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NATIONAL ASSEMBLY HANSARD 30 SEPTEMBER 2020 VOL 46 NO 69
PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE
Wednesday 30th September, 2020
The National Assembly met at a Quarter-past Two O’clock p.m.
(THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER in the Chair)
ANNOUNCEMENTS BY THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER
INVITATION TO A ZIMBABWE WOMEN PARLIAMENTARY
CAUCUS HALF-DAY WORKSHOP
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order, order Hon. Members. I
have to inform the House that all Hon. Members of the Zimbabwe Women Parliamentary Caucus are invited to a half-day workshop for validation of the ZWPC 50/50 position paper at the Rainbow Towers on
Thursday, 1 October 2020 at 0900 hours. The bus leave will Parliament Building at 0830 hours.
ORAL ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS WITHOUT NOTICE
HON. SHAMU: My question Madam Speaker is...
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order Hon. Shamu. I am
reminding Hon. Members as well as Hon. Ministers to be connected so that you will be able to hear what is being said, I am also reminding you to be connected so that you will hear the questions. I think everyone got a tablet. So, you must be using your tablets. Thank you.
HON. SHAMU: Thank you Madam Speaker. My question is directed to the Minister of Finance and Economic Development. Can the Minister comment on the effectiveness of the COVID-19 economic recovery and stimulus package? I thank you.
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: The Hon. Deputy Minister of
Finance and Economic Development, did you get the question?
THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC
DEVELOPMENT (HON. CHIDUWA): No, I did not hear anything.
HON. T. MLISWA: On a point of order Madam Speaker.
Madam Speaker, my point of order is in terms of the procedures of Parliament, that Ministers and Deputy Ministers who have not put notices of apologies must be read out. We would like to know why they are not here.
THE HON. DEPTUY SPEAKER: Thank you Hon. Mliswa for
reminding me. I received apologies from the following Honourable
Ministers; Hon. MuchingurI, Minister of Defence and War Veterans
Affairs; Hon. J. G. Moyo, Minister of Local Government and Public Works; Hon. K. D. C. Mohadhi, Vice President and Hon. B. Matiza, Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development.
HON. T. MLISWA: Thank you Madam Speaker for taking that reminder and reading them out - but as you would appreciate, it is not the total complEment of the Cabinet Ministers and the Deputy Ministers.
Hon. Ziyambi is the Leader of Government Business. He is not the one who appoints Ministers and there is no point to continuously boggle him with an issue which has nothing to do with him. The appointment of the Ministers is a prerogative of the President and the Leader of Government Business is not the leader of appointing Ministers, he is the leader of Parliament business here. So we have continued Madam
Speaker, for a very long time on this. The other Ministers who are not here - they disrespect the Chair, they disrespect this House. They do not even apologise.
For a very long time we have spoken about this issue but Parliament is proving to be a toothless bulldog in all aspects. We are here to carry out our mandate according to the Constitution. We just came from a workshop where we were reminded by the Speaker of Section 119 of the Constitution, that Parliament has power. So what power do we have when we are totally disrespected like this? They do not come to respond to issues of national interest which we would have put aside and consulted our constituents. What power has Parliament got when we are constantly reminded Parliament has power and when we come here, the very same power that we have is not at all exercised by the Chair?
Chair it is about time, we are only two years before the next election. We seem to be on the wrong road in this Parliament. May we make the right turn now so that we are able to hold these people accountable? People are suffering, Members of Parliament are suffering.
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: I hear you Honourable, you
are now debating.
HON. T. MLISWA: I am not debating. It is an issue which we plan for. We are with the people and we want to get questions from them and ask the Hon. Ministers. They are not here. The power that you always tell us we have - I have realised we do not have. It is only power written in black and white and what I will do is I will move a motion tomorrow where I am inviting the President to this House to respond to his incompetent Ministers. Where does he find them, why are they here?
So I am moving a motion tomorrow to talk about the incompetent useless Ministers who the President is loyal to but they are not loyal to the President. The problem is that you have a President who is kind, who is loyal to you instead of the other way around. The late President Mugabe had Ministers who were loyal to him and who worked for him but you are disloyal to the appointing authority who is the President. We want that debate to continue and I am moving a motion once and for all so that he knows that the dogs that he hunts with do not bite, they are useless. Thank you.
THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT: Thank you Hon. Mliswa.
You may proceed and move the motion tomorrow.
HON. CHIKWINYA: On a point of order. Thank you Madam
Speaker. In line with the Speaker’s ruling two Wednesdays ago, I move a motion standing in my name that Ministers who have not been attending Parliament for the past three weeks without reason be charged with contempt.
I am fulfilling exactly the instruction by the Speaker of Parliament. It is a motion of privilege. It does not need any notice. It is the same - like the motion which was moved for Hon. Mliswa and others. The
Speaker said a Member must rise if Ministers do not come to Parliament.
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon. Mliswa may you please
approach the Chair.
Hon. T. Mliswa approached the Chair.
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order! Hon. Shamu please may you come again with your question.
HON. GONESE: A point of clarification Madam Speaker.
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order Hon. Members. Please order Honourable!
HON. GONESE: I am just seeking clarification on the issue.
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Which issue?
HON. GONESE: Hon. Chikwinya raised a motion for a Privileges Committee to be set up and I just wanted us as the House to be advised on what has become of that motion, because you called him to approach the Chair but we …
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: I told Hon. Chikwinya that on Wednesdays …
HON. GONESE: I am now seeking for clarification as a Member of Parliament. I am also rising on a point of privilege. I am a Member of Parliament and an issue which affects all of us has been raised in my presence, that Ministers have not been coming to Parliament. Last week I raised the same issue and the Speaker indicated that the time had come for a line to be drawn in the sand that this cannot continue in perpetuity. This is the reason why I am rising on a matter of privilege also so that I as a Member of Parliament, can be apprised of what has become of that motion, that a Privileges Committee be set up so that all those errand Ministers who have not been seeking leave of absence, who have not been coming to Parliament can be dealt with once and for all.
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Thank you Hon. Gonese. I
THE HON. GONESE: So, I just wanted clarification of what has become of that motion.
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: I told Hon. Chikwinya that it
was ruled that on Wednesdays we must not have motions of privileges, so I advised him to move the motion tomorrow, not today – [HON. MLISWA: Inaudible interjection.] – Hon. Mliswa, why are you disrupting the House?
HON. SHAMU: Thank you Madam Speaker. My question is directed [HON. SIKHALA: Inaudible interjection.] –
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: If you continue with that
disruptive behaviour Hon. Sikhala, I am going to send you out. Sorry Hon. Shamu, may you please come again.
HON. SHAMU: Madam Speaker, my question is directed to the Minister of Finance and Economic Development on the effectiveness of the Covid 19 Economic Recovery and Stimulus package. I thank you.
THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC
AND DEVELOPMENT (HON. CHIDUWA): Thank you Madam
Speaker. We are all aware that when the Covid pandemic was declared a national disaster, the intervention that was done by the Government was in the form of the Economic Recovery Programme which was to the tune of $18.2 billion. On the $18.2 billion, I can give a breakdown but I think what was of critical importance there was the issue of the recovery in the agriculture sector where we allocated $6.1 billion. We also allocated $3.1 billion as working capital for industry and there was also a tourism fund of around $3 billion. Funds were also set aside for social sector services.
Now, in terms of the effectiveness, it is judged on the extent to which we managed to achieve our intended objectives. I can give you an example under the $6.1 billion package for agricultural sectors; $3.2 billion was meant for winter wheat. If we go around the country and check the extent to which we managed especially with regards to winter wheat, in terms of the expected harvest and what is on the ground at the moment, we are expecting at least 50% of our requirements to come from the winter wheat programme and that is a huge success. We have not realised that amount of wheat as a country but because of the Covid recovery package, we have realised that.
Hon. Members might also want to know that the $18.2 billion was not necessarily a disbursement of cash to all the identified sectors as mentioned, but it was in the form of guarantees that were being given by banks and Government was giving the guarantees. So, you will see that a number of companies managed to approach our banks and they managed to secure working capital which was then guaranteed by the Government. We would need to do a tally and some statistics to find out the extent to which that was used.
I go to the social sector. We also had cash transfers which were targeting the urban vulnerable and those who were in the peri-urban. Our target was to get around one million beneficiaries. I think as of now we are around 210 000. These are some of the statistics and I can assure you that we are continuing to do the registrations. It is a success as of now and we are still adding more funds to the recovery programme.
HON. GANDAWA: Thank you Madam Speaker. My
supplementary question to the Deputy Minister of Finance and Economic Development is, I would like to understand from his presentation the social impact, he has not been very clear … THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon. Gandawa, please may
you start afresh.
