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SENATE HANSARD 04 NOVEMBER 2020 VOL 30 NO 03

PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE

Tuesday 4th, November, 2020

The Senate met at Half-past Two O’clock p.m.

PRAYERS

(THE HON. PRESIDENT OF SENATE in the Chair)

ANNOUNCEMENTS BY THE HON. PRESIDENT OF SENATE

POSTPONEMNT OF THE 2021 PRE-BUDGET SEMINAR

THE HON. PRESIDENT OF SENATE: : I regret to inform the House of the postponement of the 2021 Pre-Budget Seminar initially scheduled for the 5th to the 7th of November 2020. It will now be held from the 19th to the 21st of November, 2020. The difficult decision to postpone the seminar has been made after considering the need to allow finalisation of the process of drafting the first National Development Strategy 2020 to 2025 for which the 2021 budget is an implementation tool. We apologise for the inconvenience, if any, that might result from this change of dates.

MOTION

CITY STATUS FOR MUNICIPALITY OF VICTORIA FALLS

THE MINISTER OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT AND PUBLIC WORKS (HON. J. MOYO): I move the motion standing in my name that:

WHEREAS in terms of Subsection (1) of Section 14 of the Urban Councils Act [Chapter 29:15] a Municipal Council may apply to the Minister for the municipality concerned to be accorded City Status if the municipality is the dominant centre of influence for a significant area; and

WHEREAS on receipt of the application, the Minister appoints a Commission which shall call upon any person who wishes to make representations to submit them to the Commission; and

WHEREAS in considering the matter the Commission is guided by matters set out in the Executive Summary of the Report in addition to any other matters which are considered to be relevant and shall thereafter submit its report to the Minister; and the Municipality of Victoria Falls, applied to be accorded City status on 21st July 2017; and

WHEREAS the Commission submitted its report recommending the City Status to Victoria Falls, to the Minister on 19th January 2018;

NOW THEREFORE, in terms of subsection (6) of section 14 of the Urban Councils Act [Chapter 29:15] Parliament resolves that an address be presented to His Excellency, the President, requesting him to accord City Status to the Municipality of Victoria Falls.

In terms of Section 4 (1) of the Urban Councils Act, [Chapter 29:15], whenever the President considers it desirable he may subject to this Act, by proclamation in the Gazette after any Local Authority concerned has been consulted, established a municipality or town and

  1. Establish a municipal council or a town council as the case may be therefore;
  2. Fix the area of the municipality or town;
  3. Assign a name to the municipality or town; and
  4. After consultation with the Commission, divide the council into a number of wards.

Statutory Instrument 49 of 1997, Urban Councils (Municipal Status) Regulations, 1997 provides that an application made by a Council for a change of its status shall be made to the Minister after a resolution is passed by majority votes cast in an ordinary meeting of the council. Upon receipt of an application in which a council applies for municipal status, the Minister shall:-

  1. Appoint at the expense of the Council concerned, a commission consisting of such number of persons as the Minister may determine to consider the matter and make recommendations to him, provided that no member of the Commission shall be a Councillor or employee of the Council;
  2. After the appointment of the Commission given notice in three issues of a newspaper of the appointment of the Commission and calling upon any person who wished to make representations to submit them to the Commission before a date specified in that notice being not less than thirty days after the date of the first publication of the notice in the newspaper.

Following receipt of an application by Victoria Falls Municipality for upgrading to City status in terms of Section 14 (1) of the Urban Councils Act [Chapter 29:15], I appointed a Commission to investigate the suitability of the Council to be elevated to a city.

Upon my receipt of the report from the Commission in December 2017, I studied the recommendations contained therein and am now satisfied that the fast-growing local authority and tourist epicenter of Zimbabwe should be awarded city status.

Growth is inevitable. Victoria Falls Municipality started off as a railway station in the colonial era with Livingstone as the town (under the federation), and then achieved town status in 1971 before being proclaimed a Municipality in 1999. It is therefore befitting that they progress to the next level.

