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SENATE HANSARD 9 MAY 2024 VOL 33 NO 45

PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE

Thursday, 9th May, 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

SWEARING IN OF NEW MEMBERS

          THE ACTING PRESIDENT OF SENATE (HON. SEN. KAMBIZI): I have to inform the Senate that on Friday, 3rd May, 2024, Parliament was notified by Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC), that in terms of Section 39 (7) (a) of the Electoral Act [Chapter 2:13], five members of the Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) were duly appointed as Members of the Senate under proportional representation with effect from the 3rd May, 2024.

          Section 128 (1) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe provides that before a Member of Parliament takes his or her seat in Parliament, the Member must take the Oath of a Member of Parliament as set out in the Third Schedule of the Constitution.  Section 128 (2) states that the oath must be taken before the Clerk of Parliament.

          I, therefore, call upon the Clerk of Parliament to administer the oath of a Member of Parliament. I call upon the following Members to subscribe to the Oath of Loyalty; Kunaka Tambudzai, Murisi Zwizwai, Manyengawana Moses, Munemo Spiwe and Bvumo Tawanda.

NEW MEMBERS SWORN

           HON. TAMBUDZAI KUNAKA, HON. MURISI ZWIZWAI, HON. MOSES MANYENGAWANA, HON. SPIWE MUNEMO and HON. TAWANDA BVUMO subscribed to the Oath of Loyalty as required by the law and took their seats – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] –

APOLOGIES RECEIVED FROM MINISTERS

          THE ACTING PRESIDENT OF SENATE: Today being a Thursday, we are getting into a session where we have Questions Without Notice but before that, I have a very long list of apologies from the Ministers as follows:-

          Hon. Prof. M. Ncube, the Minister of Finance, Economic Development and Investment Promotion; Hon. B. Rwodzi, the Minister of Tourism and Hospitality; Hon. T. Mnangagwa, the Deputy Minister of Tourism and Hospitality; Hon. O.C.Z Muchinguri-Kashiri, the Minister of Defence; Hon. L. Mayihlome, the Deputy Minister of Defence; Hon. Sen. M. Mutsvangwa, Minister of Women’s Affairs, Community,  Small and Medium Enterprises Development; and Hon. W. Chitando, Minister of Mines and Mining Development; 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. Prof. A. Murwirwa, 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. T. Moyo, Minister of Primary and Secondary Education; Hon. A. Gata, Deputy Minister of Primary and Secondary Education; Hon. R. Modi, the Deputy Minister of Industry and Commerce; Hon. D. Garwe, Deputy Minister of Local Government, Hon. Dr. A. J. Masuka, Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development; Hon. B. Haritatos, Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development; Hon. Dr. Mombeshora, Minister of Health and Child Care; Hon. S.T Kwidini, Deputy Minister of Health and Child Care.

          In the House, we have Hon. Deputy Minister K.D Mnangagwa, Deputy Minister of Finance, Economic Development and Investment Promotion; Hon. Ziyambi, Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs; Hon. Simbanegavi, Deputy Minister of Energy and Power Development; Hon. Kambamura, Deputy Minister of Mines and Mining Development; Hon. E. Moyo, Minister of Energy and Power Development; and Hon. Mhona, Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development.

ORAL ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS WITHOUT NOTICE

          +HON. SEN. R. NDLOVU: Thank you Mr. President.  My question is directed to the Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development.  When are the roads in question going to be rehabilitated, which are Bulawayo-Nkayi, Kwekwe, Lupane and Nkayi?

          THE MINISTER OF TRANSPORT AND INFRASTRUCTURAL DEVELOPMENT (HON. MHONA): Unfortunately, there was no interpretation, but I was following.  I want to thank Hon. Sen. Ndlovu for the very important question that relates to two very important roads, Bulawayo-Nkayi and the one that she mentioned emanating from Kwekwe, Lupane, Nkayi.

          Mr. President Sir, I need to apprise and let the august House know that with the advent of the Second Republic, we have seen that we were partaking in a very robust infrastructural development which entails tapping into our resources domestically, which is an ongoing exercise.  We have extended it for another two years through the Emergency Road Rehabilitation Programme, which is continuing with the indulgence of His Excellency, the President.

          I want to say to Hon. Senator that you are right regarding Nkayi Road, there is a section we are working on currently, but the progress has not been that tremendous.  I want to assure the august House that the model that we are taking as a Ministry now is also to invite private players to resonate with the President’s mantra that says, ‘Nyika inovakwa nevene vayo’.   We are saying we need private players to partner Government so that we have relevant sections of some of our roads that will then work together with private sectors.

 So this is the exercise that we are doing and one such particular road is Nkayi Road where we arevnot only going to attend to the 15 km that has been earmarked, but we will go straight to Nkayi which is 90 km from Bulawayo after having factored in the 15 km that I have talked about.  So you will see us working on that particular stretch that I have talked about with speed because we will be having partners to work with.

