[featured_image]
Download
Download is available until [expire_date]
  • Version
  • Download 24
  • File Size 392 KB
  • File Count 1
  • Create Date August 18, 2021
  • Last Updated September 24, 2021

SENATE HANSARD 18 AUGUST 2021 VOL 30 NO 56

PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE

Wednesday, 18th August, 2021

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

PRAYERS

(THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE in the Chair)

ANNOUNCEMENT BY THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF

SENATE

SWITCHING OFF OF CELLPHONES

THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE:  Hon.

Senators are reminded to put their cellphones on silent or better still switch them off.

MOTION

BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE

THE MINISTER OF INFORMATION COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGY, POSTAL AND COURIER SERVICES (HON.

  1. MUSWERE): I move that Order of the Day, Number 1 on today’s Order Paper be stood over until the rest of the Orders of the Day have been disposed of.

Motion put and agreed to.

COMMITTEE STAGE

CYBER AND DATA PROTECTION BILL [H. B. 18A, 2019]        Second Order read: Resumption of Committee: Cyber and Data

Protection Bill [H. B. 18A, 2019].

House in Committee.

On Clause 37:

THE MINISTER OF INFORMATION COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGY, POSTAL AND COURIER SERVICES (HON.

  1. MUSWERE): I move the amendment standing in my name that on page 29 of the Bill, definitions, in line 11, delete the words “remote forensic tool” which means an investigative tool including software or hardware installed on or in relation to a computer system or part of a computer system and used to perform tasks that include keystroke logging or transmission of an IP address.

On page 34 of the Bill, definition, in line 31, delete the words

“utilize” in relation to a remote forensic tool includes:

  1. developing a remote forensic tool;
  2. adopting a remote forensic tool; and
  3. purchasing a remote forensic tool

Amendment to Clause 37 put and agreed to.

Clause 37, as amended, put and agreed to.

House resumed.

Bill reported with amendments.

Bill referred to the Parliamentary Legal Committee

MOTION

RATIFICATION OF THE TREATY FOR THE ESTABLISHMENT

OF THE AFRICAN MEDICINES AGENCY

THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND

PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI):  Mr. President, I

move the motion standing in my name;

THAT WHEREAS Section 327 (2) (a) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe provides that any convention, treaty or agreement acceded to, concluded or executed by or under the authority of the President with one or more foreign states of governments or international organisations shall be subject to approval by Parliament;

WHEREAS the Treaty for the Establishment of the African

Medicines Agency was adopted by the African Union on 5th February

2019;

WHEREAS the Republic of Zimbabwe is a signatory to the aforesaid Treaty;

WHEREAS the Republic of Zimbabwe is desirous of becoming a

Party to the aforesaid Treaty;

AND WHEREAS the entry into force of the aforesaid Treaty shall be conditional upon its ratification by Member States in accordance with their constitutional procedures;

Mr. President, I therefore bring before this august House this treaty so that Hon. Members can ratify it and it is my understanding that the treaty was circulated.  This treaty is very important Mr. President Sir, in that it will allow us to have scientific development within the framework of our own medicines as Africans and it will allow us to promote our own medicines and to manufacture and do all the related activities.

NOW THEREFORE in terms of section 37 (2) (a) of the

Constitution of Zimbabwe, this House resolves that the aforesaid Convention be and is hereby approved.  I so move Mr. President.  I thank you.

*HON. KOMICHI:  Thank you Mr. President.  I want to take this opportunity to thank the Minister for bringing this treaty that talks about a very important subject so that we look at using our traditional medicines in this country.

I want to give examples that as Africans, we have looked down upon ourselves.  We got to a point whereby when one is seen in possession of our traditional medicine, we think that it is juju and it can be fatal to the extent that our African doctors have been given the name

‘witchdoctor’.  The African doctor is called a witchdoctor or a n’anga and once you associate with an African witchdoctor, you also become

evil.

Mr. President, if you are seen at a witchdoctor’s place, you will be smeared through the social media but when you are seen seeking assistance from one of the doctors in the Avenues area. you will be respected a lot.  So as Africans, we got to a point of destroying our values. What happened did happen but we can blame it on colonisation by the white man.  We lost our pride and values.  We threw away our culture and regarded it as witchcraft.  It pains me that as Africans, we were not able to promote our traditional systems because of colonialism.  We seem to be aligned more to the negative side and have the misconception that the witchdoctors are there to cause evil, harm and death.  This Treaty is trying to bring us back to the drawing board, to our African culture where we have mastery in such medicines.

I want to take this opportunity to explain that COVID-19 came and it is not anything to celebrate.  It has caused us pain.  We have lost a number of loved ones but if you look at the positive side, it has caused a revolutionary change in the thinking of us Africans.  Currently, everyone has some traditional herbs to deal with COVID-19.  If we were to go into different homes, you will find moringa, ginger, lemon and other herbs.  The knowledge that we have now is that every tree in the forest treats one or more ailments such as blood pressure, diabetes, muscle pains, stomach pains or backaches.  Everyone has become a doctor in his/her own right. If you come and tell me that you are having problems with acid, I will tell you to buy bananas. If you tell me you are suffering from hypertension, I will tell you to go and get ginger, guava and moringa to mix and drink.  So we have been aligned as Africans to respect ourselves.

The timing of bringing this Treaty to this House at this particular juncture is right because we now understand what African medicine is.  My appeal is that we need education and awareness to respect our own

African doctors because the word ‘witch- doctor’ is a scary term.  We should start promoting the use of traditional medicine on the positive side.  The poisoning effects of medicines are the same.  Medicines from white doctors can poison in the same way our African doctors can also do.  So both the healing and killing aspects are on both sides.

However, the African healing identity had been destroyed. Let us not forget that Africans were subjected to the abuse of colonial masters from the time of the slave trade.  For more than 400 years, the Africans were under slave trade and were subjected to serious abuse, dehumanised and brain washed.  After that we experienced colonial rule for 100 years, thus we were made to believe, for more than 500 years, that we could not think or do anything.  This is now the time to decolonise the mind and build ourselves.  We should welcome this Treaty and take it as a way forward to reconstitute our identity.  Thank you Mr. President.

+HON. SEN. CHIEF NGUNGUMBANE:  I rise to second the

ratification of the Treaty that was brought by the Minister of Justice,

Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, Hon. Ziyambi.  As a traditional leader,

I feel very proud that the African Union has seen the importance of our African medicines which were looked down upon.  COVID-19 helped us to appreciate our African medicines.  We need African solutions to African problems.  The creation of the African Medicines Agency will help us appreciate through research, the importance of African medicines.  The world can now look at us and admire us.