It is imperative to stress that the Municipality is up to date with audited accounts and has also crafted a robust redevelopment concept for the coveted city. Areas envisioned for regeneration have been identified and mapped. These include the Chinotimba area, Government houses (CBD), Council office site (CBD), NRZ land (CBD) and the Golf Course (Elephant Hills Hotel). This is based on a thrust towards improved land utilisation and modernisation which is expected to go a long way in unlocking land for new investment.

The city title emboldens the impression of credibility and attracts development and potential investment from both local and international investors while simultaneously embracing the element of prestige, which is what any local authority envisages. Potential visitors, to any country especially on the worldwide web look up to cities rather than towns or municipalities; hence the title itself augments the image that Victoria Falls will have. Looking at world tourist cities, Victoria Falls regrettably is not featuring at present. The local authority together with the Ministry has therefore, initiated the process of upgrading the municipality to a city status so that it can be among many tourist attracting cities.

Victoria Falls Municipality has hosted many international events. Among such notable ones are the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting and the United Nations World Tourism Organisation General Assembly; hence the conferment of city status would attract more of such events and thus benefit the fiscus and the country. If city status is conferred, Victoria Falls will be the first city based on tourism industry and it will be the first city in Matabeleland North province.

The planning and designing of a mixed use development for Victoria Falls mixed commercial use project has started. Victoria Falls Municipality has since awarded a Design and Construct Commercial contract on a Build Operate and Transfer (BOT) basis to Cardinal Corporation Private Limited for a project to upgrade the present municipal offices and the chalets that they run near the City Hall.

In venturing in the investment programmes, constant consultations with the Zimbabwe Investment Development Authority (ZIDA) and ministries of Finance and Economic Development; Environment, Climate Change, Tourism and Hospitality Industry as well as my Ministry are being done, so are the consultations between the other local authorities that are adjacent to Victoria Falls.

On the other hand, the town is host to significant Government real estate which unfortunately is not in a good state of repair. To this end, 35 houses around the city centre have been identified for redevelopment. The houses are sitting on approximately 3.5 hectares and we now need to redevelop these so that the municipality which is to become a city, once approval is given can look better. Victoria Falls Municipality is the core of the recently approved special economic zone corridor that comprises such areas as Masuwe Statelan; Batoka area where they were going to build power generation; Mlibizi which is on the Kariba-Binga Centre which is now also being redrawn; Sijarira which is one of the longest places where we have a beach and hot springs; Hwange hinterland where there are many coal companies – at least six of them that are also developing either coke ovens or they are going to go into power generation. Then there is the Gwayi-Shangani Dam that is being built – all these together with Victoria Falls as the epicenter will consist of the corridor of Zimbabwe that becomes the most attractive area for tourism.

Within the municipality area, in order to increase the real estate for the municipality and release more land for investment, land adjacent to the municipality affectionately known as Masuwe Stateland has been identified for high value tourism investment, so that we move away from the mighty Victoria Falls, since we will be building towards the airport. The initiative dovetails with the recently launched initiative dubbed ‘Victoria Falls Area Tourism Development Plan’ that seeks to boost tourism in and around Victoria Falls and support the recovery of the local tourism sector in the whole country.

Victoria Falls being the second city most populated with hotels in southern Africa only after Cape Town, due care must be given and taken in order to safeguard the ‘World Heritage Status’ that was conferred on Victoria Falls by UNESCO

Madam President, I therefore, now call upon this august Senate to resolve and recommend to the President, to proclaim the Municipality of Victoria Falls as a city and thereby, Victoria Falls assumes the status of an eminent tourism city in the world. Madam President, I so move for the adoption of this so that the President can, by proclamation, declare Victoria Falls a new city. I submit.

HON. SEN. MOHADI: Thank you Madam President. I want to thank the Minister of Local Government and Public Works who brought this motion to this august House and without much ado Madam President, I think the application for the Municipality of Victoria Falls is long overdue. It was supposed to have that status long back as they submitted their application in 2017.   By saying so, I think when we consider those who have been to Victoria Falls; I do not think that they have any negative attitude towards Victoria Falls being given the new city status.

Madam President, I so support the motion that has been brought to this august House. With these few words, I thank you.

