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NATIONAL ASSEMBLY HANSARD 4 MAY 2022 VOL 48 NO 41
PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE
Wednesday, 4th May, 2022
The National Assembly Met at a Quarter-past Two O’clock p.m.
(THE HON. SPEAKER in the Chair)
ANNOUNCEMENTS BY THE HON. SPEAKER
VISITORS IN THE SPEAKER’S GALLERY
THE HON. SPEAKER: I wish to recognise the presence in the Speaker’s Gallery of the distinguished delegation from the Parliament of Malawi. The delegation is led by no other than the Right Hon. Cathrine Gotani Hara, the Speaker and Leader of the delegation and she is accompanied by Hon. Richard Chimwendo Banda, MP, and Leader of the House. He is also the Hon. Minister of Sport. The next one is Hon. Roderick Khumbanyiwa, MP from the UDF Party. He is the Party Whip. There is Mr. Jeffrey Mwenyeheli, the Deputy Clerk of Parliament, Parliamentary Services and we also have Mr. MacDonald Kabondo, Controller of Human Resources and Development. There is Mr. Moffat Makande, Acting Chief Clerk Assistant, and Table Office. There is Ms, Grace Nyirenda, and Special Assistant to the Speaker of Parliament; and last but not least, Ms. Vanessa Manda, Protocol Officer. The delegation is here on a benchmarking visit. Hon. Speaker, you are welcome to the National Assembly of Zimbabwe - [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] -
ERROR ON THE ORDER PAPER
THE HON. SPEAKER: I have to draw your attention to an error on the Order Paper relating to Orders of the Day Nos. 20 to 21 where the Printer repeated the Annual Report of the Judicial Services Commission for the year 2021. The correct reports are as follows: Order of the Day No. 20 should reflect the Annual Report of the National Peace and Reconciliation Commission for the year 2021 and Order of the Day No. 21 should reflect the Annual Report of the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission for the year 2020.
APOLOGIES RECEIVED FROM MINISTERS
THE HON. SPEAKER: I have received a general notice of our Cabinet Ministers who are winding up Cabinet Business and should be on their way. We have here an array of the Deputy Ministers except for the following apologies: - Hon. Mangwiro, Deputy Minister of Health and Child Care; Hon. Mudyiwa, Deputy Minister of Energy and Power Development; Hon. Karoro, Deputy Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water, Climate and Rural Resettlement and Hon. I. R. Modi, the Deputy Minister of Industry and Commerce.
Hon. Musabayana, where are you?
HON. MUSABAYANA: I am here.
THE HON. SPEAKER: You are temporarily elevated to be the Leader of Government Business. Please come and sit at the front seat – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] – Order, order, Hon. Members on my left.
I have conferred with the senior member of the party and we have agreed – [HON. CHIBAYA: Hon. Speaker, I was simply saying that ZANU PF MPs were attending Committees before swearing in.]- I apologise for that, we wanted a proper announcement.
ORAL ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS WITHOUT NOTICE
HON. MASENDA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir, good afternoon. My question goes to the Minister of Primary and Secondary Education. It is in regard to the Government policy on paying fees for the teachers. There has been an outcry on non-payment of school fees for the teachers’ children and I want to know why that is the case.
THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF PRIMARY AND SECONDARY EDUCATION (HON. E. MOYO): Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. I want to thank the Member for the question. The question relates to conditions that were signed for with civil servants representatives at NJNC. I may not be privy to whether they have been paid or not but I think that was the agreement that was signed for. I thank you.
HON. MASENDA: Mr. Speaker Sir, I have full information that that has not been the case. Government has not paid fees for the teachers’ children, so I wanted a response as to why that is the case because none of the teachers’ children had their fees paid by the Government.
HON. E. MOYO: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir and I want to thank the Hon. Member for the supplementary question. Conditions of service of civil servants fall under the purview of the Public Service Commission. As a Ministry, we may not be privy to the latest information in terms of these payments. I am not aware whether they have been paid or not because this is the responsibility of the Public Service Commission.
HON. P. D. SIBANDA: Thank you Hon. Speaker. I just wanted to find out from the Hon. Minister how normal that kind of policy is for Government to say it will pay school fees on behalf of an adult. Why do you not pay the teachers sufficient salaries for them to pay school fees for their own children, not Government to do that? – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.]-
HON. E. MOYO: Thank you Mr. Speaker, I think it is common knowledge that issues to do with salaries and conditions of service of civil servants fall under the Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare through the Public Service Commission. Therefore, I may not be able to give an answer on behalf of another Ministry -[HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.]-
THE HON. SPEAKER: Order, order, we will defer that question, I am sure the Hon. Minister should come in any time – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – Order, order I have ruled that once the Hon. Minister Prof. Mavima is here, he will have to answer that question.
*HON. DUTIRO: My question is directed to the Minister of Industry and Commerce. What is Government policy in terms of funding manufacturers? What is Government policy in terms of creating employment for small enterprises?
THE HON. SPEAKER: In Shona they say seka urema wafa – [Laughter.] -
*THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS AND INTERNATIONAL TRADE (HON. DR. MUSABAYANA): With regards to what Government is doing to support manufacturers in industry, our Government has several policies that are meant to promote industry. Firstly, is to create an environment for those industries to succeed, that is why we have enacted several laws and policies that support local businesses. That is why you hear of import substitution, hence our supermarkets are full of locally manufactured products.
During the just ended Zimbabwe International Trade Fair, we were told that 70% of goods in the shops are locally manufactured products. Those goods are coming from SMEs. There are small businesses doing those products. If you look at who is doing those businesses, it is mainly the youth and women. That is why Government gave funding to the Women’s Bank as well as Empower Bank that promotes small to medium enterprises. Government also availed funds to women’s banks to fund women as well as the youth. That is one way of promoting such opportunities.
Even other commercial banks are also encouraging that you access funding to do that. Finally, our education system through Education 5.0 has established incubation centres whereby those who graduate from colleges or schools can start businesses and get funding from Government. Government is availing such facilities like the incubation centres. Those start-ups show that indeed Government is doing a lot to support industries and the informal sector to be productive and produce various goods. I thank you.
HON. T. MLISWA: On a point of order Mr. Speaker Sir. May you kindly encourage the Hon. Members to speak in English for the benefit of the Malawian delegation because they do not understand. THE HON. SPEAKER: I think that is a sensible point of order. You must be very careful in terms of listening. He said encourage. He did not say they must speak. They are so encouraged accordingly.
HON. MADZIMURE: We continue to see a lot of our school and college leavers roaming the streets unemployed. Is the Minister saying that the measures that Government has taken so far, it has exhausted all the measures that it can to create employment to the extent that they cannot afford to finance industry anymore as they are doing with agriculture?
HON. DR. MUSABAYANA: I would like to thank Hon. Madzimure for such an important question. It is important to note that Government has not only focused on SMEs or start-ups but we are saying Government has focused on creating an enabling environment for industry to strive. The evidence that there is an enabling environment is seen when we look at what has been happening in the last few months where we opened a heavy industry in Chivhu area where there will be mining and processing of steel. We have also come up with models where we said instead of exporting all our minerals as raw, we are now processing them. There must be beneficiation and value addition. This is why we saw the suspension of exports of chrome so that we attract investors to put up smelters and start to produce.
When we start doing that, this is how we start to create employment. When it comes to unemployment levels that are high, the world-over, we now have challenges of unemployment because of the pandemic and many other disruptions that have happened to the global economy. As Zimbabwe, we also see that our agriculture has picked up. We recorded a surplus last year in terms of our cereals, maize and wheat which is an important throughput into the manufacturing sector. Once our agriculture sector starts doing well, it means our manufacturing sector will also have enough throughput. As you know that our industry rides on the agricultural sector, a rebound in the agricultural sector will actually trigger a ripple effect which will be a further rebound into the manufacturing sector which is now happening. You are saying the world over, even the developed world are now focusing on start-ups. The new frontier of creating employment is on start ups. It is where we have innovation hubs and those innovation centres but it is not saying that is the one and only solution or the panacea to our problem of unemployment. So we have a broad approach that the Government has taken to open up various sectors.
We also look at the mining sector and the various reforms that have been put in place to allow the small scale players to take up jobs and to start up their own mining activities, which goes a long way in actually creating employment. Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.
HON. CHIKWINYA: Thank you Hon. Speaker. My supplementary question arises from the initial answer so provided by the interim Leader of Government Business to an extent that the two banks created by Government, the Youth Empowerment Bank and the Women’s Micro-Finance Bank are offering loans to the Small to Medium Enterprise Sector. The majority of the intended beneficiaries in those two sectors are the youths and the women. These two groups do not have collateral. My question therefore Hon. Speaker is what conditions have these two banks set up away from the demands of collateral security which is the normal demand in other banks? These are supposed to promote the youths and women so that at least they can develop their ideas, which I want to believe are bankable, without the demand for collateral security.
HON. MUSABAYANA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. It is true that these banks that have been set up also have some levels of collateral. Last year in July, the Minister of Youth, Sport, Arts and Recreation launched the youths starter pack. The President in October also launched a manufacturing plant in Mutoko where he pronounced some of the expectations for the youths to qualify for these loans. The model that we are using on the Empowerment Bank is a much simplified model where we are saying, the youths can form up a group and part of the group can be qualified as part of the collateral. They have also allowed the youths – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – Yes. That is part of the requirement.
THE HON. SPEAKER: Order Hon. Minister, can you address the Chair.
HON. MUSABAYANA: The second model that we have used in the Youth Empowerment Bank is that we have allowed the youths - say they want to go into mining, they can submit quotations for the equipment that they want. That equipment becomes part of the collateral. They securitise that equipment and to become part of the collateral. If you want to go into beef manufacturing and you want equipment, part of the moveable assets are now accepted by the banks as collateral. We have also allowed the guarantors to use the assets that they have. In the communal areas, we have allowed scotch carts and all the various tools that an ordinary man will have at a household level to be accepted as collateral and the banks are accepting those items of collateral.
The third model that we have also used is what they call off-takers agreements where youths who are involved in value chain financing will actually get orders for the produce that they want to produce. They get supplies of the materials that they want to use and the orders become part of the collateral. When they sell, the off-takers of the product will pay back to the bank. This is the model that we have come up with and the model is working very well to allow our youths to go into farming. We have also allowed the youths to use affidavits or letters from our councillors or the headmen and chiefs to use as proof of residence which is not the norm under the normal procedures of the banks. These are the models that we have used to try and alleviate the processing of our youths’ loans. Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.
THE HON. SPEAKER: Order. Hon. Members, you will recall that we did adjourn the question on payment of fees for the teachers and the Hon. Deputy Minister is now here. The question Hon. Deputy Minister is firstly, why is it that Government has not instituted that arrangement. The Hon. Deputy Minister from Primary and Secondary Education indicated that the matter is within the portfolio for the Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare. Subsequently, there was a supplementary question to say why paying for the fees for the teachers’ children instead of improving the salaries of teachers so that they can pay for their own children. Those were the two questions that arose.
THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF PUBLIC SERVICE, LABOUR AND SOCIAL WELFARE (HON. MATUKE): Thank you Hon. Chair. I will respond to the second question first where Hon. P. D. Sibanda wanted to establish why we are paying school fees instead of improving on the teachers’ salary. It was never an initiative from the Ministry but it was negotiated by the unions. The teachers’ unions negotiated for that benefit, so the Government was responding to the request by the unions to ask the Ministry to pay fees for their children.
The second response as to when we are going to pay the teachers, there is some work to be done before payment is made. We are now in the process of capturing data on the number of teachers where the Government is supposed to be paying the school fees. When this system was introduced, nobody had information about how many kids Hon. Sibanda who is teaching in Binga and in Munyikwa, so we are still in the process of capturing the names. The other thing is, as soon as we finish that process, they are going to be paid - back dating from the date which the announcement was made. So there is no disadvantage. I thank you.
HON. ZWIZWAI: Thank you very much Mr. Speaker Sir. Good afternoon to you Mr. Speaker.
Hon Zwizwai having been talking to other Hon. Members instead of posing his question.
THE HON. SPEAKER: Hon. Zwizwai, you want me to stand you down?
HON. ZWIZWAI: I want you to be kind with me Sir.
THE HON. SPEAKER: Yes, I am very kind with you, proceed.
HON. ZWIZWAI: My supplementary question is that as we play our oversight role…
THE HON. SPEAKER: Before you speak Hon. Zwizwai, indulge me, I recognise a number of Members who are not wearing their masks properly; cover your nose and mouth. Please proceed.
HON. ZWIZWAI: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. My supplementary question is that as we play our oversight role as Parliament, I would like to know from the Hon. Deputy Minister, whether there is a Statutory Instrument (SI) to the effect that those school fees will be paid or it was just a rally talk which you want to be enforced without a SI. If it is not enforced, why does it take more than a year to come up with an SI so that at least the teachers can refer to an SI when their kids are closed out of the gate.
HON. MATUKE: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. I would like to thank the Hon. Member for asking such an important question. I am sure the issue is still under process and I hope as we gather information from the teachers who are the beneficiaries for that payment, I think it is going to coincide with the time when we are going to pay the teachers.
THE HON. SPEAKER: I think the point is taken. Hon. Zwizwai, I am commenting on your substantial question. I am saying the import of your question is that there must be a legal framework on which the process must stand so that there is no misunderstanding at law.
