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SENATE HANSARD 12 MAY 2022 VOL 31 NO 41

PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE

Thursday, 12th May, 2022

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

PRAYERS

(THE DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE in the Chair)

ANNOUNCEMENT BY THE DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE

SWEARING IN OF A NEW MEMBER

          THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE: On the 10th of May, 2022, Parliament was notified by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC), that Chezha Chinyani had been appointed as an MDC Party list Member of the Senate for Matabeleland North Province to fill the vacancy which occurred following the death of Hon. Sen. Phyllis Ndlovu. 

          The Appointment is with effect from the 6th of May 2022.  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 in the form set out in the 3rd Schedule Section 128 (2), and states that the oath must be taken before the Clerk of Parliament.

NEW MEMBER SWORN

          HON. SEN. CHEZHA CHINYANI subscribed to the Oath of Loyalty as required by Law and took her seat – [HON. SENATORS: Hear, hear.]-

ORAL ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS WITHOUT NOTICE

THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE: In the Senate today, we have Hon. F. Mhona, the Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development; Hon. M. Mudyiwa, the Deputy Minister of Energy and Power Development; Hon. D. Musabayana, the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Trade; and Hon. Machingura, the Deputy Minister of Higher and Tertiary Education, Innovation, Science and Technology Development.

          *HON. SEN. KOMICHI: On a point of order Mr. President, the Ministers are letting us down, every Thursday, we have the same number of Ministers, and these four are the ones that attend Senate every Thursday.  However, I would like to thank them for their commitment and I would like to thank them for also respecting the Senate as well as the citizens of this country and His Excellency, the President. 

          However, I am very saddened by the Ministers who do not come to do their job because Question Time is a very important session for Zimbabweans especially looking at the current economic status.  The citizens want to know what is taking place, they would want us to ask questions and hear responses but the Ministers do not come. 

          We have been sending this request for a long time but nothing has changed.  We have complained about the Ministers not taking the Senate seriously.  It takes a lot of tax payer’s money to run the sittings of Parliament, there are a lot of expenses incurred in order for Parliament to sit.

All those complaints have been sent but up to now, we are still complaining that they do not take Senate Business seriously.  I do not know exactly what this means.  Are they playing games with us or they are looking down upon us? The Ministers are refusing to do their job as Ministers because they are refusing to listen to the President.  Therefore, let us take action against them.

          I would therefore, like to submit a suggestion that can we not stop asking these four present Ministers questions as we wait for the others.  At the moment we can proceed, we can debate our normal business because if we proceed with Question Time, we are actually nurturing this problem to continue. 

          Mr. President, I humbly implore you to consider this my suggestion that let us take serious action on the Ministers who are being insubordinate to the President as well as not respecting the citizens and this Honourable House. 

          HON. SEN. CHIEF CHARUMBIRA: On the same point Mr. President, the Hon. Sen. needs to be supported and we need to enforce the message. In supporting what I am going to say, I want to refer to the Constitution of Zimbabwe, Section 107 which says, “Accountability of Vice Presidents, Ministers and Deputy Ministers. (1) “subject to this Constitution, every Vice President, Minister and Deputy Minister is accountable collectively and individually, to the President for the performance of his or her functions”. 107 (2), “Every Vice President, Minister and Deputy Minister must attend Parliament and parliamentary Committees in order to answer questions concerning matters for which he or she is collectively or individually responsible”.

          This is a constitutional matter and we should take it seriously. None attendance of Parliament business is unconstitutional. We want to appeal to you Mr. President that this matter be given urgent attention, and with a very clear and loud announcement by your seat as to what has been decided or resolved which make us feel comfortable that future business of Parliament will be respected. I see one Cabinet Minister out of a number that I may not be clear how many but there is one. In percentage terms, I think this should be less than 5% and four Deputy Ministers. I therefore want to say this is deplorable. Hon. Senators come from all over the country and long distances. They are paid for the mileage in fuel. They are booked in hotels thinking that they will come in this Chamber to conduct business seriously in terms of this Constitution. This is money wasted because we are unable to conduct business of Parliament to the fullest. Thank you Mr. President. 

          Some Hon. Senators having stood up to raise the same issue.

          THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE: Thank you Hon. Senators, if you want to raise the same issue, I think it has been floored. I think the point has been made and you may take your seats. Hon. Senators, I am not in any way belittling or playing down your concerns. If anything, I am 100% behind what has been raised by the two Hon. Senators. It pains my heart also that on a day like this where Hon. Senators are supposed to raise issues of policy with the relevant ministers representing their constituents, the responsible ministers do not turn up except for the same old ministers and deputy ministers who come religiously and studiously.

