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SENATE HANSARD 7 MARCH 2024 VOL 33 NO 30

PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE

Thursday, 7th March, 2024

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

PRAYERS

(THE HON. PRESIDENT OF SENATE in the Chair)

ANNOUNCEMENTS BY THE HON. PRESIDENT OF SENATE

PARLIAMENT IDENTITY CARDS

          THE HON. PRESIDENT OF SENATE:  I wish to inform Hon. Members that Hon. Members without Parliament identity cards should submit their details to the Security Department or contact Mr. Edward on 0772932413. 

          HON. SEN. MBOHWA: Madam President, I rise on a point of national interest to bring to the attention of this House the commemorations of International Women’s Day, which falls on the 8th of March every year. My point of national interest is to plead with the Government to invest in women and accelerate progress in line with the theme of International Women’s Day, which is to “Invest in Women: Accelerate progress”.  We recognise what the Government of Zimbabwe is doing to increase women’s participation in various spheres, in particular the Constitutional provisions which call for gender balance, equality and non-discrimination, the extension of the women’s quota in the National Assembly, the introduction of the women’s quota at the local authority level, the Zebra formation in the Senate and the introduction of the youth quota, among others; are legislative provisions that we applaud. 

          Madam President, whereas we appreciate the progress we have made in empowering women and increasing their participation in the various political, economic and social spheres of the economy, we are still far from attaining the 50/50 target.  This is a cause for concern and I would like to urge this august House and the Government at large, to work towards the attainment of the 50/50 target, particularly when we go to the 2028 Harmonised Elections. 

          Madam President, women’s economic empowerment is also crucial for achieving gender equality and sustainable development.  However, we note with concern that the majority of women in Zimbabwe still do not have equal access to economic resources, opportunities and benefits.  As such, we are calling upon the Government to address the barriers and challenges that hinder women’s full participation in the economy by putting in place empowerment strategies aimed at creating equal opportunities for all women and girls in Zimbabwe.  Thank you.  

APOLOGIES RECEIVED FROM MINISTERS

  THE HON. PRESIDENT OF SENATE: I have got a list of apologies from Hon. Ministers and Deputy Ministers who sent their apologies; I have a whole page.  Hon. M. N. Ndlovu, Minister of Environment,  Climate and Wildlife; Hon. T. Machakaire, Minister of Youth Empowerment, Development and Vocational Training; Hon. Mupamhanga Junior, Deputy Minister of Youth Empowerment, Development and Vocational Training; Hon. E. Jesaya, Deputy 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. O. C. Z Muchinguri-Kashiri, Minister of Defence. Hon. Brigadier General Retired L. Mayihlome, Deputy Minister of Defence, Hon. Sen. M. Mutsvangwa, Minister of Women’s Affairs, Community, Small and Medium Enterprises Development; Hon. J. Mhlanga, Deputy Minister of Women’s Affairs, Community, Small and Medium Enterprise Development; Hon. W. Chitando, Minister of Local Government and Public Works; Hon. B. Kabikira, Deputy Minister of Local Government and Public Works. Hon. F. Shava, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Trade;  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. O. Mazungunye, Deputy Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs; Hon. O. Marupi, Deputy Minister of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services;   Hon. T. A Mavetera, Minister of Information Communication Technology, Postal and Courier Services; Hon. D. Phuti, Deputy Minister of Information Communication Technology, Postal and Courier Services.  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. J. Sacco, Deputy Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development.

ORAL ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS WITHOUT NOTICE

          HON. SEN. MAVENYENGWA: My question is directed to the Deputy Minister of Finance, Economic Development and Investment Promotion. Due to the El Nino induced impending drought which our country is already facing, I want to find out from the Minister how prepared Government is to purchase grain if need be, for the country to avert this drought which the country seems to have already faced?

          THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF FINANCE, ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT AND INVESTMENT PROMOTION (HON. D. K. MNANGAGWA): Thank you Senator for bringing this question of national importance to the fore. Just to give some background. Going back to December when we prepared the budget speech where El Nino was a recurrent thing, it is something that Treasury had been anticipating that we would have a tough season. In terms of preparation, I reiterate the words that the President has given reassurance to the nation that no one will starve.