HON. SEN. S. MPOFU: Thank you Madam President. I would like to thank the Hon. Minister for bringing this noble idea to the House. We all know Victoria Falls is the epicentre of tourism and this upgrading to a city will make people, especially of Matabeleland happy because they have been wanting this status accorded to Victoria Falls. We note that Victoria Falls has held so many important events but all this was happening in a municipality. Now when such events happen in future, it will be the best for us; it will be the best for Zimbabwe, especially the people from Matabeleland region.

We also have the best airport in Victoria Falls, so for it to be upgraded to a city that would make everything in the tourism sector acceptable. I do not have much to say, I just want to say I support the motion by the Minister that Victoria Falls municipality be granted the city status. I thank you.

*HON. SEN. TONGOGARA: Thank you Madam President. I would like to thank the Hon. Minister for moving the motion in this House. If Victoria Falls gets city status this will actually boost incoming of tourists into our country, hence our economy will improve. A lot of people will be coming into the country, because it is a city, it will attract quite a number of people. I would like to thank you Hon. Minister. This application for Victoria Falls to be upgraded to a city was done in 2017 and it was passed in 2018, now we are in 2020 – finally, it has been made a dream come true. They say it is better to be late than to miss totally. I support this motion that Victoria Falls gets city status. Thank you.

*HON. SEN. KOMICHI: Thank you Madam President for giving me this opportunity to contribute to this very important motion. I would like to thank the Hon. Minister for bringing it to this House. I would like to support the sentiments of the previous speaker. Victoria Falls is known worldwide, if we were to do a survey, we would still come to the point that Victoria Falls is known worldwide. It is one of the Seven Wonders of the world and it was not proper to have it in a place where there is no city status. This move was actually too late and we would like to express our joy on the attainment of city status for Victoria Falls.

One of the best airports in Africa is found in Victoria Falls and one of the best hotels is found in Victoria Falls. In Southern Africa, Victoria Falls is one of the best places which hosts very big meetings in the region. We are happy that towns have increased because there was only Hwange and Lupane in that region, but these are very small places. Now that Matabeleland North is going to get a city, this is going to bring joy to the people who dwell in that particular region. This will also bring unity to the people that Government does not favour one region over the other. I strongly support this motion. Thank you Madam President.

*HON. SEN. SHUMBA: Thank you Madam President. I stood up to support the motion brought into this House by the Minister. I was actually surprised to note that Victoria Falls was not a city. All along I thought I was going to a place that has city status already. I would like to thank the Government for coming up with such a plan because the place is well built. There are many individuals and countries who come to see the Victoria Falls. We continue to pray that even the President will approve when he sees that we are in support of this motion. I thank you.

HON. SEN. ENG. MUDZURI: Thank you Madam President. I stand to support the motion that was brought by the Minister of Local Government on Victoria Falls. What I did not pick was something around the land which was acquired around the golf course. I think if the golf course is still necessary, we should then put it under some known corporates which are entities to maintain because they are quite expensive. If we need the golf course, we might need another piece of land which will be manned by a commercial entity to ensure that people have somewhere to relax, because we will have international tourists.

I would also want to add that Victoria Falls has become the hub - we have competition with Livingstone and the international airport has made it easier for people to come here. We must add every other entity within the Victoria Falls environment that makes the place more attractive and that makes all the people come. Those who come for trophies can come and have their resorts there.

We must also improve the boating exercise and the rest and maintain the animals that are there. There seems to be a deflation of animals within and around Victoria Falls where we could see elephants and the rest. We need to maintain that and I ask the Minister to say you must liaise with the Minister of Tourism to ensure that we do everything that is possible and other cities that attract visitors and tourists. With that, I expect the President to sign the request and ensure that we do it as fast as possible.

+HON. SEN. M. NDLOVU: Thank you Madam President. We have no doubt at all that our listening President, if he has heard that we are in support of the motion of the Minister, he would actually listen to it properly and append his signature for this place to attain a city status. I thank our Minister for bringing this important news in the region. I thank you.

