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NATIONAL ASSEMBLY HANSARD - 12 JULY 2012 VOL. 38 NO. 47

Thursday, 12th July, 2012.

The House of Assembly met at a Quarter-past Two O'clock p.m.

 

PRAYERS

(THE DEPUTY SPEAKER in the Chair)

MOTION

RATIFICATION OF THE SWAKOPMUND PROTOCOL ON THE PROTECTION OF TRADITIONAL KNOWLEDGE AND EXPRESSION OF FOLKLORES

THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE AND LEGAL AFFAIRS (SENATOR CHINAMASA): I move the motion standing in my name that;

WHEREAS SUBSECTIONB (1) of Section 111B of the Constitution of Zimbabwe provides that any convention, treaty or agreement acceded to, concluded or executed by or under the authority of the President, with one or more foreign states, governments or international organisations shall be subject to approval by Parliament:

AND WHEREAS on the 30th August 2011, Cabinet approved the ratification of the Swakopmund Protocol on the Protection of Traditional Knowledge and Expression of Folklore within the framework of the African Regional Intellectual Property Organisation;

NOW THEREFORE, in terms of subsection (1) of section 111B of the Constitution of Zimbabwe, this House resolves that the Swakomund Protocol of Traditional Knowledge and Expression of Folklore within the Framework of the African Regional Intellectual Property Organisation be and us herby approves.

The Parliament is called upon in terms of section 111B of the Constitution of Zimbabwe, to consider the ratification of the Swakomund Protocol on the Protection of Traditional Knowledge and Expression of Folklore with the Framework of the African Regional Intellectual Property Organisation (hereinafter called the "Swakopmund Protocol"

The African Regional Intellectual Property Organisation (ARIPO) is an African regional intergovernmental organization on intellectual property matters established in terms of the Agreement on the Creation of the African Regional Intellectual Property Organisation of 1976 (generally refer to as the "Lusaka Agreement"). The organisation currently has 18 Member States including Zimbabwe and its Headquarters are in Harare.

Article 111 of the Lusaka Agreement outlines the objectives underpinning the creation of this intergovernmental organization. In terms of paragraph (a) of the Lusaka Agreement, one of the main objectives of ARIPO is, " to promote the harmonisation and development of the intellectual property laws, and matters related thereto, appropriate to the needs of its members and of the region as a whole ".

The Swakopmund Protocol was therefore, concluded pursuant to the mandate of the Lusaka Agreement to which Zimbabwe is a party to.

The major objective of the Swakopmund Protocol is to legally protect and promote the economic and social exploitation of traditional knowledge systems and expression of folklore for the benefit of holders of such traditional knowledge and traditional cultural expression. This was borne out of the realisation that there has been rampant illicit exploitation of the traditional knowledge and expression of folklore in the developing countries particularly within ARIPO Member States without any benefit accruing to the holders and owners of the traditional knowledge and expression of folklore.

ARIPO Member States adopted and signed the Swakopmund Protocol in Swakopmund, Namibia on the 4th of August 2010.

In terms of Section 3 of the Protocol, Contracting States are obliged to designate or establish National Competent authorities which shall be charged with the duty of implementing and enforcing the provision of this protocol.

Section 14 of the Swakopmund Protocol stipulates that the National Competent authorities shall be entrusted to carry our awareness raising, educating, guidance, monitoring and registration as well as dispute resolution as part of its tasks with a view to ensuring effectiveness in the protection of traditional knowledge and expression of folklore.

The Swakopmund Protocol will enter into force after the deposit of instruments of ratification or accessions, as the case may be, by six Member States in accordance with Section 27.

Cabinet, at its twenty-fifth meeting held on the 30th of August 2011, approved the ratification of the Swakopmund Protocol.

Zimbabwe, like most countries in Africa, is rich in traditional knowledge and traditional cultural expression which have been practiced by the local communities for centuries. It cannot be assailed that over 80% of the Zimbabwean population still relies on traditional medicines emanating from the rich body of traditional medical knowledge. There have been many cases of Western companies exploiting traditional medical knowledge for pharmaceutical research. An exemplary case involved the use by the Swiss University and US company of traditional knowledge about the medicinal use of the mutukutu plant in Zimbabwe, which has ingredients to treat fungal infections. The medicinal drug was claimed as belonging to the Western entities regardless of the source of the primary traditional knowledge. It must be noted that Zimbabwe is home to thousands of plant species that have medicinal use yet very little has been done to research and develop capacity. Legal protection is therefore required to obviate the incidence of bio-piracy.

The Parliament of Zimbabwe is, therefore, called upon to approve the ratification of the Swakopmund Protocol on the Protection of Traditional Knowledge and Expression of Folklore within the framework of the African Regional Intellectual Property Organisation.

MR. F. M. SIBANDA: I need to applaud this applausable protocol engineered by the respective Minister, Hon. Chinamasa. I have a few things that I need him to explain before anything else. What is the ministry going to do to prevent herbal trafficking that is done by people who come and steal our herbs purporting to be creating botanic gardens yet they are siphoning African knowledge for their own interests? Secondly, I need to find out the relationship between the Convention and ZINATHA, vis-a-vis, Conventional Medicine and Doctors, what is the critical relationship? Before adopting this overdue protocol, I need that explained. Thank you.

THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE AND LEGAL AFFAIRS (SENATOR CHINAMASA): I thank Hon. Sibanda for his contribution and showing an interest in this subject, which generally even among lawyers is a very complex area, intellectual property. Intellectual property is that branch of the law which deals with creations and inventions. If an engineer invents a new tool or procedure, he can patent that that is intellectual property. They are also used in creating brands. Companies register Trade Marks so that you can associate the trade mark with the distinctive quality of a particular product; it could be Royco, which is a brand name. People will buy because they already associate that brand name or label with a distinctive quality of the product that is sold under that brand name. Basically, that is the branch of the law that we are dealing with.

Madam Speaker, until this protocol was negotiated, this traditional knowledge by members of ZINATHA about the medicinal properties of plants, was not subject to protection. Anyone could come and ask a member of ZINATHA which branch or root of a plant and what it cures and then go out to carry out their own research without acknowledging the source of the knowledge. What we are doing here is a new thing that is sought to be protected and has not been protected before. When we make this protocol operational, we will be able to license that knowledge by members of ZINATHA, that is, those who want their knowledge to be protected. As you know, a lot of members of ZINATHA protect it by not divulging, they do not tell anyone until they are about to die then they tell their muzukuru and hope that the muzukuru will be seized nemashavi avo ekuti vakwanise kuziva kuti muti wakati unorapa chipi and so on.

What we are doing here is that, we are going to create a platform, where those who have this knowledge can register and get their knowledge licensed so that anyone who exploit it, we can demand royalties from the person. What we are also seeking to protect is that, there are a lot of cultural dances, those movements in unique African, Ndebele, Shona or whatever tribe. The dances are also being copied and improved upon and the world renowned musicians use those movements to create their own dances and make money while the person from whom those movements were copied from earn nothing. We are talking about such dances as Jerusalem, Mbakumba and so on, they have very nice movements, which, given someone who is a world renowned musician can copy and be able to reproduce without acknowledging or paying the benefit to the people who created it. Some of the folklore expressions do not belong to individuals anymore, they belong to communities because we no longer know who the author of a particular song or expressions was. Therefore, what this protocol is about is to provide a platform for those creations to be licensed so that they can secure protection and whoever want to exploit them will have to pay money to the individuals who created them or the community who claim to be the source of the creation. In response to you Hon. Sibanda, I have already responded, that the relationship between what we are doing and ZINATHA members is that we are creating a platform for them, not to die with their knowledge, but to have that knowledge registered, licensed so that whoever wants to exploit it will have to pay.

MR. F.M. SIBANDA: I am satisfied, but I want to find out, since the introduction of ICT, where they can intrude even privacy in banking accounts, how will this protocol protect the vulnerable.

SENATOR CHINAMASA: What hon. members need to know is that, if you create or make an invention and you patent that invention, you can register it in every country in the world so that the protection is worldwide and universal. If you just register it in Zimbabwe, it means that you are not protecting it from anyone who might want to exploit it outside Zimbabwe. The procedure is that, these inventions or creations, once registered in Zimbabwe will get registered also in all those member countries which are members of the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO), which is based in Geneva. Therefore, by that registration, you now enjoy protection worldwide and if anyone anywhere wants to exploit that invention, they will have to apply to you for permission to use the invention and you can stipulate the terms and conditions and the money you want.

For instance, the exploitation of medicinal knowledge, hereby a Swiss Company, Swiss researchers, United States Company Pharmaceutical, pharmaceutical companies are very huge, when they find a remedy for fungal infections, they are going to sell their drugs worldwide and make billions of dollars. Generally, you will find that when you now charge for the exploitation, it will be a rate of the gross value, gross proceeds of any products that are produced following the use and exploitation of your invention.

Motion put and agreed to.

COMMITTEE STAGE

ELECTORAL AMMENDMENT BILL [H.B. 3, 2011]

Second Order read: Committee: Electoral Amendment Bill [H.B. 3, 2011].

House in Committee:

Clauses 1 and 2 put and agreed to.

On clause 3:

THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE AND LEGAL AFFAIRS (SENATOR CHINAMASA): I move the amendment standing in my name that;

On page 3 of the Bill, delete from paragraph (a) between lines 25 and 27 the definition of "constituency" and substitute with the following:

"constituency" means one of the ward constituencies, House of Assembly constituencies or Senatorial constituencies, as the case may be, into which Zimbabwe is divided in terms of section 100J of the Constitution;"

Amendment to Clause 3 put and agreed to.

Clause 3, as amended, put and agreed to.

On Clause 4:

THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE AND LEGAL AFFAIRS (SENATOR CHINAMASA): Madam Chair, I move the amendment standing in my name that;

On page 5 of the Bill, insert before the new section 5 ("Additional functions and powers of Commission") of the Bill as inserted by the new Part II the following new sections:

"4A Corporate status and ancillary powers of Commission

"(1) The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission shall be a body corporate capable of suing and being sued and, subject to the Constitution and this Act, of performing all acts that body corporates

may by law perform.

1. Without limiting subsection (1) but subject to this Act, for the better exercise of its functions the Commission shall have power to do or cause to be done, either by itself or through its agents, all or any of the things specified in Part 1 of the Sixth Schedule, either absolutely or conditionally and either solely or jointly with others.

4B Immunity of Commission, Commissioners, etc.

