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NATIONAL ASSEMBLY HANSARD 7 JUNE 2023 VOL 49 NO 46
PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE
Wednesday, 7th June, 2023
The National Assembly met at a Quarter-past Two O’clock p.m.
(THE HON. SPEAKER in the Chair)
RATIFICATION OF THE BI-LATERAL AIR SERVICES AGREEMENT WITH OTHER STATE PARTIES
THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI) on behalf of THE MINISTER OF TRANSPORT AND INFRASTRUCTURAL DEVELOPMENT (HON. MHONA): Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir, I move the motion in my name that:
WHEREAS section 327 (2) (a)……
Hon. Biti having entered the House wearing a cap.
*THE HON. SPEAKER: Hon. Biti, I feel embarrassed to see you, a seasoned Member of Parliament, you cannot come to the House wearing a cap. You should respect yourself. Thank you.
*HON. ZWIZWAI: You have the same hairstyle Mr. Speaker.
*THE HON. SPEAKER: Hon. Zwizwai, withdraw that statement.
HON. ZWIZWAI: I withdraw.
THE HON. SPEAKER: Yes, you cannot say we have the same hairstyle, misoro yacho yakasiyana – [Laughter.]
THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI) on behalf of THE MINISTER OF TRANSPORT AND INFRASTRUCTURAL DEVELOPMENT (HON. MHONA): WHEREAS section 327 (2) (a) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe provides that any convention, treaty or agreement acceded to, concluded or executed by or under the authority of the President with one or more foreign states or governments or international organisations shall be subject to approval by Parliament;
WHEREAS the Republic of Zimbabwe, through the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructural Development concluded Bi-Lateral Air Services Agreements with Qatar: Saudi Arabia; South Africa; Mozambique; Jordan; Turkey; Sri Lanka; Singapore; Gambia; Rwanda; Seychelles; Ethiopia; and Iran;
WHEREAS the entry into force of these agreements is subject to the respective State Parties notifying each other through diplomatic channels that their respective internal legal requirements for entry into force of the agreement have been fulfilled;
AND WHEREAS the Republic of Zimbabwe is desirous of ratifying the said Agreements:
NOW, THEREFORE, in terms of section 327 (2) (a) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe, this House resolves that the afore-said Bi-Lateral Air Services Agreements are hereby approved for ratification. I so move Mr. Speaker.
HON. NDUNA: Good afternoon Mr. Speaker Sir. I just want to applaud the Hon. Minister for engaging in that bi-lateral Air Service Agreement. I want to say what it does in particular with Qatar and other regional players. It increases our export markets and its foothold in those markets because of that availability and engagement of air services. In particular with Qatar, it belongs to an alliance of more than 1500 airlines and aircrafts. It is my hope and view that to engage with such airlines is definitely going to increase our foothold in those destinations. I once again want to applaud the Hon. Minister for having such an agreement and engagement and also taking into account the Constitution which is sui generis in terms of adherence to the ethos and values of putting ink onto paper in such agreements. I thank you.
THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): I move that this Air Service Agreement be ratified.
Motion put and agreed to.
BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): I move that Orders of the Day, Numbers 2 and 3 be stood over until Order of the Day, Number 4 has been disposed of.
Motion put and agreed to.
ELECTORAL AMENDMENT BILL [H. B. 11A, 2022]
Fourth Order read: Consideration Stage: Electoral Amendment Bill [H.B. 11A, 2022].
Amendments to Clauses 2, 3 now 5 and 4 now 6, new Clause 8 now 3, Clause 8 now 11, new Clause 18 now 10, new Clause 35 now 14 put and agreed to.
Bill, as amended, adopted.
Third Reading: With leave, forthwith.
ELECTORAL AMENDMENT BILL [H. B. 11A, 2022]
THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): I move that the Bill be read the third time.
Motion put and agreed to.
Bill read the third time.
BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): I move that we revert to Order of the Day, Number 2 on the Order Paper.
Motion put and agreed to.
REPORT OF THE JUDICIAL SERVICE COMMISSION FOR THE YEAR 2022
THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): I rise that this House takes note of the Report of the Judicial Service Commission for the year 2022 presented to this House of Parliament in terms of Section 323 (1) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe.
Motion put and agreed to.
REPORT OF THE ZIMBABWE ELECTORAL COMMISSION FOR THE YEAR 2022
THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): I move that this House takes note of the Report of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission for the year 2022, presented to this House of Parliament in terms of section 323 (1) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe
HON. MADZIMURE: I just want to get a few issues relating to the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission report which I think should have come earlier because of the importance that it has. I thought it was going to deal with a number of issues that are also critical in the running of elections. The first one is that ZEC was supposed to have addressed issues that impacts on its budget. The first one is the issue of computerization by ZEC. ZEC should have …
THE HON. SPEAKER: Hon. Member, can you kindly address yourself to the report as presented in the House. The report of the Commission of the year 2022, in other words, what arises from that report. I give you time to quickly go through that report and your notes. Hon. Markham, do you want to debate.
HON. MARKHAM: Mr. Speaker, may you defer the debate. I know you will defer. I thank you.
HON. TOGAREPI: Mr. Speaker, I move that we adjourn debate.
HON. TEKESHE: I second.
Motion put and agreed to.
THE HON. SPEAKER: Hon. Madzimure, you will be the first one to address the issue tomorrow.
BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
HON. TOGAREPI: Mr. Speaker, I move that Order Number 5 to 14 be stood over until Order Numbers 15 and 22 have been disposed of.
HON. TEKESHE: I second
Motion put and agreed to.
REPORT OF THE PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE ON DEFENCE, HOME AFFAIRS AND SECURITY SERVICES ON THE SECURITY OF MINERALS, ILLICIT TRADING AND MINERAL LEAKAGES
HON. BRID. GEN. (RTD.) MAYIHLOME: I move the motion standing in my name that this House takes note of the Report of the Portfolio Committee on Defence, Home Affairs and Security Services on the security of minerals: Illicit trading in minerals and mineral leakages.
HON. NGULUVHE: I second
HON. BRID. GEN. (RTD.) MAYIHLOME: Mr. Speaker Sir,
Zimbabwe is endowed with over forty different types of minerals and the mining sector has become the anchor of the economy. According to the National Development Strategy One (2021 to 2025), the mining sector accounts for sixty percent of the country’s export revenues. However, the mining industry has been experiencing mineral leakages thereby negatively affecting the sector’s potential contribution to the socio-economic transformation of the country. In 2021, there was an attempt to smuggle gold through the Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport (RGM). In the same year, a Zimbabwean gold smuggler was apprehended at O.R Tambo International Airport in South Africa. Such acts of mischief potentially create disquiet and discontentment amongst the citizens of this country. Indeed, illicit trading in the extractive industry, is crippling the country’s economy, creating anarchy in communities and has the potential of bringing untold suffering to ordinary citizens and may threaten national security. It is against this background that the Committee undertook an inquiry into the security of minerals in order to establish the possible causes of mineral leakages in the country and recommend ways of curbing them.
2.0 Objectives of the Fact-Finding Visits
- assess the current state of security infrastructure and equipment as well as security systems at ports of entry and established mining companies;
- identify challenges faced by law enforcement agencies and players in the mining industry in curbing leakages;
- establish causes of mineral leakages and recommend possible ways of mitigating them.
In order to get information, the Committee did the following:
- a) Oral Evidence
- Received oral evidence from the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP)- Flora and Fauna Unit
on the role of the police in securing minerals and the challenges they face in curbing leakages;
ii Received oral evidence on security measures put in place to curb mineral leakages from the following:
- Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (ZIMRA)
- Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ)
- Fidelity Gold Refiners (FGR)
- Minerals Marketing Corporation of Zimbabwe (MMCZ)
- Civil Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe (CAAZ);
- Airports Authority of Zimbabwe (AAZ);
- b) Capacity Building
In 2021 the Committee held a capacity building program on Mineral leakages and Illicit Financial Flows in the extractive sector organized by Zimbabwe Environmental Law Association (ZELA). ii In 2022 the Committee attended another capacity building program on mineral leakages organized by the Southern Africa Parliamentary Support Trust (SAPST)
- c) Fact Finding Visits (3-11 July 2022)
The Committee visited the following mines as well as ports of entry;
- Mimosa Platinum Mine,
- Renco Gold Mine
- Anjin Investments in the diamond sector;
- Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Company (ZCDC)
- Beitbridge Border Post,
- Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport(RGM)
- d) Public Hearings (7-8 July 2022) i
i Conducted public hearing sessions with mining communities in Chiadzwa.
Marange area where diamond mining takes place;
ii Second public hearing session was held at Redwing Mine Hall in Penhalonga were gold mining takes place;
iii The third public hearing session, conducted at Odzi country club, was attended by small scale gold miners.
3.0 Committee Findings
3.1 Mineral Leakages
There was an acknowledgement by most of the stakeholders that interacted with the Committee that there are leakages of minerals, both precious and base minerals. The quantum could not be ascertained but estimates indicate that this runs into millions of American dollars. The leakages were prevalent across all minerals, with the gold sector at the top, because there are many players involved that include artisanal and small-scale miners, millers, gold buyers and large-scale producers. At the same time, gold can easily be extracted from the ground using rudimentary methods.
3.2 Gold Leakages
The Government of Zimbabwe set a target of USD4 billion worth of revenue to be generated by the gold sector by 2023. Whilst the country remains focused on achieving its goal, a lot of gold is allegedly being smuggled out of the country due to a number of factors which include but not limited to the following:
3.2.1 Delays in Payment to Gold Producers
The Committee was informed by small-scale producers that Fidelity Gold Refiners, the sole buyer of gold, takes more than one week to pay producers after surrendering of gold. This is not amenable to the economic well-being of the small-scale producers, because they require their money in the shortest possible period. As a result, the small-scale producers were selling their gold to unregistered buyers who offer cash upon delivery of the gold. Gold smugglers prefer to sell gold in external markets where they are guaranteed cash payments and not bank transfers. Therefore, buyers would then smuggle the gold out of the country using undesignated exit points and thus robbing the country of thousands of dollars.
3.2.2 Porous Land Borders
When the Committee visited Beitbridge Border post, it was informed by ZIMRA officials that there was a stretch of 230 kilometres of the borderline encompassing Zimbabwe, Mozambique and South Africa, which was poorly manned by law enforcement agencies in Zimbabwe. Along that borderline there were over fifteen well-known unregistered exit and entry points between the three countries. Smuggling was rife at these points and was a source of gold leakages among other commodities. The law enforcement agencies, which include the ZRP and Zimbabwe National Army (ZNA), were unable to control these illegal crossing points because they do not have vehicles and the roads are impassible. In addition, there was no network coverage in these border lying areas, which made it difficult for law enforcement authorities to coordinate their efforts effectively along the border. The security forces requested for vehicles, tents, drones, testing and communication devices and the establishment of a reaction team to arrest would-be smugglers.
3.2.3 Inadequate Equipment and Personnel at the Ports of Entry and Exit
At the official ports of entry, the Committee was informed by border officials that they did not have modern scanners to detect gold, diamonds and other minerals that may be smuggled out of the country. Officials at ports of entry have limited knowledge of the characteristics of minerals such as gold and diamonds. ZIMRA outlined that it was in the process of recruiting a metallurgist and a geologist, so that they could be stationed at the land borders to assist in the identification and verification of minerals being exported or those confiscated for attempted smuggling.
At RGM International Airport, two attempts were made to smuggle gold out of the country. In the first case, the gold was intercepted before leaving the country and in the second case the gold was recovered at O. R. Tambo International Airport in South Africa. The major cause of the leakage was due to collusion by airport officials. Following the two incidents, the Committee was informed that security measures had been tightened to reduce attempts of smuggling. These included the purchase of modern scanners and instituting stringent access measures by airport officials to various parts of the airport. In the absence of insider threat (collusion), the security system at the airport was robust.
