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NATIONAL ASSEMBLY HANSARD 9 JUNE 2022 VOL 48 NO 51
PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE
Thursday, 9th June, 2022
The National Assembly met at a Quarter-past Two O’clock p.m.
(THE HON. SPEAKER in the Chair)
ANNOUNCEMENT BY THE HON. SPEAKER
PETITIONS RECEIVED FROM THE BUDIRIRO RESIDENTS ASSOCIATION AND MR. MILFORD NKOMO
THE HON. SPEAKER: I have to inform the House that on Monday, 30th May 2022, Parliament received a petition from the Budiriro Residents Association requesting the Portfolio Committee on Local Government, Public Works and National Housing to invite the Budiriro District Officer, Director of Public Planning, Director of Works, Director of Housing and Social Services and the Director of Finance to explain why land meant for public schools was allocated for other uses.
The petition was deemed in admissible and the petitioners were advised accordingly.
I also have to inform the House that on Monday, 30th May 2022, Parliament received a petition from Mr. Milford Nkomo of Waterfalls, Harare, requesting Parliament to conduct an investigation into the welfare of pensioners and ensure that their monthly pensions are above the poverty datum line.
The petition has since been referred to the Portfolio Committee on Public Service Labour and Social Welfare.
HON. CHIKWINYA: Thank you Hon. Speaker. Good afternoon. I rise to present my motion of national interest guided by Section 76 of the Constitution which provides for the right to healthcare. The Constitution provides that every citizen and permanent resident of Zimbabwe has the right to have access to basic health care services…
THE HON. SPEAKER: Hon. Member, you do not seem to be connected.
HON. CHIKWINYA: My apologies Hon. Speaker. I rise to…
Hon. Zwizwai having crossed between the Chair and the Member holding the floor.
THE HON. SPEAKER: Order, order Hon. Zwizwai, you cannot walk across a Member who is holding the floor. Please go back.
HON. CHIKWINYA: Thank you Hon. Speaker. I rise to present a motion of national interest guided by Section 76 of the Constitution which provides for the right to healthcare. Hon. Speaker, as of yesterday, the Ministry of Health and Child Care increased healthcare services by 1748% taking consultation fees from RTGS300 to USD12 or equivalent at the bank rate of that day. In my view, this upward increase provides for contravention of this right as provided for in Section 76 as the majority of our Zimbabweans will not be able to afford basic care. I would therefore request Parliament, through you Hon. Speaker, for us to have the Minister of Health and Child Care to come and explain and justify the cost structure under which he has been guided for him to move from 300 RTGS which was about a dollar to about US$12. I believe public health institutions must cater for pensioners, people who are not working and civil servants all of whom cannot be able to access US$12 per day per ward. Thank you.
THE HON. SPEAKER: Thank you. The message will be passed through the Hon. Chief Whip.
(v)HON. MARKHAM: Thank you Hon. Speaker, good afternoon. I rise on a point of privilege. Just to reiterate; a month ago I stood regarding issues that had been promised by various Ministers in this House and to date, despite your will a month ago, still nothing has happened. This relates mainly to the Ministry of Finance on the documents for the Global Settlement Deed which is worth $3.5 billion - I have received nothing; the $38 million for the Dutch farmers loan, I have received nothing; the list of the ZAMCO loans acquired, I have received nothing; the complete breakdown of the 3.3 billion which was included as an acquisition in the last, budget I have received nothing.
Mr. Speaker Sir, I also included with the Minister of Local Government and Public Works - I have still and I am still trying to pursue for a meeting to discuss the acquisition of agricultural land in urban areas as to what is the intention and how it was done under what instrument. The second last one Mr. Speaker is the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development has promised this House and myself to release the ERRF roads so we can see which roads are due and when and who the contractors are. To date, nothing has happened.
Finally Mr. Speaker Sir, in your hands you offered to look into the Justice Uchena Report. This is the 11th time I am mentioning it in this House regarding the release of the Justice Muchena Report so that we can see what is happening pertaining to the $3 billion prejudice we have suffered, of land that has been acquired legally or illegally and is in that report.
Mr. Speaker, in your ruling may I please ask that we put a timeline on this.
THE HON. SPEAKER: While you are still upstanding, did you get a copy yourself of the report?
HON. MARKHAM: No, Hon. Speaker, the only communication I have had in all these issues which I have asked is from your office about the Justice Uchena Report, since then I have had nothing.
THE HON. SPEAKER: What I can recollect is that I have written and perhaps I need to follow up personally now with the various Ministers concerned. Your list has increased to about eight. Am I right?
HON. MARKHAM: That is correct, it has always been eight
THE HON. SPEAKER: It has always been eight: I thought you were saying in addition.
HON. MARKHAM: No, that is the original list I brought up a month ago.
THE HON. SPEAKER: Let me follow the matters personally.
HON. MARKHAM: Thank you. Mr. Speaker, of concern is the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development because there are documents readily available. There is no reason for them to hold them back. They are public information.
THE HON. SPEAKER: Appreciated, thank you.
HON. CHIDAKWA: Thank you Mr. Speaker. I rise on a point of national interest, my point of national interest being that Zimbabwe plays a host to quite a number of conferences as we are also hosted in a number of countries where we attend conferences as citizens or Parliamentarians.
Mr. Speaker Sir, the New Dispensation has committed to region integration and international re-engagement. There are three women, Ratchel Kagwia, Josephine Nireri and Inimo Osman who came for a week long training session on women issues hosted by the African Women’s Development and Communication Network which is EMNET in partnership with women and law in Southern Africa who were arrested at Victoria Falls Airport and the reasons for the arrests are not yet clear. These visiting women were detained for three hours Mr. Speaker Sir, and their materials that include 50 note books, two banners, 34 thermal mugs, 30 African baskets, 30 kikos or kangas and some publications and training materials are being confiscated.
Mr. Speaker Sir, such continual harassment of visitors, tourists and the likes continues to put Zimbabwe on the wrong side of the map and equally it does not do well to the efforts of re-engagement regionally and internationally. Now Mr. Speaker Sir, I plead with the Immigration officers and Members of the ZRP to respect foreigners as we also expect to be respected in the various countries that we visit for conferencing and any other activity. Countries like Rwanda, Egypt and Kenya for example, make it so seamless to hold conferences in their countries. They depend on tourism and their countries are growing and as Zimbabwe we can do so much better. I thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.
THE HON. SPEAKER: Thank you very much Hon. Chidakwa. Such a statement may canvas a response from the Executive and you make some allegations that need to be responded to. We cannot leave it as a statement of national interest. Either you ask an oral question next week or you ask a written question so that the appropriate Minister can respond accordingly.
HON. CHIDAKWA: Appreciated Mr. Speaker Sir. Thank you.
BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
HON. TOGAREPI: Mr. Speaker Sir, I move that Orders of the Day, Numbers 1 to 17 be stood over until Order of the Day, Number 18 on today’s Order Paper has been disposed of.
HON. BRG. GEN (RTD.) MAYIHLOME: I second.
Motion put and agreed to.
HON. CHIKWINYA: On a point of order Mr. Speaker Sir. My point of order arises from a ruling which was made yesterday by the Chair wherein the Deputy Minister present, of Local Government and Public Works had requested to present a statement on the Pomona Deal and then it was referred to today. So I want to get guidance from the Chair. Is the Deputy Minister or the Minister of Local Government and Public Works still coming to Parliament to present the statement today?
THE HON. SPEAKER: I have been waiting for them and I hope they care coming.
SECOND REPORT OF THE PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE ON FOREIGN AFFAIRS AND INTERNATIONAL TRADE ON THE VISIT TO DUBAI EXPO
HON. SHAMU: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. I rise to move the motion standing in my name that this House takes note of the Second Report of the Portfolio Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade on the Visit to Dubai Expo.
HON. BRG. GEN. (RTD.) MAYIHLOME: I second.
1.1 Hon. Webster Kotiwani Shamu, the Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade undertook a visit to the Dubai Expo 2020 in Abu Dhabi, in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) from the 13th to the 17th of March 2022, at the invitation from the Zimbabwe Investment and Development Agency. The costs for the visit were borne by ZIDA. This was the first world Expo held in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia (MEASA) as well as in the Arab World. The Republic of Zimbabwe was participating in the Expo for the first time. The visit was part and parcel of Parliamentary Diplomacy that seeks to deepen and strengthen ties between Zimbabwe and members of the international community.
1.2 Zimbabwe, which seeks to capitalise on the Government’s operative mantra, “ZIMBABWE IS OPEN FOR BUSINESS,” participated in one of the most prestigious fairs in the world, the Dubai Expo 2020. The participation was driven by the need to open up investment opportunities with the United Arab Emirates as well as 192 Countries that participated in the event through the auspices of ZIDA, ZIMTRADE and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Trade.
1.3 The Hon. Chairperson’s delegation comprised of officials from the Zimbabwe Investment and Development Agency and ZIMTRADE.
2.0 Zimbabwe National Day Celebrations, 14 March 2022
2.1 The Chairperson participated in the Zimbabwe National Day celebrations, at the Expo 2020 Dubai on the 14th of March 2022 together with a team from ZIDA led by the Acting Chief Executive Officer, Mrs. D. Shinya. The celebrations included among other things, a Diaspora Engagement Forum and the Zimbabwe-Dubai Business Forum. In line with the Government’s re-engagement policy, His Excellency the President, Dr. Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa graced both events and engaged the Zimbabwe diaspora community resident in the U.A.E. Key issues that arose from the Diaspora Engagement Forum are as follows:
-The President emphasized the need for Zimbabweans from all walks of life to play a pivotal role in the socio-economic development of their motherland regardless of geographical location as mandated by the Constitution of our land.
-The Diaspora community was encouraged to repatriate acquired critical skills in order to speed up the development of Zimbabwe as well as to stir the national ship from the murky waters in line with His Excellency’s rallying cry, “Nyika inovakwa nevene vayo”.
-A renowned medical doctor, Alan Nhapi who has been operating in Australia for about two decades, passionately appealed for land to the Zimbabwean Government to construct a state of the art hospital for the treatment of chronic diseases in Victoria Falls or near the Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport. Consequently, the President tasked the Deputy Minister in the Ministry of Health and Child Care, Hon. Dr. John Mangwiro to work closely with Dr Nhapi in order to ensure that Government avails the land for the construction of the hospital, much to the appreciation of the attendees.
-The Diaspora community implored the President to be allocated agricultural land. In response, the Minister of Agriculture, Lands and Rural Resettlement, Hon. Dr. Anxious Jongwe Masuka indicated that once the land audit and farm rationalisation exercises were complete, Government will be in a better position to redistribute land.
-More so, whilst awaiting the completion of the aforesaid exercise, the Hon Minister encouraged the diasporans to partake in farming through joint ventures with those in possession of farming land, but facing resource constraints to fully utilise the land.
2.2 Zimbabwe National Day Business Forum
2.2.1 On the 14th of March 2022, ZIDA after collaborating and planning with Commissioner General Ambassador Mubi and her team, led the hosting of the Zimbabwe National Day Business Forum at the St. Regis Hotel Downtown, Dubai. It was a penultimate event for the country at the Expo 2020 Dubai, as it was the culmination of six months of work in attracting potential investments into the country.
2.2.2 His Excellency, the President of the Republic of Zimbabwe was the keynote speaker at the event which was oversubscribed by a significant majority of local Emiratis (nationals of U.A.E). The UAE Ambassador to Zimbabwe, His Excellency Dr. Jassim Muhammad Al Qasimi attended the forum. Also, at the event were business people from the Zimbabwe’s private sector who came to share their experiences on the investment climate in Zimbabwe and to seek potential partnerships/business linkages with their Emirati counterparts.
2.2.3 The Zimbabwean Government was represented by Cabinet Ministers from the economic cluster and invited senior Government officials. The following key Government Ministries were represented at the forum-
Ministry of Finance & Economic Development;
Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Trade;
Ministry of Industry and Commerce;
Ministry of Land, Agriculture, Water, Climate and Rural Development;
Ministry of Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage; and
Ministry of Energy & Power Development
The following paragraphs highlight the key issues and outcomes from the business forum.
