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SENATE HANSARD 19 DECEMBER 2019 29-16

PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE

Thursday, 19th December, 2019

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

PRAYERS

(THE HON. PRESIDENT OF SENATE in the Chair)

ANNOUNCEMENT BY THE HON. PRESIDENT OF SENATE

APPOINTMENT OF HON. SEN. SINAMPANDE AS MDC-A

DEPUTY CHIEF WHIP

THE HON. PRESIDENT OF SENATE: I have to inform the

Senate that the MDC-A party has appointed Hon. Sen. Sinampande as its

Deputy Chief Whip in the Senate –[HON. SENATORS: Hear, hear.] –     THE HON. PRESIDENT OF SENATE: Today, I was supposed

to name the Ministers who could not attend but I can see that the House is almost empty. We have one Minister, the Deputy Minister of

Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services.

ORAL ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS WITHOUT NOTICE   *HON. SEN. CHIEF NGEZI: Thank you Madam President. My

question is directed to the Deputy Minister of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services. What measures have you put in place concerning artists who have lost intellectual property especially music?  Piracy is rampant. Secondly, we used to have galas that promoted artists.  Are you going to resuscitate them?

THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF INFORMATION,

PUBLICITY AND BROADCASTING SERVICES (HON. DR.

MUTODI): Thank you Madam President. I want to thank the Hon.

Senator for the question.  On the issue of piracy, I am sure it is the role of Parliament to ensure that an appropriate law is enacted so that our artists are protected from those who are pirating their work and selling it on the streets, leading to the artists going home without anything after producing their work. It is a continuous process of establishing the law. Currently, we do not have a law to deal with piracy directly.  It is my hope that a law will be coming in due course.  You also need to realise that the artists actually fall under the Ministry of Arts.  The Ministry of Information is not directly in control of artists’ affairs.  We will be working in conjunction with the Ministry of Arts to ensure that the law is put in place.

On the issues of the galas, these depend on demand; the artists coming together to perform. I agree with you Hon. Senator that the artist have been benefiting a lot from the galas, but obviously these galas are occasioned by certain events  but as long as those events pitch up, the galas will be held and artists will benefit.  I thank you.

THE HON. PRESIDENT OF SENATE: Fortunately, the Deputy

Minister of Energy and the Minister of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services have walked in.

*HON. SEN. SHUMBA: Thank you Madam President. My

question is directed to the Deputy Minister of Energy and Power Development. I seek clarification on what the Government is doing pertaining to the ZESA tariffs because ZESA tokens are now expensive and considering the fact that people are now resorting to deforestation because they cannot afford ZESA because of the high tariffs, they end up cutting down trees.  Furthermore, school children are unable to study because they do not have lighting to enable them to do their work.  I thank you.

*THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF ENERGY AND POWER

DEVELOPMENT (HON. MUDYIWA):  Thank you Madam

President.  I want to thank the Hon. Senator for the question which is in connection with the tariffs in terms of ZESA.  She said that electricity tariffs are so expensive and most people especially the ordinary people can no longer afford.  Firstly, I want to say that for a long time since 2011, the electricity tariffs in Zimbabwe had never been increased and were very low.  If we are to compare with other countries in Africa, our electricity tariffs were the lowest.  That resulted in ZESA which has the sole mandate of supplying electricity facing challenges as they could no longer pay for the electricity or even give adequate salaries to their staff, maintenance and their day to day running.  I am sure if the Hon. Member used to read the press, she came across news that ZESA was unable to pay its debt.

Since 2012, things have been going up and ZESA was unable to pay for these because the tariffs have not been increased.  We then considered the challenges faced by ZESA which were hindering effective service delivery.  It was realised that there was need to increase the electricity tariffs.  Yes, the tariffs are now high but that is what we thought would assist ZESA to continue providing service.  On this matter, the onus is now on the households to ensure that they use electricity sparingly.  We do not have much electricity and it requires each and every household to reduce the use of electricity.  For example, those rooms without occupants should be switched off in terms of lighting.