HON. GANDAWA: Thank you Madam Speaker. The Deputy
Minister discussed about the social support that was given to people in the urban areas and peri-urban areas. We did not hear him comment on the support on social safety nets they are going to put in place as a
Ministry to support those that are staying in the rural areas. Thank you.
THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC
DEVELOPMENT (HON. CHIDUWA): Thank you Madam Speaker.
I think the relevant Minister is around. He is the one who deals specifically with those issues but I will respond, especially with regards to the allocations that were allocated on the health infrastructure. We have used I think up to around $6 billion in terms of our Covid intervention, which the part of social intervention. The social welfare again is classified under our Covid intervention, in addition to the interventions that I have mentioned for those who are staying in urban and peri-urban but in terms of the actual figures, I am sure the relevant Minister can also assist in that regard.
HON. MARKHAM: Thank you Madam Speaker. My
supplementary question to the Hon. Minister; is I would like to know whether the wheat supply of 50% is an annual requirement or their target. Thank you.
THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (HON. CHIDUWA): Thank you Madam Speaker.
In terms of the hectarage that we funded, we are looking at around 45 000 hectares under wheat with an average yield of 5000 tonnes per hectare – [HON. T. MLISWA: Inaudible interjections.] - it is supposed to be 5 tonnes per hectare.
Hon. Chair, I would like to apologise for the slip of the tongue but it is supposed to be 5 tonnes per hectare. So, we say 5 tonnes per hectare times 45 000 hectares.
HON. BITI: My supplementary is to the esteemed Minister of
Finance and Economic Development. The 18, 2 billion fiscal interventions refer to social safety nets particularly people living in urban areas. You will recall that the informal sector has not been opened, so people who sell tomatoes and vegetables are not going to work. However, it is a fact and I am a Member of Parliament for an urban area that you have not disbursed any money for social safety nets for people living in the urban areas.
In papers that were filed before the courts, the Ministry of National Social Security confesses that you have only disbursed ZWL 90 million to the relevant Ministry. How much money have you disbursed to the relevant Ministry lead by Prof Mavhima? I thank you.
HON. CHIDUWA: Thank you so much Madam Speaker. In
terms of the actual figures, these are operational issues and I think I would need to check the exact figure that was disbursed specifically for that purpose.
HON. T. MLISWA: On a point of order! May I suggest that the Hon. Minister comes with a breakdown statement which we can all debate because Hon. Gandawa’s point was how has the rural folk benefited. He did not answer to that. So, a statement would be good for us to study, interrogate and ask. I therefore, propose that he comes with a breakdown of exactly where the money went to and then we can seek more clarity on that.
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: I am sure the Minister has
taken note of that.
THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND
PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): Madam Speaker,
the specifics that they want, the recipient is here. Ministry of Finance and Economic Developmetn simply disburses, the other technical details, surely the Minister of Finance is not responsible. Perhaps, with your indulgence, the Minister of Social Welfare can answer that question.
HON. T. MLISWA: On a point of order! We asked the question to the Minister of Finance and Economic Development who disburses and then we will interrogate it. Because he was failing to answer, Hon.
Minister Ziyambi is smart to bring in an academic argument to try and do the good propaganda. I know his tricks when he is seated there.
So, the Minister of Finance is responsible for disbursement and he has told us that, that is why the Hon. Speaker has told him to give us a breakdown so that we can interrogate the other Ministers once we have seen where the money is going.
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon. Mliswa we have heard
you. The Deputy Minister of Finance and Economic Development will bring the breakdown but at the moment, we want Hon. Mavima to respond to some of the issues –[HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjection.]- Hon. Biti, may you please behave like a learned friend.
*HON. TSUNGA: Thank you very much Madam Speaker. There
is no point for the Minister of Public Service Labour and Social Service to respond now because we do not know yet the amount of money disbursed to each Ministry by the Minister of Finance and Economic Development. We would like to first hear the breakdown of what was given to Government departments by the Ministry of Finance and then we can interrogate and ask questions. I have given an example that people’s names were written down and promised to be given cushion allowances through their ecocash accounts since they were disrupted from their SME’s businesses. However, people are still crying that the money has not been disbursed into their accounts.
So, if you can give us a breakdown so that we understand and know what was disbursed and distributed for example the Ministry of SMEs and all other Ministries. Thank you.
*THE HON. SPEAKER: Thank you. The Deputy Minister of
Finance and Economic Development will bring the breakdown - [HON.
MEMBERS: Hear, hear.]
HON. MUSAKWA: Thank you Madam Speaker. My question is
directed to the Minister of Public Service and Social Welfare. What is Government policy when it comes to distribution of food especially maize in drought stricken areas whereby the delivery does not meet the quantum of the registered beneficiaries? At the end of the day, there is now cherry picking of those who then receive the maize. What is Government’s policy position in situations like that?
THE MINISTER OF PUBLIC SERVICE, LABOUR AND SOCIAL WELFARE (HON. PROF. MAVIMA): Madam Speaker,
the distribution of food to food insecure households is in cycles. Typically after the harvest around April-May, we scale down because most households will have harvested something. We continue with those households that are generally food insecure, the vulnerable, the old persons, the child headed households and those living with disabilities. So typically, between May and October, our distribution will be very limited to those households. We start picking up as more and more households will have exhausted whatever harvest they would have got.
This is where we are now, we are beginning to pick up. A lot of the Hon. Members would have realised that currently we have started distributing mealie-meal in rural areas and that is because some of the maize that we had was GMO maize and we do not allow GMO maize to be distributed without being milled. So, we are busy milling 30 000 tonnes and distributing especially to those districts that were worst affected by the drought. They are about 23 such districts that we have targeted. So, there is indeed some cherry picking of areas that were most affected by the drought. We will continue to upscale and the highest number that we will feed will start around January which is the pick hunger period.
So, the reason why some areas may not have refilled is because those areas had better harvest than others. So, Madam Speaker, that is the situation. They will pick up the distribution going into November and December. Thank you.
HON. MUSAKWA: The Minister has not fully answered my
question. My question is that when limited supplies of food arrive at Ward level like in my Constituency Bikita, everyone is vulnerable, and everyone is exposed. The people who have registered themselves as social welfare - may be 1 500 people are registered in that Ward and only 200 bags come. What is the policy position as to how that maize should be distributed among the 1 500 when only 200 bags come? Are the people responsible for that allowed to break those bags and share equally amongst all the beneficiaries because they have all been satisfied to be vulnerable? What is the policy position because at the end of the day, there will be cherry picking of individuals among that whole lot. How do they then cherry pick, choose the 200 out of the 1 500? That is my question.
HON. PROF. MAVIMA: Thank you Madam Speaker, I concede
that I had not understood the question in the first instance. In actual fact, Madam Speaker, when we have limited supplies like that, the
Department of Social Welfare then looks at the level of vulnerability and then allocates on the basis of that. They start with more vulnerable people especially those that cannot fend for themselves, the child headed household, the elderly people. The assumption really is that during the month, we may have brought 200 in the first instance but as the month progresses as more grain comes, then the other people are covered.
We do not typically allow for the supplies to be broken because once we have done that, the household that has received may be a quarter of what they were supposed to receive and it is very vulnerable and becomes susceptible to hunger. The best way to do this is to rank on the basis of vulnerability and this is how Social Welfare distributes the supplies if they are limited. Like I said, we are beginning to scale up to where every vulnerable household should be receiving grains in the rural areas. We hope that situation where there is limited stock will be a thing of the past very soon.
HON. SIKHALA: What is your standard measurement of vulnerability because the question by Hon. Musakwa is that many people in rural areas are all vulnerable? What is your standard of assessing vulnerability of families? If you go to rural areas, for example he said his one ward, of the 200 you have selected, the same people with the same vulnerability are also in demand of food. Why do you not put a formula where the food available is shared among the vulnerable families?
THE MINISTER OF PUBLIC SERVICE, LABOUR AND SOCIAL WELFARE (HON. PROF. MAVIMA):Thank you Mr.
Speaker Sir. Hon. Sikhala wanted us to indicate how we judge vulnerability. It is highly common sense, of course. There are those families that are permanently on social welfare rolls and these are families like the elderly citizens, who are no longer able to work for themselves. There are those who are chronically ill, suffering from diseases, who cannot again fend for themselves and there are child headed families – again, who are unable to fend for themselves.
The usual social welfare programme targets these people and it is almost like a permanent arrangement where we distribute 50 kg of grain to these families but we have instances where for various reasons, families become food insecure. Incidences like Cyclone Idai for example and the two successive droughts that we have had rendered some families that are capable of working for themselves become food insecure. In such situations then we increase our rolls but we have said that for those who can work, when we have enough grain, we give them but they have to work for it. Hence, there is food for work or community assets for food, where they go and do bridges and other things in the community.
