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NATIONAL ASSEMBLY HANSARD 6 MARCH 2024 VOL 50 NO 32

          PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE

Wednesday, 6th March, 2024.

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

PRAYERS

(THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER in the Chair)

ANNOUNCEMENTS BY THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER

CORRECTION OF HANSARD SPEECHES

          THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: I have to remind Hon. Members that the onus is on them to correct their speeches before they are printed in the Hansard.  Copies of the speeches are brought to the House by Office Orderlies and should be corrected and returned to Hansard within 15 minutes. 

          In the event that the House adjourns before a Member has been favoured with a copy of his or her speech, Members are required to go to the Hansard Office, room 112 and correct their speeches.  Furthermore, Members are reminded that corrections are restricted to grammar and spelling mistakes only.  Members should not attempt to refine their speeches by adding new material that they did not raise during the debate or to remove issues raised during debate.  If there are distortions in the speech, they should approach the Director Hansard, Ms. Kanyume in Office 108. 

APOLOGIES RECEIVED FROM MINISTERS

  THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: I have got a list of apologies from Hon. Ministers and Deputy Ministers who are not able to come to the House today; Hon, Prof. Ncube, Minister of Finance, Economic Development and Investment Promotion; Hon. T. Machakaire, Minister of Youth Empowerment, Development and Vocational Training; Hon. Mupamhanga Junior, Deputy Minister of Youth Empowerment, Development and Vocational Training; Hon. E. Jesaya, Deputy Minister of Sport, Recreation, Arts and Culture; Hon. B. Rwodzi, Minister of Tourism and Hospitality Industry; Hon. M. Mutsvangwa, Minister of Women’s Affairs, Community, Small and Medium Enterprises Development; Hon. J. Mhlanga, Deputy Minister of Women’s Affairs, Community, Small and Medium Enterprise Development; Hon. W. Chitando. Minister of Local Government and Public Works; Hon. F. Shava, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Trade; Hon. Z. Ziyambi, Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs; Hon. O. Mazungunye, Deputy Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs; Hon. J. Muswere, Minster of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services; Hon. T. A Mavetera, Minister of Information, Communication Technology, Postal and Courier Services; Hon. Z. Soda, Minister of Mines and Mining Development; Hon. Prof.  A. Murwira, Minister of Higher and Tertiary Education, Innovation, Science and Technology Development; Hon. E. Moyo, Minister of Energy and Power Development; Hon. V. Haritatos, Deputy Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development; Hon. D. Marapira, Deputy Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development and Hon. F. Mhona, Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development.

  <HON. HLATYWAYO: On a point of order. It is my belief that we all know that Wednesday is a day where Parliamentarians will be asking questions to Ministers and Deputy Ministers.  From the list you read just now, it seems like almost all Ministers are absent.  We only have very few present.  As representatives of the people, we think that our Ministers do not respect this House.  They forget that it is their duty to answer these questions.  It is in their job description to come and respond to questions we would have asked in this House.  We complain every time about the Ministers’ behaviour and attitude, this should come to an end.  They should respect this august House by coming to respond to questions from the public.  This is my appeal to you Madam Speaker.

          *THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Thank you Hon. Member.  I agree with you that today is an important day and Hon. Ministers and Hon. Deputy Ministers are supposed to attend Parliament sittings so that they respond to questions raised by Hon. Members with regards to what is taking place especially the development that is going on in the country.  Standing Rules and Orders; standing Rule No. 67 (2) says if they send an apology, it is supposed to be accepted by this august House.  Today, I have too many apologies and this disturbs our work.  So, we will make sure they are talked to so that they prioritise today’s work so that it progresses well.

          <HON. MUTSEYAMI: On a point of order Hon. Speaker.

          THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: What is your point of order?

          <HON. MUTSEYAMI: Thank you Madam Speaker, you have read out names of people who are absent and those who are present but you have not told us who the Leader of the House today is.

          *THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: That is why I have the Deputy Chief Whip so that she can advise.

          <HON. MUTSEYAMI: I did not know you are working on that, please go ahead – [Laughter.]

          THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER:  I would like to inform Members of Parliament of the list of Hon Ministers and Hon. Deputy Ministers who are present in the House.  Hon. Kambamura, Deputy Minister of Mines, Hon. N. M. Ndlovu, Minister of Environment, Hon. T. Moyo, Minister of Primary and Secondary Education, Hon. K. Mnangagwa, Deputy Minister of Finance, Hon. Mavima, Skills Audit Ministry, Hon. Dr. Coventry, Ministry of Sports, Hon. Sanyatwe, Deputy Minister Home Affairs, Hon Phuti, Deputy Ministers ICT, Hon. S. Sibanda, Deputy Minister, Higher Education, Hon. Gata, Deputy Minister Primary and Secondary Education.  Hon. Prof. Mavima is the Acting Leader of Government Business.

ORAL ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS WITHOUT NOTICE

HON. MASVISVI: Thank you Madam Speaker, a very good afternoon.  My question is directed to the Minister of Higher and Tertiary Education, Innovation, Science and Technology.  In his absence, I redirect my question to the Leader of Government Business, Hon. Prof. Mavima.   What is government policy in regards to polytechnical and tertiary students who fail to get work practice for attachment?

THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF HIGHER AND TEARTIARY EDUCATION, INNOVATION, SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY DEVELOPMENT (HON. S. SIBANDA,): Thank you very much Madam Speaker. I would like to thank the Hon. Member for the question.  The Government policy with regards to attachment of students from Polytechnic and other colleges is that students, firstly they are supposed to look for attachment from industries that are relevant to their training.  Under very few circumstances where they fail to get attachment on their own, the colleges are there to assist in terms of engaging the relevant industries to get attachment.

We have not heard some instances when students fail to get attachment – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] -  

          HON. MASVISVI: Thank you Madam Speaker Ma’am. Why is it not possible for the Ministry to secure places of attachment on behalf of the students just like the sister Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education do to their teachers’ training practice?

          THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF HIGHER AND TERTIARY EDUCATION, INNOVATION, SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY DEVELOPMENT (HON. S. SIBANDA):  Thank you very much Madam Speaker. The response is that it is the duty of the colleges not the Ministry, to look for attachment for the students. I would encourage the Hon. Member to verify that the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education is the one that places the students on attachment, but it is the colleges that do that for coordination purposes. Thank you.

          HON. MATEWU: My supplementary question is, what is Government doing in order to capacitate the local industry so that they can be able to uptake these students who are looking for attachment? It is not good for the Government to just say they will leave it to the industry, whereas these industries are closing. What are you doing to ensure that our industry is capacitated so that they uptake the students who are looking for attachment?

          HON. S. SIBANDA: Thank you Madam Speaker. The duty of the Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education, Innovation, Science and Technology Development is that it aims at training of students and then the issue of growing the industry falls under the Ministry of Industry and Commerce. So, that question can be directed to that Ministry. Thank you.  

          *HON. KARIMATSENGA-NYAMUPINGA: Thank you Madam Speaker. My supplementary is that for the students who are graduating at Teachers’ colleges, but are not being taken to go and teach in schools, we have a number of learners who are contacting Members of Parliament asking to be employed in schools.

          *THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: It is a new question, but I will allow it to be answered by the Hon. Deputy Minister.

          THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF HIGHER AND TERTIARY EDUCATION, INNOVATION, SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY DEVELOPMENT (HON. S. SIBANDA):  Thank you Madam Speaker. I think that question should be answered by the Public Service Commission.

          THE MINISTER OF STATE IN THE OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT AND CABINET SKILLS AUDIT AND DEVELOPMENT (HON. PROF. MAVIMA): Thank you Madam Speaker Ma’am. The recruitment of teachers is a process that is coordinated between the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education, the Public Service Commission and Treasury. It will please this august House to know that just recently, a recruitment of 2000 teachers was done and we continue to schedule recruitments. Everything will depend not just on the vacancy level in the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education, but also on the capacity of Treasury to absorb the teachers. So, it is a process that takes place at intervals and you will realise that most of the recruitment that is taking place now is probably for teachers that completed their training in 2021 or 2022, which means those who just completed will have to waif for their turn. I thank you.

          HON. NJANJI: My question is directed to the Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development. What is Government policy on strategic national grain reserve, operations and management in relation to food security?

          THE MINISTER OF STATE IN THE OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT AND CABINET SKILLS AUDIT AND DEVELOPMENT (HON. PROF. MAVIMA): Thank you Madam Speaker Ma’am. This nation maintains a strategic grain reserve which is important for purposes of making sure that this nation does not go hungry in situations where we encounter droughts and other climate change disasters. So, we have a strategic grain reserve. This is the basis upon which, recently His Excellency the President assured the nation to say even though this season is almost a disaster in terms of the expected yield from our fields, no one is going to go hungry. That is because there is grain in our strategic grain reserve which will be used for purposes of ensuring that our people get food through the Food Deficit Mitigation Programme which has just started to be implemented throughout the country.

          * HON. MUTOKONYI: I would like to ask the Hon. Minister that to preserve and ensure that we get enough food, what is the Government’s policy with regards to ensuring that small irrigation schemes are capacitated to grow enough crops to feed the nation?

          THE MINISTER OF STATE IN THE OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT AND CABINET FOR SKILLS AUDIT AND DEVELOPMENT (HON. PROF. MAVIMA): The issue of irrigation development is an issue that the Government is seized with, partly prompted by the fact that we are experiencing drought.  We realise that we have a considerable number of water bodies throughout the country.  The figure that the Government has been told about is 10 600 water bodies, some of them very big and others small, to even little weirs that can serve communities throughout the country. 

As a Government, we need to undertake a very rigorous programme for irrigation development and every one of those water bodies should be utilised for irrigation purposes so that we avert disaster in situations where we have droughts which have become almost like a perennial issue that we either get droughts or we get other disasters that are related to climate change.  When we develop irrigation around these water bodies, then we can climate-proof our agriculture and the Government has been discussing this.  Very soon, there will be a conference that will focus on the development of irrigation.  We will try as much as possible to bring investors to invest in oirrigation across the country.

 We know that places like Tokwe-Mukorsi for example, the new dams that have been constructed, Muchekeranwa, Marovanyati, and Gwayi-Shangani and Thuli-Manyange that are going to come into existence should then be developed so that this country can be at optimal levels of irrigation. Then we can assure ourselves of food security.  I thank you.

