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SENATE HANSARD 18 NOVEMBER 2021 VOL 31 NO 13

PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE

Thursday, 18th November, 2021

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

PRAYERS

(THE HON. PRESIDENT OF SENATE in the Chair)

An Hon. Member having passed between the Chair and the Hon. Member speaking.

THE HON. PRESIDENT OF SENATE:  Order, order Hon. Sen. Mohadi, you may not cross between the speaker and the Chair. – [HON. SEN. MOHADI:  I apologise Madam President, I did not realise there was someone on the floor.] -  Please take your seat.

ANNOUNCEMENT BY THE HON. PRESIDENT OF SENATE

APOLOGIES RECEIVED FROM MINISTERS

THE HON. PRESIDENT OF SENATE:  Before we get to the Oral Answers to Questions Without Notice, with me, I have a list of apologies from ministers:-

  1. Dr. C. D. G. N. Chiwenga, Vice President and Minister of

Health and Child Care; Hon. Dr. E. Ndlovu, Minister of Primary and Secondary Education; Hon. E. Moyo; Deputy Minister of Primary and Secondary Education; Hon. Sen. Mutsvangwa, Minister of Information Publicity and Broadcasting Services; Hon. Dr. S. Nyoni, Minister of Women Affairs, Community, Small and Medium Enterprises Development; Hon. Dr. K. Coventry, Minister of Youth, Sport, Arts and Recreation; Hon. July Moyo, Minister of Local Government and Public Works; Hon. Dr. S. Kanhutu-Nzenza, Minister of Industry and Commerce; Hon. D. Garwe, Minister of National Housing and Social Amenities; Hon. M. Chombo, Deputy Minister for Local Government and Public Works; Hon. K. Kazembe, Minister of Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage.

Anyway, in the House, we welcome Hon. Minister Mhona,

Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development; Hon. Dr. Mangwiro, Deputy Minister of Health and Child Care; Hon. Mudyiwa, Deputy Minister of Energy and Power Development.

ORAL ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS WITHOUT NOTICE

*HON. SEN. CHINAKE: Thank you Madam President.  My question is directed to the Deputy Minister of Mines.  There are a lot of pits that were left uncovered all over the area and all over the country by chrome miners who are not rehabilitating the land after mining.  Who is going to cover up these holes?

THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF MINES AND MINING DEVELOPMENT (HON. KAMBAMURA): Thank you Madam President.  I thank Hon. Sen. Chinake for the question.  We are working hand in glove with the Ministry of Environment to ensure that the pits that were excavated and those that are going to be excavated in future are covered so that this will not be dangerous to our country.  Before a person is allowed to peg a mine, they are supposed to do an environmental impact assessment (EIA).  In the EIA, she/he is going to disclose how they are going to operate and how they are also going to rehabilitate the excavations that they would have done as has been referred to by the Hon. Senator.  We are amending the Environmental Act or the EMA Act to also include such requirements so that the miner is duty bound or obligated to ensure that they cover the holes that they would have excavated.  We have a team that was put together with the Environment Ministry that consists of inspectors from the two ministries who are going to inspect mining locations so that we urge our miners not to leave pits uncovered because it is a danger to the livestock and to the people who will be moving around.  It also disturbs farming activities.  Thank you Madam President.

HON. SEN. ENG. MUDZURI:  Thank you Madam President.  Appreciating the answer from the Deputy Minister on their work with the Environment and also appreciating that you are working with the EIA Department in terms of rehabilitating areas of mines, what is the policy between your giving out a licence and the environmental assessment teams coming in to ensure that the mining is done properly?  I say so because there is a discrepancy between your ministries giving out a mine licence and it can take up to three years to get an EIA to combine.  How do these two link up so that you can continue to check on the dilapidation of land when the mining is taking place?

HON. KAMBAMURA:  Thank you Madam President.   I thank Hon. Sen. for the question for the question.  The Mines and Minerals Act, Chapter 30 calls for every miner who has pegged at an area that is open for pegging, before he/she commences mining operations, they should do an EIA assessment.  They should also engage the local community so as to buy the social licence.  Initially, we issue out a mining title but before a mining company or organisation starts mining operations, they need to have an EIA.  I thank you.

