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NATIONAL ASSEMBLY HANSARD 07 MAY 2019 VOL 45 NO 46

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PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE

Tuesday, 7th May, 2019

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

PRAYERS

(THE HON. SPEAKER in the Chair)

          THE HON. SPEAKER:  Order, order, may I take this opportunity to welcome you all to this session and appeal to you to remain in the House as much as possible so that – [HON. LABODE:  We are hungry.] – Hon. Labode, do not invite some sensor unnecessarily.  You are a highly respected Hon. Member.  I was going to say, we have a very long legislative agenda which we should try as much as possible, without compromising quality assurance, that we complete the task before us.  So, I appeal to you to stay in the House, debate as much as possible and conclude business of the House to the best of our advantage and interest. 

ANNOUNCEMENTS BY THE HON. SPEAKER

DEATH OF HON. SITHEMBILE GUMBO

          THE HON. SPEAKER:  It is with profound sorrow that I have to inform the House of the death on Monday, 5th April, 2019 of Member of Parliament of the National Assembly for Lupane East Constituency, Hon. Sithembile Gumbo. I invite Hon. Members to rise and observe a minute of silence in respect of the late Hon. Member.

          All Hon. Members observed a minute of silence.

          Let it be recorded that during her funeral, I was so touched by the presence of representatives of the two major parties during the burial in Lupane.  It was quite refreshing to see such a high degree of solidarity.  I want to thank the Whips who organised that – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] – May that spirit persist whenever we are seized with a similar unfortunate incident.

2019 CALENDERS AND MP CHARTS

          THE HON. SPEAKER:  I also have to inform the House that the Public Relations Department will be issuing the 2019 Parliament of Zimbabwe calendars and 2018 MP charts.   Members are kindly requested to collect these items from officers who shall be stationed outside the Members’ Dining Hall, from today, Tuesday, 7th May, 2019.

          HON. NDUNA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir, I rise on a point of order according to Section 68 of the Standing Rules.  Just before we closed I requested ...

          THE HON. SPEAKER:  Order, may you stand corrected Hon. Member, there is no point of order in terms of Section 68 of the Standing Orders.  Can you correct that?

          HON. NDUNA:  My apologies Mr. Speaker Sir, It is a point of privilege.  On a point of privilege Mr Speaker Sir, according to Section 68 as read with Section 86 of the Constitution, before we went for the break, I requested that the Hon. Minister of Health and Child Care comes to this House to present a Ministerial Statement on the state of our health institutions, the health care and delivery system in our health institutions.  You adequately indulged and requested the Hon. Minister to come and present at that time a Ministerial Statement.  It is now crucial in the advent of what is currently happening at Natpharm in terms of drug delivery system that the Minister of Health and Child Care comes to this House and favour us with a Ministerial statement that also encompasses the drug delivery system, the health care delivery system and the state of our health institutions. This is so that we can get to be apprised and updated on our local health care delivery system.  I so move Mr. Speaker Sir.

          THE HON. SPEAKER:  The Chair will remind the Hon. Minister to do so this week.

SECOND READING

COMPANIES AND OTHER BUSINESS ENTITIES BILL [H.B. 8, 2018]

          First Order read: Adjourned debate on motion on the Second Reading of the Companies and Other Business Entities Bill (H.B.8, 2018).

          Question again proposed.

          THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): Thank you very much Hon. Speaker.  I am pleasantly surprised that Hon. Members, after the presentation by the Chair of the Portfolio Committee on Justice, do not have anything to debate on the Companies Bill.  So, I believe the Members are very happy with the quality of ...

          HON. BITI:  Mr. Speaker Sir, we beg the indulgence of the Hon. Minister.  We did not know that the Bill was coming today, so we appeal to his conscience to move it to tomorrow, Thursday so that we can debate.  You know Hon Speaker that the report by the Portfolio Committee on Justice was very long.  So we are complementing that and in the interest of the good order of Parliament, we beg the Minister to adjourn the debate to tomorrow or next Tuesday.  Thank you Hon. Speaker.

          THE HON SPEAKER:  Do I understand that the Chairperson of the Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee presented his report?

