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SENATE HANSARD 30 MARCH 2023 VOL 32 NO 24
PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE
Thursday, 30th March, 2023
The Senate met at Half-past Two o’clock p.m.
(THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE in the Chair)
ANNOUNCEMENT BY THE DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE
APOLOGIES RECEIVED FROM MINISTERS
THE HON. DEPUTY PRESENT OF SENATE: I have received apologies from the Executive:
- Hon. C.D.G. N. Chiwenga, Vice President and Minister of Health and Child Care;
- Hon. J. Moyo, Minister of Local Government and Public Works;
- Hon. Dr. A. J. Masuka, Minister of Agriculture, Lands, Water, Fisheries and Rural Development;
- Hon. Dr. F. M. Shava, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Trade;
- Hon. O.C.Z. Muchinguri-Kashiri, Minister of Defence and War Veterans Affairs;
- Hon. Prof. M. Ncube, Minister of Finance and Economic Development;
- Hon. Prof. A. Murwira, Minister of Higher and Tertiary Education, Innovation, Science and Technology Development;
- Hon. K. Kazembe, Minister of Homes Affairs and Cultural Heritage;
- Hon. R. Maboyi-Mavhungu, 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. P. Mavima, Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare;
- Hon. L. Matuke, Deputy Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare;
Hon. Dr. S. Nzenza, Minister of Industry and Commerce;
- Hon. D. Garwe, Minister of National Housing and Social Amenities.
- Hon. E. Ndlovu, Minister of Primary and Secondary Education and
- Hon. M. Ndlovu, Minister of Environment, Climate Change, Tourism and Hospitality Industry.
ORAL ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS WITHOUT NOTICE
HON. SEN. KAMBIZI: Thank you Mr. President Sir. My question is directed to the Deputy Minister of Primary and Secondary Education. Firstly, there has been a lot of talk and a lot of confusion at the same time with regards to free education that was announced by the Government. May the Hon. Minister favour this Hon. House by explaining the Government policy with regard to that? Secondly, may the Hon. Minister also favour this House by explaining the levels that are going to be covered by the free education? Lastly, how far has the Government gone through his Ministry to implement that policy? I thank you.
THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF PRIMARY AND SECONDARY EDUCATION (HON. E. MOYO): Thank you Mr. President. On free education, the Constitution and the relevant section which I think is Section 75 speaks to progressively providing state funded education. I normally want to call it State funded education, not free education because it is not free. The State has always been providing a measure of that free education.
Let me begin by provision of State funded education through BEAM as a social protection measure to cover the vulnerable children. That has been going on for quite some time. I remember we started off with about 300 children covered under that programme. It went on until last year when we covered 1.5 million children under BEAM. This year we are expected to cover 1.8 million children. The target has been the most vulnerable in the communities both urban and rural. A few years back, we began to roll out what we called grant-in-aid tuition programme which was targeted to vulnerable districts in the country using the ZIMVACK report. The districts that were chosen were two per each rural province. That brought those districts to 16 in total. I can give examples of Matabeleland South, where I come from. There are two districts which are Beitbridge and Mangwe where the State is funding education in those districts in their totality and the same goes for all the other districts that is two per rural provinces. That is one measure of progressive realisation of State funded education. In addition to BEAM, examination fees for all children who are beneficiaries of BEAM are paid 100% by the State.
Again, on examination fees, those children not covered under this programme are paid for in terms of examination fees up to 55% and the parent or guardian is obliged to pay 45% of that. In terms of the levels that are covered, it is basically primary and secondary education, targeting largely the vulnerable children. It is envisaged that as we go on, that is going to be expanded to cover more children. Let me also bring in the fact of those parents who fail to pay examination fees and are not covered in either of the areas that I have mentioned. For example, last year in 2022, children who failed to register all those children who failed to register because they could not raise the money for examination fees for both O’ level and A’ level were all invited to submit their names. The schools submitted the names of those children and all of them were covered by the State. So, this is how far we have gone in terms of realising the progressive realisation of State funded education. I thank you.
HON. SEN. CHIEF CHARUMBIRA: Mr. President, thank you very much. I just want to say it would be my first time asking a question to Minister Moyo. So, I want to congratulate him for having been appointed Deputy Minister.
