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NATIONAL ASSEMBLY HANSARD 9 MAY 2024 VOL 50 NO 48

PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE

Thursday, 9th May, 2024

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

PRAYERS

(THE HON.  SPEAKER in the Chair)

           ANNOUNCEMENT BY THE HON. SPEAKER

SWEARING IN OF NEW MEMBERS

          THE HON. SPEAKER: I have to inform the House that on Monday, 6th May, 2024, Parliament was notified by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) that in terms of Section 39 (7) of the Electoral Act [Chapter 2: 13], the following members of the Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) Party, were duly appointed as Members of the National Assembly to fill in vacancies that occurred, following the recall of the incumbent members by the CCC Party. The appointments are with effect from 28th  April, 2024. The members are as follows:- Chitimbe Vivian Pamella, Harare Metropolitan; Batitsa Nyasha, Manicaland Province; Mureyani Samantha, Manicaland Province; Marikano Diana, Mashonaland East Province; Rungwave Tsungirirai, Masvingo Province; and Gwabeni Melphiner, Midlands Province.

Section 128 (1) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe provides that, before a Member of Parliament takes his or her seat in Parliament, the Member must take the oath of a Member of Parliament as set out in the Third Schedule of the Constitution. Section 128 (2) states that the oath must be taken before the Clerk of Parliament.

          I, therefore, call upon the Clerk of Parliament to administer the oath of a Member of Parliament. I now call upon the members to subscribe to the Oath of Loyalty – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] -

NEW MEMBERS SWORN

          HON. CHITIMBE VIVIAN PAMELLA,  HON. BATITSA NYASHA, HON. MUREYANI SAMANTHA, HON. MARIKANO DIANA, HON. RUNGWAVE TSUNGIRIRAI, AND HON. GWABENI MELPHINER subscribed to the Oath of Loyalty as required by the law and took their seats – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] –

ANNOUNCEMENTS BY THE HON. SPEAKER

APPOINTMENT TO THE SPEAKER’S PANEL

          THE HON. SPEAKER: Hon. Naledi Maunganidze joins the Speaker’s Panel. Can you come and take your seat – [HON. MEMBERS: Ululations.]-

APPOINTMENT TO THE IPU DELEGATION

          THE HON. SPEAKER: Hon. Lusyomo Nyelele becomes a member of the IPU delegation – [HON. MEMBERS: Ululations.]-

APPOINTMENT TO PORTFOLIO COMMITTEES

          THE HON. SPEAKER: The following two Hon Members recently sworn in, join the following Portfolio Committees; Hon Kiven Mutimbanyoka joins the Portfolio Committee on Defence, Home Affairs, Security Services and War Veterans as well as the Portfolio Committee on Higher and Tertiary Education.

          Hon. George Mashavave will join the Portfolio Committee on Local Government, Public Works and National Housing as well as the Portfolio Committee on Defence, Home Affairs, Security Services and War Veterans.

          HON. MADZIVANYIKA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir, for according me the opportunity to share in Parliament, my point of national interest. My point of national interest relates to the utterances made by the governing party’s spokesperson Ambassador Chris Mutsvangwa in the last three weeks, pertaining to the issue the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe gold which was in its vaults and at some point in 2014 sold to the Arabs through a conglomerate called Ali Baba. The spokesperson went on to say that the income or revenue from the sale of the gold was never accounted for. For that matter therefore …

          Hon Togarepi having stood up to raise a point of order.

          THE HON. SPEAKER: Order! This matter was dealt with accordingly through a statement by the former Governor of the Reserve Bank, Dr. Gono. So the matter of interest does not arise.

          HON. MAMOMBE: Thank you Hon. Speaker Sir.  Mine is a point of privilege and thank you for your indulgence.  Zimbabwe is a member of the Inter Parliamentary Union and it is a global organisation of national Parliaments.  Previously, we even held a position in the Executive through your appointment.  Now, allow me to bring to the attention of this House the report that was done by the IPU on 27th March where the IPU released a report by the Committee on Human Rights of the Parliamentarians.  In the report by the IPU, there is a decision that concerns the Parliament of Zimbabwe.  It is crucial that this House takes note of that decision…

          HON. TOGAREPI:  On a point of order Mr. Speaker.  I think if there was a report from IPU that our own delegation did and the report which I think was debated here, can we bring back the issues of IPU into this House when they were dealt with in the report of this Committee that represents this Parliament?  Can we bring it here again as a point of national interest?  What interest has it?

          THE HON. SPEAKER:  Yes, the point of privilege is misdirected as alluded to by the Government Chief Whip.  There was a report and that report should have been dealt with, and also when the matter was tabled at the IPU Assembly, Zimbabwe had the right of reply.  I replied accordingly and the matter was adopted without any further debate.  What remains now is for the Committee on the Human Rights for Parliamentarians to proceed in the manner they think so fit and we are waiting for that.

          HON. MAMOMBE:  With all due respect Mr. Speaker Sir, I had not even finished the point of privilege and say what is the point.

          THE HON. SPEAKER:  No, no, the Government Chief Whip was correct and if there was an issue, that should have been debated under the report of the IPU.

          HON. MAMOMBE:  It is not an issue Hon. Speaker Sir.  You did not even hear my point of privilege.

          THE HON. SPEAKER: No, unfortunately no.

          HON. MAMOMBE:  It is okay Hon. Speaker Sir.

          THE HON. SPEAKER:  With all due respect.

          HON. MAMBIPIRI: Thank you very much Mr. Speaker Sir.  I rise on a point of national interest on the raging Cholera cases that are in the country.  As Members may be aware, yesterday the Ministry of Health released rising and therefore, worrying national statistics around Cholera.  Whereas Cholera appeared to be subdued and the new cases suppressed at the end of last year, there is now a new and worrying surge in terms of numbers.  Yesterday alone, there were 43 new Cholera cases and as of today, Zimbabwe has recorded 35 000 Cholera cases. We have lost 709 precious lives due to this medieval disease.  Mr. Speaker Sir, it has been a year of fighting Cholera with no end in sight since the first case was recorded in February 2023, in Chegutu.  Now, Cholera has spread to more than 63 districts and is now ravaging our communities in the 10 provinces that we have.  In Kadoma where I come from, last week we buried a casualty each day for four consecutive days.  As I stand here today, we have 22 people battling for lives within Kadoma admitted at various Cholera centres.  Whilst Government declared a state of emergency regarding Cholera some time ago, we certainly need to find a new impetus in the fight against Cholera.  I appreciate the men and women who have made their vocation to be at the forefront in fighting against this disease, but there are more strategic steps that need to be taken both at Government and local levels if we are to win this fight. 

          The first one is for Government to mobilise more and more resources in order to fund and support the local centres and the men and women who are standing guard in the fight against Cholera.  The second is for Government to immediately partner with local authorities in the provision of safe drinking water and sanitation services.  The third one is for civil society organisations and NGOs to also be reined-in on resource mobilisation in support of the same cause.  Lastly, is an appeal to the national media not to bury issues and statistics of Cholera under the carpet, but to raise awareness and publicise heavily the incidences of Cholera.  I thank you.

          THE HON. SPEAKER:  I wish you had asked your question yesterday at question time so that you would share your strategies with the Minister of Health concerned.  But your observations are noted.

MOTION

BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE

          HON. TOGAREPI:  Mr. Speaker, I move that Order of the Day, Number 1 be stood over until Order of the Day Number 2 has been disposed of.

          HON. HAMAUSWA:  I second.

          Motion put and agreed to.

MOTION

LEGISLATION DEFICIENCIES IN THE DEPOSIT PROTECTION LEGISLATIVE FRAMEWORK IN TERMS OF THE DEPOSIT PROTECTION CORPORATION ACT

          Second Order read:  Adjourned debate on motion on the Protection of Depositors and Investors Deposits in Banks and other Financial Institutions.

          Question again proposed.

          THE HON. SPEAKER:  Now, for purposes of consistency, I have been given names of Hon. Members who are going to debate from my right.  I do not seem to have a list from Members on my left.  Be that as it may, I shall proceed by calling upon Hon. J Tshuma to take the floor.

HON. J. TSHUMA: Thank you very much Mr. Speaker Sir, for giving me this opportunity to add my humble voice towards this very pertinent issue. Good afternoon Sir.

THE HON. SPEAKER:  Afternoon.

HON. J. TSHUMA: Mr. Speaker Sir, I will speak from a layman’s point of view, seeing that I am a representative of the people. This Bill that is before us is long overdue. I was wondering that we are just lucky that we have not had any…

THE HON. SPEAKER:  Just a minute. When you say from a learned point of view, are you a lawyer?

HON. J. TSHUMA:   Not as yet – [HON. MEMBERS: Laughter.] – I am working towards it.

THE HON. SPEAKER:  Anyway, I think you need to correct yourself. The only group of learned people are the lawyers.

HON. J. TSHUMA: No, I said layman, not learned.

THE HON. SPEAKER:  Ooh, layman. I beg your pardon.

HON. J. TSHUMA: :  I will forgive you Mr. Speaker Sir – [Laughter.] –

THE HON. SPEAKER:  Please proceed.

