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SENATE HANSARD 20_July_2016_25-63
PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE
Wednesday, 20th July, 2016
The Senate met at Half-past Two o’ clock p.m.
(THE HON. PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE in the Chair)
ANNOUNCEMENT BY THE HON. PRESIDENT OF SENATE
A LIAISON AND COORDINATION COMMITTEE MEETING
THE HON. PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE: I wish to inform
the Senate that there will be a Liaison and Coordination Committee Retreat to be held at the Rainbow Hotel, Bulawayo from Friday, 22nd to Monday, 25th July, 2016. The following are expected to attend:
All Portfolio and Thematic Committee Chairperson, Parties’ Chief
Whips and their Deputies, Chairperson of the Parliamentary Legal
Committee, President and Deputy President of the Chief’s Council, Chairperson and Vice Chairperson of the Women’s Caucus, the Leader of Government Business, the Leader of Opposition and members of the President of the Senate Panel.
Buses will leave Parliament from Nelson Mandela Avenue at 0900
CANCELLATION OF THEMATIC COMMITTEE MEETING
THE PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE: You are also advised
that Thematic Committee meetings scheduled for Monday, 25th July, have been canceled.
BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
HON. SEN. MLOTSHWA: I move that Order of the Day
Number One be stood over until the rest of the Orders of the Day have been disposed of.
HON. SEN. B. SIBANDA: I second.
Motion put and agreed to.
FIRST REPORT OF THE THEMATIC COMMITTEE ON
PEACE AND SECURITY ON THE STATE OF THE
HON. SEN. MUMVURI: I move the motion standing in my name that this House takes note of the First Report of the Thematic Committee on Peace and Security on the state of the country’s borders.
HON. SEN. CHIEF NGUNGUBANE: I second.
HON. SEN. MUMVURI: Thank you Madam President. I rise to give a report from the Thematic Committee on Peace and Security about the state of the country’s borders. Madam President, according to the requirements of Standing Rules and Orders, let me start by thanking you for allowing the Committee to go round and do its investigations and then table a report in this House.
In the wake of reports that national borders have become porous and conduits of smuggling which have cost the nation millions of dollars due to inefficiencies and operational deficiencies, the Committee visited two border posts, namely Beitbridge and Plumtree to get a more comprehensive understanding of the problems.
National borders have become porous and fraught with many logistical irregularities which have compromised expedient human movement, human security and amount of money remitted to the national treasury by Zimbabwe Revenue Authority. Such a situation compromises national security and local industries development as cheaper commodities will be found in the market.
The Committee’s fact finding visit was guided by the following objectives:
- To ascertain the state of the country’s border posts.
- To appreciate and understand the operations of the security and the immigration departments to ensure peace and security at our ports of entry.
- To appreciate measures put in place at ports of entry to curb human trafficking; and
- To understand the process involved in dealing with deported Zimbabwean citizens.
The Committee conducted a fact finding visit and held meetings with various stakeholders at the border posts such as ZIMRA officials, Immigration officials, the Zimbabwe Republic Police and the Ministry of Social Welfare.
5.0 Committee Observations
5.1 Beitbridge Border Post
At the Beitbridge Border Post, the Committee interacted with the
DA’s office where the major concern raised was that there are too many stakeholders at the border post demanding passports. These include the police, soldiers and immigration officers. It was highlighted that whilst it was the mandate of the Immigration officers and the Police to request for one’s passport, the soldiers, security guards, central intelligence officers among others also demanded passports.
The Beitbridge Town Council also submitted that ZIMRA was making US$2 million a day from Beitbridge border post and the Town council would need a stake in the form of a community share ownership to develop the town. During the meeting with ZIMRA, it was confirmed that it was making about $2 million a day.
The Department of Immigration submitted that Beitbridge Border Post operates 24 hours through shifts with each shift having 14 immigration officers and 10 security guards. Their duties include, facilitating safe passage for genuine emigrants and immigrants, deportations, receiving deportees, processing voluntary repatriation, apprehension and prosecution.
It was noted by the Committee that the infrastructure at Beitbridge is no longer in keeping with the volumes of traffic at the border post as it also processes traffic in transit to Malawi, Zambia, DRC and
Mozambique. The border post is the only point of entry shared with South Africa. Month ends, public holidays are the busiest times. The movement is concentrated in the evening between 6-7pm till the early hours of the day. Beitbridge border clears an average 450 000 travellers a month with the peak in December 2014 reaching 765 000 travellers. There are supposed to be various clearing points for the different travellers, buses, lorries, pedestrians and motorists but all this is currently being processed through one checkpoint which causes congestion at the border.
It was also submitted to the Committee that sometimes buses bring in undocumented persons from South Africa and that the South African authorities do not accept TTD’s and border passes anymore. This has caused problems at the border post as those denied entry into South
Africa are found loitering at the Zimbabwean side of the border. The
Committee was also informed that the buses are no longer passenger transport as they are now carrying commercial goods from South Africa, a scenario which delays their clearing and movement of genuine travellers.
The Committee was also informed of the procedures involved in handling deported persons from South Africa brought from Lindela Camp. The Immigration Department related that there is a vetting process to confirm the nationality status of the deportees at a facility formerly manned by IOM but which has since been handed over to the department of Social Welfare. This vetting process ensures that genuine Zimbabwe citizens are given free passage into the country.
Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (ZIMRA) officials informed the
Committee that Beitbridge is the busiest border in Southern Africa. They cited the challenge of infrastructure as the main stumbling block limiting their capacity to process the safe passage of more human and vehicle traffic. Another challenge submitted was low staffing levels as a result of staff accommodation shortages.
ZIMRA bemoaned the porosity of the Beitbridge border post
which has seen a lot of goods going through the river and finding their way into the black market. Consequently, much revenue is being lost. The Committee was also informed that the border post is too close to a residential area which creates a lot of unnecessary human traffic of touts and vendors loitering around the border post. There is rampant smuggling by cyclists and the rate of compliance with regulations is very low. Smuggling of hazardous substances like fuel and the abuse of the rebates were noted as prevalent.
It was also submitted that the Container depot at the border is full and courts were taking a lot of time to finalise cases so that goods held in the depot can be released. These are goods that would have been recovered from people smuggling and false declarations.
5.2 Plumtree Border Post
At Plumtree Border Post, the Committee was informed that this exit point averaged a million migrants in 2014 and it is the second largest in the country. It also handles the only tourist train that comes from Zimbabwe to South Africa, the Rovos train, which accounts for
30% of the revenue at the border.
It was submitted to the Committee that deportations from Botswana had declined in the past three years although year on year figures from 2014-2015 are on the increase and rose by 45%. Botswana has since intensified their inland system of removing illegal immigrants. The Committee managed to witness a group of Zimbabweans at the no man’s land between Zimbabwe and Botswana who had been deported. They could hardly walk and had wounds all over their bodies. They submitted that they had been beaten up by both the Botswana police and the traditional chief courts.
