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NATIONAL ASSEMBLY HANSARD 5 APRIL 2023 VOL 49 NO 35
PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE
Wednesday, 5th April, 2023
The National Assembly met at a Quarter-past Two o’clock p.m.
(THE HON. SPEAKER in the Chair)
ANNOUNCEMENT BY THE HON. SPEAKER
APOLOGIES RECEIVED FROM MINISTERS
THE HON. SPEAKER: I have the following apologies:- Hon. C. D. G. N. Chiwenga, Vice President and Minister of Health and Child Care; Hon. J. Moyo, Minister of Local Government and Public Works; Hon. A. M. Masuka, Minister of Agriculture, Lands, Water, Fisheries and Rural Resettlement; Hon. O. C. Z. Muchinguri-Kashiri, Minister of Defence and War Veterans Affairs; Hon. Dr. E. Ndlovu, Minister of Primary and Secondary Education; Hon. E. Moyo, Deputy Minister of Primary and Secondary Education; Hon. R. Maboyi-Mavhungu, Deputy Minister of Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage; Hon. W. Chitando, Minister of Mines and Mining Development; Hon. P. Kambamura, Deputy Minister of Mines and Mining Development; Hon. S. Nzenza, Minister of Industry and Commerce and Hon. D. Garwe, Minister of National Housing.
ORAL ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS WITHOUT NOTICE
HON. NDUNA: Thank you Hon. Speaker. My question is directed to the Hon. Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development as far as it relates to movement of aircrafts within and without our borders. What is Government policy in relation to freedom rights given to aircraft, airlines in particular the exotic ones or foreign ones without our borders to ferry passengers from Zimbabwe to another country and from one town in Zimbabwe to another town in Zimbabwe which promotes our domestic airlines?
What is Government policy as far as it relates to the movement rights of those aircrafts?
THE HON. SPEAKER: I do not seem to understand your question. Are you saying to what degree are foreign airlines allowed to advance and carry passengers within Zimbabwe?
HON. NDUNA: Yes, within Zimbabwe, it is called cabotage rights, outside Zimbabwe is from fifth freedom and seventh freedom, so those are rights apportioned to airlines.
THE HON. SPEAKER: Appreciated, the question is clear now.
THE MINISTER OF TRANSPORT AND INFRASTRUCTURAL DEVELOPMENT (HON. MHONA): Thank you Hon. Speaker Sir. Let me also thank my fellow colleague Hon. Nduna who has actually given me the platform to articulate issues pertaining to fifth freedom rights as enshrined and…
THE HON. SPEAKER: Are you saying he is a fellow colleague as Hon. Minister or Member of Parliament.
HON. MHONA: Member of Parliament.
THE HON. SPEAKER: I see, I had a question of mistaken identity.
HON. MHONA: Thank you Hon. Speaker Sir, and as a fellow student who is still learning the ropes to be an advocate. Thank you, Hon. Speaker Sir. He has given me the chance to elaborate on the fifth freedom rights which are given to airlines and Hon. Speaker, indeed, we have bilateral service agreements with different airlines and in certain instances, we then allow an airline to drop and pick passengers. In this particular instance, it will then promote easy movement of people where an airline would lend in a particular country and under normal circumstances, it has to pass through its town of origin. For instance, Ethiopian Airlines. I can just cite Ethiopian Airlines. As soon as it drops, it picks but it passes through Addis Ababa which is a standard procedure. If you follow what happened through the Victoria Lake where Ethiopian Airlines would then drop and also pick passengers in Bulawayo; this is also a right that can be accorded so that we allow easy movement of people. This is bilateral which can be arranged between airlines and I am happy that as a nation, as we are open to business, ‘Zimbabwe is open to business’, we also extend this fifth freedom rights to a number of airlines flying in our air space. I thank you.
HON. NDUNA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir, seeing now that there is the rejuvenation of Air Zimbabwe after the procurement of the ERJ145 and the impending procurement of the same as stated by the Hon. Minister; would it please the Hon. Minister to now drop the cabotage right that has been offered to exotic or foreign airlines in order that we can now capacitate, augment and complement the business of Air Zimbabwe in order that it can use the aircraft it is procuring that it currently has optimally on the routes that have been stated, in particular those that deal with the fifth freedom rights and the cabotage rights.
HON. MHONA: Thank you Hon. Nduna for that follow up question. Hon. Speaker Sir, in the aviation sector, it is also very important to promote business in terms of competition so that in terms of pricing the airfares, we also have to be competitive. He has cited Air Zimbabwe in this instance and since we are saying we are open for business, there is no way we would also want to block other airlines from flying into our air space. Yes, it is a noble cause to say we need to protect our own but at the same time we also need to be competitive as an airline. I am happy that we will also be in a position to compete and make business sense at the end of the day. At this juncture, it would not be of good practice to the nation to say those airlines that were enjoying the fifth freedom rights will be withdrawn because we are now flying into the same air space. I would urge even our parastatal Air Zimbabwe to be competitive so that they also compete against those other airlines. I thank you Hon. Speaker.
HON. MUSANHI: As Zimbabwe, we cannot compete with the rest of the world though we try to be as fair as we can to these other airlines. We cannot compete with them as they are a step ahead of us. If we do not protect our own industry and allow the fifth freedom to these foreign airlines, it might as well mean that we do not have an airline and we would rather close than say we are opening it to fair competition with the rest of the world. I would like to know if Air Zimbabwe is able to compete with the open world in terms of business?