HON. J. TSHUMA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. As I was saying, it is just by sheer luck and God’s grace that we have not had any bank closing up to today, from the time these things were happening and prior. Can you imagine if a bank had to close before this Bill had been enacted? We were going to have disaster Mr. Speaker Sir. I want to urge this House to expedite the processes of making sure that this Bill is put into order and passed.

I want to bring to light that as we debate this issue, let us look at the mindset of prevention more than coming with measures to try and address an issue that would have occurred. I am saying so Mr. Speaker Sir because there are a lot of things that we can do towards this Bill that can empower the system to make sure that we do not have banks collapsing the same way that we saw during that time when banks like Trust Bank, Royal Bank and those other banks that were there collapsed.

One of the first suggestions that I wanted to put to this House Mr. Speaker Sir, is that in the very beginning process of registering a bank, I think it is prudent and important that these very same institutions, the Deposit Protection Corporation must be incorporated into the systems that vet the banks to be given licences instead of putting them at the tail end of coming to solve a problem when the problems have already begun and occurred, affecting people. Mr. Speaker Sir, can you imagine if the Deposit Protection Corporation was part of the system that vets the very same banks that want to get licences. We would have all these loopholes and all those boxes ticked already, so that by the time a bank is allowed to come and operate, it comes in with all the prudence that we expect it to have.

Like somebody said in one of the papers that I was reading, they even said that if you want to rob Zimbabweans without holding a gun, just open a bank. What kind of scenario is that, in which we put upon our people, the depositors themselves? So it is important that measures are put to prevent these issues from happening.

Mr. Speaker Sir, it is also important in this Bill to thoroughly look at the conduct of management of these banks. We cannot allow people to come in and manage banks. After that they are living lives that are beyond reasonable means. They are going off on holidays and they are giving each other loans from the same banks using the money that is deposited by some people. At the end of the day, when those monies cannot be paid back, who is suffering? The people that I represent.

That is why I say it is prudent that all these things are checked from the day it starts up to the day it finally explodes. The conduct of management must definitely be looked into. The people that want to come and manage banks must be looked into. If we do not do that, we also run a risk of scaring away investors in the banking sector Mr. Speaker Sir because at the end of the day, those investors suffer, and at times they will not have been part of the whole scandal that has caused the bank to collapse.

I have seen one article that was saying the residual assets must be withheld by the Deposit Protection Corporation and I was asking my self why? The residual assets are things that have been left after everything has been done and all the creditors have been disposed of, so why are we now enacting a law that says that residual assets must be held back by the same Deposit Protection Coroporation, instead of giving back to the shareholder so that at least they can recoup something from whatever would have happened in their investment?

It is very important Mr. Speaker Sir for us to look at these things with sober minds. Otherwise we will end up having a sector that is very much unbankable. A sector wherein nobody wants to deposit money. Also, in that same vein, the insurance part of the system, I do not understand why we do not have a law or enact a law which will make sure that whatever deposit I have put in, I must be able to be paid back all my money. I do not understand why they must pay me part of the money, yet I would have deposited my money there. Why are they not ensuring that money enough so that when there is something that has gone wrong, my money as a depositor is given back to me and I do not suffer any prejudice?

I think it is one of the things that we need to look into and say, how do we do that and how do we come up with a law that will compel these insurers to make sure that they cover the depositor more than anything. Like I said, I am not going to speak about all the other creditors like the ZIMRA and others. I am talking about that depositor from Tsholotsho, Binga and other areas, who have deposited their last dollar and now they are told they cannot get their money any more. It becomes unfair on them.

Also Mr. Speaker Sir, I think there is need for a law that will speed up the whole process from the RBZ handing over to the Deposit Protection Corporation. It takes time and somebody would have deposited their money in there. They want to use it like yesterday, but are now told they must wait, there is a process that must happen before everything is done. There is also this issue of saying, the creditors must now travel either to Bulawayo or Harare presently, to the Master of High Court to go and put up their claim there. Let us put a law to say that depositor simply put in their money there, why now say they must come there to lodge a claim? That should be done for large corporates, not these individual depositors. Please protect our people because the person would have deposited a mere $500 there and they are coming from Binga. They are told to go to Bulawayo. They will have to provide their own transport, their own accommodation, food and everything. Their money will end up getting finished from travelling to go and claim that $500.

Let us have a system where they are protected to say, we know the Hon. Speaker, Hon. Mudenda has an account here and it has $500 and unfortunately …

THE HON. SPEAKER:  Order. You do not give example of the Chair.

HON. J. TSHUMA: I beg your pardon Mr. Speaker.

THE HON. SPEAEKR: Withdraw.

HON. J. TSHUMA: Let us just simply say, Mr. X – [HON. MEMBERS: Withdraw, withdraw.] – I beg your pardon Mr. Speaker Sir. I withdraw that statement.

THE HON. SPEAKER: Thank you.

HON. J. TSHUMA: I know you do not have $500 in the account. I am sorry about that. I was saying, Mr. X is known that he is a depositor in that certain bank, why are we making it tedious for them to keep on coming to lay a claim of an account that is known that account number so exists? Let us put laws that are going to make things easy for our people Mr. Speaker Sir, instead of having people go through horrendous experiences. After all, they are already experiencing a nightmare that their money is probably no longer there and they are not even sure if they are going to get that money.

Mr. Speaker Sir, I just stood up to say, let me add my voice from the point of view of that depositor from Mufakose, Pelandaba, Tshabalala to say no, make things easy for us and please make sure that whatever we do, we must have a situation whereby whatever I put in must be brought back to me. It should be as simple as all that. Let us not suffer as depositors for whatever we have put in there and for the mismanagement of the banks. I so submit. Thank you so much Mr. Speaker Sir.

          HON. ZIKI:  Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  Good afternoon.  Thank you for the opportunity given to me to add my voice to this very important topic.  Depositor protection in Zimbabwe is managed by the DPC established in 2011 which aimed to protect depositors by providing a safety net in case of bank failures.  This is how it works.  This DPC covers deposits of up to a maximum of a thousand Zimbabwe dollars.  Now, with the new currency that we have, I do not know what will that amount to, but this is per depositor per bank. So, if one has more than one account with several banks, you will only be compensated what you have per bank.  This is a ridiculous law as alluded to by the first speaker. 

          Mr. Speaker Sir, membership of the DPC comprises commercial banks, merchant banks and building societies.  The funding is by contribution to the DPC which is used to protect the depositors.  In the event of a bank’s failure, the DPC reimburses depositors up to the covered amount within 90 days.  To enhance depositor protection in Zimbabwe, the following steps could be done.  I am coming in with more of recommendations on how we can have DPC work properly for us. 

  1. We need to increase coverage limits; the current coverage limit is relatively low and could be increased to provide more comprehensive protection.
  2. We need to expand coverage and consider including other financial institutions such as micro-finance institutions, credit unions under the Deposit Protection Scheme. We need to strengthen regulation and supervision most importantly.
  3. Enhanced capacity of regulatory bodies to monitor and supervise banks. Ensuring the stability and soundness.
  4. Improve, public awareness, educate depositors about the Deposit Protection Scheme and their rights.
  5. Regular review and update, periodically review and update the Deposit Protection Framework to address emerging risks and international best practices.
  6. Enhance DPCs capacity, that is to strengthen the DPC operational capacity including its ability to promptly reimburse depositors in case of bank failures.
  7. You need to encourage banking sector for stability. Foster a stable banking sector through effective regulation, supervisions and micro-economic management.

By implementing these measures, Deposit Protection of Zimbabwe can be enhanced, promoting confidence in the banking sector and safeguarding depositors’ funds.  However, there is much more that can be done because the issue here revolves around confidence.  To be more confident in the banking sector, additional measures could be taken.  

  1. To strengthen governance and risk management. Ensure banks have robust management systems, effective boards, transparency decision making processes.
  2. Enhance transparency and disclosure. We require banks to provide clear and timely information about their financial health, risk exposure and operations.
  3. Improve customer service. Banks should prioritise customer satisfaction, respond promptly to complaints and offer tailored financial solutions.
  4. Foster financial inclusion. Expand access to banking services especially for undeserved populations through innovative products and digital channels.
  5. We need to encourage competition, promote level playing field, allowing new entrance, innovative financial institutions to stimulate competition and improve services.
  6. We need to develop a robust consumer protection framework that establishes clear guidelines and enforcement mechanisms to safeguard customer rights and interests.
  7. Invest in financial literacy, educate customers about financial products, risks and responsibilities, empowering them to make informed decisions.
  8. To ensure effective supervision. Enforcement and crisis management capabilities to prevent and respond to banking crisis.
  9. We need to enhance cyber security in data protection, implement measures to safeguard customers’ personal and financial information.
  10. Encourage innovation, digital transformation, support banks on embracing technology, enhancing efficient and offering cutting edge financial institution.
  11. Foster international corporation, collaborate with global regulatory bodies and banks to share best practices across border risks and enhance standards.
  12. Regularly review and update regulations. We need to ensure that regulatory framework is still relevant, effective and responsive to emerging risks and trends.