There are problems of touts and vagrants and the Immigration
Department suggested an amendment of the Protected Places and Areas Act so that all border posts can have the status of protected places accorded to them.
It was further submitted that the geographical location of the nearest passport office in the province (Gwanda and Bulawayo) lead to a lot of illegal migrations. There is need to consider district registries as possible passport application points. This, it was submitted may help cut down the volumes of illegal migrants due to unavailability of passports.
The Committee was also informed that Maitengwe border post has been under construction since 2009 but has not been completed. There is no electricity at this border post and the roads leading to it are in bad state and the place is inaccessible during the rainy season. Also the tarred road to Mphoengs is not finished and this has a negative impact to the travellers using these border posts.
It was also submitted that the Immigration Department retains
$100 000 a month to cover all the 23 border posts in the country. Maitengwe border post was allocated $200 000 in the 2014 blue book, but not even a cent was released.
The Committee further noted that there is no road to enable the police and other security agents to patrol the entire border line. On the other hand, Botswana has an immediate road running along the entire border making their patrols efficient and reliable. Limited resources hamper creating an effective border patrol network. Smugglers now realise the potential of these unpoliced border crossings and therefore smuggle mostly fuel and electrical appliances through illegal crossing points along the border. Vehicles to patrol the border are also not adequate and most of the personnel will be patrolling on foot. There is also smuggling of goods through under invoicing to pay lesser duty.
6.0 Committee Recommendations
- Government, through the Ministry of Finance should urgently ensure that all border posts have modern equipment such as heavy duty scanners so that the use of fake travelling documents and smuggling is curbed by the end of 2016.
- A lack of coordination and accountability at the border posts has created a lot of room for inefficiency and ineffectiveness. Government should therefore urgently set up a national ports authority, a body that will coordinate operations and attend to challenges at Zimbabwe’s ports of entry. This will ensure all operational, health, administrative and security issues are dealt with.
- Ministry of Finance should expedite full implementation of the one-stop border post concept between Zimbabwe and South Africa.
(like the one at Chirundu border post between Zimbabwe and
- Government to undertake a comparative study to find out which model would be the best between the retaining of part of the proceeds recovered from illegal mineral activities and poaching or forwarding them to Treasury by the first quarter of 2017.
- Government should prioritise the rehabilitation of roads along the borders to enable the police and other security forces to curb cross border crime through effective border patrols by the availing of funds in the 2017 National budget.
- Government, through the Ministry of Finance, should set up an accreditation body for customs clearing agents and freight forwarders as there are many bogus customs clearing agents, touts and conmen that have contributed to madness and chaos at border posts especially Beitbridge.
- Government should put in place stringent and robust mechanisms (For example, all staff at the borders to wear name tags) to stamp out corruption at the country’s border posts by fourth
quarter of 2016.
- ZIMRA should, with immediate effect, open more cash points within the border to enable travelers to have their goods assessed for duty and pay their levies at the same point, unlike the current situation whereby people are moving from one counter to another causing delay for importers.
- Adequate financial and human resources must be allocated to border control and management by Treasury in the 2017 National budget. (Currently ZIMRA has a staff compliment of 307 against a requirement of 526 at Beitbridge)
- The Minister of Home Affairs to immediately engage his
Botswana counterpart to regularise the issue of mistreatment of
Zimbabwean citizens in Botswana during the deportation process.
The Committee realises that there is a greater need to address the problem of porous borders and weak border control and management mechanisms in order to ensure sustainable revenue generation at ports of entry and also stem out effectively the problem of both human and goods smuggling. Adequate resources have to be availed to the relevant departments by Treasury to ensure peace and security is secured in and around Zimbabwe.
ANNOUNCEMENT BY THE HON PRESIDENT OF THE
WINDING UP OF MOTIONS
THE HON. PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE: I wish to remind
Hon. Senators that in terms of Standing Order Number 101, a motion can only remain on the Order Paper for a maximum of 21 sitting days. Accordingly, those Senators whose motions have reached the time limit are kindly requested to wind up debate, otherwise their motions will be dropped off the Order Paper. So that means we have until tomorrow and next week before this session comes to an end.
HON. SEN. CHIEF NGUNGUBANE: Thank you Madam
President for offering me this opportunity to second the motion raised by Hon. Mumvuri, the Chairman of the Committee.
Madam President, all borders and ports of entry in the country are the face of the nation. They give you an impression of what the country looks like, whether you are arriving at the airport or at the various border posts. So, they give you an impression. But Madam President, if you look at Beitbridge border post, the infrastructure leaves a lot to be desired. It is old, dilapidated and does not give a good impression about
Zimbabwe. It is important that the border post gets a face-lift as the Chairman indicated that the concept of a one-stop border post will enhance efficiency.
Mr. President, our country’s borders are very porous as evidenced by massive human smuggling and the smuggling of goods at most border posts. Plumtree is no exception. There have been cases of stock theft, animals being stolen from either side of the border. I do not need to emphasise about Beitbridge. We have had newspapers write stories about corruption and the massive smuggling that is there.
Mr. President, I happened to watch a documentary about our border post last week on a channel called African News Network 7, where the reporter showed the massive corruption and smuggling that is happening at that border post. They dwelt mainly on the South African side. They were showing routes or indhlela where people walk to smuggle goods and one of the commodities that was smuggled into South Africa from Zimbabwe were cigarettes. It was shocking. If these smugglers can bribe South African officials and security details, what would stop them from doing the same on the Zimbabwean side? This alone shows that there is rampant smuggling and corruption at our border posts.
Mr. President, porous borders are a threat to national security as the country can be attacked at any time using those border posts and there is a threat to global peace if we talk of insurgence nowadays. One turning point that comes to mind is the invasion of the DRC by the rebels. They crossed from Rwanda using a porous border post and they attacked that country.
Government is challenged financially. We appreciate Mr. President that the Government should invest more to realise more revenue from our countries border posts. At one time, our Zimbabwe
Chamber of Commerce revealed that the country was losing more than US$2 billion a year through smuggling. I think that accounts to about half of our national budget. The country would do better if that money had found its way to the country’s coffers.
A lot has happened from the time we went to Beitbridge. We need to commend Government for the effort that it has put in acquiring scanners and enhancing security at Beitbridge, but Mr. President, security should not be enhanced at the ports of entry alone, the border we share with other countries, a lot needs to be done. We need to enhance security there.