Our ideal situation is where we have enough to give to these vulnerable; the elderly, chronically ill, those with disabilities and child headed households. We would like as much as possible to maintain the standard of 50 kg per household because that will sustain them for a whole month. The other transitory food insecure households have ways in which they can cope because they are able bodied. They can work, especially where we have limited stocks, then we cannot take care of them. Like I said, in situations where we have say 300 food insecure households and only 200 bags come, we then give 200 this week and then next week we strive to bring, within that one month, to bring for the other 100. This is why every week we are reporting that we have distributed this much. Then we get to the month end and we do the tallies to see if a district or a province has received enough to cover everyone who is vulnerable in the manner that I have referred to.
Are we in an ideal situation at the moment, no, this is why Cabinet has formed a grain mobilisation Inter-Ministerial Committee which is aggressively trying to get additional grain resources into the country. thank you Hon. Speaker.
HON. T. MLISWA: Thank you Hon. Speaker. A very good
afternoon Sir. When you walked in everyone went quite and said oh, there is no more joy the boss has come. So I want to say a very good afternoon to you, I am happy that the Speaker is back in the House.
Welcome to the Chair.
THE HON. SPEAKER: Order, order! Hon. Mliswa, there is only
one Chair and different occupants, so you respect the Chair rather than the individual. So that statement must be withdrawn, although it has some sort of embellishment.
HON. T. MLISWA: I withdraw the statement Sir. My supplementary question to the Minister of Public Service is you have named three categories of the vulnerable, elderly, child headed and also chronically ill. In our culture, we usually take care of those who are chronically ill, our grandmothers and our relatives. How do they become vulnerable when there is family support?
HON. PROF. MAVIMA: Hon. Speaker, the situation that the
Hon. Member is referring to is more of an ideal situation where traditionally we have taken care of elderly people within our communities, even within the extended families, but the current situation when we say chronically ill, we may have someone who is elderly but they are also suffering from diabetes and they are debilitated to the point that they cannot work for themselves. It could be someone who is suffering from the effects of HIV/AIDS and cannot work for themselves. These are the people that the Government, through its social protection programmes, has put on welfare rolls and these are supposed to get our support on a monthly basis.
Under an ideal situation, an old man who is suffering from diabetes may have grandchildren who take care of him, but there are many cases now in our communities, unfortunately, where that cultural tradition of taking care of our own no longer exists and the Government has to step in and provide for those people. I thank you.
HON. NDEBELE: Thank you Hon. Speaker. Please allow me to
politely check with the Minister what deliberate policy measures he has put in place to ensure that would be recipients of food aid are not discriminated on political lines. Thank you Hon. Speaker.
THE MINISTER OF PUBLIC SERVICE, LABOUR AND
SOCIAL WELFARE (HON. PROF. P. MAVIMA): Hon. Speaker
Sir, I want to thank the Hon. Member for the question. The charge that we give to our Social Welfare Officers (we now call them Social
Development Officers) is that there should never be any needy
Zimbabwean meeting our vulnerability criteria who should be left out. The fact that during drought years – last year was a drought, the previous year was a drought year and within the same period we have been affected by Cyclone Idai and a lot of areas were devastated by that cyclone.
The fact that we have not witnessed even a single case of death due to hunger is a clear testimony that this Government is taking care of all the vulnerable people in this country. We have not had even a single case of people dying from hunger. We strive to take care of all our vulnerable and we continue to do that. In fact, there are accusations and counter accusations of discrimination on the basis of political affiliation. You will know Hon. Speaker and Hon. Members that supplementing what Government is doing is also a programme that is run by the World Food Programme and it is delivered mainly through NGOs who are subcontracted by World Food Programme.
We have from the opposite side of aisle, we have been asked to go and investigate how these NGOs are distributing food because they are sometimes said to be favouring those that are aligned to the Opposition, but I can assure you that from both ends, we have seen that food distribution has been fair. People have sometimes said they prefer to be under NGOs because in addition to grain they give us some cash or they give us pulses and other things like that. That is a different matter altogether but we have to be fair to ourselves. If we had been using other considerations than vulnerability, people would have died of hunger but they have not. Thank you Hon. Speaker.
HON. D. SIBANDA: Thank you very much Mr. Speaker Sir. My
question is directed to the Minister of Women Affairs. Mr. Speaker Sir,
October 11, will mark the International Day of the girl child. Therefore, I would like to know the Government position which seeks to protect the rights of women and the girls in line with United Nation Sustainable Development Goal 5 on achieving the gender equality and empowering all women and girls in Zimbabwe by 2030, particularly in the context of the COVID-19. I would appreciate if we get any information on what actions your Ministry is taking so far. Thank you.
THE MINISTER OF WOMEN’S AFFAIRS, COMMUNITY,
SMALL AND MEDIUM ENTERPRISES DEVELOPMENT (HON.
- NYONI): Thank you Hon. Speaker Sir. I would like to thank the Hon. Member for a very important question. Women constitute 52% of our population and if you are also aware, the girl child is doing very well.
Some of our universities have more girls enrolled than boys. So the Ministry is taking a very important strong position to ensure that the girl children are empowered. We have different programmes and I am sure some of you have seen some of the programmes that we have done with students but we have our gender policy that we are going bring here very soon.
We are also having programmes that empower women. I think gender equality is not possible as long as women continue to be marginalised politically, economically and socially. We have got different funds in our Ministry and we are trying to disburse so that women are economically empowered. We have just had our SME policy passed by Cabinet and in that policy we emphasize also that whatever we do should make sure that the youth, the women and also the disabled are taken care of. That was a very pertinent question and I would like to thank the Hon. Member Mr. Speaker Sir.
HON. D. SIBANDA: Thank you very much Mr. Speaker Sir. Hon.
Minister, I revert back to the issue of the COVID-19. We have seen
some of our girls now that it is back to school – some are pregnant. What is Government position in terms of those girls to go back to school? Most of the girls are now stuck in the child marriages – is there anything which the Government is doing to make sure that they help those children who are stuck in the child marriage and to make sure that the girls who got pregnant during the lockdown are able to go back to school?
THE MINISTER OF WOMEN’S AFFAIRS, COMMUNITY,
SMALL AND MEDIUM ENTERPRISES DEVELOPMENT (HON.
- NYONI): Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. I think the Hon. Member will be aware that we have an Act also on Child Marriage and we have a strategy that we also launched last year. We are very concerned as a Ministry and she is right that with this lockdown, a lot of girls are pregnant and we are working with the Ministry of Education. We have formed Child Support Committees of women, mothers that are supporting such girls and we are encouraging them to go back to school and indeed some of them will have their uniforms now not fitting because they are bigger than before COVID-19 because of pregnancy and we are talking to schools so that they are allowed to go in their own clothes. The important thing is that the whole community needs to support such girls, the teachers need to support them and there is need for peer to peer support. We cannot do that without the children also being made to understand that being pregnant sometimes may not be totally the girl’s fault. Some girls are cornered into pregnancy.
I have got some examples Hon. Speaker, of girls whom we supported to go and write examinations and they did much better than the boys. So we need to continue to support them to go to university, colleges and also to take up jobs because having a child does not mean that you are now disabled or you cannot do much in life. So I want to thank the Hon. Member for that question –[HON. MEMBERS:
THE HON. SPEAKER: Order, order! Hon. Minister of
Women’s Affairs, Community, Small and Medium Enterprises
Development and Hon. Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare, can you sanitise? You are using the same gadget and also the
Hon. Minister’s front bench, you are too close to each other. Deputy Ministers should not be on the front bench and non Ministers. I do not need to point you out. Hon. Deputy Minister of Defence and War
Veterans and the bank benchers who are there, can you give way to Hon.
Matemadanda. Hon. Matemadanda, take the seat there. Ordinary
Members of Parliament go to the next bench –[HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.]- Order! This side you are too close to each other.
HON. D. SIBANDA: On a point of clarification.
THE HON. SPEAKER: No, you cannot ask two supplementary
HON. MAVETERA: Supplementary question. Thank you Mr.
Speaker Sir. My supplementary question is on the first question that Hon. Sibanda had asked to say, in relation to making sure that we adhere to SDG 5, what is it that you are doing concerning young women as well specific to COVID-19?
HON. S. NYONI: I think young women are very important because they are a seed. They will ensure continuity of strong women. So my Ministry is really charged with empowering young women so that they will carry on with the torch. In the Ministry, we have got a programme that says ‘Bridging generational and digital gap’ in which we are pairing young women and experienced retired women to try and make sure that they mentor the young women, but in terms of gender equality we also cannot have gender equality unless you strengthen and ensure that the young woman takes up her position. The men will not give her the position.
