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SENATE HANSARD 29 AUGUST 2019 28-70

PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE

Thursday, 29th August, 2019

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

PRAYERS

(THE HON. PRESIDENT OF SENATE in the Chair)

ANNOUNCEMENT BY THE HON. PRESIDENT OF SENATE

APOLOGIES RECEIVED FROM CABINET MINISTERS

      THE HON. PRESIDENT OF SENATE:  With me I have a list

of Hon. Ministers who sent in their apologies, Hon. V. Matemadanda, Deputy Minister of Defence and War Veterans Affairs, Hon. N.M.

Ndlovu, Deputy Minister of Industry and Commerce, Hon. S.B. Moyo,

Foreign Affairs Minister, Hon. Prof. Mthuli. Ncube, Finance and Economic Development Minister and Hon. K. Kazembe, the Minister of

ICT and Courier Services.                 

ORAL ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS WITHOUT NOTICE

       HON. SEN. MOHADI:  Thank you Madam President.  My

question goes to the Minister of Primary and Secondary Education.   When we look at resettlement areas, our schools are far much apart-I do not know whether it is just a set up for the resettlement areas.  Most of our children in those areas are not going to school because of the distance.  What do you have in plan for the resettlement areas? I thank you.

THE MINISTER OF PRIMARY AND SECONDARY

EDUCATION (HON. PROF. MAVIMA):  Thank you Madam

President.  Indeed we have serious problems in resettlement areas.

Currently, we have about 1800 satellite schools mostly in those areas.  We have indicated that we need as quickly as possible to raise resources, maybe including third party resources, which means we have to call for investors to come and help provide those schools, especially in the resettlement areas.  Government as of now has been calling on communities to mobilize resources locally in order to build schools.

In our own way, we are just completing 17 schools that are spread across the country; very new schools.  I know for example that

Mashonaland West has four of those, Mashonaland Central has three, Mashonaland East has one, Manicaland has two, Matabeleland South has one, Matabeleland North has three and Midlands has two.  Masvingo has two in the area in which people from Tokwe Mukorsi were resettled.

So, we have done 17 but it is a far outcry of what we need as a nation.  So we really need to gather resources in order to provide schools in those areas.  We have a shortage of about 2000 schools nationwide and these are needed now.  So, we have to be innovative.  We have written to the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development suggesting a way in which we can attract investment and third party funds so that we can expedite the provision of schools, especially in the resettlement areas.

ANNOUNCEMENT BY THE HON. PRESIDENT OF SENATE

SWITCHING OFF OF CELL PHONES

THE HON. PRESIDENT OF SENATE:  Before we proceed

Hon. Members, can I remind you that when we are in the House, we put our cell phones on silent or we switch them off.  I am reminding those who may think their phones are okay to check their cell phones.  This is because I do not want to fight with you; I will send you out.

HON. SEN. MOHADI:  Minister, I talked about resettlement

areas.  You find that in some of the resettlement areas, the enrolment is very low yet the distances are far much apart.  What plans do you have pertaining those issues?  Thank you.

THE HON. PRESIDENT OF SENATE:  Hon. Senator, I

thought the Minister answered you.  Is it different from what you have asked from the beginning?

                 THE MINISTER OF PRIMARY AND SECONDARY

EDUCATION (HON. PROF. MAVIMA):  Thank you Madam

President.  The issue of low enrolment is a headache for us. In

Matabeleland South for example, we are running some schools with less than 100 learners.  In fact, there are two problems that result from there.  If a school has 100 learners or less and it has ECD to Grade 7 - it has the problem of not having a teacher for each of the classes.  You will find, based on the calculations that take place at the Public Service Commission (PSC), they may say that such a school should have only two teachers because of the numbers of learners.

So in situations like that, the school will not have enough  teachers to take all the classes and there are a lot of inefficiencies because maybe all the learners may be combined in one class and it becomes a nightmare for the teacher or two teachers to really deliver on the curriculum.  It is something that we are struggling with but at secondary school, what we have done is to come up with a model for low cost body.  This means that we can bring in more numbers to the single school and the learners stay there.  So we can enrol from many communities to that one school and then the school becomes a bit more viable.  Otherwise it is something that we are struggling with, where we are considering models such as study groups – but those are some of the challenges we face.

I would be lying to you if I were to say that we have a comprehensive answer as of now.  We need to think in terms of how to make the school viable and provide sufficient teachers, even though we have low numbers because some of the classes will have five to 10 learners and it does not justify deploying a teacher fully based on the ratios that we are been provided by the Public Service Commission.  So it is a headache that we still have.

THE HON. PRESIDENT OF SENATE:  Thank you, in the

Senate, we now have the Leader of the House and Minister of Justice,

Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, Hon. Ziyambi; the Deputy Minister of

Home Affairs, Hon. Madiro; the Deputy Minister Youth, Sport, Arts and

Recreation, Hon. Simbanegavi and the Minister of State for Provincial

Affairs, Midlands Province, Hon. Mavhima.  You are welcome Hon.

Ministers.

HON. SEN. CHIEF MAKUMBE:  My question is directed to the

Minister of Primary and Secondary Education.  Minister, schools are about to open and the grapevine is that most schools have increased their fees by tremendous amounts.  Is there anything that the Minister or the ministry is doing to alleviate the plight of the parents whose children need to attend school in terms of fees because they have increased almost hundredfold in some instances and it is a big worry since most parents are civil servants?

THE MINISTER OF PRIMARY AND SECONDARY 

EDUCATION (HON. PROF. MAVIMA):  Thank you Madam

President. Let me also thank the Hon. Senator for the question.

There are schools, Madam President that we control as Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education with regard to fees.  All Government and faith-based schools - maybe it is because of the fact that we contribute as Government towards the payment of their teachers and also provide assistance through the Basic Education Assistance Model (BEAM).  So those, before they increase their fees, have to seek the authority of the Secretary for Primary and Secondary Education.  There are schools that we do not have direct control over and these are the private schools.  The ones that are run by Trusts – there are a number but now many.  I think that they are not upwards of 70 in the country and these private schools are the ones that have increased to astronomical levels.

Under the current Act, I think what was known as the price – I am  not sure about the specific name but there was a commission that was supposed to look into the affairs of such schools and indeed commercial entities, in general, to ensure that the consumers of different services were not being disadvantaged through unreasonable price increments. In the coming Act we are suggesting that the Competitiveness Commission should take on that role.  So where we control the increments have largely been reasonable and have also taken consideration of the fact that since October 2018, there have been increases in the prices of goods and services that are essential to the optimal running of schools.  In our boarding schools, the price of food has gone up, including the price of different kinds of consumables that our schools use has also gone up.

We have therefore allowed modest fee increases.  There are a few  examples where the fees have increased from something like $600.00 to $800.00 and some have increased from about $800.00 to $1 200.00.

There is another spectre that we want to control – some schools have sought increases in their fees, levies and boarding fees but have gone in almost like a clandestine way to do a further increase by demanding groceries from parents and the lists are just out of this world.  We are working to make sure that that does not exist, especially in the schools that we control.

In the private schools, you will actually find that the parents’ body  sits together with the responsible authority and they say we want this amount.  For example one school is now charging RTGs $35 000.00 per term and you go there and you are made to understand that it was a mutual agreement between the parents and the school. You get a few odd parents who then come and say we were not part of that agreement, but again traditionally those have not been under the control of the Ministry as far as the fees are concerned.

*HON. SEN. CHIEF MAKUMBE: My supplementary question

is: will the increase in school fees not affect the standard of education in our country? As a Ministry what are they doing to make sure education is accessed by all?

*HON. PROF. MAVIMA: Let me start by saying the high

standard of education in this country will always be there. Government and mission schools must apply to the Permanent Secretary if they want to increase their school fees. The Permanent Secretary will look at the request and take into consideration whether the increase is in the best interest of all parties concerned. That is the job of the Permanent Secretary, together with his provincial staff and inspectors.

