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NATIONAL ASSEMBLY HANSARD 27 August 2019 45-80

PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE

Tuesday, 27th August, 2019

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

PRAYERS

(THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER in the Chair)

ANNOUNCEMENT BY THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER

NEW MEMBER SWORN

        HON. MBONGENI DUBE subscribed to the Oath of Loyalty as required by the Law and took his seat - [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.]   

        HON. CHIKWINYA:  I rise on a point of privilege in terms of Section 68 read together with Section 69 (d) and  am pleased that I rise on this motion of privilege whilst the Minister of Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage is in the House.   My first point of privilege Hon. Speaker is that every time when we pray before this House begins its work, we pray that we make laws for the good governance and maintenance of peace in our country.  It is disheartening Madam Speaker that ever since the 14th of August this year, we have seen 26

Members of the opposition being abducted at night.  – [HON.

MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] -

Hon. Speaker Section 61 (1) (b) of our Constitution allows for freedom of expression and creation of contempt.  It is disheartening that in these days of high unemployment where our youths are seeking to earn a living through creation of content, they begin to be abducted as the case of Gonyeti.  As Hon. Members of Parliament, whilst we are doing our work we must seek to be protected.  It is dismaying that one of our Hon. Members, Hon.  Matewu had his house sprayed with 31 bullets around 2 am on 19th August 2019.  Whilst we are doing our work, we expect protection from the law enforcement agents.

Lastly, Section 59 of our Constitution allows for citizens to petition and demonstrate where they have any disaffection towards Government.  It is disheartening that we have continued with the abuse of our courts whereby members of the opposition are now disallowed to petition the Government in terms of Section 59, but us as Parliament having inserted this law in our Constitution, do hope that the laws are going to be abided by, by both the Executive and the Judiciary.  I therefore implore the Minister of Home Affairs to come and give a Ministerial Statement in this regard.

THE ACTING SPEAKER:  Hon. Chikwinya I have heard what

you said.  I will advise the Hon. Minister to come and give a Ministerial Statement.

COMMITTEE STAGE

ZIMBABWE INVESTMENT DEVELOPMENT AGENCY BILL [H. B.

2, 2019]

First Order read: Committee to resume on the Zimbabwe

Investment Development Agency Bill [H. B. 2, 2019].

House in Committee.

HON. TOGAREPI: I move that the Chair reports progress and ask leave to sit again.

HON. K. PARADZA: I second.

House resumed.

Bill reported and leave sought to sit again.

Motion put and agreed to.

Committee to resume: Wednesday 28th, August, 2019,

SECOND READING

MONEY LAUNDERING AND PROCEEDS OF CRIME

AMENDMENT BILL [H. B. 4, 2019]

Second Order read: Second Reading, Money Laundering and

Proceeds of Crime Amendment Bill [H. B. 4, 2019]

HON. MUSHORIWA: Thank you Madam Speaker.  Madam

Speaker, my understanding is that the Bill under consideration, Money Laundering Proceeds of Crime Amendment Bill has not gone through the necessary processes and to that extent I think it will be in the interest of Parliament and Zimbabwe that we allow the Committee to do the necessary consultations so that we will be in a position to prepare and be supportive.

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

         HON. MUTSEYAMI: I second.

        Motion put and agreed to.

        Debate to resume: Wednesday, 28th August 2019.

SECOND READING

CORONER’S OFFICE BILL [H. B. 5, 2019]

     Third Order read: Second Reading: Coroner’s Office Bill [H. B. 5,

2019]

        THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND

PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): Thank you

Madam Speaker.  It is a great honour to present to you the Coroner’s Office Bill [H. B. 5, 2019].  This Bill provides for the establishment of an office responsible for investigating all details that come about as a result of death by unnatural causes. It also sets out the appointment, functions and powers of the Coroner General, Deputy Coroner-General and Coroners in relation to postmortems, inquests and their findings.  The Bill repeals the Inquests Act [Chapter 7:07] and amends the Birth and Deaths Registration Act [Chapter 5:02] and the Burial and Cremation Act [Chapter 5:03].

   Madam Speaker, allow me to discuss the individual clauses of this

Bill.

        Clause 1 and 2 sets the short title of the Bill and the definition of terms used in this Bill.

  Clause 3 provides for the establishment and constitution of the

Coroner’s Office of Zimbabwe.

        Clause 4 lays out the functions of the Office, primarily investigation of deaths which appear to come about in a sudden, suspicious or violent manner; and deaths occurring within 24 hours of a patient arriving at a health institution, and death occurring during treatment or care.