          HON. MADZIVANYIKA: Thank you Madam Speaker.  My supplementary question is a follow-up to the issue of the availability of grain reserves in this country in light of the pending drought that we are facing.  Just last week or two weeks ago, the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development had a meeting with the Grain Millers Association of Zimbabwe indicating that they have enough grain reserves.  A week later, the Portfolio Committee traveled across the country in particular to Norton and Banket, but then we realised that there were no grain reserves in those areas…

          HON. TAFANANA ZHOU: On a point of order! The Member is now pre-empting the work of the Committee. The Committee will present the report here in Parliament.

          THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: I will allow the Hon. Member to ask his question.  Please proceed.

          HON. MADZIVANYIKA: Thank you Madam Speaker for the protection.  So, this work was beamed live on social media, specifically on Open Parliament, and that is where I took this information that I am talking about.  So, when this Portfolio Committee visited our grain reserve, they realised that there was no grain reserve.  Can the Leader of Government Business reconcile what was found physically versus the submission that he made that we have enough grain reserve in Zimbabwe?  I thank you.

          HON. PROF. MAVIMA: Madam Speaker Ma’am, the Hon. Member premised his question with an indication that GMAS, which is an association of private millers indicated that they had grain and that is the information that the Government has that the private millers are holding grain for their purposes.  It will also interest this House to know that the Government has allowed private millers, in anticipation of the drought that we are faced with right now, to continue to import for their purposes.  So, there is a difference between what private millers hold and what is in the strategic grain reserve. 

          The other aspect is that this Hon. Member is referring to anecdotal data that is coming from two silos, one of them being Banket. On the basis of whatever they found there, and he then said there is no grain in the Strategic Grain Reserve of this nation.  A person cannot conclude after visiting two storage facilities and then conclude for the whole country does not have grain. The Hon. Member has to be logical in making his conclusion.  The truth of the matter is, we are currently…

          HON. HADEBE: The Hon. Minister is misleading the House.  He should tell us which silos have got grain.

          THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon. Member, you are out of order.

          HON. PROF. MAVIMA: My question is that we are currently distributing grains coming out of that strategic grain reserve.  There are lots of areas this past week that received grain for those that are facing food deficit in this country. So, there is grain in the National Strategic Grain Reserve.

          HON. J. TSHUMA: Thank you very much Madam Speaker.  While appreciating the Government’s position on the security of our grain, my question to the Leader of Government Business today is; what is the Government’s policy and position on the same grain getting to the urban areas because we are very much affected by this drought? 

          HON. PROF. MAVIMA: Madam Speaker, we have started distributing in the rural areas because a process of ascertaining the levels of food insecurity in the rural areas was completed.  We have just received information to the effect that the urban assessment has also been completed but the report is still to be finalised and brought before Cabinet.  It is upon this basis which interventions in the urban areas will be undertaken.  The programme is not leaving anyone behind among the urban households that are food insecure.  I thank you.

          *HON. MHURI: Thank you Madam Speaker and good afternoon.

          *THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER:  Good afternoon.

*HON. MHURI:  My question is directed to the Minister of Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage.  What is Government policy with regards to reviving and empowering local communities in terms of working with police to arrest all criminals?  I am talking about resuscitating the Neighborhood Watch Committees programme.  I thank you.

          *THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF HOME AFFAIRS AND CULTURAL HERITAGE (HON. SANYATWE):    Thank you Madam Speaker for that question.  The police services have an ongoing programme of recruiting Neighbourhood Watch members and the leader of the police actually considers the size of the area to ensure that they put bases that will serve to arrest would-be offenders.

          HON. TSVANGIRAI:  Thank you, Hon. Speaker and good afternoon.

          THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER:  Good afternoon.

          HON. TSVANGIRAI:  My question is directed to the Minister of Finance, Economic Development and Investment Promotion.  What is the Government doing to reduce the high cost of living and sky-rocketing inflation?

          THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF FINANCE, ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT AND INVESTMENT PROMOTION (HON. D. K. MNANGAGWA):  Thank you Madam Speaker and thank you Hon. Member for that question of national interest.  Madam Speaker, the issue of inflation in Zimbabwe is tied to exchange rate volatility.  You will find that the rising components of the prices is usually tied in to the Zimbabwe dollar component.  As mentioned, I think a few weeks ago, Government is going to be going through some currency reforms, some reforms of our exchange rate management systems.  This will be coming through the Monetary Policy Statement in the next few weeks.

          So, we would like for our Parliamentarians to be patient and wait for that Monetary Policy Statement that will have some reforms that will speak to the rising inflation and exchange rate volatility.  I thank you.

          *HON. TAFANANA ZHOU:  Thank you Madam Speaker Ma’am.  My supplementary question to the Deputy Minister pertains to other Government departments that are charging services in foreign currency such as the Central Vehicle Registry (CVR).  You can only have vehicle registration in USD and you cannot do so using local currency.  I thank you. - [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –

          THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order, order Hon. Members, please may we have order in the House. 

          *HON. D. K. MNANGAGWA: Thank you Madam Speaker, Ma’am.  According to our multi-currency regime, the policy is, anyone trading would be able to charge in any currency they want but when you receive, you are supposed to receive any other currency, be it the Zimbabwe dollar or forex.  So, if there are other Government departments or parastatals that are only charging in forex, they are operating outside the law.

          Let me hasten to say, at the moment in our country, with regards to our currency - [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – Madam Speaker, your protection please.  Like I said earlier, the exchange rate is what is problematic at the moment.  This is why you will discover that some Government departments will be operating as if they are digressing from Government policy.  This is something that is happening at the moment as we seek to address the problem through the Monetary Policy Statement.  By the time we issue the statement, there will be collective measures that will include any policies that may not be followed at the moment.  I thank you.

          *HON. TSVANGIRAI: Thank you Madam Speaker.  I realise that the Hon. Deputy Minister is not telling the truth.  – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –

          THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order, order please may we have order in the House.  Hon. Tsvangirai, you cannot put words in the Hon. Deputy Minister’s mouth for him to respond according to your expectations.  It is wrong of you to say that the Hon. Deputy Minister is not telling the truth.  Please withdraw that statement! 

          *HON. TSVANGIRAI:  Thank you Madam Speaker – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –

          THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER:  Order, order, may we have order in the House.  Hon. Tsvangirai, you should first start by withdrawing your statement.

          *HON. TSVANGIRAI:  Thank you Madam Speaker.  My question is – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – I withdraw Madam Speaker.

          THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER:  Thank you.

          *HON. TSVANGIRAI:  My supplementary question is, when are we getting the Monetary Policy Statement because people can not afford to put food on the table, they cannot afford…

          *THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER:  Order, order, may you please stick to one language and stop code switching.

          *HON. TSVANGIRAI: My question is when are we going to receive the monetary policy because where we come from, people cannot afford to put food on the table?  They cannot afford healthcare – [HON. MEMBERS:  Inaudible interjections.] – Madam Speaker can I be protected please?

          THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER:  Hon. Tsvangirai, we want order in the House.  If you want to quarrel you can go outside.

          HON. HLATWAYO:  On a point of order Madam Speaker.

          THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER:  Honourable, please take your seat – [HON. MEMBERS:  He is the Leader of the Opposition.] – Yes, I know very well he is the Leader of the Opposition.  By being the Leader of the Opposition, he is supposed to keep the Hon. Member in check so that there is order.

          HON. HAMAUSWA:  There is noise from the other side of the House – [HON. MEMBERS:  Inaudible interjections.] –

          THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER:  Please, may we have order – [HON. MEMBERS:  Inaudible interjections.] –   Hon. Members, may we have order in the House.  Hon. Hlatwayo and Hon. Hamauswa, I expect good behaviour from you as leaders.

          HON. KARENYI:  Supplementary question Madam Speaker.

          *THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER:  The supplementary question has not yet been responded to.  You are a seasoned Member of Parliament and therefore you should know the rules.

          HON. KARENYI:  I thought you had asked him to sit down because you were saying he is mixing languages.  I thought maybe you did not give him the opportunity.  Thank you.

          THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER:  Please, take your seat.

          HON. D. K. MNANGAGWA):  Thank you Madam Speaker and thank you to the Hon. Member who I can assure our oath of office does not permit us to come and lie in this august House.  As Government, we come and we articulate the facts as they are.

          To his question in my previous statement, I had mentioned that in the next few weeks, I think the Minister, prior mentioned in the fullness of time that the reason why there has not been a very clear time line is because we are going through a reform process which involves consultations, engagements and in all earnest, Government is committed to coming up with a regime that is probably the last time that we see rising inflation and exchange rate volatility.  This process needs to be done right.  I would plead that we have patience as this is going to be a pivotal piece within our economy.  I thank you Madam Speaker.

          HON. MATEWU:  Point of order Madam Speaker.  Thank you Madam Speaker.  About four weeks ago, this question rose and the same Minister came here and said in a very few weeks they are going to come with the monetary policy. 

          Madam Speaker we come here to Parliament to question the Executive.  The Executive must be sincere with us.  We are Members of Parliament.  We are not some pub.  If we ask questions to the Executive, we expect to get answers.  We want the Hon. Minister to be able to tell us when that monetary policy is coming.  It is not good enough to come every week, after every one month and we are told that – [HON. MEMBERS:  Inaudible interjections.] – We want answers Madam Speaker.

          THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER:  Hon. Matewu, your point of order is over ruled.

          HON. TOGAREPI:  Madam Speaker, if I can have your indulgence, I just want to raise an issue of concern in terms of the foul language that is being used by the other side of the House.  I think we cannot tolerate that.  We are patient, but I think they are provoking Hon. Members to react to their statements.  I think we are in an honourable House.  Let us use language that seeks to get information that we want from the Executive, not insulting questions – [HON. MEMBERS:  Hear, hear.] –

          HON. S. ZIYAMBI:  Supplementary question Madam Speaker.  Thank you Madam Speaker.  We have noted with concern that there are people in this country who are hoarding large sums of cash in safes in their houses and these people are not putting that money in circulation.  What is the Government’s position with regards to people who hoard cash?

          HON. D. K. MNANGAGWA:  Thank you Madam Speaker.  Government policy is that we are in a multicurrency regime.  What this entails is that one can choose to hold value in United States dollars.  Such United States dollars can either be in cash or can be in their nostro.  This strategy that we have where people are keeping cash in boxes in their houses or in safes might speak to the confidence in the banking system which are also issues that are being addressed.  We will not endeavour to compel people to remove money from their safe keeping places.  I am sure my fellow Minister of Home Affairs would advise against that, but as Treasury and as the Ministry of Finance, Economic Development and Investment Promotion, we will not be looking as to where and in what form one is keeping their personal finances.  I thank you Madam Speaker.