By implementing these measures,   the banking sector can further enhance, promoting financial stability, customers’ trust and economic growth.  However, there is more that could be done.  There could be incentives offered to depositors.  Offering depositors favourable interest rates is an excellent way to build confidence in the banking sector.  Competitive interest rates can incentivise depositors to keep their funds in the banks.  Promoting financial stability and growth.  Here are some of the potential benefits.

  1. Attractive returns. Favourable interest rates can attract depositors, encouraging them to serve and invest in the banks. 
  2. Increase deposits, higher interest rates can lead to an influx of deposits, providing banks with a stable source of funding.
  3. Reduced capital flight. Competitive rates can discourage depositors from seeking higher returns in foreign banks or alternative investments. 
  4. These encourage savings culture. Attractive interest rates can promote savings culture, helping individuals and business to build a financial safety net. 
  5. Supports economic growth by attracting deposits, encouraging savings, banks can increase lending support, thereby increasing the economic growth and development.
  6. Offering competitive interest rates can foster customer loyalty as depositors are more likely to maintain their accounts and recommend the bank to others.
  7. This improves bank reputation. Offering favourite interest rates can enhance the reputation and demonstrating commitment to customer satisfaction and financial stability. 

By offering interest rates, banks can demonstrate their commitment to depositors’ interests, building trust and confidence in the banking sector.  It is not just the depositor’s protection that we are talking about here that can build confidence to the banking sector.  These issues also as well may add up to building sound financial stable environment.  I so submit Mr. Speaker Sir.  Thank you.

          THE HON. SPEAKER:  Thank you.  I see some dwindling of numbers of Members of Parliament on my left.  Now, we owe it to the taxpayer, to be present even if you are not debating; to listen to others.  We learn by listening from others so that we can improve our knowledge base.  So, whosoever is responsible for advising the Hon. Members on my left, they should come back.  Let us not force the Administration of Parliament to come up with measures to the effect that those who do not attend for a minimum of x number of hours in the House shall not receive their entitlement.  Do not force the Administration of Parliament to go that far. 

HON. TOGAREPI:  Thank you Hon. Speaker, I thought I would also add my voice to the motion by Hon. Jere on the Deposit Protection Fund or Scheme.  The Deposit Protection Corporation was set up by Government to protect depositors against loss in the event of bank failure.  Its purpose, if I were to start from there, it creates peace of mind to those people who bank their money.  In the event of bank failure, they will recover. In the event the bank one is dealing with fails, they will not lose all their investments that they would have invested in that bank. 

          What we have been seeing over the years, somebody said there are cases where the bank is robbed and the robbers end up being shot and die in the process of trying to rob a bank.   Some criminals out there, because they want to rob innocent people of Zimbabwe, come up with an idea of coming up with a bank so that members of the public will then deposit their money and after depositing their money, the bank will say look we are bankrupt now.  The banks themselves pay a premium to the Deposit Protection Corporation for the insurance.  The insurance will pay very little in relation to the deposited funds by the clients.  So if I had deposited ten thousand and my bank then pay for insurance to cover me 500, they will pay that premium, claim the bank is bankrupt and take 9500 to themselves.

          Mr. Speaker, the idea of the Deposit Protection Scheme is everywhere in the world and it is a very noble idea.  I would want to thank our Government for coming up with this fund.  I think on its own, it will not protect the depositors.  The first thing is if it is called an insurance, it must be able to indemnify, to bring the client to his original position.  In this case, the Deposit Protection Scheme does not bring anybody to his or her original position because they chose to pay 500 instead of the whole amount that was exposed to the bank failure. 

          I think as Parliament and as Budget and Finance Committee which is responsible for oversight in that sector, we need to engage the Deposit Protection Fund so that it really works as an insurance company, it is because it becomes a misnomer for it to become an insurance company who pays less than the exposure. 

          Mr. Speaker, the Deposit Protection Scheme, is an institution which only deals with the bank failure at the end of the process. It is not involved in making a decision whether this person, institution and this organisation is prudent enough to be a bank.  So we have seen in the financial sector maybe I would have won a lottery or I have some source of money that I have.  I come and open a bank; the requirement is that there should be so many shareholders with so much equity in the bank. 

          So what do these criminals do? They will then come to the Reserve Bank for registration and say, I am the person opening the bank, but I will not disclose I am the only shareholder.  What I will do is I will come with another ten and give them funny nominal shares to say they are part of the ownership of the bank.  You will only discover that the bank was owned by only one individual at the end of the tunnel when the bank fails.

          I think the Deposit Protection Corporation together with the bank supervision at the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe and everybody involved in protecting the interest of depositors, should be involved beginning at the start of this bank, some of these things could have been disclosed and some of the things could have been picked and we will protect would be depositors.  When a bank fails there are many risks that come to play, confidence in the banking system will obviously fall, there will be more run-ons on the banks.  Banks do banking transaction with each other and some other banks then are exposed in systematic risks of this failing banks. 

          So it is very critical that our Deposit Protection, those who are in the banking sector who intend to be in the banking business, must contribute enough to cover the exposure.  The exposure is the amount of deposits that we put in those banks and must have an insurance. If they are holding one billion dollars in their account where people have deposited same, we should expect them to buy an insurance policy either with DPC or with other insurance companies to the value of one billion dollars; that is when people are insured.

          At the moment, it is just lipstick; it is true that they are not giving our innocent depositors enough cover.  I would also want to say what we have seen in many of these banks that have failed is shareholders borrowing from the bank, directly looting of people’s deposits.  DPC has no teeth, they cannot do anything because supervision rests with the RBZ. They only come in when they are supposed to come and compensate that little percentage of one’s contributions. 

          So I want to agree with the mover of this motion that we need to come up with enough laws, enough teeth for the Deposit Protection Corporation so that they really protect the members of the public who bank with our financial services industry.

          We have so many banks in the past that have failed. We see their owners and those who were involved are still very rich. None of them is broke. It means if I look at them, I see them as still enjoying my money. How can they be rich when they declared bankruptcy? The other issue is that we would want to see the opening of the corporate veils – we need to know by name the people behind the bank. We need to know where they got this money to capitalise the bank. Where did they get this money from? We need to know before we even put our money there, we need to know because we just find somebody opening a bank and he has never been in the banking sector. The guy is not that rich. So, he may use money laundering funds to open a bank and get our money and they declare insolvency. What do we do?

          I agree that we need to ensure that those who open banks must have enough capitalisation that they put aside. In the event of them failing, we can liquidate those assets and compensate depositors. As we speak, those who have stolen our monies use the Deposit Protection Corporation as a place to hide. They will say I failed as a bank and when you want your money, go and see the Deposit Protection Corporation where you are going to be given 10% of what you will have entrusted the bank with.

          I would really think that the Minister of Finance must revisit the present Act that regulates the Deposit Protection Corporation. And also try to create some form of synergy between the DPC and bank supervision at the RBZ so that we have enough early warning signs before the banks fails. We need that early warning sign and people must be allowed then to make an informed decision. For us to know at the day of failure, it means RBZ was sleeping because the signs of a bank that is failing can be read two or three years before the failure of the bank.  Today, we deposit our money in these banks and what they know is to put high charges. Where do they take this money to? No interest is paid in Zimbabwe and today many people keep their monies under their pillows. The reason is that we suspect every bank to be one of these funny institutions that have failed. We can only protect our people by coming up with strong regulations given to DPC because DPC will just pay and they do not even ask questions to the bank. The questions are asked in another institution. The law must explicitly show how DPC and bank supervision at RBZ work together to protect the innocent who save their monies with the bank.

          My prayer is that we would want to have the Minister of Finance together with DPC to come to Parliament and explain how solid their insurance policy is, how they can enhance it either by bringing in more players to ensure that when the bank fails, I should get back my money. I thank you.

          HON. TOGAREPI: I move that the debate do now adjourn.

          HON. MAMOMBE: I second.

          Motion put and agreed to.

          Debate to resume: Tuesday, 14th May, 2024.

MOTION

BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE

          HON. TOGAREPI: I move that we revert to Order Number 3 on today’s Order Paper.

          HON. MAMOMBE: I second.

          Motion put and agreed to.

MOTION

ADMINISTRATION OF THE NATIONAL CADASTRE

SYSTEM TO THE ZIMBABWE NATIONAL GEOSPATIAL

AND SPACE AGENCY

     HON. MHURI: I move the motion standing in my name that:

NOTING that the Minister of Finance, Economic Development and Investment Promotion, in his Budget Statement on the 30th of November 2023, indicated that the 2024 National Budget would cater for:

  1. An Electronic Cadastre system to be administered by the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development; and
  2. A Mining Cadastre system to be administered by the Ministry of Mines and Mining Development.

CONCERNED that the establishment of the two Cadastre systems to be administered by two different ministries carries heavy cost implications and will resultantly be inefficient as well as impracticable;

ACKNOWLEDGING that the Zimbabwe National Geospatial and Space Agency (ZINGSA) currently has the infrastructure and capacity to administer a National Cadastre system; 

NOW, THEREFORE, calls upon Government to assign the responsibility of administering a National Cadastre system to the Zimbabwe National Geospatial and Space Agency, as this would immediately bring a National Cadastre system into effect and inevitably reduce the burden on the fiscus. 

HON. KARIMATSENGA-NYAMUPINGA: I second.