HON. SEN. MOHADI:  Thank you Madam President.  My supplementary question is still on the miners, mining everywhere.  What is Government policy on that because I do not think some of them follow the procedure of obtaining EIAs when mining?  They mine along the tarred roads.  Does that not cause any harm to the roads as well as to the travellers?  If you travel along Gwanda Road, you will find that two to three metres away from the tarred road people are digging?  What are you saying about that?

HON. KAMBAMURA:  Thank you Hon. Sen. Mohadi for the question.  We believe that there are a lot of illegal miners throughout the country and we have raised this issue with the Ministry of Home Affairs and other law enforcement agents to look into the issue.  We encourage all miners to be registered with Government.  In the interim, the Minister of Mines and Mining Development is working on a structure that mirrors the structure that is at the Ministry of Lands, whereby we have Agritex officers at the districts where farmers are to supervise and regulate the farming operations.  In the same manner, the Ministry is restructuring and very soon we will be having mining extension officers who will be right down to where the miners are, to regulate and control all mining activities and also to monitor if miners are operating as per law.  They need to be fully registered and they need to have an EIA. 

The issue of miners that are mining along main roads, Cabinet has come up with an inter-ministerial team to look at those miners that are mining along major roads or like what Hon. Senators said, we have those incidences occurring along Gwanda Road and along Gweru to Bulawayo Road.  Very soon there will be sanity in those areas.  I thank you Madam Speaker.

*HON. SEN. KOMICHI: My question is directed to the Deputy Minister of Energy. Electricity is now a scarce commodity. Without the provision of electricity, people use LP gas but the gas is no longer being sold in Z$ but in USD - which USD is not readily available. It would appear that you are allowing businesses that are under your ambit to use USD because petrol and diesel are only bought using USD. Is that in line with the Government policy because it is hurting the Zimbabwean people? I thank you.

*THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF ENERGY AND POWER DEVELOPMENT (HON. MUDYIWA): I would want to thank Hon. Sen. Komichi for his pertinent question. The issue of electricity is that it is not scarce or never available. Electricity is available but lately we have had very little in terms of electricity on the grid because our machinery at Hwange is outdated and tripped. The machines are being fixed. Some of the six units are now back on the grid at Hwange. Unit One was burnt and was not repaired but the other five were supposed to generate electricity but out of the five we had a challenge and we ended up having two that were generating electricity. As of today, we have four units that are generating electricity. As a result of that, we still have a deficit of electricity and there is also a challenge in the region so we could not import any more electricity to ensure that we offset our deficit. That is the problem that we experienced. We now have four units running at Hwange and our situation is now considerably better.

True, people are now using gas and we actually urge people to use gas. You mentioned the problem of this gas to be sold in USD, but the problem that was there was that the majority of the people that were selling gas were not getting foreign currency from the auction system for them to be able to import that gas. So we have spoken to the RBZ that they could be accommodated and also get foreign currency at the auction rate. Once that position is attained, they are expected to sell the gas in RTGs. That was the problem that was prevailing. It is not as if we are allowing people to buy our products, such as fuel, electricity and gas in USD. It is a challenge that we are facing and together with the RBZ we are trying to ensure that we bring sanity to that area especially in the fuel sector so that we find service stations that are solely selling fuel in RTGs.

We are putting in place measures through the National Management System which is a computer based system that is going to be operational through service stations that would have been allowed to operate using the RTGs system. The system will be able to monitor the distribution of fuel from the depot to the service station and how it is distributed. We will have this service throughout our 10 provinces. So far, we have 57 service stations that have applied and have been allowed to operate. Those are the measures that we are putting in place.

*HON. SEN. ENG. MUDZURI: I want to find out how much electricity we have on the national grid because we should also bear in mind that we have the picking off plant at Kariba?