The Committee also realised that the Beitbridge border post is very close to the residential areas – which in turn compromises the security of the border, leaving little room for the border to expand. The Beitbridge border post is one example where Government departments should liaise when it comes to town planning as this showed that there was lack of serious planning of Beitbridge. If you look at Plumtree, the border post is more than 10km away. There is better security compared to Beitbridge. At Beitbridge you find vagrants and touts and you ask yourself whether this border post is a protected area. A lot is needed to address the issue of touts.
The report also revealed that the courts were taking their time in dealing with the cases of people who were smuggling goods and those with false declarations. We would encourage the courts to expeditiously deal with these issues as a matter of urgency. Mr. President, the Government should finish the construction of the Maitengwe border post as it has been work in progress since 2009. The road leading to the border is in a very bad state and does not give a good impression to the travelling public and the tourists.
The country should be proactive in dealing with issues of corruption. We should not play the blame game and end there. We should name and shame all those people whether in the public or in Government spheres who are involved in smuggling syndicates and are involved in corruption. Deterrent sentences should be given to those people who are involved in smuggling and corruption. Mr. President, as a chief, I strongly believe that corruption has been on the increase as a result of a plethora of causes, but the main cause that comes to mind is the erosion of our cultural values. People no longer value ubuntu kana hunhu.
Mr. President, in closing, the immigration officers highlighted the shortage of staff accommodation and it is imperative that Government provides decent accommodation so that they are able to work with zeal. With those few words, Mr. President, I lay the motion before the Senate for consideration. Thank you.
HON. SEN. MOHADI: Thank you Mr. President. I would like to thank Hon. Senator Mumvuri seconded by Senator Chief Ngungubane for bringing in this report. Mr. President, when we talk about these borders, what comes into my mind is the issue of the deportees who are deported from either Botswana or South Africa, most of them being deportees from South Africa.
Mr. President of the Senate, these deportees are brought at the border area and when they get there, after they have been cleared by immigration Zimbabwe they are just left there. Some of them will be coming from as far as Mashonaland West or Mashonaland Central or any other place in Zimbabwe. Some of these deportees will be arrested when they are on their way to work without any money in their pockets. When they are deported, before they get to their final destination which is their homes, they are just left there at Beitbridge. They have nowhere to sleep, they have no money to go to their homes and they have no money to eat. As a result, they will end up thieving, stealing, waiting for people along the roads and taking money from them because they will be in need of money so that they go to their homes.
Mr. President of the Senate, I do not know what we can do. As Zimbabweans, we should put our heads together so that we assist these people. We know some of them of course, make a u-turn but it is not their intention to do so because they would not be having any money to go any further. They think that the best thing to do is to go back to South Africa as it is nearer.
Also looking into the issue of undesignated crossing points, I do not want to dwell much on it but I just want to highlight this august Senate what has been happening recently, in about a month or three weeks ago when the Ministry of Industry and Commerce introduced the ban on the Statutory Instrument (SI 64, 2016), you find that the cross borders instead of using the proper border even though it is as porous as it is, they have used undesignated crossing points as areas of smuggling.
As the chief has pointed out, you find that it is not only the cigarettes that are smuggled. They are smuggling nearly everything.
The big trucks that we used to see crossing through the borders are now crossing all over the shore as the river has no water. It is an eye sore to look at the situation which is taking place especially around the
Beitbridge border; it is not interesting at all. I do not know how much Government is losing per day through these undesignated points, something has to be done.
Mr. President of the Senate, people go to an extend of smuggling sables crossing the river, live animals. I do not think it is no more used as an undesignated point, they are rather entry points. You will find that there were some sables that were caught around the Nottingham area crossing to South Africa, about 28 of them. So, there is much into it and as a Committee on Peace and Security, There is more to be done at those crossing areas. If it was my wish, the Committee would go back to the border towns, this time not even visiting the border posts themselves but getting deeper into these undesignated crossing points and see for themselves what is happening there.
Mr. President, it would take me the whole day if I were just to elaborate on what is happening but I think we should put our heads together and assist each other. Also looking at the border to Mozambique, you find that our farmers around Beitbridge who are nearer to Mozambique lose a lot of cattle through the same manner because as long as cattle can be driven and cross the Limpopo River to Mozambique, you would never get them again and a lot of farmers are losing their cattle. When we look at areas like Beitbridge which are in region 5 who solemnly rely on livestock and their livestock being stolen in large quantities, you find that those people will remain poor especially people around the Chikwalakwala area.
I want also to thank the Minister of Home Affairs and others who recently visited the border town and assisted the border post with some funds so that even though it is not enough, at least they can renovate some of the dilapidated things that need immediate upgrading. I thank them for that because they saw it for themselves without being told by anyone. I think there is more to do with the Committee itself so that there is peace and security along the borders. With these few words Mr.
President, I thank you.
*HON. SEN. CHABUKA: Thank you Mr. President of the
Senate, for giving me this opportunity to make my contribution on the report from the Peace and Security Thematic Committee. I congratulate the Chairperson of the Committee, Hon. Sen. Mumvuri and the seconder Hon. Sen. Chief Ngungubane. My contribution is that as Government, we should put our words together so that whatever we are debating and making resolutions to have to be implemented. The situation at our various border posts is in a sorry state because what I noticed is that there is no security at these border posts.
Corruption is at its highest. We also noticed that deportees and illegal cross-borders are the worst enemies of the country’s economy. The deportees from South Africa are deported in the morning and put in a holding camp, fed and put up there. When they are told to go to their homes, within two hours, they will have found their way back into South
We asked why they are not given transport to ferry them to their respective homes and we were told that Government had no money to pay transporters to ferry them to their rural areas. The only transporter who is prepared to ferry these people to their homes is the Zimbabwe United Passenger Company (ZUPCO). People come from various areas in this country, some come from as far as Mutoko, coming from South Africa. As a deportee, they would not have prepared for that journey and they will not have money. Even when they are transported by ZUPCO from Beitbridge to Mutare, they will not be able to continue with their journey to areas like Nyanga because they will not have money.
We asked Treasury whether there was no money which can be given to these people so that they have bus fare. However, the sources are saying there is no money because Treasury is saying that the economic situation is so bad such that they cannot afford money to give to these people so that they can be transported to their rural areas. We juxtaposed these two positions, the borders are earning funds for the State and yet these illegal immigrants on the borders are destroying the economy because they are bringing contraband into the country.
The officials manning the border posts are saying that they are not able to effectively police the border. As a result, they are relying on whistle blowers from South Africa who tell them that there are petrol tankers which bring petrol to the border which is carried into the country by cyclists. I think as a matter of priority, Government should use the money to reinforce the security at the border.
When we look at what is happening in the eastern border, it is a hilly place but there are a lot of illegal crossing points which are used by these people who are bringing in contraband. This should be closed. At the Plumtree border post, we saw a sorry sight where the citizens of Zimbabwe are tortured and tormented by the officials in Botswana because they would have gone to seek for greener pastures in that country. However, Zimbabwe expect Botswana to reciprocate the goodwill of the Zimbabwean people; we do not torture or torment the citizens of Botswana. We expect them to reciprocate this hand of friendship and give good care to our people.