So in trying to mentor the young women and link them to the experienced women, you are trying to strengthen them so that they can then fight their way into society. So gender equality is not about the man giving the young women space but it is about strengthening the young women to try, create and occupy the space they want in society.
So my Ministry is working hard towards that. Thank you Mr. Speaker
HON. GONESE: Thank you very much Mr. Speaker Sir. In the
Hon. Minister’s response to the original question, she made reference to the Marriage Act but from my recollection it is still a Bill. I do not know whether it has been passed. However the substantive question which I want to make a follow up on is that we have a situation where girls have already entered into marriage when they are below the age of 18 and in view of the fact that the provision which relate to penalties or functions which can be meted out to those who would have been responsible for placing them in that situation are not yet in place, my question to the Hon. Minister is; what measures have been put in place to assist girls who find themselves in such a situation?
HON. S. NYONI: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. That is a very important question. One of the programmes that we have is to also work with traditional leaders because that is where the girls, especially in rural areas are coming from. If traditional leaders are sympathetic and they understand that young girls need to be protected they usually also educate the community so that together they take corrective measures in support of the girls. Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.
*HON. P. ZHOU: Thank you Hon. Speaker Sir. My question is directed to the Minister of Finance and Economic Development. What plans does the Government have with regards to the exchange rate of $81.44 RTGS to US$1 being used throughout the country as the official rate without different exchange rates being used in everyday transactions?
THE HON. SPEAKER: Hon. Minister, have you got the question?
THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC
DEVELOPMENT (HON. CHIDUWA): No, I did not get the question.
THE HON. SPEAKER: The question is; there is the official auction exchange rate. What policy is there to ensure that everybody complies in terms of transactions that they keep to the same exchange rate arising from the auction floors?
HON. CHIDUWA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. Should I answer in Shona?
THE HON. SPEAKER: You are not linked.
*THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF FINANCE AND
ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (HON. CHIDUWA): Thank you
Mr. Speaker Sir. It is true that most businesses use the implied exchange rate which is different from the auction rate. We have a special committee which is comprised of different stakeholders like the Consumer Council of Zimbabwe, the ZRP, the business community and others. From this coming week, we will be having a programme which identifies different exchange rates.
THE HON. SPEAKER: Hon. Minister, can you speak in Shona
HON. CHIDUWA: From this coming week, we will be
monitoring different businesses around the country to identify offenders. We have a number of contact details where the public can communicate such unscrupulous activities. Thank you.
*HON. KARENYI: Thank you very much Mr. Speaker Sir. Let me pose my supplementary question to the Deputy Minister. Right now most chain stores use different exchange rates, for example Spar, OK and other chain stores. As a Ministry, are you going to entertain such behaviour? This has been happening for quite some time now. The Hon. Minister informed the House that they will be carrying out this exercise. However, when you leave this House Hon. Minister and go to OK, they have their own prices and if you go to Spar they have their own unique pricing. How long are you going to allow this to continue?
Those who are in informal trade also have a different pricing system.
Those who are at Roadport have their own exchange rate. This august House has enquired several times on the policy issues surrounding the black market. We need clarity on such issues. The question that we have to ask is - how come we have new bank notes at Roadport?
*HON. CHIDUWA: Thank you for such a pertinent question. Yes, it is true that it might seem as if we have delayed addressing this issue. However, we deployed people around the country so that they monitor the situation. Some were engaging shop owners. In two of the shops that you mentioned, you will discover that they are using the auction rate. However, Spar has its own rate but OK is using the auction rate. Those who are in the informal sector use a rate which they get from the variety chain stores. As Government, we are going to start with the big chain stores. Thank you.
*HON. NDUNA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. Hon. Members of
Parliament normally stay in hotels. There are different rates that are used in hotels. Some are using the auction rate but others do not. The question is; is it possible for Government to start with hotels and engage hotel owners, particularly addressing that issue?
*HON. CHIDUWA: Thank you Hon. Speaker. The issue at hand
is an issue that affects all of us here. My request to members of this august House and the rest of the country is that the people who engage in black market activities are people we live with. So, let us tell our people to report such behaviour. As Government, we will continue pursuing the programme that I spoke about. The question that was asked by the Hon. Member is a question that I can respond to in the same manner that this coming week you will see with the response that Government is going to give on the ground. Thank you.
*THE HON. SPEAKER: Hon. Minister, all these questions are
directing you to do your job on this aspect. People are suffering.
HON. MISIHAIRABWI-MUSHONGA: Hon. Minister, perhaps
you could explain to the House what is the thinking behind not getting receipts that are foreign currency denominated. Why does it make sense that when you go into a shop, they are using an exchange rate so that they can give you a receipt in RTGs and yet this particular Government is desperate for foreign currency? Why can they not make it a law that when you pay in US dollars, your receipt is in US dollars so that when they are charged tax, they are also charged in US dollars. We do not understand why we are even having this debate around the exchange rate when we should just be getting the people in the shops to record my money in US dollars because I give them hard cash. Why are they operating like they are banks?
HON. CHIDUWA: Thank you Hon. Speaker. What the Hon.
Member raised is very fundamental. Businesses are collecting revenue on behalf of the Government and they are supposed to remit the revenue in the currency of trade which then means if they trade in USD, they are supposed to issue a receipt in USD.
However, when we were doing our research, we discovered that the big shops are having a systems problem. They engaged ZIMRA and all of them were given up to this Friday, that is from next Monday they are supposed to be compliant so that if one buys in USD, they are supposed to be given a receipt in USD. If it is in local currency, then they should be given a receipt in ZWL. So, we are working on it and I am sure from Monday, we should be seeing changes. I thank you.
HON. MUSHORIWA: My supplementary emanates from the
response that the Minister said when he was asked. He said that he had actually set a Committee to ensure that there is compliance. Now, I wanted the Minister to advise us in this House, given the performance of the auction system that we have witnessed that a major chunk of the people that are applying for foreign currency on the auction system are failing to get that money. Only a smaller percentage is able to access that money. Would there be justification to then set a Committee to supervise the bulky of the people that are failing to access cheaper forex from the auction system? What is the Government doing to ensure that everybody who wants the money gets it?
HON. CHIDUWA: In terms of those who are applying for forex in the auction market, the majority are actually getting the money. We can check the statistics which are clearly showing that the majority are getting the funds. The allocations of funds are allocated according to the bid price which you submit. Those who participate in the market are not allocated funds according to the weighted auction rate.
You are allocated funds according to your bid rate, if you bid at 1:100 and then if your line of business is in the priority areas, you also get priority. So, I think if we check all our statistics, you will see that the majority are getting the funds. The 20% that we are using, the auction is self sustaining at the moment. I thank you.
HON. T. MLISWA: This is an opportunity for us to be honest; the biggest national security threat is the inconsistency of the monetary policy. Ecocash has its own price when you are going to the shops, RTGS, Bond notes and the Nostro account which is USD has its own price and is no longer accepted. So, when you want to make a payment through the Nostro account bank to bank in USD, they are refusing. They is now a 7% which they charge for you to withdraw the cash.
How can we sustain or run an economy when all the monetary policies that we have had do not work and you still stand up in boldness and try to convince us? People are suffering every day, why did they embark on this when their framework was not in order? How would you put the cart before the horse?
HON. CHIDUWA: It is true what the Hon. Member said that we are having different rates. What the Hon. Member submitted in terms of the operations of the parallel market, it is true that we are having different rates, ecocash, RTGS etcetera but that does not make it legal. In terms of the USD; I think what is important is also for us to check what is happening in the market. We are having a lot of people who are having lots of USD balances and they are trying to get the RTGS balances. The most popular currency at the moment as we speak is the RTGS. You need to go to the market and see what is happening.
The Monetary Policy which has been mentioned; we have actually done our Monetary Policy excellently. If you check in terms of the money supply growth that is in the market, there is virtually no excess in liquidity that is in the market and because of that, we are having business looking for RTGS balances that are nowhere to be found. So, I am not sure, we may not want to say our monetary policy is a miracle monetary policy but we are on the right track. The Monetary policy supporting the fiscal policy and we know we are getting there.
HON. CHIKWINYA: My question is directed to the Minister of
Primary and Secondary Education. As we speak, students writing ‘O’
Level and ‘A’ Level examinations went back to school on Monday, but teachers did not go back to schools. In his post Cabinet briefing yesterday, the Minister said teachers who are on strike will be replaced by 10 000 qualified teachers who are not yet employed. Is it Government policy not to address labour issues and substituting them with teachers who are unemployed and is that sustainable?
