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SENATE HANSARD 05 MARCH 2020 29 28
PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE
Thursday, 5th March, 2020.
The Senate met at Half-past Two O’clock p.m.
(THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE in the Chair)
ANNOUNCEMENTS BY THE HON DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF
SWITCHING OFF OF CELLPHONES
THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE: May I
remind Hon. Senators, once again to put your phones on silent or better still switch them off.
APOLOGY FROM MINISTER
THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE: I would like
to welcome into the Senate this afternoon the Ministers who have been able to come and attend to the questions from Hon. Senators. I have the following Ministers:-
- Musabayana – the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs;
- Dr. Kanhutu-Nzenza – The Minister of Industry and
- Mudyiwa – The Deputy Minister of Energy and Power
- Karoro – The Deputy Minister of Agriculture.
I have an apology from the Minister of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services who is coming but she says she is delayed. I do not have any other apology from any other Minister.
HON. SEN. B. MPOFU: On a point of order Mr. President. My point of order is, it has been more than six months since we saw the Minister of Finance and Economic Development. When are we going to raise the issues of finance especially in this trying time of economic hardship?
HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE: It is a good
question we are going to pass it to the relevant authorities.
HON. DR. MAVETERA: On a point of order Mr. President. My
point of order is, a week ago, there were a lot of issues related to the current coronavirus and many questions which were directed to the Minister of Health and Child Care and we were told to keep our questions since he was going to come and give a Ministerial Statement on the issue. I think things are happening on the ground and the nation needs to know. We also have other issues which need to be addressed and which may require legal input since we are people who formulate the laws which protect our nation. Thank you.
THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE: Thank you
Hon. Mavetera. The point you have raised is very valid. We have been made to believe he is coming today. As I said, the Hon. Minister of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services has arrived. We may proceed with questions to the Hon. Ministers who have availed themselves.
HON. SEN. B. MPOFU: Mr. President, who is the leader of the
THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE: There is no
leader of the House, you may ask your questions to those who are around.
HON. SEN. B. MPOFU: I wanted to find out when is the Minister of Finance and Economic Development and the RBZ Governor going to resign?
THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE: Can you ask
your question again?
HON. SEN. B. MPOFU: When the Minister of Finance and Economic Development and the RBZ Governor going to resign because they made assurances about issues that they have not fulfilled?
THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE: That is not a
question and it is out of order.
*HON. SEN. KOMICHI: Thank you Mr. President. My question
is directed to the Minister of Agriculture. My request is for you to enlighten the nation on this year’s agricultural season. Do you forsee a bumper harvest or we are faced with another drought season? Thank you.
*THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF LANDS, AGRICULTURE,
WATER, CLIMATE AND RURAL RESETTLEMENT (HON.
KARORO): I want to thank the Hon. Member for the question. I want to inform the nation that as he has asked whether we are going to experience another, yes the rainfall pattern changed and we received rains rather late. This is going to affect our yield. When we eventually got rainfall there are areas that we anticipated would not get anything but because of Command Agriculture, we see things are shaping up. We may have a semi-drought but our yield for this season is rather low but we are on the safe side and this is because of the late rains. In other areas they were unable to engage in farming and in some areas were they had engaged in farming, there was too much rainfall and it caused floods which destroyed the crops. We might have some challenges but not as the Hon. Member anticipates.
HON. SEN. MOHADI: My supplementary question is on the preparations that you have Minister if you have any. Most of our farmers lost cattle during the past year. What preparations do you have for this coming year as you are accepting that there is drought?
THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE: I should
really not accept that because that is a new question but I will give you the benefit of doubt and allow the Minister to answer.
HON. KARORO: Thank you Hon. Member for that good
question, I will attend to it. Mr. President, we need to acknowledge as a country that we had a drought that led to the loss of quite a number of our livestock. We also need to take cognisance of the fact that
Government had a programme, the Command Livestock Programme and it is that programme that we hope to revitalise after this drought. We want to revitalise the programme so as to enable our farmers to restock. We understand most of our farmers especially in Buhera and Chivu have lost their cattle to drought induced diseases and poverty. So the Command Livestock Programme will be revitalised to make sure that we assist our farmers to restock.