Quite often we have succeeded in regulating the fees that are charged at our schools. In the past we had a problem with some schools which were compelling parents to buy school uniform at their schools. This in our view was a way of raising extra income for the schools.  Our view is that schools should raise their fees, taking into consideration all the price adjustments that have been going on since October 2018. Yes, we want the schools to raise their fees but at the same time we are aware that the parents are burdened with other things. So we need to strike a balance. Some schools may want to charge as much as $2000 but it is the duty of the Permanent Secretary to bring down the figure to $1300. That is how the Permanent Secretary works. If parents do not support the school by paying fees, that is when the standards will go down. I thank you.

*HON. SEN. HUNGWE: Hon. Minister, are you using the

Education Act to regulate the conduct of schools in this country because it seems no one is following the law?

*HON. PROF. MAVIMA: These private schools have been in

existence for a very long time. If you look at schools like Peter House, they have been there for a long period of time. These are the schools which a parent actually signs a contract to say that they have agreed to enroll their child at the school and will pay all the necessary fees on time. A lot of people who send their children to these schools actually prefer to pay these kinds of amounts. It is only a few who do not agree wholly with what the schools will be charging.

Let me say that the curriculum that is taught in those schools in regulated by the Permanent Secretary in our Ministry. Our DSI also conduct visits to inspect how they are teaching the children there. But one thing I can tell you is that we do not have the power to control the fees that they are charging at those schools. That is why I said the commissions were responsible for controlling those schools.  These commissions were repealed and in the new Education Act we want the  commission to see whether the rights of people are not being violated. As a Government we control all what is happening at these other schools that I have mentioned. I thank you.

HON. SEN. P. NDLOVU: My question is directed to the Leader of the House. What is Government policy on settlement of transactions for goods and services?  I thank you.

THE HON. PRESIDENT OF SENATE:  If you can ask again

Hon. Senator.

HON. SEN. P. NDLOVU:  I said what is the Government policy on settlement of transactions for goods and services in Zimbabwe?

zvema Ecocash necash.”

         THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND

PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI):  Thank you

Madam President.  I want to thank the Hon. Member for the question.  We recently introduced as legal tender our own currency which is in two parts; the electronic part and the bond notes.  These are the legal tenders that are allowed to be used in Zimbabwe.  The electronic part we have the RTGs transactions where you do the internet transactions or through the ZIPIT platform or you can use the ecocash platform.  Those are the legal platforms that are available for use in Zimbabwe I thank you.

*HON. SEN. P. NDLOVU:  Thank you.  My supplementary question is, a lot of companies do not accept swipe or ecocash; they want cash.  What are we supposed to do in Zimbabwe?

*HON. ZIYAMBI:  Thank you Madam President.  Like I said before, in this country we accept our local currency, which includes Ecocash and transfers.  If there are people who are refusing, they are breaking the law.  What is now needed is to report those people like what was done to service stations.  In Mashonaland Central those who were refusing electronic transfers, we closed those service stations.  If you report those cases, investigations will be made.  Thank you.

*HON. SEN. ENG. MUDZURI:  Thank you Madam President.  I would want to ask the Minister whether Government institutions have point of sale machines or accept ecocash.  I am asking this because there is no cash in banks.  For example, institutions like GMB do not accept ecocash; they accept swipe.  Is barter trade acceptable?  What I would want to understand is whether Government institutions have gadgets such as point of sale machines.  If they do not have them, they have no right to arrest people.

THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND

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

you Madam President.  I would also want to thank the Hon. Member for his question on whether Government has point of sale machines.  My answer is, if I come here, I explain Government policy.  If you want to know whether in the Ministry of Education they have point of sale machines, you go to the Ministry and write down.  The Minister comes with statistics and presents them.  For me to give the statistics, I will be lying to this House.

*HON. SEN. ENG. MUDZURI:  Madam President, the Minister does not want to give us an answer on whether these gadgets are there.  He is the Leader of Government business.  This means he has to know.  I gave an example of GMB and other Government institutions that they do not accept ecocash.  These things are happening and I am asking him. If he does not know as the Leader of Government business in the House, will we go to each and every Ministry?  We want him to answer as the Leader of Government business.

THE HON. PRESIDENT OF SENATE:  I understand what you

are saying.  In here we ask policy questions.  Those are the ones that are responded to by the Leader of the House.  On the issue of swipe machines for example, he said that we expect that systems function normally.  For him to say go to the Ministry of Education, that is not a policy answer.  Let us help each other to ask policy issues.  Thank you.

*HON. SEN. ENG. MUDZURI:  We talk about Monetary Policy

to see how money is used.  Implementation is the result.  If you say it is not a policy issue to ask whether gadgets are there, I do not understand.

It is the Government’s job to ensure that the things are there.  We now have over a year using those gadgets.  He is not supposed to tell us to go to each and every Ministry. It is our job to interrogate to see how things are happening.

*THE HON. PRESIDENT OF SENATE:  May we understand

each other Hon. Senator.  I am saying, you have been answered well.

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

My question is directed to the Minister of Primary and Secondary Education.  What is the policy on money coming from SIG, like the money used to buy furniture and building of ablution facilities but the schools will not have buildings to put that furniture?  Those who are providing money, why can they not solve issues that are affecting schools?

THE MINISTER OF PRIMARY AND SECONDARY

EDUCATION (HON. PROF. MAVIMA):  Thank you Madam

President, SIG stands for School Improvement Grant.  These are funds that come from our development partners.  The money is managed by UNICEF under the programme named Education Development Fund

(EDF).  These can also be funds that we receive from Global Partnership for Education.  This money in most cases is $3000 per school. We usually disburse to about 6 000 schools.  This money cannot sustain the education system in Zimbabwe because it is accessed through our efforts as a country.  It is disbursed with the condition that we buy books to complement the books in schools and conduct school refurbishments.

We need to source for more funds that are directed at putting infrastructure in our schools.  Those who want to assist can do so but it is our duty to build the foundation of our education system as these funds are just there to assist. The money that we accumulate as Government and parents is about RTGs $3 billion.  The money that we get as donations can be $40 to $50 million annually and we use this money to assist in addition to what we would have accumulated.  I thank you.

*HON. SEN. KOMICHI:  My question is directed to the Leader of Government Business.  Is it Government policy that there is an armed force that abducts people during the night, beating and dumping them or intimidating civil servants?  An Hon. Minister was recently quoted by a newspaper in Mutare saying that all civil servants are ZANU PF by virtue of being Government employees and this instilled fear in people.  Again, those who are responsible for the abductions are not being arrested.  Is it Government policy to use the militia?

*THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND

PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI):  Thank you

Madam President and thank the Hon. Senator for posing the question.

Madam President, the question is not truthful and not expected from an

Hon. Senator who sits in Parliament.  The Hon. Senator should submit substantiated proof of the alleged abductions because Government is not involved in such nefarious activities, based on dubious allegations. – [HON. SENATORS: Hear, hear.] -  Some of these people would have run out of ideas and end up beating each other up in order to paint a gloomy picture of Zimbabwe to their foreign funders.

On the issue of civil servants, Madam President, all civil servants  anywhere in the world implement policies of the sitting Government.  When you are a civil servant and you do not want to implement the policies of the sitting Government, then you do not deserve to be a civil servant because you will not be able to implement what that particular Government wants.  I am surprised that there are civil servants who do not want to implement Government policies because when you are a civil servant, you are implementing ZANU PF policies through its manifestos as the ruling party.  Civil servants can only deviate from the current ZANU PF manifestos when a new Government comes into place.  I thank you.

*HON. SEN. MWONZORA:  My supplementary question to the Hon. Minister is, I think I heard you saying that there are some members of the Opposition or people who have run out of ideas who are abducting people.

