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SENATE HANSARD 23 MAY 2024 VOL 33 NO 52

PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE

Thursday, 23rd May, 2024

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

PRAYERS

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

                   HON. SEN. PHULU:  Hon. Speaker Sir, I have a point of privilege. 

          THE. HON. DEPUTY. PRESIDENT OF SENATE:  I am not the Speaker.

          HON. SEN. PHULU:  Mr. President, I apologise.  Yesterday I think just as a matter of giving a reminder, you encouraged Senators to remember to return earphones and not walk out with them when business is done.  We all took it that it was a reminder but in the media today, it is awash with allegations that you said we stole earphones.  l wanted to request your good Chair to clarify that there is no case of Senators stealing earphones and indeed, there is a procedure by which we collect and return the earphones which is very fine. I so request quite humbly, Mr. President.

          HON. HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE: Thank you very much Hon. Phulu for pointing out that very important and unfortunate misinterpretation of reminders which are made in this honourable House.  I will ask staff to make the necessary corrections to the media and express our dismay at this very terrible distortion and an attempt to tarnish the image of this Honourable House.  Thank you.

ANNOUNCEMENT BY THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE

APOLOGIES RECEIVED FROM MINISTERS

          THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE:  Today is a Thursday and as is normal practice and according to our Standing Orders, we have Questions Without Notice.  Before we do that, I would like to present a list of Ministers who have tendered apologies. The list is quite long and is as follows;

          The Minister of Environment, Climate and Wildlife, Hon. N. Ndlovu; Hon. K. Coventry, Minister of Sports, Recreation, Arts and Culture; Hon. E. Jesaya, Deputy Minister of Sports, Recreation Arts and Culture; Hon. B. Rwodzi, Minister of Tourism and Hospitality Industry; Hon. T. Mnangagwa, Deputy Minister of Tourism and Hospitality Industry; Hon. O. C. Z. Muchinguri-Kashiri, Minister of Defence; Hon. Brig. Gen. Rtd. Mayihlome, Deputy Minister of Defence; Small and Medium Enterprises Development; Hon. J. Mhlanga, Deputy Minister of Women’s Affairs, Community, Small and Medium Enterprises Development; Hon. F. Shava, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Trade; Hon. S. Chikomo, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Trade; Hon. C. Sanyatwe, Deputy Minister of Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage; Hon. W. Chitando, Minister of Mines and Mining Development; Hon. P. Kambamura, Deputy Minister of Mines and Mining Development; Hon. Prof. A. Murwira, Minister of Higher and Tertiary Education, Innovation Science and Technology Development; Hon. S. Sibanda, Deputy Minister of Higher and Tertiary Education, Innovation, Science and Technology Development; Hon. S. Nyoni, Minister of Industry and Commerce; Hon. R. Modi, Deputy Minister of Industry and Commerce; Hon. E. Moyo, Minister of Energy and Power Development; Hon. J. Masuka, Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Resettlement, Hon. V. Haritatos, Deputy Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Resettlement; Hon. Mombeshora, Minister of Health and Child Care; Hon. D. K. Mnangagwa, Deputy Minister of Finance, Economic Development and Investment Promotion.

In the Chamber today, can I please have the list please? In the absence of the list or whilst it is coming, we have Hon. Minister Ziyambi, Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, Hon. Minister J. Moyo, Minister of Public Service Labour and Social Welfare, Hon. Simbanegavi, Deputy Minister of Energy, Minister D. Garwe, Minister of Local Government and Public Works, Minister F. Mhona, the Minister of Transport and Infrastructure Development, Hon. Minister Marupi, Deputy Minister of information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services, Hon. Gata, the Deputy Minister of Primary and Secondary Education.  I think we have a fairly sizeable number today.

ORAL ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS WITHOUT NOTICE

          HON. SEN. PHULU: Thank you Mr. President, I would like to direct my question to the Leader of Government Business in the absence of the Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development.  In light of the provisions outlined in Section 72 of the Constitution, the Government of Zimbabwe has the right to acquire all the hold, occupy use and transfer lease for disposal to agricultural land, and considering Section 18 of the Land Provisions Act, which empowers the Minister with consultation and approval to lease sale or dispose of State Land, I would like to enquire about the Government’s policy intentions regarding granting of deeds of transfer to individuals with long term leases. If such intentions do not exist, could you please provide information on the Government’s policy regarding making 99-year leases bankable? I am sure it is one of his favourable questions.

          THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. Z. ZIYAMBI):  Thank you Mr. President Sir.  I want to thank Hon. Senator Phulu for the question to the Minister of Lands where he made reference to the Constitution and the Lands Acquisition Act. My response is that we agreed that we need to relook the Land Tenure System as it pertains to agricultural land in order to unlock value and ensure that farmers are able to borrow and be able to be bound by the banks in a manner that is better than what is prevailing now.

The majority of our financial institutions have expressed some reservation and work is in progress to look at the Land Tenure System with a view of ensuring that both the interest of the banking sector and the interest of the farmers are protected and also the national interest at large are also protected. You also recall that one of the reasons that the war of liberation was fought, was the question of land and we need to ensure that we protect that particular land from getting back to people who are not supposed to get it.

So, we are at the stage where we are studying various land tenure systems so that we can come up with our own Land Tenure System that will holistically take into consideration all the concerns that we have, given our historical background of where we are coming from. Indeed, the Constitution like he says in Section 72, stipulates that but in the past, we have taken the route that the Constitution allows the State to offer agricultural land on leasehold and that was the route that we had followed. However, we want to refine that process so that we can have a scenario where we will unlock value in the agricultural sector. I so submit Mr. President.