No legal proceedings shall lie against the Commission or any of the Commissioners or the Chief Executive Officer or any member of the staff of the Commission acting under the direction of the Commission or the Chief Elections Officer in respect of anything done in good faith and without gross negligence in pursuance of this Act."

On Page 5 of the Bill, in line 9 delete from the new section 5 ("Additional functions and powers of Commission") (1) (b) the words "in Government at all levels".

On page 5 of the Bill, between lines 30 and 34, delete the subsection (2), the existing subsection 5(1) becoming clause 5.

On page 8 of the Bill, insert after subsection (1) of the new section 10 ("Staff of Commission during elections"), the following subclause, the existing subclauses (2) and (3) being renumbered subclauses (3) and (4) accordingly;

"(2) The Commission shall select, screen and train all persons seconded in accordance with subsection (1) to enable the persons so seconded to discharge their functions adequately under this Act."

On page 8 of the Bill, between lines 13 and 18, delete from subsection (3) paragraph (a) of the new section 10 ("Staff of Commission during elections"), the existing paragraphs (b), (c), (d) and (e) being re-lettered paragraphs (a), (b),(c) and (d) accordingly.

After the end of page 8 of the Bill, insert after subsection (3) (now subsection(4)) of the new section 10 ("Staff of Commission during elections"), the following subsection:

"(5) For the avoidance of the doubt it is declared that the Commission may, instead of seconding persons to the posts referred to in subsection (4)(a), (c) and (d), appoint its own permanent staff to perform duties as Senatorial and House of Assembly constituency officers, ward elections officers and district special voting officers."

On page 9 of the Bill, insert before the new section 11 (Provisions to ensure independence, impartiality and professionalism of Commissioners and staff and agents of Commission") of the Bill as inserted by the new Part II the following new section:

"10A Provisions guaranteeing independence of Commission

ii. Every Commissioner and member of staff of the Commission shall perform their functions independently.

iii. The State and any private person (including a private voluntary organisation), and any other person, body, organ, agency or institution belonging to or employed by the State or any private person a local authority or otherwise, shall not interfere with, hinder or obstruct the Commission, its Commissioners or any member of staff of the Commission, in the exercise or performance of their functions.

iv. The State and any person, body, organ, agency or institution, belonging to or employed by the state, shall afford the Commission such assistance as may be reasonably required for the protection of the independence, impartiality and dignity of the Commission."

Amendment to Clause 4 put and agreed to.

Clause 4, as amended, put and agreed to.

Clause 5 put and agreed to.

On Clause 6:

THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE AND LEGAL AFFAIRS (SENATOR CHINAMASA): I move the amendment standing in my name that;

On page 12 of the Bill, delete the new subsection (6) of section 21 between lines 26 and 29 and substitute:

"(6) Within a reasonable period of the time after nomination day in an election, the Commission shall provide -

(a) free of charge, to every nominated candidate, one copy in electronic form of the constituency voters roll to be used in the election for which the candidate has been nominated; and

(b) at the request of any nominated candidate, and on payment of the prescribed fee, one copy in printed form of the constituency voters roll to be used in the election for which the candidate has been nominated."

Amendment to Clause 6 put and agreed to.

Clause 6, as amended, put and agreed to.

Clauses 7 and 8 put and agreed to.

On Clause 9:

THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE AND LEGAL AFFAIRS (SENATOR CHINAMASA): I move the amendment standing in my name that On page 13 of the Bill, in the new section 36A ("New Registration of Voters") (1), delete paragraph (d) between lines 35 and 37 and substitute the following-

"(d) the latest day upon which claims and applications for registration shall be received, which day shall not be less than sixty days and not more than six months after the day fixed in terms of paragraph (c).:

On page 13 of the Bill, in the new section 36A ("New Registration of Voters") (2), insert after line 42 the following proviso to paragraph (a):

"Provided that when a new voters' roll is produced after the conclusion of a new registration of voters ordered by the proclamation, such roll shall, with effect from such date as the Commission shall fix by notice in the Gazette, be the definitive voters' roll on the basis of which the continuous registration of voters in terms of section 17A shall be conducted; and".

On page 14 of the Bill, in the new section 36A ("New registration of Voters") (3), insert after line 10 the following proviso to paragraph (a):

"Provided that if any such person seeks (by reason of having changed his or her residence) to be transferred to another ward from the ward in which he or she was registered as voter on a voters roll immediately before the publication of a proclamation in terms of subsection (1), he or she must (notwithstanding anything to the contrary in this Act) -

a) appear before the constituency registrar of the constituency within which the ward to which he or she wishes to be transferred is

located; and

b) produce an affidavit or fill an application in the prescribed form deposing to the following facts, namely that he or she -

1. was registered as voter on a voters' roll for another (named) ward immediately before the publication of a proclamation ordering the new registration of voters; and

2. now qualifies to be registered in the (named) ward located within the constituency of the constituency registrar before whom the voter now appears; and

(b) Produce together with the affidavit or application referred to in paragraph (b) his or her proof of identity and his or her proof of residence in the ward to which he or she seeks to be transferred".

Amendment to Clause 9 put and agreed to.

Clause 9, as amended, put and agreed to.

On Clause 10:

THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE AND LEGAL AFFAIRS (SENATOR CHINAMASA): I move the amendment standing in my name that;

On page 16 of the Bill, in the new section 37C ("Electoral Centers") (4) (a), delete "("ward return")" on line 2.

Amendment to Clause 10 put and agreed to.

Clause 10, as amended, put and agreed to.

On Clause 11:

THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE AND LEGAL AFFAIRS (SENATOR CHINAMASA): I move the amendment standing in my name that;

On page 17 of the Bill, delete this clause appearing between lines 30 and 39 ad substitute the following clause:

"11 Amendment of section 38 of Cap. 2:13

Section 38 ("General, presidential and local authority elections") (1) (a) of the Principal Act is amended by the repeal of subparagraph (ii) and the substitution of the following subparagraphs -

"and

(c) a day or days, not less than forty-two and not more that sixty-three days after the nomination day or last nomination day, as the case may be, fixed in terms of subparagraph (i), on which a poll shall be taken if a poll becomes necessary in terms of section 110(2); and

(d) a day or days , not less than twenty-eight and not more than forty-two days after the polling day or last polling day, as the case may be, fixed in terms of subparagraph (ii), on which a runoff Presidential election shall be taken if such an election becomes necessary in terms of section 110(3) (f) (iii);"

Amendment to Clause 11 put and agreed to.

Clause 11, as amended, put and agreed to.

Clauses 12 to 17 put and agreed to.

On Clause 18:

THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE AND LEGAL AFFAIRS

(SENATOR CHINAMASA): I move the amendment standing in my

name that;

On page 25 of the Bill, delete subparagraph (ii) of paragraph (a) of this clause between lines 3 and 7, and substitute the following:

"(ii) In paragraph (b) by the repeal of subparagraphs (ii) and (iii) and the substitution of -

"(ii) the candidates; and

(iii) the number of election agents permitted in terms of subsection (2a); and

(iii a) police officers on duty; and ";

On page 25 of the Bill, in paragraph (d), delete the inserted subsection (7a) of section 55 and substitute the following:

"(7a) Police officers referred to in subsection (7) -

(a) shall have the sole functions of maintaining order and preventing contraventions of the law so that voters may freely cast their votes;

(b) shall not interface with the electoral processes at the polling station;

(c) when inside a polling station, shall exercise their duties under the direction and instruction of the presiding officer."

Amendment to Clause 18 put and agreed to.

Clause 18, as amended, put and agreed to.

On clause 19:

THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE AND LEGAL AFFAIRS (SENATOR CHINAMASA): I move the amendment standing in my name that;

On page 25 of the Bill, insert in the new section 59 ("Voting by illiterate or physically handicapped voters") in subsection (1) (b) the words, "and a police officer on duty" after the words "in the presence of two other electoral officers or employees of the Commission".

Amendment to clause 19 put and agreed to.

Clause 19, as amended, put and agreed to.

Clauses 20 to 24 put and agreed to.

On clause 25:

THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE AND LEGAL AFFAIRS (SENATOR CHINAMASA): I move the amendment standing in my name that:

On page 28 of the Bill, delete paragraph (b) of this clause between lines 38 and 43, and substitute the following:

"(b) By the insertion after subsection (6) of the following subsection-

"(6a) The Commission shall ensure that any recount of votes in terms of this section is completed within five days after the announcement of the last result in the Presidential, Senatorial, House of Assembly or Local Authority election, as the case may be, and that the result of the recount is announced within twenty-four hours of completion:

Provided that the Electoral Court, on application, may for good cause extend either of the periods referred to in this subsection".

MR. S. NCUBE: Thank you Madam Chair, I think section 25 needs the Minister to explain because we did not agree on the Police assisting the disabled. So can the Minister explain because we did not agree on that - [HON. MEMBERS - Inaudible interjections] - I think the Minister needs to explain so that we understand where we are going and coming from. It is not a matter of a party; we need to know where we are coming from and where we are going. The Minister is there to explain to us, we are not here to rubber stamp. It is a pity because most of the Members come here to make noise when we do not understand the law, that is why the Minister is here to explain to us.

SENATOR CHINAMASA: I am happy to explain so that we are clear on what we are approving. Currently, before we amend this law, the position is that any person who is handicapped physically or visually impaired must be assisted by a presiding officer in the presence of two polling officers and a police man. - [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections] - you are not listening. I always want to explain by first starting from the first position so that we can see what the change is. Now let me explain the change, a physically handicapped person who cannot write because of handicap, under this amendment, will be free to come with a person of his choice who is 18 years and above to assist him and because he can see, he does not need anyone else except a person of his choice to assist him.

A visually impaired person will need to bring a person of his own choice 18 years and above to assist him to put where he wants the cross to go, but there will be a presence of a polling officer to make sure that the will of that voter who can see is not being subverted by the person he trusts. As you know, in life we are always betrayed by the people we trust, Jesus was betrayed by Judas Iscariot one of his 12 disciples. So, what we are saying here is that only where you are visually impaired, you cannot see or verify whether the x has been put where you want it to be, by just bringing a polling officer to see what you are doing and to witness and to verify that your will as a voter is being respected by the person you trust.

MR. F.M. SIBANDA: I need to find out from the Minister's explanation, how does he balance the critical issue of the "secrecy" of the vote vis-à-vis by displaying the marked ballot paper to the presiding office and other officials and political agents?