3.2.4 Illegal Milling and Mining Operations
The Committee noted with concern that another source of gold leakages was at mining companies that have ownership wrangles. A case in point was Redwing Mine in Penhalonga which experienced an influx of illegal miners following a prolonged ownership wrangle. The Committee had an opportunity to meet former workers, management of Redwing Mine and Better Brands. The former workers highlighted that a lot of gold leakages were happening through artisanal mining at the tributary granted to Better Brands. The Committee was told by the workers that there were over eight hundred pits and four hundred hammer mills operating in Penhalonga. In addition, there were many gold buyers, both registered and unregistered, operating in the area. Furthermore, there were over thirteen illegal crossing points into Mozambique and it was believed that those routes were being used to smuggle gold out of the country.
The Committee was informed by the workers that, the Ministry of Mines and Mining Development, ZRP and Environment Management Agency (EMA) were struggling to handle the illegal mining, milling and trading activities happening in the Penhalonga area. The local police station has no vehicle for patrols and effective enforcement of the law. Fidelity Gold Refiners were not stationed at the mining site to facilitate the buying of gold. There were high chances of under declaration of gold produced and finally sold through formal channels. Better Brands told the Committee that its operations were above board and had declared 46,67kg to Fidelity Gold Refiners for the eight months it had been in operation since July 2021. They asserted that illegal hammer mills that had mushroomed near its mining tribute posed serious operational challenges and were a source of massive gold leakages.
Besides the loss of revenue through smuggling of gold from Penhalonga, the Committee learnt that there were environmental challenges which have resulted in the loss of both people and livestock. It was reported by some aggrieved community members that rivers and streams in the vicinity had been contaminated by cyanide which is a very hazardous mining chemical.
3.2.5 Formal Gold Mining Operations
The Committee visited Renco Gold Mine which is under RioZim and was informed that the company has always been able to account for all its gold, from the extraction of the ore up to elution point, where gold was extracted. In terms securing the precious mineral, the Committee noted that the company had adequate security systems in place which included a perimeter fence, Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) and well equipped security guards. It also emerged that gold production at the mine was on the decline due to a number of factors which included poor ore grade and power outages among others. However, the security management at the mine appealed to the Committee to assist the company to acquire authorisation to use drones to augment existing security systems. Nevertheless, the Committee queried the absence of State security or government officials at the mining site to verify whether production statistics on site were not tempered with. Hon. Zwizwai having removed Hon. Chinotimba’s tie saying that it was yellow in colour.[HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections] –
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER (HON. MUTOMBA): Is that yellow? – [HON. ZWIZWAI: It is yellow.] – Hon Zwizwai, can you hand over that tie to Hon. Chinotimba. Hon Zwizwai!
Hon. Zwizwai hands over the tie to Hon. Chinotimba.
HON. CHINOTIMBA: I do not want it. Waisa mushonga. Uri muroyi iwe. Speaker, how can you leave such a person here in Parliament. Haagone kubvisa hembe yangu yandakapfeka momuregera arimuno. Why?
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Hon. Zwizwai, I do not expect you to behave the way you are doing. You are a veteran in this House.
HON. CHINOTIMBA: This is just like beating me – [HON. ZWIZWAI: Gara pasi iwe wakatuka Mnangagwa.] – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] - otogara mu Parliament ndichibviswa hembe so. Either he goes out or I go out.
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Hon. Zwizwai, may you apologise to Hon. Chinotimba.
HON. ZWIZWAI: I apologise to Hon. Chinotimba for….
HON. CHINOTIMBA: Aaah no…
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: There is no need for you to give a qualification. Hon. Zwizwai, Hon. Zwizwai! You are not respecting the Chair.
HON. ZWIZWAI: I did apologise.
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: May you repeat with no qualification.
HON. ZWIZWAI: I am sorry Mr. Speaker. I apologise to you Hon. Chinotimba – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.]- [HON. CHINOTIMBA: Handei panze Zwizwai.] – [AN HON. MEMBER: Vanonorovana ava]-
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Vanonopedzerana ikoko. Hon. Chinotimba, it is done. May I have order in the House please.
HON. BRID. GEN. (RTD.) MAYIHLOME: The Committee could not rule out the possibility of under declaration of gold because there were no government officials at any of the privately owned gold mines in the country to verify or monitor production statistics at the source. It was observed that the Ministry of Mines and Mining Development receives and accepts production statistics sent by gold mining companies in good faith.
3.3 Diamond Leakages
The Committee toured ZCDC and Anjin Investments in Marange and interacted with management and employees, particularly those in the security sector. The Committee noted that the companies had robust security systems at their diamond concessions. Security mechanisms put in place included; CCTVs, drones, perimeter fence and armed security guards with a canine unit. It was also established that the security standards were in line with the Kimberly Process Certification Scheme (KPCS) requirements so that no diamonds could be smuggled from Zimbabwe.
However, the presence of artisanal diamond miners in the Marange diamond concessions pointed to the prevalence of incidents of smuggling happening outside the diamond concession owned by the two companies. Representatives of Anjin Investments, ZCDC and ZRP informed the Committee that the major perpetrators of smuggling of diamonds were the mining communities who provided shelter to the illegal miners. Spokespersons for the local community casually admitted that they offered shelter to illegal miners to cushion themselves against the unbearable economic hardships. Some even openly expressed their disgruntlement over their debilitating socioeconomic status and pledged to continue harbouring illicit diamond mining and trading activities until the State and all responsible authorities took action to improve their wellbeing through community development and related empowerment programmes. It was noted by the Committee that all diamonds recovered by unlicensed miners and traders ultimately evaded the formal diamond value chain, possibly finding their way into Mozambique en-route to Europe and the Arab world. The Community further alleged that there were cases of connivance between private mine guards and either licenced miners or underpaid mine employees leading to diamond leakages. Furthermore, the Committee observed that full exploration of the Marange area had not been done, as a result, the area remained vulnerable to incidents of smuggling of diamonds. MMCZ highlighted that there was a legislative gap to integrate artisanal diamond miners so that all diamonds could be channelled through the formal system.
In addition to the above loopholes, Civil Society Organisations in the Marange Diamond Community cited the following as contributing to diamond leakages:
- Failure by mining companies to relocate villagers living in diamond concessions;
- Failure to fence off all the mined areas to inhibit access by livestock and unlicenced miners;
- Security agents were involved in organizing syndicates with unlicenced miners and traders especially in the green zones (Green Zones are low risk areas that occupied communities and are accessible to all and sundry);
- Acts of collusion between law enforcement agencies and illegal diamond miners and buyers at roadblocks;
- Non-rotation of state security personnel in protected areas and at entry and exit points;
- Delays in operationalising the Community Diamond Concession and the five percent equity granted to the Community by the Zimbabwe Diamond Policy. This has created dissatisfaction amongst villagers, hence were not willing to assist in curbing diamond leakages.
- Failure to implement recommendations emanating from several past visits conducted in Marange by Parliamentary Portfolio Committees, such as the Chindori-Chininga report of 2013.
3.4 Platinum Leakages
The Committee visited Mimosa Mine which is one of the major platinum producers in the country. Platinum is one of the major sources of foreign currency for the country. The platinum sector is expected to generate USD3 billion worth of revenues by 2023 and it is anticipated that the industry will surpass that target. Platinum companies in Zimbabwe export platinum concentrate to South Africa because the country does not have a Precious Metal Refinery. There are ten minerals that are extracted from the concentrate that include; platinum, palladium, rhodium, gold and silver among others. The Committee explored the company’s laboratory where assaying of the concentrate was done before it was exported out of the country. It was observed that all the vehicles used to export the concentrate were on satellite tracking and the company had not experienced any attempts of theft. However, the Committee was concerned about the knowledge gap between company and government officials on the actual quantum and value of minerals in the concentrate before it was exported out of the country. It was noted that the accounting system, called Meta Accounting, used by the companies is very complex and Government does not always have skilled personnel and laboratories to verify the assays done by platinum companies in the country.
3.5 Leakages of Base Minerals
The Committee was informed by the General Manager of MMCZ, Mr. T. Muzenda that a truck with a consignment of 130 tons of chrome was impounded and the suspects attempted to smuggle the mineral using fake export documents purportedly issued by MMCZ. Chrome is one of the major minerals on global demand and is being mined in various parts of the country by both large scale and small-scale producers. MMCZ indicated that leakage of base minerals was being exacerbated by the fact that the National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ) was not fully operational. Road transportation has a higher risk of smuggling of base minerals, Companies can under declare the weight of some of their cargo because the country does not have a lot of weighbridges. Furthermore, it was easy for chrome producers to smuggle the mineral out of the country through unofficial routes.
3.6 Leakages of Semi-Precious Stones
MMCZ informed the Committee that there was high prevalence of smuggling of semi-precious stones in the country due to the fact that the producers are failing to secure markets close to their operations. These semi-precious stones are being smuggled to countries such as Zambia. At the same time there was no legislation to regulate the production of semi-precious stones in the country.
3.7 Aerodromes Scattered in the Country
The Committee was informed by the Airports Authority of Zimbabwe that Government’s presence at aerodromes is restricted to eight commercial airports. At some private aerodromes located in different parts of the country, there is minimal direct involvement. This was an area of concern for the Committee as it can be a source of mineral leakages.
3.8 Law Enforcement Agencies
It was highlighted that law enforcement agencies play a critical role in securing minerals. It is their duty to enforce the law without fear or favour. Their presence at ports of entry, along the border line, in and around mining communities and along major roads serves as a deterrent against illegal traders of precious stones such as gold and diamonds. In as much as their role is appreciated, it was reported by mining communities that some deployed law enforcers collude with illegal gold and diamond miners and traders at mining sites, at designated and undesignated entry and exit points. People in Chiadzwa openly stated that state security had the habit of allowing illegal diamond miners and buyers passage into diamonds zones in exchange for kickbacks. At some gold sites, it was reported that members of the State security had their own pits mined on their behalf by illegal miners and the gold produced would never find its way to Fidelity Printers and Refiners.
Inadequate tools of trade, lack of all-terrain patrol vehicles, poor remuneration and public intolerance of state security among others have been cited as some of the most common challenges faced by law enforcement agencies during the course of their duty. These challenges hamper effectiveness in the fight against smuggling of minerals.
4.0 Committee Observations
- It is difficult to penetrate the security systems at Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport in the absence of insider threats, that is, without the planned involvement of rogue elements among the employees;
- There is suspicion of massive under declaration of gold produce at elution plants. The absence of Fidelity Gold Refiners and State security agencies such as the Flora and Fauna Unit of the Zimbabwe Republic Police, compromises the security of minerals at processing or cyanidation points;
- Fidelity Gold Refiners lacks visibility and is not always adequately capacitated financially and therefore has limited competitive advantage over the other players in the gold buying field in terms of the price they offer and reliability on payment. Its absence in places occupied by artisanal miners provides room for illegal dealers to buy gold which is then smuggled out of the country;
- The country’s porous borderline remains a major cause for concern. It provides easy pathways for mineral leakages, particularly gold and diamonds, which can easily be smuggled out through undesignated exit points.