HON. SEN. ZINDI: Thank you Mr. President.  My supplementary question to the Hon. Minister is to establish why banks would not accept the lease as a policy of the Government and yet it is the same Government that also sets up policies over these banks.  Why is there a hiccup like that?  I thank you.

HON. Z. ZIYAMBI: Thank you Mr. President Sir.  Banks in general terms, the policy framework, the laws and the regulations come from the Government.  Banking institutions are business institutions, they lend their money where they believe they are safe and will be able to get their money back. Ordinarily, you cannot put as surety on something that you know you cannot claim if anything goes wrong.  So the contentious issue with banks was, is this collateral that we are getting from this particular instrument in the manner that it is couched covering us up sufficiently.  If anything goes wrong, are we able to get that particular piece of lease agreement and be able to transfer it to another person because that is the collateral? 

That is the conversations that we are having with banks and Government to ensure that we come up with an Instrument that will allow everyone to be comfortable, banks to be comfortable to lend, farmers to be comfortable and even to develop that particular farm.  You should be able to say that I have this lease.  Am I secure enough to develop the farm, to put infrastructure there without waking up having that lease being withdrawn?

(Hon. Minister Matuke having passed between the Chair and the Hon. Member speaking).

HON. HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE: Order, order Hon. Minister Matuke, you may go.  Proceed.

THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. Z. ZIYAMBI):  So, these are the conversations that we are having in order to come up with an instrument that will take into consideration our historical concerns where we are coming from, the concerns of the farmers and the concerns of the banking sector.  I thank you Mr. President Sir.

          HON. SEN. PHULU: We thank you for the policy steps that you have taken to resolve this question, but in view of the fact that we want land to unlock value in line with Vision 2030, how soon can we see this intervention beginning to take off and being resolved so that all farmers across the land can unlock value and contribute to this economy?

          THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. Z. ZIYAMBI): Thank you, Mr. President, Sir.  I want to thank Hon. Senator Phulu for that question.  When we had conversations with banks, the initial thinking was that let us come up with an Agrarian Law Reform Bill and we started drafting that Bill.  However, the new thinking now is that why not have a broad-based land policy and then that policy will inform what we then do in terms of coming up with our Agrarian Laws Reform Bill that we will do.

 So, we have shelved the Bill that we had so that we have a broad-based consultation led by the Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Resettlement.  We will then come up with a holistic land policy that will take into consideration all our concerns and we hope that should be concluded very soon because it has a huge impact like you said, on our agricultural sector and our Vision 2030. 

Therefore, we want to do it to unlock value, not only in terms of agricultural productivity; we have land that is a dead asset so we need to put in the GDP, at least some value whether it is a lease or whatever value, it should be put there.  Everyone including farmers, and bankers should be able to sleep knowing that this is the kind of security that has been offered on that particular agricultural land. Also, the lenders say that I can sleep knowing that I can recover my money because of the following steps that I can do.  I thank you.

          +HON. SEN. NYATHI: Thank you, Mr. President. I want to direct my question to the Minister of Agriculture, Lands, Fisheries, Water, and Rural Resettlement.   In his absence, I will direct it to the Leader of Government Business.  What does the Government plan to do with those who were resettled in farms and do not have offer letters, some are in A1, and some are in A2. I thank you.

          THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL, AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. Z. ZIYAMBI): Thank you, Mr. President, Sir.  From 2000 to 2001, we had people who went to farms without any documentation.  We then embarked on a process where we were regularising that.  If there are any who were settled in the early 2000s who do not have a permit or an offer letter, then they need to have a conversation within their provinces within the District Lands Offices so that they can regularise, otherwise there will come a time when it will be deemed illegal on the land that they are occupying.  I thank you.

          THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE: We have been joined by one more Deputy Minister, that is the Deputy Minister of National Housing, Hon. Musa Ncube.  Welcome!

          HON. SEN. MAKAMBA: Mr. President, my question is directed to the Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development.  We all know and are aware of the numerous construction projects going on in the country but mainly in the capital city.  Would the Minister be kind enough to give us an update mainly on the roads that lead to Parliament from the various approaches of Harare?

          THE MINISTER OF TRANSPORT AND INFRASTRUCTURAL DEVELOPMENT (HON. MHONA): Thank you Hon. Senator Makamba for such a pertinent question for it allows me to articulate how far we have gone about roads leading to the New City, which is this area where the Parliament is located. 

          Mr. President Sir. I want to start by commending the Second Republic and in particular, His Excellency, Dr. E. D. Mnangagwa who is a visionary leader, under very difficult circumstances where we had to set aside a special fund to cater for the rehabilitation of our roads leading to this very beautiful place, which is the Parliament of Zimbabwe. 

          Hon. Senator Makamba has asked how far we have progressed in terms of the road rehabilitation projects.  If you remember very well, we have got several detours now up to 20 km that we have opened leading to this place. Starting from the Great City, Harare, and Julius Nyerere we are progressing along Nemakonde Road which used to be known as Lomagundi Road which is part of Harare-Chirundu Road but it is also leading to this place. 

          We are also doing Harare-Bindura, it is not going to end in Bindura only, but it is proceeding up to Kanyemba which is about a 354-kilometer stretch.  We are now seized with the first part of it from Second Street Extension towards Harare Drive.

          Mr. President Sir, the goodness of this project is not just earmarking roads leading to Parliament but also roads within the precincts of the Great City.  We are talking of feeder roads right from the Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport where now even if you were to drive within the Great City, we are touching Samora Machel, we are doing Churchill which we will be starting very soon.  We are also earmarking other roads in the northern and western suburbs.        So we can talk about every corner of the Great City we attend.