          HON. BITI: The Chair had the good wisdom of actually sending me a copy on the basis of which I also prepared my contribution, but I did not know that the debate would be on today.  So we are asking for indulgence of the Hon. Minister.

          THE HON. SPEAKER:  Hon. Member, whilst you are still upstanding, our website is very much active and if you checked your website, we are on line. 

          HON. BITI: We are busy with the congress these days.

          THE HON. SPEAKER: Yes, you are speaking the truth.  I think that the request is quite genuine Hon. Minister and perhaps you could adjourn the debate until tomorrow.

          THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  I move that the debate do now adjourn. 

          THE HON. SPEAKER: Order, can I do some housekeeping here.  I think there is some administrative error. 

          Motion put and agreed to.

          Debate to resume: Wednesday, 8th May, 2019. 

SECOND READING

TRIPARTITE NEGOTIATING FORUM BILL [H. B. 5, 2018]

          Second Order read: Adjourned debate on the Second Reading of the Tripartite Negotiating Forum Bill [H. B. 5, 2018].

          Question again proposed.

          THE MINISTER OF PUBLIC SERVICE, LABOUR AND SOCIAL WELFARE (HON. DR. NZENZA): Mr. Speaker Sir, I rise to present the Second Reading of the Tripartite Negotiating Forum Bill.  The Tripartite Negotiating Forum (TNF) was established in 1998 to provide a platform for engagement, negotiating and consultation, meaning social dialogue among Government, business and labour on issues of common interest relating to social and economic policy. 

          The principal purpose of TNF therefore, is to assist in finding solutions to social economic challenges facing the nation at any given time on tripartite basis.  The forum has since 1998 existed as a voluntary and unlegislated platform for social dialogue in Zimbabwe.  However, there is consensus among social partners that the gains made so far by the TNF and its potential utility to the socio-economic development of the country can be fully harnessed if it is underpinned by a strong legislative framework.  The call for the development of the TNF legislation resonates with the provisions of Section 65 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe which recognises fair labour standards and the right to collective bargaining.  These have been identified as necessary guiding principles for effective social dialogue.

          Mr. Speaker Sir, suffice to mention that the principles of social dialogue which embody the purpose of TNF are enshrined in the ILO Convention No. 144 of 1976 on tripartite consultation which the Government of Zimbabwe ratified in 1998.  In essence, the development of the TNF which the Government of Zimbabwe ratified in 1998 is also in line with the provisions of Section 327 of the Constitution which mandates parliaments to domesticate international instruments ratified by Zimbabwe. 

          Mr. Speaker Sir, the purpose of this Bill is to create a binding legal framework among the social partners which is Government, organised business and organised labour.  The resultant law will enable the emergence of a binding, accountable, transparent, effective and responsive social dialogue platform capable of contributing to the sustainable development of the country, especially in relation to relations between business, labour and Government. 

          Mr. Speaker Sir, I would like now to speak about the structure of the TNF.  The Bill provides for the procedure of the appointment of the main TNF members.  Each tripartite constituency nominates its own representative.  The Chairperson of the TNF shall be the Minister responsible for labour who is myself while the two co-chairs will revolve from organised business and organised labour.  There is a technical committee whose Chairperson is the Deputy Chief Secretary in the Office of the President and Cabinet.  Mr. Speaker Sir, the Bill also provides for a managerial committee comprised of members nominated from the three social partners; that is once again Government, organised business and labour.

          Mr. Speaker Sir, the Bill also seeks to realise the full potential of the TNF.  To date, the full potential of the TNF has not been realised due to the lack of legal framework to guide the engagement process and further compounded by the lack of mutual trust among the social partners.  The TNF therefore, is convinced that the lack of a legislative framework is responsible for the implementation inertia which has characterised most of the resolutions of TNF. The promulgation of the Tripartite Negotiating Forum Act will bring in this binding nature of agreements made and ensure the efficient administration and functioning of the forum.

          It is the view of the parties that the resultant TNF Act, along with other measures will see the TNF emerging as a strong and vibrant institution capable of greater contribution to the development of the country. We are drawing international best practices from other jurisdictions that are ahead of us in this respect. The National Economic Development and Labour Convention (NEDLAC) of South Africa has demonstrated that legislation for social dialogue is beneficial to socio-economic development.