My question is, have there been arrests of the Opposition or any member of the public who perpetrated the abductions?  If not, why is

Government not penalising the culprits if they are not the instigators?

*HON. ZIYAMBI:  Thank you Madam President and thank you Hon. Senator for the plausible question.  Madam President, no arrests have been effected simply because no reports would have been made to the police to that effect. The police can only enforce laws upon getting leads from the victims.

I mentioned that it is people who have run out of ideas because some people are not alleging it was Government perpetrated when they lack substantiated proof to that effect just to please their masters.  I did not name anyone but some people want to please their masters and then they abduct and beat each other up.  When two people beat each other up and do not report then how will Government know?  Government cannot witch-hunt in order for it to know what transpired.  I thank you

*HON. SEN. KOMICHI:  My supplementary question to the Hon. Minister is, does the Hon. Minister mean that for the first time the new dispensation of the Zimbabwe Government now permits

Zimbabweans to move around with fire arms, beating up people, you do not investigate or care because it does not concern you? – [HON.

SENATORS: Hear, hear.] –

*THE HON. PRESIDENT OF SENATE:  Was that a

supplementary question - that is a new thing.

*HON. ZIYAMBI:  Thank you Madam President.  The

Government cares for its citizenry and has recently increased the number of roadblock sites in order to conduct searches to ascertain that no one is carrying firearms.  Anyone with information relating to the whereabouts of people with guns, the Government has to investigate and bring to book those culprits. Government wants to see its citizens living in peace and harmony. It is the duty of Government to put roadblocks in order to sniff out all the unruly elements in the society.  I thank you.

*HON. SEN. ENG. MUDZURI: On a point of order. I appeal to

the House not to develop the spirit of “them and us”. I want to say that the security of the people is in danger as I speak right now. Let us not debate this matter on a partisan basis. The Minister is speaking as if it is the problem of the opposition members which cannot be solved. It looks like the laws are being applied selectively to the people of this country. I am saying that the answer that is being given here is not national. I am not satisfied with the answers that are being given here.

*THE HON. PRESIDENT OF SENATE: We are on question

time and you are now depriving others of questions. You are now repeating the same question. Could you please put your supplementary question –because to me as I am presiding over this House, the Minister answered your question fully. The Minister actually said if there is anyone who has seen people moving around with guns, please report to the nearest police. I do not know which answer you want.  You want a certain answer which I do not know.

*HON. SEN. ENG. MUDZURI: Madam President, what I am

saying here is not a joke.

*THE HON. PRESIDENT OF SENATE: Even me I am not

joking. I am presiding and now I want to ask you to take your seat.

Please resume your seat.

*HON. SHUMBA: My question is directed to the Minister of Primary and Secondary Education. What is Government policy with regards to the availability of science laboratories in primary schools?

*THE MINISTER OF PRIMARY AND SECONDARY

EDUCATION (HON. PROF. MAVIMA):  Thank you Madam

President. There are a lot of programmes that are in place which promote the teaching of science in our schools. I wish to inform the Senate that we have rolled out 3500 science kits in all primary schools. The distribution of these kits has already started in all the provinces. On 20 September 2019 we are going to have a ceremonial launch in Harare Province.

This programme is aimed at stimulating the teaching of science at primary school level. On 18 September 2019, His Excellency, the President will commission the 17 schools that are under construction and the commissioning ceremony will be in Gokwe North at a school called Budiriro Primary School.  We have adopted a policy where at each primary school we would like to see the deployment of a mobile science lab. Six of the secondary schools that we have built are being fitted with fully fledged science laboratories.

We are also planning to construct 100 schools and these schools will be fitted with science laboratories. We have also adopted a policy where we intend to equip 66 schools in rural areas with science laboratories so that our schools may become science hubs in each district.  These are some of the programmes that we have. We need to mobilise resources so that we can have enough infrastructure to sustain the standard of education in this country. I thank you.

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

Leader of the House. What is the policy of Government with regards to maintaining and repairing tractors for the upcoming agricultural season?

*THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND

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

the Hon. Senator for her question. Government is targeting to acquire tractors and centre pivots so as to improve the irrigation capacity in the country. We are looking at having at least 200 ha per district. Coming back to her question on how some tractors can be repaired, that question has to be put in writing.  The Minister when he comes will be able to talk with the relevant department so that he can give a clear answer on what is being done to repair those tractors.  Thank you.

HON. SEN. CHIEF MATUPULA:  Thank you very much

Madam President.  My question is directed to the Minister of Primary and Secondary Education.  We have a lot of our people who are working in the diaspora in many places.  Of late, bogus people have come up printing fake qualifications, and forging O’ Level, A’ Level, degree and other certificates.  In what ways can prospective employers from outside verify these qualifications which will be purported to be coming from our schools and universities.  Thank you.

THE MINISTER OF PRIMARY AND SECONDARY EDUCATION (HON. MAVIMA):  Thank you Madam President.  I

have heard stories and complaints overseas about such fake certificates. I cannot speak about what processes and procedure followed in other countries.  Here we have a mechanism where we verify certificates that are coming from outside.  Unfortunately, it is not my portfolio.  It is within the Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education Science and Technology Development.  However, the fact that there are those outside, it actually means that the various jurisdictions where maybe some Zimbabweans are going and presenting certificates also have mechanisms there to verify to see if those certificates are genuine.

It is not all negative by the way.  It is a positive – negative in the sense that it is also saying that the Zimbabwean qualification is highly valued.  A lot of people are actually going out of their way to forge certificates coming from Zimbabwe.  As to how other countries do it, I am not sure, but here we always look at qualifications coming from outside to make sure that they are consistent with our own standards and also to make sure that they are genuine, but it is the responsibility of the

Higher and Tertiary Education Science and Technology Development Ministry.  Thank you.

Questions Without Notice were interrupted by THE DEPUTY

PRESIDENT OF SENATE in terms of Standing Order No. 62.

HON. SEN. B. MPOFU:  Mr. President, I move that we extend

Question Time by another 10 minutes.

HON. SEN. SHOKO:  I second.

THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE:  We extend

by 15 minutes.

HON. SEN. B. MPOFU:  My question was initially directed to the Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development, but since the Minister is not around, I will direct it to the Leader of the House.  It has now been published that a 6 km road work is taking 15 months.  My question is, does the Government of this day have a programme for Harare to Beitbridge road works?  How many decades will it take looking at extrapolating from what has been published?  How many decades will it take for the Beitbridge to Harare road to be completed?

Thank you.

THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND

PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI):  Thank you Mr.

President.  I want to thank the Hon. Member for the question.  Mr.

President, the two roads have got different terrains.  I wish the Hon. Member had visited the area that we got a grant to ensure that we improve the 6 km stretch.  It was a death trap.  If you recall Hon. President, a few years ago, the Lion King Bus – a lot of our people perished there.  So we have got a grant to ensure that we widen it.  They have to navigate through mountains and valleys to ensure that the road is widened. So for the Hon. Senator to compare construction work that is going to happen in an area which is mountainous with valleys to the Beitbridge road, I think it is unfortunate.  I am not sure where the comparison is coming from.

Coming to the second part of the question, the Harare to Beitbridge road is already under construction.  Those that have driven along this road will tell you that after Beatrice there are some works that are happening.  I understand also after Chivhu there are some works that are happening.  We are doing it in phases.  We decided as a Government that we have to do it on our own and the Minister responsible through ZINARA will mobilize funds so that we can do that road.  It is now work in progress but the timeline will depend on the availability of funds as we do it in stages, looking at those areas that we feel are more dangerous.  The areas will be given priority until we complete the road.

I thank you.

HON. SEN. B. MPOFU:  I think the Minister did not answer my question.  My question is, how many decades will it take for the

Beitbridge to Harare dual carriageway to be completed?

THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE:  The

Minister answered your question, he did.