HON. NDUNA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. My question rides on the previous question and also on the answer by the Hon. Minister to the effect that - can there be a moratorium or can there be some relief of some sort for the children of teachers to attend school before the payment of that fees, wherever they attend school so that the more than 10 000 children, where I come from who are in secondary and primary do not unfairly get sent back because Government has not paid. Would it please the Minister to send a letter of comfort to those schools so that they can anticipate in the future the fees and the kids are not sent back home?
THE HON. SPEAKER: Are you sure the 10 000 are children of teachers, where did you get that data from?
HON. NDUNA: The 10 000 are children who are being taught by teachers who have children. Morale plays a big part in terms of teaching…
THE HON. SPEAKER: Order, order! Your question is out of order.
HON. T. MLISWA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. My recommendation is, would it please the Minister to write a memorandum to all schools to allow the kids to attend school while modalities are being put in place because the children are innocent and the Constitution is very clear about children…
THE HON. SPEAKER: Which children are you talking about?
HON. T. MLISWA: The children of teachers.
HON. MATUKE: Thank you Mr. Speaker. I think the recommendation that was raised by the Hon. Member is quite good and we have no reason not to try and do that. The only thing is again to speed up coming with a Statutory Instrument that will support the payment. Otherwise it is a good suggestion. I thank you.
HON. MARKHAM: Thank you Hon. Speaker. Before I ask my question, #I am very happy to welcome our delegates from Malawi, thank you - [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] –
Mr. Speaker Sir, my question goes to the Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs and it pertains to the promise of registering two million people with the current undocumented people who are going to be registered. That is all well and good except for 13000 people per day. In a six-months period, we would have already finished the blitz of voter registration. How is the Ministry or Electoral Commission going to capture those two million people who are recently registered? I thank you.
Hon. Speaker having given the floor to Hon. Maboyi – [HON. MEMBERS: Haaaaa] –
HON. CHIKWINYA: On a point of order.
THE HON. SPEAKER: What is your point of order?
HON. CHIKWINYA: Thank you Hon. Speaker Sir. My point of order arises from a ruling in the previous week before we closed wherein a question of such nature was actually raised and you directed the issue of the voter registration not to the Ministry of Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage but to the Ministry of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs. So, I propose that perhaps the answer may come from the Leader of Government business and not from the Minister of Home Affairs.
THE HON. SPEAKER: Let her do what she is able to do – [Laughter.] – Order Hon. Members! The question is in two parts; there is the element of voter registration which is the purview of the Minister of Home Affairs. The other aspect, if the Hon. Minister is not able to answer, the Leader of Government business will step in.
THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF HOME AFFAIRS AND CULTURAL HERITAGE (HON. MAVHUNGA-MABOYI): Thank you Hon. Speaker Sir – [HON. CHIBAYA: Inaudible interjection.] –
THE HON. SPEAKER: Order Hon. Chibaya, that is a very sarcastic statement, you know that the Hon. Minister cannot unmute herself, can you withdraw that. You unmute the gadget and not the person.
HON. CHIBAYA: I withdraw my statement Cde. Speaker.
THE HON. SPEAKER: I am not even Cde. Speaker – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – Hon. Chibaya, when I sit on this Chair, I am not a comrade. I thank you.
HON. MAVHUNGA-MABOYI: We have already started registering people, although ZEC has stopped, we had an agreement that they will come back. We are going to work with ZEC so that when we are completing the registration, they will also be registering people - [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] –
HON. MARKHAM: Mr. Speaker, my question then follows that the undocumented people’s registration continues up to the 30th of September, 2022. Is that to say after September, ZEC will be in the areas again for registration of voters? I thank you.
HON. MAVHUNGA-MABOYI: Mr. Speaker Sir, by September we will have done everything we are going to do because if you go back to your constituency and check the speed in which our people are working, I am sure by end of September, we will have done everything. I thank you.
HON. MARKHAM: Point of clarity Hon. Speaker, my question has not been answered. My question is, will ZEC come after they finish registering on the 30th of September? The other thing is for example, the registration of undocumented people continues to the 30th of September for new identity documents. After that, we need to capture the newly registered people. That is my question, I thank you.
THE HON. SPEAKER: I think the Minister has already answered that.
HON. MAVHUNGA-MABOYI: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. I just want to promise you that those who are undocumented, by the end of September, we will have done everything. As I am saying, we are working day and night to make this thing a success. I thank you.
HON. P. D. SIBANDA: Thank you Hon. Speaker. My supplementary question to the Hon. Minister is that we realise that in most areas where these teams were giving identity documents, they were giving temporary paper identity documents and these temporary paper identity documents are unacceptable in most areas where identity documents are required. Are there any efforts from the Ministry to ensure that they give permanent plastic identity cards to these new identity cards registrants? I thank you.
HON. MAVHUNGA-MABOYI: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. Yes, we were giving temporary cards but now we have started giving out plastic identity cards. We hope again, as I said by September, we will have completed everything. I thank you.
HON. MUNENGAMI: Thank you very much Hon. Speaker Sir. The blitz on identity cards registration is ending on the 30th of September and they are giving the temporary identity documents, then the Hon. Minister said again by that date on the 30th September, they would have produced the plastic identity cards. So what happens to the others who were given before the 30th of September because as of now, they are issuing paper identity documents? Already we are left with no more than two or three months now up to September. How is that possible - that is impossible? I thank you very much.
HON. MAVHUNGA-MABOYI: We are not giving metal identity documents, the plastic ones - we gave temporary IDs with photos but now we are going to make a follow up and issue out the plastic identity cards. That will be done by September, 2022.
HON. HWENDE: My question is directed to the Minister of Finance and Economic Development. There is a general shortage of cooking on the market and where you find it, the manufacturers have now started selling the cooking oil in USD. What is the Government’s policy regarding companies that are given preference on the auction system to get foreign currency and then they go and sell the products in USD like United Refineries? – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] -
THE HON. SPEAKER: Order, order! Hon. P. D. Sibanda, yesterday I cautioned you for being unparliamentary.
THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (HON. CHIDUWA): Thank you Hon. Speaker Sir, and thank you Hon. Hwende for the question. The question is very clear where the Hon. Member is saying we have got cases where retailers and wholesalers, those who are accessing foreign currency from the auction floor that are selling their products in foreign currency. Selling in foreign currency according to the dual system that we have at the moment is legal.
In cases where a product is being sold in foreign currency, there should be a display to show the equivalent in ZWL. However, cases where the implied rate or the displayed rate is at variance with the auction rate, this then becomes illegal. So the penalties that we have stipulated are those that were stipulated under SI 127. Statutory Instrument 127 expired and we then incorporated it under the Finance Bill and it is part of the Finance Act. Therefore, the penalties are still obtaining. So, the long and short of it is where the exchange rate being used is at variance with the auction rate, we apply the administrative penalties as contained in the Finance Act.
HON. MUTSEYAMI: Thank you Hon. Speaker. My supplementary question is to do with the pricing in USD, as the presentation has been done by the Hon. Minister that there are penalties to that with regards to retailers who have a variance against bank rate as advised by RBZ. We have retailers who are selling the cooking oil in USD and if you do not have USD, you do not get it, especially the wholesale shops across the country, the big ones that you know.
The issue of penalties, I do not know whether it is being applied because this thing is happening everywhere without any restrictions.
HON. CHIDUWA: The submission by the Hon. Member is quite a valid submission. I would want to approach the question in two ways,. the first one being the issue of market indiscipline. What is the ideology that we have as a country in terms of pricing? The policy that we have is we would want the economic trajectory of this country to be private sector led. We do not want to impose price controls. What we are looking for is situations where forces of demand and supply operate but they should do so within a specific economic environment where there is discipline. What we have at the moment is profiteering which is bordered on indiscipline.
Therefore, we have engaged the manufactures, the RBZ have engaged the retailers to say we are building this country together; we can wake up tomorrow and say we are having price controls but this is not going to help us. The issue that we are dealing with here is gross market indiscipline that is bordered on profiteering.
Then in terms the raft of measures that we are coming with, I think there was a request yesterday by this august House to say the Ministry of Finance should come up with a Ministerial Statement. I think these are some of the issues that we are going to deal with to say how then do we move forward given the fact that we have got such cases of indiscipline. However, as I have rightly said, all these issues are contained in SI 127 which is now under the Finance Act. What is needed is for us to say let us move a step forward and ensure that we apply the administrative penalties as contained in the Finance Act. I submit.
HON. HWENDE: I feel that my question has not been answered. Cooking oil is an essential basic commodity and there are companies that are given special preferences on the auction market. They get forex, manufacture cooking oil - for example, Dumbbell United Refiners then they are selling the cooking oil for USD only to civil servants and general workers that are being paid in RTGs. Where do you expect them to get money to buy the cooking oil from?
HON. CHIDUWA: Thank you Madam Speaker Ma’am. In terms of the administrative penalties, I am sure some of the Hon. Members saw the list that we published some two, three weeks ago. For those who are violating the auction rules, we move around as the Financial Intelligence Unit to check on those who are violating auction rules. Maybe the fines are not deterrent enough but in terms of the imposition of the administrative penalties, this is what we are doing literally on a daily basis. Maybe it is not deterrent enough but we are imposing the penalties. I submit.
HON. CHIKWINYA: My supplementary borders on the deterrent measures as contained in S.I. 127 of 2021 as the Hon. Deputy Minister has said. If you may enlighten Parliament so that at least in our oversight role we take scale of the deterrent measures, whether they are deterrent enough to scare away those perpetrators or they may easily be accommodated within the profiteering mechanism? Moreso, can you also enlighten Parliament on what basis we are coming up with an auction bank rate that is rejected by everyone and they drift to the parallel market? What is the basis of the official exchange rate because we may be putting in a law which is to the extent that it is rejected by everyone and everyone moves over to the parallel exchange rate? Perhaps he can combine those two particular items. Thank you.
HON. CHIDUWA: Thank you Madam Speaker. The response that the Hon. Member wants, these are specific fines but I would want to give an example; let us say there is a case where the retailer is using an exchange rate which is not in sync with the exchange rate that was used at the auction, in most of the cases it is RTGs50 000 and if it is RTGs50 000, surely it is not deterrent enough but what we have also said is what we can do which is to use all the products that are on display. Where we have got 20 products and each product is going to attract a fine of RTGs50 000, then this is going to be deterrent enough. I think this is where we may need to revise and say let us come up with measures which are deterrent enough. I think what is needed is for us to follow the law. If the Finance Act is saying we fine RTGS50 000, we cannot vary that unless if there is an amendment. So that is what we follow.
The other issue is that the Hon. Member asked the issue of the exchange rate which is being rejected by everyone. I am not sure if that exchange rate is being rejected by everyone. There is no way we can sanitise what is happening in the black market and take it as official. If something is illegal, it is illegal and I think what the Hon. Members may need to appreciate is, it is very easy for a country to be drawn into some of these things that are happening when our currency is under attack. Currency attack can actually be used. The issue we are dealing with here is the determination of the exchange rate which is dependent on fundamentals. Are our fundamentals in place? Yes, our fundamentals are in place.
We look at the current accounts. Our current account even for the first four months is in surplus. So the fundamentals are in place and what is important is for us now to look at who is sabotaging the currency and this is where we are. In terms of our response, we mentioned that on Thursday next week, we will come up with a ministerial statement and that is what we are going to do. Thank you.
HON. CHIKWINYA: At the beginning of this session, we did not have substantive ministers and an apology was given that they were supposed to be travelling from their point of Cabinet meeting to this House. Now I see some of them and my question is, does the ruling of the Speaker still hold that the struggling interim Leader of Government Business is still continuing or we are changing to another Leader of Government Business?
HON. BITI: Thank you Madam Speaker. My question is directed to my friend the Minister of Finance. We banned the use of foreign currency in two laws; Statutory Instrument 33 of 2019 and Statutory Instrument 142 of 2019. In Statutory Instrument 127 of 2021 which is now incorporated in the Finance Act, we were protecting the ZD to make sure that every trader uses the Zim dollar and to penalise traders who refuse to accept the Zim dollar such as OK Bazaars and others who are refusing to accept the local currency for the US dollar. So, there is no dual pricing system in Zimbabwe legally. My question is, why is the Minister misrepresenting the facts that number 1, we have a dual pricing system and Number 2, the use of foreign currency by traders including Ok Bazaars is an acknowledgement of the failure of the de-dollarization process. We ask once more why the Government is not simply dollarizing? I thank you.
*HON. TEKESHE: On a point of order Madam Speaker. My point of order is that we should find a solution by telling the truth. I buy from Ok and TM, they accept swipe.
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Thank you Hon. Tekeshe.
HON. CHIDUWA: Thank you Madam Speaker Ma’am. I think the Hon. Member is the one who is misrepresenting the facts. The fact is that when COVID-19 pandemic started, as part of the convenience measures that we put as a Government, we allowed the US dollar to move together with the Zim dollar but the use of the US dollar and the Zim dollar in terms of pricing, we do not say the Statutory Instrument 127 which is now part of the Finance Bill allows the display of both prices, that is the Zim dollar price and the US dollar price; this is what is there, we have not changed from that.
Madam Speaker, with regards to the usage of the US dollar, we have said this thing many times, you cannot run a country without the monetary policy leg. What the Hon. Member is advocating for does not work – [HON. BITI: It works, it worked during the GNU] – It does not work for us - [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections] –
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order, order.
HON. CHIDUWA: We are going to use the Zim dollar, how this happened during the GNU, I am sure people know that there was no investment in infrastructure. I think I have answered the Hon. Member. We have got a clear path in terms of where we are going. We cannot run a country with a currency which is not ours. We are going to ensure that we move from the usage of the US dollar to the Zimbabwe dollar, so this is where we are going.