Clause 5 provides for the appointment and qualifications of the Coroner-General, Deputy Coroner-General and other coroners.  All staff of the Office shall be civil servants.

        Clause 6 outlines sources of funds for the Office and establishes the Office as a reporting unit in terms of the Public Finance Management Act.

        Clause 7 enjoins custodians of health or medical records to preserve medical records.  The clause criminalises willful and reckless destruction or failure to preserve documents.

        Clause 8 lists people given the duty to report unnatural deaths and also gives timeframes within which such deaths should be reported.

        Clause 9 outlines circumstances when postmortems and inquests should be conducted or dispensed with.

        Clause 10 provides for a review mechanism for any person aggrieved by a Coroner’s decision not to hold an inquest.

Clause 11 contains substantive provisions on inquests and powers of coroners in relation thereto.

        Clause 12 contains procedural and provisions on inquests, while Clause 13 provides for the duties of a Coroner at the conclusion of the investigation of an unnatural death.

 Clause 14 provides for the publication of a coroner’s findings and observations.

        Clause 15 empowers coroners to report misconduct by any professional to the National Prosecuting Authority and professional regulatory bodies, while Clause 16 empowers the coroner to dispense with inquests on death of members of the Defence Forces in certain circumstances.

        Clause 17 and 18 empowers the Minster to give policy direction to the Office and make regulations for the Office, while Clause 19 gives the Coroner-General a duty to ensure that the Office has a website and publishes an Office bulletin.

Clause 20 makes consequential amendments to other Acts, while

Clause 21 repeals the Inquests Act.

        I now move that the debate do now adjourn.

        Motion put and agreed to.

        Debate to resume: Wednesday, 28th August, 2019.

CONSIDERATION STAGE

EDUCATION AMENDMENT BILL [H. B. 7A, 2019]

Fourth Order read:  Consideration of an Adverse Report –

Education Amendment Bill [H. B. 7A, 2019].

House in Committee.

HON. SAMUKANGE: Mr. Chairman, I will just repeat what has already been stated, that in pursuance of the constitutional mandate, as provided for in Section 152 (3) (b) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe, the Parliamentary Legal Committee referred to as the Committee, considered the Education Amendment Bill [H. B. 7A, 2019]. After deliberations, the Committee unanimously resolved that an Adverse Report be issued in respect of the same. The Committee was of the view that the definition for “public school” should be redefined as in its current form, violates section 75 (2) of the Constitution.

The definition reads as follows; ‘public school means a school established and maintained by the Government including schools run by local authorities, registered private voluntary organisations or faith based organisations to provide education to the public without profit”. Subsection 72 (2) of the Constitution states that “every person has a right to establish and maintain at their own expense independent educational institutions of reasonable standards provided they do not discriminate on any ground prohibited”.

It is the Committee’s view that the definition of public school extends to private schools which may be registered under trust or registered private voluntary organisations or faith based organisations which should be permitted to run their own affairs in terms of section 75 (2) of the Constitution. It is the Committee’s view that this violation cannot be permitted as it will disadvantage private schools which are constitutionally established by the section 75 (2) of the Constitution.

I must point out that I have had discussion with the Minister of Education who has informed me that they agree with the Adverse Report and consequently is here to confirm what I have said and will produce the amendment which my committee will go and consider. Thank you.

THE MINISTER OF PRIMARY AND SECONDARY

EDUCATION (HON. PROF. MAVIMA): Just to indicate that we are in agreement with the Adverse Report from the Committee.

House resumed.

Progress reported.

HON. SAMUKANGE: Thank you Madam Speaker.  As I have

already indicated to the Committee, the PLC is withdrawing the adverse report in light of the fact that the Minister has conceded that the definition was in contravention of Section 57 of the Constitution.  Thank you.

HON. TOGAREPI: I second.

HON. MUSHORIWA:  Madam Speaker, we are not so sure what

the question before the House is

Motion put and agreed to.

Recommittal to Committee Stage: With leave, forth with.  

COMMITTEE STAGE

EDUCATION AMENDMENT BILL [H. B. 7A, 2019]

Recommittaal – Committee:  Education Amendment Bill [H. B. 7A, 2019].

House in Committee.

On Clause 2 (2).

        THE MINISTER OF PRIMARY AND SECONDARY

EDUCATION (HON. PROF. MAVIMA):   In accordance with the recommendations of the Committee, Clause 2 of the Bill is amended on Page 2 in lines 38 to 41 by the deletion of the definition for public school.