As Government, we need to take measures to eradicate corruption which we discussed yesterday. There is a lot of corruption happening at the border posts which is financially bleeding the economy. Mr. President, I feel we could be given another chance to go back and check whether there has been a change on what we observed because there are two things which are happening; the smugglers who are externalising money and people who are coming into the country with contrabands. The border posts are near residential areas because of the high traffic of people. When they smuggle in things, they quickly hide them in the houses which are located near the border posts. In order for Government officials to go into those houses, they should obtain search warrants.
There is therefore need to strengthen security at the border posts as a Government. I thank you.
*HON. SEN. CHIMBUDZI: Thank you Mr. President for giving me the opportunity to make my contribution in support of this report moved by Hon. Sen. Mumvuri and seconded by Hon. Sen. Chief Ngungubane. Mr. President, it is true that what we discovered at the border post is a sorry sight. We talked to the Officer-In-Charge of the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) and we were saying South Africa has tarred roads and on the Zimbabwean side, we have dusty roads. The officer told us that they move distances of about 50 km on this dead road. Such a situation has prompted the morale of the security officers to go down. Whereas they are dedicated to their duty, they face the danger of being assaulted or attacked by illegal immigrants to the country or wild animals.
As Government, I think we should treat the Beitbridge Border Post with the importance it is attached to. What really mesmerised us was the fact that there was a new scanning machine on the Zimbabwean side but they were not using it because there was no one trained to use it. they were using manual methods of checking goods. In such a situation, it is promoting corruption. I am saying, as Government, if we are purchasing these machines for such important places, we need to start by training the operators of these machines so that they can be utilised.
We also realised that electric communication cables in those offices were cut and we wonder who could be responsible for such vandalism. As such, I say thank you to Hon. Sen. Mumvuri who introduced this motion and Hon. Sen. Chief Ngungubane for seconding it. It is our oversight role to ask for a quick solution to such problems. Since there is corruption, the officials are reluctant to ask for a quick training session on the operation of such machines.
I emphasise, this is promoting corruption. As a mother, I was very hurt and felt like crying because there were nursing mothers carrying babies with bags in their hands. They were so dirty as if they were vagrants. When we asked why they were in such a state, they said that they had gone to Botswana to seek for greener pastures but towards month-end, instead of being paid their salaries and wages, they were reported to the chiefs as illegal migrants. In turn, the chiefs in Botswana have a culture of saying that whoever is seen to be on the wrong side of the law is physically assaulted, they have to be thrashed. Surprisingly, as countries which are sharing borders, we also share cultures, we have intermarriages, we have inter-business ventures and therefore, we should be living in harmony. As a Committee on Peace and Security, we are calling on the Government that in the next coming 10 years, you will find that the Beitbridge environs will have encroached into the Limpopo River. We had two of our Members who managed to get into the houses nearby and they were intimidated and almost terrorised by those people saying they knew who they were despite the fact that they wanted to go clandestinely into those areas. This proved that there were look outs, whistle blowers who told these illegal importers that we were around.
Mr. President, the kind of load which will be carried by those bicycles will be so huge, equivalent to a small van but that will be carried by a bicycle and one would wonder how those bicycles are manufactured that even the police could not push that bicycle. It showed that this was a well organised criminal syndicate with check points at various areas for their security so that they could go on with their illegal business without any interference. As Government, we are calling for the State to work hard in seating these porous border posts because they are the cash cows of the State and this is going to build the wealth of the country and the welfare of the people. I thank you.
*HON. SEN. MAWIRE: Thank you Mr. President for according
me this opportunity to add my voice to this motion which has been raised by Hon. Mumvuri, seconded by Hon. Chief Ngungubane. I want to thank you for raising this issue. It is very true that our borders are porous and we cannot deny what this Thematic Committee has, report brought into this House that our borders are porous. I think everyone is aware of it, even visitors, strangers, when they look at our borders, they cannot tell whether it is a boarder or growth point or a dancing group because of the environment. It does not reflect that there are
Government offices there. The roads are not tarred, there are dirty roads and it is a health hazard to people there. If we look at the Council houses that people stay in and look at the border where big trucks and buses pass through, one will be very sorry at the situation. We also discovered that when passports are being demanded, you see that it is all corruption because we know that the immigration have got their duties, the police and the army have their duties but all these people leave all their designated posts and start engaging in corrupt activities.
We get a lot of reports from those who go abroad; even ourselves when we go for public hearings, when we visit our constituencies, we hear about the challenges they are facing. We bring those issues to in this House and deliberate on it. However, at the end of the day, whatever we are doing here seems like game. As Parliament, I believe that we are not experts in the delivery of our duties but one of our roles is that of legislation. So, why are we not taking action on what is happening? We should stand up as Parliament, if we can summon the Minister to come to this House; probably he is not aware of what is happening around his Ministry. We should also take them to the borders so that they will see it for themselves and desist from giving out reports which probably they do not read.
When we talked to the police, on the opposite side they are well protected, their roads are tarred along the border and they use vehicles to patrol in their areas but on the Zimbabwean side, it is not fenced and they only use their eyes to check. So, they do not know where to end when they are patrolling hence they are also weary of their security as well. When somebody is engaging in smuggling, it means they have become very dangerous. So we will end up losing our police force. There are some things that we blame our police but they are also human beings and they are State workers, hence they should enjoy their work.
The Government should do something at our borders so that it curbs this smuggling of things. We just talk about it and nothing happens. If you look at how our cities are being built, people are building on wet lands but we are not solving such situations as is happening at Beitbridge border post. It is about 100 metres from the border to the residential areas. So, people can smuggle things and hide them in their houses right there. It is just like we are watching from the terraces then cry later. However, as Government, I think we should look for places to relocate these people. We should desist from just saying it is dangerous but the Government should look for a place to re-locate those people who are along the border. If it were possible we could move the border itself. So, what is only left is for us to re-locate those people so that they will be moved from those areas and a new town will be built for the displaced people.
We were told that two million dollars a day is being paid. If that money was being collected on a one stop shop borderpost, I think we could be getting a lot of money. If you multiply that money per month, you find that you could get about $60 million which would go a long way. If you look at their staff, the reports that they produced between the Beitbridge and Plumtree, you find that the Plumtree border staff is very confident and all their things are well documented as compared to the Beitbridge Border. When we asked the supervisor something, it looked like they were not confident and did not know. They would look at each other and you would know that things are not right.
