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SENATE HANSARD 21 MARCH 2024 VOL 33 NO 36

PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE

Thursday, 21st March, 2024

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

PRAYERS

(THE ACTING PRESIDENT OF SENATE in the Chair)

ANNOUNCEMENT BY THE ACTING PRESIDENT OF SENATE

APOLOGIES RECEIVED FROM MINISTERS

          THE ACTING PRESIDENT OF SENATE (HON. SEN. KAMBIZI): I have to apprise the House on the names of Ministers who have given their apologies.  Hon. Prof. M. Ncube, Minister of Finance, Economic Development and Investment Promotion; Hon. M. Mavhunga, Minister of War Veterans of the Liberation Struggle; Hon. M. N. Ndlovu, Minister of Environment, Climate and Wildlife; Hon. K. Coventry, Minister of Sport, Recreation, Arts and Culture; Hon. E. Jesaya, Deputy Minister of Sport, Recreation, Arts and Culture; Hon. B. Rwodzi, Minister of Tourism and Hospitality Industry; Hon. B. Kabikira, Deputy Minister of Local Government and Public Works; Hon. O. Mazungunye, Deputy Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs; Hon. Z. Soda, Minister of Mines and Mining Development;  Hon. R. Modi, Deputy Minister of Industry and Commerce; Hon. D. Garwe, Minister of National Housing and Social Amenities; Hon. A. Gata, Deputy Minister of Primary and Secondary Education.

          In the House, we have Hon. A. Masuka, Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Water, Fisheries and Rural Development; Hon. V. Haritatos, Deputy Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Water, Fisheries and Rural Development; Hon. Mhona, Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development; Hon. D. K.  Mnangagwa, Deputy Minister of Finance, Economic Development and Investment Promotion; The Minister of State and Devolution for Harare; Hon. Ziyambi, Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs.  So, we have a sizeable number of Ministers in the House and you are free to direct your questions to any of them.

ORAL ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS WITHOUT NOTICE

 

          HON. SEN. MAKAMBA: My question is directed to the Minister of Transport.  The last time the Deputy Minister of Transport appeared in the House, he indicated that he was going to undertake a tour to inspect the roads.  Would the Hon. Minister be kind enough to give us an update on the status of the roads in Mashonaland Central Province, especially the Ndodahondo-Mukumbura Road.  I thank you.

          THE ACTING PRESIDENT OF SENATE:  Your question is specific.  We normally want questions that relate to policy, covering the entire nation.  However, if the Minister is ready to answer the question, I will give you the benefit.

          THE MINISTER OF TRANSPORT AND INFRASTRUCTURAL DEVELOPMENT (HON. MHONA):  Thank you Mr. President for your guidance which is noble, but let me hasten to respond to Hon. Sen. Makamba’s question relating to the promise made by my Deputy Minister.  I want to concur and assert that the day before yesterday, my Deputy was in Mashonaland Central and he visited in particular, the road that the Hon. Senator referred to.  It is known as Mukumbura Road.  He also managed to visit St. Alberts Road and I am happy to let you know that we have since done our scoping.  I can assure the august House that we are starting very soon to work towards Mukumbura Border Post and we are trying to identify a partner to work on the rehabilitation of Mukumbura Border Post.  So, in the affirmation, yes, we are aware of roads in Mashonaland Central and in particular, the road that the Hon. Senator has mentioned.  I thank you. 

          +HON. SEN. SIBANDA:  Thank you Mr. President.  My question is directed to the Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare.  It is in connection with people who use documents called AMTO.  It is difficult for people to access those letters.  One has to first go to a hospital and make payment before getting the letter.  Why do they not make it easy for people to get the AMTO assisted medical order?  I thank you.

THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. Z. ZIYAMBI): Thank you Mr. President Sir. My understanding is that the Hon. Sen. is indicating that the process of getting that document for assistance is cumbersome, and she is suggesting that can it not be simplified. I will pass on the message so that they can review the processes, if it is possible to ensure that it is not as what she has indicated. I thank you.

^^HON. SEN. MOHADI: Thank you Mr. President Sir. My question is directed to the Minister of Transport. What are Government plans in reviewing or analysing the issue of bus drivers who are driving public transport? This is because the previous two weeks, we have witnessed 29 deaths due to reckless driving.