          The process that is currently underway is the constitution of grain mobilisation committee. We are doing a reconciliation of what we have in our reserves, what we have within the country to ascertain how much we need to import if need be and that way we will come up with a quantum. In as far as preparedness, Treasury stands ready. Everybody should have comfort that Government is ready to tackle El Nino.

          *HON. SEN. CHIEF NGEZI: Thank you for giving me the opportunity. I want to direct my question to the Minister of Mines and Mining Development regarding the law which applies to mines which are under ZMDC. Such mines are given to people on a first come first served basis, but under ZMDC, you find that some people are given these mines regardless of who comes first. I want to understand Government policy regarding that.

          *THE MINISTER OF MINES AND MINING DEVELOPMENT (HON. SODA): I want to thank Senator Chief Ngezi who asked regarding the mines under ZMDC. ZMDC is a parastatal of Government which holds some mining assets in anticipation of finding an investor to work with. The new thrust of Government is that of becoming a shareholder in our mining investment as opposed to previously when the benefit was through social corporate responsibility, job creation and taxes. There are two ways I wish the community can be consulted when an investor comes. If a mining location is a communal land, consultation will be done through local authority, which is made up of councillors. Individual farmers whose land size exceeds 100 hectares are not consulted for pegging of a mine as long as the mine does not occupy more than 50% of the farm. For farms that are below 100 hectares, the farmers consent is a pre-requisite for pegging and registration of a mine. Investors are mandated to obtain an ESIA from the Ministry of Environment before they embark on their mining activities. This provides another opportunity for the community to express their expectation from the mining activities to be done in their areas.

I thank you.

          *HON. SEN. CHIEF CHARUMBIRA: Let me say that what you said is very good, but if there are reservations and when Government decides to allocate - my question is that, do local authorities and traditional leadership have that information? As the leadership, are they aware of such developments so that they understand and know what will be happening because people who are in rural areas do not have access to this literature? Is this published in the Government Gazette or is there a way of disseminating information so that the information reaches communities? Sometimes you hear that a Korean company has been given a mine, whilst people are not aware of that information.

          HON. SODA: I want to thank Hon. Sen. Chief Charumbira for that pertinent question on the dissemination of information when there are developments regarding reserved mines which might have been at a stage where they can be used. The law applies and we look at whether it is a communal area or not. When there is a miner who wants to work in such an area, then that miner is given consent. The local authority is informed. The local authority is made up of councillors who come from different wards and the committees they sit in is where they come up with a council resolution regarding the allocation of that mine to a particular investor. The council gives the permission after due diligence is done on behalf of the people. I believe that people are represented by their councillors who come from different wards.

          You also asked the question that if an area is no longer reserved, but it is open to the public. Let me say that indeed, we have reservations, but they are not for public usage. As I speak, these are areas which we anticipate to develop partnerships between Government and investors so that Government will benefit from such partnerships and investments. For example, the building of schools and other infrastructure, but let me say that such mines are still under Government. So, we look at issues like whether it is someone’s field. If it is more than 100 ha, there is a policy which says that we do not seek the consent of the farmer. It can only be 50% because there is no deprivation to the farmer but if it is more than 100 ha then the farmer should be consulted so that there is a way of reaching an agreement and that mining is done whilst the farmer can work on his farm.

When investors come, an Environmental Impact Assessment is done to look at the demographics and how people are settled in that area. Questions of whether they are able to work together are asked. The other question that is asked is what the community expects to benefit. This is done by the Ministry of Environment; they do not just look at environmental issues but also social aspects and how mining is going to affect the community. So, the communities are allowed to contribute towards how their area is going to be used.

*HON. SEN. ZINDI: My supplementary question to the question that was asked by Hon. Sen. Ngezi looking at the issue of the 2024 National Budget that was passed last year, we spoke about the need for a template so that it becomes easy for me. A template which specifies that a prospective miner who comes to mine from whichever area, particularly those who are coming from outside the country because most of them who are mining in Zimbabwe are not benefitting the communities. For example, diamond companies in Marange, gold miners in different parts of the country, granite miners in Mutoko and Uzumba-Maramba-Pfungwe who started mining long back and as representatives of the people, we requested for a template which should be used as a framework. For example, it will be taken and used like rates that are paid. Is there anything that is being done to make sure they benefit communities where they are extracting their minerals because of the prevailing laws if such laws are enacted? Is there something that is happening so that such laws are put in place to enable us to monitor the extraction of minerals? For instance, in Manicaland, you discover that in Beira, lorries exceeding 100 are carrying ore.