          The Hon. Deputy Minister of Local Government has just come in and she comes every week and the other Deputy Ministers and of course, the Minister of Transport. I am alarmed and this is tantamount to holding the Senate in contempt. It is unconstitutional and it is breaking the Constitution which we are supposed to defend. When we take the oath of Office, we are supposed to defend the Constitution. So, I am 100% behind you and I can assure you that me, together with the relevant authorities and Head of Parliament, we are going to bring this to the attention of the Head of State so that if any action is taken, it should be taken. Otherwise we might contemplate ourselves to charge the relevant ministers with contempt of Parliament – [HON. SENATORS: Hear, hear.] - So I am going take it up with the strongest and the hardest vigour to ensure that something is done.

          In the meantime, it will be unfair for the Hon. Ministers who have turned up for us to continue debating whilst they are there. We will carry on with the Questions without Notice but your point has been made and as I have said, we are going to take the necessary action. I thank you.

ORAL ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS WITHOUT NOTICE

          HON. SEN. KOMICHI: Thank you Hon. President. My question is directed to the Minister of Local Government and Public Works. In the previous Parliament, we elected provincial councillors and they were not sworn in and nothing happened. In this Ninth Parliament, we also elected provincial councillors and nothing has happened so far in terms of swearing in. We are coming to the end of our term but they were elected by the people. They have lost in terms of benefits and they have never done any work. –What are we doing as Zimbabwe and why are we doing that? My question Minister is, when are we going to swear in these councillors and what is the problem at this particular moment?    THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT AND PUBLIC WORKS (HON. CHOMBO): Thank you Hon. President and thank you Hon. Sen. Komichi for that question. What happened was that the legal framework was not aligned to the Constitution of 2013.  As such, we came up with the Bill which is now at the Attorney General’s Office.  Once the Bill is complete, we are going to bring it to Parliament. In the meantime we have tried by all means to make sure that we address the welfare of the provincial councillors, they are getting their remuneration. 

          +HON. SEN. A. DUBE:  My question is directed to the Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development.  Before I ask my question, I want to thank the Minister for the good job that is being done on Tsholotsho Road. It is an old road which was constructed during the colonial time and is being rehabilitated. My question is that there is transport problem in the rural areas. Of course there are ZUPCO buses but they are not enough for the population.  Why are you not bringing kombis into the system?

          THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE:  The first one is a specific question, it is not a policy question - you should put it in writing.  I do not know if the Hon. Minister is ready to answer that one.  The second question is for the Ministry of Local Government but may- be the Hon. Minister can answer the Hon. Member on the issue.

          THE MINISTER OF TRANSPORT AND INFRASTRUCTURAL DEVELOPMENT (HON. MHONA): Let me also thank the Hon. Senator for asking such a pertinent question.  Work is underway on Bulawayo-Tsholotsho Road.  Those roads were not rehabilitated for a very long time.  I want to thank our President who is a listening President.  As we speak, four very important national roads are being rehabilitated.  As I speak, Bulawayo-Tsholotsho and Bulawayo-Nkayi Roads are being attended to by my team.  Mr. President, even if we start with five kilometres it does not mean we are ending at that stretch. 

          On the issue of ZUPCO, the relevant Ministry is the Ministry of Local Government.  When the President heard that there was crisis pertaining to transport, not just in communal areas but also in urban areas, it was observed that there was need for the private players to come and participate in the transportation business.  This is what we are doing and I am sure the Minister of Local Government will table the regulations.  We assure you that once the regulations are there, private players can actually participate freely. 

          HON. A. DUBE: I think there was communication breakdown, I was appreciating the Minister for the great job that is being done on Tsholotsho, I come from that area.  

          THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE:  This emphasizes the importance of communication and the need for all of us to speak all our languages.  Thank you very much for that clarification.

          HON. SEN. CHINAKE:  My question is directed to the Minister of Public Service and Social Welfare.

          THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE:  The Hon. Minister is not in the House, please put the question in writing to the relevant Ministry.    

          HON. SEN. CHIEF CHUNDU: Thank you Mr. President, I would like the Minister to clarify about the people working on these major roads. Some of those roads are being worked on properly but sometimes those roads are becoming narrow and narrow and the edges are now damaged, such that when cars coming from opposite direction pass each other, they may not pass each other properly and this may lead to serious accidents or breakdown.

          *HON. MHONA: I would like to thank the Hon. Sen. Chief Chundu for his valuable question. When the roads are being worked on, the intention is to improve those roads. From what the Hon. Senator said, those roads are not wide enough and what I would like to emphasise on is that sometimes we will only be repairing a road and not necessarily working on the new one. When we work on any road, we remove all other construction matter that may have happened and we start from the foundation.  By so doing, you will not be able to see those problems again.

I would like to inform the House that the roads that we are currently making, we expect their lifespan to be about 20 years. If those roads are not maintained from time to time, yes we may get problems because everything needs to be maintained from time to time, just like any other appliance. It is Government policy that we work on all our roads because they have not been worked on for a long time.

          We are improving on those roads. If you look at Harare-Beitbridge Highway, it is now wider than what is was. . This buttresses the point that indeed, the roads that we repair become wider. With time, you will realise that those roads will be better than what they were.