Not only that road, if you would look at those going to Victoria Falls, the shortest possible route is for them to connect from Kwekwe-Nkayi-Lupane.  So we now have another investor again working on that stretch on a triple ‘P’ basis.  Hence, you will see us moving in that trajectory, which will then give impetus to the road rehabilitation programme rather than for us to continue taping into the fiscus where we have other competing factors.  Therefore, this is the humble plea that it might be taking time but through the triple ‘P’ arrangement, you will see the Ministry attending to several roads. 

Through the initiative of the Ministry under the guidance of His Excellency, Dr. E.D Mnangagwa, you will see the Ministry flighting an advert to invite the private sector. We are talking of pension funds, and banks so that they start participating in the infrastructure development of this country.  I thank you.

HON. SEN. NCUBE: Thank you Mr. President.  My question is directed to the Minister of Finance, Economic Development and Investment Promotion.  Hon. Minister, you know that the most topical subject at the moment is our own structured currency, the ZiG which is backed by gold and other precious minerals. 

My question is that if the gold fluctuates on the international market, what effect does that have on our currency relative to other international currencies?

THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF FINANCE, ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT AND INVESTMENT PROMOTION (HON. D. K. MNANGANGWA): Thank you Mr. President.  In our bid to defend our currency, right now we are smiling because gold is going up but indeed, the inverse can happen and gold will go down so it poses a very important question as to what happens when the gold price depreciates.  I would like to refer to the monetary policy statement, the Governor had a very complicated but simple formula that took the inflation differentials between the gold price and USD inflation which usually move in different directions. That is why in our reserves we have both physical gold and USD reserves, which means that the inflation differentials between the two are supposed to even out and make sure that the value remains somewhat stable. So, the monetary authorities, in their wisdom, had taken that into account to make sure that we do not have a constantly fluctuating currency because key to what we were trying to achieve in the monetary policy was micro-economic and currency stability.  Henceforth, those factors were factored in.  I thank you Mr. President.

          +HON. SEN. PHUTI:  Thank you for the opportunity Mr. President.  Why can we not have passports since the money is valued on the dollar?  Why can the money not be able to buy all these items which are important?

          THE ACTING PRESIDENT OF SENATE:  Hon. Minister, if you have been following up, can you respond?

          HON. D. K. MNANGAGWA:  Mr. President, the translation was faulty, but I could pick up a few points.  If I could rephrase the question just to make sure I captured it right.  I would think the Hon. Senator was asking whether ZiG would be able to pay for some of the essential services such as fuel, passports and air tickets.  If not, it then creates a problem for some because they are unable to access the foreign currency.  I am not sure if that was the full import of the question.  I may need further translation.

          THE ACTING PRESIDENT OF SENATE:  Hon. Member, did he phrase it correctly?  Is that what you wanted to hear that the ZiG should be able to buy fuel, passports and air tickets?

          HON. SEN. PHUTI:  For now, what makes it impossible to buy using ZiG?

          HON. D. K. MNANGAGWA:  Thank you Mr. President.  I think what the Hon. Senator is referring to is the desirable situation where we have fully dedollarised and we are fully transacting in our local currency, ZiG.

          What we have in our economy, Mr. President, is a multi-currency regime where 85% of our transactions are in United States dollars and 15% are in the local currency.  The structure that we have for our currency only covers the 15% of the currency in circulation, which means that even if we desired, there is not enough ZiG in circulation to support these transactions.  What the fiscal authorities are doing is making sure that as we go through a dedollarisation plan and roadmap, it is done in a way that does not cause chaos in the markets.  You will find that over the next few weeks, over the next few months, there will be certain taxes that will strictly be in the ZiG as opposed to optional, and eventually this is how we get to a dedollarisation plan.

          Now, speaking to the areas that were pointed out because they are very specific - I will start with the fuel.  Fuel dealers have the option to sell in ZiG but right now most of them are preferring to sell in United States dollar, a dispensation that has been allowed.  To give background as to how that came about; it was during the advent of fuel queues and shortages where a social contract between Government and the fuel dealers came about where the fuel dealers would be allowed to sell their fuel in United States dollars and they would guarantee supply.

          I believe that social contract and the mechanics around it is being discussed.  It is a sensitive area that we do not want to rush or expediently go to without having spoken to all the stakeholders.  Similar to some of the PPP arrangements that are there, I think the Government holds sanctity of contract sacrosanct and so, you would find that for passports, they were accused because you would spend days at the Passport Office.  An investor came in, and part of those arrangements included foreign currency pricing.  These are stamped-in documents that need to be reviewed and the relevant ministries, the relevant authorities and stakeholders are looking at how we can possibly have all these areas within the ZiG domain.

