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SENATE HANSARD 15 NOVEMBER 2018 28-18
PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE
Thursday, 15th November, 2018
The Senate met at Half-past Two o’clock p. m.
(THE HON. PRESIDENT OF SENATE in the Chair)
ANNOUNCEMENT BY THE HON. PRESIDENT OF SENATE
APOLOGIES RECEIVED FROM MINISTERS
THE HON. PRESIDENT OF SENATE: I have to inform the House that I have received the apologies from the following Ministers and Deputy Ministers;
- W. Chitando – The Minister of Mines and Mining
- P. Kambamura –The Deputy Minister of Mines and Mining
- Y. Simbanegavi – The Deputy Minister of Youth, Sport,
Arts and Culture;
- J. Mhlanga – The Deputy Minister of Local Government,
Public Works and National Housing;
ORAL ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS WITHOUT NOTICE
HON. SEN. TIMVEOS: Thank you Madam President. My
question is directed to the Deputy Minister of Transport and
Infrastructural Development. We heard from the report that was given by the Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Transport. I represent Midlands and I stay in Zvishavane. Madam President, from Zvishavane to Mataga, there is no road that was constructed. May I know from the Deputy Minister where this information is coming from? When are you going to take Mberengwa seriously because since 1980, there are no roads that were constructed? People are suffering, we do not have roads, and we do not want to hear about these false reports.
THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF TRANSPORT AND
INFRASTRUCTURAL DEVELOPMENT (HON. CHASI): Thank you Madam President. On the issue of the source of the report, I am not quite sure what the Hon. Sen. is expecting from me. What I understood is that the Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee made the report. The substance of the question itself requires that I contact our Provincial Roads Engineer which I will do today. Unfortunately, I will not be available next week but I will make arrangements to have an appropriate response given to the Hon. Member at the earliest opportunity.
+HON. SEN. NYATHI: Thank you Madam President for giving me this opportunity. My question is directed to the Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development. It is in connection with the accidents that are always happening at the bridge in Siyachilaba, Binga. When are you going to fix that bridge because so many people have lost their lives on that bridge and accidents are happening there day after day?
THE HON. PRESIDENT OF SENATE: I just want to remind
you Hon. Member that you address the Chair, not direct to the Minister and also remind Members of the Senate that we have to ask policy questions please.
+THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF TRANSPORT AND
INFRASTRUCTURAL DEVELOPMENT (HON. CHASI): Thank
you Madam President for that important question that was asked by the Hon. Member. I am so sorry that there are so many accidents that have occurred on that bridge. I am not well vexed with the bridge but I will ask my engineering team and then I will give an answer specific to that bridge.
THE HON. PRESIDENT OF SENATE: The Minister said he is
going to consult with his engineers related to that particular area but what I think will help you so that the Minister does not forget is to put question in written form so that the question remains on the Order Paper. It forces him to go and research.
HON. SEN. NCUBE: My question is directed to the Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs. The question was supposed to go to the Minister of Labour. Madam President, the Labour Act says that maternity leave should be granted for a period of 98 days on full pay to a female employee who has served for at least one year. The Minister of Labour had said Government policy allows women to get pregnant as soon as they starting working. Can the Minister help by telling us the position at law?
THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND
PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): I want to thank
the Hon. Member for the question and I am glad she quoted what the law states and the law is the Government position. The Government does not control when and how people get pregnant but it puts in a legislative framework that speaks to what is supposed to happen should a woman fall pregnant, which is exactly what she described. I thank you.
HON. SEN. NCUBE: I do not know whether the Labour Act no
longer works because I have it with me here. Unless this Act is aligned to the Constitution, maybe that will help us so that the nation knows the correct position. May I read the Labour Act Madam President?
THE HON. PRESIDENT OF SENATE: What I am seeing here
is that maybe you did not understand each other on what the question is asking. This is what I think. Can you bring up the question again?
HON. SEN. NCUBE: I had asked the Minister of Labour about maternity leave. She responded by saying that the Government policy allows women to get pregnant as soon as they start working but the
Labour Act says maternity leave shall be granted in terms for a period of 98 days on full pay to a female employee who has served for at least one year. Thank you.