HON. MUDYIWA: I was looking at our report today and we have 1334 megawatts as the maximum and 1630 megawatts is our expected demand. I did not hear the other part of his question.

HON. SEN. ENG. MUDZURI: It was to do with capacity at Kariba.

*THE HON. PRESIDENT OF SENATE: No, you had not asked about Kariba. You asked what we have on the national grid.

*HON. MUDYIWA: Kariba is producing 995 megawatts from all our eight units from 764 to 995 megawatts.

*HON. SEN. CHIMBUDZI: My question is directed to the Deputy Minister of Mines and Mining Development. Does Government law allow anyone to explore or mine gold on anyone’s farm or home? Can someone just go and start mining at someone’s farm or homestead?

          *THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF MINES AND MINING DEVELOPMENT (HON. KAMBAMURA):  The question does not allow someone to go and mine gold at someone’s homestead.  One is only allowed to mine after getting permission from the Ministry of Mines.  After getting that permission, the Ministry of Mines goes and inspects whether that place is fit for mining activities.  They have to put into consideration whether it is someone’s homestead or field; is there any infrastructure like schools, shops or dams.  After that, the person is then given permission or a mining licence.  Before they start mining activities, they are supposed to interact first with the local stakeholders. They should also be able to get an EIA before they start exploring from the Environmental Management Agency so that they will not disturb the environment.

*HON. SEN. FEMAI:  I have a supplementary question. These people are coming with documentation and that includes demarcations that cover homesteads and fields.  They are allowed to start mining.  Is that what the law says?  Can someone go and start mining with all the legal documentation but mining at someone’s homestead or kraal?

*HON. KAMBAMURA:  If there is a particular place where that is happening, may the Hon. Senator please put it in writing so that we investigate what is happening because the Constitution does not allow that. 

I will explain briefly what the Constitution says in terms of minerals exploration.  It states that if you have less than 100 hectares of land, nobody is allowed to come and peg at your field without permission from you.  But if you have more than 100 hectares of land, someone is allowed to come and peg as long as they do not peg on cultivated land.  In addition, they are not allowed to come and start mining close to houses.  They are supposed to mine at least 400 metres away from the homesteads.

As you are aware, the Constitution was crafted around 1961 before independence.  As we speak, we are now busy working on this law to be amended.  It has since gone for outreach and the draft has been submitted to Cabinet and it is within that Committee.  There are some things that need to be realigned in order for the law to conform to the current needs.  In 2018 when we had the Land Reform Programme, this law was not aligned to such occurrences.

*HON. SEN. CHIEF CHARUMBIRA: Minister, what you are saying is not what your workers do.  What you are saying and what is transpiring on the ground is not the same.  Last week under Sabhuku Tete in my homestead, there was exploration and digging and that person had documentation.  You need to work with your officers to ensure that what you are saying happens on the ground.

*HON. KAMBAMURA:  I agree that there are some officers who may transgress against the Constitution.  We need to reach out to people in provinces and meet the local leadership as well as the Ministry of Agriculture officials so that we settle this issue before the law is aligned.

*THE HON. PRESIDENT OF SENATE: You said the amendment to this Act is being worked on.  When do you think this Bill will be passed into law because it is almost five years and this issue has been coming to Parliament yet there seems to be no progress?

HON. SEN. CHIEF CHUNDU:  My question is directed to the Minister of Health and Child Care.  There are several doctors who are well trained in this country but some have left for greener pastures.  Those that have remained behind are suffering due to the hardships in the country.  They have persevered and are trying to survive together with the citizenry.  What is Government doing to ensure that the bond between the Government and doctors can be looked at, especially those doctors who are loyal to this country and have remained servants to this country even in these difficult times?  A doctor is close to God.  I have worked with you in the theatres and I am sure you understand what is happening.  Some of the doctors are no longer working for Government but operating in private surgeries.

*THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF HEALTH AND CHILD CARE (HON. DR. MANGWIRO):  Thank you for the question on the status of Government bonding with the doctors who have left this country. In order to ensure that we support the doctors in this country – as you are aware, we are trying very hard to ensure that most of the health workers are given incentives as you are aware, most of the Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for health workers are now manufactured here.  We are procuring the necessary equipment that they want to use in their work places.  We want to solve that and we are also trying to ensure that most of that equipment is manufactured locally so that doctors do not fail to work because they do not have necessary equipment.  We know that doctors need to be mobile, they need transport, the pharmacists and radiographers – we ensure that they import cars duty-free and we try to assist them so that they are helped in time. 

As Government, we have started constructing houses for doctors.  As you are aware, we have the General Resident Medical Officer (GRMO) and the Specialist Resident Medical Officers (SRMO) who are supposed to reside next or nearby their patients and nurses as well.  As Government, we have since started constructing high-rise apartments where they can reside.  We are also constructing recreational facilities where they can drink and interact.  That will also ensure that doctors and nurses can get their food within the premises of the medical facilities.

We are also aware that their earnings are low and as Government, we are looking at how best we can cushion them in terms of their welfare.  We also want to ensure that they get shopping malls within the premises of the medical facilities so that they do not have to travel outside those premises to fetch their needs.  We want to ensure that they get everything locally because doctors and medical staff are more than 3000 as well as their families and they need to get all their basic requirements including food within those premises.  That will also help all those who may be visiting patients, even children so that the children can also watch television within the same premises.  That will give them ample time to rest within the proximity of the medical facilities. 

If the doctors and nurses are bonded by the Government and they complete their bonded time, there is nothing we can do to stop them from leaving.  We prepare recommendation letters for them after they have served their bonded period.  There is nothing we can do to stop them from going because those recommendations also include that they have no criminal records.  However, we know that workers also look for greener pastures but our objective as the Government is to ensure that all health workers and support staff welfare issues are catered for so that they live a comfortable life.  I thank you.

*HON. SEN. CHIEF CHARUMBIRA: Thank you Mr. President.  I am so grateful that doctors are being well taken care of.  I would like to know if this welfare facility is well spread out to cater for doctors and health workers who are outside major cities, including those in the rural areas.  Those are the ones who are serving people.  What are you doing for the doctors in the rural areas?

*HON. DR. MANGWIRO: Thank you very much Madam President.  I would like to thank Hon. Sen. Chief Charumbira for his question.  As Government, we are fully aware that hospitals from councils, churches as well as Government are serving Zimbabweans.  A few weeks ago, I was in Manama in Gwanda South, which is a mission hospital.  Last month, I was at Mutambara in Mutare which is a mission hospital as well and I was also at Mt. Melleray, also a mission hospital.  I would like to inform the Hon. Chief that as Government, we will not segregate any hospital in Zimbabwe, even when it comes to purchasing of hospitals and construction of accommodation.  As I speak, I am working with the Hon. Minister of National Housing and Social Amenities, Hon. Garwe.  We have companies that are going to be working on the construction of accommodation in hospitals around the country.  Even at Manama Mission Hospital, we are working with them to come up with something that is progressive.  We are spreading this through the provincial medical doctors so that they know that we are visiting their areas, and even small hospitals, we are refurbishing and expanding them.

In Chivhu, at Pimbi Clinic, we are looking forward to expanding it so that we have doctors staying there so that people will have access to medical facilities and services.  We are fully aware that doctors are in need of decent accommodation.  This is something which we have started working on and it will reach all parts of the country.  Very soon you will witness what we are doing.  Thank you very much.

*HON. SEN. MUPFUMIRA: Thank you Madam President.  I would like to thank the Hon. Deputy Minister of Health and Child Care for what he has said regarding hospitals.  There is a place in Makonde, there is only one hospital in the whole district called St. Ruperts Hospital.  Hon. Minister, there is not even a single doctor at St. Ruperts, the laboratory is empty, it is not equipped.  I am not quite sure what exactly you are focusing on.  Are you going to focus on hospitals in the urban areas?  At this hospital that I am referring to, there is not even a single doctor.  So my humble request is that you assist us as people of Makonde to get a doctor.  It is a mission hospital but there is not even a single doctor.