          However, the goodness of it is that we have got a target of 30th June 2024 where we are saying we should be flowing on our roads.  Two weeks from now, we will be opening part of Harare Drive to part of the Westgate section which we are going to be opening to traffic, and then gravitate towards Lorraine Drive which was not done properly and it is a question that arose from this august House about the quality of that road.  So the contractor will be working on that stretch again.  We shall be opening again from the Harare Drive toll-gate towards the roundabout along Bindura Road where we are also going to be opening Boulevard Road which is the road straight from this Parliament towards Bindura Road.  I can assure the august House that come the SADC Summit, you will be driving on quite remarkable roads not only towards Parliament but several roads within the Great City.  However, that is also going to be extending to our communities where we stay where you see us tremendously attending to damaged stretches of roads.  I thank you.

HON. SEN. TSHABANGU: Thank you very much.  I wanted to kill two birds with one stone.  Remember, last week I was given an opportunity to ask two questions, but I was not able to do that.  Minister of Public Service should be getting ready for the second question.

Mr. President, to the Minister of Transport, in accordance with targets and indicators outlined in the National Development Strategy 1 (NDS 1), which recognises the importance of robust railway network in facilitating domestic, regional and international trade by connecting major economic centres,  I would like to enquire about the progress that has been made by the Government of Zimbabwe in achieving these targets.  Could you please provide us an update and give us an indication that is going to ensure that we establish a world-class modern railway system set up in the Government policy, and also that is going to align to the vision 2030 as the Government policy? 

My second question goes to the Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare.  Social contracts have been useful globally to foster national consensus on social economic development of any developing country right across the global.  Where are we as a country in terms of making sure that the Tripartite Negotiation Forum is active, efficient and robust so that we can move and as a member of ILO, move with the global union?

THE MINISTER OF TRANSPORT AND INFRASTRUCTURAL DEVELOPMENT (HON. MHONA):  Thank you Mr. President Sir.  Let me also thank Hon Senator Tshabangu for the very important question that he has raised relating to the infrastructure and utilities clusters under NDS 1. 

Mr. President Sir, I would want to thank him, why, because we know the vibrancy of the railway line.  We are now witnessing roads that are being damaged because we are not having a vibrant railway line.  The tonnage that is moving along our roads is supposed to be migrating to the railway line.  Once again to the Second Republic, the initiatives that we are making through NRZ where we cannot do it alone using the fiscal space Mr. President Sir, we have engaged a number of players in the category and recently, the Chairman of China Railway International Group was in the country where we are going to avail US$500 million towards the resuscitation of the railway line and we are talking of attending to the cautions.  We are attending to the bends and having rolling stock, that is wagons and the locomotives that are brand new to navigate our railway line.

The goodness of this is that we have 2 700 kilometres stretch of railway and it is linking us. The fact that we are strategically positioned as a country, it will then link us with Zambia, DRC, and Mozambique and through Chikwalakwala, Maputo and Beira through Forbes.  We are saying, having such a network will then enable the economy to perform where we are now going to be having, and we have seen the mushrooming and vibrancy of our mining sector so that the minerals will be now be channelled towards the railway line.

We have this now in the pipeline, not only that, we will also have a US$115 million from Afrexim Bank which is a facility that we are pursuing and we have already done necessary due diligence procedures so that we tap into that facility.  These are initiatives to make sure that we resuscitate back our NRZ and I want to assure this august Senate that the initiatives that we are pursuing are just in the near future. We are witnessing that already there are private players who are partaking in the exercise of working closely with NRZ as we speak.  They are providing rolling stock and we then deduct from the usage of our railway line and we continue pursuing that. I thank you.

HON. SEN. ZWIZWAI: Thank you Mr. President …

THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE: Your name please?

HON. SEN. ZWIZWAI: You cannot remember me? I am Hon. Zwizwai – [Laughter] –

THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE: Order! You should address the Chair with respect. You may proceed.

HON. SEN. ZWIZWAI:   Thank you very much for reprimanding me.  My supplementary question is that before the COVID-19 and under the tenure of Hon. Dr. J. M. Gumbo as Minister of Transport, there was a very big hype around the refurbishment of locomotives which was involving South African - Zimbabwean businessmen to the tune of, I am sure US$140 million.  The ribbon was cut, but we cannot see those wagons.  If the Hon. Minister could just explain to the august Senate as to what happened to that huge amount of money and all what we saw on the television, the cutting of the ribbons and the disappearance of the wagons.  I thank you.  

THE MINISTER OF TRANSPORT AND INFRASTRUCTURAL DEVELOPMENT (HON. MHONA):  Thank you Mr. President Sir. Let me also thank Hon. Senator Zwizwai for that important question.  The Hon. Senator is very right. Yes, we were pursuing a deal through a company known as DIG from South Africa and we were actually very happy as a nation, but if you remember very well, the transaction did not materialise. Again, because of the wise counsel of the Cabinet, the transaction was then cancelled and it then was tabled and became a court case which is sub judice. Apparently, the investors then had to withdraw from the court proceedings trying to pursue an amicable solution towards that transaction and it ended there.  So basically, we do not have that transaction anymore, that is why we are pursuing other initiatives, but that deal failed completely.  Thank you.

THE MINISTER OF PUBLIC SERVICE, LABOUR AND SOCIAL WELFARE (HON. J. G. MOYO): Thank you Mr. President. I want to thank the Hon. Sen. for asking me about the social contract. It is important to say, we have come a long journey and this journey has taken Government to enact an Act of Parliament called the Tripartite Negotiating Act. This Act enjoins Government, business and labour into a structured way of negotiating for solutions that affect the country. We have sent members of the tripartite committees to other social negotiating councils. They have gone to Greece. Every time we have gone out of the country, we have tried to learn what others are doing.