We also need the African Medicines Agency, through the AU, to safeguard intellectual property in the field of medicine, as the field has been dominated by multi-national companies.  They have taken the African medicine in its raw form and refined it to be in the form of tablets, syrups etcetera.  The AU, through its member countries, should ensure that they register medicinal trademarks so that the African medical industry grows and should not be taken as a part time left to African traditional doctors and a few experts in the field of African medicines.  The AU should ensure that there is adequate monitoring and evaluation, and must ensure that all member States contribute in terms of human resource, intellectual resource and expertise as the product produced through this agency must be reflective  of our unity, despite our diverse cultural and traditional norms and values.  I thank you.

*HON. SEN. TONGOGARA: Thank you Mr. President for

affording me this opportunity to support the treaty that was brought by the Minister. In English they say it is better late than never because this is a treaty that was long overdue. We all know Mr. President that when we were growing up, there  were health officers from our African culture who knew the different traditional medicines for various ailments. That was how people received treatment and then came the white men who looked down upon our traditional medicine.

Those who were engaged in traditional medicines were termed  witchdoctors and the moment you visited the witchdoctors, you were said to be digging your own grave. This resulted in  that the traditional medicines that people used and knew were thrown away but these white men were very clever. They would go and get this traditional medicines and send it abroad where they would then value add and make them in the form of tablets. We were brainwashed to believe that the tablets are the ones that heal us not knowing that this is our own traditional medicine that they have taken and value added and now say it is European medicine.

Mr. President, what I am saying is that  the treaty has come and it is a good treaty. We know that in Zimbabwe we have our values and culture, and our medicines and we also have our traditional leaders, they should be given an opportunity to use this traditional medicine and avail them with the necessary support to ensure that we get the traditional medicine. This is not only a Zimbabwe issue but a regional issue but  as Zimbabwe; let us also ensure that we progress as is the case with the New Dispensation, for  example  the vaccination process. We are one of the first countries to take up this vaccination drive and others followed our footsteps.

So, through you Mr. President, I request that the Minister should ensure that measures are put in place to ensure that our traditional healers are given the necessary support to raise awareness on traditional medicines. As you have heard, COVID has made us go back to the drawing board in terms of our traditional medicine. In each and every household, parents take their families and use our different herbs found in Zimbabwe to try and fight the COVID pandemic.

My other request is that, I have talked about oppression and how it came in and  how colonialism brainwashed us. As a nation, we are blessed because we have our traditional leaders who live in the communities with the people. They should take up this and raise awareness in their communities, that traditional medicine is not evil to decolonise such perceptions so that we embrace our traditional medicine. We cannot do it alone but we need the traditional leaders because they interact more with the communities and are aware of the traditional healers in their jurisdictions.

Mr. President, I think we need to restore the powers of the traditional leaders. The colonialists tried to usurp the powers of the traditional leaders, so we need to give them back those powers. What they did was to just give them those medals that were heavy but in terms of jurisdiction and power, it was taken away from them. So with this, I think it will develop the country and we will be able to realise what the Lord has granted us as a blessing in Zimbabwe.

*HON. SEN. SHUMBA: I want to thank the Minister for the treaty that he has brought into this House. Yes, my colleagues have said that we had been colonised but some of the diseases were known by us Africans from way back. I remember when I was growing up, my uncle used to treat cancer and one would heal but now the Europeans came and called it cancer. Where did this all go to?

You realise that colonisation came through education as the doctors were coming from Europe to teach our children to start using western medicine, not knowing that they were using our African traditional medicine. So, the Europeans began studying and packaging our traditional medicine in such a way that our African medicine is now seen as evil. This issue must also raise awareness of those from various religious sects because the moment you are seen with traditional medicine, people believe that you are no longer a Christian.

I want to thank the Minister for the treaty that he has brought. This is an issue that we need to progress with so that people understand that the tablets that we are given come from our own traditional medicines that we have. Currently, there are people who are dying of cancer because they do not believe that we have African traditional healers who can treat cancer. If one is told that so and so can treat cancer, they do not believe that person. What happens is, they prefer going for radiotherapy which worsens the situation. Traditional medicine in terms of treating cancer has helped a lot.

Coronavirus has taught us a lot. Everyone is afraid of death. Even the pastors fear death. If you walk into a Pastor’s house, you will find a lot of traditional medicine such as zumbani, ginger and so on. Then you ask yourself what is happening since the Pastor says Christians do not use traditional medicines. It is because they are afraid of death. So Mr. President, that is why I am saying Minister, you have brought a very important treaty. We should take it up and raise awareness, especially in the religious sects to ensure we use that in conjunction with Zumbani and promote the use of our medicines in treating cancer.  If possible, when our children go for medical training, they should also be educated on the use of African traditional medicines.  I thank you Hon. Minister, for this important treaty.  I thank you Mr. President.

THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE: Thank you

Hon. Sen. Shumba.  Hon. Senators, I appreciate where you are coming from but let me remind you that this treaty that the Hon. Minister presented to this august House is for the establishment of an African Medicines Agency, an organ of the African Union (AU) to regulate medicines and it is not about traditional medicines only.  So remember that as you debate this treaty.

*HON. SEN. DR. SEKERAMAYI:  Mr. President, I rise to

support the treaty that has been brought by the Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs.  It is a treaty that provides for the set up of an

African Medicines Agency that will look into the issue of medicines in Africa.  It is clear that when we really want to look at medicine, we should be knowledgeable on the different medicines that treat different ailments.  We had been colonized, the mind has been colonized that Africans do not know anything but the majority of us in this House grew up in the rural areas.  It was known that when a child is suffering from a back-ache, you would be referred to a certain person for treatment.

A different person was assigned for treating different ailments but when the white men came, they looked at it, saw all that as evil and it was looked down upon.  Currently, every type of medicine can come from the leaves, tree bark or the root of a tree.  The ingredient is the one that heals.  So where we stand today, we are able to tell that Zumbani can treat ailments and instead of taking the Zumbani leaves, let us do what the Minister of Higher and Tertiary Education, Innovation, Science and Technology Development said, that we need to find out what it is that is in Zumbani that treats ailments.  So we do not need to be carrying all the leaves.  We need to value add and eventually just carry the tablet.  We have educated students who can identify the active ingredients and then we can take that medicine and begin treating our people.