The first 50 units that we used to buy a token is affordable by most households; we considered that.  However, we have a stepped up the tariff system.  From 50 units to 200 units, the tariffs are higher.  Two hundred units and above also have higher charges, so we said 50 units are the average units used by an average family for a decent living. If they are consuming a lot of electricity, it will be expensive for them.  Yes, we know that school children are unable to study because of lack of electricity but it is all because of the fact that ZESA is unable to pay for its debts.  I am sure you heard that ZESA has debts with ESKOM and

Mozambique and right now, the debt stands at US$75 million that needs to be paid.  All these are the challenges facing ZESA and that is the situation on the ground right now. I thank you.

*HON. SEN. CHINAKE:  Thank you Madam President.  My

supplementary question to the Minister is that, as a nation you have said there is no electricity.  As a country, what measures have we put in place in order to increase our electricity?

THE HON. PRESIDENT OF SENATE:  That is not a

supplementary question.  Can we please concentrate on the issue of tariffs which some people are not able to pay?

*HON. SEN. CHABUKA:  Thank you Madam President.  I want

to thank the Minister for that explanation.  You said that as we are in our households, we should switch off lights in rooms that are not being utilised.  We also have electricity outside the houses for protection against thieves.  There are those people who have outstanding bills, are they paying their bills to ensure that we clear ZESA debts that are there?

*THE HON. PRESIDENT OF SENATE:  The Minister has

addressed the question that the first 50 units are cheaper and if you are using more, it will be more expensive.  If you leave the other rooms with lights on, it means your charges will go above the 50 units she talked about.  That is the way I understood it.  The question was responded to.  So, I think the issue of using lights for security reasons is a totally different question for the Minister.

*HON. SEN. CHIMBUDZI:  My question is directed to the

Deputy Minister of Energy and Power Development.  What is the

Government’s position concerning filling stations that hoard fuel because when you want to purchase fuel they tell you that the fuel was already procured by certain companies.

*THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF ENERGY AND POWER

DEVELOPMENT (HON. MUDYIWA):  Thank you Madam

President.  I want to thank Hon. Sen. Chimbudzi for that question.  The issue of selling fuel, as Government, we are saying service stations should avail fuel to everyone using the Zimbabwean dollar, ecocash or swipe.  Those are the three modes of payment for fuel. If there are filling stations that are not selling because fuel has already been procured by certain organisations who pay more, that is not right.  It cannot be the case that others can purchase in bulk but we are there to say service stations should sell to everyone who needs fuel.  If there are service stations that are engaging in such dealings, please give us the information so that we can investigate as to what is happening.  Is it true that they will have the fuel because they are paying more?  Is it because they are paying more for the fuel?  The Government policy is that if fuel is available, it should be sold to anyone who wants fuel.  I thank you.

*HON. SEN. HUNGWE:  Thank you Madam President.  My

supplementary question to the Deputy Minister has been raised by the fact that she said people can pay for fuel using swipe, cash or ecocash.  What about filling stations that are selling fuel in US dollars?  They are there in the country.  They are selling in foreign currency and when you get there, you find there are people with coupons that are different from the ordinary ones.  What can be done about it because a number of people cannot get those coupons?  For those who are selling in US dollars, fuel is never in short supply.

*HON. MUDYIWA: I want to thank Hon. Sen. Hungwe for that question. There are service stations which were exempted and given the mandate to sell in US$. They can sell to NGOs, embassies and those who get their money in US$. Those are the filling stations that are there. Their coupons can be different from the ordinary ones because their money is in US$ but most service stations should allow people to pay in ecocash, cash or swipe. They can sell using those modes of payment. Yes, there are such filling stations that sell in US$ and they are called state cases.

*HON. SEN. CHIEF. MAKUMBE: I want to seek clarification from the Deputy Minister. What measures do they have in place to ensure that jatropha can be used to blend fuel. In Mt. Hampden there is machinery to produce fuel from jatropha. What are the measures in place?