HON. T. MLISWA: My question is directed to the Minister of Finance. I attended ZINARA AGM today which was quite successful. My question is, why do you not tax parastatals, they are in the business of making money and why are they not taxed? Will that not add a bit to your revenue? There are so many of them, some doing nothing yet they are not taxed. Why are parastatals not taxed?
HON. CHIDUWA: I want to thank you Hon. Mliswa for the question. I think I would need further guidance on this one because my understanding is, we do not have a taxation moratorium on parastatals, all parastatals are taxed. If there is any dispensation, it is clearly stated in Statutory Instruments and we are taxing all the parastatals.
HON. BITI: On a point of order Madam Speaker. Parastatals are not taxed because they are part of Government and the Government does not tax itself. That is the law.
HON. T. MLISWA: My supplementary is, can we get a clear position from the Minister in terms of the taxation procedure in Government enterprises which are there? If indeed they do not pay tax, can they start paying tax? Madam Speaker, may the Minister come back with the response in terms of the law and all that.
HON. CHIDUWA: Madam Speaker, parastatals do not pay corporate tax but any other taxes they pay. What was needed was to be specific. If it is the value added tax, they pay.
HON. NDUNA: Thank you Madam Speaker. My supplementary question to the Hon. Minister is premised on the fact that there is no taxation in terms of the corporate tax. It is common cause that when you think the law is ultra vires the purpose of what you need to get to, you change the law. My question to the Hon. Minister is to find out if there is any looking forward in terms of changing the law in order to charge corporate tax on Government institutions.
HON. CHIDUWA: Thank you Madam Speaker Ma’am and thank you Hon. Nduna for the question to say are we likely to have a policy in future where we are going to amend and charge corporate tax on Government entities. I know the language I want to use here is only known by Hon. Biti.
HON. PHULU: On a point of order. May the Deputy Minister withdraw that statement because he is assuming that we do not have capacity to be here?
HON. CHIDUWA: I withdraw. With regards to the possibility of Government levying corporate tax, what I wanted to submit is that this will create allocated inefficiencies. I do not foresee a situation where we are going to levy corporate tax on parastatals. The situation is going to remain as is. The other taxes they will pay but with regards to corporate tax, they are not a corporate entity. Sometimes they are there to provide a service. I do not foresee a situation where we are going to change the law and levy corporate tax.
HON. T. MLISWA: The whole reasoning behind this - and I am glad that Hon. Nduna buttressed the point. There is no other better explanation than a second year law student at the University of Zimbabwe to do that. The point is that parastatals are not making money. They are expected to pay dividends to Government. Firstly, they are not paying dividends and secondly they are not paying tax, which means they are basically a leaking pot. What do we need them for? Why would Government want to continue to be putting money into parastatals where money is not being made?
With that point of clarity, it is important the Minister understands they are there to make business. We cannot, as Parliament, be passing money yet we do not even have money ourselves which is leaking. It is either we stop giving money to parastatals or we give money to parastatals that perform and pay dividends. The dividends that they pay are supposed to go into the Consolidated Revenue Fund and it is not going there. I am sure the Deputy Minister of Finance and Economic Development understood where I am coming from. We cannot keep on resourcing entities which are dysfunctional and where there is corruption. Government seems to be an agent of corruption if you continue doing that.
HON. CHIDUWA: The question by the Hon Member is very clear. When we levy corporate tax, we levy it on a company that would have made profit, which then means if what the Hon. Member said is true that they are making losses, there is nothing to tax because they are making losses. If they are making profit, surely they will declare a dividend. I would want to give an example of parastatals that have declared dividends. We have Telone and Kuvimba. I am sure when the state companies are making profit, they will declare a dividend and that is the position.
+HON. MATHE: How many ambulances should be allocated to a district hospital for it to function well?
THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS AND INTERNATIONAL TRADE (HON. DR. MUSABAYANA): This is a very important policy issue but the general understanding is that every district hospital should at least have ambulances. In terms of the numbers it would depend on the catchment area or the population that is supposed to be covered. It will depend on the number of residents in that community where the ambulances are provided for. It is the aspiration of Government that the ambulances should be sufficient at any one point when there is a need for an ambulance, there should be an ambulance. Of late, we have distributed a few more ambulances even in the rural areas. Every district should have a number of ambulances that should be able to cover the needs of that area. I submit.
+HON. MATHE: Thank you for giving me an opportunity to pose a supplementary question. Madam Speaker, I am referring to some of the hospitals in the rural areas which do not even have a single ambulance which are only assisted by other health partners.
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon. Mathe, you are not connected.
HON. MATHE: I am referring to the challenges with regards to ambulances, especially in rural hospitals. To mention a few, there is Nkayi Rural District Hospital. They end up getting help from other partners that work with the Ministry of Health. What is the Ministry saying about such hospitals? In his response, the Minister indicated that the ambulance is allocated depending on how many people it should serve. Why is it that we have a challenge of ambulances that are not sufficient, especially in rural hospitals? Thank you.
HON. DR. MUSABAYANA: Thank you Madam Speaker Ma’am. I hear the Hon. Member’s very important concerns. Health is a priority for our citizenry. Indeed, it is sad that there could be some district hospitals without ambulances. Most of the district hospitals that we have are under the purview of the Rural District Councils (RDCs). It is the expectation of this Government that the RDCs have permutations of the health requirements of their communities. In the spirit of devolution, the Government has devolved most of its functions, meaning that if there is an area where there are no ambulances, they can use part of the devolution funds. It is the expectation of Government that the RDCs will use part of the devolution funds to purchase the ambulances that may be required. As Central Government, we also look forward to submissions for those areas where there are no ambulances so that the Central Government can also do some interventions to ensure that there are ambulances in all districts. Health is a constitutional requirement for our citizenry. Thank you Madam Speaker Ma’am.
(v)HON. GABBUZA: Thank you Madam Speaker. Can the Hon. Minister indicate to this House what happened to the 100 ambulances that were set aside in the 2020 Budget?
HON. DR. MUSABAYANA: May the Hon. Member please repeat the question. I could not hear the question.
(v)HON. GABBUZA: My question is in the 2020 Budget …
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: I think we lost the Hon. Member.
HON. R. R. NYATHI: Thank you Hon. Speaker Ma’am. My question goes to the Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare. How far has the Ministry gone in preparation for the distribution of food hand-outs or support for our people that they have now? Have their stores or granaries beenemptied? When are they planning to start the programme? I thank you.
THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF PUBLIC SERVICE, LABOUR AND SOCIAL WELFARE (HON. MATUKE): Thank you Hon. Speaker Sir. The distribution of cereals to vulnerable members of the community is still in progress. The only policy change was to first finish the small grains, which we believe very soon will be emptying from our granaries. Registration for new beneficiaries has kicked off. We have started registering the new beneficiaries for this year. We hope to complete the exercise before end of June. However, it will not stop the normal process of distribution. This exercise is only going to aid in making the assessment for this year, to ascertain whether we have more beneficiaries or less for this year. We did not stop the distribution which was in place for last year and the first quarter of this year. Thank you.
HON. CHIKWINYA: Thank you Madam Speaker. My supplementary question is that with regards to food distribution to vulnerable members of our society, I noticed that within the rural areas, there is a deliberate policy by Government to involve Members of Parliament and councilors.
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: You are not connected Hon. Chikwinya.
HON. CHIKWINYA: Thank you Madam Speaker. I noticed that with rural areas, there is a deliberate policy by Government to involve Members of Parliament and Councillors on the distribution of food supplements to vulnerable groups. There is a policy shift however when it comes to urban areas where Members of Parliament and Councillors are not involved in the data capture and distribution of food to vulnerable communities within urban areas. Can we understand from the Minister of Public Service why there is disparity between the rural and urban areas? Thank you.
THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF PUBLIC SERVICE, LABOUR AND SOCIAL WELFARE (HON. MATUKE): Thank you Madam Speaker Ma’am. It is not Government policy for Members of Parliament (MPs) or councillors to distribute food. What we do as a Ministry is that we go to a ward, then come up with a committee that is responsible for the distribution of the food. In cases where you find the councillor or MP involved in the distribution, it means the committee would have chosen the two to do that. There is no policy to say councillors or MPs should distribute.
HON. PHULU: Thank you Madam Speaker. My supplementary is that as for us, councillors or MPs represent the people. Those committees that you choose, what is the criteria for choosing those committees? Why do you allow a situation where discretion is left to those committees, whether to incorporate or to involve the MP or the councillor? Is the Government not going to change that policy and have a more deliberate policy that ensures that there is proper oversight by those who represent the people?
HON. MATUKE: Thank you Madam Speaker. I would like to thank the Hon. Member for asking a very important question. He is asking whether we can change the policy or not. I am talking about the current policy. The Member is suggesting whether we can improve on that. That is a different thing and I have no objection to your request but the current policy is what we are using as we distribute until we get a new policy.
*HON. TEKESHE: Thank you Madam Speaker Ma’am. My question is directed to the Minister of Primary and Secondary Education. My question is on the number of days children are supposed to attend classes. Those who had actually asked for two days per week were teachers who had pointed out that they were incapacitated. Now, we heard the Government saying they are now going to attend classes for five days a week, are they now capacitated? Thank you.
THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF PRIMARY AND SECONDARY EDUCATION (HON. E. MOYO): Thank you Madam Speaker Ma’am. I would like to thank the Hon. Member for the question. The current policy that we have come up with is that teachers teach for five days and students come to school for five days. The issue of incapacitation is not what we are dealing with. Teachers were assisted, an agreement was reached and they are going to work. Using that, we are saying we will continue teaching every day. The issue of incapacitation has not come to us and I may not comment on that. Thank you.
HON. TOBAIWA: Thank you Madam Speaker Ma’am. My question is directed to the Minister of Mines. What is Government policy on safety in mines considering the number of deaths in mines in our communities, for example there were many deaths at Globe and Phoenix, Gwanda, Kadoma and Chegutu?
THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF MINES AND MINING DEVELOPMENT (HON. KAMBAMURA): Thank you Madam Speaker. I would like to thank the Hon. Member for the question. As Government, we urge all our miners to be conversant with the Mines and Minerals Act which governs the mining industry. We have sections to do with safety measures where we encourage miners to work safely on areas of their operations. Also, we work with the Ministry of Environment because we have noticed that some people work in areas that are not safe enough, like waterways or areas that are not supported.
As a Ministry, we are on an awareness campaign to educate miners on safer mining standards and on cases where such accidents would have happened, we urge miners to report to the police and also report to the Ministry of Mines Provincial Officers in our provinces. Also, allow me to take this opportunity to advise that it is a criminal offence for people to go underground in open pits which are not supported. Perpetrators of such acts will be arrested if found. I thank you.
HON. CHIKWINYA: Thank you Madam Speaker Ma’am. My supplementary question arises from the Hon. Minister’s answer on awareness of safety measures within our mining entities. Some time back, the Hon. Minister came to Parliament and advised Parliament that there were going to be mining officers stationed within districts who were going to be responsible for enhancing mining activities in a safe manner and in a more productive manner, the same model which we use for Agricultural Extension Officers. My question now will be - have those officers been recruited? If they are recruited, what has been the impact with regards to safety and production within the mining areas? Thank you.
HON. KAMBAMURA: Thank you Madam Speaker Ma’am. The issue to do with mining extension was attended to, we advertised for the post and did interviews. What is left now is for Public Service to finalise the matter before we deploy them to all our mining districts. For now, they are not yet on the ground but as Ministry, with our provincial mining inspectors, together with environmental inspectorate department - we are going around on awareness campaigns to all our mining districts. I thank you.
HON. NDUNA: Thank you Madam Speaker, the current Mines and Minerals Act is quite archaic, moribund, rudimental, antiquated and medieval, to say the least. When is the...
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order Hon. Nduna, time for Questions Without Notice has expired.
HON. NDUNA: Madam Speaker, I move that Question Time be extended by a further 10 minutes.
Motion put and negatived.
Questions Without Notice were interrupted by the THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER in terms of Standing Order No. 68.
ORAL ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS WITH NOTICE
REVIEW OF ALLOWANCES FOR TRADITIONAL LEADERS
- HON. BRIG. GEN. (RTD) MAYIHLOME asked the Minister of Local Government and Public Works to explain to the House when the Ministry will review allowances of traditional leaders.
THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT AND PUBLIC WORKS (HON. CHOMBO): Thank you Hon. Speaker. Madam Speaker, it may please this august House to note that Section 284 (1) of the Constitution states that an Act of Parliament must provide for the remuneration and benefits of traditional leaders to be fixed with the approval of His Excellency the President given on the recommendation of the Minister responsible for Finance and after consultation with the Minister responsible for traditional leaders. As we speak, we await the finalisation of the alignment of the Act. Be that as it may, it has been the practice that traditional leaders’ allowances get reviewed at the same time when salaries of civil servants are reviewed. I thank you.
TRADITIONAL LEADERSHIP WRANGLES OF VILLAGE HEADS
- HON. BRIG. GEN. (RTD) MAYIHLOME asked the Minister of Local Government and Public Works to inform the House when the Ministry will resolve the traditional leadership wrangles of village heads that were caused by unprocedural appointments by Chiefs in Umzingwane District.
THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT AND PUBLIC WORKS (HON. CHOMBO): Thank you Madam Speaker. Let me start by thanking the Hon. Member for asking the question which touches on the appointment of traditional leaders. However, let me inform this august House that it is not the responsibility of Chiefs to appoint village heads but they only nominate for appointment by the Secretary of Local Government and Public Works. In addition, the question of how depends on how urgently the appointments disputes have been lodged.
HON. P. D. SIBANDA: Madam Speaker, we have witnessed incessant attack on the institution of traditional leaders through political interference, not only in Mzingwane, it also applies even in Binga where we have seen traditional leaders and headmen being removed from their positions by Chiefs on the instruction of the District Development Coordinator for only one wrong that they are not supporting the ruling party. Is that Government policy that headmen and other traditional leaders are supposed now to support ZANU PF?
HON. CHOMBO: Thank you Madam Speaker and I want to thank Hon. P. D. Sibanda for the follow up question. Traditional leaders are apolitical and we do not look at the party the person belongs to when doing appointments. So if you have complaints especially with the DDC that you have mentioned, please can you bring them to my office but as Government policy, we do not entertain that kind of behaviour.
HON. T. MLISWA: Madam Speaker, it is not a secret that the Minister of Local Government Hon. J. G. Moyo and Deputy Minister Hon. Chombo are violating the Traditional Act. They are constantly appointing themselves ignoring family trees, no wonder why there are so many cases in the courts. They are using that for political expediency, some of them have ambitions to be presidents. They believe that by politically appointing them, they are creating a power base, if you look at it - why is it that there are so many challenges? Not only that, when you go and appoint these traditional leaders, you even ignore the chief’s provincial council which is responsible for making sure that they are present to recognise the ceremony – they are not there.
Therefore, many of these situations happening are a result of political influence in a bid to appease His Excellency but destroying the tradition and heritage of this country. You are part of this and I do not know why the good Lord and ancestors of this country have not done something proper to remove you from those positions.
Hon. July Moyo is an ambitious person who wants to be a president and I say it on record. As a result, he is using traditional leaders. You have also been incorporated in the corruption of these chiefs. You must answer why you are interfering.
I have got an example of Mashayamombe clan in Mhondoro where the family chose somebody but you went and put somebody who the family did not choose. Do you have the right to choose on behalf of the family? Where in the Constitution does it say you must choose on behalf of the family? Kana dzinza rekwa Mliswa vati ini ndinopinda, where does the Minister come in to pick somebody?
You are part of that rot at Mashayamombe chieftainship in Mhondoro Deputy Minister and you have been skirting but today I have decided to tell you – it must go on record, stop abusing that office for political expediency and damaging the reputation of the President. Tell us why you were involved in Mashayamombe chieftainship by appointing somebody whom they did not want?
THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT, PUBLIC WORKS AND NATIONAL HOUSING (HON. CHOMBO): Thank you Madam Speaker Maam and thank you Hon. Mliswa for that contribution. I do not know if it is a question or it is a contribution. However, just to set the record straight, we have a procedure that we follow, be it resuscitation of chieftainship or it is after the death of a chief. We have a selection committee and in that selection committee we look at the family tree. All the families are given two weeks’ notice to call each other and gather.
The person who will be present at that selection committee taking the notes is the provincial secretary and also the District Development Coordinator of that area. After that we get the minutes and the name is submitted to the provincial assembly. If there are any complaints or whatsoever, they also contact our office and we advise the provincial assembly and if they need to go back to do the selection, it is done. After that if it passes through the provincial assembly, it goes to the provincial council and after that we take all the recommendations which go through the AG’s office and then to the President.
Nowhere within that process is Local Government involved in the selection of the chief to be appointed. If there are any complains whatsoever, before the installation, they go to court and the process takes its course.
I just want to say that issue which has been raised by Hon. Mliswa where he talked about the Mashayamombe case; nowhere has my Minister, my Ministry appointed a chief, only that we get the one who has been selected by the family and we go by the family tree. I thank you.
HON. T. MLISWA: On a point of clarity! Madam Speaker, the Hon. Deputy Minister is correct. I want to thank you Madam Speaker for giving this topical issue its time because we are a nation of tradition, culture and heritage which is being destroyed. By nature, the traditional leaders must not be appointed by anybody, not even a Minister.
The District Development Coordinator and the Provincial Development Coordinator reports to the Minister of Local Government, a good example is Shurugwi; the DDC for Shurgwi, Cde Mupete, a war veteran was changed from Shurugwi to Spolilo, Guruve because they differed with the Minister. He has got a tendency of changing DDC’s and PDC’s who do not work on his instructions. So, to me there is a clear violation.
Therefore, my point of clarity is, what assurance can you give this House that they do not report to you? Local Government is a very critical part of this country in terms of politics, that is why it has always been given to the likes of the former Vice President, Joseph Musika; he was mature, John Nkomo - these young ones are ambitious. If the DDC’s and PDC’s report to you, how then can you say they are independent?
HON. CHOMBO: Thank you Hon. Member for that follow-up question. Point of correction, the PDC’s who are now the Permanent Secretaries now report to Office of the President. Hiring and firing of DDC’s is done by the Public Service Commission. Nowhere are we the ones who recruit them. I thank you.
CURRENT STATE OF GOVERNMENT INDEBTEDNESS
- HON. MUSHORIWA asked the Minister of Finance and Economic Development to inform the House the state of the level of Zimbabwe’s indebtedness as at December 31, 2021 specifically segregated in the following: Treasury Bills, Government overdraft at RBZ, Ordinary loans, Government External Debt, State enterprises debt. Local Authorities debt.
HON. P. D. SIBANDA: On a point of order Madam Speaker Ma’am.
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: What is your point of order Hon. Sibanda?
HON. P. D. SIBANDA: My point of order is that the Hon. Minister of Finance is in and why would the Deputy answer in the presence of the Hon. Minister?
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: The Hon. Minister has just arrived. Hon. Minister of Finance respond to Question No. 10. Hon. Deputy Minister, you can go ahead and answer.
HON. P. D. SIBANDA: Hon. Speaker, Wednesday is set in terms of our Standing Rules and Orders that it is a day for answering of questions by Hon. Ministers. The Hon. Minister is aware of the list of questions that are there. I think this is a contemptuous behaviour by the Hon. Minister to come and say he is not prepared to answer questions when it is a standing rule that today it is the duty of the Minister to answer to questions.
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: It is also the duty of the Deputy Minister to answer the questions Hon. Sibanda.
HON. P. D. SIBANDA: In the absence of the Minister.
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Read the Constitution. It is not said in the absence of the Minister.
HON. P. D. SIBANDA: No, Hon. Speaker. If we look at our Standing Rules and Orders, it is only in the absence of the Hon. Minister that the Deputy Minister can then attend to those questions, not when he is there. So what message is he sending to Parliament? He is telling Parliament that ‘I do not care’.
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: You are wasting your time Hon. Sibanda, please take your seat?
THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (HON. PROF. M. NCUBE): Thank you Madam Speaker Ma’am. I had an opportunity to respond to the questions. The Order Paper had a mix up a little bit. We thought that was question No.7 instead of Question No. 10. That question pertains to the issue of the state of indebtedness’ of the country so that for the record, the state of Treasury Bills, Government overdraft to the Reserve Bank, ordinary loans, Government external debt, the State enterprise debt and local authorities debt. First of all, there is this document here which is the statement of the public debt which I present dutifully to Parliament. It was presented to Parliament and everyone has a copy. So all the answers to those questions are in this document.
It is possible that the Member of Parliament was not sitting in Parliament during the time that this was presented? May be that is what is going on but everyone has a copy and I urge you to read it if you want to know the state of indebtedness of this country. I will proceed to answer the question as well.
Let me start with the issue of the Treasury Bills. As of December, 2021 the total amount of Treasury Bills that this Government had issued amounted to ZD28.8 billion.
In terms of Government overdrafts with RBZ, there is no Government with RBZ whatsoever. This was banished on the 1st of January, 2019 where I have made it clear to this House and in subsequent budget presentation that we will not have an overdraft with the RBZ. As Central Government, RBZ is not a cash box for Central Government but it is a Central Bank. So what was happening in the past, we have banished that and there will never be an overdraft and there should never be an overdraft.
On ordinary loans, currently our ordinary loans amount to USD8.397 billion. This includes both public and publicly guaranteed external debt. This is in Annex 2 of this document which was presented by myself dutifully in this august House. I now turn to Government External Debt Madam Speaker. This amount includes the Government’s non-guaranteed external loans amounting to USD7 billion.
On enterprise debt, this amount includes external guaranteed debt to State enterprises amounting to USD1.394 billion. Local Authority Debt – Local authorities currently do not have external debt as far as we know and as far as we can check. The Public Debt Management Act prohibits local authorities to borrow externally on their own accounts. I thank you.
CURRENT GOVERNMENT INDEBTEDNESS ON CONTINGENT LIABILITIES
- HON. MUSHORIWA asked the Minister of Finance and Economic Development to inform the House the state of the level of Zimbabwe indebtedness in respect of Government Contingent Liabilities as at December 31, 2021 specifically segregated in the following—
(a) Government External Guarantees;
(b) Government Guarantees to State entities, state the entity, amount and beneficiary;
(c) Government Guarantees given to local authorities, state the local authority, amount and beneficiary;
(d) Government Guarantees given to private entities such as local banks, state the organisation, amount and beneficiary;
(e) Government Guarantees given to individuals, state the amount and beneficiary.
THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (HON. PROF. M. NCUBE): Thank you Madam Speaker Ma’am. This question is related to the previous question. The level of Government External Guarantees - the Government currently does not have active external guarantees as these are now called up loans. These called up loans amount to USD1.394 billion which is the State Enterprise - that figure that I mentioned in the answer to the earlier question.
I now turn to the Government guarantees to State entities. The Government currently does not have any active external guarantees to these as these are now called up loans. These called up loans amount to USD1.394 billion as I have already mentioned.
I now turn to Government guarantees given to private entities such as local banks and state the organisation, amount and beneficiary. Local authorities currently do not have external debt that was guaranteed by the Government. The Public Debt Management Act prohibits local authorities from borrowing externally on their own account in this way.
I now turn to Government guarantees to individuals and state the amount and beneficiary. There are currently no Government guarantees issued to private individuals. I thank you Madam Speaker Ma’am.
(v)HON. MUSHORIWA: Can the Minister clarify when he says that there is no Government guarantee to private players, yet we know that Government guarantees for instance CBZ and other banks in terms of the agriculture programmes?
HON. PROF. M. NCUBE: I thought the question by Hon. Mushoriwa that he had posed initially that is under (e) specifically says Government guarantees given to individuals not to private corporate or private entities. Madam Speaker, to individuals, we have no Government guarantee extended to individuals. If he is asking about guarantees to corporates such as CBZ to support our agriculture, then that is a different question. There are guarantees that we have extended to entities such as CBZ to support our programmes, for example and guarantees under the COVID support programmes to industry. There are guarantees to that as well and these guarantees are in Zimbabwe dollars but we have no guarantees for individuals.
LIST OF DEBTORS ON THE ZIMBABWE ASSET MANAGEMENT CORPORATION LOAN
- HON. MARKHAM asked the Minister of Finance and Economic Development to explain to the House—
(a) when will the Ministry provide a list of debtors both individuals and companies on the Zimbabwe Asset Management Corporation (ZAMCO) loan;
(b) list of debts that were presented in the 2022 Budget to the tune of 3.3 billion dollars;
(c) List of companies and individuals that had their funds accounts blocked by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ)
THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (HON. PROF. M. NCUBE): Treasury guaranteed that for the itemised beneficiaries, these we can refer to the RBZ, we have clearly identified beneficiaries in terms of that guarantee. I must hasten to say that the ZAMCO institution has really done a wonderful job in delivering that it was set up to do which is to basically warehouse some of the debts from the banks, they do a debt workout and a lot of companies have recovered as a result of that structure.
I now turn to the list of debts that were presented in 2022 Budget to the tune of 3.3 billion dollars. The amount to the tune of 3.3 billion dollars is for blocked funds and these are itemised in annexture three column entitled amount received as at 25 September, 2021. These are again in the report and I am happy to table this for further analysis. This was approved by this Parliament when I presented the Finance Bill which has authorised to use the budget this year, every nature of blocked fund was included there totaling $3.3b.
On (c), this is now the list of companies and the individuals that had their funds and accounts blocked by the Reserve Bank. This is now in actual names and again these are included in annexure 3 of that report. There are also in the Finance Act that we approved before this House, 2022 in annexure 1 and 2.
HON. P. D. SIBANDA: Thank you Hon. Speaker. The question from the Hon. Member is very clear, when will the Ministry provide a list of debtors for both individuals and companies on the ZAMCO. The Hon. Minister has not responded to that question may be to prefix Hon. Speaker. The importance of why these people should be known is because this has become a public debt in which there are glaring allegations that the beneficiaries of this debt are most individuals and companies that are connected to ZANU PF Party and therefore the public has got a right to scrutinise who those beneficiaries are? The Hon. Minister should give us a list of who those people and companies are but currently he has evaded that question. May the Hon. Minister please attend to the question fully?
HON. PROF. M. NCUBE: I thank the Hon. Member for the question. Again I urge him very strongly and clearly to read this statement of public debt. The lists of beneficiaries are all in this document. It is a very, very long list. We have started communicating with them, we are happy to give him a private copy should he wish to have a copy but this is a public document, it is not a private document. It is already there and it was presented to this august House, it was also presented through the Finance Bill that was approved, unfortunately during his absence.