Every ailment can be treated once we know what treats what.  Most people would have died but we are alive and survived because of these African traditional medicines.  For example, we need this to be value added instead of me, Sydney Sekeramayi moving around with leaves in my pocket.  I will just carry a tablet and I will also know what time to take the tablet and in what dosage.  Furthermore, when we know that this medicine treats certain ailments, we can then encourage our people to grow such medicines.  It will even advance our agriculture and horticulture.

The treaty that we are being asked to support Hon. Senators, I think we should support whole heartedly so that we expedite the process and so that we also identify the curative vegetables, trees or shrubs and herbs in our countries that treat the ailments that we know of.  So what we need to do is to just modernise it.  When we do that, we may even access medicine at a cheaper cost.  With these few words, I want to say thank you Hon. Minister, you have brought this at the right time and we should support this as Zimbabwe.  I thank you.

*HON. SEN. FEMAI:  Thank you Mr. President for affording me this chance …

THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE:  Order,

order, you are not connected!

*HON. SEN. FEMAI:  Thank you Mr. President.  These are the same issues that we always talk about and they are brought by people from the West.  I want to thank the Hon. Minister for bringing this treaty that will benefit the whole of Africa so that we are aware of how we can get medical help from our traditional medicines.  I hear people saying that the westerners came with various ideas.  It is true, they came up with various ideas and knew that in order for them to succeed in colonising our minds, they had to show the evil aspects of some of our  behaviours and for that reason, they saw Chaminuka as a sorcerer but in their areas they look at them as prophets. What Chaminuka did was more of prophesy but they did not want us to listen to Chaminuka.  If Africans face challenges, they contact a spirit medium and you are given snuff and your problems will be solved spiritually.  Doctors who went to University to study medicine and our herbalists in our African culture do almost the same things because in our culture, we also have specialists like ana nyamukuta just like gynecologists, dentists, et cetera.  What we need is for our traditional medicines to be researched, tried and dosages prescribed.  We do not have prescribed dosages for African medicines and sometimes this will lead to over dosage.   

We have problems of people given 20 different types of medicines because we have not tested the fatality and dosage of African medicines.  SoI think the traditional healers and herbalists need to be taught on the dosage and packaging of our medicines.  As Africans if possible, those people we call native doctors also do specialist services, for example in the western medicines, we have orthopedic surgeons, dentists, physicians, gynecologists et cetera.  We also have the same in our African traditional healers - they are gifted in different areas.  We must train our leaders so that they understand the importance of traditional medicines so that they cascade the information down to the grassroots.

People must be given licences to open up traditional pharmacies which are well packaged and labeled and those should also be found in supermarkets as well like panadol and paracetamol, the same should be done with African herbs. So people must have a choice of choosing cafenol or Zumbani.  What the traditional healer does and what the western doctors do is almost the same.

Furthermore, the traditional headers should not necessarily be spirit mediums. There must be a platform where people go to university or school of African medicine to be trained about African medicine.  We must not only accept those traditional healers who are also spirit mediums but people who are not gifted spiritually must be taught about African medicine so that our country develops in terms of medicines.  *HON. SEN. DR. PARIRENYATWA: Thank you Mr. President,

I want to thank the Minister for bringing the issue of African Medicines Agency in this Senate.  In Africa the population is about 1.2 billion and most ailments are found in Africa. We are always at the lowest levels in terms of the disease burden.  I remember in 2014, when I was a Minister of Health, in Angola, Luanda the African region, we initiated the issue of requesting member States to prioritise the use of African medicines.  Countries used to import at small scale and we said we are not manufacturing anything here in Africa.  After that request, we asked ourselves, do African countries have resources to do this?  So country member States were requested to avail resources for this project. I am happy that we have reached a point where this African Medicine Agency is going to be set up.

We need to boost pharmaceutical production through promoting African medicines and to improve traditional medicines.  We will still however, use drugs from Europe and China, those that we feel we need here and we must also be able to produce our own drugs here in Africa.

Over and above this, there was the issue of harmonisation of these medicines.  For example, if Zimbabwe say let us do Anti-Retroviral Drugs and South Africa say they want to manufacture condoms, we cannot have all African countries producing condoms, we need to harmonise that.

In Zimbabwe, we have the Medicines Control Authority of Zimbabwe; South Africa and Zambia have their own authorities.  What we are saying is those authorities should be regulated by one body through the African Union, that is the mandate of this Treaty.  The drugs that are being talked about include traditional medicines and I am happy that the Hon. Senators are hammering on the issue of colonisation and the issue of going back to our African medicines.  The idea was to control fake drugs. Everything will just come to Africa, fake drugs are dangerous and some would be said to grow certain organs of the body, but all these drugs are very dangerous drugs.  We need to control drugs and ensure that we meet the standards.  As Africans, we must look for cheaper drugs. That is the work of this agency to look into the standards of cheap medicines. I am happy that you have brought it for ratification and I am happy that we are the 19th country to ratify this. Already, it is good because we have progressed because it was said that if 15 countries ratify - this will be put into effect. Our job is to use the African Medicines Agency to have a continental, institutional and scientific approach in managing our drugs. What was said was that let us not just guess in terms of dosage but that we need to be scientific.  We need drugs that are efficacious and of good quality.  Therefore, this quality control is important; we need to be able to inspect it.  If you say that CAPS manufactures drugs, then this authority should be able to come to inspect and compare it to international best practice.   So, it is a very good treaty and forward looking.

The raw materials will be turned into real products.  I know there are others who are taking cannabis, there is also oil that is called cannabin. We need to avail resources to ensure that we improve the packaging. It should be made effective through adequate resources.

Therefore, I want to thank the Minister for bringing the treaty to this august House and as Senators, let us quickly ratify the treaty.

       +HON. SEN.  M. NDLOVU: Thank you for giving me this

opportunity to submit my contributions.  I would like to thank the Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs who has brought this issue of the treaty that we recognise traditional medicines.  I also would like to thank some of the contributors who have debated before me.

All the time I was not comfortable to talk about traditional medicine because I was afraid to be labeled uncivilised.  However, here in Africa, we have medicines which are very effective.  If these medicines are researched properly, you would find that they completely wipe off the diseases without any side effects.

These other medicines that we run to, which are governed by the World Health Organisation actually come from this country extracted from our own indigenous trees.  They take these plants in our botanical gardens and when they are prepared and packaged, we then forget that we have these things in our botanical gardens.