HON. ZIYAMBI: Thank you Madam President. Let me repeat what I said. Firstly, the Government of Zimbabwe does not have a policy of stopping people from getting pregnant. You can be employed today and you fall pregnant tomorrow. It is your human right to do that. Secondly, the Government then regulates to say that should you fall pregnant what should prevail in terms of maternity leave, which is exactly what the Hon. Member has indicated. That is the law to say that after one year of employment you are entitled to 98 days and you get that but should you fall pregnant a day after being employed, you do not enjoy the benefits of going on maternity leave on full pay for 98 days. I thank you.
*HON. SEN. SHOKO: My question is directed to the Minister of Health and Child Welfare, in his absence to the Leader of Government Business. I want clarity on the issue of drugs that are channeled out. We ended up with Aguma. We want this House to be enlightened on the issue of Aguma, where it is now, how it all started and ended because we heard that there were papers which were processed in India. We want clarity as Hon. Members so that we know and we can go to our respect others on the position of Aguma, whether it was processed in India and the position now.
*THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND
PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): I want to thank
you Madam President on the Aguma issue. I am not answering in line with Aguma because he wants to know the position. What I want to say is that on the issue of Aguma the Government policy is that if people come up with drugs that they think may work they should take them to the Medicines Control Department and produce the paperwork. Clinical trials are done to see whether the drug really works and if they see that it works then a licence will be given. What happened when Aguma was introduced is that due process was not followed. So, our Health Department asked them to follow procedure because some people were now refusing to take ARVs because of Aguma. It was now feared that people were now having resistant strain when in fact the HIV had been managed well. If you put your question in writing, the Minister of Health will come and articulate it well because it is now specific. I want to thank you Madam President.
HON. SEN. FEMAI: Thank you Madam President. My question
is directed to the Minister of Energy. I want to ask about Government policy when it comes to the transformers which are malfunctioning and are not being replaced. Before this new dispensation, when a transformer broke down, the community would come together and make contributions to ZESA for a new transformer. However, these days the transformers are burnt and nothing happens. So, I would like to know whether the community should contribute or maybe the Government policy in place does not permit them to do so.
THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF ENERGY AND POWER
DEVELOPMENT (HON. MUDYIWA): Thank you Madam President.
I would also like to thank Hon. Sen. Femai for such a pertinent question which is very relevant in line with transformers. Firstly, transformers are mounted by ZESA and they are installed by ZETDC. ZESA enterprise is a company that makes the transformers which they give to ZETDC free of charge. If a transformer is malfunctioning, there is no law which says that the community should look into that, it is the responsibility of ZETDC to replace the transformer for free. If people were contributing in that area it was not a Government policy, because electricity is a right to everyone - so if there is a malfunctioning, it is the responsibility of ZESA to replace. However, because of financial restraints, probably they might fail to replace the transformers.
HON. SEN. CHIEF CHIKWAKA: My question is directed to
the Minister of Agriculture. What is Government’s policy on the ‘99” year leases for beneficiaries of the Land Reform, especially the A1?
What is the policy on agricultural inputs deliveries to farmers, reference to the delays of those inputs being delivered, especially those in irrigation schemes?
THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF LANDS, AGRICULTURE, WATER, CLIMATE AND RURAL RESETTLEMENT (HON.
KARORO): Thank you Madam President. I would like to thank the Hon. Member for that good question. However, on the first question, I would kindly suggest that the Hon. Member puts it in writing because there is a lot still happening to the “99” year lease policy. So, I think it would be proper if I can get it in writing so that I can go and consult widely.
On the second question regarding inputs, the position is that, yes we have experienced some delays, but the position right now is that inputs distribution is a programme that is currently underway. If you go to the districts, the programme is in full swing; we apologise as a
Ministry for the delays in the distribution of the inputs.
+HON. SEN. PHUTI: Thank you Madam President for giving me this opportunity. My question is directed to the Minister of Health and Child Care. During the budget presentation, we complained that most of the medication that we are getting in the pharmacies is now being sold in United States Dollars. You had promised that the situation would change but nothing has changed so far.
THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND
PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI) on behalf of THE MINISTER OF HEALTH AND CHILD CARE: I would like to thank
the Hon. Member for the question and indeed the Minister of Health and Child Care has spoken about the availability of drugs in Bulawayo at the pre-budget seminar. The Government intends to capacitate our own local company NATPHAM to have drugs so that they can be distributed. So, we are in the process of ensuring that NATPHAM gets foreign currency so that they can import directly from some manufacturers and one of them is India. This way, the situation of drug supply in the country will be stabilised.
We have realised that if we concentrate on giving foreign currency to private players, some of them are diverting the foreign currency and we did not have a mechanism to monitor how the foreign currency usage was going on.
However, the Minister of Health and Child Care has just walked in and I will request him to add on from there.
THE HON. PRESIDENT OF SENATE: Thank you Hon.
Ziyambi. For the benefit of the House, all the Senators might need to know what is happening about the drugs. So, I will give Hon. Sen. Phuti a chance to repeat her question.
+HON. SEN. PHUTI: Thank you Madam President for the
opportunity that you have given me once again. I want to ask Hon. Minister of Health that during the Pre-Budget Seminar you said that the rate for United States Dollar (US$) and bond note were the same but we now realise it is not the same. You indicated that most pharmacies were selling drugs using US$ and you promised that that issue will be looked into. It is now a week after we came back from the Pre-Budget seminar, what is it that the Government is doing so that they can follow up on the people who are demanding payment in US$?
*THE MINISTER OF HEALTH AND CHILD CARE (HON.
- O. MOYO): Thank you Madam President. This issue of selling drugs in US$, it is an issue which is also troubling us as a Ministry, because we were thinking that all the pharmacies should sell their drugs with the currency which is readily available. The money which is out of supply is US$, so it does not help that the currency that is not available is the one that they are asking people to pay. Moreover, for that foreign currency to be found, it is very difficult. Our relatives in the rural areas cannot afford those drugs because they cannot get hold of the US$.
We are encouraging as the Ministry of Health that all the pharmacies should understand so that they accept the bond notes, RTGs, medical aid cards as well as swipe, that is what we are encouraging them. As of now, the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) does not have enough US$ but we are also pleading with them that from the few US$ that they have, they should watch closely those whom they give the money – whether they are using that money for drugs or they divert it for other uses.
What we are seized with at the moment is that - Cabinet has set up a Committee which will investigate on how foreign currency is being used. If it is for drugs, it should be channeled towards that; if it is for retail, pharmacies that have been given money should use it accordingly. If they are given US$100, they should account for that amount. If it is a wholesaler which has been given, they should also be accountable as well as manufacturers.
I would also like you to know that we want to move on to manufacture our own drugs here in Zimbabwe. From the allocation we are going to get, we will buy raw materials to give CAPS and Datlabs for them to manufacture drugs; they will account for the money that they will be given. After they manufacture, we will send those drugs to National Pharmaceutical Company (NatPharm). NatPharm does not have enough drugs in their warehouses as of now. We told NatPharm that we want to do a re-stocking exercise. We want to fill their warehouse with drugs.
The first step we have taken is we talked with people in India; by the way, about 80% of our drugs come from India. We have signed a Memorandum of Understanding with India and this morning I was with the Indian Ambassador and he was telling me about the arrangement between our NatPharm company and an equivalent NatPharm in India, so that we can get drugs from companies in India without paying deposits.
If our NatPharm just goes on its own without the backing of Indian companies, they will be required to pay deposits and it will take about four months before we get any drugs. If we engage the Indian Government to link us with their equivalent NatPharm there, it will be easy because they will not be requested to pay deposits. Secondly, the drugs as we were promised by the Vice President of India, he said he was going to give us about 100 tonnes of drugs and we are still waiting for them.
We have also engaged the World Health Organisation (WHO), they helped us during the cholera outbreak. They gave us drugs worth $3 million, now they are also helping us. They are in their meetings because we told them that it is now an emergency in Zimbabwe. Yesterday I was with the Head of WHO in Zimbabwe and he sends a message to their Headquarters in Congo. We have also engaged their Director General who is in Geneva, I met him when I went for a meeting and he has understood that and they also want to help us. Their hearts are pure when it comes to helping Zimbabwe.