I will say Mr. President, these same operators, fuel dealers, the passport companies, will have to pay their taxes.  Come next QPD, they will have to look for 50% of their taxes in ZiG.  It will not be sustainable for them to continue going to the interbank to look for ZiG to pay their taxes.  So, it is eventually through a market-driven process. They will find themselves having to charge at least a certain quota of their services and their products in ZiG and local currency.  It will allow the mix between the United States dollar and the ZiG in an organic and market-driven way to increase without creating scarcity and chaos in the market.  Mr. President, I thank you.

          +HON. SEN. R. NDLOVU:  Supplementary Mr. President.  Minister, what measures are you putting in place to stop these middlemen?  The middlemen are saying right now their rate is 20 and the official rate is 13.  What are you doing to stop those street shenanigans?  These same people allege the resources they have, they get from Government people.  I do not know whether it is the truth or not.  I thank you.

          HON. D. K. MNANGAGWA:  Mr. President, in any reform process such as we have now, you will always have three groupings of people.  The first group of people will always be the ones who will abide by the law because they are stickers with the law.  Whether it is a good law or a bad law, they will always abide by the law. 

          The second group Mr. President, is one that lags behind as they seem to understand what it means to them, what the reforms will do to their business, how it affects and how they trade.  Then there is a third group that will always be defiant regardless of how good the law is. The Hon. Senator is referring to the last one.  These are the defiant ones.  I will mention why Mr. President.  The biggest demand for foreign currency was driven by importers in the past.  Importers were unable to access foreign currency on the official market and would go to the black market.  What this new structured currency and what the Governor has guaranteed is that anyone who wants to import any of their goods and presents a bona fide invoice will get foreign currency from the interbank.  Anyone who wants to import a service or who wants to pay for a service, whether it is school fees or any service that requires foreign currency, you have to go to the bank, with your invoice to get that foreign currency.  Failure to get that foreign currency because there are no willing sellers of that foreign currency or the banks are still skeptical, the Governor has cover.  This is where the structure comes in.  He has to cover three times over to purchase of that ZiG and give the foreign currency.  This is why we have some of the reserves in physical cash.  That means that there is no reason for any of our importers who constitute a large part of our retailers to be charging different rates or going to the streets.

          Mr. President, we will have a group of money launderers.  Money launderers is a group of people who would have gotten money through nefarious methods.  They might have missed proceeds and are not sensitive to the exchange rate that they convert their money into USD cash that they can hide from the law.  These people will always be there and there, in any country that you go to.  This is where the FIU is focusing its efforts on as we speak because there is no reason for a bonafide individual to be going to the black market.  It then means that anyone who is dealing on the black market, is either a money launderer or is trying to avoid tax. 

All of which are reasons why the authorities need to come after you. Those who fall in between, your general populace, we are working on a solution as Government, coupled with the private sector to allow for small transactions, the general populace to be able to get the small amounts, $20 or $50 through negotiations with our mobile network operators.  To be able to access the Bureau de Changes that are on their Ecocash or Netcash platforms.  This means if you have an Econet line and you register for ecocash, you can convert from ZiG to USD, from USD to ZiG at the official exchange rate.  That is the first part to allow interchangeability without having to go to the streets.

          The second part is, we are still in discussion.  Right now, the Reserve Bank (RBZ) is talking to the mobile network operators, mentioning Econet in particular because they were suspended in 2020 after some issues that now have been ironed out.  We would want to have agents re-activated so that the most remove areas, our constituents, the citizenry can access both USD and ZiG from their wallets.  Econet went a step further last week and zero rated the charges for sending money from the diaspora to Zimbabwe.  This was a show of good faith and support for Government during this Elnino period as well as to show the commitment in bolstering our efforts in supporting and defending our currency. I would submit that these are the efforts that we are doing.  In as far as the proclaim that some of these money changers have been sent by Government officials; I would refer that may be to the Minister of Justice. I have not heard reports of that nature but on this one, there are no scared cows.  I thank you.

          +HON. SEN. PHULU:  Thank you Mr. President. The Minister of Finance is saying that we go to the bank with our invoice to get foreign currency if you want to import.  We had a problem when we were using RTGs, they said we should come with invoices for companies and they claimed that they were going to use the prevailing bank rate.  Now that there is ZiG, what is going to happen in terms of allocation? What about us who had gone to the auction but did not get USD what will happen to our balances? 

          THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF FINANCE AND INVESTMENT PROMOTION (HON. K. MNANGAGWA):  If I hear the Hon. Member correctly, he is asking about those who had applied on the auction market and had gotten bids that had been outstanding and did not get them until the introduction of the ZiG.  What happened was that there was an auction backlog as had been represented by the Ministry of Finance that no one would lose their value.  These balances have been converted into NNCDs and quarantined for a period of two years to manage the excess liquidity that might come into the market.  All the beneficiaries of the auction, who now had these instruments, in touch with their banks, if there is discussion that needs to be heard, on whether these should be tradeable, negotiable, I think this can follow but that value has been protected and is there.  No one has lost their value, amounts can be converted from USD to ZiG and were quarantined to make sure that there is no excess liquidity in the market.  This is something that we are keeping a very close eye on to avoid inflation.  I thank you.