HON. MHURI:  A national cadastre is defined as an official register or database of real estate indicating the spatial distribution of property quantities, values and ownership and will, at a minimum, have all the information necessary to calculate tax obligations on land use. Furthermore, information such as property owner’s profile and characteristics, properties building information, property location and area of land will be recorded. Since the national cadastre provides this important base for taxing property, it has assumed a very crucial role as a source of revenue for governments.

     It must be noted that for national cadastre to be effective, it must combine property related information from important stakeholders such as:

  1. Deeds Office, providing ownership information to property that is registered;
  2. Mining, providing mining rights information which includes claims and future prospecting areas;
  3. Environmental Departments, providing the environmental data and important areas rehabilitated or still to be rehabilitated;
  4. Department of Surveyor General, providing boundary information of all the surveyed properties;
  5. State Owned Entities like National Railways of Zimbabwe providing rail and other important infrastructure information;
  6. Water related entities like ZINWA providing water bodies and access servitudes information;
  7. Department of Roads and related entities providing information on roads and servitudes;
  8. Urban and Rural District Councils providing master plans, building plans on structures on land (to support valuation) and also for the related data sets of properties (which are not necessarily registered at the Deeds Office), i.e.
  9. Servitudes leases giving rights to the use of council or municipal land or buildings
  10. Residential developments offered through cession rights
  11. Formal/informal business or industrial sites occupied through lease rights arrangements
  12. Customary land, State owned land administered by traditional leaders and rural district councils and in some cases with business and lease agricultural activities,

Mr. Speaker Sir, let me give a small background about the cadastre systems projects.

Mining Cadastre

It is important for this House to know that the mining cadastre project started sometime in 2014 and went through a tender process which resulted in a private company working on the project. This is more than nine years ago. We do not have any significant progress on this project since 2014 when the project discussions started.

          Mr. Speaker Sir, the electronic Cadastre system project was divided into two components being the tender for hardware and software, and another one for consultancy.  The discussion concerning these two components started some time in 2021.  The hardware and software part of the electronic Cadastre system project was given to a private company in 2022 and nothing has been covered to this day.  This significant part of the entire project seems to have now been abandoned.  While on the other end, the consultancy project has not covered areas expected in line with their project plan and the last enquiry shows their project at around 10% of implementation.

          Mr. Speaker, it is my respectful view that our private consultancy companies involved in these projects have failed the people of Zimbabwe.  Zimbabwe needs a national Cadastre as of yesterday for us to move with speed as we strive to be an upper middle-income economy by 2030.  The electronic Cadastre and the mining Cadastre are indeed major land management systems in the country.  Hence, they require best practices to be in place that would ensure a successful delivery.  These two high profile projects require that all risks to failure be identified and mitigation steps be put in place.  This will avoid Government overpaying when deadlines are not met or worse so, avoid fruitless and wasteful expenditures when the project shows signs of failure.

          Mr. Speaker Sir, for a project of this nature to succeed, some of the following issues should be put under consideration:

  1.      Deployment of a quality management plan.
  2.     Conducting a systems independent testing
  3.     Conducting continuous audits.
  4.     Transparent and inclusive stakeholder engagement.

Most if not all of the above are not visible in what we are witnessing in the two current projects. At present, we have seen a mushrooming of “cadastres” within various property/land related entities.  All these come at a cost to the fiscus and this should be corrected.  Whilst the use of technologies in these entities is highly appreciated, these efforts can be at best be described as automation exercises.  These separate initiatives in building different “cadastres” will not serve the prime objective of a National Cadastre as sources of spatial information as well as revenue through property tax among other objectives.

Building of national systems require the intelligent use of national resources.  To this effect, we have existing resources at Zimbabwe National Geospatial and Space Agency (ZINGSA).  ZINGSA is a wholly owned Government of Zimbabwe entity, established under the Research Act (Chapter 10:22).  This is an entity which was involved in the launch of Zimbabwe’s first Satellite ZIMSTAT-1.  ZINGSA has also been instrumental in the mapping and regularisation of informal settlements in and around Harare; that is, Caledonia, Epworth, just to mention a few.  ZINGSA is housed at Zimbabwe Science Park 1, where they operate together with Zimbabwe Centre for High Performance Computing (ZCHPC).  ZINGSA has managed to put in place, appropriate systems and platforms which could be utilised for hosting the National Cadastre as opposed to mobilising resources and run parallel cadastre processes by private players.

Automation of the relevant stakeholder systems from departments and entities like Deeds System, Mining System, Surveyor General System, Land Reform System and Council or Municipal systems will be supported and where necessary, expertise provided from ZINGSA to the needy departments.  This will ensure that duplication of effort will be eliminated as these systems will have a common data base environment hosted at ZINGSA (Zimbabwe Science Park 1).  The Mining Cadastre and Surveyor General Cadastre are being developed at a high combined cost of around US$18m, and they have fallen behind in completion, which in turn means that the eventual costs will more than double.  If allowed to develop in this disparate manner, it means there will be duplication of effort, more effort, more costly and at the same time, the overall objective of having a Cadastre to provide spatial information and support revenue from property tax will be missed and rendered impracticable.

A Single National Cadastre will have the following benefits at the economic level;

  • Integration with banking mortgage systems and finance houses.
  • Data to easily support property valuation will be made available to Government, councils/municipalities and real estate professionals. Currently, it is cumbersome to get this information.
  • Easy management of spatial information (location and size of properties) by National Government and Councils and Municipalities.
  • Curbing of illegal activities by Land Barons as all information on land and ownership, registered and non-registered properties will be at one place.
  • Providing integrated information that is needed by investors in mining and property development.

On the other hand, people of Zimbabwe:

  • Will have easy access to much needed property information and verifications, which will also curb property fraud and disputes:
  • Will have visibility of available areas in mining and within their councils and municipalities to request for allocation or start any type of business.

Madam Speaker, the status quo of two parallel systems has the following implications.

  • Incorrect Cadastre perceptions: By using the terms cadastre, an impression is being created that the current systems being developed are indeed “true” cadastres.  This is not the case in my respectful view.  The fees charged and perceptions created to the state are those of full cadastres.  It is my respectful view that these are basic automation processes and the ideal situation is for a country to have only one Cadastre system housed at one place.
  • Fragmented Developments: By the mere fact that the two Cadastres are being developed parallel to each other, shows how fragmented the environment is.  These two systems are definitely duplicating functionalities and efforts.  This motion addresses this unwanted situation by proposing one National Cadastre, which is supported by stakeholder data sets and systems.
  1. 3. Post Implementation Operational Sustainability and Maintenance: Cadastral system maintenance and system updates involves costs and challenges that need to be addressed. For example, it can require significant financial, human and technical resources. These two ministries’ core responsibilities are not on technology development, which provides a very big risk once the private service providers are done and they have left. This will expose tax-payers money to high risk. This is a red flag and we propose a freeze on development of these pseudo-cadastres and redirect the management of the developmental process to be done under ZINGSA, a Government entity where the facilities and skills can be found.

Let me acknowledge the wisdom of His Excellency, our President, Dr. E. D. Mnangagwa who officially opened ZINGSA to cater for the highlighted issues as was seen when they launched the first Zimbabwe satellite, ZIMSAT 1. Madam Speaker, other implications to just mention are also:

  1. Data Integrity and Accuracy: Generally, cadastral systems face a number of challenges and some of them include updating and maintaining cadastral records and maps to reflect changes in ownership, boundaries, value, land use overtime. Also, there is need to improve the quality and reliability of cadastral data by ensuring accuracy, completeness and consistency of the information. All these require technical ICT skills that are currently housed at ZINGSA.
  2. The current property tax charged at councils and the one proposed and adopted through the Ministry of Finance, Economic Development and Investment Promotion require property/real estate which is of high integrity and this can only come from a national cadastral system put in place and centrally coordinated.

Madam Speaker, may you allow me to move and address issues of information security if these cadastre processes are left done by private companies and some which might not be resident in Zimbabwe. Over the past decade, Zimbabwe State institutions have been involved in automation of their land and property management processes through the use of various technologies. Automation in general, assumes that the Government is in line with technological developments world-over. However, when one deals with property data, then issues of national security, integrity and individual privacy must be addressed.

Data in form of property boundary demarcations, rights, encumbrances and basic infrastructure form the basis of land administration system that ensures territorial integrity and security of ownership, as well as a unique land identification that supports the national economic activities and growth. Hence, data on property is a treasured asset to any State and must be preserved with all might.

The need for security is highlighted from as long back as 1856, property records were stored in vaults and strong rooms to preserve the ownership data, legal boundaries and related rights that are captured within. With automation, especially the development of the cadastres in which lack of capacity is evident, we get a new wave of data security threats. The following issues should be put under consideration:

  1.     Clear understanding of property data
  2.     Protection of national areas of interest.
  3.     Data security legislative and policy imperatives.
  4.     Securing the State’s investment.
  5.     National security and stability.
  6.     Security of community health.
  7.     Security of real-time mapping data.
  8.     Secure data warehousing facilities.
  9.     Cyber security.
  10.     Operation routines to guarantee security.