THE MINISTER OF TRANSPORT AND INFRASTRUCTURAL DEVELOPMENT (HON. MHONA): Thank you Mr. President Sir. I would like to thank Hon. Sen. Mohadi for that emotional question that she has raised pertaining to the carnage that we are witnessing on our roads, which we cannot continue tolerating as a nation. Mr. President Sir, surely for the past two weeks, we had tragic, worrisome, and sad developments along our highways, in particular, the Harare-Beitbridge Road, towards Beitbridge Border Post where we lost precious lives. Not only the number that has been indicated by the Hon. Senator, even if we lose one life, it is so precious that we cannot tolerate as a nation. I want to assure the august Senate that as Ministry, we are not going to be watching. As I speak, I have mandated my Commissioner under the Road Motor Transportation Department, to request for necessary documentation from the respective bus owners. If they do not comply, we are going to be suspending them from operating, not only on the particular route, but also across the entire nation. Even if they are doing cross border, we are going to be suspending until they comply. We are not going to be doing this only to the particular bus companies, but in appeal to the general motoring public. They should ensure that as we use our roads that we are rehabilitating, we also enforce the issues to do with compliance, and to take due diligence when we are plying our roads. Basically, you would see that, going forward, we are going to be having an indaba next week or so together with Traffic Safety Council to raise and conscientise motoring public again to exercise extreme caution when they use our roads. Above all, we are not going to be tolerating those malpractices that we were witnessing in terms of indiscipline. We will be working closely with my counterpart, the Minister of Home Affairs to punish those who are not obliging or not complying with road regulations. We are saying, as a country, given the size of our country in terms of numbers vis-à-vis the deaths we are witnessing, close to 2000 per annum, Mr. President Sir, that cannot continue. Thank you.

HON. SEN. MDHLURI: Thank you Mr. President Sir. My question is directed to the Minister of Transport Infrastructure and Development. What is the Government policy on illegal public transport operators? I would also like to know what the Ministry is doing to address the issue of these illegal operators who seem to have taken over our transport system, especially here in Harare and other cities countrywide?  Also by failing to enforce compliance on the unregistered transport operators, how much is the Government losing in terms of revenue since these operators are not paying any statutory fee? I thank you.

THE MINISTER OF TRANSPORT AND INFRASTRUCTURAL DEVELOPMENT (HON. MHONA): Thank you Mr. President Sir. Let me also thank Hon. Sen. Mdhluri for a pertinent question that he has raised which also covers issues to do with monetary in terms of revenue leakages. Before I proceed, the architecture of the Ministry, when it comes to urban transportation, it falls under the Ministry of Local Government, under the local authorities in that purview. However, I will try to address how we relate with local authorities in terms of the transport. Yes, it falls under the Ministry whenever we talk of transport, but if we go to different cities, they will be having their own urban transportation system in that particular authority. For instance, he has talked of Harare where we expect the local authority to address issues to do with sanity. These are the mushikashika, the illegal vehicles that he was talking about. It is also a disturbing phenomenon in terms of the Ministry where we are watching these mushikashika plying our roads. At times, you see joint operations together with the police trying to manage the illegal motorists on our roads and the mushikashika.

The ideal scenario Mr. President, is to have an urban transport master plan which we are going to be consolidating and working closely with local authorities, at times to ease and also decongest. Again, because of the wise counsel of His Excellency, Cde. Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa, he then constituted a committee that superintends over operations of urban cities, not only in particular instances of transport management, but other local authorities related issues in trying to decongest cities. I am happy that we will come up with alternative solutions in terms of managing our cities where we are going to be introducing trains. As we speak, we are also trying to be connecting the missing link between Harare and Chitungwiza in terms of rail project. We have embarked and given that tender to CMED, our own parastatal.

After that we are trying to be connecting Ruwa, Beatrice, Norton and this is the desired trajectory of the Ministry in terms of easing and making sure that we alleviate the issues to do with people resorting to mushikashika because there will be alternative transport. I want to thank the Hon. Senator that you are very right and it is disturbing in terms of indiscipline. These illegal motorists will they not comply, and if we find that whenever we have got an accident involving such an illegal vehicle, the numbers Mr. President Sir, you will be wondering, how many people will be seated in such a small car. These are some of the contributing factors again whenever a road accident happens, that we would lose a number of precious lives. I would want to assure the august Senate that we are not resting as Ministry in trying to find lasting and sustainable solutions to our transport system in the country. Thank you.

HON. SEN. CHAPFUDZA: Thank you Mr. President. My question is directed to Minister of Environment, Climate and Wildlife Management. Since he is unavailable, I will direct it to the Leader of Government Business. It is on human-wildlife conflict. Let me give a brief explanation, and I would like to put a case study of Hwange National Park, particularly looking at the elephants. The carrying capacity of elephants in Hwange National Park is 15 000, but they have exceeded that number. Last time I checked, it was around 45 000 but recently, I heard the Minister of Environment saying that they are now around 65 thousand, meaning to say that there are more jumbos than the carrying capacity of the National Park.  There is now competition for the grazing space.  These jumbos are now moving out of the National Park going to the villages.  When they go to the villages, they destroy the source of economy of the people living there.  They destroy the fields and they even kill the children there.  My question is, these people who die are leaving their children as orphans.  They are leaving behind their wives as widows.  These animals cause starvation to those people living there.  