*HON. SEN. CHIEF NGEZI:  Thank you Mr. President. My question is directed to the Deputy Minister of Home Affairs.  What programmes do you have as Government to preserve sacred areas and identifying them?

*THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF HOME AFFAIRS AND

CULTURAL HERITAGE (HON. MADIRO):  Thank you Mr.

President.  I would like to thank Hon. Sen. Chief Ngezi for raising that question.  Sacred places are preserved according to Government policy in conjunction with our traditional leaders, chiefs, as well as other local leadership.  They are the ones who know our culture and how it should be practiced.  Hon. Senator, if there are some sacred places that are unknown to Government then people should submit such information to

Government so that Government can take steps to preserve those areas.

I thank you.

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

Leader of the House.  Hon. Minister, according to policy – it is supposed to be improved in cases where it is not helpful.  People are suffering out there due to the prevailing economic challenges, especially as pertains the continuous fuel price increments.  What is Government policy in terms of revising its policies so that peoples’ livelihoods can be improved?  What can we say Hon. Minister, do you really want to increase the price of fuel to $17.00 so that people can know and plan in advance?

         THE MINISTER OFJUSTICE, LEGAL AND

PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI):  Thank you Mr.

President – I appreciate the question that has been raised.  Government policy that was put in place was in accordance to the national budget as expounded in the Transitional Stabilisation Programme (TSP).

The Minister of Finance and Economic Development explained that we have to engage in austerity measures like these times.  Maybe the Hon. Senator did not take these words seriously but these are the times that we are in.  When the TSP was released, there were no promises that life would not be difficult.  We debated extensively on the fact that there would be difficulties in the economy.  This policy is very good in that the future is bright.

Mr. President, allow me to say that when we were trading in United States Dollars, prices of most commodities were now very expensive but now, as we use our local currency, prices have improved.  One good thing that we did was to re-introduce our local currency so that we can plan for the economy.  I would like to urge the Hon. Senator to be strong and impact to people that we have a bright future ahead of us.  I thank you.

HON. SEN. B. MPOFU:  Mr. President, given what the Hon.

Minister has said. I am sorry I am not going to speak in Shona because I am not proficient in the language.

THE DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE:  No, no, you can

speak in English – there is no problem.

HON. SEN. B. MPOFU:  My question is that the United States Dollar or whatever currency we are using at the moment is floating.  A floating currency is not predictable and since it is not predictable, my question is, are the fuel prices going to continue being pegged on an unstable currency or Government has a programme – that is what I feel the Hon. Senator Wunganayi wanted to ask that is there …

THE DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE:  Order, order, Hon.

Sen. Mpofu may you please ask your question.

HON. SEN. B. MPOFU:  Thank you Mr. President, the question is, what my Hon. colleague asked was, does Government have a programme in terms of fuel price increases or decreases within the next six months in order for businesses to make decisions?  The reason being that if they are only pegging that to the United States Dollar – which is floating …

THE DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE:  Order, order, I

think you have asked your question.

HON. SEN. B. MPOFU:  Thank you, fair enough.

THE MINISTER OFJUSTICE, LEGAL AND

PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI):  Thank you Hon.

President, I want to thank the Hon. Senator.  Firstly, I want to say that all currencies float so the question of a currency floating or not where you have several currencies and you are trading among yourselves as nations then the interbank exchange rates will apply.  What we are doing is the price of fuel will be determined after doing all the cost build ups.  Like I indicated, we are going through a process of transition from using the United States Dollar to our own currency and we are almost getting there.

I think that everyone knows that there was a time when the exchange rate was moving at very alarming rate but now it is kind of stabilising.  As we move forward and as our programme takes shape, you will find the exchange rate stabilising and things will stabilise.  This is part of the transitional stabilisation programme that we introduced to ensure that we come out from the situation that we were in.  So definitely, things are going to stabilise within a matter of time.  I thank you.

ORAL ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS WITH NOTICE

POLICY REGARDING SCHOOL DROP-OUTS

  1. HON. SEN. CHIEF CHIKWAKA asked the Minister of

Primary and Secondary Education to advise on Government’s policy regarding students who dropped out of school due to the fact that their parents could not afford to pay incentives that were required by teachers before the year 2013, resulting in such students being a menace to the communities.

THE MINISTER OF PRIMARY AND SECONDARY

EDUCATION (HON. PROF. MAVIMA):  Thank you Hon. President.

Hon. President, the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education has not recorded cases of dropouts that are directly linked to incentives.

However, in the event that a child drops out of school for some reasons, the ministry is ready to re-admit the learner.  The learner can be admitted via the formal route or through the non-formal wing.

In fact, our non-formal wing can accommodate any learner, regardless of age.  So all learners and other stakeholders who are interested in acquiring certain skills or those who want to supplement their ‘O’ level and ‘A’ level subjects are free to join any of our schools that offer the non-formal wing.  In many cases, Mr. President, the school going age children who enter or re-enter through the non-formal route end up being admitted into the formal route.  I thank you.

STRATEGIES TO ADDRESS CURRENT ELECTRICITY

CHALLENGES

  1. HON. SEN. MAVETERA asked the Minister of Energy and

Power Development to inform the House the strategies in place to address the current electricity challenges faced by the country and state when the power outages are expected to end and the situation returns to normalcy, thereby facilitating industrial production.

THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF ENERGY AND POWER

DEVELOPMENT (HON. MUDYIWA): Let me start by saying I

would like to inform the House that Government is putting in place strategies to improve the power supply situation in the country. The following capacity expansion strategies for both Brown and Greenfield projects have been identified for development to enhance power supply.

Some of the projects are under TSP Priority Programmes.

For short terms measures, we have refurbishment of power plants. These we are referring to Hwange and small thermal power stations. Part of the works includes life extension works at Hwange Power Station units and repowering of the small thermal power stations in Harare, Bulawayo and Munyati.  Refurbishment of Hwange Unit 6 is expected to add 170MW to the grid. Unit 6 has been down since March and work is commencing on that unit in September. Once it is completed we will have 170MW added on to our grid.

We also have imports and bilateral arrangements where Zimbabwe is a member of SAPP which allows electricity trading between SADC members states and participation in the SAPP market. We also buy electricity on the DAM which is the day-ahead-market, which requires pre-funding to bid for electricity. Electricity is much cheaper and guaranteed but this requires foreign currency.

We also have electricity available during off peak periods which can be accessed by the country at affordable tariffs. This can allow the utility to save water at Kariba for use during peak hours. However, there is need to avail foreign currency for the purchase of power again. We also have imports from Mozambique HCB and Eskom of South Africa where the Government intervened. At the moment we are importing electricity from Eskom. Successful negotiations’ based on payment plans to settle the debt have yielded between 150MW and 400MW of power.  Cabinet has also approved that ZETDC can ring fence large scale power  consumers which generate foreign currency. This will assist ZETDC to import power for use locally through SAPP and DAM.

We also have the restoration of value to ZESA which was done through the increase in tariffs though it is not what we really expected but there is something in that area where ZESA now can raise some funds to meet its operational obligations. We also have net metering opportunities for industry where we are encouraging private companies or households to have solar panels installed at their roof tops. Through that facility if you have got excess electricity, you apply to have the net metering opportunity where the excess electricity can be transmitted onto grid and ZESA should pay for that electricity. We are encouraging mining companies, industries and farmers to follow suit on that one.          We also have renewable energy where we are encouraging households and companies to adopt the renewable energy where we install solar panels to generate electricity for our own use at our places. Globally renewable energy cost has significantly dropped according to the international renewable energy agency. The reduction is approximately 80% for solar panels since 2009. It is worthwhile to adopt these technologies even it appears that the initial cost is high compared to other alternatives such as diesel. The running costs and maintenance costs are much lower in the long run.

As Government we have also come up with renewable energy policy which will be launched very soon where we are encouraging individuals and companies to go the renewable energy way which is clean energy.