Minister, I would have wanted you to refer to the Constitution correctly. You referred to the Constitution but Section 16 says the State must take all practical measures to promote free and compulsory basic education for children, but I want to go to Section 75, which I think you referred to most. Every citizen and permanent resident of Zimbabwe has a right to a basic State funded education including adult education. You cannot act inconsistent to this one. In fact, you then referred to Section 71 (1) (a), now under (b) it then says further education. So, you have a right first of all to basic State funded education, it is a right. Basic State funded education is a right including adults. Then under (b) it says further education. This is beyond basic further education which the State, through reasonable legislative and other measures, must make progressively.
Now there is a difference. They use progressive for everybody. Progressive is for further education but for basic, it is a right and it says they have a right to State funding. Section 72 talks of free compulsory. So, I am just saying what you have said is inconsistent with the Constitution itself. Thank you very much.
HON. E. MOYO: Thank you very much Mr. President. I think I need further reflection on those sections vis-à-vis the Education Act so that I can come up with maybe a proper and consistent interpretation of that, but the way we had coined it in the Ministry is that we were going to progressively - because it is not practically possible looking at the level of our economy to fully and 100% fund education at a go without incorporating the progressive element so that as the economy grows, at least we are moving consistently with that growth. So, this is how we had coined it as a Ministry.
Then in terms of the coverage, I think we were mostly concerned with the basic education, which by definition in terms of the Education Act, covers primary school and secondary school and not the high school level. That is ECD up to A’ level by our definition. So, I think I need further reflection for purposes of interpreting what the Hon. Member has said.
HON. SEN. CHIEF CHARUMBIRA: Thank you Mr. President. Minister, you are talking of the Education Act trying to put it at par with the Constitution. I think that is basic knowledge to anyone. What the Constitution says is supreme and I want to read, ‘This Constitution is the supreme law of Zimbabwe and any law or practice or custom inconsistent with it is invalid to the extent of the inconsistency’. So, if your Education Act says something else which is inconsistent with the Constitution, please let us follow the Constitution. Thank you Mr. President.
THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE: I think we can allow the Minister to go and do some further specific reflection and look at it more closely and come back with a response next time. Thank you.
*HON. SEN. CHIFAMBA: Thank you Mr. President. My question is directed to the Minister of Primary and Secondary Education. I do not know how best this can be corrected, the issue which concerns parents where parents are forced to buy expensive uniforms. Those who cannot buy such uniforms are not given places. What can be done because you will find some children being chased away because of non-payment of fees? Some are being hurt by people on their way from school after being turned away. I thank you.
THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF PRIMARY AND SECONDARY EDUCATION (HON. E. MOYO): Children being forced to buy uniforms by schools is illegal. We have a free market economy and parents are supposed to buy wherever they have got cost advantage. So, if anything like that is happening, yes indeed, it has happened and some of it has been brought to our attention and we have taken action against such schools and headmasters. I would implore the House to inform the nation, like we are doing right away and like we have always done through our circulars that, that is illegal. No school should force children to buy uniforms from them nor should they create a situation where if you have not bought a uniform from them, then you have not gotten a place. That is not allowed, it is illegal and we would like to get evidence of that and even names of such schools so that we can then take corrective measures.
Then children being sent home, again it is the same thing and I think some court judgements have been pronounced with regards to that. That is illegal. The contract of school fees payment is between the school and parents and the child must not be used to force parents to pay. It is actually an abuse of those children denying their right to education. So, we encourage schools to come up with innovative ways of making sure parents pay. We have suggested that schools can sit with parents and agree on payment plans. Where children are so disadvantaged like orphaned and vulnerable children, BEAM is there to assist them and I am speaking here for public schools. The private schools come under a different mandate in terms of our Acts. Thank you.
THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE: We have been joined by the Deputy Minister of Local Government and Public Works, Hon. Chombo.
*HON. MABIKA: Thank you Mr. President. I want to direct my question to the Minister of Primary and Secondary Education regarding the policy which concerns teachers on leave. We are informed that those that go on leave are not replaced. They go and come back without a replacement. You find at times children will be 45 in a class. When a teacher is not replaced, what it means is that these children will be taken up by another teacher who has a responsibility of other children. You find a teacher teaching 120 children. This compromises their education.
