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NATIONAL ASSEMBLY HANSARD 02 MARCH 2016 VOL 42 NO 39

PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE

Wednesday, 2nd March, 2016

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

PRAYERS

(THE HON. SPEAKER in the Chair)

ANNOUNCEMENT BY THE HON. SPEAKER

PETITION RECEIVED FROM KATSWE SISTERHOOD

THE HON. SPEAKER: I have to inform the House that on 19th February, 2016 I received a petition from Katswe Sisterhood imploring Parliament to urgently enact an appropriate legislation to protect people from non-consensual publication of explicit material. The petition has been referred to the Portfolio Committee on Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs in terms of Standing Order Number 186 of the National Assembly Standing Rules and Orders.  

          HON. P.D. SIBANDA: Thank you Mr. Speaker. About four or five weeks back, I rose in this House giving a point of order and the Hon. Deputy Speaker was in the Chair, I rose on an issue to do with the provisions of the Constitution, specifically Section 119 (3) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe which provides that “for the purposes of subsection (2), all institutions and agencies of the State and Government at every level are accountable to Parliament”, and in pursuant to the roles of Parliament which includes oversight, I rose to find out whether as Parliament, we have got powers of oversight over the office of the President?

          My point of order was based on the fact that most of the times when members rise to debate on issues to do with the office of the President; they are told that you are denigrating the office and the integrity of the President. Therefore, my question is …

          THE HON. SPEAKER: Order, so your point of order is simply to ask for a response?

  1. P. D. SIBANDA: Yes, I wanted to find out whether we will be favoured with the response of that point of order because it is critical and important.

          THE HON. SPEAKER: Please take a seat. You cannot force the Chair to make an oral ruling. That is for the Chair to do. I need to consult my colleague the Deputy Speaker and the Clerk of Parliament if anything has been done or is being done so that we can make a ruling on that. So, allow us to proceed accordingly and we should be able to come back to you with a ruling.

          The Deputy Clerk at the table now has just advised me that Counsel to Parliament has drafted a ruling on the matter which the Clerk is finalising and obviously, it must come to my desk before we can respond accordingly. So, the matter was still alive. Thank you.

          HON. MARIDADI: On a point of order Mr. Speaker.

          THE HON. SPEAKER: Today is your question time day. We do not want a plethora of points of order. Otherwise you must bring the issues through motions or written questions.

          HON. MARIDADI: It is related to that question.

          THE HON. SPEAKER: Related to what?

          HON. MARIDADI: It is related to Questions without Notice. Mr. Speaker, two weeks ago, I raised a point of order in which I wanted to know who will be the Acting Leader of the House in the absence of the Vice President and Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs. A ruling has not been given and now we are getting into Questions Without Notice not all, Ministers are here and as such we would like to refer some questions to the Leader of the House and yet he is also not here. We wish to know who the Leader of the House is in the absence of Hon. Vice President Mnangagwa?

          THE HON. SPEAKER: Order, order. I was checking with Hon. Maridadi whether he raised that point of order in the presence of the Leader of Government Business in Parliament. He has affirmed that the Hon. Vice President and Leader of Government Business was not there. So, I need to confer with him and see how we can respond to what appears to be a lacuna in our Standing Orders as well as in our Constitution.

          HON. MUTSEYAMI: I have a point of order Mr. Speaker. –[HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections]-

          THE HON. SPEAKER: Order, order. I had ruled earlier on that I will not entertain points of order. If there is something that needs to be corrected, put it in writing and approach the Chair at an appropriate time. I only allowed Hon. Maridadi to rise.

          HON. MUTSEYAMI: Mr. Speaker Sir, my point of order has specifically to do with the business that we are supposed to do now. It has nothing to do with questions. – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections]-

          THE HON. SPEAKER: Order, I have ruled that I shall not entertain further points of order.

          HON. GONESE: On a point of order Mr. Speaker.

          THE HON. SPEAKER: Is that a point of order?

          HON. GONESE: Thank you Mr. Speaker. I think it is a point of privilege. As Hon. Members of this august House, we have certain privileges which are regulated by our Standing Orders. I beg your indulgence …

          THE HON. SPEAKER: The Chair is schooled on that one. Can you go to the point?

          HON. GONESE: My point Hon. Speaker is that as members, we have the privileges which the Speaker is well acquainted with. I believe that when Hon. Members have points of order, it is appropriate to hear what the point of order is first and then …

THE HON. SPEAKER: Order, order.

HON. GONESE: If I may be allowed to proceed Mr. Speaker. That is why I have asked for your indulgence.

THE HON. SPEAKER: Order, order.

          HON. GONESE: I am asking for your indulgence Mr. Speaker.

          THE HON. SPEAKER: Order! Order! I said I had ruled already and if they are issues relating to the conduct of Business here, they can be raised by the Chair outside this session, otherwise we cannot begin.

ORAL ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS WITHOUT NOTICE

          HON. CHASI: Thank you Mr. Speaker. I would like to raise a matter that I believe has been on the agenda of Government and this nation since 1980. It is a matter that relates to the welfare of the men and women who liberated this country, whose welfare is now recognised constitutionally in Section 84 (1) of the Constitution which relates to the men and women who liberated this country, those who assisted the fighters and those who were imprisoned, detained or restricted for political reasons.

          The second Sub Section – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections] - Can I be protected Mr. Speaker, I cannot even hear myself – [HON. MEMBERS: Aaaa!]-

          THE HON. SPEAKER: Can you go to your question please on policy.

          HON. CHASI: My question is directed to the Minister responsible for the welfare of War Veterans. It is to the effect that the Constitution contemplates that there will be an Act of Parliament which is supposed to enact the rules and regulations relating to the welfare of the people that are mentioned in Section 84 (1). I would like to ask the Minister when this House can expect the relevant Bill, given that this matter has been outstanding since 1980. I thank you.

          THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF WELFARE OF SERVICES FOR WAR VETERANS, WAR COLLABORATORS, FORMER POLITICAL PRISONERS, DETAINEES AND RESTRICTEES (HON. T. J. DUBE): - [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections] - can I be excused Hon. Speaker, I did not get the rest of the question.

          THE HON. SPEAKER: Order, order! The question is that when will this House have the Bill that governs the War Veterans Ministry?

          HON. T. J. DUBE: Hon. Speaker, I thank the Hon. Member for asking this question. It is not within our Ministry to do that; the re-aligning is done by the Ministry of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs. As soon as they have completed these re-alignments, then they will bring it here. Thank you.

          THE HON. SPEAKER: We will give the Hon. Deputy Minister time to confer with the responsible Minister and the Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs and be able to give a comprehensive reply next week.

          HON. ZIYAMBI: On a point of order! I think there is some

mis-direction somewhere. The question relates to a provision in the Constitution which requires enactment of legislation to govern the welfare of War Veterans. It is not talking about re-alignment of laws, it is a new law that has to be enacted and I stand guided, where is the Ministry of Justice, legal and Parliamentary Affairs coming into play?

          THE HON. SPEAKER: I am happy you want to be stand guided. The Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs is the Chairperson of the Cabinet Committee on all legislation. So, my answer stands. Thank you.

          *HON. CHINOTIMBA: My question is directed to the Minister of Defence. There are rumours circulating in the newspapers that the RENAMO in Mozambique is now fighting a full scale war in areas within our borders. As a Government, have you taken enough steps to protect the people who live in the border areas from the attacks by RENAMO as this may lead to the destabilisation of our country?

          *THE MINISTER OF DEFENCE (HON. DR. SEKERAMAYI): Hon. Chinotimba is talking about rumours to the effect that RENAMO has started a full scale war within our borders. However, RENAMO is in Mozambique and the Government of Mozambique is responsible for correcting the wrongs done by RENAMO. Whatever problems that will face our people and if anybody disturbs the peace of Zimbabwe, we are not going to sit down and watch our people being tormented by foreign forces; we will take action and fight heavily to protect our people against such attacks. Before we take any action, we will inform this august House that we are now going on a full scale war, attacking the enemy.

          *HON. CHINOTIMBA: My supplementary question is that I am quite aware that Mozambique has its own security forces but as a nation, we have to protect the Beira Corridor because it is our life line. If it is disturbed, fuel in the country is going to be disturbed. My question is, are we waiting for an attack on the Beira corridor or we have to be proactive and protect that essential corridor?

          *HON. DR. SEKERAMAYI: Mr. Speaker, I understand Hon. Chinotimba’s supplementary question but I will still stick to what I said before. RENAMO is fighting from Mozambique and they belong to Mozambique. It is up to the Government of Mozambique which is responsible for protecting the properties which include the Beira pipeline. If the Government feels they cannot give enough protection, they will call for assistance from Zimbabwe and definitely, we will come out guns blazing, protecting our rights.

HON. NYANHONGO: RENAMO is recruiting youths from Zimbabwe especially along the borders. I would like to know what the Ministry is going to do about it because we will not allow our youths to be recruited by RENAMO. I would like to know the measures that the Ministry of Defence is going to take in order to protect our youth from being recruited by RENAMO.

*HON. DR. SEKERAMAYI: I have heard his question. If the Hon. Member knows the place and the time where such an event is taking place, he should notify my Ministry as soon as possible. We will then take protective measures to defend our territory.

          THE HON. SPEAKER: Hon. Members on my right, please be advised that I have been given a list from your Whip. I am therefore going to follow that list. Do not ask why so and so has been asked to speak. I have been whipped by the Whips.

          +HON. J. TSHUMA: Thank you Hon. Speaker. My question is directed to the Minister of Home Affairs. In Bulawayo, we have children whose parents reside in South Africa and some of them no longer come back home. These children would want to have birth certificates at the Ministry of Home Affairs but the officers at the Ministry deny these children their right to birth certificates. May the Ministry of Home Affairs slacken the rules on acquisition of birth certificates? The parents have gone forever to South Africa and will not be bothered to get birth certificates for their children and hence my call for the Ministry to slacken the rules on the acquisition of birth certificates so that these children may acquire this precious documents.

          +THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF HOME AFFAIRS (HON. MGUNI): Thank you Mr. Speaker for giving me the opportunity to respond to this question…

          *HON. MURAI: On a point of order, the Deputy Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Services, Hon. Matangaidze, is still putting on a jacket which has a party logo. He should remove the party logo in this august House. –[HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections]

          The Chief Whip Hon. Matuke approached Hon. Matangaidze.

          Hon. Matangaidze removes the badge which has the national flag.

          THE HON. SPEAKER: Order, order. My view is that the Hon. Minister is appropriately dressed.

          +HON. O. MGUNI: Thank you Hon. Speaker Sir. We all know that a birth certificate is a very important document and should be distributed to genuine, bona fide citizen of Zimbabwe.

When we look at birth certificates from South Africa, they also show where the child’s parents come from. If a child is born from outside the country, he is given a birth certificate with initials ED.

If a mother goes to acquire a birth certificate, she has the power to acquire that birth certificate with no problem but if the father does the same, there is a problem because you may end up giving a birth certificate to a foreign child who then acquires the rights of that country. If that happens, there may be a crime against the country because the child may have been smuggled into the country. As a result when we want a child to get a certificate, the mother should be agreeable. There should be relatives who act as witnesses to the authenticity of the birth of that child to enable them to get the certificate.