There are also other plans that we have, our RBZ Governor, Mangudya is also trying his best, each time he gets some foreign currency, he channels it towards our direction. The most important thing is that we are pleading with the owners of the pharmacies that they should charge their drugs with the money that is available. Also the wholesalers, that they should not charge pharmacy retailers using currency that is not available. Otherwise all of us are fighting so that everything goes well and drugs are at our disposal at affordable prices. Thank you Madam President.
+HON. SEN. PHUTI: Thank you Madam President. I would like
to thank the Minister for the explanation that he gave but he did not answer the question directly. My question is, whilst we are waiting for India and others who are willing to explain, are the pharmacies doing a legal thing selling medication in US dollars? Whilst we are waiting for things to stabilise, how are the pharmacies supposed to be selling their medication?
*THE MINISTER OF HEALTH AND CHILD CARE (HON.
- O. MOYO): Thank you Madam President, the question from the Senator is very pertinent and very good giving us plans on how we can move on. We are all aware of what is happening and we are also fighting this it. As a Ministry, we have engaged the Ministry of Justice and the Ministry of Finance. I think you saw what happened on the fuel crisis, some garages had their licences revoked. We also contemplate doing the same but we have to be wise on that and we do want pharmacies to complain that we have revoked their licences because of US dollars. On the other hand we are saying US dollar is another currency which we can use to trade in Zimbabwe. We have engaged the Ministry of Justice and Ministry of Finance on the way forward.
*HON. SEN. MAVETERA: I think the issue at the moment, is we have got – if it is true which we believe; Government has given money to pharmaceuticals to get medication and that medication is already on the market and it is being sold in US dollars and that is tax payers’ money and people are not accessing that medication. So as much as we appreciate those other arrangements to alleviate this problem, we want to know what is being done right now to make sure people access medication and they do not die because we have tax payers’ money that has been used. We want to know, they have got the statistics of who got the money and all the pharmacies who are selling in US dollars. Even if they got that money, it is translated to bond coins where it is multiplied by four, which is actually profiteering at the expense of the lives of the citizens when they are using tax payers’ money. So, what is the immediate solution? We want this Senate to be appraised by the Hon. Minister. It thank you Madam President.
HON. DR. O. MOYO: Thank you Madam President, I think I said
it in Shona, now I will repeat it in English for the benefit of the Hon. Senator. Basically, my answer is going to be the same in that yes, we are against those who are selling in US dollars. Secondly, they are also claiming they are using US dollars to replenish the stocks but however, we have said that that does not make any difference. The action that we are going to take, we have to await conclusion of decisions that are being made, discussions that are being made between my Ministry, Ministry of Justice and the Minister of Finance to ensure that we do not continue to make people suffer and make people pay in foreign currency. Definitely, because of that shortage of foreign currency, we do encourage the pharmacies to sell in local currency which is more easily available. That is actually what the position is. The Hon. Senator has indicated that he wants to know exactly what it is that we are doing with regards to replenishments and securing the foreign currency and ensuring that there is transparency in the utilisation of that foreign currency. We definitely are setting up a Committee. The Committee would be able to value the purchases and ensure that those purchases, when they come, are the correct purchases as per the initial request and that they match the initial request of foreign currency which would have been requested by the various retailers. I also want to emphasise that we are encouraging the wholesalers to sell to the retailers at the appropriate cost so that we are able to normalise the whole situation. Generally Madam President; there is a serious shortage of foreign currency for us to be able to fill up our warehouses at the shortest possible time. So, it will be some time before we replenish and are back to normal. I thank you.
THE HON. PRESIDENT OF SENATE: The way I heard the
Hon. Senator; he said there are pharmacies which were allocated foreign currency to buy the medication which they have in their stocks but now they are selling in foreign currency. They are known and you have the list of those pharmacies, what are you going to do because even if you say you can sell in bond or in whatever currency, they are charging so much, they are making so much profit. What are you going to do with them because that allocation which they were given is tax payers’ money, this is what is being said – [HON. SENATORS: Hear, hear.] –
HON. DR. O. MOYO: Thank you Madam President. I thought I
had answered but I will answer directly.
THE HON. PRESIDENT OF SENATE: Directly on that one.