SENATOR CHINAMASA: The moment someone can not see, his right to secrecy is already compromised. The fact that he is bringing a relative is already compromising. The right of secrecy means you should not tell your mother or father who you would have voted for. So, the compromise is already done and it is because of the disability and you have to create special situation and condition under which that person's right to vote can be respected.

MR. HOVE: I would like the Minister to further clarify the assertions he has just presented before us. The fact that someone's position is already compromised, does it mean you have to increase the compromise that is already in existence by including now outsiders to know how that person would have voted because if it remains within the family, I think that person is much secure because the family has always been responsible for his/her welfare and in any case, upkeep of that person who is disabled.

SENATOR CHINAMASA: The concern we are addressing is that the will of the voter must be respected, now in the case of someone who is visually impaired, we allow that he or she be assisted by a relative aged 18 years and above. I want to repeat, the people we trust are those who betray us. You cannot even trust family members because I know families where some members vote for ZANU PF and some other members vote for MDC. That should be allowed. What is important here is that although the person may be coming from a family which is ZANU PF or MDC, that person should vote as he wishes not as the relative wishes him to vote.

*MR. TACHIONA: We know that where we come from, we will be knowing whom we will be voting for, but you do not trust a person whom you do not agree with when you are making an argument, but where I do not agree is that there is someone whom the voter does not know - that one is very good that they should bring a person of their choice. The argument here is that why should someone come, whom the voter does not trust because that person might be the headman who does not like that person, so let us be transparent when it comes to this matter.

SENATOR CHINAMASA: Madam Chair, I think I have fully explained the grounds upon which this amendment is being made and it should be on a sound basis. I thank you.

MS. T. KHUMALO: My understanding of this country is that the literacy rate in this country is above 90% and we are number one in terms of literacy in Africa. My question is democracy does not come cheap, what is stopping us giving these visually impaired people the right to brail, the language that they understand, so that you can walk in there look for Senator Chinamasa or Thabita and vote?

SENATOR CHINAMASA: I thank the contribution by Hon. Khumalo and I want to say that is a direction we should go. Madam Chair, the hon. member misses one point, not every blind person can read brail, you need to be taught and I am not sure that, of the population which is visually impaired, how many can read braille. Even a person who cannot read brail, even when we introduce it, should be able to be assisted - [MS. T. KHUMALO: Are we going to have it?] - It is a project which I think we need another day.

*MR. M. SHOKO: Mine is not a serious question, but what I want to know is that, our vote is supposed to be secret but if the person who assists now divulges that information, are there any penalties for the people who divulge information?

SENATOR CHINAMASA: This is why I said in the past, there were no relatives to accompany a visually impaired person in order to maintain the secrecy of the vote of the person who is visually impaired. Now, after many calls that this was not desirable, a person should bring a person of his choice, this is why there is this departure.

As to the penalties, whether the relative discloses or not, there are no penalties but it is something that we can address later. But it is very difficult to follow up any disclosures by such people who have been entrusted with the responsibility to assist, but it is something that we can look into in the future.

*MR. MUNENGAMI: Thank you Madam Chair, I also want to add my voice on the issue of the secrecy of the voter which has been alluded to by our Minister. This also applies to Section 57 of the Electoral Bill which I have debated upon in this House that a voter, after voting, has to show that paper to the Presiding officer. That secrecy has not been maintained because what it means is that there is no secrecy in terms of voters when they go to vote. They should not show outsiders what they have voted for. This weakness is being used by all the political parties when it comes to violence because they are going there and telling people that they will know whom you will have voted for. You know how we live in our areas there, a lot of intimidation is being used because you are showing your paper to the presiding officer, so there is no point of anyone showing their ballot paper to the presiding officer because there is verification after voting. So, that clause must be removed from the Electoral Bill.

SENATOR CHINAMASA: It was raised during the Second Reading speech and I have promised to go and look into the matter and if necessary, we will come and debate it here. The point I want to make is that in an election, the integrity of the process is very important and one way to attack it is to have fake ballot papers, ballot boxes; especially when you do not know which party has stuffed the fake ballot papers into the ballot box? So, it becomes an issue where we are suspicious of each other and we can even go further to exaggerate the number of fake papers that have been found in a ballot box as if it is of universal application throughout the country.

So, there are two interests which are contenting with each other at a polling station. The need to safeguard the integrity of the process which can be attacked by finding fake things in a ballot box, then there is a need for secrecy. So, those are balancing each other, those interests conflicting and balancing each other. It is important that whatever change we want to do, we must be clear that there is no one who will raise a finger if you find fake papers in a ballot box. The requirement that we should show our ballot paper is basically to confirm to the polling officer that what you are going to put in the ballot box has a mark to show that this is a genuine ballot paper that the presiding officer has given to you. However, I want to thank you for raising it. I have already undertaken that it is an issue I am going to go into. Just a preliminary check on the internet shows that there are many countries which do that. So, I want to understand the rationale behind it and see how it relates to our situation and we should be able to come to you.

*MR. MUNENGAMI: Thank you Minister. My question is that when you are saying you are going to look into that, are you going to look into that after we have passed that Bill or you are going to do that before. If the minister is going to do that after we have passed the Bill, will that be relevant. So if the Minister is looking into this issue, he has to look into it now because the reason why the likes of Tongogara died is because they died for one man one vote. One man one vote only comes out when we have the secrecy of the voter. So what I am saying is that today, when we have removed the Smith regime and the whites, are we going to fight for that secrecy of the ballot which should be safeguarded? I want the minister to answer us whether he is going to look into that after or before - [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections] -

SENATOR CHINAMASA: Madam Speaker, I am undertaking to revisit that issue. As honourable members are aware, you are engaged in a Constitution making process and when we have that Constitution, there is going to be further amendments to the Electoral Law. I am undertaking to you that I will revisit that issue.

+MR. F. M. SIBANDA: Can we please agree before we put motions because this is an important issue. What the Honourable Minister is saying is that we are given right to a correct ballot paper then we staff the wrong one. So what is the reasoning behind that when you are given the correct ballot paper and then you staff in the wrong ballot paper. Firstly, what it means is that a true person who wants to vote cannot staff in a fake ballot paper because there is a mark seen on those papers. So at the end of the day, there are Cs which are the marks and then they will be verified, whether they have Cs. So the papers that do not have Cs will be thrown away, so let us not argue on this. The truth is that the person who has been given a ballot paper wants to use it and there is no point of then using a fake ballot paper. I think we should be frank on each other on this point.

SENATOR CHINAMASA: Madam Speaker, I have given an undertaking to revisit and I do not give any commitments lightly please. I do not give any undertakings or commitment to revisit lightly.

Amendment to Clause 24 put and agreed to.

Clause 24, as amended, put and agreed to.

Clauses 25 to 32 put and agreed to.

On Clause 33:

THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE AND LEGAL AFFAIRS (SENATOR CHINAMASA): Madam Speaker, I move the amendment standing in my name that;

On page 46 of the Bill, in the title of the new section 1331, delete "powers of Commission after investigation of alleged violence or intimidation" on lines 1 to 2 and substitute "Committee".

Amendment to Clause 33 put and agreed to.

Clause 33, as amended, put and agreed to.

On Clause 34:

THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE AND LEGAL AFFAIRS (SENATOR CHINAMASA): Madam Speaker, I move the amendment standing in my name that;

On page 61 of the Bill, in paragraph 15 ("Audit of Commission's accounts and internal auditor"), delete subparagraph 17 and 18 accordingly:

"Internal Auditor

5 (1) Section 80 of the Public Finance Management Act [Chapter 22: 19] (Act No. 11 of 2009) shall apply necessary changes to the appointment of an internal auditor to the Commission in all respects as if the Commission were a Ministry or department of a Ministry.

1. The functions of the Internal Auditor shall be -

a) to monitor the financial administration and procedures of the commission to ensure that -

(i) proper accounting and bookkeeping transactions and procedures are carried out; and

(ii) proper accounting records are maintained; and

(iii) adequate internal checks and controls are maintained; and

(iv) the assets of the commission are properly accounted for; and

(v) all instructions and directives issued in terms of section 6 of the Public Finance Management Act [Chapter 22:19] (Act No. 11 of 2009) are complied with;

(b) to asses the effectiveness of any projects undertaken by

the Commission and

(c) to perform any other function that may be assigned to

him or her by the Chief Elections Officer.

(3) In the performance of his or her functions, the internal auditor -

(a) shall have free access at all reasonable times to any

records, books, vouchers, documents and resources

under the control of the Commission; and

(b) shall have direct access to the Chief Elections Officer;

and

(c) may cause search to be made in and extracts to be taken

from any record, book, voucher or documents of the

Commission;

(d) may call upon any member of the staff of the

Commission to give, and shall be entitled to receive

without undue delay from that member, any

explanations and information the internal auditor may reasonably require to enable him or her to perform

his or her functions.

(4) If at any time it appears to the internal auditor that an offence has been committed in relation to ----

(a) the collection, receipt, custody, control or payment of any

funds of the Commission; or

(b) the receipt, custody, control, issue, sale, transfer or

delivery of any commission;

He or she shall immediately bring the matter to the notice of of the Commission, the Chief Elections Officer and any one of the persons approved by the Minister to be the Commission's external auditors in terms of paragraph 15 (1).

(5) Whenever the internal auditor has completed any internal audit programme, he or she shall prepare a report on the financial administration and accounting system of the Commission, and may include in such report any instances of hindrance or obstruction he or she has encountered in the discharge of his or her duties, and shall transmit copies of such reports to the Commission, the Chief Elections Officer and any one of the persons approved by the Minister to be the Commission's external auditors in terms of paragraph 15(1)."

Amendment to Clause 34 put and agreed to.

Clause 34, as amended, put and agreed to.

Clauses 35 to 41 put and agreed to.

On Clause 42:

THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE AND LEGAL AFFAIRS (SENATOR CHINAMASA): I move the amendment standing in my name that;

On page 62 of the Bill, insert after Sub-clause 42 the following provision to that Sub-clause:

"Provided that the date so fixed must be a date after that on which the first general elections are held after the promulgation of the Act."

Amendment to Clause 42 put and agreed to.

Clause 42, as amended, put and agreed to.

Clauses 43 and 44 put and agreed to.

House resumed.

Bill reported with amendments.

Bill referred to the Parliamentary Legal Committee.

ANNOUNCEMENT BY THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER

NON ADVERSE REPORT RECEIVED FROM THE PARLIAMENTARY LEGAL COMMITTEE.

THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: I wish to inform the House that I have received a non-adverse report from the Parliamentary Legal Committee on the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission Bill [H.B.2, 2011].