HON. SEN. NCUBE: I will refer my question to the Minister of Energy and Power Development. I am not sure if she is the right person to answer because I thought the Leader of the House was going to be in.
My colleague tried to ask who is standing in for the Leader of the House. Minister, is it true that the Government is issuing copper trade licences? If it is true, where are we getting copper because the copper that we have is in the ZESA cables only?
THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE: Yes, the
Minister is the right person to answer that question.
THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF ENERGY AND POWER DEVELOPMENT (HON. MUDYIWA): Let me say that the issuing of
licences for copper is not the responsibility of the Ministry of Energy and Power Development, it is Home Affairs that does the issuing of licences. When she went on with her question, she touched on the issue of ZESA cables. What I can only say on that is, as the Ministry of
Energy and Power Development, we are advocating to the Ministry of Home Affairs to relook at the issuing of licences for copper because that is affecting us in a great way, particularly when it comes to the issues of vandalism on our transformers and even our electricity lines. We are also advocating for the Ministry of Home Affairs to re-look at the Act or make consideration as regards the issuing of copper licences. Thank you.
HON. SEN. DR. MAVETERA: Through you Mr. President, I find
it a little bit disturbing. Did the Minister not discuss the issue of copper trading licences with his counterpart in Cabinet? These issues, I think she should have raised them with her counterpart and then tell us what is really happening because surely, it is disturbing, we do not have mines. How do we issue copper trading licences in our set up?
HON. MUDYIWA: Okay, the matter would have been discussed
in Cabinet but I am not in a position to say out the deliberations since something is being worked out as regards the issuing of licences for copper.
THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE: Hon.
Senator, may you put your question in writing so that the relevant
Minister can address it? You are raising a relevant issue.
HON. SEN. CHIEF MTSHANE: My question is directed to the Minister of Energy and Power Development. My question is - there are fuel service stations that are supposed to sell fuel in our local currency but there are allegations which I think are founded, that they transfer the liquid to those garages that sell the liquid in foreign currency. Within the process, people run short or they have no fuel at all from those garages that are supposed to sell in local currency. What is the Ministry doing about that?
THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF ENERGY AND POWER DEVELOPMENT (HON. MUDYIWA): Thank you Mr. President. I
would like to thank the Hon. Member for bringing that question once more. The issue of selling fuel in foreign currency is not what it should be at the moment. As the Ministry, our garages should sell fuel in the local currency. I have always said that there are selected garages that sell in foreign currency to guests of the State like diplomats and some
NGOs. These garages are known that they do sell in foreign currency.
However, for any other garage to sell fuel in foreign currency or divert the fuel that they are allocated to garages that sell in foreign currency, these are allegations that we are seized with and we are doing our best to try and investigate, come to the bottom of the issue and deal with it. We have ZERA which is out there to do the monitoring of such practices, so if the Hon. Member is aware of such garages, he will be welcome to give us the list so that we institute our investigations. Thank you.
*HON. SEN. WUNGANAYI: Thank you Mr. President. I do not
think we are residing in the same nation with the Minister. My supplementary question is how many diplomats do we have in the country who need 20 service stations in Harare only? I thank you.
THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE: I think you
question is supposed to be directed to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Trade. Can you rephrase your question?
*HON. SEN. WUNGANAYI: Thank you Mr. President. I asked
this question because she is the one who mentioned the issue of diplomats and NGOs. How many NGOs and diplomats do we have in the country that need 15 to 25 service stations that they may access fuel in foreign currency while the locals do not have the fuel?
HON. MUDYIWA: Thank you Mr. President. I think I have
mentioned it before that those who have information of service stations that are selling in foreign currency should bring the list forward so that we can investigate and clarify on who is allowed to sell in foreign currency or not. At the moment, I do not have those details. So, if they avail us with the list of service stations that are selling fuel in foreign currency, it will assist us a lot so that we investigate the matter and come to the bottom of it. Thank you.
*HON. SEN. CHABUKA: Thank you Mr. President. The Minister is the same person who responded that we have filling stations that we have approved to sell fuel in foreign currency. Today, we are saying she should give us a list. Mr. President, you do not understand the challenges that we are facing there. She should respect us as legislators. It is not a crime for us to seek clarification. I thank you.
THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE: What is
your supplementary question Hon. Senator?
*HON. CHABUKA: My supplementary question is she is the one who came here and said filling stations such as Zuva are allowed to sell in foreign currency. Why is she now asking us to submit the list when she is the one who told us?
*HON. MUDYIWA: Thank you Mr. President. I think we are speaking the same language. I did not deny that there are those selling in foreign currency but the figure of 15 or 20 is what I am disputing. I am saying if there are 15 service stations, you should submit the list to me so that we can compare with the details in our office. So if they are aware of those service stations, they should avail the information. I am disputing the figure because from what I know, they are not that many. We are assisting each other in terms of information. I do not have the figures here. So if they can assist me with information, we will get to the bottom of this matter through investigations. If I had the list I would have been able to respond positively to that question. I thank you.
*HON. SEN. CHIMBUDZI: Thank you Mr. President. My
question is directed to the Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Water, Culture and Rural Resettlement. What measures have you put in place as a Government on the issue of research assistance, especially for tobacco farmers in order to preserve their environment?
*THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF LANDS, AGRICULTURE,
WATER, CULTURE AND RURAL RESETTLEMENT (HON.
KARORO): Thank you Mr. President. I want to thank the Hon.
Member for the question. I cannot see that as a question but a suggestion. I will explain what we are doing in the Ministry. In terms of deforestation, we are encouraging Mr. President that farmers should grow tobacco but should have a plan as to where they are going to get the firewood should they start curing their tobacco. We are also encouraging them to have woodlots. From those woodlots, they can run the tobacco industry production without causing deforestation. I am sure we are all aware of the fact that from 2021, the tobacco farmers are saying they will not buy tobacco that is cured using coal. The only option is ZESA electricity and wood. What we need to ensure is that farmers embark on reforestation in order to be able to cure their tobacco.
I thank you.
*HON. SEN. CHIEF NGEZI: Thank you Mr. President. My
question is directed to the Minister of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services. What measures do you have in place in order to resuscitate the music galas that were done before to celebrate our heroes by the different musicians in the country? I thank you.
THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE: Hon. Sen.
Chief, that question is really supposed to be directed to the Minister of
Youth, Sport, Arts and Recreation because artists fall under that
Ministry. Unfortunately, we do not have the relevant Minister with us. If up to Half past Three we do not have the Minister, perhaps you would like to put that in writing so that the Minister has to come and attend to that question.
*HON SEN. SHOKO: Thank you Mr. President. My question is
directed to the Minister of Industry and Commerce. I want to know what the Committee on mealie-meal is doing to ensure availability of mealie-meal because up to now, we cannot access mealie-meal.
*THE MINISTER OF INDUSTRY AND COMMERCE (HON.
- KANHUTU-NZENZA): I want to thank the Hon. Senator for his question. The Committee on mealie-meal is there but it is facing challenges. The challenges are that maize is still in transit. It is only when this maize comes that the Committee will try to ensure that people get 10kgs roller meal at RTGS70. The challenge is that when mealiemeal is available, people start hording the mealie-meal and sell it at RTGS116 to RTGS160. We want all the consumers to get mealie-meal at RTGS70.
The Committee is there but its operations are not effective because of those who are hording mealie-meal.
*HON. SEN. DR. MAVETERA: Thank you Mr. President. I
wanted clarification on what she is doing to ensure that maize is not sold on the black market. Corruption is with the millers. Why is it that people cannot procure the maize from Grain Marketing Board in order to avoid corruption? We are talking about the lives of the people Mr.
*HON. DR. KANHUTU-NZENZA: I thank the member for that
question and that is a very good suggestion and it requires us to sit down and consider it and see whether it is possible but I have accepted that suggestion.
*HON. SEN. WUNGANAYI: Thank you Mr. President. I want to
understand from the Minister on the issue of mealie-meal coupons on how they are being distributed. We have not yet received them.
*HON. DR. KANHUTU-NZENZA: I want to thank the Hon.