          Mr. Speaker Sir, the overriding principle of the Bill is that of ensuring equality and non-interference in the nomination process. Mr. Speaker. Sir, I now move that the Bill be read the second time.

 HON. E. NCUBE:   1.0 Introduction

Social dialogue is a key development issue pronounced in International Labour Organisation (ILO) Convention Number144 of 1976 and practised the world over. Zimbabwe ratified the Convention in 1989; however implementation of social dialogue can be traced back to the1990s when the Tripartite Negotiating Forum (TNF) was instituted. The Government has further taken a step towards formalising social dialogue by initiating the Tripartite Negotiating Forum Bill [H.B. 5, 2018].The Bill seeks to establish a TNF whose mandate is to ensure consultation, cooperation and negotiation on social and economic issues by Government, Organised Business and Organised Labour. It is against this background that the Portfolio Committee on Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare considered the TNF Bill and compiled this report.

2.0   Methodology

In accordance with Section 141 of the Constitution, the Portfolio Committee on Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare conducted public hearings on the TNF Bill from 25 February to 1 March 2019. The Committee conducted one public hearing in each province of the country as shown on the table below:

Table 1.

Province

Town

Public Hearing Venue

Bulawayo

Bulawayo

Small City Hall

Harare

Harare

Ambassador Hotel

Manicaland

Mutare

Queens Hall

Mashonaland Central

Bindura

Hala Hotel

Mashonaland East

Marondera

Hope Fay Hotel and Conference Centre

Mashonaland West

Chinhoyi

Cooksie Hall

Matebeleland North

Victoria Falls

Chinotimba Hall

Matebeleland South

Gwanda

Gwanda Hotel

Masvingo

Masvingo Town

Civic Centre Hall

Midlands

Gweru

Civic Centre Hall

 

The public hearings were attended by various stakeholders including; the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU), farmers’ unions, Chinhoyi Municipality employees, representatives from the Ministry of Women Affairs, Community, Small and Medium Enterprises Development and Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare, and members of the public in general.

In addition, the Committee attended a seminar themed Unpacking and Engaging the Legislature on the TNF Bill at the Rainbow Towers Hotel, in Harare on 6 May 2019. The event was organised by Greenfingers Consultants in conjunction with the Employers’ Confederation of Zimbabwe (EMCOZ). Apart from the organisers, other stakeholders, including the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) and International Labour Organisation representatives were also in attendance.

Furthermore, the Committee analysed the provisions of the Bill and written submissions from stakeholders.

3.0   Summary of Issues Raised During Public Hearings

3.1   There was general consensus amongst stakeholders who attended all public hearings that regularising the TNF was a positive development which was long overdue and should be expedited as a matter of urgency. Stakeholders noted that the platform would deal with socio-economic issues and minimise strikes, such as the January 2019 Job Stay Away which cost the country productive time and had other unfavourable consequences including violence.

3.2   Stakeholders in Mutare, Bindura and Gwanda called for representation of the informal sector on the TNF in view of the vast contributions of the sector to the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Mr. Vandirai Musoro in Mutare argued that it would be a shame to leave out the informal sector considering that it was currently the mainstay of Zimbabwe’s economy as it employed about 80% of the working class population against 20 % in the formal sector.

3.3 The dominance of Government on the TNF with 14 representatives against 7 each for business and labour was raised as an issue of contention. Stakeholders such as the ZCTU noted that the Government was also an employer which will bring representation for this group to 21 if the number of its representatives is combined with that of business. This state of affairs places labour at a disadvantage as it only has 7 representatives, particularly when it comes to voting on pertinent issues by TNF members. In contrast, Mr. Godfrey Jambo from Marondera was of the view that Government should have more representatives and proposed that the composition of the TNF be constituted as follows: Government-11, Organised Business -10, and Organised Labour -10.Alternatively, stakeholders who attended the public hearing in Masvingo proposed that each one of the social partners should have 7 representatives each.