2.3 KEY NOTE ADDRESS BY HIS EXCELLENCY, THE PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF ZIMBABWE, DR. E.D. MNANGAGWA
Key highlights from His Excellency’s address were as follows-
2.3.1 That the establishment of ZIDA set the stage for a more conducive investment ecosystem as it provided for a one stop shop investments services centre for the registration and processing of all investment proposals including the issuance of associated permits/licences.
2.3.2 That through the enactment of the Zimbabwe Investment and Development Agency Act [Chapter 14:37] and the operationalization of the Agency, Government had taken a deliberate position to secure investments by allowing foreign investors to invest in all sectors of the economy, guarantee their investments against expropriation, guarantee free flow of investors’ funds into and out of Zimbabwe as well as according them fair and equitable treatment before the law in line with fundamental norms of International Investment Law.
2.3.3 That Government adopted a deliberate strategy to channel more resources towards speeding up key infrastructural development projects so as to spur economic growth and development.
2.3.4 That the engagement and re-engagement drive with the international community had since started bearing fruits and that the Government was working tirelessly to stabilize the exchange rate so as to build a strong foundation for the growth of a robust economy that will benefit Zimbabweans from all walks of life.
2.3.5 That in line with Chapter 10 of the National Development Strategy 1 (NDS1) page 171, the Government had managed to improve the country’s image and international relations, allowing Zimbabwe to claim her rightful place among the community of nations. As such, the country was viewed in a different light by multilateral agencies such as the International Monetary Fund whose forecasts point to a positive growth trajectory for the country’s economy.
2.4 Overview of the Domestic Economy by Hon Professor Mthuli Ncube, Minister of Finance and Economic Development.
The Minister of Finance and Economic Development highlighted the following;
2.4.1 The Zimbabwean economy experience a strong rebound, with the International Monetary Fund estimating growth at 6.3% during 2021 and is expected to moderate to three percent during 2022, on account of risks from the pandemic and vulnerability to climate and other exogenous shocks. In 2022, the economy is expected to grow by 5.5%, slightly lower from the 2021 growth estimates.
2.4.2 The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) removed Zimbabwe from the list of countries that are considered to be insufficiently compliant in implementing Anti-Money Laundering and Counter Financing of Terrorism (AML/ CFT) standards on 4 March, 2022 following the successful implementation of the FATF Action Plan.
2.4.3 The Government of Zimbabwe has adopted policy measures to stabilize the currency and lower inflation, including among other things, fiscal consolidation and restrained reserve money growth.
2.4.4 Sectoral Contribution to GDP
The mining sector would experience strong growth due to favourable international mineral prices, increased private investment and supportive mining tax regime.
The manufacturing sector would benefit from increased access to foreign currency for retooling and importation of raw materials, domestication of value chains and stable macro-economic environment.
Climate proofing strategies in agriculture would reduce the impact of climate change, improve productivity and resilience.
Construction sector would continue to benefit from Government’s infrastructure programmes as well as private housing development.
The tourism sector was likely to recover as global travel restrictions ease whilst domestic tourism would benefit from the aggressive Covid-19 vaccination drive.
2.4.5 Inflation and Exchange Rate developments
Year on year inflation for the month of February 2022 decreased to 66.1% from 32.6% recorded in 2021. To mitigate the inflation and exchange rate risk, both fiscal and monetary policy measures will prioritize stability of exchange rate and inflation. The measures include implementing a credible reserve monetary targeting framework, enhancing efficiency and transparency of the foreign exchange auction market, and improving policy coordination between Treasury and RBZ.
2.5 Trade between Zimbabwe and U.A.E, Investment and Partnership Opportunities
2.5.1 Mr. Hassan Al Hashemi, the Vice President responsible for International Relations, Current and Emerging Business Opportunities in the Dubai Chamber of Commerce gave an overview of trade and investment opportunities available for both countries. Key highlights are as follows-
2.5.2 Trade between Zimbabwe and U.A.E had grown to more than US $1 Billion in 2020 with the UAE becoming the number two recipient of Zimbabwe’s exports behind only South Africa;
2.5.3 Between January and March 2022, Zimbabwe had exported goods and services valued at US$833million to the UAE with minerals accounting for the bulk of the receipts.
2.5.4 The Emiratis were encouraged to seek further investment opportunities in Zimbabwe where there is abundance of untapped potential in the various sectors of the economy.
2.7 Testimonials of the Investment Climate in Zimbabwe
2.7.1 Mr. Laurie Ward, Director in Albwardy Investments LCC (UAE) which operates in Zimbabwe as ASB Hospitality Zimbabwe and owns Meikles Hotel, gave strong recommendations for Zimbabwe as an emerging investment destination. He gave a testimony on the seamless acquisition of the Meikles Hotel which was necessitated by the unwavering support from both the Government of Zimbabwe and the private sector. He also briefed the attendees that his company was planning to expand its portfolio in the hospitality industry due to the availability of vast opportunities in the sector.
2.7.2 Mr. Stuart Lake, the non-Executive Chairman for Invictus Energy Limited (Australia) Muzarabani Oils and gas project- an independent upstream oil and Gas Company listed on the Australian Securities Exchange, also gave a positive report on the investment climate in Zimbabwe as testified by the acquisition of licences and permits by his company from the Zimbabwean Government in a short period of time through the support from ZIDA and Government Ministries.
2.7.3 The company had finalised outstanding contracts and agreements, and was working with local communities in order to commence the implementation of its projects. Preparations were at an advanced stage for a drilling programme that was expected to commence in June 2022.
2.8 Signed Memorandums of Understanding and Agreements
2.8.1 A memorandum of understanding was entered into by and between the private office of H.H Sheikh Ahmed Bin Faisal Al-Qassimi and the Republic of Zimbabwe represented by the Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Developing concerning co-operation in the provision of holistic solutions for agricultural development and food security in Zimbabwe.
2.8.2 A joint venture Agreement was entered into by and between NV Group Zimbabwe (Pvt) Ltd and the Agricultural and Rural Development Authority (ARDA)
2.8.3 It is also important to note that there was a pending Memorandum of Understanding between ZIDA and the World Central Corporation (Dubai South) that was to be signed virtually in April 2022 after finalisation of all Agreement clauses.
3.1 There was a lot of appetite to invest in the Zimbabwean economy as exemplified by a considerable number of investors that have shown a lot of interest to invest in the country. These include IntraPharm which has a Memorandum of Understanding with the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development, Palladium IP, a diaspora led initiative to bring back intellectual development platforms into the country’s Special Economic Zones and Nivesall, a manufacturing company from Singapore which plans to establish factories in Zimbabwe.
3.2 There are multiple sources of information centres between the potential investors and the country which result in loss of potential investments as investors are taken through numerous non- essential meetings before finally being handed over to ZIDA.
3.3 A lot of interest was shown in the literature and information packs distributed by ZIDA. However, visibility and effectiveness of ZIDA in international settings is very low as most entities indicated that they hardly had an opportunity to interact directly or indirectly with the agency before.
3.4 There is no direct link between ZIDA and diaspora investment groups. As such, no products/programmes are tailor-made by ZIDA to tap into potential investments from these investment groups. Given that diaspora remittances exceeded US $1 Billion in 2021, these investment groups can be reliable sources of investment financing if tapped into.
3.5 The Dubai South development which is at least 12 times the size of the planned Masue Special Economic Zone could serve as a benchmark project for ZIDA and other government entities in Zimbabwe, as it covers almost all strategic aspects of the planned Sunway City, Special Economic Zone. These are real estate services, urban development and free zone facilities.
Informed by the foregoing, the Committee recommends,
4.1 That the Zimbabwe Investment and Development Agency should create a platform that is tailor-made to attract and safeguard investments from diaspora investments groups by end of November 2022.
4.2 That ZIDA should develop a comprehensive marketing programme earmarked to make its services/products visible, accessible and available to every potential investor in the world by December 2022.
4.3 That Ministries of Industry and Commerce, Finance and Economic Development and Local Government and Public Works together with ZIDA should conduct a benchmark/study visit to Masue Special Economic Zone in U.A.E with a view to adopt best practices for the construction of Sunway City Special Economic Zone by 31 December 2022.
As Ambassador Mubi said, indeed the Expo 2020 Dubai gave Zimbabwe an opportunity to sell reforms undertaken by the Second Republic which are key to reposition the country as an investment magnet in the world. The thrust of the Expo was well in sync with our nation’s vision of becoming an upper middle income society by 2030 and the mission of promoting brand Zimbabwe. Hence the exhibition helped the country to attract the much needed foreign investments which are a vital cog in the attainment of Vision 2030. I thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.
HON. BRG. GEN. (RTD.) MAYIHLOME: We encourage and applaud such opportunities for this Parliament and this country indeed to attend such an international expose that gives Zimbabwe an opportunity to attract foreign investment and showcase what we are able to do. It has been quite a long wait for this country to attract investment; some of it because of the negative perceptions that the country has been receiving since the Land Reform Programme. We have our Excellency, Cde E. D. Mnangagwa himself leading who has shown that he attaches so much importance to re-engagement efforts in the country and that our friends and partners out there come and invest in Zimbabwe.
Zimbabwe possesses a lot of opportunities across all sectors of the economy - be it in tourism, industry, education, technology and mining. These opportunities are vast and they are there for the world. Zimbabwe has a potential to be a major industrial power under the Second Republic and it is encouraging that the President is leading from the front. It is encouraging that ZIMTRADE and other organisations that are charged with selling Zimbabwe are taking this mantra seriously. In the past few years, the country has said all our ambassadors and the people who are in foreign missions would have a key result area of seeing that they bring investment to Zimbabwe and these are fruits of such a policy. We believe that very soon it will bear fruits.
It is encouraging that while the West with its sanctions is shunning Zimbabwe, countries in the Middle East and the Far East are finding investment attractive. I therefore call upon this House to applaud and adopt this report as presented by Hon. Shamu.
*HON. MATANGIRA: Thank you for affording me this opportunity to debate on this noble issue, the Dubai Expo. It reminds me of the unity between the people who are living in the desert where nothing grows. Although I did not go there, the people who live in the desert came up and put their minds together and managed to build in that area so that those who are coming from areas where there is rainfall go and envy. The good work has been done in the desert.
A country like Zimbabwe has everything from livestock to natural resources. Creation started here in Africa and as Zimbabweans, we have failed to put our heads together to build something which is very beautiful so that other people can envy us and that we can even move forward forging development without asking for sanctions from the West. My plea Mr. Speaker Sir, on the Dubai Expo is that as a National Assembly, can we be united and build something which is concrete and we revive our industry and all other areas of the economy without looking for other people to impose sanctions on us.
Let us be united and develop our country. Look at what the Arabs have done, they have chosen to partner with us for economic development. We have been oppressed by the West and we are independent from the oppressors and the country is now enjoying democracy. Right now there is disunity in the country because some other Zimbabweans are going to western countries begging for sanctions so that the country suffers. It is not different from people who stay together in the same area and go around bad-mouthing each other. We must work hard and help each in pointing where we fail so that we can develop.
Opposition parties are welcome because they are able to point where the ruling party is failing but if the opposition is begging for sanctions to be imposed on the country, it is not good. Let us copy what has been done in Dubai so that we can be united and move forward for economic development.
I want to thank Hon. Shamu for this very important report. For sure, the country is being built by its citizens. So if we say let us not have medicines in the hospitals, who will suffer at the end of it all? Who is going to vote for us tomorrow if we are begging for sanctions which is causing lack of medicines in the hospitals? I am very happy that all those who had gone outside the country have been engaged so that they come back into the country, open businesses and are free to operate. I do not know how best the country can do but the engagement and re-engagement process is very fruitful. Everyone is free to come back and invest in the country, even those who had gone outside the country because of the Land Reform Programme, they have been given the opportunity to come back and invest through engagement and re-engagement process.
Our country is a blessed one. Let us not complain saying things are difficult in the country. Let us go and work hard. Since a lot of people complain that things are very hard, what are you doing as an individual? Let us go out and work hard. It is time for us to change our mindset. Let us be united and fight for a common cause. If we have ideas from both sides, let us come together so that our country can move forward economically, socially and politically. I thank you.
(v)HON. C. MOYO: Thank you Hon. Speaker for affording me this opportunity to add my voice to a motion that has been brought by Hon. Shamu, seconded by Hon. Mayihlome.