Just like what Hon. Sen. Dr. Parirenyatwa has said that our medicines have no side effects – it is very true.  I am saying this because when I started taking high blood pressure tablets, my doctor told me not to be surprised to find out later that I also have diabetes.  He said the type of drugs I was taking was going to raise my diabetes readings.  So, we think that western medicines are good because they have been passed by the English people.   However, when our own people bring our medicines, we do not appreciate and accept but if the same medicines are taken out of the country through the World Health Organisation and come back to us as theirs, we are then no longer involved.  When they prepare on their own, they prepare that we die so that we have complications.

When I was growing up as a young girl, there was a lightening cream called Ambi.  However, a young man from America came back and said your skins have been bleached.  Our hands, lips and eyelids had turned black.  So, this young man said one day you will be scared of yourselves when you actually find the side effects of these things.  The young man told us that AMBI was an abbreviation that ‘Africans Must Be Improved’.

So, do you now understand that you are being cheated; we thought that we were being civilised but they were busy laughing at us. We have our own traditional trees and medicines, herbs that help us.  For example, if our cattle get fractured; my grandfather had a traditional herb called tshakasha and he would plaster the fractured leg of a person or an animal using that herb.  Within no time, the bones would have healed and cemented.

So, we forget that these tablets came from our own indigenous trees and botanical gardens.  We should look at what is effective in a particular herb and extract it. For instance, when you use umhlafudho, use the leaves and when you want to use it inside the system; you pound the seed of this particular plant. When research studies have been done to ascertain what is effective in herbs, I think our own herbs are better because they do not have side effects.

As Africans, we support this treaty that has been brought into this august House by the Hon. Minister so that it is ratified.  I thank you.

         THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND

PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON ZIYAMBI): Mr. President, I

want to thank this House for the support that they have given me to ensure that we ratify and work together with other countries in setting up an African Medicines Agency. I want to thank the Hon. Senator  for explaining what the other mandate of the agency is. He said a lot about the medicines, which was supported by the Senators in that the colonial masters made us to look down upon our African medicines and we regarded it as being evil. Those who were using African traditional medicines were given derogatory names such as witchdoctors.

The senators also mentioned that everyone is now a traditional healer because of COVID-19, the reason being that everyone is rushing to try and get African medicines in order to treat COVID19. Everyone is asking - do you have zumbani or ginger? If you mix the different herbs, it can treat diabetes and hypertension challenges. To add to what Hon. Sen. Dr Parirenyatwa said, he explained what should be done. He said that there will be harmonisation of African medicines amongst member countries and to ensure that licences are issued out fairly. He said that if South Africa is producing ARVs, Zimbabwe in turn should produce panadols and Malawi will look into the issue of medicines to do with stomach pains.

Hon. Sen. Chief Ngungumbane, I am happy because you said that we should register trademarks. This is what we want to do; we want our medicines to be registered so that they are known in the western world that we are registered and they are aware of the fact that they cannot  take our medicines willy-nilly as they will be registered. I want to thank you for that support.

Hon Sen. Tongogara, you mentioned that it is better late than never. Yes, it has taken time to come up with this agency as Africa but we want to thank our Ministers of Health who came up with the idea to establish this agency.

Hon. Senator Shumba, you talked about cancer and it is true that as Africans we had our medicines that treated cancer. We even had medicines to treat snake bites and I remember in my area there was someone who used to give his dogs medicines to cure snake bites. These traditional healers were given derogatory names. So, the agency will be able to address all these issues.

Hon Sen. Dr. Sekeramayi and Hon. Sen. Dr. Parirenyatwa said that we need to investigate the medicinal properties in the leaves and barks, then we scientifically prove this and improve on the packaging and dosage. Hon. Sen. Femai talked about the issue of tooth-aches and in our African culture, we used to have something to chew when you have tooth-ache and the pain would vanish.

I am happy that Hon Sen. Parirenyatwa clarified the role and the mandate of the agency. Senator Ndlovu, thank you very much for the support. She was eloquent in trying to explain what we want to do. I am happy that here in the Senate, the support that we have received is overwhelming. The aim of Government and the Minister of Health is that the agency should be set up in Zimbabwe. With what we have done, I think we have given him the amour to go and lobby for support to ensure that the agency is set up in Zimbabwe and once that is done then we know since the researchers are here and everything would be done here. I want to thank you for the support that you have given me on the ratification of the African Medicines Charter. I now move for the ratification of the aforesaid agency.

Motion put and agreed to.

MOTION

BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE

THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND

PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI):  I move that

Order of the Day, Number 3 on today’s Order Paper, be stood over until the rest of the Orders of the Day have been disposed of.  I thank you.

Motion put and agreed to.

MOTION

REPORT OF THE JOINT PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE ON LOCAL

GOVERNMENT, PUBLIC WORKS AND NATIONAL HOUSING

AND THE THEMATIC COMMITTEE ON PEACE AND SECURITY

ON THE ASSESSMENT OF PROGRESS MADE IN AREAS

AFFECTED BY FLOODS AND ON CONSTRUCTION OF COVID 19

TREATMENT, QUARANTINE AND ISOLATION FACILITIES     HON. SEN. DR. PARIRENYATWA:  I move the motion

standing in my name;

That this House takes note of the Joint Portfolio Committee on

Local Government, Public Works and National Housing and the Thematic Committee on Peace and Security on the Assessment of progress made in areas affected by floods and on construction of

COVID-19 Treatment, Quarantine and Isolation facilities.

HON. SEN. CHIEF NGUNGUMBANE:  I second.

HON. SEN. DR. PARIRENYATWA: The Joint Portfolio Committee on Local Government, Public Works and National Housing and the Thematic Committee on Peace and Security resolved to conduct an assessment of progress made in areas affected by floods and construction of COVID-19 Centres as part of their oversight role.  The Joint Committee was concerned that the occurrence of floods and disasters was on the rise due to the climate change phenomenon and thus opted to give it priority.  The Joint Committee also sought to assess the preparedness of the country in managing the COVID-19 pandemic.          The Committee noted the importance for Zimbabwe to have a robust framework for managing floods and health disasters such as the COVID-19 pandemic.  It is thus indisputable that the development of such a framework is critical to ensure that there are safe and resilient communities. Therefore, the provision of critical services by the entities tasked to provide such responsibilities is key to human and economic development.

Objectives of the visits

  1. To determine the extent of damage caused by the floods in

Manicaland, Masvingo and Matabeleland North Provinces;

  1. To assess the progress made in reconstruction works in areas affected Cyclone Idai;
  2. To assess the construction works for COVID-19 Centres; and
  3. To appreciate the challenges faced during floods and other disaster management.