Senator for his question. We do not have coupons yet for mealie-meal; we are still making a data base for people who deserve those coupons, the most vulnerable in our society. For those who were already on Social Welfare data base, it is not a problem but for others, we have to prepare a data base.
HON. SEN. TONGOGARA: Thank you Mr. President. My
question is directed to the Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Water, Climate and Rural Resettlement. What is the Government policy after the expiry of the 99-year leases? I thank you.
THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF LANDS, AGRICULTURE, WATER, CLIMATE AND RURAL RESETTLEMENT (HON.
KARORO): Thank you Mr. President and the Hon. Senator for the question. After the 99-year leases expire, the policy is that Government just like any other contractual agreements, will have to look at the track record of production history of the farm. If the farm was indeed productive, I see no reason why that 99-year lease should not be renewed.
*HON. SEN. CHIEF CHIKWAKA: Thank you Mr. President.
Allow me to direct my question to the Minister of Energy and Power
Development. Mr. President, water is vital for everyone and it is a right. In view of this load shedding, what measures has Government put in place to ensure that they put direct lines that cannot experience load sheding to ensure that people have access to water. In other areas, when electricity is restored and they open their taps, the water comes out dirty. I want to find out what measures Government is putting in place because it is everyone’s right to have access to clean water. I thank you.
*THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF ENERGY AND POWER
DEVELOPMENT (HON. MUDYIWA): Thank you Mr. President, I
want to thank the Hon. Member for his question. What I do not understand is; are people accessing dirty water or they are failing to access the water at all? I do not know its connection with electricity. Yes, we do not have much electricity in the nation; we are trying that such areas where water is pumped including hospitals that affect the lives of people should have dedicated lines. ZETDC is working with local authorities to ensure that such areas have dedicated lines for electricity. If there is an area without dedicated lines, I think we will find out from ZETDC as to the challenges they are facing in those areas. We are trying to have this in all areas. I think the issue of accessing dirty water now requires the local authorities to respond to that and explain why people get dirty water.
*HON. SEN. WUNGANAYI: Thank you Mr. President, Hon.
Minister, the issue is not about the dirty water. It is about dedicated lines for electricity which ensures that water is pumped and is distributed to the people. So, what I am talking about is not hearsay but I am talking about what I witnessed recently that all local authorities do not have dedicated lines. The dedicated lines that they have are joined with other companies who will be paying their money in foreign currency. For those who pay in foreign currency, if they see that electricity tariffs are running out, they request that electricity be cut from those using RTGs as payment. So, the request is that put dedicated lines directly to those local authorities so that people have access to water. Some areas have gone for nine months without access to water because of lack of electricity.
HON. MUDYIWA: Thank you Mr. President. I think your view
point is the same as mine. If it is a dedicated line that passes through the local authority where water pumping is done and is going towards companies paying in foreign currency, I do not think it is possible that in a short space of time the infrastructure can be changed to be dedicated towards the water authority. However, if there is a dedicated line that passes through the local authority for pumping water, then it is okay.
The issue of energy infrastructure cannot be changed anyhow, so when we talk of the local authority, sometimes it is not about electricity. What I do not agree with is that those with companies will inform us not to give them electricity, and then ZETDC deprives everyone of electricity because of that. ZETDC is trying by all means to ensure that electricity is availed to those critical areas through those dedicated lines.
*HON. SEN. CHIEF MAKUMBE: Thank you Mr. President. My
question is directed to the Minister of Higher and Tertiary Education. Our country has got so many good schools and students are doing very well, the pass rate is very good. However, the challenge is that we are having a shortage of medical doctors. What measures has the Government put in place in order to ensure that they address the health sector challenges in light of the Coronavirus.
Students are required to have a minimum entry of 15 points for them to practice medicine. What is the Government doing to ensure that students with less than 15 points are afforded the opportunity to study medicine? I thank you.
THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF HIGHER AND TERTIARY
EDUCATION INNOVATION, SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY
DEVELOPMENT (HON. MACHINGURA): I would like to thank the
Hon. Senator for his question. It is true that our nation has been training a number of people but what is sad is that the students in the medical field were very few. Therefore, the Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education has conducted a skills audit. I have moved around with the paper and I have it here. It has reflected that under natural and applied sciences, there is a 3% skill in Zimbabwe and this means there is a shortfall of 97%. When we looked at the medical and health science, we have a 5% skill; hence we have a shortfall of 95% in that area. For Engineering and Technology, we have 6, 43%; therefore we have a deficit of 93, 57%. In the legal sector we have 8% and the deficit is 92%. In agriculture, we have 12% and the deficit is 88%. However, under social sciences, we have about 120%. That is why you realised that we have decided to do some reforms.
Once we realise that there is a deficit in a certain area, we have taken measures to ensure that we cover up the gap. So it is true Hon. Sen. Chief Makumbe that in the medical sciences we have a huge deficit and that anyone with below 15 points cannot be admitted in the medical field. As we are addressing the issue of our education, we are focused towards the skills that are lacking and that is where our emphasis is. However, in those areas that are fully covered our attention is a bit limited.
HON. SEN. CHIEF MAKUMBE: What I want to understand is
that you are training 200 doctors against a deficit of 96% of skills. What measures does the Government have in order to cover the deficit because students are failing to get places in order to practice medicine? Those with 11 to 14 points are not being enrolled for medicine. How do we cover for the 95% if these students are not accepted by the universities.
*HON. MACHINGURA: I hope that all of us understand that the university that has been given the mandate to study medicine programme is the University of Zimbabwe but we have since started such programmes at NUST University as well as Midlands State University. So the Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education is taking measures to increase the infrastructure to enroll some more students. We are trying to improve the facilities at Midlands State University so that they can be similar to those at the University of Zimbabwe and the same is being done at NUST because these were not initially considered before. So it is work in progress to address this. I thank you.
HON. SEN. DUBE: My question is directed to the Minister of Industry and Commerce, Hon. Nzenza. What is Government policy on Community Share Ownership Schemes?
THE MINISTER OF INDUSTRY AND COMMERCE (HON.
- KANHUTU-NZENZA): We are currently looking at the Empowerment Act with a view to review it. At the moment, we are going through a consultation process and part of the national wide consultation process is also to incorporate the Community Share Ownership Trust to see if we can bring it together with the ultimate aim of empowering communities and also to ensure that the proceeds from our country should also be owned by the indigenous communities in that area.
HON. SEN. FEMAI: Thank you Mr. President. My question is directed to the Leader of the House, in his absence the Members of the Cabinet can answer. Is it true that you dismiss a Minister? If it is true, when are you going to dismiss Hon. Ncube?
THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE: Hon. Femai,
that is unparliamentary and uncalled for. Withdraw that.
HON. SEN. FEMAI: I am sorry Mr. President. I withdraw.
HON. SEN. P. NDLOVU: Thank you Mr. President. My
question is directed to the Minister of Agriculture. Tobacco is sold in forex, why do we have a Government policy that says farmers must access their forex converted to RTGS at bank rate yet the sale was valued in US dollars?
THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF LANDS, AGRICULTURE,
WATER, CLIMATE AND RURAL RESETTLEMENT (HON.
KARORO): Thank you Mr. President and thank you Hon. Member. Your question was very straight forward. Unfortunately, our corebusiness at the Ministry of Agriculture is to make sure that we produce a lot of tobacco. The pricing and payments is for the Ministry of Finance.
I thank you.
+HON. SEN. PHUTI: Thank you Mr. President. My question is directed to the Minister of Home Affairs. Since we are having challenges with passports as of now, what measures is the Government taking on passports that are expiring whilst having some blank pages?
THE MINISTER OF HOME AFFAIRS AND CULTURAL
HERITAGE (HON. KAZEMBE): Thank you Mr. President Sir. I
would like to think that I managed to understand the question. I thought she is asking why we cannot allow people to use their pages in their passports. Unfortunately with passports, the specifications, expectations and requirements are of international standards. They are prescribed by International Aviation Organisation (IAO) which is a UN agency and is the one that prescribes how passports should be, the number of pages and the period. As a member State, we cannot change that. Even if you have extra pages, if the timeframe that was prescribed to that passport is up, you cannot use those extra pages.
