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NATIONAL ASSEMBLY HANSARD 28 OCTOBER 2020 VOL 47 NO 03

PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE

Wednesday, 28th October, 2020

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

PRAYERS

(THE HON. SPEAKER in the Chair)

ANNOUNCEMENTS BY THE HON. SPEAKER

PRE BUDGET SEMINAR

THE HON. SPEAKER: I wish to inform the House that the annual Pre Budget Seminar is scheduled for 5th to 7th November 2020 at the Rainbow Towers Hotel in Harare. Presiding Officers, Ministers, Members of the Committee on Standing Rules and Orders,

Chairpersons of Portfolio and Thematic Committees, Members of the Portfolio Committee on Budget, Finance and Economic Development and Members of the expanded SDGs Committee will participate physically. Anyone who is not mentioned here will not be allowed into the room.

The rest of the Members of Parliament will participate virtually from hotels where they will be accommodated, National Assembly and Senate Chambers and areas of their choice where connectivity is established. A zoom link will be shared with those participating virtually. Hon. Members participating virtually from the precincts of

Parliament are requested to confirm with Ms. T. Mutare, Acting

Director Public Relations on extension 2236, mobile number 0772423463 or Mrs. Njovana, Public Relations Officer on extension

2005, mobile 0779474426.

APOLOGIES RECEIVED FROM MINISTERS

THE HON. SPEAKER: Apologies from the Executive:

Hon K. Mohadi - Vice President;

Hon. C. Chiwenga - Vice President;

Hon. Sen. Mutsvangwa – Minister of Information, Publicity and

Broadcasting Services;

Hon. N. M. Ndlovu – Minister of Environment, Climate Change and Hospitality Industry;

Hon J. B. Matiza – Minister of Transport and Infrastructural

Development;

Hon D. Karoro – Deputy Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Water and Rural Resettlement;

Hon. D. Marapira – Minister of State in Vice President

Mohadi’s Office;

Hon V. Haritatos - Deputy Minister of Lands, Agriculture,

Water and Rural Resettlement;

Hon. J. M. Gumbo - Minister of State: Presidential Affairs in charge of implementation monitoring;

Hon Prof. A. Murwira – Minister of Higher and Tertiary

Education Science and Technology Development.

HON. T. MLISWA: I rise on a point of order Mr. Speaker Sir. I have been wanting to move a motion to hold these Ministers in contempt. The last time I tried to do it they all came. I have been on it and that is why I am clear in the names. Each time I go to the administration, they tell me that the apologies tend to come late and we are waiting for the day to come to an end then we collate. So, I wanted to understand, is that within the Standing Rules and Orders that after the session you then compile the apologies and then thereafter you cannot hold anybody in contempt if I wanted to. I really wanted to understand that because we are a Parliament of rules and we know the time we start.

THE HON. SPEAKER: I have got what you want to say.  HON. T. MLISWA: This has gone on for a long time. The

institutions in this country are losing credibility and it is only this institution that can restore it.

THE HON. SPEAKER: Hon Mliswa, can I assist you with the

substance of your point of order.

HON. T. MLISWA: Also assist me, how do I then move a motion to hold them in contempt. I thank you.

THE HON. SPEAKER: It is important that you have a correct record Hon Mliswa so that you do not shoot in the dark. Tomorrow you will see the Hon Ministers who are here will be recorded, those with apologies will be recorded and those without apologies – then you move your motion tomorrow targeting those that have not apologised and they are not in the House. Otherwise you will be shooting in the dark.

ORAL ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS WITHOUT NOTICE

HON. NDUNA:  Thank you Mr Speaker Sir.  My question goes to the Minister of National Housing and Social Amenities, Hon.

Garwe.  What is Government policy in relationship to downsizing the national backlog in terms of national housing delivery services?

THE HON. SPEAKER:  The last part of your question verges on the Minister coming up with proper numerical numbers which should have been a written question but I will indulge you.

THE MINISTER OF NATIONAL HOUSING AND SOCIAL AMENITIES (HON. GARWE): Thank you Mr Speaker

Sir.  I would like to thank the Hon. Member for the question.  Hon. Speaker, if you can indulge me to defer this question.  As you are aware, this Ministry is about nine months old today.  We are developing the human settlements policy.  We discussed it this morning and we intend to present it to Cabinet within a week from today.  I will be more comfortable here after we have gone through those processes.  I thank you Mr. Speaker.

THE HON. SPEAKER:  Appreciated.

HON. PETER MOYO: On a point of clarity Mr Speaker Sir.

THE HON. SPEAKER:  There is no clarity which is better than what the Minister has said.

HON. PETER MOYO: It is there Mr. Speaker Sir, you remember we spoke about it...

THE HON. SPEAKER:  Order, sit down.  The Hon. Minister has made a commitment that the National Housing Policy for settlement is being reviewed extensively and it is now going to be put to Cabinet and thereafter, it will be presented here in this House so that you can debate it in full under a ministerial statement.  It cannot be more comprehensive than that.

HON. PETER MOYO: On a point of order.

THE HON. SPEAKER:  What point of order?

HON. PETER MOYO: I think though you have been harsh in

the way you said I should sit down, I still respect what you have said.  Two weeks ago you ruled that the Minister comes here and gives a ministerial statement pertaining to the housing backlog and demolition of houses in this country.  We are still waiting for him to do that, but today he is telling us that Cabinet is doing something yet you had requested him to come and give a ministerial statement.

THE HON. SPEAKER: Hon. Member, if you feel hurt by

telling you to sit down in straight forward English, I do not understand what you are talking about.  I am asking the Hon. Minister to come up with a comprehensive statement which will also update on the question of the national housing backlog in Zimbabwe.  At that stage, we will be able to debate.

HON. SIKHALA:  On a point of order Mr. Speaker Sir. Can

Parliament as an institution, in light of the principle of the separation of powers, be held hostage to Executive processes?  He is telling us that the Executive is acquainted with the matter but as Parliament, we want an answer today.  Their process in the Executive does not have anything to do with concerns of the legislature.  He must not give us an excuse of the Executive being acquainted with the matter.  We cannot accept that Mr. Speaker Sir.

THE HON. SPEAKER:  My ruling still stands. I want the Hon. Minister to give a comprehensive response on national policy including demolition of houses.

HON. T. MLISWA: It is not policy until Cabinet passes it.  Hamuverenge here imi.  He said it very clearly.  It will just be passed by Parliament.  How many times must Mr. Speaker tell you the same thing?  You must get your members educated to understand the process.

THE HON. SPEAKER:  Order, order Hon. Mliswa, I think you

have done some good education.  Let us not be elastic about the matter.

+HON. S. MATHE:  Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. My question

is directed to the Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Water, Climate and

Rural Resettlement…

THE HON. SPEAKER:  Hon. Member, please ask your

question.

HON. MATHE:  I am asking Mr. Speaker. – [HON.

MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] -

THE HON. SPEAKER:  You are not.  What is the question, do not mind them.

+HON. MATHE:  My question pertains to the Pfumvudza programme. What is the Ministry saying about the elderly who are no longer able to prepare land in accordance to the requirements of Pfumvudza and are on social welfare – those who are 80 years and above? There are also others who are of morbid health, how are they going to access the seed?  The question arises from the fact that people who are receiving seeds are those who would have complied with the Pfumvudza land preparation requirements.

THE HON. SPEAKER:  Hon. Member, please take your seat.

Hon. Member, your question is self-explanatory because the elderly are not required to prepare their land as they already receive assistance from social welfare.

+HON. MATHE:  On a Point of Order Mr. Speaker!

+THE HON. SPEAKER: Hon. Mathe, I believe that no

supplementary question can arise from a question that already has an answer. – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – Order,

order!

         +HON. MATHE:  On a point of clarity Mr. Speaker!  Mr.

Speaker, my question has not been responded to.  The elderly are not being given seed because they do not prepare their land in accordance to the Pfumvudza Programme.

What assistance is going to be rendered to the elderly because the law states that those who do not comply to the requirements of the Pfumvudza Programme do not get the seeds?

+THE HON. SPEAKER:  Hon. Mathe, your original question

was not that precise.  You said that what is going to be given to them since they cannot prepare their land?   I responded that since they cannot prepare their land, therefore the question was self-explanatory.

The current question is on those who want to be assisted with seed. The Hon. Minister can respond.

THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND

PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI):  Thank you

Mr. Speaker Sir.  The Pfumvudza concept …

THE HON. SPEAKER:  You are not connected Hon. Minister.

HON. ZIYAMBI:  Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. The Pfumvudza

concept was meant to ensure that approximately 1.8 million households get sufficient packs for food sufficiency.  We could not give those who could not prepare land but from our assessment, as Africans even in our culture, we take care of the elderly and prepare land for them.

The simple answer would be, go back to the communities and assist the elderly to prepare the small pieces of land that is required and that would ensure that they also access the food packs.  Otherwise there is no point in giving them seed when they cannot till the land. I thank you.

*HON. P. ZHOU:  My question is directed to the Minister of Health and Child Care.  What measures is Government taking concerning those who may be affected by COVID-19 pandemic especially in the rural areas?  Can they also be tested free of charge as their HIV+ counterparts?

I also want clarity on those who are HIV+, what is Government planning to do for them?  Are there any measures in place to address their plight?

THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND

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

that is the ultimate aim of Government to ensure that as we mobilise resources and understand the pandemic, we should ensure that at clinic level, we would be able to test for the COVID-19 virus but at the moment, the tests that are there are not sufficiently good to ensure that we get a definitive diagnoses at a rural health centre, hence you realise that the Ministry of Health had been relying on the sophisticated PCR testing – that is the test that has been approved.  As technology improves and we get new technology, we should be able to roll our testing to rural health centres.

THE HON. SPEAKER: Hon. Zhou, did you get the answer?

*HON. ZHOU:  I have a supplementary question.  We do not have enough resources and it is difficult to ferry a sick person from the rural area to the urban hospital.   What plans do you have to set up testing centres at District hospitals because that is what was done for HIV?

HON. ZIYAMBI:  The COVID and HIV viruses are different.

The COVID virus is in the same class with the flu virus.

*If you contract HIV, it remains in your blood for the rest of your life.  In HIV we can use rapid tests which show that your blood has got antibodies which have been produced through getting the virus.  If you contract COVID-19, you can get treatment even if you go back to be tested, you can test negative.  Right now we do not have rapid test kits.  Even if you have antibodies, you might not have COVID-19.  If experts get those things, we are going to get there but right now, the experts are saying let us use PCR.

HON. SIKHALA:  My question is directed to the Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs.  My question today is specifically about justice and not parliamentary and legal affairs.  In line with Section...

 

Order. You cannot remove the full

title of the Hon. Minister which has been constitutionally given to him – [Laughter.] -  You have no authority to do that.