          *THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF HEALTH AND CHILD CARE (HON. DR. MANGWIRO):  Like I said before Madam President, we will not leave behind any hospital in the country.  It might be a clinic or hospital that I did not reach on our tour but this is a specific question. I kindly ask you to come through to our office so that we discuss further and see how we can resolve this problem.

          You would actually assist us if you bring a detailed report to our offices so that we can work on the solution.

          *HON. SEN. MOEKETSI:  Thank you very much Madam President for giving me this opportunity.  My question is directed to the Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development.  I would like to know the Ministry’s policy with regard to the road from Chegutu to Chirundu.  As we speak, we are approaching the rain season; there are a lot of potholes and patches on this road…

          *THE HON. PRESIDENT OF SENATE:  Order, order, Hon. Senator, such questions should be submitted in written form so that the Hon. Minister can make an informed research and come up with a detailed response.

          Hon. Minister, would you by any chance have a detailed response to the Hon. Senator’s question?

          *THE MINISTER OF TRANSPORT AND INFRASTRUCTURAL DEVELOPMENT (HON. MHONA):  Thank you very much Madam President. I would also like to thank Hon. Moeketsi.  It is true that such questions should be submitted in written form because there is need for us to conduct proper research so that I can bring a detailed response to the House.  If possible, the Hon. Senator can give me the question before I leave this House so that I give her a response today before midnight.

          *THE HON. PRESIDENT OF SENATE: Wonderful.  Thank you very much Hon. Minister.

          *HON. SEN. KOMICHI:  Thank you very much Hon. Minister.  We are seeing your work on the roads and we are very grateful for the work that you are doing on the roads.  You once mentioned that you have embarked on phases in rehabilitating these roads.  Is the Government meeting its deadline, from your own assessment in terms of the work that you are doing on the roads?

          *HON. MHONA:  Thank you very much Madam President.  I would like to thank Hon. Sen. Komichi for his question.  I would also like to thank him for the gratitude that he has for the work that we are doing on the roads as Government. 

          I would also like to thank you for mentioning the Emergency Roads Rehabilitation Programme which was revamped by His Excellency the President.  Looking at it, I would say that we are impressed with the work that is being done.  Yesterday in the National Assembly, I was requested to bring forward a detailed response on how many kilometres we have covered so far.  I would like to thank you and say truly, we have made significant progress on this particular project.  There are other areas that we have not reached since we started, but I can assure you that we are now everywhere in the country.  We may be a bit behind in the work that we are doing but I promise you that definitely, we will accomplish.

          We are looking to complete the programme in the year 2024.  Let us appreciate and acknowledge that this is our project as Zimbabweans.  As we approach the national budget, let us remember and ensure that this particular part, that is the Emergency Road Rehabilitation Programme, is well funded so that we accomplish our mission.

          *HON. SEN. DUBE:  Thank you very much Mr. President.  My question is directed to the Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development.  Hon. Minister, you are doing a great job and I am very happy and impressed with the work that you are doing on the roads.  Our roads are now starting to show a beautiful image to the nation.  What exactly are we going to do in order to get new road signs?  Some of the road signs were erected during the colonial era and are now pointing in the wrong direction.  We kindly request you to remove all those worn out and deformed roads signs, we want legible road signs that we can clearly read as a people.

          *THE MINISTER OF TRANSPORT AND INFRASTRUCTURAL DEVELOPMENT (HON. MHONA):  Thank you very much Hon. Sen. Dube for asking such a pertinent question that as we are developing our roads, we should have road information signs that are very clear.  Travellers and drivers should be able to see where they are going and where they are coming from as well as the distance. 