Firstly Hon. Speaker, I googled the theme of the Dubai Expo 2020 and it reads as follows; ‘Connecting minds; creating the future’ and these are not only minds Hon. Speaker, they are global minds and it is important to be part of the global action on a global conference.
Secondly, I want to applaud that ZIDA is now in operation since they paid all the costs after inviting our Hon. Chairperson and I think it is noble that he takes over the position after doing a tremendous job of putting our country on a global map.
Hon. Speaker Sir, another issue is the investment opportunities that are created when we partake in such foras. It will be time for us to network, benchmark, learn and attract new clients. The part of new product launches globally, mind you Hon. Speaker, more than 190 countries were exhibiting on this fora, so it is very important that we take on all the investment opportunities that are provided by such an epic expo.
Another point to note also is the diaspora engagement fora as well as the Zimbabwe Dubai Business fora where our chairperson and His Excellency attended. Surely that was a good forum so that we can see whether our diaspora policy is working and is operational and also to make sure that we can also increase diaspora remittances from the diaspora, but most importantly also Hon. Speaker, is maybe to allow or to work on the modalities so that our diasporans are given time to vote come 2023 harmonised elections.
Another development from this fora Hon. Speaker, was the issue which I want to mention Dr. Allen Nhapi who is operating in Australia who said he wants some land in Victoria Falls so that he can construct a state of the art hospital. It will help the nation to address Sustainable Development Goal Number 3 and therefore improve the lifestyle of our people and I thought the relevant Ministry, I think it is the Local Government and Public Works that they must expedite the process so that Dr. Allan Nhapi will also give a testimonial and maybe as a reference point, that it is easy to get land when you want to build or construct whatever you want to construct in our nation.
Hon. Speaker, Cabinet Ministers were part of the delegation and I am happy that the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Trade was there, the Minister of Finance and Economic Development was also represented. I think we will then await to see whether they learnt a lot since we are faced with a currency crisis and other macro-economic issues so that we can see that there was an improvement after the visit.
Equally Hon. Speaker, the Ministry of Industry and Commerce will be waiting to see the agreements coming into fruitful implementation so that employment can be created and a lot of resuscitation in terms of our industry is realised. Also, the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water, Climate and Rural Development was there. We also anticipate to see the outcomes. It was not just a visit. When you attend an epic world expo like this, we want to see results back home. So it is also my view Hon. Speaker that the Cabinet Minister of Energy and Power Development was part of the delegation and our country is faced with a whole lot of energy problems. We want to see and await the benefits of that visit. So surely, the Minister of Energy and Power Development, one day we want to see him say from the Dubai Expo 2020, we learnt this and we want to see the reflection of those benefits in our constituencies back here in Mpopoma-Pelandaba so that we can see it was not a waste of time to have Hon. Minister of Energy and Power Development attending such a programme.
I have a problem that the Ministry of Environment, Climate Change, Tourism and Hospitality Industry was not part of the delegation. I was hoping that it was going to be a foundation for our Hon. Minister to learn and also maybe to benchmark or have these agreements at that fora with over 192 countries but unfortunately, he was not part of the delegation and equally the Ministry of Youth, Sport, Arts and Recreation. It is my view that they were supposed to be part of that delegation so that they can also tap or benchmark what is happening in over 192 countries Hon. Speaker.
Let me buttress more Hon. Speaker, on recommendations which I think are very important and they take away issues to note. ZIDA has to improve in terms of creating a platform so that they can connect to the global village. When I went to Rwanda, we bought some cellphones from a Rwandese manufacturing company through an initiation by the Rwanda Board which is similar to our ZIDA Board and that was very good to have a cellphone manufacturing company based in Rwanda through some initiatives from the Rwanda Board. Surely, our ZIDA Board has to improve and create a platform so that one day in the near future, we can have these investors who are more into production setting their plants and machinery in Zimbabwe and create value addition for whatever they may want to manufacture.
Hon. Speaker, in conclusion, it is worth a celebration that our country attended Dubai World Expo 2020 where people from different backgrounds and perspectives converged in a six month long mega event to gain a lifelong knowledge sharing experience as well as utilising the lucrative business and trade opportunities by interacting with foreign nationals on a global platform. I so submit Hon. Speaker Sir. Thank you.
HON. TOGAREPI: I move that the debate do now adjourn.
HON. MATANGIRA: I second.
Motion put and agreed to.
Debate to resume: Tuesday 14th June 2022.
THE HON. SPEAKER: Yesterday I indicated that there will be a statement by the Hon. Deputy Minister regarding the Pomona project and I would request the Hon. Deputy Minister to proceed accordingly.
POMONA WASTE TO ENERGY PLANT
THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT AND PUBLIC WORKS (HON. CHOMBO): Allow me to submit this presentation before the House, which seeks to clarify the issue of the Pomona waste to energy joint venture between the Harare City Council and Geogenix B.V as follows:
The Pomona dumpsite has been in existence since time immemorial, including concerns around the hazards it poses, it had become an eyesore. Council in 2016 and 2019, tried to find interested investors to invest in Pomona dumpsite and received various expressions of interests including Geoginix B.V. Unfortunately, no bidder was awarded the contract for Pomona dumpsite. In 2020, Geoginix resubmitted its proposal to City Council for a joint venture for the development of a waste to energy plant. The proposal was presented to ZIDA, a Government statutory body responsible for the promotion, entry, protection and facilitation of investment in Zimbabwe. Geoginix B.V is an internationally owned company, hence the need to follow laid down procedures as provided for by the ZIDA Act Chapter 14:37 which regulates the operations of foreign owned companies.
ZIDA, in terms of Sections 34 and 36, forwarded the proposal to the Cabinet Committee on joint ventures who in turn presented the proposal to Cabinet for approval. It should be noted that Cabinet is the highest executive authority. The Council who is a lower tier and an organ has an obligation to implement the Cabinet decision, which they did when they resolved to enter into the contract in line with the Cabinet decision. On 3rd May, Hon. Markham, Combined Harare Residents Association, Borrowdale Residents and Ratepayers Association and Centre for Alternative Development Trust filed a court application against the Minister of Local Government and Public Works, City of Harare and Geoginix seeking an order that nullifies the contract. It is also noted that a group of councillors have decided to cause disruptions on the implementation of such a lucrative venture which has many benefits including employment creation, power generation and refuse management.
It is imperative to note that the matter is now before the courts of law and is therefore sub judice, hence the project will continue as per the dictates of the contract until the court makes a determination on the matter. I thank you.
THE HON. SPEAKER: Since one of the applicants mentioned is here, Hon. Markham, I want confirmation whether the matter is indeed before the courts.
HON. MARKHAM: It is confirmed it is before the courts.
THE HON SPEAKER: What the Hon. Minister has read out is a section that dealt with the law which allowed the contract to be accepted, which is the ZIDA Act Chapter 14:37 and also in terms of Section 34 and 36 of that ZIDA Act. In those circumstances therefore, the question that was raised of the legal framework has been answered by the statement. However, the Chair cannot allow debate and clarification because the matter is sub judice, before the courts. - [HON. BITI: Inaudible interjections] - I have ruled that the matter is sub judice. If you are not – Order, order - [HON. HWENDE: No, this is a corrupt deal, you cannot protect corruption. This is Parliament and you must allow debate. Yesterday you promised us that we are going to debate.] -Order, order, order, Hon. Hwende. I will respectfully ask you to listen very carefully. You have to hear what the court says in terms of – [HON BITI: On a point of order] - Can you sit down, I have ruled that the matter is in the courts. Hon. Biti, can you sit down, can you sit down, can you sit down or you go out, leave the House. If you do not want to listen to me, leave the House, leave the House. Order Hon. Biti, leave the House.
HON. BITI: The issue is not sub judice, I have got the court application with me.
THE HON. SPEAKER: Can you sit down, can you sit down.
HON. BITI: Mr. Chair, have you seen the ...
THE HON. SPEAKER: I am not the Chair.
HON. BITI: Have you seen the court application?
THE HON. SPEAKER: Can you sit down?
HON. BITI: Have you seen the court application?
THE HON. SPEAKER: Can you sit down?
HON. BITI: I can sit but have you seen the court application?
THE HON. SPEAKER: Can you sit down?
HON. BITI: Before you make a ruling on this, can you see the court application.
THE HON. SPEAKER: Can you sit down.
HON. BITI: Yes, I will.
THE HON. SPEAKER: Thank you. If there are issues as to whether the matter raises issues of corruption or whether there is some prejudice against the City of Harare, that will be ventilated by the courts –[HON. BITI: But this is not before the courts.] – I have asked Hon. Markham – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –
Hon. Hwende and Hon. Hamauswa having stood up.
THE HON. SPEAKER: Can you sit down. I am attending to Hon. Biti – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – Order, order!
Can you sit down, I am attending to Hon. Biti. Can you sit down? Can you tell your colleagues to sit down? – [HON. BITI: Chimbomirai vakomana, chimbomirai. Eee, Hamauswa, can you sit down? – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – Order, order! – [HON. BITI: Chimbomirai akomana] – I do not want you to get out of the House. Can I attend to what I am being given here? Be orderly. In this case, this issue becomes void and there is no Pomona Deal. So, I am saying in my ruling, this court application is the crux of the matter; was this contract entered into and has it validity or not. Once the court has filed this matter, then we proceed accordingly but if it says the contract is null and void, then there is no issue. I thank you Hon. Biti for that one.
HON. BITI: Mr. Speaker, if I can respond.
HON. TOGAREPI: Is this now a new way of running Parliament?
HON. BITI: There is a narrow issue before the court…
THE HON. SPEAKER: Hon. Biti, can you please sit down.
HON. BITI: Will you allow me a right of reply.
THE HON. SPEAKER: Whether the issue is narrow or expansive, let the courts decide accordingly. I will not entertain any further debate. I have ruled.
HON. BITI: The right to be heard is a fundamental right.
THE HON. SPEAKER: Hon. Biti, I do not want to charge you.
HON. BITI: I will sit down. You asked the Minister to explain the law. The Minister has not explained the law. The law has nothing to do with this court application.
THE HON. SPEAKER: Can you leave the House!
HON. BITI: You can chase me but you cannot chase my submissions. My submissions are solid. This application is too narrow.
THE HON. SPEAKER: Get out of the House! You are not a judge.
HON. BITI: I am a senior lawyer. Delish Nguwaya stole COVID funds and it is the same Delish Nguwaya in this deal. July Moyo is the most corrupt Minister in the Republic of Zimbabwe.
Hon. Biti was escorted out of the House.
BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
HON. TOGAREPI: I move that all the other Orders of the Day be stood over until Order of the Day, Number 28 on today’s Order Paper has been disposed of.
HON. TEKESHE: I second.
Motion put and agreed to.
SUPPLEMENTARY BUDGET FOR WATER AND SANITATION
HON. HAMAUSWA: I move the motion standing in my name that:
AWARE that Section 77 (a) of the 2013 Constitution of Zimbabwe provides that every citizen has the right to safe, clean and potable water and the State must take reasonable legislative and other measures within the limits of the resources available to it, to achieve the progressive realisation of this right;
WORRIED that the water crisis in Zimbabwe has contributed to the outbreak of water-borne diseases and other unhygienic conditions in society;
DISTURBED that the continuous erratic water supplies within both rural and urban local authorities remain a recipe for disaster especially in the context of the COVID-19 global pandemic; and
NOW, THEREFORE, this House resolves to urgently request for a supplementary budget from Ministry of Finance and Economic Development which will be devoted solely for water and sanitation in the year 2022, in view of the need to maintain hygienic standards especially during the COVID-19 global epidemic.
HON. MUSHORIWA: I second.
HON. HAMAUSWA: Aware of Section 77 (a) of the 2013 Constitution of Zimbabwe which provides that, “every person has the right to safe, clean and potable water and that the State must take reasonable legislative and other measures within the limits of the resources available to it, to achieve the progressive realisation of this right;
Cognisant that Section 46 (1) (c) states that when interpreting the Chapter on Fundamental Rights and Freedoms, “a court, tribunal, forum or body must take into account international law and all treaties and conventions to which Zimbabwe is a party”. In this regard, Zimbabwe is a signatory to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, the Convention on Elimination on Discrimination against Women and the Convention on Rights of the Child General Comment No. 15 of ICESCR entitles everyone to available, accessible, sufficient, acceptable and quality potable water. Article 14 paragraph 2 of CEDAW stipulates that State parties shall ensure to women that the right “to enjoy adequate living conditions, particularly in relation to water supply” is ensured. Article 24 paragraph 2 of the CRC requires State parties to combat disease and malnutrition “through the provision of adequate nutritious foods and clean drinking water”.
