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SENATE HANSARD 4 APRIL 2024 VOL 33 NO 39

PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE

Thursday, 4th April, 2024.

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

PRAYERS

(THE ACTING PRESIDENT OF SENATE in the Chair)

ANNOUNCEMENT BY THE ACTING PRESIDENT OF SENATE

APOLOGIES RECEIVED FROM MINISTERS

          THE ACTING PRESIDENT OF SENATE (HON. SEN. KAMBIZI):  Today, being a Thursday, it is Questions Without Notice but I have a long list of apologies. I have received the following apologies from Hon. Ministers:

          Hon. Prof. M. Ncube, Minister of Finance, Economic Development and Investment Promotion;

          Hon. K. D. Mnangagwa, Deputy Minister of Finance, Economic Development and Investment Promotion;

          Hon. M. Mavhunga, Minister of War Veterans of the Liberation Struggle;

          Hon. K. Coventry, Minister of Sport, Recreation, Arts and Culture;

          Hon. B. Rwodzi, Minister of Tourism and Hospitality Industry;

          Hon. T. Mnangagwa, Deputy Minister of Tourism and Hospitality Industry;

Hon. Brig. Gen. Rtd. L. Mayihlome, Deputy Minister of Defence and War Veterans Affairs;

          Hon. Sen. M. Mutsvangwa, Minister of Women Affairs, Community, Small and Medium Enterprises Development;

          Hon. J. Mhlanga, Deputy Minister of Women Affairs, Community, Small and Medium Enterprises Development;

          Hon. W. Chitando, Minister of Local Government and Public Works;

          Hon. B. Kabikira, Deputy Minister of Local Government and Public Works;

          Hon. S. Chikomo, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Trade;

          Hon. K. Kazembe, Minister of Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage; 

          Hon. C. Sanyatwe, Deputy Minister of Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage;

          Hon. P. Kambamura, Deputy Minister of Mines and Mining Development;

          Hon. Prof. Dr. A. Murwira, Minister of Higher and Tertiary Education, Innovation, Science and Technology Development;

          Hon. S. Sibanda, Deputy Minister of Higher and Tertiary Education, Innovation, Science and Technology Development;

          Hon. A. Gata, Deputy Minister of Primary and Secondary Education;

          Hon. J. Moyo, Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare;

          Hon. Dr. S. N. Nyoni, Minister of Industry and Commerce;

          Hon. F. Mhona, Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development;

          Hon. E. Moyo, Minister of Energy and Power Development;

          Hon. Y. Simbanegavi, Deputy Minister of National Housing and Social Amenities;

Hon. V. Haritatos, Deputy Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water, Climate and Rural Resettlement;

Hon. Senators, I have only one Minister, Hon. D. Garwe, Minister of National Housing and Social Amenities.

It is a situation that we may not want to see every Thursday as we expect many Ministers to answer our questions. However, that being the case, we have to do forthwith with the Minister that we have, and he will also be acting as the Leader of the House.

ORAL ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS WITHOUT NOTICE

          *HON. SEN. TONGOGARA: Thank you Mr. President. Before I pause my question to the Minister of National Housing and Social Amenities, I would like to say on a day like this, we expect to ask policy questions, and also find out progress because that is what we are asked when we go back to our constituencies.  As it is, in such an important House, we only have one Minister.  Is there anything that can be done to ensure that the situation improves? 

          Now, concerning my question, I would like to thank you for the splendid job you are doing of ensuring that you provide accommodation to the citizens.  What is Government policy with regards to ensuring that the houses that you are constructing are made in high-rise style because our land is not expanding, so if it is built on high-rise buildings, it means we can accommodate much more people?

          In addition, is your programme also available in the rural areas, there are districts and provinces where various people reside, including our civil servants without decent accommodation?

          THE ACTING PRESIDENT OF SENATE: Thank you Sen. Tongogara.  Indeed, your first concern; we are all concerned, but as it is, I will submit the message to the Leaders that this is indeed the situation in this august Senate.