*HON. SODA: Indeed, it is true what has been raised by Hon. Sen. Zindi that this was indicated in the annual budget that corporate social responsibility is mandatory and this should benefit communities.  For instance, in Mutoko, there are programmes that are being run like the sinking of boreholes and other projects. We now have a policy that says those who mine in communities should pay rates. The question that was asked was, is this happening? I believe that all rates and I believe that every Senator here agrees with me that rates are remitted to the Ministry of Finance, whether these are proceeds from mining or different ministries. So, the question is, has this started happening and is it being implemented, the money which is being paid, for instance, in areas where miners are extracting minerals? So, I would request that the Ministry of Finance responds to the question.

*THE HON. PRESIDENT OF SENATE: You are now taking my responsibility. This is no longer a supplementary but a different question altogether, if I understand all this. 

HON. SEN. PHULU: My question is directed to the Deputy Minister of Finance, Economic Development and Investment Promotion. My question hinges on the successful holding of the 56th  Session of the Economic Commission for Africa Conference of African Ministers of Finance, Planning and Economic Development that was held in the resort town of Victoria Falls recently. We would like to congratulate you for that. The question that arises is, what key development opportunities and take-aways can the Minister outline for us that arose from that session so that we can take back to our constituencies?

THE HON. PRESIDENT OF SENATE: I would have loved that question to be put in writing so that the Minister gives the whole House an extensive answer for us to understand because for him to go through what transpired during the whole conference, I do not think it is possible. Put it in written form.

HON. SEN. PHULU: Thank you.

*HON. SEN. GOTORA: My question regarding minerals is, what law is he referring to? Why is it that the Mines and Minerals Act is not solving these issues? It comes to Parliament and disappears. So, what law are we talking about which is going to correct things? Where I come from, we have granite, we do not want hand-outs but we want to be the owners of the minerals which are being extracted from our area. You find people destroying mountains. What law is being referred to? Is it the Mines and Minerals Act or the Finance Act or what?

*THE MINISTER OF MINES AND MINING DEVELOPMENT (HON. SODA):  We have been referring to the Budget – when it was announced, it alluded to the corporate responsibility activities.…..

THE HON. PRESIDENT OF SENATE:  Hon. Minister, this is a new question which has been asked by Hon. Sen. Gotora.

HON. SODA:  This is what I was responding to Madam President.

The question is which law are we alluding to?  We were alluding to the annual budget.  When it was announced, it spoke about the obligation towards miners who are expected to pay taxes that will develop communities where they operate from.  Then the Mines and Minerals Act which he asked about, if you remember the official opening of this session; His Excellency the President Dr. E.D. Mnangagwa giving the State of the Nation Address, the legislative agenda which was given to this august House – the Bill which was on top was the Mines and Minerals Bill which …

*HON. SEN. ZINDI:  On a point of order – the question that was asked is, what law is being applied by the Ministry of Mines which makes it mandatory for miners to pay taxes to benefit communities?  As representatives, we need to go back to the people and give them the appropriate feedback with regards to this particular law.

          *HON. SODA:  It is the Finance Act.

          *THE HON. PRESIDENT OF SENATE:  Oh, it is in the Finance Act?  Is that the Act?

          *HON. MAKAMBA:  My question is directed to the Minister of Mines and Mining Development.  Neighboring countries like Namibia and Mozambique have vibrant economies because they have discovered oil and gas.  May the Hon. Ministers tell us – we hear this from the television that there are discoveries of oil and gas in our country.  We want to know the current position.

*THE MINISTER OF MINES AND MINING DEVELOPMENT (HON. SODA):  On Monday we informed the nation and the world at large that Zimbabwe had discovered light oil, helium, hydrogen and condescend.  After informing the nation, we also announced the Gill Associate Company which is responsible for prospecting such minerals in Muzarabani, Mbire and other areas. They informed us that they are going to commercialise the gas and oil production so that these benefit the nation instead of the continual exploration to discover the numbers that are there.  What has been discovered should be mined so that it benefits the nation.