          +HON. N. NDLOVU: My question is also directed to the Deputy Minister of Home Affairs.

          THE HON. SPEAKER: Direct your question to the Chair and not to the Minister.

          +HON. N. NDLOVU: Is it Government policy Hon. Speaker that the people from the Registrar’s Department take people from another region to go to another region and as such, these officials fail to correctly spell the names of those places because they do not belong to that area. Is that a fair practice?

THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF HOME AFFAIRS (HON. MGUNI): In Zimbabwe people can work in any part of the country and it is up to the person to learn the language that is spoken in the area that they are working in. When these names have been written on the birth certificate, it is up to the person who is acquiring that birth certificate to check if the names have been correctly spelt. You will be asked to pay $25 to correct a mistake that could have been corrected at the beginning.

+HON. KHUPE: Mr. Speaker, I will go back to the story of children who are denied access to birth certificates. We have had cases where grandmothers have gone to the offices of the Registrar to acquire birth certificates for their grandchildren but they are denied that right. What is the problem? The grandmother knows her grandchild and the mother of the grandchild but they are still denied the right to access birth certificates. Children should be given birth certificates so that they can easily access education in the country.

+ THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF HOME AFFAIRS (HON. MGUNI): In most cases, the grandmothers go as witnesses who know the grandchild and the mother. However, what happens is that at a later stage, the real parents of the child come and accuse the Ministry of Home Affairs of illegally awarding that birth certificate to the child hence it is up to the Ministry of Home Affairs, through the Registrar to authenticate the acquisition of birth certificates.

HON. GONESE: I would like to also find out from the Deputy Minister of Home Affairs whether the regulating authorities under the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) are acquainted with the provisions of the Public Order and Security Act (POSA); whereby when notification is made to the police, it is not an application for permission to hold either a public meeting or a public gathering. Secondly, are they aware that organisations such as the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Union or the National War Veterans Association are not actually required to apply or to notify the police but can go ahead with their meeting?

THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF HOME AFFAIRS (HON. MGUNI): Thank you for the pertinent question Hon. Member. The police is there to provide peace and order in the country. So, at any gathering with people that exceed 25, they have the right to know what is happening in that area so as to secure it. However, on what he quoted, I would like to go back and make some findings then come back with an accurate answer. Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. -[HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible Interjections] -

THE HON SPEAKER: Order, order, order Hon Members. I think the Hon. Deputy Minister of Home Affairs has given an honest answer. Let us allow him to go and research and come back with the correct position on the matter.

HON. GONESE: Supplementary Mr. Speaker. - [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible Interjections] -

THE HON SPEAKER: Order, order, order Hon Members. You cannot ask a supplementary question when the Chair has ruled. So next week – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible Interjections] - Order, order, order Hon Members, please sit down. I am being advised by the questioner that the Hon. Deputy Minister gave a partial answer and I understand the reason for that partial answer. Let him come back through the substantive Minister to give a ruling on the matter next week.

          HON. MUTSEYAMI: On a point of order, Mr. Speaker Sir. My point of order is very important as it has to do with this House having the responsibility to ask Cabinet Ministers and more so, Deputy Ministers who will be well versed with issues to do with this country. As we speak now, in this country, we have more than 30 Cabinet Minister but right now we only have 11 Ministers out of 70 including the Deputy Ministers. Mr. Speaker Sir, it is important to see to it that your office as the Speaker of this House is well constituted with all the due respect that is bestowed upon it. It is important to note that we have raised issues regarding the non-availability of ministers in this House but this has almost become normal. It now seems as if the shortage of Ministers in this House is a normal scenario, where we pose questions to Deputy Ministers who are not in any picture of what Cabinet meetings would have discussed.

Mr. Speaker Sir, it is important for the office of our Speaker and this Parliament to be respected. Parliament should be able to carry out its responsibilities as enshrined in our Constitution so that we can smoothly do our duties. Mr. Speaker Sir, it is important – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections] –

THE HON. SPEAKER: Order, order. I have been given some names of Hon. Ministers who are out on duty. I have no knowledge of the others who did not manage to attend. By conferring with the Hon. Vice President and Hon. Chinamasa who is the Acting Leader of the House, this matter will have to be pursued at the next Cabinet meeting. I want to be assured that the message will filter through accordingly.

THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (HON. CHINAMASA): Mr. Speaker Sir, I think I want the House to know that when some of the ministers are absent, they will have Acting Ministers. I think in future, what we need to do is to give the Speaker a list of those ministers who will be acting on behalf of those who will be absent. This will guide the Hon. Members to identify which questions to ask. When you take that into consideration, I think that the number of ministers we have is relatively good in terms of attendance.

HON. ZIYAMBI: On a point of order Hon. Speaker.

THE HON. SPEAKER: What is your point of order?

HON. ZIYAMBI: My point of order is that, if we have Deputy Ministers who are constitutionally allowed to respond to questions in the House, are we then going to refer that question to a substantive Minister when the Deputy Minister is there and is always in that particular ministry? – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections] –

THE HON. SPEAKER: Order, Hon. Chinotimba, order. I think the Hon. Acting Leader of Government Business in Parliament, Hon. Chinamasa has partially answered the question as to whether or not – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections] – Do you want a reply or not? As to the appropriateness of Hon. Deputy Ministers to answer questions, they can answer on behalf of the ministers in terms of Section 107 (2) of the Constitution.

HON. MASHANGE: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. My question is directed to the Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development. What policy measure has the ministry put in place to reduce carbon emission in the transport sector? Thank you.

THE MINISTER OF TRANSPORT AND INFRASTRUCTURAL DEVELOPMENT (HON. DR. GUMBO): Thank you Hon. Speaker. I want to thank you Hon. Mashange for that very important environmental question. I wish to advise him to direct the question to the relevant Minister, the Minister of Environment, Water and Climate.

HON. MAJAYA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. My question is directed to Hon. Chinamasa in the absence of the Leader of the House. What is the Government doing in preparation for the International Women’s Day and is there a planning committee? If it is there, who are the members of the planning committee?

          THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (HON. CHINAMASA): I am aware that preparations for the celebrations of the International Women’s Day are underway and they are being superintended by the Minister of Women’s Affairs, Gender and Community Development. If you want specific details, I would suggest that you pose that question to her. I am aware that there will be a meeting which is going to be held to celebrate and mark that day.

          * HON. CHIBAYA: My question is directed to the Minister of Mines and Mining Development, Hon. Chidhakwa. You stopped diamond mining in Chiadzwa but what is the position of workers who were under those organisations. These workers had signed contracts of employment and what are you going to do to compensate them for the loss they are facing?

          THE MINISTER OF MINES AND MINING DEVELOPMENT (HON. CHIDHAKWA): I want to thank the hon. Member for the question but as we speak, there is a matter in the High Court which is currently being heard meaning that the matter is sub judice. I, therefore, find it difficult to answer questions but I want you to know that we are ready to answer that particular question because it is of interest to us, but the circumstances just make it a little bit difficult for me to do so. Thank you.

          THE HON. SPEAKER: There is no supplementary if the matter is before the courts – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – Have you seen the court papers Hon. Gonese?

          HON. GONESE: No, I have not seen the court papers Mr. Speaker …

          THE HON. SPEAKER: So, in that case we allow the process of the courts to take place.

          HON. GONESE: No, but Mr. Speaker, the matter which is before the courts, does it relate because I think when we are looking at – I was just rising on a matter of principle. As I understand it, the sub judice rule applies to the precise matter that is actually before the courts and I believe that, unless the Minister enlightens us as to the subject matter because the question that has been asked is not to do with companies which have challenged the order or the legality. The question relates to the welfare of workers who have got contracts of employment and what is going to happen to them in light of the current developments, whereas the Minister has been taken to court on a different issue, not about the workers’ rights. So, I believe that Mr. Speaker …

          THE HON. SPEAKER: Order, order! The Hon. Minister is one of the litigants in this matter. So, he knows better and the issue of employment, according to my understanding, must arise because the companies have stopped operating and by that fact alone, the workers are affected. Therefore, the issues will be distilled in the courts of law. Thank you.

          HON. DR. SHUMBA: On a point of order Hon. Speaker …

          THE HON. SPEAKER: Is it a point of order on the same matter?

          HON. DR. SHUMBA: Yes, Hon Speaker because there is a bit of misinformation here. Hon. Speaker, the matter that is before the courts is not about workers. It has nothing to do with workers. It is specific to certain entities and not the whole of the players at Chiadzwa, – [MDC HON. MEMBERS: Yes!] – and I speak with reasonable knowledge into the subject. I would suggest that the sub judice rule should not be used to block this process while the delinquency continues to unfold and the place becomes a total chaotic scenario. Hon. Speaker, I will seek to come up with my own substantive questions but I thought I continue to this matter – [AN HON. MEMBER: Thank you Chairman of Mines.].

          THE HON. SPEAKER: The Chair’s ruling stands – [AN HON. MEMBER: It is final.] – Yes.

          HON. BANDA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. My question to the Leader of the House, Hon. Chinamasa is, what is the Government’s policy regarding the compensation of Gukurahundi victims? – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.].

          THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (HON. CHINAMASA): I want to thank the Hon. Member for her question but I thought that these are matters that were deliberated upon during the Constitution making process. As a result, we set up the National Peace and Reconciliation Commission and you are going to receive the Bill shortly. Those are matters which will be dealt with under that legislation.

          HON. SITHOLE: As a supplementary question, I just need confirmation from the Hon. Leader of the House if the Government actually acknowledges responsibility of the Gukurahundi victims? – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections].

          THE HON. SPEAKER: Order! Listen Hon. Members; we do not want to take the time of this august House very lightly. The Bill is coming and issues concerning the issue of reconciliation and peace will arise when the Bill is presented here. We will have enough opportunity to debate accordingly.

Hon. Speaker having recognised Hon. Mudau

          THE HON. SPEAKER: Hon. Whips from my right, there has been a complaint that I am not taking people from my right. So far two were supposed to speak and they are not there – [ZANU PF HON. MEMBERS: But she is here.] – Where are you? – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – Can you take the floor – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – Order, order! We must understand that there is not enough capacity for members to sit. So, she is somewhere tucked out there and it is not her fault. Please come through honourable.

          +HON. MUDAU: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. I am directing my question to the Minister of Environment, Water and Climate. We talked about a plant or weed which is very destructive and which is a danger to livestock such as goats and donkeys and is predominantly found in Matabeleland South. Now that this plant is being destroyed, is Government taking steps to see where these beasts will graze because when the beasts are through with eating this shrub, will it not attack human beings?

          THE ACTING MINISTER OF ENVIROMENT, WATER AND CLIMATE (HON. ENG. MZEMBI): I am the acting Minister of Environment, Water and Climate and I very much welcome the question by the Hon. Member and I would be happy to attend to it in much greater detail if it can be put in writing. I thank you so much.