I know that from my experience as a civil servant there were a lot of transfers. With the corruption that we are experiencing, I think it is not proper that civil servants should be at one place for about 30 years. I think they should be transferred even if it is costly. You find that these days, people do not even want to be promoted because they want to stay at that same place because they would have acquired wealth through fraudulent activities.
As Members of Parliament, I think we are also to blame. Let us not look away. I read a paper from Mr. Speaker. We are talking about corruption nearly every day but the very people who are pointing and denouncing corruption are the ones who are being involved in corrupt activities as well. Some of us do not attend workshops but just come and collect money from donors. I think we should start with ourselves. Mr. President, thank you for according me this opportunity.
*HON. SEN. MACHINGAIFA: Thank you Mr. President
for giving me this opportunity to make my contribution. I also want to thank Hon. Ngungubane for seconding this motion on this report. Mr. President, we travelled right round the country checking on our borders and we kept our eyes and ears open. When we called at the Beitbridge Border Post, the head of administration in that place was surprised and showed that he was not comfortable with the delegation which had paid him a visit. We observed that it was in an unhygienic environment yet they were informing us that they raise an amount of $2 million per day. That money is not ploughed back into their coffers so that they can be taken care of and have a good welfare.
When you look at the no-man’s land between Zimbabwe and South Africa, there was a difference in that in Zimbabwe the border post is built near residential areas and this is posing an economic risk because smugglers are taking advantage of bringing goods and hiding them into their houses. As a Committee, we are recommending the relocation of these people to areas which are a distance from the border post.
On the other hand, when we paid a visit to the Plumtree Border Post, the place was spic-and-span, and they welcomed us and we knew that they were in a good state of mind. They took us to the crossing point at the border post. We saw about 23 Zimbabweans who were being deported from Botswana. Their age groups I would say, there was a young girl of nine years. They had crossed the border into Botswana and were doing household chores as domestic workers. At month end, instead of being paid their wages or salaries, they were taken to the chiefs who would apply corporal punishment on them because they were illegal border jumpers.
When these people are taken to Bulawayo through these repatriation processes, Government does not take care of them. As soon as they are in Bulawayo, it is up to them to find the monies to take them to their respective homes. The police were also complaining that the roads are so bad that it is not easy for them because at the moment, it is a dangerous situation. Even if we have these roads, will we not find ourselves fighting again with the police because we are used to this smuggling. As a result, what we need to do is to create employment so that people have jobs and will not go out in such a humiliating way to the neighbouring countries.
If the people who have businesses are not employing people, it means we are not getting anywhere and the country will still be in a sorry sight and people will be in poverty. The
Government of Zimbabwe and the people should hold awareness campaigns so that people avoid these illegal dealings because they are bringing misery to the country. In the past, Government put together some fund which was used to go and collect these deportees. As soon as these deportees landed in Zimbabwe, they quickly nicodimously slipped back into the countries they had been deported from.
I think it is worthwhile for a country to look for ways and means of fighting this illegal crossing business. What also is of great pain is we have machines at the border posts which are new and modern technology but they are not in use because of lack of operational knowledge. As a result, corruption is rampant because officials who are supposed to be doing the searching are now doing it manually and this becomes a breeding ground for corruption. We were told by the officials about the problems they face in their day to day operations. I thank you.
*HON. SEN. MASHAVAKURE: I would like to support the Peace and Security Thematic Committee for introducing this report. I hear that there is a scanning machine which is supposed to be used in the searching process at the border post and wonder why it is that we have educated people at the border post who are exposed to such a machine but are failing to read the manual and operate that machine. One can easily conclude that this is because of corruption. They want to benefit by using manual methods of scanning the imports and exports. If you go and buy a refrigerator from shops like OK that a refrigerator comes
with a manual of operation. I am saying these people are being unfaithful and unfair because they are hiding the truth. We have been told that these deportees are not given the chance to collect any monies for onward transmission but we have international rules and regulations which give rights to these deportees or illegal settlers.
In countries like South Africa where people are picked On the streets and deported to places like Lindela, they should use that right of the illegal settler and take them to their place of residence and collect their goods or any other possessions which they have so that when they are going back to their countries, they will be able to fend for themselves and travel to their home areas in Zimbabwe. The current situation where an individual is picked at random and taken to detention centres, that is the reason why as soon as they alight from the bus they sneak back illegally into the country where they were operating from because the reason is that they want to collect their possessions and this becomes a cat and mouse game. As a result Government should find a way where these deportees are given a chance to collect their possessions and some of that cash may also be used in paying for the services rendered in the deportation of that individual.
As far as I am concerned there is corruption which is going on in countries like Botswana whereby a Zimbabwean has rendered some services and come month end instead of paying them, you arrest them and take them to the chiefs where they are physically tortured and receive corporal punishment and then deported. This is inhumane. We need to accord people their decent human rights. As has been stated before, we are one and the same people. We have the Kalangas in Botswana and we also have the Kalangas in Zimbabwe, so we are one and the same people. We need to be a cultured people. We need to practice ubuntu and protect these people.
During the Constitution-making process, we were told that there were people who would indulge in stock theft and when these cattle are driven into Mozambique you would be threatened with gunshots. You will not be able to follow your cattle and this is because it was said of
Botswana that it was not a member of Interpol, as a result, it is easier for people to access ammunitions and weapons such as guns which are used for stock theft. Even if your entire herd has been stolen, you may not be able to make a follow up on an armed thief because you may be killed or lose your cattle. I think the Government should hold meetings regarding relief from such crimes. At times there is a problem in that if a country is infested with insurgencies as could be happening in Mozambique, that area which is filled with bandits has no Government control and there are no peaceful methods which can be followed but it is an exercise worth trying.
One of the speakers said that the way the Beitbridge Border Post was planned in regard to the residential areas, the town planner really did a bad job and it is not right for people to be allocated stands at an unsuitable place. Government should relocate these people to a safe distance from the border post so that the officials who are manning our border posts can work in peace and conducive atmosphere. This will prevent the country from losing billions of dollars through smuggling as what obtains in Beitbridge where goods are diverted to residential areas.
The District Administrators and town planners should be aware that these settlements will expand and even in Harare we have a situation whereby you cannot tell the difference between residential areas and industrial sites because they are in the same environment. We need to have planners who have foresight and not only think about today.
We need to talk about people who are economic refugees and we should look for ways of avoiding that so that people stay in Zimbabwe because if you look at it, some of these people do menial jobs such as herding cattle and yet if you were to ask that person to herd cattle in Zimbabwe, he will think that you are looking down on him. To tell the truth, these jobs are available in Zimbabwe. You can look after cattle in Zimbabwe and still be paid a living wage. We need to hold an awareness campaign and tell people that being in the diaspora may not be all that rosy. Life out there is difficult and when you are here and you indulge in small to medium enterprises, you may make a living because if you are in your country, and should there be any problems, the state can look after you. Even if you are faced with a problem, you can easily find transport to go to your home area.