ACKNOWLEDGING the inalienability of the human right to water to the right to life, health and clean environment’
MAINTAINING that the incessant erratic water supplies within both rural and urban local authorities in Zimbabwe remains a recipe for disaster especially in the context of COVID-19 global pandemic;
WORRIED that the water crisis in Zimbabwe has birthed gender based violence at or near public boreholes, outbreak of water-borne diseases and deaths, I propose the following Mr. Speaker;- an urgent call for supplementary budget devoted solely to water and sanitation in the year 2022 especially considering the need for maintaining hygiene standards during the COVID-19 global pandemic. This has to be complemented by a 2023 budget that mainly speaks to water and sanitation. This budget should address pipe replacement, construction of alternative water sources and treatment plants, rehabilitation of both sewer and water treatment works.
I would also want to give a demonstration of how the water situation is actually affecting Harare as a Metropolitan Province. The City of Harare has two water plants which is Morton Jaffrey and Prince Edward. The design capacity of these two treatment plants if operating at full throttle is 705 mega litres per day. The City of Harare provides water, not only to residents in Harare but also to Chitungwiza, Norton, Ruwa and Epworth. Daily water demand for Harare Metropolitan Province is 1200 mega litres against a design capacity of 705 mega litres. I would want to emphasise that when the water and sewer system in Harare was designed, it was meant to cater for around 400 000 people but now it is estimated that this water infrastructure is supposed to serve more than 4 million people. Therefore, there is an urgent need to address this situation Madam Speaker.
When we also look at situations in rural areas, we are also realising that the water bodies that were constructed in the 1980s are no longer adequate and are also being affected by a number of factors, including climate change. Dams are drying up as early as October or September so when we record full capacity of dams, maybe in March when we reach September, those water levels are going down to a point that we are likely to have conflicts between villagers who are moving from one village or from one area to another crossing through other areas in search of water for their animals. So this is going to really affect the rural areas as well. As a result, this situation cannot continue because there is need to make sure that Zimbabwe complies with national laws as well as with international laws, Madam Speaker.
When we look at the City of Harare, besides this situation, currently City of Harare is producing less than 200mega litres per day due to a wide range of issues which, when combined, have caused the issue of access to water to be a serious problem. As I speak, Chitungwiza Municipality is also facing serious challenges with water where they are also receiving less than 20 mega litres per week, meaning less than 2 mega litres a day. Chitungwiza Municipality requires 75 mega litres per day to satisfy customer demand. So the burden for this challenge is also affecting the women who have been affected by unpaid care work. You will find that women have to queue at boreholes.
I would like to speak on the issue of boreholes. There is no study that has been done in Harare to ascertain the nature of the aquifer in Harare. There are no hydrogeological studies that have been done to give authenticity of verifiable results on the availability of underground water in Harare. As a result, you will find that a number of MPs in Harare, even in other rural areas and other urban cities have spent most of their CDF drilling boreholes, yet this is a strategic resource which the Government should actually intervene to provide a solution.
The boreholes that we are seeing in urban areas are those bush pumps and in this era, we cannot continue to expect the people of Harare, Gweru or Bulawayo to use bush pumps. We call upon the relevant Ministries to declare water as a state of emergency the same way the state of our roads was declared a state of emergency so that we bring in development partners to resolve this problem of water, not only in Harare. As I said, we are also talking of rural areas, we are talking of farming communities. I have been to various farming communities, Madam Speaker, dams need to be scooped. You are a farmer also, you understand this that the dams that are there need support from the Government, from the Treasury to make sure that besides coming up with extra water reservoirs but the existing ones need to be recouped so that we also address the issue of siltation.
Madam Speaker, I also call upon the Ministry of Environment, Climate Change, Tourism and Hospitality Industry to make sure that the catchment areas where we have water sources are protected. We have seen a wanton destruction of the environment. We have seen also the wanton destruction of important water sources such as wetlands that are being also destroyed. These are important to ensure that we always have sufficient and clean water. Those areas need to be protected. Without such protection, it would be difficult for the population of Zimbabwe to enjoy their right as enshrined in the Constitution. This is why section 301 (1) (a) of the Constitution requires that an Act of Parliament must provide for the equitable allocation of capital grants between provincial and metropolitan councils and local authorities. This should not be less than 5% and this is echoed by section 301 (3). This is also important if such funds are availed on time to local authorities in the sense of devolution so that certain funds can be used to rehabilitate the water infrastructure that we currently have.
We also note that the allocation that has been given, and I am speaking in the case of Harere, Ruwa and Chitungwiza; there has been allocation made to the construction of Kunzvi, Muda and Vusami dams. These dams actually require millions of dollars but when you look at the allocations that are being made in the national budget, it means we might take up to 70 years or so for these dams to be constructed. As a result, this is why I am calling for an urgent intervention by the Treasury to bring up a supplementary budget that makes sure the problem of water is adequately addressed and also as I said, I will repeat that the situation should be declared a state of emergency. When we are saying a state of emergency, we are talking to a situation which is similar to a land that has been left by a vanquished army infested with land mines that have to be removed for that land to be reused.
So this is the kind of situation where we are. We have an emergency situation which needs to be addressed by the Government of Zimbabwe. Knowing our economic realities, it is difficult now to see an immediate solution to the crisis of water and sanitation delivery. This is why we are proposing that this should be declared a national disaster. Once it is declared a national disaster, this means we are opening for support from development partners. We are saying they must be given a national task force that is maybe a multi or an inter- ministerial task force that can be set up to make sure we address this issue of water. If water is a problem in the farming communities, it therefore means that our farms are not going to produce food. It means that our farmers are going to have problems that are related to water-borne diseases. This problem will not only affect the people in the urban areas. I also want to reiterate that there is need to also be aware that this water issue should never be politicised. It is not an issue which we can allow politics to be at play because it is affecting the industries, our mining communities, our farming community and even the people who would want to come and visit Zimbabwe. I have heard people who live in other areas outside Harare saying they cannot stay in Harare because of the water situation in Harare. ou cannot drink the water in Harare. In most cases the water is a mixture of water and soil and then it becomes muddy. It is water that you cannot trust. Most of the people in Harare can testify that they are not sure whether the water is safe or not.
I would want to conclude by arguing that even the issue of boreholes, I have left some important aspects. I have talked about the failure or non existence of verified results of hydro-geological studies that would ascertain the quantity of water underground. Secondly, it means we would sink boreholes but they will not produce enough water for our people. It means also that if you drill a borehole and even when donors come to drill a borehole, the water has to be tested because there are sewer bursts that are happening and chemicals being deposited from industries. So we cannot subject our people to borehole water. When we were growing up in the rural areas, we used to know that borehole water was safe. But it is not necessarily always true that borehole water is safe. The borehole water has to be tested but we do not have the capacity for testing those boreholes. So we have people who are being subjected to unsafe water under the pretext that maybe borehole water is the safest. This is the challenge that we have. If you go around constituencies and districts in Harare you are going to see more than 10 boreholes per constituency that are not functional. Those boreholes need to be continuously repaired. If we are going to have boreholes, my proposal would be to let them be solar powered. We also need the DDF to also support the urban constituencies. Even when we drill boreholes in my constituency in Warren Park, there are more than 87000 people who stay in that constituency. So, how many boreholes are we going to have in Warren Park? Therefore Madam Speaker, I call upon the Government of Zimbabwe to consider the water problem seriously and to implement the master plan of water infrastructure that was sponsored by World Bank. I do not see any reason why that master plan is not being utilised.
Madam Speaker, Zimbabwe is endowed not only with natural resources but also with talented human resources, the engineers who can help this country to get out of the challenges that we are facing. It is therefore my clarion call for the Harare water master plan that was sponsored by the World Bank to be implemented. There is need to replace the whole water and sanitation system in the City of Harare. In respect of all other urban areas, if you check on sanitation and water, the toilets that we see in townships and at bus termini were built in the 1980s. The population has more than doubled and could be ten times more than the population that was there in the 1980s. If you go to Ximex Mall where Hon. Paradza was saying the people were working well, the area is stinky because there are no toilets. However, with technology - you go to other countries such as Zambia, you will find that urban authorities can use refurbished material to put more pay toilets in our cities. If you go to Kaguvi where we have these informal motor mechanics working there, you do not find a pay toilet. There is need for a strategic move by the Central Government to ensure that we take the provision of water and sanitation seriously. There are certain things that do not cost much but there is need for Government to intervene. We need to debate this issue with the picture that we need to move with technology. Harare City Council is aiming to attain a world class city by 2025. With the situation in our country, I think that needs to be revised unless Government intervenes with the support to build Kunzvi Dam, Musami Dam, etcetera. Those are the things we would want to know from the Government side. When are those dams going to be constructed so that the water situation is addressed?
I conclude by saying we cannot be the bread basket of Africa again if we do not consider aspects such as water harvesting and combat the effects of climate change that are actually affecting the availability of water resources in our country. We are going to continue to see women being beaten. People are fighting each other at boreholes because some are crossing over to other people’s areas to have their cattle drink water. So at the end of the day the industry will not stand, the economy that is being envisioned by the much acclaimed Vision 2030 or 2050 cannot be achieved if there is no water and sanitation in this country. When I was in primary school, it was policy that when there is no water at a school for certain hours the school had to close. However, it has become normal and people can go for two weeks without water. There are areas that have gone for 10 years without receiving tape water. This is a crisis that needs to be addressed. I thank you Madam Speaker Ma’am.
(v)HON. MUSHORIWA: Thank you Madam Speaker for giving me the opportunity to debate the motion moved by Hon. Hamauswa. Madam Speaker, the plea by Hon. Hamauswa is a noble one and it is an emergency, it is urgent and I think this House will need to support this motion. Firstly, Madam Speaker, the challenge of water is indeed a national problem and it is rightful that the Hon. Member calls for the need for water to be declared an emergency. Everywhere you go, be it urban or rural area, we have huge challenges. If you look at Harare, Bulawayo, Gwanda and all other urban settlements, you will see that the common denominator and challenge facing the people of Zimbabwe is water. You go to growth points, the challenge is water too. Given such a situation where we have a challenge of water, what needs to be done is for Central Government to come in and ensure that all local authorities, be it urban or rural, are well capacitated so that they provide water to each and every person because water, according to our Constitution, is a right. I think it is crucial that we do that.
If we look at our water bodies, some of them were built some years back and were meant for very few people. Hon. Hamauswa gave the example of Harare – we take our water from Chivero. In fact, the water in Harare is recycled water because our source of water is downstream. What City of Harare does when they process water for Harare, Chitungwiza, Norton and Ruwa is purely to recycle the water. The problem that we have in terms of sewer bursting is that the entire raw sewer goes back to that source of water. This is the reason why they talk of having Kunzvi and Muda coming on board so that water will come upstream and that could help.
It is also a fact that for a long time, we have heard and we have been told about the Zambezi Water Project so that Bulawayo and other areas along the Matabeleland North corridor will benefit but these things have continued being said on paper without being implemented. If you then check, it does not matter where you go. I think most MPs have drilled some boreholes but if you check some of the tests that are now being done – we are being told that most boreholes have been condemned and we now need water purification tablets and other treatments to make that water drinkable by the people.
Madam Speaker, you will recall that this Parliament last year approved a motion requesting that the Hon. Minister of Finance, in his budget, allocates at least 2% of the budget towards infrastructure development or resuscitation, especially within the old locations in various cities and towns of Zimbabwe. Most of the pipes that were put in Harare between 1959-61 there-about, were galvanised pipes and have now outlived their duration. One of the challenges that we now face is that most areas no longer have water. In fact, it is now a known fact in Harare that those that are lucky will count that they get water on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday and it is switched off the other days and switched on, on Monday. This situation is unattainable.
