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NATIONAL ASSEMBLY HANSARD - 01 OCTOBER 2015 VOL NO 08

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PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE

Thursday, 1st October, 2015

The National Assembly met at a Quarter-past Two O’clock p.m.

PRAYERS

(THE DEPUTY SPEAKER in the Chair)

MATTER OF PRIVILEGE

THE MINISTER OF ENERGY AND POWER DEVELOPMENT’S CONDUCT DURING QUESTION TIME

          MRS. MISIHAIRABWI-MUSHONGA: I rise on an issue of privileges and immunities both in the Constitution and Standing Rules and Orders. This is in connection with the conduct of the Honourable Minister of Energy and Power Development, yesterday, who as you know the Constitution requires the Ministers to come and attend to Question Time. He came in and left and you spoke on it Madam Speaker and said he probably has just gone out to the toilet and he is going to come back and he did not.

          What I am raising here Madam Speaker is an issue of contempt and I am asking that you come back and make a ruling on whether his conduct yesterday does not constitute contempt, alternatively whether you can come back with a ruling to this House whether we cannot set a committee under the Standing Rules and Orders to which he can explain his behaviour yesterday because the issue of electricity Madam Speaker is a huge crisis and what he did yesterday I do not think that it is acceptable in terms of our rules and the Constitution. I thank you.

          THE DEPUTY SPEAKER: I think you can give me a chance to study the matter so that I can come back to you.

MOTION

BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE

          MRS. RUNGANI: I move that Orders of the Day, Numbers 1 to 3 be stood over until Order of the Day, Number 4 has been disposed of.

  1. D. SIBANDA: I second.

          Motion put and agreed to.

COMMITTEE STAGE

ADVERSE REPORT BY THE PARLIAMENTARY LEGAL COMMITTEE ON STATUTORY INSTRUMENT NO. 77 OF 2015

          Fourth Order read: Committee Stage: Adverse Report by the Parliamentary Legal Committee on Statutory Instrument No. 77 of 2015 (Presidential Powers) Application of [Chapter 8:14] to Premier Medical Aid Society Regulations, 2015.

House in Committee.

  1. SAMUKANGE: The Parliamentary Legal Committee issued an Adverse Report in respect of Statutory Instrument No 77 of 2015. This is in relation to the [Presidential Powers] Application of [Chapter 8:14] Premier Services Medical Aid Society Regulations 2015.

I think it is important that I do explain the functions of the Parliamentary Legal Committee (PLC). The PLC consists of five senior legal practitioners. We have a total of over 100 years experience between the five legal practitioners who are all practicing. Our responsibility is to examine the Bills and statutes that are brought before us before they are brought to the House for debate. Our main function is to ensure that either a Bill or Statutory Instrument does not contravene the Constitution and is not inconsistent with the various existing Acts including Case Authorities. We also look at the issue relating to the Bill of Rights and the Rule of Law. Our Committee is more interested in making sure that we do not consider political issues or motions. We mostly want to ensure that there is no contravention of statutes with existing laws.

We looked at the proposed Statutory Instrument which seeks to bring in the assets of Premier Service Medical Aid Society (PSMAS) to become part of the State liability. Our view is that conduct violates and is ultra-vires the State liability. The State Liability Act [Chapter 8:14] states and I quote “An Act to impose liability upon the State in respect of acts of its employees”, in other words, only acts of Civil Servants. PSMAS is not an institute that is either considered as a parastatal or an Arm of Government but it consists of subscribers, some of whom are civil servants and others who are not civil servants.

So, the Committee is worried that if we allow such practice where, because the institution is big Government then takes over the debts; why should the taxpayer be burdened with the responsibility of paying debts that have been incurred by a private institution. We see no reason why that should happen. Our suggestion, which is practically administrative, is that if indeed the Minister of Health and Child Care or the Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Services feel that the institution must have support, the best way to support it would be to encourage them to borrow money from NSSA then Government can stand as a guarantor because of the subscriptions. If that is done at least the taxpayers are not unnecessarily burdened. The other point is that we do not want to create a precedent where simply because someone may know someone or knows a minister, we end up having Government taking over those debts. If it was a parastatal, one could understand because it is set up for the purpose of ensuring that it serves the public. Now, this is a medical society where members decided to form their own institution, why then should it be Government’s responsibility? It is for that reason that as your Committee, we believe it is ultra-vires the Constitution and even the enabling Act that I have referred to, for Government to take over those debts. We urge this House to support the decision by your Committee which has considered it very seriously that we should not allow such practice.