ZINGSA CAPACITY: Madam Speaker, ZINGSA represents a conglomerate of geospatial and technological competences, a rarity in most institution. This confirms that ZINGSA has the capacity to deliver in almost all geospatial initiatives. This agency was set up for this among other objectives. The skills and competencies identified at this agency can be summarised as follows:

  1. Geospatial systems architecture: designing space systems, property system and land management systems, disaster management systems to suit local conditions.
  2. Geospatial mapping: use of conventional and modern equipment in farm, residential, informal settlements, disaster and infrastructure mapping.
  3. Programme and project management: ability to design project or programme management plans for geospatial programmes/programmes that ensure that the outputs are delivered timeously and on budget. In the process, using best practice project management techniques.
  4. Geospatial research: has qualified research resources to conduct research in mapping (Epworth), space satellite (ZIMSAT 1).
  5. Hosting capacity: because of the high-tech environment, ZINGSA has continuous operating reference stations (CORS) and ground control functions as well as the satellite, ZIMSAT 1.

The electronic cadastre’s output of the property boundary is needed by a number of stakeholders who include mining, deeds, municipalities and other land management institutions. One would expect that the design of data warehousing involves other stakeholders which in turn would allow for stakeholder systems to share the property boundary data. Because of lack of expertise within the service provider, most relevant stakeholders have not been engaged. This surely violates the State’s drive of e-governance in which systems “talk” to one another. This might lead to every system developing its own property data set. Evidently and as of now, the mining cadastre and electronic cadastre development efforts are blind towards each other’s efforts.

Madam Speaker, in conclusion, the current electronic cadastre delivery approach has failed to meet the targets. Like the mining cadastre, in all probability, this initiative will subject taxpayer’s money to wasteful and fruitless expenditure. ZINGSA has the expertise and can deliver at far less cost to the State. By the way, ZINGSA is a Government department. Since the project involves safeguarding spatial information, it therefore needs to look at the security concerns of our country, hence the need to give it a Government department with capacity and expertise.

It is therefore, suggested that the Government assigns the responsibility of administering a national cadastre system to the Zimbabwe National Geospatial Space Agency as this would immediately bring a national cadastre system into effect and inevitably reduce the burden on the fiscus. I so submit Madam Speaker.

*HON. KARIMATSENGA-NYAMUPINGA: Thank you Madam Speaker for according me this opportunity to support – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –

THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Hon. Mamombe and the Chief Whip from the Opposition, please can you approach the Chair. It is not proper for an Hon. Member to instruct the Chair on what should happen. The motion was seconded by Hon. Togarepi and we are proceeding with debate now. You can go ahead Hon. Nyamupinga.

Hon. Mamombe and the Chief Whip from the Opposition approached the Chair.

*HON. KARIMATSENGA-NYAMUPINGA: Thank you Madam Speaker. I was saying I would like to thank the Hon. Member for tabling such an important issue in this august House. I stand in support of this issue of cadastral system that has been tabled in this august House. Honestly speaking, the issue whereby Government spends a lot of funds while having a lot of cadastral systems for all those things to go on, they need to be financed. We have a cadastral system which is administered by the Ministry of Mines. They have their own cadastral system.

Just like what was said before that these issues started in 2016 and in other areas started in 2021 and 2022, while they were accorded – can you kindly bear with me because some of the words are difficult to say  in Shona. They were offered to private players to monitor these cadastral players. Honestly speaking, just like what the speaker was saying, private players are being offered money but up to now, we do not have anything tangible. That is why we are saying this issue is very important. If we leave them out and we do not critically look at these issues, on some of them, we will lose a lot of funds from the Government because we will not be monitoring them clearly.

If we go on to mines, there is chaos there. Somebody will say they are mining in my farm, some will say this mine used to belong to so and so and this person did not get enough funds. Everything will not be clear. Madam Speaker, if you see such things, we have a lot of quarrels.  If we focus on the issue to do with farms in the rural areas, others will even kill each other to say you have encroached into my territory but with this cadastral system, they were offered to monitor such although nothing tangible came out.  A lot of funds were disbursed for this cadastral system.  We were expecting people to know their boundaries to say this farm belongs to so and so and this person does not own the farm.  That is the importance of cadastral system.  The people who allocate land in these Ministries should use the cadastral systems so that we do not have double allocation to those farms.  We do not expect such confusion because everything will be clear and computerised.  When a person goes to the computer, it clearly shows that this land was allocated to so and so.  We will not see double allocations anymore.  They said they are now focusing in electronic cadastral system in the Ministry of Mines.  They invited private players from 2021 but up to date, we do not have anything tangible. 

Madam Speaker, we all know that in those farms, we have a lot of unsolved issues.  They were not solved at all, even if you remember well, when we used to debate the report which was tabled in this House, on Peace and Reconciliation Commission, it stated that people are now spending more money in trying to resolve the issues to do with the land.  Even those artisan miners, they will come holding letters from the Ministry because they will say mining is more important than land.  This is simply because we do not have a uniformed cadastral system so that those from Mines and Lands can use it.  It is very important for us to have a national cadastral system. 

I remember when the Hon. Member raised the motion, said that we have a private prayer in lands and a private player in mines.  In all those areas, we do not have anything tangible.  We are actually supporting the mover of the motion to say we have to combine both of them and come up with a national cadastral system, which will then be looked and monitored by ZINGSA because it showed us that it is capable.  Right now, His Excellency, our President launched the Mazowe satellite.  It is part of the Government because it was launched by His Excellency.  It will never be left out without enough resources to monitor the cadastral system which was mentioned by the previous speaker.  If we talk of cadastral system, some people will ask what that is. It is information which is kept at the central place, whereby even investors when they come, we will not be ashamed to say that this mine belongs to so and so ,yet we want them to invest into our country.

Madam Speaker, if we have a central system, they will be working with someone from that area, they will just visit the national cadastral system and there will not be any confusion of double allocations.   It will be clear in that cadastral system.  There is need for a one-stop shop that will help the relevant Ministries because everything will be at one central point.  There will be no wasting of time in trying to get the information.  Even if you are a resident of this country, you will have a problem of trying to know whether the areas belong to someone or not.  It is very important for us to have a national cadastral system which will then be kept by ZINGSA.  It is not that we like ZINGSA so much, we are seeing the capability of this organisation because the other organisations did not have the capacity to take care of all the things in various areas.   

Madam Speaker, we are saying we want to bring everything together.  Our Government will also spare some funds and other things which are needed for them to centralise this cadastral system.  Government will save a lot of money, if we save a lot of money, we will channel some of the monies somewhere else because our Government is overwhelmed.  There is a lot to be catered for by the Government.  By so doing we will have saved some funds.  That also helps the Government when planning.  If they do not know what to do, they will simply go to a computer, it will show everything in the national cadastral system.  They will not rush from point A to point B only to find that it is already occupied. 

I am supporting Hon. Mhuri to say we need to have a national cadastral system.  It has to be centralised and monitored by ZINGSA which was launched by the President.  The President gave the organisation all the responsibilities and in a short period of time, they launched the Mazowe satellite.  They are doing a lot.  They are capable of doing a lot of things.  They must be given the custody of the cadastral system to monitor it, to simplify everything, chaos within the mines has to end, it has to be resolved.  I thank you. 

           *HON. MAPIKI: Thank you Madam Speaker.  I would like to support the issue of the cadastral system that was also contributed to by Hon. Nyamupinga.  All wise nations use their reserves to serve their nationals.  We need to have a one-stop-shop just like ZINGSA which will keep all the information to do with the country.  If you look at mines, 80% of gold mining which is done, they take many years in disputes between mines and themselves.  Some do air pegging, others take bribes and then repeg on top of other people’s claims and this will end up in people failing to mine gold and a lot of time is lost in trying to resolve disputes.

          To solve this problem, the information must be contained in one organisation and centralised. If it is kept in the Ministry of Mines, there is corruption that is happening there and if it is kept in the Ministry of Agriculture, there is corruption that side as well.  We must make it as an independent organisation that does not have a lot of corruption.  People are not making progress in mining because there is in-fighting.  Even if we go to agriculture [HON. MADZIVANYIKA: Inaudible interjection.] –

          THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER (HON. TSITSI ZHOU): Hon. Madzivanyika, I have noticed that you are conversing in a loud voice, please can you allow Hon. Mapiki to be heard in silence.

          HON. MADZIVANYIKA: Thank you Mr. Speaker, I did not know that I am conversing in a loud voice – [Laughter.] -

          THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Hon. Madzivanyika, do I look like a man?

          HON. MADZIVANYIKA: Madam Speaker Sir, my apologies.

          THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: So, you continue to say Madam Speaker Sir?

          HON. MADZIVANYIKA: My apologies Madam Speaker.

          THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Please, can you allow Hon. Mapiki to be heard in silence.

          *HON. MAPIKI: Thank you Hon. Speaker, I would like to thank Hon. Madzivanyika for being humble.

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

          THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: What is your point of order?     HON. BUTAU: According to the Standing Rules and Orders, Members of Parliament are expected to address others as Hon. Members.  The utterance by the Hon. Member to say, that… “puts his tail under the” - it is not professional.  I kindly ask the Hon. Member to withdraw.

          THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Hon. Mapiki, did you mean that it was a good thing that Hon. Madzivanyika had to apologise?

          HON. BUTAU: On a point of order Madam Speaker.  I do not think Hon. Members need to give each other lecturers in terms of language application in this House. –[HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.]-

          THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Hon. Mapiki, please continue.

          *HON. MAPIKI: Thank you Madam Speaker. The issue here is that Zimbabwe has a lot of natural resources but we are failing to plan. I will take other countries, for example those countries that are borrowing money from the World Bank.  They take loans and use their natural resources as collateral, like minerals, farms or et cetera.  They know the importance or the value of those things.  So, on the system that is being used, it gives us an opportunity as a nation to know that in such and such a place, there are minerals which are valued at this price and the quantities.

          Even when an investor comes, it makes the job easier because if it is ZINGSA where investors go, they give you some coordinates and then they know that the area called Shamva has minerals like gold, lithium and other various minerals.  It also indicates that this place has gold worth so much and the names of the owners of the mines.  If it is allocated to so and so, they will quickly update it so that nobody will take over.

          That also helps us as a nation even when we are asked to give the value of our unexploited minerals compared to the loan that you would want to take.  The Ministry has to determine, and if anyone wants to invest, they go to the Ministry and will use that technology to demarcate on the boundaries done by ZINGSA.  These issues help us as a country.  If someone was to ask the value of our minerals and as a country today, we do not even know.  Those are some of the challenges that are forcing us to end up having those EPOs.

          Others are being asked to do the prospection. If you have an opportunity to know the full details about the area, then we simply give the person coordinates to say go and mine there.  If it is done by private players, it will attract a lot of money and people will fail to see the transparency part of it.  Other people who have their own personal interests will deprive those that will be interested on that information.  So, what is happening between mines and agriculture, mines are doing their own things so as agriculture.  Those from Ministry of Mines are going into those agricultural lands and then they will start to peg.  If we only have one central point where that information is kept, it would be prudent for us to have such information, hence I strongly support the debate by the previous speaker.  It is important to our country; I cannot remember whether it is Mali or Niger, those countries could actually tell to say if you want to lend us money, we have things worth this amount.

          So, I stand to support what was tabled here in this august House and also supported by Hon. Nyamupinga.  We are more than ready to have such information which is then kept private.  There are bribes and corruption, I thank His Excellency for the launch of ZINGSA.  I think it has to be an independent company which does not have to be told what to do.  It must be independent just like any national centre.  That will also help us to solve disputes faced in different ministries.  It helps us on issues to do with land barons.

          It will also resolve many issues, and whenever somebody wants to be allocated something, it will be easy to get a clearance.  I would like to thank you Hon. Speaker.

          HON. FRED MOYO: Thank you Madam Speaker. I have listened very attentively to the debate. I am afraid I may differ with the mover of the motion and I will try to explain why. I believe that we may be going the wrong way with this subject. When I was in Government, I was one of the pioneers who initiated the issue of mining cadastre. I would therefore try to explain what the objectives of the mining cadastre was and I think they have remained that way. If they have changed colour or direction, it would be very unfortunate, but the intention of bringing in a mining cadastre was in fact to benchmark our mining sector with mining sectors of other countries. The intention was to benchmarks the operations of our mining sector with that of other mining jurisdictions.

          The first reason of trying to benchmark was that we needed to manage our title for both local and foreign investors. We needed to manage the way we give title, the way we maintained title, the way we withdraw title must be managed in a manner that is internationally understood to make it easier for investors to feel the same way of managing mineral portfolios. We must understand that mining is in fact international business. If you are looking at mining at a bigger scale, arbitration of mining disputes will always have a sprinkle of international influences because mining is an international business. The minerals that we mine here are in fact largely consumed by external jurisdictions, which means if we delivered a product out of spec, we are going to deal with disputes at international levels.

So we wanted to say how do we maintain, draw and issue title. That was objective number 1. Objective number 2 was to make sure that Government collects revenue in a manner that is correctly supervised by standard platform, whether it is revenues for local authorities, Treasury and other Government departments that had to be supervised with a platform that is consistent. Remember these revenues are being detracted from sales revenue that are coming out of the country. So we needed to make sure that we collect our revenues in a correct manner that is auditable and standardised with behaviours of other mining jurisdictions. The third point was that of ushering in efficiency in the way we do things. I will explain how efficiency was going to be achieved or intended to be achieved so that the whole system of managing our mineral portfolio is done in a manner that is efficient, consistent, auditable and benchmarked.

Let me go to point number 1 which is the issuing of mining title. At the moment, our system is manual and because it is manual when you apply for title, you go through a number of offices at the Ministry of Mines. You go through survey, legal, geology, mining engineering until you go to commercial and administration. What we intend to do with mining cadastre is that we must automate this whole system. All titles are drawn to a specific shape and size whether it is rectangle or square. By computerising, you are making sure these shapes are drawn without leaving gaps where we waste land, and these squares or rectangular when done online by this cadastre system, will sit nicely together in the whole area where we have pegged. Corners are picked and there is nobody who is going to traverse into another person’s block.

We needed to pick every mine that we have, and give their title coordinates to say this is what I own. That is then drawn by the computer. When we have done that to all these mines, we will then see where there are conflicts. Once we resolve the conflicts, we now have a shape that is not going to be changed because it is computerised. It is not going to be changed because cadastre works on a hierarchy of authorisation. We start at the top by the person who is called the system administrator. That is the person who will be holding the key to the whole system. He or she is the one that gives every other person in that department the authority to access the system. That authority designates you to say if you are at this level and you do this work, you only have access to this point and you only authorise the following decisions. That hierarchy goes right up to the top. The system administrator must have reconciliations at the end of each day to say what happened in the system, who did what, what was authorised, what was withdrawn and what was paid as dues to Government. That person is the person who is really the legal officer of the whole mining system running the cadastre system.

The intention was that anybody who wants a mining title in Zimbabwe can ask for a title on their phone. They can be sitting in Kariba, Finland and Russia. There should be a website of the Zimbabwe mining cadastre on an international platform where I will take my phone and say to the Zimbabwean system, I want to apply for a title to mining in Zimbabwe. The system will ask what mineral I want and I say I gold.  The geological map will come up and show me whether gold mining has taken place and indicate the titles that are already taken by who – of course it hides some confidential information – it shows me the areas that are blank and ask do you want to peg here? If I say yes, I put the coordinates on my phone and comes up and asks me if I want that block and say yes, I want to peg that block. It then says please uptake and I punch to say I have taken that ground. The system will say on Thursday at 1600 hours in Zimbabwe so and so took this area and that area is locked. Nobody can access that and it says your interest will be kept locked for 30 days or three months or whatever. It asks you that if you want to proceed, you can make payment either online or go to the bank with your reference number from the Ministry of Mines to make payment. If I have a computer nearby, I print and carry that to the Ministry of Mines.  Nobody touches your paperwork; nobody makes a decision for you but it is being done on the computer.  That is the point on title management.  If title is going to expire, the whole system will give you a warning on line to say your title will expire in six months and the steps you have to follow are 1,2,3.  It will expire on account of you not making returns on your production or because you have not paid your renewal fees or whatever the reason is and you are warned you have to act because all the timings of warnings are there.  Nobody can then go to court and say you forfeited my claim without my knowledge because you have it all yourself.  That was part of the intention. 

Please note that I am saying that the system is interactive.  Do not go to the Ministry of Mines but go to your computer or internet café and register and do everything there.  That makes the whole system efficient.  The issue of corruption by mining officials is not going to happen.  If it happens, it means that the system administrator is liable as he is the only person who can override the system and nobody else.  By the way, at the end of each day, it will record to say official so and so logged onto the system for so many hours and at 2 p.m. this person tried to execute a decision that they are not allowed to do.  That comes out daily as an exception report which tells everything that will have happened, which is out of order.

          If a request comes to my desk as the surveyor, it says surveyors must execute within a fortnight or within two or three days.  If I do not do my duty on the stroke of the specified period, your unattended issue that was raised with you moves up to your supervisor because the system knows who your supervisor is.  It goes to the supervisor and says your subordinate should have executed this matter but did not and it is now on your desk.  If you want to get that report to go to the Minister as well for his information, even if the Minister does not execute the final authority, it will also go back to him but I do not know whether it will go above him to say you are sitting on a decision that should be taken.  So, that is the issue.

          On the revenue collection, every payment by every person who owns a claim or a mine is not going to be guess work because it sends a signal to the Ministry of Finance that this title is due for payment of this money and it should be paid by this period to both the Ministry of Mines and Ministry of Finance.  So, we all know what we expect this month and what revenue should come this quarter.  The Minister of Finance is not in the dark of what is happening.  That is the intention on revenue collection.  All people who collect revenue from the Ministry of Mines are on the same platform.  When the monies are paid, they are sent straight to where they should be going and not to Treasury only.  That is the issue on improving revenue collection.