The learning process has enabled us to come up with a strategic plan where both Government, business and labour set out in January this year and had a strategic plan with actionable targets that we want to meet. This tripartite negotiating council is supported by Government through monies that are voted by this august House. So, they have been funded and we now have a separate Executive secretariat which used to be in the Ministry of Labour. We want it to be separate and independent so that they can serve the three partners.

We are basing our social contract on the Kadoma Declaration which gave both Government, Labour and Business tasks that they are supposed to do. What is the risk that is coming out of Government actions? What is the country risk that is coming out of labour actions? What is the country risk that is coming out of business itself? We are now analysing, coming up with proposals. We believe that once we remove all these risks and come up with solutions to remove those risks, that will form part of the social contract that binds the three partners. We believe that the next meeting that we are going to have, in the Act, we have to meet three times a year and we believe our next meeting will tackle this matter so that we move towards social contract.

In our strategic plan, we say the fourth quarter of this year, we should have a draft social contract that can be debated in Cabinet and ultimately in this august House. We are very happy that we have been working in this manner. Yesterday, we had a viable meeting with the three partners and we think that the tasks that we set ourselves during the beginning of the year in our strategic plan which will be produced as social contract, we are still on course.  We are also happy that the ILO as you have indicated, is helping us in many ways.  We are also proud as Zimbabweans that this year during the General Assembly of the ILO, we are going to have the Vice President of the General Assembly so that Zimbabwe re-emerges as a contributor to international labour issues because our practice and camaraderie in this country is now recognised as something that we can use to produce a social contract. 

THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE:  Thank you Hon. Minister Moyo. We have also been joined in the Chamber by the following Ministers: Hon. Kazembe Kazembe, Minister of Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage; Hon. Mutsvangwa, Minister of Women Affairs; Hon. Mavhunga, Minister of War Veterans; and Hon. Mupamhanga, Deputy Minister for Youth. We have quite a range of Ministers in the Chamber today.

+HON. SEN. H. MOYO: Thank you Mr. President for giving me this opportunity. My question is directed to the Leader of Government Business, Hon. Minister Ziyambi Ziyambi. We note that we have young children who have gone through different stages of education up to Form 6 and applied for the Presidential Scholarship, especially in Matabeleland South. What surprises us is, what Government policy is used to determine who gets a place? Most of them do not benefit from this Presidential Scholarship. I thank you.

THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. Z. ZIYAMBI):  Thank you Mr. President Sir. I want to thank the Hon. Member for the question. Mr. President, I am not quite sure that it is a correct representation of the facts on the ground. In fact, I do remember when students that were going to UnZa, the University of Zambia were being sent off; there was one brilliant young lady from Tsholotsho who actually gave a testimony of her life. So, I am not very sure that it is a correct reflection of what is happening. What I know is that applications are received in all provinces and then they are processed, but that there is a policy to deliberately not take others given what is out there in the public, I stand guided.  I thank you Mr. President Sir.

          THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE:  Hon. Senator Moyo, if you have got any particular case which you are aware of, why do you not bring it to the attention of the Minister?

          HON. SEN. MOYO:  Thank you Mr. President, I will do that, but now Matabeleland South and Matabeleland North are different provinces.  I have people that always ask me.  They even have 12 points.  Matabeleland North is Tsholotsho.  Thank you.

          THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE:  It is not a question.

          +HON. SEN. NDEBELE:  Thank you Hon. President of Senate.  With due respect, I want to direct my questions to two Ministers.  I do not know whether policy allows me to ask two Ministers.

          THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE:  You are not allowed to ask two Ministers in one go.  I made a special dispensation to that.   Hon. Senator, you may ask one question and then if we have got time, you can ask the second question later.

          +HON. SEN. NDEBELE:  Thank you Senate President.

          THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE:  I will allow you since you are a female Hon. Senator to ask two questions.

          +HON. SEN. NDEBELE:  Thank you Mr. President.  My question pertains to road traffic accidents.  You will find that there are cars which do not adhere to speed limits.  I want to ask the Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development whether there are plans to alleviate these accidents which are caused by speeding cars and also to ascertain whether such cars are registered and are allowed to operate on the routes they operate in. 

          I also want to ask the Minister of National Housing and Social Amenities that when these cars park in bus termini, is it clear that they are registered or not because you find that commuter omnibuses and some pirate taxes also park there?  In order to avoid such accidents, my question is, what is going to be done about this?  I thank you.

          THE MINISTER OF TRANSPORT AND INFRASTRUCTURAL DEVELOPMENT (HON. MHONA):  Mr. President Sir, this week we were actually privileged to be hosting United Nations Special Envoy to road safety, Mr. Jean Todt who was in the country and had to pay a courtesy visit to His Excellency on his last day in Zimbabwe.  What is exciting on this particular visit, Mr. President Sir, was the zeal that he demonstrated which is also in tandem with the zeal and passion that is being demonstrated by our great leader, Cde. Emmerson Mnangagwa in championing issues to do with road safety.

          The Hon. Senator has raised a very important point pertaining to speeding which is one of the major causes of road accidents that we are witnessing.  I am also glad to say with my colleague Minister, the Minister of Home Affairs, we are actually seized with that matter trying to make sure that we enhance awareness programmes.

          THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE:  Order!  Hon. Ndebele, can you please switch off your microphone.

          HON. MHONA:  Thank you Mr. President Sir.  Pertaining to the issues of awareness where we are going to be accelerating road awareness programmes through schools and also making joint operations with the police and VID so that people stick to that, if you would remember very well esteemed Senators at the beginning of this year, I had Statutory Instrument 118 of 2023 which was operationalised on 1st January, 2024 stipulating that we must have gadgets installed for every public service vehicle so as to manage the issue of speeding.  People are complying to that particular directive and we will be working closely with the police to make sure that we also have speed control mechanisms.  In terms of introducing again the cameras, we are almost at an advanced stage.  Above that, we are also having additional mechanisms to mitigate the issues of speeding and make sure that cars are registered. 

