teachers from caring for their families and paying tuition fees. Overally, this demotivated and distracted teachers which negatively impacted on the image of teaching as a “decent” profession.           The petitioners noted that by failing to adequately remunerate its employees, the government was in essence violating their right to fair labour standards provided for by Section 65 of the Constitution.

Consequently, this negatively affected the rights of children to education stipulated by Sections 75 and 81 of the Constitution as demotivated teachers could not provide quality services, thereby short-changing the student. It was also highlighted that the government overally violated the International Labour Organisation (ILO) minimum standard No. 95 of ensuring that employees and their families have a decent living and Sustainable Development Goal Number 4 on inclusive and equitable quality education.

4.1.2 Poor Infrastructure

The Committees were informed that the lack of suitable infrastructure was a serious challenge faced in urban and new resettlement areas, including classrooms and teachers’ accommodation. It was highlighted that urban schools could no longer maintain infrastructure due to the withdrawal of a government subsidy which used to be allocated in this regard. The school fees and levies were reported to be inadequate to cater for infrastructure maintenance as the payment rate was low due to financial constraints being experienced countrywide. Most schools structures in resettlement areas were farm houses.

4.1.3 High student to teacher ratio

A high student to teacher ratio was also put forward as a serious challenge being experienced in the education sector. The petitioners highlighted that the minimum number of students in a class handled by a single teacher was 60 which compromised effective teaching.  

        4.1.4 Inadequate tools of the trade

The Committees learnt that teachers with disability have to purchase extra materials such as the white stick, lotion, braille machines, projectors etc. using their own meagre salaries. Furthermore, the new educational curriculum, coupled with the advent of virtual learning spurred by the COVID pandemic demands that teachers have ICT gadgets to enable them to interface with learners.

4.1.5 Mismanagement

The petitioners noted that a majority of schools were headed by acting headmasters which compromised effective management of these institutions. It was also highlighted that some administrators raised petty and time consuming misconduct cases against teachers due to inadequate capacity.  Additionally, the petitioners highlighted that it was very difficult for a teacher to transfer to another school for valid reasons such as joining a spouse due to corrupt tendencies by the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education officials. In some cases it took as long as five years for a teacher to get a transfer which exposes some families to the risk of breaking down and high incidences of divorce among teachers.   

        4.1.6 Student indiscipline

The petitioners expressed concern that rife indiscipline in schools was derailing learner education as students were legally “untouchable.” The Committees were informed that the abolition of corporal punishment made it difficult for teachers to control students resulting in spiraling cases of drug abuse, amongst others.

4.1.7 A Legal Framework which impedes social dialogue

The petitioners noted that the following legal instruments impede social dialogue within    the Public Service in contravention of the

Constitution, namely;

      a) The Public Service Act [Chapter 16:04]

Section 8 (2) on the Functions of the Public Service Commission, attributes fixing of conditions of service as one of the Commission’s responsibilities. The Petitioners argued that “fixing” was not accommodative and ignore concept of collective bargaining. Section 19 on the Conditions of Service for a Member of the Public Service, deals with determination of remuneration, benefits, leave, and hours of work only in consultation with the Minister and Treasury, thereby leaving behind crucial partner, which is the employee through their representative. Another provision which was identified, includes Sections 20 and 24 on consultations on conditions of service for members and recognised associations and organisation, do not oblige the

Commission to consult as “may be” giving a room for either to consult

or not to.

 b) Statutory Instrument (S.I) 45 of 1998

The Petitioners raised concerns regarding the legal framework establishing the labour environment in the public sector. One critical legal framework identified was the Statutory Instrument 45 of 1998 which regulate formation of labour associations. Section, 3 (any group of members of the public service may form and association), 4 and as soon as possible if constitution conforms cause notice to be published in the Gazette, 5 between 6 months and 1 year of provisional recognition apply to Minister to cause for confirmation of recognition and 6 entitled to make presentation to Minister, PSC have access to members during working hours. The Petitioners noted that the process of establishing a

Union within the public service was flawed and need to be reviewed.

Due to lack of regulations, there was a mushrooming of Teachers Unions and if all of them are allocated time to meet their membership, there could be little teaching on the ground.

        c) Statutory Instrument of 141 of 1997

The above statutory instrument sought to regulate the legal framework setting the labour movement in the public service by establishing a Public Service Joint negotiation Council. Dr Ndlovu noted that Section 3 of the SI, establish objectives and composition of the joint Council “shall be to engage in mutual salary related consultations and negotiations as well as determination of allowances and conditions of services in the Public Services”. The Petitioners noted that there was no opportunity or room to discuss any other developmental issues, as the main objective was to discuss salaries only. The Petitioners also bemoaned that there were no alternative channels or informal channels to discuss other issues that may not be salary related but add value to how employees conduct their business.

Summary of Current weaknesses in the Legal Framework

In a nutshell, the inadequacy of the legal framework has resulted in the following challenges;

  • Current laws are ultra vires the Constitution as they promote consultations at the expense of collective bargaining
  • Slowness of administrative and judicial procedures in case of dispute and anti-union discrimination
  • Lack of discursive sanctions
  • Restrictions on the right of parties to determine the level and scope of bargaining
  • Unclear union recognition and registration principles
  • Weakened institutions of social dialogue and consequently posting feelings of anomie

Additionally, the petitioners called for the establishment of a Teachers Bargaining Council which would collectively negotiate better working conditions for teachers. Finally, the petitioners implored Parliament to align the Public Service Act to Section 65 of the Constitution and to expedite the ratification of International Labour

Organisation Conventions (ILO) Conventions 151 and 154.  

4.2 Response from the Public Service Commission (PSC)

Ambassador Wutawunashe drew attention to the mandate of the PSC which is to determine the conditions of service of employees in the public service. He noted that good conditions of service encompass a sense of security, empathy and sympathy for employees. He outlined the initiatives being implemented by the government to improve the conditions of service for the 140 000 teachers and in total 200 000 workers in the Civil Service including:

  1. The Government Employees Mutual Savings (GEMS) Fund; ii.   Adoption of the Defined Pension Benefits System; and

iii.      Rebate on importation of vehicles by civil servants and a soft loan vehicle scheme for some grades. He further highlighted that Government was in the process of establishing a modernisation trust which is an initiative to dignify the work place by providing adequate tools of the trade to civil servants.

5.0 Committees Observations

The Committees noted the following;

  1. There are 140 000 teachers out of almost 200 000 civil servants.
  2. Teachers’ salaries are grossly inadequate and cannot cater for their own and family basic needs.
  3. The impasse between the Government and teachers has not been resolved for a long time.
  4. Teachers are clearly demotivated and prefer to conduct extra lessons or other moonlighting activities from which they earn foreign currency payments.
  5. The teachers’ conditions of service improved during the period

2008 and 2013.

  1. Engagement between teachers unions and the Public Service and Government has always been centred on salaries, which has overcrowded other broader issues relating to conditions of service.
  2. There can be meaningful engagement between teachers and the government, without politicising the process. We are speaking as a

Committee and have felt that when we have engages with teachers’ union, unlike some of the conversations we hear out there, we have not found that they have politicized the issues. They have been very clear with where the problems are. I think if both the teachers and Government listen to each other, we may be to address some of the problems that are there without necessarily creating the toxicity that is associated with both parties being political.  We have continued to raise this with the unions that they need to ensure when they engage with Government they are engaging from a non-political point of view.  Sometimes you do not get to be heard if you are seemingly speaking a language that turns out to be partisan. Thus, the engagement between teachers unions, Public Service and Government has always been centred. I think we want to underscore that and say one of the problems that we think we are facing is that we have to find a way of engaging outside the issues that are to do with salaries.  The moment you are talking and you are engaging on the basis of salaries, you then have a problem.