          *HON. MUNEMO:  Thank you Madam Speaker.  My question is directed to the Minister responsible for social welfare.  My issue is, there was a programme that was talked about of distributing food in rural areas, but the data base that was used was for the 2022/2023 delimitation or census report.  So there is a disparity in terms of the enumerated people.  Some people maybe in an old ward according to the previous delimitation.  What is Government policy in terms of rectifying that to ensure that no one is left behind because of that disparity?

          *THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF PUBLIC SERVICE, LABOUR AND SOCIAL WELFARE (HON. DINHA):  Thank you Madam Speaker.  We had a meeting with Ministers of State, with Provincial Secretaries of State as well as chiefs concerning this delimitation issue to ensure that we have a new database.   Where this food is being distributed right now, they are starting with a new registration whereby chiefs as well as village heads are consulted so that registration will ensure that beneficiaries are the people who are registered currently, which ensures that there is rectification of any people who may have gone to another place in the ward according to the previous delimitation.

          *HON. MUNEMO: I would like to find out – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –

          THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order, order!

          *HON. MUNEMO: My supplementary question is, the officers who are currently registering people coming with a premeditated figure are saying this was the number of people who have been in the previous registration.  So, they are trying to make sure that those people be equal to the previously registered number of people, whereby some people may be left behind and are supposed to be included in another ward.  Now, that becomes problematic.  What is Government going to do to rectify that?

          *HON. DINHA: Madam Speaker, as I said before, there is no one who is receiving food without registration. Considering current residents of a ward, and the registration is being led by a village head because those are the people who know their subjects.  What is happening right now, people are considering the current status according to the delimitation.  There is no ward that is going to receive food without registration.  Registration goes first, then people receive food.  I thank you.

          *HON. KARENYI: I would like to find out from the Hon. Minister, what is the policy to ensure that people who are conducting the registration process are not going to use political party lines?  What we know is that although the law says the village heads are supposed to be apolitical, I know that people who may be linked to the party that I belong to will not be registered.  What is the policy with regards to ensuring that the registration is not politicised?

          *HON. DINHA: I think where the Social Welfare distribute food, we do not consider the political affiliation of a recipient.  We distribute food to everyone.  Even where there are Members of Parliament belonging to other parties, food is going to those areas because the President, Hon. Mnangagwa is saying no one is supposed to starve.  It means everyone, not ZANU PF Members only.  So, when we are distributing, we are giving everyone.  We are leaving no one.  It is going to go to all corners of the country.  Even sometimes when we get distress calls, when distribution will not be taking place, we realise some of those people may be desperately in need of food, so we will take the food to those people because we want everyone to receive food.  Councillors are also supposed to assist in the distribution of food, but it is mostly the village heads and chiefs to lead that process.  I thank you.

          *HON. NYABANI: I am very happy that grain is being distributed by the Social Welfare.  It is common sense that everyone cannot receive grain.  Indeed, there is grain being distributed where we come from in the rural constituencies.  Some may have many wards up to 20 or 22 wards.  The problem is transporting that grain to the people.  What is Government policy in terms of distributing grain to the recipients at their doorsteps?

          *HON. DINHA: Thank you Madam Speaker Ma’am.  This grain distribution programme should have started a long time ago but we were waiting for funding from Treasury to transport the grain to silos that are closer to the people.  Right now, we have been given an allocation of $3.7 billion to ensure that we cover registration as well as transporting the grain.  With regards to transportation, we have not received all the money.  By the time we receive all the money, the process will proceed smoothly.  From the figure we were allocated, we received about $8 billion in February and yesterday we received $3.5 billion.  We have not received all the funds and that is the reason why we have those delays.  We have employed people who have to ensure that registration takes place but we owe them about $4.4 billion.  So, if we receive funds quickly, the programme will proceed quickly as well.  The grain is there, the only problem is transportation to take it to the nearest GMB depots so that people may receive grain closer to their doorsteps. 

          An Hon. Member having wanted to ask a supplementary question.

          THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Supplementary questions are enough.  We now want a new question.

          HON. MAVHUNGA: My question is directed to the Minister of Finance.  What is the Ministry’s policy on Government procurement when it comes to the youth of this country?

          THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon. Mavhunga, you are directing your question to which Ministry?

          HON. MAVHUNGA: I directed it to the Minister of Finance, Economic Planning and Investment Promotion. 

          THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Can you reconstruct your question?

          HON. MAVHUNGA: I direct it to the Minister of Youth.

          THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon. Minister responsible for the youth, did you get the question?

          THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF YOUTH EMPOWERMENT AND VOCATIONAL TRAINING (HON. MUPAMHANGA): I did not get it

THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon. Mavhunga, I will give you time to reconstruct your question.

           HON. MANGONDO: Thank you Madam Speaker, good afternoon.  I would have wanted to direct my question to the Hon. Minister of Transport, but perhaps the Leader of Government Business may respond to my question. My question relates to the emergency road rehabilitation programme.  We noticed that there has been a lot of work that has been done on that programme. Of late, we have seen slowing down particularly in the rural areas.  So what is Government doing to ensure that the emergency road rehabilitation programme is expedited in the rural areas especially after the rains which have left most of the roads in very bad conditions?  I thank you.

          THE MINISTER OF STATE IN THE OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT AND CABINET FOR SKILLS AUDIT AND DEVELOPMENT (THE HON. PROF. MAVIMA): Thank you Madam Speaker, the emergency road rehabilitation programme is an ongoing programme and if there is any slowdown, it is most probably a result of two factors.  The first one is the rains that the Hon. Minister referred to. Typically, during the rainy season, road construction slows down and picks up again in the dryer season. The second aspect could be the fact that contractors may not have been compensated adequately for them to continue and typically at the beginning of the year when Treasury is still sorting out issues related to the budget. That slowdown is almost inevitable and as soon as our revenues pick up, contractors will be back on the projects.  That is likely to coincide also with the end of the rainy season so that construction can continue uninterrupted.  I thank you.

          HON. MANGONDO: Thank you Madam Speaker.  There is a lot of confusion with regards to road authorities, particularly in the rural areas where the Ministry of Transport is responsible for certain roads, DDF for certain roads and the Rural District Councils for certain roads. It becomes very difficult to place responsibility, especially after the rains because the rural roads are in a very bad state.  What is Government doing to harmonise these responsibilities so that each road authority does not just pass the burden to the other road authority?

HON. PROF. MAVIMA: Thank you Madam Speaker, the determination as to who is responsible is very easy, especially in the rural constituencies.  Hon. Members can easily know who is there, the road authority for the specific road by visiting the office of the District Development Coordinator.  They will clearly indicated who is responsible. Typically, in the rural communities, it is either the former DDF which is now called RIDA, the Rural Infrastructure Development Authority or the local authority itself and in a very few instances, the Ministry of Roads, the Department of Roads will be responsible for some of those roads. 

          So, it is easy to determine and also for purposes of knowing the schedules, it is also easy to go to the District Development Coordinator and you will be informed what will be happening in the various communities.  I thank you.

          HON. V. MOYO: Thank you very much Madam Speaker. My supplementary question is on the policy that the Ministry uses; the criteria to determine which road to qualify for the Emergency Road Rehabilitation Programme.  I bring this up because there are roads that are so strategic like the Victoria Falls-Bulawayo Road which is in a very bad state.  There is also the Nkayi-Bulawayo Road that has been on the cards for so many years.  I thank you.

          HON. PROF. MAVIMA: Thank you Madam Speaker Ma’am.  You will realise that the recent activity around our roads follows after a long period where they have been serious deterioration, almost across the country.  Therefore, in situations where there are always limited resources, not every road can be done at the same time.  We are happy to know that most of our major roads now have takers in terms of companies that want to come in, and some coming in with their own financing to start work on those roads.  One of the roads that he has referred to which is the Bulawayo to Victoria Falls Road, has sections that have already started to be constructed.  The prioritisation as to other roads authorities depend on what is discussed at that local level. It may be at the Rural District Council level, it may be urban councils’ level. Everything will have to be prioritised to the Ministry from the specific local authority or road authority that is responsible.  So, the Ministry gets submissions, and on the basis of those submissions, they have also prioritised based on resources that will be available at the particular point in time. I thank you.

          HON. MHETU: I want to ask with regards to Emergency Road Rehabilitation Programme No. 2. It has been four years since service providers have not been given their outstanding balances. Is there a said deadline for the Government to complete these payments?

          THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Thank you, that question must be put in writing so that the responsible Hon. Minister will go and make some investigations and come to this august House with the correct answer. I thank you.

          *HON. W. CHIKOMBO: Thank you Madam Speaker. My question is directed to the Hon. Minister Sanyatwe since we do not have the Minister responsible in the House…

          *THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon. Member, just ask your question.  What you are saying that we do not have the responsible Hon. Minister here in the House is not necessary.

          *HON. W. CHIKOMBO: I want to find out what are Government plans or policy with regards to the issue that should our country experience an attack or disaster like what happened in Mosi-oa-Tunya, that planes had to abort landing because there was a suspected bomb?  Are we safe as a country seeing that we are now close to host SADC in the next coming days?

*THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF HOME AFFAIRS AND CULTURAL HERITAGE (HON. SANYATWE): Thank you Madam Speaker. That question raised by the Hon. Member, we are very safe in this country. What happened in the past is being looked into right now about what really happened and where it did come from. If the investigation is complete, we will inform this House. At the moment, I would like to assure you that we are well protected.

*HON. KARIMATSENGA-NYAMUPINGA: My question is directed to the Hon. Minister of Environment. What is Government policy – we read in the Sunday Mail that Government is going to be fining people USD5 000 for littering everywhere. What is the policy on two fronts? Firstly, the litter bins, sometimes you travel from here to Westgate and you do not find litter bins on the road. What is their programme with regards to the availability of litter bins in rural areas as well as urban areas so that when we are going to be fined, we will know that indeed, it was because we did not make use of the bins?

The second thing is, these diapers that are used by infants, what is Government policy with regards to their disposal? Everywhere you travel, I do not know in the urban areas but in the rural areas, you find them thrown all over. Where I conducted meetings, some were suggesting that they must be banned but I think the biggest problem is how can they be disposed safely and protecting the environment at the same time? – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.]

*THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: But the diapers do not have a Shona name. They are only called diapers. – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections]- Hon. Members, we are not playing here. Proceed Hon. Minister.

THE MINISTER OF ENVIRONMENT, CLIMATE AND WILDLIFE (HON. N. M. NDLOVU): Thank you Madam Speaker Ma’am. I want to thank the Hon. Member for your very important question with regards the state of litter in the country. I want to start by imploring the House that we all have a responsibility of keeping our country clean. As a matter of fact, we are the ones responsible for the deplorable state we find our country in. The President and Head of State, President E. D. Mnangagwa, in 2018, launched the National Clean UP Campaign after realising the deteriorating state of our environment that every first Friday of the month, we are all expected to be cleaning where we are staying. Clearly, the situation is not improving and we are saying particularly in urban local authorities, the situation has gone out of hand. The Hon. Member will recall that last year, Government declared the State of Emergency in Harare in particular because of the state in which we find our waste management in.

I want to just make it clear that the responsibility of cleaning our areas lies squarely on our local authorities. As a Government, we believe in what we call the ‘polluter pays principle’ and the polluter pays to the local authorities. Our main concern is what happens to the money that we are collecting for waste collection and for waste disposal? I am happy to also highlight that we have engaged both the Ministry of Local Government and some local authorities – recently, Harare City Council on the measures that they ought to implement in order to address the situation. The meeting that we had with the Mayor came with the conclusion that first, they will be penalising the shops in the CBD that do not have bins outside their shops.  

Secondly, that they will be training their city parking officials to be also environmental protection officers so that whoever is throwing litter in the streets will be apprehended the same way they are doing to those who do not have parking certificates.

Thirdly, Harare City which is the epicentre in terms of the waste situation, although other local authorities that are also in the same bracket have received from Government 52 tractors and they told us that each ward will have a tractor that will be collecting waste on a regular basis. The fines that the Hon. Member was talking about are administered again by local authorities through their by-laws and each local authority has now by-laws to do with environmental management. You would find that most of them will be differing from local authority to local authority, but we have implored them to make them as deterrent enough as possible. We will be moving quite strongly on public transporters to make sure that each public transporter, as per law, has got a dust bin.

Turning to the issue of diapers which was highlighted, we have a challenge of diapers because they do not only pose an environmental problem, but also a health problem. The position we have which we are in discussion with local authorities is that they form partnership with health centres, clinics or rural health service centres so that these diapers can be collected and at least be incinerated because leaving them in the environment exposes people to health hazards. There was talk, of course, of having them banned or increasing the duties so that such increase can then be utilised for management of the waste – that however, is still under consideration.  This august House will be appraised when a decision on that is arrived at.  I thank you.

          *HON. KARIMATSENGA-NYAMUPINGA: Thank you Madam Speaker.  My supplementary to the Hon. Minister is, are there any environmental enforcement agents who will ensure the implementation of litter disposal? In the rural areas, you can travel long distances with no bins is sight.  Are they going to employ agents in the local areas because the problem is, we may end up having imposters who will be charging people for the illegal disposal of litter?  It must be clear; people must know that they are legally enforcing that policy.   

          HON. N. M. NDLOVU: Thank you Madam Speaker.  Once again, I want to thank the Hon. Member for her follow up question.  At the centre of this question is the character and attitude that we have become as people to the extent that we are now thinking of having people to scrutinise our attitude and behaviour.  This Madam Speaker, is unfortunately the reality that we are as a people, failing to be good custodians of our environment.

          To respond to her question, our expectation as we are engaging local authorities, I highlighted that this is primarily the responsibility of local authorities.  Ours as the Ministry of Environment, Climate and Wildlife or through the Environmental Agency, is to policy the local authorities.  Madam Speaker, I may not have the statistics here, but I know that in 2023, we penalised not less than 40 local authorities on issues of litter.  We took to court not less than 15 local authorities to make sure that they implement these environmental laws. 

          Our approach is multi-pronged as we have been engaging the local authorities.  We have a statutory instrument that is awaiting gazetting and is still within the Attorney-General’s office.  First, is making our clean-up compulsory for ministries, Government departments and agencies including all local authorities and making the accounting authorities, and in the case of local authorities, the Chief Executive Officers (CEOs), the Town Clerks or responsible persons.  Where we find that within their jurisdictions, no clean-up is being done or there is litter that is not being collected, they are held personally or collectively responsible. 

          So it is now up to the local authorities to put in measures that will deter people, be it in commuters or locals from throwing litter while at the same time putting measures to make sure that litter is collected at properly designated places.

          THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER (HON. M. NCUBE): Thank you Hon. Minister for a well detailed response.

          *HON. MASHONGANYIKA:   Thank you Madam Speaker.  My supplementary question to the Hon. Minister is, what is Government policy on informing the public about litter that can be lucrative to them?  How can they collect and sell the litter for financial benefit?  

           HON. N. M. NDLOVU:  Thank you so much Madam Speaker.  I want to thank the Hon. Member for again, a very important question.  Madam Speaker, it is possible to turn most of what we call litter or trash into cash.

          We have been preaching this gospel for quite some time. I am happy to say that there are quite a number of organisations, particularly young people led organisations that we have trained in recycling to make sure that there is uptake of such litter for recycling purposes.  We are particularly encouraging households, businesses and corporates that they separate litter at source. It becomes a lot easier when litter is separated at source because you will be able to determine what is recyclable.  When you do so and are able to collect that in good quantities, you can sell that to people who are recycling.  There are quite a number of companies that are into recycling in the private sector.

          I am open Madam Speaker, to also avail such contacts per province because they are available in all our provinces, should Hon. Members want to disseminate such information to their constituencies. I thank you.

          HON. SAGANDIRA:  Thank you very much Madam Speaker.  My supplementary question is, what plans are there from the Ministry to safeguard the payment of these fines considering that the USD500.00 fine is on the high side and beyond the reach of many?  What plans are there to make sure that people will pay?  I thank you.

          HON. N. M.  NDLOVU: Thank you Madam Speaker, to assist the Hon. Member, in my first statement response, I indicated that these are primarily administered by local authorities through their by-laws.  There is no fixed amount, this will vary from local authority to local authority.

          We are, however, happy with USD500.00 because it should be deterrent enough.  I am sure if one can not afford to pay the USD500.00, there is further recourse.  The important question in my view, ought to be, what are local authorities doing with what they are collecting for litter or waste management? This is the bigger challenge as we speak.  We have agreed with the Ministry of Local Government and Public Works that they will be ordering local authorities to have separate accounts where the proportion paid by rate payers for waste management will be ring-fenced so that as the Ministry of Environment, Climate and Wildlife, we are able to audit the utilisation of such funds.

          I believe that our focus is not to collect from funds, but to deter people from littering.  We will be working with the Ministry of Local Government and Public Works and our local authorities to make sure that there is transparency in the administration of funds collected from waste management.  I thank you.

          HON. MAVHUNGA: On a point of privilege!

          THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: At the moment, we are not doing points of privilege.

          HON. MAVHUNGA: I was asked to rephrase my question by the previous Chair and I am ready to ask the question.

          THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: You may proceed. Leader of the Opposition, please behave yourself.

          HON. MAVHUNGA: How does the Government's current procurement policy specifically facilitate enforcing youth participation in entrepreneurship?  What measures are being taken to ensure that young people have equitable access to procurement opportunities and resources for sustainable economic engagement?

          THE MINISTER OF STATE IN THE OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT AND CABINET, SKILLS AUDIT AND DEVELOPMENT (HON. PROF. MAVIMA): Thank you, Madam Speaker.  What I can ascertain is that there are youth desks in every Government Ministry that are aimed at making sure that youth-related matters are mainstreamed. I am sure that the issue of procurement is also one of the matters that these youth desks deal with.  Otherwise the procurement policy of the Government is open and as much as possible looks at the best bidder in terms of quality as well as in terms of the pricing of the services or goods that are being procured.

          The only way in which much more youth participation can be achieved is through advocacy as well as training especially for youth business so that they are well prepared to bid for the services and goods that are being procured within Government.

          HON.  S. SAKUPWANYA: My supplementary question to the question asked by the Hon. Member is about the implementation of the youth desk which is supposed to be in every Ministry.  In this case when talking to procurement, the implementation of the youth desk in the Ministry of Finance, Economic Development and Investment Promotion, has that been established?  You can then adequately use the office to ensure that a quota is reserved under the Procurement Act for the youth to do business.  I thank you.

          HON. PROF. MAVIMA: Madam Speaker, the details of the extent to which the youth desks have been established, but in situations where they have not been established, they should be established just like the disability desks as well as all other important stakeholders whose issues should be mainstreamed, including women, should be established so that we are moving along with the mainstreaming that we need to do.  However, I am not sure about the specific Ministry that was referred to, and whether a youth desk has already been established.  I thank you.

          HON. D. TSHUMA: Thank you, Madam Speaker.  What is the Government policy in ascertaining the protection of the upcoming young business people because they cannot compete with big companies if it comes to a playing field?  So, what is the policy to make sure that these people are protected if ever some things are supposed to be waivered, they should be waivered. What is the Government policy to try and protect the youth to come and play along with these big players that are already in the market?  I thank you. 

          HON. PROF. MAVIMA: Thank you Madam Speaker.  The importance that the Government attaches to the issues that the Hon. Member has referred to is manifest in the recent creation of a Ministry that is dedicated to the issues of the youth, including the empowerment of the youth.  You know that this Ministry has now been separated from the Ministry of Sport, Recreation, Arts and Culture and that His Excellency is attaching a lot of importance to the issue of protecting and empowering the youth.  So, I am sure that within the context of the creation of this Ministry, matters such as the one that the Hon. Member has talked about can be addressed especially with the engagement of that particular Ministry.  I thank you.

          HON. MUTOKONYI:  Thank you Madam Speaker.  My question is to the Minister of Industry and Commerce.   I want to hear what is the Government policy and position with regard to rural development in driving rural industrialisation.

          THE MINISTER OF INDUSTRY AND COMMERCE (HON. DR. NYONI):  Thank you Madam Speaker.  I would like to thank the Hon. Member for a very pertinent question.  The thrust of my Ministry is to make sure that this economy becomes a truly Zimbabwean economy and we cannot do that without industrialising rural areas.

          THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER:  Hon. Minister, order!  Hon. Members on my left, we are not in a taxi rank here.  What is a ‘nxaa’.  Can you withdraw that language please?  Hon. Member sitting next to Hon. Tobaiwa, withdraw what you said, ‘nxaa’.  Please withdraw that statement.