          *HON. SEN. CHIEF MAKUMBE: My supplementary question to the Minister is that we used to have road maintenance units dotted all over the country and I would like to know what Government is doing about those maintenance units that we used to have, yet we have camps that are there and they are not doing anything to maintain the roads so that they remain in good condition.

          *HON. MHONA: I would like to thank Hon. Sen. Chief Makumbe. Yes indeed he raises a very important issue. In the past we had road maintenance units that would attend to roads wherever there were problems and they would attend to those issues immediately.  With the leadership of our President he has requested us to reinvigorate those units and bring them back again. Very soon you will see those camps working and those units will be up and running and maintaining those road portions as they used to.  I want to thank you Senator Chief for bringing that very important point because indeed it refers to units that used to maintain our roads to keep them in good state. I thank you.

          *HON. SEN. CHISOROCHENGWE: My supplementary question is that Minister, I heard you saying you remove  completely the old surface of the road when you are rehabilitating the roads,  Why then does it take you long to complete the road so much that motorists end up using that unfinished road.

          *HON. MHONA: I would like to thank the Hon. Senator. We used to see that in the past where roads would be worked on and left unfinished just like that. With the coming in of the Second Republic, what we are doing now is that we are working on those roads in segments to completion. We are working in sections of 5km or so, so that after completing that section, we move on to another one. We are doing that in order to address that issue whereby people end up using sections of the road whilst they are not yet complete.

*HON. SEN. CHIEF CHARUMBIRA: Firstly, I would like to applaud the work being done on the roads; indeed, our road surfaces are good. Is there any budget for rural roads because what is happening in the urban areas should also apply in rural areas? We request for grading of those gravel roads because they are also littered with potholes. What is Government’s policy on that?

*HON. MHONA: I would like to thank Hon. Sen. Chief Charumbira for that pertinent question that he has raised. Truly speaking, what he has said is the truth that road maintenance should not be focused in urban areas only. We should also go down to rural areas where people are living. We should also pay attention to those areas. Looking at the manner in which roads were maintained back in the days, roads were maintained by local authorities.

I would to thank the Ministry of Local Government for releasing funds to assist in the purchase of machinery that is being used to fix roads. I would like to say some roads in rural areas do not need much attention, just a little touch on them then they are fixed.  I strongly believe that as a Ministry, it is our responsibility to make sure that all areas are given attention, both urban and rural areas.  In some instances because people spend most of their times in urban areas, I strongly believe this is where they see work being done.  For those who are not satisfied with what we are doing, they are free to come through so that we give them details of the work that is being done.  Even when it comes to the welfare of our chiefs, we should make sure that our chiefs have roads in their communities, where it is accessible to get to their homesteads.  Actually, we should cater for everyone in this country.  Every road should be accessible, they should be maintained and be in good shape.

          HON. SEN. CHIEF CHARUMBIRA: I would like to thank the Minister.  I praised him before and I will continue to praise this Minister.  I am not referring to the urban areas.  The roads I am referring to are those in the rural areas.  Allow me to praise the Minister of Transport for the good job that he is doing.  That is why he is coming to this House and that is why he is coming back because he is not embarrassed to come to this House.  His works are visible.  We can see what he is doing.  He is performing very well, he is very confident.  All things are moving.  We are seeing tarred roads being resurfaced; a lot of work has been done but when you leave tarred roads coming to the rural areas, on the other part of the country, there is still a story to tell.

          I am from Masvingo District, for me to claim that there is a road in the rural areas being maintained or resurfaced, there is nothing like that.  I have never seen such things happening in the rural areas.  This is why I brought a supplementary question.  That is why I asked - is there a corresponding rehabilitation maintenance programme for these roads in the rural areas?  May be we may talk of DDF, they are responsible for roads in rural areas.  May be we may get detailed information to say money was disbursed for people to resume work instead because they may not have channeled that money towards that particular area. 

          *HON. MHONA: Thank you very much Hon. President.  I would like to thank Hon. Sen. Chief Charumbira for the question that he asked. It is true what he said.  Our roads in the rural areas are dilapidated, they are in a shambolic state and it is true that we need to take action to see to it that these roads are fixed.  I would like to inform this House that each and every stage we will come to inform this House to say, we will go down to the council, do our oversight as a Ministry to say money was disbursed to you, why are you not embarking on road resurfacing.  I would like to promise you Hon. Sen. Chief Charumbira that we will not stop until we get to that stage.  I think you will come back next to say we see people working on our roads in the community. 

          (v)HON. SEN. KALIPANI: Thank you Mr. President.  Yesterday in the National Assembly, I heard the Minister saying how many thousands kilometers of roads network need to be done.  My question is, of that number of kilometers, how many of them have been rehabilitated and how many are outstanding?  What are the benchmarks, if he can tell us, by this period, we expect we would have done so much?  My second question will then be directed to the Minister of Local Government.  It is the same question but I will be referring to local road network?  Thank you Mr. President.