HON. MHONA: Let me start by thanking Hon. Musanhi for the supplementary question. Let me cite a good example like the RGM International Airport where we are capacitating our airport and upgrading it to be one of the best in the region. We are currently accommodating 2.5 million passengers and we are earmarking six million. Therefore, it means we will also enhance business, so it calls for players to participate in that space. This will assure and allay the fears of the Hon Member that there is enough business for anyone who is very competitive. At the end of the day we are not saying other airlines that are also flying into the country – because of our policy of engagement and re-engagement, we are calling for players to fly into the country. Firstly, it also buttresses the issue of tourism. There is no way we can invite players and also say you cannot carry passengers. We are saying we are open for business as a nation and we want to enhance our tourism sector thereby calling for more players to fly. We are also saying we will be having a state-of-the-art airport which will call for the wide bodied planes to land at the airport. This is a wake-up call to whoever is participating in the air space to be competitive. There is no way Air Zimbabwe can just ban other airlines and have passengers to themselves. We are saying to Air Zimbabwe, let us participate competitively on the market and make sure that business is viable. I thank you.
HON. TOGAREPI: My question is directed to the Minister of Local Government. What is Government policy in terms of ensuring that village heads get their payments in terms of allowances they should get? We see throughout the country a lot of village heads who are not being paid. So what is government policy to ensure that all of them get these resources?
THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT AND PUBLIC WORKS (HON. CHOMBO): Thank you very much Hon. Togarepi for that very important question. The policy with regards to payment to village heads is that they are paid timeously. These days we are paying them through SSB and to my recollection, all of them are paid on time. However, we have had incidences where most of village heads have not been accredited or registered with the Ministry mostly because we are doing a lot of resuscitations and yet there are village heads who have been appointed and we have boundary issues which have not yet been resolved though the village heads have been appointed. As such, they would not be registered in our data base, so they do not get paid. My Ministry however ensures that all registered village heads are paid their allowances and salaries on time. I thank you.
(v)HON. KASHIRI: I would like to find out from the Deputy Minister of Local Government, over and above the remuneration of the village heads they were promised some bicycles. How far has Government fulfilled this policy?
HON. CHOMBO: Thank you Hon. Kashiri for that question. As far as the bicycles you mentioned, it is correct that the village heads are supposed to be getting bicycles. I vividly remember recommending that and it was approved about two weeks ago that the village heads get their bicycles and also the headmen are supposed to get motorbikes. That is in the works and they are all going to get that. Also, they are getting allowances backdated to March…
THE HON. SPEAKER: You are not connected Hon. Minister.
HON. CHOMBO: Thank you Mr. Speaker and thank you Hon. Kashiri for that follow up question. I agree with you that the village heads are supposed to get bicycles as all the paper work was done and I vividly remember that about a forty-night ago, I approved that they get the bicycles and also the headmen are supposed to get motorbikes. There is a back pay that is supposed to be coming to the village heads. We are also processing that they get that with the May pay.
In reference to the headmen who have not been installed, I know there is a backlog but we are trying to make sure that we go through province by province to make sure that all the headmen and the chiefs are installed in time. I thank you.
HON. NDUNA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. As it relates to identification of the headmen and sabhukus, how far are we in terms of giving them their regalia for identification purposes?
HON. CHOMBO: Thank you very much Mr. Speaker and thank you very much Hon. Nduna. I agree with you that we do not have enough regalia for our traditional leadership. My Ministry ordered 10 thousand pins for the village heads and we were expecting them last month. However, because of due diligence of the processes through the PMU, they have taken a little bit of delay but definitely, we are addressing that issue. I thank you.
*HON. NYABANI: My question Mr. Speaker is directed to the Minister of Primary and Secondary Education. I posed the question yesterday as a matter of national interest requesting for a ministerial statement by the Minister.
*THE HON. SPEAKER: I did not understand what you said about the ministerial statement.
*HON. NYABANI: I requested for a ministerial statement yesterday from the Minister concerning schools in rural areas that have been functional for 10 years but do not have centre numbers. Learners cannot sit for examinations at those schools, they have to walk for 10 to 15km just to write examinations yet the President said no place and no-one should be left behind. I wanted an explanation on what is happening. There are several schools where I come from where children have to walk a distance of 10km after writing examinations. I want to find out why those schools cannot be registered as examination centres and get centre numbers. That is my question.
The Minister of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services (Hon. Sen. Mutsvangwa) having stood up to respond to the question.
THE HON. SPEAKER: Hon. Minister, you should be seated in that chair.
*THE MINISTER OF INFORMATION, PUBLICITY AND BROADCASTING SERVICES (HON. SEN. MUTSVANGWA): Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. I also like to thank Hon. Nyabani who showed a passion for the people that he represents. I would like to confirm that Government is very much concerned about ensuring that every place has schools. Indeed, Government said no-one and no place should be left behind. No place or child is more important. All of them should get access to education. He referred to several schools and I feel that is a specific question. I believe the Ministry should look into that and find out the facts as to why such schools do not have centre number. There must be an investigation and I will request the Minister of Primary and Secondary Education to come to this august House and respond to that question raised by Hon. Nyabani. I thank you.
*THE HON. SPEAKER: Hon. Nyabani, are you satisfied?
HON. NYABANI: Yes, Mr. Speaker Sir. Thank you.
HON. MAPHOSA: On a point of order Mr. Speaker Sir. I think you must make a ruling. Yesterday, he was advised to ask it as a question and because the Minister is not there, the Leader of Government Business has said the Minister must come. Therefore, the Minister must come with a ministerial statement so that we get into the matter deeply and get clarification. I think you should give a ruling on that. Thank you, Mr. Speaker Sir.
THE HON. SPEAKER: In order not to confuse the situation, Hon. Nyabani should put it as written question giving specific schools that have not been registered in the area. Thank you very much. Hon. Maphosa, siyabonga for the clarification.
*HON. HWENDE: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. My question is directed to the Minister of Foreign Affairs and since the Minister is not around, I will direct it to the Leader of the House.
THE HON. SPEAKER: It is my duty to do that, just ask your question.
*HON. HWENDE: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. My question is, what is Government policy with regards to ambassadors who charge fees to people for facilitating meeting the President when those people are supposed to bring investment to this country?
THE HON. SPEAKER: That question is very specific. If you know these people, you should have put forward a written question stating the ambassadors who are doing that.