- Unregistered milling plants in areas crowded by artisanal miners are a source of gold leakages. Urgent action by government is required to register all the milling plants;
- The absence of a platinum refinery plant in the country remains a major cause for concern and it has the potential of creating leakages considering that processing of platinum (and the other ten minerals) is done in Rustenburg in South Africa in the absence of security personnel from Zimbabwe. There is a possibility of understating of the actual statistics and value of minerals after processing in foreign environments;
- Massive exploitation of minerals, coupled with lack of substantial community development and economic empowerment programmes for local mining communities, is a major source of disgruntlement which quite often degenerates into anarchy;
- There is limited or no sense of ownership of minerals by local mining communities due to a sheer feeling of insecurity, hopelessness and lack of meaningful, robust and sustainable corporate social responsibility projects that guarantee continuity after the depletion of the minerals. In the process, the communities would display an ‘I don’t care’ attitude on curbing mineral leakages because they feel that these minerals are not benefiting them directly;
- Mineral leakages were being exacerbated by a plethora of factors, chief among them being the absence of a stringent legal framework in the mining industry, delay in regularising and integrating artisanal diamond and gold miners into the mainstream economy, weak enforcement mechanisms and alleged laxity by some members of law enforcement agencies;
- The country has the capacity to curb mineral leakages, because the chief perpetrators are citizens, starting with those at grassroots level, up to those holding positions of influence in the country;
- It’s beneficial for Government to move with speed to plug mineral leakages from smuggling through enhancing traceability mechanisms in line with international best practice such as the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Guidelines on Due Diligence for Responsible Mineral Supply Chains;
- Illegal mining and illicit trade in minerals are a cause for concern which have the potential of being a security threat as has happened in West Africa and in neighbouring Mozambique;
- There is a knowledge gap in the public domain on the significance of securing minerals and cultivation of a true sense of ownership of mineral resources as means of curbing leakages;
- There is an outcry from mining communities, especially in diamond mining areas, about state security engaging in acts of corruption and thereby fuelling illegal mining and trading of precious minerals.
5.0 Committee Recommendations
- By 31 December 2022, the Ministry of Mines and Mining Development:
- Should review and amend the diamond policy and legislation on mining and trading of gold in order to integrate artisanal diamond and gold miners in the mainstream mining industry;
- together with Minerals Marketing Corporation of Zimbabwe and Fidelity Gold Refiners, should deploy officials at regular intervals to conduct inspections and verifications of the operations of big mining companies of precious minerals to ensure that under declaration of minerals at elution plants is curtailed;
- come up with a policy to regulate semi-precious stones produced in the country, in order to curb leakages in that sector;
- Beginning 1 January 2023, Fidelity Printers and Refiners should reduce its time lag in the payment of gold deliveries made by small-scale miners so that more gold finds its way into the formal system. Payment on delivery should be prioritised and a bonus or premiums should be paid for higher quantities so as to encourage trading of gold through formal channels;
- By 31 October 2023, Minerals Marketing Corporation of Zimbabwe and Fidelity Gold Refiners should assist in providing technical skills training law enforcement agencies and Zimbabwe Revenue Authority personnel at ports of entry on mineral identification and detection in order to enhance their capabilities of identifying minerals on the spot;
- By 31 October 2023, all unlicensed hammer mills that are scattered around the country must be registered by the Ministry of Mines and Mining Development and steep fines must be imposed on any illegal operations of unlicensed hammer mills;
- By 30 June 2023, the Ministry of Mines and Mining Development should review the mining model at Redwing Mine in order to adopt a sustainable mining model that integrates former mine workers and the surrounding community so that leakages are minimised;
- In the 2023 budget, the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development should allocate adequate financial resources which must be released on time to the security sector, the ZRP in particular, for the purchase of surveillance equipment, detection devices, all-terrain patrol vehicles and motorbikes, heavy duty weighing scales, computers (laptops), communication devices and other accessories required in manning the country’s ports of entry including the long stretch of the country’s borderline;
- By December 2023, Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Companies and Anjin Investments should ensure that families currently residing in designated diamond concessions or Special Grant Areas are properly relocated in well-established resettlement sites that can sustain the affected families;
- By 2027 the Ministry of Mines and Mining Development, in collaboration with platinum mining companies, should construct a platinum refinery plant to allow for processing of platinum locally as a means of enhancing beneficiation as well as curbing leakages.
- The Ministry of Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage and all the other ministries providing security in gold and diamond fields, must ensure that deployment of law enforcement personnel in those sites is strictly on a rotational basis to avoid the same officers overstaying in those areas. This will contribute to curbing alleged collusion and corruption involving state security in gold and diamond fields.
Minerals are a major contributor to the country’s socioeconomic development. All forms of illicit activities in the mining, processing and marketing of minerals risk plunging our country into economic, social and political turmoil. When the economy bleeds, political mischief and social unrest become imminent thereby threatening national security. Indeed, safeguarding minerals is not for law enforcement agencies alone; rather, it is everyone’s responsibility. State institutions, private entities, civil society organisations and the general public have the responsibility to jealously guard the country’s mineral wealth. A whole-of-society approach on plugging mineral leakages is critical now than ever before in order to promote sustainable development, peace and security. Let us all work together to stop mineral leakages.
HON. NGULUVHE: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. I just want to add my voice to the report which was tabled by our Chairperson. I want to bring to the attention of this House that minerals, as alluded to in the report, are dug and you cannot replant them. So, it is very important for the nation to understand that these minerals, as we dig them, must be put to good use for our future generations. It is very important therefore, that we ensure they are safely guarded and properly used.
We discovered that some of the personnel being deployed at the border posts or the airports are not very familiar with the type of minerals they will be looking for. Therefore, I would encourage that those responsible should train these personnel so that they are in a position to identify the type of minerals because they are not familiar with the types of minerals they will be looking for.
The report indicates that our borders are porous and indeed they are. I would encourage the equipping of our security forces along the borders and airports and besides equipping them, I think it is proper that we pay them adequately so they are not involved in inside jobs. They see that there is a lot of money which is being made in these mines but they are not getting anything. Also, for the people to support security, they must benefit. We were at Chiadzwa but those people did not benefit anything yet a lot of diamonds went out of that area. What have we done for that community around Chiadzwa to show that atleast they benefitted something? I also encourage those responsible to make sure that the people are part and parcel of the mining people. We should also encourage employment of the locals in those areas as they also need employment. How can you take a person from BeitBridge to go and work in Chiadzwa whilst the people around Chiadzwa are not employed? That is my appeal to the miners.
The other thing is the issue of semi-precious stones. It was brought to our attention that there is no law which regulates the mining of semi-precious stones. I urge this House to take note of that and we should quickly move in and regulate the mining of semi-precious stones. I think that as a country, we should also insist on those mining, especially the artisanal miners, to rehabilitate places where they dig holes. This is because if you go to some areas, they just dig and leave holes which become a danger to the community and their livestock. A lot of people have lost their livestock because the mined areas are not rehabilitated but they just dig, get their minerals and leave huge holes. I believe we should be strict and once a miner gets a licence, EMA must be involved and ensure that after mining, the land is rehabilitated by the miner. Those holes must be closed especially those who dig using metal detectors, otherwise if we look after our minerals, I do not think that as a country we will be suffering.
Last but not least, let us also ensure that those who are doing mining especially in areas around Penhalonga do not pour cynide in water being used by people. We were told that they are using cynide which ends up in the water that is used by people. That water becomes dangerous to human beings and livestock. Because there is a lot of smuggling, they just rush to put a plant next to the river, wash their minerals using cyanide which becomes poison. Those in Mutare are drinking very dangerous water because the water there is normally red. I thank you Hon. Speaker.
*HON. ZWIZWAI: Thank you Hon Speaker. I just want to add a few words to the report presented by Hon. Gen. Rtd. Mayihlome pertaining to the thievery of our mineral wealth. The late Oliver Mutukudzi sang a song which said ongororai chikonzero chaita musoro uteme. Even the Bible forbids one to see a twig in a brother’s eye without taking note of the log in one ‘s own eye. I was expecting to hear more in the report but it has been omitted. For instance, the current United Nations report has names of people implicated in the theft of diamonds during the DRC war. It is actually very scary. S. Moyo has his name written in that report for going and stealing diamonds. The soldiers were being paid from the tax payers money….
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER (HON. MUTOMBA): Order Hon Zwizwai.
*HON. ZWIZWAI: It is on record.
*THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER : Order, Hon Zwizwai, you are supposed to be contributing to the report. You are out of context.
*HON. ZWIZWAI: No, Mr. Speaker, we are broadening the scope. Even the late President Mugabe spoke about $15 billion dollars proceeds from diamonds which was stolen until there was a coup to remove Robert Mugabe. Hon Nguluvhe used to travel with him.
*THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Hon. Zwizwai, withdraw what you just said. Do not force me to do things that I do not enjoy.
*HON. ZWIZWAI: It is alright, I withdraw.
*HON. TOGAREPI: What is it that you withdrew?
*HON. ZWIZWAI: What he wanted me to withdraw.
Are you the Speaker? I withdrew all that he wanted me to withdraw. Your son killed someone in Masvingo and was given bail and he is out but Job Sikhala just spoke on television but he is being refused bail as we speak..
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Order Hon. Zwizwai.
*HON. ZWIZWAI: I withdraw my words about S. B. Moyo.
HON. TOGAREPI: On a point of order Mr. Speaker.
*HON. ZWIZWAI: As for you Hon. Togarepi, are you the Speaker, what do you want? Your son killed someone in Masvingo and he got bail but Hon. Sikhala is inside jail and they are denying him bail, he is being denied freedom.
*THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Your behaviour today is uncalled for. If you continue like this Hon. Zwizwai, I will throw you out.
*HON. ZWIZWAI: I have removed S. B. Moyo’s name in my debate. The problem in Zimbabwe is that corruption is now being done everywhere. When was the last time you saw the Minister of Mines coming into this House? He never comes to the House. We just hear of him signing mineral deals, nothing more. Queen B, had a concession in Mberengwa to mine emeralds, surprisingly they discovered lithium and asked the army to chase away those who were mining in the surrounding areas.
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Please use one language, use our mother language.
*HON. ZWIZWAI: I stand guided Hon. Speaker. Queen B had a licence to mine emeralds which were being mined by the late Chigumba. We have a lot of stories on social media to say His Excellency’s brother was caught with five trucks full of lithium in Bulawayo. He was asked to park them at a police station but instead, he bribed police. The trucks were redirected to Beitbridge Border Post and they were apprehended again. This is everywhere, if you do not have WhatsApp, it is not my issue.
HON. TOGAREPI: On a point of order Mr. Speaker. I think we know very well that you cannot talk about people who will not be able to answer you in this House. We talk about people who are in a position to answer. This should stop.
*HON. TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Hon. Zwizwai, in this House, we do not want people who use anger when debating.
*HON. ZWIZWAI: I can see that the country is being put to waste by those in authority.
*THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Withdraw that statement, can you approach the Chair – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] -
*HON. ZWIZWAI: It is my wish and prayer that president Chamisa will get into power so that our country will move smoothly.
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Hon. Zwizwai, get out of the House.
Hon. Zwizwai left the House.
HON. HWENDE: On a point of order Mr. Speaker.
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: There is no point of order on this one, may you resume your seat. What is your point of order Hon. Hwende?
*HON. HWENDE: Mr. Speaker Sir, the ruling that you have made to say that we should not talk about people who are not in this House, I do not think your ruling is proper. Members of this House know their rights and privileges and they have come to represent the electorate. Part of their job includes talking about what is happening at the borders. You were not supposed to ask the Hon. Member to leave the House. We want clarity on how we are supposed to debate from now onwards.
*THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: I hear what you are saying but point of order overruled.
*HON. GWANETSA: I rise to add my voice on the report brought to this House by Hon. Mayihlome concerning the illicit flow of our minerals. We were blessed with minerals by the Lord and this can improve the standard of living of the citizens. It is a very important report to our nation. We always say that Zimbabwean economy is agro-based but we now have the issue of climate change. Climate change can cause drought, so for our economy to be anchored on agriculture is problematic. We are endowed with different types of minerals; we are blessed with all that were given to us by the Lord Almighty, minerals that can change our economy and fix the standard of living of the people of the Republic of Zimbabwe. It is a very important report to this country. We always say that the Zimbabwe economy is agro-based but when we did our research, we saw that it cannot remain like that because right now we are talking about climate change. Within that climate change, if we do not receive adequate rain, we suffer from hunger. If we continue to say our economy is anchored in agriculture, we would have left out an important aspect. There is something that is important that is found in the soil. A lot of minerals are embedded in this soil. They give us light as a people of Zimbabwe. We should be able to fix our economy and have sustainable livelihood. We discovered that we are losing a lot of minerals because we do not have a legislative approach. If we work on that as a nation and come up with deterrent laws, this will work out for us.