Recommendations.

  1. Government should call for an urgent meeting with Civil Service Workers Union to discuss the current negotiating framework, including its shortfall and explore the possibility of coming up with a framework that favours the majority of civil servants by 31st August,

2021.

The Committee on Primary and Secondary Education was fortunate to have gone into the region to benchmark and one of the things we looked at in the region was the legal negotiating frameworks for teachers in the region.  We felt that in most countries, they do have a sectorial way of negotiating with teachers.  We are not recommending a specific one because we think it is a basis for conversations.  We also think we should open up this conversation to see whether there is a way, without necessarily overturning the entire negotiating framework for civil service but to try and find a way in which teachers in particular, find themselves onto the negotiating framework.  One of the problems is, even though we have a negotiating framework, the teachers feel alienated from that negotiating framework.  There could be a way of coming up with it and like I said, as both Committees, we do not have a proposal as yet but we did see from other countries that it resolved some of the problems that are associated with the majority of civil servants.

  1. The Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare should draft a Bill on the management of unions in order to rationalise activities of these bodies by December 2021. I must say that this recommendation actually came from the unions.  When they did, we actually said we do not want to put this recommendation then because as unions they come back and say their democratic space has been taken away.  They said one of the problems that you have is that vague way of registering unions.  They did say in certain instances, you can have as many as 10 to 15 unions and it becomes problematic because at a school, each union has a right to come in.  So at a school, the teachers can spend the whole day seeing one union after another and there may have to be a way of creating a proper criterion, for example; do you have a particular set of members in your union, constitution, et cetera that will limit the number of unions that you will have without necessarily going against their democratic right to form themselves.
  2. That the Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare and the Public Service Commission should create an informal communication framework with unions for purposes of continuously engaging on pertinent issues relating to the welfare of the Civil Service. We made this proposal to the Ministry of Public Service and to the Public Service Commission.  One of our arguments was that it did not have to be formal but they could every two or three months, open up for conversations with the unions so that you do not meet at the time when there is a strike or when they are not coming to school.   You will be generally talking about everything.  I think there is also a sense that even things that happen within the teaching profession are not discussed because that process is not available.  I must say we had bilateral conversations with the Public Service Commission, the Ministry of

Education and the Ministry of Finance.  So these recommendations we are giving you now are recommendations that were adopted and agreed to by the various organisations and institutions.

  1. That as part of conditions of teachers, the Public Service

Commission in collaboration with the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education, should introduce a tuition fee waiver for up to three children attending public schools per teacher by October 2021.  We are very excited about this particular issue because when we started having discussions with the Minister of Public Service, their initial response was to do it for everyone and not just teachers.  I must however say by the time we went to meet Minister M. Ncube, it was one of the recommendations that he immediately liked and said he would try and factor it into the budget.  As you know, those that work for ZESA get free electricity, those that are in the medical field when they are going to hospitals, they get a waiver.  So, I think it is unfair for teachers to teach other children yet their own children will not be able to go to school.  We feel this is something that is doable and I think it will show the political will and the sensitivity that Government is having around teachers.

  1. That the Public Service Commission should re-grade job posts in the teaching profession and civil service widely to reflect the reporting hierarchy and professional qualifications in order to restore the dignity and authority of the manager over subordinates. I will give an example of headmasters and school inspectors.  This is a real massive problem.  We have found that the reason why we do not have proper supervision is that you do not have a difference between somebody who becomes a school inspector and a headmaster.  That is why no one likes to be a school inspector.  You are better off being a headmaster sitting at your school with no other obligations because the grading system is not there.  So, if we are going to get inspectors who will be on the ground to be able to supervise, there is need to remunerate them at a different level so that the hierarchy is seen and it is noticed.

I am also happy to report that the Minister of Public Service responded very positively to this particular issue including Minister Ncube.  In fact, he said this was one of the initial things that he would start working on as they begin to look at the resources that they are putting into the teaching profession.  We are happy that we will be able to see a difference in that respect.

  1. That the Government and the teachers union immediately engage in meaningful negotiations without the process being politicised. We really plead with both parties and in this instance, Government and teachers have a responsibility to ensure that the future of our children is in the right hands.  We cannot continue to go years and years without getting to a point at which we can say this is the position that we now have.  If we are going to do incremental things, let there be an agreement around that.  I do not think that the attitude of weighing each other and thinking who is more powerful than the other works because it is at the detriment of our children.
  2. That teachers welfare should be prioritised and the platform for negotiation should be strengthened through amending appropriate legislation. The teachers union already has a draft of how they think you may create the subcommittee which is sector related and can feed into the broader negotiating forum.  We were thinking if that happens, we may be able to move a bit faster than we have been doing around negotiations.
  3. That whilst negotiations between Government and the teachers union have centred on salaries, like I said before, I am now repeating, there is need to broaden the issues that are associated with some of these things. When we spoke to the unions, there were loads of issues, issues to do with curricula development and at the moment we are dealing with the CALA issue. I think if we engage on those issues which are not necessarily issues of remuneration, there may be softer issues in which we may find agreement.

We are going to be bringing to this House Mr. Speaker, the strategic interventions that are outside the issues of salaries and remunerations around the education sector. We thought that because this was a petition primarily to do with issues of remuneration, we owed it to both the teachers that had brought this petition and yourselves. Like I said, it is timely to bring this. So we really want to thank both the teachers’ unions and we want to thank Government - in particular the line ministries and the Ministers who gave us time, bilaterally to work on this and promised that they indeed would do something about it.           We also insisted that although the conditions of service sit within the Public Service Commission, we believe that a silo mentality may not address the issues. For example, the Minister of Housing needs to be brought on board so that we can deal with the issues of housing for teachers. All these sector ministers need to be set up. We always do that when we have a crisis. When we had COVID-19, we set up a Ministerial Committee to look at issues of COVID-19. I think that is what we need to do on issues to do with teachers. Let us create an inter-ministerial so that we also give a sense to our teachers that we are concerned, worried and want to make sure that their conditions of service are improved. I must thank you Mr. Speaker.

HON. MADHUKU: Thank you Mr. Speaker for giving me this

time to second this debate on the petition which was brought to the Portfolio Committee on Primary and Secondary Education. I also want to thank the Chairperson of the Committee, Hon. MisihairabwiMushonga for giving this august House a very detailed report, and very clear and explicit recommendations which I pray that this House will do justice to the deliberations given thereof.

Let me begin by saying that when looking at this issue of the welfare and conditions of teachers; let us not look at them in isolation. The bottom line is let us first of all look at the learner. Let us first look at the lives of our children because a teacher occupies and performs a very important role which can lead to the demise of the nation. The new dispensation here; we are talking about the vision of the Government, Vision 2030 and so on. We are looking at the SDGs and so, which means that if we look at the SDG dealing with education, we are looking basically at the learner. A teacher here is occupying a very important position - giving life to the learner, country and hence, the teacher’s welfare needs to be taken seriously.

Teachers are people who are very much committed and dedicated to their work, and in this COVID era, I think it is proper for me to say they are part of frontline workers in this country. Therefore, we need to seriously look at some of their needs. We have been talking about the needs theory as propounded by some of the leading psychologists who have looked and delved in a great way into human behaviour. Let me look again at Maslow and his needs so that we get an appreciation of what the teachers expect from us, like all the other human beings. They have to be motivated to do their work and motivation is a result of a person’s attempt at fulfilling some basic, fundamental and core needs that give life to a person. The most important about these needs is the physiological needs.