          HON. MUROMBEDZI:  Sorry Hon. Speaker I did not say ‘nxaa’.

          THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER:  You said ‘nxaa’.  Withdraw that statement.

          HON. MUROMBEDZI:  Maybe it came from somewhere, but I withdraw.  I really did not say that.  Maybe it came from the other side.

          THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER:  Hon. Member, I said withdraw that statement because I was looking at you.

          HON. MUROMBEDZI:  Really?  Madam Speaker, I withdraw if you saw me do that.

          THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER:  Thank you very much.  You may now sit down.

          HON. DR. NYONI:  Thank you Madam Speaker.  I will repeat that because it is very important.  The aim of the Ministry is to make this economy a truly Zimbabwean economy run by Zimbabweans and we cannot do that without doing rural industrialisation, and secondly, we want to create jobs.  That is why this question is really pertinent.

          Hon. Member, we are doing everything possible to make sure that anyone in the rural areas that has got a business that needs investment should be in touch with my Ministry.  We will link them to the investors, but apart from that, we are developing a programme in which we will go growth point by growth point and make sure that whoever is there and is establishing businesses, is supported and linked to big businesses so that the linkage programme will also make rural areas grow.  The other strategy is that we are exporting raw materials and the raw materials come from rural areas.  So, the strategy now is to generate value addition where those resources are being generated.  Through that, we are going then to encourage rural industrialisation by value adding what rural people are producing.

          I am sure that the Hon. Members are aware of what the Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education has done.  For instance, in Mwenezi with the Mapfura, that is exactly what we want to encourage.  As a Ministry, we then want to go and grow that and any initiative that has been done by our people, we will be there to support it so that rural industrialisation expands and grows.  Thank you.

          HON. MUTOKONYI:  Thank you very much Madam Speaker.  Thank you very much Hon. Minister for quite a positive response.  I would like to ask if there could be any incentives, particularly on investors who would have opted to invest in the rural communities.  Is there any package that could actually lure the investors to get into the rural communities for the investment?  Thank you.

          HON. DR. NYONI:  The incentives are very important because they then encourage people to invest, but then we would have to work hand-in-glove with the Ministry of Finance, Economic Development and Investment Promotion because they are responsible for the investment wing.  I think they would really welcome that when we discuss with them that incentives for rural investment is very key and I am sure they will be amicable to that.  They will look into that.  We will work hand-in-hand with the Ministry of Finance, Economic Development and Investment Promotion.

          HON. MATEWU:  Thank you Madam Speaker.   In her first response, the Hon. Minister said that the industry must be Zimbabwean owned, to which I agree.  She then further on went on to say if you come to the Ministry, we will link you up with an investor so that we can do industrialisation.  I am really struggling to find a word to describe that.  If we have investors already who are willing to industrialise our rural areas, why do we have to wait for someone to come so that you can link them to an investor? Would it not be prudent for your Ministry to actually court the investors to ensure that they put those resources that they have into rural industrialisation. 

You went further on to say you want to value add because we have other players who have mines and so forth – [AN HON. MEMBER:  What is the question?] – The question is, what it is that value addition, does that subscribe to rural industrialisation?

THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER:  Hon. Matewu, the question, what is it?  Ask the question.

HON. MATEWU:  I think I have asked if you were listening Madam Speaker.  I said those investors, why is it so difficult for them to just go and invest with the Minister actually driving that instead of waiting for me to come and say link me up with an investor?  Is it so difficult to get those investors to go to the rural areas now and invest that money?  Thank you.

HON. DR. NYONI:  Thank you Hon. Speaker.  I am sure the Hon. Member will agree with me that I may even ask the question back and say if it was that easy, why has it not happened?

HON. MATEWU:  I am not the Minister.

HON. DR. NYONI:  So, we are here to facilitate.  We are here to make things happen.

THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER:  Order Hon. Member.

HON. MATEWU:  She is asking me and yet she is the Minister.

THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER:  Order Hon. Matewu, order!

HON. DR. NYONI:  Hon. Speaker, our role is to facilitate.  The fact that it has not happened means that facilitation is needed and that is what we will do.  I thank you.

+HON. BAJILA:  Madam Speaker, I have realised that now it is 4.00 o’clock yet some Hon. Ministers have left.  There are some Hon. Ministers who were supposed to respond to these questions now they have left. When we started this session, there was an issue raised about not respecting this august House.  This is one of such issues.  When they have questions on the Order Paper they are supposed to respond to them, yet they are walking away.

          THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: The Leader of Government Business is here, he will respond to your questions.

          HON. MUROMBEDZI: My supplementary question is, we keep on hearing this rhetoric about beneficiation and value addition.  With regards to the question that was asked by the previous Hon. Member, we keep on seeing raw materials being exported.  Recently, a train derailed in Mutare, enroute to Mozambique.  What exactly is the timeframe that the nation can expect beneficiation and value addition of chrome, so that we do not keep on exporting these minerals in their raw form?

          HON. DR. NYONI: Thank you Madam Speaker.  Business begins with individuals.  I want to challenge the Hon. Member to go back to her constituency and trigger people to start value addition and the Ministry will be there to assist.

          HON. MUROMBEDZI: Madam Speaker, the Minister is dodging the question.  The question is a national one.  Beneficiation is done at a national level supervised by the responsible Ministry.  So, we would want to hear the response from the Minister, when value addition and beneficiation will start because our minerals keep on going out of the country in their raw form.  Our areas are underdeveloped because of that.  So, the Minister should face the question. The nation would like to hear when beneficiation and value addition of minerals like chrome will start?  Thank you.

          HON. DR. NYONI: I think I was very clear.  The Government does not do business.  Government facilitates business.  Therefore, I want to challenge again the Hon. Member to go back to her constituency and encourage people to start businesses and see if Government would not support those initiatives of value addition and beneficiation.  We want a private sector driven economy, not a Government driven economy.  So, the challenge goes back to her again. 

          Questions Without Notice were interrupted by THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER in terms of Standing Order Number 68.

ORAL ANSWERS TO QUESTONS WITH NOTICE

INSTALLATION OF INTERNET AT MTAWATAWA GROWTH

POINT

  1. HON. KARUMAZONDO asked the Minister of Information Communication Technology, Postal and Courier Services to inform the House when telephone and internet connectivity will be installed at Mtawatawa Growth.

          THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF INFORMATION COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGY, POSTAL AND COURIER SERVICES (HON. PHUTI): First of all, I would like to thank Hon. Karumazondo for the question that relates to issues on my Ministry, concerning his constituency, in particular the growth point of Mtawatawa.  Mtawatawa as a growth point, NetOne has got coverage of 2G, 3G and 4G which has been long in place.  NetOne and Econet have base stations covering the growth point and surrounding areas.  There is a shared Universal Service Fund base station at Karimbika.  TelOne commissioned 100 megabytes per second internet note, at Mtawatawa growth point around 2020.  The note can support both internet and data services.  Currently, the following major customers are connected, that is Government complex, the hospital, the Rural District Council offices, ZUPCO offices and Madziva Teachers’ college.  TelOne also hase a VSAT coverage of Mtawatawa District and the services are readily available on demand. Subject to the availability of funding, TelOne is planning to deploy a voice note in year 2025.  I thank you.

          *HON. KARUMAZONDO: I would like to thank the Hon. Minister for that response.  The request by the UMP community, as alluded to by the Hon. Minister, Mtawatawa houses the Government offices.  What happens at Mtawatawa is that when there is no electricity, NetOne and Econet services would not be available.  So, there would not be internet services.  UMP is the only district that needs TelOne line, 2025 is too far.  May the services be availed earlier so that Government workers may get access to services that are being enjoyed by other Government workers.

          The Hon. Deputy Minister of ICT having responded in Ndebele.

          THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Hon. Karumazondo, do you understand what the Minister is saying?

          HON. KARUMAZONDO: I do not understand, I need a translator.

          +HON. PHUTI: First of all, I thank him for clearly explaining what is required according to the written question.  It revealed a lot of other things that were not implied in the initial question yet those issues are supposed to be addressed.  He spoke about electricity, but I would hasten to say that does not fall under our purview.  However, we have a contingency plan to ensure that people continue receiving the signal in the event that there is no power.  I can assure him that by the time we leave this House, we can further discuss and ensure that it becomes successful so that other base stations in Mtawatawa can get solar system installed.  The Hon. Member also said 2025 is a bit far away for the implementation of these programmes.  I take it that this is a request and we will liaise with other Government departments to ensure that those services are availed at the shortest possible time so that people of UMP are assisted as soon as possible. I thank you.

NETWORK CONNECTIVITY FOR ZAKA NORTH

CONSTITUENCY

  1. HON. MURAMBIWA asked the Minister of Information Communication and Technology, Postal and Courier Services to inform the House on the Ministry’s plans regarding network connectivity in areas without network coverage in Zaka North such as wards 1, 2, 4, 5, 6, 12 and 33.

          THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF INFORMATION COMMUNICATION TECHNOLODGY, POSTAL AND COURIER SERVICES (HON. PHUTI): Once again thank you for the opportunity and I thank Hon. Murambiwa for the question.  In Zaka, sometime ago, NetOne surveyed three locations which include Rhonde Bosch, Dendedza and Ruchecheni, but failed to develop on account of costs.  The base stations will be developed, constructed and switched on as soon as resources permit.

          On the other hand, TelOne has provided backhaul fibre to Zaka…

          Hon. N. Ndlovu having passed between the Chair and the Member speaking.

          THE HON. TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Order Hon. Member, you can use this other side when you want to go out. 

          THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF INFORMATION COMUNICATION TECHNOLODGY, POSTAL AND COURIER SERVICES (HON. PHUTI): Thank you Madam Speaker.  Tel One has provided backhaul Fibre to Zaka providing internet and data services to some of the clients at Zaka.  This fibre is available and installed within the district providing internet services to some schools and clinics.  The plan for Zaka is to deploy VSAT services to those customers that require services and that will be done as immediate as demand calls.

          Hon. Speaker, I have brought in the issue of broadband despite the fact the Hon. Member had particularised on the issue of base stations that provide mobile network. This was to give a holistic answer to the issue of general connectivity.  I thank you.

          HON. MURAMBIWA: Thank Hon. Speaker. My supplementary question Hon. Speaker, there is a base station at Jichidza Mission which your Ministry erected last year, but the base station is not yet switched on. What is delaying you Hon. Minister?  I thank you.