The other challenge and I think we have heard this one wherever we have gone for budget consultations – Zimbabwe National Water Authority (ZINWA) which manages all the water in this country which is underneath; that authority is under-funded and under staffed in terms of having key personnel that can make that water authority function. ZINWA is now known for more of the bills that it sends rather than provision of water. If you go to any city or growth point, there is always a problem or query with ZINWA. The issue on ZINWA is that Government needs to capacitate ZINWA so that it can provide water. We cannot be a country having a borehole at a 200 square metre, it is not a development. You drill a borehole in Dzivarasekwa on a 200 square metre or you go to Dotito Township on a 200 square meter and drill a borehole, that is not development. That is not what we want.
This is the reason why ZINWA in its proper days, they would fine people who drill boreholes without the concern of ZINWA. Over the years, because ZINWA just like any authorities have not been funded sufficiently. Everything is now laissez faire. People can do what they want to the detriment of the common good of the nation. My view is to support what Hon. Hamauswa said.
Government recognised that roads were an emergency and indeed Hon. Mhona and his Ministry have been doing some work on the road. What we now need is to declare water as an emergency so that the relevant Ministry should actually do the work. We have been told that Government has put aside some money to buy (Technical glitch) in various areas. Whilst it is an important step especially in some rural areas, it is not good enough. We need sufficient water investment and the best way to do that is to declare an emergency, appeal to other Non-Governmental Organisations and UN to assist the country in terms of this issue of provision of water. Once we do that, you will see that our children – it does not matter from which political party or church; they will have a better life rather than the current system that we have. You cannot safely drink water here in Zimbabwe. It is actually a pity if you go to countries in Africa that we used to laugh at some years back in the 80s and said that they are backward – they have now leap-frogged us in terms of the ability to provide basic needs like water. This is the reason I make an appeal that Hon. Members, this is a national crisis. Water is a national crisis – let us support this motion brought by Hon. Hamauswa and allow the Government, through the Ministry of Finance, to bring in a supplementary budget especially the mid-term review this month so that a supplementary budget is brought forth towards resuscitation and re-investment into the water provision in this country. Once we do that, I believe as Hon. Members we would be representing our people, the people that made us come to this House. To that extend, I thank you.
HON. CHIKWINYA: Allow me to add my voice with regards to this very important motion raised by Hon. Hamauswa, seconded by Hon. Mushoriwa. Before I delve into my motion, allow me to thank the Government Chief Whip for heeding to this request to bring forward this motion as I had made this request on a matter of national importance on Tuesday 7 June 2022. You will take note that the motion was Order Number 28 and there were other Orders before it but the Chief Whip has seen it fit that this motion be discussed as requested by a fellow Member of Parliament. I want to thank the Chief Whip for that.
Madam Speaker, I would also implore under the same spirit that the Minister of Finance takes heed of the debate coming through this motion and also the prayer by Hon. Hamauswa that a supplementary budget be devoted solely for water and sanitation in the year 2022. I believe that the Hon. Minister is a follower of parliamentary debates and therefore he is going to respect the prayer as such.
I am motivated to contribute to this debate on the basis that I represent Mbizo Constituency in Kwekwe. I have been exposed to quite a number of cities, Harare being one of them. As we undertake our work mostly here in Harare, we also visit other cities during parliamentary work and also during our private business. I agree with Hon. Hamauswa that it is high time that Government must declare the water situation in our country a state of national disaster.
In my question of national importance on Tuesday, I moved that Government declares the water infrastructure situation in our country a state of national disaster so that we unlock funding. I have received various opinions from people who followed that presentation through the various channels of media. With some, we are in disagreement over the model but what we are not disagreeing on is that the water infrastructure situation in our country is just bad. We do not have a problem with water, the resource, so we have been favoured with a climate that we know every summer we receive rains and our dams are filled with enough capacity to be able to supply our residents with water. The problem is on delivering this water from source to the residents.
In Kwekwe for example, the water infrastructure was designed in 1961; by then Mbizo had Section 1, 2 and 3. It was also feeding ZISCO Steel which also Torwood, with about 3 sections. The industry had not yet even grown to the extent under which it then began to grow in the 1990s. What it simply means is that the designers of that water pumping system did not envisage a population which we currently have or rather even if they envisaged that they thought we were going to take measures to improve where they had left, where they had put in five pumps, we were supposed to by now pumping with ten pumps. Where they had put in a 450mm diameter pipe, we were supposed to be now using a 900mm diameter pipe to accommodate more volumes of water. The 1961 designed pump station is what is currently there today. Pump station designed for three sections for 12000 people is now feeding 120000 people. It simply means that the infrastructure is now the bottle- neck.
The other problem that is now happening is that we are now having local authorities that are selling stands but these stands do not come with a package of this infrastructure. If you go to Hopley, Cowdry Park in Bulawayo or Epworth, people are now drilling wells at their stands. People are building a house and they drill a well. From that well, it becomes their source of water. It cannot be if you want to define our urban settlements as being truly urban.
The Government of Zimbabwe is a signatory and a committed member of the UN SDGs and within the SDGs is sustainable goal No. 6 which speaks of water and sanitation. Sustainable Goal No. 6 says to achieve universal and equitable access of safe and affordable drinking water for all by 2030. I want to believe that the Head of State when he sat and pronounced Vision 2030 for Zimbabwe, he also took into effect some of the international visions which are supposed to guide member States. Therefore, the provision of equitable access to safe and affordable drinking water for all cannot escape Zimbabwe Vision 2030 when it is also an international vision for all under SDG No. 6.
As we deliberate this matter as Parliament of Zimbabwe, we must not lose focus that we are already bound by another international commitment which we made at UN level. Therefore, I implore that Cabinet puts their mind together and be blind to politics. We are the only nation which prides our Head of State as the highest office in our country which goes to open a borehole. That cannot be. We must be seen to be opening pumps starting to say this pump station is going to be feeding 1 million people in Chitungwiza, not to go to Chitungwiza to open a borehole. We are reducing the integrity and character of our Head of State. I hope we can be apolitical if we are beginning to talk about water.
Parliament is incurring a cost of supplying Members of Parliament with potable drinking water which is called mineral water. There is no Member of Parliament, from yourself the Chairperson to the last person in terms of the hierarchy of Parliament, who wants to drink taped water from the institution of Parliament. If what I am saying is challengeable, I will challenge any Member of Parliament to go out and take a glass of water from the taped water here in Harare, none. Parliament has acknowledged that. It has seen it fit to incur a cost from the taxpayers’ money to buy water for Members of Parliament instead of Members of Parliament producing a solution for them to be able to drink safe, clean taped water, they have found a solution in buying mineral water. What is happening to my grandmother in Mabvuku, Mbare and Mbizo? We all cannot survive on mineral water which comes at a cost.
There is a notion by other citizens to say local authorities must be able to bear the brunt of infrastructure development in their particular cities. I move that with the level of economic meltdown in Zimbabwe which is agreed by everyone, with the levels of low income of the majority of our citizens which is agreed by everyone, tariffs and rates paid by residents cannot sustain infrastructure development. With that, I also move to the fact that let us have a democratic structure of pay as you use. With cell phones Madam Speaker, you pay then you phone and with the highway, you pay for your tollgate then you drive; with electricity you pay and you enjoy your electricity. We must also adopt the same mechanism with everything that we are using. As such, I would move that we also adopt the ‘pay for your use’ in terms of water by local authorities putting up prepaid water meters that will assist residents in two ways. You pay for your actual bill and the council collects and therefore may channel some of that money in terms of maintenance of the water infrastructure.
So what we are calling for is Government intervention in constructing the water infrastructure so that at least we get tapped water to every house. Thereafter, local authorities will then begin to maintain using a ‘pay for use model’ which is a bankable mode. Local authorities can approach infrastructural development banks where they amortize their revenue collection mechanism for a loan and this loan is then made to be able to assist residents.
Right now in the constituency that I represent, people are paying for what are called estimates. The water meters are not functioning. One of the biggest requests under my Constituency Development Fund is to fit in these water meters but we cannot service the whole constituency. So people are paying estimates and they are complaining over the estimates because they think that council is overcharging them. Therefore, they are not even paying. Local authorities are now trying to move residents by increasing rates and tariffs, which means that residents are failing to even pay.
Kwekwe City Council is on record for collecting only 30% or for what it is supposed to collect and I think that is the situation all over the whole country. It simply means that the residents cannot bear the brunt of the high tariffs and high rates. Therefore, this is why I agree with the mover of this motion that we need Government intervention with regards to construction and rehabilitation of water infrastructure for us to be able to get water.
I have listened to the mover of the motion saying almost every Member of Parliament has been requested in their constituencies to drill a borehole. We become a laughing stock on the regional fora and on the international fora whereby the highest request is for Members of Parliament to be drilling boreholes. This is the only time and this is the time we have managed to get to be able to congregate to solve our national problem as one, to move that the Minister of Finance listens to us as Parliament because it is us who distribute the resources. So we are moving collectively in support of Hon. Hamauswa that we gather together and tell the Minister of Finance. The next step which I may want to hear from the Minister of Finance is that feasibility studies be conducted.
The local authorities must be able to present how much they want each per local authority in the next month or so and then we come here as Parliament and we approve that budget and then it comes to be sustained by Government and local authorities also submit with them what is it that they are going to do to make sure that they are going to be able to collect enough. I know it may be a controversial issue in terms of installation of prepaid water meters but if we are going to agree to that, we are paying for cellphones for us to phone, we are paying for power for us to be able to enjoy lighting, therefore I think we can also agree that for us to get water, we must also be able to pay and these are my submissions Hon. Speaker. Thank you.
(v)HON. S. BANDA: Thank you Madam Speaker Ma’am for giving me this opportunity to contribute to this topical debate. Allow me first of all to thank my brother from Warren Park, Dr. Hamauswa for bringing up this motion. I also want to thank my other brother Hon. Mushoriwa for supporting and seconding this motion. Before I go into my debate, my first job from college was to work in a treatment works plant. I used to treat sewage and I used to treat water. This comes from my heart that when we talk of water, we speak of what we call E. coli levels. E. coli is a shortfall - Escherichia coli. It is considered safe by WHO to have between one to ten of E. coli in water – it is regarded as loads between eleven and hundred, it is taken as medium risk and above that it is high risk.
Sadly, the water in Harare falls in that high risk. Therefore, like the Hon. Members have spoken about - even Hon. Chikwinya passionately spoke about it to say nobody can drink the water that comes from a tap from Harare. I do not remember when I last drank water from the tap from Harare. When I want to drink water from Harare I drink from a borehole.
I want to come to the report which was referred to by Hon. Hamauswa which was funded by the World Bank in partnership with Analytical Multi-Donor Trust Funds AMDTF and it was managed by Michael Waster. I want to speak on phase one. I read from the report which says - report assessment, identification and characterisation of water pollution and source degradation in Zimbabwe. Why am I going into that report - it is because of one thing. That report says phase one research was conducted by Amon Murwira and others and I will go into them.
Madam Speaker Ma’am when I googled to say who is Amon Murwira, the Wikipedia says that Amon Murwira is Zimbabwe’s Minister of Higher and Tertiary Education, Innovation, Science and Technology Development. At that point when that world buying document was reported in November 2014, Professor Murwira was one of those who conducted that. It was on water quality and what did that report conclude?
The report concluded that – I think you have seen the Minister is interested in things concerning mapping and so he is the guru in satellite imagery, in GIS, in selecting food sampling and the results that they came up with read as follows: the results of phase one of that project or the use of satellite imagery as a quick way of accessing water quality in Zimbabwe, the report found that he was able to map out water surfacing even in the Runde catchment area, for instance. This satellite technique was proved to be faster than traditional mapping methods which decided which water sources were good and which water sources were bad.
It was found that there was an inverse, correlation of physical measures of water, especially in the physical measures of tables, in the source of degradation, hot spots were found in Umzingwane, Sanyati and Manyame catchment area. That report also stated that the quality of water at Lake Chivero and Mazvikadei Dam was not very good. Lake Chivero was more contaminated than Mazvikadei with regards to chlorophyll concentrations, turbidity and less transplant. That is beyond doubt. When I leave research and I come back to the ground, I go back to my constituency and I say in Mt. Pleasant even in the beautiful area of Borrowdale West which falls under my constituency and even in Pomona, there are residents who have never seen what council or ZINWA water looks like and that is very sad because the design that we are having now was for the 1950’s, by the 1970’s it was supposed to have changed. Water which was meant for 300 000 people is now supplying three million people. So naturally, that is when the issue of boreholes comes in to try to augment the supply which is lacking.