On the demand side management we are encouraging that we have pre paid meters where the utility has installed about 650 000 pre paid meters and more are expected to be installed in the near future but the challenge is foreign currency to buy the pre paid meters. We also have energy efficiency lighting where Government has outlawed the use of inefficient light bulbs in favour of energy efficient light emitting bulbs in order to reduce demand in building and household levels.

We are also promoting the use of solar geysers in place of electric geysers for water heating. Statistics compiled so far indicate that from January to April 2019 up to 3000 solar geysers have been installed. We are also encouraging switch-off switches at our homes.

In the medium to long term, we have Hwange 7 and 8 expansions where the project is expected to add 600MW into the national grid. The first unit is set to be commissioned by end of 2021 and the second unit in

Batoka Hydroelectric project

    The country is also pursuing the development of the 1200MW

Batoka Gorge Hydroelectric Project under a Build Operate and Transfer

(BOT) model.  It is anticipated that before the end of 2019, the Zambezi River Authority (ZRA), the implementing entity for the project, would have identified the project developer.

IPP Projects

         Mr. President Sir, the Senate should also take note that the Government has licenced a number of large scale thermal power projects such as Sengwa that are expected to come online in the long term.  There are several individuals who have been issued with licences to develop power plants; thermal, solar and hydro power plants.

Grid Fortification

In carrying out all the above projects and programmes, it is important that the transmission infrastructure connecting into the SAPP and East Africa Power Pool is reinforced and upgraded to tap into the excess power available within that region.  Generally, private sector has a role to play in upgrading the grid.  Modalities can then be worked on by the investor and ZETDC on ways on how to recoup their investments.

Energy Resource Plan

         Mr. President Sir, the Senate should also appreciate that from a planning and policy perspective, the Ministry is in the process of developing the National Integrated Energy Resource Plan (NIERP) that will allow systematic development of the power sector where projects will be implemented through a competitive procurement process and not through unsolicited bids.

As for the last part of the question where the Hon. Senator wants to know when power outages are going to end, I cannot give the exact time when it is going to end, but it depends on how we are going to implement the short term and the long term measures.

HON. SEN. B. MPOFU:  The Minister said that the private sector can apply to actually get solar energy into the grid.  How long does it take for the private sector to do that?  My experience is that it takes months and possibly over a year.  Can the Minister talk to us about the service agreement process for this arrangement?  Thank you.

THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF ENERGY AND POWER

DEVELOPMENT (HON. MUDYIWA):  Thank you Hon. Senator for

that question.  We have got the Zimbabwe Energy Regulatory Authority (ZERA), which issues the licences.  According to their operational modalities, it used to take six months to process but we are trying to review that so that we take a shorter period.  This is because when one applies for a licence, they have to identify the land and the land has to be cleared with the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Water, Climate and Rural Resettlement.  There has to be an Environmental Impact Assessment done by EMA and there is also supposed to be a power purchase agreement with the ZETDC.  This process usually takes more than six months and we are trying to shorten the period so that we process everything.  This was being done manually and we are trying to computerize everything so that the process takes shorter periods.

RECTIFICATION OF THE ELECTRICITY FAULT AT CHIEF MATIBE’S HOMESTEAD

  1. HON. MOHADI asked the Minister of Energy and Power Development to inform the Senate when the electricity fault at Chief Matibe’s homestead will be rectified.

THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF ENERGY AND POWER DEVELOPMENT (HON. MUDYIWA):  Mr. President, I would like

the Senate to take note that the work required to restore supplies to Chief

Matibe’s homestead is relatively extensive.  A total of 30 poles were down and need to be changed. The poles have since been delivered and erected. The outstanding work that ZETDC are currently seized with is to clear 5km of the supply line before restoring the supplies.  The work is estimated to be completed by the end of this month.  Thank you Mr.

President.

POLICY REGARDING RECRUITMENT OF POLICE OFFICERS

  1.   HON. SEN. M. NDLOVU asked the Minister of Home

Affairs and Cultural Heritage to explain to the House the Government policy regarding recruitment of police officers, including academic qualifications, age and gender amongst other attributes.

I wish to thank the Hon. Senator for the question.  In order to be appointed into the Zimbabwe Republic Police, citizens must meet the following minimum requirements:

They should be of exemplary character; not less than 18 years and not more than twenty two years of age. Applications should posses 5 ordinary levels (including Mathematics, English and Science subjects) attained in not more than two sittings. Aspiring candidates should also pass pre-entry aptitude tests.

Cognizant that recruitment is for persons suitable of joining the police service; potential candidates should have a good background with no criminal convictions.  As regards health requirements, applicants should be free from pulmonary tuberculosis; be physically fit, have a good eyesight and hearing without artificial aids, be free from chronic disease of the lungs or heart; be free from chronic disease of the lungs or heart, impaired general fingers, hernia; varicocele, hemorrhoids, chronic skin diseases, flat feet or any other disease or defect likely to render the candidate unfit for police duties.

Candidates wishing to join the police service are also expected to pass the Selection board interview. In terms of height, male applicants should be at least 168 cm tall without foot wear.  In addition, they should weigh not less than 59 kilograms. Female applicants should be at least 162 cm tall without footwear and should have a weight and chest measurement which is in proportion to their height.

Madam President, I wish to also advise the Hon. Senator that the Zimbabwe Republic Police also recruits from time to time persons who possess various technical skills as construction technicians; transport technicians, armaments technicians; laboratory technicians; state registered nurses; environment health technicians; dental therapists; signals; teachers; saddlers; caterers; tailors; printers and chaplains.  The entry requirements for technicians are that the potential candidates should have a minimum of 5 ordinary level passes at grade C or better, including English Language, Mathematics and Science taken at not more than two sittings.

Applicants should be holders of a Journeyman class one (for artisans) and a diploma or a certificate obtained at a recognised institute for other technical fields.  They should be aged between 18 and 40 years. The aspiring candidates should also have a clean background with no previous convictions or delinquent behaviour.  They are expected to pass selection board interviews as well as medical examinations. However, there are no height specifications for technicians. Madam President, these are the requirements for one to join the ZRP and serve the nation as a police officer.  I thank you Madam President.     

HON. SEN. MAVETERA:  My supplementary question pertains to the issue of height and weight whether there is any evidence – 168cm it means that I will not qualify to be a policeman.  I would urge the ministry to relook at those policies because nowadays we deal with Body Mass Index (BMI).  I think that is much more scientific than the height because I believe that it is discriminatory to say just because I am not 168 then I am automatically disqualified.  We should not enforce such discriminatory practices in this era and I think that it is something that needs urgent attention.  I thank you.

HON. MADIRO:  Thank you very much Mr. President.  The Hon.

Senator is giving us his expert opinion as a doctor on additional considerations but what I have read out are the current requirements for one to qualify.  However, we will improve as time goes on and take those proposals into account. I thank you.

HON. SEN. B. MPOFU:  My Hon. Senator has already

highlighted the issue of discrimination and I think that for the Hon. Minister to say he has to look into it with some hindsight or whatever is not satisfactory to me because it is really discriminatory.  I am 167 cm, in terms of my height, and for anyone at least in this day and age to do that – I think it is inappropriate and something that has got to be looked at urgently rather than the Hon. Minister to say that it is something that they will look at in hindsight.

THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE:  Order, order

Hon. Senator Mpofu, I think you are well-intentioned.  The Hon. Minister has admitted that it is something that they were not aware of …

HON. SEN. B. MPOFU:  I understand Mr. President but the Hon.

Minister said that …

THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE:  Order,

order, but I have not even finished what I wanted to say and you are already standing up.  I want to say that the Hon. Minister has explained that he has taken note of what Hon. Sen. Mavetera raised.

It is a ministry and he cannot just say that from now onwards we have changed and are now going to follow this.  He cannot do that because this is a ministry and Government.  There are statutes that govern the running of the ministry.  I think that he has acknowledged the new dimension that has been brought up and for sure – it is a new dimension that they are going to take on board. I thank you.