Let us not just go to the diaspora for the sake of it. Sometimes when these people go to the diaspora they speak ill of their country. They badmouth their country and as a result, the people who will be hosting you will take advantage of the bad words you have said about your country and they will ill treat you because you cannot go back to your country because there is poverty, rebellion, bad governance and resultantly, you have no comfort. The grass is not always greener on the other side of the fence. We need to create these awareness campaigns that the diaspora is not always rosy. I thank you.
HON. SEN. MUMVURI: I move that the debate do now adjourn.
HON. SEN. MOHADI: I second.
Motion put and agreed to.
Debate to resume: Thursday, 21st July, 2016.
SECOND REPORT OF THE THEMATIC COMMITTEE ON GENDER
AND DEVELOPMENT ON THE STATUS OF CHILDREN’S HOMES
HON. SEN. MAKORE: I move the motion standing in my name;
THAT this House takes note of the Second Report of the Thematic
Committee on Gender and Development on the status of children’s
HON. SEN. BUKA: I second.
Children's homes provide the safest and conducive environment for abused children to grow up. The Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Care is responsible for the deployment of needy children to various children's shelters as well as disbursement of government grants for their operations. However, children's homes have been characterised by deteriorating standards. In view of the above, the Thematic Committee on Gender and Development resolved to conduct an inquiry on the challenges being faced by children's homes and to assess the functional status of the various children's homes where a number of abused children end up living.
The Committee was guided by the following objectives;
- To identify and appreciate the challenges being faced by children accommodated at children's homes;
- To assess the status of children's homes;
- To explore legislative and policy considerations regarding children's homes and;
- To offer policy recommendations for improvements.
- Study Tour.
In an effort to appreciate first hand experiences of children housed in orphanages, the Thematic Committee on Gender and Development conducted a fact finding visit to children's shelters from 4th to 8th of April 2016. Children homes visited are; Mathew Rusike, Ivordale, Chirinda, Alpha Cottages, SOS Children's village, Midlands' Children's home, Maryward and Kadoma Training Institute.
4.0 Committee's Findings
4.1 Mathew Rusike Children's Home
On 4th April 2016, the Committee visited Mathew Rusike
Children's Home, Epworth, Harare. The Committee was informed that
Mathew Rusike Children's Home was established by late Rev Mathew Rusike in 1950. Initially, the orphanage was providing residential care in dormitory styles for orphans and vulnerable children (OVCs) in Epworth for children aged 3 to 18 years. The Committee was informed that currently the home operates a multifaceted programme that combines residential care from infant to 18 years and is caring for over 2000 under residential care. Projects that are run by the orphanage include poultry, piggery, fishery, and gardening. The Committee was informed of challenges affecting the operations of the orphanages, which are: (i) shortage of land for income generating projects such as growing of maize; (ii) lack of computers for the children including those doing ECD lessons; (iii) lack of sewing machines since there is a training center registered with HEXCO; (iv) shortage of financial support to acquire more machinery and tools; (v) financial assistance to construct laboratory block for secondary students; and that (vi) government grants were no longer being disbursed to the orphanage.
4.2 Ivordale Children's Home
The Committee visited Ivordale Children's Home, Goromonzi, Masholand East, on 4 April 2016. The Committee was informed that the orphanage, established by Compassion Ministries of Celebration in 1980, initially to cater for children affected by civil war in Mozambique, had 28 children. Challenges that were mentioned to the Committee were: financial challenges since the home requires $160 000 in order for it to operate normally, currently the nearby farm owner, Mr. Pasco, assists with food and other basic necessities; need of a bus for transportation of children to schools which are far away; require financial assistance to refurbish the buildings which are old; Government stopped disbursing grants for the orphanage in 2014 and; the premises require security fence.
4.3 Chirinda Orphanage Home
The Committee visited Chirinda Orphanage Home, Mt Selinda, Manicaland Province. The Committee was informed that the home was established in 1955 by Mrs. Hohodza Dube and that the overall authority was the United Church of Christ in Zimbabwe (UCCZ) formed in 1893.
There were 29 children at the orphanage, 15 girls and 14 boys.
The Committee was informed that the administration of Chirinda
Orphanage Home was being assisted by the administrator from Mt Selinda Hospital, making it easy for children to access medication. The home budget depends on donations from the UCCZ church, and the World Food Programme, among others. Challenges communicated to the committee include the following: (i) the last payment done to volunteer care givers was in 2014; (ii) Government stopped the payments of grants, $15 dollars per child per month in 2012; (iii) there was acute shortage of funds for school fees for children; (iv) the home had no proper income generating projects to supplement donations towards its operations budget requirements, although there was a very small piggery and 5 cattle; (v) no adequate land for the orphanage to carry out income generating projects such as maize production, a 12 hectare farm was said to have been identified at Mamombe farm but construction had not begun due to financial constraints; (vi) there was no reliable source of clean water and was rationed during the day. In addition, it was reported that the children were facing difficulties in accessing birth certificate documents. This was reported throughout the tour.
4.4 Alpha Colleges Children's Home
The Committee visited Alpha Colleges Children's Home, Masvingo Town. The Committee was told that the home was a community institution established in 1954 and used to cater for colored children and started to receive other vulnerable children after 1980.
There were 35 children, 22 boys and 13 girls, of which 2 were disabled.
Ten were attending primary school, 4 were going to pre-school and 2 were not going to school.
The home budget, which should be about $8 000 per month, is not well funded, and to a greater extent depends on donations from Montana Meats and some churches. The home has some projects which include a grinding meal, poultry project, market gardening, rents the hall to churches to generate some cash to fund the operations of the home. In terms of personnel, there are 4 mothers, 2 groundsmen, and 1 secretary. The home requires a matron but the post was vacant, due to lack of funds to fill the post.
In terms of challenges the Committee was informed that: (i) the orphanage sometimes hires volunteers who need to be paid some allowances and there was $22 000 salary arrears; (ii) NASA contributions arrears of $9000 which accumulates interest; (iii) truck at the home was too old and in need of urgent repair; (iv) the home is stuck with 2 children who had reached 18 years, and according to policy should be discharged, yet they were still in need of assistance to proceed to 'A' level and have nowhere to go even if they are released from the institution; (v) the institution had difficulties in acquiring birth certificates for children, as it was indicated that 20 out of 35 children had no birth certificates; (vi) government grants were last paid in 2012, after a non-payment period that stretched since 2005.
Interestingly, the Home acknowledged the assistance offered by the Masvingo City Council, where they are exempted from paying water rates among others.