          *HON. MATANGIRA: I am directing my question to the Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Services. Firstly, I want to thank her for the assistance that the Government is rendering to the people. We are seeing progress in our constituencies whereby people are given food hand-outs. The question is, what is Government’s policy regarding hunger and starvation throughout the country? We notice that everybody in the constituencies is suffering from starvation. In the past, we used to have some people who were not included in these lists but in my Constituency in Bindura South, nobody has any food reserves. All the people need food handouts from the Government. We also need Government to increase food supplies to these constituencies because the limit which you had put before has been surpassed by the demand. Please can you inform the GMB to do likewise?

          *THE MINISTER OF PUBLIC SERVICE, LABOUR AND SOCIAL SERVICES (HON. SEN. MUPFUMIRA): I want to thank the Hon. Member for a very important question. We are all aware of the fact that the country is facing some severe drought and starvation. His Excellency, the President has declared a national disaster, thus activating all assistance agencies to come and supply. We held a first assessment of crops to evaluate the extent of the harvest and after the first assessment, we also held a second assessment. We also held an assessment of the vulnerable groups in the country.

          We notice that 330 000 households needed to be supported by the state and this also translates to 1.5 million people who are in need of drought relief. We have noticed that due to the intensity of the drought, the numbers have increased. We recently had another evaluation where we have moved from 330 000 households and we are now at 632 000 households, which leads to 3 million people who need drought relief. This has more or less doubled the number we had planned before, hence the declaration of the drought situation in the country by His Excellency and this is what we are doing.

          In all the provinces, we have drought relief committees which are headed by the Provincial Administrators and they work together with provincial officers, Agritex and other Non-Governmental Organisations. These committees compile a list of vulnerable groups because not everybody is vulnerable. As Government, we have enough food maize which is enough to feed all these vulnerable people. In Zimbabwe, we have over 100 000 tonnes which we are giving to the provinces. We are giving 3 000 tonnes of food per month and we are doing this through the drought relief committees in the provinces.

          I am urging you to go and talk to the provincial leadership and assess who the vulnerable people are. We have other people who are facing starvation but have the means and ways to buy as individuals. We are not going to sell maize to companies or organisations because they may resell but individuals can approach the Grain Marketing Board. So, please go through your Provincial Welfare Officers or Provincial Administrators and they will tell you who is going to get that food. We have World Food Programme and other Non-Governmental Organisations to assist us. There is no one who is going to die of starvation in Zimbabwe. We have enough maize to feed the nation.

*HON. ENG. MUDZURI: Thank you Hon. Speaker. I am grateful for the response given by the Minister, but my request is, give us a satisfactory response which we can take to the people. I once worked with councillors and we know that there is a problem. Are you aware Minister, that the people you are calling vulnerable are the same people you give food every year while others are denied food? Some people are told you have children who are working somewhere in the cities and therefore, you do not deserve to be given the food handouts.

Therefore, as Parliament, with the permission of the Speaker, may you please give us a report every fortnight so that we are clear of the areas that are receiving food and the number of people who are benefitting. It should be given to us as a statement here in Parliament. I thank you.

HON. MUPFUMIRA: I thank the previous speaker for the comment. I explained how in ZimVAC we assist the vulnerable groups and these vulnerables do not change every week, but they stay for quite some time and we are aware of who they are. Unfortunately, there has been a severe drought this year and we have had to reassess these people who had been catagorised as vulnerable.

As members of Parliament, please approach your provincial Ministers. There is also a Provincial Administrator and a District Administrator and councillors. These are the people who should work hand in hand with you. They are the people on the ground and you can talk up to ward level and examine the register. If you want registers, I can bring them because I know on a weekly basis how many households have been given food. I know on a weekly basis how many people, by province, have been given food. The information is available. If you want a statement, I am prepared to bring that statement.

*HON. MAVENYENGWA: We have some people who do not fit into the vulnerable groups but are able bodied. If they want to join the food for work programme, may you please introduce this programme so that they are registered in the food for work programme. I thank you.

*HON. MUPFUMIRA: I said in my previous response that GMB has been empowered to sell grain to the people who can afford to buy and we have also reduced the price of a bag of maize which was US$22 and we have now said that it should be US$15 to those who want to buy. This is going to be sold to households, I must emphasise, and not to sell to people who will be buying maize for resale. This issue was debated yesterday and the food for work programme is in the pipeline. When we are ready, I will inform the nation and the august House.

*HON. CHAMISA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. My question is directed to Hon. Chinamasa who is the acting Leader of the House. Hon. Chinamasa we were pained by what happened, the torment and torture given to the war veterans who were showered with hot water and also tear gas and yet they are respectable people. There is no country without war veterans.

If the war veterans are ill treated in such a way, what is the Government saying to the torture given to the war veterans? We did not fight the war because we were young and we are now pained when we see that the war veterans are being tortured. Hon. Chinamasa, the Minister of Finance and Economic Development, what do you say to such torment to war veterans?

THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (HON. CHINAMASA):   I want to thank the Hon. Member for his question.

*HON. CHAMISA: Speak in Shona.

HON. CHINAMASA: No, I choose the language I am speaking in. – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections] -. Ayehwazve murikuda kundimbunyukidza.

THE HON. SPEAKER: Hon. Minister, please address the Chair.

HON. CHINAMASA: Mr. Speaker Sir, the issue that Hon. Chamisa has raised was addressed squarely by His Excellency the President. He correctly apologised to the war veterans for what had happened and in the course of his explanation he apportioned blame as to what happened. What happened is very regrettable and I hope that in future, incidents of that nature will not occur. I thank you.

*HON CHAMISA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir, for the response given by Hon. Chinamasa. Yes, we do agree with what the President did by apoligising to the war veterans, but are we aware that the way we are ill treating the war veterans has led to the formation of this new party which is called People First. This was founded yesterday – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections] -.

THE HON. SPEAKER: Order, order!

HON. CHINAMASA: I want to thank Hon. Chamisa for his supplementary question, but to say to him that I think he must begin writing an obituary of his party because the people who were assembled were disgruntled MDC T people. –[HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections]- There are interjections Hon. Speaker about Hon. Gumbo. What we saw yesterday is the grafting of disgruntled former ZANU PF leadership being grafted to MDC T followers. That is what we saw yesterday. So, the obituary should be on their side. They were no longer your followers. The followers are now going to the party which was formed yesterday.

          THE HON. SPEAKER: Order, order.

          Questions Without Notice were interrupted by THE HON. SPEAKER in terms of Standing Order Number 64.

ORAL ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS WITH NOTICE

          THE HON. SPEAKER: Order, order. There is a Ministerial Statement. Today is the members’ time. If you could come with your Ministerial Statement after the questions.

OPENING OF THE AVONLEA POLICE POST

  1. HON. MAJOME asked the Minister of Home Affairs to state when Avonlea police post which was built by the community four (4) years ago and is currently collapsing due to non-use will be opened by the Zimbabwe Republic Police who are currently insensitive of the community's need, as well as defying instructions from Assistant Commissioner Charity Charamba.

          HON. CHINOTIMBA: On a point of order Mr. Speaker.

          THE HON. SPEAKER: What is your point of order?

          *HON. CHINOTIMBA: My point of order Mr. Speaker is that the Minister of Home Affairs is absent. Deputy Ministers have been heckled and ill treated by Hon. Members and this pains us a lot. What this means is, when they stand up to answer any question, they will be told that they are not capable of answering any questions. As far as I am concerned, let them sit down because we are really letting down the President who has appointed these people. We should hold them in high esteem, whether he/she is a Deputy Minister, but he/she was appointed. Will the Deputy Minister stand up when he has been heckled before?

          *THE HON. SPEAKER: Hon. Chinotimba, it seems you have not been listening when I gave the response. I said Ministers and Deputy Ministers are empowered to answer questions in the House in terms of Section 107 (2). So, we are through with that question.

          *HON. CHINOTIMBA: The issue is …

          THE HON. SPEAKER: I repeat myself. Deputy Ministers and Ministers have power to respond to questions raised in the House. The Chair has ruled. Nyaya yapera.

          THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF HOME AFFAIRS (HON. MGUNI): Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. This question which is here is coming for the second time. When it came for the first time, I promised Parliament that I want to go there physically and see what was transpiring. I went there and found that in a place where it was presumed to be a police base, there is a company that is dealing with flowers. They are selling flowers. However, the community pointed to me where the base was and when we inspected properly, we found that it was about 12 metres away from the biggest night club called Kalito where the police base cannot be pitched there. It needs a better place so that the police can work without being interrupted by the highest noise that comes from that night club. I thank you Mr. Speaker.

          THE HON. SPEAKER: Hon. Minister, next time can we have your written response please?

PCR-DNA HIV TESTING TO HARARE MUNICIPALITY’S MABELREIGN AND MARLBOROUGH SATELLITE CLINICS

  1. HON. MAJOME asked the Minister of Health and Child Care to state when the Ministry will avail the PCR-DNA HIV testing to the Harare Municipality’s Mabelreign and Marlborough Satellite Clinics to detect HIV early to enable early and convenient treatment of patients thereby eliminating the risk of the window period.

          THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF HEALTH AND CHILD CARE (HON. DR. MUSIIWA): I want to thank the Hon. Member for asking this question although I realise that she is not in the House …

          THE HON. SPEAKER: Order Hon. Minister. Hon. Cross has got proxy permission. So your issue does not arise. If you could answer the question please.

          THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF HEALTH AND CHILD CARE (HON. DR. MUSIIWA): Thank you Mr. Speaker. I had not realised that she had appointed a proxy.

          THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF HEALTH AND CHILD CARE (HON. DR. MUSIIWA): Thank you Hon. Speaker. The Ministry of Health and Child Care has been providing DNA to the two clinics ever since 2010, for the Early Infant Diagnosis of HIV. The samples are collected at the clinics for the HIV exposed infants from six weeks and are sent to the National Microbiology Reference Laboratory for testing at Harare Central hospital.

          The country has three central laboratories with technology to do DNA for all the public facilities. Harare National Microbiology laboratory, Mpilo laboratory and Mutare laboratory and all samples are referred for testing to any of these three laboratories on the geographical locations. I thank you.

PLANS TO IMPROVE OPERATIONAL SERVICE VEHICLES AT VICTORIA FALLS DISTRICT HOSPITAL

  1. HON. B. MPOFU asked the Minister of Health and Child Care, to explain what plans are in place to improve on the number of operational service vehicles at the Victoria Falls District Hospital so as to improve access to rural committees by Doctors.

THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF HEALTH AND CHILD CARE (HON. DR. MUSIIWA): Thank you Hon. Speaker Sir. I would like to thank Hon. Mpofu for asking this question. The current vehicle situation at Victoria Falls hospital is as follows:

Ambulances

Number on the road

Total

Ideal

Off road

2

4

7

2

 

 

 

 

 

Service Vehicle

Number on the road

Total

Ideal

Off road

2

3

5

1

It is apparent that there is inadequate ambulance services for the district as well as service vehicles. The district was one of the beneficiaries of the state of the art ambulances from a scheme that is called the ZIM-China Medical equipment loan agreement, but unfortunately the ambulance was involved in a road traffic accident and is awaiting repairs. The Ministry is committed to seeing all its district hospitals having adequate service vehicles for use by doctors in outreach activities and rural communities.