Mr. President, what is Government policy with regard to compensation towardsthe losses happening in those areas?  As we know, when they retaliate, they can get into the National Park and if they kill one animal, repercussions are there that they are going to be prosecuted. 

THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. Z. ZIYAMBI):  Thank you Mr. President, I want to thank the Hon. Member for the question.  As regards to human-wildlife conflict, it is not only confined to Hwange but also where we have game parks.  Here and there, you can get animals straying into villages and it happened a couple of weeks ago in Mashonaland West.  Indeed, it is very correct that our laws do not allow hunting in game parks, it is an offence.  It does not mean that you are then required to be compensated if an accident happens where the animals stray and human-wildlife conflict happen.  

Mr. President, what we can do is to ensure National Parks does its work to ensure that they control the movement of animals and that they do not stray.  On several occasions, once it is reported that wildlife has strayed into villages, whether it is elephants or lions, the National Parks Department responds promptly.  If they discover that they cannot take the animals back, they can put those animals down.  Mr. President, we cannot create a policy on the basis that the villagers are not allowed to pursue them if they stray into the villages in retaliation. We should ensure enforcement mechanisms and that as much as possible they are separated and by so doing, we minimise the occurrence of human-wildlife conflict. I thank you Mr. President.   

*HON. SEN. CHIEF CHIREYA: Thank you Mr. President.  My question is directed to the Minister of Agriculture. What is the Ministry’s plans considering that we have drought in the country, especially in areas where many people gather like at police stations and the chiefs’ homesteads.  Those people are struggling, people do come and raise their concerns that there is not enough food to the villages and because of drought, we do not have the Zunde Ramambo

*THE MINISTER OF LANDS, AGRICULTURE, FISHERIES, WATER AND RURAL DEVELOPMENT (HON. DR. MASUKA):  Thank you Mr. President.  I will try by all means to come to this House so that I can answer questions and see how best our country prospers in terms of agriculture.  Government has a policy that chiefs, headmen and villagers are the ones who first notice the problem of food shortage.  We give inputs under Pfumvudza to each and every household and we give more to the village head.  From the village head, we add more to the headmen and we add more to the chiefs.  We will be distributing food items so that the Zunde Ramambo will get enough food, but in the event that there is drought like what the chief has asked, we will also focus on the issue of social welfare. Before I address this issue, let me take the opportunity to speak on the Government plans for this year considering the El Nino induced drought.  We did not receive enough rainfall and most parts of the country did not receive rainfall, hence there is not enough food. 

Government has sent out people for the past few days to gather information in terms of how much harvest we have come up with.  After seeing the amount of harvest which we have managed to gather as a country, we are going to look into our strategic grain reserves at GMB.  At GMB, we do have the traditional grains including maize.  Right now, we have 450 000 metric tonnes but as you know, since last year, GMB are not the only ones who are allowed by the law to buy food produce from the people.  Government only buys food from those who have planted their crops under Pfumvudza and ARDA but the rest will be have planned their crops under different contractors like AFC and CBZ.  If we combine from what was sold last year, Government only managed to get 22%.  

We are going to look at what is in GMB.  The amount of food at GMB does not determine the total amount of food in the country since there are other contractors who buy food from the farmers.  Right now, Government is working hard in making sure that those who are able to buy food from other countries must come and get their licences so that they can procure food from other countries.  The fourth issue is that we are going to focus on the issue of irrigation so that we put crops like wheat, maize and other small grains under irrigation.  Government is doing good in terms of wheat farming in the country and the plans of the Government is to increase hectarage up to 600 000 metric tonnes. The first one, if we combine all the four ideas; the first one which we harvest on our farms, we include what we have at GMB and other contractors, then we include what we can procure from other countries and the other crops which we are going to do under irrigation like wheat, we will be able to fight this El Nino drought.

          We expect to know the number of people who need assistance from the village head right up to the chief. Right now, the Department of Social Welfare is giving those who did not harvest anything last year and do not have something which can push them up to March this year. In the previous season, people managed to harvest hence we expect them to have enough food stuffs but right now, we are focusing on this year since people did not manage to harvest. We are looking at each and every household so that we can distribute food.

          *HON. SEN. MAVENYENGWA: My question is that since Government is going to import maize from other countries, is there no risk of importing GMO maize which maybe detrimental to our health?

          *HON. DR. MASUKA: Thank you Hon. Senator Mavenyengwa for raising that pertinent question which is very important. Let me go back a little bit and explain what genetically modified organisms are. When we are growing our crops, they can grow naturally or they can be in the form of hybrid, that is a mixture of plants. That is allowed and that is not GMO. But when we are talking of GMOs, it is whereby you take some bacteria and infuse them into the growing process of the maize plant.