          The third point on efficiency is that the system is prompting everybody who is working on the system to do things that they have to do in a specified period.  So, Madam Speaker, the system is not about keeping information but about getting the business to function.  The system reports on what is being done in the Ministry every day, every month and so, taking it and positioning it into some geo-spatial system elsewhere does not work.  In fact, you are allowing the Ministry of Mines to sit back and do nothing.  If you want us to store the data that the Ministry of Mines has, it is all fair.  It can be dumped every fortnight to where you want it to go.  But this system must be interactive and supervise the mining system. 

What we have as a challenge at the moment is that the Minister of Finance could go in and present a budget here that says in the next five years, the Ministry of Mines will bring so much revenue when in fact the Minister does not have information of what the Ministry will have in the next five years.  Our intention was that every mine must have some computerised system that shows what we call a life of mine plan of one to five years.  We also need an interface; each mine must put their information on the interface with our cadastral system so that we know the mining industry’s plans by mineral; nickel, gold, each and every mine interfaced to cadastre so that the engineers and economists in the Ministry can supervise the activities of the Ministry better.  So. I would like to submit that there is need for Hon. Members to be exposed in clear detail to the intentions of using cadastre.  That is technical detail which relates to the Ministry.  This has nothing to do with farms or storage of data, but has everything to do with supervising our mining sector, hourly, daily, weekly or monthly.  The fact that it has not been done does not mean it is not the right thing.  By the way, when you have listened to what I said, what the system will do there is no wonder why it is being resisted in the Ministry.  The Committee responsible for mining in this House should demand that progress be made.  That is what we should be asking for.  When I was in the Ministry and we said the mining sector must put their information to interface with the Ministry through cadastre, some executives said no, but that is confidential information and I said but it cannot be confidential to your stakeholder who is Government.  Remove what is confidential and leave the resource planning so that Government can see what is happening.  So, there could be resistance from a number of fronts.  Let us get the system implemented and not create a diversion and try and say things are not going to be done.  They cannot be done if you move people from us who are sitting in another system, ZINGSA and ask them to come and interface with mining surveyors and get told this is how we do things.  It will take us 20 years and it is not going to be done Madam Speaker.  I am sorry I took too much time.  I thank you for indulging me.

          HON. KAMBUZUMA:  I move that the debate do now adjourn.

          HON. DHLIWAYO:  I second.

          Motion put and agreed to.

          Debate to resume:  Tuesday, 14th May, 2024.

MOTION

BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE

          HON. KAZUMBUMA:  Madam Speaker, I move that we move to Order of the Day Number 4.

          HON. N. NDLOVU: I second.

          Motion put and agreed to.

MOTION

LAW FOR THE PROVISION OF LAND TENURE SECURITY

 

          Fourth Order read:  Adjourned debate on motion on the need to enact a law providing security of tenure to all the land including communal land.

          Question again proposed.

HON. PINDUKA: Thank you Madam Speaker. Good Afternoon. Thank you so much for allowing me to add my voice on the current debate before us on the motion that was brought forward by Hon. Hlatywayo on security of land tenure. On that debate, I have a definition that I would want to premise my debate on, which tries to define the security of land tenure as it refers to the assurance of or protection of that individual or community has over the right to occupy, use and control of a piece of land without fear, forced eviction, expropriation or other forms of dispossession.

With that definition, Madam Speaker, the issue of land in Zimbabwe or in the context of our motherland Zimbabwe, is intertwined with the sacrifice that the boys and girls of our yester years who are the veterans of the liberation struggle we have today, who have sacrificed for this particular land we are talking about, be it communal or other land use categories. In my own perspective Madam Speaker, when we refer to land in Zimbabwe, we also need to define or put it or at least give it to the value and weight it deserves as there is a covenant between the people of Zimbabwe and those who have sacrificed for us to be where we are today.

If we also look at aspects of security of land tenure, we look at it from the perspective of long-term duration. I would like to give an example from the villages we come from, our rural areas. You would see that we have quite a number of families that have been on the communal lands for a very long time, 70, 80 years. However, if you would like to equate it to other families which assume titles in urban centres where there are titles or deeds to say, you will find that a family could have moved from one title to the other. So in terms of long-term duration, the security of land tenure is already there. The call for security land tenure is misplaced Madam Speaker.

If I would also call that land in Zimbabwe is our birthright. If we look at it from the perspective that even all of us here Hon. Members, we have already deposited in the sense that when time visits us, we all need this earth. Where are we going? The answer Madam Speaker is land. Looking at this perspective Madam Speaker, the issue of land is critical. When we refer to the Berlin Conference that took place around 1884 to 1885 in Portugal, organised by the German Chancellor, Otto Bismarck, which also called for the petition of Africa, we can also try to relate it to the context of calling for the security of land tenure to say, it will lead us to fragmentation of our communal lands, which Madam Speaker, I feel undermines or weakens our traditional systems as well as the governance systems of our local authority in Zimbabwe.

Madam Speaker, as Zimbabweans, we have our values and norms which relate back to our yester years where most of our rural communities abide by the dictates of our values and traditions that even influence what we also put or what we also wear in our different communities. It also speaks to the means, respect and honour to our ancestors of the land. How will this be coordinated if one assumes a title of a piece of land?

Madam Speaker, this calls for security land tenure, whether collective in the form of a trust like what has been put by an Hon. Member from the opposite side of this august House, whether individually, the titles undermine the unitary state of Zimbabweans and also threatens our identity. This idea of titles will result in our communities to be fragmented. At the end of the day, our village headmen as well as our chiefs and the oversight role vested in His Excellency, the President, Dr. E. D. Mnangagwa, will end up difficult for the communities to unite and be coordinated under such security of land tenure aspect.

I also want to thank other Hon. Members that have also come before me with their views as well and contributing to the current debate where the issue of land tenure should be looked at from a perspective where we value our traditional norms and local governance system that we see today.  Our rural/communal areas and people we represent are united. They have no other values and norms. They are also living harmoniously in peace. Having said that Madam Speaker, the security of land tenure is misplaced in this context as it does not relate or have relevance to the current state of the nation. Madam Speaker, I would like to thank you for the voice that I have added. Thank you so much.

*HON. KASHAMBE: Thank you Madam Speaker. I would want to add my voice on the motion that is seized on our nation and Zimbabwe as a whole, the issue of land, especially agricultural land. Madam Speaker, the issue of land in Zimbabwe is not addressed without emotions because it has a historical background. The issue of land in this country did not come on a silver platter because we are endowed with rich land and good weather. Madam Speaker, some of us were oppressed because people wanted to take our land. Our ancestors fought and died for the land. Because of that, our land cannot be divided into portions. Even in this House, we have to remain united because in this House, some still think that the land belongs to the white people.  For some who believe that the land does not belong to us, they will take it back to the oppressors.  Our land should not have title deeds, it should remain in the hands of the President, the State.  It is not only about land.  We have so many minerals in our land. 

          THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER:  Order, order, I think we need to allow Hon. Kashambe to be heard in silence.  Thank you.

          *HON. KASHAMBE:  Thank you Madam Speaker for protecting me.  It is not a rumour that we have agricultural land which includes animal husbandry and horticulture.  In that farming as well, we come across some who are residents who want to cause confusion, who go to the agricultural land and build illegal structures.  They take agricultural land with the aim that they will be given title deeds which are being given in the urban areas.  On that issue as well, we have three organisations responsible for land which should be strengthened so that our land remains and will be inherited by generations to come.  

          We have the Ministry of Lands, the Ministry of Mines and Ministry of Local Government; many speakers have talked about the conflict between the agricultural land and the mining land and one of resettlements which is being managed by the local government.  Madam Speaker, there is nothing that we can do in this country if we do not own land.  Land cannot be contained in one pocket but it should be in one place where the President is the custodian of the land.  That is the one whom we say should remain as the custodian of the land. 

          In conclusion, because this issue has been debated thoroughly, I want to acknowledge Advocate Ndudzo’s debate because he articulated the history of how Africa was divided.  That it was one country but because of our land, and our favourable weather conditions in Africa, our minerals – because land is rich, borders were erected upon us. If they say this land belongs to Zimbabwe, if we cannot do anything in Zimbabwe then we can go to Zambia.  If we cannot get the land in Zambia, then we can go to South Africa.  I want to thank the courts of South Africa on what they passed in the past few days to the whites who deserted Zimbabwe.  They went to approach the courts in South Africa and were referred back to Zimbabwe.  We want to thank the people of South Africa because of that ruling which shows that as Africans, we know how important our land is.  With these words, I will take my seat and say once again that our land should belong to the State. We were given 99-year leases.  They explain that if you are able to utilise that land the next generations can come and occupy the land as well.  Thank you, Madam Speaker.

          +HON. P. MAHLANGU: Thank you Madam Speaker.  I thought it is wise that I also contribute to this motion about the land.  Land is a person and a person is land.  Therefore, land is very important to us black people.  We say land is ours and it is our heritage and the generations to come.  That is why it is written in the Bible that the children of Zelophehad attacked the King because they had the right to inherit the land that was of their ancestors.  We agree with people that it is different. We love land because it is precious, there are a lot of minerals which I cannot highlight because we all know them.  They include gold, diamond and platinum.  A person should not be given land to be his alone. When the Government wants that land, it will be difficult for them to get it because the person will say he or she has title deeds to the land.  Hon. Speaker, I also say that we the black people may be in the rural areas; we may be in the agricultural lands, we love land because we have our herds of cattle which can be around 30.  Where we plough, we should get production because it comes from the land.  Land is ours.  The land in the rural areas belongs to our ancestors. I am entitled or have a right to go to the rural areas of my ancestors of Masvingo, and you can easily track that this is a descendant of Ncube and has a right to come back to the land of her ancestors. A heritage land cannot be sold or be given to an individual because we believe that we are from the soil as says the Bible that we are dust and to dust we shall go back. Hence, this land is very essential to us. Some of us of a different religion, we say we do not know where my religion is tied to, which is a symbolic clarification that a human being is so attached to the land.