She also mentioned the issue of registration of vehicles so that before you ply our roads, you must be registered through the Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development under the department known as Road Motor Transportation where we give you a permit to operate.  It is quite disturbing, Mr. President, that a number of accidents that we were witnessing, some were not registered, some did not have valid permits, which is something that we are also working closely with the police so that it will not continue. 

I want to assure again the august House that yes, it is quite disturbing given the numbers that we are close to around 15 million and 16 million within the country.  We are losing close to 2000 per annum in terms of fatalities which his not sustainable and when it comes to the monetary element, we are losing close to US$406 million per year towards fatalities, injuries, hospitalisations and even causing unnecessary burden to beneficiaries.

We are saying as a nation, we cannot continue having such numbers where we are losing close to five lives per day and it is not sustainable. It is my humble plea again as we drive, to uphold the sanctity of life in our roads.  Thank you, Mr. President Sir.

THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE:  The next question was directed to Hon. Minister Garwe.

THE MNISTER OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT AND PUBLIC WORKS (HON. GARWE):  Thank you Mr. President Sir.  The Government does not condone wayward behaviour by the motoring public.  Government does not condone people who park anywhere where they feel like parking or overtaking in opposite lanes but we are also aware that local authorities, particularly City of Harare has got municipal police which, in terms of the by-laws, is supposed to be manning our urban roads and because they are failing to discharge that responsibility through the Ministry of Home Affairs, I think we have witnessed ZRP traffic officers manning all our roads in Harare to ensure that there is no congestion, there is no wayward behaviour by kombi drivers and mushikashika drivers. 

The problem, Mr. President, is our motoring public has become so delinquent.  They have become moral decadent in terms of observing traffic laws and we are encouraging the municipal police to work very closely with the Ministry of Home Affairs in manning the urban roads so that we avoid the unnecessary accidents or causing unnecessary congestion.  I thank you.

          *HON. SEN. CHIEF NECHOMBO: Thank you Mr. President. I want to direct my question to the Minister of Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage. My question is, what does the law say and what should happen in cases where there are graves in our communities where there might be need to remove the graves for different reasons like mining? The construction of our urban centres and other developments; what is the law regarding building on cemeteries in relation to the local culture which honours our parents and others who might have passed on?

          *THE MINISTER OF HOME AFFAIRS AND CULTURAL HERITAGE (HON. KAZEMBE): Thank you Mr. President Sir. I also want to thank Hon. Senator Chief Nechombo for that question.  The law says that cemeteries fall under the National Museums and Monuments.  The law also says that when you face such challenges, then you write to the National Museums and Monuments and explain the reason why that should be done and the National Museums and Monuments will give permission. Normally, we work with the Ministry of Local Government to determine whether this permission should be granted or not and how it should be done.  I thank you. 

          *HON. HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE: Thank you Hon. Minister.  I think Hon. Senator Chief Nechombo wanted to ask whether traditional leaders are involved in the process so that we preserve our culture. Is that what you were asking Hon. Sen. Chief Nechombo?

          *HON. SEN. CHIEF NECHOMBO: Indeed, that was my question Sir.

* HON. KAZEMBE: Indeed, when I alluded to Local Government, I was referring to the traditional leadership which falls under our Local Government. I thank you.

          ANNOUNCEMENT BY THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE

ERROR ON THE ORDER PAPER

 

          THE HON. PRESIDENT OF SENATE: I want to draw the attention of the House to an inadvertent error on today’s Order Paper, where the Notice of Motion for the Minister of Energy and Power Development was omitted. The Notice of Motion was given last week and has been appearing on the Order Paper until yesterday. I therefore direct that the Notice of Motion be included on the Order Paper as Notice of Motion Number 14.

          +HON. SEN. C. NDLOVU: Thank you Mr. President for giving me this opportunity. My question is directed to the Minister of Home Affairs. In Matabeleland North, Matabeleland South and Bulawayo, people do not have electricity. I wanted to know from the Minister of Home Affairs if the Ministry issues copper licences for scrap copper and this results in people stealing copper wires for resale. When such licences are issued, in Zimbabwe, it is called scrap. The question is, where does that scrap copper come from? I thank you.

          *THE MINISTER OF HOME AFFAIRS AND CULTURAL HERITAGE (HON. KAZEMBE): Thank you Mr. President Sir. With your indulgence, I will respond in English. My Ndebele is not yet good, but I am going to get there. I would like to thank the Hon. Senator for that pertinent question. First and foremost, when we issue licences, it is not a licence to steal. Let me explain how one gets that licence. For starters, when you apply, there are a lot of requirements and conditions that you have to meet. You must be a very credible person and you must clearly articulate your reason why you want to have the licence. Having done that, you must also prove that you are capable and you have the capacity to do what you want. There is a Committee that sits, which involves other stakeholders who are normally the victims. 

          For example, your NetOne, NRZ, ZESA and ZRP sit in that Committee which checks on your suitability to have that licence. Once you are given the licence, there are certain conditions as well. When you are dealing in scrap and copper scrap, there are so many ways that lead to scrap copper. It is not correct that all the copper comes from cables. There are a number of companies that have stopped operating and they have a lot of copper scrap. There are some cables that are no longer usable. It is still scrap given that we do not do mining of copper that much, that copper is recycled and used for further things including some other basic inputs.

          So, once you get the licence, there are rules that you have to follow. When you buy the copper, you must buy copper with a certificate of origin. That certificate has some security features on it. If you are buying from a company, that company that is selling the copper to you has to be licenced as well. It has to go through all these conditions that I have spoken about. It has to pass the test.