          We have three types of GMOs; that is the maize stalk borer, the one for cotton and one for soya bean. The GMO for soya bean is different from that of maize and cotton. You will find that if you spray the chemical on soya bean, it only destroys the weeds leaving out the crop.  Here in Zimbabwe, we are going to look into the issue of GMOs for maize. Last year, Cabinet sat down and came up with the idea of looking into these GMOs and they discovered in South Africa and South America where we buy our maize from, they have allowed GMO maize to grow. They started this idea for the past 25 years but there were no diseases or side effects arising from the consumption of GMO maize by human beings.

As a country, we also took a cue out of these studies and Government made a decision that all the maize earmarked for human consumption must not be GMOs but the maize earmarked for stock feed can be GMO. Government went further to say all importers of GMOs maize must be cleared by the Ministry of Agriculture which then supervises the whole arrangement from importation tonnage, supervision and milling of this GMO maize. They record everything to make sure that the GMO maize is not given to human beings but livestock. I thank you.

*HON. SEN. SIPANI-HUNGWE: Supplementary question. I heard what the Minister said that there are people being given food under Social Welfare. This year’s harvest is very poor and if we wait for Social Welfare to start their process of writing down the names of beneficiaries, by the time they come back with food aid, people will be dead because of hunger. Since your Ministry is responsible for maize storage in the country, I encourage you to make sure that every household gets food aid because people are suffering from hunger. Each and every household does not have enough food. I was in Gokwe recently and people were offloading maize under cover of darkness for fear of being noticed that they have maize. Minister, I encourage you to make sure everyone gets food stuffs. May you move door to door and distribute food because there is no food at all. I thank you.

         *THE ACTING PRESIDENT OF SENATE: Those were words of encouragement but the Minister can respond if he has additional words to say.

          *HON. DR. MASUKA: Thank you Sen. Hungwe for highlighting the situation in Gokwe and other areas in this House. The President said no one must die from hunger because our Government is a government which is well planned. If there are areas which are suffering from hunger that we were not aware of, kindly avail to us the names of those places so that we can be able to help. Right now, the Ministry of Social Welfare under Hon. July Moyo was giving food under ZimVAC. The department visits households and carries out investigations on the number of families and individuals who are in need of food. This, they report to Government.

So far, they have found out about 17 districts were the most affected by food shortages. The report of 2,7 million was done last year. This is what we do each and every year even if we manage to have a bumper harvest as a country because we have child-headed families, families led by the elderly or disabled. Those are the first three groups of families which we consider the most. Right now, Social Welfare Department is giving those who were affected last year. However, because we did not have a good harvest this year, even those who had managed to secure grain from last year are now keeping their grain because of the El Nino induced drought.

At the moment, we have deployed a team to go around the country to investigate the estimated amount of grain which we can get. Today, we managed to receive a report from those areas and they said they will be back on the 12th April to report on how much and the number of families that require food assistance. Most of the families are going to be in need of food. This year we are going to distribute food differently. We are going to distribute food per individual, not per household. This means the number of people is going to rise from 2,7 million to 8,5 million. We do have a solid plan and there is food security within the country per individual or family.

So, we are going to get a proper report before the end of this month so that we will be able to distribute the food in the manner in which everyone will benefit especially for those who are in need of food. The Hon. Senator has said we may have some areas we have omitted. Government is going to make sure that all communities are included and we are going to make sure that we get the names of those areas so that no one is left behind in terms of distribution of food.

THE ACTING SPEAKER: We have been joined by the Minister of Mines and Mining Development, Hon. Soda and Hon. Prof. Mavima, the Minister of Skills Audit and Development. You are free to ask if you have any questions directed to their field.

*HON. SEN. TONGOGARA: My supplementary question to the Minister is that in the past, food was given to the chiefs and also Social Welfare was doing the distribution. There was also a programme which was known as “Food for Work” for able-bodied persons like me. People were asked to go and work to enable them to get food, making sure that their surroundings are well kept. I do not know if the programme is still on or everyone is now given food for free under the same category.

*HON. DR. MASUKA: Thank you Mr. President for the pertinent question raised by Hon. Tongogara. She has given us a word of advice and as Government, we are also going to ask the able-bodied people to do meaningful contributions towards food in their areas. I will inform the Hon. Minister July Moyo on this issue.

*HON. MUZODA: Mine cannot be a question but I am pleading with the Government through the Minister. We have heard that you are now counting beneficiaries per individual not per household. My plea is,  can we have mealie-meal in shops so that those who are able to buy can do so from the shops while those who cannot afford can be helped by the Government.

*HON. DR. MASUKA: I want to thank the Hon. Senator for the question. The role of the Government in this situation is that Government must assist those who are in need of help. Those who are able-bodied and can afford can go to the shops and buy, and that is why right now we have a lot of mealie-meal in shops. At least, an amount of 40 000 metric tonnes of mealie meal is being bought each month. The Hon. Member can also highlight to us the areas that do not have enough mealie-meal so that we make sure mealie-meal is distributed. We also have another Government department called Silo that ensures that areas without enough mealie-meal or where it is sold at high cost, we make sure that the Silo distributes mealie-meal in those areas.  If we have areas where there is not enough mealie-meal or it is sold at higher price let us know so that we ensure mealie-meal reaches those areas.