HON. DR. O. MOYO: Yes, directly on that one. Those who were
allocated funds in US dollars and they are now selling their product in US dollars; this is what we have said in the past, we have actually confronted some retail pharmacies and we shall continue to do. In fact, now we have an investigative team which will be going out to check once we have given an allocation to a particular pharmacy, a retailer, we now expect them to be selling in the local currency or the currency. That is easily available. That is actually easier to monitor because we know that we have given some US$100, the product they have in their shops is US$100, they should be selling them in the local currency that we are doing and we are sending out an investigative team who are going to be looking at that. Next week, after we have had our meeting and also having briefed Cabinet, I am sure they will be some more thorough and more rigorous approaches which shall be taken. It is just that at this stage, I cannot say too much until I also get clearance. We want a situation where we will be able to control and monitor all those who are selling after they have been given the foreign currency. We are going to be doing that.
*HON. SEN. WUNGANAYI: My supplementary question to the
Minister of Health is that we have heard that they have engaged the Ministry of Justice; we want to find out the timeframe so that we know and we will make a follow up.
*THE HON. PRESIDENT OF SENATE: I do not think I will
take that question because if the Ministry of Justice is involved we cannot discuss it in here because that will hint on the culprits that we are talking about it. Let us just ask policy questions.
*HON. SEN. ZIVIRA: Thank you Madam President. My
question is directed to the Minister of Home Affairs. There are people who are killing, kidnapping and stealing people, but the police are not doing their job because no investigations are going on for those culprits to be brought to book. The police are busy with chasing vendors instead of making those investigations. What happens if someone wants to be kidnapped and they run to the police and no one takes hid of their cry?
*THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF HOME AFFAIRS AND
CULTURAL HERITAGE (HON. MADIRO): Thank you Madam
President. I want to thank you Hon. Senator for your question which is very pertinent. Kidnapping is a serious crime but crime is crime, whether it is big or small. The police are supposed to investigate any crimes. If the Hon. Senator has evidence that there are crimes that were committed and were not investigated, it is good that it should be brought before the police that this case was not investigated whilst we have the proof.
+HON. SEN. P. NDHLOVU: Thank you Madam President. My
question is directed to the Minister of Defence and War Veterans.
Madam President, some people went to war and these people were given 50 kgs during the era when the former President was leading the country. They ate, consumed the food and it was finished. They were promised to be given more of that and they also promised to take our children to school. I have realised that that can take four to five years without those children going to school.
The money that we are being given as compensation every month is US$200.00. My question is, they still have some outstanding payments that they have not paid us, which they have been saying they will pay us. What are you going to do to the Hon. Members and all the war veterans whom you owe? This is because the US$200.00 that you are giving to the war veterans is not even able to buy medication. What are you going to do for the welfare of the war veterans? I thank you.
+THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF DEFENCE AND WAR
VETERANS (HON. MATEMADANDA): Thank you Hon. Senator. I am happy for the way you are talking is a sign that you are a war veteran. It is true that the war veterans are not getting that much and it is something that is not equivalent to the job that they did. We spoke about this issue when the former President was there. They used to indicate that there was not enough and it is still the same thing they are saying. The question that you asked is what is it that we are going to do? Are we going to be singing the same song that there is not enough money so that the welfare of the veterans can be improved?
I am happy that even the other side of the House which is the opposition seems to be showing interest in this. I am not the Minister of War Veterans only, but I am also the Minister of Defence and War
Veterans. When they talk about the issues to do with money for the Ministry of Defence, I will request that both sides of the House should support knowing that the other money is supposed to be allocated to the war veterans.
An Hon. Member having passed between the Chair and the Hon.
THE HON. PRESIDENT OF SENATE: Order Hon. Member.
HON. MATEMADANDA: You also asked that there are
outstanding payments that you were supposed to get. That is true and that money is there. When we were being addressed, they indicated that there is some money that we were supposed to be given, but we have not been allocated that money. Our desire is that we can get that money and we give it to the people who are supposed to benefit out of it. You also indicated as to what we are going to do because people think that we were given so much money as war veterans, but when we equate it to the US dollar, it is about US$5 000.00. This was a way of saying the war veterans can at least have a start to shape their lives.
As war veterans, we also want to benefit from the mainstream economy of the country. For example, war veterans, war collaborators and detainees can also have a say in the economy of the country. You realise that we have been doing public hearings with people from the Reserve Bank whereby they have said they are going to sponsor projects and programmes for war veterans. Our request is that if the money is allocated to the war veterans and when the war veterans receive it, they should be capacitated to start business. I thank you.