Indeed, their programmes are in tandem with Government programmes.  We cannot continue about industry, mining and other sectors which need electricity.  The discovery of light oil and gas is going to benefit the nation so that we have electricity to support different Government sectors.

*HON. SEN. NGWENA:  My question is directed to the Minister of Youth Empowerment and VTCs.  What is Government policy with regards to the VTCs which are no longer operating yet they used to benefit school drop outs or school leavers who are not able to go to universities?

*THE MINISTER OF STATE FOR PRESIDENTIAL AFFAIRS IN THE OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT (HON. SEN. MATUKE): This question is important because it looks at the empowerment of our children who would not have performed well academically, but need vocational skills.  We have a lot of training centres in our country and in our current Budget, it was indicated that there is a fund towards these vocational training centres, for example, Mushagashe and other training centres across the country.  Our young people are being trained vocational skills so that they can have self-employment skills and run income generating projects instead of seeking employment.  So this is Government policy and our desire is that such vocational training centres become useful to our young people.

+HON. SEN. MLOTSHWA:  Thank you Mr. President of the Senate.  What is Government policy on funding of mission hospitals?  Currently, the situation in these hospitals is dire and they need to be funded urgently.

*HON. SEN. MATUKE:  Thank you for that pertinent question which alludes to mission hospitals run by churches.  They are saying they are not seeing the assistance which they are supposed to be getting.   Let me respond by saying that the hospitals we see, particularly mission hospitals, get their medicines from NATPHARM and most medication comes from Government through NATPHARM, which is responsible for disbursing medicines to hospitals.  If there is any hospital that you know which does not have enough medicines, can I request the Hon. Senator to put it in writing specifying the names of the hospitals not receiving support.  This will enable us to follow up and give you feedback.  I thank you.

*HON. SEN. CHIEF CHIKWAKA:  Thank you Madam President of the Senate.  My question is directed to the Leader of the House.  What is Government policy regarding Provincial Heroes’ acres in all the provinces.  These places are not being maintained and there is long grass in the heroes’ acres.  The maintenance of such places is very important and we should not forget the great work these heroes did by bringing us independence. 

THE MINISTER OF STATE FOR PRESIDENTIAL AFFAIRS IN THE OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT (HON. SEN. MATUKE):  Thank you for that important question regarding our heroes who brought independence and we are here today because of them.  Let me say the heroes’ acres are sacred places and, in every province and district, there are committees which are responsible for the maintenance of such burial places so that our heroes rest in places that are well maintained.  The subsequent digging of new graves is an important issue and I would want to know if there are particular areas which are in disrepair so that I can give the information to the Minister of Home Affairs to enable him to restore the dignity of such places.

*HON. SEN. CHIEF CHIKWAKA:  My supplementary question is that the situation is in most Provincial Heroes’ acres.  The places are so ordinary and not different from other burial places.  They should be maintained and seen to be special burial places where our heroes have been laid to rest.

THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE: We are also at the beginning of the financial year and I believe resources are going to be allocated to the relevant Ministry so that the graves and the heroes’ acres are properly maintained to restore the dignity which our heroes deserve.

+HON. SEN. S. MOYO: Thank you Mr. President Sir. My question is directed to the Minister of Mines and Mining Development. I have realised that throughout the country, we have a lot of mines that are operational and the roads which lead to these mining towns are in a sorry state. What is the Government policy on attending to such areas?

THE MINISTER OF MINES AND MINING DEVELOPMENT (HON. SODA): Thank you Mr. President. If I got the question correctly, the Hon. Member wants to know the policy of Government with regards to roads that lead to mines that are in a sorry state and the extent to which Government is compelling those miners to attend to the roads. Mr. President, we expect the miners themselves to have social responsibility to repair their roads knowing that the roads are a benefit to them even when they are negotiating contracts for movement of their goods including their minerals. The condition of the road is also taken into consideration in those negotiations. So we expect the miners themselves to be responsible to ensure that the roads are repaired.