(v)HON. MUSHORIWA: On a point of order, I think the Hon. Minister is confusing the question of the RBZ Assumption Bill with ZAMCO. We need the list of debtors of ZAMCO, that one Hon. Minister it was not presented when we did the Budget that was passed in Parliament in December. The list that we are asking for is the ZAMCO list, that list was never published including this document that you are referring to. I have got a copy here, it is not in there.
HON. PROF. M. NCUBE: I want to thank Hon. Mushoriwa for that follow up clarification question. The list of debtors in the ZAMCO of beneficiaries is in the annual report that ZAMCO produces under the guidance of the Central Bank. Again this is a public document but should the Hon. Members want to receive a copy from me specifically, I will go find it and present to them. These are public documents which can be accessed by anyone and can interrogate to find out who these beneficiaries are. There is nothing hidden, these are public documents with names and amounts. As I said, as Government, we are satisfied with how ZAMCO had conducted its mandate and a lot of companies have recovered due to that effort of debt restitution and debt resolution, I thank you.
HON. T. MLISWA: My supplementary question to the Hon. Minister is that, is it not part of Government policy to capacitate farmers with various interventions like equipment, subsidies to inputs and all that? Was Government wrong to empower the recently resettled farmers through the Land Reform Programme with equipment? I would want to know if that was wrong or Government can at any given time come up with interventions that complement its policies. The Land Reform Programme is a good one. At that point in time, the white farmers had moved off with all their equipment and the law did not allow Government to take equipment from the white farmers. They were to sell it and they took it to Zambia and various countries. Was it not the duty of Government to empower the farmers with mechanization so that we remain a force from an agricultural point of view?
May I declare that I am one of the beneficiaries of the Land Reform Programme and many Government programmes, including the beneficiation of this; it was within the Government policy mandate of empowering. My question to the Minister is - can the Government not come in and do that? Did the Finance Bill not come through this House where all Members were here from the opposition and it sailed through with them debating and all that? Unfortunately, the majority had their way and the minority had their say. Did it not come through this House? The reason why it is important for you to say that is that those beneficiaries out there are seeing people who stole and if they did steal, can you clarify to this House that as a beneficiary, did I steal anything? Was I not entitled to Government policy and interventions? I thank you.
HON. PROF. M. NCUBE: Thank you Hon. Mliswa for that intervention and seeking clarification from myself. I confirm that it is Government policy to support farmers for them to succeed. We need to ensure food security. After having given land to indigenous Zimbabweans as we did, we capacitated them with machinery. This had to do with irrigation equipment, tractors, harrows, combine harvesters and other implements. That was done at the beginning and we have continued with the John Deere Programme and the acquisition of equipment from Belarus.
In addition to that, we have created a financial institution to deepen that work and further capacitate that effort through the AFC Leasing Company and insurance company because what is missing beyond what the Hon. Mliswa mentioned about equipment not being available, there is also the collapse of leasing companies for leasing equipment. There is a missing financial institution called a leasing company. That is also what is needed where this company would then acquire equipment then lease it to farmers for a leasing fee but making sure equipment is available to farmers in order to support them. Of course our support goes way beyond the equipment under the Pfumvudza/Intwasa Programme, we will also support farmers through seed, fertilizer and other inputs because we are determined that we should be food secure even more-so now with challenges with fertilizer prices and supply. We will intervene and make sure that we can acquire fertilizer as a country and be self sufficient with those inputs in order to be self sufficient in food. I thank you.
(v)HON S. BANDA: I want to find out from the Hon. Minister to say, to what extent would people who were resettled and have A1 and A2 letters of occupation, to what extent are those bankable with AFC?
HON. PROF. M. NCUBE: As Government, we have put in a lot of effort in making sure our 99 Year Leases and eventually offer letters become bankable documents. The reason being we are trying to crowd in the private sector in financing agriculture and us coming up with a sustainable financial model for financing agriculture and do it in a sustainable way. We have been busy perfecting our 99 Year Leases so that it is bankable and valorisable and that there is an ability to transfer value within the indigenous owners of that land. We are looking into that to make sure that it is bankable and acceptable to our financial sector. This is doable.
What we have also found out when the lawyers were advising me is that in Zimbabwe any lease arrangement that is longer than 10 years is actually transferable and can be valorisable. You can register it. There is a firmer title to it. Surely a 99 Year Lease is even better. That is where we are going in making sure this is a bankable document and offer letters going forward. I do not want to over reach in my answer because there is a Minister of Agriculture who knows the details of these issues more than me. This is all I can say at the moment. I thank you.
REVIEW OF SALARIES FOR CIVIL SERVANTS AND PENSIONERS
- HON G. SITHOLE asked the Minister of Finance and Economic Development to inform the House when Government will review the salaries of civil servants and pensioners in line with the poverty datum line.
THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (HON. PROF. M. NCUBE): Madam Speaker Ma’am, we reviewed the salaries of civil servants. Last month, we added an additional amount of US$100 on their current salary, which is payable in hard currency. We have done that review. In addition to that, we added some emoluments, especially for the teachers - non-monetary benefits in the form of school fees allowances for up to three children. Also, we are committed to building institutional houses. For the nurses, we have a similar arrangement, including increasing allowances for overtime, duty call. For the teachers as well, we have introduced duty free importation of vehicles for transportation purposes. So, we have done something already and we believe that we have done a lot.
In fact, when we calculate what we have done so far and this is the last time we did the calculation Madam Speaker Ma’am, it came close to what was being paid effectively in August, 2018 because the effective exchange rate was about 1:2. So, if you work out the package as of now, it basically matches. We have covered a lot of ground and we continue to engage but we have moved mountains in trying to cushion our civil servants who work so hard. Thank you.
HON. CHINYANGANYA: Thank you Madam Speaker Ma’am. I do not know in which universe our Minister is staying. Basic commodities and services have sky rocketed, school fees have gone up more than ten times in schools. The amount of money that the Minister is saying have given to civil servants, there is no tally with the rate at which things have gone up. For the Minister to say that the amounts that civil servants are getting is closer to what they were getting prior to the use of the US dollar as the official rate is far from the truth Madam Speaker Ma’am. What is the Ministry doing to make sure that civil servants get salaries which are in tandem with the rate at which basic commodities are going up?
HON. PROF. M. NCUBE. I thank the Hon. Member for the supplementary question. As Government, we have already acted. I said we acted last month and adjusted the salaries of civil servants. We have also added some emoluments which are non-monetary. I have outlined those benefits in the form of school fees for teachers’ children, transportation in terms of zero duty on imported vehicles and so forth including institutional accommodation. I have been very clear and that is being implemented.
Of course we cannot review salaries every week. There is a process and we have to be very careful. It is driven by Government revenues and we have to balance recurrent expenditure, especially around salaries against capital expenditure like investing in roads and other external commitments. We have to take care of a lot through a limited pace, so we cannot review salaries every week or too frequently. There is a process and we follow that process very carefully. We have been very consistent. Each time we say we will review, we do that and we acted last month. Thank you.
HON. CHIKWINYA: My supplementary question Madam Speaker arises from the commitments that have been stated by the Minister of Finance with regards to addressing conditions of service for the civil servants. Perhaps the Hon. Minister was not in the House during Questions without Notice. A question around the payment of education fees for children of the teachers where you have seconded that three of them are now going to be catered for by Government at a Government school was asked. The Hon. Minister of Public Service who was here present stated that they are still collecting data as to who has which children and where. Secondly, the commitment was not made into any Statutory Instrument and therefore it has got no legal standing, to quote what the Hon. Speaker said, to say the commitment has got no legal standing and therefore cannot be followed up.
Time is moving and it is of essence. Inflation is running away. Therefore, the need for the civil servants to be assisted continues to increase. When are these commitments made by Government going to be met? So, the suggestion which had come from Members of Parliament at least for the benefit of the Minister who was not there was that, can there not be a memorandum from the Minister of Finance that if there is a teacher who can produce proof of parentage to a particular child who is at a Government school, can you exempt them from payment of school fees? I think it will have an immediate effect and reduce the pressure from the teachers who are already bearing the brunt of inflation. The request was for you to give that memorandum to all Government schools.
Secondly, the Hon. Minister of Finance has a history of committing but not doing. The quantum of money which he says almost equals what was being given to civil servants as of September, 2017 which is around US$540, he has committed but is not paying. For example, he has committed to paying these Members of Parliament in this House a quantum nearer to what we were getting in September but nothing is being done. We understand your commitment but please do something. Can we have your commitment in those two regards? Firstly to address the teachers. Secondly, when are you going to actualise your own commitments which you do publicly? Thank you.
HON. PROF. M. NCUBE: I thank Hon. Chikwinya for the two follow up questions. The first question was dealt with from what I understand that the Deputy Minister of Public Service stood up and accepted the excellent recommendation. So, they are working on it. I do not think there is any difficulty there, that is really appreciated. If that will quicken the process, so much the better. As Government, we are committed to that. We made that commitment last month when we pledged to the teachers.
We have never said as Government we are going to pay US$540. What I was explaining is just a formula. If you work out the effective exchange rate back then, it was about 1:2 to the US dollar. So it is actually not US$540. It was not buying a basket of goods worth US$540. It was buying half of that. Right now, in terms of what we have extended so far, this I calculated that last month because I knew there was a question that was being asked around that. We had been matching half of the US$540 already. Clearly, the US$540 being referred to back then was not buying a basket of goods in terms of inflation then and the exchange rate of US$540. I thank you.
HON. T. MOYO: Mr. Speaker Sir, I move that Time for Questions with Notice be extended by 10 minutes.
HON. TEKESHE: I second.
Motion put and agreed to.
(v)HON. MASHONGANYIKA: My question to the Minister of Finance is: our people are very worried about the currency in our country. Do you have any plan for the stability of our currency as Government?
THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (HON. PROF. M. NCUBE): Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. In yesterday’s session, I was requested to present a Ministerial Statement on the question that has just been posed. I committed to doing that on Thursday next week. So I will come back to this august House and give a very clear outline of our plan of action. It is wide ranging and we are currently fine tuning that. So I will come over to present next week on Thursday. I thank you.
CONSTRUCTION OF PRIMARY AND SECONDARY SCHOOLS IN BUDIRIRO
- HON. MACHINGAUTA asked the Minister of Primary and
Secondary Education to explain to the House when the Ministry will construct at least a primary and secondary school in Ward 33, 43, and
CABS area in Budiriro 3, 4 and 5 respectively.
THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF PRIMARY AND SECONDARY EDUCATION (HON. E. MOYO): Thank you Mr. Speaker. Thank you Hon. Member for notifying us of the need for public schools in the above named areas. The Ministry is seized with the task of constructing more than 3000 schools countrywide. This year a budget has been availed for the construction of 35 schools and our teams are working on identifying such sites. However, on the specific areas you have mentioned, we have not budgeted to construct schools there this year. We however take not of your request and would also appreciate other partners such as local authorities to partner us. We would also appreciate use of devolution and CDF funds in assisting the Ministry in constructing those schools. We will nevertheless indeed attend to your request Hon. Machingauta.
HON. CHIKWINYA: Thank you Mr. Speaker. My supplementary question is what informs the Ministry on where to construct a school? Secondly, do they appreciate to work with private developers where they would have perhaps managed to get ground and then private developers want to partner with the Ministry in constructing that school on a private-public partnership arrangement?
HON. E. MOYO: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. I would like to thank the Hon. Member for the supplementary question. For the first question on how we prioritise where to locate a school, the issues that we will look at initially are in priority order of the need of a school. In some areas, the issues are around decongesting existing schools and in other areas, there are no schools completely. So, given the two scenarios, we ordinarily would choose and give priority to areas without a school completely.
Then on the issue of partners, they are very much welcome in the construction of schools. In fact, in Zimbabwe purely, Government schools are much less than local authority schools. The largest number of schools in Zimbabwe is owned by local authorities, followed by churches and then we have Government, then private bidders. So everyone is welcome as long as they abide by the laws of the country in the provision of education. I thank you.
(v) *HON. MACHINGAUTA: Thank you Mr. Speaker. Hon. Minister, Section 355 in our Constitution talks of right to education. Budiriro has more than 30 000 houses - accordingly, we are supposed to have 30 primary schools and 20 secondary schools but right now there are only two schools. In Budiriro 3, there are no schools at all. Private schools which are in the area charge US$160 and if you check on learners who attend those schools, there are no children from Budiriro but we are saying there is a right to education for children. Children from Budiriro walk very long distances to Mufakose and Glenview. There is a high risk of accidents and also we are burdening parents by commuting children. What efforts are you putting as a Ministry in order to do as what the Constitution is saying? The school fees are too high in those private schools, even my salary as a Member of Parliament is not enough to pay school fees in those private schools. Thank you.
HON. E. MOYO: Thank you Hon. Chair. Thank you Hon. Member for the supplementary question. I want to thank the Member for giving us those graphic details which might not have been contained in the question. I therefore recommend that the Hon. Member visits our offices, planning department or even my office for a deeper discussion and appreciation of that need. We also need to check if authority to establish and construct a school from different sources has already been processed or not. We would need really to go deeper into that matter than we have attempted to respond. I thank you.
PLANS TO CONSTRUCT ADDITIONAL SECONDARY SCHOOLS IN GWANDA
- HON. MOKONE asked the Minister of Primary and Secondary Education to inform the House what plans are available to construct additional secondary schools in Gwanda Town.