My question is, can that law not be reviewed to allow teachers on leave to be replaced because we have a lot of graduates? Is it not possible that graduate teachers take over so that we have manageable classes and the law says that for infants, the teacher ratio should be 1:20, for juniors it is 1:40. So this is not what is happening in schools. In infants, you will find that there will be 60 children to one teacher. So how can such a policy be enforced so that our children benefit? If it means adding the number of teachers at a schools, then this should be done so that children to teacher ratio is fair. I thank you.
THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF PRIMARY AND SECONDARY EDUCATION (HON. E. MOYO): Thank you very much Hon. President of the Senate. Thank you very much Hon. Member. Yes, teachers going on leave were not being replaced. That is true, these are regulations from the Public Service Commission (PSC) in terms of trying to manage staff costs. When a teacher goes on leave and they are replaced, there will be a double payment because whether they are on leave, they are paid full salary and the teacher coming in will also come on full salary. I think because of budgetary constraints, that is the reason why we then have that kind of regulation.
Yes, granted, it creates a problem in terms of quality teaching and quality learning by our children, our schools normally have ways of addressing this. The ways of addressing that differ from school to school. The PSC regulations are guided largely by Treasury guidelines because Treasury gives us - normally like we always heard that this year we are employing new teachers, maybe up to 5 000 and that is guided by the roll-out of the budget itself because they cannot employ beyond what the budget can carry. Yes, it is giving us problems but at the moment that is the situation.
The same goes for the teacher-pupil ratio of 1:20 for infants and 1:40 for other classes. We have a big shortage of teachers in the country. I think at the moment we have a shortage of between 12 000 and 15 000 in the system. We would like to have those teachers and the teachers are available but are not employed because we need to move with the budget so that we employ people that can be paid. So we are limited in terms of employment by the budgetary provisions. I thank you.
*HON. SEN. CHIMBUDZI: Thank you Mr. President. I want to direct my question to the Minister of Primary and Secondary Education. Is there a specific policy which protects children who would be travelling on a trip using hired buses so that we do not continue losing children through accidents while on a school trip? I thank you.
THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF PRIMARY AND SECONDARY EDUCATION (HON. E. MOYO): Well, I could not really get the import of the question but I suppose the questioner wants to know whether there is any law regulating children travelling on educational trips. Yes, there is. When children are travelling for educational trips, they are guided by relevant circulars which guide on the ratio of children to the ratio of teachers traveling with them. If the trip has boys and girls, I may not have the figures at hand but I know there has to be a relationship – if there are girls there must be a female teacher and if there are boys there has to be a male teacher to cover their interests.
When they travel, they must travel in a registered public transport which is fully licenced, fully insured and they must not travel at night. I think these are the regulations, if I got the question correctly. I thank you.
*HON. SEN. DENGA: Thank you very much Mr. President. My question is directed to the Deputy Minister of Primary and Secondary Education. Minister, there were young girls who were benefiting from NAC, through the Dreams Programme for Form 3 and Form 4 girls. It seems this year, NAC is not continuing with the payment of school fees. So, this means that these young girls are owing schools and parents are expected to pay. My question is; what Government plans are in place to assist parents who were benefiting from NAC through payment of school fees? I thank you.
THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF PRIMARY AND SECONDARY EDUCATION (HON. E. MOYO): Thank you very much. Coming to children being paid for by NAC and now NAC failing to continue to pay for them, I think we need further information on that to understand the areas that are affected then we can investigate. Maybe we can come up with an informed decision. At the moment, I am not aware and I would request that you ask in writing so that we can do thorough investigations. I thank you.
*HON. G. MOYO: Thank you Mr. President. My question is directed to the Minister of Primary and Secondary Education. What measures is the Ministry going to put in place in order to safeguard the ZIMSEC examination papers so that we do not continue losing the quality of our education due to leaking of examination papers? I thank you.
THE MINISTER OF PRIMARY AND SECONDARY EDUCATION (HON. E. MOYO): Thank you Mr. President. Thank you Senator Moyo for the question. I know last year there was a whole lot of problems regarding security of papers at ZIMSEC. Let me just as a background give you a security nature of the ZIMSEC system. Our papers are developed by paper developers and then they are put into what is called a grade maker, which system banks the questions and which system uses random pick up of question papers. There is no interface between the question papers and human beings. All those things are automated.