Over and above that, I think earlier on, we discussed about an obligation which was imposed through the announcement of the budget where it is now mandatory that there has to be a contribution by each and every miner towards social responsibilities. There is an obligation which is imposed through the Finance Act as I have indicated earlier on. Those are some of the measures by which Government will ensure that resources are collected that will be utilised for the purposes of rehabilitation of our roads, especially contributions that are made directly from the miners themselves. I thank you Mr. President.

HON. SEN. CHIEF CHARUMBIRA: Mr. President, I would like to thank the Minister for the brilliant responses that he is delivering this afternoon. However, we have numerous examples of mines that have existed, some for almost a century, but which have never bothered to at least construct good roads that lead to their mines. We find Government struggling to raise revenue and construct roads that lead to the same mines. We find it a bit contradictory. I would not want to mention, but when we leave, Minister- I will whisper to you one, two or three mines that do not construct their roads. I thank you.

HON. SODA: Thank you Mr. President. I want to thank the Hon. Member for the supplementary question. You might be aware that last year in May, His Excellency launched a responsible mining initiative. That initiative in itself was a call for us to begin to be responsible, including the miners themselves. What we then did as Ministry was to conduct an audit to ascertain the state of affairs of our mining facilities. Of course, we did not go to all of them, but we had a very good representative sample which we targeted. That state of affairs was obtained through the audit.

Most of what we are referring to is lack of enforcement. We have rules, by-laws, including local authorities themselves. You might be aware that our local authorities collect some royalties and it is an expectation from the local authorities to also make a contribution through enforcement and also for them to be part of the rehabilitation exercise of our roads and many other amenities. Through the Responsible Mining Initiative which was launched, we found out that people have become relaxed. There is no enforcement. We have rules and laws, all we need to do is to begin to enforce those laws so that the investors that are coming into Zimbabwe to do their investment or work with us, know that we are a country that has laws. I thank you Mr. President.

HON. SEN. TONGOGARA: Thank you very much Mr. President Sir. My question is directed to the Deputy Minister of Finance, Economic Development and Investment Promotion. What steps are being taken to manage inflation and stabilise the Zimbabwean Dollar? I thank you Mr. President.

THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE: Thank you Hon. Sen. Tongogara for making an example of asking a straight question.

THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF FINANCE, ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT AND INVESTMENT PROMOTION (HON. D. K. MNANGAGWA): Thank you Mr. President and thank you Hon. Sen. Tongogara for that question. On the first point on what Treasury is doing to manage inflation, it is going to fit in my second response. The inflation phenomena in Zimbabwe is coupled with exchange rate volatility which means that inflation moves in direct correlation with our exchange rate movement. What will be happening over the next few weeks or the fullness of time is, Government, through the Monetary Authority, the Reserve Bank, will be releasing a Monetary Policy Statement. In this Statement, we will have some reforms towards the currency, towards the exchange rate management system and some corrective measures to ensure that we have stability on the currency front. Without preempting the Monetary Policy Statement, Mr. President Sir, I will say, in the fullness of time, when this document and these measures come out, those measures will be clear as to what Government’s position is. I thank you Mr. President.

          HON. SEN. NDEBELE:  Thank you Mr. President.  My question is directed to the Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs.  What other supporting strategies does the Government has in trying to combat GBV considering that despite existing laws, GBV cases continue to rise?

          THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. Z. ZIYAMBI):  Thank you Mr. President.  I want to thank the Senator for that very important question.  I want to start by saying that the laws that we have are very adequate.  What might be lacking might be enforcement of the laws and awareness programmes.  To close that gap, we now have annually, 16 days of activism against Gender-Based Violence where the Ministry of Women’s Affairs, Gender and Community Development, come up with aggressive programmes on awareness and educating our people on the ills of Gender-Based Violence.  Also, within the Ministry of Justice, we have programmes again to deal with those issues.

 I also need to commend the First Lady in her programmes when she goes around the country, each time you see that there is a slot that is reserved to deal with issues of Gender-Based Violence, educating our communities, our mothers, our sisters and young boys on the dangers of Gender-Based Violence.  Basically, what we need is for the whole community to approach it in the same manner.  We educate our young boys and girls right from primary school up to university level.  We educate people to respect the rights of the other gender, to ensure that we live in harmony, which is the thrust that the Government has at this particular juncture.  I thank you Mr. President.