REPORT STAGE

ZIMBABWE HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION BILL [H.B. 2, 2011]

Clauses 1, 2, 4, 6, 9, 10 and 12, as amended, put and agreed to.

Bill, as amended, adopted.

Third Reading: With leave; forthwith.

THIRD READING

ZIMBABWE HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION BILL [H.B. 2, 2011]

THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE AND LEGAL AFFAIRS: I move that the Bill be now read the third time.

Motion put and agreed to.

Bill read the third time.

MOTION

BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE

THE MINISTER OF CONSTITUTIONAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS: I move that Order of the Day, Number 3 be stood over until the rest of the Orders of the Day have been disposed of.

Motion put and agreed to.

MINISTERIAL STATEMENT

MEASURES BINGE TAKEN TO IMPROVE THE POWER SITUATION.

THE MINISTER OF ENERGY AND POWER DEVELOPMENT: Madam Speaker, I have found it necessary to brief this House of elected representatives on what we are doing in the Ministry to ease power outages in the country. Zimbabweans across the country and in all spheres; from housewives to business people, have a sad story to tell about the power cuts they experience every day in their homes and in the factories.

Madam Speaker, it is the duty of Government to explain the measures we are taking to alleviate the plight of the people. The solution might not come tomorrow, but the people of Zimbabwe deserve to know that we are working flat out to mitigate the situation which deteriorated way back due to non-investment in this critical sector. There was no way we could resolve in three years, a decay process that began decades ago. Nevertheless, I rise to make public, our efforts in redressing this national challenge.

It is a challenge that has affected a cross section of people from the big corporate in Harare and Bulawayo to clinics and health centres in Chiendambuya and Gokwe; from schools in Filabusi to the ordinary power consumers in Budiriro and Pumula. It is no laughing matter, but they say the most popular words in Zimbabwe are 'Magetsi auya.' As Government and as a Ministry, we are aware of the mammoth task before us and we want to assure you that we will discharge of our national duty to the best of our ability.

1. INTRODUCTION

The power supply in the country is inadequate leading to massive load shedding in all the sectors. This is on the backdrop of :

i) No new generation capacity having been created in the country since 1984.

ii) A serious shortage of capacity in the region because of increased demand in their countries coupled with no new investment.

iii) Lack of maintenance, particularly from 1998 to 2009 leading to serious degeneration of both Generation and Transmission and Distribution infrastructure.

iv) Low and unviable tariff over the past decade (some correction made in 2011).

v) Low funding from Treasury and high level of debtors.

vi) The economic revival has put pressure on the demand for electricity and particularly on domestic consumers, who had absorbed the electricity that was available from Industry and Mining.

2. MEASURES BEING TAKEN

The measures being taken are divided into Generation capacity and supply side activities, Demand Side Management and Institutional changes. All these will work towards alleviating load shedding and increasing the power for enhanced economic activities. The supply side is further split into short, medium and long term measures.

3. GENERATION CAPACITY AND SUPPLY SIDE ACTIVITIES

3.1 Short Term (900MW)

3.1.1 Optimisation of Hwange Power Station (250MW)

Madam Speaker, Hwange Power Station has an installed capacity of 950 MW. It however has been producing between 300 to 500 MW. This is a result of poor maintenance and lack of alignment of the production facility. For example, the stage 2 turbines (generations) have a capacity to generate 220MW each, but the boilers are such that you can generate around 150MW. Improving the boilers can increase the capacity to 200MW each. Work to identify what needs to be done is underway.

Poor maintenance management is exemplified by the current saga on units 1 and 2, where we had the rotors down and management concentrated on getting them fixed without attending to ancillary equipment at the same time. Now the rotors have been repaired, but work on the stator only commenced last month. Measure3s are being put in place to avoid such sloppiness including skills enhancement and greater team work.

3.1.2 Repowering Thermals (120MW)

All the small thermals can produce, with constant coal supply 200MW, compared to the current 60 - 80MW. Short term coal supplies can be increased by more cooperation and minimal investment at Hwange Colliery Company (HCC), so that they produce the required type of coal.

Immediate steps are being taken to modify the boilers, so that they can use the same thermal coal as Hwange Power Station. This is an 18 month programme. ESSAR will lease Munyati Power Station and they have indicated that they can make it produce 140 MW.

3.2 GAIREZI HYDRO (30MW)

ZPC has applied for a licence to construct the Gairezi hydro scheme. This is estimated to cost $90m and the project will take 18 - 24 months. The licence will be issued this month and finances are being arranged. It will be necessary to work with OPC to avoid the delays of the State Procurement Board (SPB)

3.3 LUPANE COAL BED METHANE (500MW)

Madam Speaker, there is need to map and determine what resource there is in Lupane. This is then followed with the construction of a gas fired plant in Lupane. The first phase involves the drilling of exploratory wells. As soon as these wells or flaring the gas, the gas will be directed to a series of machines that generate between 5 - 10 MW. These machines will be hired from Agreko. It becomes possible to generate electricity almost immediately the wells are drilled.

After mapping and determination, a mining plan is then determined. The mining plan is then executed taking into consideration the level of resource and what it will be used for. The current proposed uses are electricity generation and fertilizer production. Mining can start immediately after resource mapping with the gas from the Mining wells also being directed to more hired machines. This term is called Temporary Generation. These will only be removed after the commissioning of the Permanent Plant.

There are 3 parties already interested in the resource mapping and determination phase, who will do it on behalf of ZPC. Funding has already been secured for this phase.

3.4 SOLAR INTO GRID (100MW)

The main thing that makes solar technology more expensive is the need to produce and store during the day for use at night, when you cannot produce. The current situation is that electricity is short during the day so there is no need to produce and store. Generating without storing will bring the tariff to between 10c-12c kw/h, which is within the current tariff structure.

Solar plants can be put up very quickly. Current discussions are centering on:

i) Should this be one plant or a number of them.

ii) Signing of Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) to buy all the power produced for a fixed period (consideration between 5-10 years).

The main issue is acceptability of Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission and Distribution Company as a party to the PPA.

3.5 SOLAR PANELS ON HOMES

Madam Speaker, we have currently agreed with a housing cooperative in Mutare that they put solar panels as part of their roofs. The electricity so generated will be used within their homes and the surplus fed into the grid. At night the homes will then be supplied by ZESA. At the end of the month, the account will then be settled depending on the power produces and consumed. The flow of electricity will be measured using a Reverse Meter.

This policy can be extended to anyone although it may be more applicable to new housing complexes as the panels will be part of the cost of the roof and therefore no extra investment required.

Solar lamps

There is a programme under the Rural Electrification Agency (REA) to produce locally solar lamps targeted to retail US$10 nor less. REA is working with local industry to make sure there is significant value addition in this project. It will then lead to localisation of technology and job creation. Designs are at an advances stage.

Treasury has provided US$1.5 million to this project, which will enable particularly school children to buy these lamps in installments. The lamps are earmarked for rural school. The involvement of industry means that a lot more solar lamps can be produces for commercial purposes to be made available to the generality of the public. These solar lamps are a good source of light when the electricity goes out.

Madam Speaker, Zimbabwe used to import as much as 500mw firm power from SNEL, EDM, HCB and AESCO. At the moment the only firm power is 100MW from HCB. The demand for electricity within the region has been growing to a point now where whatever can be produces is utilized. The likely immediate source of imports is utilized. The likely immediate source of imports is EDC and HCB. Negotiations are underway.

Botswana is likely to commission a power plant soon. EDM is being persuaded to export to us the power (50MW) they are currently exporting to Botswana.

Zambia is likely to commission Kariba North expansion next year and dialogue is taking place now. Mozambique is planning to do Temoporary Generation at their Southern Gas fields and this will add additional generation. We have registered our interest. Payments done to reduce our debts make us worth considering.

DEMAND SIDE MANAGEMENT

Prepaid Meters

The tender board awarded tenders to

1. Solahart Zimbabwe (Pvt) Ltd (Zim)

2. Nyamezela Consulting Engineers cc (RSA)

3. ZTE Corporation (China)

4. Finmark Marketing (Pvt) Ltd (Zim)

These tenders exclude Harare and Bulawayo, which are the two places with the greatest need. The tenders are for supply and fix. Contracts signed are to ensure that those who quickly install their meters are allowed to install additional ones so as to roll out as quickly as possible and not be held by laggards purely on the basis that they won a tender. It is proposed to use the same tender winners on the same performance basis for Harare and Bulawayo.

The roll out is expected to start next month (June 2012) and be completed within 10 months. The current prepaid meter platform is being upgraded to handle different types and increased number of meters.

Prepaid Meter Platform Tender

Madam Speaker, a tender was floated, adjudicated and awarded to REVMA. The adjudication process was fraudulent. All other tenderers who proposed external hosting were disqualified as it was a specific requirement that the platform be based at ZETDC. The adjudicators knew but presented RVMA as a direct supplier until (the contract signing stage when REVMA wanted to be paid 60 cents per transaction.

Discussions with State Procurement Board indicated that REVMA had not misrepresented their position, but that the adjudicators had falsely misrepresented the facts. As a result SPB could not reverse their award. The only recourse is for ZETDC to approach the Administrative Court for the nullification. ZETDC has now been directed to approach the court. Any award must now be based on those who show on the ground that they have a system that works.

Compact Florescent Lamps (CFLs)

The contract for the supply of CFLs has finally been signed (21/05/12). It is hoped that the first batch of 1 million lamps will be delivered on 30 June 2012. Installation of the lamps will commence around mid July.

The installation of the 5.5 million lamps, estimated to be complete by October 2012, will save evening peak electricity equivalent to 180 MW.

Biogas

Madam Speaker, biogas is a sustainable environmentally friendly source of energy. It is mostly used for heating and cooking purposes and thereby releasing electricity for other purposes.

A Zambian expert has been engaged for the purpose of technology transfer through the construction of prototype digesters. Three sites that have been identified are:

1. Mbare Musika - Vegetable market

2. Harare Hospital

3. Roosevelt Girls High School

There is need to identify two other users covering:

1. Farm environment

2. Domestic dwelling

The work on all these prototypes is expected to commence in June.

Local constructors are expected to gain knowledge and insight into the construction for future propagation. Treasury budgeted US$1.5 million for this purpose. The funds are sufficient to cover other educational and health institutions in all the provinces. REA is the implementation agent.

The residue after the gas has been used is very good organic fertilizer. Local industry is being involved in the manufacture/adaptation of gas stoves. The cooking system at Harare Hospital will be completely revamped.