For the 2016, financial year, resources permitting the Ministry has budget to purchase 30 service vehicles for its district hospitals, Victoria Falls included. The Ministry is also in the process of appealing to our partners to assist in the provision of service vehicles for out sourcing activities to the district hospitals.

CONSTRUCTION OF A DISTRICT HOSPITAL IN MBIRE

  1. HON. CHIBAGU asked the Minister of Health and Child Care to explain whether there are plans to construct a district hospital in Mbire.

THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF HEALTH AND CHILD CARE (HON. DR. MUSIIWA): Thank you Hon. Madam Speaker. I want to thank Hon. Chibhagu for raising this very important question. The Ministry has plans to construct a district hospital in Mbire and a site has already bee4n identified at Mushumbi pool. A feasibility study for the proposed district hospital was done by the engineers from the Ministry of local Government, Public Works and National Housing in 2010. Due to limited fiscal space, the project has not received funding from Treasury. Efforts have been made to seek funding from outside and hence project proposals have been submitted to the Government of China and Ovid. Once funding is available, the programme should be able to take off.

UPGRADING OF PLUMTREE DISTRICT HOSPITAL

  1. HON. M.S NDLOVU asked the Minister of Health and Child Care to explain whether there are plans to upgrade Plumtree District Hospital into a General Hospital.

THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF HEALTH AND CHILD CARE (HON. DR.MUSIIWA): Thank you Madam Speaker. I want to thank Hon. Ndlovu for asking this important question. Under the World Bank Family Health Project Phase two, Plumtree hospital was upgraded to its present status of a standard district hospital. Currently, the hospital is receiving modern equipment under the Chinese loan facility. For example, it has received a digital ex-ray machine, new autoclaves and other pieces of equipment. It is the Ministry’s plans to upgrade Plumtree hospital into a general hospital.

However, the current negative Macro-economic environment is limiting our progress. I thank you.

POSITION REGARDING CANCELLATION OF COUNCIL BILLS FOR ORPHANAGES

  1. HON. MAJOME asked the Minister of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing:
  2. To explain the Ministry’s position regarding the cancellation of council bills of orphanages in view of the cancellation of all council’s bills for residents in 2013.
  3. To consider the cancellation of Emerald Hill Children’s Home’s debt to the Harare City Council which amounts to US$64 188.61, as reflected in the account number 70091379

THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT, PUBLIC WORKS AND NATIONAL HOUSING (HON. CHINGOSHO): Thank you Hon. Speaker. I would like to thank the Hon. Member for asking the question. Orphanages are not commercial properties but institutional. The debt write off implemented by council in 2013 was for domestic properties only and not any other institutions. However, all orphanages enjoy rates exemption in terms of the Urban Councils’ Act Chapter 29:15. Orphanages only pay for water charges, sewer and refuge collection and these levies are charged based on residential rates. The services provided require resources and Council can only render these if institutions pay.

Second part of the question’s response is that the other option that is available is negotiating a payment plan to amortise the debt. The Emerald Hill Children’s Home is welcome to negotiate a payment plan that is favourable and council will consider that because we understand the challenges faced by most institutions in Zimbabwe due to the liquidity challenges. Council will consider the payment plan proposal favourably because we understand the constrained fiscal space they are operating under.

CLEANING AND GRASS CUTTING PROGRAMMES BY THE CITY OF MASVINGO

  1. HON. CHIGUDU asked the Minister of Local Government Public Works and National Housing to explain why the City of Masvingo has not embarked on general cleaning and grass cutting programmes.

THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT, PUBLIC WORKS AND NATIONAL HOUSING (HON. CHINGOSHO): On inquiry, the council’s response to the Ministry is that they are going to embark on this programme before the end of this month.

OLD PEOPLE’S HOMES IN HWANGE DISTRICT

 

23.HON. M. MKANDLA asked the Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Services to inform the House;

a)The number of Old People’s Home in Hwange District.

b)The total number of the Old People’s homes owned by Government and those privately owned in Hwange District.

THE MINISTER OF PUBLIC SERVICE, LABOUR AND SOCIAL SERVICES (HON. MUPFUMIRA): There are two Old People’s Homes in Hwange District namely, Dete Old People’s Home and Chinotimba Old People’s Home in Matabeleland North Province.

Both homes in Hwange District are privately owned. Government does not have any old people’s home in Hwange. Dete Old People’s Home is owned by the Roman Catholic Church. All administrative processes at the institution including the general care of inmates is done by the Catholic Church.

Chinotimba Old People’s Home is a registered Private Voluntary Organisation, registered in terms of the Private Voluntary Organisation Act Chapter 17:09. This home is run by a Board of Directors as stipulated under the aforementioned Act.

However, the two stated institutions benefit financially through monthly per capita grants that are paid upon submission of claims to all older persons under institutional care. The grants are pegged at US$15 per inmate per month and are expected to compliment other support already available at the institution. The two institutions also receive administrative grants paid once every year calculated at US$15 per month multiplied by the total carrying capacity of the institution.

In 2015, both homes benefited from Government financial support as well as non financial support in the form of food, clothing and other donations. The Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare also facilitates access to health care at Government or selected Mission Hospitals through the Assisted Medical Treatment Order (AMTO) and Senior citizen exemptions.

Currently, Dete Old People’s home has 22 elderly inmates and Chinotimba has 12 elderly inmates.

TRANSPORT FOR THE ELDERLY IN HWANGE EAST

24.HON. M. MKANDLA asked the Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Services to explain whether the Ministry has any plans to provide transport to elderly people in the rural areas of Hwange East who have benefitted from maize seed donations but have no transport to carry bags to their various places.

THE MINISTER OF PUBLIC SERVICE, LABOUR AND SOCIAL SERVICES (HON. MUPFUMIRA): The Ministry has a mandate to ensure that all vulnerable groups of people have received assistance from Government through the various programmes under its administration.

However, administration funds from Treasury can only allow the Ministry to do targeting registration and distribution of benefits to beneficiaries at certain distribution points in the districts. As for transportation of goods (maize grain and inputs) from distribution points to homesteads of beneficiaries, it is expected that the local leadership and local communities that is Members of Parliament, Councillors, Chiefs, Headmen and Kraal Heads gather resources to make logistical arrangements to assist their people. The Ministry has not budget for this activity.

POSITION REGARDING SEATS OF BOARD MEMBERS

  1. HON. CHIRISA asked the Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Services to;
  2. Explain why some individuals sit in four or more boards and will these people have adequate time to effectively oversee the executive management.
  3. To explain the Ministry’s position regarding retirement age of board members.

THE MINISTER OF PUBLIC SERVICE, LABOUR AND SOCIAL SERVICES (HON. MUPFUMIRA): Thank you Hon. Speaker and thank you Hon. Chirisa for your question. Though generalised, your question is very important.

My Ministry administers fifteen boards. It would assist if the question becomes specific in order to receive a specific response. The Constitution, in terms of Chapter 9 requires the State to adopt and implement policies and legislation to develop efficiency, competence, accountability, transparency, personal integrity and financial probity in all institutions or agencies of Government at every level and in every public institution. Government has responded by way of the National Code on Corporate Governance Zimbabwe in 2014. The Code endorses what is in the Constitution and I have ensured that all the parastatals board members in my Ministry have a copy of the National Code on Corporate Governance.

The Code does not specify any age restriction to board members. Appointments are done on merit. I thank you.

HON. CHIRISA: I just want to find out from the Minister – I would like to know whether there are no people who are sitting in more than one or two board in her Ministry?

HON. MUPFUMIRA: Coming from the private sector myself, I believe people cannot serve adequately in more than three boards. In my appointments in the boards in the Ministry, we have made sure that the people who are serving on boards are not on many other boards so that they are efficient.

HON. MARIDADI: I have a supplementary question. I appears that people who sit on boards of parastatals are the same people all the time. It is either they are in your Ministry or other Ministries. What criteria do you use to choose members who sit on boards?

HON. MUPFUMIRA: As I said, people sitting on my boards are chosen on merit, qualifications, experience and relevance to whatever the board they are appointed. I can safely say, as far as I am concerned, most of the board members are new and experienced. I believe and know that in Zimbabwe we have a wealth of well qualified and experienced people who can adequately serve on boards. That is what I have endeavored to do in all the appointments that I have made.

EXPLANATION ON PERFORMANCE OF RETRENCHED NSSA MANAGERS

  1. HON. CHIRISA asked the Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Services to:
  2. explain how long the Ministry has been aware of poor performance of the recently retrenched top five NSSA managers and why it has taken the Ministry so long to reach this decision.
  3. To inform the House the total retrenchment package for the top five NSSA managers and where the money will come from considering the current economic situation.

THE MINISTER OF PUBLIC SERVICE, LABOUR AND SOCIAL SERVICES (HON. MUPFUMIRA): Thank you Madam Speaker. The answer to this question will be well covered in my Ministerial Statement shortly.

FEEDING OF ABANDONED CHILDREN IN PEDIATRIC WARDS IN MASVINGO GENERAL HOSPITAL

  1. Hon Chigudu asked the Minister of Public Service Labour and Social Services to state the measures being put in place to feed the huge number of abandoned children in the Pediatric wards in Masvingo General Hospital.

       THE MINISTER OF PUBLIC SERVICE LABOUR AND SOCIAL SERVICES (HON. MUPFUMIRA): I want to thank Hon. Chigudu for asking me to state the measures being put in place to feed the huge number of abandoned children in the Pediatric wards in Masvingo General Hospital.

 

 

There is only one pediatric ward in Masvingo Provincial Hospital. There is not a huge number of abandoned children. I am reliably informed that there are only four such children. There are other 27 children in the ward receiving treatment for various ailments and are having their guardians in the ward. The hospital authorities advised that there are no food shortages at the hospital. Children in the pediatric ward are being provided for through revenue collected from paying patients at the hospital as well as donations from well-wishers. Of the said four abandoned children, two will require medical attention and the other two are to be placed in appropriate alternative care placements, within 14 days pending re-integration with their families.

          HON. MISIHARAIBWI-MUSHONGA: Perhaps the Minister could assist us on what is happening to vulnerable women who have no capacity to pay user fees in hospitals and who after giving birth are being forced to stay in hospital without being provided with food.

          HON. MUPFUMIRA: I always want to base my answers on proper research. I will need to follow through if I get the full details and establish where it is happening because we have AMTO, which looks after the vulnerable. So, any genuine vulnerable person is supposed to visit our social welfare offices with a reference letter from a clinic or health centre and then they are given the vouchers to enable them to get treatment at the hospitals.

          HON. MISIHARAIBWI-MUSHONGA: Probably I need to clarify that we actually have instances and my question is, what should happen in circumstances where women who have gone to hospital are unable to pay user fees and are detained in hospital?

          HON. MUPFUMIRA: People are not supposed to be detained in hospital. The genuine vulnerable people are supposed to be provided for by the State. I think the question should be directed to the Ministry of Health who should be able to clarify the position because it is not allowed to detain people at the hospitals. But as social welfare, we do look after the vulnerable people. By the way, vulnerable people are not just women. We also have the elderly people who are over 65 years, orphans, widows and the disabled who should be looked after by Social Welfare.