        HON. MUSHORIWA: Thank you Chair.  I think what we needed

the Minister to do is to clarify the amendment so that the whole House is on the same wavelength with him.  Maybe you could take us from the original reading of that clause before the withdrawal because I think it is important for everyone to understand, given the fact that most of the Hon. Members here had left the Education Bill as they were not anticipating debating, because as they thought you were going to withdraw the Bill because of the adverse report.  So it is only fair for us to be in a position to debate if you could bring the House in line with where you are and where you are coming from.

      HON. PROF. MAVIMA:  Let me hasten to explain what is

happening with that explanation and hopefully it can satisfy Hon. Members here.  During the Committee of the whole House we had proposed an amendment to Clause 9 of the Bill where the phrase public school first appeared, other than in the definition where we replaced public school with Government or local authority school or non profit making faith based school.

The Bill continues to contain clauses that refer to public school including Clause 9 itself as the amendment was made to the proposed new subsection 7 of Section 15 of the Act.  The proposed subsection 8 of the same section was not looked at.  Accordingly, a subsequent amendment must be made, necessitating the deletion of that definition of public schools.  That is why we are bringing this amendment to the Bill so that there is complete removal of that public school definition and replacement of a clearer definition of what we mean.

        HON. MUSHORIWA: Mr. Chair, the challenge with the

explanation from the Minister is that if you check the original clause that he seeks to amend, apparently it defines a public school as a government, local authority school or non profit making faith based school.  The mischief which I believe needed to be corrected was purely to remove the word non profit making faith based from that definition which in itself is okay with government or local authority school.

What the Minister is doing, I think is not fair to the House because what the PLC had considered was that it was not appropriate to bracket government schools and locals schools together with non profit making faith based schools.  That was the reason but what the Minister is trying to do is actually to hoodwink us by removing the definition of public when in reality what was supposed to happen was that the definition should have stood and just remove the word non profit so that the public school refers to government or local authority school.

   HON. PROF. MAVIMA:  Hon. Chair, the so called mischief then

is addressed by Clause 9 which then refers to the class of schools which we proposed in Clause 7.

  HON. MUSHORIWA: The Minister maybe is not hearing us.

What the Minister is doing is trying to come through the back door.  What we basically want is for the Minister to just remove non profit making faith based so that public school will stand for government or local authority schools.  I do not see why the Minister wants to do the very thing which the PLC had said no to.  We will not have a problem if he can just remove faith-based non-profit making school.

THE MINISTER OF PRIMARY AND SECONDARY EDUCATION (HON. PROF. MAVIMA): Thank you Hon. Chair.  I

had already responded Hon. Chair, indicating that some of these queries will be taken care of in Clause 9, which is going to refer to all the classes of schools that fit within that definition that we have struck.   I think we can move forward with the amendment to Clause 2 after our discussion with the members of the Parliamentary Legal Committee (PLC). Thank you.

Clause 9 of the Bill is amended on page 4 in line 28 by the deletion of the phrase ‘public schools’ and substitution of Government or local authority school or non-profit making faith based school.

   HON. MUSHORIWA: Thank you Mr. Chairman.  I want the

Minister to probably explain to us – you see the Bill itself says that this clause about the Government having the power to regulate the fees on

Government local authorities or non-profit making faith based schools.

The challenge that I have with this amendment - and I will be happy if the Minister could remove the non-profit making faith-based from there so that the fees and levies payable will be treated the same with nonGovernment schools.

 Alternatively, maybe the Minister can share with us the mind or idea behind that because my idea is that non-profit making faith based schools are supposed to be the mission schools and other church or religious based schools. However, if you go through the amendment you will find that trust schools and other non-governmental schools, their fees are regulated by the National Competitive Commission. The mission schools that Government wants to control, and which I think does not make sense in my view, unless probably the Minister may need to explain to us the rationale of including non-profit faith-based schools together with public schools which are Government and local authorities.

THE MINISTER OF PRIMARY AND SECONDARY

EDUCATION (HON. PROF. MAVIMA): There is clearly a

difference between the for-profit (private) schools and the faith based schools. The faith-based schools are schools that are supported by the Government in many respects. The Government pays all their teachers except in exceptional situations where they want to use their own local resources to add to what Government is paying for. Additionally, if a learner goes into a faith-based school and the learner’s parents or guardians cannot pay for that learner, Social Services through BEAM also pay for such learners.

