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SENATE HANSARD 8 FEBRUARY 2024 VOL 33 NO 24

PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE

Thursday, 8th February, 2024

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

PRAYERS

(THE ACTING PRESIDENT OF SENATE in the Chair)

ANNOUNCEMENTS BY THE ACTING PRESIDENT OF SENATE

APOLOGIES RECEIVED FROM MINISTERS

          THE ACTING PRESIDENT OF SENATE (HON. SEN. KAMBIZI): I have a long list of apologies from Ministers and Deputy Ministers as follows: 

The Vice President, Hon. Gen. Rtd. Dr. Constantino, G.D.N. Chiwenga;

The Vice President, Hon. Col. Rtd. Kembo D. C. Mohadi;

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

The Minister of Tourism and Hospitality, Hon. Barbra Rwodzi;

The Minister of Defence, Hon. Oppah C. Z. Muchinguri;

The Deputy Minister of Defence, Hon. Brig. Gen. Rtd. Levy Mayihlome;

The Minister of Women Affairs, Community and SME, Hon. Monica Mutsvangwa;

The Deputy Minister of Women Affairs, Community and SME, Hon. J. Mhlanga;

The Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, the Hon. Amb. Dr. Frederick Shava;

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

The Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, Hon. Ziyambi;

The Minister of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services, Hon. Jenfan Muswere; 

The Deputy Minister of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services, Hon. O. Marupi;

The Minister of Mines and Mining Development, Hon. Zhemu Soda;

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

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

The Minister of Primary and Secondary Education, Hon. Torerai Moyo;

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

The Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development, Hon. Felix Mhona;

The Deputy Minister of Information, Communication Technology, Postal and Courier Services, Hon. D. Phuti;

The Deputy Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare, Hon. Dinha;

The Deputy Minister of Industry and Commerce, Hon. R. Modi;

The Deputy Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development, Hon. V. Haritatos; and

The Deputy Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development, Hon. Marapira

ORAL ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS WITHOUT NOTICE

          HON. SEN. CHIEF NGUNGUMBANE: I want to direct my question to the Deputy Minister of Sport. What is Government policy regarding the status of football stadiums and what stage have you gone in ensuring that ZIFA complies with FIFA and CAF standards with regards to compliance?

          THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF SPORT, RECREATION, ARTS AND CULTURE (HON. JESAYA): As the Ministry of Sport, Arts and Culture, our mandate is to provide a conducive environment for our sports to strife. One of the key fundamentals is to ensure that we provide sporting facilities that are adequate and that meet the standards. As far as the National Sports Stadium is concerned, our Ministry is fully aware of all the renovations that need to be done and things that need to be done for CAF to approve. We have already entered into public and private partnerships. A lot of work is being done as we speak and I am sure in due course, the Minister is going to make a statement as to the progress but we want to assure the nation that we will do everything in our power to make sure that the next home match will be done in Zimbabwe.

          HON. SEN. MUPFUMIRA: Thank you Mr. President for affording me an opportunity to ask my question. This question is directed to the Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development.  I would like to start by congratulating and thanking the Ministry for finally ground breaking of the Great North Road or A1 which goes through Mashonaland West.  We are indeed excited.

          The Great North Road or A1 has a lot of transport going into the SADC region – Zambia, Malawi and Tanzania.  All these go through Chirundu.  Whilst we are expanding and rebuilding our roads, we used to have a railway line which is still there up to Zave in Makonde (Mashonaland West).  Are there any plans of extending the railway line into Zambia which would make transportation of goods less expensive and save our roads from the damage which is caused by the excessive transportation which goes through the Province?

          THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF TRANSPORT AND INFRASTRUCTURAL DEVELOPMENT (HON. SACCO):  Thank you Hon. Sen. Mupfumira for your question. It is correct that recently, our Hon. Minister Mhona conducted a ground breaking ceremony on the Harare-Chirundu Highway and work is commencing as we speak.  We are currently working on connecting Lion’s Den to Kafue in Zambia.  That is the proposal that we have as a Ministry.  Last week we had a meeting with NRZ and some potential investors who are about to undertake a feasibility study.  We have had a feasibility study which was funded from the European Union, but these investors also want to check on the feasibility of taking the railway line through Chirundu. This is work in progress and we have very serious investors who are willing to put their money into constructing a railway line from Lion’s Den to Kafue.

This will help us decongest the road and this railway line will continue rehabilitation from Lion’s Den all the way through Harare to Forbes Border post to link up with Machipanda so that all the freight that is coming in from Zambia and DRC can now be moved on the railway line.  I believe that in the very near future, we will be announcing progress on this particular project.  I thank you. 

HON. SEN. NCUBE: My question is directed to the Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development.  We commend you for the work you are doing in the road sector. 