          HON. SEN. RITTA NDLOVU: My question is directed to the Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development.  During the rainy season, we see the Government giving inputs like maize seed and fertilizer.  Why does Region 5 known for cattle farming also not get subsidized stock feed?     

THE MINISTER OF LANDS, AGRICULTURE, FISHERIES, WATER AND RURAL DEVELOPMENT (HON. DR. MASUKA):  The principle of the Presidential Climate Proofed Input Scheme (Pfumvudza/Intwasa) is a housed security intervention.  This is given to three million beneficiaries across the country and 500 000 peri-rural or peri-urban beneficiaries to cushion them in terms of producing sufficient food for themselves as a household food security intervention.  In Region 4 and 5, you still need starch and that must come from Pfumvudza/Intwasa – that is the Government policy.

In terms of livestock which also thrives in those regions, we have said we will do this stepwise.  First, we must ensure that people have enough to eat.  That is our intervention or focus.  For livestock, the biggest challenge that we had was cattle diseases.  We came up with the Presidential Blitz Tick Grease Programme so that we could control livestock diseases because we had lost 500 000 cattle between 2017 and 2022.  Now that situation has stabilised and we are encouraging that as part of that intervention we begin to give fodder and other greens like lablab beans as fodder for cattle in such regions. 

We have started on a small scale but we will be spreading this more widely in this stepwise food security and nutrition thrust.   We will be getting hopefully in 2024/25 season, in a much bigger way where we will be able to give the livestock producers the one million cattle owning households in the country additional seed so that they can produce their own supplementary fodder in addition to assisting those households in formulation of household feed for their livestock.  Thank you, Mr. President.

HON. SEN. MOHADI: My supplementary question is, we are talking about the season which we have at hand whereby those people in Regions 4 and 5 already do not have grazing for their livestock.  What is in place in order to assist those farmers who have cattle as of now.  Of course, I get your advice that you will supply more seed for 2024/25.  What about the present one?

          HON. DR. MASUKA: In fact, we have a very elaborate plan for livestock as an emergency plan.  That plan comes first by farmers recognising that livestock is a business and it is their primary responsibility to ensure that they are managed as such.  In a business, you will be able to exchange asset classes.  If you have livestock, you could anticipate that there is going to be a problem in terms of feed or water and exchange that asset for value and preserve that asset.  We recommend farmers to do so. 

          The second aspect is that the Government recognises that water is going to be a major challenge in the villages.  The President, His Excellency, Dr. E.D. Mnangagwa has directed that by November 30, we should have provided 10 000 villages with village business units. Two villages come together.  We have 25 000 villages in communal areas. So, two or three villages together there is a solar powered borehole, a tank and one-hectare drip irrigated vegetable garden.  We will put in fish there.  We also put in troughs for cattle and other livestock as a drinking point, a water-point and washing point for the community.  We are doing 10 000 such points starting from 1st April to the end of November.  So, water for livestock will be provided in that manner.

          We have also said this season, although this bad, it means that there is a lot of stover although there is a drought because we cannot harvest our maize, that maize must be converted into feed.  That traditional grain that has not yielded is good enough feed for cattle.  This season presents another opportunity for us to be able to cut and store feed for our livestock.

          We have also said that as we are going into a bumper winter wheat season, we are going to plant wheat on 120 000 hectares which is unprecedented in the history of the country.  It means that there will be a lot of stover and we are mobilising as Government our own tractors and bailers to be able to package this to move this to deficit areas.  We are also saying because farming and livestock is a business, farmers must begin to look at destocking or to transfer to areas where they can look at collaborative arrangements to be able to temporarily feed their cattle.  We are also in the process of rapidly assessing the old CSC so that it can play its primary role in a drought year where it used to get cattle from communal areas and send the cattle to its own grazing lot.  These are the plans that we have as Government for this season in view of the ravaging El Nino induced drought this season. 

*HON. SEN. ZINDI:  My question is directed to the Deputy Minister of Finance, Economic Development and Investment Promotion. Looking at climate change or the variation of seasons, is there any Government plan or let me rephrase the question. Will he respond if we say that farmers should be given the opportunity to buy solar equipment. So, the question is, will they be allowed to import solar equipment to use for irrigation programmes?  Buying solar equipment locally is expensive and our farmers cannot afford it.  Government at one point had put in place a Statutory Instrument which allowed farmers to import equipment, fertilisers and inputs without customs duty and other taxes.  Is it not possible that farmers be assisted in that regard because ZESA is facing erratic power supply which is affecting irrigation programmes, hence solar equipment might come in handy and complement the work of farmers?  We have abundant sun and this will allow farmers to have a bounty harvest.  I thank you.