 Questions Without Notice were interrupted by THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE in terms of Standing Order No. 67.   

HON. SEN. MAVENYENGWA:  Thank you Mr. President.  I move that time for questions without notice be extended.

HON. SEN. MBOHWA: I second.

Motion put and agreed to. 

THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE:  Time for Questions Without Notice is extended by 15 minutes. 

*HON. SEN. MUZODA:  Thank you Mr. President.  I want to direct my question to the Leader of the House. My question pertains to the diseases like black leg and anthrax which is killing our livestock.  How prepared is our Government in fighting the death of livestock?  I thank you.

*THE MINISTER OF STATE FOR PRESIDENTIAL AFFAIRS IN THE OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT (HON. SEN. MATUKE):  Thank you Mr. President.  I want to thank the Hon. Member for that question regarding preserving our cattle, sheep and other livestock. The question is; how prepared is Government in preventing the death of livestock.  Before I respond to your question, let me start by saying that the other diseases which we anticipate is due to drought. We might not have enough water for our livestock.  Let me inform this august House that Government is looking at the issue, particularly of boreholes which are over 57 000 and some which have been in operation since the 1980s.  Some of these are going to benefit the nation by November. Government would have sunk a number of solar boreholes which are estimated to be around 10 000.  There is a 1 000 target right now and these boreholes are going to be put in areas where livestock get their water.  The boreholes are expected to be used for irrigating our crops.  Government plan includes the distribution of vaccines and injections which are taken to our dip tanks throughout the country to protect our livestock through dipping and vaccination of our livestock. I believe that Government is committed to protecting our livestock by provision of water and vaccines.  I want to assure the Hon. Senator who raised this question that Government is committed to protecting livestock. 

I also want to urge the nation not only to rely on Government, but as farmers, if you have ten cattle, it is important that we also complement Government efforts.  We need to take the initiative instead of waiting for Government only whilst Government is doing its part. Let us also play our part as farmers.  I thank you.

*HON. SEN. GWATURE: Thank you Mr. President.  My question is directed to the Leader of the House.  We have liberation fighters from ZIPRA and ZANLA.  There are some who died during the war who were not repatriated back home.  We also have war collaborators when they were coming from Mozambique and other neighbouring countries, some were assisted in different areas by chimbwidos and mujibhas. My little knowledge says that there are some benefits that are being given to war veterans, but war collaborators are not getting anything as promised by our Government that they will get something. Is there anything that is being done to benefit our war collaborators, particularly those who lost their relatives during the war? I thank you.

          THE MINISTER OF STATE FOR PRESIDENTIAL AFFAIRS IN THE OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT (HON SEN. MATUKE): I want to thank the Hon. Senator for that pertinent question regarding our war liberation fighters like the chimbwidos. Let me say that His Excellency the President, created a Ministry responsible for war veterans and war collaborators so that the Ministry looks at their welfare and the welfare of those who assisted those who participated in the war. This is how His Excellency values the contribution of war veterans and war collaborators. There was a process which culminated in the vetting of war collaborators and this was done. The names are in the database and they are known like what you mentioned that Government promised.

          Secondly, for those who participated in the war and were not assisted, this is the reason why we have that Ministry which was given the mandate to look into the welfare and the plight of war veterans so that such issues are brought to the attention of this august House. Government is committed and it will continue doing its best to assist our war veterans and collaborators. In the last heroes’ celebrations, some war collaborators received medals for outstanding service to the nation. All provinces were part of the process. It does not mean that the medals are all they got, but Government values the welfare of our war veterans and war collaborators. I thank you

          *HON. SEN. CHAKABUDA: I want to thank you Mr. President for giving me the opportunity to raise my question. My question is directed to the Minister of Mines and Mining Development. In the different areas we come from, we have small scale and artisanal miners who mine and when they complete the process of mining, they leave open pits which become a hazard. When it rains, these pits are a danger to our livestock. Hon. Minister, what can be done to make sure artisanal and small-scale miners cover such pits so that they do not become a hazard to our livestock? I thank you.