Then the transfer of those papers from ZIMSEC head office to our Norton printing press is done technologically and there is again no human interface. It is wired to the machines. Those machines are just feeding codes and then the paper is run and again there is no interface until the paper is packed. People will be just watching and papers will just be rolling. They are being cut, packaged and the whole system would have been set, then the papers will go out. The only interface is when those papers are then put into boxes to be delivered to schools.
If you look at what happened last year, you will find that the leaks of those papers did not occur anywhere between head office, printing and delivery of papers to the centres. The evidence that we have is that the papers leaked when they were at school. That is the point where our attention is now being focused. At the school level, these schools are put into clusters and there is a cluster centre for distribution of examination papers. That cluster centre is manned by what we call a monitor who is brought in by ZIMSEC to monitor what happens there to ensure that there is integrity.
We also have the police officers who are there and when these papers are being removed from the strong room to the classroom for invigilation, it is not one person who takes those papers. The whole system is water-tight in terms of security. We have integrity issues by some of our personnel at the school level and where the papers leaked, there was a kind of working together in cahoots by officials at the school. When people agree and connive to do a crime, usually they will succeed because there is no one who is going to let the cat out of the bag.
So that is where we need to make focus. There are several suggestions of how to track papers until they are opened. That system is being worked on and hopefully, something is going to come out to ensure that the integrity of the examination is not compromised. However, I was satisfied with what happens right from the paper-setting, development of the papers, grade maker system until the printing, the packaging and delivery of the paper. Integrity issues affect us at centre level and what we have also seen is there is a trend that is happening.
It is happening in the sense that in most of those schools where we have paper leaks, the personnel there are usually acting heads of schools and not substantive heads. We have been talking to PSC to ensure that most of our heads are graded to substantive level so that they have something to protect. Those who are just acting have nothing to protect and they just let go things. I thank you.
THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE: May I announce that we have been joined by the Leader of this House and also Minister of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services, Hon. Sen. Mutsvangwa. She is available to answer questions.
*HON. SEN. TONGOGARA: Thank you Mr. President. I want to direct my question to the Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development. I want to start by saying that you are doing a very good job in our roads and we note that we had heavy rains and most roads were damaged and some have potholes. I want to know what plans the Government has regarding the resurfacing of roads, the covering of potholes so that they do not continue stretching in our roads especially in the rural roads. For example, the Bindura Highway is in a bad state and other rural roads. How far are you in resurfacing and refurbishing roads? Thank you.
*THE MINISTER OF TRANSPORT AND INFRASTRUCTURAL DEVELOPMENT (HON. MHONA): Thank you very much Mr. President and thank you Hon. Tongogara for raising such a pertinent question which gives us the opportunity to talk about the progress in our roads. I appreciate that we were blessed with heavy rains this year, which is good for our crops. It might be bad for our roads but at the same time, I want to thank the initiative which was brought about by His Excellency, President E. D. Mnangagwa after noting the state of our roads.
As a result of roads, this programme is ongoing and it will end in 2024, meaning that the end of the rainy season gives us the opportunity as a Ministry to refurbish our roads. The Hon. Member mentioned the Bindura road and I believe that this week the Hon. Member would note that there are companies which are working along that road. Some are cutting grass and some are covering potholes from the Defence College going onwards until you reach Mazowe/Bindura.
We have a number of companies which are working on the roads so that the road will be in a better state. I want to promise that by the middle of next month, that road will be in a better condition. Those who are going to travel for Easter will travel well along that road. I want to talk about other roads across the country. This programme has resulted in us engaging many companies through the tender system which means that we have a number of companies which we would see all over the country working on our roads.
Let me also inform the country that we have the Bulawayo/Victoria Falls Road which is used by tourists from Beitbridge, Bulawayo and Victoria Falls. In the next few weeks, we are going to be through the same tender process engaging companies who are going to be working on that road so that that road is refurbished. The challenge is that we have one annual budget as a nation, but we will be taking from the same pocket so that people have electricity and that they have different services. We want to make sure that happens but because we are under sanctions which are undeserved, the money that we use to different programmes might not be enough, but I want to promise that because of the end of the rainy season, we are going to be refurbishing our roads throughout the country. Thank you.
*HON. SEN. ZHOU: Thank you Mr. President. My supplementary question to the Hon. Minister of Transport is that we want to know whether the Ministry and Rural District Councils work as a team or do they work together as teams because you mentioned the tendering process and because of that, rural roads are also covered. Rural District Councils have graders, tippers and other equipment which is needed for roads, but there is no tangible job that we see which is done by Rural District Councils. I thank you.