We live in Harare and we have seen the chaotic state of our transport system in Harare.  What is Government doing in terms of plans and policies to sort out the traffic jungle in Harare?

THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF TRANSPORT AND INFRASTRUCTURAL DEVELOPMENT (HON. SACCO):  Thank you very much Hon. Senator for your very important question.  Harare, unfortunately, has been allowed to get to the stage where we are because the responsibility for repairing these roads has been in the hands of the city councils.  It is not only Harare, but other cities as well.  Through the wisdom of His Excellency the President, Dr. E.D. Mnangagwa, when the Emergency Road Repair Programme (ERRP) was launched; the responsibility for repairing of these roads including roads that are under councils has been given to the Ministry of Transport.

The good news for you Hon. Senator is that under the new Republic, we are now honoured to be hosting a SADC Summit in August here in Harare, which will see the upgrade of many roads including the dualisation of the road from Westgate to Parliament and many other roads will be repaired and upgraded. This will come as a blessing for us as a country that in preparation for the SADC Summit, there is going to be a comprehensive upgrade of most of the major roads in Harare.

Notwithstanding that going forward, even roads not covered by this programme will also be repaired under the ERRP which is currently running.  I so submit.

          *HON. SEN. TONGOGARA: Thank you Mr. President for affording me the time to pose my question.

My question is directed to the Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development.  In the past, things were good for us because the railway lines were functional.  I know that people used to commute from Dzivarasekwa as well as Warren Park because the railway line was functional.  That used to alleviate the transport sector because people would not need to drive to town.  What is your plan as Government to ensure that those railway lines are repaired so that transport reverts back to the use of railway lines for the transportation of goods and passengers because all those road repairs and works that you are doing are easily eroded simply because of the overuse of these roads?  I thank you.

*THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF TRANSPORT AND INFRASTRUCTURAL DEVELOPMENT (HON. SACCO):  My understanding is that in the past, there were functional railway lines as well as passenger trains in the local areas such as Dzivarasekwa, Mufakose and Warren Park. That used to reduce the amount of traffic on the roads.  Right now, we have done a combined programme with the Ministry of Finance and Infrastructural Development.  A technical Committee has been set up to look at how the National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ) can be developed from where it is right now.  There are a lot of things that need to be solved at the NRZ. 

Before we put back the train on the railway line, we must be sure that it is safe because we need to ensure that the train moves with good speed and carries passengers that need to be protected from any danger.  We also need to repair concrete slippers to ensure that the railway line is in a good state.  We are also looking at assisting NRZ to secure locomotives and wagons as well as passenger carriages as a way of upgrading.  We know that without railway system, the transport system does not function properly.  We are researching on that and we are looking for investors that may want to come up with locomotives that may want to ply the CBD as well as residential area routes to decongest.

We also want to work on the Hwange Chikwalakwala corridor that goes all the way to Maputo. We also want to work on the line from Lion’s Den to Kafue as well as Forbes Border post.  We are working flat out to ensure that we resolve that as we look for partners to assist us develop this system.  The NRZ should also look into local resources to resolve this issue immediately. 

When His Excellency, Dr. E. D. Mnangagwa went to Mozambique recently, he saw a railway line being constructed.  He gave an instruction to the Minister that the passenger railway system be revamped so that all the passenger railway systems, including the Bulawayo one, resume.  That is what we are working on.  I thank you.

          *HON. SEN CHIEF CHIKWAKA:  Firstly, I would like to thank the Deputy Minister for explaining clearly in fluent vernacular.  My supplementary question is, what is Government doing with regards to ensuring that we have good railway lines?  In the past, they were electrified and the signals were good.  What is Government doing to ensure that the systems in place are upgraded to move away from diesel and ensure use of green energy such as solar?  I thank you.

          *HON. SACCO:  Thank you Hon. Sen Chief for that question. We are also looking into green energy as we look at revamping the railway system.  We are looking at repairing the portions as well as purchasing new locomotives.  We also need to repair the signal systems as some of them have been vandalised while others need to be replaced.  The other thing is, we need electric lines along the railway lines to ensure that the railways start working.  With regards to passenger trains, there is also use of new technology where batteries are used.  Those hydrogen or lithium batteries can be used.  Those are some of the things we are considering since they are environmentally friendly.  Those trains can use batteries when they travel short distances.  My response in short to the Sen. Chief is, indeed the infrastructure on the electric railway system must be revamped and put in place, but in the short term with regards to goods train, I think we will continue using coal powered locomotives whilst we look at revamping those systems.  I thank you.