HON. SIKHALA:  It is alright Mr. Speaker Sir.  My question is directed to the Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs.  In light with Section 164 of our Constitution that guarantees the independence of the Judiciary in our country; what is your Ministry doing vis-a-vis issues of interference and judicial capture that are currently being raised by judicial officers in our country?  What is your Ministry doing to reassure both the public and also members of the judiciary that our country will continue upholding the independence of the judiciary?

THE HON. SPEAKER:  Hon. Sikhala, your question is on a

knife edge.  It was not explicit.

HON. SIKHALA:  My question to the Minister of Justice,

Legal and Parliamentary Affairs...

THE HON. SPEAKER:  Can you be linked please?

HON. SIKHALA: Am I not connected Mr. Speaker Sir?

No you are not. You are now

connected.

HON. SIKHALA:  Issues that are being raised concerning the interference of the Chief Justice Luke Malaba on how to deal with officers and other judges of the superior court in our country has become a matter of  national concern in as far as the independence of the judiciary is concerned?

THE HON. SPEAKER: What is the question?

HON. SIKHALA:  What is the Ministry doing so that judicial officers remain independent and their roles are not interfered with?

THE HON. SPEAKER:  Hon. Sikhala seems to be repeating something that is before the courts.

HON. SIKHALA:  Not that one Mr. Speaker Sir.  I am talking about the memo that was written by the judges of late.

THE HON. SPEAKER: This is why I had said you should be

clear.

HON. SIKHALA:  Not on that issue that is before the court...

You are talking about a

memorandum.

HON. SIKHALA:  Yes.

THE HON. SPEAKER:  That is clear now.

THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND

PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI):  I will respond

broadly and then go to the specific request that Hon. Sikhala has asked.  Our Constitution guarantees the independence of the judiciary officers.  In so far as they are dealing with specific cases, even the Chief Justice cannot interfere with whatever they are doing, be it a judge or a magistrate.  That is enshrined in the Constitution.  There are also several provisions that insulate our judicial officers so that in the exercise of their duty they must feel safe from whatever victimisation that they may encounter.  It also extends to the provision regarding their removal – where the President would be requested to set up a tribunal to investigate that question against specific parameters.  You cannot just wake up and say I do not like Justice so

 

and so and a tribunal is set up.  Certain requirements have to be satisfied.

Coming to the so called memo, I have not seen the memo and I would like Hon. Sikhala to favour me with that so that I can study it and see how it is interfering with the functions of our judicial officers.

I thank you.

HON. SIKHALA:  Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  My supplementary follows also on the same route of the independence of the judiciary.  What is the Minister’s view vis-à-vis the special projects office being manned by one Thabani Vusa Mpofu in the Office of the President and Cabinet whose rule is to interfere with the functions of the judiciary both at lower courts and superior courts?

THE HON. SPEAKER:  Hon. Sikhala, will you favour the

Minister with a copy of the memo in due course?

HON. SIKHALA:  I will favour him with the memo Mr.

Speaker Sir.

THE HON. SPEAKER:  Thank you.

HON. ZIYAMBI: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  Firstly, my personal opinion does not arise when I am executing my duties.  I am guided by the parameters that I am supposed to follow, the Constitution and the laws of Zimbabwe.  Again, if the Hon. Member feels that there is interference in so far as the functioning of the judiciary is concerned, he can favour me also again with whatever interference he feels is being done.  As far as I am concerned, the judiciary is so much independent to do whatever they want and I cannot even interfere with their work myself.  I thank you.

HON. T. MLISWA:  Mr. Speaker Sir, to be specific it is the Special Anti-Corruption Unit which has been given the mandate to investigate and prosecute, yet in the Constitution those powers are given to ZACC and to the Prosecutor General and the ZRP.  From a constitutional point of view, where does the Special Anti-Corruption Unit fit?  Which section of the Act?  We would like to know because they are acting illegally.  The three institutions I have mentioned are the ones which should do that in the Constitution…

THE HON. SPEAKER: Order, order.  Your question has gone into some quagmire because it is not related at all to Hon. Sikhala’s question on the independence of the judiciary and some referred interferences – [HON. MEMBERS:  Inaudible interjections.] – Order!

That is a different question alltogether.

HON. T. MLISWA:  Hon. Sikhala mentioned and we can check the Hansard, the name of Thabani Vusa Mpofu.  He is the one who is heading the Special Anti-Corruption Unit.  That is where I am coming from.  He mentioned that name and his role is head of the special anti-corruption unit.  That is how I brought it in.  I do not know if that makes sense.

THE HON. SPEAKER:  No, it does not.  What you need to have done is to indicate to the Hon. Minister what extent the gentleman concerned is interfering with the judiciary.

HON. T. MLISWA:  This is why I said, in the Constitution, the

Special Anti-Corruption Unit is not there.  So it is interfering.  It is

ZACC which can investigate the ZRP and the Prosecutor General’s Office.  That is where I am coming from.  I am coming from a very constitutional manner and I do not think there can be any better explanation than that.  It is not there in the Constitution.  That is why I am saying the role that he is playing, where is it in the Constitution…

THE HON. SPEAKER:  Order, order.  That is a different fundamental question.

HON. T. MLISWA:  I will ask it with your indulgence.  Thank you.

THE HON. SPEAKER:  You are not demonstrating to the Hon. Minister.  The question of interference with the independence of the judiciary – that is where I am coming from.

HON. T. MLISWA:  He is interfering because he is arresting people and investigating them when he has no mandate constitutionally.  I do not know if you now understand me.  So that is interference.

THE HON. SPEAKER:  No, the judiciary does not arrest the people.  So, there is no connection.  I want a connection raised by

Hon. Sikhala that there is interference with the judiciary.

HON. T. MLISWA:  I stand guided.  I will ask this it as a question.

HON. B. DUBE:  Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  My supplementary is following up to what Hon. Hon. Sikhala asked the Minister, to what extent does the Ministry consider the implications of the now withdrawn circular which had been directed by the Chief Justice which was more like revising or approving judgments before they are out, especially taking into account that the chief justices of Africa had to also write a memo to that effect.  How is the Ministry guaranteeing us on that aspect?

THE HON. SPEAKER:  Alright, I got it Hon. Dube.  The difficulty of the Chair is that you are now chasing a moribund memo which the Hon. Minister had requested.  How can we chase after a dead donkey?  We cannot – [HON. MEMBERS:  Inaudible interjections.] – Order, order.  Hon. Sikhala, what you need to do is you do not speak and address the Chair while you are seated.  You rise and you are recognised and you seek clarification.

HON. SIKHALA:  I am saying this Mr. Speaker Sir is that the question which was asked both by Hon. Mliswa and Hon. Dube are fundamental because they touch the core and root of the independence of our Judiciary. Can I seek your indulgence that the Minister gives us –

THE HON. SPEAKER: Order, please do not mislead the House. Hon. Mliswa has admitted that his question is fundamentally different –so no reference to it. Stick to the clarification that was raised by Hon. Dube.

HON. SIKHALA: Mr. Speaker, the memo that I gave reference to is partially not related to the one Hon. Dube gave reference to. The one that I am referring to is the one by our own Judicial officers but the one which Hon. Dube referred to was a memo by the Chief Justice of Africa to our Chief Justice when he gave a directive that all judges must submit all judgments before delivery to him to which the Chief Justice of Africa had to intervene to say this is an assault at the root of the core of the independence of the Judiciary. That is the one which Hon. Dube was referring to.

THE HON. SPEAKER: So which one was withdrawn?

HON. SIKHALA: That memo which the Chief Justice has

given directive to judicial officers.

THE HON. SPEAKER: That is the one you were supposed to give to the Hon. Minister.

HON. SIKHALA: No, that is not the one. The one that I am talking about is the one by our own local judicial officers – but Mr. Speaker, I would beg that if the Hon. Minister will do us a favour to give us a written Ministerial Statement on the state of the Judiciary so that we will be able to extensively enquire on some of those things that we want to understand as the House.

THE HON. SPEAKER: You mean on the independence of our

Judiciary?

HON. SIKHALA: On the independence of our Judiciary.

THE HON. SPEAKER: Alright. You are still going to favour the Hon. Minister with that memo.

HON. SIKHALA: Yes, I will do that.

HON. ZIYAMBI: Mr. Speaker, my duty as the Minister is not to supervise the Judiciary insofar as how they conduct their work. I give policy directions and whenever they have internal memos, I do not vet them; neither do I request for them, but from what I got from Hon. Dube there was a memo by the Chief Justice which the Chief Justice eventually withdrew. So if he withdrew the memo there was some acknowledgement of error by the Chief Justice and I am not sure why he still wants to pursue a dead donkey, so to speak. I thank you – [HON. SIKHALA: Its impact on the independence of the Judiciary. The Judiciary is all about the confidence of the Judiciary outside.] –

HON. SINGO: My question is directed to the Minister of Primary and Secondary Education. What is the Government policy concerning teachers who do not provide their services in schools but have private lessons at their homes making children to pay?

THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF PRIMARY AND

SECONDARY EDUCATION (HON. MATUKE): I would like to

thank the Hon. Member for the question. The policy of the Ministry is that no private lessons should be given to students on a fee. It is illegal to do so and in the event that it does happen, and evidence is given, such teachers should be charged.

HON. MUSHORIWA: My supplementary question to the Hon.

Minister is what is the Ministry doing to ensure that the teachers come back into the classroom, given the fact that they are complaining in terms of their remuneration? What is it that you are doing to augment so that you motivate those teachers to come back into the classroom?   

HON. MATUKE: I think it is common cause that there are problems in terms of labour relations currently in the Ministry and different Government agencies are working on that. We are confident that in the next few days or so, a settlement is going to be arrived at. Looking at the balance of probabilities, we think that sufficient progress is being made towards that end.

HON. MUNETSI: My question is directed to the Hon. Minister of Agriculture. What is the position with regards to farmers who grow tobacco who are being refused to change companies they contracted before to new companies?

THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND

PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS on behalf of THE MINISTER OF

LANDS, AGRICULTURE, WATER, CLIMATE AND RURAL RESETTLEMENT (HON. ZIYAMBI): Mr. Speaker, this goes

down to the contract that they signed. If the contract was for a certain number of years then you attempt to move then you have liability to the one you are contracted to but outside that I would not be able to answer without having the specific contract in my hand. I thank you.

An Hon. Member having stood up to make a supplementary question.

THE HON. SPEAEKER: I cannot allow the supplementary

because the terms and conditions of the contract must be revealed for debate to be meaningful.

HON. MAHLANGU: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. My question

is directed to the Minister of Primary and Secondary Education. Since lower grades are reopening, what measures are being put in place to ensure that children especially minors are protected from bullying and criminal nonsense and encouraged to adhere to COVID-19 pandemic protocols since the teachers who act in loco-parents are on strike and are not attending classes? Thank you.

THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF PRIMARY AND

SECONDARY EDUCATION (HON. E. MOYO): Thank you Mr.

Speaker Sir and thank you Hon. Member for the question. Our phase 3 is going to becoming early November and we hope by then a resolution would have been arrived at. Secondly, we have student teachers that have recently been released into the schools who we hope are going to provide sufficient relief in terms of discipline. We are currently completing the recruitment of additional teachers to assist in the schools. Our view is that by the time the lower grades that you are referring to come to school we would have found a resolution to the current impasse. Thank you.

HON. MUSHORIWA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. In

response to the Hon. Minister’s question that they are in the process of recruiting teachers, could the Minister explain to this august House because judging by the 2020 Blue Book in terms of the allocations of funds that was allocated to your Ministry, there is no room to maneuvre. Has the Ministry been given additional funding by the Minister of Finance...

THE HON. SPEAKER: Hon. Member, address the Chair.

HON. MUSHORIWA: Thank you Hon. Speaker, my question

to the Hon. Minister, the Hon. Minister said in his response, that the Ministry is in the process of trying to recruit teachers before the reopening of the schools for all other grades.  My analysis of the Blue Book pertaining to the allocation of funds to the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education is that there is no room to maneuvre in terms of the allocations. My question to him is to say; has the Ministry been availed additional funding by the Ministry of Finance for that purpose?

HON. E. MOYO: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir and thank you to the Member. I might not be so authoritative as to talk about entries in the Blue Book and all those provisions but however, we normally get clearance from Treasury to say you can have these numbers. All the time, I am sure this House is aware that we have a shortage of teachers in the country, the teachers in the schools and also we have added responsibility in terms of social distancing to get more teachers. In that regard, Treasury concurrence was availed for the employment of those teachers. That is the bit I can say.

HON. MAPHOSA: Supplementary Hon. Speaker.

THE HON. SPEAKER: What supplementary – please ask

supplementary questions that are robust. Proceed.

+HON. MAPHOSA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. My

supplementary question is that it is like we are still in denial that the teachers are at school. The question is - the ages of pupils that will be going to school are still young and children cannot look after themselves. They can face some challenges whilst at school. You have said that there are student teachers whom you are sending to schools but student teachers have got mentors who also go to schools. My question is - what measures have you taken as the Ministry that those who are attending school do not face some challenges. What measures have you taken unto that? Thank you.

(HON. E. MOYO: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. Yes, I answered the question at first. When schools are going to open that will be corrected and we heard from the State of National Address His Excellency the President mentioned it and said that it will be corrected when schools open.

HON. CHINYANGANYA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. My

question is directed to the Leader of Government Business, in the absence of the Minister of Higher and Tertiary Education. What is Government policy regarding the funding of students living with disabilities in tertiary institutions? Thank you.

THE HON. SPEAKER: The funding policy for disadvantaged

students?

THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND

PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): Thank you

Mr. Speaker. I want to thank the Hon. Member for the question. The question is very specific but I would like to say that in terms of the general funding of students, the Minister of Higher and Tertiary

Education came up with packages in terms of student loans wherein students can access them. If he is talking specifically for the disabled, I think they need to approach the Department of Social Welfare with their specific needs as Social Welfare is responsible for such categories of people. I thank you.

*HON. TOGAREPI: Thank you Mr. Speaker. I do not know if

the Hon. Minister will be able to answer my question. We see that in many towns there are many houses which are being demolished with people building these houses illegal.  What measures is the Ministry putting in place so that those houses are officialised…

*THE HON. SPEAKER:  That one will be replied by the Hon.

Minister when he makes his Ministerial Statement to the House.  – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] - Wait, I cannot hear you.  You want to clarify?  Alright, just a minute Hon. Minister.  What is the clarification?  Hon. Minister, just a minute - that should be part of your Ministerial Statement.  Thank you.

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

 THE HON. SPEAKER:  There is no point of order.  I have said the Hon. Minister must come up with a comprehensive policy statement which will encapsulate what Hon. Togarepi has asked.

HON. T. MLISWA:  It is local government and it is under Hon. Minister July Moyo.  These are two - housing and local government.  Mr. Speaker will guide me.  Local government is under local authorities, the demolition and housing is a different issue all together.  We need to understand which departments are under national housing.  Physical planning is under Local Government.

    THE HON. SPEAKER:  Order, order.  I am asking the Hon.

Minister of National Housing and Social Amenities; if he has got a problem he can liaise with Hon. Minister of Local Government and Public Works who should make an input to that statement.  Thank you.

+HON. NYATHI: Hon. Speaker, thank you for giving me this

opportunity.  My question is directed to the Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare.  The food that is given to the disabled and the elderly, we call them the vulnerable; they are facing challenges like transport.  What plans does the Government have to hand over the inputs to the vulnerable so that they get transport to go and take the food because they face challenges when they do not have transport? 

THE MINISTER OF PUBLIC SERVICE, LABOUR AND

SOCIAL WELFARE (HON. PROF. MAVIMA):  Thank you Mr.

Speaker Sir.  I think in December 2019, Cabinet made a resolution that all food hand-outs to the vulnerable in this country would reach the recipients free of charge.  They were not going to be responsible for paying the transportation fees and that decision has stood since then.  If there are any being made to pay that is wrong; that is not proper.  They should just let us know and we will investigate the matter.  They are not supposed to pay at all.  Government is paying for the transportation of all social welfare food hand-outs.  I thank you Mr. Speaker.

+THE HON. SPEAKER:  Hon. Nyathi, if there are people who

are charging the vulnerable for transport, may you take their names and report them to the Minister.  If they are going to be arrested, let it be so. Food must reach the vulnerable without payment.

    HON. CHIKWINYA:  Supplementary question, Mr. Speaker

Sir.

THE HON. SPEAKER:  There are no more supplementary

questions.

 HON. CHIKWINYA:  It is about who coordinates because in our constituencies, there seems to be no connection between the Local Government and Public Works Ministry and the Public Service,

Labour and Social Welfare Ministry with councilors under the Local Government and Public Works Ministry and Social Welfare officers under the Public Service Commission.  So who coordinates that transport?  That was my supplementary.

   THE HON. SPEAKER:  No, your question must relate to the

charge for delivery of maize, whatever is coming from social welfare.

That is how your supplementary question must arise.

  HON. CHIKWINYA:  On a point of clarity.  Hon. Speaker, in

his response, the Minister said the transport is free of charge.  Now, where we are in our constituencies people are assembled and then local councillors come and say you must pay.  The Social Welfare officer says transport is for free.  So I simply wanted a clarification from the Minister and then I take it back to the constituency.

 THE HON. SPEAKER:  I will help you; you seem to have a problem in asking the question.  The question should be; Hon. Minister, if there is such eventualities, to who should the complaint be made to?

HON. CHIKWINYA:  Thank you.

HON. PROF. MAVIMA:  Mr. Speaker Sir, thank you.  The

payment is done by the Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare and indeed, if there are councillors who are making people pay then those councilors should be reported to authorities so that they can be prosecuted.  It is not supposed to be paid for.

HON. MUSHORIWA:  The question of food from the

Government, people being made to pay, the Minister said that in

December 2019, the Government made a resolution that they were going to make sure that they provide the transport, but during the course of 2020…

THE HON. SPEAKER:  What is your supplementary question Honourable?

HON. MUSHORIWA:  My supplementary question therefore

is to say, because there had been a rampant practice of people being asked to pay; the Minister cannot pretend to say that they are not aware of that.  I want to find out if there are any people that have been taken to court because we know that this thing has been happening.

THE HON. SPEAKER:  Hon. Member, take your seat please.

As representatives of the people, bring concrete evidence to the Ministry so that those who are charging can be dealt with.  Thank you.

HON. T. MLISWA:  Mwana asingacheme anofira mumbereko. 

Can I come in with my question?

THE HON. SPEAKER:  A new question?  I thought you were going to ask a supplementary.

HON. T. MLISWA:  My question is directed to the Minister of

Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, Hon. Ziyambi.  Chapter 13 Part 1 talks about Zimbabwe Anti Corruption Commission with its functions of investigating.  Chapter 2 talks about the National

Prosecuting Authority.  Section 258 and Section 254 is that of the

Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission headed by Mr. Thabani Mpofu has been established which is exactly doing the same roles as these two.  Which section of the Constitution empowers it to carry out that mandate?

THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND

PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): Thank you

Mr. Speaker Sir. There is absolutely no conflict at all within the functions of the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission, the Police and the Special Corruption Unit within the Office of the President. It is purely a special unit in his office and if they do their work, should they want to go and prosecute, our National Prosecution Authority Act allows the Prosecutor General to issue prosecutorial certificates to legal practitioners with special skills according to his own assessment where he sees that there are deficiencies and that is what is followed.

In so far as arresting is concerned, those that are vested with the powers are doing that.  This is purely a special unit within the office of the President with a specific mandate given by His Excellency the President and they do not and have never interfered with the work of any organ that is established in the Constitution.

HON. T. MLISWA: Mr. Speaker Sir, we are obliged to have a Speaker who is a lawyer. Not only that but also an advocate. The President functions through the Constitution and his appointments are constitutionally based.  I have asked a very simple question and you have admitted that ZACC is carrying out a mandate of investigating and prosecuting through an Act under the Prosecutor General’s office and it must be headed by a lawyer. Mr. Thabani Mpofu is now a lawyer.  So, why is he heading a department – [AN HON. MEMBER:

He is a lawyer.] – can I finish.  Why is he heading the department?

You cannot hide under the President’s name or office saying that he gives powers.  That is why I asked for a certain section which you being the Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, should tell us precisely because we are tired of being told these issues without citing the particular section of Act.

It is incumbent upon you as Minister of Justice, Legal and

Parliamentary Affairs to tell me the Act and I will be convinced. Without that, it is hearsay.  I therefore, implore the Hon. Minister to tell us the Act which gives Mr. Thabani Mpofu the powers to do what the other constitutional bodies are mandated to do through the Constitution of Zimbabwe and under section 119 of the Constitution, we must uphold provisions of the Constitution.  The President cannot violate the Constitution, he is a lawyer.

HON. ZIYAMBI: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  The Hon. Member is asking questions and he is answering himself at the same time.  The special unit is a unit in the President’s Office. Everyone in the office; the majority of them, are not in the Constitution.  Those that work in the President’s office, the President is mandated to set up his office and he has people that work for him and all of them are not in the Constitution.  He set up a unit that will assist him to fight corruption and the mandate is given by him. What they do is if the Prosecutor General so desires to have one of them appear in court to prosecute, he is the one with the authority to issue a prosecution certificate. If the Hon. Member has a case where they have been

going around pretending to be police officers, then he can bring that forward.  In so far as I am concerned, they are doing a good job for His Excellency in terms of assisting in coming up with completed dockets for prosecution in terms of corruption cases.  I do not see any conflict at all with established constitutional bodies.  I thank you.