Methodology

The Portfolio Committee on Local Government, Public Works and

National Housing received oral evidence from the Minister of Local Government and Public Works on the state of preparedness of local authorities to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic. Subsequently, the Joint Committee visited Tsholotsho in Matabeleland North, Beitbridge and Plumtree in Matabeleland South Province, Bulawayo, Kopa,

Ngangu and Chipinge in Manicaland Province, Masvingo and Bikita in

Masvingo Province.  The Committee held meetings with District Development Coordinators (DDC), Local Authorities Officials and health personnel in the areas visited.  The Committee also conducted tours of some areas that were affected and rehabilitated following flood disasters and the health facilities that were under construction in response to the pandemic.

Committee’s Findings

Oral Evidence from the Minister of Local Government and

Public Works on Management of COVID-19 pandemic by the

Ministry

The Portfolio Committee received oral evidence from the Minister of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing on the state of preparedness by local authorities to deal with COVID-19 pandemic on 27 May 2020. This inquiry laid the foundation for the subsequent verification visits. The Minister mentioned that Government had taken a multi-sectoral approach in managing the pandemic by engaging many stakeholders across all sectors. The Ministry had also capacitated all local authorities to be able to manage the pandemic. This included training of staff and upgrading local clinics and hospitals that fall under the Ministry’s purview. The Minister informed the Committee that provincial and infectious diseases hospitals such as Wilkins which were normally under the management of local authorities had been transferred to the Ministry of Health and Child Care in a bid to ensure coordination in the management of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Committee also gathered from the presentation that the Ministry activated all local government structures in a bid to widen the coverage of information dissemination to communities. The Traditional Leaders received diesel and fuel from His Excellency, the President to assist them in disseminating information on COVID-19. Moreover, local authorities were urged to ensure that there was adequate and continuous water supply as this was critical in the fight against the pandemic. The local authorities were also urged to use the lockdown period to clean up areas under their jurisdictions which included bus termini and vending stalls. The Minister informed the Committee that ZLW$1 billion was disbursed to local authorities to assist in the management of the pandemic.

Flood and Flood Disaster Management

In Chipinge and Chimanimani, the Committee was appalled to learn that most of the survivors of Cyclone Idai were still living in tents, despite the commitment from Government to provide proper housing facilities.  At the time of the Committee’s visit, no houses had been constructed for the survivors of the Cyclone.  The Committee learnt from the survivors in Chimanimani that the local authority had sited land for housing development in the Westend, Greenmount, Bumba and Nhedziwa areas. In Nhedziwa, the local authority had gone a step further by drilling two boreholes and subsequently pegged and allocated stands.

However, as gathered from the District Development Coordinator

(DDC) and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Chimanimani Rural District Council (RDC), the local authority received telephone communication purported to be from the Ministry of Local Government and Public Works to the effect that development of that area should be stopped. Consequently, over 12 months later, even those with the capacity to construct their own accommodation facilities were still living in the tents most of which were tattered.

The Committee was informed during its first fact finding visit to Chimanimani District in July 2019 that Econet Wireless had pledged to build houses for the survivors of the Cyclone Idai. Upon enquiry on the progress made in that regard, the Committee was notified that there was a disagreement between Econet and Government pertaining to the ownership of the land. The DDC informed the Committee that Econet Wireless wanted title to the land on which the houses would be built but

Government was against the idea.  Giving title of the land to Econet Wireless implied that Government was ceding ownership and control of the land as well as the project to Econet Wireless. Resultantly, due to that impasse the project had stalled.

The Committee noted that the people who were still living in the camps did not have adequate WASH facilities, lighting and enough food for their families. These were the same sentiments raised over a year ago when the Committee on Local Government, Public Works and National Housing visited the area. The Committee gathered from representatives from the Social Welfare Department in Chimanimani that development partners such as World Vision had wrapped up their nine-month lean season programmes and this had affected food security in the region. The Committee gathered from the survivors that indeed they were living in conditions of severe food insecurity and this situation was exacerbated by the alleged rampant corruption in the selection of beneficiaries and the distribution of food aid. In Kopa, the Committee learnt from the survivors that in their camp, there were two child-headed families that were constantly left out of any food aid programmes. Upon further enquiry from the representatives of the Social Welfare

Department in Chimanimani, the Committee gathered that the

Department was not aware of this situation and was going to urgently

rectify it.

The Committee also visited Bikita Rural District Council to assess the state of damage and rehabilitation in the area following the Cyclone Idai. The DDC of Bikita expressed gratitude for the assistance they received from the Government as well as the civil society. However, of concern to the DDC was the location of Mandara School which is at the foot of a mountain and facing the risk of rock falls. The DDC suggested that the school should be relocated to a safer place.  The Committee was informed that a team of Engineers from the Ministry of Local Government and Public Works suggested that instead of relocating the school, there was need to build a retaining wall which was said to be adequate to stop the impending rock falls.  However, the DDC indicated that the team of Public Works engineers who went to assess the state of the District after the Cyclone did not give feedback to the Public Works department of Bikita RDC pertaining to their findings.  Resultantly, the Council did not have enough information on the possible courses of action to take to address the damages caused by the Cyclone.

In Chipinge, Chimanimani and Bikita areas, the Committee was informed by the Civil Protection Unit (CPU) representatives that the Unit was severely incapacitated to deal with flood disasters. This severe incapacitation had also impacted negatively against the Unit’s ability to respond efficiently and effectively to disasters. The CPU highlighted to the Committee that it was in urgent need of recapitalisation before the onset of the 2020-2021 rainy season which was expected to have above average rainfalls.

Tsholotsho District was affected by floods that destroyed housing and social infrastructure in 2017 and the Government responded by constructing houses for the survivors of the disaster. A total of 303 people were affected by Cyclone Dineo in 2017 in Ward 5 and 6 resulting in the creation of settlement sites in Tshino and Saudweni. Each family was ideally supposed to be handed over a three-bedroom house, one blair toilet and a kitchen detached from the main house. At Tshino site 143 houses were established. Of these, 11 had their roofs blown off by wind and 8 houses were yet to be roofed.  A total of 61 more houses needed to be constructed, with about 20 families in dire need of accommodation as they were still housed in tattered tents.   A total of 143 toilets were constructed and 130 were not yet roofed. At Saudweni Resettlement Site, 122 out of the expected 176 houses were constructed. At this site, more than 50 people were still living in tents.  At both sites no kitchen has been constructed. Discussions with those who had new homes revealed that most of the homes were too small for the families because they have big families and practice polygamy. These sentiments were also echoed in Chimanimani by those who were still living in tents.  Below is a picture of the tents housing victims of floods in Chimanimani at Ngangu camp.