          HON. PHUTI: Thank you Hon. Murambiwa for that incite.  I hope the base station referred to is with reference to places that you mentioned. Hon. Speaker, that explains the determination to deploy base stations at every place where there is need and would like to applaud the mobile network operator that erected the said base station.

          I would like to take this commitment in this august House that forthwith, I will make a follow up on the issue of how and why the base station has not been switched, but also take it upon this Ministry to make sure that such will be done as fast as possibly can.  I thank you.

          *HON. NYABANI: I once heard the Hon. Minister mentioned about the Universal Service Fund.  How many base stations are erected using the Universal Service Fund per year?  What is their priority in erecting these base stations?  We know these funds are to be used, especially in rural areas where there is no network.  I would like to know how many base stations are erected per year and what is your priority in choosing the places?  I thank you.

          HON. PHUTI: Thank you madam Speaker and I thank Hon. Nyabani for his supplementary question that relates to issues around the Universal Service Fund.  The fund is set aside to service the under-served and unserved areas of this country in terms of network connectivity.  It targets places that mobile network operators, because of their business nature, would generally shun for various reasons. Be it the scarcity in population, and possibly from their analysis, the fact that they may not see business potential.

          Because of the nature of the Universal Service Fund as the name suggests, it is there to make sure that there is universal access to connectivity by people regardless of stratifications.  I therefore, would like to further expand on the question to say it targets those places mostly in rural areas and those at the border line of the country so that our people will not be found wanting to the extent of using foreign networks for basic communication. I have satisfied the expectations of the questioner.  I thank you.

          THE MINISTER OF STATE IN THE OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT AND CABINET, SKILLS AUDIT AND DEVELOPMENT (HON. PROF. MAVIMA):  Hon. Speaker, I am standing in for the Minister of Finance, Economic Development and Investment Promotion, but I have responses to one question. I refer for your indulgence to defer the other question and I will respond to question No. 7.

DECONGESTATION AND DEPOPULATION OF

INGUTSHENI REHABILITATION

  1. HON. GUMEDE asked the Minister of Health and Child Care to explain to the House what the Ministry is doing to decongest and depopulate Ingutsheni rehabilitation which of late has been flooded by teenagers who are victims of drug abuse and related mental health issues.

THE MINISTER OF STATE IN THE OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT AND CABINET SKILLS AUDIT AND DEVELOPMENT (HON. PROF. MAVIMA):  Thank you Hon. Speaker, I want to thank Hon. Gumede for the question. Hon. Speaker, the drug and substance are both a medical and a social problem.  A multifaceted strategy has been deployed to decongest Ingutsheni Hospital which is inter-ministerial, multi-sectorial, community based and institutional care approach.  As a Ministry, we are offering treatment and rehabilitation of those who are already addicted and are presented with physical and mental complications of drug and substance abuse. We have put measures to capacitate our staff through training on the World Health Organisation Quality Rights, World Health Organisation, Mental Health Gap Action programme for Ingutsheni Hospital. 

We are now cascading to primary care clinics where the patients will get support after discharge.  We are striving to improve supply of medication which further ensures that the patients recover early and are discharged timeously so that other strategies that we are implementing, including the following can take effect:

  1. Strengthening primary prevention through conducting open days for scholars to visit and gain knowledge of interventions for managing substance use disorders.
  2. Secondary preventive measures through screening for harmful use of alcohol and substances and offering a multi-layered referral network as treatment options.
  3. Early referral for people with substance use disorders who are suffering from complication of drug abuse to other tertiary care facilities.
  4. Reintegration of patients into the community coupled with a review and follow-up programmes.
  5. Reducing demand of drugs by providing community based recreational and vocational training centres.
  6. Strengthening of supply reduction measures through holding inter-ministerial meetings at all levels of Government so as to capacitate the police in making arrests of the drug peddlers and closing of porous borders.
  7. Broader demand reduction awareness programmes are being conducted in collaboration with the ministries responsible for education.
  8. Ministry of Information and Broadcasting Services has implemented a vigorous campaign using print, radio, television and social media. The primary concern is to reach out to all citizens on how to prevent and manage drug abuse.
  9. Engagement of religious leaders, traditional leaders, parents and guardians to disseminate messages as the first line of defence.

In the medium to long-term timeframe, all the aforementioned interventions will significantly reduce the health care burden on Ingutsheni Psychiatric Hospital. I thank you Madam Speaker.

HON. GUMEDE: Thank you so much for the response. It is welcome. I have noted the holistic approach that is being proposed to decongest Ingutsheni Psychiatric Hospital from the youths that are currently there due to drug and substance abuse problems. I would like to reiterate to you Madam Speaker that all these measures are well and good, but the main problem which is at the institution is the fact that there are no drugs and there is no food. I think that as much as the Minister can look into all these other issues, the awareness campaigns and also to bring forward the police to assist us in the drug and substance abuse fight, we must also look at the fact that these people are already having psychiatric issues pertaining to the abuse of the drugs.

When they get to that institution, we must look more at what we can do for them in terms of how to decongest the institution given drugs and then put them out there when they are healthy. At the moment, it is congested because they are biting up nurses and doctors because there are no drugs totally and there is no food. That should be the starting point before we go to the external solutions. I thank you.

     THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: That was not a question, but it was a comment. Thank you.

     HON. PROF. MAVIMA: Hon. Speaker Ma’am, I agree with you and commend Hon. Gumede for good suggestions that should be taken into account especially by those who are managing the institution and also just to assure that support from the Ministry of Health and Child Care will be rendered to Ingutsheni in view of the specific problems that Hon. Gumede has indicated. Thank you.

COMMISSIONING OF VEZA REGISTRY OFFICE IN ZAKA NORTH CONSTITUENCY

  1. HON. MURAMBIWA asked the Minister of Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage to inform the House on the Ministry’s plans regarding the commissioning of the Veza Registry Office in Zaka North Constituency which was completed in 2022.

          THE MINISTER OF HOME AFFAIRS AND CULTURAL HERITAGE (HON. SANYATWE): Madam Speaker Ma’am, Honorable Members of Parliament herein present, the idea to convert the council bottle-store into a sub-office was initiated in 2015 by Mr. Vincent Mawere, the former Member of Parliament for Zaka West Constituency.  In 2019, the current Member of Parliament Hon. Ophias Murambiwa of Zaka North Constituency (name of Constituency changed after the delimitation exercise) pursued the same project with the community to refurbish the structures. 

          According to a report from the District Registrar, the Provincial Registrar made several visits to monitor progress and each time she visited this site, she would meet Hon. Murambiwa, local leadership, community members and other relevant stakeholders.

          The idea of converting the council property was an initiative from the community that is meant to remove the problem of travelling long distances to access civil registry documents.  The office situated at a catchment area that covers nine wards that are part of Zaka North, Zaka Central and Zaka West.  As the Minister responsible for administering the issuance of civil documents, I therefore supported this initiative as it is in line with the Government devolution and decentralisation agenda ensuring that no place and no one is left behind. 

          I am informed that the renovations of the office are currently at 95%.  The office has two rooms attached to it where one is used as a filing or storeroom and the other as a dark room.  All structures are tubed and connected to ZESA power.  The structure is well fenced, securing accommodation and offices. 

          Currently, the Civil Registry Department is in the process of recruiting staff, procuring ICT equipment and office furniture.  Veza Sub-office is expected to be commissioned in the second quarter of 2024.

          *HON. MURAMBIWA: Thank you Madam Speaker.  My supplementary question to the Hon. Minister, so that when people ask me upon my return to the constituency after I tell them second quarter, they will not understand.  May the Hon. Minister explain exactly what the second quarter is so that I can explain better to my constituents?

          *HON. SANYATWE: Thank you Hon. Member for the supplementary question.  I promise that we will not reach October of the second quarter without opening.               

          *HON. MURAMBIWA: On a point of order Madam Speaker Ma’am.  My point of order is, when the House started sitting this afternoon, there were a lot of Ministers.  They knew that the Order Paper has questions dating back as far as two months. We are not getting responses in time.  People will say we asked questions and there have not been any responses for the past two months.  What will our rural constituents say?

          We beseech you Hon. Speaker, to make sure that ministers respond to our questions. 

          THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Hon. Murambiwa, sorry I was following.  I think the Hon. Deputy Speaker explained about this issue after announcing their apologies.  The Government Chief Whip is present, he is going to engage the Leader of Government Business so that ministers can come and respond to your questions in time.  Thank you Hon. Murambiwa.

          HON. TOGAREPI: Madam Speaker, would I call that a point of clarity or what?  I think what the Hon. Member raised has been continuously repeated in this House – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] – I think with the authority vested in you as our Speaker, you can write a letter to these ministers.  It is understandable when a case has come within a week or two, but if it has gone for six months, it is too much.

          On many occasions when we check with the Permanent Secretaries, they tell us they have already done the responses for the ministers.  So it is time that Parliament wields its authority by inviting these ministers to come and answer those questions.  I can talk to them just as I have been talking to them.  We have a group where we hold discussions.  Like Hon. Murambiwa’s observation, some were holding the Order Paper with their questions, but they chose to walk away.

          I think it is now up to the Clerk of Parliament and the Speaker’s office to write to these ministers demanding that they come to clean up our Order Paper – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] – I think we are doing a fantastic job, but they are letting us down.

          THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Thank you Chief Whip. I hope the Clerk has noted that down.  We need Ministers to come to the House and answer some of these questions. 

          HON. BAJILA: You assured us that they would be here.  I asked the question when they were walking out…

          THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Hon. Bajila, please sit down.

          HON. BAJILA: But you asked me a question…

          THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Hon. Bajila, why are you shouting?  We have explained, the Chief Whip has explained, the Deputy Speaker explained.  We are going to write that letter to the Ministers.  You do not throw your hands like that; we are in the House not in a Shabeen.

          Hon. Members, I have been advised that we go through all the questions, maybe some other Ministers have been given the responses to the questions.

PAYMENT OF ALLOWANCES TO CIVIL SERVANTS WHO

CONTRACTED COVID-19

  1. HON. BAJILA asked the Minister of Public Service, Labour, and Social Welfare to update the House on the progress made regarding the payment of COVID-19 allowances to civil servants who contracted COVID-19 as provided for in the Public Service Commission, Circular No. 1 of 2022.

THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF PUBLIC SERVICE, LABOUR, AND SOCIAL WELFARE (HON. DINHA): Thank you Madam Speaker Ma’am.  I want to thank Hon. Bajila for the question which relates to my Ministry. In the health sector, there were 3000 who were paid the COVID-19 allowance. Concerning the rest of the Public Service, they were being paid the COVID-19 allowances from different sources.  That is, they were supposed to be paid from their respective ministries.  So, at this stage, a detailed response as to how many were paid is being compiled and will be availed next week.  I thank you.

BEAM ARREARS AND PAYMENT PLAN

  1. HON. BAJILA asked the Minister of Public Service, Labour, and Social Welfare to present to the House the breakdown of BEAM arrears owed to schools, province by province, and the plans that have been put in place to offset the arrears.

THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF PUBLIC SERVICE, LABOUR, AND SOCIAL WELFARE (HON. DINHA):  Thank you once again for the question which relates to my MinistryAn amount totaling ZWL19 233 085 029.00 has been paid to settle 2023 arrears for primary schools across the country. The total arrears for primary schools are ZWL425 215 440 000.00. For secondary schools, the total arrears are ZWL142 496 265 000.00 and the total is ZWL567 711 705 000.00. 

The Ministry has engaged the Ministry of Finance, Economic Development and Investment Promotion to clear the aforementioned arrears and ZWL50 billion was allocated for the first quarter of 2024.  The actual release is ZWL30 billion which is being processed.

For the primary schools, I am going to say the figures province by province. For Bulawayo, we have 49 schools and the amount per term is USD703 490 and the total for the three terms is USD2 110 470.  For Harare Province we have 58 schools that are under BEAM and the total, all in all for Harare for Primary schools is USD1 8050688. In Mashonaland Central, we have 314 schools that are under BEAM and the total which is being owed is USD3 794 226 In Mashonaland East, we have 12 primary schools that are under BEAM and the total owed is USD158 955. In Mashonaland West, we have 107 schools that are under BEAM and the total amount in arears is USD1 885 410, Matabeleland North, we have 262 schools that are under BEAM and the total is USD2 036 364. In Matabeleland South, we have 233 schools and the total arrears is USD2 388 150. In Manicaland, we have 669 schools under BEAM and the total in arrears is USD7 350897. In Masvingo, we have 606 schools that are under BEAM and the arrears are USD6 628 986.  So, all in all for the provinces the total is USD28 159 146.

          There are also schools that provide their statements in Rands.  There is Matabeleland North and the number of schools is five, then it is R2 870.  Matabeleland South, for 28 schools, the arrears is R1 422 140. In Masvingo, we have 39 schools and the arrears are R1 959 590.  So, all in all in total the arrears in Rands is R3 582 600.

          For secondary schools, I am going to start with those with statements in United State dollars.  In Bulawayo, we have 21 schools and the amount in arrears in USD458 897. In Harare, for 16 schools, the arrears are USD 200 656. In Mashonaland Central, for 147 schools, it is USD1 380 890. Mashonaland East for eight schools it is USD61 363. Mashonaland West for 111it is USD719 601. Matabeleland North, for 59 schools, it is 481 774. Matabeleland South for 112 schools it is USD550 374. Manicaland for 486 schools it is USD3 237 276. Midlands, for two schools, it is USD12 780 and finally for Masvingo, for 222 schools, it is USD2 381433. The grand total all in all for secondary schools is USD9 423 044.

          There are also secondary schools that give their statements in Rands.  We have Matabeleland, for 1 school there is R18 900. Matabeleland South, for 23 schools, there is R1 438 550.  So, all in all for secondary schools the grand total in Rands is R1 457 450.  Thank you Hon. Speaker.

          HON. BAJILA:  I would like to find out if there is anything that the Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare is doing in conversation with the Ministry of Finance, Economic Development and Investment Promotion to ensure that these monies get to the schools at the earliest possible time.  These monies are very critical in supporting our education system and in supporting the welfare of our communities.  I thank you.

          HON. DINHA:  Thank you Hon. Bajila for such a relevant question.  Thank you Hon. Speaker.  For the BEAM programme to be a success, I think we have to work hand-in-glove with the Minister of Finance, Economic Development and Investment Promotion.

We are being given money for BEAM, but the money is not being released as cash.  So that is the problem.  I think I have read the arrears that are there and we were promised 50 billion, and for the 50 billion that we were promised, only 30 billion was availed as cash.  That is the amount that we are processing right now.  So, I think that is the question for the Ministry of Finance, Economic Development and Investment Promotion because that is the one that is not releasing the funds for BEAM.  Thank you.

CRITERIA USED TO PAY PENSIONERS

  1. HON. GUMEDE asked the Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare to explain to the House the criteria used to pay pensioners as some pensioners are getting meagre payouts which are always eroded by exorbitant bank charges.

THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF PUBLIC SERVICE, LABOUR AND SOCIAL WELFARE (HON. DINHA):  Payment of pension is premised on the fraction of the last grade and salary of the member before they retire.  It is noted that pensioners, effective January 2024, are now benefiting from the conversion of the COVID – 19 and cushioning allowances into pensionable emoluments. 

This position of meagre commutation of pensions applied before the policy of having the United States dollar allowances as part of the pensionable emoluments.  An example is that a retired teacher who would have served about 35 years used to receive an equivalent of around USD2 000 before the policy changed, but with the policy change they are now receiving around USD12 000, in terms of commutation of pension.  So, with regards to the monthly pensions that are in United States dollars, it is now applying and the member would be getting an average of about USD140 a month.  I thank you Hon. Speaker.

          HON. GUMEDE: Thank you Madam Speaker.  I need clarity on the USD140 component for pensioners.  This year there was an introduction of US dollar pensionable salary.  I am speaking about pensioners who are already earning ZWL50 000.  That is the question that I was addressing to you Madam Speaker.  Surely, ZWL50 000 for someone who has given service to the nation is too little.  When they get their ZWL50 000, there are also bank charges that are factored in.  You find that of the ZWL50 000, after deductions they are getting ZWL42 000.  I understand the fact that there are differences in terms of how the pensions are quantified.  We also need to look at the reality on the ground that they are getting paltry amounts and they cannot look after themselves or look after their families and that is unacceptable – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] –

          HON. DINHA: Thank you Hon. Speaker Ma’am.  As I said earlier, pensions are premised on the fraction of the last grade and the last salary of the member before retirement.  Before January, 2024, the pensions were contributed in Zimbabwean dollar.  That is why they are getting their pension in Zimbabwean dollar.  With effect from January, 2024, pensions are now being calculated in US dollars because there is now a US dollar component.  When I gave an example of USD140 per month, I gave an example of a teacher who has retired after working for 35 years, that now with the change of policy, she would receive about USD12 000 and then USD140 per month. 

          I was giving that as an example, I am not saying everybody would receive US$12 000 and US$140.  I gave an example of a teacher.  Pension varies, looking at the grades and the salaries of individuals before retirement.  For those who are earning pensions in ZWL, I think it is going to remain like that.  I thank you. 

          HON. TOGAREPI:  What Members are raising is related to what they are earning.  I know there has been development towards Public Service Pension Fund.  What we are going to be paying now is through the generosity of Government, not what we can call an entitlement or reasonable expectation of the Members. I think it is important that Government expedites the development of a Public Service Pension Fund in order to create value for those who are going to retire.  It will be very unfortunate to see an Hon. Member, a teacher, a policeman who retires into poverty when, during the period he or she was at work, he could have created wealth to look after that person at retirement.  I think let us speed up the issue of the Public Service Pension Fund. 

          HON. DINHA:  Thank you Hon. Speaker Ma’am and I want to thank the Hon. Member for the question.  I also understand that through the generosity of Government, before January 2024, there was a US dollar component that was being paid for pensions and also for installments, but it was not much but there was a US dollar component before.  The Pensions Act is being amended, so I think after the whole process is finalised, there is going to be improvements in the pensions.  I thank you Hon. Speaker Ma’am. 

SECURITY GRANTS OR PAY-OUTS TO THE VULNERABLE

 

      34. HON. GUMEDE asked the Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare to explain to the House the Government policy on social security grants or pay-outs to the vulnerable people, especially the elderly who are custodians for orphans.

          THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF PUBLIC SERVICE, LABOUR AND SOCIAL WELFARE (HON. DINHA): Thank you Madam Speaker and I also want to thank the Hon. Member for the question.  The elderly people who are taking care of orphans are being cushioned under the Ministry’s Social Protection programmes which include the Zimbabwe Harmonised Social Cash Transfer and the monthly maintenance allowances.  The Zimbabwe Harmonised Social Cash Transfers programme targets vulnerable households which are poor and labour constrained.  The labour constrained criteria encompasses the following households;

Those households that are headed by the elderly;

The households that has a member of the disabled in it;

Households with chronically ill member and also the child-headed households.

          The monthly maintenance allowance programme also cushions the elderly who seek assistance from our District Social Development officers around the country.  These programme is self-targeting and a cash entitlement of USD20 equivalence in local currency is given per month to that individual after means testing is conducted.

The implementation of the cash transfer programme is done by the Department of Social Development (DSD) under the Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare. Implementation is guided by the National Social Protection Policy Framework which is in line with the Constitution of Zimbabwe Section 30, which states that the State must take all practical measures within the limits of the resources available to it to provide social security and social care to those who are in need, including the elderly. According to the National Social Protection Policy Framework, social transfers including cash transfers are a key component of the policy measures and access to social assistance is a basic human right enshrined in the international human rights instruments. The elderly persons and the orphans are also included.

Above all, the Harmonised Social Cash Transfers and the monthly maintenance allowances programmes are also governed by the NDS1 which focuses on the quality and affordable social protection for all and the desired outcome is improved access to inclusive social protection. NDS1 targets to reduce the number of people below the food poverty line which is one of the eligibility criteria of the Harmonised Social Cash Transfers. Households comprising of the elderly and children are labour constrained and this renders such households to be food poor and fall below the food poverty line. Therefore, such households qualify to benefit from cash transfers and other social protection programmes.

Questions with Notice were interrupted by THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER (HON. M. NCUBE) in terms of Standing Order No. 68.

          HON. TOGAREPI: I move that the time for Question with Notice be extended by a further 15 minutes.

          HON. NYABANI: I second.

          Motion put and agreed to.

          HON. DINHA:  The Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare gives special attention to the elderly and children as it embraces the mantra, “living no place and no one behind”.