Here we are basically talking about survival needs; food, water, shelter and clothing. All of us here are happy in this august House because we are decently dressed and people will appreciate that these are Hon. Members of Parliament by how we look. In the same vein, our teachers are saying they also need to meet their physiological needs. They also need to put food on the table for their children. They need water and clothes so that they become decent and get the respect of those they lead, the learners. In order to meet all these needs, they need a decent salary.

Next on the pyramid are safety and security needs. We are talking here about financial security, health and wellness, safety against accidents and injury. This brings to us the other issue of pensions when one retires. It is very critical because many at times we have seen that many of these teachers when they retire are paupers and die early because they cannot sustain themselves. They cannot meet the medical bills because they do not have money. So these issues of safety and security needs are very critical. That is why we are talking about the fact that they also need decent remuneration so that they are able to pay even fees for their children. It does not make sense that I am a teacher but I cannot afford to pay school fees for my children. It is critical that the teachers are saying they have to be decently remunerated so that they are able to meet the safety and security needs that I have alluded to.

Mr. Speaker Sir, besides these needs that I spoke about, the Committee also spoke about some of the issues that relate to nonmonetary benefits.  Teachers are saying that besides this remuneration that is able to sustain them, there is also another aspect that can be brought in, of non-monetary benefits.  The Chairperson of the Committee has already alluded to some of the issues and the most important that she spoke about relates to the payment of fees of at least up to three children for every teacher.  I think that this is very critical because we have seen this happening, some incentives or benefits that are given in other sectors.  She spoke about health and we have seen even in the agriculture sector.

Some workers at Agritex, I was shocked the other time when I was working in the constituency.  I saw some Agritex officers had been given monthly food vouchers, protective clothing and these tablets so that they are able to communicate directly with Head Office in their assessment of figures that are required in the execution of their duties.  Besides that, they also have motor cycles. Every one of them has a motor cycle and air time. Teachers want to be recognised in the same vein that their counterparts also get some of these benefits.

So besides a good salary, we are saying let them also get some of these non-monetary incentives.  We are talking about housing, we have seen some workers staying in good houses whilst renting to buy.  We can come up with so many facilities for teachers.  Motor vehicles - we have seen this scheme that was introduced but Mr. Speaker Sir, I am sorry to say that it appears like it is no longer functional. When it appeared to be in place, the teachers were not aware of how to get the application forms. There were a lot of hiccups and bureaucratic processes that hindered access to these forms by teachers.  The whole thing appeared not to be transparent, they had challenges and to this end, very few teachers managed to access the vehicles.

I have already alluded to the issues of health, accommodation, electricity and water.  Transport issues …

THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER (HON. MUTOMBA):  May

you wind up your debate Hon. Member.

HON. MADHUKU:  Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir, transport issues, some of them – if we look even in the urban areas they commute to work every day by public transport and pay fares.  So it is important also that we look into some of these issues of non-monetary incentives.

Mr. Speaker Sir, let me end by talking about the issue of regrading of those in the teaching sector – their salary scales…

THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER:  Your time is up Hon.

Member.

HON. MADHUKU:  Can somebody please move for an extension?

THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER:  It is 10 minutes only and you

have already exceeded it.

HON. MADHUKU:  I have exceeded?  Alright, thank you so much Mr. Speaker Sir.  I was going to end by talking about the issue of regrading which is very critical.  I hope these issues are going to be looked into.  I thank you so much Hon. Chair, Misihairabwi-Mushonga for bringing this motion which is very powerful.  I thank you.

         (v)HON. NDEBELE:  Thank you Hon. Speaker Sir.  Let me begin by thanking Hon. Misihairabwi-Mushonga for a very clear report as usual.  I would also like to thank her and her Committee for holding consultative meetings under such difficult circumstances Mr. Speaker

Sir.   I would also like to thank our Hon. Speaker, Adv. J. F. N. Mudenda for taking his time to attend to these conversations.  It underpins how serious as a Parliament we view matters of teachers service.         

         Hon. Speaker, I need to indicate at the outset that this Parliament has power to immediately request the Minister of Finance and Economic Development to review the budget in order to cushion teachers financially.  Our teachers Hon. Speaker Sir have become a laughing stock in the region.  Our teachers colleges and universities produce the best teachers in the region but because of their poor remuneration, our teachers have become a laughing stock.  Everyone and even garden boys now peg their remuneration against that of teachers. I see a pattern Mr. Speaker Sir, that every time we cast the remuneration of teachers or civil servants, Hon. Members come up with alternatives or non-financial packages.  We have to be clear on the question of poor remuneration, it must be addressed.  It is not fair and not good that every time the remuneration of teachers is discussed, people start talking about mbewu, motor cycles or housing.

No, the issue is remuneration and I totally and unreservedly agree with the Committee that over and above what we are paying our teachers in RTGs, compensation of USD$200.00 must be made immediately to our teachers.  Our teachers have become vulnerable and they cannot

even afford to send their children to the same schools in which they teach.  Let me underline the fact that Members of Parliament must desist from clouding the issue of remuneration with an alternative of nonfinancial incentives.  I would like to agree with the previous Hon. Member that if you take a deep study, teachers do not even benefit from such non-financial schemes like the vehicle scheme for instance.  In my constituency, no teacher – absolutely no teacher out of the eight schools benefited from the vehicle scheme.

Finally Hon. Speaker, I just want to state that we have the meekest and docile civil service, everything that comes down they accept.  For instance, there is this scheme that Hon. Misihairabwi-Mushonga referred to where Government, without consultation started taking money from teachers and teachers are still waiting to benefit from that fund up to now.  They have applied to the fund but applications have been denied.

So finally Hon. Speaker, to buttress my point, I am saying when we are discussing issues of the financial welfare of teachers, let us remain at that.  Hon. Members must desist from talking about other alternative packages.  I have heard ridiculous suggestions that teachers must be given mining claims and land but primarily we employ teachers to teach our children.  Therefore, we should remunerate them adequately for providing that service.  The question of mining claims and land for farming is for another day.  A well remunerated teacher can embark on that on his/her own volition.  I thank you.

*HON. E. NCUBE: Thank you Mr. Speaker for giving me this opportunity to add my voice on the motion that has been brought in this House by Hon. Misihairabwi-Mushonga seconded by Hon. Madhuku concerning the welfare of teachers. Firstly, for Hon. Members, all of us in this august House, for us to speak eloquently and fluently as we are doing right now, to understand what is happening in our country and for us to have medical doctors, it all came from the teachers. Teaching is a very important profession because all people came through the hands of a teacher.

We have a problem because teachers are always crying about their salaries.  I want to debate on teachers’ salaries.  When we grew up, we used to know that teachers were respected people.  There was a saying that goes‘ifa urimombe, ticha hadurwi’ - they referred to this when a teacher impregnates someone’s child and this shows that a teacher was a much respected person.  We want that respect to be restored to today’s teachers.  I have just given an example of a saying that was made and I am not saying impregnating people’s daughters is good but it was just emphasising the aspect of respect.  Teachers must be respected so that they are able to do their jobs well.

Secondly, Zimbabwe was one of the African countries that were known for high literacy rate but now the literacy rate is going down because we are not remunerating our teachers well.  I am pleading with this House that teachers get recognition and their packages are looked at so that they will be able to do their jobs well. This will give us brilliant citizens.

Our teachers are seen walking 10 to 15 kilometres in resettlement areas for them to reach to the nearest road where he/she will get transport so that they can go to the nearest bank to withdraw their salaries.  This is so disheartening and when coming back, they will hire a scotch cart so that they will be able to ferry their groceries.  This act is ridiculing our teachers.  I am urging the Government that plans must be underway to look into the teachers’ welfare so that they will be able to buy cars or to get loans for them to buy cars.