THE MINISTER OF PRIMARY AND SECONDARY
EDUCATION (HON. MATHEMA): Mr. Speaker Sir, the figure that was mentioned yesterday of teachers who are out there unemployed was with regard to the fact that we want our learners to go to school and we will do everything we can to make sure that learners go to school. In any case Mr. Speaker Sir, the issue is that the matter is being handled by my Hon. Colleague with regard to the challenges that we are facing because of some of the teachers who have decided not to go to work.
THE HON. SPEAKER: Hon. Minister Mathema, can I check
with you whether you got the request to make a Ministerial Statement tomorrow.
THE MINISTER OF PRIMARY AND SECONDARY
EDUCATION (HON. MATHEMA): Yes I do have the request.
THE HON. SPEAKER: So, why do you not wait until you do your Ministerial Statement tomorrow?
HON. CHIKWINYA: I think the Hon. Minister had indicated that perhaps the Minister of Public Service here present may have at least an answer for now whilst the details will come in the Ministerial statement with regards to what is being done with regards to the labour issues being raised by teachers which is making them not to go to work. Perhaps the Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare may give us an answer, then we get details from the Minister of Education tomorrow.
THE HON. SPEAKER: I ruled that the Minister of Public
Service must liaise with the Minister of Primary and Secondary
Education so that a comprehensive statement is given tomorrow.
HON. MAYIHLOME: Thank you Mr. Speaker. My question is
directed to the Minister of Higher and Tertiary Education, Innovation, Science and Technology and Development. What is the enrolment policy in State Universities given that some universities are science oriented? Thank you.
THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF HIGHER AND TERTIARY
EDUCATION, INNOVATION, SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY
(HON. MACHINGURA): Thank you Mr. Speaker. The enrolment
policy is guided by the requirement of each discipline in terms of qualifications. Anybody who does have them will be considered. If on the grounds of the numbers, assuming 200 people have enrolled for an engineering degree and only 180 can be taken, then the 20 can be considered for their second option. Thank you
HON. MAYIHLOME: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. All the three
State universities in the Matebeleland region are science oriented whereas the schools in that region do not have science laboratories. As a result we have universities like NUST who are much older than Midlands State University and they only have one-third of students enrolled at those universities. Great Zimbabwe University, far surpasses
NUST and the same applies to Lupane State University. So, what measures is Government going to take to ensure that secondary schools are upgraded in that region so that students fit into science oriented State Universities in the region? Thank you.
HON. MACHINGURA: Thank you Mr. Speaker. The Structure
of curriculum in State Universities as directed by Government policy and the Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education, Innovation, Science and Technology Development is addressing skills gaps in this country so that we move towards modernisation and industrialisation of the nation of Zimbabwe. So, the sister Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education I think is the one that should address the question that has been asked of what is to be done at that level so as to increase the preparedness of the students who will take up Higher and Tertiary Education.
THE MINISTRY OF PRIMARY AND SECONDARY
EDUCATION (HON. MATHEMA): Yes the Ministry is aware of that discrepancy of small numbers of our children in Matabeleland who take science subjects. As a Ministry Mr. Speaker Sir, we aim to make sure that all children in this country access the same subjects in their areas of schools. That is why we want to see even in those regions where we have a shortage or a small number of children who do science have the necessary number of teachers as well at the schools in those areas. Every school child in Zimbabwe has a right to access any level of education in Zimbabwe and indeed to be exposed to education to the extent that they are able to compete anywhere in Zimbabwe. So the Ministry, together with the Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education we are working on the issue so that we have science teachers as well in those regions that do not have enough science teachers. As a result, we will have fewer children who do science at schools. Again, it is also an issue of us as parents, from whichever part of Zimbabwe, why are our children going to school; what do we want them to go and learn? It is no longer the days when we sent our children just to go and learn to be employees. We want every child whatever level they finish at school to be able to stand on their own. That is what we are working on as a Ministry, together with my colleague in the Ministry of Higher and
Tertiary Education. Thank you.
HON. CHINYANGANYA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. My
question is directed to the Minister of National Housing and Social
Amenities. In his absence – I cannot see the leader of the House again.
THE HON. SPEAKER: You can proceed with your question, we have a co-leader of Government Business, Hon. Mutsvangwa. She will
HON. CHINYANGANYA: Thank you Hon. Speaker Sir. My
question is, what is Government doing to make sure that there is housing for people living in squalid conditions and also for those who are in need of decent accommodation, which the Government should provide?
THE MINISTER OF INFORMATION, PUBLICITY AND BROADCASTING SERVICES (HON. MUTSVANGWA): Thank
you Hon. Speaker Sir. I would like to thank Hon. Chinyanganya for a very good question. I was just thinking - listening to the Cabinet post briefing yesterday, Cabinet was seized with the issue of national housing. This is so, especially looking at prioritising institutional accommodation for our defence forces and our civil servants. I want to say Government is seized with a very serious issue in order to instill dignity to our people in order to empower our people so that we can actually reach Vision 2030. It is critical that we invest or recapitalise the National Housing Fund and this is precisely the decision which was taken by Cabinet yesterday, to make sure that the National Housing Fund is actually recapitalised so that we start building houses in order to at least get to where we want to get to with Vision 2030. Munhu asina imba haana chiremera. So, we want to make sure that we bring dignity to all our people. I thank you.
HON. CHINYANGANYA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. I would
like to thank the Hon. Minister for the response. We appreciate what the Government is planning to do, especially to take care of those who are working in Government. Mr. Speaker Sir, it has been almost two years now, since they came into office. They promised millions of houses but as of now, no single house has been constructed. My question is when are we going to see the project kick starting, taking into account everyone not only those in the civil service? I thank you.
HON. MUTSVANGWA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. I want to
thank Hon. Chinyanganya for his supplementary question. I totally agree with him that the issue of building houses – I think in the 1980s, we had Government houses which were all sold to the sitting tenants and much effort was made to make sure that we build more houses. We have got a waiting list of almost 2 million and Government is actually moving very fast. This is why the Second Republic for the first time, separated the Ministry of National Housing which was housed in the Ministry of Local Government and Public Works. Now it is a standalone Ministry, that shows the seriousness and commitment which the Second Republic has to provide accommodation for our people.
HON. TSUNGA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. I also appreciate the response given by the Hon. Minister in regard to the commitment to provide housing for our people in Zimbabwe. Sadly, however, there does not appear to be any mortgage finance available to anyone, from whatever institution in this country. I just want to get assurance from the Hon. Minster whether there is any provision for capacitating the
local financial institutions to be able to provide mortgage finance to home seekers and those who are building their own homes or renovating? Thank you.
THE HON. SPEAKER: Hon. Members, in terms of Standing
Order, I do not want to trinket the debate. I would rather ask for someone to extend time so that the Hon. Minister can answer the question.
HON. NDEBELE: Hon. Speaker, I rise to move that the time for Questions without Notice be extended by 15 minutes.
HON. D., SIBANDA: I second.
Motion put and agreed to.
Hon. Deputy Ministers having started walking out of the House.
THE HON. SPEAKER: No, where is the Chief Whip? Tell them to come back.
THE MINISTER OF INFORMATION, PUBLICITY AND
BROADCASTING SERVICES (HON. SEN. MUTSVANGWA) on behalf of the THE MINISTER OF NATIONAL HOUSING AND
SOCIAL AMENITIES (HON. GARWE): Thank you Hon. Speaker
Sir, I would like to thank Hon. Tsunga - I thought it was a separate question and I do not know whether it was a supplementary or not.
THE HON. SPEAKER: It was supplementary to the extent that
you spoke about recapitalisation, so as the viability of mortgage finances.
THE MINISTER OF INFORMATION, PUBLICITY AND BROADCASTING SERVICES (HON. SEN. MUTSVANGWA) on behalf of the THE MINISTER OF NATIONAL HOUSING AND SOCIAL AMENITIES (HON. GARWE): I understand the question
now. I want to say to this House that mortgage provision has become very difficult of late because a lot of our people are not employed. There are a lot of SMEs, people who are not employed in Government or in big companies, but people who are able to pay if provided with mortgages. So, we are aware of the fact that the mortgage services which used to be provided many years ago, our people may not fit in those areas. The Government is working with a lot of institutions to make sure that we come up with a programme which provides mortgages to those people even those who are not employed in big companies or those who are self employed if I may put it that way.
We know that there are a lot of Zimbabweans out there who are self employed and are able to pay because they are paying rents and we would rather the money they are using to pay rent, they pay towards a mortgage and towards owning their own home. This is something with the Minister of National Housing is looking into. We are aware of the fact that we need to come up with that. Thank you.