When we look at neighbouring borders Botswana, South Africa, Zambia and Mozambique – the borders are porous and there is a lot of mineral leakage. As a country, the structures that are supposed to pay for the minerals take a lot of time. Lebanon and Botswana would rather take minerals to these countries where they are paid faster as compared to Zimbabwe. Zimbabwe should pay those who are into mining these minerals on time.
When we are in agriculture, all of us are farmers because that is where we get sustainable livelihoods. Our minerals are second to none in terms of the status of our economy. We kindly ask legislation that will enable our children to learn about mining at primary school level. I was listening to the speaker who said that police and security personnel at borders should be taught about minerals. You cannot teach an old dog new tricks. It should start at primary school with those youngsters and teach them all the fundamentals of mining so that they know what a mineral is. Some of us in here do not know what gold, chrome or diamond looks like.
We are number 2 from DRC in terms of mining but we do not know our minerals. The Bible says I put you in the vineyard but you do not feel it. We were given this country by God – these were the grapes that we were given. We should start at grassroot level and come up with an educational curriculum that includes mining.
Thank you very much. I just wanted to add these few words to what Hon. Rtd. Brig General presented. I thank you.
HON. MADZIMURE: I would like to thank Hon. Rtd. Brig. Gen. Mayihlome for a very good report which demystifies the fact that our economy is anchored on agriculture. If we agree that our minerals contribute 60% in foreign currency, then it means it is the biggest contributor to our economy. What does that mean Mr. Speaker? It means we have to take it seriously and put in place measures to ensure that we get the best out of our minerals. Hon. Mayihlome pointed out the fact that because of that, we must ensure that every effort is made to protect our minerals.
Hon. Rtd. Gen. Gwanetsa also pointed to the fact that the minerals that we have can cushion us very well when it comes to climate change and this is a fact because we already have those minerals underground. What we simply have to do is to extract them. As we extract them, we must remember that they will not be there forever. As a result, we must make sure that we also keep something for the future generations, not only to keep but to also ensure that we build infrastructure that will stay for long, for use by future generations.
If you go to the streets in London, Washington, New York and Amsterdam today, they are still using the infrastructure that was built a long time ago but they concentrated on making sure that whatever structure they put in place, it will last. This is contrary to what we are doing here in Zimbabwe. Even a road that is made today, the Harare- Mutare road for instance, our colleagues are still celebrating but it is already in a state where it needs to be resurfaced right now. We are doing shoddy jobs, giving contractors…
HON. MATANGIRA: My point of order is that the Hon. Member is speaking so well and has talked about streets of London, Amsterdam and Washington. He is leaving out that the infrastructure built in the streets of London, Washington and Amsterdam were built by work plundered from Africa, including Zimbabwe.
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Overruled, please continue.
HON. MADZIMURE: Mr. Speaker, it only takes a wise man to use whatever you have …
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Hon. Madzimure, do not be distracted, please can you continue. I have already controlled that.
HON. MADZIMURE: What I am trying to say is not in response to Hon. Matangira, I am going forward. I am saying a wise man would use whatever resources he or she gets irrespective of how he or she gets it to build a future for his or her children. The same should apply to us here. We have our resources, let us build the future for our children.
Mr. Speaker, we have heard reports and some went through courts; the issue of Henrietta Rushwaya that was mentioned by Hon. Zwizwai in this House is not a secret. It is a fact that she was caught at the R.G. Mugabe Airport with six kilograms of gold trying to smuggle that gold but she is not the only one. We have heard of several people smuggling gold. Even if you are going to ask the security at the airport today, they might even have intercepted another attempt to smuggle gold.
If you look at the amount of gold that we extract per year in Zimbabwe, we are talking of around 40 – 45 tonnes of gold and a gram costing US$40. If you then multiply 42 tonnes by 1 000 times 10 000 times 40, how many billions do we get in a year? Then you go to Treasury and make your calculations, what is the contribution of those minerals to our fiscus or budget? Is there any mention of money coming from gold? There is nothing, zero.
Any serious Member of Parliament who has been in this House purporting to represent his or her own people should have that information on his or her fingertips because we always debate the budget and on the income side, it is very clear where our income comes from. The VAT that we get as our income and the duty, is there anywhere where it talks of duty on gold or VAT on gold, nothing. Who is benefitting from these minerals? Where is that money going? In which bank is that money being kept? There is virtually nowhere. You go to all the accounts at RBZ or the various banks.
I then come to the issue of why we are underdeveloped or failing to develop our own country with all the resources that we have and the concessions that we have given to Chinese and local looters. The most unfortunate thing Mr. Speaker is that those who claim to be patriots are exactly the same saboteurs. Those are the people who are sabotaging Zimbabwe. They have got mines but do you have their accounts where you go and see the money. Do they pay anything? They destroy mountains in Chishawasha building castles and they pay nothing. There is no evidence whatsoever, even the roads that lead to Chishawasha are so dilapidated. They do not even care but they have big cars and no-one bothers to ask them.
Only in 2017, a government that had been legitimately elected was removed because it was claimed there were criminals around the President - [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections] – Mr. Speaker, can you please protect me from Hon. Matangira. He might have succeeded with FAZ but he cannot FAZ us here in Parliament.
What I am talking about is the illicit financial flows in Zimbabwe …
HON. R. R. NYATHI: Hon. Speaker, I just want to put it on record. Hon. Madzimure talked very well but the price of gold per gram as of today is not US$40 but it is ranging from US$59 to $60. I receive those reports. It is actually more but I want it to be on record that it is $59 and the least is about $56. I thank you.
HON. MADZIMURE: I want to thank Hon. Nyathi for giving me the correct figures. Effectively what it means is, I have been underestimating what we lose as Zimbabwe. It is much more than what I thought and I am happy he is from a mining area and is fully aware of what is happening in Shurugwi where we are mining a lot of gold. There is no evidence even in Shurugwi itself that we are mining.
Who is facilitating the smuggling of our gold? It is the system that is facilitating that to happen. I once spoke to one worker at the airport whose responsibility includes scanning of bags as they leave for the plane. You are aware that our hand luggage is scanned when you get in as an individual but our parcels are scanned later when they are being loaded. They discovered that they were gold bars and that luggage was taken to where it was to be examined. What followed was, the guy just made a phone call and immediately some people came in and those guys who had discovered the gold started disappearing one after the other because of the office that had visited them. So, we have that problem where we also undermine the responsibility of the people who are supposed to protect our minerals.
The other issue is, when someone is caught what then happens? I was shocked when Rushwaya was caught, went through the court processes and it does not matter what the verdict was, but it was a fact. You then promote the same person. You are protecting and encouraging the smuggling of our minerals. We also have unrealised social and economic rights for our country’s population. We must benefit from our resources. Our people and those people who are around the mining areas must benefit from our resources.
What we are now doing is to disenfranchise those people by removing them from their agricultural land and allocating it to miners, especially the Chinese. The Chinese are ruthless and work 24 hours making sure they take everything that they can take. You then ask yourselves, how much have we received from those miners of the Chinese origin who are mining in Zimbabwe - nothing. No-one concentrates on making sure that we recover the area that we will have mined. They are just leaving pits.
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Hon. Madzimure, you are left with five minutes.
HON. MADZIMURE: So, the area that we have to address as Parliament is to be open and make sure that we expose those people who are looting our resources. What happens when you are smuggling is you do not get the actual value of the minerals. You get probably a quarter of the value of the minerals. So, we are losing a lot of minerals. Our borders are too porous. How can you then say you have someone at the border preventing smuggling when you do not have the equipment that is required to detect diamonds or gold? What do we have the border for? Even the marvelous border that is now at Beitbridge, minerals are just flowing like water because you do not have equipment to detect. So, what are we doing? Are we failing to purchase that equipment and equip the people working at the border? This is all done deliberately to facilitate as much smuggling as possible. Because of that, it takes away the confidence that the people have in the Government. We now do not have confidence in the Government in protecting our minerals and the consequences will be seen as we get to August 2023. I thank you.
(v) HON. MUDARIKWA: I want to thank Hon. Mayihlome and the Committee on Defence and Home Affairs but I think there was also a need for them to have a joint meeting with the Committee on Mines so that we can move forward as a team. There are issues that have been raised on the report, the issue of patrolling the borders from Victoria Falls, Nyamapanda, Machipanda and Beitbridge; that is impossible. Can you bring all the security to guard that area. It is impossible. What we need to do is create an environment that will encourage our people to sell gold. What we must do as an immediate measure is for Fidelity to pay cash. They must also incorporate rural district councils which have offices all over so that the RDCs can lure gold buyers.
The other shortcoming in the report which is common knowledge in every Zimbabwean’s mind, there is a relationship between licenced gold buyers and car dealers. All the cars that you see in Harare are a product of your gold which is actually smuggled out of Zimbabwe. So the whole idea of giving individuals licences as buyers must fall out. Let us capacitate Rural District Councils to buy gold. However, this whole system where they want to split to say we give you a dollar, we give you RTGs does not happen when they sell gold. Everything is in US dollars. So, that is the other area that is very critical.
Mr. Speaker Sir, we must also amend the Gold Trade Act because it criminalises people for panning. If I see gold in my garden, it is a criminal offence because I am not licenced. Munhumutapa Kingdom, per year, they produced more gold than what we are producing with all this mechanisation. That alone tells you a story that there is something very wrong in the gold buying system of this country. It must be revamped.
Then on the issue of diamonds, we must legalise diamond panning. This whole idea of just waking up and say illegal diamond panners - havasi illegal, vana veZimbabwe vari kusevenza munyika mavo. Ngatitsvagei nzira yekuti tivatengere madiamonds iwayo. I was in Mutare when there was that Chiadzwa rush. Everything was moving, everybody had money that time. But now go to Mutare, there is no money, there are no diamonds. So, where are the diamonds going. So, this whole idea of revenue leakages, institutions that continue to take money out of the country and also institutions that continue to harass and embarrass our villagers in the name of stopping diamond panning is wrong. Those are natural resources given to the people of Zimbabwe by God. I also do not believe in the so called borders. Borders were created by the Berlin Conference and it is an imperialist, colonialist mentality where you continue talking about borders. Why do we not create an enabling environment for somebody with diamonds, to sell to us. Why does somebody have to go to buy and sell his gold if all the conditions are set in Zimbabwe? Let us set the conditions of buying diamonds in Zimbabwe. Let us have a conference, the Committee must organise a conference and then we can explain and make comparisons. What we pay to our gold miners, if you compare to what is paid in South Africa, there is a difference of 20%. We are paying our miners 20% less. So, we create disadvantages, munhu akafunga kuti uri kumuomesera, anotsvaga dzimwe nzira. So, the whole issue of smuggling, we cannot contain it.
The other issue that the report missed out, there is now what is called drones smuggling. They load diamonds, they load gold on drones, they switch it on and it flies across the border. Everybody is fast asleep. So the whole idea of having the capacity to contain this is impossible. We must maintain an environment that is conduicive, an environment that is attractive. Ngazvinakidze kumunhu we Zimbabwe. Ko tirikudii kusmuggler matomati? Nekuti ndikaenda kuMbare ndinopiwa mari yakanaka yematomatisi iwayo. Tinoati mapuno, toisa mari yedu muhomwe, tonotengera mhuri chikafu. Kwete kuti warima wonzi apa hatizikuzviona zvakanaka, imwe mari kana ndavakukubhadhara, ndichazokupa shuga ne sauti. Let us stop all these things zvisingabatsire vanhu vedu. Ngatigarei tichiziva kuti hapana mari inonaka seyekuAmerica. Inonaka saka munhu wese anoida. Ngatipei vanhu vedu mari yekuAmerica.