So, the faith-based schools need to be treated similarly to central Government schools as well as local authority schools in terms of the regulation of the fees that they charge. Otherwise, we subsidise them by paying their teachers and then they charge astronomical fees which make them inaccessible to our learners. So for that purpose it is important that they be categorised together with Government schools.

Amendment to Clause 9 put and agreed to.

        Clause 9, as amended, put and agreed to.

         On Clause 12;

        THE MINISTER OF PRIMARY AND SECONDARY

EDUCATION (HON. PROF. MAVIMA): Clause 12 of the Bill is

amended on page 5 in line 4 by the deletion of the word ‘public’.

        Amendment to Clause 12 put and agreed to.

        Clause 12, as amended, put and agreed to.

        On New Clause inserted after Clause 9:

        THE MINISTER OF PRIMARY AND SECONDARY

EDUCATION (HON. PROF. MAVIMA): I move the amendment standing in my name and Hon. Members have the amendment.

        Amendment to new Clause 10 put and agreed to.

New Clause 10, as amended, put and agreed to.

House resumed.

Bill reported with amendments.

        Bill referred to the Parliamentary Legal Committee

MOTION

RATIFICATION OF THE BEIJING TREATY ON AUDIO VISUAL

PERFORMANCES (2012)

        THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND

PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): I move the

motion standing in my name:

THAT WHEREAS Section 327 (2) (a) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe provides that any convention, treaty or agreement acceded to, concluded or executed by or under the authority of the President with one or more foreign states of governments or international organisations shall be subject to approval by Parliament;

WHEREAS the Republic of Zimbabwe as a member to the World

Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO), signed the Beijing Treaty on

Audio Visual Performances (2012) on the 11th of December 2012.  On 5 July 2019 the Public Agreements Advisory Committee (PAAC) approved the recommendation for Zimbabwe to consider ratification of the treaty and on 30 July 2019 Cabinet approved the ratification of the

Beijing Treaty by Zimbabwe.

WHEREAS the Republic of Zimbabwe is desirous of becoming party to the Beijing Treaty on Audio Visual Performances so that it raises the status of performers to professionals thereby improving their working conditions and to facilitate the promotion of the four kinds of economic rights to performers for their performances fixed on audio visual fixations namely; a) the right to reproduction; b) the right to distribution; c) the right to rental and the right to making available;

WHEREAS the Beijing Treaty on Audio Visual Performances (2012) recognises the rights of performers against unauthorised use of their performances and facilitates the protection of culture, folklore and cultural diversity by contributing to the protection of traditional cultural expressions and national folklore. It also helps strengthen and consolidate local audio visual industries as they join an international system of protection, thereby creating employment to scores of performers, technicians, musicians and actors;

WHEREAS the Republic of Zimbabwe is desirous of ratifying the

Beijing Treaty on Audio Visual Performances (2012);

WHEREAS the entry into force of the aforesaid treaty shall be conditional upon its ratification by Member States in accordance with their constitutional procedures;

NOW THEREFORE, in terms of Section 327 (2) (a) of the

Constitution of Zimbabwe, this House resolves that the aforesaid Agreement be and is hereby approved for ratification.  I thank you

Madam Speaker Ma’am.  Thank you Madam Speaker.

Motion put and agreed to.

MOTION

BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE

HON. TOGAREPI:  Madam Speaker, I move that Orders of the Day, Numbers 6 to 8 be stood over until Order of the Day, Number 9 has been disposed of.

HON. M. KHUMALO: I second.

Motion put and agreed to.

MOTION

REPORT OF THE PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE ON DEFENCE,

HOME AFFAIRS AND SECURITY ON THE GWANDA

COMMUNITY YOUR DEVELOPMENT TRUST PETITION ON

ACCESS TO PRIMARY DOCUMENTS

 HON. MAYIHLOME: I rise to present a report of the Portfolio

Committee on Defence, Home Affairs and Security on the Gwanda that:

This House takes note of the Portfolio Committee on Defence,

Home Affairs and Security on the Gwanda Community Youth

Development Trust Petition on the access to primary documents (S.C. 9, 2019.

HON. NGULUVHE: I second.

HON. BRIG. GEN (RTD) MAYIHLOME: The Report on

Gwanda Community Youth Development Trust Petition on Issuance of Primary Documents highlights the extent of existing challenges experienced in accessing primary documents in Matabeleland South Province, a phenomenon prevalent in frontier provinces of the country.