          HON. MHONA: Thank you Mr. President Sir.  Let me also thank Hon. Sen. Kalipani for that very important question.  Mr. President Sir, the question that has been posed by the Hon. Senator requires detailed information.  With your indulgence, I can actually go through, fortunately, I have got the figures and I will just go through the numbers but under normal circumstances, if it would have been a written question, it was going to have much detail.

          I will just go through - road authorities have managed to reseal and overlay about 110 km.  Construction, reconstruction and rehabilitation is now at 70 km while 370 km or the road has been graveled and re-graveled.  A total of 2 171 km of road have been graded so that it becomes trafficable.  Further, 144 drainage structures have been repaired and constructed.  Bush clearing has been achieved to the tune of 1 315 km and a total 2 390 of road has been pothole-patched.  So I thought I would just give in a nutshell.  If it comes to Harare-Beitbridge Road, we are on 303 km that has been reconstructed.  I thank you.

          HON. SEN. DR. MAVETERA: Thank you Mr. President.  My question is directed to the Deputy Minister of Finance.  Recently, there was a directive by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe to the effect that it had actually frozen all lending activities to members of the corporate world and individuals.  My question to the Minister is, for how long is that directive going to be in place and what is the rationale for that policy directive because what we got was to try and curb those who are involved in illicit black market activities?  I am sure the banking sector has got all the accounts of those people.  We have had several times where there are threats of ‘I will shame you’ but this has never happened.  How this policy directive has actually frozen all economic activities in the country because there is no country which can operate when there are no activities on the banking sector and sadly Mr. President, taking into account…

THE TEMPORARY PRESIDENT OF SENATE (HON. SEN. CHIEF CHARUMBIRA): Order Hon. Senator, please conclude, it is a question not a statement.

HON. SEN. DR. MAVETERA: Thank you Mr. President, I was just about to conclude.  Hon. Minister, we want to know how this policy works with the current thrust of the country for making Zimbabwe achieve its mission in 2030 when we freeze all economic activities coming from the people who are supposed to spearhead it. 

THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (HON. CHIDUWA): Thank you Mr. President and I thank Hon. Sen. Dr. Mavetera for the question.  This question is coming at a time when we are trying to build our country in line with vision 2030 as you correctly said; vision 2030 we are implementing in the form of programmes and currently we are at NDS1.  One of the critical pillars of NDS1is moving the economy up the value chain system which is the pillar on production following the pronouncements by the President.  The President has been very clear and explicit that in order to build this country it is going to be done based on production.  The growth of this country is going to be buttressed by production. What we have seen of late is a country that is being destroyed by speculation, a country that is being destroyed by speculative attacks on our currency and the President is empowered by the Exchange Control Act to provide direction in terms of how we should manage our currency. 

I have had quite a lot in terms of, some saying it was illegal for the pronouncement to be done as they were against the Banking Act but the Exchange Control Act actually provides for His Excellency the President to give that direction and why have we done that.  We want to come up with a new lending framework.  That lending framework is going to provide a direction to the institutions to lend based on production.  What we are looking for is production, production and production. If you check what has been happening, we have seen cases where borrowings have been done for people to go and participate in the stock market.  Borrowings have been done for people to go and buy and sell foreign currency.  This is not going to build our country.  So the long and short of it is, we are sanitizing the illegalities that are happening. It might affect everyone but what we are working on now is a framework. 

We have spoken to the banking sector, we have dialogued with what, we want is lending that is focused on production and they have understood.  These measures are just for us to come up with that framework to ensure that lending is going to be targeted towards production. So this is going to be a short term measure, we are finalizing the framework and very soon I may not be able to give you the timeframe but this is going to be very short term, we are finalizing and we will be back to normality. This is where we are Hon. Senator.  I thank you.

HON. SEN. KOMICHI: Thank you Hon. Deputy Minister. Yes you said this is going to be a short term measure but have you considered the negative impact that this policy has on macro finance since macro finances the borrowing and lending of monies is their core-business.  Have you considered again that most of our civil servants earn 30 000RTGs and less yet school fees are now in the range of 9000RTGS?  Most of the civil servants have actually been paying fees for their children using these macro finances monies.  Other ailing companies which are the majority in Zimbabwe have been running their business on overdraft, have you considered that because there it is going to be more disastrous than the good intention that we have and is this really a solution to our economic challenges.  I thank you so much.

HON. CHIDUWA: Thank you Hon. Sen. Komichi for the follow up question and the issues that you have brought out in terms of the existing structures that have been there and if you managed to go through the provisions as has been provided.  We have said in cases where an existing arrangement was there, overdraft facility and loan facility, if the arrangement was there and if an application has been done already and a commitment fee done, those are going to be honoured.  I think in terms of how we have approached the whole thing, we are sensitive to all the cases that you have mentioned.  Where there is no clarity in terms of the application that has been done, the Reserve Bank is open.  We have said we are also going to look at all the cases on a case by case basis but otherwise we are sensitive to the plight of our workers and we are sensitive to the plight of the companies and on a case by case basis we are going to consider those cases if there are any. I thank you.