          *THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF FINANCE, ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT AND INVESTMENT PROMOTION (HON. D. K. MNANGAGWA):  Thank you Mr. President Sir.  Let me thank Hon. Sen. Zindi for that pertinent question.  I believe that there is not enough clarity on whether solar equipment is covered in terms of payment of duties.  People can import duty free but I believe that the Hon. Minister of Finance had that vision in terms of preserving the supply of electricity here.  He removed duty on all solar products.  So, I believe that even cars are duty free, but I will have to do a research on that. However, I believe this is being looked into.  Sen. Zindi, you will find that the schedule of duties like solar inverters, batteries and others do not pay duty.  I thank you.

          Questions Without Notice were interrupted by THE ACTING PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE in terms of Standing Order Number 67.

          *HON. SEN CHIEF CHIKWAKA:  Mr. President, I am glad that we have our Hon. Ministers in this august House.  I ask that the time for Questions Without Notice be extended by 20 minutes so that we engage in the question and answer segment.  Furthermore, may I raise a point of order that Senators should just ask a straight forward question instead of going round in circles.

          HON. SEN. MLOTSHWA:  I second.

          *THE ACTING PRESIDENT OF SENATE:  Your request has been granted but the time will be extended by only 10 minutes.

          HON. S. MOYO:  My question goes to the Leader of Government Business.  What policy has been put in place to preserve our heritage sites when mining or development of the area is taking place?

          THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. Z. ZIYAMBI):  Mr. President, the Ministry of Agriculture and Ministry of Mines can answer this question better because they are the ones in charge of constructing dams and engaging in mining projects.

          THE MINISTER OF MINES AND MINING DEVELOPMENT (HON. SODA):  When a mine has been applied for and before we issue a certificate of registration, it is a requirement that the investor or the project proponent obtains a certificate from EMA on the Environmental Social Impact Assessment that will have been done.  It is through that process that the traditional leadership is consulted including all other stakeholders that might be affected by the development of that project.  All areas that are required to be preserved are also indicated and attention will be paid to them as the project develops.  I thank you.

          THE MINISTER OF LANDS, AGRICULTURE, FISHERIES, WATER AND RURAL DEVELOPMENT (HON. DR. MASUKA):  Thank you Mr. PresidentThe process is the same that we also do in terms of Economic, Environmental and Social Impact Assessment which is conducted prior to any development which local communities anticipate. If there are any specific cultural preservations that have to be undertaken, that is done.  But I guess the Hon. Senator had a specific reason for asking and I would request that he puts his question in writing indicating the particular area where this has not been done so we can assist each other outside this forum.  I thank you.

HON. SEN. NCUBE: Thank you Mr. President. My question is directed to the Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development. We have seen the good work you are doing in terms of road expansion and that is commendable, but we have also seen that there are people who build structures of some kind within the road reserve. What is Government policy regarding those people who build within the road reserve? Secondly, in some cases there is need to expand the road reserve in order to increase capacity into private properties. How is that facilitated so that it does not affect construction works time wise? Thank you.

THE MINISTER OF TRANSPORT AND INFRASTRUCTURAL DEVELOPMENT (HON. MHONA): Thank you Mr. President. Let me also thank Hon. Sen. Eng. Daniel Mackenzie Ncube for that important question. If you have witnessed along Lomagundi, we had car sales mushrooming within our road servitude. Mr. President Sir, normally when you get such leases, whenever we have got a predicament of us trying to expand the road and we have such structures along the road, we refer the property owners of that particular section to the relevant departments who issue the leases. In this instance, they were given 24 hours and that was the agreed position of their leases. So, as much as you utilise our reserves, whether it is a railway reserve, there are conditions to that.

Whenever we want to do our projects, we clearly indicate that you must put temporary structures. Whenever you see people complaining, I think that would be political gimmick. I am sure going forward, if we say within 70m radius from the centre of the road, we do not want permanent structures and we humbly appeal again to the people of Zimbabwe so that when we start the construction, we do not delay projects. This is the status quo as we speak. If we want additional space to utilise encroaching into property owners, we compensate adequately if it is going through a property owner. Thank you so much Mr. President.

+HON. SEN. MLOTSHWA: Thank you Mr. President Sir for giving me this opportunity. My question is directed to the Minister of Transport. We are carrying on debates in this House pertaining to accidents that are occurring day in and out. We are appealing that may you give us assurance on what is going to happen during the holiday that we are heading to, the Good Friday holiday. As we are speaking, we have not yet approached the Easter holiday but we have witnessed accidents that are happening. Are there any measures that have been put in place for people to be safe during the Easter holiday?