*THE MINISTER OF NATIONAL HOUSING AND SOCIAL AMENITIES (HON.GARWE): Thank you Hon. Sen. Tongogara.  We have National Human Settlement Policy that tells us that wherever buildings or houses are being constructed, 40% must be constructed on high-rise buildings.  Our Ministry as well as the Ministry of Local Government and local authorities, as they survey and look at plans submitted by developers, must consider all that. They should allocate areas for high-rise buildings.

Secondly, indeed the vision of His Excellency, the President for Vision 2030 considers development in all facets of society including rural areas.  We have a plan in the Ministry to ensure that there is construction of houses in rural areas.  We have since started the project; the pilot project is at Uzumba Maramba Pfungwe (UMP)at Mutawatawa Growth Point, where we have constructed four blocks of flats with 16 houses, which means we are constructing 120 houses at UMP.  This project will spread nationwide, but when we requested plans from local authorities, UMP submitted the best plan which ensured that we jumped on to construction immediately. 

Yes, according to Vision 2030, no place and no one will be left behind.  We will also include recreational facilities to be constructed in all areas.  It is all in the plans of the Government. 

The Government is also aware that there are civil servants found in rural areas such as teachers, agricultural extension workers, nurses as well as business people including women and youth who work in rural areas. They also want houses like the ones we are constructing, so we will be considering all those plans and we will be prioritising them as we go forward.  I thank you.

HON. SEN. TONGOGARA: I would like to also thank the Hon. Minister for that explanation outlining their plan as a Ministry.  What I wanted to find out is, since he said they are working with the Ministry of Local Government, are there people monitoring how the local authorities are allocating such land to ensure that the local authorities allocate such land, specifically with that plan in mind to ensure that civil servants get allocation from local authorities?  I thank you.

          *THE MINISTER OF NATIONAL HOUSING AND SOCIAL AMENITIES (HON. GARWE):  Thank you Mr. President.  Sen. Tongogara, I am sure we are all aware that local authorities work under the Ministry of Local Government and Public Works.  They are the ones that are responsible for monitoring them to ensure compliance, but as we are the drivers of the human settlement policies, we work hand-in-hand with the local government authority to ensure that the local authorities are compliant and fulfilling the 40% allocation dedicated for flats.  We are aware that there were some plans that were already approved, so we let them proceed but as we move forward, we expect compliance.  Wherever there will be houses constructed, 40% will be flats.

          Local Government and Public Works, in conjunction with our Ministry, will ensure that all developers and contractors are complying with the law.  I thank you.

          THE ACTING PRESIDENT OF SENATE:  I would like to inform Senators that in the House, we have the Deputy Minister for Industry and Commerce, Hon. R. Modi.  So those with questions, you are free to direct them to him. 

          HON. SEN. SIBANDA:  Thank you President of Senate.  My question goes to the Leader of the House.  The radiotherapy machine at Mpilo Hospital has not been functional since August 2020, which is four years back.  When you are doing radiation there, you are given about 23 sessions to do using a radiotherapy machine.  I had to undergo therapy there and I think I only did 17 sessions and the machine broke down.

Up to now, the machine has not been working.  We have got so many people suffering from different cancers in Zimbabwe and Mpilo Hospital is one of the biggest referral hospitals.  Now, it is four years since the machine broke down.  Is there a way the Government is going to see to the new machine? Is it going to repair the machine at all or it is something that has already been forgotten?

I hope my question will reach the right Ministry because this machine is one of the machines that is very important in the treatment of all the cancers because it helps.  The treatment is done through radiation and the machine is the one that is used to treat most of the cancers.  I do not know if it is already forgotten about.  I would like to know whether the machine is ever going to be repaired or if we are going to get a new machine at all at Mpilo Hospital.  Thank you.

THE ACTING PRESIDENT OF SENATE:  That one is a specific question that is talking of a specific hospital and all things being equal, it is supposed to be put in writing.  However, I will give the Minister the option if he has anything to say about it.

THE MINISTER OF NATIONAL HOUSING AND SOCIAL AMENITIES (HON. GARWE): Thank you Mr. President.  Let me thank Hon. Sen. Sibanda for the question.  Like you said Hon. President, this is a specific question referring to a specific location.  I kindly request that the Senator puts it in writing, then I will submit it to the responsible Minister to come and answer to it.  Thank you.