However, that is not a solution because even the report that I was referring to that was prepared by, among them Hon. Prof. Murwira, it shows that even ground water itself was susceptible to pollution. The report says of all the 13 samples that were tested, six tested positive of eco-life. Eco-life is the presents of sewage in a sample. So six of 13 samples, it means on average, we can say about 45 to 48% of water sources in Zimbabwe are contaminated by eco-life.
They have to be treated to a very good level but you find that, for example the water in Harare, even if you treat it, it is so polluted that you cannot even get to the basic even from medium risk. What it calls for is for new sources of water. Actually, the report also says “four were found to be contaminated with salmonella. So, if six are tested of eco-life and four tested of salmonella then it means only three sources out of 18; that is statistically dangerous.
My call also is to support what the previous speakers have said to say this is now a national emergency just like the roads. Now, we need to look at declaring it as a state of national disaster. I remember when a national disaster was declared for roads, immediately contractors were found and solutions were found and roads started to be repaired. So, Government should also turn a good eye on this issue so that we also improve our water sources.
When I was campaigning, I was telling the people of Mt Pleasant to say I propose that even Mazowe Dam, it is about 40 km away from Mt Pleasant, why can Mazowe Dam not supply part of the northern suburbs which have got no water before the Zambezi pipeline when that programme eventually comes to be now at a bigger level. So let us have these dams like Mazowe, Kunzvi Dam being fast tracked.
I now want to say as I close, Escherichia coli patho-types, for example enteropathogenic and enterotoxigenic have been identified as pathogens which are responsible for most moderate to severe diarrhoea in low income countries and that is something that really pains, whether in rural areas or in towns of Zimbabwe. So, we need to do away with this eco-life and the only way to do it is not through the sources that we are raising now because they are insufficient but we need to introduce new sources and we need to invest more in those sources of water. I thank you. Water is life.
HON. TOGAREPI: Thank you Madam Speaker. I would like to thank Hon. Hamauswa for this very important motion that touches at the core of our lives, all life of all living organisms. It is critical that we have water that we can use for various things such as drinking, sanitation, water that is accessible and clean. I really want to say it is the duty of everybody, all stakeholders, State actors and everyone who works towards availing safe water.
We have seen a renewed effort by the New Dispensation to quicken availing of this water; we have seen the Kunzvi Dam, Musami, Nyatsime, Matabeleland and Zambezi water projects, being worked on. Government is putting a lot of resources to ensure that these sources of water can see the light of day and the availability or accessibility of water can be improved for people.
So, I think the main effort that we have seen Government over the years has been to ensure that we have clean water and we also have water for sanitation. However, what we have seen over the years are challenges that have been faced by local authorities. Local authorities would like to run everything autonomously many times when things are good and they are enjoying money and abusing office as they run their councils. However, when things get bad, they want Government to come in and they want the Central Government to assist.
That dishonesty; the challenges that we face today, people have been paying rates for many years and those resources paid for water or provision of water have not been used for what they are expected to be used for, that is providing clean water, ensuring that infrastructure that will then provide water is looked after. We have seen over the years a lot of deals, shoddy, corrupt deals that have affected the availability and accessibility of water by mainly urban citizens.
This has also then created the dangers that we see. We have seen the coming in of waterborne diseases like cholera, typhoid, and dysentery because the water that we are getting from urban authorities has not been that clean and that has left the citizens of this country exposed.
I think the other area without even looking at the issues my colleague Hon. Member has raised, the first thing is to deal with the finances and capacities of these local authorities, whether they have the capacity to run projects or supply of water as we would expect. Surely there should be a lot of researches that have been done by many universities, water experts that we cannot do without water today.
Surely, the investment, for us to get reliable clean water or enough water, is a long term investment which may challenge our capacity as a country but today we need to have a solution. Our people are exposed to bad and dirty water. What can we do? Both from local authority and from the parent Ministry, what can we do today so that our people can get clean and safe water? I think this needs to be a priority for us as a people to ensure that we get clean water.
Madam Speaker, as my Hon. Colleague said, there is the issue of celebrating a borehole, surely we need to have water and there is no water. This is a basic need, a basic right. There is a quicker way of giving our people water. What we may be thinking about or worried about is maybe bringing in scientists to check on the safety of the water that we are getting from boreholes. For us to say we do not want boreholes when the water that comes from the taps from Harare City Council is rusty and smelly; we will have the whole population dying if they continue taking it. Even if they want to resist taking Harare water, after three days, you say maybe let me try, “mvura haina n’anga.”
I think what Government is doing at the moment is to try to mitigate a bad situation, that will expose our people more. Our Government is doing a good job and what we now need is combined efforts from all the people of Zimbabwe, all those Non-Governmental Organisations and experts at universities. What can we do? We have water as Zimbabwe, even as Harare. There is water but it is contaminated. How can we deal with it? We need to find the solution now to ensure that our people get clean water. Like I have said, Government has already provided resources and built relationships with international organisations to construct dams to ensure that the water is there. What we now need is combined a effort and ensure that we deal with the rot that we find in local authorities.
HON. NDEBELE: On a point of order Madam Speaker, the gentleman’s voice is dying. I am sure he is no longer connected.
HON. TOGAREPI: I think I am connected now. Thank you. What we need now is combined effort without blaming anybody but to heed to the motion that we need a combined effort. We should find a solution and that solution must come now through Government playing its part. I think the areas that local authorities cannot deal with are areas of big investments in creating dams, pipelines that will bring the water to Harare. Those things may need Government to intervene and Government has indeed intervened. That is why we see the Zambezi Water Project almost through. The local authorities must have people who are honest – [HON. A. NDEBELE: Why can you say the Zambezi Water Project is almost through? You are misleading the people.] –
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER (HON. MAVETERA): Order, order! Who has given you the floor Hon. Ndebele? Order!
HON. TOGAREPI: I am talking about the Gwayi-Shangani Dam. It is almost there. It will be through and local authorities cannot do that. Once the Government has done that and water has been brought to Bulawayo, surely it is the local authority out of people’s contributions they pay every month that we will then see clean water being supplied to citizens of urban centres.
I definitely would want to agree with the submission that we need to work together. Government is doing its part. I think local authorities should now come on board and ensure that whatever they get as rates is used specifically for areas that they have received these revenues from. If they receive rates for water, let them use the money to ensure that water is available to the people of Zimbabwe and not enriching themselves. People of Harare, Bulawayo, Gweru, Mutare, Masvingo have the right to get clean water.
HON. A. NDEBELE: I have a point of order Madam Speaker.
HON. MAVETERA: What is your point of order?
HON. A. NDEBELE: I need to correct the Government Chief Whip. It is not Buluwayo but Bulawayo.
(v)HON. S. K. MGUNI: Thank you Madam Speaker for allowing me to debate on the motion that has been moved by Hon. Hamauswa, seconded by Hon. Mushoriwa on the issue of water. Water is life and we cannot compromise access of water to the communities. I have got some few comments, especially when we come to the issue that has been tabled by the Hon. Member.
My first observation is that there are four basic needs of human beings. Water is number one. There is also shelter, roads. If we look at these four basic needs, I will concentrate my contribution on water. When it comes to our water, we have a vision that has been proclaimed by our President of Vision 2030. It will not be a reality if we do not have potable water for our local communities. We still have got schools and clinics that do not have water, especially in rural areas. We still have got communities who are still travelling more than seven to ten kilometers looking for water. This means our dream of Vision 2030 will not be a success if those issues of water are not addressed.
I know that the Government has got plans. We applaud our President’s Vision. We have been told that there are rigs which were purchased to carry out this exercise. This is just to augment the plans of Government that we are on the right track. As long we fulfill our dreams, we are going to realise that we want to achieve.
Secondly, we have got dams. I think we have never attended to the pertinent issue of our dams. There are dams that have been destroyed by the cyclones in the recent years, like Cyclone Eline destroyed a lot of dams. Those dams are still lying idle; they have not been attended to. We need to also look at that as a Government. I know there is a programme that is running. In the province there is a dam that is done. We have got Gwayi-Shangani in Matabeleland North but in every district we still need those dams, especially those that were destroyed by the cyclones. They need to be attended to.
We also have the issue of siltation. The dams are silted, I think we also need to attend to that if we want to realise our dream of Vision 2030. We need actually to - maybe those dams that are silted can be de-silted or new dams can be constructed. What I like is that we have a deliberate plan whereby we attend to those dams because some of the dams were playing a very critical role especially in rural areas. You know Matabeleland region rears cattle, our cattle need water and people need water. So these dams were very critical, especially when it comes to supply of water.
We have got some other issues like the clinics which do not have water. We have schools without water and schools will be closed when there is no water. The President has a vision, which he made clear to us. He always wants us to play that role to fulfill his dream. He cannot do everything on his own; we are here to augment this dream to be achievable. I thank you.
HON. DR. NYASHANU: Thank you Madam Speaker Ma’am. Let me thank the mover of this motion, Hon. Hamauswa and the seconder of the motion, Hon. Mushoriwa. The population is increasing and therefore, the demand for water resources is also increasing. We need to plan ahead at this point and ensure that our water infrastructure is in order for it to be able to cater for the rest of our citizens. Therefore, I implore the department of ZINWA to build the capacities that are necessary to ensure that particularly in our urban areas. You look at places like Mbare where many people are living in densely populated environments, we need water in those areas so that the Sustainable Development Goal Number 6 (SDG) is achieved by our nation.
I know certainly that when we talk about budgetary matters, we keep on referring to the Minister of Finance to say, may he prioritise water and sanitation. Someone is also saying may he prioritise health infrastructure. Someone is saying may he prioritise road infrastructure but I think we are all aware of the budgetary limitations that the country is facing. Therefore, the call for the removal of financial sanctions in our country to ensure that the capital flows into our country are smooth and the country can capitalise on that to develop this nation.
The sources of developing finance in this country have been constrained for quite a long time and therefore, I call for collective action in terms of the removal of sanctions in this country. I think it is important to emphasise at this point that the realisation of SDG Number 6 is important. There should also be an equivalent realisation that we need to work collectively to remove sanctions in this country so that our people can live a life that is good, that is comparable to citizens of other nations. So it is important that we work towards ensuring that we have got the capacity and we have the financial flows into the country that allows the country to be able to cater for all these needs. The budget on its own, yes every year we seem to have challenges in terms of satisfying the needs of citizens. I am saying here mainly because I also realise that the financial flows into the country are too constrained.
Members can also take note that it is important that in our communities we mobilise communities to also build small dams, weir dams so that they can be able to access water. Water harvesting and water storage has become key in today’s civilisation to ensure that people can access water. Be that as it may, we still need to work together in this House to ensure that we challenge the real problem. The real problem is the flow of finance into the country which is being constrained by these evil sanctions. We need to work together in this House, both sides, so that we can be able to deal with this situation. Madam Speaker Ma’am, I thought I should add my voice to this subject, a very important subject because water is life; without water people cannot survive a good life. In many communities people are walking about 10 to 15 km to find water, especially in August, September and October when it is dry. We need now to build capacities for Government to be able to provide water to such communities. I thank you.
*HON. CHIKUKWA: Thank you Madam Speaker. First and foremost, I would want to thank Hon. Hamauswa the mover of the motion, seconded by Hon. Mushoriwa, which pertains to water. It is true that water is not readily available. It is not peculiar to Zimbabwe alone. I did my research a few days ago and realised that water is a problem the world-over, especially in Africa and Asia there are such difficulties in accessing water.
What I want to point out is that boreholes are a good intervention. This is a low hanging fruit and it can be referred to as a quick win. Once a borehole is installed where water is not readily available – I am a resident of Harare. We spent about a week without water, so if the President comes to give us these boreholes, he would have done us great because for a week or more in other places, if you are to carry out your research, they are no longer used to running water from the tape. Once the Government has done that, we give them kudos for a job well done.