 

Tents for victims of Cyclone Idai 

Rehabilitation works in the area damaged by flash floods in Tsholotsho, were yet to commence.  Some of those houses constructed had started cracking pointing to the poor workmanship. The resettled people in Tsholotsho complained that the area of 5250m2 tract of land they were allocated was not adequate for other activities such as cultivation and livestock rearing. The Committees were informed that the area provided was meant for residential purposes only. For agricultural purposes, the victims were expected to utilise the land which they previously occupied. The Committee inquired on whether those who lost their homes and cattle in the floods were going to be compensated. The Provincial Development Coordinator (PDC) submitted that there were no plans to compensate the victims as far as infrastructure was concerned. It was, however, explained that discussions with the Department of Agriculture and Rural Extension (AREX) were underway for compensation of livestock subject to availability of funds.

During the tour in Tsholotsho, the Committee observed that most of the toilets were not roofed. The Public Works Department explained that the toilets were being built in stages and the builders were yet to receive roofing materials. The Department informed the Committee that those with their own funds could proceed with the roofing. The new homes had no detached kitchens as per the traditional and rural set up. The Department of Works explained that detached kitchens were part of the scheme but the challenge was that no funds were yet availed for the kitchens.

COVID-19 Quarantine, Isolation and Treatment Facilities

The issue raised in all local authorities and health facilities visited was that the centralisation of COVID-19 testing was affecting their ability to swiftly respond to possible cases of the virus. They bemoaned the inefficiency of the setup where they had to send blood samples to

Harare or Bulawayo for testing due to lack of capacity to test. During the

Committee’s visit to Masvingo, the District Medical Officer explained that they were yet to receive results of the samples many days after they were sent to Harare for testing. Yet, in instances where they have the testing kits and Gene Expert cartridges, they usually get results within two days of getting the samples.

The same concern was raised in Bikita, Matabeleland South and Beitbridge. Further, the Committee learnt that there were extensive construction works underway in all the local authorities visited. The refurbished and new buildings would be used as wards or quarantine centres for returnees or those infected by the virus. In most of the areas visited, construction works were at an advanced level. However, presentations from the Provincial/District Development Coordinators bemoaned the lack of adequate funding and manpower to expedite the construction processes.

At United Bulawayo Hospital (UBH), the Acting CEO gave a brief on the status of the progress made on the quarantine and isolation centres at UBH. The CEO informed the Committee that trainings in COVID-19 were conducted to all levels of health workers and the trainings were still ongoing. As of 6 July 2020, 806 health workers had been trained. The hospital resolved to have a standalone building detached from the rest of the hospital as an isolation centre. Hence, they converted what was formerly the old people’s home which had a carrying capacity of 100 beds. The elderly people were transferred to

Ekuphumuleni. Of these 14 would be designated for the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) and 18 for High Dependency Unit (HDU). For treatment purposes, the hospital was using first line medication or earlier versions of COVID-19 drugs since the more recent versions were not yet in the country.

The Acting CEO submitted that stakeholders chipped in with donations, for example, Higher Life Foundation donated Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and Stanbic Bank donated a miniature ventilator. Red Cross had pledged to supply two ventilators for the hospital. Due to the nature of the disease, which is highly contagious,

UBH aimed at having staff entirely dedicated to the COVID-19 centre.

Some of its staff was seconded to other hospitals dealing with COVID19 especially Mpilo Hospital. The Committee was informed that the construction works were relatively lagging behind as compared to centres in Harare because comprehensive feasibility studies had to be conducted first. To curb the issue of escapees from quarantine centres, the hospital recruited 72 guards and had a Zimbabwe Republic Police

(ZRP) Base Station at the hospital.

The construction works that began in early May 2020 were expected to be completed by mid-August 2020. The Medical gas reticulation system was now being installed. The theatre was being modified to fit infection control mechanisms. He further submitted that tubing for oxygen supply was still underway. Upon completion, the facility would be assessed by Ministry of Health and Child Care as well as World Health Organisation (WHO) to check compliance with the standards set for COVID-19 facilities. As per WHO standards, the technicians were using steel for door frames and sinks. Bathroom cubicles will be put in the wards to avoid patients moving in and out of their rooms. Bells would be put in the wards for the convenience of the patients and closed Circuit Television (CCTV) system would also be installed to ensure security. The Committee was informed that Treasury had released ZWL$42 million for the construction works.

In Tsholotsho, The DDC submitted that on the onset of the pandemic, all Quarantine Centres in the province were in Victoria Falls since it was considered the COVID-19hotspot. The Quarantine Centres were later decentralised to district levels.

Tsholotsho District identified DDF Training Centre as a

Quarantine Centre. However, it was in need of massive rehabilitation. The centre had an estimated carrying capacity of 40 people. Officials from Public Works came up with a bill of quantities amounting to ZWL$2 million which was submitted for funding through the Ministry of Local Government and Public Works but no works had commenced.

Tsholotsho District Hospital converted the Female Ward into an Isolation Centre. The Department of Public Works had started refurbishment of the Isolation Centre which had a holding capacity of 40 people once properly completed. The hospital was in need of 10 mattresses to add to the 30 which it already had. No Intensive Care Unit was established due to lack of equipment. For ICU facilities in the district, there were efforts to refurbish St Luke’s Hospital in Lupane. The hospital had one ambulance set aside for COVID-19 cases. The ambulance was functional, albeit in need of maintenance. The Council further submitted that it was in urgent need of a booster pump to increase water pressure to the isolation centre and an alternative power source.

In Plumtree, the Committee was informed by the Provincial

Development Coordinator that Plumtree has two districts namely Mangwe and Bulilima. On 1 April 2020 Mangwe district had received110 returnees from Botswana. The district taskforce identified

Plumtree High School as a Quarantine Centre with a capacity to hold

350 people though at one point the centre held more than 500 returnees.  As the number of returnees ballooned at the Quarantine Centres, the district identified Redfern School as a Quarantine Centre. As another way to decongest Plumtree High School, the district transferred some male inmates to Bulawayo Polytechnic and female inmates to United College Education. Later on, a decision was made to further transfer people to their respective provinces after profiling. In Plumtree there was no quarantine centre considering that it was a border town which received a huge number of returnees. An official from the Public Works department took the Committee on a tour of a ‘Quarantine Centre’ and the Committee was shown a tract of land with no building in sight. The official, belaboured to explain why construction works had not commenced, a situation which left more questions than answers.