THE ACTING PRESIDENT OF SENATE:  Hon. Sibanda, if you could put it in writing, I think you will get a proper answer from the correct Ministry.

+HON. SEN. MLILO:  I want to thank the President of Senate for giving me this opportunity.  My question has already been asked as part of a question, but I am going to talk about Mpilo Hospital as a referral hospital.  Looking at the whole of Matabeleland, particularly considering the population and the huge traffic of people who go to Mpilo, what plans has the Minister in terms of assisting people so that they get accommodation instead of sleeping on the floor?  What are Government plans concerning Mpilo Hospital?  I thank you.

THE ACTING PRESIDENT OF SENATE:  Hon. Sen. Mlilo, in the same vein, I think if you could intertwine your questions since they are referring to one hospital, we will be able to get a better explanation next week when we come to this House.

Just a reminder to all other Hon. Members.  The moment that you realise that your question is specific to a particular station or to a particular road or hospital, put it in writing and submit it and then the responsible Minister will receive that question and will come specifically to answer to that question.

*HON. SEN. SHIRI:  Thank you Mr. President.  I want to direct my question to the Minister of National Housing and Social Amenities.  We appreciate we have heard that you have got plans to accommodate everyone.  Zimbabwe would want to know what plans were set aside for the disabled so that they have accommodation also and that buildings are built taking into consideration the disabled.  I thank you.

THE MINISTER OF NATIONAL HOUSING AND SOCIAL AMENITIES (HON. GARWE):  I want to thank you Senate President Sir and I want to thank Sen. Shiri for that pertinent question.  We have three categories of people who are equally important.  Firstly, those who live with various disabilities, secondly our war veterans and thirdly our young people and women.

As I speak, we are working towards promulgating a law, the allocation policy so that when we build houses, houses should then be allocated to different sectors like young people, women, the disabled and war veterans.  This is what we are doing because in the past, people were just being given houses without considering the disabled.  Then also we are going to look at the building plans, how we build our houses.  We know that most houses were built without considering various disabilities so that the disabled are able to get into houses, but we have engaged engineers and those who draw plans to consider that whilst drawing plans so that they consider the disabled for easy access to hospitals, hotels, residential houses, offices and other amenities which should cater for the disabled.  I thank you.

    +HON. SEN.  NDEBELE: Thank you Hon. President for giving me this opportunity to ask my question, which is directed to the Hon. Minister of National Housing and Social Amenities, who spoke about Local Government.  Mr. President of Senate, since people are being allocated stands by local authorities, is it allowed by Government that council workers be the ones who get two or three stands before others, and then they resale those stands to other people?

    THE MINISTER OF NATIONAL HOUSING AND SOCIAL AMENITIES (HON.  GARWE): Thank you Hon. President. Can you indulge and ask anyone who can speak Ndebele to interpret for me?

    THE ACTING PRESIDENT OF SENATE:  I can ask the Member to do that in Shona.

   *HON. SEN. NDEBELE: Thank you very much Hon. President, I thank you.  It is my wish if people could also understand Ndebele. My question is; is it legal that council officials should get stands before other people?  Some getting two or three stands then they resell to other people.

    THE ACTING PRESIDENT OF SENATE: That is a specific question which would need figures or statistics.  If you know of a particular area then you can say that, but if the Hon. Minister is comfortable then he can respond to the question.

    THE MINISTER OF NATIONAL HOUSING AND SOCIAL AMENITIES (HON. GARWE): I want to concur with you that what you have said is what I was thinking, maybe the Hon. Member should put it in writing so that as Local Government, we will engage our officers so that we come back with a comprehensive report.  I thank you.

    *HON. SEN. NDEBELE: Thank you Hon. Minister, I did not request for statistics. I am asking if it is legal or is it Government policy for council staff to own more land?