BENEFICIARIES OF BEAM FOR PRIMARY AND SECONDARY SCHOOLS IN MATABELELAND NORTH PROVINCE

  1. HON. MKANDLA asked the Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Services to provide a list of all primary and secondary schools in Matabeleland North Province that are benefitting from Basic Assistance Module (BEAM) and give a breakdown of all beneficiaries by gender.

THE MINISTER OF PUBLIC SERVICE, LABOUR AND SOCIAL SERVICES (HON. MUPFUMIRA): The Basic Assistance Module (BEAM) programme is providing assistance to Orphans and Vulnerable Children (OVC) in Matabeleland North Province, which are 565 primary schools and 156 secondary schools. For primary schools, a total of 23,350 children are supported and the breakdown is 11,775 boys and 11,575 girls who have benefitted from the programme. For secondary school, 6,499 children have been supported and the breakdown by gender is 3,176 boys and 3,323 girls. This brings the grand total of children on BEAM to 29,849.

          The breakdown is as per table below.

Matabeleland

North Province

No of

Schools

 

Boys

 

Girls

Total

Beneficiaries

Primary Schools

565

11775

11575

23350

Secondary Schools

156

3176

3323

6499

Grand Total

721

14,951

14,898

29,849

 

A detailed list of all the schools as well as children assisted disaggregated by gender is attached as per your request.

 

 

 

REVIVAL OF DETEMA SAFARI LODGE IN DETE TOWN

  1. HON. MKANDLA asked the Minister of Industry and Commerce to explain the plans in place to revive Detema Safari Lodge in Dete town, which was destroyed by fire on 10 September, 2013, considering that about 100 people lost their jobs.

          THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF INDUSTRY AND COMMERCE (HON. MABUWA) : May I from the onset advise the House that Detema Safari Lodge is operated by the Industrial Development Corporation of Zimbabwe (IDC), a Parastatal under my Ministry. It is however pertinent to note that at its full capacity in the 1980s, the business employed a maximum of 30 people and not 100. The number of employees went down to 10 at the beginning of the year 2000. By the time the lodge was gutted by fire, it had a staff complement of four people. The IDC hoped that by now it would have secured a strategic partner with the financial and business capacity to help rebuild the Safari Lodge infrastructure but to date, it has not been successful in this regard. It is hoped that the completion of the extended runway upgrade project at the Victoria Falls international airport and the enactment of the Special Economic Zone Bill will assist IDC to secure partnership. In the meantime IDC is leasing some of the small real estate structures and the green garden in order to look after the property.

REOPENING OF DAVID WHITEHEAD AND DAIRIBOARD ZIMBABWE

  • HON. F PHIRI asked the Minister of Industry and Commerce to explain the extent the Ministry has assisted David Whitehead (Pvt) and Dairiboard Zimbabwe to reopen;

 

          THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF INDUSTRY AND COMMERCE (HON. MABUWA): David Whitehead Textiles resumed operations on 13 November 2014, after the completion of maintenance work and procurement of working capital through a disposal of the company’s non-core assets. The business is currently operating under judicial management. Capacity utilisation currently is estimated to be just below 30% and in an effort to revive the clothing and textile sector, my Ministry formulated and launched the cotton to clothing known as C to C strategy in September, 2014. As part of implementing the cotton to clothing strategy, my Ministry successfully facilitated the textile manufacturer’s rebate of duty on imported raw materials, which are not locally available.

The rebate also includes spare parts used in textile manufacturing plants. David Whitehead Textiles will benefit from this rebate should they retool, so as to increase productivity. My Ministry also came up with Statutory Instrument Number 19 of 2016 which restricts the importation of second hand clothing in order to stimulate demand of locally produced goods. This is expected to increase demand of textile fabrics produced by David Whitehead Textiles.

Regarding Dairy Board Zimbabwe, the dairy sector in particular is critical to the economy as it contributes to all the four pillars of the economic blueprint, our ZIM ASSET. May I take this opportunity to advise the august House that Dairy Board Zimbabwe Limited did not close its operations. The company only closed one branch in Kadoma for strategic reasons but continued to manufacture dairy-based products in other factories. However, like most local companies, they have also been affected by the macro-economic environment, particularly the high production cost due to the high cost of utilities, inadequate supply of raw milk and depressed demand for their products.

My Ministry is sparing no efforts to ensure that the industry is assisted to address these challenges and increase capacity utilisation. To assist the dairy sector, my Ministry came up with Statutory Instrument 138 of 2015 that enables Dairy Board and other companies in the sector to import powdered milk duty free in order to augment its stocks. This is a stop-gap measure aimed at complementing the supply of raw milk on the local market.

The Government also ring-fenced the dairy sector by allowing only four companies, among them Dairy Board Zimbabwe to import UHT milk. This protects Dairy Board from unfair competition and enables it to maintain its presence on the market and improve viability. Thank you.

HON. F. PHIRI: Thank you Madam Speaker. My supplementary question is on Kadoma. Something is happening in Chegutu, but in Kadoma, the farmers in Gokwe and Sanyati are not benefiting. What is actually happening in terms of opening up the Kadoma factory?

HON. MABUWA: I think this is in regard to the David Whitehead Kadoma Branch Madam Speaker Ma’am. As I said, the company is currently operating at just below 30% and it is still under Judicial management. This means that it is in an incubator and as it progresses to being mature, perhaps we will see the restoration if the company sees it strategic to open the branch. However, the wish is to resuscitate the entire David Whitehead Company.

HON. J. TSHUMA: Thank you Madam Speaker. My supplementary question is on how the Ministry is going to capacitate Dairy Board to reopen in Bulawayo. We have a very big structure, which is now lying idle. I believe that if it is capacitated, it could help…

THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order, Hon. Member, we are talking of David Whitehead and Dairy Board.

HON. J. TSHUMA: I am talking about Dairy Board Madam Speaker. There was a factory operating in Bulawayo, but they have since started relocating equipment outside the factory. I was saying what is the Ministry doing to capacitate it so that Dairy Board can come back to Bulawayo? Those are employment opportunities lost by our people in Bulawayo.

HON. MABUWA: Thank you Madam Speaker Ma’am. The issue is that I would not be able to go into the nitty-gritty of the strategic position of the company in terms of the reason why it is closing Branch A and opening Branch B. However, what I can say is that the Dairy Industry is one of the industries that is performing very well.

Perhaps Dairy Board Zimbabwe realised that it is facing competition because we now have new players in the industry like Dendairy and Alpha Omega which came in. Maybe Dairy Board then found it unviable for them to operate the Bulawayo branch. Maybe we need to consult with Dairy Board to find out why they are closing down the Bulawayo Branch. What I know is that the dairy industry is supplying Bulawayo adequately. I thank you.

HON. MUSANHU: Thank you Madam Speaker. I want to ask the Minister, what plans are there to help David Whitehead to resuscitate from the stiff competition coming from external companies like those from China?

HON. MABUWA: Thank you Madam Speaker Ma’am. As I mentioned in my presentation – to begin with, David Whitehead is still under judicial management. If we go into looking at the strategic plan that the Judicial Manager came up with, it would be able to address their sustenance issues. However, as a Ministry, we are pushing, not only for David Whitehead, but for the resuscitation of the textile industry. This is why you find that there is a strategy commonly known as C to C, meaning Cotton to Clothing. In that strategy, it is explained how the Ministry intends to assist the whole textile industry in its resuscitation.

I agree with the Hon. Member that this textile industry is one of the industries that has the potential to create a lot of jobs. This is why we are giving it that priority so that it can be resuscitated.   You will realise that when we discuss the Special Economic Zones, we are bringing in the textile industry so that it can be resuscitated and Bulawayo is one of the areas being regarded as the areas that will be declared as Special Economic Zones. Thank you.

COMPANIES IN RECEIPT OF GOVERNMENT FUNDING IN KADOMA

  1. 32. F. PHIRI asked the Minister of Industry and Commerce to state the number of companies that have received Government funding in Kadoma and the amount that was disbursed to the companies.

THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF INDUSTRY AND COMMERCE (HON. MABUWA): Thank you Madam Speaker Ma’am. Let me also thank Hon. Phiri for the question. Since the adoption of the multicurrency regime in 2009, Government has taken the initiative to partner with some financial institutions to provide funding for the revival of industry and other economic sectors. In that respect, Government launched the Distressed and Marginalised Areas Facility (DiMAF) in 2010 in partnership with Old Mutual. DiMAF was a US$40 million facility that was being disbursed through CABS.

In addition, Government, in partnership with AFREXIM Bank, launced the US$70 million, Zimbabwe Economic and Trade Revival Facility (ZETREF). ZETREF was being disbursed through 11 financial institutions with a national branch network so as to cover all the country’s provinces. The participating banks were Banc ABC, Metropolitan Bank, Post Office Savings Bank, TN Bank, ZB Bank, NMB Bank, Kingdom Bank, Agribank, Infrastructure Development Bank of Zimbabwe, FBC Bank and Trust Bank.

Having said that, may I inform the Hon. Members that according to our records, no companies from Kadoma received funding under DiMAF or ZETREF. Our experience however, with DiMAF and ZETREF has established the need for Government to provide funding for industry to retool and re-equip its operations in order to remain viable and globally competitive. Pursuant to that, my Ministry intends to establish the Industrial Development Fund to be managed by the Industrial Development Corporation of Zimbabwe (IDCZ). We are currently in the process of mobilising the seed capital for the fund. I thank you.

          HON. PHIRI: How then do you monitor that the monies are given out fairly because there are some companies in Harare, which are closer to the sources of money that always get money and those which are out in smaller town because they are away or far off, do not get money. How do you monitor that there is fairness? If we are saying for the past 10 years, Kadoma did not get something, and then there is something wrong somewhere.

          HON. MABUWA: I would like to thank the Hon. Member for the pertinent follow up question. The issue of monitoring on the distribution, I will just say a little bit about the historical facts regarding the $40 million and the $70 million facility. While the Government initiated these facilities, Government was not able to get the fiscal space to make a contribution. On the $40 million facility, Government was supposed to contribute $20 million, however, there was no fiscal space then in 2010, neither do we have it now.

What then transpired was that, it was CABS which was looking at the proposal that would have been sent in. Of course, they were looking at ascertaining whether or not the company would be viable for them to get their money back and they made the selections themselves. So, the Government’s monitoring was a little bit limited. This is why I then went on to say that, our experience has shown us that it is better if we introduced our own fund that we have control over and be able to monitor.

How we intend to be monitoring this future fund will be that it will be issued according to the value chain approach where we will be saying that, since we are value adding, we look at the entire value chain. If we look from cotton to clothing, which means the selected companies will definitely include those companies in Kadoma where cotton is grown. So, using that value chain approach, it would not be a matter of going on a scatter graph approach but it would be rather having a designed value chain which will be easy to monitor. I thank you.

STOPPAGE IN BUILDING BY THE CHINESE GLASS COMPANY

  1. HON. PHIRI asked the Deputy Minister of Industry and Commerce;
  2. To explain why the Chinese Glass Company stopped building its own buildings in Kadoma since 2011.
  3. To state the measures that the government is taking to urge the company to complete the construction of the building.

          THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF INDUSTRY AND COMMERCE (HON. MABUWA): I continue to thank Hon. Phiri for the question. Kadoma Chinese Glass Company, officially referred to as the China Jingniu Glass Factory (Pvt) Limited is a Government approved project. The company started the construction of the factory in 2006 under funding from Jingniu Ceramic Company Limited of China. An estimated US$12, 5 million out of the total cost of US$25, 5 million was utilised for civil works and part construction of the factory and installation of machinery and equipment.

          About US$13 million is now required to fully complete the project. The company has cited the shortage of funds as a major constraint to the completion of the construction of the glass factory. I am informed that to mitigate this challenge, the parent company, Jingniu Ceramic Company Limited approached China Bank for additional funding to bankroll the project. The company has also approached potential local investors who may want to partner in the business. These efforts have not yet produced the desired results.

In line with the Ministry’s mandate of promoting industrial growth, Kadoma Glass Company was invited for a meeting in order to establish the state of the project and the challenges undermining the operationalisation of the project. The meeting was attended by a high level delegation from Jingniu Ceremic, which is the parent company of Kadoma Glass Company. They travelled all the way from China to meet with us.

          Subsequent to the referred meeting, a delegation from my Ministry comprising myself, the Secretary for Industry and Commerce and senior officials from the Ministry visited Kadoma Glass Factory for further findings. The main purpose of the visit was to have an in-depth appreciation of the state of the glass project, establish the challenges undermining the operationalisation of the project and to map the way forward. The findings confirmed that the unavailability of funds is the main challenge facing the company. It also confirmed that there was no local attraction of that investment of $13 million.

          My Ministry will, therefore, continue to provide all the necessary assistance to Kadoma Chinese Glass Company to ensure that it completes the construction of the buildings so that full production takes place as soon as possible. We are in consultation now with the parent company which has informed us that they are waiting for their bank to consider the additional $13 million loan that they have asked for.

          HON. GABBUZA: Now, considering that this is a foreign investor, what I would wish to know from the Minister is, in their initial proposal, was there a provision that they were going to look for local investors in their initial bid? One would have hoped that they had enough funds or they were going to do their offshore loans instead of coming back to the local investors.

          HON. MABUWA: May I thank the hon. Member for that pertinent follow up question. Yes, indeed, in the agreement there was a potential local investor and they were coming in, at that time, at the 51/49%. The local investor was not able to financially meet the obligation. So, after the Chinese company had gone in, they now said we are going to look for another investor who they have not been able to find. They went back to the parent company and this is why now, the parent company is coming in at 100%. May I say that if hon. Members know of any or they are interested in this investment, it is an opportunity for investment, you come up with your $13 million and talk to these guys and have the company opened.

Questions with Notice were interrupted by THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER in terms of Standing Order Number 64.

          HON. CHINOTIMBA: I move that the time for Questions With Notice be extended.

          HON. MUNENGAMI: I object.

          Motion put and negative.

WRITTEN SUBMISSION TO QUESTION WITH NOTICE

DISTRIBUTION OF RELIEF FOOD IN RURAL WARDS

27.HON. MASIYA asked the Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Services to explain whether the Ministry regulates the distribution of relief food           in rural wards in view of the fact that Plan International and the Social Welfare are giving 15kgs and 50kg of sorghum to households respectively.

THE MINISTER OF PUBLIC SERVICE, LABOUR AND SOCIAL SERVICES (HON. MUPFUMIRA): It is the responsibility of Government to care and assist its citizens especially in times of drought through provision of food assistance. Cooperating partners only come to complement Government efforts. As for other partners, they provide assistance per household per month hence the differences in the package size. Currently, the Ministry through the Department of Social Welfare is distributing 1 x 50 kg maize grain per household to vulnerable people.

Plan International is part of the NGOs under the WFP/ Government joint programme where Government is providing 50 kg maize grain and Plan is providing complimentary foodstuffs – 15 kgs of pulses that is nyemba, peas and beans in Tsholotsho and not sorghum.

MINISTERIAL STATEMENT

STATE OF AFFAIRS AT NATIONAL SOCIAL SECURITY AUTHORITY

          THE MINISTER OF PUBLIC SERVICE, LABOUR AND SOCIAL SERVICES (HON. SEN. MUPFUMIRA): I would like to take this opportunity to brief the august House on the National Social Security Authority (NSSA). We are all aware that NSSA provides social security benefits for people in formal employment which include retirement pension, survivor’s pension, invalidity benefits, children’s allowances and funeral grants. Under the workers’ compensation insurance scheme, NSSA covers workers against work place injuries, provides with rehabilitation services for all injured workers, including walking aides and vocational training.

          Under occupational safety and health, NSSA inspects all factories, escalators, lifts and boilers in Zimbabwe. This is all aimed at ensuring that workplaces are safe for all. NSSA also offers a course in occupation safety and health as this is becoming a critical course in industry. NSSA is a critical institution for the country and has to deliver a living pension, hold members’ investments secure and safe and be responsive to the needs of its members and their communities.

          My Ministry has been seized with the affairs of NSSA from December 2014 when I came in as the Minister. In July 2015 we set up a new board as the previous board’s term had expired in 2011. In replacing the directors, our focus was primarily on getting on board investment and corporate skills and experience to chart a new course for NSSA. The new board has already undertaken major initiatives to remodel NSSA. This started with the restructuring of the management team with the five directors being retrenched. The retrenchment process has taken time to complete but I am now advised that the process has closed for four of the former employees with the remaining member’s retrenchment having been delayed as he was taken ill. Madam Speaker, I will revert to this matter in more detail.

          With the retrenchment of the former employees now nearly completed, the board through employment agency floated advertisements in various local and foreign media inviting applications for the general manager, chief financial officer and two investment officers. The board has also been seized with various activities of auditing the affairs and books of NSSA. The first audit was done by a firm of accountants and the board is currently following up some of the findings of that report. NSSA management and the board have also been working to put records and systems in place as it was not easy for the new board to work in an environment where records of the authority were in a bad state. Already a complete review of the property portfolio of more than 106 properties, all the equity and money market investment has been completed. Preliminary analysis shows an unhealthy portfolio with some assets not earning the authority any income. I will detail below some of the findings which now vindicate the board’s decision to start on a new page.

          NSSA has a total of 26 205 registered employers and from these employers 1.252 million workers are contributing to NSSA. The current contributions are based on basic salary and the maximum salary level for contributions is capped at $700. Both the employer and worker contribute 3.5% of the basic salary. In 2015, NSSA collected US$215 million of which US$172 million was for the pension scheme and US$43 million for the workers compensation insurance funds. These contributions were 7% below the 2014 collections, reflecting the difficult economic environment and the retrenchment that companies undertook in 2015 after the Zuva Judgment of the Supreme Court.

          NSSA lost 14 000 contributors through various retrenchments and company closures. NSSA is owed as at December 2015, US$266 million by various employers and the board is working tirelessly to collect the arrears as they impact negatively on the future pensions for our workers. We would like to encourage employers and the workers to assist NSSA to receive contributions on time by taking great interest in the status of their pensions. NSSA pays members pensions and benefits from investments of contributions received and the amount of arrears by employers are now negatively affecting the fund.

          In terms of benefits NSSA pays out a retirement pension, a surviving spouse pension, children’s pension, funeral grant, invalidity grant and for injured workers, medical costs, prosthetics and wheel chairs. In 2015, a total of US$107 million was paid to NSSA members for various benefits with retirement pension and survivors pensions accounting to US$53.4 million and US$46.4 million respectively. In line with its motto of “Care and Protect” and paying due regard to the economic hardships facing pensioners, a bonus of US$6 million was also paid to members in December 2015.

          Whilst NSSA was affected by hyper inflation like all other pension funds, it has strived to pay a decent and regionally comparable pension. The current NSSA pension of US$60 per month compares with other pension funds. In Namibia it is US$66. Ghana it is US$53 and Tanzania it is US$30. The above comparisons do not however mean that NSSA should not do more in future as the potential to improve on the pension payments is there.

          NSSA expenses over the years have been deemed by contributors and the public to be too high. In 2015, a total of US$22 million was spent on staff costs. US$1.2 million on ICT expenses with other costs accounting for US$24 million. The total cost of US$47.3 million are too high for a fund generating a total investment income of US$23.5 million on a balance sheet of US$1.3 billion as at December 2014.

          The low return on investment and poor operating expenses coverable ratio is an area the board is focusing on. A fund of NSSA’s size should pay its costs from investment income and not to use contribution premiums to pay salaries. The board has been directed by my Ministry to ensure that this aspect of NSSA’s operations is immediately addressed. Management of NSSA has to ensure that their remuneration comes from investment income and all contributions received are invested for the benefit of the pensioners.

          Madam Speaker, the area of investment of NSSA has been shrouded in controversy and accusations of improper conduct. Whilst investigations still need to be completed on specific projects, there are some investments which my Ministry and the public have asked the board to fully investigate. NSSA has a total balance sheet of US$1.3 billion. The NSSA board and auditors are currently valuing all the authority’s assets as some appear to have been overvalued at purchase stage. I will below cover a few such assets.

NSSA investments are composed of US$292 million to Real Estates developed and undeveloped properties; US$164 million shares in listed and non listed companies; US$102 million invested to banks and US$90.4 million invested in prescribed assets. These investments generate a total income of US$23.5 million, being interest income of US$10.5 million, rental income of US$7 million and dividends US$6 million.

The investment income performance of NSSA is very poor and we have asked the board to recruit qualified leadership to properly manage the Pensioner’s Fund. Among the properties that have attracted public criticism are the following:

  • Beitbridge hotel, which caused the authority US$45 million. This is a 136 bed hotel which had been budgeted to cost only US$7 million.
  • Celestial Park in Borrowdale, which cost the authority US$32 million in purchase price and US$3 million in other costs against a valuation at time of purchase of US$25 million.
  • Lands in Mutare, Victoria Falls, Gweru, Bulawayo and Kwekwe which were repossessed or had defective titles and are valued at an estimated US$50 million.
  • A total of US$52 million was lost in a number of failed local banks whilst more than US$35 million was lost in closed companies.

Madam Speaker, my Ministry has asked the NSSA board to undertake detailed investigation into some of the property acquisitions and construction projects. We will present the reports to the House once they are completed.

In 2015, NSSA registered the National Building Society to implement the housing agenda under ZIM ASSET. NSSA has a target delivery of 10 000 housing units over the ZIM ASSET period. Significant progress has been achieved on rolling out the building society. I am pleased to advise the House that the building society will open its doors in April with initial branches being in Harare to be followed immediately by a branch in Bulawayo. It is hoped that the building society will provide affordable houses in 25 year mortgages. In order to ensure the building society is strong and able to deliver on its mandate, NSSA will capitalise it at more than US$25 million. To date, US$8 million has already been injected into the building society to procure the core banking system, refurbish branches and meet other costs.