          *HON. SEN. TONGOGARA:  Thank you Mr. President.  I would also want to thank the Hon. Minister for explaining and according to his explanation, they are searching for stakeholders who can assist them with the provision of railway slippers.  If that happens, then the trains can resume operation.  My question is, right now the New Dispensation brought Education 5.0, and so what are your plans to ensure that you partner with higher institutions of learning to come up with innovations that can solve the railway slipper issue?

          *HON. SEN. SACCO:  I would like to thank the Hon. Senator for her question.  The railway concrete slippers used to be purchased locally, but right now we think it is better for us to procure the machines that make them instead of buying the railway slippers.  The technology is not very complicated, but the machine is already there.  So we are looking into that.  With regards to working with higher institutions, we are co-operating with them on other issues such as signals so that we tap into the creativity of students.  They can come up with systems that we can use for our railway transportation system.  Those ideas are there and I think that is where we need to liaise with the Minister of Higher and Tertiary Education, but with regards to concrete railway slippers, we only need the machine so the railways can resume functioning.  I thank you.

          +HON. SEN. MLOTSHWA:  My question will be directed to the Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development.  My real concern is that we understand the Second Republic has Vision 2030 that says no one must be left behind, ensuring that we are an upper middle-income economy.  Whilst on that, we feel as Matebeleland that we are left behind a lot.  There are a lot of dilapidated roads such as Matopos, Mapisa to Gwanda Road and Matopos to Gwanda Road.  We also have Mahalumbe Road which is not developed.  Where is Government and how much commitment is there to ensure that those roads are developed?  Those roads are key for the development of our economic sector because the informal transporters use those roads. Gwanda to Mapisa is only 50kms, but the road is unnavigable.  We appeal to Government to look into those roads.  I thank you.

THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF TRANSPORT AND INFRASTRUCTURAL DEVELOPMENT (HON. SACCO): Thank you Mr. President Sir. Yes, it is very correct that it is the policy of the New Dispensation. Zimbabwe is a unitary State and no one shall be left behind. I can talk without much detail because part of the question is specific. It would be easier if you put it in writing and we can give you more detailed response on the specific roads like Matopos, Maphisa to Gwanda, the status quo. I would like to bring to your attention that no place is being left behind.

Work is commencing within the next few weeks on the Bulawayo to Victoria Falls Road and the ground breaking will be done in the near future. We also have a contractor called ZWANE who is working on the old Gwanda Road. We are finishing off the documentation on the relevant feasibility study so that, the work can commence. There are various initiatives around the Nkayi Road. I think the Hon. Deputy Minister from Higher and Tertiary Education can also bear that the road going towards his constituency, the first two kilometers have just been commissioned and more work is being done.

Hon. Senator, may you please put the other part of the question in writing so that we give you more details. Some of them are touched on the written questions that I am going to respond to later after this session of Questions Without Notice. I thank you.

+HON. SEN. PHUTHI: Thank you Mr. President Sir for giving me this opportunity. My question is directed to the Minister of Higher and Tertiary Education. I would like to applaud him for the success achieved in most secondary and higher schools. What are the efforts and plans at the moment, with regards to the schools that have recorded 0% pass rates? What plans are in place to ensure that all students who are going to sit for examinations will also pass, succeed and progress together with the students who passed already? I thank you.

THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF HIGHER AND TERTIARY EDUCATION, INNOVATION, SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY DEVELOPMENT (HON. SIBANDA): Mr. President Sir, I am sure that question is not directed to the Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education but to the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education. I thank you. 

THE MINISTER OF PUBLIC SERVICE, LABOUR AND SOCIAL WELFARE (HON. J. MOYO): Thank you Mr. President. I want to thank Hon. Sen. Phuthi. There is obviously concern about schools that are recording 0% pass rate in their ‘O’ level examinations. This has been articulated by the Minister of Primary and Secondary Education. Most of those schools that are recording 0% pass rates are satellite schools where they do not even have Headmasters. The policy of Government is to lift the level such that those schools can start having their own Headmasters, so that supervision can be more thorough than what it is right now. It is acknowledged that some of the schools which are in the former commercial farming areas and resettlement areas are recording these zero pass rates as well as in the remote areas of Zimbabwe. Government, being aware of it, wants to reverse this order so that we do not leave any school and any place behind. We do not believe that there are areas where parents can all give birth to children who cannot pass. There are extenuating circumstances which we have to deal with. Some of these extenuating circumstances have to do with the parents themselves. If they have not built proper schools, if the schools are dilapidated and there are no permanent structures for teachers so that they can live in situ, we find this situation will make students not have proper education. The Minister of Primary and Secondary Education is taking care of this and we hope that in due course, it will be corrected. I want to thank you Mr. President.

+HON. SEN. PHUTHI: Mr. President, I feel bad when the Minister says, Zimbabwe still has places where there are no teachers’ residences in this century. Again, the Minister is saying there are some schools without Headmasters. It hurts and I hope Minister, we will be over that very soon.