+HON. SEN. P. NDHLOVU: Thank you Madam President. If
you are going to give us that money and you say you want to monitor what we have been doing, what I will say is, that is equivalent to nothing and when you allocate us for example, US$20 000.00 and you are saying you want to monitor it, what if you give us that money and I want to build my child a house. My request is, when you give us that money you should not monitor what we are doing with that money. I thank you.
THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF DEFENCE AND WAR
VETERANS (HON. MATEMADANDA): I again want to thank the Hon. Senator but this time, let me speak in English. What was supposed to be done when we came from the war during the period of demobilisation, there was supposed to be a programme that was supposed to be conducted, a programme of demobilisation, rehabilitation and recession. That would include capacitation of the demobilised comrades. Unfortunately, what happened is that when we came from the assembly points, a person was given maybe $300 and told to go to a home that he or she had left ten years ago.
After maybe 11 to 15 years, that person is given $50 000 without skills. It is his or her money but that money should be able to help that person to grow financially. This time around, we are looking for support from banks and all other institutions that can help. We cannot go about and say, give us money so that we give people for the purpose of squandering it the way they like. We are fighting an economic war here. War veterans and everyone should be responsible. We are saying, we want that money if it is there to be given to the war veterans. If it is not there, let us as a nation find that money so that we empower the comrades. At the same time, they must themselves be capacitated on how they can accrue more money.
+The Hon. Member is indicating that they want to use the money the way they want. I will give an example that even at home when you are given too much sadza, the instruction would be you can eat and do not waste; if there are left overs, keep them. It is a way of teaching someone to be responsible. We are doing this for ourselves.
*What we are entitled to should keep on coming but what we are being given should contribute to the mainstream. We do not want people to see as if when comrades are given money, they misuse it. We want people to take us seriously. We want the money that we were promised by Former President R. G. Mugabe to come; we are waiting
+HON. SEN. PHUTHI: I thank you Madam President for the time that you have given me. Hon. Minister, my question is, the issue of aid should be given priority. For example, in rural areas families of war veterans are not getting enough. My request is that the Government should take this issue and craft policies that make the children of war veterans benefit from that.
HON. MATEMADANDA: Thank you Madam President. I
would also want to thank the Hon. Senator but I am not sure whether that is a question or a word of advice. She talks about policies and I do not know which policies. Are they funeral policies, educational policies or what? I will just answer in the bush because it is not clear.
*THE HON. PRESIDENT OF SENATE: It is unfortunate that I do not understand the language very well. So, I just agreed that you give the answer.
*HON. MATEMADANDA: She said that war veterans are dying and we should come up with policies. It is not Government policy to tell people how they are supposed to be buried.
*HON. SEN. TIMVEOS: What the Hon. Member is saying is that you are a war veteran, you have a family and one day you will die but your children will remain in poverty. So, you should come up with policies that will cater for your children that even if you are no more, your family would not have challenges. Do you have a policy like that because there are dependants of war veterans who are living in poverty in the rural areas?
HON. MATEMADANDA: We have a policy on education for
the children of the veterans of the liberation struggle but it is not enough.
When we try to push it up, we are told there is not enough money. What I would want is to ask the Hon. Members to support again the budget that will be allocated to the Ministry. If I heard her well, she said men can die living their wives. So, I do not know whether death is discriminatory against women - [Laughter] – We should plan as a nation so that we come up with good policies. We should take it seriously. It does not matter how they plan because some think that if a child of a war veteran is living in poverty, it means that the parents do not plan. What should happen is that we should have money so that these war veterans live well. They are getting $200 and after the 2% tax, it means there is nothing. As a nation, we should ensure that they get enough to sustain themselves. Thank you.
HON. SEN. CHABUKA: My question is directed to the Minister of Industry and Commerce but he is not in and as I can see, the Leader of the House is also not in – he has left. So, is there anyone who can answer my question on industry and commerce, if not I can ask my question next week.
THE HON. PRESIDENT OF SENATE: Thank you Hon.
Senator, I think quite a number of ministers were called – they received messages of a Cabinet meeting that just started now. So reserve your question for next week. Hon. Sen. Chief Chundu please.