These challenges include:-

  • Failure to acquire birth certificates by orphans, vulnerable children and children with single parents;
  • Impact of lack of primary documentation;
  • Prohibitive legislation which is often implemented with rigidity;
  • Complex and cumbersome administrative policies on issuance of primary documents and
  • In-house administrative issues within the Registrars` Department such as low staffing levels, unsuitable accommodation and lack of facilities among others.

It was from submissions by stakeholders and members of the public that the Committee was able to synthesise existing challenges and proffer its recommendations.

Introduction

On the 10th of December, 2018 the Petition from the Gwanda

Community Youth Development Trust (CYDT) on challenges relating to issuance of primary documents was referred to the Portfolio Committee on Defence, Home Affairs and Security Services. The Petitioners` prayer was that Parliament should take measures to ensure the protection of the right to birth certificates and identity documents. In the exercise of its oversight role, Parliament was obliged to assess and oversee the adequacy and effectiveness of policies and practises of the Registrar

General’s Office in the provision of birth and national registration in frontier provinces, particularly, in Matabeleland South. This is in so far as to determine the right to a name and access to relevant documentation as well as downstream rights such as the right to education and other social services. The prayer also beseeched Parliament to recommend that the Registrar General’s Office adopts policies and practices that take into account peculiarities of border areas in ensuring that the rights and interests of children are protected and to call upon the Office to adopt measures that redress the prevailing challenges in the affected areas.

Methodology

The Committee interviewed the Registrar General, Mr Clement Masango and visited some districts in Matabeleland South Province, namely Gwanda, Beitbridge, Plumtree, Maphisa and Kezi. Further to that the Committee also interviewed the petitioners to get first-hand information on what was obtaining on the ground. In areas visited, the Committee interacted with officials at the provincial and district registries to get an appreciation of the challenges they encountered in the issuance of primary documents. Apart from interaction with officials, the Committee observed the processes at the offices visited and also interacted with the clients.

The Committee also gathered evidence through the following methods:

  1. On-site inspection of infrastructure such as offices, furniture and other materials at centres visited to check the appropriateness of the work place;
  2. Conducting of interviews with officials on the quality of service delivered and customers on the level of satisfaction with such services;
  3. Interaction with the hospital administration staff in Gwanda and

Kezi on issuance of birth records at their institutions; and

  1. Gathering of information from members of the public, Petitioners and Ministry officials on challenges encountered on obtaining primary documents.

Indeed the Committee is indebted to all stakeholders who contributed to the inquiry which culminated in this Report.

Submission Presented to the committee

Lack of Birth Certificates

The Community Youth Development Trust, a Civic Organisation based in Gwanda, highlighted the nature and extent of the challenges encountered in accessing primary documents. Major reasons that were proffered on why some people did not have primary documents were attributed to the following:-

Children with single parents

There were children either born of single parents or were under the care of single parents. In most cases these parents either did not have primary documents themselves or they did not have required documentation to obtain birth certificates such as birth records for the children. The situation was further exacerbated by the fact that the acquisition of primary documents by single parents and guardians in charge of minors had become extremely impossible owing to stringent regulatory requirements that had to be met for such documents to be obtained. Children born in the affected areas were sometimes left in the custody of grandparents or other guardians who could not trace the parents at the time of acquiring primary documents. Some parents were said to have migrated across the borders into South Africa and Botswana leaving their off-spring behind without any form of documentation.

Children born out of wedlock

There were generational issues such as those inherited from those born of parents who never had any form of primary documentation in their lives spanning from grandparents, parents and their children.

Children who are citizens by decent

The Committee observed that there were children born outside Zimbabwe who neither had birth records nor any witnesses to confirm their births and yet they were Zimbabweans by descent.

School Children without Birth Certificates

The Committee received oral submissions to the fact that in the Matobo District, Halale Primary School had a lot of pupils who did not have birth certificates. Statistics given were that one hundred and twenty eight children out of a total of three hundred children did not have birth certificates. It was extremely disturbing to your Committee to hear that of these children without birth certificates seven of them came from one family.

Transit and Border proximity challenges

It was also brought to the Committee’s attention that owing to the proximity of Matebeleland South Province to South Africa and Botswana, people in these areas usually crossed the borders in search of economic opportunities. Sometimes when they returned to the country, they brought back with them their children who would have been born outside the country and these added to the numbers of the many children who did not have access to primary documents. The reasons for failure to access such primary documents were attributed to non-existent birth records confirming the children`s birth by Zimbabwean citizens abroad.