* HON. MHONA: Thank you Mr. President. I want to thank Hon. Sen. Denga who gave me the opportunity to explain that the Ministry of Transport has a good relationship with the road authorities which are four. The department of roads under the Ministry, the Rural District Council, the local authorities and the DDF which is called RIDA now which means that most of our roads in rural areas are covered by Rural District Councils, which was raised by Hon. Sen. Denga. Indeed, some Rural District Councils and local authorities have machinery which can cover their areas. Sometimes they do not have fuel but as the Ministry of Transport, we are saying that if there are such councils, they should communicate with the Ministry and if there is need for fuel, then we can work together so that we work on our roads in the rural areas. For members of Parliament and Senators, it is important to inform us so that we work together, whether it is in the rural areas or urban areas, roads have responsible authorities but as the Ministry, we look at the major roads which link us with other countries.
Because of His Excellency the President’s initiative, we sometimes intervene and work together with other departments. You will find sometimes councils are not being progressive but as representatives in this august House, we need to work with our councils so that they work hard and we will have good roads in the country.
HON. SEN. ZHOU: Thank you very much Hon. President for giving me this opportunity. My question is directed to the Hon. Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Trade. Zimbabwe is well known for promoting and protecting programmes for persons with disabilities, for instance we were the first to enact a Disability Law in 1992 and we have ratified the United Nations on the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. The African Union came up with a disability law called the African Disability Protocol in 2018 and quite a number of countries have ratified this instrument but Zimbabwe has not yet signed and ratified. Hon. President, I wanted to know the status of this instrument in terms of Zimbabwe ratifying and also signing the same. I thank you.
THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS AND INTERNATIONAL TRADE (HON. DR. MUSABAYANA): Thank you Hon. President, I want to thank the Hon. Member for asking this very important question which touches on the matters relating to people with disabilities. As you know, our President is forever saying we must never leave any place or anyone behind. In that respect, it is important that we mainstream people with disabilities. However, as regards to this Bill, I do not have the specific terms of reference on this Bill but the originators of this Bill will be the Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare who will bring it as a Ministry to Parliament and then as Foreign Affairs and International Trade, we will come in to assist in the signing of it as an international treaty. It normally originates from the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare. We will follow up to see where this Bill is lodged or housed so that we can see how we can implement it. I thank you Hon. President.
*HON. SEN. KOMICHI: Thank you Hon. President, my question is directed to the Leader of the House. Hon. Minister, you are known as a person who has been vocal about media freedom. You have licenced a number of television and radio stations. The national Constitution speaks about media freedom but what disturbed me is a statement that was released by George Charamba, who intimidated media practitioners and as I am talking, journalists are not comfortable with the statement which says that he does not allow ‘news hawks’ to operate in this country. Does Government agree with that statement that was released by George Charamba?
*THE MINISTER OF INFORMATION, PUBLICITY AND BROADCASTING SERVICES (HON. SEN. MUTSVANGWA): Thank you Hon. President. I want to thank Hon. Sen. Komichi for his question. As the Hon. Minister for the Ministry, my job is to ensure that journalists do their job with freedom, reporting factual news and observing the laws of the country. As a Ministry, we oversee the Ministry, we are one country and we normally have stakeholders’ meetings. The question requires me to comment on a statement but I have not seen the comment that the Hon. Member is referring to. I do not believe that in this august Senate, we can talk about what we see on social media like the Tweeter and so on. The policy of the Ministry is to see that journalists have media freedom, express themselves and observe the law.
*HON. SEN. MOEKETSI: Thank you Mr. President. My question is directed to the Deputy Minister of Local Government. Hon. Minister, in council where it is said that we must be given stands, we have not received stands and it is almost five years to Hon. Members of this Senate. I want to know the position regarding this issue.
THE TEMPORARY PRESIDENT OF SENATE (HON. SEN CHIEF CHARUMBIRA): Before you answer, I am trying to figure out whether this matter is not a matter of Standing Rules, an internal matter of Parliament itself and not a matter for the public.
*THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT AND PUBLIC WORKS (HON. CHOMBO): Let me say to Senator Moeketsi, I believe that this issue is known. Senators and the Local Government Ministry knows, even the confidentiality issues, we know them but we are going to engage in a different platform and I believe that everything is in the right direction. We were informed as a Ministry and we are working on that with the council. My request is that if there is no progress and you have not received - may you engage my office so that we work on that. Mr. President, we were told that there is such a challenge and the Ministry is working on that. I thank you.
*HON. SEN. CHIFAMBA: My question is directed to the Leader of the House because the Minister of Home Affairs is not here. Along Julius Nyerere Way, there are pirate taxis, ZRP and council police, there are a lot of activities which are happening, including running battles between council police, vendors and unlicenced pirate taxis. Is there no better way than destroying people’s windscreens and the chasing of people? I was almost hurt because I went downtown and this happens there.
The other issue is the clamping of cars by council police, is this not going to destroy people’s cars? You find that someone is left by three seconds for the time to expire and you find people tampering with cars, towing them without any regard for the safety of the cars. Motorists are very concerned; when you try to pay the fine there, they refuse. Is there any safety for the car, I thank you?
THE MINISTER OF INFORMATION, PUBLICITY AND BROADCASTING SERVICES (HON. SEN. MUTSVANGWA): I want to thank the President of the Senate and Hon. Sen. Chifamba who raised a number of pertinent questions on the plight faced by many people and there is need for correction. I want to believe that these issues can be addressed maybe by engaging the police. I will engage the Minister because the Government policy is that police is there to protect the public and property. That is the responsibility of police. What you raised Hon. Senator, I will take it up with Hon. Minister Kazembe so that the issue is looked into because the co-existence of people is what is required by Government.
Looking at the issue of cars, let me engage the Minister of Local Government because it is the responsibility of the local council. Hon. Minister July Moyo is responsible for what happens in the local authorities. The clamping of cars, the conduct of officials, the towing of cars and all other things which end up hurting people or property - these are issues which have been raised by the Hon. Senator and they will be taken up to the Minister’s office. I thank you.
*HON. SEN. DENGA: Thank Hon. President Sir, I wanted to direct my question to the Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs but in his absence, I will direct the question to the Leader of the House. We want to understand the delimitation exercise which was carried out and which was passed and gazetted by Government which implies that there were set boundaries. There are people who had registered in 1995 or before who did not check the voters roll whether they were changed to the correct ward after the delimitation exercise or not. When we go to the website you would find that some are registered in Ward 1, they are found to be in Ward 20, that person is expected to vote. Are they going to vote in the right ward or in a different ward where the name is registered?
*THE MINISTER OF INFORMATION, PUBLICITY AND BROADCASTING SERVICES (HON. SEN. MUTSVANGWA): Thank Mr. President and I want to thank Hon. Sen. Denga for the question. Regarding the delimitation exercise, the question is supposed to be addressed by Hon. Minister Ziyambi. I believe that this is the plea which raises the point that after delimitation people who were registered under specific wards might be appearing in different wards. As leaders, it is important that we continue to educate people on checking the voters roll. This is critical, this is a fundamental right which we got through independence. It is important that after delimitation, we continue educating people on the importance of checking the voters roll so that they know where they are supposed to be. My Ministry will continue informing the public the importance of checking the voters roll so that they know where they are going to be voting. I thank you.
*HON. SEN. TONGOGARA: Thank you Mr. President. My question is directed to the Minister of Local Government and Public Works. I want to know the Ministry’s plans because all local authorities are under the Ministry’s purview but you find that when it comes to the paying of rates, when you want to pay your rates, the rates will be increased by 100%. I do not know as the Ministry that is responsible, are they investigating how these council officials are treating people because their charges are always up each and every month. Thank you.
THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT AND PUBLIC WORKS (HON. CHOMBO): Thank you Mr. President. Thank you Hon. Sen. Tongogara for your question which has been troubling a lot of people. As we move around looking at the issue of rates, normally it is an agreement between the rate payers and the council which they agree on their yearly budgets.
From our investigations, we discovered that when rates are changing, it is because they would have been pegged in United States dollars when they are coming up with budgets. When you go to pay, the auction rate is always changing. If you paid last month, if it was US$20, the auction rate would be at 500 which means you are paying about RTGS1 000. If you go and pay the next month, the auction rate would have changed but what you would have agreed on, the rates do not change. They will just follow how our money is operating on the market, but if there are places where rates are being changed, I think you have a right to tell us so that we go and investigate. Thank you.