    *HON. GARWE: Hon. President of Senate, we do not know where this is happening, but if we get a written question, then we can investigate from there, what the laws say and in which particular area.  From what the Hon. Member is saying, she is alluding to corruption by council officers who are allocating each other more stands and reselling to people.  That is not legal or Government policy so, it is important that you put it in writing so that we carry out a comprehensive research so that we iron out the issue and solve the problem.

    *HON. SEN. GUMBO: Thank you Hon. President, I want to direct my question to the Hon. Minister of National House and Social Amenities.  In Kariba there is a project, I wanted to ask how far the project is and how it is moving?

     *THE MINISTER OF NATIONAL HOUSING AND SOCIAL AMENITIES (HON. GARWE):  Thank you Hon. President of Senate, that question is a very specific question which is specific to a particular project. However, this falls under my Ministry, I am comfortable responding to the question.  That project was started many years by IDBZ bank.  The bank could not continue with the project, and they approached Government for assistance to complete the project and we accepted.  We sent our specialists who went to the ground and we invited engineers who were working with IDBZ, there were some monies that were not paid to the engineers who said that they could come after being paid.  Government paid the engineers, we decided to review what has been done and what has not been done.  So because of the rainfalls which had come at that particular time, some of the projects were not good. As I speak, the contractor who was given that job together with our engineers, are working hard and are completing the Kasese project.  I thank you.

     THE ACTING PRESIDENT OF SENATE: I want to inform the Senate that we have been joined by Hon. Soda, the Minister of Mines and Mining Development.   He is at your disposal for any question.

     HON. SEN. MOHADI: Thank you Mr. President of Senate.  My question is directed to the Deputy Minister of Industry, but he has now left.  I do not know whether I can continue.

     THE ACTING PRESIDENT OF SENATE: You can continue.

     HON. SEN. MOHADI: My question is that His Excellency the President, declared a national disaster on food. My question is; is the business community allowed to import maize and mealie-meal from surrounding countries?

     THE MINISTER OF NATIONAL HOUSING AND SOCIAL AMENITIES (HON. GARWE): Thank you very much Hon. President of Senate and I thank the Hon. Senator for the question. The answer is yes. That pronouncement was made through the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries and Rural Development, so it is allowed.

     +HON. SEN. PHUTHI: Thank you for giving me this opportunity to ask my question on the issue of food.  My question is Mr. President, what is Government policy regarding a Minister who comes to this august Senate and says wrong information. Yesterday, we asked about food and the Minister said, “do not panic everything is in order”.  Where is the order?  I want to thank the Hon. Minister who informed His Excellency the President that the situation is bad because we have been raising these issues.  So what is Government policy regarding such a Minister?

     THE ACTING PRESIDENT OF SENATE: Can you ask a question Hon. Senator, do not debate.

     +HON. SEN. PHUTHI: My question is; what is Government policy regarding a Minister who deceives the august Senate?  In Ndebele, I will say that is lying to the nation. What happens to the Hon. Minister and when is the Minister going to be removed for lying to the nation? I thank you.

      THE MINISTER OF NATIONAL HOUSING AND SOCIAL AMENITIES (HON.  GARWE): Thank you Hon. President, I think the question is very specific, it relates to a specific Minister at a specific time with a specific issue.  It will be prudent that the Hon. Senator put that question in writing so that authorities above me interrogate the issue and process it accordingly.  I thank you.

      THE ACTING PRESIDENT OF SENATE: Hon. Sen. Phuthi, you can also put that question in writing so that we get a good response next week.

          *HON. SEN. CHIEF DANDAWA: Mine is not a supplementary question, but it is a question which I want to direct to the Minister of Mines. We have noticed that the Chinese are mining in different areas but for them to leave something for the communities particularly developing schools, boreholes and other things, what should we do in terms of dismissing them because they are not benefitting the communities?

          *THE MINISTER OF MINES AND MINING DEVELOPMENT (HON. SODA): Thank you Mr. President Sir. The first thing is that if they were given permission to mine legally, you cannot remove them in whichever area where they will be mining. We need to find ways like what we are explaining. I am saying this because as this august House, we are the people who respect the law that we promulgate as Parliament and the Ministry of Mines gives people authority and permission to mine legally.