*HON. SEN. CHIEF CHIKWAKA: I would like to support all the speakers following the motion that Victoria Falls has attained city status. I just want to add a small thing as a chief. Yesterday, we had questions as chiefs to say until when should these places of national security and of importance to the country still have colonial names? Yesterday we decided that King George should be recognised in England. Here in Zimbabwe we also have people like Tongogara. Also Cranebone was named Kaguvi.

Today, we are changing these roads and naming them after our war heroes to respect our heroes. Till when shall we continue to praise the Queen? Way back we used to call it Queen Victoria. We kindly ask the Minister that we change Victoria Falls to a local name to remove the colonial names attached to the place of Victoria Falls. Why can we not give it a name that reflects our culture, that reflects what we do culturally as Zimbabweans? Allow us as a House to accept that. We could call it Mosi-oa-Tunya, something that is different from the colonialists. Thank you very much.

HON. SEN. CHIEF NGUNGUMBANE: Thank you Madam President for affording me this time to support the motion that has been brought by the Minister. I feel this motion is long overdue. Nonetheless, thank you. I wanted to pose a question to the Minister to say now that Victoria Falls is going to gain the city status, is this in any way going to affect the administration of the district and the province? I thank you.

THE MINISTER OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT AND PUBLIC WORKS (HON. J. MOYO): Thank you Madam President. Let me from the outset thank all the Hon. Senators, including Hon. Sen. Chiefs who have made their contribution in support of the motion. However, let me try to reply to issues that have been raised. For Hon. Sen. Mohadi, while thanking you, I recognise that you are worried that this is overdue. Once we get a report from a Commission, we go through all the requirements to see whether they have been met - whether there are areas where the municipality is lacking, but we do not say you have completely failed. We give them time to correct whatever will have been analysed as a weakness. You will see in the report that has been laid before you that at the time this was done, which is end of 2017, the municipality was behind in audited accounts.

They were still having unaudited accounts from 2014 to 2017 and as Minister; I thought it would be irresponsible to come before this august House and present unaudited accounts of a place where we want to upgrade as a city. That now has been done. The area that also was worrying is that this is a world heritage place and it has not had uplift for a long time - no master plan and not even a concept plan. We made sure that Victoria Falls comes up with a concept plan and this concept plan has since been approved by Cabinet. That is why I can now talk about the regeneration of Chinotimba and the linkage between Victoria Falls and the influence it is going to have on the hinder land.

It will affect not just Victoria Falls itself. It will affect the areas when you come from the airport, the areas between the airport and the river. We need to do something. That is the area we call Masuwe and we now have a concept plan approved by Cabinet about what we are going to do in that area. As you move along the Zambezi going to Kariba, this Victoria Falls must affect such that as an epicenter of tourism, a tourist does not just come and go into the national parks. They also want to view other areas along the Zambezi so that we have nodal points. That is why I can talk about Mulibizi, Binga, Batoka, Sijalila on the other side.

As you go towards Hwange, all those developments that are taking place in terms of mining, coal but also having coking plants as well as new generations of power. You have heard the President saying by year 2025, this country will have a surplus of electricity generation so that we will be able to export but you cannot have electricity generation of that magnitude without creating towns and those towns must be planned with a view to making sure that they complement the attractiveness that is in Victoria Falls. That Victoria Falls and the other local authorities, Hwange Rural District Council, Binga, Matabeleland North as a whole, they have now come with a concept plan that we can now say for sure, this city is going to be a city of influence, not just to itself but to other areas.

That is why we take time. For instance, we have had an application from Chinhoyi where the Leader of the House comes from. We have sat with them and we have given them again a menu of what they have to correct. The sooner they correct, we can have a relook. We are happy that Victoria Falls in terms of Schedule (1) of the Urban Councils Act has now complied with the majority of issues that they were supposed to address. We are very happy about that. That is why it takes a little bit more time – it is not that somebody was just sitting on it. They have been working, we have been working together with them so that we deliver a city that everybody can be proud of and we are sure that it will be done.