HON. B. MPOFU:  Mr. President on a point of order!  Question

Number 1, has been appearing on the Order Paper since the 1st November, 2018.  I think that it is not only inappropriate but for a question to stay in this House for more than four months says a lot about the respect the Hon. Minister tasked with the question has for this House.

THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE:  Thank you

Hon. Sen. Mpofu – I agree with you.  It is very unfortunate that the question has been on the Order Paper for that long.  We are going raise the issue with the relevant authorities.

WRITTEN ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS WITH NOTICE

GENDER EQUALITY ON APPOINTMENT OF COMMISSIONERS

TO INDEPENDENT COMMISSIONS

  1. HON. SEN. CHIMBUDZI asked The Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs to explain the measures being taken to ensure gender equality in the appointment of Commissioners to independent commissions.

 

 

PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI):  May I applaud

Hon. Sen. Chimbudzi for posing a very pertinent question relating to the measures being taken to ensure gender equality in the appointment of Commissioners to Independent Commissions.  In 2013, Zimbabwe enacted a new Constitution including stronger gender equality provisions that outlaw discrimination against women.  The Constitution promotes women’s full participation in all aspects of society and abolishes all “laws, customs, traditions and practices” that infringe upon women’s rights and equality with men.  The Constitution’s mandate for gender equality is reflected in the appointment of women as Commissioners for Independent Commissions.

The appointment and tenure of Independent Commissions’ staff is a pre-requisite to their independence.  Therefore, my Ministry does not in any way interfere with the process of appointing commissioners.  As such, the Standing rules and Orders Committee of the Parliament of

Zimbabwe is mandated in terms of Sections 237,238,242,245,248 and 251 of the Constitution to nominate candidates for appointment by the President to serve as Commissioners on the Independent Commissions provided for in Chapter 12 of the Constitution, namely:

  1. The Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission;
  2. The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission;
  3. The Zimbabwe Gender Commission;
  4. The Zimbabwe Media Commission and
  5. The National Peace and Reconciliation Commission.

The Standing Rules and Orders Committee invites the public to nominate persons to be considered for appointment to these commissions.  Accordingly, my Ministry adheres to these legal provisions.  I thank you.

ENDING CHILD MARRIAGES

  1. HON. SEN. CHIMBUDZI asked The Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs to explain measures being taken to end child marriages which are on the rise in Zimbabwe.

PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI):  Madam

President, let me start by thanking Hon. Sen. Chimbudzi for posing a very important question pertaining to measures being taken to end child marriages which are on the rise in Zimbabwe.

It is indeed a fact that child marriages are rife in Zimbabwe.  This is so despite the fact that Section 78 of the Constitution accords marriage rights only to persons who have attained the age of 18 years.  Also Section 26(b) compels the State to take appropriate measures to ensure that children are not pledged in marriage.  The importance of ensuring that child marriages and any other vices inherent therein are eradicated in our country cannot be understated.

The Marriage Act regulates marriages.  Section 22 of the

Marriages Act stipulates that boys below the age of 18 and girls below

16 years can contract a marriage in terms of the Act only with the

Minister’s consent.  This Section is inconsistent with the provisions of

Section 78 of the Constitution.  It should be noted that this provision was ruled to be unconstitutional by the Constitutional Court as it allowed child marriages.  As Hon. Senators may know, the process of aligning legislation to the Constitution is ongoing and the Marriages Act is one of the Acts which are being aligned.  There is a Marriages Bill which will deal decisively with the issue of the prohibition of child marriages.  I thank you.

MOTION

BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE

THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND

PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI):  Mr. President, I

move that Orders of the Day, Numbers 1 to 7 be stood over until Orders of the Day, Numbers 8 and 9 have been disposed of.

Motion put and agreed to.

MOTION

RATIFICATION OF THE BEIJING TREATY ON AUDIO VISUAL

PERFORMANCES (2012)

 

PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): Mr. President, I

move the motion standing in my name;

 THAT WHEREAS Section 327 (2) (a) 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 of governments or international organisations shall be subject to approval by Parliament;

WHEREAS the Republic of Zimbabwe as a member to the World

Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO), signed the Beijing Treaty on

Audio Visual Performances (2012) on the 11th of December 2012.  On 5 July 2019 the Public Agreements Advisory Committee (PAAC) approved the recommendation for Zimbabwe to consider ratification of the treaty and on 30 July 2019 Cabinet approved the ratification of the Beijing Treaty by Zimbabwe.

WHEREAS the Republic of Zimbabwe is desirous of becoming party to the Beijing Treaty on Audio Visual Performances so that it raises the status of performers to professionals thereby improving their working conditions and to facilitate the promotion of the four kinds of economic rights to performers for their performances fixed on audio visual fixations namely; a) the right to reproduction; b) the right to distribution; c) the right to rental and the right to making available;

WHEREAS the Beijing Treaty on Audio Visual Performances (2012) recognises the rights of performers against unauthorised use of their performances and facilitates the protection of culture, folklore and cultural diversity by contributing to the protection of traditional cultural expressions and national folklore. It also helps strengthen and consolidate local audio visual industries as they join an international system of protection, thereby creating employment to scores of performers, technicians, musicians and actors;

WHEREAS the Republic of Zimbabwe is desirous of ratifying the

Beijing Treaty on Audio Visual Performances (2012);

 

WHEREAS the entry into force of the aforesaid treaty shall be conditional upon its ratification by Member States in accordance with their constitutional procedures;

NOW THEREFORE, in terms of Section 327 (2) (a) of the

Constitution of Zimbabwe, this House resolves that the aforesaid Agreement be and is hereby approved for ratification.  I thank you

Madam Speaker Ma’am.  Thank you Mr. President Sir.

HON. B. MPOFU:  On a point of order Mr. President Sir.  I think it is becoming systematic in this House that we are ambushed.  Yesterday, the Hon. Minister talked about what his intentions where today in terms of the Order that you are talking about, but what has happened is - I have been checking in my pigeonhole since last week – including the education one – it is not in our pigeonholes. I think that it is not fair for us to be taken for granted as Hon. Senators that papers that are supposed to be debated on in this House are not in our pigeonholes.

    THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE: If that is the

case, I think you are right. What I have here, because I specifically asked when I came in – I asked the Clerk who was here to confirm that these documents were distributed and I was given this list here after I asked. I have been advised that the Beijing Treaty on Audio Visual Performances was distributed on 7 August 2019 at 0900 hours in the pigeon holes. Serial No. 4 is the Beijing Treaty on Audio Visual Performances distributed on 7 August 2019. And then there is 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 and 10

Education Amendment Bill, the Minister’s Amendments distributed on 27 August 2019 at 1245 hours in the pigeon holes.

What it means is that there is something going wrong somewhere in the system. If you are not seeing these documents and I think an investigation is in order. I did query based on the experience which we had during the last sitting when we came. You can see that I am also concerned. What it means is that we will have to undertake some investigation to ensure and find out why these documents are not reaching Senators. We will do that.

THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE LEGAL AND

PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON ZIYAMBI):  I move that the House approves the Beijing Treaty for a number of reasons. The Beijing Treaty on Audio Visual performance will allow the raising of the status of performers to professional, which is a very good thing for our colleagues who are in the audio visual business. What it will do is that it will improve their working conditions and facilitate the promotion of economic rights of these performers.

It also recognises rights of performers against unauthorised use of their performance and facilitates protection of culture, folklore and cultural diversity. On top of that it also helps to consolidate local audio visual industries as they join an international system of protection. This will allow our audio visual industry to greatly improve. In a nutshell, this is what the treaty is about. It will actually help our performers like Macheso, because they will be very happy, because we would have joined the global community in ensuring that their rights protected and also it will enhance the integrity of the industry.