THE TEMPORARY PRESIDENT OF SENATE: Sorry we still have Hon. Sen. N. Khumalo, Hon. Sen. Chimbuzi, Hon. Sen. Chief Chikwaka, Hon. Sen. Hungwe and Hon. Sen. Chirongoma.  In terms of time there should be some other mechanisms.  We can now proceed.

+HON. SEN. KHUMALO:  My question is directed to the Minister of Transport. Following up on the promise he made in this House that he was going to take some of the work from council and repair the roads, nothing has happened. The roads in the towns are in a terrible state. May the Minister make another promise and state when they are going to start rehabilitating the roads?

THE MINISTER OF TRANSPORT AND INFRASTRUCTURAL DEVELOPMENT (HON. MHONA): Let me thank Hon. Sen. Khumalo for that very important question. The Minister of Transport superintends over other three road authorities; local authorities, rural district councils and the District Development Fund, and under its purview, there is the department of roads. It is true because of the declaration of the Emergency Road Rehabilitation Programme, some of the councils, if not most of them, were not rehabilitating their roads and the Ministry of Transport had to go and start rehabilitating. I can confirm to this narrative that we are coming to take over the roads, which is precisely what is happening.

Let me give an example of City of Harare where we have taken over 40 roads that were supposed to be under the purview of City of Harare and we have taken over as a Ministry to demonstrate that when we said we are coming to take over the roads, it is exactly what we are doing. So if you go deeper to other city councils, you will see that the Minister of Transport has taken over roads. It might not be at the accelerated pace that Hon. Sen. Khumalo is anticipating but we must thank the Second Republic that we have started the process of rehabilitating roads that were neglected for years.

We are doing it Mr. President and I want to assure Hon. Sen. Khumalo that if you have such roads, let us share and make sure that we continue rehabilitating those roads. We might not be in a position to do the entire city but we have started and we will continue on that trajectory.

Time for Questions Without Notice having expired

HON. SEN. CHIEF CHIKWAKA: I move that time for Questions Without Notice be extended by a further twenty (20) minutes. We want to make use of the Hon. Ministers who are always loyal to this House, otherwise for most of the Questions With Notice, the Ministers are not around. Thank you.

HON. SEN. CHIMBUDZI: I second.

Motion put and agreed to.

*HON. SEN. CHIEF CHIKWAKA: My question is directed to the Minister of Energy and Power Development. What is the policy regarding transformers? If you buy one and it is installed, the transformer automatically becomes the property of ZESA. The challenge that we then have is what is the Ministry’s plan to look after the transformers because it is their responsibility. In line with vandalisms, what plans do they have to look after those transformers in the remote areas so that they are not vandalised because right now farmers are busy planting and if we do not have electricity, it will hamper the progress we have made in getting electricity. What plans do they have to look after these transformers because if they are stolen, they take a lot of time to replace them?

*THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF ENERGY AND POWER DEVELOPMENT (HON. MUDYIWA): I thank the Hon. Senator for his pertinent question which comes at the right time. The question is in two or three parts. Firstly, he is asking about the transformers that are bought by people which automatically become the property of ZESA and what plans we have as ZESA to look after those transformers. If people come together and buy a transformer, they are given specifications by ZESA and ZESA officials inspect the transformer and also install it. So, if it has been installed by ZESA then automatically it becomes the property of ZESA and they are the ones who are supposed to maintain, look or replace after it has been vandalised.

The problem of vandalism which has been referred to by the Hon. Chief is a challenge that we are seized with. As ZESA, we are doing our level best to look after the transformers but firstly, there are so many transformers in the country. We are looking at ways in which we can protect those transformers. For now, we are only able to put some reinforcement on the transformers so that those who want to vandalise will find it difficult to do so.

Secondly, we say when a transformer has been installed at a certain place, it is our responsibility as ZESA and also the users to help each other to look after the transformer. As users, you can come up with vigilante groups such as neighbourhood watch groups who will protect the transformers from vandalism because if the transformers are vandalised, you will also have a challenge in getting electricity. As ZESA, it will be a loss because we will have to replace that transformer and it is a cost to us to replace the transformer which hampers the work of ZESA. I think we should unite and work together to protect those transformers.

We also have a Bill which has been talked about, the Electricity Amendment Bill which is trying to criminalise vandalism and gives stiffer penalties for the perpetrators. Those are some of the measures that are in place so that we deter vandalism. In short, we work together as the public and ZESA to look after the transformers. As ZESA, we do what we can in the form of reinforcing the transformers and the other things we are doing which are of national security. There is a lot which is happening to make it difficult for people to vandalise transformers.