*In conclusion, I want to thank the Committee for the good job that they did but you need experts like us who are well versed in mining activities so that we assist you in getting to the bottom of these things, so that you get to the truth. Police officers, soldiers, government officials - gold mines that are in Zimbabwe are almost 7500. So, should we deploy 7500 Government officers to be stationed at all mines? The end result is they will resort to what they call mbudzi inodya payakasungirirwa. They will turn themselves into a government wherever they are stationed. So, we need to put our house in order.
Our banks should be able to buy gold, building societies must be able to buy gold. We must decriminalise gold and diamonds panning. I want to thank you very much Mr. Speaker Sir.
HON. MUDARIKWA (SPEAKING)…Thank you very much Mr. Speaker Sir.
HON. NDUNA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. I just want to add my voice on the report by Hon. Mayihlome and I want to thank him for the report. The first thing that I want to talk about is the immigration of our minerals now being termed illicit outflows but it starts Mr. Speaker Sir, with the erstwhile colonisers trying to get through the back door what they failed to get through the front door to have this country. Mr. Speaker Sir, our liberation war heroes fought a protracted war of liberation against the colonialists who were the British. We debate here our Bills Mr. Speaker Sir. I say this because some of these issues move through the realm of the spirit.
Mr. Speaker Sir, we debate our issues here and they should end here. It is not for the House of Commons or the UK Parliament to debate how we debate our Patriotic Bill because we fought for a protracted liberation struggle and annihilated them. If it pleases you Mr. Speaker Sir, there are three legislators in the UK Parliament who stood up to denigrate our laws that we would have passed here. If it pleases you, if you may be the neutral referee and bring in those three legislators and we also bring in our three legislators so that we can beat them to a pulp Mr. Speaker Sir and we get this case closed completely. We won during the war, we win now a boxing match so that they do not talk about the laws that we deal with here in this House.
Mr. Speaker Sir, as I continue, the issue that I saw in Belgium in particular close to Antwerp and also some greater parts of Brussels, was an issue of beneficiation and value addition of our diamonds in particular because we value-add them and we sell them at Antwerp. It is key to value-add our minerals but with archaic, moribund, rudimental and antiquated laws. We prohibit the issue of country ownership of our mineral resources. People are busy thinking of how to circumvent the law because the law does not speak to their needs as it relates to minerals.
Mr. Speaker, as long as we continue to have this medieval piece of legislation of 1951 which is the Mines and Minerals Act, we will not progress. This law was only designed for the people of the other race and large-scale miners and never black majority who were formerly marginalised. We will continue to have illicit outflows, there will not be any beneficiation and value addition. What then happens is Brussels and Belgium buy our mineral in raw form. I want to thank the Second Republic and indeed His. Excellency the President for completely barring the exportation of raw minerals. These will somehow give some semblance and impetus of beneficiation and value addition in particular also bringing up the issue of our local agenda Vision 2030 which can become amalgamated with Africa Agenda 2063 which speaks to the issue of value addition and beneficiation of our mineral resources, robust and resilient infrastructure development only through our minerals. I want to thank His Excellency for banishing – I remember there was 30 million tonnes of raw chrome that was stopped. It also stops illicit outflows.
Mr. Speaker, we had more than 30 tonnes of platinum ore, living the country each day before this proclamation was made of banishing raw platinum and raw minerals. Platinum is in the platinum group of metals. What we call illicit outflows could be legitimate illicit outflows through the exportation of our minerals. When they get refund, we do not get to get the export receipts of exactly what was imbedded in the platinum. There is the gold, the palladium and there is platinum itself. But we get to know that it was maybe only platinum that was in there in the ore that came from ZIMPLATS. That should come to a halt because this aids impetus in terms of illicit outflows. This is how we can curtail the issue of illicit outflows.
Mr. Speaker Sir, the Gold Act Section 3, speaks to the possession of gold without a gold licence and it is a crime that anyone miner would not want to be part to. I think this is a bit on the draconian side, in the advent of the agrarian reform programme where if somebody gets a stone loaded with gold from his or her farm, they should not be criminalised. If they think the law is against them, they are able to circumvent the law which causes illicit outflows. So, some laws need to be repealed using the report that has been presented here today. Isaiah Chapter 6 verse 1, says the year King Uzziah died, I saw heaven. Let us use this report as a pedestal and as a platform to repeal some of the laws that inhibit or prohibit our farmers to carryout their duty without circumventing the law which causes illicit outflows.
Mr. Speaker Sir, Section 368 of the Mines and Minerals Act, speaks about prospecting without a licence. It is very difficult to be said to be prospecting Mr. Speaker Sir, if you are tendering your garden or your farm. Where I come from, it is in the Great Dyke. I come from Chegutu West Constituency and my Constituency is the largest part in terms of diameter, 11 kilometers of the Great Dyke. So all the farms are in EPO, 68 including Chegutu the town, there are minerals everywhere. You cannot go down two metres and not find gold. It is time to repeal even before the Mines and Minerals Act comes to this House. Let this report be used to repeal such antiquated laws like Section 368 of the Mines and Minerals Act so that we reduce illicit outflows.
The Agrarian Reform Act of 2000, empowers these farmers to till their land but without empowerment from this Mines and Minerals Act which actually supersedes all other Acts Mr. Speaker Sir. There is bound to be people trying to circumvent it by going in other ways to try and avoid and avert arrest because they would have found some mineral within their farm. There is need to harmonise the Agrarian Reform Act of 2000 and the Mines and Minerals Act so that our people have no phobia of the law otherwise we continue to have illicit outflows. As I conclude, I want to say that we have now seen the gold coin. There is need to see the platinum and diamond dollar so that instead of selling the gold to Fidelity Printers, there is need to use it as is. Then we did not have dollars here but our ancestors used to have ubiquitous amounts of mineral wealth. There was barter trade – it is time to have a platinum and diamond dollar to augment and complement the gold coin so that we stop these illicit outflows chasing after this paper USD which is now infesting our space in the country because they are chasing after our copious amounts of minerals and also to stop further hemorrhage, there is need to beneficiate and value add our uranium. Just to beneficiate one little ball of uranium and our energy crisis will be a thing of the past. Let us not just look at our minerals, let us utilise them for the good and benefit of the people of Zimbabwe in order to stop the illicit outflows.
I thank you Mr. Speaker Sir for giving me this opportunity to vociferously, effectively and efficiently put across the concerns of the people of Chegutu West Constituency, that is Chairman Lameck Nyamarango, Sarah Chikukwa, Patricia Nyamadzawo, Tatenda Tapfumaneyi, Tendai Chitashu, Makoni and Million Daniel. I thank you.
HON. BITI: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir for allowing me to add my voice to this important issue of mineral smuggling and illicit financial flows in our country.
Illicit financial flows are costing Africa around USD90 billion annually. The report we are dealing with is talking about minerals and I will restrict myself to minerals but it is also important to draw to the attention of the House the amount of resources and illicit flows which is actually taking place through wildlife. Seventy five thousand elephants are killed every year because of their task. The trade in rhino horn is a 29-billion-dollar annual trade. Zimbabwe possesses all those resources – minerals, animals, flora and fauna. We are paying a price. It is a crime that we are a resource rich country with 64 minerals yet 79% of our people are living in extreme poverty because we have failed to manage our minerals. The mismanagement of the minerals does not come with independence. It comes with colonialism.
Colonialists moved into this country expecting that they will find another rand north of the Limpopo. Of course, they did not find the rand and they turned their attention to land and acquired massive pieces of land – another debate on its own. The Mines and Minerals Act of 1923 gives all and makes mining rights superior to any other right. I regret to say that even the Mines and Minerals Amendment Bill which we have not debated, brings the same iniquity that mining rights are superior to any other rights. That is why the holder of a mining right can come to your farm and build under your house – you are not allowed and you have no control over the mines under your house. It is sad that the current Mines and Minerals Amendment Bill reproduces the same iniquity.
Let me begin to deal with leakages in the gold sector. The estimates of USD1 billion that is being smuggled out of Zimbabwe is a tiny estimate. Experts estimate that 70% of the gold that is being refined at Rand Gold Refinery is Zimbabwean gold. We are mining around 40-45 tonnes of gold per year but what is being accounted for is only 15-18 tonnes per year. What is happening to the 20 tonnes that we are mining? It is being smuggled. We have professional smugglers that have made Zimbabwe their permanent domicile and our border posts as the report of the Committee confirms are leaking, particularly Beitbridge. Beitbridge is the grand capital of all looting in Zimbabwe – I submitted that in Southern Africa. Massive gold is leaking along the long stretch of Zimbabwe’s border – some of the problems are self-induced. There is no reason why Fidelity Gold Printers should have a monopoly of buying gold in this country.
There is no reason why Fidelity Gold Printers should pay gold miners a value which is less than the international price of gold. The difference between the international price of gold and what Fidelity is paying at any given time is about 20%. Twenty per cent is a lot. A person would rather sell to a koronyera coming from South Africa and taking the gold to South Africa than sell to Fidelity.
The third issue is the delay in payment. It takes at least a week before Fidelity pays. I propose major amendments to the way we deal with gold in Zimbabwe. We should amend the Gold Act and allow gold licences to be given to banks for instance. Banks should be allowed to buy gold. More importantly, we should have value addition of gold in this country so that what we sell are not gold bars but gold products. More importantly, we should use the gold as a reserve for our currency. Look at the Zimbabwean dollar Mr. Speaker Sir, it has taken a battering in the last two weeks alone; it has lost 4000%. As I am speaking to you right now, the exchange rate is 1:7000 and part of the problem is that it is not a currency that is backed. It is a fictitious currency. It is as good as the leaves that are populating the park next door – Africa Unity Square. Why not use our gold as reserves and to form part of the world, why not put our gold in the sovereign wealth fund? We are losing gold because our mindset is still extractive. We are still selling gold in 2023 the way Ian Smith and Cabal were selling gold in 1898. The accumulation model has not changed. It is still based on extraction yet we need to move and graduate to value addition.
I come to PGMs; the Great Dyke is the source of our PGMs and the great Dyke is 575 kilometres in length. It cuts across the length and breath of Zimbabwe. It has platinum. Platinum or PGMs are ten minerals that are mined. These include lithium, nickel, rhodium, palladium – we have got world class standards of platinum. We are Africa’s second biggest producer of platinum but we have nothing to show for it. The principal reason is because we do not have a PGM refinery in this country. In fact, that is not true, we do have a refinery at Bindura. The Bindura Nickel Refinery can in fact refine the platinum from ZIMPLATS, Unki and Mimosa but those huge multinationals that are mining there do not want to take their platinum to Bindura because they will be caught, so they are accounting for a tiny fraction of what they ought to be accounting. So, ZIMPLATS represents the biggest sources of illicit financial flows in post-independent Zimbabwe.
In around 2009/10, the RBZ under Governor Gono, audited ZIMPLATS and they used a clever method where you look at the chemical processing minerals that are being used. The chemicals will be able to tell you what would have been extracted. The auditors were able to obtain what ZIMPLATS was mining. The net result was that ZIMRA then levied a tax bill of US$400 million that ZIMPLATS had not paid. So, unless we put a refinery in Zimbabwe, we will continue to lose value, that is on PGMS.
I want to come to the new gold, lithium. Lithium is the future and allows us to pursue the decarbonization agenda with great energy and gusto. We are all agreed that climate change and global warming is affecting us because of our own carbon emissions. So, coal is not the future. Alternative energy and renewables are the future but we have been endowed with one mineral, lithium which is capable of fast-tracking our agenda for decarbonization. With lithium, we can build an entire lithium battery industry which can release the pressure off the grid.