HON. T. MLISWA: The President cannot willy-nilly appoint someone and it is not true because he is now abusing the name of the President, its wrong.  He has a mandate given in the Constitution and he cannot willy-nilly pick anybody without following the Constitution...

THE HON. SPEAKER: Hon. T. Mliswa, please take your seat. Order please, can I help you Hon. T. Mliswa.  The Constitution does indicate that corruption has got to be fought and it is up to the President to put structures that can help him to fight corruption –

[HON. T. MLISWA: Inaudible interjections.] – order Hon. T.

Mliswa.  Can you read the Constitution wholly – [HON. T.

MLISWA: Inaudible interjections.] – I have said do your research and come back.

HON. T. MLISWA: I have done it.  It is an illegal entity the

Anti Corruption Commission.

THE HON. SPEAKER: I want to advise you Hon. T. Mliswa – [HON. T. MLISWA: Inaudible interjections.] – Order when the Chair is speaking you must listen.

HON. T. MLISWA: It is okay Hon. Speaker.

THE HON. SPEAKER: Where you are not clear, you can

approach the Constitutional Court to clarify issues for you.

*HON. TEKESHE: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  My question is directed to the Minister of Home Affairs...

THE HON. SPEAKER: Order, I want to assist Hon. T. Mliswa, be guided by section 167 (2) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe in what I have said.

*HON. TEKESHE: My question is directed to the Minister of Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage. We are witnessing police throwing spikes on people’s vehicles.  Why are they using spikes?

Why can they not use modern technology like taking videos?

THE HON. SPEAKER: What is the question now? Is it spikes or you want clarity on national policy? I think you need to rephrase your question.

*HON. TEKESHE:  Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  My question is why is police using spikes as this will result in damage to tyres and vehicles rather than using modern technology? – [HON. NDEBELE:

Inaudible interjection.] -

THE HON. SPEAKER:  Order, order! Hon. Ndebele, I do not

need an assistant.  Thank you.

*THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF HOME AFFAIRS (HON.

MADIRO):  Thank you Hon. Speaker Sir.  I would like to thank the Hon. Member for asking such a pertinent question.  This question is in line with the day to day operations of the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP).  If it is a policy issue, then our police use what is in line with particular situations that might be happening at a particular time.  If there is a particular event which the Hon. Member is referring to, he should write to the Ministry so that we carry out investigations to ascertain how this happened.  However, police can deploy means that are necessary and that auger with what will be happening at that particular time.  I thank you.

*HON. MADZIMURE: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  In the

previous Republic, a lot of spikes were deployed and this issue came to this august House and it was determined that spikes were dangerous because they were leading to loss of life. So, my question is, are we back to that previous arrangement?  Thank you.

*HON. MADIRO: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  Let me say that

for the police force to discharge their duties diligently, citizens must observe and adhere to the laws of the land.  If there is risk, suppose the police have used spikes, button sticks, guns and tear gas, then these things might lead to risks.  Citizens are urged not to be found against the law.  As I have said before, the police will use appropriate means to contain a situation, including spikes.

*HON. NDEBELE: Thank you Mr. Speaker.  The issue is that are there no modern means of containing situations other than spikes and the like because they end up harming people?

HON. MADIRO: The Hon. Member seems to suggest that he

may be aware of the so called modern means better than spikes.  I think he is privileged to suggest that to Government.  However, that does not exclude the use of spikes.  Thank you.

*HON. MUCHENJE: Thank you Mr. Speaker.  My

supplementary question is Hon. Minister, regarding what police use to deal with different situations, what is the purpose of number plates?  Are number plates not enough to identify offenders?  So what is the use of having number plates in Zimbabwe if they are not useful to track offenders?

*HON. MADIRO: Number plates are another way that can be

used by police to identify offenders of traffic rules.  Number plates are used to identify motorists so that the police know who owns that particular car.  They can also be used as an alternative form. However, the issue of spikes – my request is that there must be reports regarding spikes.  People should put these things in writing, if there are specific issues identified of loss of life when spikes are deployed.  Let me say that spikes are a deterrent means.  Those who do not adhere to the laws of the land will be found wanting.  I thank you.

HON. T. MLISWA: On a point of order.  The Hon. Minister is

prevaricating.

THE HON. SPEAKER: No, the Minister is very clear.  As far as I understand him, he says you can use the number plates in terms of identifying the culprits – [AN HON. MEMBER: Inaudible interjection.] – Yes, there are naughty culprits that may want to invite the use of the spikes.  However, if there are cases where the spikes have killed people, bring them forward and the Ministry will investigate.  Thank you.

HON. NDEBELE:  Thank you Hon. Speaker.  My question is directed to the Minister of Finance and Economic Development.  What is Government policy in respect to the formulation of a medium term debt strategy as per our Public Finance Management legislation?

What are the current challenges in formulating?  What is the

Ministry’s policy position regarding the question of arduous debt.

THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC

DEVELOPMENT (HON. PROF. M. NCUBE):  Madam Speaker, I

thank the Hon. Member for his question.  He asked about the medium term policy which basically is a debt accumulation or debt containment strategy.  The other question is on how to deal with arduous debts which I believe you mean debts also due to illegal leakages according to some books that that have been written on arduous debts, including the Thabo Mbeki’s AU Report on illicit flows.

On the issue of policy, we are very clear that we have to adhere to making sure that in terms of the debt accumulation process, we make sure that the interest rate that we pay on these debts, we strive to make sure that they are lower than the rate of growth of the economy and lower than the rate of growth of exports.  Whenever the growth of exports is lower than your interest rate, you run into trouble as a country because it means that then you are accumulating debt, you cannot catch up with the interest payments.

Certainly, one key issue to maintain in order to contain debt accumulation is to make sure that our fiscal discipline is found and we stick to it.  We should not run a large budget deficit and in the last two years we have stayed true to that, we have managed to contain our deficit. If you do not deal with those two in the way that I have explained, as Zimbabwe, we will accumulate debt and that is not a good thing.  For the debt that we already owe externally, we have resumed now our token payments after the pronouncement of the G20.  We want to make sure that we start honouring those debts and eventually we will get back to dealing with the IFI debt of the World Bank and the African Development Bank before we proceed to a

bilateral debt.

Turning to the arduous debt which arise out of transfer pricing, out of illicit outflows, I must say that that report by the former

President Thabo Mbeki of South Africa and also an earlier report that I worked on myself many years ago when I was the Vice President of the African Development Bank, they show that African countries lose easily as much as US$60 billion a year due to illicit flows in terms of transfer pricing and so forth.  We are doing our best in dealing with money laundering issues.  We are implementing the anti money laundering rules.  There is an international imperative to do so by the way, otherwise then we will stay on the grey list for while, we want to make sure that we comply.

Madam Speaker, other things are not easy because it has been shown that some of the leakages in these illicit flows arise from things such as - you know when companies invest in a country you find a foreign investor who will set up a subsidiary in an offshore tax free entity and over here, they register a company and then you find that the offshore entity then extends a loan to the local company.  Then what happens is that the local company has to service the interest on the loan from the mother entity before they declare any profits and so forth.  So, they end up not paying taxes domestically and continuously service this loan because interest payments are tax deductable.

So, we are aware of those tricks, companies use those tricks everywhere and it is not easy to deal with because within the law it is allowed.  Within the accounting rules that is allowed but nevertheless it prejudices the country. Madam Speaker, one thing to do over time is to make sure that foreign companies form joint ventures with local companies.

HON. DR. MASHAKADA:  Thank you very much.  I just

want to follow up with the Minister on the question of debt repayment.  I want to know whether the Minister is following the Lima Process or he has revised it and come up with a new debt repayment approach.  Following that, I would also want to hear your views, whether you have considered the HIPC route to lessen the debt to the country.  Thank you.

HON. PROF. M. NCUBE:  Madam Speaker I want to thank

the Hon. Member for the question.  We have adjusted the Lima Process for the following reasons.  First of all the Lima Process involved specific country and I do not know whether I am allowed to mention it because I do not know whether that country’s involvement was official or not back then.  There was a country which had large amount of resources that was willing to assist us in the bridge financing for the shortfall of the African Development Bank and the

World Bank arrears.  That country then fell by the wayside for various reasons, so we have adjusted in the sense that we are speaking to other potential sources of funding that can assist with that bridge funding including specific financial institutions in the commercial sector.

Also, I said we are adjusting the Lima Process, we are also still looking at the issue of talking to the creditors as well in the first place.  The trouble of going the route of commercial source for bridge loan is that it blocks the second stage of the debt resolution process which is the Paris Club negotiations because all creditors do not have to rank pari passu, and even the commercial lenders have to take a haircut under the Paris Club and they were never willing to do that.  So it gives challenges in the second phase, so sometimes it is better to try to go through the route of the Paris Club Creditors in the first place.

So we have kept that channel also opened.

The Hon. Member also asked about whether we are following the epic route or not.  We have looked into it and the response that we have received so far is that you as Zimbabweans are not exactly a low income country because this route is available to those that are officially designated as low income countries in terms of the Gross National Income per capita.  As you are classified as lower middle income country – that has been expressed.  We believe that route maybe closed but we have to keep trying to make sure that we find right path to resolving our arrears clearance and to keep our debt in check.

Questions Without Notice were interrupted by THE HON.

DEPUTY SPEAKER in terms of Standing Orders Number 64

         HON. CHIKWINYA: I seek the extension of Questions Without Notice by a further 15 minutes.

THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Time for Questions

Without Notice has been extended by another 15 minutes.

HON. A. NDEBELE: I second.

HON. CHIKWINYA: My supplementary to the Hon. Minister

emanates from his response with regards to financial leakages.  Hon. Minister, firstly, we need confirmation as Parliament that your Ministry through Fidelity has you expanded the network of exporters of gold.  We view that as Parliament that maybe the channel of how money leaks out of the country.  If you have expanded that pool of exporters of gold outside Fidelity, how are you accounting for that so that at least we avoid the leakages?

HON. PROF. M. NCUBE: We have not expanded the

exporters in terms of the approved list of those exporting to wherever gold needs to be sent, that is to the various markets.  It is still

Fidelity’s job to that.  Of course, other players have expanded themselves without our permission illegally and we obviously have those challenges.  There are some illicit outflows of gold, but we will make sure that we continue to plague the leakages. We are doing that in many different way but we have not expanded the pool of exporters.

HON. NDUNA: My supplementary to the Hon. Minister is two pronged.  Have we tried the countries or multinationals that we owe money in terms of debt cancellation and or the reduction of humongous and gigantic interest rates that they have charged us?

Have we tried to have them reduced or completely eradicated and have we also tried them in terms of debt cancelation completely?

What has been the response in relation to those two issues?