          THE TEMPORARY PRESIDENT OF SENATE: Order, I would introduce three other Ministers who have joined us so that if you have any questions directed to them, you can do so.  We have Hon. Minister Z. Soda, Minister of National Housing and Social Amenities.  We also have Hon. Deputy Minister, J. Mhlanga, Deputy Minister of Women’s Affair, Community, Small and Medium Enterprise Development.  We have also been joined by Deputy Minister, H. Moyo, Deputy Minister of War Veterans Affairs.

          HON. SEN. TONGOGARA: Thank you Mr. President.  My question is directed to the Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs.  What steps are being taken by your Ministry to ensure that there is efficiency and transparency in our justice system? 

          THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. Z. ZIYAMBI): Thank you Mr. President Sir.  I want to thank Hon. Sen. Tongogara for the question.  This is a very broad question, which is very difficult to tackle in a question and answer session like this because the justice delivery system; the whole basis of it is legal rules and procedures.  So in a system where you have legal rules and procedures that guides what happens be it in courts, be it in society to say there is a law that says when you get to a robot, if it is red, you must stop.  If you do not stop, you have committed an offence.  If a police arrests you, he takes you to court.  The due process is followed.  So, there is procedural justice and substantive justice.  So. I am not very sure how to tackle the question because it is very broad but the long and short of it is our justice delivery system has got rules and procedures that knows no colour.  If you break a law, the law must be applied regardless of who you are.  I thank you.

          HON. SEN. TONGOGARA:  Why is that some cases take a very long time before the offenders are presented to court?

          THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. Z. ZIYAMBI): Our laws indicate that a person is an accused person unless you bring that person before the court and the court duly convicts them.  In other words, even if you know that Hon. Mhona stabbed somebody and that person died, he will remain an accused person until convicted.

          Having said that, the arresting officers who are normally our police officers are supposed to investigate and ensure that when they go to present their dockets to the prosecution authorities, it is complete.  If in the wisdom of the prosecuting authority they deem the case not ready, they will indicate that go and finalise whatever is supposed to be done to ensure that it goes into court. 

Again, it is a very broad question which I believe cannot be tackled in the manner that questions are being presented.  I am sure she has a specific case that she is making reference to, but the general principle is that our prosecuting authority will refer back dockets that are incomplete and rush back into court when in their belief there is no sufficient evidence to secure a conviction. 

HON. SEN. PHULU: I have a supplementary question.  To what extent does the Ministry train prosecutors and those in the justice delivery system on the prosecutorial guidelines of 2021, and are they being applied?  Is there any effort to ensure that the public is aware of those guidelines so that they do not have these concerns as evidenced by this question?

THE ACTING PRESIDENT OF SENATE:  In all earnest, I think that is a completely new question.

HON. SEN. PHULU:  This has to do with the transparency because these guidelines deal with that. 

THE ACTING PRESIDENT OF SENATE:  I got you correctly. Minister, are you able to respond to that?

HON. Z. ZIYAMBI:  Yes. That is the norm that should happen that you must train.  We have produced new prosecution guidelines.  I was in discussions with the Prosecutor General.  We have consulted PLC on the guidelines and we are about to publish them.  Once that has been done, the Prosecutor General is going to roll-out the training to all our prosecutors.  Once these are published, members of the public are aware of them. 

You will recall that there was a period when we used to have acting Prosecutor Generals but now we have a substantive.  She has done new guidelines and has finished consultations.  The process of training will definitely occur.

*HON. SEN. SHIRI:  My question is directed to the Minister of Mines and Mining Development.  The vision of His Excellency says ‘leaving no place and no one behind’. What is your Ministry doing to uplift people with disabilities in the mining sector to enable them to be in the sector as is happening in other sectors so that they can access the equipment and they are able to fend for themselves independently?

*THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF MINES AND MINING DEVELOPMENT (HON. KAMBAMURA): At the moment, we have people with disabilities who are in the mining sector.  Government is assisting and there are loans at Fidelity which can be accessed by everyone, disabled or not.  If persons with disabilities are failing to access these funds at the appropriate time, our office can issue documents so that they get assistance at the earliest convenience.  There is also a mining fund where people can get loans.  They can come to the Ministry and get letters so that they access the money.

As of now, we have identified land which is being prospected for the benefit of people with disabilities.  This area is believed to have alluvial gold which is found well beneath.  If there are any people with disabilities that you know of who want to get into mining, Hon. Senator, you can approach the Ministry so that we see how we can assist them.

HON. SEN. NDEBELE: My question is directed to the Minister of Women Affairs, Community, Small and Medium Enterprises Development.  What is your Ministry doing in order to address the welfare of women and issues of health and education of girls who live in the rural areas? 

THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF WOMEN AFFAIRS,

COMMUNITY AND SMALL AND MEDIUM ENTERPRISES (HON. MHLANGA):  I would like to thank the Hon. Senator for posing that very important question. I think that first and foremost, policy of Government is very clear that we are not going to let anyone suffer during this time of drought and as a Ministry, the Ministry is subdivided into four departments. The additional being that of cooperators. We have begun programmes at community level to ensure that we support our communities so that they earn from the projects. We have also put aside money as Government in terms of the women development fund, which fund we are giving as grants to support women’s projects.

          We also have the Zimbabwe Community Development Fund, which will also encourage our girl children and women to partake in so that they can access funds to come up with community projects. We are also supported by the Government through the entity SMEDCO and the Zimbabwe Women’s Bank, which two entities assist in terms of funding whenever there is need. That to me I think is Government policy, plans, actions and programmes that have been put in place to support.

          In as far as the other part of the question is concerned, the health and education aspects are concerned, I may ask you maybe to ask my colleagues to beef me up.

          THE ACTING PRESIDENT OF SENATE: Allow me to introduce one other Minister who has just joined us; Hon. O. Marupi who is the Deputy Minister of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services.

          *HON. SEN. CHIEF CHARUMBIRA: I am impressed by the responses by the Hon. Deputy Minister of Finance, very eloquent demonstrating understanding of the issues at hand very much. If this was a university, I would actually think he would be a professor like his counterpart, Hon. Prof M. Ncube. You are very good. In most countries, they have what are known as reforms. The ZiG, the name itself is very sweet because a name plays an important role in English, giving a good image. Economics remains the preserve of the economists, but economics themselves are an integral part of our lives. Why should we not make everyone aware of the ZiG as RBZ or Ministry of Finance? Maybe there was some sort of education in the Lower House, but what about here where we have people’s representatives. Let us go out there to the grassroots teaching people about ZiG so that people understand the dynamics and differentials. We should encourage people to use this money. In other words, I am asking when we are going to educate the people from ward level so that they appreciate this good thing, otherwise it appears it is for a few. We want all the Senators here to have an appreciation of the ZiG and how it works so that they will be able to respond to questions.

          *THE ACTING PRESIDENT OF SENATE: Thank you Chief Charumbira, it was as if it was a word of encouragement, but it came as a question at the end, so Minister, it is up to you to respond.

          *THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF FINANCE, ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT AND INVESTMENT PROMOTION (HON. D. K. MNANGAGWA): It is true that for our money to work successfully, people need to understand how it works. As Ministry of Finance, we support what the RBZ is doing. They lead and we follow. The RBZ has a programme for outreach to go up to ward level and for educational awareness campaigns, explaining what ZiG is all about and the features so that people will not be cheated and avoid counterfeit notes. We will not leave RBZ to operate alone and that is why you see us coming to Parliament responding to any questions. We also go out to companies and the populace. We try by all means to go everywhere, but we need to work together so that it succeeds. We can operate alone and that is why we come to such fora as this one.

          *HON. SEN. CHIEF CHARUMBIRA: I am saying let us all go together as leadership and not RBZ or Ministry. So come and tell all the people who are here so that they understand and are able to articulate to people. As Senate, we are still awaiting that you come here to educate us so that we are able to respond to questions, maybe you have already done that  in the National Assembly, we do not know. People should be able to clarify and understand so that we move together as one, supporting each other.

          HON. D. K. MNANGAGWA: I think the problem came when the Monetary Policy was announced but when we came to Parliament, power went off and we were unable to proceed with business, so indeed we did not do it. I do not know what the procedure says, but perhaps we need to do that.

          *THE ACTING PRESIDENT OF SENATE: I am not sure also how it goes, but when leaders like these do not know anything, it is very difficult to achieve progress.

          HON. TSHABANGU: Thank you very much Mr. President.  One question is a supplementary whereas the other is another question.   I have a question that I want to put to the House…

          THE ACTING PRESIDENT OF SENATE: Supplementary first!

          HON. SEN. TSHABANGU: It is not about the Minister of Finance.

          THE ACTING PRESIDENT OF SENATE: Unfortunately, you cannot do that…

          HON. SEN. TSHABANGU: I want to demonstrate something that is going to…

          THE ACTING PRESIDENT OF SENATE: Order, order! Hon. Senator Tshabangu, may you take your seat.  Once the Minister has responded and no one has decided to ask a supplementary question, you cannot then ask a supplementary question in retrospect.  It becomes a new question.  So, if you want to make it a new question, then you only have one question that you are purporting to be a supplementary. So you cannot ask the two questions because our time is so limited.  It is either  you turn that supplementary into a question or you forget about the supplementary and ask a complete question to a completely new Minister.

          HON. SEN. TSHABANGU: I will seek an extension of this session and in that regard, I would want to raise this important question.  I have two important questions. It was a supplementary question.