It is my considered view that the leadership of local councils should manage the affairs well because some of them do not care. They have no policy in terms of how they deal with the delivery of water and how they are going to solve that problem. They will be busy looking at their perks. I also urge citizens and residents in these local areas to pay their water bills but once they have paid, we conducted a research and found out that they said that once they pay their water bill, they will still be billed for what they would have already paid. Once you lose a receipt, you would have lost it. If you had not paid through swipe and had paid through cash, they could even tell you that you have not paid and they will still charge you a second time for the same bill that has already been paid for. I urge councils to look after their accounting system well so that people do not unnecessarily have to pay for what they have already paid for because in the council’s records, there is nothing to show for it.
I have also observed the reason why we do not have water. It is because we are now building in wetlands. Wetlands were created by God so that they can be used as a source of natural water purification so that you are able to get clean water, but it has become the norm these days that people are being offered residential stands in wetlands and as a result, the ecosystem has now been disturbed. So the Government is trying to put in place dams and with the little that we have as residents and citizens, we should work together hand-in-glove so that we show that we are for the development of this country. We should not be selfish; we should not be pointing fingers at each other because it does not help us. At this hour, what we need is to act in concert and work with a common purpose even paying those that would have put boreholes in place. I thank you.
(v)HON. MOKONE: Madam Speaker, I would like to thank the mover of the motion, Hon. Hamauswa and the seconder Hon. Mushoriwa. They brought up a very pertinent motion before this House.
Madam Speaker, if your memory serves you right, I am one of the people in this House who is always advocating for water for my people in Matabeleland South. So when Hon. Hamauswa brought up this motion, I was very happy because it meant that he is actually speaking the same language that I have been speaking before this House.
Madam Speaker, water is a constitutional right and as such, it becomes a human right issue and clean water and sanitation is one of the SDG goals that were outlined by the United Nations to be achieved by 2030. So there is need to prioritise the issue of clean water. We have seen people being deprived of this key right in the cities. If you check most of the cities across the country, these days, people are drawing water from sources that are very ancient. Cities have been reduced to the early stone age period where people used to draw water from wells. Where I come from in Gwanda in Matabeleland South, a week hardly passes by without shortage of water. You see towns and borders like Beitbridge and Plumtree running dry and these are key borders in our nation of Zimbabwe, they cannot afford to be without water even for an hour.
I have witnessed the provincial capital of Matabeleland South, that is Gwanda, running dry for quite some time. You can think of places like hospitals. As I have said that Gwanda is a provincial capital, which means that everyone who is not feeling well or every major operation is referred to the provincial capital. Madam Speaker, can you think about what happens in the hospitals when there is no water especially to the women. You can imagine the situation that happens at the Maternity Ward when there is no water.
The other issue that I would also like to raise is the effects of the shortage of water to the school going age. At times we have seen school children not going to school because they will be trying to get the precious liquid. So it is quite prudent for us to actually prioritise clean water so that people can live very health lives in Zimbabwe.
Madam Speaker, at this moment, I would like to also talk about water harvesting. When you look at the nation’s economy, it is agrarian and it also depends on mining. It is agrarian, which means water is very key. At this point in time, we should be actually appraised of developments that have happened towards the construction of the Thuli-Manyame Dam in Matabeleland South and the Zambezi Water Project. There is need for us to prioritise such projects because they actually speak about water harvesting.
Madam Speaker, the last issue that I would like to talk about is the issue of pipes. If you see most towns these days, they always experience pipe bursts. It is because of the population that is now in the towns. Most of these pipes were actually installed when the population was not as large as it is now, especially in the city where I come from, there are always pipes bursting because of the large population that is in these small towns.
Lastly, I would like to support the motion that has been brought by Hon. Hamauswa and I would like to say there is need for Government to prioritise the issue of clean water and safe water across the country. I thank you.
HON. GABBUZA: Thank you Madam Speaker for recognising me. I just wish to raise a few points with regards to this motion raised by Hon. Hamauswa. Madam Speaker, I think there are three things that we must admit that we have failed as a country and which are an indicator of failure.
If you find a town building paid toilets, that is an admission of failure. If a town or a population starts drinking bottled water, that is an admission of failure and sinking boreholes in towns, that is an admission of failure. Madam Speaker, when we grew up, all these three things were taboo in urban areas. We never knew about them. Clearly like somebody said, you drank straight from the tap because tap water was clean. Now, because we have failed to manage our water systems, we have those three things. Why do we have this water problem? I think partly it is because of poor planning or lack or planning altogether. I am saying so because in cities, there is what we generally call the urban sprawl, the movement of people in and out of towns, going further away from the CBD. That rate of urban sprawl must be known by the local authorities; they should know the rate at which the city is expanding so that they are able to calculate the amount of water that is commensurate with the level of growth. There is also a natural increase of people living in the city. Therefore, the local authority must be able to plan according to the growth rate and rate of urban sprawl. I doubt if you ask any local authority now what their rate of growth is, they would give you an answer. That is exactly what is causing some of these problems. The cities are growing and nobody is providing the necessary calculations for that growth to move in tandem with the requirement for the water. Ignorance is also part of the problem. Part of the ignorance is caused by the skills flight.
In most of our local authorities, that institutional memory of the water or infrastructure distribution system is no longer there. When you design a water distribution system, it must be drawn on a diagram to show where the valves are, the size of taps, size of pipes, the distribution lines et cetera. Even when you change your valves, you must be able to go back to your drawings and change so that whoever comes will have a clear picture of what changed within the original system. I am raising this because I remember that in one of the cities - if not Gweru, it should be Kwekwe, they had a huge water shortage problem which went on and on and they tried to bring in more water but there was still a shortage until one old man was brought in and said, ‘no there is a valve number so and so which is continuously closed’ and they did not know where that valve was.
Similarly, I remember we had a very big water problem in Binga town until we called in some old man who advised that we check the whole distribution line so that we establish the problem. Clearly, there were some valves that were not even on the diagram which never opened and those gave the water problems. I think part of the problems that we have in the cities is lack of that institutional memory where people would know where things are and how to manage those old systems. Fine, the system could have been overgrown but the existing systems are not operating to their maximum capacity because people do not seem to know what is there because people who knew are no longer there.
Evidence of ignorance also is seen when you ask the Harare City Council what our problem with water is, I think historically ever since I came into this Parliament, there was a time when we were told that the problem is Kunzvi Dam and as long as you build Kunzvi Dam, water will increase and Government will put in more water bodies and we will have solved our problems. Some even said the problem is shortage of electricity and we need to have a dedicated line which will power the Morton Jaffrey Water Works and ZESA did that but the problems never abated. At some stage, some were saying the water treatment plant needs revamping and the Chinese camped there for months if not years trying to sort out Morton Jaffrey works but to no avail. The little water that is there in Harare, not all of it but about 20% gets to the people. Most of it is lost because the system is old and the people managing the system have no idea where things are and how to manage that system. As long as we do not work on that, we are failing to address the system.
One other point I wanted to raise from this motion, there is talk of water all over the country. I think one of our major problems is siltation of dams which is being caused by human activities, our own carelessness as human beings. If we look at how this country was designed, the early planners of this country left a very big forest area around the watersheds which was untouched and nobody settled there. But we have gone ahead and moved into these areas which are meant to prevent siltation because that is the source of our rivers. I know for a fact that Mzola Forest for the Gwayi River was clearly protected and nobody would enter there but people are now settled in those areas causing a lot of soil erosion and eventually bringing in a lot of soil into our river systems. So, as long as we do not realise that there is need to leave buffer zones where our rivers originate and pass through to avoid that siltation, we will continue to have problems.
Lastly, boreholes are necessary but they are not a solution to ending our water problems. Boreholes have their own problems such as the issue of maintenance. For instance, in rural areas, they do provide clean water according to the Ministry of Health although sometimes with a lot of minerals.
Boreholes do not solve water problems in communities because there are always breakdowns and the technical skills in those areas are not available. Boreholes will also not assist animals because they will not be able to pump water for themselves. So they should only be a stop gap measure until we have enough dams and other sources of water that are not difficult to manage. It reminds me of those boreholes that were promised by the Ministry of Agriculture and Water. We were told that there will be 10 or so boreholes per village. I am sure that was last year but I have not seen even a single one that was sunk. So, as long as our approach is like that to solving problems, our water woes will never end. By this time of the year, we must be saying out of the seven boreholes per village, so far three have been sunk if that has happened. In my constituency, that programme has not started. We were told several lids were purchased from China but they have not arrived. If they have arrived, they have not come to the constituencies. So as long as we have that lacklustre attitude to solving problems, water will continue being a problem.
We are blessed in this country. We have almost six months of rainfall but that rain flows to the Indian Ocean and we do not have mechanisms to harness water. The few dams that are there are all old dams which need a lot or rehabilitation. The few that we were able to construct some of them have been destroyed. We know that Zimbabwe is a drought prone area, we have seasonal rainfall and we do not have perennial, all year round so our strategy should simply be to make sure every two kilometres, there is a dam in every river so that whatever rain falls on our land is all harnessed and very little gets to the Indian Ocean. If we did that I am sure we will have solved a lot of our water challenges and besides that dam, the water will assist to recharge our boreholes and we will have no dry boreholes in the country. I thank you Madam Speaker.
(v)HON. C. MOYO: Thank you Madam Speaker for affording me this opportunity to add my voice to this very important motion that was moved by Hon. Hamauswa and proudly seconded by Hon. Mushoriwa. Indeed water is life and it is a constitutional matter, Section 77 where every person has the right to safe, clean and potable water. What is important on that particular section is that the State must take reasonable legislative and other measures within its limits towards the progressive realisation of this right. Here we are Madam Speaker, we are trying to come up with a measure of making sure that we realise that right.
I want to say I used my constituency development funds to do water kiosks in my constituency. The water kiosks were initiated by Bulawayo City Council where they were installing Jojo tanks with some taps. I did that in Ward 9 in Mpopoma and Ward 13 in Pelandaba. I could have used the funds to do other projects like refurbishing our youth and women centres. I took that money and made sure that the Jojo tanks were installed in my constituency. Indeed, we need to support the prayer from Hon. Hamauswa seconded by Hon. Mushoriwa.
Matabeleland Zambezi Water Project was mooted in 1912 and today we are in 2022. If I can do just a mental arithmetic, it is now 109 years and for sure Bulawayo has a perennial problem of water shortages. After 109 years, still Gwayi –Shangani is a dream. Across the political divide we must support the prayer from Hon. Hamauswa, that we have a supplementary budget to solve water and sanitation issues. The most embarrassing thing in this COVID era, the residents in Emabutweni as well as Iminyela, more than 30 people are using one ablution facility. I do support that we declare wateudget for these sanitation issues.
In trying to buttress the point, on 9 July 2021 according to New Zimbabwe online publication, the headline said the Government was struggling to fund the Gwayi-Shangani Dam project. The only solution is that let us have a supplementary budget and declare water a national disaster and unlock several opportunities so that we can solve this perennial problem.
I want to talk about SDG goals. Several Hon. Members were highlighting Sustainable Development Goal 6 that ensures availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all. The supplementary budget will not onlyr as a disaster and I do support that we do a supplementary b address SDG 6 but it will address SDG No. 1 that is ending poverty amongst our citizens. It will also address Sustainable Goal No. 2, that is to end hunger, achieve food security and improve nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture. Not only that Madam Speaker, SDG No. 3 ensures health and promote the well-being of our citizens. Above all, SDG 11 - that is making our cities and human settlements inclusively safe resilient and sustainable. There is no doubt that if we have this supplementary budget it will solve all these problems which are being faced by our citizens and address all these ills. Yes, let us declare it as a national disaster so that we unlock all funds that can come as we did on our roads and we are making some improvements. I so submit.
(v)HON. P. ZHOU: I also want to support the motion which has been brought about here in the august House. Shortage of water to me and from what I have read, it increases the burden on women as we walk long distances to access it especially in the rural areas. Women face that burden which is generally done by women and girls. Men sometimes do help but I realise that in the rural areas, especially in Zhombe, women do have that burden. The implications of carrying water for long distances may include pains of the body on the chest or back pains.
Water is a women’s issue because it steals the women’s time, even to feed her family and do other things at home because when water is not readily available at home that is a burden to women. According to what I read, girls and women spend an estimated 200 million hours a day trying to find water for their families. Sometimes that water is dirty and not safe for drinking. The shortage of water becomes a personal issue to me. In Ruwa where I sometimes live, there is a water crisis because we get water once a week on a Friday. People have to stay at home to make sure that they utilise that water, fill drums and buckets.