Coming to the second question, pertaining to the assurance of electricity to wheat farmers, we are trying by all means to make sure that electricity is available.  I think if you have noticed, we have lowered the load shedding.  Yes, electricity that is coming from Hwange Thermal stations, other subsidiary thermal stations, IPP’s and solar plants is not sufficient.  However, we are importing some from Mozambique and South Africa. 

          On top of that, we are encouraging a lot of people to come up with solar energy power in various places which we refer to as IPPs.  We are using the national renewable policy that those who are able should approach our offices and then we can help each other so that they can put solar energy in place, be it for domestic use or for farming purposes.

          If someone has installed solar for domestic use, if they have access, we have what we call net metering whereby we put smart meters so that the excess energy will be channeled to the ZESA cables then they will be used and paid for.  Therefore, we agree on the paying terms in units because we do not have money but we are encouraging that we will raise the amount of ZESA that we generate. 

          There are a lot of things that we are engaged in; we have the Hwange Power Expansion Project where we are building two new projects which are about 85% complete now.  The other one, Unit 7 should be commissioned before year end and it gives us 300 mega watts which will go into the national grid.  So, these are the major projects at hand so that we have a lot of electricity.

          *HON. SEN. CHIEF CHIKWAKA: Thank you Hon. Minister for the answer which shows that the Government is the owner of transformers.  However, is it the Government or their department of ZESA that has a policy that when the transformers have been stolen, they say they will not replace transformers unless consumers have reinforced the places?  So, is that a Government policy or it is just an opinion of someone who is putting their own laws. 

          *HON. MUDYIWA: Thank you Mr. President. It is not Government policy.  The policy is that when a transformer has been vandalised, ZESA is supposed to replace the transformer at no cost to the consumers.  What he is alluding to, we have never heard about it, however, if you come across such, kindly alert us.

          HON. SEN. DR. MAVETERA: My supplementary question to the Hon. Minister is that most of the people who are stealing these transformers are actually selling them to companies that will resell those transformers.  So, it seems there is a ready market for that, therefore what is the Government doing to ensure that those transformers that are being stolen cannot be recycled and sold back in the market because there are a lot of new companies that are coming up that are very questionable.

          *HON. MUDYIWA: The policy is that transformers will have secret markings so that they can be identified in cases where there will be thefts that have taken place.  When those transformers are sold to ZESA, ZESA will inspect and check for those secret markings.  If it is discovered, that will become a case to the people selling.  I thank you.

          *HON. SEN. CHIMBUDZI: Thank you Mr. President.  My question is directed to the Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development who is very capable and good at his job.  What is Government policy with regards to teaching the public not to mine for gold under bridges so that they do not disturb the infrastructure that is important to the development of our country? I thank you.

          THE MINISTER OF TRANSPORT AND INFRASTRUCTURAL DEVELOPMENT (HON. MHONA): Thank you Mr. President.  It is true and we are very much worried about people who are so much engaged in corruption and taking this country to ransom by destroying infrastructure such as railway lines or roads.

 We realise that there is illicit mining taking place and I would like to appreciate that the Minister of Energy and Power Development is talking about deterrent legislation for those who sabotage infrastructure.

 Yes indeed, the country being led by His Excellency, E.D Mnangagwa, is working very much on infrastructure and yet we realise that there are a lot of saboteurs disturbing this development.  So, yes there are people who are involved in illicit mining and undermining this project.  So, this infrastructure that is being worked on is meant for the benefit of this country.  No one else will help us but we need to develop our own country.  I thank you.

          *HON. SEN. SIPANI-HUNGWE: Thank you Hon. President. My question is directed to the Minister of Local Government and Public Works. If you go to high density suburbs there is too much litter that is encroaching onto the roads. Since they are the ones who are responsible for local authorities, what are they saying about litter that is flooding the roads which is a result of local authorities not collecting garbage, especially in major cities like Harare? The City Council is not taking away garbage, what are they saying about that?

          THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT AND PUBLIC WORKS (HON. CHOMBO): Thank you Mr. President. I would like to thank Hon. Sen. Hungwe for the pertinent question. It is true especially in the high density suburbs. There is a lot of garbage and as Government was seeing that, you will notice that the President, His Excellency E. D. Mnangagwa declared a clean-up campaign because he realised that things are not good. In towns there is a lot of garbage. They do not have vehicles to collect litter. Most of their vehicles are old but now they have resumed that effort. If you look at the City of Harare, recently they got three contractors that they will be using to collect litter. If you see what is happening right now, you will notice that they are purchasing or ordering those vehicles mostly using devolution funds.

          The other thing is that litter is too much these days and it is not easily degradable. So it is also contributing to the high volumes of litter and as Government, we are also looking at what we can do. That is why Government has approved the Pomona Project because we are intensifying the efforts to make use of the litter to our benefit and to ensure that the towns are clean. We also notice that for people to work properly, they need monitoring. We have also introduced performance management system contracts. The President oversaw those contracts being applied first to ministers.