I support Hon. Misihairabwi-Mushonga’s observation regarding teachers’ unions.  Teachers must not be in the habit of forming unions. This will promote trade unionism but will not help alleviate their problems.   Those who form unions are teachers and most of the time these people will spend their valuable time meeting their membership in schools leaving classes empty without teachers.  Teachers’ unions must be limited. I am also worried that in Zimbabwe now, we are training teachers who immediately after leaving college, are going to other countries for greener pastures.  Teachers who leave this country to go to other neighbouring countries do not face any problems when they get there because immediately, they get employed meaning that our citizens are very bright and are welcomed everywhere.  They go and work for other countries leaving our children here in Zimbabwe without teachers.

I reiterate that teachers must be remunerated well so that all these problems will be brought to an end. Public Service Commission must negotiate with teachers; it does not mean that the teachers are not willing to negotiate with Government but we look down upon them or that the Public Service Commission is failing to address their plight.  The teachers are prepared to negotiate with the Public Service Commission on the issue of salaries.  If the Government makes promises, this must be fulfilled.

Before I conclude, I want teachers to be given loans to build residential stands, be it that they are in the rural areas or urban.  They must have decent accommodation so that when they retire, they will have somewhere decent to stay remembering all the years they worked for the Government, as this would have enabled them to prepare for their retirement.  We must not see them loitering in townships after their retirement and in beerhalls, this is not good.  I am pleading with this House that the issue of teachers must be looked at.

In conclusion, people must move with technology.  Teachers in rural areas sometimes cannot access network and the other problem is that they do not even have laptops and computers.  We must push that teachers have access to network and move with technology. With these few words Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank you.

         (v)*HON. NYABANI): Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. Our teachers have an important duty to perform because everything that one does later in life would have come from the teacher.  Therefore, a lot of things should be considered as regards the standard of living that teachers have.  The teachers do not all want to buy motor vehicles so that they can be given duty free vehicle rebates.  People should be paid handsomely so that they are able to buy a car.  It is not the duty free that is very important when one wants to buy a vehicle.  If you want to buy a vehicle or a house, they should be given sufficient funds in the form of remuneration to be able to use their resources. Whether they want to buy a house or send a child to school, they should be in that position to do what they would want to do.

For years, teachers have not been teaching and as a result the quality of education has gone down.  By so doing, we are doing a disservice to our country.  Our standards are going down.  We are glad that the Ministers and the leadership have observed that this needs to be redressed.

In conclusion, I would want to thank you for the opportunity that you have given me to add my voice.  I thank you.

      HON. MISIHAIRAMBWI-MUSHONGA: I move that the

debate do now adjourn.

HON. MUTAMBISI: I second.

Motion put and agreed to.

Debate to resume: Tuesday, 7th September, 2021.

MOTION

CONDOLENCES ON THE DEATH OF FORMER FIRST LADY

MRS JANET BANANA

HON. MISIHAIRABWI-MUSHONGA: I move the motion

standing in my name: 

THAT this House expresses its profound sorrow on the untimely passing on Thursday, 29th July, 2021 of the late Former First Lady, Mrs

Janet Banana;

PLACES on record its appreciation for the services, which the late

Former First Lady rendered to the nation;

RESOLVES that its profound sympathies be conveyed to the Banana

Family, relatives and the entire Nation.

HON. MATHE: I second.

          HON. MISIHAIRABWI-MUSHONGA: Thank you Mr. Speaker

Sir.  Again, let me thank you Mr. Speaker and the Chief Whips for having accorded me the opportunity to speak to this particular motion.      (v)HON. MUSHORIWA: On a point of order! Hon. Speaker,

when you raise the question on whether or not the debate should be adjourned, there were a number of Members of Parliament including myself who were on virtual who did not want the debate to stop.  So, my point of order is that when the Speaker makes a decision, is there due regard to the concerns and interests of the majority of Members who are now unable to be in the House but are on virtual.  It appears as if our voices and our concerns are not heard.  Whilst we do not have a problem if the business of the House makes a decision but at least are we heard or do we still have the leeway to contribute to the House?

THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Thank you very much Hon.

Mushoriwa, your point of order is well noted but we have noticed that we have a lot of other business that has to come after this motion that has been adjourned.  We have got the Minister of Home Affairs here who would want to present a Ministerial Statement.   Thank you.

HON. MISIHARAMBWI: Thank you very much Mr. Speaker.

Once again, let me thank the leadership of Parliament and you Mr. Speaker for allowing me this opportunity to speak to this particular motion.  This motion is a motion to acknowledge and to give our condolences to the former First Lady, Janet Banana who passed away.

Without taking too much of the House’s time, I just want to use this opportunity to thank the Second Republic in particular, the President E. D Mnangagwa, the First Lady, Madam A. Mnangagwa, for the support that they personally gave to the family during and after the demise of Janet Banana.

I am on record on raising some of my concerns about the

‘invisibilisation’ that we have seen particularly of female heroes, the wives and widows of our national heroes. Many a time, motions have been brought to this House that it is imperative for us as a country and as a nation to acknowledge the work that has been given by the female

folk. Lawyers in this House would know that even in circumstances where there is divorce, you will find that even if the said partner was not necessarily formally employed but the work that they do as a wife to support a spouse in the family is always considered at the time of distribution of assets. It is the same spirit that we need to bring in when we acknowledge the heroes who are in the public and in most instances, the males who are in the public, we sometimes forget the hero is the woman who gets the system to operate.

Janet Banana was one of the First Ladies of post independent Zimbabwe and it is imperative for us as a nation to acknowledge the role that she took, particularly because she had to play a role for a male who was also a Reverend within the Christian community and also him within the context of being the President of this country.

I know people may have a lot of issues about the former President and I am not here to speak to those. I am here to speak about Janet Banana. I am here to speak about this woman who did what she could for this nation. Yes, it is easy to talk about somebody and noticing what somebody may have done wrong. I am sure many of us have our own issues that may actually be worse than the issues that are associated with anybody else. I did this particularly because I felt that throughout her life, the work that she did has been underestimated and has not been recognised. What gives me comfort is that at least the leadership of the Second Republic went all out to recognise her.

I am sorry that the other issues that the President had personally wanted done by the time she passed on had not happened. You know I brought the Statutory Instrument here which should have recognised her as part of the First Ladies and until the time she died, she had not necessarily been recognised. She was supposed to have a house bought for her in her status as the former First Lady, it did not happen. She was supposed to get land in her capacity as the former First Lady, she did not get it. That does not in any way minimise what support she got when she was unwell. I want to mention the Deputy Minister of Health and Child Care, Hon. Dr. Mangwiro who throughout the time she was sick in and out of hospital, personally took charge of ensuring that doctors were in place to look after her and did the best that they could.

I could take a lot of time but I think that is not important. What is important is that I stood in this House and I acknowledged what she did and I honoured her. I hope this House will join me in honouring who she was and what she did for this country.

THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND

PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON ZIYAMBI): I move that the

debate do now adjourn.

Motion put and agreed to.

Debate to resume: Tuesday, 31st August 2021.

MOTION

BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE

        THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND

PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI) (SPKING)…My

apologies I thought it was a Ministerial Statement.  I move that all the Orders of the Day be stood over until Order of the Day Number 31 on today’s Order Paper has been disposed of.

I apologise Mr. Speaker, it was an oversight.  The response from the Minister is a response to a motion that is on the Order Paper, so we need to appropriately acknowledge that and move to that particular

Order on the Order Paper.  I thank you.

Motion put and agreed to.

MOTION

FIRST REPORT OF THE PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE ON DEFENCE,

HOME AFFAIRS AND SECURITY SERVICES ON THE PETITION

FROM THE SUNNINGDALE 1 RESIDENTS ASSOCIATION

Thirty First Order read:  Adjourned debate on motion on the First

Report of the Portfolio Committee on Defence, Home Affairs and Security Services on the petition from the Sunningdale 1 Residents

Association.