We also look at the corporate governance of the area. When you are having upheavals and there is so much change over in terms of the administration from the Town Clerk downwards and the councillors – we look at all that and say is there stability and that stability is very crucial for us to move forward. We are also happy that there seems to be some stability in the corporate governance of Victoria Falls for now. The vision which they give us, I must say, since I have been in Government, this is the first time that our President allowed a mayor to address Cabinet. When they presented their vision and where they want to go, not about their city status, just to convince us that you are now going somewhere where you will take us as a country – not just as a new city but as a country in the tourism industry; Mayor Dhlamini, after all the technical presentations that were made by planners, economists, the Mayor was able to be given an opportunity by the President. He had grabbed the city by himself but anyway the President said please address us if you so wish and he did that. We are satisfied that they will accomplish what they have set to do.

Hon. Sen. Mpofu, yes it is the epicentre and I have already described it. The airport is one of the best but we think that the planning both by ZIRDA, by the Ministry of Environment, Tourism and Hospitality Industry, the tourist centres that we want to build in Masuwe area certainly will enhance the tourism attraction that is going to be in Victoria Falls. Coupled with the airport which you have described very well, we think we will compete with Livingstone and maybe even outcompete them.

Hon. Sen. Tongogara again I thank you. I have explained the delay from 2017 to 2020. It was not without work being done. Hon. Sen. Komichi, the hotels we can confirm that some new hotels have come up and few weeks ago, you saw the President going to open one of the best hotels in Victoria Falls. It is built in such a manner that it did not destroy the ecosystem. It is living within the ecosystem; the trees, the animal corridors and everything that you require of a tourist attraction. More than anything else, it was built by a woman who decided I will not only compete with men; I will compete with both internationally built hotels, as well as locally built hotels. So it goes a long way to enhance the qualities that we desire in Victoria Falls.

In Matabeleland North, the capital is Lupane and we are still grappling with how to develop Lupane. We have gone to the Lupane University and say you are the first university town that we are going to have in Matabeleland North and do not let the people who are planning Lupane to plan it without knowing that the centre piece is the university. We have challenged the university to say you must be in the forefront of the planning of Lupane town and we think that given that mandate, Lupane University, which after all the best planners that we have right now in the country have been doing GIS at Lupane University; we think that they will enhance it but it will take a long time to move from being a town to a municipality, let alone to become a city. So, Victoria Falls in my view, will remain the only city for a long time.

We still have a town board status in Hwange. It is not even a town yet. You move from a business centre to a rural service centre to a growth point, to a town board, to a town council, to a municipality until you become a city. So, you can see the road which Hwange has to travel. It can be quickened because of the developments that are taking place but this Victoria Falls will remain the major city in Matabeleland North. So we salute your support for this. Yes, it will make everybody feel we have a city and we are one people and national healing will definitely take place.

Hon. Sen. Shumba, you are surprised that it was not a city. A lot of people did not even recognise it. It is only when you google and you were looking for cities that have major tourist attractions and Livingstone will pop up and Victoria Falls does not. That is when you will start to realise that even status of a city can attract more visitors in the way you are marketing yourself. We are happy we are doing it and we are doing it with your total support. I am sure that given this total support, the President can sign without hesitation.

Hon. Sen. Mudzuri, yes the competition with Livingstone, I have already said we have to outdo Livingstone in a friendly manner because we are neighbours. Our boats sometimes stray into their territory and sometimes the territory also changes. Remember, whatever is the deepest part of the Zambezi River is the border and you will see that in some parts of Victoria Falls area. We are in a narrow area because the deeper side is on our side. If we were not very good neighbours, we could fight for those little islands because sometimes the islands are in Zambia and depending on the level of the water, they are in our country. So, we have to be cool headed because we are neighbours but we have to compete with them. When Sulzner went and build across the Zambezi into Livingstone, most of the people were now coming into Livingstone because Sulzner had a powerful and attractive marketing. After all, he is the one who was running most of the tourist attractions in South Africa and he has gone as far as America and New Jersey. So, we were losing out and you would see people crossing from Zambia because on our part, the Victoria Falls is mightier looking at it from our side, yet what you will be looking at is actually Zambia. It is better to come and look at Zambia from the Zimbabwe side, so they would go to Zambia, come and look at Zambia from our side. Sometimes they do not pay anything other than just paying into the forest area and they do not live in our hotels. We have to change this scenario and we can only change it by enhancing the tourist attraction systems. Fortunately, it is not very easy to see an elephant on the other side of Zambia but it is easier to see it from our side and so people still have to come.