          For us to be able to oversee that our subordinates are doing that, we also undergo that and we will ensure that they also sign those performance related contracts. Recently, we ensured that they sign those performance based contracts. One of the requirements is that they have to ensure that they keep their towns clean. We will realise that the devolution funds will be used to purchase those contractors or vehicles that are meant to collect garbage. The other thing will be that in order for people to remain in place, they have to sign those performance based contracts.

          *HON. SEN. CHIRONGOMA: Thank you Mr. President. My question is directed to the Minister of Energy and Power Development. We have a challenge in the rural areas. During the rainy season, the poles fall down. Now there are about two poles and it will take up to two or three months without being rectified and they will be along the highway. What is Government policy? Secondly, there is a place where you have lines but there are no transformers. Are you not attracting thieves by doing that?

          *THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF ENERGY AND POWER DEVELOPMENT (HON. MUDYIWA): Thank you Mr. President and thank you Hon. Sen. for your question. The first answer of falling electricity poles is a challenge and the policy says that when electricity poles fall, ZESA should be swift in rectifying the challenge, but the challenges they are facing are that of resourcing for them to take action quickly. Probably they do not have the money to buy the poles and secondly, transport is also a challenge. We want to end that challenge so that we will not have wood poles but we will have concrete poles which are not affected by the rains.

          If you remember very well, long back we had concrete poles and we did not have problems of poles falling and so that one should be attended to quickly. Secondly, what happens in the rural areas is that electricity only reaches a certain place and it takes long for it to get to homesteads. REA which is responsible for rural electrification, it is supposed to install even the transformers.  There was a challenge that when they get there, they would leave it like that, without connecting to the homesteads.  We have gone past that because now REA is mandated to install electricity, they are supposed to leave it working especially at schools or hospitals.  It was just a question of handover because REA after putting the infrastructure, would leave it to ZTD - but we have since rectified that.  When REA installs electricity, they should leave it functioning.  Thank you.

          *HON. SEN. MUZENDA: My question is directed to the Ministry of Local Government.  It is about the ZUPCO buses that we see grounded in several places.  What is Government policy on that?  When these new buses come, are they going to be dumped in deports without being repaired like what we are seeing happening right now?  I thank you.

          THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT AND PUBLIC WORKS (HON. CHOMBO):  I would like to thank Hon. Sen. Muzenda for the question.  Yes, I concur with the Senator that most of the ZUPCO buses are currently grounded in various ZUPCO deports.  We have some buses which we bought in early agreements, we did not have service kits so we could not repair them but for some of them, we have since ordered spare parts for them.  The buses that we ordered the past two years, we also ordered kits for them.  So, we have since realised that it is better for us to order these buses as kits so that we assemble them here. 

          Right now, if you saw on television last week, we have since ordered those kits that have arrived in Durban and they will be assembled by the local engineers so that we are able to maintain them.  I thank you.

          Questions Without Notice were interrupted by THE HON. TEMPORARY PRESIDENT OF SENATE in terms of Standing Order No. 67.

ORAL ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS WITH NOTICE

CONTRIBUTIONS BY DIASPORIANS TO THE FISCUS

  1. HON. CHIMBUDZI asked the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Trade to update the House on Government policy regarding contributions by diasporians to the fiscus.

          THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS AND INTERNATIONAL TRADE (HON. DR. MUSABAYANA):  I would like to thank the Hon. Senator for raising that very important question. I am happy to point out that in the Second Republic, our desire is to engage the Zimbabwean diaspora so that it can fully contribute to the development of the country through accessing investment opportunities and providing their skills to key sectors of the economy. 

          It is important that the full potential of our nationals abroad is marshaled so that they fully participate in the economic recovery of their homeland and assist the country in attaining an Upper Middle-Income Economy by 2030.  I am very pleased to inform you that now at the Ministry, we have a Diaspora Department which deals specifically with our Diaspora.

          As Government, we are aware that Zimbabwe’s diaspora possesses skills, resources, market intelligence and networks which can transform their migration to a lasting economic “dividend” for the country.   This can assist the country to achieve higher levels of economic growth, accompanied by reduced poverty levels.  Among other dividends reaped from diaspora contribution are diaspora remittances, which have consistently been the second highest foreign currency earner in the country during the past three years.  There has been an upward trajectory in diaspora remittances inflows amounting to USD1,430.14 billion in 2021, representing a 42.7% increase from the previous year. 

          As part of implementing Government’s thrust towards economic diplomacy with Diaspora engagement as a key pillar, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Trade and our Missions abroad have been utilising engagement meetings not only to build trust and confidence but to highlight the areas open for Diaspora participation in the nation’s development.  In addition, His Excellency the President, Cde Dr. Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa has made it a norm to create time out of his programme and engage with Zimbabweans living in the Diaspora whenever he goes outside the country on State and official visits.