With our lithium, we can build a lithium value chain based on the production of mobile device instruments. The modern phone as you see it, 50% of it is lithium from the cover to what, so we can manufacture mobile phones using our lithium but most importantly, vehicles. The vehicles are a product of PGMs and lithium, so we can have an electric motor industry in Zimbabwe fueled by our lithium but who is now dominating our lithium industries? The Chinese are taking our lithium without value addition. That is massive – I was being told by a whistleblower that at least 160 trucks per month are going through Forbes Border Post to Beira smuggling our lithium notwithstanding the Executive’s ban and the export of raw lithium.
Do you know what they do Mr. Speaker? They use the Nyamapanda Road and go towards Mutoko. At Murewa turnoff, they go into the dust road of Macheke about 58 km. you see these huge trucks that are damaging that 68 km of dust road between Murewa and Macheke. The police and security authorities know that but they cannot arrest those trucks because the trucks are the who is who of Zimbabwe. They are the elites of Zimbabwe. You have top people in this country who are selling our country for a song because of the few pennies that they get paid.
For a million dollars, they get excited and buy Lamborghinis and some useless trinkets, and they think they have made it when people continue extracting and looting this country with the same gusto and energy that Cecil Rhodes and company did in 1892. At least Cecil Rhodes and company had the decency of saying no, our looting is too much and in 1895, they formed a loot committee to regulate their own stealing. Maybe it is time that Zimbabwe’s elites have their own loot committee and I know who the chairperson will be. Mr. Speaker, we are failing to understand what we have in our lithium. By the time we wake up, the product will have disappeared just like diamonds.
I will move on to the next mineral diamonds. At one stage, we had 25% of the diamond deposits in the entire world but the beauty about our deposits was that they were alluvial deposits. With alluvial deposits, you can mine them with the soles of your feet, man’a ako aya anogona ku miner ma alluvial diamonds because they can be picked up like pebbles. That is why we saw the rush that we saw in Bocha and Marange.
The alluvial deposits were supposed to last us 25 years but they lasted us for less than five years. Now, it is only Anjin that is mining – [AN HON. MEMBER: Five years?] – Yes, five years and that is why President Mugabe in 2012 said we had lost US$15 billion in Government. I was a Minister in Government and Hon. Mashakada will tell you here that I used to sound like a broken record to say to Minister Obert Mpofu, account for diamond mine. There was only one year when we got US$274 million, that was in 2010 and thereafter, we were getting $5 or $4 million. When Patrick Chinamasa came, he also sounded like a broken record, $2 million because matsotsi matsotsi and it did not make a difference that there had been a change of the Finance Minister.
So, we have a problem that diamonds where extracted from this country but the whole country has nothing to show for it. If you go to Bocha and Marange, the communities are poor and have nothing to show for it. If you go to Mutare, they have nothing to show for it. I once visited Gujarati in India in 2012 when I was in Government. I went to an entire town which was employing 76 000 women to polish our diamonds. Can you imagine, 76 000 women in Gujarati, India, polishing Zimbabwe’s diamonds. Antwerp which Hon. Nduna spoke of, there are no diamonds in Brussels but Antwerp is the biggest market of diamonds in the world.
We have a problem Mr. Speaker, of leadership and I want to come to leadership. If you look at the Mines and Minerals Act that is pending, it is actually worse than Rhodes’ Mines and Minerals Act of 1923. This one even allows you once you get a mining license to cut all the trees, have water rights and makes it very clear that the owner of the piece of land where the mines are being found has no right absolutely whatsoever but it takes great leadership to understand that mines can transform this economy.
This economy is limping around $18 billion but this is not an $18 billion economy. This is a $400 billion economy. I always give the example of Kenya. Kenya in 1980 when we got independence, was a $7 billion economy like Zimbabwe. Kenya is now $264 billion and we are still one $7 billion. I submit Mr. Speaker that our minerals can transform this country and the answer lies in value addition and transparent distribution of mining rights. The Chinese in Manhize have been given mining rights and the right to mine iron ore that is 40 billion metric tonnes, the world’s highest, for nothing.
Those rights could have been sold through an international auction, how much would we have got? Unless we understand that these mines are valuable and that being paid $2/3 million when people are suffering, stealing from the people, we will not move. So I propose the following:- 1) we have a brand new Mines Act that deals with the allocation of these rights, 2) that recognises that the owner of the land has right over what is in his land. You cannot come to my village in Chiendambuya wosvikotora ivhu iroro woti urikumakuva edu, hazviite. The owner of the land must have rights over that land. 3) We must revisit all the special grants, all the mining concessions that have been given in the last 20 years. Let us revisit them. 4) We must audit all these multi-national companies, ZIMPLATS in particular, Unki, Rio Tinto, let us audit them, what have they been doing? 5) Value addition, value addition, value addition 6) We need refineries in this country 7) Because we are such an important producer, why should we take our diamonds to Antwerp? Let us create a market, we did it during the GNU. We actually used to have an auction of diamonds at the Harare International Airport. So, for all our minerals that are high value, let us sell them here, the surplus. Let us sell our gold here, they will come because we have world class gold and remember gold has DNA. Zimbabwe’s DNA of gold is world class, it is superior, it is umnandi, it is beautiful. So, let us sell it here, platinum, et cetera, let us sell them here. So, I am urging a brand new paradigm shift with regards to our minerals. They can make this country a $US400 billion economy. Thank you very much Mr. Speaker Sir.
HON. PROF. MASHAKADA: Thank you very much Hon. Speaker Sir. I want to join my colleagues to thank the Hon. Gen. Mayihlome and the Committee on Defence for tabling such a brilliant report which is quite telling.
Mr. Speaker Sir, we all know that mining can be a game changer in any economy and in any country. Indeed, for Zimbabwe, mining should have been a game changer. We cannot show anything for the mineral revenues that we have been extracting because of illicit outflows, corruption and smuggling. We can hardly show for the value of our minerals. I will tell you that there are tonnes which roll on the basis of mining or mineral revenues. We have Shabani-Mashava Mines, part of the result of proper utilisation of mining revenues; we have Shamva Gold Mine, the town; we have Mhangura which is now a ghost town, Gweru, Kwe Kwe, Kadoma, you name it, Chegutu, towns that sprouted because mineral revenues were properly applied. The diamond fines, by now we should expect Marange to be a modern city. We should expect Mutare to be a mega city out of diamond revenues but we have nothing to show for it.
Hon. Biti was talking about lithium. Bikita Minerals has been a home of lithium production for many years but if you go to Bikita, it is just a dusty, rocky rural area. There is nothing to show; the community is not benefitting from the mineral revenues. We tried to introduce share ownership schemes but that collapsed. Nobody ever collected anything from these huge mining houses. So, mines or minerals become a curse for African countries including Zimbabwe, a curse in the sense that we are touted as rich in natural resources implying to mineral resources but we are poor. That is the same case with countries like DRC. DRC is the richest country in terms of mineral wealth but they cannot even mine their wealth because of insurgence, wars, smuggling and corruption; they cannot even mine. Sierra Leone is highly rich in minerals but still it is a low developing country. Its per capita income is less than $50.
That is the scourge, the problem of the natural resource case and Zimbabwe has been visited by this natural resource case. This now manifests itself in two forms. The first form is the transfer pricing by and under-invoicing by multinational companies. What they declare to the Reserve Bank is almost a quarter of the revenues they get through transfer pricing, under-invoicing and so on. So, they are stealing yet the royalties they are paying are a pittance, they do not add anything to the fiscus. The tax collected from multinational companies does not even have an impact on the fiscus. So, we have on the one hand, multinational companies being at the forefront of looting our mineral resources and also, because they do not want to value-add. Hon. Biti was talking about the Platinum Group of Minerals where we are shipping platinum but six more minerals come out of that. So, we are exporting jobs because we are not adding value.
We must not forget that when we talk about the plunders of this economy, multinational corporations are also at the centre of the plunder of this economy. Unfortunately, multinational corporations constitute a very strong lobby, that is why we cannot even have a new Minerals Act because they lobby against it. They have the money and resources, so they lobby against any legislation that will water down their capacity to steal. So, that is one level of looting by multinational companies.
The other level of looting is what we call unintended consequences of liberalising the mineral sector. We have liberalised the mining sector and there are a lot of artisanal miners now participating, which is not a bad idea but the impact is that, because there is a policy which is called ‘no questions asked’, you can mine anywhere in Zimbabwe, bring your gold, no questions asked. This no questions asked policy by the Reserve Bank is very dangerous because people can then steal and loot without any questions being asked, or even keep some of the gold, retain some of the gold because it is an official policy that ‘no questions asked’. We do not ask you – how much did you mine and why are you bringing 1kg instead of 5kg, there is record. So that policy of no questions asked has promoted smuggling and corruption in the mining sector.
Mr. Speaker Sir, because of these problems where mineral revenues cannot have an impact on the fiscus or on the Treasury, you find that most countries have formed what they call sovereign wealth funds, at least to harness mineral revenues so that they can see where the value of their gold or lithium is going. The biggest sovereign wealth fund, I think is a Norwegian Sovereign Wealth Fund from their oil resources. The second largest is the Abu Dhabi Sovereign Wealth Fund. They actually warehouse the profits and the revenues from their sub resources. Now in Zimbabwe, Minister Chinamasa introduced a Sovereign Wealth Fund here in this House. We passed the Act and created a Sovereign Wealth Fund but you and me know that it is an empty fund, there is nothing, inhava izere mhepo. What is happening, why is our Sovereign Wealth Fund empty if we have got all these resources that my colleagues have been talking about but there is zero deposit in the Sovereign Wealth Fund. We are losing revenue from our minerals and that has to be corrected.
We know what the problem is but we cannot take any action why? That is my worry Mr. Speaker Sir. If we know that there is smuggling at the border post, what are we doing about it? If we know that we must create refineries, value addition and we do not do it, what is the problem? If we know the list of people who are smuggling minerals and we are not taking any action, who do we blame? We can only blame ourselves for the situation that we find ourselves in because we cannot walk the talk. This is the time to walk the talk, identify the problems and take concrete measures and swift action to save our country.
Mr. Speaker Sir, when we talk of minerals, we are talking about the posterity, we are not just talking about this current generation. Minerals are there to benefit our children, our grandchildren and future generations but if we stand arms akimbo whilst our resources are being depleted, what will happen of the future of this country? I shudder to think that at the end of the day, we are just seeing holes, dumps everywhere but no value or beneficial development to the country.
Mr. Speake Sir, this is food for thought that this House must take concrete measures to reverse the illicit outflows, corruption, smuggling and save our country. I thank you.
HON. R. R. NYATHI: Hon. Speaker Sir, I now move that this debate be adjourned.
HON. MUNETSI: I second.
Motion put and agreed to.
Debate to resume: Thursday, 8th June, 2023.
BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
HON. R. R. NYATHI: I move that Orders of the Day, Numbers 1 to 21 be stood over, until Order of the Day No. 22 has been disposed of.
HON. NDUNA: I second.
Motion put and agreed.
REPORT OF THE PARLIAMENTARY DELEGATION’S BILATERAL VISIT TO EGYPT
HON. RTD. MAJOR GENERAL GWANETSA: Thank you Mr. Speaker, I move the motion in my name that this House takes note of the Report by the Parliamentary Delegation to Egypt on a Bilateral Visit from 15th to 24th February, 2023.
HON. NDUNA: I second.