Question again proposed.

   THE MINISTER OF HOME AFFAIRS AND CULTURAL

HERITAGE (HON. KAZEMBE):  Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  The

Ministry of Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage wishes to advise the nation, this House, valid stakeholders and affected citizens that the Civil

Registry Department which is mandated to provide secure identity documents will be re-coding National Identity Documents bearing the

“00” last digits which depict the holder’s district of origin.

This marks an important milestone in the history of Zimbabwe in our commitment to eradicate all forms of discrimination as typified by the code “00” which identified persons of mixed race, Asians and

Caucasians during the colonial era.  The “00” code differentiated citizens on the basis of race, colour and creed.  The system further segmented access to the mainstream economy and other social strata on racial ground and gave better opportunities to persons whose IDs bore the “00” code.

Although the system did not have a legal basis, it had remained in use until now, prompting some of the affected citizens to petition Parliament.  The divisive system of rational profiling was at the detriment of segments of society who found it to be hindering their quest to participate fully in mainstream economic activities.

Following consultations with the affected communities and various stakeholders, Government has decided to abolish the “00” code.

Mr. Speaker Sir, the Second Republic led by His Excellency the President, Cde. E. D. Mnangagwa has no room for the continued use of such a discriminatory system which is reminiscent of the preindependence era.  Government recognises the contribution of all citizens in their diversity, whose talents and energies must be fully deployed irrespective of their race, colour or creed in pursuit of our national vision.

In line with the wishes and aspirations of the affected communities which the Government upholds and respects, the Ministry of Home

Affairs and Cultural Heritage wishes to advise the nation that the Civil Registry Department has been directed to re-code identification cards bearing the “00” digits.  This will ensure citizens enjoy their constitutionally guaranteed rights without colonially defined and derogatory inferences.

The policy shift conforms with provisions in the Constitution which relate to Citizenship and Equality and Non-Discrimination.

Section 35 (2) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe states that, ‘All

Zimbabwean citizens are equally entitled to the rights, privileges and benefits of citizenship and are equally subject to the duties and obligations of citizenship.’

Furthermore, Section 56 (3) provides that, ‘Every person has the right not to be treated in an unfairly discriminatory manner on such grounds as their nationality, race, colour, tribe, place of birth, ethnic or social origin, language, class, religious belief, political affiliation, opinion, custom, culture, sex, gender, marital status, age, pregnancy, disability or economic or social status or whether they were born in or out of wedlock.’

To enable the Civil Registry Department to address this historical anomaly, citizens who require to have their IDs re-coded are advised to approach the nearest Civil Registry Offices with the following documents;

  1. Original and copy of birth certificate and;
  2. Original and copy of ID.

This programme which is not time bound will be running concurrently with the Civil Registry Department’s normal work processes, an arrangement that affords affected citizens ample time to have the anomaly redressed.

In line with the culture of constitutionalism, non-racism and respect for human rights which forms the bedrock of the Second Republic, this policy shift constitutes a historic milestone as Zimbabwe charts a new epoch in which all citizens march together in unison and harmony towards our common aspirations.

His Excellency the President, Cde. E. D. Mnangagwa has consistently said that no one should be left behind.  I therefore urge all affected citizens to take full advantage of this policy change.  I thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.

THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND

PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI):  Thank you Mr.

Speaker Sir.  I move that the debate do now adjourn.

Motion put and agreed to.

Debate to resume:  Tuesday, 7th September, 2021.

MOTION

BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE

        THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND

PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI):  I move that we

revert to Order Number 5 on today’s Order Paper.

Motion put and agreed to.

HON. NDEBELE:    On a point of order Hon. Speaker.  It would seem every time Members on virtual are trying to raise points from outside, we are totally ignored.  My question therefore, is the hybrid approach to Parliament working if those on virtual are totally ignored as has been happening today?

THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER:  Thank you Hon. Member.

This was a motion and the Minister did not present a statement that is why it was adjourned as usual.

RECOMMITTAL TO COMMITTEE STAGE

CYBER AND DATA PROTECTION BILL [H. B. 18B, 2019]

Fifth Order read:  Recommittal to Committee:  Cyber and Data

Protection Bill [H. B. 18B, 2019]

House in Committee

Clauses 5, 6, 37 and 37 (b) put and agreed to.

House resumed.

Progress reported.

CONSIDERATION STAGE

CYBER AND DATA PROTECTION BILL [H. B. 18B, 2019]        Amendments to Clauses 5, 6, 37 and 37 (b) put and agreed to.

Bill as amended, adopted.

Third Reading: With leave, forthwith.

THIRD READING

CYBER AND DATA PROTECTION BILL [H. B 18B, 2019]        THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND

PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI) on behalf of THE

MINISTER OF INFORMATION COMMUNICATION

TECHNOLOGY, POSTAL AND COURIER SERVICES (HON.

  1. MUSWERE): I move that the Bill be read the third time.

Motion put and agreed to.

Bill read the third time.

(v)HON. GONESE: On a point of order. My point of order relates to the proceedings of today, particularly in view of the Hon. Members on virtual. When the House went into Committee, several Hon.

Members on virtual even myself, could not hear the Chairperson of Committees. This issue was raised with the Chairperson of Committees but they were all ignored – [AN HON. MEMBER: Inaudible

interjection.] – I hear you but it is just a matter of procedure and it is very important. The first issue happened when there was a debate on the motion because if we are going to have a hybrid sitting, otherwise all Hon. Members will end up coming to the House, defeating the whole purpose of having a hybrid sitting. I think it is important for the Presiding Officer to pay attention because when people are raising points of order, they want also to follow proceedings. Some of us may not be in the House, but we want to follow all the proceedings. I believe that the Presiding Officers should actually pay attention and the technical staff should assist so that Hon. Members are recognised when they raise hands. I think it can be properly explained so that we can proceed. I know that it has already passed but I am simply raising it so that going forward, there is a situation where all Hon. Members are able to participate, whether they are physically in the House or on virtual.

THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Thank you Hon. Gonese, I

think this will be taken care of. Thank you.

CONSIDERATION STAGE

FOREST AMENDMENT BILL (H. B. 16B, 2019)

Sixth Order read: Consideration Stage: Forest Amendment Bill [H. B. 16B, 2019].

Amendments to Clause 5 put and agreed to.

Bill, as amended, adopted.

Third Reading: With leave, forthwith.

THIRD READING

FOREST AMENDMENT BILL [H. B. 16B, 2019]

THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND

PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI) on behalf of THE

MINISTER OF ENVIRONMENT, CLIMATE CHANGE,

TOURISM AND HOSPITALITY INDUSTRY (HON. M.

NDLOVU): I move that the Bill be read the third time.

Motion put and agreed to.

Bill read the third time.

       Third Reading: With leave, forthwith.

THIRD READING

FOREST AMENDMENT BILL [H. B. 16B, 2019]

THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE LEGAL AND

PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI):  Mr. Speaker Sir,

I move that the Bill be 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):  Mr. Speaker Sir,

I move that we revert to Order of the Day, Number One on the Order

Paper.

        Motion put and agreed to.

SECOND READING

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

First Order read: Second Reading: Copper Control Amendment

Bill [H. B. 3, 2021].

                       THE MINISTER OF HOME AFFAIRS AND

CULTURAL HERITAGE (HON. KAZEMBE):  Thank you Mr.