HON. SEN. R. M. NDLOVU: Thank you Mr. President of the Senate. My question is also directed to the Minister of Transport. Some two, three years ago, the President commissioned the locomotives in Bulawayo. Everybody got excited that the railway lines will be resuscitated as quickly as possible. We are using some huge trucks to  carry coal from Hwange. This results in roads becoming so dilapidated. When are they going to resuscitate the railway line so that the coals could be transported by railways and we stop the big trucks coming all over? The repairs of the roads will always be consistent.

There is a passenger train from Bulawayo, Plumtree, Botswana to South Africa. That is a cheap way for travellers but it has since stopped some years back. When are they resuscitating those passenger trains in those areas? I thank you.  

          THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF TRANSPORT AND INFRASTRUCTURE DEVELOPMENT (HON. SACCO): I would like to thank Hon. Ndlovu for his very passionate question. Every time he meets me, he asks about the railways. As I mentioned earlier, for the recapitalisation of NRZ, we are looking at a number of issues. To start with, we need to sort out our infrastructure where we need to repair what are called cautions on the railway lines and we are working towards capacity so that we can make the railway slippers ourselves which will reduce the cost of repair by a great percentage.

          Secondly, we are also looking now at capacitating NRZ to purchase locomotives, wagons, passenger coaches and do the signaling that is required on the railway lines as well as reconstruct the electricity network that is required to run electricity powered locomotives. As I mentioned earlier, the passenger trains into Harare as well as the passenger train between Bulawayo and Harare was instructed by His Excellency, the President Dr. E. D. Mnangagwa to get up and going.

          Allow me Hon. Senator to do more research on the Bulawayo-Botswana-South Africa service which I was not aware of, but I am sure we can look into that. It will be a bilateral issue between Zimbabwe and Botswana and we will also bring South Africa on board to find out what needs to be done to reintroduce this passenger train service. I would like not to commit myself to when we will have the trains running, but I would like to assure you Hon. Senator, that it is of utmost importance for us as the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure Development to get the NRZ up and going to move the cargo from the roads onto the railway lines so that we can save the roads that we are constructing.

          We are in talks with a number of potential investors like Rights from India, we are also in talks with our good brothers from Belarus who have also expressed willingness to work with Zimbabwe in the recapitalisation of the railway network. Due to the steel plant coming on board at Manhize where millions of tonnes of coking coal, limestone and the finished product which needs to be carried from Hwange to Manhize and Manhize to Beira, there is urgency to get the NRZ up and going again.

          Dinson itself is a potential partner as well as others who might be coming on board to fund construction of railways lines that need to be done. In brief, these are the initiatives that we are undertaking at the moment and we assure you Hon. Senator, that we are working on this as we need the railways up and going in the nearest future. I thank you.

          +HON. NYATI: My question is directed to the Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare. You can see the season which we are in where people ploughed their land, but we do not have enough grain. What has Government put in place so that people can be able to survive under the circumstances?

          THE MINISTER OF PUBLIC SERVICE, LABOUR AND SOCIAL WELFARE (HON. JULY MOYO): We are aware that this past season, 2022-23 we had a good rainy season and from all the statistics, there was a bumper harvest. However, in every year where we have a bumper harvest, there are pockets in Zimbabwe that have food deficit and these areas are mapped through our vulnerability assessment programmes that is led by our Food and Nutrition Council. This  encompasses many ministries, NGOs and the UN system to come up with areas that we think even in a bumper harvest, those areas have a deficit. The height of these areas in terms of population, we found out that there were 2.3 million Zimbabweans who needed to be fed during this period from January to March even when we had a bumper harvest last year coming into this year.

          The Department of Social Protection is making sure that deliveries would be made and we were supposed to start delivering these food items in January to vulnerable groups, but because we were not given money for transportation, it has started a little late. The food is stationed at GMBs throughout the country, but I am aware that because in November and December, the rains were sporadic and people started feeling the effects of El Nino and people started thinking what will happen in this current season 2023- 24, it will impact on the food deficit in the country when harvesting started. Government is not only looking at what we are doing in order to get food for those who are food deficient, but also start looking at what will happen during the season. The planning for this season starts in May or June going forward because those who have had food sufficiency in the old season are still holding some of their food and that is why we are only feeding 2.3 million people. We know that because of what we anticipate as the failure if the El Nino effects continue to devastate us. We know that we will have much more increased food deficit.