          So, the laws that we are using are passed by this august House. It is not a good thing that the same Parliament which passes laws, we put the law aside and fire people. What we want to do is that if there is a specific issue, it should be written down as to how they are making mistakes so that the Ministry will carry out investigations. Let me also add by saying that if the Ministry of Mines has permitted a miner to mine, what we expect is that before mining, the miner is given an Environmental Impact Assessment Report which is done by EMA.

          EMA has a responsibility of reviewing what would happen and how the environment will upset the people’s livelihoods and other things. There are consultations that are done and during consultations, traditional leaders are engaged and they would explain the areas which are sacred. There are a number of areas where we know that there are sacred places and there are graves and other shrines where the community does not expect miners to venture into such areas.

So, it is important that communities are consulted and there is mutual understanding. Also, there are some miners who can be engaged so that health issues, schools, roads and other projects can be discussed between communities and such miners. This is happening in other areas and this is what we look forward to be seeing. If there is a specific issue, please put it in writing so that we can carry out an investigation and we reach an amicable solution. I thank you.

+HON. SEN. RITTA NDLOVU: My supplementary question is on illegal miners who are mining where they are not supposed to be mining. As I am speaking, in Bulawayo, we have a number of dams where people draw their water from. You would find that there are pits which, no matter how the rain falls, but water is diverted into such pits instead of where it is supposed to go and people are mining illegally and no one is taking action against illegal miners. For us who stay in Bulawayo, we face shortages because no matter how much rainfall we get, it is not going to the dams because of these illegal miners. I thank you.

HON. SODA: Thank you Mr. President. The issue of illegal mining can only be resolved through reporting to relevant authorities. We have the police that can also assist whenever there are illegal mining activities. We can also approach the Ministry of Mines in our various provinces but how they function, even if you report to the Ministry of Mines, they will still approach the police for enforcement of our laws and regulations.

I am aware the Hon. Member has spoken about the effects of illegal mining activities that are happening in Bulawayo to the extent that there is siltation and the water that is supposed to be collected in some dams is failing to get to the dams because of the illegal mining activities that are being conducted. The best that we can do is to make a formal report, either to the police or to the Ministry of Mines so that the mining activities are stopped. I thank you.

          *HON. SEN. CHIEF NECHOMBO: Thank you very much Mr. President Sir for giving me this opportunity. My question is directed to the Ministry of Public Service. In his absence, I will direct it to the Leader of Government business or any Ministry who will respond. My question is that we appreciate the laws that are obtaining, particularly the Constitution which gives us the authority to be able to communicate in different languages which are in the Constitution.

We note that the languages which we are allowed to communicate in are found to be generating controversy where sometimes you find people saying that we want English only in the workplace. We want to know what can be done. You hear that in five ‘O’ Levels there should be English, especially when people are being engaged by the Public Service. I thank you.

          *THE MINISTER OF NATIONAL HOUSING AND SOCIAL AMENITIES (HON. GARWE):  Thank you Mr. President Sir.  I want to thank Hon. Sen. Chief Nechombo for that pertinent question.  Indeed, this august House, Parliament and Senate through the passing of the Constitution which passed 16 local languages that are officially recognised and can be used in the work place, the challenge is that there are a few who can communicate and interpret the languages.  The second challenge is that we have some international languages like English that are expected from anyone who is being employed so that they are able to represent their organisation when they are sent outside the country.  When we speak our local languages without international languages, it becomes a challenge to send such a person outside the country.  It is important that we communicate in our languages.

However, I am going to forward your question to Hon. J. G. Moyo so that he brings feedback, but this is my response as the Acting Minister in that regard.  I thank you.

+HON. SEN. S. MOYO:  Thank you for this opportunity to ask my question.  My question is directed to the Minister of National Housing and Social Amenities regarding the issue that in the past few days, we saw people having their properties being destroyed because the stands were obtained illegally.  My question is; what has Government done regarding giving these people stands because they bought stands from people who were awarded tenders by Government.  They bought the stands not knowing that the stands are illegal.  I thank you.   