THE MINISTER OF PRIMARY AND SECONDARY EDUCATION (HON. E NDLOVU): The Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education is well aware of the need to construct additional secondary schools in Gwanda Town. In fact, the town is scheduled on our programme of constructing more than 3000 schools in the country. In this particular year 2022, we have a budget to construct 35 schools and our teams are on the ground to identify such sites that need schools. I cannot however confirm that Gwanda Town will benefit from this year’s budget but going forward, we are seized with the matter of constructing secondary schools in Gwanda.
WRITTEN SUBMISSIONS TO QUESTIONS WITH NOTICE
APPOINTMENT OF SUBSTANTIVE SENIOR EMPLOYEES AT HARARE CITY COUNCIL
- HON. HAMAUSWA asked the Minister of Local Government and Public Works to inform the House when the appointment of substantive senior employees at Harare City Council is going to be done.
THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT PUBLIC WORKS AND NATIONAL HOUSING (HON. CHOMBO): Mr. Speaker, I would like to inform this august House that the appointment of some senior council has been held in abeyance due to some cases of directors who have pending cases with the council.
Similarly, some directors and those in acting capacities at City of Harare have been placed on forced leave owing to their arrest by the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (ZACC). The matters are still being dealt with by the courts.
The latter category of posts are now awaiting approval of the Local Government Board, in terms of Section 123 of the Urban Councils Act [Chapter 29:15] after going through all the council’s processes.
UPGRADING OF PREVIOUS SCHOOL CENTRES TO ECD CENTRES IN RURAL AREAS
- HON. RTD. GEN. (RTD) MAYIHLOME asked the Minister of Primary and Secondary Education to explain to the House if the Ministry is considering upgrading previous Pre–school centres to ECD centres to avoid long distances being walked by ECD learners in rural schools.
THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF PRIMARY AND SECONDARY EDUCATION (HON. E MOYO): Thank you Hon. Mayihlome for the information on existing pre-schools which the Ministry would gladly change to accommodate the ECD classes. This is indeed a noble suggestion in terms of decongesting our already existing ECD centres and the Ministry will take the proposal into consideration as this will also help in reducing distance travelled by ECD learners who are still too young to walk long distances.
Questions with Notice were interrupted by THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER in terms of Standing Order No. 68
RESPONSES TO ISSUES RAISED BY THE REPORT OF THE PUBLIC ACCOUNTS COMMITTEE ON THE ANALYSIS OF VOTE NO. 8
THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (HON. PROF. M. NCUBE): Mr. Speaker Sir, I would like to give a Ministerial Statement pertaining to the issues raised by the report of the Public Accounts Committee pertaining to Vote No. 8 of the Ministry of Agriculture, Water, Fisheries, and Rural Development and also on Command Agriculture. That report was approved by this august House yesterday. So, I want to make sure that we respond as quickly as possible as this august House expects us to do that. Below are the responses on the various issues pertaining to Vote No.8 of the year 2017 pertaining to the Command Agriculture issues.
In that report, there is Item 5.6 which pertains to query as to why the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development must be an allocating Ministry, should make disbursements to line ministries, must stop making direct payments and purchases on behalf of line ministries with immediate effect.
We respond as follows; that the direct payments only apply to payments in foreign currency, it was just to hand the foreign currency element to suppliers upon the line Ministry’s request that is Ministry of Agriculture. The same amount in local currency is accounted for through the disbursements to the Ministry, so we match that foreign currency amount that would have been paid directly on behalf of the Ministry with the Zimbabwe dollar equivalent which would be coming out of their budget allocation.
The second item is 5.7, the query from the report of the Public Accounts Committee is that the Public Finance Management must be amended to empower the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development to take disciplinary measures against accounting officers of ministries and State bodies that continuously fail to respond and address issues raised by the Auditor General’s Report or persistently fail to produce audited statements.
Here I respond as follows: Treasury is currently working on the amendment of the Public Finance Management Act to address these issues. The fact that the Public Accounts Committee has raised this issue, I am now working with the Accounting Generals. The Bill for this amendment has already gone through First Reading and we will be taking it through the stages, I am sure there will be a very robust and constructive debate. There are items 5.8.1, 6.8.2, 5.8.4, 6.8.6, which I will relate to and they pertain again to the issue of direct payments. Here I am responding as follows, that Treasury has since suspended direct payments and set offs and therefore, there will be no further anomalies in the future. Going forward, we have suspended this and this is a thing of the past. This was in 2017 before we put in the new rules as the new dispensation.
The direct payments, as I said earlier on, pertain to handling of foreign currency to suppliers at the request of ministries and the equivalent amount is debited to the Ministry’s equivalent amount in Zimbabwean dollars. This is in line with Public Finance Management Act and so forth. Of course, sometimes we do face delays in disbursing the cash because we try to live within the cash flows without support from outside. I think that really covers the responses to those series of questions because they are all inter-related and pertain to direct payments in foreign currency which we were doing at the request of the Ministry and no direct payments in Zimbabwe dollars.
The next item is item 6.9.1, which pertains to expenditure in the acquisition of fixed assets, it also pertains to assets amounting to $18.2m dollars during the financial year under review and this was caused by improper accounting treatment or capital transfers to the Infrastructure Development Bank of Zimbabwe - that is what the report has noted.
On 6.9.2, the Finance Director indicated that the variance was a result of an accounting treatment and also what happened in terms of 6.9.4 query that Treasury transferred money to a third party which is IDBZ without the Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Water, Fisheries and Rural Resettlement’s knowledge and this leaves room for misappropriation by a third party. Going forward, the report recommends that the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development desist from transferring funds to third parties but should transfer and allocate funds to the line ministries.
Here I respond as follows; that Treasury suspended disbursements of resources in support of the Irrigation Development Programme through IDBZ in 2018 when I started my mandate, we suspended this. This was in 2017 and this issue has been resolved.
I now turn to items 6.12.1, 6.12.2, 6.12.3, 6.12.4, 6.12.5, 6.12.7, let me quickly run through those items so that you hear what they are all about starting with 6.12.1. The Auditor General noted that the Department of Lands, Management and Rural Resettlement planned to allocate the other 4 000 hectares to 400 land beneficiaries, but there was no evidence of any land allocated during the year ended December 31st, 2018. The Ministry also planned to issue twenty 99 year leases but only managed to issue eight leases, 1 500 A1 permits and 270 permits, 200 A2 farms have been targeted for mapping but only 57 farms were mapped, the output of three targets was 40%, 18% and 29% respectively.
I now turn to item 6.12.2, in responding to the general question on monitoring and evaluation of activities of the Ministry’s programme. The Permanent Secretary informed the Committee that the Ministry was divided into departments with each department headed by a director, each director was responsible for monitoring and evaluation of activities in the department to ensure that the results were achieved.
In item 6.12.3, in relation to the missed targets, he argued that the 99-year land leases required that land be surveyed. He noted that this area was a challenge in terms of quantity surveyors. He explained to the Committee that when performance targets were set, there was no consideration of exogenous factors such as the fees charged by land surveyors. High fees had left the Ministry with a few surveyors to choose from.
I now turn to query 6.12.4 where the Permanent Secretary indicated that eligibility for a 99-year lease takes the level of production into account and that the recommendation for the lease is therefore based on the level of production.
I now turn to item 6.12.5 that there was no monitoring and evaluation to access whether the set targets will be met.
On 6.12.6, that there was a shortage of manpower and equipment for land surveyors. Then 6.12.7 that the Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Water, Fisheries and Rural Development should set realistic targets and seek Treasury concurrence for additional funding to engage land surveyors or alternatively sign MOU’s with institutions of higher learning that train land surveyors within 90 days of tabling this report.
Here I respond as follows Mr. Speaker Sir, that Treasury is yet to receive a request for budget support from the Ministry of Lands for recruitment of additional manpower and equipment requirements and we welcome such a request. Treasury stands ready to support the request and is waiting for the report.
6.13 is a request for us to provide Treasury Bill minutes in terms of the issuances; these will be provided. This ends my Ministerial Statement as a response to the Public Accounts Committee on Command Agriculture and also Vote Number 8, pertaining to the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Water, Fisheries and Rural Development for the year 2017. I thank you.
HON. MPARIWA: Thank You Hon. Speaker Sir. Mine is not a question but it is really to do with an appreciation on the responses by the Minister to both the two reports from the Public Accounts Committee. We have heard commitments that he has actually ensured that they will be put in place. We have heard of systems being established and we hope and trust that we will be able to follow suit and see the changes in terms of the way things have been going. When there is a correction in terms of what the Minister has said, then we stand to see the change.
I want to appreciate Hon. Minister that at least you have done it in the shortest possible time and due to COVID, we could not persistently sit but I want to believe and trust that something will be done and we will be working together with the Public Accounts Committee. So, when systems have been put in place, we now monitor on whether they have been implemented.
HON. PROF. M. NCUBE: Just to appreciate the comment from Hon. Mpariwa. Yes, indeed that we will follow through these commitments. We have already started to act, I have mentioned things that we have already stopped to make sure those things are done properly and enough information is given. There is transparency as required by the dictates of the Public Accounts Committee which actually is a partner Committee to what we do as Treasury and as Government.
(v)HON. SANSOLE: I just want to say I appreciate the Minister’s response to query number 5.6 regarding direct payments and that these only apply to foreign currency payments made on behalf of ministries.
I would want to say to the Minister, it would be appreciated if those payments are accompanied by supporting documentation in order to enable the Ministry to properly account for that expenditure. I thank you.
(v)HON. RAIDZA: Thank you Hon. Speaker. I just want to commend the Minister for coming to respond to our observation of the Public Accounts Committee. I am grateful to the Minister for his commitment that he has shown to Parliament that there are a number of issues that need to be addressed.
Indeed, he has admitted that there were some transgressions between 2017 and 2018; however, there is a commitment from him as a Minister to make sure that some of these transgressions are dealt with so that at least the operations at the Ministry are in compliance with the Public Finance Management Act; we are grateful for that.
(v)HON. NDUNA: Thank you very much Hon. Speaker. I have just got one point to make to applaud the Minister for responding expeditiously. The Standing Rules and Orders actually empower and implore the Minister to respond within 22 days after the tabling of the report in Parliament. I think the Hon. Minister has done that in record time and it is applaudible. I also want to go further and say Hon. Speaker Sir the period that he is responding to, 2017 and 2018, the economy and indeed our dollar and its power and such like it gave him the power and the leeway to use Treasury Bills and also to deal with direct payments even though the law did not allow for continued usage of the same.
Hon. Speaker Sir, I appreciate the acknowledgement that whatever occurred was digressing…
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Hon. Nduna, please no debates can you just raise issues that you need clarification or questions.
(v)HON. NDUNA: Mr. Speaker Sir, I just want to harp on the issue of acknowledgement that there was some digression from the Public Finance Management Act and that whatever occurred then is not going to occur in the future. I am applauding the Minister for that Hon. Speaker Sir. It gives credibility to the report of the public Finance Management Act and I say kudos to the Minister of Finance and Economic Development. I ask that all the other Ministers follow suit in terms of timelines.
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Thank you very much for that Hon. Nduna.
BUS.INESS OF THE HOUSE
HON. MUSABAYANA: Mr. Speaker Sir, I move that Orders of the Day, Numbers 1 to 5 be stood over until Order of the Day Number 6 on today’s Order Paper has been disposed of.
HON. RAIDZA: I second.
Motion put and agreed to.
REPORT OF THE JOINT PORTFOLIO COMMITTEES ON HIGHER AND TERTIARY EDUCATION, INNOVATION, SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY DEVELOPMENT AND WOMEN AFFAIRS, COMMUNITY AND SMALL TO MEDIUM ENTERPRISE DEVELOPMENT ON AN ENQUIRY INTO THE PREVALENCE OF SEXUAL HARASSMENT IN HIGHER AND TERTIARY EDUCATION INSTITUTIONS
HON. MAPHOSA: I move the motion standing in my name that this House takes note of the Report of the joint Portfolio Committees on Higher and Tertiary Education, Innovation, Science and Technology Development and Women Affairs, Community and Small to Medium Enterprise Development on an Enquiry into the Prevalence of Sexual Harassment in Higher and Tertiary Education Institutions.
HON. T. MOYO: I second.
HON. MAPHOSA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.
1.1 The Joint Portfolio Committee on Higher and Tertiary Education, Innovation, Science and Technology Development (PPCHTEISTD), and Women Affairs, Community and Small to Medium Enterprise Development (PPCWACSMED) conducted an inquiry into the prevalence of sexual harassment in the institutions of higher and tertiary learning. Enjoined by Section 141 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe and Standing Order No. 23, the Committees resolved to conduct fact-finding visits to Higher and Tertiary Education Institutions so as to have an appreciation of the prevalence of sexual harassment in these institutions. This was with a view towards influencing policy and legislative development surrounding this topic in most of Zimbabwe’s institutions as espoused by Sections 13 and 141 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe.
The objectives of the enquiry were:
2.1 To ascertain the prevalence of Sexual Gender Based Violence (SGBV) and Sexual Harassment (SH) in institutions of higher and tertiary learning;
2.2 To assess the challenges institutions of higher and tertiary education are facing in curbing SGBV and sexual harassment; and
2.3 To gather input from the students on the sexual harassment challenges they face and the proposed remedial measures.
3.1 The Joint Committee was divided into two teams and visited 15 HTEIs altogether.
Teacher Training Colleges
University of Zimbabwe
Hillside Teachers’ College
Midlands State University
Mkoba Teachers College
Great Zimbabwe University
National University of Science and Technology
Mutare Teachers College
Chinhoyi University of
Bindura University of Science
Harare Institute of Technology
4.0 COMMITTEE’S FINDINGS
4.1.1 Most of the Universities did not have stand-alone sexual harassment policies. In the majority of the institutions, issues of sexual harassment were incorporated in the broader policy on harassment as was the case at Lupane State University and at the University of Zimbabwe where sexual harassment is addressed in the Student Charter, Life Skills Manual and Student Advisory Committee.