          There are studies which are already going on by the Ministry of Land and Agriculture to see the crop situation and they inform us every week about the situation, whether we are improving. Of course, at the end of December, most of us were becoming happy because the rains were now there and we started scaling down about the number of people who will have food deficit. However, we see another patch where there is no rain, we might be scaling up the number of people who need food. This will be informed by the assessments which are done by the Ministry of Agriculture as well as the food vulnerability assessment that is going to be taking place so that when we programme who we have to give food starting in May because of the failure of this season, we will have the correct numbers. So Government is seized with the matter and all of you know what is happening in your own constituencies and we just urge that all of us should encourage people to do whatever they can do in the present circumstances.

          Those who have done their Pfumvudza, we encourage that maybe they might have better yield than those who have not done Pfumvudza. That is why in our food distribution even this season, we have said it is not proper for Government to continue giving somebody who already is fit and is able to dig the holes that have been earmarked for Pfumvudza inputs. We will give food to those who are able bodied, but who have shown a desire to say I can do food security for my own family by doing Pfumvudza requirements.

          Those who are able bodied and are not willing to do so, we are saying as a Zimbabwean culture, we should not encourage people who are able bodied not to do the work that they need to do to feed their families. We also ask through a communication that we have done to our chiefs, headmen and village heads to say for those who are unable - the disabled and child headed families, please let us do our community work and help them with this Pfumvudza. Why are we saying Pfumvudza is a food security measure that the President has embarked? It is because if we have food security at the village and household level, then those who need to be fed through the scheme will become less and that is the thrust that we want to have to increase food security in the country. I thank you.

HON. SEN. R. M. NDLOVU: Mr. President, I come from

Bulilima where we have got the San community which does not plough. The First Lady, Dr. A. Mnangagwa, has done her best to try and assist those people, but I want to find out from the Government side what the Government, through the Ministry of Public Service, is doing for those people. They overlap to Tsholotsho. Is there any programme for them to be assisted because they do not plough and if you give them ploughs or hoes, they will sell the following day? Theirs is to eat. They used to hunt the elephants, but because of the wildlife system that we now have, they have closed them out. So, we want to find out from the Minister, what are the plans in place to feed those communities?

          THE ACTING PRESIDENT OF SENATE: While that question is very specific and was supposed to be put in writing, I will give you benefit of doubt and allow the Minister to respond.

HON. J. MOYO: Thank you Hon. Senator for raising the issue about the San people and I know that they do not want to be called the San people, but because their language is Tshwao, they would rather be called Tshwa people. The Government, through the urging of the President and the First Lady, has come up with programmes that are earmarked to the Tshwa people as well as other communities like in Mbire, where we think they have been left behind over the years. The food situation among the Tshwa people is one that requires Government to have concerted efforts to assist them.

The President has also said, to assist them, we must understand their culture of hunting which is an age-old culture which must be maintained, but they can no longer hunt with bows and arrows. The President has said to all our security organs; the police, prisons and others, incorporate them to become trained as operatives in the army, police and other activities so that we can devise programmes for them to go and hunt using the modern hunting instruments that we have at our disposal. That is the President’s programme, but when it comes to actual food, even though we have said we were planning for this January to March season, anytime there was a distress call from the Tshwa or Doma people in Mashonaland Central, we have had to respond very quickly because we know their situation.

So, I want to assure Sen. Ndlovu that the Government has a programme and in fact, it has over 20 deliverables which the President monitors himself to make sure that we deliver among those people in that area, one of which was, let us register them and all of us are beneficiaries of that registration exercise because the President wanted them to be registered. He said, do not care about their names as long as they have a face and are Zimbabweans, register them so that we know who these people are, how many they are, their conditions in terms of schooling and other livelihoods and food security as one of the key livelihoods.

There has been an attempt also to make sure that we put dams and irrigations in their areas so that they can also start to cultivate. I know that requires a lot of education and persuasion and this persuasion must start from those of us who are here, Senators and MPs from that area as well as the chieftainships. They now have a chief of their own for those who live in Tsholotsho and because of that, going through that chieftainship, we think we can change some of the practices that they were doing, but food security currently is necessary for them to have. I thank you.

HON. SEN. MAVENYENGWA: My supplementary question to the Minister of Public Service is that, before, we used to have food for work whereby able-bodied people would work and get food aid at the end of the month so that the vulnerable like the old aged, orphans and disabled would get free hand-outs. Do we still have that programme or is Government planning to have that programme because it was assisting people while developing their communities than just getting food for free when they are able to work?

HON. J. MOYO: Yes, the policy of Government is still that we need to have public works or food for work for those able-bodied. It is easier said than being done right now. The details about how to organise such that the communities can benefit is what needs to be done. We held a workshop with all Ministers of State in Masvingo at the beginning of this year in order to launch this year’s January to March programme. The issue of food for work was raised, but it needs total organisation from the village level to the ward and to district level. These projects benefit the communities and so, if there is organisation in an area to say for our people to be given food, they must make these small dams or weirs and repair these roads, we are supportive of it as Government. It is a policy of Government, but the organisation has to be at the local level. I thank you.