*HON. MUDYIWA: I want to thank the Hon. Senator for raising that question. Jatropha is grown in Zimbabwe in Mashonaland East, Mudzi area. Currently, we have an area that was given to the Ministry and we have a department that deals with jatropha. They were given 60 hectares as you approach the Mozambican border in Mudzi North constituency; we are growing jatropha as we speak. When we grow this jatropha, we take the jatropha and we have a factory in Mutoko where this is ground to produce bio diesel which is used to blend with diesel in order to increase the volume of our diesel.

Once we do that we will save a lot of foreign currency because once we blend the diesel with the jatropha, the volume of diesel can increase but this is still in its primary form at small scale. From the jatropha, there is also soap that is made from the jatropha and we encourage Hon. Members to use that soap that is produced from the jatropha plant. On the factory at Mt. Hampden, we are aware of that factory but there are issues that are being dealt with there so that once everything is in place we will then embark on full scale production of diesel. I think I have responded to his question, thank you.

*HON. SEN. CHIEF MAKUMBE: I wanted to find out what measures you have in place as Government. You are explaining to us what jatropha is used for. We have a lot of things that are working, we grew jatropha and the machines are there. What policy is there under your Ministry and what does it provide for?

*HON. MUDYIWA: Thank you Madam President. I think I have tried to explain the measures that we have in place. We have the plans but they are at a small scale. I explained that we have a department within our Ministry that is dealing with bio-diesel. They are growing jatropha on the farm that I mentioned in Mudzi where jatropha is coming from. To enable us to extract oil from jatropha, we have a bio-fuels policy that was supposed to have been launched. The bio fuels and renewable energy policies have been approved. What remains is to launch those policies. Once launched, the oil from jatropha can now be used to blend our diesel. It will be mandatory. So that is what will happen. I think I have tried to explain.

*HON. SEN. FEMAI: My question is directed to the Leader of the House. I want to direct my question to him because it is quite broad but I think it will also deal with the issue of energy and he is the rightful person to deal with it. The three arms of the State, Legislature, Judiciary and the Executive, is it Government policy that the other arm is in trouble facing challenges of securing fuel yet we do not see the Executive and the Judiciary in the queues. We are being harassed in fuel queues.

THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND

PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): I want to thank

the Hon. Senator for the question. There are no service stations that I am aware of that are for the Judiciary and Executive.

D                                 st300310                    19 December 2019

I also have to go on fuel queues.  I have never heard that this queue is for Judges only.  I have never heard that.

*THE HON. PRESIDENT OF SENATE:  I believe that question

also requires the Minister of Energy to respond to it.

*THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF ENERGY AND POWER DEVELOPMENT (HON. MUDYIWA):  Thank you Madam President

for the question.  As Government and as the Ministry of Energy, we have a department that sells fuel that is Petrotrade.  That is the only company we are able to control as well as Genesis that is under NOIC.

Those are the only companies we can regulate.  The fuel industry has been liberalised.  We have Total, Zuva, Engen; they all sell fuel.  They have their ways of doing business but all is regulated by ZERA, which is a department within our Ministry.  There is no filling station that is the preserve of the Executive or the Judiciary.  All the service stations are open to everyone.  Probably, you do not see me per se in the queue but my driver will be at the fuel queue and he goes there representing me.  There is no service station that chooses who to sell fuel to and who not to give fuel to.

*THE PRESIDENT OF SENATE:  On that issue, I think

administratively, Parliament should negotiate with those service stations that are providing fuel.  I do not think it is the Minister.  I leave it to Parliament and your administration.

*HON. SEN. CHIEF NEMBIRE:  Thank you Madam President.  My question is directed to the Leader of the House.  Minister, what measures are you taking in schools that are charging groceries as part of school fees, yet school fees is there and is quite exorbitant?  Parents are complaining because of this development.

*THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND

PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI):  I want to thank

the Chief for the question on why schools are requesting groceries, yet there is school fees.  The question that he has raised can only be addressed at the School Development Committee (SDC) meetings because that is where the school and parents agree as to how they will charge to ensure that their children can get adequate education.  For me to give a substantive answer on issues that the parents have sat down and liberated on how to ensure that the school provides a service, I would be lying.