3.4   In addition, stakeholders in Mutare, Gweru, Gwanda and Bulawayo were opposed to the chairing of the TNF by a Government representative but preferred rotation of the leadership role amongst the three social partners. Conversely, stakeholders who attended the public hearing conducted in Masvingo advanced that the TNF should be chaired by a retired Supreme Court Judge or an individual appointed by Parliament as opposed to a Government Representative.

3.5   Furthermore, stakeholders in Marondera, Bindura and Gweru noted the need to empower the TNF by making its decisions final rather than a situation where its resolutions are referred to Cabinet as provided by Clause 10 (2).

3.6   Stakeholder consultation by members of the TNF was also identified as a key issue for the effective operation of the TNF.

3.7   Representatives from the Ministry of Women Affairs, Community and Enterprises Development emphasised the need for gender balance in the membership of the TNF. This issue was raised in Masvingo and Bindura.

3.8   Some of the participants at the Masvingo and Gwanda public hearings proposed the granting of Civil Society Organisations interested in welfare issues an observer status on the TNF.

3.9   The ZCTU proposed an addition of (f) under Clause 3 which reads as “consult and negotiate Zimbabwe labour laws in line with the Constitution and other international best practices.”

4.0   Key issues raised at the Seminar on Unpacking and Engaging the Legislature on the TNF Bill

4.1   Although the concept of tripartism is anchored in labour issues, the Bill does not explicitly provide for consideration of these matters by the TNF.

4.2   The Bill should provide for an independent party to arbitrate in case of “deadlock” situations between the three social partners. This could be a retired judge or former president of another country for instance.

4.3   There is need for definition of the “stakeholders” to be consulted on Clause 3 (3) (c) and “group autonomy” in Clause 21 (g) in order to avoid ambiguity.

4.4   While Clause 10 stipulates that TNF resolutions are recommendations to Cabinet, Clause 3 (3) (d) places the function of following up and monitoring agreements on the TNF, hence the need for definition of these “agreements.”

4.5   In terms of Clause 4 (a) both citizens of Zimbabwe or foreigners who are permanent residents in the Zimbabwe are eligible for appointment to the TNF

4.6   The Bill does not specify the conditions or reasons for which each constituency can remove its member from the Main TNF (Clause 5).

4.7   A quorum of 50 percent of members of the TNF can result in underrepresentation of some social partners at some TNF meetings, for example a meeting can be convened by 14 Government representatives and one member each from organised labour and organised business (Clause 9)

4.8   Clause 14 (6) (b) exposes the Executive Director of the TNF to arbitrary dismissal by the Management Committee as it provides for revoking of any assignment of functions by the Management Committee at any time.

4.9   Clause 16 limits sources of funding for the TNF to National Budget allocations and donations which are inadequate in view of the financial constraints faced by the country and withdrawal of funding by development partners.

4.10   On the First Schedule, under Remuneration and Allowances of Members of the Management Committee, Clause 3 (a) is not clear on whether the Management Committee will be remunerated or not.

4.11   On the First Schedule, under Minutes of Proceedings of the TNF, Clause 4 (2), the phrase “…which purport to be…” insinuates that persons presiding at meetings can falsify minutes.

5.0   Committee Observations and Recommendations

5.1  The concept of tripartism is founded in the ILO Conventions and labour issues, hence the need to include these matters in the Memorandum of the Bill.

5.2   The Committee noted that labour issues were most likely to constitute a bulk of the issues to be considered by the TNF and recommends the addition of Clause 3(3) (f) which reads:

“consult and negotiate labour laws in line with provisions of the Constitution and other international best practices.”

5.3   Considering the key role played by the informal sector and civil society organisations, among other key stakeholders in Zimbabwe’s socio-economic development, they should be accorded observer status under Clause 3 (5) of the Bill.

5.4   There is need to extent Clause 5 to include the specific conditions under which each constituency can remove its member from the Main TNF. Among other key issues, the term of office of membership to the TNF should be limited to 3 years after which all social partners should appoint new representatives in order to guard against corruption and other malpractices.