          The Minister of Transport, the Nkayi-Bulawayo Road is 158 km and that road started in 1993. At that time, it was expected to be completed in 1999.  In theory, it was supposed to take six years.  It means the road was supposed to be completed in six years unless the Government policy has changed.

          Let us come back to date, the road has been resurfaced since 1993…

          THE ACTING PRESIDENT OF SENATE: Order Hon.  Senator! Do not debate, ask your question?

          HON. SEN. TSHABANGU: It is a question.  Allow me to give you the figures so that when he explains to me, he does so with the figures.  It means we were going to cover that road in six years.  Let us come back to date, we have covered 58 kilometres from 1999.  This means the Government, and your Ministry covered 1, 6 km per year, so this road is likely to be completed in 67 years at that rate. 

          However, when we go back, in 1993 and 1999, the road was going to be; they were going to cover 26km in a year, which means per month, they were going to do 2, 1 km and to date, we are covering 1,6km per year.

          Now, the question is; has the Government policy changed because we are talking about the same Government since 1980?  Are we covering the ratio that we allocate for road construction and what is the ratio?  Have we changed the Government…

          THE ACTING PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE: Order, order! When I say order, you take your seat.  I gave you enough time to ask you questions but you seem to be lecturing.  Unfortunately, your question is specific and it has to be put in writing.

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

          HON. SEN. PHUTHI: May we extend the Question time session by 15 more minutes?

          HON. SEN. TONGOGARA: I second.

          THE ACTING PRESIDENT OF SENATE: The time for questions without notice has been extended by 15 minutes.  Now, Hon. Senator Tshabangu ask your question and if you do not do that, I will not give you that chance again.  Do not debate, ask your question.

          HON. SEN. TSHABANGU: Mr. President, I will leave this one as you have indicated. I sought the indulgence initially…

          THE ACTING PRESIDENT OF SENATE: Hon. Senator Tshabangu, take your seat.  Hon. Minister of Transport, do you have anything to say about what Hon. Senator Tshabangu has said about the Nkayi Road?

          THE MINISTER OF TRANSPORT AND INFRASTRUCTURAL DEVELOPMENT (HON. MHONA): Let me thank Hon. Senator Tshabangu for the lecture and statistics that he gave.  The Hon. Senator asked about the Government, whether it has changed or not but I want to say with the advent of the Second Republic, infrastructure development has been at an accelerated pace. Our roads were neglected for years but before that in 2000, everyone knew that the country was under very punitive illegal sanctions until today where funding of infrastructure was no longer flowing into the country. In other jurisdictions, you find that infrastructure development, you cannot sustain from your pocket of any given country.  You need to get concessional facilities from other development partners, World Bank, IMF to support your infrastructural development but alas in our case, we have been using our domestic resources.

          Hon. Senator Tshabangu has highlighted that yes, we have covered 58km - that was the time and upon the coming of the Second Republic where we have earmarked 15 km which I have talked about.  So, even if you were going to do your numbers at most, maybe we were doing 5km but the question was also raised by Hon. Sen. Ndlovu where I indicated that at that pace, we now need to accelerate through private players since we are building the country together so that we have one who would then take the entire road.

          So, in that trajectory, you will see that pace and I want to affirm to Hon. Senator Tshabangu that Nkayi Road is on the top of our agenda in terms of our dashboard as a Ministry.  I want to assure you that this year you will see tremendous work along that road.  I talked about the 90km because I had factored in the 58 kilometres that you are talking about and the 15 km that we are currently working on so that we get into Nkayi town. 

So this is precisely the roadmap for the Nkayi Road but it is not only the Nkayi Road, we are looking at the entire road network where we also need to prioritise very emotional roads.  In particular, Nkayi Road is one of the emotional roads. I concur with the Hon. Sen that we need to move with speed but I want to assure you that we are no longer going to be doing the 1,6 km that you have seen.  I can cite a very good example, what you have seen around this Parliament where we started four weeks ago, but look at what we have done already.  This is the same magnitude that we are going to descend on the Nkayi Road.  So I would also challenge you to continue coming to my inbox on the particular road if you do not see any progress.  I thank you.

          HON. SEN. KATUMBA:  Thank you Mr. President.  I will direct my question to Hon. Ziyambi, the Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs since the Minister of Health and Child Care is not available.

          What steps is the Government taking to ensure that Zimbabwe’s healthcare system adequately addresses the unique health needs of women and children by providing pediatricians and gynecologists in all province hospitals?

          THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. Z. ZIYAMBI):  I would like to thank the Hon. Senator for her question where she is inquiring about Government policy to ensure that we decentralise our specialist services in our hospitals to provincial and district hospitals. 