Speaker Sir.  Mr. Speaker Sir, the purpose of the Bill is to amend the Copper Control Act [Chapter 14:06].  The Bill seeks to achieve the following objectives: a) to provide for the offence of vandalism of utilities through the theft of copper cables; b) to provide for the offence of dealing in stolen copper; c) to provide for a requirement for all copper dealers to have certificate of origin for all the copper they deal in; and d) to specify the penalties for these offences.

    The Bill contains eight (8) clauses, which provide for the following: -

CLAUSE 1

This clause sets out the Bill’s short title.

CLAUSE 2

Clause 2 of the Bill amends Section 4 of the principal Act by inserting the definitions of the police district, putative dealer and utilities.

CLAUSE 3

This clause amends Section 4 of the principal Act by substituting Parliament with Minister in subsection 3 to allow the Minister to peg a fee for issuance of a copper licence without necessarily involving

Parliament.

CLAUSE 4

This clause inserts Section 4A after Section 4 of the Act to deal with certificates of origin.  The inserted Section 4A makes it illegal for any person, either as a principal or agent to possess copper without a certificate of origin for all the copper in their possession.     This clause further provides for the expected contents of the certificate of origin which are the names and addresses of both seller and purchaser, description and quantity of the copper, reasons for disposal and the prescribed endorsement by the police.

CLAUSE 5

The clause amends the term of imprisonment that may be prescribed for illegal dealers of copper where copper is found at their premises.  This is done by removing the phrase, ‘liable to a fine not exceeding level eight or imprisonment for a period not exceeding two years or both such fine and imprisonment’ and substituting it with ‘if there are no special circumstances peculiar to the case, be liable to imprisonment for a period not less than 10 years without the option of a fine.’

Be that as it may, Cabinet in its sitting of 21st July, 2020 agreed that 10 years is not deterrent enough for offences of this nature.  The copper control offences are similar to those covered by the Electricity Act [Chapter 13:19] which attracts a penalty of 30 years.  Therefore, for consistency and deterrence purpose, I propose that the penalty be amended to 30 years imprisonment as suggested by Cabinet.

CLAUSE 6

In Clause 6, the Bill seeks to increase the term of imprisonment to 10 years without the option of a fine, from that of a fine not exceeding level eight for illegal possessors of copper by amending Section 10 of the Act.  The penalty should also be increased to 30 years with the reasons highlighted under Clause 5 above.

CLAUSE 7

Clause 7 provides for the insertion of two sections which are Section 10A and Section 10B.  Section 10A places a 10-year imprisonment penalty for persons who vandalise utilities through theft of copper cables and their accomplices.  Section 10B, on the other hand, makes it a criminal offence for persons who deal in or have in their possession stolen copper and further highlights that such persons shall be liable to a 10-year imprisonment term without the option of a fine.  The terms of imprisonment in this clause should also be revised in line with the reasoning in Clause 5.

CLAUSE 8

Clause 8 amends Section 13 of the principal Act by giving the court powers to order the forfeiture to the State of any vehicle or device in the transportation of illegal copper.

I hereby submit the said Bill for your deliberation Hon. Members.

Mr. Speaker Sir, I thank you.

     (V)HON. BRIG. GENERAL (RTD) MAYIHLOME:  Mr.

Speaker Sir, the report for the Portfolio Committee of Defence and Home Affairs and Security Services will be presented on Tuesday next week.

THE MINISTER OF HOME AFFAIRS AND CULTURAL

HERITAGE (HON. KAZEMBE):  Mr. Speaker Sir, I move that the debate do now adjourn.

Motion put and agreed to.

Debate to resume: Tuesday, 31st August, 2021.

HON. T. MLISWA: On a point of order Mr. Speaker Sir.

  THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER (HON. MUTOMBA): What is

your point of order?

HON. T. MLISWA: My point of order –(while the Minister of Home Affairs is here)  emanates from the current reports that the war veterans were arrested at the Ministry of Finance office while trying to get an  understanding on why their remuneration was low.  So I would like to find out from the Minister of Home Affairs, can they issue a statement pertaining to that because it is their right to understand on issues pertaining to their remuneration, and to be paid what is there.

Everybody knows that the war veterans have been suffering for a very long time. I therefore, with your indulgence Mr. Speaker, ask the Minister of Home Affairs to come up with a Ministerial Statement pertaining to the arrest of the war veterans who are the freedom fighters of this country.  They have given us freedom; even the Hon. Members here have been given an opportunity to be Ministers.  Why should they be arrested just for airing their grievances on their welfare which is their right?

THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Thank Hon. Member; I think

he has taken note of that.

SECOND READING

POLICE AMENDMENT BILL [H. B. 2, 2021]        Second Order Read: Second Reading: Police Amendment Bill [H.B. 2, 2021].

   THE MINISTER OF HOME AFFAIRS AND CULTURAL

HERITAGE (HON. KAZEMBE): Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir, the

scope of the Police Amendment Bill [H. B. 2, 2021] is as follows.  The Police Amendment intends to amend the provisions of the Police Act Chapter [11:10] so that it complies with the provisions of the

Constitution.  The Bill seeks to achieve the following key objectives:

  • To align the procedure for the appointment of the Commissioner General of Police in the Police Act [Chapter 11:10] with the provisions of section 221 (1) of the Constitution.
  • To align the tenure of the office of the Commissioner General of the Police with provisions of Section 221 (2) of the

Constitution.

  • To align the provisions relating to the appointment, promotion, discharge, retirement and conditions of service of members of the police service with the provisions of the Constitution.
  • To repeal Section 32 of the Police Act which gives right of trial before a Magistrate’s Court.

The Bill contains twenty (20) clauses, and they provide for the following:

Clause 1

The clause provides that the name of the Act shall be Police

Amendment Act, 2021.

Clause 2

The Constitution employs the terms Commissioner General of

Police instead of Commissioner and Police Service in place of Police Force.  Clause 2 repeals the old terms and replaces them with the new terms as per the provisions of the Constitution.

Clause 3

In terms of Section 221 of the Constitution, when appointing the Commissioner General of Police, the President consults the Minister that is responsible for Police.  However, Section 5 of the Principal Act provides that the President appoints the Commissioner General after consultation with a board consisting of the Chairman of the Police Service Commission, retiring Commissioner General, and one other member.  Clause 3 repeals this procedure and adopts the one that is provided for in the Constitution.

Clause 4

The Commissioner General’s tenure office is governed by Section 6 of the Principal Act which provides that he shall be appointed for a period of four years.  The section does not limit the number of times that the tenure may be renewed. However, Clause 4 incorporates the provisions of Section 221 (2) of the Constitution which states that the

Commissioner General’s tenure shall be for a period of (5) years renewable once.

Clause 5

In terms of Section 8 of the Principal Act, the Minister responsible for police can give directives to the Commissioner General of Police but there is no provision that obliges the Commissioner General of Police to comply with the directives.  Clause 5 seeks to cure this anomaly by clearly instructing the Commissioner General to take the necessary steps to comply with such directives from the Minister responsible for police in line with the provisions of Section 221 (4) of the Constitution.

Clause 6

This Clause empowers the Police Service Commission to formulate Standing Orders, on the advice of the Commissioner General of Police in line with the provisions of Section 223 (1) (b) of the Constitution.  This is an amendment to Section 9 of the Principal Act which empowers the Commissioner General of Police in consultation with the Minister to make Standing Orders. However, it is also pertinent that the prerogative of drafting Standing Orders should be placed under the ambit of the Commissioner General of Police as this is the common practice in other jurisdictions.  This will allow the smooth running of the

Police Services.  Standing Orders are internationally known as Standard

Operating Procedures and outlines how the organisation operates.

Clause 9 to 13

For purposes of commenting, it is trite to bunch Clauses 9 to 13.  Firstly, in terms of Clause 9, the Police Service Commission, in consultation with the Commissioner General, is given the powers to appoint any person to any rank in the Police Service and reprimand, suspend, reduce in rank or discharge any member other than an officer.