Medium Term

Hwange and Kariba Expansion Projects (900MW)

Hwange (600MW) and Kariba (300MW) expansion projects are currently being tendered for. The tenders are due to close on 5 June 2012. (Been advised SPB moved closing date to 3 July 2012). There are now four (4) tenderers for each project. The main issues to be considered are:

1. The availability of funding to carryout projects. An alternative plan to fund Kariba South expansion has reached an advanced stage.

2. The technology to be used to create the cavity at Kariba - the type of blasting/drilling - due to the weak rock formation.

3. The Ministry of Finance had written advising abandoning the tender process at Kariba in favour of Sino hydro, following the agreement they signed with China. It is recommended to carry through with the tender as scrapping it now could cause legal complications and further delay the project.

The projects are expected to take around 48 months.

Hwange-Western Areas (1000MW)

Madam Speaker, this is a new project that will result in the construction of coal fired power stations in Western Areas Coal fields.

The Western areas coal fields concession was granted to ZPC by Cabinet in July 2010 for the purpose of attracting investors into power generation.

Promising negotiations are underway with China Railways International (CRI). The main issues are:

1. That the power plant will belong to ZPC 100%.

2. That a mining venture is formed between ZPC and CRI.

3. CRI will operate the power plant for the benefit of ZPC until the loan has been repaid.

It is estimated that the power plant will take around 3-4 years to construct, after a 6-12 month period of survey and designing.

Independent Power Producers (IPPs)

A number of IPPs have been licensed. The three big projects are Sengwa (2400MW), Lusulu (2000MW) and ESSAR (600MW).

LONG TERM

Bindura Gas Plant (2200MW)

Mozambique has discovered vast natural gas quantities in the Rovuma Basin. We have expressed our interest to have access to the natural gas.

The idea is to pipe the gas from Rovuma Basin, through the bridge at Tete to Bindura. A gas fired power station is then constructed in Bindura. A gas fired power station is then constructed in Bindura and fed into the Bindura-Songo transmission lines. (This is similar to what Ghana has done with the Nigerian Gas).

The gas pipeline then extends to Harare, where it will be piped to the residential areas for cooking purposes, (like in most of the developed countries). (This whole plan can be replaced by the Lupane CBM depending on the quantum of the resource).

Batoka (800MW)

Madam Speaker, Zambia and Zimbabwe agreed on 10 February 2012 to embark on the Batoka Hydro project with a total capacity of 1600 - 2000 MW. It was agreed to proceed on a BOT basis under the leadership of the Zambezi River Authority (ZRA). Zimbabwe agreed to pay Zambia US$ 70.8 million for the CAPCO assets. US$10 million has since been paid. Interest has been agreed at US$ 114 million and there is no repayment plan. Zimbabwe has already asked Zambia for interest not to be paid.

A detailed geological survey was done in 1994. It may be necessary to carry out some confirmatory geological survey, together with an Environmental Impact Assessment.

It is envisaged that the ZRA in consultation with the two countries will finalise the BOT framework soon so that they call for interested parties to put forward their proposals. The main issues to be considered are the legal and commercial issues and leave room for the interested parties to complete on issues like design and technology.

The Great Inga

The Great Inga hydro project is proposed on the Congo River in the DRC. This can produce upwards of 40000MW. This project is too big for the DRC and requires a regional approach. If this is constructed it will change the economic fortunes of the region. It requires strong leadership and project design skills to make all the political leaders comfortable with the project. Hydro power is cheap and it is worth the time spent on promoting it.

OTHER INSTITUTIONAL ISSUES

Funding

Madam Speaker, the funding of ZESA by treasury has been minimal, despite the provisions that have been made in the budget. A verbal agreement has been reached with the Minister of Finance to deduct the subsidy to Sable Chemicals and Government's indebtedness to ZESA against the funds paid by Treasury.

The Zimfund promise some US$30 million as urgent intervention. This money was paid in by the donor countries almost a year ago. No disbursements have been made yet.

Restructuring of ZESA

Madam Speaker, it is proposed to restructure ZESA to make it more efficient and responsive to the consumers, whilst at the same time, setting up a mechanism which will make it easy for Independent Power Producers have a level playing field. ZESA Holdings was supposed to be only an instrument of holding shares in the successor companies. Instead it morphed into a huge bureaucracy negating the very point of establishing successor companies. In 2002 the Transmission business was legislated to be separate from distribution, only to be reversed later.

It is proposed that:

1. ZESA Holdings be collapsed into a National Grid Service Company (NGSC) and move all the legacy debts to this company. It will be 100% Government owned and it will not be privatised. NGSC will be responsible for Transmission, Market and Systems Operation. It will have the "reserve supply" responsibility.

2. ZETDC will transform to Zimbabwe Distribution Company (ZDC) and be responsible for distribution of electricity.

3. Each of the companies will have a separate board which will report directly to the shareholders.

These companies will be:

Zimbabwe Power Company (ZPC)

Zimbabwe Distribution Company (ZDC)

National Grid Services Company (NGSC)

ZESA Enterprises (Pvt) Ltd (ZENT)

Powertel

Establishing an Electricity Industry

Almost 90% of all the spares and services to ZESA are from outside our borders. There is no doubt that the engineering capacity oat independence was so high and yet are not reviving it. Local content of Hwange Power Station was over 50%. ZESA has been a major consumer and the spending power it has can be used as a catalyst for the revival of the local electricity industry. On top of this, our own engineers have excelled in the region and beyond.

Madam Speaker, this requires deliberate targeting and formation of partnerships. ZENT has been improving its manufacturing capacity, for example, they now can produce 500 transformers per month. We can therefore not allow transformers from outside at the expense of knocking out this capacity. In the same vein, ZPC organised a workshop with the local industry so that they can hold each other's hands as they build the industry together. This requires flexibility in the rules of the SPB.

The projects listed under IPP indicate that even if a quarter of them are realised, it is a lot of work. This is the time to ensure that the capacity is here to tap and localise the investment resource whilst at the same time creating the much needed jobs.

Creating local capacity will soon reduce the time it takes to carryout repairs. For instance, generator 3 at Harare Power Station has been out for more than a year, with the rotor alignment waiting for its turn in South Africa so that we do not have a company that is simply there to increase overheads and the costs. We want to be able to make sure that as we and independent power producers come in, there is a mechanism to manage those people in a transparent basis to give them confidence that as they invest, they will be able to reach the market and not worry about the ZESA monopoly. Therefore, in that sense, we want to create a national grid and service company which will look after the transmission, the systems, the operations and the market when it is available.

Mr. Speaker, we are also looking at increasing, enhancing and developing our electricity industry. When Hwange power station was constructed, over 50% of the services were provided by Zimbabweans whereas right now, that capacity has been drained. We are making every effort to make sure that as all these projects take off, that the Zimbabwean companies are involved. I have already indicated to ZESA that as we proceed with Gairezi, that all the contracts will be given to Zimbabwean companies who in turn can then engage other foreign companies so that at least we continue the process of strengthening our own industry.

In conclusion, I wish to assure the House that we are aware of the plight facing the people of Zimbabwe. We share with them the grief and misery of not having a reliable power supply. I pledge to be making these ministerial statements to update the public on the progress in instituting these measures. We owe it to the people of Zimbabwe. I thank you.

MRS MASAITI: First of all, I want to thank the minister for the Ministerial Statement which he has presented to this House. I would also want to welcome the issue that the minister has said of trying to make sure that as Zimbabweans, in future, we will be able to use biogas. That is what is happening in most of the countries, even in developed countries, they have now resorted to using gas as a way of trying to make sure that there is no shortage of electricity. However, I want to find out from the minister as I have alluded to the fact that it is important that we use gas for cooking. Most of the electricity is consumed during cooking when electrical energy is converted to heat energy, that is where more electricity is consumed. If you look at households in Zimbabwe that are using electricity for cooking, that is where most of the consumption is taking place. I want to find out what the ministry is doing to raise the awareness to the people of Zimbabwe to begin to use the available gas that is already in the country for cooking instead of using electricity?

MR. CHIKWINYA: May I also take the opportunity to thank the minister for bringing the Ministerial Statement before the House. I hope that his colleagues will follow suit in the same manner. My issue with the minister is that since the inception of the Inclusive Government, the projects which the minister has talked about have been available to the public through various means, be it the media and so forth but we are not getting the funding modalities of these projects. The continuous reference to Treasury obviously tells a story that these projects will not see the light of the day any time soon. In his opening remarks, the minister said that there is nothing wrong in talking about them although they will be implemented sometime later. I think the nation is so anxious and we are operating in a crisis mode with regards to availability of electricity. So, therefore, we need you to explain to us each project versus its funding modalities.

What is the ministry's position with regards to foreign direct investment which is supposed to be directed towards energy production versus some of our policies in Government that tend to deter such investment? We are talking about the selective application of the Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment policy, as controversial as it is, also with regards to the same, the minister's take on the political rhetoric which is being thrown into the public domain especially with regards to holding of elections which again has deterrent effects with regards to investment.

The third point is that the minister at one point took a bold decision to expose the defaulters, many of whom are among this House and very senior politicians. To date, the defaulters are still enjoying power, they have not been cut off, they still owe ZESA money and the ministry is crying that it wants money. What decisive steps is he going to take to make sure that members of the Politburo, Members of Parliament present in this House who owe ZESA thousands and thousands of dollars are disconnected?

The last issue is that the human resource component in any organization makes that organization viable or not. It is a very key component of how an organization functions. This morning we woke up to threats that workers at ZESA were supposed to black out the whole country, but because of the threats by intelligence officers to the leaders of the Workers' Union of ZESA, they did not go on strike. What is the minister going to do to address the plight of the workers at ZESA?

THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Hon. members, this time is not question time, as a result, I expect you to ask pertinent questions which require the minister to respond to what he has presented to this House. So I will not tolerate any meandering, if you do not have a question, I will ask you to sit down.

*MR. RARADZA: Firstly, I would want to thank the minister for the Ministerial Statement which is very good. My question is, looking at gas, do you know that we have lots of deposits of gas in this country which is not being used but we are just talking about it? If you are aware minister, what are you doing for us to be able to use that gas? That gas can also be used to make fuel. South Africa imports gas from Mozambique. In Zimbabwe we have so many deposits of gas in this country. How are you going to know the value of gas that we have in this country? Lastly Minister, we are having problems like when you present such good statements like this, it takes a lot of time for it to be rectified, then the lack of funding in order for these projects to come to pass. This statement is very good for all the people in Zimbabwe but we want to know what you are going to do about it. Thank you.