          As you are transporting that copper, the police will ask for that certificate of origin and that certificate of origin works like a title deed. So, when you sell your copper, it is transferred to the recipient. At every given point, that copper must have that certificate and this is to ensure that we know exactly where it is coming from and where it is going. All those three parties, the seller, the dealer and the buyer at the end of the channel, must be registered, and as I said, the registration is not easy.

          Over and above that, if you are caught without the certificate, or without meeting those conditions, you get your licence cancelled and secondly, copper is transported using trucks and that vehicle is also confiscated by the State. The owner of the vehicle is also answerable and the sentence I think is now a minimum of ten years. The Minister of Justice can assist me. It is now a minimum of ten years to ensure that it is deterrent. When we issue these licences, it is not a licence to steal, but we allow those who are in the business of using scrap copper to carry on with their business. I thank you.

          Questions Without Notice were interrupted by THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE in terms of Standing

Order No. 67.

          +HON. SEN.  PHUTHI: May you please add fifteen minutes to the time of Questions Without Notice. I thank you.

          HON. SEN. MAKAMBA: I second.

          THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE: Okay, time for Questions Without Notice is extended by ten minutes from now. It was supposed to go up to 22 minutes, but I am now extending with ten minutes up to four o’clock p.m.

          *HON. SEN. MALULEKE: Thank you Mr. President Sir. My question regards issues to do with looming hunger due to the El Nino-induced drought.  If you go to the Grain Marketing Board, you are referred to the Social Welfare Department.  In our areas, there are a few who have benefited from Social Welfare.  So, what are the Government plans regarding social welfare redistribution of food relief aid?  I thank you.

          THE MINISTER OF PUBLIC SERVICE, LABOUR AND SOCIAL WELFARE (HON. J. MOYO): Thank you, Mr. President, Sir.  The question was supposed to be directed to the Minister of Agriculture, Lands, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development…

          THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE: Hon. Minister July Moyo, may you respond in terms of drought relief programmes by the Social Welfare department.

          *HON. J. MOYO: Thank you, Mr. President.  Our Ministry agreed with the Ministry of Agriculture, Lands, Fisheries, Water and Rural Resettlement and we had a Memorandum of Understanding regarding food relief in both urban areas and rural areas.  I will start with urban areas.

          In urban areas, the Zimbabwe Livelihoods Assessment Committee Report ensured that in big and small towns, there are 1, 7 million people who need food relief, we sat down to discuss what could be done in urban areas. So instead of giving food in urban areas, we agreed to give people money and we are still working on the modalities.  We shall give out money which is equivalent to the food relief or aid that is given in the rural areas.  The beneficiaries will go to the supermarkets where they will buy food.  However, we do not determine the food they will buy. 

          Furthermore, we are busy working on every ward in the urban areas so that we create a database of 1, 7 million and the information that we got from ZIMSTAT for instance, in Budiriro, we are going to have the number of wards and people who need food relief. We shall be able to determine how many people are going to be assisted so that our figure reaches 1, 7 million.

          In small towns, whether it is Gokwe Centre, Nyanga, Gwanda, or Chipinge, all that information is being collated.  After that process, we will be working with the United Nations and the World Food Programme as well as other partners we work with who came and registered as private voluntary organisations.  However, these partners are supposed to follow the laws of the land, they will work by the Government’s programmes.

          In rural areas, some people are going to be given food aid.  We have 130 000 tonnes which will be given out to people in different wards and villages.  For now, we have 6, 1 million people who need food relief in rural areas.  We worked with traditional leaders and village heads who knew the people who were in dire need. We created a database that contains the elderly who are vulnerable, those living with disabilities, orphans and those who lack are all going to benefit.

          Due to the drought induced by El Nino, we are going to have a nine million people target in the rural areas alone, which means everyone who lives in rural areas is going to benefit.  On the 138,000 tonnes of grain, we will see how we can distribute the grain to different GMB depots because some of them do not have stocks. We went to Chipinge, there are sufficient stocks and even surplus.

          We have planned to distribute the grain enough to cover three months, every beneficiary will get 7, 5 kg by three.  We are not going to select, whether young or old, they will get the same share of 7, 5 kg.  When we give them coverage of three months, it will give us time to plan or gather grain for the next three-month period again. 

          Transportation is a challenge, for instance, most of our maize is in Lions Den Depot so it has to be transported from there to Kwekwe and other districts.  We have noted that with our transportation system, for us to distribute grain to Nkayi which is about 144 km and to Kwekwe, it is only 98 km.  The Nkayi Road is also in a bad state, hence it is ideal to move the grains from Lions Den to Kwekwe and then redistribute them to Nkayi and other wards that are in that district.  We also need to distribute the grains to Zhombe Depot and Gokwe South.  For Gokwe, we will use the Sanyati Depot; every depot will receive its allocation.  We shall be using railway line transport, the trains shall go to Concession, Glendale, and Bindura. This is the route that will be taken for the grain to reach Rushinga and Mt. Darwin.  We have done a mapping of the logistics and I believe if that is done, we would have covered the rural areas.  However, others cannot just receive food relief, but must buy and those who buy should go and buy at GMB depots.

          When we discussed with the Ministry of Agriculture, we said that there are millers who have been allowed by the Government since last year, to go and buy maize and other traditional cereals and after noting that there is El Nino, the Government decided to come up with a contingent plan and said those who are in the milling industry should procure grain and they brought 400 000 tonnes in preparation for the mitigation against the effects of El Nino.  So, they ordered a lot of wheat because when we anticipated that millers were going to buy wheat, they had flour.  So, the millers said they have a lot of wheat and that they do not want to buy it now, but in the near future. The wheat which we thought was going to be bought by millers is in our grain reserves. I believe that all those who are into milling will distribute maize meal to all provinces, districts, urban and rural areas, schools and other areas so that we do not have people going to buy GMB maize meal and other traditional foods because they will be having food after we have empowered those beneficiaries with food relief.