THE MINISTER OF TRANSPORT AND INFRASTRUCTURAL DEVELOPMENT (HON. MHONA): Thank you Mr. President. Let me also thank Hon. Sen. Mlotshwa for that important question. It also gives me the chance to invite the Hon. Senators in this House for a launch on the 27th March, next week where we are trying to raise awareness as we are moving towards Easter holiday. We are appealing to the motorist to exercise caution when they are travelling on our roads, earmarking the Easter holiday and the Independence holiday in the month of April.

Yes, we are grateful Hon. Sen. that we will continue educating our people. We cannot achieve this milestone as a Ministry where we are calling for the entire nation to also pay heed to the issues to do with safety. You will see us together with the Traffic Safety Council of Zimbabwe where we are going to have increased patrols along our major roads, working closely with the Ministry of Home Affairs, in particular, police, VID and to also enforce compliance along our major highways. Thank you, Mr. President Sir.

ORAL ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS WITH NOTICE

ESTABLISHMENT OF SPECIAL IRRIGATION FINANCING FOR A2 AND LARGE-SCALE FARMS

  1. HON. CHIEF CHIKWAKA asked the Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development to inform the House what the Government policy is regarding the establishment of special irrigation financing projects for A2 and large-scale farms which are based on the concept of smart subsidies given the climate change and ZESA challenges.

THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF LANDS, AGRICULTURE, FISHERIES, WATER AND RURAL DEVELOPMENT (HON. HARITATOS): Thank you Mr. President Sir. Pursuant to the implementation of NDS1, under the Irrigation Alliance, the Ministry is partnering the private sector to mobilise funding to achieve the target of 350 000 ha under cereal crops by the year 2025. The Government has already established on-lending facilities for all categories of farmers through commercial banks such as AFC and CBZ, which are funded by Treasury. Additionally, several private sector players have made offers to develop 130 000 ha and their term sheets are under due diligence and negotiations.

Partnering with the Infrastructural Development Bank of Zimbabwe, and AFC has enabled development of a framework document for the irrigation development bond. The necessary guarantees needed are being facilitated by Treasury. The irrigation bond will be used to attract investment funding from the private sector and diaspora funding. What is clear is that in order to mitigate against climate change, our most fundamental intervention is to move as much land under production to irrigated land. I thank you.

DEVELOPMENT AND REHABILITATION OF IRRIGATION SCHEMES AND RINGFENCING OF POWER

  1. HON. CHIEF CHIKWAKA asked the Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development to explain to the House the following: -

     a) What plans the Ministry has to assist farmers in the development or rehabilitation of irrigation schemes in anticipation of the forthcoming winter wheat season and to further clarify whether the Ministry has any plans to provide affordable loan facilities through AFC or CBZ Banks to install centre pivots; and

     b) What plans the Ministry has to ring fence power for winter wheat production, and whether it is possible for the Ministry to facilitate the use of powered generators which farmers may get at affordable costs or on loans.

THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF LANDS, AGRICULTURE, FISHERIES, WATER AND RURAL DEVELOPMENT (HON. HARITATOS): Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. Once again, I thank the Hon. Senator Chief Chikwaka for the question. For the forthcoming winter cropping, a total of 137 000 ha with functional irrigation has been identified with intentions to establish at least 120 000 ha under wheat and 7 000 ha under barley. Some 16 000 ha requiring quick fix rehabilitation in the form of power infrastructure, pumps, centre pivots and pipes have also been identified. To bring back these farms to irrigation functionality, at least USD27 million is required and resources are currently being mobilised. The Ministry has running facilities with AFC and CBZ, which farmers can tap into for the purposes of accessing irrigation equipment. Furthermore, our irrigation alliance with the private sector will help us surpass these targets in the very near future.

An inter-ministerial taskforce was established to deal with the energy power issues. The taskforce comprises of the Ministry of Lands Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development, the Ministry of Energy and Power Development as well as the Ministry of Finance, Economic Development and Investment Promotion. The taskforce has jointly identified clusters for the purposes of ensuring that Energy provision is ringfenced and prioritised. The Ministry of Energy and Power Development has reassured us that we will have enough power to irrigate our targeted winter cropping programme. I thank you.

WATER CHALLENGES IN BULAWAYO AND OTHER AREAS

  1. HON. SEN. RITTAH NDLOVU asked the Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development to inform the House the plans that the Ministry has put in place to address water challenges in Bulawayo and other areas that stand to benefit from the Gwayi-Shangani Water Project in light of the delay in the connection of the water pipeline from Gwayi-Shangani Dam to Bulawayo.

THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF LANDS, AGRICULTURE, FISHERIES, WATER AND RURAL DEVELOPMENT (HON. HARITATOS): Thank you Mr. President and I also want to thank the Hon. Member for the question.  The response is that a Technical Committee similar to the one that we set up for the City of Harare was put in place to look at the short-term interventions and progress made in relation to increasing the raw water supply to the City of Bulawayo.  To date the progress made on each intervention is as follows;

The first intervention is to rehabilitate Mzingwane Dam booster pump station and reconfigure pipeline from Mtshabezi Reservoir 3 to upstream of the pump station.  Our expected impact is with Mzingwane at capacity to increase water from 25 mega litres to 32 if not 35 mega litres per day.  The progress to date is that funding was secured from Treasury amounting to ZWL6.9 billion.  The contractors for the booster pumps works have been appointed and are to start work very soon. 