HON. RTD. MAJOR GENERAL GWANETSA:
1.1 Hon. Advocate Jacob Francis Nzwidamilimo Mudenda,
Speaker of Parliament, undertook an official visit to Egypt from 15 to 24 February, 2023, at the invitation of his counterpart, His Excellency, Dr. Hanfy Ali El Gebaly, Speaker of the House of Representatives. The Hon Speaker was accompanied by the following Members of Parliament who are also members of the Portfolio Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade, namely:
- Brig Gen (Rtd) Kalisto Killian Gwanetsa, Member of Parliament and Acting Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade;
- Tawanda Karikoga, Member of Parliament;
- Constance Chihururu, Member of Parliament; and
- Support staff.
- The Parliamentary delegation was received at the Airport,
Cairo, by the Ambassador of the Republic of Zimbabwe to Egypt, H.E. Air Marshall (Rtd) S. Shumbayaonda and Mr. Ahmed Ezzat Manna, Secretary General of the House of Representatives.
1.3 The delegation expresses its gratitude to the Egyptian House of Representatives for the special hospitality and logistical arrangements accorded to the delegation during the visit.
1.4 The delegation extends its appreciation to H.E. Air Marshall (Rtd) Shumbayaonda and his able staff for facilitating the attendant logistical and administrative arrangements during the visit.
2.0 TOUR OF THE COPTIC MUSEUM AND THE
2.1 The delegation’s first engagement on 17 February 2023, was
the tour of the Coptic Museum and the Hanging Church.
2.2 These are two historical sites of quintessential historical heritage which anchor the foundation of the Coptic Church in Egypt dating back to the 5th century, as a centre of Christian worship. The Coptic Museum was officially inaugurated in 1910 having been established through the sterling efforts of Marcus Simaisha Poaha, a very prominent Coptic figure who was committed to the preservation of the Coptic heritage.
2.3 The delegation was impressed by the large array of Coptic artefacts, including magnificently decorated manuscripts, delicately carved woodwork that defy historical imagination in terms of significance and careful presentation over centuries. The Coptic heritage as displayed in the Coptic museum defines the origins of the Egyptian Christian Orthodox Church which was the largest Christian body in Egypt since time immemorial.
2.4 The delegation had the opportunity to proceed on a tour of the Coptic Church commonly referred to as the ‘Hanging Church” located in Old Cairo, adjacent to the Coptic museum. The Coptic Church has been known by its full title, ‘St Virgin Mary's Coptic Orthodox Church,’ which was built 1600 years ago. The Hanging Church is dedicated to the reverence for the Virgin Mary and houses sanctuaries to her as well as to Saints John the Baptist and George. Within the Church, the delegation was privileged to admire the mosaics of Virgin Mary, the birth of Jesus Christ, his crucifixion as well as the resurrection which are ensconced within the temple. The architectural drawings and the pillars of the church are massive structures whose designers remain anonymous out of their humility not to be publicised.
2.5 What struck the delegation is the imposing structure built along the Basilica style of Rome. The tour guide explained that the massive eight columns represented the biblical creation story, in Genesis wherein in six days God created the universe, resting on the seventh day, commencing work on the eighth day, therefore the eighth column represents the beginning of a new week and the structural cycle of the eighth column are understood to symbolise eternity.
3.0 VISIT TO BENBAN SOLAR CITY, ASWAN CITY
3.1 On 18th February 2023, the delegation undertook a tour of the
Ben Ban Solar Park in Aswan City. The solar project is a result of collaborative efforts between Egyptian companies. The companies benefitted immensely from technology and skills transfer from the Chinese and Germans who provided technical and infrastructure support.
3.2 Egypt invested USD 3.5bn in the project through
international financing. The scope of work includes 32 individual plants producing a combined total of 1045MW per day. Of note, is that this is a green project which is effective in reducing carbon footprint through the use of renewable energy. Additionally, the project has also created
20 000 jobs.
3.3 The Honorable Speaker and his delegation were informed that
the return on investment was attractive as the company had already recouped initial investment after only four years of operating. Effectively for the next 20 years, the company will be making profits. The lifespan of such a project is 25 years.
3.4 Hon. Speaker Mudenda noted that there is scope to partner
with the Egyptians in this endeavour of renewable energy through the executive intervention.
3.5 The Hon. Speaker of Parliament also highlighted how a solar project of this magnitude would have downstream effects including employment creation at a major scale.
4.0 MEETING WITH HIS EXCELLENCY DR HANFY ALI
EL GEBALY, SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
4.1 On the third day of the visit, the Speaker’s delegation visited the
Parliament of Egypt. The first port of call was a meeting with His Excellency, Dr. Hanfy Ali El Gebaly, Speaker of the House of Representatives who was accompanied by Hon. Mohamed M. Abou El Enein, Deputy Speaker, Dr Sherief Mostafa Al-Gabadi, Chairperson of the Committee on African Cooperation, Ambassador Salah Abdel-Sadek, Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs responsible for Parliamentary Affairs and Mr. Ahmed Manaa, Secretary General of the House of Representatives.
4.2 In his welcome remarks, the Speaker of the House of
Representatives acknowledged the existing strong bilateral relations between Egypt and Zimbabwe anchored on Egypt’s support of Zimbabwe’s struggle for independence since the 1960s where Egypt was a training ground for early freedom fighters, including notably, His Excellency, the President Dr. E.D. Mnangagwa.
4.3 The host Speaker observed that there is, therefore, opportunity
to further strengthen the relations through increasing trade and exploring cooperation in areas that include energy, health, agriculture, construction and housing development for the less privileged. Egypt has a wealth of experience in these areas and is keen to share practices and embark on technology transfer with the rest of Africa, including Zimbabwe. Accordingly, both parties committed to strengthening economic cooperation for the mutual benefit of the citizenry of Egypt and Zimbabwe. This requires a commitment to implement Memoranda of Understanding that have been signed between the two countries since 1986.
4.4 Within the context of the established relations, Egypt supported
the candidature of Hon Chief F.Z. Charumbira during his campaign for the Presidency of the Pan African Parliament. In so doing, Egypt also canvassed for support within the Northern Regional PAP Caucus and in some countries North of the Equator.
4.5 The Speaker of the House of Representatives congratulated the Parliament of Zimbabwe on the Official Opening of the Fifth Session of the 9th Parliament on 23 November 2023 as well as the successful hosting of the 78th Executive Committee and the 44th Conference of the African Parliamentary Union (APU) held in Victoria Falls in November 2023. Egypt was ably represented at the meetings by Dr. Al-Gabadi who is also the Chairperson of the Egyptian Committee on Africa.
4.6 The Speaker of the House of Representatives wanted to know when Zimbabwe would hold elections this year and then sought clarification as to whether Egypt and other African countries would be invited to observe the elections.
4.7 Furthermore, His Excellency El Gebaly highlighted the dispute between Egypt and Ethiopia regarding the construction of the Great Ethiopian Renaissance Dam on the Nile. He informed the delegation that it was critical that an agreement be reached between the two contending countries over the construction of the dam in terms of application of international law in the management of the common resource. Resultantly, he appealed to the Zimbabwe delegation for support towards the amicable resolution of the dispute between the two countries.
4.8 The Host Speaker appealed to the Zimbabwe delegation to support Egypt’s offer to host Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) Regional Offices in Cairo because Egypt is an African country on the African continent. In that regard, he disabused the notion that Egypt would be hosting that Regional Office on behalf of the Arab League. As an African country, the Host Speaker indicated that Egypt would support African countries on all common issues at the regional and international fora. That support should not be doubted by fellow African countries.
4.9 The Deputy Speaker buttressed the need for political
cooperation between Zimbabwe and Egypt. He opined that economic development between the two sister Republics would be accelerated through the development of reliable transport infrastructure. That is why the construction of the Cairo-Cape Town road is essential in expediting the movement of goods and services. This should be augmented by improvement in the maritime transportation systems among African countries.
4.10 In support of strengthening bilateral relations, Dr. Al-Gabadi indicated that Egypt would stand by Zimbabwe, especially in the call for lifting of illegal sanctions against Zimbabwe. He had raised the issue in Brussels on the occasion of the European Parliament- Pan African Parliament Inter-Parliamentary Meeting in December 2022.
4.11 The Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs who is also responsible for Parliamentary Affairs made a commitment to strengthen economic ties between Zimbabwe and Egypt as well as to stimulate investment opportunities particularly in the area of construction. To demonstrate Egypt’s willingness to collaborate with African countries, Egypt had built the Julius Nyerere dam in Tanzania.
4.12 In the same vein of the need for effective collaboration between Egypt and Zimbabwe, the Secretary General of the House of Representatives informed the Zimbabwe delegation that the Egypt-Zimbabwe Friendship Association had been established and that would go a long way in solidifying the bilateral relations.
4.13 In response, the Zimbabwe Speaker of Parliament acknowledged the cordial relations that have existed between Egypt and Zimbabwe before and after independence and that these relations should be continually cemented through such bilateral visits. In that context, the Hon. Speaker Mudenda expressed gratitude to the host Speaker for inviting the delegation to visit Egypt and lauded the excellent hospitality and logistics put in place for the delegation.
4.14 The Hon. Speaker Mudenda pledged to support Egypt in its quest to host the proposed IPU Regional Office in Cairo. This will be a welcome development for Africa despite some misgivings that the office will be primarily shared also with the Arab League. In that context, the Hon Speaker reminded his host that his delegation’s visit to the Africa Culture Museum was a testimony of the fundamental fact that Egypt was an African state as demonstrated by the artefacts that were displayed in that museum covering the 54 states of the African Union.
4.15 On the dispute between Egypt and Ethiopia, the Hon. Speaker of Zimbabwe appealed to his counterpart to come up with a strategy of finding some peace broker between the two countries in the mould of retired statesmen such as His Excellency Olusegun Obasanjo and His Excellency Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya who would work with other designated sitting Presidents to resolve the matter in terms of international law.
4.16 Regarding the strengthening of economic ties between Egypt and Zimbabwe, the two Parliaments are obligated through their oversight roles to ensure that the unimplemented Memoranda of Understanding be implemented expeditiously.
4.17 The Hon. Speaker also expressed gratitude for Egypt’s positive response to His Excellency, the President, Dr. E.D. Mnangagwa’s request for collaboration in the design and construction of the smart city at Mt Hampden and that Egypt had acceded to cooperating with Zimbabwe in the construction the Museum of African Liberation.
4.18 With reference to the need for peace and security as a condition precedent for development, the Hon. Speaker bemoaned the current Russia-Ukraine conflict which continues to destabilise the world economy. He opined that it was necessary for the conflict to be resolved sooner than later through concerted diplomatic dialogue because no war can end a war. In response to the destabilised world economy, especially supply chain of fertilizer and wheat from Ukraine and Russia, Zimbabwe through the direct intervention of His Excellency the President, Dr. E.D. Mnangagwa, Zimbabwe has managed to achieve a wheat bumper harvest for the first time in 50 years. Efforts are being made to ensure that Zimbabwe is self-sufficient in the fertiliser supply chain.
4.19 The Hon. Speaker informed his host delegation that the Parliamentary Friendship Association has been established in Zimbabwe. It was therefore critical that the two Parliamentary Friendship Associations begin to interface vigorously as a way of cementing the two countries Parliamentary processes. The operalisation would be effective if the Secretary Generals of the two Parliaments played an effective pro-active role.
4.20 To expedite trade investment between Egypt and Zimbabwe, the Government has established the Zimbabwe Investment Development Authority (ZIDA) as a ONE STOP SHOP in order to achieve the ease of doing business. It is believed that the ease of doing business will also be facilitated by the vibrant Ambassadors of Egypt and Zimbabwe who are expected to work closely with the business communities in both countries.
4.21 The Hon. Speaker applauded the suggested improvement of the transportation infrastructure among African States as they strive to implement of the African Free Continental Trade Area and the Africa Agenda 2063.