*THE MINISTER OF NATIONAL HOUSING AND SOCIAL AMENITIES (HON. GARWE):  Thank you Mr. President Sir.  I want to thank the Hon. Sen. for that question.  There is no Government policy that says, people’s houses should be destroyed.  Government did not destroy anyone’s property.  We all know that we have two ways of habiting.  In places, there are some who are habiting legally and then there are also others who settled in areas that were given to developers to work with Government with Government providing the areas, whilst developers bring resources to develop the areas.

We find such people selling land.  We also know that sometimes, this can be done illegally and this has resulted in areas that are allocated where there are no roads, toilets and the stands are not serviced.  Therefore, as Government, we need to come up with plans.  We are regularising such areas looking at how people were settled, and we look at layout plans that are laid by the Ministry of Local Government and Public Works.  Those who settled illegally and those who were allocated stands legally, those who were given legally are resettled in properly serviced stands and those who built in compliance with laid out plans, Government is partnering with business people so that they service the roads, water reticulation systems and toilets.

His Excellency the President, Dr. E. D. Mnangagwa, last year, came up with a programme of regularisation through the allocation of title deeds because land barons were taking advantage of people.  So for that not to recur, we were told to work holistically with different line ministries including the Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education, Innovation, Science and Technology Development.  Those who built their houses in wetlands, schools and those who built in proper residential areas, it is the Ministry of Local Government and Public Works that has the responsibility of coming up with layout plans.  They specify where there are supposed to be roads, water, electricity and residential areas, then the Ministry of National House and Amenities is responsible for on site infrastructure, looking at whether roads have been constructed, water and other projects. Then the Ministry of Energy and Power Development would come in installing different electrical projects whether it is hydro or solar power and other technologies; then we have CMED and other departments coming in to work on the roads. 

After that, people can be given title deeds because roads would have been allocated names and there is proper pegging where you find that someone has a particular stand, Stand Number 20, Mufakose or a different area.  This is what is written in the title deeds and it is taken to the Deeds Office and deeds are then generated.  No one is allowed to destroy anyone’s property.  It is not Government policy because Government wants people to have shelter because shelter is a basic right that is enshrined in the Constitution.  The Right to Shelter is universal.  I thank you.

*HON. SEN. KADUNGURE:  Thank you Mr. President.  My question is directed to the Minister of Mines and Mining Development.  What is Government policy regarding artisanal miners who were supposed to be empowered with tools of trade for them to be safe as they do their day-to-day duties?  I thank you.

*THE MINISTER OF MINES AND MINING DEVELOPMENT (HON. SODA):  Thank you Mr. President Sir.  I want to thank Hon. Sen. Kandungure for the pertinent question.  Indeed, it is true that Government is seized with bettering the lives of artisanal miners through the Artisanal Miners Strategy which has Gold Service Centres as centres that are going to be built with the anticipation that when a miner is mining but without tools of trade like the different machines that are used in the processing of their ore,  there should be service centres where there are mills where people bring their ore to be milled and separated from the stones.  This will be happening in Gold Service Centres.

Such centres will be One-Stop-Shops where gold, after processing is sold.  This is what is being done through the Artisanal Small Scale Mining Strategy regarding the issue that the Hon. Senator raised. Regarding that issue, let me say that Government put more than USD10 million, USD5 million is for the construction of gold service centres which I believe will be around five, then the difference of USD5 million will be used to buy the tools of trade. The different equipment that is being used, for instance, compressors, jack hammers and other smaller machinery which will be used by young people who are into mining and this will be distributed to all the provinces and the Ministry is working on procuring these tools of trade then through assessment, these will be disbursed to different provinces. I thank you.

          *HON. SEN. TONGOGARA: Thank you very much Mr. President.  I want to thank the Hon. Minister for that explanation.  My supplementary question is that in the past, mining was done with makorokoza because they used to leave holes. Now that artisanal miners are going to be mining properly, is there a way of ensuring that when they leave big pits, the pits will be covered because people are losing their livestock?  I thank you.

          HON. SODA: Thank you Mr. President.  Indeed, we have plans; what we noted at first is that just referring to people as makorokoza was derogatory and it affected them because it alienated them, so the strategy that we are taking is that what is legal should be happening and that they should do their mining legally in an acceptable way.