Treaties of this nature, we are just allowed either to approve or not and we cannot amend. There are several advantages in us approving this so that it can be ratified and it will ensure that our arts industry will have the requisite protection and it will be protected. I move that this house approve the Beijing Treaty on Audio Visual Performance so that our artists can join the global village and enjoy the benefits that arise out of it. I thank you.

HON. SEN. B. MPOFU: I would like to thank the Minister for the presentation that he has made. In my view what he has presented is actually not only remarkable but also very good in terms ensuring that the country sticks international standards. Unfortunately I did not have the document for me to actually interrogate the elements of the document enough to debate it. I am glad our country is moving to international standards. I thank you.

HON. SEN. MAVETERA: I would want to applaud the Minister

for making this presentation. I think it is long overdue that we should join the League of Nations where our artists are exposed to what is happening on the global arena. For years we have lost a lot of talent because our artist used to say there is no business taking this type of a profession because we were not exposed to the outside world.

I would definitely propose that the House do adopt the motion but under a caveat which I hope Mr President with your indulgence, I think this should be the last time when we are asked as a House to approve documents which we have not seen. I will no labour on it because you have already said it – we are doing it for the nation for us to really approve something outside - I think we are doing a shoddy job for the people who seconded us to this august House to preside over their affairs. I thank you.

THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND

PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): I just wanted to

respond to the debate and thank Hon. Mpofu and Hon. Mavetera for the compliment. Indeed this is a very good treaty and I just want to second what they have said. We indeed brought this treaty to Parliament some time ago for circulation to Hon Members and I agree with you that Hon Members must have it so that they will be able to explain what we are doing. You should be able to explain to the young artists what we have done as a country to ensure that their rights are protected.

I agree with that perhaps we need to have a look at it here at

Parliament why documents are not circulated on time so that the Hon Members will be able to debate freely with the documents at hand. I want to thank them. I agree that this is a very progressive piece of treaty that will enhance our image and the status of our performers. Therefore, I move that this House adopts the treaty.

Motion put and agreed to.

SECOND READING

EDUCATION AMENDMENT BILL [H. B. 1B, 2019]

          THE MINISTER OF PRIMARY AND SECONDARY

SCHOOLS (HON. PROF. MAVIMA):  Madam President, allow me

the opportunity to present the second reading speech of the Education Amendment Bill.  I am honoured to present to you the Education

Amendment Bill HB.1, 2019.  The Education Amendment Bill which was gazetted on 15th February 2019 has gone through the National Assembly and came out with amendments which are captured in the notice of amendments.  What it means is that the Bill is now in its refined form.  However, let me take this opportunity to say the Education Amendment Bill HB.1, 2019 seeks to address the shortcoming of the 2006 Education Act (Chapter 25:04).  The purpose of this Bill is to amend the Education Act [Chapter 25:04], to achieve the following principal objectives:

  1. the right to a basic State-funded education, including adult basic education, in respect of which the State is enjoined to take measures to progressively realise within the limits of the resources available to it (Section 75 (1) (a) and (4) of the Constitution.;
  2. the right to further education which the State is enjoined to make progressively available and accessible (Section 75 (1) (b) of the

Constitution);

  1. the importance of the best interests of the child Section 19 (1) of the Constitution), a child being a person under the age of 18 years

(Section 81 (1) of the Constitution);

  1. the rights of persons with disabilities to be provided with special facilities for their education and to State funded education and training where necessary (Section 83 (e) and (d) of the

Constitution;

  1. the right to human dignity (Section 51 of the Constitution);
  2. the right to freedom form physical or psychological torture or cruel or inhuman and degrading treatment or punishment (Section 53 of the Constitution);
  3. the right to equality and non-discrimination (Section 56 of the

Constitution);

  1. the right to language and culture (Section 63 of the Constitution) as read with Section 6 of the Constitution which prescribes the officially recognised languages.

In brief therefore, the bill amends various provisions of the Act so that it complies with these various provisions of the Constitution.  It is essential to note that because some of the rights are subject to the availability to the State of resources necessary to enable the enjoyment of the rights, the amendments have been couched so as to take this into account.  Similarly, it is also essential to take account of Section 86 of the Constitution with respect to what extent legislation may limit any rights.  In more detail the individual clauses of the Bill provides as follows:

  1. Clause 1 sets out the title of the Bill which is the Education

Amendment Bill.

  1. Clause 2 Definition of Terms – This clause inserts or amends certain definitions of words and phrases in the principal Act, for example Clause 2 seeks to repeal the word pre-school and substitute it with early childhood development, which refers to the physical, mental and social development of pupils between the ages of four and five years. The clause also provides for definition

of basic state funded education as education from EDC A to the 4th form and adult education up to grade seven.  The definition of Government school now includes local authority schools or any school established by a tier of government.

  • Clause 3 – Children’s Fundamental rights to education in

Zimbabwe.  This clause amends Section 4(2)(b) of the Principal Act by repealing it and inserting a new provision which ensures that no child is discriminated against by the imposition of onerous terms and conditions in regards to his/her admission to any school on the grounds of his or her nationality, race, colour, tribe, place of birth, ethnic or social origin, language, class, religious belief, political affiliation, opinion, custom, culture, sex, gender, marital status, age, pregnancy, disability or economic or social status or whether they were born in our out of wedlock.  This provision is in line with Section 56 (3) of the Constitution on the right to equality and non-discrimination.  There is also now a provision that every school shall provide sanitary-wear and other menstrual health facilities to girls.

  1. Clause 4 – Compulsory education. This clause seeks to repeal Section 5 of the Principal Act by inserting new section which provides that every child shall be entitled to basic state funded education.  The current Act states that primary education is compulsory and it is the duty of the parent of any child to make sure that such child attends primary school.  The new provision places an obligation on the State to fund basic education within the limit of the resources available to it and at the same time ensure progressive realisation of the right to education.  Every child is entitled to compulsory basic state funded education and it is the duty of every parent or guardian to make sure that a child attains basic education, failure to do so attracts a criminal sanction.
  2. Clause 5 – General Duty of Local Authorities. This clause seeks to amend Section 8 of the Principal Act, which mandated the Local Authorities the duty to establish and maintain primary schools that are accessible by all the children within its jurisdiction for purposes of ensuring fairness and equitable access to basic education.  The new provision now places the obligation to provide

land for the construction of school infrastructure to every local authority in Zimbabwe.  The new provision is a good development as it seeks to promote building or more schools in the country by private organisations and well-wishers.

  1. Clause 6 – Children’s entitlement to enrolment at nearest schools.

This clause seeks to introduce a new section which repeals Section 10 of the Principal Act on enrolment of school going children to the nearest school.  The Bill states that every child of school going age shall be entitled to enrolment at the nearest school to his/her residential place.  In the event that the school is fully enrolled, the head of that school shall certify that the school is fully enrolled and allow the possible next nearest school to enrol the child.

  • Clause 8 – Prescribing of fees at government schools. The clause repeals Section 13 (4) of the Principal Act and put a new insertion altogether mandating the Minister to take into consideration the location and status of school when prescribing new fees for government school.
  • Clause 9 – Registration of Non-governmental schools. The clause amends Section 15 of the Principal Act by inserting subsection (7) which makes it mandatory for non-governmental or private schools to pay a registration and annual fee as may be prescribed from time to time by the Minister.  Government and non-profit making faithbased schools are excluded from the payment of registration and annual fees.
  1. Clause 10 – Adult Education. The clause amends Section 25 of the Act by inserting paragraph (c) which makes it mandatory for every school to offer non-formal education including adult education, subject to the availability of resources.  Thus the provision ensures equal access to education by all.
  2. Clause 11 – Meeting and Procedure of Board. Clause 11 amends

Section 33 (1) of the Act which allows the National Education

Advisory Board to meet as and when the Minister may decide.  The new provision mandates the Board to meet quarterly or any other shorter period as the Minister may fix.