HON. SEN. MAVENYENGWA:  Since the Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development is not present, I now direct my question to the Leader of Government Business in the House. 

What is the Government’s plan on paying farmers who delivered their crops to GMB last year?  We find that some farmers have not yet received their payments.

  Questions without Notice were interrupted by THE ACTING PRESIDENT OF SENATE in terms of Standing Order No. 67.

HON. SEN. CHIEF CHIKWAKA:  Mr. President Sir, I move that time for questions without notice be extended by fifteen minutes.

HON. SEN. MAVENYENGWA: I second.

Motion put and agreed to.

THE MINISTER OF STATE FOR PRESIDENTIAL AFFAIRS IN THE OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT (HON. MATUKE):  The issue of payment of farmers is a finance issue.  Normally, the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development would respond to the payment which comes from the Ministry of Finance, Economic Development and Investment Promotion.  In the last meeting that we had, the Ministry of Finance, Economic Development and Investment Promotion assured us that almost all farmers are going to be paid before end of February. 

HON. SEN. MOHADI:  My question is directed to the Minister of Energy and Power Development if he is still available.  What are the Government’s plans on electricity at rural areas where there were some poles and only one line of electricity?  Since then, the poles have fallen and that line of electricity is also lying on the ground.  What is Government’s plan to rehabilitate such areas? 

THE MINISTER OF ENERGY AND POWER DEVELOPMENT (HON. E. MOYO):  My understanding of the question speaks to the programme of Government to address rehabilitation where infrastructure has dilapidated. Historically, we have been operating under a non-cost reflective tariff where it was difficult in terms of resource availability to address rehabilitation of lines that have collapsed.  However, through our regulatory framework, Government has allowed a cost reflective tariff and therefore, a programme has already started where refurbishment is already in progress. I may not know the areas that the Hon. Senator is referring to but from our statistics, they have prioritised areas that are worst affected and going on as resources become available.

There is indeed a programme to rehabilitate and hitherto, this was affected by resource constraints as a result of a non-cost reflective tariff.  I thank you.

*HON. SEN. CHIEF CHIKWAKA: My question is directed to the Minister of National Housing and Social Amenities. We have a problem of people who are selling land illegally.  Some of these people are in the law enforcement sector and local authorities.  The local authority people are allowing people to build in prohibited areas.  In the end, they regularise the illegal structures.  They are creating their own cash cows. What is Government’s policy with regard to working with traditional leaders to end this problem because this is giving us challenges?

THE MINISTER OF NATIONAL HOUSING AND SOCIAL AMENITIES (HON. GARWE):  I would like to thank Hon. Sen. Chief Chikwaka for asking his question which is in two parts.  The first part is, what is Government’s plan so that we can fight the problem of people who are selling land illegally and those who are selling council land illegally.  Government does not allow anyone to sell State land.  If these people are reported to the law enforcement agents, they should be prosecuted and jailed.  The problem that we are facing is that people are not reporting such cases, even to chiefs.  Some of the people who are selling the land are our headmen who are under chieftainship. 

We have a number of places where we do not know whether it is still under the chieftainship land or now State land because of the land barons.  The Government does not allow that.  We should encourage people in the rural areas not to sell land.   Even if they sell their land at pittance, you should report them to the police. We have a lot of places where people are in jail because of that.

The second question is – what is Government’s plan for civil servants who are caught in-between or involved in buying the land because it is cheap; we have plans for all civil servants, be it the Army, Airforce – they should get accommodation because our President said that we are leaving no place and no one behind.  We have started building residential flats in rural areas and we have started this programme in Mutawatawa.  This is ongoing.  Building is different from farming because if you seed maize today, after three days, you will see it sprouting but when it comes to building houses, you first go and do a feasibility study. Papers should be put in place with the Ministry of Local Government and Public Works – master plans. If the master plans are out, then we can come up with plans following what is allowed by the law.  I thank you.

          *HON. SEN. NGWENA:  My question is directed to the Minister of Primary and Secondary Education.  We now have a challenge in our primary schools pertaining to extra lessons.  Teachers are no longer concentrating on their work, but on extra lessons.  We implore you Minister to look into that so that teachers teach in classes instead of concentrating more on extra lessons.  It is a challenge to people who do not have money because the teachers will concentrate on teaching those children with parents who can afford extra lessons.