*HON. P. MOYO: I would like to pose my follow up question to the Hon. Minister. I want to find out what Government position is regarding those who construct or who build their houses without following laid down procedures and by-laws? City Councils ignore such people. However, after completing their houses, Councils demolish their houses. Is that not similar to Murambatsvina? What is Government position regarding the demolishing of fully constructed houses?
THE HON. SPEAKER: The context of the question is that the Hon. Minister has indicated to the House that Government yesterday decided to address the issue of housing but some houses are being destroyed in the same context. Could you address the issue Hon.
THE MINISTER OF INFORMATION, PUBLICITY AND BROADCASTING SERVICES (HON. SEN. MUTSVANGWA) on behalf of THE MINISTER OF NATIONAL HOUSING AND
SOCIAL AMENITIES (HON. GARWE): Thank you Hon. Speaker
Sir. I think the issue of land barons, especially in urban areas, the issue of people who have build homes where it is not actually allocated for building home is a serious issue which the Ministry of Local
Government and Public Works are working on and the new Minister Garwe who is the Minister of National Housing – they are working together to regularise that.
The Hon. Member posed his question in Shona. I am sorry for that.
Let me inform Hon. Moyo who asked the question as to what Government position is regarding people who built their houses illegally. I would like to clarify that Government wants to regularise...
*THE HON. SPEAKER: I urge Hon. Members and Hon.
Ministers to use proper language.
THE MINISTER OF INFORMATION, PUBLICITY AND BROADCASTING SERVICES (HON. SEN.
MUTSVANGWA) on behalf of THE MINISTER OF NATIONAL HOUSING AND SOCIAL AMENITIES (HON. GARWE): I
understand Hon. Speaker. Let me thank Hon. Moyo who asked this question on what the Government position is regarding those who build their houses illegally, be it in wetlands. If they build in wetlands, this might not be safe. Government plans to regularise the building of houses so that people reside in safe places.
HON. NDUNA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. What is
Government policy relating to local authorities that are seated on land they have been given for housing infrastructure development? What is Government policy relating to that in particular where there is a backlog as an example of 25 000 households, whereas the municipalities are seated on land that is enough for 50 000 infrastructures and household development? Is Government going to make sure that local authorities unlock that barrier?
THE MINISTER OF INFORMATION, PUBLICITY AND BROADCASTING SERVICES (HON. SEN. MUTSVANGWA) on behalf of THE MINISTER OF NATIONAL HOUSING AND
SOCIAL AMENITIES (HON. GARWE): Thank you Hon. Speaker
Sir. I want to thank Hon. Nduna, but from the way he is explaining, this is a particular case which he is very much aware of. I think if he puts it in writing to the Minister of Local Government and Public Works Hon.
July Moyo, he will get a very good and satisfactory answer. I thank you.
HON. BITI: Thank you Hon. Speaker Sir. My question is directed to the esteemed Minister of Energy and Power Development who in is absentia. I will direct to
THE HON. SPEAKER: The deputy is there.
HON. BITI: Oh, the deputy is there. Thank you Hon. Speaker Sir. In the past few days and past few weeks, there is a significant decrease in power supply and there are massive power outages. We would like to know from the Minister, what is the cause of that when we know that water tables have improved at Kariba and we know that power generation now is around 600MW. What is the cause of that because it is affecting farmers who are in land preparation mode, farmers who are in harvesting mode if you are a wheat farmer and in business and commerce? Some of us are in commerce and we are being crippled by power shortages. I thank you very much Hon. Speaker Sir.
THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF ENERGY AND POWER
DEVELOPMENT (HON. MUDYIWA): Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.
I would like to thank the Hon. Member for the question which is quite pertinent at this time of the year. It is true the electricity situation has improved slightly from what it was in the year 2019, just because the water levels at Kariba had picked up a bit but not to the level that we want. I am sure that you are aware that we share the waters in the Kariba Dam with the Zambian Government, so we are generating but not to the maximum of what we should get from Kariba Dam.
Now coming to the problem of where we are having load shedding here and there, it is all because of the outages that we are experiencing without equipment at Hwange Thermal Power Station. Hwange Power Thermal Station should generate more than 500MW but at the moment, like the report that we got todayit is about 300MW because we are operating with only two units. The other three units are out and need to be repaired. The units at Hwange are old and constantly breaking down to the extent that we cannot operate all the six at one time.
I am sure you are aware that two of those machines have been down since last year, 2019 and the work of repairing them could not go ahead because of the lockdown. The engineers who are supposed to come from Italy and some from South Africa have not come to continue with the repairs. So we operate on four units from which we generate about 400MW. If one goes down again, we are left with only three where we can generate about 300MW. That is where the problem is, but we are doing our best to make sure that these units are back and we generate the much needed power. Thank you.
HON. BITI: I would like to thank the Hon. Minister for a very frank answer but Hon. Speaker Sir, it is a very dangerous and precarious position that she discloses. The disclosure that we are generating a mere 200MW from Hwange is frightening given where we are right now at this stage of our economy. It is agricultural season; it is business season. Can the Minister tell this House what measures you are putting now to ensure we have guaranteed imports that will augment the reduced output and generation from Hwange? What are you doing to secure imports either from ESKOM or from HCB Cabora Bassa because we cannot afford to be as low as 200MW when it is land preparation and when it is business because those figures are just frightening? I thank you Hon. Speaker Sir.
HON. MUDYIWA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. I would like to start by correcting the Hon. Member of Parliament. I said we are generating 300MW and not 200MW from Hwange Power Station. Yes, I agree with you it is very low and it is not enough for us as a country. What we are doing, I am sure you are also aware that we have often relied on imports from ESKOM and from Cabora Bassa and EDM of Mozambique.
Now the challenge that we were experiencing is that we are still getting the imports but ZETDC have been failing to service their debts with EDM and HDB. We are trying to be up to date with ESKOM as much as we can but because of the low tariffs that we were having since March up to now which were not cost reflective, the utility has accrued quite a huge debt, almost $90 million that should be paid. So that is the challenge that we are having but we are doing our best to make sure that we keep up the good relationship with ESKOM so that we do not go down on our imports. With Mozambique, we are still importing but it is not as healthy as we are getting from ESKOM. Thank you Mr. Speaker
HON. GONESE: Thank you very much Mr. Speaker Sir. I am a bit worried by the Hon. Minister’s response when she indicates that ZETDC is having challenges in terms of payments to our suppliers from outside the country. I want to find out from the Hon. Minister what they are doing to try and recover some of the debts which are owed to the ZETDC, particularly from people in positions of authority, bigwigs and so on who have owed ZETDC for quite a long time. Have any measures been put in place to try and recover monies from those bigwigs so that the debt to ESKOM can be serviced?
HON. MUDYIWA: The ZETDC debt that is owed by these people, I think we are very much aware that they have been accrued from the dollarisation era of 2009 when the United States dollar was one as to one with the Zimbabwean dollar, but because of inflation that money is no longer of much value since the Zimbabwean dollar has been devalued to a great extent.
Yes, we know there are some people who still owe the utility from as far back as that time and we have been instructing the ZETDC to come up with measures. For example, they can invite the people for a discussion so that they come up with a payment plan. Some of them have come up with payment plans and others have been switched off. They really have to run around and pay something, come up with a payment plan with ZETDC. That money has been devalued as you are very much aware, but something is being done to recover that debt.
THE HON. SPEAKER: Thank you very much Hon. Deputy Minister for your comprehensive response. You have been doing very well. I want you to take the message to the Hon. Minister that since his appointment, he has not appeared here in the House. So, can he make some effort to appear in the House and act accordingly?
Questions Without Notice were interrupted by THE HON.
SPEAKER in terms of Standing Order Number 64.
HON. T. MLISWA: Mr. Speaker Sir, for a very long time you have warned Ministers and Deputy Ministers to attend Parliament according to the Constitution. Therefore, they are in contempt, insubordination and misconduct. I move that the Privileges Committee be set up to investigate all those Ministers and Deputy Ministers according to the records that you have for those who have not followed due process of apologising. It is about time that Parliament with the powers it has exercises its powers. They are disrespectful. Some of them even lied and said they were coming back; they have gone. Today is Question Time when the nation looks forward to answers from the Executive. We are here disciplined in our own way. We have a lot of things to do. They are paid full time as Ministers. Members of Parliament are at all not in that fortunate position. Why are they abrogating their responsibilities? It is about time Mr. Speaker Sir, that Parliament exercises its authority through the Privileges Committee according to Standing Rules and Orders and teach a lesson to some of them. We are an independent institution. We complement the
Executive and the Judiciary. As such, I move that the Privileges
Committee be set up to investigate the names of Hon. Ministers and Deputy Ministers who will be seen not to have complied with the provisions of the Standing Rules and Orders and the Constitution as well. Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.