Mangwe lies on the Zimbabwean border with Botswana, a border which is highly porous. The Committee was informed that the district remained alert and continuously monitored and sensitised communities to report illegal entries as a way of curbing a spike in cases of COVID19. The district identified the Plumtree District Hospital Old TB ward with a capacity of 30 beds as an Isolation Centre. However, due to partitioning of the ward, the carrying capacity was reduced to 21. The district also identified Brunapeg Hospital which is 120 km from

Plumtree, as another Isolation Centre. This Isolation Centre had a capacity of 15 beds. While the district had instituted seemingly robust measures to increase vigilance in communities, the Security brief outlined that the porosity of the borders posed a colossal impediment in the fight against COVID-19 and illegal immigrants.

Similarly, the Security brief in Beitbridge also revealed the glaring discrepancies in the manning of our borders. The Committee gathered that in Beitbridge, the police force had one vehicle to monitor over 200 kilometres of the border area. Furthermore, the human capital base was heavily depleted and the few that were there were unmotivated. The Committee learnt that most of them had last received their transport and subsistence allowances in 2005, a situation which could compromise the security of the country and the integrity of the Police force.

The Committee was informed that after the Cabinet decision on 9 June 2020 to decommission schools as Quarantine Centres, the district was left with no Quarantine Centre. The District Taskforce identified Avoca Training Centre which is 30kilometres away from Plumtree Town as an alternative Quarantine Centre. Assessment visits and bills of quantities were done but the construction works requires a huge capital outlay.  The Taskforce also identified the Plumtree Reception and Support Centre as an alternative stopover centre for registration and profiling of returnees before proceeding to their respective Provincial Quarantine Centres.

In Beitbridge, the Committee learnt that Beitbridge had a huge responsibility of receiving returnees from South Africa considering a sizeable number of Zimbabweans domiciled in South Africa who were returning back home as many menial jobs were affected by lockdown. Apart from that, they received people of Malawian and Zambian origins who had to pass through Zimbabwe.  The Committee was informed that the Rainbow Hotel owned by the National Social Security Authority (NSSA) Hotel was used as a Quarantine Centre in the area. The Hotel has a capacity to hold 280 inmates. The Department of Social Welfare and Ministry of Health and Child Care were taking a lead in managing the Hotel. Social Welfare was responsible for the welfare of inmates and provision of transport for returnees to their respective Provincial

Centres. As at 9 July 2020, 4941 people were transported to their various provinces, 12 people were in the quarantine centre and 27 people were in the isolation centre.

The Committees were informed that the NSSA Hotel quarantine centre was in need of two mobile toilets. There was also need of a drain cleaner and a laundry machine. Apart from that, cold rooms, industrial pots and bins were needed.  Furthermore, there was also need for a bus based at Beitbridge for expeditious transportation of returnees.  Apart from NSSA Hotel, the Beitbridge Council identified a female Ward at Beitbridge Hospital which had a carrying capacity of 40 as an isolation centre. The Committee was informed that the female ward had been converted into an isolation centre. The District also identified another quarantine centre which needed renovations at Dulibadzimu.  The District Medical Officer opined that they were required to do PCR tests before they transport inmates to their respective quarantine centres.

They had managed to mobilise two more PCR testing machines. Econet Wireless Company had pledged to help with two more machines.  One of the machines would be stationed at the border with a capacity to process 20 samples simultaneously.  The Committee was made aware of the acute shortage of manpower in the health, public works and security sectors. In the District, for example, the Public Works department in

Beitbridge had a staff complement of 10 against the required 22 people.

This had affected the departments’ efficiency in carrying out their

mandates especially in the face of the pandemic.

Committee’s Observations

The Committee made the following observations:

The people who were affected by the Cyclone Idai floods were still living in tents and education and health facilities were yet to be fully rehabilitated.  The situation was pathetic because most of the tents were tattered and not fit for human habitation.

There was lack of adequate monitoring of reconstructions of houses of victims of floods and damaged infrastructure, resulting in most of the projects not completed and some projects not implemented at all.

The Civil Protection Unit needs to have adequate human and financial resources for it to be able to effectively and efficiently respond to disasters. The Civil Protection Unit also needed requisite equipment to effectively respond to natural disasters.

The Committee noted the need for the Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare to provide adequate food and other basic needs in the camps and quarantine centres.

The Committee noted with dismay the delay in reconstruction of damaged infrastructure by Cyclone as witnessed by some bridges in Chipinge district which were yet to be reconstructed thus presenting challenges in moving around the areas.

The delay in the supply and delivery of materials necessary for construction and rehabilitation of houses and social infrastructure delayed the completion of the housing programmes in the affected areas.

The COVID-19 treatment, quarantine and isolation facilities in some areas were sub-standard and needed to be rehabilitated.

Most of the quarantine or isolation centres visited needed improvement in terms of security to curb the chances of inmates escaping from the centres.

Most departments involved in handling the COVID-19 cases were facing operational challenges in terms of inadequate funding, shortages of vehicles and inadequate accommodation in the centres created, resulting in failure to respond efficiently to the pandemic.

At the time of the Committee’s visit, the screening, profiling and registration of returnees and inmates was being done manually and as a result was taking long. The Committee felt that the manual process increases the risk of infection to both the staff manning the centres and those who are being screened for COVID 19.

There was lack of decentralisation of functions especially for COVID-19 testing and this militated against a timeous response to the pandemic.

The Committee noted that there was lack of essential Personal Protective Equipment for both health and construction workers thus, exposing both the workers and patients to the virus and the injuries.  Recommendations

The Committee, therefore, recommends the following:

Government should increase the emergency funding towards the rehabilitation of health, education, transport facilities and infrastructure in the flood affected regions by 30 June 2021.

Ministry of Local Government and Public Works should speed up construction of houses for the victims of Cyclone Idai and handover the houses by 30 June 2021.

Treasury should provide some budgetary allocation in the 2021 National Budget for the expeditious rehabilitation of COVID-19 treatment and isolation facilities particularly in the grassroots.  Priority should be given to the construction of a Quarantine Centre in Plumtree by 30 June 2021.

The Ministry of Local Government and Public Works should ensure that the Civil Protection Unit has an adequate human capital resource compliment to deal with all kinds of disaster by 30 June 2021.