5.5   In order to prevent the abuse of power by the Management Committee in relation to dismissal of the Executive Director of the TNF, Clause 14 (6) (b) should be amended to read as:

maybe revoked by the management Committee on justifiable grounds at any time”         

5.6   For the purpose of clarity on whether the Management Committee should be paid for their services, the Committee recommends the deletion of “if any” on Clause 3 (a) under the First Schedule which deals with Remuneration and Allowances of Members of the Management

5.7   In accordance with Section 3 of the Constitution, the TNF should be gender balanced.

6.0   Conclusion

The Committee supports the expeditious establishment of a TNF backed by statute and believes that it will resolve the multiple socio-economic challenges affecting our country today. Once the Bill is passed by Parliament and assented to by the President, the Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare should facilitate the setting up and operationalisation of the TNF without delay. In addition, all the three social partners are encouraged to adopt an earnest approach when participating on the TNF.

ANNOUNCEMENTS BY THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER

NON-ADVERSE REPORTS RECEIVED FROM THE PARLIAMENTARY LEGAL COMMITTEE

          THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER (HON. MUTOMBA): I have to inform the House that I have received Non-Adverse Reports from the Parliamentary Legal Committee on the following Bills:-

1.    Consumer Protection Bill [H.B. 10, 2018];

2.    Education Amendment Bill [H.B. 1, 2019]; and

3.    Microfinance Bill [H. B.11, 2018].

I also have to inform the House that I have received Non-Adverse Reports on all Statutory Instruments gazetted during the month of March, 2019.

PETITIONS RECEIVED

THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER:  I wish to advice the House that on the 29th April, 2019, Parliament of Zimbabwe received a petition from the National Association of Youth Organisation, Zimbabwe (NAYO), beseeching Parliament to investigate circumstances around the shrinking civil society of Zimbabwe to align the Private Voluntary Organisation Act and the Zimbabwe Youth Council Act to the Constitution and enact legislation that guarantee the exercise of freedoms of association, expression and assembly.  The petition has since been referred to the Portfolio Committees on Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare and Youth, Sport, Arts and Culture.

         I also wish to advise the House that on 30th April 2019, Parliament of Zimbabwe received a petition from Magariro Housing Cooperative beseeching Parliament to bring sanity to the Magariro Cooperative in order to safeguard the hard earned invested in the cooperative. The petition was deemed inadmissible as it dealt with matters which are outside the jurisdiction or mandate of Parliament.

HON. CHIKWINYA:  Thank you Mr. Speaker.  I rise to seek leave of this House that we have heard from the Minister’s Speech towards the Bill which is very important in informing us towards the debate.  We have also heard the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee Report which is quite critical and detailed as it is informed by public consultation.  However, Mr. Speaker, I have checked with my pigeonhole, the Committee Report is not yet available.  It is of paramount importance Mr. Speaker that when we debate, we take into consideration the recommendations as so achieved from the public consultations as contained in the report.  I therefore, seek leave of the House that debate be adjourned until we get that report, we go through it and we resume that report.  Thank you.

THE MINISTER OF PUBLIC SERVICE, LABOUR AND SOCIAL WELFARE (HON. DR. NZENZA): Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  I would like to take on board the comments that have been presented in response to the reading of the Tripartite Negotiating Forum Bill – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –

THE TEMPORARY SPEAKR:  Order Hon. Members!  Hon. Chikwinya, the Minister is going to respond to the Report and adjourn for tomorrow.  So the debate will be carried forward tomorrow:

THE MINISTER OF PUBLIC SERVICE, LABOUR AND SOCIAL WELFARE (HON. DR. NZENZA): Mr. Speaker Sir.  I would like to take on board the comments that have been presented and I would also specifically like to accept that this item be adjourned until tomorrow.  Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. 

Motion put and agreed to.

Debate to resume:  Wednesday, 8th May, 2019.

          Debate to resume: Wednesday 8th May, 2019.

MOTION

PRESIDENTIAL SPEECH: DEBATE ON ADDRESS

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

          Question again proposed.

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

          Motion put and agreed to.

          Debate to resume: Wednesday 8th May, 2019.

          On the motion of THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI), the House adjourned at Seventeen Minutes past Three o’clock p.m.

 

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National Assembly Hansard NATIONAL ASSEMBLY HANSARD 07 MAY 2019 VOL 45 NO 46