         People affected by Gukurahundi

The Committee was informed by the members of the public that many people lost their documents as a result of the Gukurahundi in Matabeleland South Province and there were some children born during this era whose parents cannot be accounted for. This made it difficult for them to acquire primary documents as there were no witnesses coming forward to confirm that they were born by individuals from their local communities.

        High cost of acquiring Birth Certificates

The costs of ferrying witnesses to the Registrar General’s offices for acquiring primary documents is too high for the ordinary citizens.  They also expressed their disapproval at the insensitivity of the policies which did not take into account that whenever one was requested to bring along the witnesses there was no due regard for the costs that one had to bear. These costs were related to witnesses` accommodation, meals and transport at a time when the vicissitudes of the economy had taken a turn for the worst. Suffice to say that opportunity costs of acquiring primary documents were particularly high for people living in the border areas of the country.

The public was not aware of the downward review of fees due to lack of information dissemination. The fees have since been slashed from fifty dollars to two dollars with effect from December, 2018. As a result, people were not seeking identity documents due to perceived high levels of user fees.

Double registration of Deaths certificates

The Committee was informed that the situation  was caused by the clients` ignorance and lack of information and appreciation that the abridged death certificates from South Africa were equally regarded as complete certificates and were legally recognised in Zimbabwe without any repercussions;

Withholding of Birth Records due to non-payment

Local hospitals were alleged to have been withholding birth records due to non-payment of maternity fees, hence denying children their basic rights to acquire birth certificates and other social basic amenities offered by the State. In this regard, the hospitals were perceived as indirectly using the Registrar General`s Department as their debt collector.

Absence of reliable information on children`s identities

False information was being issued out by kraal heads, school officials and health personnel about the children`s identities.

Consequently, some of these officials were alleged to be charging for such services. A case in point was in Kezi, where the Committee received such information from Ministry officials.

Long distances travelled to access services

It was also submitted to the Committee that some communities are failing to access the Registrar General`s offices due to the long distances that they had to travel to get their primary documents. Submissions were made to the fact that some distances that had to be covered were well over two hundred kilometres to travel to the Registrar General`s offices.

A case in point was the distance between Mangwe & Gwanda and

Plumtreee and Gwanda. For instance, people have to travel from Chikwalakwala area to Gwanda and also from Shangani area to Gwanda to obtain primary documents. Members of the public suggested that there is need to set up sub offices in their districts so that they do not have to travel long distances for purposes of acquiring their primary documents. They further suggested the need to decentralise production of passports to their respective Provinces as a way of reducing the distances that people have to travel to acquire such documents.

Process of acquiring primary documents

The youths in Matabeleland South Province informed the Committee that the requirement for applicants who wanted to access primary documents were very cumbersome to the extent that some clients ended giving up before acquiring the documents. Consequently, the majority of them had dropped out of school due to their failure to acquire documents such as birth certificate and national identification cards.

Passports Issuance

The issuance of passports was said to be an extremely bureaucratic and slow process which could easily be turned into a fertile ground for corrupt practices. They said the whole process for getting passports is too long which de-motivates residents who stay in borders. In most cases, clients applying for passports complained of poor feedback and long waiting periods. Senior citizens staying in border areas found it difficult to acquire passports. They also said that the real cost of acquiring primary documents had a lot of hidden costs that had to be borne by applicants.

        In some cases, for one to get an emergency passport one had to sell his or her livestock to raise money, hence the need for special permits taking into consideration their advanced ages. The Committee received submissions where some 85 year old applicants had been requested to bring witnesses in order for them to acquire their birth documents.

Burial Orders

Some of the challenges were said to be those relating to issues of burial orders. It was alleged that at times there were cases of individuals who did not come forward to acquire death certificates for their relative but instead only relied on burial orders as proof of death of their relatives. Such a scenario had far reaching consequences when it came to issues of administration of estates of the deceased.

Application of Laws and Policies

Throughout the districts visited by the Committee, there was an outcry that laws were too cumbersomely applied with extreme rigidity to the extent that it discouraged clients from applying for documents. In their submissions, some of the stakeholders condemned lack of discretion on the part of the officials who were in most cases adamant that witnesses be brought to testify even in extreme cases involving very elderly people in their late eighties who did not have requisite documents.

Language barrier

Incidents of language barrier were also highlighted where clients complained of cases where their names were misspelt by officials from the Registrar General’s office who were not conversant with local languages in these communities. In their submissions, members of such communities complained that it was quite costly for them to have those errors rectified.