Let me go further and point out that we did invite the minister responsible and pointed out that they can borrow money from NSSA and allow NSSA to lend PSMAS money, so they can pay their debts without Government being involved. Obviously, the Minister did not accept the suggestion and that is the reason why we are not in agreement with the minister. We believe that if this House was to endorse the decision of the minister, it will be part of ultra-vires conduct, so we urge you to support us.

  1. KEREKE: I want to add a few perspectives following the presentation by the Legal Committee in respect of instances where morally and in terms of consistency with sustainable macro-economic management, when we can accept the assumption of certain debts by the State. PSMAS in its own creation is not a parastatal but a private company which seeks to provide various medical services among which is health insurance. We also need to specify that when you look at the intersecting with the State, they are only intersecting in so far as the State makes direct contributions on behalf of its employees to a private sector company. It is more like a person or company is making contributions to CIMAS or any other medical aid society. Treasury is paying to CIMAS and should not then lead us into extrapolating and concluding that CIMAS debts must be taken by the State because the State transmits certain funds paying premiums to CIMAS. So I think in this case, we want to give support to the Committee for saying let us not set a very unstoppable bad and dangerous precedent. If this were to be allowed to go through, where PSMAS debts are to be taken by the State, a private citizen who is shackled by bank borrowings can in a court of law, probably also successfully apply that their debt be taken by the State because of that precedent which would have been set. In other words, let us not cover institutional and executive profligacy by just ring fencing debts and consigning them to the State. In respect of PSMAS Mr. Chair, the reason why PSMAS is so much indebted is because of what we see as elements of widespread mismanagement and misalignment of corporate governance practices. We see executives at PSMAS buying real estate properties at very inflated prices. I want to disclose that I am a player in the field that they play and we know a lot of abuses that are leading to the indebtedness. So, it would be sad for our country and economy if we allow PSMAS debts to even be contemplated as debts that can be accommodated by the State.

          Mr. Speaker, we also need as a country to say, what is the benefit of parceling out debts of entities and defining them as debts for the State. It would appear to some as an element which brings sustainability. The answer is no. It is simply transferring one problem from a localized sector, in this case PSMAS as inappropriately contemplated to the Central Government, which will still be burdened in terms of how it can cover those debts.

          In closing Mr. Chair, I want to urge the House that let us protect macro-economic stability in our country. This is a case of a private sector company which must face its responsibilities. The issue where PSMAS has been protected in terms of civil action against its assets is again another area which on another day we will need to discuss and say, what does it do to the institution in question? Does it not create a moral hazard or problem where they go about bullying their clients, not paying knowing that no one can touch their assets? We leave that for another day. Thank you.

          *MR. CHINOTIMBA: Thank you very much hon. Speaker. My feeling regarding PSMAS is as follows, the Minister who wrote this document, as far as I am concerned did not get enough background or research from other experts on the topic. We are all aware that the country is faced with starvation and we cannot be paying debts which do not concern us. The people who were debating on the issue regarding PSMAS said PSMAS had a lot of corruption, hence the monies were unnecessarily squandered and as an institution, we are not supposed to support this corruption. When we talk politically, it would be unfair for people to hear that a ZANU PF government has paid up PSMAS debt to make up for the corrupt activities carried out by Mr. Cuthbert Dube.

My feeling is that instead of burdening the taxpayer, the money should be taken from the board members and other members who were part and parcel of the corrupt activities at PSMAS. Their properties should be attached and auctioned to make up for the payment. I know we could be likening this issue to the Reserve Bank whereby we adopted the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Debt Assumption Bill. People did not refuse to pay the debt, they were saying we need to pay this money using the Zimbabwean dollar and regarding that, the value was about 50 cents or 4 cents. As a result, we had to take the burden from the Reserve Bank. This is different from what is obtaining at the PSMAS. There were corrupt activities; Mr. Cuthbert Dube and his team were earning mega salaries. Therefore, the country cannot just take over that. The country is a farming country and we do not have fertiliser, we do not have electricity; we need to be harnessing solar. Therefore, abusing funds by adopting the PSMAS debt will be a totally unacceptable issue. We do not have to adopt that debt.