  So, they are not allowed to just mine wherever they want but there should be registration of where they will be mining and they should be guided by the law.  They have to make their applications, issued with claims, and inspections are done by the Ministry of Mines including declaring the production.   Whatever they produce, they must declare, which means that there is such inspection.  They must also be empowered with knowledge that when pits are dug they must be covered and this should be done by artisanal miners. So, now we know that in such and such areas, there is such a miner because they were formalised, they have applied, and that data is available.  I thank you.

          THE ACTING PRESIDENT OF SENATE: Allow me to announce to the House that we have been joined by Hon. Jesaya, the Deputy Minister of Sport and Recreation. 

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

          HON. SEN. MOHADI: Thank you Mr. President.  I move for the extension of time for questions without notice by ten minutes.

          HON. SEN. SHIRI: I second.

          HON. SEN. KATUMBA: Thank you very much Mr. President Sir.  I want to direct my question to the Deputy Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs. What is the Government doing in terms of protecting our industry which is being destroyed, giving an example of clothing where second-hand clothes, shoes, and blankets are being imported by runners?  What is the Hon. Minister doing to protect our industry so that they continue functioning well?  I thank you.

          THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL, AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. MAZUNGUNYE): Thank you Mr. President Sir.  I thank the Hon. Senator for that pertinent question.  My response is that I believe that the question is related to the Ministry of Industry, however, as the Ministry of Justice, the laws are there and if such people are carrying out their business illegally, they are arrested and they come to the courts, then the law will take its course. Looking at the crimes, if crimes are committed and if what they are doing is illegal, the courts are there to deal with people who commit different cases.

 However, looking at the importation, particularly the issue of runners, I think that should be directed to the Ministry of Industry and Commerce for clarity's sake.  I thank you.

          *HON. SEN. RUNGANI: Thank you Mr. President Sir.  As for Industry and Commerce, what is the Government doing to protect the clothing industry, runners are bringing clothes and other items using foreign currency and they are taking all the monies outside the country?  As a result, our industry is left with no business and is closed.  I thank you.

          HON. MAZUNGUNYE: Thank you for that supplementary question.  Like I said, this question should be directed to the Minister of Industry regarding the policy issue.  So, the question may be directed to the Acting Leader of Government Business.

          THE MINISTER OF NATIONAL HOUSING AND SOCIAL AMENITIES (HON. GARWE): Thank you Mr. President Sir.  I thank the Hon. Sen for that supplementary question.  It is like a chicken and egg case, where local factories are not charging prices that are in tandem with the day-to-day lives of Zimbabweans.  You find people overcharging.  This has opened the gap for the importation of goods which are cheaper. This is the result of profiteering that is happening.  Secondly, the Industry and Commerce Ministry is looking into these issues.  In the past two weeks, there was a ban on importation of cars which are 10 years and older because of such issues, but such issues, Mr. President Sir, particularly should then be put in writing because if it is put in writing, then there will be urgent interventions. 

So my request is that Hon. Senator, may you put it in writing so that we take the question to the Minister of Industry and Commerce so that there is clarity on the issue of runners and what is happening, but I urge our local business people to be efficient, not to overcharge people through profiteering.  This is opening the industry to runners because there is a lot of greed in local businesses.  I thank you.

*HON. SEN. CHIEF NGEZI:  Thank you Mr. President for the opportunity.  I would like to repeat what I once said.  I want to say that Government employees, for example District Administrators or the DDCs, can be rotated, but there are some who are not rotated, which I believe is affecting operations because of people who are not rotated.  So my question is; what is Government policy regarding this?  I thank you.

*THE MINISTER OF NATIONAL HOUSING AND SOCIAL AMENITIES (HON. GARWE):  Thank you Mr. President Sir.  Thank you Hon. Sen. Chief.  There is no Government policy which says that a headman should be removed and replaced by children.  The issue of relocating people or transferring people is not only for DDCs, but what is considered is your competence and the new deployments.  If you are competent, then this is merit based.  Whether it is at a low level or it is promotion, this is done through competence. 