*HON. SEN. HUNGWE:  Madam President, may you allow me

to say a few things on what is being said in this House.  I think the issue that has been raised is important.  What I was requesting is that we assist the Leader of the House.  Leader of the House, do you not think that the issue that you have been presented with requires you to bring the Minister of Education in this House so that we can hear his views and that we understand what is happening in terms of these high fees and what is being charged in the schools?

*HON. ZIYAMBI:  I want to thank the Hon. Senator for the supplementary question.  Madam President, the policy in the Education Act is very clear.  It says that schools are supposed to sit with parents and agree on the pegging of fees.  Those who sit in the meeting are the school and parents and they are the school development association.

The consensus and recommendations is what is taken to the Ministry of Education.  If the Ministry is satisfied that this is the agreement, they approve the fees increases.  The response that I gave does not even require the Minister of Education to come and explain to say that at the school called Chipaga, the parents sat down and agreed that they are going to bring cooking oil for their children to get proper food such as chips; but the Minister cannot come in and say no, that is not right.

Children cannot bring cooking oil for the children to get chips but if he was saying that there is a school that has raised fees without the consent of parents, that is a different issue; we can agree.

*HON. SEN. CHIEF NHEMA:  I also want to add to the Minister about the Government policy.  The chips that he is talking about, is it part Government policy?

*THE HON. PRESIDENT OF SENATE:  Hon. Sen. Chief, the

Minister is responding to the questions that were raised.  We raised the issue of groceries and he is responding to questions on the issue of groceries.  On the issue of chips, it is just an example, not that it is being done.  He is saying that it is an agreement between the SDC and the parents.  That is what he has responded to.

*HON. SEN. DR. MAVETERA:  Thank you Madam President.

My question to the Minister is that on the issue of fees, he said that there is need for consensus between parents and the school.  What is happening on the ground is that all schools in the country are taking their interim budget before it is approved.  So parents are forced to pay that interim before the Ministry has approved and adopted.  The schools are bulldozing and forcing parents to pay that interim.

*HON. ZIYAMBI:  Thank you Madam President.  I want to thank the Hon. Senator for his understanding that he said interim.  It means that on the interim budget, the figure that is taken to the Ministry, adjustments are made.  The Ministry has been given indicative fees according to calculations but what normally happens in boarding schools is that those who know the requirements for children to be educated is that they do the calculation using price adjustments and they give you the interim and they seek approval.  When the approval is made the adjustments are made.  I thank you Madam President.

*HON. SEN. CHINAKE:  My question is directed to the Deputy Minister of Energy. What measures have you put in place as a Ministry in order to increase the electricity available in Zimbabwe?

*THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF ENERGY AND POWER

DEVELOPMENT (HON. MUDYIWA): I want to thank the Hon.

Senator for the question concerning electricity. We have measures that we have not looking at importing electricity.  Firstly, we have Hwange Thermal Power Station where we get some of our electricity.  There are six units that are supposed to be working to generate 705 mega watts  because the generators are now obsolete, they are working for at least two days and they break down, hence we are experiencing serious electricity shortages.  In Hwange we have measures and have started a project called Hwange seven and eight expansion project.  We are building new generators, two units in order to generate electricity.  Right now the project is at 30% and is progressing as expected.  By 2021, the first generator or the first unit can be in operation and will give us 300 mega watts.  The other one is supposed to work in 2022 and should give us 300 mega watts.  So from Hwange, we will get 600 mega watts. We also have plans that funding being available, we need to upgrade our thermal stations such as Bulawayo, Munyati and Harare that have units that have also become old but need upgrading.  They can give us 290 mega watts once upgraded.  Right now we are not even getting 60 mega watts because they are always breaking down.  The report today shows that there is no electricity coming from these units.