PSMAS is a corporate which is made up of employees who contribute funds so that in terms of illness they get some assistance. I can liken this to burial societies whereby people make contributions so that if there is a death in the family, they get that money from the cooperative.

As an individual, I owe CBZ some certain amount and how will Zimbabweans feel if the Government was to take Hon. Chinotimba’s debt and pay it? As an august House, I take it that we should reject this bill. Let us not pay PSMAS; this will be tantamount to corruption – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] - The PSMAS issue regarding Mr. Cuthbert Dube is a serious issue. I am being blunt because the Acting President is here. I want him to hear my sentiments. Whoever is involved in corrupt activities should be arrested and go to prison. They should know that corruption has its adverse results. If amongst us, there are some of us who support the taking over of the PSMAS debt, I as an individual and the people I represent in Buhera South, we are saying no to the adoption of the PSMAS bill. My advice is that all those who were involved in the scandalous and corrupt activities at PSMAS should pay their debts. Their properties should be attached. There are people who are in problems because of illnesses and they need money to pay for the treatment of AIDS, cancer, TB, et cetera. We cannot abuse State funds by adopting the PSMAS debt just because we want the institution to run. We are saying no, let us not adopt this Bill. I thank you.

  1. MAJOME: Thank you Mr. Speaker for allowing me to also add my voice to this debate of this important report of the Parliamentary Legal Committee. I am privileged to be one of the five members of this committee which was tasked by the august House to exercise the technical role and the technical function of applying our legal minds to matters of legislation that will come before our House.

Mr. Speaker Sir, I rise to support the report of our Chair, Hon. Samukange who indicated that the Parliamentary Legal Committee issued an adverse report after applying our legal minds and other issues that are in the national interest and found that this Statutory Instrument as the hon. Chair said, not only is ultra-vires the provisions of the State Liabilities Act itself but also the Constitution. Mr. Speaker Sir, I would also want to lend my voice and urge the august House to support the report of your Parliamentary Legal Committee whose role is to guide our House to pass laws that are consistent.

Mr. Speaker Sir, allow me to say one or two things in support of what the Chairperson said as well as other hon. members. In Section 3 of our Constitution, the Founding Values and Principles of Zimbabwe, Section 3(a) says, ‘the rule of law is one of those key principles as well as good governance’. If the august House supports the report of its own Parliamentary Legal Committee, it would actually have ensured that this House and indeed Zimbabwe, does adhere to these founding values and principles. Mr. Speaker Sir, at face value, the rule of law means that we must follow the law. As eloquently stated by our Chairperson, the State Liabilities Act is not ambiguous at all, it makes it very clear that those obligations and interests that are meant to be protected are interests of the state.

          I want to support Hon. Chinotimba who eloquently explained the difference between a State enterprise, a State institution and a private voluntary organisation, which the Premier Services Medical Aid Society is Mr. Speaker Sir. I am sure many hon. members joined this medical aid society. It has a constitution that was drafted and adopted, as alluded to by Hon. Chinotimba when he said a burial society where members decide whether they want to join it or not and its activities and affairs are governed and run in terms of the constitution agreed upon by the private voluntary organization.

          Mr. Speaker Sir, the State Liabilities Act was not at all envisaged to cover private voluntary organisations and at that level, this august House must not allow the law to be contravened because if we as law makers who make the law are seen as baptising unlawfulness and illegality, we will surely lose the respect of those who sent us to this august House to pass the laws on their behalf.

Mr. Speaker Sir, may I also remind hon. members that we are required in terms of Section 119 of our Constitution to play that role of ensuring that everything is done constitutionally and in the national interest. If I may be allowed to also speak on behalf of the constituency that I represent in Harare West where there are several health service providers like private doctors’ surgeries or even Harare City Councils’ that also serve members of the public who come to claim various services.