  1. Clause 12 – Languages to be taught in Schools. This clause repeals Section 62 of the Act, which only recognises three main languages as official languages.  However, Section 62 is amended to recognise 16 official languages as stipulated in the Constitution.  The Bill provides that every school shall endeavour to teach every officially recognised language while making sure that the language of instruction shall be the language of examination.  The Bill also ensures that the mother tongue is to be used as a medium of instruction at early childhood education.  Section 62 (2) and (3) of the Principal Act is also repealed and insertion of a new provision to promote or uphold the culture of the language that is being taught at any school.  There is no exemption or limitation to the application of this section at any registered school. xii.    Clause 13 – Health in Schools.  This clause seeks to amend Section 64 of the Principal Act by inserting an additional paragraph (k) which provides for the appointment of Sexual and

Reproductive Health (SRH) personnel.

  • Clause 14 – This clause amends Section 69 of the Act by inserting (n2) which provides for the use of emerging technologies in education and (n3) which provides for the ‘manner in which feeding schemes may be conducted at schools.’ The clause also inserts (n4) to provide for the management of sexual abuse cases in schools.
  • Clause 15 – inserts four new provisions in the Bill. –pupil discipline, Section 68A outlaws corporate punishment in schools in line with the Constitution which prohibits any physical or psychological torture, or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. The Bill also bars the teachers from beating school children in whatever circumstances.  The Bill supports other forms of discipline in schools and thus encourages the schools to draw up a disciplinary policy in accordance to the standards set out in regulations to be gazetted by the Minister.  The Bill further provides for the right of every child to be heard and have their opinions taken seriously in administrative proceedings affecting them at the school before any suspension for the school is granted.

This provision is welcome as it recognises the rights of children to be heard, based on their evolving capacities and the ability to participate in matters that affects them.  The Best Interest of the Child Principle is also being upheld in the Bill.  –Pupils with disability – Section 68B mandates every registered school to provide infrastructure suitable for use by pupils with disabilities.  The Bill further mandates the secretary to monitor every registered schools to make sure that the rights of pupils with disabilities are provided for and are being met during learning and teaching.  In addition, the Bill mandates all registered schools to submit a plan highlighting the extent to which the school is advancing the needs and rights of pupils with disability. The clause also provides for the right of parents and other interested parties to make representations to the responsible authority and the Secretary on infrastructure facilities and teaching and learning materials for pupils with disabilities.

Basic Education Fund – Section 68C provides for the creation of the Basic Education Fund, whose operations shall be guided by the

Audit Office Act (Chapter 22:18) and the Public Finance Management Act (Chapter 22:19).  The Bill provides that the fund shall be utilised to finance infrastructure development, payment of fees for pupils who genuinely cannot afford and are not covered under basic state funded educations.  The Bill also stipulates that the activities of the fund shall be funded by monies appropriated by Parliament donations, grants or bequests approved by the Minister.

-Non-exclusion of Pupils from School.  Section 68 (d) provides a new insertion altogether seeking to protect the rights of children to education by stating that no pupil shall be excluded from school for nonpayment of school fees or on the basis of pregnancy.  The provision places an obligation on school authorities to ensure that pregnant girls are allowed to continue with their education regardless of their status while at the same time ensuring that no child is sent back home for nonpayment of fees.  This provision attempts to address the social imbalances that currently exist in the Zimbabwe context.  Article 11 of the African Charter has been applauded for making provisions that cater for the disadvantaged groups by obliging member states to take affirmative action and measures which protect the female, disadvantaged and gifted children.  The non compliance with this section attracts a criminal sanction.

Prohibition of political activities during school time.  This new Section 68E prohibits political activities at a school.  The obligation is placed on the head of every registered school to make sure that no such activities are held at the school.

 Conclusion

The enactment of the Bill is expected to improve access to both primary and secondary education in Zimbabwe.  The Education Amendment Bill presents changes in primary and secondary schools which will result in better education in the country.  Of major importance is the right to a basic state funded education including adult basic education, whereby the State is being obliged to put in place reasonable measures to ensure progressive realisation of the education right within the limits of the resources available to it.  In addition, the Bill recognised the Best Interests of the Child Principle, and the rights of persons with disability in the education sector.  Therefore, there is urgent need to ensure that the Bill sees the light of day and enhance the legislative framework in the education sector.   

Let me, Mr. President, indicate that the current amendments include Section 68 (c) Basic Education Fund.  This was expunged in the National Assembly and stands expunged in the Senate as well. I thank you Mr. President.

HON. SEN. B. MPOFU: What the Minister presented in my view

and also to any progressive person sounds like a plausible and progressive Bill. Unfortunately without labouring the point, I do not have the Bill, I have checked and I go through my pigeon hole systematically every time. It is unethical to check other people’s pigeon holes. I have checked SB’s pigeon hole, he has not even looked at it for several months. That Bill has not been presented to any in this House.

While it is progressive and welcome I cannot talk about the elements of that Bill without seeing what the Minister has said in terms of the actual Sections and elements of the Bill. Personally, it puts me in an awkward position in that we now have to debate something that we have not seen, something that the Minister said eloquently and progressively but at the same time meaning nothing without us seeing what is on paper. I thank you.

HON. SEN. MAVETERA: I do not want to labour on what my

colleague has said. I think it has been a trend and the Education Bill is one of the most important Bills. I think since we started this Parliament, there were so many issues which were being asked by Hon. Members relating to the education of our children in secondary and primary. We were of the opinion that these issues probably would have been addressed by this Bill. Unfortunately, we do not know now whether some of the issues are included in the bill.  We may probably ask so many things to the Minister, when they are included in the Bill.  If I could just proceed Mr. President Sir, there is an issue, I do not know whether it is addressed or not in the Bill.  It is the issue of pupils being chased away from school in private schools, not in public schools.  This is because you said Government will cater for public schools so we do not expect anyone to be chased away from school as it will be the obligation of the Government.

I believe that even private schools are governed by the State and we cannot allow pupils’ rights to be violated.  The practice of sending pupils back home, teachers announcing at assembly or being stopped at the gate and things like that, I would have been very happy to see how much those issues are addressed by this Bill because it affects pupils.  He is not a Minister of public education but he is the Minister of Education for the whole country, private schools included and the rights of those children who go to private schools should be guaranteed.  I find it very difficult for me to say should we approve this Bill when those fundamental issues are not addressed.  Probably the Minister would have to respond on that because without that I think I would be very hesitant.

Mr. President, that is really the importance of us being respected as a House so that we contribute positively.  I think I would stop there.  I do not know whether you would allow me when the Minister responds to come back again because this issue to me is very important, because it is a practice which is very prevalent.  Why I am so passionate about it – I think the Minister during the time of Questions Without Notice portrayed a situation where with the current laws, the Ministry had no power to deal with private institutions. However, but we thought that problem was now going to be addressed with this new Bill, which we are presented with but we do not know whether it has been addressed or not.  Thank you Mr. President.

THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND

PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): Thank you Mr.

President.  Mr. President, in view of the fact that other Members are saying they do not have the Bill, I propose that we adjourn the debate and Parliament administration, maybe by Tuesday, 3rd September ensures that all the Hon. Senators have the Bill so that we can debate without constraints.  So I move that the debate do now adjourn.

THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE: I think that

satisfies everyone.  What I would like to urge you all is that do not leave tomorrow and ensure that you have a copy of that.  If you leave tomorrow, by Monday morning, ensure that you have a copy of the Bill so that come Tuesday the debate will be from an informed position and without fail, so that we conclude this Business on Tuesday.

Motion put and agreed to.

Debate to resume: Tuesday, 3rd September, 2019.

On the motion of the Minister of THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS, the Senate adjourned

at Five Minutes past Five o’clock p.m. until Tuesday, 3rd September,

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