In terms of the golf course, you know when you move from a town status to a municipality, this is the time when we, as Government must give land to the municipality. We only give land to a town under special circumstances, otherwise growth points which used to be run by central rates funds are now put under urban State land. Therefore, the land remains central government. The towns; the land belongs to central government. We only under certain circumstances, allow ourselves to say this land which used to be urban State land can now be used and allocate it.

However, when you now move to municipal status, Government must give up their land. So, once we decided the municipality in 1999, it took longer to say the golf course area which belongs to Government must now go to the municipality. Therefore, the municipality having been given that, they advertise for the redevelopment of that area not that they will run it themselves but they want an investor.

Elephant Hills Hotel was offered to say we want to re-develop this area and they started working with some organisations that were willing to invest but later on these two parted ways and the municipality fields cannot have that very good piece of land just lying fallow when there are people who want to develop it. So, the Ministry of Environment is involved and we think what they have brought before Government is doable. It is an investment which ZIDA is now looking at and it is not that we are taking it to run it as either the municipality or ourselves.

Hon. Sen. M. Ndhlovu, we thank you again for supporting that it becomes a city and that the President who listens will definitely listen and I have no doubt that once he gets the approval from Parliament he will support.

Renaming – it has been put before and I have not seen a motion from Parliament which says let us change Victoria Falls and call it Mosi a Tunya or another name. However, certainly the debate is on whether we keep it as Victoria Falls or we want it differently. If this august House so wishes to propose to the President, I think it is your duty to do so.

In Government, we have an Act on changing of place names or changing any buildings and we have a Cabinet Committee which is chaired by Vice President Mohadi. Once motions come up so that they can be processed in Cabinet, the process is very simple. It comes before the Cabinet Committee and it goes to Cabinet and then it is passed, I gazette because I administer the Act and that is the end of the story but the debate must start somewhere. If you want to start it, we will be listening.

Hon. Sen. Chief Ngungumbane, it is definitely affecting the status of the Hwange area; it is affecting the status of other areas but it does not change the responsibilities of Hwange Rural District Council. Right now, in order to develop Masuwe area, it is physically in the Hwange Rural District Council area. In order to make sure that when we develop Masuwe area, we do not disconnect it from Victoria Falls in terms of the Urban Councils Act as well as in the Rural District Councils Act. We are allowed to create a joint committee of those two councils by statute and we have promulgated that statute that creates a joint committee and that committee becomes a planning authority. So when they plan for sewerage or roads and everything else, they can link with existing Victoria Falls.

To that extend it is affecting Hwange Rural District Council but it does not deprive it of the right to run that Masuwe area. Once they have finished the planning and the buildings are there, we can actually make a decision or they will recommend a decision - does it join Victoria Falls, that means we are affecting Hwange Rural District Council or does it stand alone as a new city because Masuwe in our view, Victoria Falls is sitting on 2900 hectares and Masuwe is 1200 hectares. You could create a separate city called Masuwe or a separate town called Masuwe but it will still be in the greater Hwange District like Victoria Falls is.

Those decisions will guide using the law. We will tell them the options but it is up to them whether they want to de-couple. The same with Batoka; we have already affected it by the Batoka area. We have already affected Hwange by excision; we have an excision where you take away Batoka area where the power generation is going to be. We know for sure it is going to be towns, so do not let it remain in the communal areas such that you can start doing what you want. At the same time when you have planned it well, do your cadastral survey for title so that an investor who comes, when they put up a building that building has title deeds. We have already done that and it can only be done by the President in consultation with the chieftainships in the area as well as the rural District Council in the area. Those effects are going to be there but it does not change the boundaries of the local authorities until ZEC does that delimitation.