There are also pharmacies which are run by hard working Zimbabweans who are enterprising like you and I, who set up their businesses in order to serve the populace in health services. They may be selling drugs in pharmacies, treat patients or establish laboratories. Mr. Speaker Sir, these are very small enterprises that are run even at a personal family level. Given our very high rate of unemployment and the deteriorating economic climate, these few private enterprises are the remaining sources of employment that are there in our country. To use the law to unlawfully protect the Premier Services Medical Aid Society from paying out its debts that it owes to each of those little enterprises is to sign a death warrant for the remainder of those small enterprises Mr. Speaker Sir. The sufferers are indeed the health seekers.

If all those surgeries, clinics, pharmacies and private laboratories close down, the suffering spreads to the rest of the society. Mr. Speaker Sir, I want to say this in order to urge the august House to fulfill its responsibility and ensure that we promote and witness good governance. If the Premier Services Medical Aid Society is allowed to get away with murder, we will actually be allowing them to continue pilfering the subscriber’s hard-earned contributions.

The Constitution requires that there be transparency, justice and accountability in all matters. If Parliament casts a clock of darkness over the obligations of Premier Services Medical Aid Society, it will indeed encourage it to go on operating in a way that rewards top officials and misappropriate money. We will then not be exercising our responsibility as Parliament Mr. Speaker Sir.

With those words, hon. Speaker, I urge the august House to support the report by its very own technical committee, the Parliamentary Legal Committee that made that decision after considering the law, the Constitution and indeed the national interest and not allow this Statutory Instrument to prevail because it is as unlawful as it is unconstitutional and not in the national interest. I thank you.

  1. T. KHUMALO: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. I would like to add my voice on this Bill. Mr. Speaker Sir, doing a wrong and correcting a wrong with a wrong does not make it right. By the look of things, we seem to be a Government that wants to reward corruption.

Mr. Speaker, I am going to make myself a test case. I am asthmatic and when you have an asthma attack, there is no time to negotiate whether you have money or not, that is the first point of call. I have an asthma attack, you call an ambulance, I get to Westend Hospital and I am told that I must pay cash. I cannot breathe and I am denying my brain oxygen and the more I do that the more chances of me dying. I cannot speak and maybe I would have gone there by myself using a medical aid plan for public service and I am told it does not work but you are deducting my money every month, where is my money going?

I am talking about myself, now let us look at everyone else out there like the staff of Parliament who are members of this medical aid, they get sick, their children get sick and their families get sick yet they do not have enough money to pay. Today, one of my cousins had a mild stroke, she is a member of the public service, she went to Westend Hospital and was told to pay US$300 in advance. She wanted to go for a scan and decided to go to Parirenyatwa and there she is told she must pay US$142 for a scan. She goes for a scan and is told the scan is not working; this person had a mild stroke. The next thing is, they went to look for a radiographer who then tells them – no, the scan is working but you need to pay and she paid. After paying, she had to go for more tests and more money needed to be paid. When she was done, after all the tests, she was still made to pay US$400. This is unacceptable.

The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) Bill went through, we complained about rewarding corruption and today – the RBZ, the buck stopped there. This is not going through, come thunder come storm, if the push comes to shove, we have members of this Public Service, the civil servants, Parliament staff including ourselves as Members of Parliament. We are going to the Public Service, to the streets Mr. Speaker because enough is enough. These people must go to jail, that is why we have jails and courts. Take these people to jail and they face the music.

What we are doing is like a bus driver driving Members of Parliament to Victoria Falls for the Pre-Budget seminar and he has a fatal accident and kills 12 people, the police then come and arrest Members of Parliament and not the driver. That is what you are doing to us, you are arresting us as members of the Public Service and forgetting to arrest the Public Service people. We have not committed a crime, we are just passengers. We paid our dues for the drive, then why are we being arrested for an offence that we did not commit?

There must be a forensic audit and those who stole must pay. I am sure they spent some of the money buying properties; let us attach those properties. The Vice President is here and we are hoping that he is going to read the Riot Act to make sure that those properties are sold like ASAP.