          It is my humble plea that as we approach election time, we do not inscribe political messages on these road signs that cannot be erased.  It is our responsibility as Zimbabweans to make sure that we acknowledge that we agreed as SADC countries on the signs that we erect on the roads.  These lay-bys allow us to have a place to rest as a people.  I promise you that on all roads that we are rehabilitating, these road signs that we are erecting will be suitable for everyone, not only Zimbabweans, but even those beyond the borders will be able to comprehend what they mean.  This is what we agreed on as SADC countries so that it becomes easy for everyone coming from either country to understand what is meant by these road signs.

          Thank you very much Hon. Senator, we are rushing and chasing time so that these signs are erected.  It will help travellers to say, even if you run out of fuel, you will be able to know where to get the next fuel station.  Where we come from, we have Provincial Road Engineers, those are the ones responsible in our provinces, I will try by all means to share their contacts so that you are able to contact them and ask why some things are not in good order or shape.  I thank you.

*HON. SEN. CHIEF CHUNDU:  I move that the time for Questions Without Notice be extended with 15 minutes.

HON. SEN. CHIEF CHARUMBIRA:  I second.

*HON. SEN. CHIEF CHARUMBIRA: My question goes to the Minister of Transport but I would like to thank him first.  I think when a Minister tells you that he will give you a response this very day, it means he is hard working.  This is servant leadership. May you continue to be like that?  So far you are shining.  There are accidents being caused by stationary vehicles because some people would have left the broken down vehicles idle on the roads. What is the policy on people who leave stationary broken down vehicles on the highway?  People are perishing because of such acts. 

*THE MINISTER OF TRANSPORT AND INFRASTRUCTURAL DEVELOPMENT (HON. MHONA): Thank you very much Hon. President of the Senate.  I would like to thank Hon. Sen. Chief Fortune Charumbira for his encouraging words.  We will continue to work hard on what we promised.  We will do as commissioned.  It is true Hon. Sen. Chief Charumbira that we are losing many lives.  We have reckless drivers on the roads in this country. We understand very well that vehicles might have broken down but the driver would leave it in the middle of the road doing whatever he will be doing.  We work together with the police and any car that is broken down and found in that situation should be removed from the road.  When we see a vehicle in that state, it is supposed to be towed away and taken to our stations.  Eventually that person should be fined.  You have raised a pertinent question in which us as a Ministry are supposed to remind people of the corrective measure to take after the vehicle has broken down on the highway.  We are supposed to tow those vehicles.  Our main intention is not to have those vehicles on the road.  They should be towed away.  We will engage the Traffic Safety Council to move around the country teaching people and to conscientise them on removing broken down vehicles from the highways and avoid disasters.  We have people who drive on the wrong side of the road every time with people trailing behind them.  These are some of the people we say should be brought to book.

This word should reach everyone.  We should conscientise people in our areas and you will see change in behaviour.

*HON. SEN. CHIEF CHARUMBIRA: Thank you very much Mr. President.  Minister, we have never heard that the Vehicle Inspection Department tows away such vehicles.  May be if you inform them that we have never seen them doing such.  Let them tow those vehicles so that we do not see anything on the highway.  We are witnessing lorries that are broken down using tree leaves as reflective triangles. This is not the Zimbabwe we desire to see.

*HON. MHONA:  Thank you very much Mr. President.  I would like to thank Hon. Sen. Charumbira.  It is true, if we are to leave this issue to police only, we will be pushing ourselves back.  It is the responsibility of drivers to use the correct measures when they have a breakdown.  They should make use of reflective triangles.  When it comes to the issue of VID, we should be fining people who would have done so. We work together with the responsible authorities within police to make sure that there is safety on the highways.  If people have had a problem of vehicle breakdown, we should be using correct measures and not tree leaves.

          *HON. SEN. KOMICHI: Thank you very much Hon. Minister. We have a very big problem in this country and we are not finding a sustainable solution to that effect. What can we do as a Government so that we conscientise Zimbabweans? Compared to other countries beyond the borders, when it rains it is just the same in those countries but here in this country when it rains, it seems there is a lot of confusion amongst drivers, hence there are accidents.