MR. S. NCUBE: I would like to thank the Minister for bringing his Ministerial Statement to this House. Could you please tell the House how many years it is going to last tapping the gas from Lupane? The second issue, there were plans about five years ago to put pipes from Plumtree to Kwekwe, if you can enlighten us whether you still have those plans. The last issue is when actually are you going to be tapping gas to generate electricity, the electricity generated will it have the same price as the normal one we are using?

MR. MUNENGAMI: Thank you Hon. Speaker, I would like also to join my colleagues in thanking the Minister for a very good statement. But my question to the Minister is in connection with oil industry, what is the Ministry's position in as far as the transportation of oil or of fuel from Beira is concerned? From what we have heard, transporters are using road transport instead of the pipeline which we understand the pipe-line is cheaper than the road transport.

MR. CHIMHINI: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir, my question to the Minister is that the Minister has acknowledged the complications and problems relating to bill estimates. Can the Minister explain how you would want to deal with that in the short term because there has been an outcry in terms of bill estimates?

THE MINISTER OF ENERGY AND POWER DEVELOPMENT (MR. MANGOMA): Thank you Mr. Speaker, Hon. Masaiti has asked about the biogas and the use of gas generally. I think the issue of gas right now is a question of price. Gas is considered to be more expensive than electricity therefore, more people shun from it. But as more and more we are moving through to it, we are trying to encourage those because we have now started licencing players, the people who are involved in the gas industry and we are encouraging them through the Zimbabwe Energy Regulatory Authority to start promoting it.

Also Zimbabwe Regulatory Authority has a good mandate though minimal mandate of promoting the use LPG gas that is available. The essence of what we want to do is to say, how much gas do we have at Lupane so that we actually know. This is the resource mapping I was talking about. When we know we then know whether it can support what sort of industries. The main thing we are earmarking is for the generation of electricity. If there is any surplus, it will be used for the manufacture of fertilizer. If there is any surplus, we will then be able to pipe it into the homes and other industries that need it.

As a backdrop, Members will know that in Mozambique they have discovered probably the 5th largest reserve of natural gas and we have already expressed our interest to say that in the event that our gas is not sufficient will they have any objection for us to pipe that gas to Zimbabwe and most of it will then be used for household use so that we can do like what they do in all developed countries, that using piped gas for heating and cooking in our homes. So that is how we are looking at the gas. So in short I am also answering Hon. Ncube and Hon. Rararadza.

As far as the implementation plan is concerned, our intention is to go to tender this month or next month so that we can get people who can do resource mapping so that we know what gas we have got. I have indicated that at the same time that they are drilling for resource mapping, that gas that comes out, we are going to channel it to what I am calling temporary generators so that we start generating electricity from it. The initial timetable I have got is that from January next year we will start to have electricity being generated from gas in Lupane. So from that time until we have done the mining and we have actually constructed a gas plant, we will be using these temporary generators to generate electricity and what we will do is to switch from temporary generators to the bigger generator at the time of commission but we can start using and utilise our gas as I have indicated from January next year. So that is the implementation plan, we are not looking at many other things that will derail us.

I will then go to Hon. Chikwinya about how really many of these things are going to be funded. I want to be able to indicate that a lot of these we are already well much advanced in the way of funding them. The optimisation of Hwange power station, this one is going to be done by internal resources over the period that we are looking at and an internal resource also means us borrowing from the local institutions even if they go the other way.

Our issue of putting up pre-paid meters is that we will be ensuring that all the electricity consumed is paid for, not only paid for but paid for in advance. Therefore because there is a secure income stream for those in business we will know that this enables you to be able to collateralize or to use it as security for borrowings. So that becomes the source that will enable us to do many of those things. The repowering of the small thermal power stations, India has offered us some lines of credit. We have written to them and we are waiting and their ambassador phoned me last week and next week I am probably meeting people from India so that we progress this matter. So that will cover the two of the three small thermal power stations and the one we are leasing to ESSAR who have an obligation to refurbish it. So that way that will be done. Gairezi - it is 90 million dollars, this one we are securing the source of funds most of it locally and part of it will be, as I have indicated, we have sufficient money to start and we are going to be breaking ground in September. So, that one is already on its way. The coalbed methane, as I have indicated, we already have the money for the resource mapping. But when we are doing the temporary generation, we are hiring the generators and because the gas is ours, we only pay for the hired generators when they start producing electricity which it turn will then be paid for. So, this becomes self funding after the initial amount of money for resource mapping which we have got. So, this one is already done. So, when the gas reserves are then known, we can securitise some of them or go into a joint venture with someone who wants it to be able to build the bigger plant and there are already people who are interested. So, what we need is to have the knowledge of what resource we have got.

On the solar grid, we are looking at supplier credit and because there is a surplus of solar and people want to dispose of this - there were already enough stocks that the suppliers can supply us. Solar panels on the homes, this will be done as I said there is a cooperative that is being funded by a Dutch outfit and that is where the source of the funds is going to be. The solar lamps is a commercial venture. What Treasury is doing is giving us what we call seed-money to be able sell to the school children and other rural people on terms, so, it is really bridging funding. Because we are involving the private sector, most of the funding is going to come from there.

The issue of workers, workers will be disgruntled everywhere but this is being handled by management. So, they should not worry that there will be a blackout because there will not be a black out. The issue of estimates of bills, again at the moment the capacity of ZESA, they are reading up to 80% of the bills and they have assured me that no consumer will have assessed bills consecutively. If they do an estimated bill this month, next moth they will actually do an actual reading, so that way they will be able to cover all the consumers.

An hon. member asked about what we are doing about defaulters. Everybody as a consumer, they are being treated equally. Most of those people who were switched off and who owe large sums were put on terms. Those who were not and could not be put on terms are still switched off as I speak.

Finally Hon. Munengami you asked about the transportation of oil from Beira. We have got sufficient capacity on the pipeline to transport over 120 million litres per month and that capacity is not being fully utilized at this stage although the utilisation of the pipeline is way over 100 million litres at this stage and what we are now looking at is how we can expand that capacity. There is a possibility of putting up a second pipeline. Anyone who is using the road is charged a road levy of 4 cents per litre. Therefore, there are very few people using the road from Beira. I think in that sense, the transportation of oil is still very good.

So, you can see that a lot of these short term projects Mr. Speaker, we actually have got the resources for them, we are not looking at Treasury. All I have been actually trying to highlight is that despite money having been promised to ZESA we actually are working without money from Treasury. I thank you Mr. Speaker.

SECOND READING

OLD PERSONS BILL [H.B.1, 2011]

Fourth Order read: Older Persons Bill [H.B. 1, 2011].

THE MINISTER OF LABOUR AND SOCIAL WELFARE: Thank you Mr. Speaker. The First World Assembly on Ageing was held in Austria, Vienna in 1982. This gave rise to the International Plan of Action on the Ageing. This initiative sought to secure the rights of older persons to facilities such as housing, health, education, employment and income security as well as social welfare. Zimbabwe subsequently adopted this plan of action.

This Vienna Assembly was followed up by Second World Assembly on the Ageing in Madrid, Spain, in 2002. A Political Declaration and International Plan of Action on the Ageing to implement the Declaration were adopted. Again Zimbabwe adopted the Declaration and its Plan of Action.

A key part of the Political Declaration after the Madrid International Plan of action on ageing reads; "We commit ourselves to eliminate all forms of discrimination, including age discrimination. We also recognise that older persons, as they age should enjoy a life of fulfillment, health, security and active participation in the economic, social, cultural and political life of their societies"

We are determined to enhance the recognition of the dignity of older persons and eliminate all forms of neglect, abuse and violence. In this regard the Older Persons Bill forms part of our Social Protection strategy to provide for the needs of the elderly. This is made more important because currently, after working for most of their lives and contributing to the country's economic development there is no specific Social Security mechanism or pension covering the generality of older persons. Also older persons remain the only category of vulnerable persons whose well-being is not provided for by an Act of Parliament. The Disabled are covered by the Disabled Persons Act (Chapter 17.01) and children by the Children's Act 9 (Chapter 5.06).

CURRENT STATUS

After wide consultations the whole country over, a Bill was drafted to cater for the needs, rights and interests of the Oder Persons. The Bill serves to provide for the well-being of the older persons by providing for the appointment and functions of a Director of Older Persons Affairs; establishment and functions of the Older Persons Board; and provide for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto.

The key objective is to enact legislation that facilitates for accessible, equitable and affordable services to older persons and empower them to continue to live meaningfully and constructively in a society that recognises them as an important source of employment and expertise. Most critically the Bill provides for eligibility to a means tested Social Welfare Assistance to indigent or destitute older persons. The preferable option would have been a universal pension provision for all older persons but this is not sustainable under the current economic environment. The Bill also provides for the establishment of the Older Persons Fund and the purpose of the fund.

Thus, this Bill is therefore attached and presented to this august House. I thank you Mr. Speaker.

MRS ZINYEMBA: Mr. Speaker, I am presenting the report of the Portfolio Committee on Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare.

1. Introduction

The Portfolio Committee on Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare is the Committee which does the analysis, scrutinisation of all the Bills that fall under the Ministries of both Public Service and Labour. It comprises a number of honourable members who are Hon. Chibaya, Hon. Chirongwe, Hon. Chivamba, Hon. Garadhi, Hon. Goto, Hon. Gwiyo, Hon. S. S. Khumalo, Hon. T. Khumalo, Hon. Mahlangu, Hon. Mudau, Hon. Tazviona and Hon. Zinyemba who is the Chairperson.

The Older Persons Bill H. B. 1, 2011 was published, as already mentioned by the Minister, on the 9th of September, 2011 and was ready for the first time in the House of Assembly in February 2012.

In terms of S.O. No 160 c once gazetted the Bill stands referred to the relevant portfolio Committee. The Portfolio Committee on Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare therefore reviewed the Older Persons Bill with a view to make recommendations to the House. The Committee consulted the public through public hearings funded by HELPAGE Zimbabwe in Zvishavane and Goneso in Hwedza. Due to financial constraints the Committee was unable to visit the other eight provinces in Zimbabwe, although it was part of the action plan to do so. Through the public hearings, the public and especially the elderly who are the recipients of this Bill were afforded an opportunity to air their views on the Bill. The Committee feels that the Bill is long overdue.

2.0 Committee Findings

Below are the major findings of the Committee on the Bill.