          Mr. President Sir, in fact what the Hon. Senator is asking is the thrust that the Second Republic is taking.  We are in the process of ensuring that we train more specialist services.  She mentioned pediatricians, those are doctors that specialise in looking after our children.  She mentioned gynecologists who deal with women’s reproductive health, all these are being trained.  If the Hon. Senator will recall a few days ago, there was actually a clip that was indicating the work that the Second Republic is doing to decentralise specialist healthcare in provincial and district hospitals.

          We now have several specialist gynecologists and pediatricians at our provincial hospitals and we are now cascading it to district hospitals.  Therefore, that is work in progress, but you must always remember that this will also depend on the availability and willingness of those specialists also to go and work within those particular district hospitals.  I thank you Mr. President Sir.

          *HON. SEN. ZVIDZAI:  Thank you Mr. President. My question is directed to the Minister of Finance, Economic Development and Investment Promotion.  I would like him to know that I heard ZINARA saying this country has a car population of more than 1 million.  Some of them belong to Government and parastatals, but most of them belong to the generality of the people of Zimbabwe.

          All those people at filling stations, from Beitbridge to Chirundu and Plumtree to Mutare, are not buying fuel using their salaries.  It means all those people that you see driving today are crooks.  They are getting their money from the parallel market.  My question is, with your knowledge after implementing the policy of using ZiG, it means everyone has been made a criminal.  Can you think about finding a way to ameliorate a situation where everyone is considered a criminal?  I thank you.

          *THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF FINANCE, ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT AND INVESTMENT PROMOTION (HON. D. K. MNANGAGWA):  Indeed, we do not want to encourage corruption but like what I alluded to with regards to fuel, we looked at the history or background and considered how we came to where we are today.  Right now, they are sitting again to ensure that we understand, concerning the new currency and how we are operating.  Is it not possible for all of us to get to where we want?

          Indeed, fuel is a very delicate issue that needs to be handled with care so that we do not revert to days where we would spend time on fuel queues.  That is why we are saying we understand that our people need to get disposable income, be it for fuel, keeping it as pocket money or hair do.  That is why we are saying we are engaging mobile network operators like Econet and Ecocash so that if you have ZiG, you can then change it through their booths or their systems.  We are looking at that and we have not reached exactly where we want. 

          So Mr. President, we are deliberating on all these issues so that we indeed come up with a solution whereby we do not encourage corruption amongst our citizens.  I thank you.

          *HON. SEN. MBOHWA:  Thank you Mr. President. My question is directed to the Minister of Energy and Power Development.  I wanted to ask about electricity that we are using in agriculture and as a result increase economic output, but the problem is that there is a lot of problems on transmission lines because power lines are falling down.  What are the plans to ensure that you do not use weak power lines, but instead use durable power lines because there is evidence that most of the power cuts are happening as a result of power line poles that are falling?  I thank you.

          *THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF ENERGY AND POWER DEVELOPMENT (HON. SIMBANEGAVI):  Thank you Hon. Senator.  Indeed, I would like to agree with you.  As Ministry of Energy and Power Development, we have that problem that in the country there are a lot of power lines that are falling, especially during the rain season.  We see that wooden poles tend to fall, especially when it is windy or when there is lightening.

          Most of the wooden poles are under Rural Electrification Authority (REA), but as a Ministry, we realised that we cannot leave that work all to REA on its own to solve this issue of wooden poles in those areas.  So we have since asked ZETDC in conjunction with REA to go to rural areas so that they replace any defective power transmission poles. I would like to request Hon. Senator that wherever you stay or whenever you see those poles falling, please report to ZESA offices because sometimes those poles may fall with live lines.  That may actually affect livestock or humans.  So we encourage you to report wherever you see power lines that may have fallen so that they replace them or lift them up together with the live lines so that those who would be using electricity in rural areas may be able to get access to power on time.  I thank you.  

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

ORAL ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS WITH NOTICE

          THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF WOMEN’S AFFAIRS, COMMUNITY, SMALL AND MEDIUM ENTERPRISES DEVELOPMENT (HON. MHLANGA):  Our apologies Hon. President, can we defer our question to next week?

PROVISION OF MODERN EQUIPMENT FOR THE METALLURGICAL LABORATORY

  1. HON SEN. ZVIDZAI asked the Minister of Mines and Mining Development to inform the Senate 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 DEPUTY MINISTER OF MINES AND MINING DEVELOPMENT (HON. KAMBAMURA): The capacitation of the Metallurgical Laboratory is a key output of the Ministry of Mines and Mining Development, with funding coming from the Minerals Marketing Corporation Zimbabwe.  Over USD1 million was budgeted for in 2024, primarily to ensure assay of all minerals found in Zimbabwe included those sophisticated ones.  All bodies that are multi-element and difficult to assay their composition like the Platinum Group metal ore bodies, rare earth metal ore bodies and lithium ore bodies.  A world class laboratory is expected in 2026 which is at the end of the department of Metallurgy five-year development plan.