          *THE MINISTER OF TRANSPORT AND INFRASTRUCTURAL DEVELOPMENT (HON. MHONA): It is true that most of the accidents that we experience on the roads are caused by the behaviour of drivers. When it rains, I agree with you Hon. Sen. Komichi that there is a lot of confusion causing traffic jams. At times I used to think it was the water that would be clogging the drains. I go back again to the National Traffic Council, it is important for them to conscientise Zimbabweans. Our lives are in our hands. When we use the highway we must not think of ourselves but other people who are also using that highway.

          Even if it is a robot that is not working, we should be able to know and understand that we should be giving way to other motorists. I think it is a culture that we have here in the country. We should urge each other to follow traffic rules. Sometimes the untidiness we have in the environment is also a problem as people are always throwing their rubbish and the rubbish blocks the drains. I think it is important for us through commemorating the day as introduced by the President; we should always make sure that our environment is clean so that our drains are clean. We are approaching the rain season and we should make sure that we have no disturbance to the flow of water.

          *HON. SEN. FEMAI: I wanted to thank the Minister to say everyone is doing a great job. We are having a lot of accidents on the highways caused by heavy vehicles at night. A haulage truck is about 25-30 metres and sometimes they are travelling one after another, five or six of them. So, people end up trying to overtake without even seeing what is happening in front and that is the cause for most of the accidents I have seen. Is there no law or policy that can regulate the movement of these haulage trucks such as ensuring that the other one leaves after 30 minutes so that people may overtake them properly?

          *HON. MHONA: Indeed, we have lost a lot of lives on our roads because we are saying travelling should not be a cause of death. The Hon. Senator raises the issue of haulage trucks following each other closely. Some of those heavy vehicles carry dangerous substances and are not supposed to travel after 1800 hours, but we have seen that some of them are breaking the law and do not follow those regulations. Again, that refers to the culture we were referring to. Some of those haulage trucks that follow each other, sometimes it is the rules of the companies where they are coming from but when we repair and refurbish our roads, the width of our roads, you realise they were seven metres wide but now our roads will be 12 metres wide. What it means is, anyone who may move to the extreme left of the road may safely do so without disturbing the cars behind you. If you realise that you are not moving fast enough you should be able to give way to traffic behind you because that way we will not have people trying to overtake even on dangerous stretches of the roads. That is the mandate of our National Traffic Safety Council to ensure that there is safety on the roads. 

          *HON. SEN. KAMBIZI: My question is directed to the Minister of Local Government and Public Works. What is Government policy with regard to the chiefs in this country restoring their dignity, especially their courts as well as to construct better housing for them?

          *THE TEMPORARY PRESIDENT OF SENATE: Just for clarity, do you mean houses as in homesteads?

          *HON. SEN. KAMBIZI: I am referring to their courts. Some of them hold their court sessions under trees but they should be well-constructed buildings with offices as well as courts of justice.

          *THE TEMPORARY PRESIDENT OF SENATE:  The Minister may respond if she so wishes, but I think that issue is for the Minister of Justice because they are responsible for the administration of customary law. If the Minister wants to respond she may go ahead.

          *THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT AND PUBLIC WORKS (HON. CHOMBO): Yes indeed, I agree with your response but I would also like to add that our Ministry looks at the welfare of Traditional Leaders.  We are assisting them to get cars.  As we speak, we are working flat out to ensure that their vehicles are serviced.  We also work looking at the Pfumvudza Programme and Zunde raMambo or the programmes that ensure that they get adequate agricultural inputs for crops meant for the security of the Chief. 

If you look at what is happening now, our chiefs have gained better dignity as compared to the past but I agree that we need to improve on some grey areas.  As Government, we are working on that. 

*HON. SEN. GUMPO:  My question is directed to the Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development.  When will the Harare-Chirundu Road be repaired, especially that part that was worked on by the Japanese?  There is another stretch that remained unattended too. 

If you are going to start road rehabilitation, can you start from Chirundu coming back to Harare because that is where there is great need?