HON. PROF. M. NCUBE: Yes, we have tried debt cancellation and that request has not met favourable response so far but of course we should never give up.

On the issue of reducing the interest rates, though we have received a more positive response, one of them without mentioning them, has said that should we begin to reduce the arrears that we owe, they will write-off the penalties and reduce interest payments.  So once we start clearing those arrears, we will get a more positive response in terms of cancellation of the penalties we have incurred so far.  I thank you.

HON. A. NDEBELE: Our total debt stock seems to keep shifting depending on what literature one is reading and depending on who is speaking at a given moment.  Is it possible for the Minister then to bring to this House to enable or to facilitate that Parliament in plenary as well as in relevant committees, undertakes a debt audit of what it is that we owe the outside world?  In that Statement, could we have a sub heading that speaks to the Chinese debt?

HON. PROF. M. NCUBE: I have taken note of that, I am happy to present a Ministerial Statement, but I must hasten to say that twice a year, I am mandated to bring a statement of accounts on the state of our debt situation and I have done that judiciously.  It could be that the Hon. Member has not had access to the report, I do not know what happened but I have presented these judiciously in the last

2 years as I am mandated by the Public Finance and Debt Management Act.

HON. MURIRE: Thank you Madam Speaker Maam.  My

question is directed to the Minister of Local Government.  What is the Government policy on distribution of devolution funds among constituencies and wards in rural district councils?  The question is premised on the fact that the Ministry of Finance gave a criteria and basis for allocation to provincial councils, but when we go down to grassroots, it looks like Rural District Councils have no criteria.  For example, you would see communities that have clinics and schools being allocated funds ahead of those that do not have such facilities.  We have communities where children walk long distances to school but they do not get an allocation yet in areas where there are so many schools they get an allocation. So the question is; is there a criteria in terms of Government policy in allocating those resources or allocation given to Executive Officers in councils?  I thank you.

THE MINISTER OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT AND

PUBLIC WORKS (HON. J. MOYO):  Madam Speaker, devolution

funds are given to local authorities on the basis of population as well as depth of poverty and also in terms of the scarcity of facilities in education, roads, health facilities, sewer, water and social amenities on a pro-rata basis. The money is distributed from the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development to our Ministry and onwards to the local authorities.  In terms of devolution, we are aware that these local authorities have certain autonomies that they must exercise and we cannot be micro-managing them.  However, we have said because of the necessity to eradicate some of the disparities that are existing between local authorities to local authorities and between provinces to provinces and within each local authority from one ward to the other, they must pay attention to those areas where there is scarcity of health and education facilities.  We go and monitor to see what they would have done.  Obviously, we cannot sit in every council and see how they are making those decisions but follow ups by Ministers of State for Provincial Affairs and Devolution, Provincial Development Coordinators as well as District Development Coordinators show us areas where these monies are not being properly used.  We use that as remedial action in order to make sure that it is not repeated but we cannot go and sit in every council when they are making those decisions because that is the essence of devolution. I thank you Madam Speaker.

HON. MURIRE:  Thank you Madam Speaker. In terms of

Section 264 of the Constitution, the objective of devolution is to give powers of local governance to people and enhance their participation in the exercise of the State. I believe that the Ministry should have a mechanism to monitor and ensure that there is compliance at the achievement of the objectives of the Constitution.  Now, it is not a question of micro-managing …

THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER:  Hon. Murire, please may

you ask your question.

HON. MURIRE:  My question is; is there any monitoring mechanism other than not micro-managing?  Does the Ministry have a way of monitoring efficient and proper utilisation of those funds to ensure accomplishment of the Constitution objective?  I thank you.

HON. J. MOYO:  Thank you Madam Speaker. I have just

indicated that monitoring is done by Ministers of State for Provincial Affairs and Devolution as well as the decentralised structures that we have created in order to give substance to our devolution agenda.  That is why the President has appointed Provincial Development Coordinators as well as District Development Coordinators.  In addition, as you know, this Parliament monitors what happens through the office of the Comptroller and Auditor General so that reports come to you but this is post-facto what would have happened on the ground.  That is the process of learning; this is the process of having devolution empowering people to make decisions of their own.  Government is there to make sure that resources are there and are put in terms of the Constitution.  In Section 301, we are required to make at least 5% go to these local authorities.  Having done that, this Parliament as well as the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development and ourselves have to monitor to see whether they have complied.  That work of monitoring definitely is going on. We can give you enough evidence of what has been monitored, what has been found to be not working and how we have taken corrective measures in order to make sure that next time they do better.

Questions Without Notice were interrupted by the HON.

DEPUTY SPEAKER in terms of Standing Order No. 64.

MOTION

BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE

         THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND

PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON ZIYAMBI): I move that

Orders of the Day, Numbers 1 to 3 on today’s Order Paper be stood over until Order of the Day, Number 4 has been disposed of.

Motion put and agreed to.

MOTION

CITY STATUS FOR MUNICIPALITY OF VICTORIA FALLS

THE MINISTER OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT AND

PUBLIC WORKS (HON. J. MOYO): I move the motion standing in my name that;

WHEREAS in terms of subsection (1) of Section 14 of the Urban Councils Act (Chapter 29:15), a Municipal Council may apply to the Minister for the municipality concerned to be accorded city status if the municipality is the dominant centre of influence for a significant area; and

WHEREAS on receipt of the application, the Minister appoints a Commission which shall call upon any person who wishes to make representations to submit them to the Commission; and

WHEREAS in considering the matter, the Commission is guided by matters set out in the Executive Summary of the report in addition to any other matters which are considered to be relevant and shall thereafter submit its report to the  Minister; and

WHEREAS the Municipality of Victoria Falls, applied to be accorded city status on 21st July, 2017; and

WHEREAS the Commission submitted its report recommending the city status to Victoria Falls, to the Minister on 19th January 2018;

NOW THEREFORE, in terms of subsection (6) of section 14 of the Urban Councils Act (Chapter 29:15), Parliament resolves that an address be presented to His Excellency the President, requesting him to accord city status to the Municipality of Victoria Falls.

In terms of Section 4 (1) of the Urban Councils Act [Chapter 29;15], whenever the President considers it desirable, he may subject to this Act, by proclamation in the Gazette after any local authority concerned has been consulted, establish a municipality or town or city and

  1. establish a municipal council or a town council, as the case may be therefore;
  2. fix the area of the municipality or town or city;
  3. assign a name to the municipality or town or city; and after consultation with the commission, divide the council area into a number of wards.

Statutory Instrument 49 of 1997, Urban Councils Regulations, 1997 provides that an application made by a council for a change of its status shall be made to the Minister after a resolution is passed by majority votes cast in an ordinary meeting of the council. Upon receipt of an application in which a council applies for municipal or city status, the Minister shall;

  1. appoint at the expense of the council concerned, a Commission consisting of such number of persons as the Minister may determine to consider the matter and make recommendations to him, provided that no member of the Commission shall be a councillor or employee of the same council;
  2. after the appointment of the Commission, give notice in three issues of a newspaper of the appointment of the Commission and calling upon any person who wishes to make representations, to submit them to the Commission before a date specified in that notice being not less than thirty days after the date of the first publication of the notice in the newspaper.

Following receipt of an application by Victoria Falls

Municipality for upgrading to city status in terms of Section 14 (1) of the Urban Councils Act [Chapter 29:15], I appointed a Commission to investigate the suitability of the council to be elevated to a city status.

Upon my receipt of the report from the Commission in December 2017, I studied the recommendation contained therein and am now satisfied that the fast growing local authority and tourist epicenter of Zimbabwe should be awarded city status.

Growth is inevitable. Victoria Falls Municipality started off as a railway station in the colonial era, with Livingstone as the town (under the Federation), and then achieved town status in 1971 before being proclaimed a municipality in 1999. It is therefore befitting that they progress to the next level.

It is imperative to stress that the municipality is up to date with audited accounts and has also crafted a robust redevelopment concept for the coveted city. Areas envisioned for regeneration have been identified and mapped. These include the Chinotimba area,

Government houses (CBD), Council office site (CBD), NRZ land (CBD) and the Golf Course (Elephant Hills Hotel). This is based on a thrust towards improved land utilisation and modernisation which is expected to go a long way in unlocking land for new investment in the

city.

The city title embolden the impression of credibility and attracts development and potential investment from both local and international investors while simultaneously embracing the element of prestige, which is what any local authority envisages. Potential visitors to any country, especially on the worldwide web look up cities rather than towns or municipalities, hence the title itself augments image. Looking at world tourist cities, Victoria Falls regrettably is not featuring. The local authority together with the Ministry has therefore initiated a processing of upgrading the municipality to a city status.

Victoria Falls Municipality has hosted many international events, among such conventions being the Commonwealth Heads of

Government Meeting and the United Nations World Tourism Organisation General Assembly, hence conferment of city status would attract more of such events and thus benefit the fiscus. If city status is conferred, Victoria Falls would be the first city based on tourism industry in our country.

The planning and designing of a mixed use development for the

Victoria Falls Mixed Commercial use project has started. Victoria

Falls Municipality has since awarded a Design and Construct Commercial Contract on a Build Operate and Transfer (BOT) basis to

Cardinal Corporation Private Limited for this project.    In venturing in the investment programmes, constant consultations with the Zimbabwe Investment Development Authority and Ministries of Finance and Economic Development; Environment, Climate, Tourism and Hospitality Industry and Local Government and Public Works are being done.

On the other hand, the town is host to significant Government real estate which unfortunately is in a dilapidated state.  To this end,

35 houses around the city centre have been identified for redevelopment.  The houses are sitting on approximately 3.5 hectares and this needs redevelopment and regeneration.

Victoria Falls Municipality is the core of the recently approved special economic zone corridor, which comprises Masuwe Statelend, Batoka City, Mlibizi, Binga Centre, Sijarira, Hwange Hinterland and Gwai Shangani resort.  The foreign currency stock exchange has already been opened in the city to enhance the attractiveness of this city within the municipality area in order to increase the real estate for the municipality and release more land for investment.  Land adjacent to the municipality affectionately known as Masuwe Stateland has been identified for high value tourism investment.  The initiative dove-tails with recently launched initiative dubbed Victoria Falls Area Tourism Development Plan which seeks to boost tourism in and around Victoria Falls and support the recovery of the local tourism sector in the country.

Victoria Falls being the second city mostly populated with hotels after Cape Town in our region, due care must be taken in order to safeguard the world heritage site as conferred by UNESCO and this is being done by a team of experts from Ministries as well as Civil

Society and players in the tourism industry.

I therefore call upon Parliament to resolve and recommend to the President to proclaim the municipality as a city and thereby Victoria Falls assume the status of an eminent tourism city in the world.  I so submit Madam Speaker.