Madam Speaker, the 2014 NSSA audit report which was debated in this august House contained criticism on the implementation of the ICT system. The implementation was, by the time the board made management changes, two years behind schedule. I am pleased to advise that the new board has completed and perfected five modules out of the six modules, with the remaining one projected to be completed by 1st May, 2016. The ICT Project has cost NSSA US$9.2 million to date. I am advised that the project will be completed at the initial tender amount of US$10.2 million.

The new ICT system will, once fully implemented, enable NSSA to clean its member’s data base and weed out undeserving beneficiaries. It will also enable NSSA to offer convenient payment systems like mobile money payments to pensioners in outlying areas who currently suffer inconvenience and costs as they travel long distances to cash their pensions. The new ICT system will also result in improved record management so that pensioners who are eligible for a pension, but are not aware, can be contacted to come and collect their pension.

Madam Speaker, whilst NSSA is most known for pensions and some regrettable investments, it has other national responsibilities which it has continued to discharge very well. These include the registration and inspection of the countries factories, boilers, elevators and pneumoconiosis surveillance. These registrations and inspections are carried out with the aim of ensuring a safe and healthy work place for our workers so that workers can enjoy their employment and return to their families safely after a good days work.

The country recorded 5380 work related injuries and 54 deaths at the work place during 2015. While this was a marked decrease to the 2014 levels of 5 491 injuries and 98 deaths, the ratio per registered work place remains unacceptably high. My Ministry is working on various legislative measures to empower NSSA to oversee the safety of our workplace. Zimbabwe should not, in this century, be recording such high levels of work place deaths.

The country had 1 387 registered elevators as at 31 December, 2015. With 707 of these currently out of work. NSSA carried out inspections of the elevators and found that only 38% of the country’s elevators comply with safety standards. Three major elevator accidents were reported last year and two lives were lost in these accidents. The condition of the country’s elevators has deteriorated over the years. This is linked to the difficult economic environment and poor rental yields currently prevailing in the property sector.

Madam Speaker, let me turn to the staff and future of NSSA. The authority currently employs 837 staff of whom 342 or 41% are women. The gender balance however, is skewed against women at the senior level and we expect the new board to work towards correcting that.

In the past, NSSA used to pay a basic salary plus a number of benefits ranging from four at the lower level to 16 at the senior level. The remuneration structure did not comply with the Government directive that benefits and allowances should be kept at 40% of basic salary. The board is currently finalising a new remuneration framework to be used on a total cost to company. The new remuneration framework will be implemented in the second quarter of 2016. The aim of the remuneration restructure is to align the authority’s performance and the worker’s earnings with the exceptional performance being rewarded through performance related bonuses.

The economy is undergoing through a difficult period and more so to the pensioners. NSSA employees cannot continue to earn high salaries and benefits at the expense of the pensioners. We hope the board’s new remuneration framework will see significant savings in the employment costs to be borne by the pensioners.

I am aware the House is keen to know the packages paid out to the former senior managers who were relieved of their duties at NSSA. I would like to start by commending the board for the manner in which the exercise was conducted and my Ministry is happy with the outcome. The posts which were affected by the retrenchments or relief of duties and the salaries as follows:

The General Manager earned a basic salary of US$13 768 and benefits of US$19 779, giving a grand total of US$33 547. The General Manager had also a company car and 500 litres fuel allowance among a litany of other allowances. The Finance Director earned a salary of US$7 705 and allowances of US$8 456 with a litany of benefits. The Corporate Services Director was on US$7 775 basic salary and US$9900 in benefits and other allowances. The Investments Director earned US$7 775 basic salary and US$6 138 allowances and other allowances. The ICT Director earned US$6 490 basic salary and US$6 260 allowances.

In settling the retrenchment packages, the board accepted the basic salaries but kept the allowances at 40% of basic salary. The board also settled the retrenchment packages at one month for each year worked. This saw the managers getting the following:

General Manager’s retrenchment salary was capped at US$22 000. The total package payable to the retrenchees was $1 475 302. However, the net payment from the Authority was reduced as loans were all recovered and expecting loans were more than the packages. Apart from the general manager, all the managers opted not to buy their allocated vehicles and this will be sold by the Authority.

          Mr. Speaker, I know Hon. Members have asked what will be done to NSSA staff whose actions …

          THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER (HON. DZIVA): Hon. Members, can you please allow the Minister to present the Ministerial Statement then you can ask questions.

          HON. MUPFUMIRA: Mr. Speaker, I know Hon. Members have asked what will be done to NSSA staff whose actions prejudiced the Authority. NSSA handles public funds for our pensioners who need a living pension to afford a decent retirement. My Ministry has tasked the Board to fully investigate and prosecute all cases where wrong doing is done, and it is work in progress. This is an exercise which has to be properly undertaken. I can assure the House that my Ministry will fully support the Board in its investigations. Already, the Board has started the process to recruit qualified forensic investigators.  

          I, however, seek the House’s patience, as the Board undertakes these investigations. We need to be aware that the Board only came into office in July, 2015. It has only been in office for less than a year. Hon. Members, I would like to conclude by also highlighting some of the initiatives NSSA is working on to improve the lives of our workforce. As you might be aware, work has started on the National Health Insurance Scheme…

A phone having rung.

          THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER (HON. DZIVA): Order, order. There is an Hon. Member of Parliament with a phone that is ringing in the House. Can you please stand up and go outside with your phone. Can you please honour this House and leave the House right now with your phone?

          HON. MUPFUMIRA: Thank you Madam Speaker. As you might be aware, work has started on the National Health Insurance Scheme to cover most of our people who are not covered by the current medical aid schemes. NSSA is also working on a Maternity Scheme to assist mothers with incomes during the period where employers reduce their salaries. NSSA needs more workers to join the various schemes in future. NSSA has also started work on the Voluntary Informal Sector Pension Scheme aimed at the informal sector employers and employees, and the domestic workers and cross border traders.

          The scheme will offer people the opportunity to provide for their retirement. Engagements held to date with the Informal Sector Organisation have shown great support for the initiative. NSSA has already approved a $5 million loan to SMEDCO or SEDCO for on lending to the information sector. The loan is repayable over 12 months at an interest rate of 10% per annum. SMEDCO will soon announce the full terms and conditions of the facility. The facility will however be only available to Small and Medium Enterprises that are fully compliant with NSSA requirements. Hon. Members will have to encourage their constituencies to register with NSSA and be up to date with their contributions. Otherwise, they will not enjoy this facility.

You will also be aware of various strategic initiatives being taken by NSSA. I would like to focus on one such initiative which I am sure you read in the Press recently. The acquisition of Telecel International and Telecel Zimbabwe by ZANET has assisted in the conclusion and payment of the purchase price of a majority stake by ZANET by paying the final instalment of $30 million. This is not a loan to ZANET as NSSA has for the intervening period, assumed the rights and obligations of ZANET. NSSA considers Telecel Zimbabwe to be a perfect fit to its banking and insurance business and to the distribution of benefits through mobile platforms. NSSA also sees the cash generated potential and enhance returns from Telecel as a good attraction for much in future pension liabilities. There are other initiatives that NSSA will be shortly be undertaking and these will be announced in this House at the opportune time.

Madam Speaker, I would like to conclude by thanking the NSSA Board and staff for the tremendous work they have done since July, 2015 and to continue to do so. My Ministry is happy that the journey to transform NSSA has started on a strong footing and we will also see a NSSA that we will be proud of. Whilst it is difficult to enhance benefits now, I am confident that pensioners’ funds are now in good hands. I thank you. –[HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear]-

THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: What I will do is that I will not allow members to repeat questions or repeat anything. You have to come up with new ideas to the Minister. If someone has raised that, please take it as having been done. I will take four people first.

HON. MUDARIKWA: Thank you Madam Speaker. On the issue of Telecel, looking into the media, it was done somewhere like 30 days. Was there any due diligence to have a critical evaluation of the value of Telecel? If it was done, were there any external consultants who were involved? If there are any consultants who were involved, what was their view because it was done in less than a month and NSSA then moved into Telecel. Is there a long term plan to sell some of the shareholding in Telecel to the indigenous people because we cannot have a situation where NSSA is crowding indigenous people out of business? Thank you.

HON. MANGAMI: Thank you Madam Speaker. Minister, the Public Service Retirement age is 55 and for NSSA it is 65. Looking at the same population, is it not calculated according to the life expectancy of that particular population? Why should there be a difference in terms of the retirement age because you wait and then be given at 65 years. The other issue concerns contributions for people who are working temporarily for a certain period. Why should there be deductions for one who is known to be working only for six months, yet you are going to be refunded your money 14 years of contributing, whilst your only six months contribution is lying idle at NSSA? Lastly, who approves the projects that NSSA is doing? Do they come to Parliament or they end within the Ministry since there is a lot of money involved on those projects?

HON. GABBUZA: Madam Speaker, let me firstly congratulate the Minister for a perfect job, well done. I just wish we had four or five Ministers doing the same thing, this country will not even need foreign funding. There is enough money. We want to urge you to keep on that step Madam and nobody should frighten you.

I do not think it would be too much to ask from the Minister who the board members are currently, the ones who are doing this job. The banks have collapsed with NSSA monies, what are the prospects of recovering the money because these banks definitely had assets? Are there prospects that we are likely to recover whatever NSSA lost?

Thirdly, we are recruiting new people on the back drop of these problems in their salaries, what are the new policy measures on salaries caps that have been put in so that we do not have repetition of the same problems? I thank you.  

HON. MISIHAIRABWI-MUSHONGA: Let me join Hon. Gabbuza in congratulating the Minister and perhaps just add Madam Speaker that this is what you see when you have women in positions of authority. They do make a difference. My first question Hon. Minister, we are totally shocked about what you have given to us today, but are these people going to be arrested? We have heard too many of these things, about people being investigated and getting away with murder. I do not think there is any justification of anybody sitting in an office where someone who has contributed money is getting $60 a month compared to somebody who then gets $32 000 or $33 000. It is unacceptable and I think we need to hear whether these investigations are going to lead to arrests or not.

The second one is, whether we are going to have a situation where we can have at least a compounding of the pensions, at least part of it. I am talking about this $60. What we are having, let me give an example of people that will be coming from Tsholotsho or faraway places like Beitbridge. By the time they come to Harare to get the $60, it is all gone in terms of transport fees. Is there a possibility of a least even if it is just saying two thirds of your total pension, is going to be compounded? You get that much and then you can have your monthly pension of about $60 or something like that.

Please can we get these people’s assets taken away from them to cover up for what has happened? The figure that we did not get from you Minister, some of us we would love to get to hear, if this person was earning $32 00; if we calculate the years they have been sitting in total; how much money have they made? Please name them and shame them because just saying General Manager does not help. We want to know the names of these individuals that literally raped this country. I thank you.    

HON ZINDI: Thank you Madam Speaker. Mandijuma. Nonetheless, like my other Hon. Members, Hon. Gabbuza and Hon. Misihairabwi-Mushonga, definitely I would also want to congratulate Minister Mupfumira for the comprehensive report or statement that she has just presented. Surely, I would like also to say when women are given responsibilities; they do more than what men can do. The idea is also to prove the point that we can do it because the mind set of our society, whenever you think of a manager you think of a man. Here is a woman, for the first time that we have been given such a comprehensive report. It is important to acknowledge that Madam Speaker, thank you.