          *THE MINISTER OF PRIMARY AND SECONDARY EDUCATION (HON. T MOYO):  Mr. President, allow me to thank the Hon. Sen for the pertinent question.  Government policy does not allow teachers to engage in extra lessons in school.  It was realised that if they do extra lessons at school, the teachers will put more effort on those who pay and leave behind those who do not pay.  We now have a law in place which bans extra lessons.  If there are schools which are engaging in extra lessons, you can forward those names so as to enable us to investigate their operations.  I thank you.

          *HON. SEN. CHITSAMBA:  Thank you Mr. President of the Senate.  My question is directed to the Deputy Minister of Transport.  The Nyanga-Binya Road is indicated as being tarred on the map, but there is no tar.  This is a very busy road which also leads to schools such as Marist Brothers and St Mary’s Magdelene, but the road is very dilapidated and prone to more accidents.  I implore the Minister to help us so that the road is rehabilitated to the requisite standard.  I thank you.

          THE TEMPORARY PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE:  Thank you Hon. Senator.  You have put your plea which is not a question.  The Minister has taken note of your plea.

          Questions Without Notice were interrupted by the Temporary President of Senate in terms of Standing Order Number 67.

ORAL ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS WITH NOTICE

PROGRESS MADE IN PRODUCING AFFORDABLE AGRICULTURAL CHEMICALS

1       HON. SEN. TONGOGARA asked the Minister of Higher and Tertiary Education, Innovation, Science and Technology Development to explain to the House the progress which the Ministry has made in producing affordable agricultural chemicals for the ordinary farmer since the introduction of the Education 5.0 philosophy.

          *THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF HIGHER AND TERTIARY EDUCATION (HON. SIBANDA): Thank you very much Mr. President.  Through our Transformed Heritage Based Education 5.0 Design, exciting developments are happening at Zimbabwe State Universities and the country at large.  With an emphasis and reorientation of research programmes towards production of goods and services, universities have come up in the forefront to fulfill the National Vision through Research and Innovation Programmes that are resulting in the production of goods and services that satisfy the needs of our people.  Through Heritage Based Education 5.0, our approach is to focus on our heritage to produce goods and services that our people want. 

In the agricultural sector, besides the artificial insemination programme, medicinal feed production, dairy programme and many other programmes, we are also continuing to do local research and development of agricultural chemicals that our people need.  Three of our universities namely: University of Zimbabwe, Midlands State University and Bindura University of Science and Education are currently working on programmes to locally produce agricultural chemicals using what we have. That is the heritage of Zimbabwe.  For example, University of Zimbabwe innovators are currently innovating to produce agricultural chemicals to reduce importation of pesticides and all agricultural ingredients.  Currently three of these innovations are poised for mass production representing a notable advancement in the pursuit of efficiency in agricultural chemicals for Zimbabwe.  There are three products that are being produced by the UZ.  The first one is the YUZIT bio-pesticides - The University of Zimbabwe has purchased bioreactors to mass produce this product. The Bio-pesticide can be used to control pests such as fall armyworm, cotton bollworm and diamond black moth.

The second one is used YUZit Fungicide. UZ has produced the YUZit fungicide which is effective against fungal infections in vegetables, food and plantation crops and we are now at the stage for mass production.

The third one is the Non-Chemical Solution. UZ has also taken a bold step in agricultural innovations by establishing VN Seeds (Pvt) Ltd, a registered company dedicated to the production of groundbreaking maize seed variety resistant to the fall armyworm.

Then we have got the Midlands State University. Though the MSU Enterprises is set to start producing an innovative foliar fertilizer tailored for cotton and sesame farming in Zimbabwe, we are now ready to start mass production of this fertilizer.

The Bindura University of Science Education is working on producing novel bio-pesticide effective against fall armyworm. This bio-pesticide is derived from indigenous Zimbabwean plants. This research is nearing completion and shall also contribute to the many initiatives following Heritage Based Education 5.0 being carried out by our universities towards solving the problems of agricultural chemicals in our country.

These initiatives and many others demonstrate the Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education, Innovation, Science and Technology Development’s commitment to addressing critical challenges in agriculture and contribution to sustainable food security in our country and the region. I thank you.

SURFACING OF PLUMTREE-TSHOLOTSHO-LUPANE ROAD

  1. HON. SEN. R. M. NDLOVU asked the Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development to inform the House why the surfacing of the Plumtree-Tsholotsho-Lupane Road has taken such a long time to be done, yet it is the shortest to Victoria Falls, a major tourist destination.

THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF TRANSPORT AND INFRASTRUCTURAL DEVELOPMENT (HON. SACCO): Mr. President Sir, I would like to thank Hon. Sen. Ndlovu for raising a pertinent question about the surfacing of Plumtree-Tsholotsho-Lupane Road in Matabeleland Province, which is the shortest route to Victoria Falls. As you are aware, projects that have been implemented in Matabeleland South Province are in line with the province’s priority list which is derived through consultations with the Provincial Development Committee, the Minster of State for Provincial Affairs and Devolution’s Office, the Provincial Economic Development Plan and with respect, to set budgets by the Ministry of Finance, Economic Development and Investment Promotion.