Secondly, Clause 10 highlights that the powers that the

Commissioner General has to promote non-commissioned members in terms of Section 16 of the Principal Act are now vested with the Police Service Commission by Clause 10.

Thirdly, Clause 11 conferred the power to reappoint members of the Regular Force on the Police Service Commission.  In terms of

Section 18 of the Principal Act, this was being done by the

Commissioner General of Police in consultation with the Police Service Commission.

Fourthly, under Clause 12, the authority that the Commissioner General has in terms of Section 20 of the Principal Act to discharge members on medical grounds is transmitted to the Police Service Commission.  The drafters have argued that this is consistent with the provisions of Section 340 (f) of the Constitution which provides that the power to appoint also includes the power to suspend or remove the person from office.

Also to note is Clause 13.  According to the provisions of Section 21 of the Principal Act, the Commissioner General needs the consent of the Minister before discharging non-commissioned members by reason of the abolition of his or her office or organisational restructure.

However, Clause 13 provides that such approval needs to be sought from the Police Service Commission.  This was also said to be in harmony with the provisions of Section 340 (1) (f) discussed in Clause 12 above.

Inasmuch as one would argue that these clauses are in line with the provisions of section 223 and 340 of the Constitution which outlines the various functions of the Police Service Commission, this is nonetheless difficult in operation. When focusing on the command given to the Commissioner General under Section 221 (4) of the Constitution. It can be argued that as a security arm of the nation, the members of the Zimbabwe Republic Police are expected to exhibit a high standard of discipline.  The powers to make Standing Orders, promote, transfer, discipline and discharge members are necessary to instill the required discipline and are an exercise of the Commissioner General’s constitutional command.  However, these powers are being transferred to the Police Service Commission by Clauses 6, 9, 10, 12, 13 and 16 of the Bill. Within SADC, all the equivalent bodies of Commissioner General of Police are endowed with the said powers while bodies equivalent to the Police Service Commission play a supervisory role having jurisdiction to determine appeals from aggrieved members.  Therefore, it can be argued that the Police Service Commission has limited capacity to deal with such issues.  It is also eminent that it is an internationally accepted practice that security organs are not subjected to the steering of the civilian bodies.

Weight must be given to the provisions of Sections 221 of the Constitution which provides that the Police Service is under the command of the Commissioner General of Police.  It has been contended that the drafters of the Bill have concentrated in giving prominence to Section 223 of the Constitution which outlines that functions of the police Service Commission, among other things, at the expense and detriment of Section 221 of the Constitution which places the Police Service under the command of the Commissioner General of Police.

It has been argued that there is nothing further  fromthe truth to assert that the Commissioner General Police commands the police service when he does not have any powers to even reprimand a noncommissioned member.

Clause 14

The clause repeals Section 32, meaning all trials including those of officers will be conducted by boards of officers. This is because only commissioned officers could elect to be tried by Magistrates Court and non-commissioned member did not have such a right. Such differential treatment of people within the same organisation was found to be unfair.

        Clause 15

The clause reproves Section 46 of the principal Act which provided the places of trial by Magistrates Court have been repealed by Clause 14 above. It equally follows that Section 46 which dealt with incidental matters to these trials would also be repealed.

        Clause 16

The powers that the Commissioner General has in terms of Section 48 of the principal Act to discharge, demote or reprimand a member following a conviction for an offence are now vested with the Police Service Commission under this clause. This clause is susceptible to operational challenges because of the reasons highlighted under Clauses

9 -13 above.

        Clause 17

Appeals to the Police Service Commission in terms of Section 51 of the principal Act no longer deter the execution of the sentence or determination appealed against. This means that the sentence will be executed despite the noting of an appeal with the Police Service Commission. Under Section 51 of the principal Act, once a member noted an appeal, it suspended the execution of the sentence and this had the effect of stalling the finalisation of disciplinary processes.

        Clause 18

The Police Service Commission is authorised under this clause to delegate some of its functions to the Commissioner General of the Police. This has been done by the creation of a new Section 55A dealing with the delegation of Police Service Commissioner’s functions. However, such delegation will have to be done to Section 321 of the

Constitution which prohibits delegation of appointment powers.

        Clause 19

The non-liability of the police officers for acts done under irregular warrants is extended to cover legal proceedings for unlawful arrest or detention. Under Section 67 of the principal Act, police officers could be sued in their personal capacity even though they would have acted reasonably and in good faith. As such, the amendment extends the protection available to police officers to cover proceedings against unlawful detention.

        Clause 20

The power to make regulations that the Minister has in terms of

Section 72 of the principal Act is now conferred on the Police Service Commission. However, the Police Service Commission will make the regulations with the approval of the Minister responsible for police as per the provisions of Section 223 (2) of the Constitution.

This Bill is hereby submitted for your deliberation Hon. Members.

I now move that the debate do now adjourn. Thank you.

Motion put and agreed to.

Debate to resume: Tuesday, 31st August, 2021.

SECOND READING

GUARDIANSHIP OF MINORS AMENDMENT BILL [H. B. 7, 2021]    Third Order read: Adjourned debated on the Second Reading of the

Guardianship of Minors Amendment Bill [H. B. 7, 2021].

Question again proposed.

HON. MATARANYIKA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.

HON. MATARANYIKA:  Thank you Mr. Speaker.

        1.0  Introduction

1.1. The Guardianship of Minors Amendment Bill H. B. 7, 2020 was gazetted on 21st May 2021.

1.2. Guardianship of Minors Amendment Bill seeks to amend the

Guardianship of Minors Act [Chapter 5:08] and align it to the

Constitution.

1.3. The enactment of a new Constitution in 2013 brought with it several changes and provisions that enhance the rights and status of women and in turn abolished the common law position that the father was the sole guardian of the minor children in the family.

1.4. The Bill therefore seeks to align the Act to Section 80 (2) of the Constitution which states that, “Women have the same rights as men regarding the custody and guardianship of children, but an Act of

Parliament may regulate how those rights are to be exercised.”

1.5. Furthermore, in terms of Section 19 (1) of the Constitution,   “the State must adopt policies and measures to ensure that in all matters relating to children, the best interests of the children concerned are paramount.”

        2.0 METHODOLOGY

2.1. In compliance with the constitutional provision, and as part of public consultations meant to enhance participatory democracy, the Joint

Committees of the Portfolio Committee on Justice, Legal and

Parliamentary Affairs, and the Thematic Committee on Gender and Development conducted public hearings through live radio broadcasting as well as a virtual meeting via the ZOOM platform from the 12th to the 13th of August 2021.

2.2. The participants were individual men and women from both rural and urban communities, youths, members of the legal profession, representatives of the Christian community and churches, civil society organisations and members of the tertiary education institutions.

2.3. Prior to holding the public consultations, the Joint Committees of the Portfolio Committee on Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, and the Thematic Committee on Gender and Development held a capacity building workshop on unpacking of the Bill with the view to enhance their understanding of the Bill.

2.4. The public hearings on the dates, times and platforms as shown below:

 Public Hearings 

Date  Time Platform
Thursday 12 August 2021 10 to 11 am Star FM -Host

Diamond FM

Nyaminyami FM

Thursday 12 August 2021 12 to 1pm Radio Zimbabwe -Host

National FM

Classic 263

Central FM

Khulumane FM

Thursday 12 August 2021 2 to 3 pm Zi FM Sterio-Host  Hevoi FM
Friday 13 August 2021 10 to 12 am ZOOM Public Hearing

 

        3.0. FINDINGS

3.1. Preamble: Members of the legal profession submitted that the

Amendment Bill does not have a comprehensive preamble which fully explains and clearly indicates what the Bill entails. As such, they recommended that the drafters of the Bill should come up with a preamble so that it becomes clear to the reader on the purpose, and what the Bill seeks to address.