Madam President, if there are no further debates, may I move for the adoption of the motion by the Senate to give effect for the President to have a proclamation making Victoria Falls Municipality become a city in this country.

Motion put and agreed to.

MOTION

PRESIDENTIAL SPEECH: DEBATE ON ADDRESS

Second Order read: Adjourned debate on motion in reply to the Presidential Speech.

Question again proposed.

*HON. SEN. CHIMBUDZI: Thank you Madam President for giving me this opportunity to speak on the speech that was delivered by His Excellency the President to this House. I would like to applaud His Excellency the President, Cde. Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa for his important speech.

Firstly, he thanked everyone explaining the reason why he was delivering his speech from State House, that it was due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Mr. President, the Head of the State spoke about the economy of the country and all the hindrances to this economy, i.e. issues to do with climate change and also sanctions that were imposed by western countries. You are aware Mr. President, that Government makes its plans with the future in mind but due to natural disasters, all that had been planed came to naught as the country cannot go on but to look at the prevailing situation that would have affected it. We would like to applaud His Excellency for mentioning this to the nation so that everyone is aware of the situation on the challenges that the country will be facing.

I would like to applaud His Excellency the President again when he said that we should unite as Zimbabweans to fight corruption. We all know as Zimbabweans that this issue of corruption is a derailment to the development of the country. Therefore, in his speech, His Excellency promised and highlighted the fact that no one is above the law in this country. The law should be applied to anyone who is involved in corruption. We should root out corruption in this country   and if people come together, that is the only way to win the war against corruption.

I would like to applaud again the Head of State and Government, those who are in the security sector for defending the country by maintaining peace and stability within the country so that we enjoy peace. We support that also, that when a country does not have peace then there is no development in that particular place. In order for us to enjoy peace, we should have no violence at all. I would like to thank His Excellency for acknowledging those who defend this country for doing their job well.

His Excellency also mentioned the Veterans of the Liberation Struggle Act. Veterans of the liberation struggle consist of people from different sectors, i.e. veterans, collaborators and ex-detainees. This never existed and is a new phenomenon. The intention is for it to be one organisation and will aide in bringing to light issues to do with the up- keep of their families and also their well-being. Veterans did a great job in the lives of many Zimbabweans in bringing about independence to this country. We would like to thank His Excellency the President for addressing this particular issue in memory of the liberation war heroes, bringing them together and highlighting the issue of their well being.

In conclusion, His Excellency reminded us as a nation to stay together, emphasis being put on unity as a country. I would like to also highlight that we should come together, speak with one voice, emphasis being on unity as a nation. On the issue of sanctions Hon. President, sanctions did not hit Zimbabwe only. SADC gave the date of 25th October, 2020 to say it should be a day to call out for sanctions to be removed from this country. It means these sanctions are not only affecting Zimbabwe, but they are affecting the whole of SADC region. We are thankful that other countries in Africa are coming together calling out for the removal of sanctions on Zimbabwe. They are a hindrance to the development of countries. I thank you Hon. President for this opportunity.

THE HON. PRESIDENT OF SENATE: I would like to remind Hon. Senators to wear your masks properly.

+HON. SEN. M. NDLOVU: I would like to thank the President of the Senate for giving me the opportunity to debate on the Address by His Excellency the President. The President is of the view that children should go back to school and learn but what we have observed as parents is that teachers are not at the schools. If they go to the school they just sit in and no one would be supervising the children. Before schools opened teachers were receiving their salaries but now schools are open they do not want to work. As professionals who are failing to do what they are expected to do, that is part of corruption. It is therefore quite clear that teachers are there to soil our country. We appeal to the President to take stringent measures against teachers because we are not happy at all with them. Children are now becoming unruly. I thank you.