*HON. SEN. KOMICHI: I move that time for Questions Without Notice be extended by 10 minutes.
HON. SEN. TONGOGARA: I second.
Motion put and agreed to.
*HON. SEN. KOMICHI: Thank you Mr. President. My question is directed to the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Trade. There is a law that affects how the Zimbabwean Government operates which is ZIDERA. What is Government doing so that this law has to be removed?
*THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS AND INTERNATIONAL TRADE (HON. MUSABAYANA): Thank you Mr. President for the question which has been asked concerning ZIDERA which was put in place by the Government of America when they knew that Zimbabwe was fulfilling its mandate when the Zimbabweans went to the struggle. One of the things they fought for was the land so that land would be returned to the black people of Zimbabwe. That is when we had ZIDERA in place which is a law which prohibits the importation of money from other countries into Zimbabwe and also prohibiting money coming from the West into our country.
Besides that, we had other nations who also put us under sanctions which include countries in the EU and other countries, but because of the leadership of our President E. D. Mnangagwa, some of the countries in the EU have lightened the sanctions. What is only left is for the army, that is the only Government department that is still under sanctions in Europe, but America this year went further, they renewed their sanctions. They are adding more people on to the list.
As a country, we are following the route that our President is channeling us towards saying that we are friends to all and enemy to none. We are extending our hand to America so that they would understand, but right now we say yes, the law is still there and still functional but there are other businesses in America who are coming to Zimbabwe like the John Deere facility, a facility which was put in place by the company so that they bring tractors and combine harvesters into the country.
We also have many companies like that. This year we also witnessed where we have an organisation of Africa and America. We were not being called to that conference but this year Dr. Fedrick Shava was invited and he was part of the conference. This shows us that there is a way forward. They are worming up to us and relations between Zimbabwe and America are improving. The law is still there but we will keep on engaging them.
This afternoon we were looking at other ways of removing ZIDERA. You know that some white farmers had their farms taken away and resettled. We are just engaging how we can compensate those people in terms of monetary terms, compensating in the infrastructure that they had built. Those are some of the engagements that we are engaging in so that ZIDERA can be removed. This law is not good. It is affecting the people of Zimbabwe and bringing poverty on the children of Zimbabwe, especially women and children and also other countries including the United Nations are saying that this is illegal and it is not a good law. The African Union also said this law is not good, it should be removed. SADC is also saying that this law is not good. All this is through the leadership of President Mnangagwa because he was able to convince the whole world that this law is not good. Also, he was able to unite all the countries to show them that this law is not good. It is a satanic law. I thank you.
*HON. SEN. CHIMBUDZI: Thank you Mr. President. I want to direct my question to the Leader of the House. I want to start by thanking ZBC for doing a good job during Cyclone Freddy. Even old people were talking of Cyclone Freddy because of the good coverage. My question is; is that Cyclone Freddy still a threat to Zimbabwe because people are still afraid?
*THE MINISTER OF INFORMATION, PUBLICITY AND BROADCASTING SERVICES (HON. SEN. MUTSVANGWA): Thank you Mr. President Sir. I want to thank Hon. Sen. Chimbudzi for that question regarding the plight of the people in her constituency who are worried about Cyclone Freddy. Let me say that we do not have a report which indicates that Cyclone Freddy is still a threat. We know that it destroyed lives and a lot of property in our neighbouring countries. We all see this and in the last Cabinet meeting, the President spoke about the damage which is around 300 households and properties in Mozambique. As friends to Malawi, we work together, we help each other. I want to thank the people of Zimbabwe that Government engaged citizens and private companies so that we assist those who are suffering because of the destruction that was done by Cyclone Freddy; schools, livelihoods, food stuffs, we are accepting anything. So far, we have assisted them with mealie-meal and we are collecting cooking oil, exercise books and other basic necessities to assist the people of Malawi. I thank you.
*HON. SEN. MABIKA: Thank you Mr. President. My question is directed to the Minister of Transport. I come from Chipinge where we have the Mount Selinda to Chipinge Road. I wanted to find out what is happening regarding the road. What plans are there to refurbish the road, like what you alluded to in the past?