Thirdly, we have the issue of renewable energy that is energy from solar, whereby we use solar panels to harness electricity.  That is what we are promoting; we talked about renewable energy policy, that policy encourages people to make use of solar energy to ensure that we get electricity from there.  If possible, institutions should use solar, for example, here at Parliament, if we put solar panels, we can then use electricity from solar so that we switch off Parliament and Parliament will be using its own electricity.  There are companies that we are encouraging such as Econet and Schweppes are already using solar. Through the renewable energy policy, institutions like hospitals and universities should have solar fields that they can generate solar for use.  We also urge people who can afford to use solar energy to do so.   When you have a lot of electricity through solar energy, you can then feed into the national grid, through an agreement with ZETDC who will buy energy from you.  We have a lot of measures in place and I cannot complete all those measures now.  Thank you.

*HON. SEN. KOMICHI: The plan that you have of the three other power stations, Bulawayo, Munyati and Harare; this is not the first time upgrading has been done.  a lot of money is being channeled towards the upgrades, if you look at your records, Bulawayo was upgraded but nothing came up, Munyati was upgraded and nothing came up.  Harare was also upgraded and yet nothing came up.  So, why not build one thermal unit in each town, Bulawayo, Munyati and Harare? Those already there can be museums because they are useless.  Put independent units because 200 mega watts in Harare, 200 in Munyati and 200 in Bulawayo, I think that will be a good thing that you can consider.

*THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF ENERGY AND POWER DEVELOPMENT (HON. MUDYIWA): Thank you Madam President

that is a good idea that the Hon. Member has brought in.  We will take all those recommendations, we are considering them and I am sure they will come to fruition.  What we have at the moment is also to upgrade, upgrading means we can even change the technology and it will result in better results.

*HON. SEN. CHIRONGOMA: My question is directed to he

Leader of the House.  Currently, people are running around to go for the Christmas holiday. Have you put in place measures to protect the lives of the people?  What has been put in place to ensure people travel safely during the festive season holidays?

*THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND

PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): The Government

has put in place measure which include encouraging people that as they travel for the festive season, drivers should be aware of the fact that they are traveling with commuters.  A few days ago, the First Lady went to toll-gates raising awareness to drivers that they should avoid alcohol and drunk driving.  We also have the police who have mounted road blocks to ensure that there is easy flow of traffic and road regulations are being adhered to.

*HON. SEN. CHIEF NTABENI: Thank you Madam President

for recognising me.  My question is directed to the Minister of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services.  My dear Minister, I moved around and I went to three garages and saw vehicles filling up with fuel.  Are things normal now so that we can go and tell people that we are going back to our good old days?

*THE MINISTER OF INFORMATION, PUBLICITY AND BROADCASTING SERVICES (HON. SEN. MUTSVANGWA:

Madam President, I want to thank Hon. Sen. Chief Ntabeni and I realise that he is  now in the Christmas mood.  When we finished the last Cabinet briefing, I said that we are a Christian country. We want people to be happy over the festive season and Government will ensure that it does its part. You saw the Government doing its part and the Minister of Finance and Economic Development availing bonuses to civil servants. Prices are being slashed, especially for mealie-meal so that people can get food.  I cannot say much about the energy sector because the

Minister is there but for this time, we are saying that we want fuel to be available to ensure that people travel safely for the festive season as they visit their homes.  I thank you.

*HON. SEN. GUMPO: My question is directed to the Leader of the House and it is a question that was raised at an SDGs meeting concerning environment and the damage that is being caused by veld fires in this country.  It was a request that the cost of the damage be availed.  The damage that is caused by veld fires that destroy trees, grass and animals and the figure that was given by the Ministry of

Environment, Tourism and Hospitality Industry and we want to find out from him when we will get the figure.  If it is $10 billion, we need to know that.  I thank you.

*THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND

PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): Thank you

Madam President and I want to thank the Member for that question.  What I can respond to off the cuff is what is related to policy but that is too specific and requires figures.  It requires the Minister to come and to have the figures to say that veld fires destroyed such an area. I cannot give the figures without consultation with the Minister and the Ministry.