4.5 SOS Village Lodge
The Committee visited SOS Village Lodge, Bulawayo, on 7 April 2016. It was established in 1949 after World War 2, by H. Gemein, originally to cater for children who lost parents during the war. Similar homes in Zimbabwe are in Bindura and Harare. There are similar homes in 132 countries in the world. SOS children home are operated in line with the family concept system, where there is a mother, father, sisters and brothers.
The Committee was told that the center had 112 children being catered for in 15 different family set up at the center. The national budget of $8 000 is shared by the 3 centers in Zimbabwe, and is also supplemented by donations and Government grants as per policy requirements. Challenges at the institution include: shortage of water; SOS Village Lodge continues to assist children for their education at tertiary levels; the institution faces challenges of obtaining birth certificates for children, a child since 1995 and now at university has not been given a birth certificate; the SOS Village Lodge mourns the slow decision making by the Department of Social Welfare whenever they sought permission for children to attend sports, tours, go on holidays to foster parents, a long-drawn- out process which takes time and more often than not, children at the institution end up failing to attend sport events with other children; and the home last received grants from Government in 2013.
4.6 Midlands Children's Home
The Committee visited Midlands Children's Home. Established in 1962, the orphanage currently caters for 60 children, 34 girls and 27 boys, and there are 10 workers. Its budget heavily depends on donations from well wishers. The orphanage offers an 'after care' programme called 'Home Ino' for children discharged at 18 years who have nowhere to go, particularly in terms of accommodation. The main challenge mentioned to the Committee was need for more land and that Government grants were last paid in 2015.
4.7 Maryward Children's Home
The institution was established in 1981, and currently catering for 68 children, in four different housing units, that is 15 to 17 children per house. 9 children are doing grade zero, 27 doing primary education while 22 are at secondary. Three of the children do not have birth certificates. The budget of the home, at $10 000 for school fees, food, medication, depends on donations. The institution is in need of more land to allow it to carry out different income generating projects. The other challenge reported to the Committee was that government grants were last paid 5 years ago. The institution also gives after care assistance, namely practical skills and equipment and pay their rentals for up to 6 months for children discharged at 18 years and with nowhere to go.
4.8 Kadoma Training Institute
The Committee visited Kadoma Training Institute, in Kadoma. The Committee was informed that the institute, located at 105 hectares, caters for young offenders of the age 14 to 18 years. There were 42 children and the institute has capacity to care for 250 children. In terms of staff, there were 18 social service workers and 9 teachers.
Challenges mentioned to the Committee include: (i) need for more equipment that is a tractor, plough, reaper and trailer; (ii) need for irrigation equipment since there is dam nearby; (iii) need of a car since the one given by CMED is a pool car that is often taken for other duties; (iv) a pump to boost water provision; (v) telephones need repair for they have not been working for 5 years; and (vi) there is need for funds to refurbish the premises.
5.1 Committee Findings: Children's Homes
- Most children’s homes do not have enough land available, as a result they find it difficult to implement 'family set up' model, where care mothers are given a number of children to live with. The situation also results in limited space for income generating projects.
- The government is not consistently disbursing the $15 per child per month for children at orphanages, leavings these institutions financially stressed. Most children's homes last received these grants 3 to 5 years ago. This means that the availability of basic needs for children such as food, medication, and education are compromised.
- The Department of Social Welfare does not maintain a constant periodic supervision and monitoring of children's homes in the country, and thus different homes have different standards that they adhere to and this further exposes children at these institutions to food shortages and other necessities.
- Most children's home institutions are experiencing difficulties in getting birth certificates for their children, a process which is supposed to be handled by the Department of Social Welfare which brings these children to orphanages in the first place. Yet, Chapter 4, Part 3, Section 81 of the Constitution provides that every child has a right to be given a name and family name and prompt provision of a birth certificate.
- There is shortage of government social workers and this makes it hard for those few officers available to facilitate the provision of birth certificates for children at orphanage institutions in all provinces in addition to other duties that they are supposed to execute.
- It is government policy that at 18 years children at orphanage institutions should be discharged. However, the Committee found that most children's homes found that rather awkward to follow since at 18 most children are still vulnerable, still attending school or tertiary education and or are without vocational skills and have nowhere to go. As a result, without assistance from government,
most children's homes implement 'after care' programmes in which they continue to give care and vocational skills and start-up accommodation, in order to assist discharged children to make a decent beginning on their own.
- Chirinda Children's Home is being run without a distinctive budget of its own, but rather depends solely on the well wishers especially members of the UCCZ. In addition, there is no specific administration for the home but it is being serviced by the hospital administration.
- Urban or Rural Councils can play a crucial role in assisting Children's homes under their jurisdiction for instance Masvingo Town Council.
- The Constitution specifically states that everyone has a right to birth certificate, hence the Departments of Social Welfare and Registra General must issue birth certificates to the children before they turn 12 years.
6.1 Recommendations: Children's Homes
- Scholarships such as the Presidential Scholarships Schemes should deliberately target vulnerable and talented students form disadvantaged background, especially from children's homes.
- The Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Services to immediately resume payments of the $15 per child per month in order to ensure that the children have basic necessities such as food, medication, and school fees by end of August.
- The government in conjunction with other stakeholders such as
NAC and Ministry of Health and Child Care should immediately
(end of July being suggested) roll out training programmes in ART, HIV and AIDS service delivery for all care givers at children's homes since there are HIV positive children that they are taking care of at their institutions.
- The Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Services should consider crafting an after care programme to cater for children that attained the age of 18 years, and so should be discharged from children's home as a matter of policy, yet they are still in need of
care and assistance to make a beginning in their lives. At the moment, different children's home shave different after care programmes that they are running without any assistance from government. Provision of vocational skills in areas such as carpentry, garment making, and related tools and equipment is critical before a child is discharged from children's home.
- Due to shortage of care givers at most children's homes due to the fact that these institutions have no reliable budgets from which to pay care givers, the government should consider identifying core and critical staff for all orphanage homes and pay them from the fiscus, in order to guarantee quality care for the children at these homes.
- The Department of Social Welfare should do more, in partnership with the Department of Registrar General, to ensure that all children at orphanage institutions have the birth certificates in time and in accordance with the provisions of the new Constitution. Certain conditions or requirements for orphanages should be relaxed to facilitate easy production of birth certificates by end of July.
- There is need to decentralise decision making from Harare to provinces and districts on matters to do with permission of children movement from their respective homes to foster parents during holidays and to different places with their respective schools for education and sports purposes.
- The Department of Social Welfare should intensify its supervision and monitoring of all children's homes in Zimbabwe to ensure that these institutions adhere to policy prescribed standards in terms of children diet, accommodation, education and health.
- The Department of Social Welfare should attend to Chirinda Children's Home by end of July to avoid further deterioration of standards and also offer assistance where necessary
- The Department of Social Welfare should consider raising the age of discharge to levels where children can complete their tertiary education without hindrance.