HON. HWENDE: Ambassador Angels!
*THE HON. SPEAKER: Order! Sit down! Ambassador A and B are saying that any potential investor who needs an appointment with the President must pay so much.
HON. HWENDE: Hon. Speaker….
*THE HON. SPEAKER: Not all ambassadors do that.
*HON. HWENDE: Hon. Speaker, that is why I had asked what Government’s policy is with regards to Ambassadors who represent the country with regards to investment. I did not want to mention Urbert Angels’ name because it would become specific but he is the Ambassador who is charging US$200 000.00.
*THE HON. SPEAKER: You side tricked me Hon. Member –[Laughter.] –
*THE MINISTER OF INFORMATION, PUBLICITY AND BROADCASTING SERVICES (HON. MUTSVANGWA): Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. Government’s policy is to appoint Ambassadors to represent the country out there. If this question is specific, he should put it in writing and put in the evidence and we direct that to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. I was an Ambassador for a long time. An Ambassador represents the needs of his or her country in accordance with the mandate that you are given by the President of your country; to put your country on the map and make sure that there is trade or export and make sure that there are good relations between the two countries.
*HON. HWENDE: Supplementary question Hon. Speaker…
*THE HON. SPEAKER: Does the supplementary question arise Hon. Hwende? The Minister has just told you what action you should take.
*HON. HWENDE: I thought the Minister should have said yes or no, Government’s policy does not allow Ambassadors to charge anything but just to look for investment for the country.
*THE HON. SPEAKER: She answered that question accordingly.
*HON. HWENDE: She did not go straight to the point.
*THE HON. SPEAKER: Hon. Hwende, ndimi manzvengwa nechiShona.
*HON. HWENDE: That it is not Government policy?
*THE HON. SPEAKER: Yes.
*HON. HWENDE: Then arrest those who are doing that.
THE HON. SPEAKER: I think the Hon. Minister’s response was quite comprehensive.
HON. DR. LABODE: I am making reference to the Zimbabwe Statistics. Disaggregated data on the Distribution of Births by Age of Mother released during the launch of the Zimbabwe Statistical Agency (Zimstat) Vital Statistics Report shows that 700 girls aged 10 to 14 gave birth in 2022. What does this say about this country? Could the Minister of Health and Child Care bring a Ministerial Statement and tell us what strategy they have to curb this scourge of teenage pregnancies. A ten year old is not a teenager but a baby.
THE MINISTER OF INFORMATION, PUBLICITY AND BROADCASTING SERVICES (HON. MUTSVANGWA): This question touches a lot of Zimbabweans in particular a lot of women. The issue of teenage pregnancies is an issue which the whole country is seized with. The Government is seized with it and the Ministry of Health is putting a lot of strategies which they would need to articulate in this House. I think it is in order when the Hon. Member asked for a Ministerial Statement which will articulate step by step of what they are doing. To have 700 young girls aged 10 to 14 getting pregnant is very sad. A ten year old is a child and what has gone wrong with our people? This is an issue which is not going to be just dealt with by the Ministry of Health alone but inter-ministerial strategy. This is something which we need to understand from the Home Affairs Ministry to see how many people have been jailed or castrated if they need to be – [Laughter.] –
THE HON. SPEAKER: Castrated! [HON. MEMBERS: Yes!]- We do not have that law Hon. Minister.
HON. MUTSVANGWA: It is very painful Hon. Speaker Sir. A ten-year-old is a baby and for any person in his right sense to actually take her as a woman, I think there is an element of madness which needs to be dealt with; an element of cruelty or animal behaviour which needs to be dealt with. Penalties should be quite high. I would obviously take this up with my colleagues. We need to get that report and I certainly agree with her so that at least we can work together as a country. It is about all of us as leaders in the areas where we live. It is also about us as parents to work together, united as Zimbabweans to fight against this evil.
HON. MAPHOSA: Supplementary…
THE HON. SPEAKER: Order, the Hon. Acting Leader of Government Business has agreed to deliver the message to the Minister responsible to present a Ministerial Statement on the issue and therefore a supplementary question cannot arise.
HON. MAPHOSA: It is no longer a supplementary question Hon. Speaker but an addition. Sorry Mr. Speaker Sir, if you can indulge me.
THE HON. SPEAKER: For a supplementary question?
HON. MAPHOSA: It is not that supplementary. I just want to make an addition – I want to add meat to the question so that when he responds on the Ministerial Statement, he will also touch on that.
THE HON. SPEAKER: I will not ask what type of meat it is. Please proceed but be brief.
HON. MAPHOSA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. I just want an addition on how they are going to deal with the child because we are saying a ten-year-old to fourteen years is a child. Whilst they are arresting the culprits, what measures are going to be put in place so that a child does not have a child? That is my issue. Thank you.
*HON. CHIWETU: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. My question is directed to the Minister of Home Affairs. People are now constructing their houses close to the kraal, but in the past they used to be built far away. The second issue is the solar panels that are being installed at clinics. They are also being stolen again by these thieves. I want to find out what the Hon. Minster can do to stop this? In the past, prevention of such thefts was due to functioning community policing. What is the plan in trying to revive this? Thank you.
*THE MINISTER OF INFORMATION, PUBLICITY AND INFORMATION SERVICES (HON. SEN. MUTSVANGWA): I would like to thank you Mr. Speaker. I would like to thank Hon. Chiwetu for that question that shows that he is in touch with the community. I was talking to somebody and I said I also lost my cattle to livestock thieves. I was touched by what you said. Government policy that is implemented by the Ministry of Home Affairs is to ensure that thieves are arrested regardless of what they steal - be it solar panels or livestock so that they are prosecuted according to the laws of this country depending on the crime committed. He spoke very well about community policing which is important because we belong to those communities and it is very important for each one of us to look after each other. I always refer to the liberation struggle where everyone had a duty because that was part of our slogan.