HON. SEN. MOHADI: Thank you Mr. President. I also want to add my voice on the SONA. I want to acknowledge the mover of this motion, Hon. Sen. Chirongoma, seconded by Hon. Sen. A. Dube. Mr. President, the President of Zimbabwe, His Excellency E. D. Mnangagwa, presented SONA to the joint sitting, just a week ago. He talked about many issues that have taken place or that are taking place within the country. He also talked about COVID – 19, he was thanking Zimbabweans for adhering to the World Health Organisation (WHO) regulations which ensured that there was a little bit of stabilisation of the COVID – 19 but he also emphasised that we must not relax. We should continue observing those rules because it is not yet over, we still have COVID within the country. If we do not observe them, there might be a second attack within the country.

The President also talked about re-opening of schools, of which it was done. The teachers are said not to be attending to schoolchildren. They have already opened classes at their homes whereby they are charging parents in foreign currency in order to teach schoolchildren. They know that schoolchildren are going to write examinations at the end of the year and parents worried about their children have no choice but to pay teachers in foreign currency. That is the main reason why they are reluctant to go back to school. In certain instances, a teacher can have a class of 40 children paying about 100 rand per head, how much is that teacher making? Do you think they can go back to school and earn RTGs? They are now saying that they do not want RTGs anymore, they want foreign currency because that is what they are getting for private classes. I think this also entails the issue of corruption and something has to be done about these teachers. The law has to take its course.

The President also alluded on production and productivity, looking at agriculture – I think it is a Declaration which encourages all SADC countries whenever we make budgets to set aside 10% of our budgets to agriculture. If we do so, we will then increase our productivity in the country. The President went on to talk about Pfumvunza/Intwasa, whereby even those who do not have draught power can also plant their fields because it does not need anyone to have cattle or donkeys for pulling a plough. It is just done by horses so that everyone should get food within the country. Apart from that, the Government was prepared to give people inputs for that programme.

Mr. President, the President also talked about irrigation schemes on our land. You find that due to climate change, water is becoming scarce because it needs to be harnessed and so we can only harness the little water that we have through irrigation schemes. There should be construction of new dams as well as rehabilitation of the old dams. Our old dams now have a lot of siltation and there is need for rehabilitation by removing the sand or the alluvial soil that has gone into the dams so that everything becomes normal.

On agriculture, the President also encouraged the nation to grow the small grains. If we can look back, you will find that even long back in the history of our country, these traditional small grains have been there and they are nutritional and the good part of these small grains as nutritious as they are, even if you have surplus, if you want to take them to GMB, they fetch the same price as maize. So, it is of advantage to our people to grow the traditional grains. These grains if we talk about them, they do not need much rain.

You will find that if you have little rain, the traditional grains will mature better as compared to our maize especially those who are in Region 5, I think it is a good gesture for them to engage into the production of small grains. He also talked about energy. We find that our energy is there but it has become very expensive. I think we should try by all means to opt for alternative energy which is solar. For most of us in the country – sunshine is there all over and we can live without electricity energy. For those who do not even have that electricity - because there are some areas which do not have electricity, we encourage them to turn to solar.

If they turnto solar, it will assist them in many ways. We are talking about virtual learning whereby children have to learn online but if they do not have the electricity – if you take some places like Chikwarakwara down there where they do not even have that electricity, it can be of much use for them to use solar energy in order for them to access learning.

The President talked much about water and sanitation. There should be enough water because water is life and also sanitation should be taken heed of because we cannot talk about a healthy nation without considering sanitation within the country. The President touched on social work saying that no one in the country will die of hunger. As a listening President, we all know that he meant it and he will make sure that everyone gets food in order to sustain hunger.

I can go on and on, but I think what I have just touched on is enough for today so that I leave a space whereby others can also take it from there and debate on the SONA. Lastly, the President talked on unity in the country and unity of purpose because if we are not united, there will be no peace in the country. We need peace and stability for us to run the country peacefully, we have to unite. With these few words Mr. President, I thank you.

HON. SEN. CHIRONGOMA: Thank you Mr. President, I move that the debate do now adjourn.

HON. SEN. MATHUTHU: I second.

Motion put and agreed to.

Debate to resume: Thursday, 5th November, 2020

On the motion of THE MNISTER OF STATE FOR MASHONALAND CENTRAL PROVINCE (HON. SEN. MAVHUNGA) the Senate adjourned at Four O’clock p.m.

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