The non-availability of primary documents also affected some sections of the population such as war veterans who needed to be allowed to get easy access to such documentation so that they could get their social benefits.  The findings by your Committee on the challenges faced by the people in Matabeleland South Province had a lot of similarities throughout the districts visited namely Gwanda, Beitbridge, Plumtree, Maphisa and Kezi.

Operational Challenges

The Committee noted there were challenges of inadequate resources that the office of the Registrar General has to grapple with.  However, there is compelling need for the Department to seriously address the following:-

  • Unsuitable office facilities, these are very crowded and not user friendly and a lot of paper work being used.
  • Inadequate Transport, there were no vehicles in most of the

Registrar`s General offices.

  • Lack of foreign currency for passport paper, this is affecting the entire department particularly at the production centre.
  • Inefficient online systems, the network system is always down, hence it is difficult for them to use internet.
  • Complex paperwork, the forms that people may be requested to fill in details are many and sometimes the questions which were being asked are difficult to answer.
  • Lack of public awareness - most people do not have idea on when public awareness programme will be conducted and they do not know the importance of having primary documents.

Impact of lack of birth certificates

The impact of lack of access to primary documents deprives citizens of education to levels beyond grade seven hence a lot of students drop out of school before writing primary school examinations.

This has an effect of prematurely ending their educational careers. Further to that talented sport persons find it difficult to represent the country or to participate competitively due to non-availability of their primary documents. Subsequently their potential in the sporting discipline is not realised.

The increased numbers of undocumented nationalities has the potential of exposing the country to high security risk which may manifest itself in spiralling criminal activities and human trafficking. Consequently it would be difficult to account for perpetrators of such activities as they would be unregistered. Suffice to say the numbers of undocumented nationalities will also continue to rise from one generation to the other.  In addition lack of access to primary documentation has the impact of having false figures during census enumeration. It also results in stateless people, deprives citizens of their voting rights, basic rights, access to customary law benefits and other social benefits. Furthermore the impact of lack of primary documents leads to inaccurate resource planning and retards poverty alleviation strategies by Government.

Recommendations

In view of the challenges experienced, your Committee recommends the following measures to be undertaken in order to alleviate the plight of the citizens:-

  1. The department should streamline requirements for obtaining primary documents taking into account the peculiarities of border areas by 31st December 2019.
  2. The Ministry should undertake public awareness programmes on the importance of acquiring primary documents so that future generations are not disenfranchised and deprived of their citizenship status as a result of their parents who may not be so appreciative of the need to acquire such documentation by 31st

December, 2019;

  1. The Ministry conducts massive mobile registration exercises always as an all year round programme instead of carrying the exercise at specific times; i.e. around Christmas holidays when it is envisaged that, those working in neighbouring countries would have come into the country for the festive season. The time and allocation of resources may be problematic hence the failure to achieve the intended noble objectives;
  2. The Ministry should give a special dispensation for those who fall victim to natural disasters such as floods, lightning and infernos.

These should be given amnesty to acquire their primary documents without any cumbersome procedures by 31st December, 2019;

  1. That the office of the Registrar General be decentralised to all parts of the country by 31st December 2019 to make it easy for people in the hinterland to acquire documents, a service currently available in urban centres;
  2. That reliable transport, preferably four wheel drive type of vehicles, should always be availed to assist in conducting periodic visits to outreach areas;
  3. The Ministry of Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage should undertake ongoing refresher courses and training in customer care for officers so that quality service may be provided by the department in the province.
  4. The Registrar General’s office should create facilities for birth certificates at E.C.D centres by 31st December 2020.
  5. The Registrar General’s office should immediately relax search penalties for lost documents.
  6. There is need for a continuous monitoring and evaluation framework that enhances parliamentary oversight on the Registrar

General’s department.

Conclusion

        The Committee envisages that this report and recommendations contained therein will go a long way towards alleviating the plight of affected citizens. The public hearing on the petition enabled the Committee to get an appreciation of the challenges in frontier provinces of the country with regards to the issuance of primary documents. It is, therefore, the Committee’s fervent hope that the Ministry will consider this report and take remedial measures to expeditiously come up with policies that make it less cumbersome to acquire primary documents throughout the country. Such policies should include an amnesty by the

Registrar General’s office in the handling of similar cases like the ones raised by the Petitioners. I thank you.