We, the new generation and the future generation, the land that we have should be kept as our prosperity, hence the President does not allow people to do whatever they want with our land because this land is so rich. This land is also our future and prosperity. We can show evidence that on this land we shall prosper. When we go to the Bible, Joseph tells his children that when he dies, they should take back his bones to the land of his ancestors which signifies that the land is so important and we cannot take it so lightly. I am saying the land in rural areas cannot be sold in terms of title, hence the land should belong to the President in relation to the chiefs and how that land can be allocated and distributed.

*HON. SAMSON: Thank you very much Madam Speaker for the opportunity that you have given me. Firstly, for it to be called a country, it is the land and that is why you saw people left this country to join the struggle. Others went to Zambia, Mozambique and so on, but the bottom line was to fight for our land which had been taken from us by these foreigners and shared it amongst themselves. People knew the land belonged to us and that is why people sacrificed their lives to join the liberation struggle to reclaim back our motherland.

In addition, it was not an easy task. There was a lot of bloodshed. Even if we debate in this august House, everyone from all the corners of this country has a relative who died for this country. Even when we are seated in our homes, we can have different mindsets despite being born from the same womb. As a country, there are others who do not recognise the importance of land, but what I know is that even those people who do not know the importance but right now, people understand the importance of our sovereign land.

When the colonisers came into this country, they occupied all the fertile areas and took black people to poor soils simply because we did not know what was happening when we saw those whites coming in wearing those shorts. We thought they were poor people, but they knew that our land was very rich. So when we speak on the issue to do with land, we need to think deep. We do not have to joke when we talk about our sovereign land. The issue to do with our farms, just like what is being said, all land should be protected and safeguarded by His Excellency Cde. Dr. E.D Mnangagwa. It helps us. Whenever he discovers that there is need to do farming in this area for the welfare of our citizens, he has overall powers to say you have to farm on this land. If that land is allocated to me, I do not have power over His Excellency.

This issue was once debated in this House and some Hon. Members ended being emotional from the memories and experiences during the liberation struggle. This country of ours, the problem which happened is that some of us got angry to say we were taking land from the white settlers. We were reclaiming our land, but I would like to thank His Excellency Cde Dr. E.D. Mnangagwa who said let us stay together and unite regardless of race. However, we discovered others who are hard-headed whom we thought were not suitable to continue staying on those farms and were evicted because you cannot, as an intruder, overpower those who reside in that area.  So this issue was perfectly resolved.  There is not any leadership as good as our President, Dr. E.D. Mnangagwa.  He knows how to live in peace even with those who are fighting against him.  His Excellency is very kind and has accepted those people to continue to stay in this country.  If I was the one in charge, I was going to chase all of them out of this country because they were abusing us for quite a long time.  So I would like to thank His Excellency for his kind heart.  He is a good leader. 

          Madam Speaker Ma’am, I would like to thank you for this chance that you have afforded me to debate on this important matter.  I will not respond to those Members speaking behind my back but if you tell me to sit down, I will simply do so.  So, I rally behind the keeping of our land in our custody.  I thank you.

          HON. KAITANO:  Thank you very much, Madam Speaker. I want to premise my debate on the passage of scripture, II Corinthians, Chapter 2 verse 1, “To keep Satan from taking advantage over us for we are not ignorant of his schemes”.  Madam Speaker Ma’am, I am going to underline the word schemes and tricks

          The schemes about our land here in Zimbabwe started way back and at this juncture as a country, we are now quite aware of them.  In 1889, the schemes initiated by Cecil John Rhodes approached the traditional leadership of this country.  He prepared a scheme under what is now known as the Rudd Concession where he came and asked for exploration rights to look for minerals in this country.  He was granted that concession, little did we know that he wanted to use that concession to seek a royal charter from the then British queen, Queen Victoria to colonise Zimbabwe.

          Now, we must as Zimbabweans, be very careful when it comes to the issue of land because we are not ignorant of these kinds of schemes.  In 1930, the same colonial masters then legally enacted a model law that barred Africans from owning land from the designated native land and that law was used against us to acquire land.

          In 1966, Zimbabweans decided enough was enough, we had to defend our land.  At the moment, we have a very serious war happening somewhere north of Africa and that war, if you look at it is just about land.  That war has been for centuries, it does not stop, it even goes to the era before Christ (BC), and that war is basically about land.  Even though in 1986 we started the war in the first Chimurenga, we did not succeed but in 1966, our forefathers continued with the quest of taking back our land because over the years, we were now aware of the schemes of our erstwhile enemies. 

          1979, we had the Lancaster House and we agreed that we were as Zimbabweans going to have our land but again the past colonisers schemed another scheme.  They said for 10 years we will not take back the land.  They said we would then appoint a white Minister of Agriculture.  We did that as a way of pacifying the warring partners believing that as we move forward as a people, we were going to reach a consensus.

  If you may remember Madam Speaker Ma’am, in 1980, we then asked everybody to co-exist in this country.  So in that same spirit, we allowed them for about 10 years to have the land before we started redistributing it earnestly.  Come 1990, we then had a brotherly consideration; we allowed what was happening to take its course. As you might be aware, the late African icon President Mandela was released from prison and we did not want to alarm the whites by beginning to take back our land in 1980.  So we gave our brothers in South Africa an opportunity to defeat apartheid via the pause that happened in 1994.

However, all this time Madam Speaker Ma’am, we were very much aware of the schemes of the white colonial master and we are even up to date and continue to be very much aware of their schemes.

Madam Speaker Ma’am, in 1998, 1999, and 2000, we then decided to have our Constitution to appropriate land legally, but over the years since I was eligible to understand what elections are all about, we then realised that in the year 2000, how the white minority group mobilised masses of farm workers to go and vote against the New Constitution like in 1896 and 1966, Zimbabweans went back and took back their land.  So, from 2000, we took back our land.

Madam Speaker Ma’am, the question that is before us is whether we should allow individuals to do whatever they want to do with our land or let the State be the custodian.  Should we allow anybody to do whatever they want with this land that our forefathers, brothers, and sisters fought for? Should this Parliament allow such to happen – that is the question before us.

Madam Speaker Ma’am, I submit that the Government of Zimbabwe, the Government of the Second Republic has shown that it is very responsible when it comes to giving land to Zimbabweans.

          You might be aware Madam Speaker that in Epworth, His Excellency the President of this country Dr. E. D. Mnangagwa has already given 350 title deeds to beneficiaries and there is a target of 38 000 beneficiaries in Epworth alone. In Caledonia there are 29 000 targeted title deeds beneficiaries.

          My point Madam Speaker is that the Government of Zimbabwe is amenable to giving out title deed.  However, it has to be done responsibly and you may agree with me that it is the State, it is the Government that we are 100% sure that it will use, it will exercise this right responsibly with national interest at heart, not just commercial interest, but national interest at heart understanding that this land we have it today, blood was shed and today it is that same blood that is watering our freedom.

          As I conclude Madam Speaker, it is prudent that the powers to allocate land, to give title deeds be it communal land, commercial land, resettlement land it does not matter, let this right reside in the State headed by the President.  It is the President who will decide.  When I say the President, I mean the President leading the Government who will decide who to give title deeds to because we know it is a responsible Government.  If we are not careful that Satan whom we must be very much aware of, may once more again creep into this county and surreptitiously steal away land from the Zimbabweans. 

          I therefore submit Madam Speaker that land tenure or title deeds reside in the State controlled by the President of the Republic.  I thank you.

          *HON. CHINODAKUFA:  Thank you Madam Speaker.  Let me just add a few words on land.  Madam Speaker, what I want to say is that this issue of land is very painful but when it was first debated, I thought the person who introduced it had direction, but I realised that it was just a lie.  They were trying to entice us and it was like a trap.

          What I am thinking about the issue of land is that land should remain in the hands of the President.  The communal lands are our inheritance from our ancestors.  The land that I am farming was farmed by my ancestors and if I leave that land, my grandson will farm that land but if it is put in my name, where will my young brothers and nephews farm?  So this issue of land is a serious issue.

          In short, I want to say that there are a lot of games which we can play.  We can play chess; we can do folk stories but when it comes to land, it is not a play game.  Thank you.

          HON. TOGAREPI:  I move that the debate do now adjourn.

          HON. N. NDLOVU:  I second.

          Motion put and agreed to.

          Debate to resume:  Tuesday, 14th May, 2024.

          On the motion of HON. TOGAREPI, seconded by HON. N. NDLOVU, the House adjourned at Thirteen Minutes past Five o’clock p.m. until Tuesday, 14th May, 2024.  

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