          HON. SEN. MAVENYENGWA: My question is directed to the Minister of Transport. I have noted that most of the fatal road accidents occurring in our country are as a result of human error by drivers who seem to be unlicenced by the conduct they are exhibiting on the roads. What is Government policy on retesting of public service vehicle drivers as occurrences of these accidents through human error are on the increase and does the Ministry hold any workshops with transport operators on what to consider when employing or hiring drivers?  

          THE MINISTER OF TRANSPORT AND INFRASTRUCTURAL DEVELOPMENT (HON. MHONA): Thank you Mr. President Sir. I also thank you, Hon. Sen. Mavenyengwa for a very important question that I thought I had also touched on when I was addressing a question from Hon. Sen. Ndebele.  I will also try to buttress some of the points that I raised.  It is disturbing, the carnage that we are witnessing which I do concur with Hon. Senator. 

As we speak, we are trying to also see how we can synchronise the age limit of those who would then drive public service vehicles.  I am sure the Legal Department in my Ministry is working with the Attorney-General in that regard and we are saying for public vehicles, we were sticking to 25 years and we are advocating to increase.  Within the SADC region, the minimum age is 30 years for public service vehicles and that will then address the overzealousness of some of these drivers that are driving our public service vehicles.

          To address the question of the Hon. Senator, yes through Traffic Safety Council of Zimbabwe, we are doing awareness programmes and we continue to educate our people, especially on the benefits associated with driving well on our roads and also to mitigate the carnage that we are witnessing on our roads.  So I want to say yes, we are continuously educating our people and in terms of speed monitoring devices that I alluded to under SI 118 of 2023, where we are saying we need to come up with punitive measures to those who are not complying and abiding by the road regulations on our roads, we are saying at the end of the day, if we do not do that or take punitive measures Mr. President Sir, we will continue having these accidents. 

Some people are driving while using their phones, some are not observing road regulations and others are even not complying to the dictates of our regulations when it comes to traffic.  We cannot continue in that trajectory and we will see us advocating for punitive measures so that we reduce road carnage.  Thank you, Mr. President.  

ORAL ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS WITH NOTICE

POLICY ON MARRIED COUPLES WORKING AT SAME WORK STATIONS

  1. HON. SEN. MAVENYENGWA asked the Minister of Primary and Secondary Education to inform the Senate on the Government’s policy to permit married couples who are teachers to work at same stations as a way of minimising promiscuity and the risk of sexually transmitted infections.

THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF PRIMARY AND SECONDARY EDUCATION (HON. GATA):  Thank you Mr. President Sir.  Our office checked and we did not have the Questions With Notice but if I can have the Order Paper so I can try to…

THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE:  Minister, you have the question on the Order Paper.  These questions are delivered to your offices and you must make an effort to respond to the questions.  Next week, you must answer the question.

HON. A. GATA: Thank you, I will ask to defer them.

THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE:   Question Number 3, it is also deferred I presume.  You did not see it as well?

HON. A. GATA:  Thank you Mr. President, yes, it is deferred.

SUPPORT TO WOMEN’S EMPOWERMENT CLUBS IN RURAL AREAS

  1. HON SEN. MAVENYENGWA asked the Minister of Women Affairs, Community, Small and Medium Enterprises Development to inform the Senate measures that have been put in place to support women's empowerment clubs in rural areas which are underperforming due to financial constraints.

THE MINISTER OF WOMEN AFFAIRS, COMMUNITY, SMALL AND MEDIUM ENTERPRISES DEVELOPMENT (HON. SEN. M. MUTSVANGWA): Thank you Mr. President.  I would like to thank Hon. Sen. Mavenyengwa for that very important question which he asked the Ministry of Women Affairs, Community, Small and Medium Enterprises Development as to the measures that have been put in place to support women’s empowerment clubs in rural areas which are underperforming due to financial constraints.

          Mr. President, as a Ministry, we have embarked on a programme of establishing, resuscitating and training groups of women to form women empowerment clubs in all the 10 provinces.

          Last year, a total number of 609 clubs targeting 7 159 women were trained.  These clubs were trained in 10 provinces and to date, over 1 109 clubs have been trained and established.  This benefitted over 13 000 women.

          These clubs were trained in entrepreneurship, record keeping, business management and development, leadership, group dynamics, group formation and formalisation, conflict management, ISALs management (Transforming ISALs into SACCOs), sources of financing, financial literacy, growth strategies, group constitution making or crafting, Gender Based Violence (GBV) and child marriages prevention.  There is also a lot of our staff all the way to the ward level who have gone to train women in importance of hygiene during processing of products, packaging, product certification, marketing, value addition, baking, floor polish, detergents, toilet cleaner and dish washing liquid making.

          The training itself was done in collaboration with Zimbabwe Women’s Microfinance Bank and Small and Medium Enterprises Development Corporation (SMEDCO).  The thrust of this programme is to economically empower women in order to strengthen the capacity of the clubs and formalise as well as grow clubs into SMEs and cooperatives.  This year we will further strengthen the capacity of 500 clubs through training and awareness on registration as cooperatives.

          My Ministry issued a call for project proposals for funding of women and community projects in all the ten provinces and we expect women empowerment clubs to apply for funding.

          In conclusion, women empowerment clubs are the vanguard of development as all other ministries and stakeholders can channel their development programmes through these clubs.  It is also an inclusive approach to development in line with NDS 1 and Vision 2030.  I so submit Mr. President.