Mr. Speaker Sir, my humble submission is that, I have a constituency, Bulawayo East. I have United Bulawayo Hospitals (UBH). If you walk through UBH, the bath tubs are not working, the taps are leaking, electricity is on an off and water is not even there. Members of the Public Service go there but it is a death trap. We are killing our own people because we are failing to manage the issue of corruption. The time is now, Vice President, enough is enough, the buck stops with you, I thank you.

  1. CHASI: Thank you very much Mr. Speaker. Like previous speakers, I also rise to support the report by the Parliamentary Legal Committee of which I am a member. I think that the technical legal issues have been amply dealt with by previous speakers, particularly by my Chairman Hon. Samukange. I just want to pick up on an issue which I think has been touched on peripherally by previous speakers. This relates to the legal status of PSMAS. I think honourable members have described it as very much akin to a burial society. I think by way of legal format, I would agree with that. I want to say that it is in nature somewhat different from other voluntary organisations with respect to the ubiquity of its membership in Government, and the role that Government plays in ensuring that collections of subscriptions are collected on behalf of this society.

I want to talk about the issue of governance and to urge members of this House whom I understand the majority are members of this society, to participate in the governance of PSMAS. I can almost bet my last dollar that there is nobody in this room who has attended an extra ordinary meeting of PSMAS although they are members. I want to say that Government must also take an active interest in the manner in which this organisation works, particularly given the fact that its members, the majority of whom are in Government contribute and pay cash, as Hon. Khumalo has said. However, the repayments take years to come. In the meantime, you have been contributing from your salary, but when you pay cash, for you to get paid back by PSMAS, it is a toll order.

I would like to urge the Ministry of Health and Child Care to think of ways that could ensure that Government could actively participate in the governance structures of PSMAS, to ensure that the correct decisions are made. I also want to add my voice to the requirement that those who have inappropriately paid themselves sums that are beyond what they are entitled to, must be asked to repay. I thank you.  

  1. ZINDI: Thank you Mr. Chairman. I also rise to add my voice to the Parliamentary Legal Committee on the report which they have just presented before the House. In my presentation I would just like to point out the historical aspect which has led to the situation that PSMAS is facing today. I need to remind hon. members and the august House that when the news broke out in terms of the huge salaries that the executives of PSMAS were giving themselves, I remember that there was a question which was posed in this House directly to the Minister of Health and Child Care, Hon. Parirenyatwa. His response was that PSMAS is a private company - therefore Government cannot whatsoever interfere in PSMAS business. That alone, buttresses the point which the Parliamentary Legal Committee has brought to the House in terms of it being ultra vires in relation to the State Liabilities Act.

Further to my historical aspect, I think two weeks ago I was reading in the newspaper. The issue was that there were about three or four executives who were said to be getting a salary amounting to almost $500 000.00 per month. This is just about two or three weeks ago and this has seen the one who had been engaged as the CEO or possibly he was just acting - Mr. Mandishona, who is on forced leave as we speak right now. This is over and above the experience of Mr. C. Dube. So you can see how insensitive the executive management of PSMAS is to the plight and the needs and expectations of the people and particularly, the subscribers who are subscribing to PSMAS.

I cannot repeat what Hon. Khumalo has just said when you know you are fully subscribed and you want to seek the services for the subscription, the hard earned cash that you have contributed for the anticipated day when you fall sick. You cannot access the medical services. I think as Members of Parliament, we should stand by the report that has been submitted by the Parliamentary Legal Committee. Mr. Chairman, PSMAS was initially supposed to be focusing on health insurance, but it ended up doing all sorts of businesses.

In the process, they cannot account for the contributions because instead of investing those contributions in order to serve as insurance for the contributors, this money ended up being invested in various businesses and some of them not performing well. It was at a time when we were still using the Z$ and also at the time that we migrated into the dollarization era. Therefore Mr. Chairman, I am here to support our Parliamentary Legal Committee. I am sure all Members of Parliament will support that the State should not be responsible for the indebtedness of PSMAS. I thank you.