3.2. On the Short Title, it was pointed out that it is incorrectly referred to as the Guardianship of Minors Act. Instead, it should be referred to as the Guardianship of the Minors Amendment Bill.

3.3. The organisations representing the rights and interests of women and children together with members of the legal profession welcomed the insertion of the definition of custody and guardianship.          3.4. They submitted that, despite giving further clarity on the definitions, the terms “legal custody” and “actual custody” are discriminatory and are taking us back to the common law position which is now invalid.

3.5. To ensure that the Act encompasses the best interests of the child, the Bill should broaden the definition of custody to include the physical control and primary responsibilities of well-being and daily care that a custodial parent has over a minor child.

3.6. Concerns were raised that the Bill refers to guardianship as a right when instead it is an inherent responsibility that parents have to care for their children. As stated in Section 81 of the Constitution, it is the children who have the rights to a family or parental care and not the parents.

3.7.   As such, members of the public proposed that guardianship can be defined in a perspective that gives meaning to the responsibility of parents towards their children.

3.8.   Moreover, the public was of the view that the definition of guardianship must also be broadened to include other types of guardianship that exist, for example testamentary guardianship which arises when a parent bequeaths his or her guardianship rights to a third party through his or her will.

3.9. They further suggested that the Bill clarify cases where third parties like maternal and paternal relatives and grandparents are fighting for custody or guardianship of minor children.

3.10.   On Clause 3, the public welcomed the issue of joint custody and guardianship, whether or not parents are living together. However, they raised concerns that once the parents have separated, it would appear as if the custodial parent is the one who has sole guardianship.

3.11. The public emphasised that the Bill needs to clarify on who the custodial parent is between the default parent who is living with the child or the one appointed by the court. This presented its own challenges since the public had divided opinions on who should be the default parent between the mother and the father.

3.12. Moreover, the public had different views on how practical joint custody and guardianship will be exercised upon separation. Psychologists emphasised the need to take into consideration the psychological well-being and best interests of the children at their different stages of development.

3.13. Members of social welfare of children raised concerns over joint custody upon separation as it entails constant movement between homes for the minor children. They expressed concern that this would negatively affect the life, mental health and morals of the children in question.

3.14. Thus, some members of the public were of the view that minor children who require special needs and care should be left in the custody of their mothers while those who are mature enough be given a right to choose which parent to live with.

3.15. Some members of the public proposed that both parents should give consent when the custodial parent wants to take the child out of the country.

3.16.  Members of the legal profession and civil society organisations that deal with children’s rights submitted that in practice the maintenance court does not have jurisdiction over cases of guardianship of minors. They proposed that the Bill should clarify whether it intends to extend the jurisdiction of the maintenance court to cover matters of guardianship.

3.17. The public commended Clause 4 of the Bill for being progressive by aligning the Act to the Constitution in ending child marriages.

3.18. On Clause 5, stakeholders proposed that the Bill should specify which parent is to get custody or how parents are to settle on which one is to take the children pending a court order to avoid disputes over custody.

3.19. Stakeholders pointed out that if the amendment to Section 5 (1) of the Act is passed in its current form, it will create an inconsistency with Section 5 (2).

3.20. Proviso to Section 5 (2) (b) of the Act provides that the

“mother” may apply for sole custody in terms of subsection (1). If left in that form, the Bill will create an inconsistency. As such, Section 5 (2) will also have to be amended, by removing the word “mother” and replace it with “either parent”.

3.21. Some members of the public opined that temporary custody of the minor children should be given to either the mother or maternal grandparents whilst others strongly disputed that perspective emphasising the need for children to be raised by their paternal family members.

3.22. Stakeholders further submitted that the Bill should also cater for children whose parents are married under customary law, as well as those whose parents were neither married nor stayed together and clarify which court has jurisdiction over matters of their custody and guardianship.

3.23. Stakeholders who represent the rights of people living with disabilities submitted that the Bill should provide for custody and guardianship of minors with disabilities who remain very vulnerable and are susceptible to abuse.

3.24. They pointed out that the provision should aim at making sure that any guardian or custodian or willing guardian who wishes to exercise guardianship of a minor child with a disability must be adequately assessed to make sure that he or she is capable of taking care of the stated minor child.

3.25. It was therefore proposed that there be an insertion of a stand-alone Section 5B to the Guardianship of the Minors Act which provides for Guardianship of Minors with Disabilities and minors that are chronically ill.

3.26. The section should appear as follows:

       5B Guardianship of Minors with Disabilities and minors that

are chronically ill.

(1) Any person who wishes to or who exercises guardianship rights of a child with a disability or chronical illness:

  • Must be interviewed and continuously assessed to establish if they are capable of providing the special care that will come with guardianship of such a minor.
  • Government social workers must make periodic visits after every quarter in a calendar year to the guardians of minors with disabilities and who are chronically ill to assess if the environment is conducive for the developmental needs of the child
  • The State must assist the guardians of minors with disabilities and children who are chronically ill by providing them with regular psychosocial support services, assistive devices and other essential services that will aid the development and care of the child in accordance with Section 19 of the Constitution.

4.0. COMMITTEE OBSERVATIONS

4.1. It was observed that the Bill is progressive as it gives women and men the same rights regarding custody and guardianship of minors.

4.2. The Committee noted that the Short Title of the Bill is incorrectly referred to as the Guardianship of Minors Act.

4.3. On Clause 2, the Committee noted that there was a general concern over the definition of custody and that of guardianship.

4.4. The Committee observed that the Bill is not specific on who is to be the temporary custodial parent once separation pending a court order.

4.5. The Committee observed that Clause 3 has removed the provision of a remedy where there is a dispute over guardianship.

4.6. It was noted that the proviso to Clause 3 is giving reference to

“man and wife”. It is not clear whether this was an error or the Executive intended on capturing it as it is instead of “husband and wife”.

4.7. The Committee observed that the Bill does not have any clause that recognise and addresses custody and guardianship of children living with disabilities and chronical illnesses.

        5.0 COMMITTEE RECOMMENDATIONDS

5.1. The Committee recommends that the Short Title must be amended to read as “This Act may be cited as the Guardianship of Minors Amendment Bill, 2021.

5.2. The Committee recommends to amend the definition of custody for it to define what custody actually is and for guardianship to also cover other forms of guardianship that exist. So the use of the word

“right” can be replaced with “responsibility”.   The definition should cover all the types of guardianship that can exist – for example, testamentary guardianship.

5.3. The Committee recommends that the status quo be maintained whereby interim custody be given to the mother because practice has shown that young children’s interests are best served when the mother has custody until proven otherwise.

5.4. The Bill should extend the scope of the Children’s Court to deal with cases of custody and guardianship of minors.

5.5. Guardianship and custody of minors should be determined by considering the best interests of the child looking at the various prevailing circumstances.

5.6. The Committee recommend that the Act should be amended to insert a section that provides for custody and guardianship of minors with disabilities and minors that are chronically ill.

5.7. All Bills should be transcribed into all the official languages in order to ensure that it is understood by all the citizens across the country.

6.0 CONCLUSION

This is a progressive piece of legislation which goes a long way in bringing our laws in sync with the Constitution in relation to women rights. However, the Bill should be fine-tuned to take into account the various issues and recommendations raised in this report.  

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

HON. B. DUBE:  I second.

Motion put and agreed to.

Debate to resume: Tuesday, 7th September, 2021.

On the motion of HON. MUTAMBISI, seconded by HON. B.

DUBE, the House adjourned at Five o’clock p.m. until 7th September,

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