Children's homes provide the safest environment for abused children to grow up. Most of the children's shelters are struggling due to financial constraints. In addition, the Government's policy that children should be discharged upon attaining 18 years, disadvantages the child as they struggle to stand on their own.
Challenges raised include of birth certificates, accommodation, school fees among others. The Department of Social Welfare should do more, in partnership with the Department of Registrar General, to ensure that all children at orphanage institutions have the birth certificates in time, in accordance with the provisions of the new Constitution. The government is not consistently disbursing the $15 per child per month for children at orphanages, leavings these institutions financially stressed. I thank you.
Motion put and agreed to.
Debate to resume: Thursday, 21st July, 2016.
*HON. SEN. BUKA: Thank you Mr. President. I rise to second the report which was introduced by the Thematic Committee Chairperson. We were given the chance to go and get first hand information on the residential status of children in orphanage homes. We worked hard for the progress of those areas. I will take a step-bystep analysis of the things which we observed.
It was painful to observe some of the situations under which some of these children’s homes are being run. Some of these homes are doing well whilst some have children living a miserable life. I noticed that some of the founders of these children’s homes have children at heart and intend to provide good welfare for these vulnerable children. Unfortunately, when these founders pass on, the people who take over come in to loot whatever they found.
We visited the Chirinda Orphanage Home whose founder was a lady who had the children at heart whom she took good care of during her life time. However, when she passed on, children began to live a miserable life. When we got there, we were told that they had nothing to eat. They were being fed with left-over food from a nearby hospital. Even the administrative structure at that home was very poor because everyone was doing whatever they wanted. What happens is that the children who grow up in such a home lack proper orientation and they lack socialisation in the family culture.
We noticed that there are adolescent girls who need guidance from elderly women so that they can be well socialised into the Zimbabwean culture and family life. We feel that it is Government duty to oversee the operations of these homes. We were so much pained that we found it considerate to make contributions from our pockets so that the children could have an evening meal. As Zimbabweans, we need to establish homes which can be run efficiently rather than what we observed at the Chirinda Orphanage Home. I think that the visit that we made will create an impact on the responsible Ministry when they receive this report.
The other observation we made on these orphanages is that
there are rules and regulations which say after attaining 18 years, they are charged out of the homes. These children have this attitude inculcated in them that if you are naughty and have reached 18 years, they will be chucked out of the homes. This continuous reminder that you are misbehaving, you are a delinquent yet you are an orphan, so when you get up to the age of 18 years, you will no longer be suitable to be a resident of this Home.
So, we need to have a situation where the children receive a culture which is good and conducive to a future citizen of Zimbabwe. The children who are given this culture of fighting for their benefits leads to children who even when they are released into the society, are always fighters and have this bitterness. As a result they live a miserable life and yet under normal circumstances, in our homes we do not remind our children that when they attend the age of 21, we chuck them out of the homes but they can stay for as long as they want. Even when they go for employment, we take them as children who need our shelter.
However, in these orphanages, attaining the age of 18 years, they are taken out of the home but in a normal set up, when a child attains 18 years, he will still be going to school, universities and colleges. Upon attaining the age of 24, then they may be regarded as adults because they would have attained some degree or some qualification which is contrary to what is happening in these homes. When a girl child is released from this home at 18 years, she quickly rushes, unprepared to family life and gets married to that person who takes advantage of their background. So, we are saying, we should not say out this language which torments spiritually, physically and socially to these children in orphanages.
The Government has to take measures to protect these children so that even if they attain 18 years, the Government has this law which is within our statutory instruments which says, at attaining the 18 years, you have attained the legal age of majority but we are calling upon the Government to establish vocational and training schools so that at that age, they are trained into those colleges in order for them to have lifelong skills which will help them when they would have attained their independence from the homes. This will improve them and make them become good citizens because they would have attained education.
We also noticed that despite the fact that the Constitution says it is a right of every child to have a birth certificate but these children in these orphanage homes do not have. What boggles the mind is that these children in these orphanages are taken care of by civil servants; the birth certificates are given out by those same civil servants through the Home Affairs and the Registrar General. So, why is it that these documents cannot be given to these children as soon as they are admitted into these homes? We feel that it should be recommended that the Ministry of Home Affairs and Social Welfare, should work on this documentation programme so that these children can easily access the birth certificate.
With regards to projects, we realised that Mathew Rusike and SOS have well established projects which train the children the skills to be used in future so that when they establish their homes, they would have gained the skills. This is so because SOS and homes like Mathew Rusike have their own lands to carry out such projects. We are saying as a Committee, the Ministry of Lands should be in a position to allocate at least some five hectares of land to these homes so that they can carry some subsistence projects and train these children. This will be an advantage, a double header in that on one hand; they are growing their own food. Secondly, they are getting skills to be used in the future. We noticed that at Mathew Rusike, the orphans are involved in piggery, gardening, farming and they are living in a family life structure just like in any home. The children also grow their own food and they are given support which subsidises the food which they will be getting. However, this is contrary to what is happening at Chirinda.
We are aware that economically, Zimbabwe is in a tight situation but we would urge the Government to look into the affair of giving grants to these children – the per capita grant. Unfortunately, we have gone for years without getting any grants allocated to these children.
These are not a problem in areas such as SOS and Mathew Rusike. We have discovered that in Kadoma and Chirinda homes, they should be given their per capita grant because it is a child’s right to have access to food. We are the representatives of the people and we play an oversight role on these homes. Therefore, let us call for the full support of these children in these orphanages so that they are assured of receiving a decent meal on a daily basis. We are urging Government to take this as a matter of urgency. Even if the Government will not be in a position to pay the US$15 as per capita grant, even a lesser amount will be a good subsidy and will benefit these homes.
I am also grateful to the people who established these homes like the Mathew Rusike and the Chirinda. We visited the Midlands Province and there is a very good orphanage home which is operating there. So, we are grateful to SOS for such homes. We are also grateful to the churches which have established the homes such as the one in Mashonaland East. There is a difference between a home that is run by a church and an individuals’ home because in a church environment, the
Christian culture is inculcated, therefore they are also protected socially.
I would also want to urge the business Community in Zimbabwe to help these vulnerable children in these orphanages. We know from our culture that people would go in their environment, in their local areas to support these vulnerable. This culture should be resuscitated and revived so that we take care of these orphans because some of them are abused. If these caregivers are not well paid, they will end up abusing these children or tormenting them. I thank you.
HON. SEN. MAKORE: I move that the debate do now adjourn.
HON. SEN. B. SIBANDA: I second.
Motion put and agreed to.
Debate to resume: Thursday, 21st July, 2016.
On the motion of HON. SEN. MASUKU seconded by HON. SEN. MLOTSHWA, the Senate adjourned at Nineteen Minutes to Five o’clock p.m.