According to the Matabeleland South Economic Development Plan, under the Transport Infrastructure and Utilities Cluster, the priority roads considered for construction with the available funding were Guyu-Manama-Mlambapeli Border Post Road and Gwanda-Maphisa-Mphoengs Border Post Road. Mr. President Sir, Plumtree Tsholotsho Road is very strategic.  Hence, consideration was made to carry out works on Gwanda-Maphisa Road and Guyu-Manama Road. The Ministry is currently seized with the Emergency Road Rehabilitation Programme 2 where concentration is largely on the rehabilitation of existing road infrastructure which is in a deplorable state. However, we will soon resume the Road Development Programme which falls under ERRP 2 where our focus is to undertake works on 10 km in every district each year. Plumtree-Tsholotsho Road has always been part of the Road Development Programme and when the programme gets funding, the road construction project for the said road will be implemented. I so submit Mr. President Sir.

INCOMPLETE CONSTRUCTION PHASES OF THE PLUMTREE TO TSHITSHI STRETCH

  1. HON. SEN. R. M. NDLOVU asked the Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development to inform the House the logic behind the incomplete construction phases of the Plumtree-Mphoengs Road which initially commenced with the construction of the Plumtree to Tshitshi Stretch before being abandoned to construct the Gwanda-Maphisa Stretch of the same road.

THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF TRANSPORT AND INFRASTRUCTURAL DEVELOPMENT (HON. SACCO): Madam President, the Ministry is cognisant of the fact that between Bulima and Mangwe Districts, there are three border posts, thus Plumtree-Mphoengs Road that leads to the border which is very critical. We are also aware of the economic growth opportunities and potential that can be unlocked through trade with Botswana and the construction of this road up to surfacing.  We will continue to engage Treasury for funding of all roads that have a socio-economic benefit to the province of Matabeleland South.

To demonstrate our commitment to the construction of Plumtree-Mphoengs Road, the Provincial Road Engineer has already initiated the design process of the road and to date, surveys have been completed. When funds are availed, the Department of Roads will quickly execute the project.

Madam President, the construction of Guyu-Manama-Mlambapeli Border Post Road and Gwanda-Maphisa-Mphoengs Border Post Road was not neglected. The Department of Roads, through the ERRP 2 programme, carried out maintenance grading on Plumtree-Mphoengs Road, Mphoengs Border Post Road and Plumtree-Tsholotsho Road which is roughly 44km from Plumtree. Our response Madam Speaker is, once funds have been availed to the Ministry by Treasury, this is definitely one of the priority roads that we will be looking into. I so submit. I thank you.

Questions With Notice were interrupted by the ACTING PRESIDENT OF SENATE, in terms of Standing Order No. 67.

MOTION

PROGRAMMES TO CURB DRUG AND SUBSTANCE ABUSE BY YOUTHS

First Order read: Adjourned debate on motion on drug and substance abuse by youths.

Question again proposed.

THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF VETERANS OF THE LIBERATION STRUGGLE (HON. SEN. MAVHUNGA): I move that the debate do now adjourn.

Motion put and agreed to.

Debate to resume: Tuesday, 13th February, 2024.

MOTION

GBV AWARENESS PROGRAMME TO PROMOTE POSITIVE       SOCIAL AND CULTURAL CHANGE

Second Order read: Adjourned debate on motion on the commemorations to mark the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence.

          Question again proposed.

THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF VETERANS OF THE LIBERATION STRUGGLE (HON. SEN. MAVHUNGA): I move that the debate do now adjourn.

Motion put and agreed to.

Debate to resume: Tuesday, 13th February, 2024.

MOTION

REPORT OF THE DELEGATION TO THE 53RD PLENARY ASSEMBLY SESSION OF THE SADC-PARLIAMENTARY FORUM HELD IN MAURITIUS

Third Order read: Adjourned debate on motion on the Report of the Delegation to the 53rd Plenary Assembly of the SADC-Parliamentary Forum.

Question again proposed.

THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF VETERANS OF THE LIBERATION STRUGGLE (HON. SEN. MAVHUNGA): I move that the debate do now adjourn.

Motion put and agreed to.

Debate to resume: Tuesday, 13th February, 2024.

On the motion of THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF VETERANS OF THE LIBERATION STRUGGLE (HON. SEN. MAVHUNGA), the Senate adjourned at Four Minutes past Four o’clock p.m. until Tuesday, 13th February 2024.

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