I want to thank Government for trying to make sure that each and every ward has two or several boreholes that can provide clean drinking water. Research has also shown that worldwide more than five million die every year from diseases caused by unsafe drinking water. I really feel that at this time in Zimbabwe if we are looking at Vision 2030, it is very necessary that the local council do not abuse funds which they have. They should utilize these funds to improve water and sanitation for the communities. The Government should assist these local councils. The local councils should also partake from devolution funds and make sure that they improve the sanitation and water situation in the towns. In the rural areas, more boreholes should be sunk and many should be repaired, and many sunk close to the schools, clinics and even in the areas where our livestock have to access water for drinking.
To attain the Vision 2030, we really need a lot of clean water and it is my recommendation that we also implement rain water harvesting systems to collect and store rain water for drinking or for use in the toilets because during the rainy season, sometimes in a day, we can have 100 millimeters of water falling and all of it goes to waste. So we should increase these rain water harvesting techniques.
In conclusion, I want to support the motion moved and seconded by the Hon. Members who are both men and we know men generally do not fetch water but I want to thank them because they are supporting the women. As I have said before, the issue of water crisis becomes a personal issue for women and I want to urge men to help especially the Hon. MPs, the male ones to make sure that when they receive their CDF, to make sure that almost every time they should look back and say how many boreholes have I sunk especially in the rural areas. I rest my case. Thank you.
(v)HON. MOLOKELA-TSIYE: Thank you so much for the opportunity for me to contribute towards this motion which I am grateful for. Thank you to Hon. Hamauswa, seconded by Hon. Mushoriwa on this motion. I rise in support of this motion and I also support the proposal for the water situation, the water crisis to be declared a national disaster that emergency measures be put in place to make sure that we come up with both urgent short term solutions and also well thought-out long terms solutions. The right to water is not negotiable in Zimbabwe. It is protected under the National Constitution. Section 77 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe guarantees that right to safe, clean and portable water.
This provision reflects the country’s obligation to provide water to the citizens as required in the human rights instruments that the country has ratified. All the international protocols that promote access to clean water which Zimbabwe has signed over the years are guaranteed through Section 77. It is therefore the duty of the Government of Zimbabwe and public officials of Zimbabwe to ensure that the millions of citizens of Zimbabwe have guaranteed access to clean water.
Today we are very far from where we were even when you compare in the 1980s, especially in the urban areas. It was normal in cities of Zimbabwe and in the towns of Zimbabwe in the 1980s, for ordinary citizens to have access to clean water from their water taps. There was no need for citizens to buy bottled water. They relied on municipal water. It was normal for citizens in the 1980s to have consistent water supplies from the supply dams around the cities but what we have seen since independence is a rise in the population of the urban areas.
There has been a massive rural to urban migration where we have seen a massive growth of population for some of the urban areas in this country or should I say for most of the urban areas of this country which has led to extreme pressure in terms of the water supply situation. What makes this situation worse is that since independence, most of these town supply dams have remained the same. There has not been a massive investment in terms of building new water supply dams.
We even have a worse situation for the City of Bulawayo where some of its original supply dams have now been declared no longer useful mostly due to siltation. So what you see in Zimbabwe today is a situation where most of our urban areas have increased massively in terms of population while at the same time there has not been a huge investment in terms of building new water supply dams. This has inevitably led to a water crisis situation.
I have also noticed that we have seen a very disturbing phenomenon. In the 1980s, shortly after independence, it was very rare in Zimbabwe to see manual boreholes being erected in the urban areas in Zimbabwe. The only kind of boreholes that were associated with the urban areas of Zimbabwe were the most sophisticated ones that used diesel or electricity. Those that are manual were only seen in the rural council of Zimbabwe. If you go across most towns in Zimbabwe today, you will see that there has been a massive increase in the number of boreholes that are manual. The ordinary that we used to see in the rural areas in the 1980s have now become a common sight in the towns and cities of Zimbabwe.
This is a symptom of the failure of the water supply system. As parliamentarians, we can also confirm that in the recent years when it comes to high impact projects that the residents have been pushing for, you will see that most of the project proposals for the Constituency Development Fund have been focusing on water. Hwange Central Constituency which I come from, this year and last year, both their proposals for Constituency Development Fund focused on water access. This emphasised the need for us to urgently address and resolve the water situation.
I need to also point out that if we do not address the water situation, we are creating another crisis because what has happened in recent years is that we have not only seen a proliferation of manual boreholes in cities such as Harare, but we have seen also a massive number of increase of the diesel, electricity or solar powered boreholes that is also going to affect the ecosystem of Harare because the water table is under threat. That means the ecology of these cities or towns is going to be affected and all other animals or organisms that depend on water in terms of the wetlands, swamps and the consistency of rains - all are all going to be affected.
More importantly, you might see a situation where some of the land being unstable because of the massive reduction of the water table - that means some of the buildings, constructions and big cities like Harare might also collapse unexpectedly due to the massive decline of the water table. So it is an infrastructural engineering disaster time bomb that we are sitting on as the water table continues to rescind.
I am in full support of the need for all of us to come together, there is no need for us to blame each other, there is no need for Parliament to blame the Executive - there is no need for anyone, the local Government or the Central Government to be blamed. This is not the time to politic - it is the time to fulfill the expectations of the Constitution of Zimbabwe. In line with Section 77 of our Constitution, it is our responsibility to unite and make sure that citizens of Zimbabwe have easy access to safe, clean and potable water which is presently not the situation.
It is my strong view that we should declare, as a country, the water situation a national disaster so that we may unlock the emergency funds that are available once a disaster situation is officially recognised so that we are able to harness the financial resources that we have as a country to decisively react to the situation before it gets out of hand.
I need to also emphasise that if we do not resolve the water situation, we may have other problems like epidemics that are water related. There are diseases like dysentery, cholera and others that can arise and create a big crisis in the densely populated urban areas of Zimbabwe if the water crisis is not resolved. Consistent water rationing; I am aware that the City of Bulawayo has already issued a notice in the last few days that it is going to retain the water rationing. This obviously leads and causes a risk of health hazards and waterborne diseases.
We need to come up with a long lasting solution to the water crisis, especially the one affecting the urban areas. I think it is important as Parliament of Zimbabwe, that we work together from across the political divide to support this motion, to make sure that the water crises situation in this country is declared a national disaster.
In line with Section 77 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe, we make sure that we have put in place a proper water national strategic plan or a sustainable plan on water supplies and also to make sure that we have a sound policy in terms access to water for citizens of Zimbabwe.
I want to encourage us as Parliamentarians to push for the Government not to only declare the water situation a national disaster but also to have a national water summit where all concerned parties apart from Parliament of Zimbabwe, whether it is community development organisations, residents association, private sector, business sector, women, youths and all the interested stakeholders that we have a meeting with the Government officials and come up with an urgent plan with short term solutions and also the long term solutions.
However, the bottom line is that we can no longer continue to pretend that all is well - something has to be done urgently. We need to take action now because access to water is no longer easy for the majority of the citizens of this country. Let us take action now, declare lack of access of water in Zimbabwe a national disaster now. I thank you.
*HON. NYAMUDEZA: Thank you Madam Speaker. I would want to thank the mover of this motion Hon. Hamauswa and the seconder Hon. Mushoriwa. The budget for the Ministry that deals with water needs to be increased. We may not talk much about it but as has earlier on been said, starting next week, they should sit down; that is the Ministry of Local Government and Public Works, the Ministry of Environment and the Ministry of Agriculture, should put their heads together. They should be looking into the issue of wetlands in towns.
The Local Government ministry should stop pegging stands in wetlands. We see that there has not been a stop to the pegging of residential stands in wetlands. During the rain seasons, a lot of houses were damaged because their foundations were destroyed by the rains. The Ministry of Environment should go to the communal lands and engage the local leadership and conduct workshops so that wherever people are resettled, they should also be talking about river bank cultivation where people are being resettled so that they are not going to experience water shortages or problems like in other areas.
We should have been talking about the Matabeleland Water Project because it should have come up on the grid by now. There are certain places like in the Eastern Highlands where I come from - there is more than adequate rainfall. There is a lot of the rain that falls in that area but is not being harvested. There are no dams that are being constructed in those areas.
In my constituency, there is a problem. There are rivers that flow on a daily basis but there are no dams. If you look into all the whole of Manicaland, no dams have been constructed. Areas in Zimbabwe, the water that we have can be harnessed and be used to serve three quarters of the Zimbabwean population. The motion that has been raised calls upon the Government, at all levels - whether it is in the urban or rural areas, water should be harvested so that we have food security. This is an important motion calling on the Government to look into this issue and that there should be unity of purpose. As a country, we should come up with solutions to alleviate water challenges. I thank you Madam Speaker.
+HON. G. DUBE: Thank you Madam Speaker for giving me this opportunity in support of the motion which was moved by Hon. Hamauswa, seconded by Hon. Mushoriwa. Indeed, it is true that we agree as Hon. Members that water is a basic necessity which is in short supply throughout Zimbabwe taking into cognisance that Government is not putting up enough means to provide water for communities. Madam Speaker, I would like to make it clear that in areas like my place of origin, Victoria Falls along the Zambezi valley, the irony is that there is a shortage of water because there is no proper machinery which can be used to channel water from the Zambezi River to the community.
Madam Speaker, as I am speaking, in a city like Victoria Falls which is a tourist resort area, residents, lodges and other business entities can go for a week or two without tap water as a result of obsolete equipment which does not have the capacity to supply the whole city. Residents of townships like Mkhosana are not accessing water but those who are able to access water are residents of the affluent suburbs and hotels. Furthermore, this is a national problem and my desire is that Government should take note of such challenges, considering that the Constituency Development Fund and the Devolution Funds are not enough to cater for service provision projects. For instance, Victoria Falls has only two reservoirs which supply the whole town. I would also like to implore the Government through the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development to take note of tourist resort areas like Victoria Falls and Kariba so that they can benefit from revenue which is being collected, whether it is 10% or 15% which will be channeled to water reticulation. I also believe that this would result in the refurbishment of dilapidated infrastructure, pipes and other equipment in townships. There is a lot of revenue which is being collected in these towns but the challenge is that such monies are being taken to Harare. It is my request that looking at the challenge of water shortage, there should be a retention fund in all towns because only the affluent are able to access water whilst those who live in high density areas are facing water shortages.
The Zambezi River is endowed with a lot of water, whilst those who live along the valley are facing water shortages. It is also prudent that Government should intervene, at the same time channeling resources towards the provision of water. This can be done through the National Parks and recreational facilities in towns like Victoria Falls, Hwange and Kariba. Looking at the sinking of boreholes in different areas, they cannot be sufficient because of the depth that is required to reach the water table in arid areas. It is prudent that whatever revenue generated in such areas should be channeled back to the communities so as to alleviate water shortages. With these few words, I would like to support the motion which was moved by Hon. Hamauswa and supported by other Hon. Members. Thank you.
*HON. TEKESHE: Thank you Madam Speaker. I rise to support the motion raised by Hon. Hamauswa and supported by Hon. Mushoriwa. I have observed that we now have problems in our cities. We were not aware of the problems that these pipes corrode due to age. As a result, in Rusape we do not have piped water. We would want an emergency being declared so that the pipes that are in the cities are changed. The Government should be looking into that and those that are in Government should know that each and every item has a lifespan. Once the lifespan of these pipes is gone, we are about to have problems due to corrosion and water pipe bursts. The Government should also come with solutions as well as what has been said by Hon. Gabbuza that we should be aware that there is population growth in these cities. We should be moving with time and also anticipate population growth.
Even if you look at the vehicles that we have in towns, our planning should be way ahead and never behind so that there should not be any congestions. The issue of water provision should not be politicised. There are some areas where boreholes are sunk because these areas are controlled by the ruling party and nothing is being done for those areas that are controlled by Members of the Opposition. Thank you.
HON. TOGAREPI: I move that the debate do now adjourn.
HON. TEKESHE: I second.
Motion put and agreed to.
Debate to resume: Tuesday, 14th June, 2022.
On the motion of HON. TOGAREPI, seconded by HON. TEKESHE, the House adjourned at Nine Minutes past Six o’clock p.m. until Tuesday, 14th June, 2022.