4.1.2 In most institutions, the majority staff members and students professed ignorance about the existence of the sexual harassment policies and their contents. For example, at Lupane State University, the staff highlighted that the sexual harassment policy was formulated by the administration of the institution without the input and buy-in of the other staff members. Similarly, at the University of Zimbabwe, one staff member opined that he was unaware of the existence of the policy and he would have wished to have been informed about its existence upon joining the institution.
4.1.3 More so, it was highlighted by both students and staff that sexual harassment was highly prevalent in the institutions of higher learning. Between the students, the most pervasive form of sexual harassment was verbal while physical sexual harassment was more prevalent between the staff and students. One Dean of Students of a particular University brought in another dimension of sexual harassment perpetrated by students against other fellow students whereby a first-year student brought her boyfriend in the room which she was sharing with another female student and they proceeded to be intimate in the presence of her roommate. The Dean received the report on the following day and the institution was yet to address that case of sexual harassment.
4.1.4 The high prevalence of sexual harassment in institutions of higher learning was attributed to the rising poverty level and substance abuse among students. Additionally, because there was inadequate on-campus accommodation, most students were staying off-campus and this exposed them to sexual harassment from their landlords and guardians as well as the community in general. One student at one of the Universities visited recounted an event when a lecturer requested to meet her very early in the morning to give her learning materials. She pointed out that during the meeting the lecturer proposed love to her but she turned him down and the lecturer threatened to make her fail the module he was teaching.
4.1.5 The staff in most institutions, particularly at Solusi University further attributed the high prevalence of sexual harassment in universities to the degradation of the socio-cultural and moral fabric as well as the increased exposure to media content such as pornography. For example, it was highlighted that some students deliberately sat in a provocative manner during the face-to-face lectures. Other lecturers submitted that students were sending pornographic content in the WhatsApp chat groups that were being used by lecturers to deliver their education-related content and information. They also reiterated that some of the lecturers did not view students as mwana wechikoro but as consenting adult capable of making rational decisions despite other factors that may compromise their ability to decide and act rationally and this had contributed to the prevalence of sexual harassment. Essentially, it was highlighted that these lecturers and staff members deliberately disregarded the in loco parentis principle as far as students are concerned. These sentiments were also buttressed at Solusi University where it was opined that institutions did not make deliberate efforts, through the Students’ Affairs Department to understand the background of a student. The University staff pointed out that it was difficult to get evidence of cases of sexual harassment as most students reported these cases upon graduation.
4.1.6 Most of the students, particularly the female staff and students were apprehensive in reporting these cases. In instances where reports where received the male students would report on behalf of the female students and the female students were reluctant to follow-up on the case. Most of the staff and students feared victimisation and stigmatisation that usually followed issues of sexual harassment. It was also pointed out that the reporting structures espoused in the sexual harassment policies were not clear and did not protect the student. Furthermore, in most of the policies, the student was supposed to report to the Chairman or Dean who might be the perpetrator or a colleague of the perpetrator. Some of the staff and students observed that they were unaware of the reporting standards and procedures such that it was difficult for them to seek recourse.
4.1.7 Some institutions, such as the National University of Science and Technology (NUST) had taken steps to raise awareness on sexual harassment issues. These interventions included online surveys to gauge the awareness on sexual harassment and the deliberate engagement of the civil society to support awareness campaigns. However, the non-academic Dean’s office did not qualify to receive funds and therefore they could not continue to carry out the research and awareness campaigns on sexual harassment.
4.2 TEACHER-TRAINING COLLEGES
4.2.1 It was highlighted from the submissions received from both the staff and students that while there were no official reports on cases of sexual harassment, rumours around the institutions pointed to the fact that sexual harassment was rife.
4.2.2 It was further highlighted that this prevalence was higher between students and lecturers particularly during the supervision of the Curriculum Depth Study (CDS) projects. It was alleged that most lecturers would suggest what was colloquially referred to as “thigh for a mark” if the student wanted to pass and graduate with their diploma. The students opined that due to the power dynamics that are between the staff member and the student, the students were apprehensive to report such cases. As in universities, the students opined that they feared victimisation and stigmatisation that came with reports of sexual harassment. The students also highlighted that the reporting structures did not protect the students and did not offer a guarantee of reprieve after reporting such cases. It was noted that in most cases, the perpetrators of the sexual harassment were the ones who sat in the disciplinary committees.
4.2.3 The administration of the institutions pointed out that they had made deliberate efforts to empower the students to report such cases. This included the production and distribution of the sexual harassment policy to both staff and students during the orientation week. Further, it was pointed out that the institutions implemented other interventions such as counseling sessions, incorporation of sexual harassment into curricula and have suggested that the students record their conversations with the harasser to get evidence. Other institutions such as Mkoba Teachers College had a strict policy against sexual harassment and this had led to the dismissal of several staff members who had been found guilty of the vice. However, in most institutions, most staff and students pointed out that they were unaware of the existence and contents of the sexual harassment policies.
4.2.4 Additionally, the submissions also revealed that there was limited or no sensitisation and implementation of the sexual harassment policy, the reporting standards and procedures were unclear, most institutions were guided by S.I 1 of 2000 but the staff at the institutions were not trained to handle cases of sexual harassment. Moreover, our culture which is largely patriarchal did not allow women to report cases of sexual harassment and this was worsened by the fact that sexual harassment is treated as a civil and not a criminal case. Lastly, it was highlighted that the lack of an institutional sexual harassment policy from the Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education, Innovation, Science and Technology Development (MHTEISTD) had militated against the fight against sexual harassment in institutions of higher and tertiary learning.
4.3.1 Team A visited Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo and Harare Polytechnics for the purposes of obtaining views on the prevalence of sexual harassment.
4.3.2 As in the Universities and Teacher-training Colleges, it was widely agreed by both staff and students that sexual harassment was prevalent. It was also widely agreed that between students, verbal sexual harassment was more prevalent while between staff and students, physical sexual harassment was prevalent.
4.3.3 It was also highlighted that there were very few or no cases of sexual harassment at the institutions visited. This was attributed to the under-reporting of cases due to fear of victimisation and stigmatisation. The students pointed out that they were unaware of the existence of sexual harassment policies and the reporting standards and procedures thereof. One lecturer at one of the polytechnics visited pointed out that while there were sexual harassment policies within the institutions, the policies were not being implemented. He argued that these policies were there to ensure compliance with the directives from the Ministry rather than as tools to eradicate the rampant sexual harassment. Other students expressed their mistrust in the reporting structures noting that the disciplinary committees were comprised of the perpetrators or colleagues of the perpetrators of sexual harassment.
4.3.4 At Harare Polytechnic, the students pointed out that they were afraid of reporting sexual harassment cases because of fear of failure. They reiterated that 60% of their overall assessment marks comes from the continuous assessment tests which are marked by the lecturer and hence they cannot possibly open cases of sexual harassment against their lecturers. Another student pointed out that during supervision of their projects some lecturers ask for money so that they can give the student a rewrite or a higher mark.
4.3.5 Other students highlighted that they were sexually harassed by the security personnel at the institution in the name of verifying the institution’s identity card. They revealed to the Committee that some security officers call the students by pet names such as baby or they call them by describing their physical appearances. The students bemoaned the lack of a Student Representative Council (SRC) which they pointed out was dissolved by the school’s administration following their petition to Parliament against fees increases to Parliament. They further bemoaned the lack of a counselor at the institution and hence they have no avenues to seek reprieve when they are faced with such Situations.
5.1 COMMITTEE’S OBSERVATIONS
5.1 The non-physical form of sexual harassment experienced by students in Universities and Colleges are:
- a) sexual comments, jokes, songs, whistles about body and dressing, threats and intimidations about failing the course, pressure for sex, cyber bullying, sexual advances, sexual gifts and spreading sexual rumours or lies. The physical forms are; sexual touching, hugging and kissing; physical assault; and attempted rape.
- There is a lack of a clear and universal definition of sexual harassment both nationally and internationally.
- The narrow understanding of sexual harassment is compounded by Legislative gaps, particularly the unclear definition of sexual harassment in Zimbabwe’s Constitution No. 20: 2013, the Labour Act 28:01 and the S.I 1 of 2000, resulting in ignorance about what sexual harassment really is.
- The Committee noted the constricted interpretation of the Labour Act 28:01 which describes sexual harassment as an unfair labour practice, and does not apply to students in non-employment contexts, particularly higher and tertiary education institutions.
- I 1 of 2000 is not specific regarding student-to-student sexual harassment, lecturer– to-student and non-lecturing staff-to-students sexual harassment at higher and tertiary education institutions. This is because the in loco parentis role in the S.1 1 of 2000 refers to teachers at primary and secondary schools as employees in charge of minors. I submit Hon. Speaker Sir.
HON. T. MOYO: Hon. Speaker Sir, I wish to add my voice to this very important motion that has been tabled by my Hon. Chairperson Maphosa on this very important issue on sexual harassment.
I want to start by informing the House that in Zimbabwe, we do not have a national policy on sexual harassment, and it is quite sad that most of the universities, teachers’ colleges and polytechnics are operating without a national policy on sexual harassment, and that prompted the move by the Joint Committee on Women Affairs and Higher and Tertiary Education, Innovation, Science and Technology Development to find information from universities. It is also important to note that some universities did not even have a Sexual Harassment Policy. I will give an example of the University of Zimbabwe.
When we went to the University of Zimbabwe, we were surprised, astounded and perplexed to find that they do not have a Sexual Harassment Policy. What they have are Ordinances, for example Ordinance 30, which used to be operational during our time in the early 90s when we were students at the University of Zimbabwe – that is what is being used by the Dean of Students. Mr. Speaker Sir, students are not informed of their rights, hence the prevalence of sexual harassment. As a Committee, our expectations were that when students go through the orientation exercise, they are supposed to be informed that sexual harassment exists in various forms in universities.
In universities where we found that there were Sexual Harassment Policies, for example, at Lupane State University, the National University of Science and Technology (NUST) – we found those documents in place. Surprisingly Mr. Speaker Sir, the students at NUST and Lupane State University were not even given those documents. They were not even informed about their rights to resist sexual harassment in the form of advances by professors or lecturers. So as a Committee, we are encouraging all institutions of higher learning to ensure that as soon as students enroll at a given university or college, they are supposed to be oriented in the form of ways to protect or safeguard against the vice of sexual harassment.
In addition Mr. Speaker Sir, indeed sexual harassment is prevalent in universities. Students who are disabled are not spared; they are also affected by sexual harassment. For example, the Dean of Students at the University of Zimbabwe informed us that one lecturer at the university was a perpetrator of sexual harassment on a disabled student – one who is blind. Fortunately, the lecturer was fired by the university Administration.
Sexual harassment takes different forms, manifests in different ways, nature, and character. We discovered that there is sexual harassment between students or among students themselves – sexual harassment exists. There is sexual harassment between administrators or office holders and their secretaries – that is another form of sexual harassment but the most common form of sexual harassment is that of a lecturer preying on a student, which is a disgrace and vice that should be curbed without much ado. It can also take forms of verbal, physical, and sexual abuse. There are several forms, and facets of sexual abuse.
What are the causes of this sexual abuse? From our study, we noticed that there is a multiplicity of causes of sexual harassment. One - the rise in poverty levels, these are also forcing students to engage, some of the female students also would trap lecturers to engage in sexual harassment. Whether it is a student harassing a male lecturer or vice versa but these things are prevalent in our universities. The majority of universities and colleges do not have adequate accommodation Mr. Speaker Sir, and students would have to find accommodation elsewhere in the vicinity of universities and colleges. As a result, because of poverty, some of those students may fall prey to ‘blessers’. I will call them ‘blessers or NABs’, we used to call them ‘non-academic bachelors’ – something like that. Those who have the money may end up paying accommodation fees for a particular student or may even provide pocket money to those students as blessers, and that is a way of perpetuating sexual harassment in our colleges.
Another cause of sexual harassment is the issue of socio-cultural values that are degrading the moral fabric of society. Students are exposed to pornography to an extent that it may also be a reason why some of the lecturers or even students engage in sexual harassment. Then there is this very important or funny issue of ‘a thigh for a mark’ - it was highly prevalent in Teachers’ Colleges. Lecturers in Teachers’ Colleges had the habit of abusing their students that if they failed to satisfy those lecturers sexually, they were going to fail and their careers would be doomed.
One intervention that was done by the University of Zimbabwe was to centralise the setting of examinations, and also external examinations whereby all Teachers’ Colleges examinations in Zimbabwe are set by University of Zimbabwe, Department of Teacher Education – that was a way to eradicate sexual harassment. Even when students go on attachment or Teaching Practice, some of them were also sexually abused. Students were sexually abused from what we found when they were conducting in-depth studies or dissertations. The lecturer would go to an extent of ensuring that the student would spend five weeks to approve a given topic. To progress to the second phase of chapter one would spend two months and that is a way of influencing that student to accept or agree to be used by a particular lecturer. So, all those tendencies are very bad and as a Committee, we deplore and condemn such acts of harassment. No-one in his or her right mind would absolve such tendencies.