Therefore, community policing is very important because sometimes the police post will be far away. The community policing is very important because it assists in giving information that the police can use to enforce the law. It will be important for the Hon. Minister to specify what exactly is happening and we can pass on that question to Hon. Minister Kazembe when he comes. The Hon. Minister can come into this House and explain what they are doing in this country as well as the stealing of solar panels because this infrastructure is meant to benefit the community. I think it is very important for the community policing programme to be implemented. I thank you.
*HON. GOZHO: Thank you Mr. Speaker. I would like to thank the Hon. Minister for the response. My question is with regards to cattle rustlers. They connive with the police, even if you present evidence that the cattle have been sold to so and so, and the issue is swept under the carpet at the court.
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER (HON. MUTOMBA): It appears your question looks more of an allegation. It does not have evidence that the Minister can respond and give you an appropriate response. Sorry about that.
*(v) HON. MUDARIKWA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. Cattle is also associated everywhere with lack of identity. What has the Ministry done about national branding of all the cattle? If I see cattle anywhere, I will know and I just phone the national registrar of brands and I will know that the cattle belongs to so and so. What are we doing about national branding of all the cattle? Thank you.
THE MINISTER OF HOME AFFAIRS AND CULTURAL HERITAGE (HON. KAZEMBE): Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. I hardly got the question but I suspect that the Hon. Member is suggesting that we should have a national branding policy for cattle. I suspect laws are made in this House. If the House feels that we should change existing laws, it should start from here.
(v)HON. MUDARIKWA: Mr. Speaker Sir, the answer of the Minister is not satisfactory because the brands are there, the registrar of brands is there. It falls under his ambit, why can we not activate the registration of all the cattle through the national branding and the making of laws is an Executive responsibility? He must come to the House with a proposal of branding of all the cattle in Zimbabwe.
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER (HON. MUTOMBA): Hon. Minister, maybe can I just give you the main question so much that you might get a response of what the Hon. Member is actually asking. The main question concerns theft of livestock (mombe). That has actually led Hon. Mudarikwa to ask you a supplementary question. Thank you very much.
HON. KAZEMBE: Thank you Mr. Speaker. I would like to thank the Hon. Member for such a pertinent question. Yes, it is worrisome, cattle theft is very worrisome and the police are doing their utmost best. In fact, currently we have got a number of roadblocks across the country to try and curb this challenge but I understand where the Hon. Member is coming from. It is an issue that we are seized with and the police do the utmost to ensure that we bring those culprits to book. I thank you Mr. Speaker.
(v) HON. KASHIRI: Hon. Speaker, I would like to thank the Hon. Minister for his response. Hon. Minister, on many instances we have seen Government reacting to sensitive issues and this is one such issue that we feel that the Minister should really take it as an emergency. Why can the Minister not come up with a Statutory Instrument (SI) to address this situation and bring it to Parliament for debate immediately so that we can get this thing curtailed.
HON. KAZEMBE: Thank you Madam Speaker Ma’am. I heard what the Hon. Member is saying but I am not so sure what SI is expected. It is a situation that needs addressing. We do have a law that prohibits people from stealing cattle; all that is required is enforcement and the police are doing their utmost to ensure that all those who are involved are brought to book. I am not so sure, may be the Hon. Member can elaborate on the type of SI that I should bring to assist in that regard. I am open for advice. I thank you.
(v)HON. KASHIRI: Madam Speaker, thank you very much. What I will do is, I will write up and then send to the Minister, what we think maybe can help curtail the situation.
HON. NGULUVHE: Thank you Madam Speaker. I know the issue of wildlife and human beings’ conflict has been addressed before but my question is directed to the Minister of Environment and of Agriculture. What is the Government policy regarding wild animals which are currently destroying the fields of people in the rural areas?
THE MINISTER OF INFORMATION, PUBLICITY AND BROADCASTING SERVICES (HON. SEN. MUTSVANGWA): Thank you Madam Speaker. I would also like to thank Hon. Nguluvhe for that very important question. The issue of human-animal conflict is a serious issue which is always debated and considered at very high level. Government considers it very important to make sure that at least we do not lose lives through our animals.
As a country, we are very proud of having conserved our animals. Our conservation is very high in terms of conserving our national parks, our wild animals. What it means is, as a Government, we are very much seized with the fact that there are certain areas where there is that human-animal conflict. This is where the Ministry is concentrating. They are not just working as Government. They are also working with development partners to make sure that there is protection of human lives. Yes, we have been told in some areas, fences have been vandalised. You know people, they have stolen some of the fence but Government continues to look into those issues and make sure that people are safe in this country. That is the policy. I thank you.
HON. NGULUVHE: Thank you Madam Speaker Ma’am. Currently, why can Government not come up with a policy of compensation? I will give an example that we have in areas like Beitbridge where we normally do not get anything from the fields but for the first time, people had done well in the fields. Now elephants’ species we did not know exist in our area are now overpopulated in our area. What is the Government doing about these elephants so that at least people can harvest something? Thank you.
HON. SEN. MUTSVANGWA: Thank you so much Madam Speaker. I would like to thank Hon. Nguluvhe for that supplementary question. I can see the passion; he is coming from an area where this is a very serious problem. I am thinking it will be prudent for Hon. Nguluvhe to put it in writing to the Minister of Environment so that he can actually visit those areas and give a proper explanation as to the stages which they are in terms of protecting our human lives but the policy is, it is important to protect human lives. I thank you.
*HON. NYABANI: Thank you Madam Speaker Ma’am. For us to write this issue, it will be a problem. May we get a Ministerial Statement from the Minister? Are we saying that animals are more important than human life? When animals come on human settlements, they destroy everything. Are we saying animals are more important than humans? We need a Ministerial Statement. We need to understand fully what they are going to do to control these elephants. They are everywhere, most of us are having this particular problem of human-wildlife conflict in our constituencies. Thank you Madam Speaker.
*THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Thank you Hon. Nyabani, indeed it is a problem when animals are more in numbers than human beings. We hope that the Minister will come to this House and give a ministerial statement pertaining to that issue.
+HON. NYIKA: My question is directed to the Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development. What is the Ministry doing regarding illegal lights that are affecting other road users? Thank you.
THE MINISTER OF TRANSPORT AND INFRASTRUCTURAL DEVELOPMENT (HON. MHONA): Thank Madam Speaker Ma’am. I want to thank Hon. Nyika for a very pertinent question. Apparently, we have got a standing Statutory Instrument in place to punish those who are putting additional lights on their vehicles. Actually, some of the lights are hunting lights. I will liaise with my fellow Hon. Minister of Home Affairs so that we continue enforcing and those perpetrators are arrested. As law makers as well, if you witness such incidences, let us take that task on our shoulders so that we help in the enforcement in terms of making sure that we do not have those culprits. Thank you.
HON. TEMBO: My question is directed to the Leader of the House. What progress has the Ministry made in providing uniforms to school children who are under BEAM?
THE MINISTER OF INFORMATION, PUBLICITY AND BROADCASTING SERVICES (HON. SEN. MUTSVANGWA): Thank you Madam Speaker. I would like to thank Hon. Tembo for that question. The issue is, once Government has taken a policy to say we work with development partners to make sure that children who are under privileged are on BEAM, there is need to make sure that those children go to school. They should have uniforms so that they can attend school like any other children.
Madam Speaker, I think the question is very specific. We want to know the school with children who are supposed to be benefiting from BEAM and are not getting uniforms. This is a specific question to the Minister of Primary and Secondary Education.
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon. Tembo, you have to put your question in writing to the Minister of Primary and Secondary Education. Thank you.
HON. MUGADZA: Thank you Madam Speaker. My question is directed to the Hon. Minister of Transport. In the highways of Zimbabwe, we have got spots that are dangerous and red spots where accidents are taking place now and again at the same spots. Naturally when we look at the situation, it is because the terrain or something is causing accidents now and again on those spots. For example, in Manicaland we have got the Christmas Pass which has become and eye sore. Is there any Government policy to alleviate this situation, particularly for the Christmas Pass the situation is getting out of hand? We are witnessing accidents of trucks bumping on top of each other and on top of small vehicles almost three times a week. Thank you, Madam Speaker.
THE MINISTER OF TRANSPORT AND INFRASTRUCTURAL DEVELOPMENT (HON. MHONA): Thank you Hon. Madam Speaker Ma’am. Let me also thank my fellow learned colleague Hon. Mugadza for the very important question. He has cited one of the national roads and in particular, a section that is Christmas Pass. I want to appraise the august House that in the next week or so, I will be approaching the relevant authorities pertaining to a proposal in place. An investor has earmarked that portion where we are going to be diverting traffic so that trucks and lorries will not be using the road that passes through Christmas Pass. We have got a 33 kilometre bypass road from Forbes Border Post. I am sure this exercise will alleviate the challenges that are being faced by motorists especially those using the highway.
I also want to allay the fears of the Hon. Member and Hon. Members in this august House that we have also identified all black spots and in particular in his province Manicaland. Sometime ago, I was also seen plying the Rusape-Nyanga road identifying such black spots. As a Ministry, we have put some barricades so that we actually put signage in terms of speed limit where we are notifying motorists so that as they approach those dangerous black spots, they must exercise extreme caution. This is the exercise we are doing countrywide. To come back to the point he has talked about the Christmas Pass, as he leaves this august House, he should to tell the people of Manicaland the good news. It is not the first time Hon. Mugadza has raised this, but he has done it through social media again and now he has approached this august House. I want to ask him to go back to the people of Manicaland, bring them good news that we are going to do a bypass road and the challenges that we are witnessing will be no more.
*HON. MUDAU: Thank you Madam Speaker. My question is directed to the Minister of Energy and in his absence, I will direct the question to the Leader of the House. What is Government policy about electricity that is being charged in foreign currency because that is affecting businesses? I thank you.
THE MINISTER OF INFORMATION, PUBLICITY AND BROADCASTING SERVICES (HON SEN. MUTSVANGWA): I also want to thank Hon. Mudau for that question. I am not sure how factual that question is. The issue which I am very much aware of is that those companies in mining and others which are into exports have been asked to pay in US dollars. As for individuals paying in US dollars, unless it is about pegging the amount to US dollars, if that is the correct situation, I will have to check with the Minister of Energy and Power Development Hon Soda.
*HON. MAGO: What arrangement does the Ministry have in cutting down trees that have grown along the roads? These trees, as well as animals are causing accidents on the highway.
THE MINISTER OF TRANSPORT AND INFRASTRUCTURE DEVELOPMENT (HON. MHONA): I would like to thank Hon. Mago for the important question that she asked. It is true that this is our responsibility to make sure that motorists drive safely on the roads. I would like to appeal to them to say if there is any other area where trees are growing along the tarmac, we kindly ask for communication and notification so that we act upon such. It is our responsibility that we cut grass and trees that might obstruct drivers on the highway.
If there are any specific areas on the highway that are causing accidents, we would be happy if we are informed in time so that our relevant departments may act promptly to such scenarios. I thank you.
*HON. TEKESHE: Way back in the days, we used to have fence along the major roads, but now a lot of grazing areas along the highway are not fenced off. Are there any plans to fence off these areas so that animals do not encroach on the highway?
*HON. MHONA: Thank you very much Hon. Tekeshe for such a pertinent question. It is true that we once had a plan to erect fence along highways especially on all trunk roads. We now have a scourge in the country of people who are always destroying infrastructure. We have seen a lot of people removing barbed wire along the main roads. This has been done by people who were enriching themselves to property that does not belong to them. Others were selling this wire whilst others were fencing their gardens. We once put back this fence and it was stolen. It is our responsibility as citizens to safeguard this infrastructure. Government cannot be seen every now and then requesting Treasury for this particular exercise.