THE MINISTER OF MINES AND MINING DEVELOPMENT (HON. SODA): I want to thank the Hon. Senator for raising that pertinent question regarding what could be done to protect our livestock from hazardous pits which are left unattended by artisinal miners. Firstly, all mining which is done should be legal. There is illegal mining and once we indicate that it is illegal mining, it means that whatever they are doing is illegal and it is not governed by law. If they mine without permission, then it is difficult to force them to cover those pits after mining because they are doing so illegally without declaring their interest and without the relevant documentation to do mining.

However, we are not going to leave them and allow them to do that, but let me say that illegal mining is not allowed. Anyone who wants to mine should do so legally. They should go to provincial offices and get the permission to mine. Every province has an office and our office does inspections, looking at how mining is done, whether it is in line with the laws of the land and whether whatever they are mining is being remitted to Government. We have a Committee which involves the Ministry of Home Affairs, EMA and other departments working together to look at ways of eradicating such problems of open pits which are left by miners.

We are looking at ways of creating funding for covering such pits, particularly in areas where concerns have been raised. We believe that those who mine have a responsibility through the law to cover such pits before moving to the next area. For illegal miners, it is difficult to monitor and force them. I thank you.

*HON. SEN. CHIEF CHARUMBIRA: I believe that the issue of such pits is quite important because there is need for carrying out an audit of what is happening. We find these pits in all areas. The mining Committee should have people who are on the ground so that they get all the information which will assist in the management of mining because you find that those who dig pits sometimes just leave them unattended and they just disappear.

An Hon. Senator having passed between the Chair and the Hon. Senator speaking.

THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE: Order Hon. Senator.

HON. SODA: Thank you Mr. President for the contribution which was given by Hon. Sen. Chief Charumbira. I believe this will complement the plans that we have regarding the eradication of this problem. We are working on a strategy for artisanal miners which is going to help communities in their operations. We will take on board the issues that you have raised in your contribution. I thank you.

ORAL ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS WITH NOTICE

MEASURES TO BREAK THE MONOPOLY IN THE SUGAR

MILLING INDUSTRY

  1. HON. SEN. TONGOGARA asked the Minister of Industry and Commerce to inform the House on the measures that the Ministry has put in place to break the monopoly in the sugar milling industry to ensure quality, fair practice and competition.

THE MINISTER OF INDUSTRY AND COMMERCE (HON. DR. NYONI): The Ministry of Industry and Commerce is responsible for the implementation of the Sugar Production and Control Act and this Act is being amended to address current dynamics in the sugar industry.

Just to inform the House that the sugar industry has been prioritised as one of the 10 value chains to drive the industrilisation agenda in line with NDS 1 objectives. The other nine (9) value chains are; dairy, cotton, leather, soya, fertilizer, pharmaceutical, bus and truck, iron and steel and plastic waste. The sugar value chain plays a pivotal role in driving the Zimbabwean economy through contributing about 1% of the country’s GDP.

The industry currently employs around 23 000 people (Tongaat Hulett Zimbabwe employs 15 000 people at peak) and has potential to increase up to 25 000 people after the completion of Kilimanjaro Sugar Project, where to date 1 000 hectares out of 4 000 hectares of land have been cleared for production of sugarcane.

My Ministry is currently in the process of developing a comprehensive Zimbabwe Sugar Sector Strategy, which will give direction to the entire industry through addressing issues affecting the value chain. The key highlights of the strategy are retooling or upgrading of the two sugar mills, increasing yield per hectare and increasing the total sugar production.

My Ministry chairs the Technical Working Group (WG) on sugar, which is holistically addressing the issues involving monopoly in the sugar industry. The National Competitiveness Commission (NCC) carried out a sugar value chain analysis, with findings that Zimbabwe is one of the few countries that have two sugar mills and owned by one entity. The NCC recommended setting up a sugar milling plant in Mkwasine area.

I am pleased to say that through the whole of Government approach, the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development has declared sugarcane as a strategic crop. This will ensure that the farming of sugarcane is monitored by the Government.