MRS. MISIHARABWI-MUSHONGA: Thank you very much Mr. Chairman. I must say that in the Ndebele language, what is being proposed to this House by the Minister, you would just call it ukhudhelela, and I will explain why. It is dishonest to come to this House with this kind of Statutory Instrument. If the Minister has a problem with the fact that members have been paying money to Government so that it can be transmitted to the Public Service Medical Aid Society, and it has not done so, he should just put that on the table and say I have a problem. You have been paying and I have not transmitted the money to PSMAS because that is one issue and one area. But, to bring that particular issue and pretend that it is an issue about a problem with an entity, you mess us up and then you come back and pretend that you want to do good for us when you know that you are the one who is messing up, that is one.

The second issue is the issue that other hon. members have raised. I must say today, for some of us it is a historic day. This is because both sides of the House are in total agreement. I am hoping that we can continuously look at things in this manner because if we deal with things objectively, we will certainly find each other. Mr. Chairman, this is about corporate governance. That is what we are dealing with. It has nothing to do with Government going in. It is the issue that as the members, we should be educated and I liked what Hon. Chasi said but unfortunately, there was too much noise. If we as members have no appreciation of our roles and responsibilities over something that we are contributing to. How then do we pretend to understand our roles and responsibilities over a national Constitution? Because, the way we have dealt with PSMAS is an indication of how we cannot hold people accountable. I was actually going to say, if you are going to be talking about how this goes against the Constitution, in fact, I am going to go the extreme. If there is anything that this particular Statutory Instrument is trying to do, is to put us like on Section 54 of the Constitution, it talks about freedom from slavery and servitude. Literally, we want to be made slaves because we are contributing and we are working hard but you come back and hit us hard on this particular manner. So, it is totally unacceptable.

          Section 56 talks about equality of people before the law. If we were to do this Mr. Chairman, how do I go and explain this to some person who is in Gwanda South? I am basically saying, as Government we have decided that everything else that you are doing, even though you are not a member of Public Service and medical aid but we are now going to tax you, even when you have not received the benefits of such an issue. So, the issue of equality is not there. In fact, you are saying those who are in the Public Service are more equal than those that are outside the medical aid. So, it violates that whole principle of equality.

          Mr. Chairman, it also violates the principle of the right to health care. Like the other hon. members have been talking about, we should be sitting here worrying about the basic healthcare which we cannot provide to people and here we would be seen dealing with a particular clique of ourselves and dealing with issues that are to do with the private issues that ourselves should be taking on. In fact, I was sitting here and I am feeling bad that why have I allowed myself as a member of the Public Service Medical Aid Society to allow the Cuthbert Dube things that Hon. Chinotimba was talking about. We should asked for an extraordinary meeting so that we can raise these issues but we have watched and seen these things happen just like we watch everything else happening without taking control.

          So Mr. Chairman, I am asking that as this House, we begin to learn a number of things around this. First is that we take control of our own lives; we take control and be responsible for our own issues and we do not allow people to do what they want. In fact, this is an issue of rewarding bad behaviour. By doing this, we are basically saying to everybody else, ‘go and mess up, do anything else and we as Government will come and clean it up’. In fact, what will make it worse if we were to do this, if we want to destroy the health system, let us adopt that Statutory Instrument. No one will touch anybody who is a member of the Public Service Medical Aid Society because we have sent a message that this thing cannot be governed properly and that we as Government are taking over the debt when we know that Government is struggling to pay everything else. Who will believe that as Government you will pay the debt anyway?   In fact, we are sending a message to doctors and what is happening, what Hon. Khumalo and Hon. Zindi spoke about is actually going to be worse because those that provide health service will basically say we are not touching anybody who is coming from the Public Service Medical Aid Society.

          So, I want to thank the Minister for making sure that he brings this atrocious legislation to us so that we can begin to look at ourselves and say what is it that we need to do but throw it out with the contempt that it deserves. Like I said, it is ukudhelela. You are thinking people do not think and you can do what you want. The Deputy is not here and the Minister himself is not here. So again, it is just generally contempt of Parliament – you do not care. I will throw this thing to these people, they are too much, maduffers. It is written on their foreheads that they are duffers; they will accept it and will not do anything about it.