          To speed up Diaspora investment applications Government has created a Diaspora One-Stop Facility within the Zimbabwe Investment and Development Agency (ZIDA).  The move is aimed at removing bottlenecks that Zimbabweans in the Diaspora might face as they try to be part of the developmental processes within the country.  Efforts are also currently underway to have the Diaspora policy document reviewed.  The Zimbabwe Diaspora Policy creates a platform for engaging the diaspora community and also establishes the necessary inclusive institutions for co-ordination and proper administration of diaspora issues. 

          In order to address critical policy issues, that hinder our diaspora contribution towards the transformation of the country, Cabinet is in the process of setting up a Diaspora Cabinet Committee that will be chaired by the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, Hon. Dr. Shava and deputised by the Minister of Finance and Economic Development Hon. Prof. Ncube as well as a Diaspora Working Party Officials. The two institutional arrangements are being created at the highest level of Government to ensure all policy concerns by the Zimbabwe Diaspora are addressed and if need be, statutes are amended in order to create a conducive environment for the diaspora to actively participate.

          Previously, Government’s thrust was to stem the flow of migration to minimise the negative impact of the resultant brain drain on the economy. Previously, Government’s thrust was to stem the flow of migration to minimize the negative impact of the resultant brain drain on the economy while at the same time seeking to maximize the benefit from those of our nationals who had gone abroad and were unlikely to return. However, Government’s focus is growing wider as we seek to promote migration governance in the country and expand the participation of the diaspora in the national development process. I submit.

FORMULATION OF BUDGETS BY LOCAL AUTHORITIES

  1. HON. SEN. TONGOGARA asked the Minister of Local Government and Public Works to inform the House the procedure that the local authorities use to formulate their budgets.

          THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT AND PUBLIC WORKS (HON. CHOMBO): The following are procedures that are used by local authorities to formulate their budgets:-

      Section 305 (e) of the Constitution, the Public Finance Management Act Section 47, the Rural District Council (RDC) Act [Chapter 29:13] Section 121, Urban Councils Act [Chapter 29:15] Section 288 and council by-laws and other relevant Acts provide that public entities in each financial year prepare estimates of revenues and expenditures;

      Treasury produces a budget call circular, budget strategy paper and macro fiscal expenditure framework which is then extracted by the Ministry of Local Government and Public Works to local authorities for them to prepare their annual budgets;

      National strategic documents, policies, regional and international policy documents, et cetera are used to inform the budgeting process;

      Devolution as well as Public Sector Investment Programme (PSIP) figures are extracted from the Blue Book;

       Local authorities are mandated to consult stakeholders within their jurisdictions;

The Finance Committee presents the consolidated budget to full council for adoption which then is sent to the Ministry of Local Government and Public Works for approval; and

After approval, the local authority implements the budget. The Ministry of Local Government and Public Works has a role to monitor the implementation of the budget.

         HON. SEN. TONGOGARA: Why is that councils raise their rates after every month or two? Do you approve of that?

         HON. CHOMBO: What happens is that when they have formulated the budget and we have approved it, there are some macro-economic fundamentals in the economy which then necessitate them to request for additional budgeting and we call that supplementary budget. They construct at their local authority level and then they bring it to us as the Ministry. I thank you.

NUMBER OF MALE AND FEMALE OFFICERS IN CHARGE

          12 HON. SEN. CHIMBUDZI asked the Minister of Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage to inform the House the number of female and male officers in charge that are present in the police force in the country.

          THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS AND INTERNATIONAL TRADE (HON. DR. MUSABAYANA): I wish to thank the Hon Senator for the question and state that there are 887 officers in charge in the Zimbabwe Republic Police. Of these, 704 are males and 183 are females. I would like to also add that these officers are in charge of police stations and sections across the country.

Questions with Notice were interrupted by THE TEMPORARY PRESIDENT OF SENATE in terms of Standing Order No. 67.

          HON. SEN. MUZENDA: I want to be guided Mr. President. I wanted to find out from you since the beginning of the Senate, we indicated that Ministers be communicated to because of their non-attendance. As I was looking at the Order Paper, we have some questions which are seven months old not having been answered. So, I was asking your good offices to say when we write the letters, could we please stress to the Ministers especially the Minister of Agriculture, Lands and Rural Resettlement to come and answer some of those questions. Honestly, if it is going to take us seven months to be answering questions, that is very pathetic. I thank you.

          THE TEMPORARY PRESIDENT OF SENATE: Thank you for that intervention. I am here supported by the secretariat in front of me and I believe they are also taking note in writing that Senate has directed them through the Office of the Clerk to have something written to this Chamber on Thursday next week or at the appropriate time about what has been done with regard to the issues of non-availability of Ministers to answer Questions without Notice and also non-availability of Ministers to answer Questions with Notice of which some of the questions are from last year. I thank you.

          On the motion of THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS AND INTERNATIONAL TRADE (HON. MUSABAYANA), the Senate adjourned at Twenty Minutes past Four o’clock, until Tuesday, 17th May, 2022.

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