HON. SEN. S. MPOFU: Thank you Mr. President. I will direct my question to the Deputy Minister of Local Government and Public Works, Hon. M. Chombo. There are people who were affected by floods in Tsholotsho and were relocated to new places. Some of them have tents issued by the Government but are now torn and others have since gone back to the old flood prone areas because the Government has taken long to construct the houses as promised. They have also not been shown land where they can plough.
THE MINISTER OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT AND PUBLIC
WORKS (HON. CHOMBO): Thank you Mr. President and thank you very much Hon. Member for the question about Tsholotsho. I was in
Tsholotsho last month reviewing the relocation process that was done. For sure, we have not been able to meet the requirements on time because of shortage of resources but in the current budget we were favoured with $20 million. I assure you that we are getting something done to make sure that everybody is adequately housed.
HON. SEN. S. MPOFU: Supplementary Mr. President Sir.
*THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE: You must
rise up quickly. I would have moved forward because our time is running out.
HON. SEN. S. MPOFU: Thank you Mr. President Sir. She did not answer the last part of my question where I said, why has the Government taken long to allocate fields for relocated people?
HON. SEN. CHOMBO: Thank you very much Mr. President. Whenever there is a relocation programme, there is some resistance for people to be relocated from their original place. In the meantime, when we identified that there was that kind of resistance, we engaged the traditional leadership to make sure that they convince the people who were affected to agree to be relocated to the right places. With that agreement that we have struck with traditional leadership, we will be able now to identify land for the affected. Thank you.
HON. SEN. NCUBE: Thank you Mr. President. I will direct my question to the Minister of Energy. Minister, I need clarification honestly because maybe I am lost or I do not understand. It is about the two currencies used on selling fuel - the US dollar and the RTGS. May I know how many pipelines supply Zimbabwe on diesel and petrol? I am failing to understand - why is it that there is a difference in selling fuel in US dollars and RTGS. If the pipeline is one and if that fuel is delivered in Zimbabwe through one diesel pipeline and petrol pipeline, how then do you separate the pricing? I thank you.
THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF ENERGY AND POWER DEVELOPMENT (HON. MUDYIWA): Thank you Mr. President. I
have observed that it is the same question that was asked earlier on which has been rephrased. We have only one pipeline which brings fuel into the country. It starts from the Port of Beira to the Feruka and to our Masasa and Mabvuku Depots. From there, the fuel is transported to our service stations. So there is only one pipeline. The difference on why some service stations were permitted to sell in foreign currency was because it was observed that some organisations or people like the diplomats or guests of the State have the foreign currency and pay their employees with US$ not the Z$. That is why they were allowed to buy using the US$, otherwise everybody else should use the Z$ to buy fuel.
HON. SEN. CHIEF SIANSALI: My question is directed to the
Minister of Agriculture. We realize that the Government through your Ministry is still issuing out inputs to communities. My question is - for which season are these inputs - this year or we are preparing for the next season?
THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF LANDS, AGRICULTURE,
WATER, CLIMATE AND RURAL RESETTLEMENT (HON.
KARORO): Thank you Hon. Senator Chief for that question. Yes, it is true that our Ministry is still supervising the distribution of inputs from the Command Agriculture Programme. Yes, the rains came late and we need to acknowledge that. What we are saying as a Ministry is, we cannot fold our arms and say the rains have been late. We are encouraging farmers to grow small grains like nyemba, even with the remaining time some farmers can harvest something for the nation to feed on. Thank you.
Questions Without Notice were interrupted by THE HON.
DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE in terms of Standing Order No.
ORAL ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS WITH NOTICE
CURBING LOSS OF HUMAN LIVES
- SEN. MATIIRIRA asked the Minister of Local Government and Public Works to inform the House measures being taken by the Ministry to curb loss of human lives and property during the 2020 rain season; and
RESPONSE PLANS TO FLOODS IN BINGA
- SEN. SINAMPANDE asked the Minister of Local Government and Public Works to:
- inform the House the government’s emergency response plans
to floods which devastated Binga District this year, considering that people in the area are facing acute shortages of potable water, food and shelter; and
- explain whether such people affected by floods will be resettled in other places.
THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT
AND PUBLIC WORKS (HON. CHOMBO): The preparedness of the
Department of Civil Protection is a function of the following factors;
- Functional Civil Protection Structures and Co-ordination.
- Robust Early Warning Systems.
- Availability of Resources (financially and equipment).
- Good communication infrastructure.
- Functional Civil Protection System is anchored on a management and coordination architecture that was approved by Cabinet in May, 2019. The architecture makes it easier to mobilise all the Government ministries, departments and agencies as well as partners before, during and after the disasters. In case of the two districts you have mentioned, the activation of the Provincial and District Civil Protection Committees were activated as per the advice given by the Meteorological Services Department.
The two districts of Hwange and Binga have in place trained District Civil Protection Committees. The Committees managed to undertake localised disaster risk assessments and the requisite planning for emergencies inclusive of floods.
Furthermore, community based risk management training has been undertaken in the affected wards of Nsungwale in the case of the Binga floods. In the same vein, all development partners are members of the several platforms, except the Cabinet Committee and Cabinet itself.
- Robust Early Warning Systems
As for the hydro-climatologically related hazards such as flash floods, flooding, river flooding, storms and lightning just to mention a few, the early warning information is issued by both the SADC Climate Services Centre and the Meteorological Services Department. In the case of the specific flash floods in Hwange and Binga, the Meteorological Services Department only issued an advisory indicating an average rainfall of 50 mm throughout the projected period of 7 – 12 February, 2020. Unfortunately, the models used by the Meteorological Services
Department downplayed some variables as some areas such as Kezi District and Chisengu were already receiving more than 120 mm, a development which now required a different approach altogether. Their radar system remains a source of their biggest challenge. Preparations for natural calamities which are of a climatological nature now demand us to prepare for waste given the highlighted shortcomings of our early warning system. Focus should now also be on capacitating our early warning systems in all sectors.
- Availability of Resources
Every response to any type of disaster, whether human-made or natural, requires that adequate resources in the form of finance and suitable equipment be availed. Whilst every Government Ministry is operating on a shoe string budget, Disaster Risk Management issues must be prioritised for they have the effect of derailing the economic gains the country has made. This is an area that requires a lot of attention if the recovery and resilience of this country from natural calamities is to be fully addressed. In some instances, the disasters may require Government to relocate and construct houses for the affected communities such as what happened in Tsholotsho. To date, thousands of dollars have been disbursed to those areas affected by floods.
- c) Reliable Communication Infrastructure
The advent of better communication technology has improved the department’s capacity in accessing real-time data. With the establishment of a Disaster Management Centre and other ancillary services such as evacuation centres, an improvement will be noticed.
As for the Nsungwale flash floods in Binga, the Government has injected thousands of dollars, notwithstanding the tremendous support received from development partners, the private sector, churches and individuals. Current efforts towards recovery (Binga).
|The Department presented a budget to the Ministry to assist in the recovery of the affected communities and infrastructure
|The Department of Spatial Planning Development accessed and recommended the relocation site which is near the school
|to be a permanent one.
|Public Works Department with the assistance of the community has pitched tents using locally available resources.
|Ministry of Health with the assistance of Save the Children pitched a tent being used currently as a clinic.
|Reconstruction of roads and bridges
|Ministry of Transport, DDF and Binga RDC have started rehabilitating some parts of the damaged roads.
|Water and sanitation
|ZINWA has sited and pegged three boreholes. An organisation called Caritas has pledged to drill an additional three boreholes.
With this synopsis if all the above factors are put in place, a dynamic and revolutionalised Disaster Management Department will be established. This will also be done anchored on current efforts to benchmark such kind of development with training from advanced countries. I thank you Mr. President.
HON. SEN. SINAMPANDE: I do not think the $1000 she is
talking about is there. I was there last week and I did not see anything.
The damage is still there.
THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE: You can
always raise a follow up question later on. Thank you for your observation.
Questions With Notice were interrupted by THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT in terms of Standing Order Number 62.
On the motion of THE MINISTER OF STATE FOR
MANICALAND PROVINCE (HON. DR. GWARADZIMBA), the
Senate adjourned at Sixteen Minutes to Four o’clock p.m. until Tuesday, 10th March, 2020.