HON. NDUNA:  Thank you Madam Speaker for affording me

this opportunity to add my voice and to also applaud the Minister for entertaining Victoria Falls Municipality on this issue.  I want to support the motion and say this was long overdue in my view as he has alluded to.  A stock exchange has already been established but I go further to the issue of a special economic zone which I think should be expeditiously put in place in order to enhance the activities of that city.  Victoria Falls, as he alluded to is a world heritage site and is only second to Cape Town in terms of the proliferation of hotels in that city.  I want to also go further and say it has an establishment of an aviation sector second to none in Zimbabwe.  It has one of the largest and longest runways which has been established by the Chinese Exim loan and financed to the tune of US$150 million and it hosts a lot of international flights and it is my view because of all this that the issue of having a city status is definitely long overdue.

I support the renaming of Victoria Falls to a city status.

This is also home to a lot of cruise companies and helicopter companies as we speak.  We have cities like the City of Kadoma which is called the ‘city of gold’ but it has no runway except one that used to be at Carmen Motor at Eiffel Flats but if we compare Victoria

Falls and the City of Kadoma, you see by a long margin that Victoria Falls deserves city status.

As I conclude, the people of Chegutu West Constituency actually recognise that a place that is endowed with handling of a lot of foreign currency should be allowed to run its affairs using that mode of transfer and currency that the tourists bring into the country.  It is my view and hope that the Hon. Minister of Finance can actually tailor how the taxes can be received from the City of Victoria Falls where a lot of transactions are in hard currency.  Let me also applaud the Hon. Minister of Finance in establishing a robust, resilient, effective and efficient stock exchange in Victoria Falls.  It is going to be a magnet to a lot of money that is going to be brought in, not only by tourists but by business executives who are going to put together a tourism package together with their business plan as they enjoy the majestic Victoria Falls which is one of the seven wonders of the world.  So the people of Chegutu West support the Minister in his quest to make sure that Victoria Falls becomes a city and they hope also that in not so distant future, he can also make Chegutu

Municipality a city because we are endowed with ubiquitous amounts of mineral wealth.  We have more than 40 gold mines in a very small area.  It is my hope that we can turn all that gold and mineral wealth into establishment of a robust and resilient city.  I thank you.

+HON. G. DUBE:  Thank you Madam Speaker Ma’am for

affording me this opportunity.  I would also like to make a contribution towards this issue of the Victoria Falls city status which is in Hwange West.

We are happy and celebrating that Victoria Falls has been given city status and this will make it easy for the responsible Minister Hon. Moyo.  He should make sure that there is a special arrangement for the Victoria Falls city status.  It should not be equated to other cities like Harare, Bulawayo, Gweru and others because this one is totally different.  We are also expecting development which is not going to disturb what is already there because we know that our visitors come to Victoria Falls because of what is in Victoria Falls which includes wild animals and the river.

Since we have been given the city status, we do not want these things to be disturbed and game corridors, the Zambezi and the falls should not be tampered with.  I hope they will realise that and at the same time Madam Speaker, since the town has been conferred with city status.   Hon. Minister Moyo working together with the Minister of Finance and Economic Development, Hon. Prof. Ncube they should make it clear that the resources that are in Victoria Falls, should  set aside a big share to develop Victoria Falls and places around Victoria Falls.  This should not just be a celebration without benefitting the local community.  This city status should not make life difficult for the locals.  For example high rates as they are already paying higher rates.  I hope that they will take all that into consideration and also look into the issue of the Master Integrated Plan since the Hon. Minister said that it should be looked into.

Madam Speaker, we realise that Victoria Falls has a beautiful airport which is most probably the most beautiful airport in the country but the locals are not benefiting.  I know that they are receiving devolution funds but our prayer is that the funds from the national parks in Victoria Falls and also from the Zambezi in Victoria Falls should not be all collected and brought to Bambazonke.  It is the hope of the people in Victoria Falls that as they celebrate, all these things are taken into consideration and be corrected so that the clinics, schools and roads are developed or repaired by these funds that are generated by Victoria Falls because all eyes in the country are now on Victoria Falls.  We can celebrate for now and maybe disturb us in the future if the funds generated in Victoria Falls are not being apportioned or distributed in the correct manner.

We are happy that we now have the stock exchange in Victoria Falls which all goes to show that it was high time we got city status.  We hope that everything will be dealt with in the proper manner and that the Hon. Minister will look into it and put it more clearly.

There is also the issue of land; we are also looking forward to that since we have attained city status.  It is our request that Victoria Falls should be left in its natural state.  We do not want houses to be built everywhere because we do not want to end up looking like Mbare or Makokoba – we do not want that in Victoria Falls.  We want to remain as a tourist destination that is liked by everyone even after it has attained city status.  If ever there are going to be towns, they should be satellite towns.  All things should not be crowded in one place – if such things are going to be considered and if the Hon. Minister is going to look into them, I think Victoria Falls is going to be the best tourist destination the world over.  I thank you.

HON. SANSOLE:  Thank you Madam Speaker.  I want to add my voice to this debate on the granting of City Status to the town of

Victoria Falls.  I have gone through the report of the Commission of

Inquiry and I speak as a resident of Victoria and former Executive Mayor of that town.

The report talks about population of about 56 000 - [HON. S.

SITHOLE:  We cannot hear anything Madam Speaker Ma’am.] – THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER:  Thank you.  Hon. Sansole,

are you linked?

HON. SANSOLE:  I have unmuted.

THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER:  Please may you unmute.

HON. SANSOLE:  Alright, I have.  Madam Speaker, I was saying that I would speak as a resident of Victoria Falls and former Executive Mayor of that town.  The report speaks about a population of 56 000 people but that has since changed with the advent of COVID-19.  A lot of people who were employed in the tourism sector have since left the town and the numbers have gone down significantly.

Secondly, there is need to preserve the natural setting of Victoria Falls.  The world heritage site status could be lost as a result of overdeveloping the town.  The main attraction to Victoria Falls is the wilderness experience.  When you go to Victoria Falls, you go through a forest and Victoria Falls town is surrounded by a national park.  The natural environment being the main attraction should be maintained as natural as possible i.e. the rain forest near the town should be maintained naturally.  It is the view of the business community that Victoria Falls should be left as it is so that we do not lose the world heritage site status.

There is talk about increased revenue base in the report but at the same time the commissioners also report that the rates account is sitting on $7 million arrears – at the time that the report was done, that was quite a significant amount.  So it shows that although your revenue that you have invoiced maybe high but if you are sitting with a large amount in arrears, it shows that the people are struggling to pay those arrears.  The people of Victoria Falls are struggling to pay the rates because the rates in Victoria Falls are probably the highest in the country compared to Harare – it is probably higher than Harare and far much higher than cities like Bulawayo.  So, in terms of rating of properties, Victoria Falls is overpriced.

The report also talks about Council having weaned off ventures like beerhalls which they maintain when not generating profits. I think if properly run, those beerhalls can generate revenue for the town rather than over burden the residents with rates.

Also, it has leased the rest camp.  That rest camp is being run profitably by a private company and they have since renovated it and made significant additions to the buildings.  I believe that if that rest camp is run by the council itself, it can generate enough revenue for the town.  The argument that it has been leased out because it has not been profitable does not hold water.

There is also the issue of the water supply.  The report talks about the treatment capacity being at 22 mega litres a day and demanding 15 mega litres therefore the supply being in excess of

100%, that is not the situation now. It could have been at that time in

2017/18 when the report was done but now there is a water crisis in Victoria Falls mainly due to the pumping capacity.  The master plan being referred to in the report was suspended in 1999 because of withdrawal of funding by the Canadian International Development Agency.  I think there is need to revive that master plan.

The Commissioners also went to seek oral submissions from various stakeholders and amongst those submissions; they state that there is likely to be an improvement in property value which will increase local liquidity.  Again, the implication is that with an increase in the value of properties and with the evaluation role which shows properties at a much higher value, there is likely to be an increase in the rates.  That also indicates a desire to milk the residents who are already suffering with high rates.

There are also financial implications which go with upgrading the status of the town.  These have not been budgeted for in the town’s 2021 budget.  Perhaps if there is real need to grant that status, it will need to wait until there is enough funding or the expenses are budgeted for.

As I have already stated, a lot of people have already left the town due to Covid 19. Victoria Falls is a tourist resort and tourism is at its lowest level at the moment.  Most tourist operators have closed shop, a lot of people are out of employment and that has had an impact on incomes in there.

I think we should also look at the environmental implications of granting city status to the town of Victoria Falls.  Once the city status is granted, it comes with massive construction.  Once massive construction takes place, you destroy the natural environment.  As a result, the game corridor is disturbed.  The natural habitat in which animals live will be disturbed.  Therefore the game corridor becomes disturbed and the impact on the environment will be irreversible.  The idea is to leave Victoria Falls as natural as possible for future generations to enjoy the natural beauty of the falls being one of the Seven Wonders of the World.

I know that there is a lot of prestige attached to being a city and most towns would like to grow and graduate from being a municipality or being a town to a city, but let us not just end at expanding and growing.  Let us look at what the attraction at that particular time is.  The attraction is not just tall buildings or various sporting stadia and so forth, it is the natural environment of Victoria Falls.  I would like to record my objection to the granting of city status to the town of Victoria Falls.  I thank you.

HON. GABBUZA: I am sure Hon Sansole was indirectly supporting although with reservations.  I want to applaud the Minister’s presentation and state that this was long overdue to the people of Matabeleland North and Victoria Falls.

If Victoria Falls was a business, it was a going concern.  The future of most of the cities that have been granted city status has been doomed in the sense that Victoria Falls being a tourist town, it will never die as long as the attractiveness or that scenery that attracts tourists is still alive, it will always be there and it will continue growing.  Unlike what Hon. Nduna was proposing, the people of Chegutu West – Chegutu and Kadoma being mining towns; when the mineral is finished, they also collapse.

Fortunately for Victoria Falls just like any other port town, it is a boundary or one town which is at the boundary with other nations and therefore it will remain a transit point or tourist attraction, hence it has life.  However, granting a city status to a town has its own responsibilities or costs. I would like the Minister to seriously look at that.  The Commission established that they have the capacity to manage some of their infrastructure but water is always a problem in

Victoria Falls.  If granted the city status, there will be extra responsibilities and we implore Government to assist in that area.  The last time that we toured Victoria Falls, they had a serious shortage of water.  Some hotels were actually providing their own water outside the ZINWA infrastructure which was quite a big challenge.

Currently, the amount of water that ZINWA is able to pump to the people of Victoria Falls is not enough and there is always water rationing and shortages of water.  I think Government must look seriously into that.  They must not just grant the city status and forget and expect that Victoria Falls will be able to charge the residents some rates and build up the water infrastructure.  There is need for additional resources.