So, I am glad and I am happy that the two sides of this House today are very clear. This is totally unacceptable and this should be a message to any other person in the Executive who tries to bring something like this to us. I thank you.

  1. MUKWANGWARIWA: On a point of order Mr. Chairman. The hon. member has used unparliamentary language. She cannot call the Executive duffers? Can she please withdraw?

THE TEMPORARYCHAIRPERSON: Order, order. Hon. member, that is unparliamentary language, may you please withdraw?

MRS. MISIHAIRABWI-MUSHONGA: Which one hon. Chairman. I can withdraw if I know.

THE TEMPORARY CHAIRPERSON: ‘Duffers’.

MRS. MISIHAIRABWI-MUSHONGA: I said they assume that we are written duffers on our foreheads.

THE VICE PRESIDENT AND MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (MR. MNANGAGWA): I move that the Chairperson of Committees do now report progress and seek leave to sit again.

Motion put and agreed to.

House resumed.

Progress reported.

Committee to Resume: Tuesday, 6th October, 2015.

MOTION

BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE

THE VICE PRESIDENT AND MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (MR. MNANGAGWA): I move that we revert to Orders of the Day, Numbers 1 and 2.

Motion put and agreed to.

SECOND READING

GENERAL LAWS AMENDMENT BILL 2015 [H.B.2, 2015]

          First Order read: Second Reading: General Laws Amendment Bill, 2015 [H.B. 3, 2015].

  1. MAJOME: I rise as the Chairperson of the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs to plead with you Madam Speaker and the House for this matter to be deferred. The Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs as you may be away Madam Speaker, was analysing this particular Bill and did in fact, with the gracious leave of the Hon. Vice President, did have an opportunity in terms of time to ask Zimbabweans of their opinions in terms of Section 141 of the Constitution. The Committee wanted to find out as to what they want to be in the Bill. Unfortunately because of the calendar of the august House, the Second Session was prorogued just as the public hearings were done and your Committee was not able to conclude a report in time. As you will be aware, business of Committees only resumed last week on Tuesday, 22nd September, 2015, and your Committee has a draft report but it just needs to finalise and adopt the report and present it to the august House.

          Whilst saying that, the Committee is very grateful to the Hon. Vice President for having agreed to defer the issue so that these consultations are done. The Committee will meet on Monday, 5th October, 2015. It is with that in mind that I am pleading with you Madam Speaker to give the Committee a chance to conclude its report on Monday, 5th October, 2015, so that it can be presented to the House and not delay further the debate.

          THE VICE PRESIDENT AND MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (MR. MNANGAGWA): Whilst I hear the appeal by the Hon. Chairperson of the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs. Let it be understood that this delay – this is a question of realignment of the Acts of Parliament to the Constitution. This Bill has over 154 Acts of Parliament which ought to be realigned. It came to Parliament in June, 2015 and it is still having these problems. I believe that it is necessary because as it is, the burden is now on us the Ministry of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs that we are not piloting the Bill and yet we are complying with the procedures of the House to allow the Portfolio Committee to make their comments on the Bill. I believe that now if the Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee will indeed on Monday, 5th October conclude and make a report on Tuesday, I will pilot with the Bill with or without the report of the Portfolio Committee –[HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] –

          As a matter of fact Madam Speaker, I have noticed that even the following item on the Order Paper, which I have also done my Second Reading, the Criminal Procedure and Evidence Amendment Bill (2015), again it is tied together with the First Order of the Day. I do not know if the Hon. Chairperson is ready for that, I would prosecute one if you are ready.

  1. MAJOME: Madam Speaker, I seek the same indulgence that has been granted together with the General Laws Amendment Bill.

          THE VICE PRESIDENT AND MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS: I therefore move that the debate do now adjourn.

          Motion put and agreed to.

          Debate to resume: Tuesday, 6th October, 2015.

MOTION

BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE

THE VICE PRESIDENT AND MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS: Mr. Speaker Sir, I move that Orders of the Day, Numbers 3 and 4 be stood over until Order of the Day, Number 5 has been disposed of.

          Motion put and agreed to.

MOTION

PRESIDENTIAL SPEECH: DEBATE ON ADDRESS

Fifth Order read: Adjourned debate on motion in reply to the Presidential Speech.