*THE MINISTER OF TRANSPORT AND INFRASTRUCTURAL DEVELOPMENT (HON. MHONA): Thank you Mr. President Sir. Thank you, Hon. Sen. Mabika. Indeed, like I said before, that our roads were damaged by the rains, there are some jobs that we can do whilst it is raining and there are others that cannot be done whilst it is raining because of Cyclone Freddy and other natural disasters which we anticipated in those areas, like Chipinge and others.
The Mount Selinda-Chipinge Road, I want to promise that the Ministry has started working on the roads which were lagging behind because of the rainfall season and also because of our budget. We are going to continue with the projects which had been stopped because of the rains. Let me assure you that you can even inform the people of Chipinge that we are coming to work on that Mount Selinda Road. Thank you.
THE TEMPORARY PRESIDENT OF SENATE: Time for Questions Without Notice has expired but I would not let Hon. Senators go back with those questions. I will explain why I have done that, once we are done. I have very good reasons why I have allowed all of you to take the floor, very good and sweet reasons. At the end, I will let you know why. However, bear with me that the time allocation will be one minute each at the best.
*HON. SEN. CHISOROCHENGWE: Thank you Mr. President Sir. I would like to direct my question to the Minister of Local Government. What is Government planning to do regarding the collection of litter which is spreading all over the cities and some are even covering roads. What are you planning to do with regards to collection of litter?
*THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT AND PUBLIC WORKS (HON. CHOMBO): Thank you Mr. President Sir. Thank you, Hon. Sen. Chisorochengwe for that pertinent question. This is quite an important issue and His Excellency the President dedicated the first Friday of the month to cleaning and collection of litter in our cities and in different places, working with councils. Indeed, I agree with you Hon. Senator that as councils, we are sleeping on the job because of what we see on the streets. However, in the past few weeks, I believe you agree with me that most councils bought service vehicles like tractors and other cars which are going to be ferrying waste to waste disposal sites. Like Harare, they have schedules of waste collection. I know we have not attained the mark of ‘Sunshine City’ but councils are using devolution funds to buy such machines to use for waste collection. I believe that this is going to bring a difference. In the next coming days, you are going to see a difference. I thank you.
*HON. SEN. TONGOGARA: Thank you Mr. President. My supplementary question regards the issue of Pomona dumpsite. May we know the progress of the Pomona dumpsite, what is happening at the moment?
*HON. CHOMBO: Thank you Mr. President. The question which was raised by the Hon. Senator, I am not clear about it. However, I believe that the agreement that Government has with Pomona is that council will be dumping litter at the Pomona dumpsite and they will be paid for collecting waste and cleaning up. The waste will be used for alternative energies like electricity and other forms of energy. I thank you.
*HON. SEN. DENGA: Thank you Mr. President. My question is directed to the Deputy Minister of Local Government and Public Works. In the past week, we heard the Deputy Minister commending the good job which is being done by Makonde Rural District Council. My question then is; did you go to Lions Den high density area and have you seen the state of the roads and also because there will be mud everywhere. As it is, the roads are not accessible. Have you been to the GMB Lions Den Depot – no-one is clear on whether the Ministry of Transport or the council is responsible for refurbishing the road? The GMB road is in a bad state and I do not know what should be done. I thank you.
*THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT AND PUBLIC WORKS (HON. CHOMBO): Thank you Mr. President Sir and thank you Hon. Sen. Denga for that pertinent question. Unfortunately, I have not managed to go to the Lion’s Den area and I have not used that road, but I would request that this august House give me the opportunity to go and check that road and then I can come back with feedback. Our desire as Government is to fix such challenges so that people can access their houses and we spoke about the cleanliness of our cities and places where we live. I am going to engage the Mhangura Rural District Council so that I understand the issue that you raised Hon. Senator. I thank you.
Questions Without Notice were interrupted by THE TEMPORARY PRESIDENT OF SENATE in terms of Standing Order No. 67.
THE TEMPORARY PRESIDENT OF SENATE: We can now move to Questions with Notice but we do not have a single question from Senators. May you go and write questions Hon. Senators so that you participate. The good thing is that this is double luck. We will not be meeting so that you have enough time to write your questions. That is why I said that let us address all the issues because you are not coming back next week and we are going to be taking a long break. Thank you.
On the motion of THE MINISTER OF INFORMATION, PUBLICITY AND BROADCASTING SERVICES (HON. SEN. MUTSVANGWA), the Senate adjourned at Five Minutes to Four o’clock p.m. until Tuesday, 9th May, 2023.