In line with the “Zimbabwe is Open for Business” mantra, in September 2023, my Ministry solicited for new investments in the sugar sector. So far, three (3) investors have responded, expressing interest in investing in the sector. Two of the investors have already visited the Lowveld and both parties, the investors and the farmers expressed interest in working together in setting up the sugar milling plant. It is important to note that the setting up of a sugar milling plant in the Lowveld will address the following key strategic issues:

  • Reduce transport costs for farmers, especially in the Mkwasine area, who have to travel 50 kilometres to the nearest sugar mill.
  • Ensure that the sugar cane cut from the fields is delivered to the mill within 24 hours to avoid loss of quality of cane, and
  • Bring competition to the monopoly of Tongaat Hullet, the sole miller/producer of sugar in the country.

The Ministry has since referred the three (3) investors to the

Zimbabwe Investment and Development Authority (ZIDA) for consideration. We believe the setting up of a new sugar milling plant, especially in the Mkwasine area will successfully break the monopoly in the sugar sector and allow competition in the industry.

This will eventually bring about quality products as well as the price of sugar will be reduced to the benefit of our consumers. The companies will compete for employees with attractive payment packages and employment benefits to attract promising talent. This will benefit the economy in the end.

*HON. SEN. MAVENYENGWA: The Hon. Minister mentioned that sugar is now a strategic crop and I believe that this has been deliberated on for quite some time. I want to know whether the assistance which is given to cotton, maize and tobacco farmers will be extended to sugar farmers because since this was declared, we have not seen that in the Lowveld. I want to request that sugar farmers be also involved in committees because Tongaat Hullet, which has two milling plants can stay for quite some time without …

THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE: You are now making an intervention Hon. Senator and the Minister may not answer that question because that is the preserve of the Minister of Agriculture. She is responsible for the commerce and trade part of it. The question which you have posed here is actually the preserve of the Minister of Agriculture in terms of you asking what interventions are being done to promote this issue of the strategic nature of the crop.

STABILISATION OF THE LOCAL CURRENCY

  1. HON. SEN. CHIEF CHIKWAKA asked the Minister of Finance, Economic Development and Investment Promotion to inform the House the measures put in place by the Ministry to stabilise our local currency.

THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF FINANCE AND INVESTMENT PROMOTION (HON. D. K. MNANGAGWA): Mr. President, I seek your guidance. I answered the same question during questions without notice. Shall I reiterate the same?

THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE: You can simply state that you have already made reference to the question.  It is a coincidence really.  Just make a statement for the record of Hansard that the question has already been answered.

HON. D. K. MNANGAGWA: I thank you for your guidance Hon. President of Senate.  To the Hon. Senator, I have already made reference to the same question earlier on with regards to a pending monetary policy statement that will address currency stabilisation, inflation as well as exchange rate management system reform.

MOTION

BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE

THE MINISTER OF STATE FOR PRESIDENTIAL AFFAIRS IN THE OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT (HON.  SEN. MATUKE): I move that Orders of the Day, Numbers 1 to 4 be stood over until Order of the Day Number 5 has been disposed of.

Motion put and agreed to.

MOTION

REPORT OF THE DELEGATION TO THE 54TH PLENARY ASSEMBLY SESSION OF THE SADC-PARLIAMENTARY FORUM HELD IN MAURITIUS

          Fifth Order read: Adjourned debate on motion on motion on the Report of the Delegation to the 54th Plenary Assembly of the SADC-Parliamentary Forum.

Question again proposed.

HON. SEN. MBOHWA:  I would like extend my sincere appreciation to all Hon. Members who contributed to the rich and enlightening debate during this session.  Your insights and dedication are instrumental in advancing our shared goals. Thank you once again for your unwavering commitment to tackling the challenges of climate change. Together let us strive to make our planet earth a safer and more resilient home for all its inhabitants.  In conclusion I move that the motion be adopted.

Motion that this House takes note of the Report of the Delegation to the 54th Plenary Assembly Session of the SADC-Parliamentary Forum held from 22nd to 27th November, 2023 in Port Louis, Mauritius, put and agreed to.

On the motion of THE MINISTER OF STATE FOR PRESIDENTIAL AFFAIRS IN THE OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT (HON.  SEN. MATUKE), the House adjourned at Nine Minutes past Four o’clock p.m. until Tuesday, 12th March, 2024.

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