*THE MINISTER OF TRANSPORT AND INFRASTRUCTURAL DEVELOPMENT (HON. MHONA): We have a listening President in our country.  People complained about the Beitbridge-Harare Road and it has been rehabilitated. The Harare- Chirundu Road had issues but it is now being rehabilitated from Chirundu to Harare and that is what the President instructed us to do.  We have about five companies working on the Beitbridge-Harare Road.  We are going to have a sixth company that will start working from Chirundu coming to Marongora where you referred to – that section that was repaired by the Japanese.  After giving us the number of kilometres to be rehabilitated, they sent their delegation to increase the other section of the road that had remained.  I can assure you that Marongora and Hailsgate will be worked on to complete the whole section. 

*HON. SEN. GWESHE:  My question is directed to the Minister of Health and Child Care.  I have some issues pertaining to COVID-19 and these have been troubling me.  I do not know whether people were tested before they got vaccinations.  Were people who were vaccinated in the rural areas first of all tested for COVID-19 before they received their jabs?  In the urban set ups, there were people who got their vaccinations but they were tested first.  There are some centres where they were only vaccinating without testing. 

I will give you an example.  In Glen View, one woman was vaccinated and the following day she died but if only she was tested before being vaccinated, I am sure they would have discovered that she was COVID-19 positive.  Is it not possible to ensure that people are tested before vaccination?

THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF HEALTH AND CHILD CARE (HON. DR. MANGWIRO): My understanding is that you are referring to COVID-19 testing before vaccination and not any other diseases.  When it comes to vaccination, most of the people are just getting jabs without being tested initially because that would be a bit difficult.  When we can do that, we ask people to be tested first if they are not feeling well or they have other issues that they may be suspecting. However, in most cases, if someone has any other condition or ailment that they are aware of, they should mention it so that they are tested before being vaccinated.  I would also like to say that anyone who gets vaccinated, it does not mean that they will not succumb to other ailments like heart diseases, burst arteries, high blood pressure or diabetes. 

However, people associate that type of death to vaccination, which may not be the case.  Yes, I know that there may be complications associated with vaccination but before we vaccinate, we explain all those issues and if anyone complains of any ailment, they are supposed to be tested for COVID first.  That is very important for the majority of people to know that if you are not feeling well, when you intend to be vaccinated against COVID-19, you explain to them so that there is no urgency or rush to fight against COVID-19.  Some people are succumbing to diabetes or high blood pressure, cancer and other ailments which are not COVID-19 related.  So it is very important for us to explain all those things so that people know that some of those ailments can also result in death.  If someone dies after being vaccinated against COVID-19, it may not mean that the person died of COVID if they were not tested prior to vaccination.  What it also means is that, if I have a heart problem and my heart stops pumping, it does not mean that I died of COVID in the event that you test me after death and discover that I am COVID-19 positive.  I thank you.

HON. SEN. MOEKETSI: My supplementary question to the Minister of Health and Child Care is that when it comes to COVID-19; we understand that vaccinated and unvaccinated people are now allowed to gather during church services.  Before we were told that only vaccinated congregants should attend church services but now everyone is mixing up, vaccinated and unvaccinated.  What do you have to say concerning this issue?  This will lead us to the question of not knowing who was vaccinated or not.  Is it true that church congregants, vaccinated or not can attend church services together?

*HON. DR. MANGWIRO: The day before yesterday, His Excellency, Dr. E. D. Mnangagwa said, the lockdown has been extended by two more weeks.  I did not hear him say people who are attending church services should mix up regardless of whether they are vaccinated or not.  So, I might have missed that if he said it.  Right now, we are encouraging vaccinated people to go, because if you look at the conditions for Level 2 lockdown, nothing has changed.  So, let us be wary of people who just write things as sometimes they write articles which are false or things that bring despondency amongst people.  We need to be careful because we need to know what exactly is being talked about.  I thank you.

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

On the motion of THE MINISTER OF TRANSPORT AND INFRASTRUCTURAL DEVELOPMENT (HON. MHONA), the Senate adjourned at Six Minutes past Four o’clock p.m. until Tuesday, 23rd November, 2021. 

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