Our second intervention is to rehabilitate and automate the pump station at Inyakhuni Dam.  Our expected impact Mr. President Sir, is that Inyakhuni will move from 17 mega litres per day to 32 mega litres per day. 

Our third intervention is to introduce booster pumps between reservoir 1 and 2 and reservoir 3 and 4 along the Mtshabezi pipeline.  Our expected impact is to increase the amount of water from 16 mega litres per day to 30 mega litres per day.  In terms of the progress to date, we have managed to workout the specifications in preparation awaiting to tender after getting funding. 

Hon. President Sir, with regards to the progress made in the Nyamandlovu Aquifer Water Supply System, our first intervention is to repair or replace borehole pumps that is 20 at Epping Forest and 40 at Rocherster.  Our second intervention is to repair electrical faults including transformers.  Our expected impact of the two interventions are to increase water from 11 mega litres per day to 16 mega litres per day.  The progress to date Mr. President is that we have 35 boreholes repaired and are currently functional.  Our average now is 12 mega litres per day being supplied to the City from the Nyamandlovu Aquifer.  As mentioned, we are not happy until we reach 16 mega litres per day. 

With regards to our last intervention we are drilling boreholes in the City in addition to the Nyamandlovu Aquifer boreholes.  The other boreholes are being drilled to alleviate current water shortages within the city.  Mr. President, 64 boreholes out of the targeted 83 have already been sited and 44 out of the sited 64 have already been drilled with 22 wet but unfortunately one has already collapsed.  Mr. President, 18 out of the 22 wet boreholes are equipped, 3 sites equipped with hand pumps and 15 sites to be equipped with solar systems with materials currently in place.  Priority will be given to the medical institutions being Mpilo, Ingutsheni and United Bulawayo Hospital.  I thank you.         

HON. SEN. NCUBE:  Hon. Minister, did I hear you properly regarding Mzingwane Dam.   Mzingwane Dam is empty and has been decommissioned but you said you are rehabilitating something, there is no water there. 

HON. HARITATOS: Mr. President Sir, the Hon. Senator has made a very good point but from our perspective it is still a catchment point.  We still have a targeted amount of mega litres of water.  It is in our belief that by rehabilitating it, which involves also making it bigger, the catchment area will be bigger and that will allow us to pump the water and also keep it for longer.  This is why we have several types of interventions because one intervention as you rightfully put it, this season is already dry and if you look at the time, we are still in the summer season.

 It is a very worrying aspect of the El Nino but for us we are not comfortable just to do one or two.  That is why Mr. President we have done so many interventions including the drilling of boreholes.  The long-term goal obviously Mr. President Sir, is the Gwayi-Shangani Dam.  The Gwayi-Shangani Dam is a very exciting Dam, it is drawing water from the two dams the Gwayi and Shangani Rivers together collecting and pumping 278 mega litres to Bulawayo.  It is not only about the water to Bulawayo but it is the green belt that will be created from the Gwayi-Shangani Dam right into Bulawayo.  That includes

10 000 hectares of irrigation which will also contribute to our targeted 350 000 hectares.  Your Ministry Mr. President is working until we ensure that there is a sustainable and viable water source for Bulawayo, not only in the short term or the medium term but for the long term. 

ESTABLISHMENT OF SPORTS CLUBS IN RURAL AREAS

  1. HON. SEN. MAVENYENGWA asked the Minister of Youth Empowerment, Development and Vocational Training to inform the House the plans in place to introduce sports clubs in rural areas as a way of promoting wellness amongst the youths.

THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF YOUTH EMPOWERMENT AND VOCATIONAL TRAINING CENTRES (HON. MUPAMHANGA): Thank you Mr. President.  Let me indicate that my Ministry is tasked to empower young people in the country so as to realise the youth dividend as espoused in Vision 2030.  We do this through Vocational Ttraining Centres and also providing loans for young people through Empower Bank.  We also do this through our parastatals and the Zimbabwe Youth Council in order to organise youth associations and young people as well as the National Youth Service.  The question that the Hon. Senator put is more directly to the Ministry of Sport, Arts and Recreation which is also our sister Minister. I am sure that they are much better inclined to give us a plan regarding establishing sports clubs in rural areas.  I thank you.

          Questions With Notice were interrupted by THE ACTING PRESIDENT OF SENATE in terms of Standing Order No. 67.

On the motion of THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. Z. ZIYAMBI), the Senate adjourned at One Minute past Four o’clock p.m. until Tuesday 2nd April, 2024.

         

 

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