Land is a problem in Victoria Falls mainly because it is a national park. It is a town within a national park.  Expanding outside further than where the town is now would mean encroaching into the national park.  My suggestion will be that we will need proper city planning where if I was the town planner, we would need to establish a town immediately a few kilometres from the main city centre where there is the current Victoria Falls – perhaps around the areas of the airport where we can build upwards.

Currently, the policy is that if you are in Victoria Falls, you cannot build beyond the tallest three.  I think that is the concept of Washington D.C. – you do not go up.  You can only build up to two floors in order to preserve the environment.   I think that has been the position of the Ministry of Environment and Government.  Once we do not build upwards, you are actually attracting urban sprawl.  Your town will now spread going outwards into the national park but you do not have the land.  That is why I would propose that as the planners and the Government think of conferring city status, let us put up a new town away from the Victoria Falls but within driving distance for people to build going upwards so that they can maximise on the available little land or small amount of land which is at their disposal.  Certainly, it is a good development.  Everyone wants to grow big but in growing big you attract a lot of responsibilities.  We pray and implore upon the Minister of Local Government to assist, not to just confer the status but to assist that status of being a city does not cost the residents of Victoria Falls who are already overburdened by the rates.  It is a very good move.  We support it and we would want to see it.  I am sure the Victoria Falls people would be very happy to hear that as the good news coming out of Parliament in the recent past.  Thank you very much.

HON. TOGAREPI:  Thank you Madam Speaker.  I also stand

here in support of the city status for Victoria Falls. It is overdue and very critical for development.  Victoria Falls attracts a lot of people throughout the world who come to visit.  Some believe Victoria Falls is all Zimbabwe or it is part of South Africa today because it is very attractive. People with a lot of money also come to visit.  Government has already set up a Stock Exchange which is potentially going to be a strong capital market...

THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER:  Hon. Togarepi, may you unmute your gadget.

HON. TOGAREPI:  Thank you.  I stand in support of upgrading the municipality of Victoria Falls into a city.  It is very critical for the development of that area.  We realised that

Government has also allowed the development of a stock market in Victoria Falls.  That will attract a lot of financial investment from all over the world.  I think a city status will then support that type of development.  Of course, yes, we should be concerned that any development should avoid Victoria Falls itself because the main attraction there is Victoria Falls and a city status will not interfere.  There is no way a city status will be built on the falls.  So it is not going to affect the falls.  The falls will remain there.  We do not want our Victoria Falls to be behind in terms of development and services behind Livingstone because we will find people staying in Livingstone but coming to see Victoria Falls.  It is going to be a disservice in terms of strategy and in terms of development for our country.

Victoria Falls has potential also because of its attractiveness to develop in to some form of Disney land.  We can see development there because of high profile people who are coming to see Victoria

Falls.  it is critical that the standards that people face when they get to Victoria Falls are upped and a city status will provide such type of environment.  I am also a keen supporter of what Government has done.  I said it initially that there is going to be a stock exchange, the capital market which has already started.  We need to support that by having facilities that are going to be run at world class level so that there is no other reason why people will not go there and do their financial transactions in Victoria Falls.  We will not even advertise.  What we need in developing the city status is to provide services and infrastructure.  I agree with Hon. Member who said in terms of development of houses, let us move away from the falls, if we have land closer to the airport, the better.  We will not touch the Victoria Falls which is the main attraction but the developed city will provide services for all our visitors and all those who would be coming to see Victoria Falls.

My only recommendation is for the local Government, the city council and Central Government to protect the environment.  There is a lot of research from the report by the Minister that was done to see the co-existence with the natural environment, the animals there and so forth.  I think all that must be captured in the master plan so that we do not interfere with the advantages already given to us by God, but developing it into a city is number one.  We cannot argue on that.  It is given because we want to see everyone who visits Victoria Falls getting the world class services they expect when they visit such a unique attraction like Victoria Falls.  I thank you.

*HON. CHIKUKWA:  Thank you Madam Speaker.  I am overjoyed today that our Minister of Local Government came up with the initiative to ensure that Victoria Falls attains a city status.  I was thinking about it a lot and as a Committee we pondered over this and after our visit to Victoria Falls we saw it fit that it should be uplifted to city status.  We realised that this area is able to bring in a lot of foreign currency for the country because just beyond the river there is a city known as Livingstone in Zambia.  That city was getting a lot of money that could have come to Zimbabwe.

If we are able to upgrade to city status I foresee hotels being built in the area and such hotels will be affordable.  Some of our tourists are going to stay in South Africa or Zambia because of the expensive hotel rates.  Therefore, more hotels will bring in competition.  The Victoria Falls Municipality should embark on an initiative to ensure that they get investors and should also offer incentives for those who want to build in Victoria Falls.  I also realised that yes, there is water but they should be given water by ZINWA like what happens in other cities.  The way they get water is different from how we get it.  I hope this will be addressed to assist the city.

My request is that after upgrading to city status it will enable the municipality to assist in the building of schools because there are very few schools.  I think it would be better to increase the number of schools and once we have more schools, people who want to go and –

[Mic off]

         I was saying that if the number of schools is increased and the town is upgraded to city status, the municipality will assist. Furthermore, hospitals will also be upgraded and increased even though there is no water in Victoria Falls, there are so many things that we witnessed. It is true that the municipality also had positive things that they were doing because their water is very clean and it is better than the water that we have in Harare. So for that reason, I think it is important to upgrade Victoria Falls to city status. I thank you.

*HON. MUTAMBISI: I also want to add my voice thanking

the Minister of Local Government, Hon. July Moyo for the initiative to upgrade Victoria Falls to city status similar to other cities in

Zimbabwe. When you talk of Zimbabwe and tourism and you do not mention Victoria Falls, it is as good as you have not come to

Zimbabwe. I want to proceed by saying getting city status for Victoria

Falls has taken a long time. Since 1971, it has been a town and in 1999 it was given another status, which means it has taken a lot of time for it to be upgraded.

We heard that this town is a tourist resort centre and has a lot of economic activity in terms of tourism. As women, we are requesting that as you give city status to Victoria Falls, do not forget about us. We heard someone saying there will be massive construction. My request is that you also avail stands to women so that we build hotels which will charge reasonable rates because we also want to venture into the tourism sector. As Victoria Falls is growing, the men are the ones who are benefitting and have most of the boating industry. We also want to be part of that industry so that we also earn foreign currency from tourism. If women are part of such a business, it will assist us in our livelihoods. Thank you Madam Speaker.

*HON. PETER MOYO: I rise just to give a few words because my colleagues have already said a lot. It is a good initiative for Victoria Falls to be upgraded to city status and that it should be a stand-alone in terms of its administration. This will assist us and we will be liberated in our thinking as it relates to Victoria Falls. We want to thank the Minister for bringing such an initiative.

Furthermore, want to talk about the issue of building. I think we need high-rise buildings so that wild animals will not be affected, not only in Victoria Falls but nationwide. We should have provision for people to build high-rise buildings. So, Victoria Falls needs to be upgraded. If we are to consider our neighbouring countries, they come to Victoria Falls and think that it belongs to South Africa and not Zimbabwe. It needs to be clearly stated that Victoria Falls belongs to Zimbabwe.

Those companies that are here, be they Chinese or European companies can build but we must also allow our locals to build in Victoria Falls and also for upgrading that is going to happen, our natives should be given an opportunity to earn a living from that. I do not have much to say because my predecessors have said a lot. I want to thank you Mr. Speaker for giving me this opportunity, I thank you.

*HON. DZUMA: Mr. Speaker, I rise to support the motion brought by our Minister, Hon. July Moyo. He has enlightened us that Victoria Falls with its current standing should be upgraded to city status. I support that move because some of the meetings and workshops we have had as Parliament were held in Victoria Falls. Whilst there, I considered what happened and I witnessed it whilst in the plane as well as by road. I went to Zambia and I saw the beauty of the Victoria Falls.

Victoria Falls has Mosi-o-tunya which is a tourist attraction. Victoria Falls has game parks and that is a tourist attraction as well. I even saw the statue of the late David Livingstone in Victoria Falls and most tourists coming from the West want to see their ancestor. As a country, we are saying we should leave the statue there for tourists to see, thereby bringing us foreign currency.

Victoria Falls also respects our cultural heritage. I think we need to increase the number of those who provide entertainment in Victoria Falls through traditional dances. It is a splendid initiative. I think that once that is done, it will increase the number of tourists and I think just besides tourists it will bring more business. We need planes that actually have a carrying capacity of between 20 – 40 people to ply the Harare – Victoria Falls and Harare – Bulawayo routes. The other things that people enjoy in terms of entertainment should also be available in Victoria Falls. With these few words, I thank you Mr. Speaker.

      HON. MADZIMURE: Mr. Speaker, I want to deal with the

issue of development of the master plan of Victoria Falls. Whenever such a move is taken, it turns to attract a lot of people. The fact that it is now going to be a city, a lot of people will flock into Victoria Falls. What we have seen destroying our very good plans is allowing unplanned settlements. This has been a challenge and it is still a challenge. More so if it happens in a place like Victoria Falls, we know we have to preserve the falls and the game parks that we have.

I implore the Minister of Local Government to ensure that the town planning is well prepared and well equipped to deal with the influx of people who are going to be attracted by the city status of Victoria Falls. The issue of transparency, accountability and professionalism becomes so important. Hon. Gabbuza emphasized the issue of developing a place probably around the airport so that we take away the pressure from our natural environment that we want to preserve like the falls. If we could develop around that area, we can build going up a little bit. By so doing, we are creating a place where things like accommodation become less expensive for the tourists to come.

The biggest challenge that we have today and why South Africa managed to market Victoria Falls as part of their tourist attraction is because of the cost of spending a night in Victoria Falls. It is expensive to spend a night in Victoria Falls. It will be better for someone just to come from South Africa in the morning, spend the whole day in Victoria Falls and in the evening they fly back. Those are the things that we should make sure that as we start developing our city, we always remain focused on those issues to make Victoria Falls attractive. You cannot equal Victoria Falls with any other falls in the world. It is a majestic site where when one visits Victoria Falls, but the fact is that it must be affordable and our people must benefit.

Whoever comes to Victoria Falls must spend a night in Victoria Falls.

We must also be able to develop an efficient transport system from the airport to the falls. If we build around the airport we should have an efficient transport system that creates employment for our people because whatever we want to do, we must know our main objective. The objective is to make the people of Matabeleland North a better people and that is why we want to upgrade the status. The only way we can do it is to create employment and how do we create employment? We must be able to develop in terms of the buildings that are affordable. We must be able to develop a transport system where we will employ more people. Even around that area, we must also be able to start industries, to perfect the art of manufacturing the things that we have always been doing as Zimbabweans.

This must be done from secure places and from small industries where we can be able to follow up and tax our own people because our people should enjoy their resources but at the same time, also contribute towards the development of the whole province. How do we do that? We must account for all the people who do business in Victoria Falls. This is why it is important to make sure that as we develop a city probably around the airport, we also make sure that we have industrial sites, like the concept that we have in South Africa. The Government develops the industrial parks or investors and even institutions like NSSA should develop those industrial parks so that our people can rent affordable spaces.