2.1 Stigmatisation and Abuse

The Committee noted with concern that the Bill does not address the issue of abuse of older persons effectively. Older persons are being abused. People do not take them to be very important people, people who can contribute, people who can be of any use. Older persons are being abused financially, emotionally and even physically sometimes. In most towns you will find that when people are very old even their off springs just start saying that I think my mother is a witch just because one has perhaps over lived. Older persons are being abused by the family members and also by Government and private institutions that are supposed to give support to the old people. The Committee was informed in Hwedza that due to cultural perception and a high level of informalisation in Zimbabwean economy, older persons especially women are discriminated against on the basis of gender. Older women are thus the most vulnerable and most susceptible to abuse and violence. They are mostly accused of witchcraft when they are old. So all in all the Committee was quite appreciative of the Bill but despite that there was other aspects where the Committee felt needed some bit of amendments.

2.2 Membership to the Board

Clause 4 of the Bill provides for the establishment of an Older Persons Board composed of members appointed by the minister from different organisations and associations. The Committee noted that the majority of the board as provided in the bill is not comprised of older persons. During the public hearings the elderly highlighted that the Board to represent older persons should be comprised of the elderly as they are the ones familiar with issues affecting them. They further noted that the Board should have older persons constituting two thirds of the representation and it should consist of a medical doctor and one person of a legal background. There should be a help desk for the elderly persons at district level and all institutions that give services to the old people.

2.3 Identification of Beneficiaries

Clause 9 of the Bill states that the older persons fund will be open to those who are handicapped either physically or mentally, suffer continuous ill health, are dependent on destitute or indigent persons and those deemed to be in need of social welfare assistance by the director. The Committee noted that this discriminates against older people who are not included in the criteria but equally in need of such assistance. The public, during the hearings in Zvishavane and Hwedza Gonese, expressed concern on the criterion proposed in the Bill. The Committee was informed that the elderly should be given a monthly universal pension and food hampers to sustain them as most of them are not being looked after by their children and the pensions should be lifelong and non- discriminatory. The pensioners should be exempted from service charges by banks as the charges take away a significant portion of the paltry pension payouts.

2.4 Implication of HIV/AIDS on older persons

The Committee noted that the bill is silent on the issue of HIV/AIDS as older persons are the ones taking care of children orphaned by the pandemic. Older persons are burdened with looking after orphaned children due to HIV/AIDS pandemic and further highlighted that older persons should be assisted in looking after orphans and paying for their school fees and accessing identity documents for orphans under their care.

The Committee observed that in most communities affected by AIDS, older people are the primary cares of the sick and of large numbers of orphaned grandchildren.

2.5 Traditional family structures

The Committee observed that although the family remains the important source of support for older people, family structures are changing and traditional patterns of care are no longer guaranteed. This has left the older persons vulnerable.

2.6 Support from the department of Social Services

The Committee noted that social protection programmes are there in Zimbabwe and they are only targeting the poor without special attention to the peculiar needs of older persons. The elderly indicated that Government should ensure the provision of basic social services like safe water within reasonable distances in rural areas and the older persons should be classified as a vulnerable group.

2.7 Health issues affecting the elderly

The Committee was informed of discrimination in health facilities against older people. On factors affecting the health of the elderly, the elderly emphasized that Government should develop basic care facilities for the elderly and should access medical assistance and medication for free in both public and private health institutions. The elderly emphasised that medication for chronic illnesses should always be made available at clinics and hospitals. Walking aids like wheelchairs and walkers should be free for the elderly.

2.8 Definition of the older persons

During the analysis of the Bill the Committee noted that there is need to consider 60 years as the old age in Zimbabwe. The Committee was informed that the age for one to qualify as an older person should be benchmarked at 60 years in tandem with the retirement age. There were also suggestions that for one to qualify as an older person they should be 50years of age and above whilst others suggested 65years as the cut off age.

3.0 Other Issues Raised by the Participants:

3.1 The Participants highlighted that there should be an Older Persons Fund in recognition of the economic contribution to the nation by the older persons, be formally or informally.

3.2 The elderly in Zvishavane emphasised that they should be given preference of service in public institutions like banks as they are the senior citizens. It was further noted that the elderly should access transport services free of charge. It was emphasised that the elderly should be assisted in accessing identity and travelling documents for themselves.

3.3 The old people emphasized that buildings in Zimbabwe are hardly designed or constructed with older persons in view. They recommended that buildings and transport facilities should be designed in a way which takes into cognisance the limitations of older persons that come with age.

3.4 The Committee was informed that Government should take full responsibility in assisting the older persons while Non-Governmental Organisations complement efforts by Government. It was also intimated that there should be a Ministry or department within the Ministry of Labour and Social Services representing the interests of older persons in Zimbabwe.

3.5 The elders also emphasized that NSSA pension payouts should be increased.

4.0 Recommendations

The Committee made the following recommendations.

4.1 The Committee recommended that clause 4 of the bill be amended by ensuring that two thirds of the Board comes from the elderly and must be appointed by the minister based on their curriculum vitaes.

4.2 The Committee recommends that the bill should have a provision for older persons to have access to National Aids Council fund to cater for HIV/AIDs orphans.

4.3 The Committee recommends universal assistance for all older persons from Government

4.4 The Committee recommends 60 years as the definition of an older person in Zimbabwe.

4.5 The Committee recommends that older persons in Zimbabwe should have free medical care.

5.0 Conclusion

In conclusion, the Committee is in support of the bill with the proposed recommendations. The Committee emphasizes on the need of a legislation addressing the concerns and the needs of older people as they are facing challenges. The Committee feels that this Bill is important as it affects the whole nation. In future the rule of wider consultations must be observed by the administration of Parliament.

MR. MAHLANGU: I stand up to second or support Hon. Zinyemba our Chairperson of the Committee on the Public Service, Labour, and Social Welfare. First of all, I would like to thank the Minister of Labour and Social Welfare Hon. Gwanyanya on coming out with the Older Persons Bill. I think the House will agree with me that this Bill was long overdue. I think it is actually the first time for this country since independence to be serious on the welfare of older persons.

As you know, of late, the issue of older persons was being politicised. We have been making political promises on the older persons every time when there is a campaign; we will give them this and that. That was not enforceable because there was no law to force us to do so. The good part about it is that we now, as a country are going to have a law to protect older persons and I am happy that this proposed Bill is in the safe hands of a trade unionist. Hon. Gwanyanya has been a workers activist for a long time. She has a passion for poor people and knows what their needs are.

Minister, you have said that the Government will not be able to introduce a universal pension because of our economic hardship. I think as a Committee, we also took that into consideration because we do not think that this country is going to remain as it is. We are seeing a better future for this country. When you are crafting a law, you do not have to craft a law that is going to rule us for now. We hope and think that Zimbabwe, one day, is going to come out of the mess, the economic mess where it is today. We also believe that one day we are going to have resources to take care of our vulnerable people in the society. By vulnerable persons, I mean also the older persons. So when we proposed the universal pension, we took into consideration also that the time we start selecting the older person to say that one is rich and the other is poor, that will be a serious discrimination on our part.

In shona they say "sekaurema wafa". Today I might be a Member of Parliament in this Parliament being Mahlangu as I am, being a nice boy, driving a car, being proud of myself and people being proud of me, but I do not know about the future of Mahlangu. I might be found in the streets of Harare picking food in the bins. You will never know. I do not know about my future. Our future is in the hands of God, all of us here. When we talk about not actually selecting who is going to benefit, let us not consider the status of a person because now I am almost reaching 40 years and by the time I reach 60 years, the pattern of life changes every day. We do not know what is going to happen tomorrow.

While we are proposing this universal pension, we are saying that let us not consider the status of a person in the society. Even people like Chiyangwas that have money today, tomorrow might need the Government assistance you may never know. That is why I am saying the saying that says " sekaurema wafa" means that we do not know what will happen tomorrow. That is why we are proposing the issue of the universal pension, that it should be considered and that there should be no discrimination what so ever.

I am coming to the issue of the proposed issue of age. Your proposal of age Minister is 65 years. We looked at our country Zimbabwe, that the life expectancy, if I am not mistaken, is now 37 years and for someone to go up to 60 years, it is a mammoth task. Even myself, I think I am doubting and now I am actually going to 40 years. I do not know whether I will be 60 years.

In other countries for example, the United Kingdom, life expectancy is around 60 years to 80 years and so on, but in our country it is now 37 years. So, we also considered our life expectancy also. Our economic situation, the economic situation also affects the life of a person. Also the health delivery system affects the life of a person. We have the old people that go to hospitals, of course they are given free medical assistance by our Government hospitals, but at the end of the day, they fail to access drugs that are needed. So, we also looked at that, that as a country, we are failing to look after our older persons.

So, that is why we are also considering the 60 years. I know that it is a burden on your part because it increases the level of responsibility.

Then Minister, on stigmatisation and abuse, it was also mentioned on the issue of the family abusing the old persons. I just want to say that amongst us here, we have also people that abuse their mothers and fathers that are old. We have seen it on television dramas, that people not taking care of their parents, these are old people that need your care. So, what we are saying is that, my own proposal, I think the family needs to play a key role in terms of the welfare of the old persons. In this country if you have a child with someone and you fail to take care of that child, if that woman goes to the courts and claim for maintenance, you will be forced to pay maintenance for that child.

I think now there should be a law that should be crafted to say that failure to take care of your parents is a crime, because that person brought you up. We are now a Member of Parliament today. We come here wearing suits pretending that all is well but I take you back to your village - your mother is suffering. So, we are appealing that, instead of depending on the Government alone, which is also burdened with a lot of challenges, we are proposing also to encourage the support of the family in terms of caring for the older persons.

Still on the health issues Minister, like what the Chairpersons said, it has been discovered that yes, the Government has given the older persons free medical support at Government hospitals, but if they go to these hospitals, they are failing to access drugs. So, they are forced to go to the pharmacies, but they will not be having that money to go and buy those drugs. So, at the end of the day, they remain wanting. Our proposal Minister is that as it was mentioned, I want to emphasise the issue of the Government and the private hospitals, that they should prioritise the medication of the older persons from any other persons to make sure that they also access drugs in these hospitals free of charge. I think that one is very critical and important.

On the issue of the universal payment which you mentioned, we have also a test-case Minister, when you look at our region in Africa. We have South Africa and Botswana. When you go to South Africa, an older person is accessing R1 200 in universal pension per month from the Government. You go to Botswana, they are getting P700. So, I think as a country, we are not in isolation from other countries. Yes, we might be having our own problems Minister, I think we have a lot that we can do to off-set these challenges.