My question to Hon. Minister Mupfumira is, I would like to know what measures are going to be put in place in terms of having to recover the land that had been paid for in Mutare? I know about that case because that time I was a Commissioner of City of Mutare; and the investment in the Ekusileni Hospital in Bulawayo, on the Beitbridge and again the Beitbridge hotel is already closed; what measures is the Ministry going to put in place in order to recover those investments which have been put into all these portfolios.

Over and above that, can the Minister explain why and who continuously approved investment by NSSA into companies on the verge of collapsing. An example is Capital Bank; I think that is one if I can just mention that. Most of the banks which were collapsing NSSA would jump in and invest. What measures are going to be put in place in order to recover that money? Who actually was approving such investments into collapsing companies?

Lastly, I would like to be assured through you Madam Speaker, in terms of the objectives of this building society. Yes, it is a noble idea because I can actually take the idea of setting up a building society equating it to CABS because that is exactly Old Mutual. Old Mutual is doing exactly like that but this whole country and world over is full of properties which is exactly like NSSA. Old Mutual is a pensioners’ fund as well and they have CABS. People have been borrowing money to construct houses and whatever, what exactly are the objectives of this building society. Are they going to allow these pensioners as well to also access funding to construct their own houses because all the period they have been working, they could not possibly construct or build houses for themselves?   Are they going to access the funds or it is going to be accessed by the elite if I can use that term, without taking cognisant of the interest of the people who have actually put that money into NSSA?        

HON. CHIRISA: Thank you Madam Speaker. This statement also was part of a follow up of my question number 26 which was answered partially by the Minister. I would like to say to the Minister, thank you so much for a comprehensive and detailed informative report. However, as alluded to on the bank, who are the beneficiaries? We have noticed hon. Minister that some of that are started for the communities but end up benefiting the big fish. We want that assurance that this bank will definitely benefit those people that are supposed to benefit.

The other questions were not answered but I am going into the retrenchment packages. It is a shock Minister and looking at our economic situation where Government is struggling with its projects and here is a parastatal, a baby of Government – mwana wehurumende ari kutamba nemari achidayi; making Government a laughing stock and yet they are taking home all these monies. I do not think that is fair on the Government and other people who are also struggling to make ends meet.

          Minister, having started this good job, I hope you will continue and may God bless you.

          HON. MANDIPAKA: Let me also congratulate the Hon. Minister whom I think is starting on a right track. As a follow up to the observations by Hon. Misihairabwi-Mushonga, in your wisdom Hon. Minister, you made very shocking revelations in terms of the salaries that these people were getting. Why did we let such dirty to happen for a long time unabated? Is it institutionalised corruption? Is it incompetence? If there are any investigations that are being conducted by your board as you mentioned, when do we see our specialised fraud unit moving in to investigate, prosecute and possibly send to jail in this economy which has impoverished many of our people?

          HON. CHIBAYA: I would like to join other Hon. Members and thank the Minister for coming up with this report. Honestly speaking, I think this is the first time to have such a very good report –[HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear]- We say information is power. What is good is good and we must commend her for such a wonderful job.

          Hon. Minister, those employees who are contributing to NSSA are actually getting nothing. Those who have contributed before are getting nothing. I was at a report back meeting in my constituency – Mkoba and I have seen pensioners crying because they are getting as little as US$25 whereas management was taking away around US$32 000 per month whilst those who have contributed are getting nothing.

          My question is, what are the strategies to improve monthly pension earnings from as little as US$25?

          THE MINISTER OF PUBLIC SERVICE, LABOUR AND SOCIAL SERVICES (HON. MUPFUMIRA): I want to thank all the Hon. Members for the good questions, contributions and commendations.

          I will start with Hon. Mudariki on Telecel – whether there was due diligence done and what is being done to ensure that other indigenous people are empowered by getting shares.

          We are all aware that Telecel had a 60% foreign holding and 40% local holding. So indigenisation was there already in that 40%. Government took a decision that they wanted to remove that 60% from the foreign ownership. It was only prudent for Government to ensure that whoever is acquiring the 60% is not an individual but it benefits all.

As we are restructuring NSSA, any wise investments now will benefit future generations. It is only proper that we allow Government, through its institutions, to take over the ownership and allow Telecel to run as a private company. It is ZARNET, a Government company which will be taking over. There is still 40% which has to be sorted out which we are all aware that was not properly managed over the years.

We are saying Telecel is a wise investment and due diligence was done. It was seen that it is a viable project if it is properly run. Therefore, I think it is a proper and wise decision to take over the running of Telecel by Government not as Government but through NSSA and ZARNET.

I am happy as a contributor to NSSA that maybe twenty years from now if I am still alive, or even my children – they will be able to benefit from the wise investments we are making now.

Hon. Mangami, on retirement age which is 60 and 55 and temporaries who approve the projects; the projects by NSSA are supposed to be approved by the board after management has made necessary due diligence. We are looking at the retirement age together with NSSA to ensure that there is alignment of the contribution age for NSSA and for the workers.

There is a new policy on measures on salaries. We slashed the US$33 000 that they were getting to what was recommended by the Corporate Governance Code though we are taking long to standardise for all parastatals. We have reviewed the salaries of all executives at NSSA with effect from 01 April. Most of the perks have also been removed to align them to, for example US$60 for the pensioner and so many thousands. That is the framework that I am talking about. There is no longer creaming of NSSA. Like I said, it was 60 benefits for the executives to 40. Now we are working on improving the minimum pension for the workers so that by year end, we should have come up with a better pension for the worker.

We have also reviewed all investments which were being done by NSSA. You cannot understand some of them. People were just throwing the money down the hole. We have put a halt to that with the dynamic board which we have. We looked at everything including the land. Some of the land had no title deeds or Agreement of Sale and this includes Long Cheng Plaza. That is how it was being run.

In 2012, NEC did another audit and we will bring the results to this august House. Nothing was done but that was before our time. That audit has other disastrous activities which were happening at NSSA then because it was not being managed. We are looking into that as well. It is part of what we are giving to the forensic audit to look at specific projects. Now we have done everything. We are now zeroing in on where we think there are criminal activities. We will send this information to the experts. Definitely, there is some criminality in some of the things that were happening in NSSA. We are putting a stop to that. That is why we took a decision to fire five people at the same time. Vanhu vacho munovaziva. –[HON. MEMBERS: Hativazivi.]- The General Manager is Matiza… -[HON. CHIBAYA: Inaudible interjections]-

THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER (HON. DZIVA): Order Hon. Chibaya. Can you allow the Minister to respond to the questions?

          THE MINISTER OF PUBLIC SERVICE, LABOUR AND SERVICES (HON. MUPFUMIRA): The investment manager – most of the recruitment was skewed towards Chimanimani and Chipinge area. So we need a forensic audit if people are to be arrested and we are sure something will come up because if the evaluation of the property was $25 million and then they went and paid $32 million, what is the explanation for that?

          Decentralisation – This is what we are trying to do now to enable NSSA to get to the people and not make people come to Harare or Bulawayo. So, we are decentralizing to the districts and we are also opening up to those people who were disadvantaged and never managed to get their benefits. There is a Statutory Instrument which we are working on, where we are going to ask people to come and apply for their NSSA benefits. We have started road shows, going on the media to enable people to get the information because some people were not even aware that they were supposed to get benefits. This information had not been opened up to everyone for example, the widows.

          There was also an issue about the National Building Society Bank. I would like you to know that Old Mutual and NSSA should have the same status. There is no reason why NSSA should be smaller than Old Mutual because NSSA is a national institution and it covers every aspect relating to individuals, the poor and the rich. So, our question is, why should we be investing our money in Old Mutual and not in NSSA? Why should we be sending our money through CABS and not through our own building society? We can afford to have a building society which is targeting the low to middle income earners.

Then the contributors -   while some might not benefit now, those who are working now will benefit. We assure you that by year end, we will have started on housing projects to benefit the lower to middle income earners. We are looking at houses between $10,000 and $20,000. Can you imagine the current scenario now where people have got stands and they have been building for the rest of their lives. Some have even died without completing the building because they cannot afford it. We cannot do that. We want to restore some dignity to the lower end of the market.

Then on who approved – like I explained earlier, the last Board was in 2011. So, the Minister and the NSSA Management were the Board because there was no Board and when we came there was no Board. Subsequently we started by putting in a completely new Board. From NSSA’s side, it is not the Minister who appoints the Board. The Minister just appoints three individuals. It is a tripartite (TNF) with three coming from the workers, three from the employers and three from Government. The three that we identified as NSSA are quality people with experience and have their own things. Hence they are taking these bold decisions to rid NSSA of the corruption and corrupt tendencies which were there.

Looking at the strategies to improve our investments, we are looking for an investment analyst who invests and makes sure that our contributors’ benefit. That is why we said we are reviewing the $60 pay out to something that can enable one to buy something for their family. So, these are some of the issues that we are dealing with.

On issues pertaining to recruitment, we have received some complaints on why we are advertising. We have advertised in and outside Zimbabwe because we believe we have a lot of Zimbabweans internally and externally who deserve to come back and work in Zimbabwe. That is why we have not localized it. We have hired external people who will look at the various candidates who are going to apply for the posts. This is free for anybody in and outside Zimbabwe. Our wish is to ensure that it is done professionally. So, by the end of next week, we will be having the applications. So far, just looking at the calibre of people who have applied and are very interested, there are young people who are outside the country and are prepared to come and contribute towards the running of NSSA, which was being run like a family business. That is the way it was run but it is our organisation and we should make sure we invest in it.

You also talked about Ekhusileni, another animal which was built and for 10 years nothing was happening. It was only after the NSSA management left that we found out some of the things which had been done. The company was registered in the name of the General Manager and two other people. They were the ones benefitting financially. They had locked up the hospital but we have since taken the keys. It was built by NSSA but they had been refusing to hand over the hospital to us. We went and forcibly took the hospital last week and yesterday they took us to court. We attended an urgent chamber application which was thrown out. What we discovered about that hospital is incomprehensible.   For 10 years the building lay idle. So, this week we will hand over the hospital to the Ministry of Health and Child Care. The High Court has given us permission to go ahead and hand over the hospital since we now have the keys. I thank you.

THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Order Hon Members. On behalf of the Parliament of Zimbabwe, I would like to appreciate and applaud the Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Services, Hon. Mupfumira, for an excellent, well detailed and classic presentation that she has delivered in this House towards good governance and transparency in Government institutions. It is important because this marks the road towards 2016, as a progressive year with progressive women like her, willing to take this nation to greater heights. I really want to appreciate the President for appointing you to that position because you are a dynamic and hard working woman. For the good work that the Ministry has been doing, coming to this House, answering questions and also giving this presentation, may God continue to increase your wisdom.

On the motion of HON. MATUKE seconded by HON. RUNGANI, the House adjourned at a Quarter to Six O’clock p.m.

 

 

         

 

 

 

Last modified on Tuesday, 03 May 2016 12:31
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National Assembly Hansard NATIONAL ASSEMBLY HANSARD 02 MARCH 2016 VOL 42 NO 39