It is easier to account for those people. We cannot continue informalising our economy. We have an opportunity to start doing the right thing, let us do it. Let us use Victoria Falls as a model. What is it that we want to see? There must be someone who has a vision – what we say in Shona muono wetwiza to say after ten years, how Victoria Falls should look like. Today, we must start seeing that from the Minister saying this is what I see Victoria Falls in ten years. I think if we do that Mr. Speaker, we will have harvested from what God gave us in the Victoria Falls. Thank you.

*HON. MPARIWA: Thank you Mr. Speaker for according me

this opportunity to add my voice on the motion that was put by Hon. Moyo who is the Minister of Local Government. I want to thank the

Hon. Minister that he has seen in the President’s Speech of SONA, and if you go to paragraph 4, it is saying we are going to look at ways of developing the provinces. So I want to thank Hon. Moyo because he is well ahead even before we have finished debating on the issue. On aligning the laws with our Constitution of 2013, the Minister has gone on that direction as well. I want to thank his vision that we should be well ahead and spearheading his projects.

Secondly, I want to say that there are a lot of animals in Victoria Falls which attract tourists. My plea is that we should look after those animals because the future generation whom we are setting these laws for will end up not knowing the animals that we have here in our country.  The reason why I am saying this, Hon. Speaker is that, there will be infrastructure there that will be built and trees will be destroyed which means we will displace the animals that are there and they will end up being extinct.  I know that it is not his department but I know that he works with people from other Ministries who look at wildlife and fauna.  I plead that we should not destroy our animals.  Secondly, when it comes to those wildlife Mr. Speaker, when they are running away from the deforestation which will be happening, they will go to where people live and destroy the lives of people.

Hon. Speaker, we are in competition when it comes to Victoria Falls.  Many of us who went to Johannesburg Airport, you will find that Victoria Falls is being marketed in Johannesburg more than here in Zimbabwe.  Many people think that Victoria Falls is probably in South Africa.  For us to be able to sell the Victoria Falls people should know that it is one of the seven wonders of the world found in Zimbabwe. We should be able to market it outside.  I think we should cherish what we have, what we were given by God because it is our inheritance our children’s inheritance and we should have it written down so that people know that we have it here.

Coming to jobs, that is my passion Hon. Minister. People who stay in surrounding areas just observe people coming in, mining and building and they do not know what is happening.  I think this is the best opportunity for people in Matabeleland North to get jobs.  The young people, even the old, those who are able to work should get the chance to work.  I know that Hon. Moyo has a passion for workers.  All the jobs should be lucrative jobs because at times we hear so many stories that happen.  The companies that will construct, it is my desire that the local companies should have the opportunity to get tenders there so that they construct infrastructure there.

Finally, Mr. Speaker, we have our indigenous languages which are in the Constitution.  If you go there, you find that there is Tonga and other languages.  It is very important that if a person lands in Victoria Falls, he or she should be greeted in that language so that people are aware.  I did not want to contribute but I saw that many languages are talked in this House but you find that languages from Matabeleland North are not normally used in this House.  So this is the opportunity for Matabeleland North so that the languages are marketed.  I think the language should be found even in hotels because when we go to Kenya, you find that they communicate in their indigenous languages.  Since we want to upgrade it to city status,

I think we should upgrade it by using their indigenous languages.

Thank you.

*HON. E. NCUBE:  Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  I do not have a lot to say but I just have one point that I want to request, that it be considered in terms of the upgrading of the Victoria Falls.  We all want the town to be upgraded to city status.  I was of the opinion that when this town is upgraded to city status, I am sure we have all agreed that it should be built within considerable distance from the Victoria Falls so that the beauty of the Falls is not affected because once we have settlements very close to the Falls, that tourist attraction will cease to be attractive.  My wish is that it should not be called Victoria Falls but we need to change the name and use our indigenous names such as Mosi-o-atunya.  For instance, we have roads in Victoria Falls.  The people in Tonga have their indigenous names that they can use to name areas in Victoria Falls.  For example in Masvingo we call it Masvingo because of the indigenous knowledge and language that we have.  So what we hope is that the people of the area will be given an opportunity to rename their area in line with their culture and language.

Someone talked about the issue of employment.  I want to urge that since the people residing around Victoria Falls are gifted in terms of various skills and can make a lot of crafts, they should be given working areas to showcase their expertise close to where the tourist attraction is and this should not be within the city.  We know the different crafts that they make and those are beautiful.  They should be close to the Falls itself.

With these few words, I thought I would just add this to ensure that our Victoria Falls is upgraded in the right way.  In terms of roads, we need rehabilitation of the roads so that people can access the tourist resort area easily.  So let us not only look at 2030 but we need to start now to make sure we rehabilitate the roads for easy access to Victoria Falls.  I thank you.

THE MINISTER OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT AND

PUBLIC WORKS (HON. J. MOYO):  Thank you Hon. Speaker.  I

want to thank, at the initial, all those who have contributed to this debate and thank you for enriching what must become of the City of Victoria Falls once the proclamation is made by the President.  For

Hon. Nduna, all the accolades that you have said will be captured and

I want to assure this House that as we perfect what Victoria Falls should be, we will take all these on board.  If there is a time when I will direct one city and many other officials to read; what this Hansard will produce is what we have done today.  I do not want to go one by one in answering what you have said because most of it really provides reasons why Victoria Falls must be a city.  Let me say to Hon. Dube who has supported and all others who have supported, we value this support.  Hon. Sansole who has some reservations, on population, I think it is clear that when you are saying a place is a city, population is only one of the measurements.

If you look at Victoria Falls versus Livingstone, Livingstone became a city a long time ago and its population was not near what Victoria Falls has become today.  So, while the Commission underscored the fact that the population might be lower than other cities, they also said this is not a big measure.  Most of you are worried about the natural status of the Victoria Falls area. It is a world heritage town, a world heritage city and by UNESCO standards, they came and inspected to make sure that we keep it that way; having been one of the people who was able to propagate that this must become a heritage site.  As Government, we are taking so much care to make sure that Victoria Falls is preserved. That is why the involvement of National Parks and National Museum, those who are looking about the forest area and those who are in EMA are part and parcel of the planning of this new city.

I also said and I want to emphasise that Victoria Falls is the centre around which we are building a corridor of many nodal points and the first nodal points is what Hon. Gabbuza has said that we move away a little bit from the Falls into Masuwe.  Masuwe is that area is near the airport and that is where the new epicenter of our tourism buildings is going to be.  We even have moved the fence which was near the town; we have moved it closer to the airport.  So, the planning is already going on and if time permits, I would like to bring the concept design that we have done for the Victoria Falls, Masuwe and as I have said Batoka area, Mulilizi, Binga and Sijalila. More importantly, we have said the whole area around Hwange where you know that the President visited so many mines, we are saying to those mines do not create housing compounds in those areas.  Let us plan them well so that they link each other. Gwai-Shangani dam is going to be a tourist attraction.  All these must link each other but Victoria

Falls will become the first city in Matabeleland and as people you have said it must benefit the people of Matabeleland first. Most but the people around Victoria Falls and the nodal points that I have pointed out must benefit as well.

This is the essence of what His Excellency the President as Hon. Mpariwa says in his speech, paragraph 44; is talking about economic development of areas and these are the areas which we want to develop.  So are the cardinal points that all of you Hon. Tagarepi,

Hon. Chikukwa, Hon. Mutambisi, Hon. Moyo, Hon. Dzuma, Hon. Madzimure and Hon. Mpariwa have said.  The cardinal points is the preservation of the eco-system around Victoria Falls and this we are paying attention to and that is why all those animal corridors in the presentation that I will have an opportunity to make to this august House, you will see that care has been taken to make sure that animal corridors, wetlands and river systems are preserved because that is the attraction not just Victoria Falls itself although it is the majestic one but around the area we must preserve.  At the same time, we must create a situation where with this foreign currency trading, we are creating the conferencing that we must do in Victoria Falls.  In February this year, we had this Sustainable Development Conference SDGs for Africa.  This had the highest number of people who have ever attended such a conference but you know the attraction was we are going to Victoria Falls.  We must create conferencing that is needed in Victoria Falls.

I have also said there is a detailed plan about the development of the Victoria Falls itself, the present one, it is sitting on 2900 hectares and we want to preserve that as it is.  The additionalities are outside those 2900 hectares and we want to redevelop the 2900 hectares.  As you go into Victoria Falls, you see houses on your left before you reach OK Stores.  Those houses belong to Government and there are large tracks of land and we are saying as Government, let us densify and create an ambience that will attract investors.  People will come in and say this is a renewed Victoria Falls.  The city itself or the municipality itself has already said ‘Chinotimba’ and they have come up with a development model which we have looked at and I have taken it into Cabinet and I am willing to come and share with you.  They have even said let us move the VID so that it does not create the noise that it is creating today.  So, the municipality has been preparing and in some case has attracted investment already and when it attains the municipality status, Government must recognise that it has grown like anybody who is now building a new house and you are a child.  The parents must give you something so that you can go and start.

What we do with councils when they achieve municipal status from a town status, the Government properties, particularly land, is given to the municipality so that it can run and the municipality of

Victoria Falls was already handed over land that used to be run by Government.  What we are left with right now is to complete this. Growing of the Municipality of Victoria Falls is to give it the right to pump water.  Right now the pumping is being done by ZINWA and yet the purification is done by the council. We think that is an abnormal situation and we think that the municipality can actually pump its own water, purify and reticulate its own water because we think that it has reached that status.

There are some responsibilities which we must now devolve as Government so that the city becomes a really city.  Let us look at it this way when everything is done.  If you started looking for tourist cities today, you will get Livingstone and you will not get Victoria Falls.  A lot of our marketing now is through logging on sites and this site will be upgraded obviously when we give it city status and it will join those other tourist attraction cities in the world. That is what we owe to ourselves because it is a world heritage site and it is grand and something that must attract people not only to come to Victoria Falls but also to go to other parts of the country.

I want to thank you Hon. Members for supporting this noble cause and for supporting Victoria Falls because after all, it is not me who asked that Victoria Falls become a city but it is the city councillors, the citizens of Victoria Falls and the business people of Victoria Falls are the one who have requested Government to say please consider us as grownups so that we become a city.  I so submit Hon. Speaker – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] – Hon. Speaker, I now move for the adoption of the report so that we can proclaim Victoria Falls Municipality as a city. I thank you.

Motion with leave, adopted.

On the motion of THE HON. MINISTER OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT AND PUBLIC WORKS (HON. J. MOYO), the

House adjourned at Five Minutes Past Six o’clock p.m. 

 

 

 

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