*HON. SEN. CHIEF CHUNDU: My question is directed to the Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development. Are there plans in terms of accidents that are happening on our roads so that they are cleansed by churches and chiefs especially those blind spots? I thank you.
*THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF TRANSPORT AND
INFRASTRUCTURAL DEVELOPMENT (HON. CHASI): Thank
you Madam President but before I respond to the question, I want to pay my condolences as the Deputy Minister, my Minister and the
Government on the Rusape accident. There are things that we are doing in terms of helping the victims of these accidents.
I heard as if the Hon. Senator is asking whether or not there is anything that we do as Government to cleanse the accident areas? It is very true, as a Government, we visited the Rusape accident scene but there is nothing that is in place when it comes to cleansing – there is nothing in place. We leave that to the interested parties, they can go ahead if there is anything that they can do to help the nation but as Government, we do not go there and pray or cleanse the area. I thank you.
*HON. SEN. CHIEF CHUNDU: So if there are people who can
do the cleansing, will they get funding from the Ministry?
*HON. CHASI: There is no funding set aside by the Government to cater for that. We think that as the people of Zimbabwe, those who want to do that can make their own arrangements. We do not have a budget set aside for that.
* THE HON. PRESIDENT OF SENATE: Minister, are you
even considering it?
*HON. CHASI: No, we are not.
*HON. SEN. CHIEF CHIDAWU: My supplementary question
is, is the Hon. Minister aware that the challenge that we have is of unlicenced drivers and most of them bought their licences? Some of them, especially kombi drivers, you give way to them and this usually happens to those of us who stay in Harare. Is the Ministry doing anything to rectify the situation?
*HON. CHASI: Thank you Madam President, this issue of accidents requires all Zimbabweans to put our heads together. As Government, we realise that people who use public transport are being treated like slaves when boarding buses and kombis. So we are investigating starting from when a commuter reaches a bus station, there are what we call ‘hwindi’, the touts. We want to look at the fines that are in place whether or not they are in line with the crime that a person will have committed. For example, going through red robots is equivalent to a death sentence but if we fine someone $20.00, it is like we are considering the crime as petty. Supposing there is an accident, there is no medical bill that costs $20.00 or even damages worth $20.00 – so that is the process that we are working on. We are also looking at all those people who are breaking road traffic regulations, especially in Harare. It is frightening as even company executives are now driving on the wrong side of the road. It is prevalent in the nation; so we want to see whether or not we can use modern technology like the cameras and gadgets that if a person was erroneously given a driver’s licence, the cars would be tracked for exceeding speed limits.
The accident that happened in Rusape should be an eye opener to all Zimbabweans so that we look at this closely. We are now looking at how licences are issued and those who drive public service vehicles should be 25years old and above. Currently, most kombi drivers are under age. So I think we should reconsider this and as Government, we have decided in Cabinet that we should come up with a Road Traffic
Fund. When I came here, I was coming from a meeting that started at 0700hrs to look at the modalities pertaining to this fund. We should look at the current licensing system that involves ZIMRA and all the
Government departments that have anything to do with vehicles. It will help us to identify incompetent drivers – the whole chain from boarding to disembarking and even to accidents. We want to see how we can assist the accident victims. I thank you. – [HON. SEN. CHIEF
MAKUMBE: Supplementary Madam President!] –
THE HON. PRESIDENT OF SENATE: That will be the last
supplementary question because Question Time Without Notice has expired. Can I give the Hon. Sen. who has not yet spoken to ask the supplementary to?
*HON. SEN. CHIEF MAKUMBE: Thank you Madam
President, I want to ask the Minister in line with accidents. We realise that the major cause of accidents is the competition between the transporters who ferry people from small towns to big towns. Is there a law that regulates the size of a vehicle? For example, from Harare to Mutare, there are small commuter buses and big buses and all these accidents happen because there will be competition between the transporters. Is there any law to regulate the size of the mode of transport ferrying peopleas kombis and buses are fighting for the same market? There are also small private cars that belong to people who do not pay revenue and most of the time they are busy chasing after people. So, what does the law say on regulating the size of transportation from city to city?
*THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF TRANSPORT AND
INFRASTRUCTURAL DEVELOPMENT (HON. CHASI): If a
person has been granted a licence as a transport operator, they are given a route to ply. Kombis and buses are allowed but the question is how people are viewing it. Are the owners of the vehicles businessmen and women or they are people who do not have people at heart, because they give their drivers targets, especially kombi drivers. We once heard that they are supposed to remit $100 a day. That is why they do many trips and speed up. Once they are given licences, they are supposed to operate but what we should really investigate is whether the drivers are plying their routes and following their timetables.
The increase in the number of deaths or injuries is also as a result that only the driver and the passenger in front wear seatbelts while the rest of the passengers do not have belts. If a car is speeding and there is an impact, all the people inside the vehicle will be thrown outside for quite some distance. So, we should look at those issues. If we say everyone should wear a seatbelt, it means there will not be any standing passengers. We have room to work and come up with laws. We should look at enforcement as well-that the police should prosecute people. If people are supposed to be incarcerated, that should be done. In short, I think that is how we are working when looking at accidents on the roads.
*THE HON. PRESIDENT OF SENATE: Some may want to
know how long it will take, because we are now going for the festive season and there are many accidents that may occur. How long will it take?
*HON. CHASI: Thank you Madam President. I cannot give an answer on that right now, to say by Christmas it would have been done. What I can say is that by Christmas we would not have done anything because if there are laws that need to be changed, the Bills have to go to Cabinet and come to the National Assembly and then here as well. My plea to you is that in our families we should talk about accidents on the roads and pray for people who will be travelling. If you look at the accident that happened in Rusape, there was an unbroken line and the road is good, but someone just went off the road. So, now it requires more than we can provide. If the Bill comes here I think we should speed it up.
Questions Without Notice were interrupted by THE HON. PRESIDENT OF SENATE in terms of Standing Order No. 62.
ORAL ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS WITH NOTICE
DUALISATION OF THE BEITBRIDGE-HARARE-CHIRUNDU
- HON. SEN. MOHADI asked the Deputy Minister of Transport
and Infrastructural Development to state when the dualisation of the Beitbridge-Harare-Chirundu road would commence and whether funding for the project has been secured in view of the inordinate delays on the same.
THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF TRANSPORT AND INFRASTRUCTURAL DEVELOPMENT (HON. CHASI): I am
happy to report that Government has commenced work on the
Beitbridge-Harare-Chirundu road. In particular, we have started off at Beatrice and Chivhu which we consider to be parts of the road that are particularly dangerous.
THE HON. PRESIDENT OF SENATE: I thought you have a
prepared answer Hon. Minister – [HON. CHASI: No, I do not.] – I think you are supposed to have an officer who works on this Order Paper so that every time you come with prepared answers by that officer manning that desk – [HON. SENATORS: Hear, hear.] -
HON. CHASI: I am speaking in a collective sense Madam
President to say that the Ministry has delegated a particular individual with a report, but it is not yet available.
EXPANSION OF THE CHIRUNDU-MASVINGO-BEITBRIDGE
- HON. SHOKO asked the Deputy Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development when the expansion of the ChirunduMasvingo-Beitbridge Highway will resume.
THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF TRANSPORT AND
INFRASTRUCTURAL DEVELOPMENT (HON. CHASI): Question
Number 6 Madam President is really Question Number 4 recast in a different sense. I have indicated that we have commenced work on that road.
NATIONAL POLICY ON PERSONS LIVING WITH DISABILITY
First order read: Adjourned debate on the need to formulate a comprehensive national disability policy and to review the Disabled Persons Act.
Question again proposed.
HON. SEN. TIMVEOS: I move that the debate do now adjourn.
HON. SEN. NCUBE: I second.
Motion put and agreed to.
Debate to resume: Tuesday, 20th November, 2018
DEVOLUTION OF POWER
Second order read: adjourned debate on motion on the call for devolution.
Question again proposed.
HON. SEN. MWONZORA: I move that the debate do now
HON. SEN. TIMVEOS: I second.
Motion put and agreed.
Debate to resume: Tuesday, 20th November, 2018.
On the motion of HON. SEN. MUZENDA seconded by HON.
SEN. MOHADI, the Senate adjourned Six minutes past Four o’clock
p.m. until Tuesday, 20th November, 2018.