THE HON. SPEAKER: Thank you very much. You are within
the Standing Rules. Follow the procedure of Standing Rules and Orders accordingly and liaise with the administration. You need to move a proper motion to that effect. Be advised by the Administration of Parliament. We cannot speak in general terms, the Ministers have got to be identified. Equally, I am disappointed. There was a whole lot of Deputy Ministers here in full attendance and they just disappeared. We cannot allow that. So, you have to follow the procedure. Hon. Mliswa, are you listening?
HON. T. MLISWA: I am listening.
THE HON. SPEAKER: You are listening to your colleague
HON. T. MLISWA: He was going to second. He is a former
chief whip, he is also helping me.
THE HON. SPEAKER: I want a proper motion with correct names of the Ministers concerned, including Deputy Ministers.
ORAL ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS WITH NOTICE HON. MUSHORIWA: On a point of order Mr. Speaker Sir.
THE HON. SPEAKER: Yes.
HON. MUSHORIWA: Mr. Speaker Sir, I actually think that we
have got a challenge when it comes to Questions With Notice. Firstly, it is also to do with the network. Some of the Members are failing to connect, I think the network is actually a bit poor.
THE HON. SPEAKER: Where is this Member for Question Number 4? Do you know where this Member is?
HON. KARENYI: She is with the Women’s Affairs Committee.
She is attending public hearings.
THE HON. SPEAKER: She is out, so it is not quite accurate.
HON. MUSHORIWA: The major issue Mr. Speaker Sir is
actually the behaviour of the Ministers during this time. Right now, even if you check on the benches, most of the Ministers inspite of you asking them to come back, they have all gone away and it actually creates a problem for Members of Parliament. They now think that it is the new norm that Ministers tend to run away.
THE HON. SPEAKER: Hon. Member, it was agreed that a
motion be raised accordingly and the names of the Ministers concerned will be documented accordingly, including those who are not available to answer questions. Mr. Daniel will look into that and come up with a list. That list will be given to Hon. Mliswa who shall move a motion accordingly and get the Ministers charged for contempt. Those Members who for some unknown reason do not ask their questions will follow the new Standing Rules and Orders to expunge those questions immediately.
WRITTEN SUBMISSION TO QUESTIONS WITH NOTICE
POLICY REGARDING TREATMENT PROTOCOLS FOR VICTIMS
- HON. K. PHULU asked the Minister of Health and Child Care to appraise the House on the Government policy regarding the treatment protocols for victims of COVID-19.
THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF HEALTH AND CHILD CARE (HON. MANGWIRO):
Questions with Notice were interrupted by THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER in terms of Standing Order No. 64.
THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF INFORMATION,
COMMUNICATION, TECHNOLOGY, POSTAL AND COURIOR
SERVICES (HON. PHUTI): Yesterday’s proceedings called for the
Ministry of Information, Communication, Technology, Postal and Courier Services to respond to fundamental issues that were raised in the Bill and the Minister is here to respond.
BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
THE MINISTER OF INFORMATION COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGY, POSTAL AND COURIER SERVICES (HON.
MUSWERE): I move that Orders of the Day, Numbers 1 to 36 be stood over until Order of the Day, Number 37 has been disposed of.
Motion put and agreed to.
CYBER SECURITY AND DATA PROTECTION BILL [H. B.
Thirty Seventh Order read: Second Reading: Cyber Security and
Data Protection Bill [H. B. 18, 2019] Question again proposed.
HON. MISIHAIRABWI-MUSHONGA: Thank you Madam
Speaker. I stand to add my voice to the debate on Cyber Security and Data Protection Bill. Speaking for myself and the majority of women, we do welcome the Cyber Security Bill because it deals fundamentally with some of the abuses that women have had to face through cyber. I know that male colleagues will probably come back and say they are equally abused but I must argue that if you look at the kind of abuse that women are subjected to and the one that males are subjected to, for women it is always related to their sexuality. The abuse is sexual in nature. In some instances, of late we have actually seen it being so abusive to an extent that it actually speaks of sexual assault. There are threatening messages around ‘we will rape you’, ‘you are a prostitute’ and all sorts of things.
Madam Speaker, the biggest example that one would want to give about what happened in this country in particular, is that last Elections. The last Elections saw unprecedented levels of abuse on cyber particularly on women that either were running for office or women that held particular positions. I am sure most of us will remember the kind of abuse that Judge Chigumba was subjected to. We are not saying people should not have different political opinions and that is why we support a free democratic country. But when that freedom is freedom to abuse, then we have serious problems with it.
Madam Speaker, I have just said at the beginning of my debate that if you do a comparative analysis of the kind of abuse of the males that are in positions of authority to those of women who are in position of authority, you find that invariably, the abuse that is directed to women is always sexual in nature. It is about what is perceived to be the moral standards, the private line, it is about who she sleeps with and who she does not sleep with. So, when we look at this cyber law, one of the things that we should really concentrate on is how you protect women from this cyber abuse.
Madam Speaker, I know that yesterday, some of our colleagues raised issues around fear of the abuse of this particular Act. I spent a lot of time yesterday evening going through the cyber laws in countries which we believe or which are perceived to be democratic the USA being one. In fact, their cyber laws are much more stringent than ours, because in most instances they are dealing with issues of terrorism and therefore literally anything and everything in your life is investigated. This is why you realise that if there is any bombing in Manchester or anywhere, they would have a footprint on what this particular individual has been saying on social media, including those that have engaged with that particular individual.
When we debate these issues, let us not create an impression that in Zimbabwe we are creating some island that is outside the global issue. The issue around the abuse of social media is a global issue. The issue around fake news is a global debate and we need to be able to contextualise it within that context. On my part, I do welcome this Bill. Where I agree with my colleagues that spoke yesterday is what I feel is a mixture of a lot of things in one Bill and very confusing. I am sure the Minister will be able to respond to this. I am not clear why we did not have a separate Bill, not in drafting terms - you could still have both the issues of data protection and cyber security issues in one Bill. In terms of drafting and how it follows through, one wants to understand that these provisions are falling under data protection and you know you are done with it, and then you proceed to the issues of security so that you can put the differences. I got confused just going through it, but I am sure the Minister will be able to explain. It could be that I am naturally not a drafter and there maybe reasons why from a drafting point of view the Bill was put in.
The first point is my inability to be able to appreciate exactly what is falling under data protection and what is coming through the issue of cyber security. The one issue that I struggled with a lot is that you find in the Bill – of course, the issue of POTRAZ which I agree with many others, to say if we are dealing with issues of security - perhaps let us have a conversation around whether POTRAZ is the institution that does so. The one issue that confused me completely was the issue around data controller, data processor and data protection officer as defined in the Bill. I am not sure whether these people would then be operating within the purview of POTRAZ, or whether they themselves are separate as an institution. In some provisions, you find a provision in which they seemingly report to the authority and one assumes that the authority being referred to is POTRAZ. In one instance, it almost put up certain responsibilities that are directly linked to either data processor or data controller. For the reason that we are giving this particular office or person - what exactly does that mean? Does that mean that this person in making the decisions that are provided for in this can make their own independent decisions or those decisions have to be put through the authority?
It would have been easier for a person to understand which office one goes through. Let us assume that there has been a violation on issues of data management, do I proceed to report to the person or do I proceed to report to the authority. That again was not clear from a structural point of view.
There are certain violations that are here that I have found very interesting. Knowing what happens in marriages, we have got a court judgment by Judge Chitapi, it must have been sometime last year and it created a whole lot of debate nationally where he basically said because of the principle of privacy, even a wife or husband in a relationship, if they get or procure information from your phone illegally they have violated the constitutional principle of privacy. I have found that we have now brought that into the legislation because it is illegal and a proper violation if I am with a partner and I decide like most women are doing to use the WhatsApp function where you press in and automatically the messages come to my phone. Any conversation that you are having with somebody else will automatically read on to my phone.
The partner may not take the wife to court, but in the event of a civil partner and my messages have now been gotten by this other person, if you look at the provision that is there that could actually cause violation. If that is illegal then a whole lot of people are going to be arrested because that is what happens. You cannot say it is unlawful because you have done it without my consent. For all intents and purposes, it will be unlawful. I would want the Minister to look at some of those things and the implication that they would make. I say so because I was one of the Members of Parliament who were in Parliament at the time that we passed the Sexual Offences Bill. At that time we were quite happy about the issues of disclosure. One of the things that we were saying around HIV disclosures is that if somebody is HIV positive, surely, you should ensure that your partner knows. If you do not, then it becomes a criminal offence.