^HON. NGULUVHE: I want to support the motion raised by the former speaker on what is happening under the Gwanda District. Firstly, I want to thank the Registry Department because they have already started the work of issuing out birth certificates to children. As we are talking right now, these children have already started getting birth certificates. I want to talk about those children with single parents, either single mother or father. It is not a problem of these children but it is a problem which can be solved by one of the parents.

Now, why is it that the Government is not allowing the elders to help these children to get birth certificates so that they can attend school. I want to talk about a child with a single parent looking at the people going to South Africa. Sometimes when they get to Beitbridge Border Post, they end up having children there and leaving those children at the border town. We would like Government to help us so that these children get birth certificates.

There are some children who are born in South Africa. For example, there are ladies who go to South Africa whilst they are pregnant, they get there and give birth. What can be done for these ladies or girls for them to get birth certificates because they cannot leave their children in South African? I do not want to say much about this issue because it is a problem to so many people, especially those who give birth while working abroad. For the elderly who are taking care of those children, they should get assistance especially when they want these children to get birth certificates. For example, I was in Gwanda and some of these elderly face problems when they want to get the birth or death records after their children or husbands have passed on.

For someone who is coming from Chikwalakwala to Beitbridge to get those documents and he/she is reffered to Gwanda. He/she does not have money, what is she going to do in order for her to get those documents. Why is it that the Registry Department is not doing enough for these people to get these birth certificates especially when looking at the nearest places like schools and so on?

I want to thank the Government of Zimbabwe for helping those who would have given birth in hospitals and you find out that these people do not have money to pay maternity fees. The Government is now assisting these people to get the birth certificates for their children. When you look at this issue, you can see that these people who are trying to get birth certificates sometimes it gets very expensive than getting a passport. For example, for some who will be coming from

Chikwalakwala going to Beitbridge and then from Beitbridge to

Gwanda, and in Gwanda it is already late and one has to sleep there. Tomorrow you have to go back and pay the money so you end up selling your goats or a cow. That is why I am saying to get a birth certificate is now more expensive than getting a passport.

          Long back, we used to get passports from the Post Office. Why does the Government not make such an arrangement? When you look at the issue of getting burial orders, people do not have information about getting this burial order. There is need to give them more information to equip them with knowledge through getting the correct information from the correct department about how to get a burial order and what it is for. For example, when you are getting to the offices, some of the people do not even know how to spell our names and surnames.

For example, if you are getting to the birth certificate office, someone is writing “Nguluve’ instead of ‘Nguluvhe’.  Then, one will end up looking for a lawyer for him or her to get the correct surname or name written on his or her birth certificate.

In other words, why is it that the Government needs to make an arrangement so that the people for example in Beitbridge, we have to have the people who are speaking Venda or Sesuthu so that they will not write the wrong spellings?  Some of the people do not even write the correct name when you are looking for a Chikorekore or even Venda, Suthu or even Shangani.  If you get a Shangani person to write the Chikorekore, he/she cannot write the correct information or the correct name.  In short I am saying, I thank you Madam Speaker because the youth in Gwanda have already showed us that they really need those birth certificates and to make matters worse, under the Matabeleland South Province, people are making an effort to really help these people under this Province.  When you are looking at children they should have been given birth certificates.  Thank you so much Madam Speaker.

  HON. RTD. BRIG. GEN. MAYIHLOME: Mr. Speaker Sir, I

now move that the debate be adjourned.

         HON. MUBAIWA: I second.

        Motion put and agreed to.

        Debate to resume: Wednesday, 28th August, 2019.

ANNOUNCEMENT BY THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER

NON-ADVERSE REPORT RECEIVED FROM THE

PARLIAMENTARY LEGAL COMMITTEE

THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER (HON. MUTOMBA):  I have

received a non-Adverse Report from the Parliamentary Legal Committee on the Education Amendment Bill, [H. B. 7B, 2019].   Consideration Stage: With leave, forthwith.

CONSIDERATION STAGE

EDUCATION AMENDMENT BILL [H. B. 7B, 2019]

Amendments to Clauses 2, 9, 12 and New Clause invested after

Clause 9, put and agreed to.

Bill, as amended, adopted.

Third Reading: With leave, forthwith.

THIRD READING

EDUCATION AMENDMENT BILL (H. B. 7B, 2019)

THE MINISTER OF PRIMARY AND SECONDARY

EDUCATION (PROF. MAVIMA): Mr. Speaker Sir, I now move that

the Bill be read the third time.

Motion put and agreed to.

Bill read the third time.

On the motion of THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI), the House

adjourned at Twenty-one Minutes past Four o’clock p.m.

         

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