          The Harmonised Social Cash Transfers programme has a thrust on child protection, cushioning orphans and other vulnerable children, bringing out a child sensitive social protection. This programme cushions households headed by the elderly, orphans and other vulnerable children. This is aimed at strengthening the household economy for households with orphans and other vulnerable children under the custody of the elderly.

          The households headed by the elderly might have children in most cases orphans. These meet the eligibility criteria of the Harmonised Social Cash Transfers programme. The value of transfers per month are as follows:

  •     US$20 – 1 household member
  •     US$30 – 2 household members
  •     US$50 – 3 household members
  •     US$65 – 4 household members

          The capping is at four members informed by the National Census that has it that an average household in Zimbabwe is at 4.1 members. The cash transfers are gazetted in USD, but are paid in local currency at the prevailing interbank rate.

          HON. GUMEDE: My supplementary question is based on the fact that there are cash transfers still available for these beneficiaries. Secondly, I wanted to highlight that as much as we appreciate the efforts by Government, can these current benefits not be reviewed upwards in line with the economic situation in the country?

          HON. M. DINHA: Thank you Hon. Gumede for the supplementary question.  For a long time, we have not been giving hand-outs of the funds but the policy is there as you have asked us to explain to the House the Government policy on social security grants or payments to the vulnerable people, but we are resuming the payments in the next months. Also, the other problem that we are having as a Ministry is, we had a manual and most of the things in the manual were outdated. So, we are also in the process of reviewing the manual so that we can start again the programme of cash transfers.

          As for raising the value of the transfers from $20, $30 or $50 upwards, I do not think we will be able to raise those amounts given our budget, maybe next time we can review the amounts but right now when we start, those will be the amounts that we will be giving to the households. I thank you.

MITIGATION OF DROUGHT INDUCED STARVATION IN

CHIPINGE SOUTH CONSTITUENCY

  1. HON. C. HLATWAYO asked the Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare to inform the House the measure the Ministry has put in place to mitigate challenges of imminent starvation in the Chipinge South Constituency in anticipation of food shortages owing to drought.

          THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF PUBLIC SERVICE, LABOUR

AND SOCIAL WELFARE (HON. DINHA): The year 2022/23 saw a bumper harvest in Zimbabwe of 2,7 million tonnes of cereals. However, in 2023 ZIMVAC report, there were pockets in the country which experienced food insecurity including Chipinge where it was projected that there is 30% food insecurity between January and March, 2024. However, going forward, April to June 2024, there will still be need for food assistance. My Ministry acknowledges the effects of the El Nino, not only in Chipinge, but across the country. Currently, my Ministry is responding to the projections made in 2023. However, going forward, we have budgeted for the drought mitigation going up to June 2024.

          <HON. C. HLATYWAYO: Because of the heat, they did not get bumper harvest and are always experiencing hunger, unlike others. Despite the El Nino being experienced this year, they have always experienced drought. A lot of people do not have farms, they were repossessed to pave way for the ethanol project. So, that is why we are asking what measures have been taken to assist people in that situation as I have just explained.

          *HON. DINHA: Hon. Speaker, when I was responding, I spoke about distress calls. When we find there is drought and even though they are not being issued food, we will issue the food ourselves. I would like to say to Hon. Hlatwayo that if they do not come to the Ministry and tell us that Chipinge South is suffering from hunger, we will not know about it. We want you to write us a letter telling us that in Chipinge South, we are experiencing a drought and we are not having a bumper harvest. In those areas or constituencies, we give distress calls in those regions. Right now, the maize is being given from January to March but because there is drought, we will continue giving maize till June because we are noticing that it is not only Chipinge South that is suffering from drought but most constituencies. We can also say the whole country. Thank you.

          THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: I hope Hon. Hlatwayo you have heard what the Minister said. She has opened doors for you. You can go anytime and tell her your problems.

PRACTICALITY AND EFFECTIVENESS OF THE INCLUSIVE EDUCATION AND THE STUDENT-TEACHER RATIO

  1. HON. MATARA asked the Minister of Primary and Secondary Education to explain to the House the following:

     a) Measures taken by the Ministry to ensure the practicality and effectiveness of the inclusive education; and

     b) Plans to address the student-teacher ratio in classrooms.

          THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF PRIMARY AND SECONDARY EDUCATION (HON. GATA):  The Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education has implemented several measures to provide inclusive education.  Teachers have been trained at Zimbabwe Sign Language (ZMSL), which is now being offered as a subject in schools since January 9, 2024.  This intervention has greatly benefited learners who are hard of hearing.  The Ministry has also developed a draft Inclusive Education Policy which is currently in the final approval stages.  Additionally, an Inclusive Education handbook for Primary and Secondary Schools has been created with physical copies distributed to schools without internet access and digital copies available for download from the Ministry’s online platforms such as e-learning, dzidzo paden, WhatsApp and so on.

        Furthermore, the Ministry has issued implementation circulars with guidelines on mainstreaming gender, disability, Orphans and Vulnerable Children (OVCs) and other aspects of inclusive access and participation in primary and secondary education.  Satellite schools have been established to reduce the long travel distances for pupils.  The Ministry has partnered with stakeholders to upgrade these satellite schools, providing annual grants for school infrastructure improvement and the purchase of teaching and learning materials with the aim of transforming them into fully-fledged registered schools.

      b) The recruitment of teachers is determined by the Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare through the fiscal space of the Public Service Commission. The Ministry continues to advocate for increased teacher recruitment from other Government entities to reduce the teacher-pupil ratio.

           HON. MATARA: I would like to applaud the Minister for such an initiative, but my concern is on the recruitment of teachers who specialised in special needs education.  Do you have any measures to increase the number of teachers who specialise in special needs education in the schools in order to increase the pass rate?

           HON. GATA: As I have indicated in the first part of the answer, recruitment of teachers is done through the Ministry of Public Service.  We do recommend them.  However, we do recommend to them the kind of teachers that we want. 

           Yes, we are working on that and we are looking at that using the holistic Government approach.

SHORTAGE OF TEACHERS IN SCHOOLS AND CRITERIA FOR DEPLOYMENT

  1. HON. KARENYI asked Minister of Primary and Secondary Education to inform the House the following:

     a) Why there are reports of shortages of teachers in schools considering that there are many unemployed trained teachers in the country; and

     b) What criteria is used when deploying teachers considering that those who have been on waiting lists for a long time have not been employed whilst those who recently graduated have been engaged.

          THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF PRIMARY AND SECONDARY EDUCATION (HON. GATA):  a) The number of teachers recruited is determined by the Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare through the fiscal space of the Public Service Commission.  The Ministry continues to advocate for increased teacher recruitment from other Government entities to address the shortage of teachers.  You might have found out that recently, we employed about 2000 teachers.

     b) The deployment of teachers follows a first come first serve basis except for STEM subjects such as Maths, Physics, Chemistry and Biology where there is still a shortage of teachers. The Ministry urges teacher training colleges to enrol more students in STEM subjects.

         HON. KARENYI: My follow up question to the Minister is – what is the Government policy especially when they recruit teachers; a teacher is trained in Manicaland Province and when it comes to deployment, she or he may be deployed to Mashonaland Central?  Is there any other criteria which can also manage them so that they are deployed in their region?

         HON. GATA:  As a Ministry, we are looking at it because we discovered that having teachers going closer to home, cuts costs.  Secondly, the mother language – muNdawu akaenda kumandau ofundisa vana ve ECD, vanoyayeya.

INVOLVEMENT OF PARENTS IN THE ADMINISTRATION

AND DEVELOPMENT OF SCHOOLS

  1. HON. M NKOMO asked the Minister of Primary and Secondary Education to provide an update on the following:

         a. What is the Government’s policy regarding the involvement of parents in the administration and development of Government and non-government schools?

         b.  What is the role of school administration in matters relating to the suspension of School Development Committees (SDCs), considering recent incidents at Francis of Assisi High School in Chivhu and Fatima High School in Lupane where the respective SDCs were removed before the end of their tenures?

          THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF PRIMARY AND SECONDARY EDUCATION (HON. GATA):  The Education Act mandates all schools to involve the Parents Assembly in the administration and development of schools.   I can give you Section 36 of the Education Act, Chapter 25:04 as amended, provides that schools Parents Assembly and School Development Committees:

  1. Parents or Guidance with children at any school shall constitute a School Parents Assembly.
  2. The responsible authority of any registered school shall cause the school Parent Assembly to establish a School Development Committee.
  3. Section 13 (b), the composition, functions, duties, procedures and powers of the School Development Committee shall be as contained in the Constitution of the School Parents Assembly.

Provided that where the School Parents Assembly has not made a constitution satisfactory to the Minister, the composition, functions, duties, procedures and powers of the School Development Committee, shall be as prescribed. Then on question (b), SDCs are guided by the constitution that outlines issues such as the tenure of office.  However, the Ministry can confirm that none of the SDCs mentioned by the Hon. Member were removed as alleged.  I so submit.

 

WRITTEN ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS WITH NOTICE

SUSPENSION OF STUDENTS FOR NON-PAYMENT OF FEES

42   HON. GUMEDE asked the Minister of Primary and Secondary Education to explain the measures the Ministry is taking regarding schools that turn away students for non-payment of fees or suspend them from class, which violates the Government policy that no student should be sent away.

THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF PRIMARY AND SECONDARY EDUCATION (HON. GATA):  Any school head found guilty of sending away pupils for non-payment of fees will be held accountable according to the Public Service Regulations.

MITIGATION OF CHALLENGES POSED BY EXTRA

LESSONS

  1. HON. GUMEDE asked the Minister of Primary and Secondary Education to explain the Ministry’s plans to address the challenges posed by extra lessons, where teachers give more attention to students who can afford them.

THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF PRIMARY AND SECONDARY EDUCATION (HON. GATA):  Our laws do not recognise this arrangement and anyone involved in providing extra lessons while also receiving a salary from the Government is violating the laws of the land.  The Ministry will continue to enforce regulations and ensure compliance.

CONSTRUCTION OF MAHATSHULA SECONDARY SCHOOL

  1. HON. GUMEDE asked the Minister of Primary and Secondary Education to inform the House when construction will begin for Mahatshula Secondary School.

THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF PRIMARY AND SECONDARY EDUCATION (HON. GATA):  The building materials for Mahatshula Secondary School are now available and construction will commence once the Ministry has finalised its arrangement with contractors.

On the motion of HON. TOGAREPI seconded by HON. N. NDLOVU, the House adjourned at Six o’clock p.m.

 

 

 

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