When we sat down with the Traffic Safety Council of Zimbabwe we agreed that we need to erect a special type of fence which is unique so that anyone who is found in possession of it can be apprehended. We need to safeguard and make sure that we do not lose this wire when we erect it. I thank you.
+HON. NOWEDZA: When we look at the theft of transformers in the country, I have not heard that there is anyone who has been electrocuted whilst stealing these transformers. I have a feeling that the people responsible for theft of electric infrastructure are the ones who are in charge of it. What is Government doing about this?
*THE MINISTER OF INFORMATION, PUBLICITY AND BROADCASTING SERVICES (HON SEN. MUTSVANGWA): I would like to thank Hon. Nowedza for her question. The question borders on allegations. It is not a policy question. She is actually saying that ZESA employees are the ones who are stealing transformers. These are allegations and not factual information. This is an august House and I would not want to debate something which is not factual. I can talk about the policy of Government. The policy of the country is to make sure that those who vandalise transformers are prosecuted.
There is the Copper Act which was passed in this House and it prohibits people from stealing and trading in copper wire without a licence. The Minister of Home Affairs is here and maybe he can attempt to answer the question. I thank you.
HON. MAPHOSA: My point of order emanates from the issues of languages. That was a clear issue of not understanding the question because it was asked in Ndebele. As far as I know, we have interpreters in this august House who should be doing the interpreting of languages. The answer is not in response to what has been asked, so there was a language barrier.
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Maybe we can ask Hon. Nowedza to repeat her question in Shona.
*HON. NOWEDZA: My question was on the theft of transformers and electrical cables. We have never heard in this country that anyone was electrocuted in the process of stealing these cables and transformers. Is it not a case of a chicken consuming its own eggs?
HON. MUTSVANGWA: Those who are stealing cables and transformers are being apprehended. The Minister of Home Affairs can respond to that question because he is responsible for that particular area.
*THE MINISTER OF HOME AFFAIRS AND CULTURAL HERITAGE (HON. KAZEMBE): Thank you very much Madam Speaker. I would like to thank the Hon. Member for that pertinent question. The stealing of cables and transformers has become a scourge in this country. It is troubling the citizens and the Government itself.
I brought the Copper Amendment Bill into this Parliament. It sailed through and is now a law. The purpose was to arrest these people who are involved in these acts. Whenever electrical cables are stolen, it is disruptive to domestic, farming and other industrial works. Those who deal with copper are now mandated to have a certificate of origin which states where they would have bought their copper and where it is going to be used. This certificate has unique features on it, it is very difficult to be forged.
Those dealing with copper will have a certificate of origin which has unique features and if you do not have this, you will be arrested. Again, the vehicle used to transport such copper without proper documentation will also be impounded and the person given a sentence of 10 years. These are some of the measures we have taken to make sure we curb and deal with people who are vandalising these transformers. It is no longer easy to get a licence to deal with copper. You need to go through a rigorous process to be cleared.
On the issue that is it not a case of a chicken eating its own eggs – we can refuse the fact that there may be employees of ZESA involved in the stealing of transformers and electrical cables. However, the police is working on establishing who exactly is doing such acts of stealing transformers and cables.
We have got a few cases of people who were electrocuted whilst trying to steal transformers. However, one issue that I want to emphasis to this House is that we need to assist each other. Issues of theft are not left to be dealt with by the police only but we can all work together as a people. For example, at home we put burglar bars, boundary walls as security measures. I always talk to farmers that if we come together and form neighborhood watch committees, those who steal transformers actually use vehicles, so it will be easy to arrest these hooligans. I thank you.
*HON. NDUNA: Thank you for the response Hon. Minister Kazembe. My issue is on the delegated authority. Would it not be good to enact a Statutory Instrument to say can we not withdraw the licences for copper dealers so that people should not mine their copper from our own electrical cables. As we speak right now, where are we getting the copper, Mhangura is closed. Until we have a functional mine focusing on copper, then we can re-establish that issuance of licences.
*HON. KAZEMBE: Thank you very much Hon. Nduna. What the Hon. Member is asking the Ministry to do is not possible. There are a lot of things that use copper products but there are a lot of copper products in the country. We have companies like CAFCA that are using cables of copper. We are looking at people who are re-cycling copper cables in the country, there are a lot of companies that are using copper for electrifying buildings. So we cannot withdraw licences.
*HON. NYABANI: We want them to import copper not export copper, is it not possible that we ban the export of copper? We are not talking about import, we are talking about licences to bring in copper. We want them to import copper and not to export it. Is it not possible that you ban the export of copper? We are not talking about imports; they can bring it in but you will have to stop the export of copper.
*THE MINISTER OF HOME AFFAIRS AND CULTURAL HERITAGE (HON. KAZEMBE): Thank you Madam Speaker Ma’am. I would like to thank Hon. Nyabani for his question. Madam Speaker, if we stop those who are already using copper, we will be using the little foreign currency that we have to import when we already have copper in the country.
I would rather wish that law enforcement arrests people then we use the little foreign currency that we have for other purposes.
*HON. E. NCUBE: Thank you very much Hon. Speaker. My question is directed to the Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water, Climate and Rural Resettlement. What Government measures are in place for those farmers who lost cattle to the January disease? People need tractors for farming, be it in rural or urban areas. What programme does Government have in place so that farmers have tractors for use on their farms? We heard a lot about the Belarus tractors. How were those distributed? We never heard much on those tractors. Thank you.
*THE MINISTER OF INFORMATION, PUBLICITY AND BROADCASTING SERVICES (HON. SEN. MUTSVANGWA): Thank you very much Hon. Speaker. I would also like to thank Hon. Ncube for her pertinent question. The issue of farming has grown the economy of this country. The Government is working tirelessly to make sure that we provide enough food for everyone.