Human capital capacitation through certification ISO 1702:5 for the laboratories being pursued.  Equipment challenges remain a challenge and Government competes with the private sector but Ministry of Finance has set aside a fund to recruit and re-train specialised skills.  Hon. Senators, another metallurgical laboratory is at the Zimbabwe School of Mines and a lot of mining companies have been, in the recent past, capacitating that and in the next few months, they will be receiving state of the art equipment for that laboratory.  I thank you.

WRITTEN SUBMISSIONS TO QUESTIONS WITH NOTICE

WORKERS EMPLOYMENT POLICY USED BY MINING COMPANIES IN CHIADZWA DIAMOND MINES

  1. HON. SEN ZINDI asked the Minister of Mines and Mining Development to inform the Senate the workers employment policy used by mining companies operating in Chiadzwa Diamond Mines which recruit workers from outside province at the expense of local residents of Manicaland.

          THE MINISTER OF MINES AND MINING DEVELOPMENT (HON. CHITANDO):   All mining companies have their own employment policies in line with the country’s laws to enhance their competitiveness. In Chiadzwa, Diamond companies prioritise locals in their employment, particularly for the non-skilled labour. However, for skilled labour that may not be available locally, the companies recruit experts from across the country. For example, Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Company has 63.4% of their staff being employees from the local area.

FORMULATION OF A LIMESTONE MINING POLICY

  1. HON. SEN ZVIDZAI asked the Minister of Mines and Mining Development to inform the Senate whether the Ministry has plans to formulate a limestone mining policy.

THE MINISTER OF MINES AND MINING DEVELOPMENT (HON. CHITANDO):   The Ministry of Mines and Mining Development banned the exports of base mineral ores through S.I 5 of 2023, including limestone. This move is expected to promote local value addition and beneficiation and also support the local industries including manufacturing. Limestone is used for cement manufacturing, agriculture, steel making and domestic purposes. The Mines and Minerals Amendment Bill will be set out by the terms and conditions prescribed by Government. Given its importance to the national economy, limestone will be also considered as a strategic mineral.   

MOTION

REHABILITATION OF CENTRES FOR STREET KIDS

AND PROGRAMMES TO PROMOTE FAMILY

INTEGRATION

First Order read: Adjourned debate on motion on the plight of children on the streets.

Question again proposed. 

HON. SEN. TONGOGARA: I move that the debate do now adjourn.

HON. SEN.TSOMONDO: I second.

Motion put and agreed to.

Debate to resume: Tuesday, 14th May, 2024.

MOTION

ENACTMENT OF A LEGAL FRAMEWORK FOR THE FUNCTIONALITY OF PROVINCIAL GOVERNMENTS

Second Order read: Adjourned debate on motion on the need to enact an enabling law for the functionality of the Provincial Government tier of Government.

Question again proposed.

HON. SEN. ZVIDZAI:  I move that the debate do now adjourn.

HON. SEN. GWATURE: I second.

          Motion put and agreed to.

          Debate to resume: Tuesday, 14th May, 2024.

MOTION

ENACTMENT OF STRINGENT LAWS TO ADDRESS THE

PLIGHT OF WIDOWS

Third Order read:  Adjourned debate on motion on the plight of Zimbabwean widows who are routinely evicted from their homes by relatives.

Question again proposed.

          HON. SEN. TSOMONDO:  I move that the debate do now adjourn.

          HON. SEN. TONGOGARA: I second.

          Motion put and agreed to.

          Debate to resume: Tuesday, 14th May, 2024.

MOTION

PROGRAMME ON CLIMATE SMART AGRICULTURE

Fourth Order read:  Adjourned debate on motion on the effects of Climate Change.

Question again proposed.

          HON. SEN. MUZENDA:  I move that the debate do now adjourn.

          HON. SEN. TONGOGARA: I second.

          Motion put and agreed to.

          Debate to resume: Tuesday, 14th May, 2024.

MOTION

STRATEGIES TO MOBILISE RESOURCES FOR THE

NATIONAL CLEAN-UP CAMPAIGN

Fifth Order read:  Adjourned debate on motion on the National Clean-Up Campaign.

Question again proposed.

          HON. SEN. MUZENDA:  I move that the debate do now adjourn.

          HON. SEN. TONGOGARA: I second.

          Motion put and agreed to.

          Debate to resume: Tuesday, 14th May, 2024.

MOTION

ROAD SAFETY DURING THE FESTIVE SEASON

Sixth Order read:  Adjourned debate on motion on the successive road accidents on consecutive days in the month of November, 2023 countrywide.

Question again proposed.

          HON. SEN. ZVIDZAI:  I move that the debate do now adjourn.

          HON. SEN. CHAKABUDA: I second.

          Motion put and agreed to.

          Debate to resume: Tuesday, 14th May, 2024.

On the motion of HON. SEN. MUZENDA, seconded by HON. SEN. TONGOGARA, the House adjourned at Ten Minutes past Four o’clock p.m. until Tuesday, 14th May, 2024.

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