Question again proposed.

  1. M. S. NDLOVU: Thank you Madam Speaker. First of all, I want to thank Hon. Mutomba the mover of this motion. I rise to contribute on three issues which are foreign direct investment, water and the general amendment of laws.

I come from a constituency that is at the border, called Bulilima East in Matebeleland South. I was very pleased when our President said that the national diaspora policy will be put in place very soon. I know most of us have had about the diaspora when people now go to England, Europe and America. We know that people of Matebeleland South have always worked in neighbouring countries but there are issues that affect our sons and daughters. They bring in money, mostly illegally but we are happy that now there are channels put in place to enable our children to bring money.

Of concern to us is the issue of safety for these people who work in diaspora. Some of them work for months without being paid. When they complain, they are just deported, lose their properties and do not get their salaries. We would love that we as Government, we look at these issues. You are aware that some of them get sick, most of them they will be suffering from tuberculosis. Recently, I attended a workshop on tuberculosis and Matebeleland South was at the top in terms of tuberculosis infections. Most of our people, when they suffer from tuberculosis, go to South Africa to get medication from South Africa but they are unable to leave their jobs to get the required treatment. It has created an impression that the tuberculosis (TB) treatment in South Africa and Botswana is not effective yet it is just the same as here. They do not have time to attend to this thus they end up getting illicit drugs that create further problems for them.

          I would also want to point out that it is important that when our diasporans remit money, it should be directed to investment, technology transfer and the establishment of enterprises instead of just consumption.

          Coming to water, I am glad that our Vice President, Hon. E. D. Mnangagwa was in Gwanda last week and he emphasized the issue of water not only for Matabeleland South but for the country as a whole. There is always a problem with statistics, I will give you an example of one of our wards in Bulilima East. Statistics show that the ward has got seven boreholes but in actual fact, for the past four years, only two boreholes are working. Some of them have not been working because they are shallow having been drilled in the 1960s. Dams are silted but when you look at DDF statistics, they will show you that there are a multiplicity of dams, yet they are no longer functional. I do not want to repeat this because the Hon. Vice President Hon. E. D. Mnangagwa emphasized that something must be done and people should get out of their offices.

          Then there is the issue of education that the President holds very dearly to his heart. I would like to commend that immediately after His Excellency delivered the Opening Address, we were blessed, let me put it that way. In that the Minister of Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development came to Plumtree and allowed us to have Plumtree Secondary School as a coeducation institution because numbers were dwindling while the infrastructure was not being fully utilised.

          At the same time, the Minister of Youth, Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Hon. Zhuwao, also came down and he was talking about indigenisation. We in Bulilima and Mangwe do not have minerals like most areas in the country but there is a project that has been on the books since the 1980s of the sewer pan on soda ash. It is most painful that this project could be an answer to most of our agricultural problems in that it could produce salt, fertilisers and whatever but we do not know what has happened to the project as it is gathering dust somewhere.

          We were also pleased that Cde. Saviour Kasukuwere also came down and had a meeting with all civil servants …– [MR. CHIBAYA AND MR. MUTSEKWA: Hausi kuti Hon. Minister nei?] –   Sorry?

          THE DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon. member, kindly address the Chair.

  1. M. S. NDLOVU: Thank you for protecting me. I would like to salute them for having come to Gwanda and heeded His Excellency’s call that ministers should stay in touch with the people.

          In conclusion, I would like to salute the grand master of asymmetric warfare Hon. R. G. Mugabe for the peace and tranquility that prevails in the country. Thank you.

          THE VICE PRESIDENT AND MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (MR. MNANGAGWA): Madam Speaker, I move that the debate do now adjourn.

          Motion put and agreed to.

          Debate to resume: Tuesday, 6th October, 2015.

          On the motion of THE VICE PRESIDENT AND MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (MR. MNANGAGWA), the House adjourned at Half past Three o’clock p.m. until Tuesday, 6th October, 2015.

 

 

 

 

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National Assembly Hansard NATIONAL ASSEMBLY HANSARD - 01 OCTOBER 2015 VOL NO 08