My request is that Hon. Sen. Gumpo, you put it in writing so that the Minister can go and research on the information and give us a substantive answer.  I thank you.

THE HON. PRESIDENT OF SENATE:  Hon. Sen. Gumbo, can

you put the question in writing?

HON. SEN. TONGOGARA: My question is directed to the

Leader of the House.  Minister, with the festive season approaching, what measures is Government putting in place to facilitate easy and speedy crossing at our borders so as to reduce the congestions as you know that large numbers of people are coming for the holidays?

THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND

PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): Thank you

Madam President.  Again, even though it is not a policy question, I will try to answer it.  Our border posts were not built to cater for the traffic that we are now experiencing. We have now started the process of expanding our border posts.  You should recall that the President went there for ground breaking ceremony so that we can expand the border post.  So what will happen is something that is unavoidable that there will be congestion at our border posts.  Inasmuch as we may want to increase the staff because of the nature of the border posts, however, the relevant department has put in place mechanisms to ensure that traffic is cleared as fast as possible.  I thank you.

*HON. SEN. MAKONE:  In the absence of the Minister of Finance and Economic Development, I would like to direct my question to the Leader of the House.  Hon. Minister, we understand that the Government is having problems with generating enough electricity for the country and that it might take quite a while before we get it.  I think the Minister has already confirmed that families, schools and businesses go solar so that they can have enough energy for themselves.  In light of that because now the populace will be doing the job that Government should have been doing of providing power, would it not be good Government policy to take off duty on all the things that go into making a solar system to work and not just the solar panels because there are things like lithium batteries and inverters.  Could Government not make it a policy that everything that has to do with solar construction comes in duty free?  Thank you Madam President.

THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND

PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): Thank you

Madam President and I want to thank the Hon. Senator for the question.  Indeed, Government has already started doing that.  I think we now have a policy.  If that is now done yet, I think it is going to happen pretty soon because the Government has already agreed that let us remove duty on solar components so that we encourage our people to import and install all those components.  So there is a policy and if the Statutory

Instrument is not yet there, it is going to be there very soon.  If it is not there, we will make sure that the relevant legal instruments are put in place to ensure that those components come in.

*HON. SEN. MAKONE: Give us an indication on whether it will be a month or two months because a lot of people want to do that and if you give an indication, you will see something really big happening and it will take pressure off ZESA.

HON. ZIYAMBI: Thank you Madam President. Madam

President, what I can say is, we want it to be done like yesterday.  We are experiencing shortage of power and like what the Deputy Minister has just said we are now moving towards encouraging the use of renewable energy.  She gave a perfect example of Parliament that we want to take it off the grid.  She went on to say even those that can have access we want them to have arrangements to sell it off to ZESA.  It is something that we are taking seriously that we want it to happen like now.  That is why I said I am going to check on the progress, if it is our Drafting department we will sort that out so that we have relevant instruments to ensure that it happens.

THE HON. PRESIDENT OF SENATE:  Hon. Minister, you

also have to check on the timeframe, for example how many months is this going to take?

HON. ZIYAMBI:  If possible we want it like now, so I am going to check on the progress. I cannot give a timeframe, the idea is - we want it immediately.

THE HON. PRESIDENT OF SENATE:  Thank you Hon.

Minister.

Questions Without Notice were interrupted by THE HON. PRESIDENT OF SENATE in terms of Standing Order No. 62.

MOTION

ADJOURNMENT OF THE HOUSE

         THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND

PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI):  Thank you

Madam President.  First of all, I want to thank you for the year that has gone past with you, we enjoyed sittings here.  Having said that, I also want to thank all the Hon. Senators for the way you disposed of your duties here in Parliament.  I want to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and a Prosperous New Year.  Madam President, I now move that the

House do now adjourn – [HON. SENATORS:  Hear, hear.] –

THE HON. PRESIDENT OF SENATE:  Hon. Senators, please

note that Committees are suspended until 10th February, 2020.

The Senate accordingly adjourned at Twenty Six Minutes to Four o’clock p.m. until Tuesday, 11th February, 2020.

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