Now the issue of stigma Mr. Speaker is very important. A number of students who are subjected to harassment are afraid to report for two reasons; they do not trust those Chairpersons of the departments and neither do they trust Deans of Faculties or of Students. The fear is, if they report to a Chairperson of department, that person may not want to put a fellow workmate into trouble and as a result students will be afraid of reporting. Some women or students are married and if a married student is approached by a lecturer, she may not want to go and report for fear that the husband will also be aware and maybe subjected to sexual harassment.
This can only end when we come up with a national policy on sexual harassment. Information dissemination should be prioritised so that we also encourage the civil society organisations to ensure that they write documents which deplore acts of sexual harassment and abuse of women. This sexual harassment should not be confined to universities. Even in high schools, it is also happening.
In my conclusion Mr. Speaker, it is high time that the Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education, Innovation, Science and Technology Development should quickly produce a national document which will be used by all universities and colleges in Zimbabwe as a way of eradicating the vice of harassing female students. An independent body should also be instituted that looks into issues of sexual harassment. It will not be fair for a student to report perpetrators of sexual harassment who happen to be lecturers to their fellow workmates. That will not stop the vices but if they are going to institute independent bodies, these are people who will come from outside who are going to ensure that those students whose rights are violated are given fair trial and those perpetrators will be dismissed or discharged. Such an important intervention is needed.
We also want to encourage all colleges to ensure that there is information dissemination. Students must be taught on the dangers of sexual harassment as soon as they enroll for a particular discipline or programme in the university and in the process, that will lead to eradication of sexual harassment. Thank you very much Mr. Speaker.
(v)HON. S. BANDA: Thank you Mr. Speaker for recognising me. I want to thank Hon. Maphosa our Chair for the Higher Education Committee. I also want to thank Hon. Dr. Moyo for seconding the motion. Both of them chair the respective Education Parliamentary Portfolio Committees. We really have seasoned educationists who have discussed and moved this motion.
We need to protect our schools and our education environments from sexual harassments. Mr. Speaker, I am also a member of both these Committees that I have referred to; that of Primary and Secondary Education and that of Higher and Tertiary Education. When this trip was made, I was also among the members who partook in it. I am only going to focus on three issues that have been touched by the two members who have already spoken before me.
First, I will speak about Harare Polytechnic. I do not see why students should be punished and not allowed to express how they feel when fees rise. Is it a problem to petition Parliament? Harare Polytechnic is now working against Parliament Mr. Speaker Sir. So, we want them to desist from doing that.
The second issue pertains to Gweru Teacher’s College. When we went there we found that students had been drilled to speak in a certain way. We do not want that as that undermines parliamentary oversight. We want to be told the ‘truth and nothing else but the truth so help us God’ so that when we come to report back to the nation we do not come with half backed information. We want them to desist from such kind of information.
I will also go to Lupane University. I was very disappointed Mr. Speaker to find out that the very person who was convening the meeting there on sexual harassment, there was commotion when we said the meeting should start. We had to move from one hall to the other so that the meeting could be held. Why, because one of the suspected or alleged perpetrators was among those who were supposed to be leading this issue. That is a matter of concern. Actually, after we left Lupane University, newspapers in less than a week, carried on stories showing what was happening at Lupane University through some lecturers. That is despicable and should not be tolerated.
Let me go to what Hon. Maphosa was speaking about on the issue of a National Sexual Harassment Policy. I think it is almost there now and all we need is to have it launched. Let us go that extra mile and finish because it is not something that does not exist. It already exists in a certain nature and all it needs is just the final touches Mr. Speaker. Let us go ahead and finish it. Once we do that we promulgate a law against sexual harassment. So, I want to support this motion by Hon. Maphosa.
As I wind up my debate, according to rape statistics by country which were conducted in 2020, Zimbabwe has a rape rate of 25.587 per 100 000 people. Botswana had the highest rape rate in the whole world at 92.93 per 100 000 cases reported. Lesotho was second at 82.68 and South Africa was third at 72.10. Our own Zimbabwe was fourth. This is extremely disturbing and this tendency is not just remaining in the bushes or streets of Zimbabwe, it is also finding its way into our own schools or education fraternities and that is something that we should stop with the policies and the law that have been proposed through this motion.
We cannot have a SADC which has the top four countries known for rape activities or incidents. That is something that we should stop. We do not want to be found having root causes of sexual harassment in our institutions. We need to solve sexual harassment in corridors of learning as well as in bushes and in the streets. With this Mr. Speaker Sir, I also lend my voice to support the motion which has been raised by Hon. Maphosa and seconded by Hon. Dr. Moyo. I thank you.
(v)HON. NDUNA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. A lot has been said by the mover of the motion, Hon. Maphosa and the seconder Hon. Moyo. I also want to thank Hon. Banda for bringing up pertinent issues. I will not delve into the – [Technical glitch] – resources policy, the solid waste management policy and a plethora of policies Mr. Speaker Sir. Once we concentrate on the Public Finance Management Act in order to interrogate the manner the local authorities carry out their mandate, nine times out of ten we would miss the point in making sure that there is criminal abuse seeing that there is criminal abuse of office in those areas. Mr. Speaker Sir, I want to bring in once there is the crafting of the ethos, the values and the principles of the policy on sexual harassment or the harassment of the other gender which is the ladies in the areas of higher and tertiary education. There is need to interrogate what is already occurring in those institutions of higher learning using a number of statutes that are going to criminalise the conduct of those lecturers and students who would be engaged in such activities because they are adults. We are engaged currently with the Child Justice Bill that seeks to make sure that there is an Act that adjudicates the children in so far as crime is concerned and child courts and otherwise. We are talking of people that sometimes are over 18 years of age and they should face the full wrath of the law.
As I conclude on the policy and the values, I want to say amongst the plethora of statutes, there is need to include the Criminal Law Codification and Reform Act. It is explicit in part III where it says sexual crimes and crimes against morality. It is Sections 61 to 76 where it says complicity in sexual crimes. These are sexual crimes and there are levels of sentence that are mentioned in the Criminal Law Codification and Reform Act. This is just but one of the statutes that I think is strongly inclined to make sure that the criminal intention of the perpetrators of this heinous crime can be brought to book expeditiously and that criminology rot to a screeching halt..
Mr. Speaker Sir, the second issue that I want to touch on is the orientation. I am now in my second part of the first semester, in the orientation at the University of Zimbabwe, I heard with my ears, I saw with my eyes and I spoke with my mouth, I saw Prof. Mapfumo giving a speech during orientation saying that the students who had now gotten into the institutions needed first and foremost to take care of their health the same way they got to that institutions. They needed to go back even as a better people as opposed to inheriting the cultures and values of other students in the institution.
Mr. Speaker Sir, I think the orientation at the University of Zimbabwe is second to none in terms of inculcating the values of the issues of principles and good order within the human dignity. It is my thinking that orientation in all other institutions should mirror what happens at the University of Zimbabwe because nothing was left to chance. Everything was espoused during the time of orientation.
As we talk about the domestic law in terms of sexual harassment, it ceases to be an issue of the Universities. It is now a national issue. We need to see how it dovetails with the continental agenda. Mr. Speaker Sir, there is aspirations of the African Union that speak to the Article 14 (2) (c). It speaks about the women and girls rights in particular. It zeros in on sexual harassment. We are not working in isolation. We need to make sure that we are in sync with what happens continentally. I want to give an example of the UNHCR as a board. They have a policy within their work ethic that speaks to and about harassment and sexual harassment and abuse of authority which was crafted in April of 2005. Mr. Speaker Sir, it also touches on Articles 1 to 3. Their code of conduct within their working group in the United Nations cannot go any higher than that. We need to see that we are not working in isolation.
Finally, as I conclude, Hon. Banda spoke of harassment and intimidation at Harare Polytechnic where students were not allowed to verbally express themselves. It is allowed according to Section 149 of the Constitution to petition Parliament as a last resort and anyone is allowed to petition Parliament including the representatives of those students as legislators in our representative role. It is incumbent upon the principles of these institutions to let the students express themselves in the manner that they would want to express themselves without any form of intimidation, harassment or otherwise. There is no death in terms of curtailing such a delinquent behaviour by principals and lecturers in these institutions. There is no death in the form of the law. We have a plethora, as I have said, of laws and like I said this afternoon when I was in the House that assuming we think the law is not right and does not serve the interest of what we want it to serve, we need to change the law. Currently, there is no need to change the law but there is need to apply the existing law of the 10th of June, in 1891 of the Cape of Good Hope, which law is the Roman Dutch Law infused with the English Law Mr. Speaker Sir.
We need to take the perpetrators of injustice before the courts that are mandated with interpretations of the statutes and legal ethics. I want to thank you Mr. Speaker for giving me this opportunity to vociferously, effectively and efficiently voice my concern on this very noble motion that has been brought by the Committee on Higher and Tertiary Education in the manner that the people of Chegutu West Constituency would have me debate. I thank you.
*HON. KWARAMBA: Thank you Hon. Speaker. I would like to contribute on the motion raised by Hon. Maphosa. We travelled to a lot of schools and discovered that when we were discussing with teachers and lecturers, they could not clearly explain to us the effects of sexual harassment. We also faced the same problem with students and they would choose students who they have elected as their Committees to tell us. As individuals, they were not open to us.
A lot of schools do not have sexual harassment policy or what it talks about and I discovered that they created the sexual harassment policies when they heard that the Committees are moving around in schools. Teachers and lecturers do not know the policies in the sexual harassment policy and they do not have places to report to because they are afraid that they will be banned from school premises.
We met a student who said the lecturer gave him an instruction to come early morning to take notes and when the student went, he found out that the lecturer was with someone and he ordered him to come later. Another one was selling groundnuts and the lecturer was not paying and she ended up telling her husband to deal with the lecturer. So we discovered that a lot of students are facing sexual harassment but they have nowhere to report to because they open their legs when sitting. Lecturers are saying the students have problems of not sitting properly and they end up sitting at the back of the classrooms so as to avoid that.
Student teachers when they are on teaching practices, seduce the teachers. So sexual harassment is found everywhere. Long ago when we were going to school, there were funds or grants which were being paid by Government and they would help us when we were on Teaching Practice. I am urging the Government to return those grants for students’ loans so that our children will not be tempted or be victims of sexual harassment.
Some of them come from poor backgrounds where they will not be having enough food. Some are lodgers and some stay outside the campus and they end up doing bad things so as to have a good living at the campus. I would like to urge the Government to intervene in students’ welfare. Some of them are using alcoholic substances and others are into drugs. Some are even getting mental illnesses.
There must be laws in colleges so that they know what they are going to do at the colleges. I also talked about the issue of lecturers being victims and ending up teaching at the back of the classrooms. I would like to urge the Government to have a dress code for secondary schools especially on the length of their skirts. I noticed very well in universities – it is very hard and they are having problems but in teachers’ colleges, it is better because some of them are still kids especially at Mkoba Teachers’ College. It is well behaved and their dress code is better compared to other colleges and the student leader is also good. The Government must have a Sexual Harassment Policy which covers all tertiary schools so that our children will be successful when they are at schools. Thank you.
+HON. L. SIBANDA: Thank you Hon. Speaker. I would like to thank Hon. Maphosa for the report presented in this august House and Hon. Moyo who seconded her. I would like to mention two colleges, the first one being Hillside Teachers’ College. In our visit, the students are not even aware of the Sexual Harassment Policy which stipulates that they need to report any cases of sexual harassment.
The teachers we spoke to regarding sexual harassment indicated that at Hillside Teachers College they have no cases of sexual harassment but in our discussion with the students, they indicated that there were quite a number of sexual harassment cases which are perpetrated by teachers. Mr. Speaker Sir, it was highlighted that when students are writing examinations, they are told that to pass their examinations, they need to agree to sexual advances from teachers.
Mr. Speaker Sir, we also encountered issues regarding the increase in school fees whereby students end up getting into sexual harassment issues due to the fact that they need to raise school fees. The other issue that was encountered at Hillside Teachers College was that the Sexual Harassment Policy was not known by the students. They indicated that each time they go and report lecturers to the Principal - nothing is done to these teachers because they will be friends of the Principal. Sexual harassment in these institutions is taking place. Some students are not even aware of how to tackle these issues if ever they encounter them. We then realised that there is need for a board to be there for students to go and report than for them to go to the Principals because they do not take up those issues. Each time they go and report these lecturers, in most cases, they are then made to fail their examinations.
Mr. Speaker, most of these sexual harassment cases go unreported. Therefore it was indicated that they are not even aware of how to handle those issues. I therefore implore that if only the Minister of Higher and Tertiary Education would listen to this report brought to this House by the Chairperson of Higher and Tertiary Education. The Minister should put in place measures that will protect these children.
Let me also touch on issues that were brought up by those at Lupane State University. Students were being harassed by lecturers’ wives and in most cases, they did not even know where to report those cases. It was indicated that these sexual harassment issues were prevalent at Lupane State University. I therefore encourage Government to put a policy that will protect the students. This also applies to parents with university students as they need to be taught that each times such sexual harassment cases are perpetrated, how best should they address them. If this is to be left to continue, it will really disturb the students.
Mr. Speaker Sir, we encourage these recommendations to be taken up and be implemented, thank you.
THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS AND INTERNATIONAL TRADE (HON. MUSABAYANA): I move that the debate do now adjourn.
Motion put and agreed to.
Debate to resume: Thursday, 5th May, 2022.
On the motion of THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS AND INTERNATIONAL TRADE (HON. MUSABAYANA), the House adjourned at Nine Minutes to Seven o’clock pm.