We realised over years - which is why we brought it in the Marriages Bill, where we were going against that same provision. We realised that the people that violated that principle more than anybody else were women. It will be women who are likely to know their status before the husband knows, because they are the ones that go to hospital and get tested because they are pregnant or the child is sick and they automatically test the women. I just want to go back to those provisions and look at them and say in terms of that provision, will it not create some problems where as women, we will come back and women are being arraigned every other day, knowing varume vacho nechihure chavo, this will not stop.
THE HON DEPUTY SPEAKER: May you withdraw that. HON. MISIHAIRABWI-MUSHONGA: I withdraw. There is a
provision around whistleblower – I am very happy because I am in the African Parliamentary Network against Corruption. We have been calling around having legislation that facilitates whistleblowing. The Minister needs to explain why we want to have it in this legislation and not wait for the Whistleblowers Act so that it falls through in that particular legislation, instead of having these small little things that we are putting in. It is just a proposal to say it would make sense within the context of the Whistleblowers Act, instead of just having that provision in there. Then the provision that I am most happy with but which I am going to try and persuade the Minister to perhaps draft in a different way so that it is as effective as we would want it to be, is the provision that speaks to the issue of transmission of intimate images without consent.
Madam Speaker, the one problem that has almost turned out to be a pandemic, particularly for young women is this particular issue. What happens is what is referred to as revenge pornography. A girl is in a relationship with a man and has been shooting nude images which should not be made unlawful because you decide that you want this person to see you in your naked form. In the event that you then break up, they then use those images against you. We have seen them being used against girls that would have qualified for Miss Zimbabwe, I think we have two instances, where girls were actually disqualified because these men then put up the nude pictures out there.
This is why I think that provision should almost be dealt with or drafted in a different form ,because when you say Hon. Minister any person who unlawfully and intentionally broadcast or distributes a data message, you may be....
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon. Misiharabwi, you are
left with 5 minutes.
HON. MISIHAIRABWI-MUSHONGA: You maybe in a danger
of not dealing with the issue that speaks to consent. I think the mischief that you want to deal with is not the distribution; the mischief is the lack of consent. So if we circulate the images but we have consented to the circulation, that should not be unlawful. If you leave it as just unlawful, you give it a wider interpretation of what constitutes unlawful - but you merely just draft it in a manner that is purely the issue of consent. If you start distributing that message without my consent or those pictures without my consent, then that is where the problem arises.
So, we will be proceeding to come up with some amendments to tighten that particular area, but one would want to congratulate the Minister for making sure that the issue of revenge pornography is in this legislation because it has been one of the biggest problem that has dehumanized, created problems for a lot of young people, irrespective of how we may feel. We know that men like theirs distributed if their organs can be celebrated but we have not seen those that have
distributed messages when their organs are nothing to talk about. It could be good if we could have that. I thank you very much.
THE MINISTER OF INFORMATION COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGY, POSTAL AND COURIER SERVICES (HON.
MUSWERE): Thank you Madam Speaker, I would like to respond to the contributions which have been made by Hon. Members. I will start with the contributions by Hon. Nguluvhe on the cyber security centre that they should be a balance related to the use of personnel from the security forces. That is best addressed through the establishment of the Cyber Security Committee which will have 11 experts from various Government departments which also includes the police, that is the security sector - based on their merit in terms of cyber security, ICT and telecommunications.
Clauses 5 and 6 addresses that Madam Speaker, with regards to Hon. Chikwinya, POTRAZ is better placed to deal with the housing of the Cyber Security Centre and Data Protection Authority given that telecommunications operators are an enabling factor for the data economy as they provide the infrastructure upon which the data economy is developing as a result they already fall under POTRAZ, existing regulatory domain. Also in a data economy, mobile numbers, our rather stable customer identifier which can be used to consolidate data collected from different sources about a given individual and this can be achieved through successful implementation of sim-card registration and number portability.
Since telecommunications operators play a critical role in the data economy regarding the provision of reliable identifier is used to exchange data and to limit the proliferation of false data. The telecommunications regulator is better placed to control such operations. Operators are also a relevant source of rich and valuable data, for example the smart phone location data. This kind of data constitutes what we know now as personally identifiable information which needs to be kept private, hence the regulator is already ensuring its security. In addition to that the telecommunication regulators have accumulated considerable experience in terms of data collection and consumer protection. It is also taking preventive action to promote data protection.
Telecommunications Regulators have experienced continuous marketing, monitoring and this is relevant in a data economy as they also require continuous market monitoring. The process of applying the marketing monitoring tools involves the approach to data collection, identifying data requirements and data segmentation taking into consideration market specifications. Designing collection methods deciding on the regulators framework of the collection, POTRAZ also encompasses fostering the development of wholesale markets notable evaluating the effects of practice such as long term access agreements or sharing mechanisms.
Such evaluations might be relevant in the case of access to data via data sharing mechanisms. POTRAZ has the capacity and expertise to identify areas of intervention to prevent cyber crime, promote and coordinate activities focused on improving cyber security and preventing cyber crime by all interested parties in the public and private sectors.
They also have the expertise to provide guidelines to public and private sector, interested parties on matters relating to awareness, training, enhancement, investigations, prosecution and combating cyber crime and managing the cyber security threat.
They also have expertise in the enforcement of the Act to ensure that it is enforced reasonably and with due regard to fundamental human rights and freedom. They also have expertise in terms of technical capacity and policy advice to the Minister among other things. Clause 2 deals with the same subject.
Hon. P. D. Sibanda spoke about the forwarding of messages; this is dealt with in terms of Clause 164 of the Bill. Clause 164 Part II of the Bill relates to the offences relating to electronic communications and material. The transmission of data messages inciting violence or damaged property. Any person who unlawfully by means of a computer or information system makes available, transmits, broadcasts or distributes a data message to any person, group of persons or to the public with the intention to incite such persons to commit acts of violence against any person or persons or to cause damage to any property, shall be guilty of an offence and liable to a fine not exceeding level 10 or imprisonment for a period not exceeding 5 years.
Section 164 (a) in relation to the sending of threatening data messages – any person who unlawfully and intentionally, by means of a computer or information system, sends any data message to any message threatening harm to the person or the person’s family or friend or damage to the property, such person shall be guilty of an offence and liable to a fine not exceeding level 10 or to imprisonment for a period not exceeding 5 years or to both such fine and imprisonment. He also contributed to the distinction between illegal hacking and ethical hacking, that we have taken note Madam Speaker and will be amended.
Hon. Biti’s contribution related to the basic rights which will not be liquidated by this Bill as it will protect the citizenry and also ensure the technological advancement in the country in terms of technology since we are in the fourth industrial revolution. In terms of the structure of the Bill, I do not think it is necessary to unbundle the Cyber Security and Data Protection because it is closely related. Clauses 13, 17 and 23, we will look into Madam Speaker and obviously adjust accordingly.
Section 2, we have taken note of it and the points from Hon. Biti and we will also make some adjustments. With regards to Hon. Misihairabwi, she fully supports the Bill and that the Bill will be able to curb cyber crime. The Bill’s main purpose is to curb cyber crime and to ensure that the cyber security will protect the fundamental human rights of all citizens of this country. We also totally agree with Hon.
Misihairabwi in the context of cyber security and data protection.
With regards to the guidelines to the data controllers, Part 5 deals with that and the structural issues will be simplified, so that amendment will be there. The handling of the other issue which has also contributed regarding civil marriages, I think that is another area – [AN HON. MEMBER: Inaudible interjection.] –I mean I had discussed about something else; the inadmissibility and admissibility of evidence in a court of law of evidence in a court of law, that I think can be handled in another forum.
The Cyber Security Centre is an integral part of the cyber security effort of a country and it operates mainly as in an advisory role to the various actors in the cyber space. It coordinates the cyber security efforts by operating with the National Computer Incident Response Team. With regards to whistle blowing, I think there is need for uniformity; we cannot have a specific whistle blowing in the ICT sector which does not cover the entire areas.
Our priority in a digital economy is to have this legislation as it seeks to address the challenges in a data-driven economy. I think some of the abuses that Hon. Misihairabwi highlighted will come to an end if this Bill goes through and is passed. I thank you Madam Speaker. I therefore move that the Bill be now read a second time.
Motion put and agreed to.
Bill read a second time.
Committee Stage: Thursday, 1st October, 2020.
On the motion of THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF
INFORMATION, COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGY, POSTAL
AND COURIER SERVICES (HON. PHUTI), the House adjourned at
Twenty Eight Minutes to Six o’clock p.m.