4.22 Hon Speaker Mudenda congratulated Egypt on the Benban Solar project which the delegation had been privileged to tour. The massive green project was indeed impressive and was of particular interest as Zimbabwe is currently experiencing electricity deficiency arising from low water levels at the Kariba Dam. Accordingly, Zimbabwe can benefit from Egypt’s vast experience in this area of renewable energy development.
4.23 In conclusion, the Hon. Speaker of Zimbabwe congratulated Egypt for successfully hosting COP27 in November last year. He commended the establishment of a Loss and Damage Fund as a positive outcome of the Conference and applauded the formation of the Steering Committee which would meet in March 2023 to somehow enforce the implementation of the Loss and Damage Fund before COP 28 that will be hosted by the United Arab Emirates.
5.0 MEETING WITH BAA EL-DIN ABOU SHOKA, FIRST DEPUTY SPEAKER OF THE EGYPTIAN SENATE
5.1 Subsequently on the same day, the Zimbabwe delegation met with Hon. Baa El-Din Abou Shoka, First Deputy Speaker of the Senate who was accompanied by a coterie of Senators.
5.2 The Deputy Speaker of the Senate emphasised, in the same vein with the Speaker of the House of Representatives, the need to strengthen bilateral relations between Egypt and Zimbabwe which relations date back before Zimbabwe’s Independence. He also reiterated that Egypt was an integral part of Africa and cannot afford to isolate itself from the challenges that face the African Continent. He accented the need for strengthened economic relations between Zimbabwe and Egypt, especially in the agricultural sector. Like the Hon. Speaker of the House of Representatives, the Deputy Speaker of the Senate bemoaned the dispute between Egypt and Ethiopia regarding the construction of the Great Ethiopian Renaissance Dam over the Nile in the absence of an international agreement as guided by international law. He called upon the Zimbabwe delegation to assist in finding a lasting solution to the impasse.
5.3 The Speaker agreed with the observations made by the Deputy Speaker of the Senate and assured the Deputy Speaker that the two Parliaments will work together to resolve the common challenges that face the two countries in particular and Africa at large.
6.0 VISIT TO THE INTERNATIONAL MEDICAL CENTRE
6.1 On 20th February 2023, the delegation undertook a tour of the International Medical Centre, located in Cairo. The state-of-the-art medical centre provides citizens with access to cutting edge technology and treatment by world renowned experts. It is at the heart of Egypt’s medical tourism as it offers specialist medical care to patients from the African continent, Middle East and the rest of the world.
6.2 The International Medical Centre boasts of 800 hospital beds, latest equipment in diagnostics and treatment manned by a highly qualified staff of 250 doctors and 600 nurses. It has a capacity to treat up to 300 patients per day. The hospital specialises in among others, heart surgeries, liver transplants, bone marrow transplants. Accordingly, the hospital has a fully equipped oncology department to treat various types of cancers. Additionally, the International Medical Centre also has a fully equipped laboratory, pharmacy, paediatric unit, dental unit, nuclear medicine department, radiology department, among others. Support services for patients and their families are also readily available within the complex. To cater for its foreign patients, the hospital operates a hotel within its vast premises to accommodate accompanying relatives.
7.0 VISIT TO THE NEW PARLIAMENT BUILDING HOUSED AT THE NEW ADMINISTRATIVE BLOCK
7.1 On 21st February 2023, the delegation embarked on a guided tour of the new Parliament Building housed within the new sprawling Administrative Complex. The massive and modern complex measuring 430 acres, houses 34 ministerial buildings with a capacity to accommodate fifty-one thousand five hundred employees (51 500). The Senate Building is also within this complex.
7.2 The imposing Parliament Building sits a maximum of 750 Members with future plans to increase this capacity to 1000 Members. Similar to the Zimbabwe New Parliament Building, the building features impressive architectural designs which pay homage to the country’s rich cultural heritage. Several specific artworks depict the representation role of Parliament.
8.0 VISIT TO THE GERMAN UNIVERSITY IN CAIRO
8.1 On the same day, the delegation toured the German University in Cairo (GUC) where the Hon. Speaker was privileged to deliver a public lecture on the topic “Enhancing University Education through Private Initiative- An Experience to Emulate”.
8.2 The GUC is an Egyptian Private University established through a Presidential decree in 2022. It is an independent, non-profit oriented Egyptian private institution, managed by a consortium of Germans and Egyptians with the vision of “building a leading centre of excellence in teaching and research that will effectively contribute to the general welfare nationally and internationally and endeavour the scientific, technical, economic and cultural cooperation between Egypt and Germany”.
8.3 The impressive university houses state of the art lecture rooms, laboratories, research facilities, an industrial park fully equipped with latest machinery and producing commercial products, expansive library and solar park has an intake of 12 600 students, 10 000 of whom are undergraduate students. Construction of a teaching hospital and medical school are at an advanced stage.
8.4 The delegation was particularly inspired by the industrial park which dovetails with Zimbabwe’s own education 5.0 policy as adopted by all institutions of higher learning. The scope of research in the field of robotics was also of interest to the delegation, particularly GUCnoid 1.0, a robot wholly designed by GUC students in 2022. Within the context of the technological advances as witnessed at the GUC, opportunities exist for collaborative synergies with Zimbabwean Universities.
8.5 The Honorable Speaker delivered a well-received public lecture to a blend of about 60 academics, incorporating the President of the university, student representatives as well as lecturers at the university. The departure point for the Honorable Speaker was to situate GCU within the greater context of Egypt as a center of civilization to the world. To that an extent, GCU occupies a unique position in the education sector in Africa, where it should be an incandescent light to all and sundry, he posited.
8.6 The Hon Speaker appreciated the great strides GCU had made in the field of science and research, drawing parallels and the symbiotic relationship between the GCU thrust and the remodeling of tertiary education in Zimbabwe under the auspices of Education 5.0 Model.
8.7 Honorable Mudenda praised GCU for morphing out into a truly Afrocentric university, in a context where Africans had for a very long time continued to bear the brunt of Eurocentric knowledge systems, which were deliberately designed to downplay Africa's intellectual potential and capabilities. This phenomenon having started during colonialism, he intimated. The presentation by the Honorable Speaker touched on integral history of the education system in Zimbabwe, which is making strides buoyed by a conducive atmosphere created by the Second Republic, which is following in letter and spirit of the constitutional provisions which mandate the State to provide platforms for private players to develop the education sector. Consequently, this has resulted in universities establishing innovation and industrial hubs, incubating some of the sharpest ideas in the country courtesy of the Education 5.0 Model. In epitomising, the Hon Speaker of Parliament dangled a prospect in which Zimbabwe could also found a similar university of such a magnitude.
8.8 At the end of the public lecture, students and lecturers made interventions and posed questions, appreciating the clarity of thought and congruency of presentation exhibited by the Honorable Speaker’s public lecture delivery.
8.9 Responding to a question related to whether Zimbabwe still relies on Cambridge for examinations, Speaker Mudenda indicated that the country has made great strides in establishing its own examination bodies which are truly Zimbabwean in the mould of Zimbabwe Schools Examination Council (ZIMSEC) and Zimbabwe Council for Higher Education (ZIMCHE).
9.0 Visit to Solag Decent Housing Project
9.1 The Honourable Speaker and his delegation wound up their bilateral visit to Egypt by touring a Decent Housing project model in Solag, one of the poorest districts in the country, which is being transformed by the Egyptian Government in a bid to improve the livelihoods of its citizens. The delegation had an opportunity to meet with the Governor for Solag General Tarek Elfeki and his Deputy Ahmed Sami, who briefed the delegation on the implementation of the project, with Mr Sami subsequently leading a guided tour of the integrated service delivery model.
The model identified 11 Governorates with most vulnerable citizens and to date 7 of these have been remodelled. It is anticipated that in next three years, work on all 11 models would be completed. The interventions of infrastructure development encompassing provision of clean water, sewer reticulation, health, education, and affordable housing are wholly funded by the national fiscus as a special project to uplift the poor. As a trickle-down effect, massive employment creation has accrued in the district.
A standard model features a municipal office providing all Government services, a post office, fire station, police post, a hospital and a multi-purpose recreational complex for use by all members of society regardless of age. Having decentralised services across the country significantly reduces the burden of citizens travelling long distances to acquire services, it was observed. This particular initiative was of interest to the delegation as it is in line with His Excellency Dr E.D Mnangagwa’s mantra of leaving no one and no place behind.
It is the delegation’s considered view that if Egypt’s integrated service delivery approach can be adopted in Zimbabwe, it would pointedly accelerate the realisation of decent housing for all by 2030, thereby significantly ameliorating the living standards of the less privileged.
10.1 The delegation recommends the immediate operalisation of the Egypt-Zimbabwe Friendship Association. As agreed in the meetings with the Presiding Officers of the Egyptian legislature, it is imperative to strengthen parliamentary relations and share best Parliamentary practices within an established framework. This would cascade to the Clerks who are responsible for formulating policies. This process to be spearheaded by the Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade.
10.2 The delegation recommends that the Minister of Energy and Power Development, Hon. Zhemu Soda visits Egypt at the earliest convenience to benchmark on the power development, particularly renewable energy with a particular focus on solar which Egypt has successfully implemented. Synergies between the Government and the private sector have seen the energy sector thriving in Egypt.
10.3 The Ministry of Home Affairs in collaboration with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Trade should fulfil the delegation’s commitment to the African Museum and ensure that Zimbabwean artefacts and books are expeditiously transmitted to the Museum in Aswan.
10.4 The delegation recommends that Parliament, through the Portfolio Committee on Foreign Affairs and international Trade, ensures that all signed memoranda between the two sister republics be implemented expeditiously through the aegis is of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Trade. This will stimulate increased economic relations between the two countries.
10.5 The Ministry of Local Government. is encouraged to undertake a Visit to Egypt to benchmark and explore possible opportunities for collaboration on construction of smart cities. Similarly, the Ministries of Health and Child Care as well as Higher and Tertiary Education can benefit from undertaking benchmarking visits and emulating some of the best practices in health and higher education.
11.6 Egypt has a rich historical cultural heritage that has been well preserved through its government’s efforts. These sites have attracted both local and international tourism. Accordingly, the Ministry of Environment, Climate, Tourism and Hospitality Industry should spruce up cultural heritage site with the view of encouraging both local and international tourism.
The Parliament of Zimbabwe, together with the Government of Zimbabwe, must strive to promote historical and cultural heritage of Zimbabwe in the mould of Pan-African Liberation Movement currently under construction. Personally, I had invaluable insight of the visit. The visit could be a precursor to developmental issues some of which are of importance to the Zimbabwe scenario. This is land reincarnation; we can reclaim for the betterment of our country, for example, Egypt desert now very profitable. Secondly, the new city concept and importation of technology.
What was so impressive from your Hon. Rtd Brig. General, most of these developmental issues were headed by generals and I can take it as an adage. Every state and nationhood are as strong as its generals. I thank you.
11.6 Parliament of Zimbabwe, together with the Government of Zimbabwe, must strive to promote historical and cultural heritage of Zimbabwe in the mould of the Pan – African Liberation Museum currently under construction near the National Sports Stadium.
11.1 The delegation extends its appreciation to the Parliament of Zimbabwe and Government for affording it the opportunity to undertake the high-level bilateral exchange visit. In line with the Second Republic’s policy thrust of leaving no-one and no place behind, the delegation calls for sustained economic cooperation with Egypt in order to achieve the aspirations of the people of Zimbabwe. Furthermore, the delegation calls on Parliament and relevant ministries to timeously implement recommendations as articulated in this report.
HON. R.R. NYATHI: I move that debate do now adjourn.
HON. MUTSEYAMI: I second.
Motion put and agreed to.
Debate to resume: Thursday 8th June, 2023.
On the motion of HON. R. R. NYATHI, seconded by HON. NDUNA, the House adjourned at Twenty-four Minutes to Six o’clock p.m.