Our intention is to stop importing all the things that we intend to use such as maize, wheat and tobacco. We need to raise those quantities of production. The Second Republic has been responsive where we raised the issue of Pfumvudza and bringing tractors and a lot of equipment into the country in order to enhance our agricultural yield. The country has enough grain and food because we have reserves through the programmes that were implemented by the Government.
Looking at the question that the Hon. Member asked on the issue of tractors, I think yesterday in our post Cabinet brief, we gave detailed information to all the farmers, informing all farmers who intend to farm as we focus on the winter crop and the issue of land bank where farmers can approach us so that they can get tractors and those who want to hire can hire from the land bank. The tractors that were imported are working for the good of the country. We expect to see very good yields. The Government policy is to make sure that tractors continue coming into the country so that farmers are assisted. The Belarus programme has not yet ended; it is still ongoing.
The Government has also bought driers for farmers so that the issue of moisture content is something of the past. It is true that we are looking at small tractors to cater for those small-scale farmers. The Government is considering everyone so that we provide enough food for the nation. I thank you.
*HON. TEKESHE: Thank you very much Hon. Speaker. My supplementary question to the Hon. Minister is to say that cattle are a source of wealth in our country. What plans do you have in place to assist rural farmers who lost their cattle to restock? Thank you.
*HON. SEN. MUTSVANGWA: Thank you Madam Speaker. Thank you Hon. Tekeshe for your question on Government plans concerning restocking. We are all aware that as Africans, we keep our wealth in the form of livestock. In the past, riches were counted in terms of how many cattle one had. So many people keep their wealth in the form of livestock.
The Government came up with several programmes. There was an outcry of January disease and Government started giving out medicines like tick grease, and dip under the Presidential Input Programme. People collect from their nearest GMB but others are not aware of it, hence it is your responsibility as Members of Parliament to inform them. Also, the issue of restocking, there is also a Presidential scheme where cattle are revolved within communities as a way of restocking our livestock. I thank you.
HON. MARKHAM: Thank you Madam Speaker, good afternoon. Madam Speaker, my question is directed to the Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare pertaining to pension deductions from workers. Madam Speaker, what is Government’s policy on forcing people who deduct pensions from their workers and not paying the pension policy. In other words, they are deducting it off your pay slip but then they are not remitting that money to the insurance house. This is typically bad in local authorities and State-owned enterprises. I thank you.
HON. SEN. MUTSVANGWA: Thank you Hon. Markham for that pertinent question. I just want to say that this is not a policy issue but identifying thieves deducting money from people’s salaries and not remitting it to pensions. That is criminal and I think that should be dealt with. If by any chance the Hon. Member is aware of a company or individual doing that, it needs to be reported. The Home Affairs Minister will be very happy to deal with that.
HON. MARKHAM: Thank you for the response Hon. Minister. My supplementary question is that IPEC, which is the Commission for Pensions and Insurance has published a list in the press showing the fifty top people who have not paid pensions. On top of that list is the electricity supply people in their various forms of seven companies owing on behalf of the deducted five billion dollars to their own pension company. In my view, it means not a single person in ZEC, ZENT, in the Executive and all the subsidiaries, have any pension because it has never been paid and this was due on 31st of December. There is a whole list published.
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon. Markham, where did you get that list from?
HON. MARKHAM: It was in the press and it is nothing private. You can check it. My question Madam Speaker is, on top of not having pensions, we also got a mandatory deduction by NSSA which is also not being paid to the pensions though it is a minuscule amount. All I am saying is that until we tackle the problem nothing is going to happen. I do not believe it is fair that the leader of the House should answer this but the Minister should come here with a policy on how they are going to repay pensions because these pensions are worth nothing now and if you wait for the exchange rate as it is going now you will die.
HON. SEN. MUTSVANGWA: Thank you very much Hon. Markham for the question. I actually think this is something very specific and it needs a comprehensive answer from the Minister of Finance and Economic Development. As he rightly said, I will pass the message on to my colleague Minister to come and give a response because IPEC comes under the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development.
*HON. JAJA: Madam Speaker, my question is directed to the Minister of Local Government. What plans does council have pertaining to carrying of waste in residential areas? Currently, people are collecting money from each household so that they can hire a car to carry away their bins. What then will be the mandate of council?
*THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT AND PUBLIC WORKS (HON. CHOMBO): Thank you Hon. Jaja for the question. We have been having problems with resources and most councils were failing to deliver on their mandate such as carrying away waste. However, devolution funds have been disbursed to councils and the majority of councils were able to buy equipment and other things needed for service delivery. If you check carefully there is a difference in the way they are collecting waste as compared to the previous year. We have not yet reached the stage where it is consistently done but all our councils are trying by all means to collect all waste timeously.
+HON. V. NDEBELE: Thank you Hon Speaker for giving me this opportunity. My question is directed to the Minister of Local Government. There was a time when local authorities dug trenches meant for drainage but they did not complete the task and the trenches were left wide open. When the rains came, they were filled with water. The trenches are dangerous because they were dug in front of our houses. As I speak right now, the previous week it rained and a toddler fell inside a trench filled with water. What assistance can we get since the local authorities are saying they do not have the required machinery to finish digging the trenches. These trenches have also become home to mosquitoes. I am asking what type of assistance government can offer maybe in the form of protection so that our toddlers do not fall into the trenches again.
THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT AND PUBLIC WORKS (HON. CHOMBO): Thank you for that pertinent question which reminds us to take care of our children. When councils are digging trenches, they are supposed to put signs showing that work is on-going. They should also fill up the trenches so we do not have such dangers looming in our residential areas. I thank you.
Questions Without Notice were interrupted by THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER in terms of Stating Order. Number 68.
ORAL ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS WITH NOTICE
DELAYS IN TABLING THE JUSTICE UCHENA REPORT
HON. MARKHAM asked the Minister of Local Government and Public Works to explain to the House:
- why the Justice Uchena Report has still not been brought before this House even though it was completed and handed to His Excellency, the President, in December 2019; and
- to further elaborate how much money was used by the Commission and to state when it was paid out.