I urge workers to go to school to better their competences so that such deployments are done.  There is no such law that says that a person should be removed from a position and replaced by another other person.

HON. SEN. TSHABANGU:  My question is directed to the Minister of Mines and Mining Development, and it is going to be in two-fold.

We have witnessed and realised the abuse by the large-scale miners of tax exemption facilities.  They will go in a community, support a football team, buy books which are worth US$200 and then apply for tax exemption through social corporate responsibility as a company and they are granted tax exemption.

My question is; can the Government create a scope whereby these companies, instead of buying books and sportswear for a football club, rehabilitate roads that they use, schools that are close by, clinics and hospitals which are dilapidated?  Can we not create a scope for one to qualify for tax exemption?

The other question is; how do you strike a balance between small-scale miners and big-scale miners like the mining companies that are well established in terms of tax proportions.  What is the range of tax, how are the small scale miners taxed, what is the tax bracket because we see them mushrooming everywhere and then the roads are being dilapidated, and then the responsibility goes to the bigger players which are established miners for them to rehabilitate the same roads that are being used by the small scale miners?

THE ACTING PRESIDENT OF SENATE:  Order Hon. Sen. Tshabangu, ask your question directly.  I think we are running out of time.

HON. SEN. TSHABANGU:  Those are the two questions.  I am sure the Minister got them very well.  If he did not, then I will come back.  Thank you.

THE MINISTER OF MINES AND MINING DEVELOPMENT (HON. SODA):  Thank you Mr. President for the two questions that we indulged from Hon. Sen. Tshabangu.  The first question being on tax exemptions where his observation is that there is an abuse of the facility by large-scale miners.

Mr. President, taxes are administered through the Ministry of Finance, Economic Development and Investment Promotion.  They are the ones that administer the Finance Act and all the taxes and levies are imposed through the Finance Act.  So this question, Mr. President, would be well articulated if it is directed to the Ministry of Finance, Economic Development and Investment Promotion. However, what I can say for now is that already, through the announcement of the budget which was done last year to take effect from the beginning of this year, we have heard that the Minister of Finance, Economic Development and Investment Promotion imposed a tax for corporate social responsibility.   It is no longer out of a miner’s will, but there is a tax that has been imposed where some collection will be made, and it is the responsibility of the Government now to redirect the proceeds of that tax towards corporate social responsibility activities.  So I want to believe that is going to address your concern.

Again, the issue of striking a balance between small-scale miners and large-scale miners.  It is also supposed to be articulated in the same manner that I have responded to the first question that it is the responsibility of the Ministry of Finance, Economic Development and Investment Promotion to handle all tax issues.  I thank you Mr. President.

ORAL ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS WITH NOTICE

PROVISION OF MODEN EQUIPMENT FOR THE

METALLURGICAL LABORATORY

  1. 11. HON. SEN. ZVIDZAI asked the Minister of Mines and Mining Development to inform the House the plans being put in place by the Ministry to provide modern equipment for the Metallurgical Laboratory as well as the employment of qualified personnel.

          THE MINISTER OF MINES AND MINING DEVELOPMENT (HON.  SODA): Mr. President of Senate Sir, I move that we defer both questions No. 11 and 12, I will attend to them next week.

          THE ACTING PRESIDENT OF SENATE: Hon. Senators, we have been joined by one other Minister though very late, Minister of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services, Hon. Jenfan Muswere.

ANNOUNCEMENT BY THE ACTING PRESIDENT OF SENATE

BLAST AT 1630HRS

          THE ACTING PRESIDENT OF SENATE: I have a very important announcement. At 1630hrs. we are going to have a very loud blast and Hon. Senators are advised not to panic but on your movement from here to town, you must use Good Hope Road because Old Mazowe Road detour has been heavily compromised.  On that note, I want to recognise Hon. Minister Garwe before he leaves, to adjourn the House.

          On the motion of THE MINISTER OF NATIONAL HOUSING AND SOCIAL AMENITIES (HON. GARWE), the Senate adjourned at Six Minutes to Four o’clock p.m. until Tuesday, 9th April, 2024.

 

 

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