There is need for the Ministry of Local Government and Public Works to ensure the procurement of essential equipment for long-range weather forecasting and Disaster Management in Zimbabwe by 30 December 2021.

The Ministry of National Housing and Social Amenities should provide houses to those affected by floods before the start of

2021/2022rain season.

The Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare should ensure that the victims of Cyclone Idai continue to get adequate monthly food supplies and ongoing psycho-social support.

The Ministry of Local Government and Public Works should develop a framework outlining the minimum norms and standards for coordinating humanitarian aid in times of disaster by 30 June 2021.

Government should second appropriately trained and skilled provincial staff to the district levels to assist in carrying out all required services whenever there is a natural disaster.

The Ministry of Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage should ensure that border areas are adequately capacitated with both human and financial resources to adequately monitor and manage the porous border areas, corruption and resource leakages by 31 June 2021.

Conclusion

It is of great importance for Zimbabwe to be very alert to possible incidents of natural disasters and respond promptly to such disasters. Natural disasters if not managed properly can lead to loss of lives and infrastructure. The visits conducted to areas affected shows that as a country we are not yet fully prepared to manage disasters.  Government is urged to make disaster prevention and management a priority.  Failure to do so, government will always fork out more resources to mitigate against the impact of disasters.

HON. SEN. CHIEF NGUNGUMBANE: I rise to support the

motion moved by Sen. Dr. Parirenyatwa. First and foremost, Hon. President, is to give a sense of appreciation to all health care service providers because by the time we went to visit these areas, the word

COVID would send shivers in one’s spine. As a Committee, we were really scared but it was a matter of sacrifice. What more of those health care service providers or professionals who dedicated their lives at the advent of COVID-19? Some lost their lives. They had to attend to people at isolation centres by then with virtually little or without PPEs.

So I would want to extend a sense of appreciation.

Your Committee undertook this joint hearing to have an appreciation of issues dealing with peace and security and COVID-19 is an issue that affects issues of peace and security. We visited Tsholotsho District where as a Committee, we discovered that some people that were affected by floods were still staying in camps, three years after being displaced by the floods at Gwayi River. In the course of our deliberations, this Committee was informed that various Government agencies, ministries and so forth had visited Tsholotsho centre but this Committee was the first to have visited Saudweni and proceeded to the area where people were displaced by floods at Tshino.

When we were there, we discovered that there was lack of coordination between the office of the DDC and the office of the

Chairman of the RDC. I remember very well, Mr. Siwela informed this Committee that they were only seeing DDC for the first time. They were not aware of what was happening. All they saw was activity taking place in their area of jurisdiction without the involvement of the council and in a way, councilors had become bystanders in this issue.

As part of our oversight, it is also important that this Committee goes back to assess if any progress has been noted or made. I read in the Sunday News, the edition of 14 August, 2021 this past Sunday where there was a caption of these homes showing that they have been renovated. We would want to applaud the efforts that the Ministry of Local Government has taken and I believe that it was through our oversight function that these homes have now been completed.

However, we will not rely on the papers because that is not adequate.

We seriously need to go back and find out. In the story, council Chairman Siwela admitted that progress had been realised in the work that had been undertaken at Tsholotsho.

We visited Plumtree and Beitbridge Border Posts and it will be important to note that these centres belong to one province,

Matebeleland South. The Beitbridge is the gateway into Zimbabwe from South Africa while Plumtree is the gateway from Botswana. The PBC and her team lamented that there were low budgetary allocations in terms of money that was put towards isolation centres. They appealed that this Committee must ensure that Matebeleland South as a province should get more in terms of budgetary allocation because it hosts people from nine other provinces. They process and forward them. For them to receive an equal share of the national cake with other provinces in terms of resources, they felt it was not justified.

We visited the isolation centres and some of them, for example, the NSSA Complex in Beitbridge which was a hotel in the past run by Rainbow. It is not suitable to accommodate people coming in from South Africa that were put under isolation. Firstly, the area was insecure in terms of security and also the police staff was overwhelmed. We saw people walk from the isolation centre into town to buy food and back. How many of them would be honest to come back? Quite a number of them escaped to their rural homes and in the process they were exposing family members, friends and relatives to COVID-19. Government should build proper isolation centres with the necessary and adequate security to ensure that people do not escape willy-nilly. 

At Beitbridge, we were told that our border is extremely porous that the team from Zimbabwe had more than 250 km stretch which they had to patrol, which meant that they had to put personnel at intervals of 30 km and that was not adequate. If you look at the South African side, they have their borders fenced although we have seen that border jumpers have cut to make their way through. We were informed that South Africa has a tracking system which we did not have by then. I feel as a country if we want to ensure adequate peace and security, we should invest more and equip our security personnel with the adequate resources so that they are able to carry out their constitutional mandate.

        Madam President, when we were still in Beitbridge, we were also informed by the Officer Commanding Beitbridge, Nyanhongo that by then, their personnel had not received food rations and T&S since 2005.  When you look at the period 2005 to date Madam President, this is very scary and you are dealing with border jumpers who are carrying the powerful American Dollar and Rand, and a soldier who does not have adequate rations.  Obviously, temptation is very high for them to receive bribes.  As a Committee, we recommended that security personnel must be adequately financed, get their rations on time and should be motivated since they also cited low staff morale because the working conditions were not ideal for them to carry out their work.

Madam President, they also had problems in terms of vehicles.  On the South African side and even at Plumtree, we were also informed that the roads on the Botswana side are graveled and they had all terrain vehicles which was not the case here.  If those vehicles were there, they were inadequate and those that were there easily broke down.  There is need for Government to ensure that the Ministry of Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage procures the requisite vehicles.

We were also informed Madam President that Beitbridge, as a gateway from South Africa, was making a lot of money.  ZIMRA and other agencies that are there were making a lot of money but it is only from a few people who come through.  You are aware that most of the people out there smuggle goods and worse during national lockdowns when our border is closed.  They find ways and as a country, we are losing a lot of revenue through illegal smuggling.  Madam President, I want to support this motion and urge Hon. Senators to take a close look at it. I thank you.

HON. SEN. DR. PARIRENYATWA:  Madam President, I move

that the debate do now adjourn.

HON. SEN. MATHUTHU: I second.

Motion put and agreed to.

Debate to resume: Thursday, 19th August, 2021.

On the motion of THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF PUBLIC

SERVICE, LABOUR AND SOCIAL WELFARE (HON.

MATUKE), the Senate adjourned at Twenty Six minutes past Four o’clock p.m.

 

 

 

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Post comment