THE HON DEPUTY SPEAKER: We are deferring questions 1 to 6 to next week. The Hon. Minister advised me that they only got the questions yesterday.
HON. MARKHAM: Madam Speaker, on a point of order please.
THE HON DEPUTY SPEAKER: What is your point of order?
HON. MARKHAM: Madam Speaker, the question was deferred from the Ministry of Justice who I still believe should be answering the question on the Justice Uchena Report. They referred it to the Ministry of Local Government, which I think is unfair because the Minister never comes here and the Deputy Minister used to try and answer this question which is totally unfair. Madam Speaker, for the record, this is the 24th time I have asked for the Justice Uchena Report. Twenty-four times!
Madam Speaker, I have a list here and if you can bear with me. Three weeks ago, I had questions on Kavimba and the Sovereign Wealth Fund which was answered by the Deputy Minister of Finance, for which I thank him. He told me that on the Kavimba story, we are on a PPP and the documents for searching are available at the company’s house. I have been to the company’s house and they have the deed and company name but the file is missing.
Madam Speaker, we were told that the sovereign wealth fund, the company is dormant. Last week a board was announced for it. It is also a major shareholder in the oil exploration going on in Muzarabani. The Ministry of Home Affairs, since August last year has not answered my question on the registration of people who have no documents. He is going to bring a statement as per your request. Madam Speaker, the Minister of Agriculture who has two deputy ministers is never here to answer questions. We are still waiting for an answer on why the wheat payments in USD has not been made. Some have been made but this is incomplete.
This is five months later. The same Minister has still not answered and we are 15% of the way into the tobacco buying season and I will ask him to give us an update on the Reentry App which is on the TIMB computer blocking all stock repayments. Stop orders have been blocked. It blocks payments to the Government and the Minister is refusing to come.
Madam Speaker, it comes to a time when it is no longer the Minister’s fault. I am afraid, it is the fault of the Chair. We have to bring these people to report. I thank you.
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Thank you Hon. Markham. Your concerns have been noted, we will try to do something about it.
WRITTEN SUBMISSIONS TO QUESTIONS WITH NOTICE
CHALLENGES OF CONGESTION ON THE CHIMANIMANI ROAD
- HON. M. M. MPOFU asked the Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development what Government policy is pertaining to stakeholders who mobilise resources to rehabilitate the Kwekwe-Nkayi Road.
THE MINISTER OF TRANSPORT AND INFRASTRUCTUAL DEVELOPMENT (HON. MHONA): Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. Allow me to respond to the questions raised by Hon. Mpofu. I wish to respond to the questions as follows:
- Government recognises the role of private sector in bringing about socio-economic development through investments in infrastructure development as enshrined in the SIDA Act that was passed in 2019. My Ministry has entered into a public private partnership with an investor and signed a memorandum of understanding to upgrade, widen and rehabilitate the Kwekwe-Nkayi-Lupane Road. As a requirement of the ZIDA Act, the investor is currently carrying out a feasibility study that is expected to be complete in 10 weeks. The feasibility study being carried out by the potential project is expected to confirm the financial viability and technical feasibility as part of due diligence, normally carried out by investors in infrastructure projects of such a size.
CHALLENGES OF CONGESTION ON THE CHIMANIMANI ROAD
- HON. GONESE asked the Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development why the Ministry and ZINARA have not addressed huge challenges of congestion on the Chimanimani Road particularly, the section after flyover from Mutare central business district (CBD) just before the Blue Star Garage where the road is narrow and cannot accommodate the huge volume of traffic owing to the bad condition of the road which is riddled with potholes.
THE MINISTER TRANSPORT AND INFRASTRUCTUAL DEVELOPMENT (HON. MHONA): Mr. Speaker Sir, my Ministry is aware of the challenges being experienced by the motoring public along the Mutare-Masvingo Highway in particular, at the exit of Mutare CBD where the rail over road bridge and the Sakubva green market river bridge have become too narrow for the increased volumes of traffic. Department of Roads is in the process of awarding the contract for rehabilitation of the affected stretch of the road and the contractor is expected to be on site by the second week of April 2023 once contract negotiations have been concluded. The project will be financed through Treasury as provided for in the approved budget.
However, as an interim relief measure, the Ministry, through the Department of Roads, has diverted haulage trucks from using the Green Market flyover street to instead use Railway St-Bridge Road-Park street route, thereby, reducing the traffic congestion that was caused by the constricted Green Market Bridge. This has improved traffic flow to the CBD coupled with improved road safety for users. I thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.
CONSTRUCTION OF A CLINIC BETWEEN WEST NICHOLSON AND BEITBRIDGE
- HON. MOKONE asked the Minister of Health and Child Care to inform the House:
- whether there are any plans in place to construct a clinic between West Nicholson and Beitbridge.
- whether there are any plans in place to increase the number of ambulances at the Gwanda Provincial Hospital.
THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF HEALTH AND CHILD CARE (HON. DR. MANGWIRO): Thank you Hon. Mokone. The Ministry of Health and Child Care has a thrust to increase the number of health facilitates to cater for our population. In this regard, a feasibility study will be carried out by the Ministry’s department of Hospital Planning and Infrastructure on the needs assessment of that area in order to determine where exactly to situate the clinic.
Gwanda Provincial Hospital got two new ambulances in 2020 and 2021. The hospital’s third ambulance was involved in an accident and is as good as a write off. On the other hand, Gwanda District has a single ambulance which they use to ferry patients to the Gwanda Provincial Hospital. There are plans to replace the accident damaged ambulance when the Ministry procures more ambulances. Resources permitting, more will be bought.
On the motion of HON. TOGAREPI, seconded by HON. TEKESHE, the House adjourned at Twelve Minutes past Four o’clock p.m. until Tuesday, 9th May, 2023.