FOOD DISTRIBUTION PROGRAMME FOR URBAN RESIDENTS

 

  1. HON. SEN. ZINDI asked the Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare to inform the House on whether urban residents will benefit from food distribution programmes in view of the drought in the country and to further advise how this exercise will be conducted and to state who will be responsible for their registration.

THE MINISTER OF PUBLIC SERVICE, LABOUR AND SOCIAL WELFARE (HON. J. MOYO):  The Government of Zimbabwe will ensure that no one dies of hunger as the President has directed.  Early this year, an urban Zimbabwe livelihood assessment was done in all urban domains and a total of 1.7 million people were projected to be in need of assistance.  The Government and partners will jointly register the vulnerable persons in urban areas and a cash for cereal programme will be implemented in urban areas since cereals are available on the market.  Like in rural areas, labour endowed households will also participate in asset creation in their respective communities to ensure that we discourage dependence syndrome among our people.

However, the old aged, people with disability and child-headed families will not be asked to undertake this work.  Let me categorically state that the selection process is being finalised and we think once it is finalised, we will announce so that everyone is aware of what we are doing to carry out the selection process because unlike in the rural areas where we are involving chiefs, in the urban areas we will have to come up with a better system than we were doing last time.

WRITTEN SUBMISSIONS TO QUESTIONS WITH NOTICE

REHABILITATION OF FAIRFIELDS AND MANDAMABWE-SHURUGWI ROADS

  1. HON. SEN. ZVIDZAI asked the Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development to inform the House the plans being put in place to rehabilitate the following road:
  2. a) The road in the Fairfields area just after Mvuma which continues to experience accidents; and
  3. b) The Mandamabwe to Shurugwi road.

           THE MINISTER OF TRANSPORT AND INFRASTRUCTURAL DEVELOPMENT (HON. MHONA): a) I wish to thank the Hon. Member for this question.  The specific section of the Fairfields area of the Harare-Masvingo road was intentionally left out.  The omission of the 1.2 km of road is meant to accommodate the upgrading of the rail/road junction into a grade separated structure.

            The 1.2 km will accommodate a road over rail where the road will rise onto a bridge as it crosses over the railway line.  The upgrade is being done in anticipation of a revitalized railway sector which will result in more frequent train movement and hence potentially more train/vehicle conflict.

          As we speak, the designs for the road-over-rail are at a very advanced stage and the construction of the road-over-rail is expected to be complete by the end of this year.

  1. b) The Government of Zimbabwe through Cabinet approved a partnership that will result in the upgrading of the Shurugwi-Mandamabwe road. The approval was granted on the 11th of April 2023.  The scope for the national project is reconstruction of 43 km of the said road.  The ground breaking ceremony was done on the 15th of January 2024.

        Progress to date includes the construction and opening to traffic of 25 km of detour. The detailed designs for the project were approved by my Department of Roads in March 2024 and the main road works commenced on the 4th of April 2024. The project completion period is 12 months.

Questions with Notice were interrupted by THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE in terms of Standing Order Number 67.

MOTION

BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE

THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF ENERGY AND POWER DEVELOPMENT (HON. SIMBANEGAVI):  I move that Orders of the Day Numbers 1 to 13 be stood over until Order of the Day Number 14 has been disposed of.

Motion put and agreed to.

MOTION

APPROVAL FOR ACCESSION OF THE AGREEMENT AMENDING THE SADC PROTOCOL ON ENERGY AND AMENDMENT OF ANNEX 1

THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF ENERGY AND POWER DEVELOPMENT (HON. SIMBANEGAVI):  I move that this House takes note that;        

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

THAT WHEREAS the agreement to amending SADC Protocol on Energy as well as the amendment of Annex 1 to the Protocol was adopted at the 41st Summit of the Heads of State and Government held in Lilongwe, Malawi in August 2021.

WHEREAS the Republic of Zimbabwe is not a signatory to the aforesaid agreement and;

WHEREAS Article 20 (3) of the Agreement provides for ratification of the agreement by any SADC member after its adoption and;

WHEREAS the Republic of Zimbabwe is desirous of becoming a party to the agreement;

NOW, THEREFORE, in terms of Section 327 (2) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe that this House;

RESOLVES that the aforesaid Protocol be and is hereby approved for accession.  I so submit Mr. President Sir. 

HON. SEN. PHULU:  Mr. President thank you.  I always appreciate when these matters are brought before the House for approval so that they are ratified and duly domesticated into our law.  We appreciate the Minster for that move and for adopting the said Protocol.  However Mr. President, I always worry when these Protocols are enrolled and quickly moved without adequate time for us to debate them having looked carefully at them, but on that note, I would say I move that the Protocol be approved by this House.

          THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE:  Hon. Phulu notice was given last week. 

          HON. SEN. PHULU:  Yes, I noticed that.  I do not see it on the Order Paper.

          THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE:  That is why I stated that it was a mistake, but the notice was given last week.  So you had ample time.

           

          HON. SEN. PHULU:  What normally happens Mr. President and you will guide us on this one, is that it appears on the Order Paper as a notice, remains there for a number of days without being moved, and then it is suddenly moved on a day when the Minister appears and catches us unaware.

          THE HON. DEPUTY PRSIDENT OF SENATE:  Your point is taken.

          HON. SEN. PHULU:  Thank you Mr. President.

Motion put and agreed to.

          On the motion of THE MINISTER OF STATE FOR PROVINCIAL AFFAIRS IN THE OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT AND CABINET (HON. SEN. MATUKE), the House adjourned at Thirteen Minutes past Four o’clock p.m. until Tuesday, 28th May, 2024.

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