There are a lot of resources that are being wasted in this country which are supposed to go towards the welfare of our vulnerable people, including the older persons. We have our diamonds in this country. Our diamonds, the natural resources of this country, should actually take care of these people. Our natural resources are a national heritage of our people which should do a lot in terms of assisting our Government. Even your Ministry, instead of being donor dependent, we should also depend on our own resources as a country.

I know your Ministry is entirely dependent on donors because of lack of Government support, I think it is high time that the Government should take a major responsibility in terms of the welfare of the older persons.

Without much ado Minister, I just want to thank my Committee, the Committee of Labour, Public Service and Social Welfare for the public hearings that we did in Zvishavane and Hwedza. As the Chairperson mentioned, because of resource constraints, we failed to do our hearings across the whole country. I think we were going to come out with some of the strong recommendations on the welfare of the older persons. Thank you very much Mr. Speaker Sir.

MRS. MATAMISA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir, for affording me this opportunity to add my voice to the Older Persons Bill that has been brought to this House by the Hon. Minister of Labour and Social Welfare.

I really would want to thank the Hon. Minister for taking the responsibility to show that she is a responsible woman. She cares about our elderly. Mr. Speaker Sir, the Older Persons Bill is meant to cater for the elderly of society. The elderly, as I look at them, these are the people who have worked for this nation. These are the people who built the nation to what it is today but unfortunately, some of them are now being neglected by their kith and kin. As a result, the nation has to take charge. It has to come in to rescue our elderly in society.

I have been listening whilst the Members of the Portfolio Committee narrated how they went about with their public hearings and their results. I have been saying to myself, oh my God, yes these people went and unfortunately because of the economic situation which is affecting the performance of Parliament, they could not go as they would have wanted. One would have wished that they had travelled led the length and breadth of Zimbabwe to see how the elderly of society are living.

In some areas, we have got old people's homes, it is absurd; you can not call them homes. It appears to be a place where they are just placed to wait for their time to be called by the Almighty. I am afraid as a nation if we look at our elderly in this manner. We are doing ourselves a disservice because we are what we are because of these people. I listened to the minister when she talked about putting in place a board to oversee the issues pertaining to the elderly people. I questioned myself, how effective the board would be because looking at other boards that have been put in place in other institutions; the boards have tended to swallow all resources that are supposed to service the group. I do not know how the hon. Minister will deal with that issue to ensure that board members do not give themselves exorbitant allowances. We cannot call them salaries because they are supposed to be people who have got their own means who are just coming to help out. Therefore, I hope the board will not take much of the resources once the fund is put in place so that the elderly of the society will benefit.

Also looking on the issue of exemption in various areas of services, some ministries have delved into exempting the elderly from paying leases for their houses built in towns; banks are not charging tax on accounts of the elderly. Unfortunate enough, we have ZESA, ZESA is charging to the last cent, if not with surcharges. ZESA is charging rural electrification on the elderly who are supposed to be looked after by the community. I fail to understand the grounds on which they are doing this. I have moved from office to office trying to enquire why it is not possible for ZESA not to fully exempt, but to cut what they take from these people. If they want to charge them on services rendered, why should they make the elderly pay for rural electrification when they themselves are looking for someone to look after them. It is a cause for concern Mr. Speaker Sir.

Also to add to that, it is my hope that Zimbabwean economy recovers sooner or faster than it is doing now because I do not seem to see any recovery as of now. Without economic recovery, taking care of our elderly will remain a dream and we will never achieve it. After this has been put into law, we would want to see that Government takes care of its people fully by ensuring that there is free medical provision for the elderly people at all health institutions, be it private hospitals or whatever. These people have served the nation and they deserve the best from this Government.

Taking from the Committee Mr. Speaker Sir, I would also want to add that, Government must see to it that the elderly are not abused by their daughters who are going out and bring young children to be looked after by grandparents. Sometimes they do not even leave enough food for them. As it is, this year there is drought in most parts of Zimbabwe. The elderly, the little they are given to feed themselves by whoever comes their way, have to feed those grandchildren. Therefore I am saying, at the end of the day we want to say daughters, please stop bringing your children to your mothers if you cannot look after them. If you cannot provide a better life for your parent, why should you bring your children to overburden that same parent who looked after you? I think when we are old enough, we need rest. We have taken care of our children and we need to rest and enjoy the fruits of our energy, but it is not happening in the lives of most of the elderly people out there. We would want to see it changing. So I would urge the Government to take some action towards that.

The most important thing, if resources permit, I would want to see Government implementing as a matter of urgency a universal pension scheme and this I would urge them to start with those who are above 70 because the resources are not there. Therefore, I am saying if they start with those 70 year olds and above, they are fewer, so they can be catered for whilst the 65 year old up to 69 years can still work for themselves. I know because I have seen them. They can still go to the fields, they can still do one or two jobs to make sure that they survive, but those who are beyond 70, definitely, Government must do something so that when time comes when the nation has enough resources, we will move backwards to say let us cover people from 66 years. That is what it should do. Government has to take charge. The elderly are people and they worked for Zimbabwe's development. Therefore, it is Government's duty to take care of them. Mr. Speaker Sir, I would want to thank the hon. Minister for coming up with this Older Persons Bill to this august House and I hope it gets the attention that is due to it. I thank you.

MR. F.M. SIBANDA: With your indulgency Mr. Speaker Sir, I know my colleagues might be touched, but I want to be very brief because we want to rest. I have two things Mr. Chairman. Scientific research by World Health Organisation (WHO) has put the life expectancy of Zimbabweans at the following ages, women 30 years, men 34 years, because of various reasons such as pandemic diseases, food, or lack of care. The idea is that our life expectancy as women is 30, men 34. I have to be practical. I am one of the senior members of Parliament in this august House; hence possibly I sit at the front bench, which is recognition of being a senior citizen. The issue is I needed to coin the Older Persons Bill to read as follows: 'Senior Citizens Bill'. It has got some dignity that it deserves. We have to run away from that, we have traditions inherited from other retrogressive countries. Zimbabwe is dynamic and progressive, therefore we should be innovative to move with times and age of the nation. I would have loved the Minister to have consulted widely. The Labour and Social Welfare Portfolio for which I have been a member but technically I left for other assignments in another very powerful Portfolio.

So the issue here is that we need to be pragmatic, magnanimous and also scientific that we have to say it is a Senior Citizens' Bill. It gives respect for people of my age. I am 65 years old and I do not believe I am vulnerable. I have been a worker and I am still very active. Let us not always believe old people have no value, but the issue we have to start whilst you are young.

You work for your pensions, your prosperity and also have good relations for your own people. African virtue talks much about the extended family. In cities, the extended family is very difficult. So, let us urge our people. Lawyers like Mwonzora, to have a rural home where they will retire where there are no rates. What does it make that you do not have a field, you do not have cattle but at the end of the day, you should go and retire where you have got very big land free of charge.

The problem is that we have so much organised that we have become a burden to the municipality and to the government. Handouts at a tender age inculcates a syndrome of laziness. Let us inculcate the syndrome of handouts when we are old. Let us balance extended family and handouts.

Lastly, not the least, I urge that we follow Botswana as Hon. Mahlangu has said. There is this word tandabale which is a Tswana word which means mudyandigere, ndakararangizihlalele nginabe ngisabalaleTandabale: it will be recognition that we have a service for the nation for 45 years to 60 years but then at the end of the day, look how strong I am. I have been fed and I have been cultured to work on my own.

Botswana pays people naturally and they are vulnerable. I need to differ very slightly with Hon. Mhlangu who says it should be universal. Those people like Mwonzora, the lawyers who have made money should be self sufficient because the moment you say everybody, we are encouraging laziness and also handouts; let us make our people responsible for their old age so that they should never be a burden to the country.

We are about 13 to 15 million Zimbabweans and if all of us tend to be 65, who would manage. The capacity of any government would be surmountable so I thank you very much that industrialization together with mechanization also reduces labour. Where there were 30 laborers, when we use mechanization, there will remain 4. So, that dichotomy of industrialization makes us to be unemployed. Therefore, let us also create our safety nets so that the moment I get 40 years, I have somewhere where I can rest for the few years to come.

Lastly, let us remember 65 years is too much. Most of our colleagues will not be there. Let us zero it at 50 years as the minimum for a pension for the old people esiti itandabale. I thank you.

MR MANGWANA: Mr. Speaker Sir, I rise congratulate the Minister responsible for Labour and Social Welfare for bringing such an important piece of legislation before this House. I happen to have been a Minister in that office and I happen to have also put my thoughts to this Bill but I was surprised that after leaving that Ministry in 2005, 7 years after, this Bill had not found its way to this House, indicating reluctance on the part of national government to take responsibility for our old people.

This reluctance is premised on the basis of inability to support the old people. It is not a matter of choice that one becomes old it is natural progression and therefore there should never be a situation where a Government says we cannot afford to look after our elderly. It is a must because they have participated and played a role in the construction of the economy. That same economy that we are now saying cannot support them.

We must be seen to be taking recognition of the fact that we were born, we were raised, educated and given strength by the same people we are now saying are old and useless. We must take responsibility for them and we must look after them.

Our social development is such that we no longer have the cultural devices based on our customs which used to look after our elderly. Very few old people are now being looked after by their own siblings. We are aware that between 1990 and particularly 2005 we lost almost a whole generation of children through the AIDS pandemic. There were no ARV drugs which could lengthen lives, there were no protections, there was no knowledge about how we could protect our own people from dying, so the very same old people who used to look towards their own children to look after them, have not one to look after them.

We saw the White Community setting up old people's homes, setting up Trusts which could look after the old people. They knew that at some stage or the other the human being become very selfish from the time someone have his own family, he tends to look after their own children and their own wives forgetting their mothers and their fathers. Therefore, who shall then look after them if the state does not take responsibility?

We have resources. How one uses resources is a matter of prioritization. You can decide that the US$100 I have, I shall spend it on beer or after looking after my old people. For the government to say we cannot afford, they will not be serious. If they decide to take part of the money they raise as taxation to look after the old people, I think they can.

I consider being old as being disabled. If we think that the disabled need attention, the old people also are disabled. That is the time when they do not have enough energy to work and that is disability. That is the time that it will become hard for them to hear and that is the time that they will lose their sight. That is the time when they get affected by diseases like diabetes and high blood pressure and that is the time that they require more social assistance like children.

So, if we have laws and rules which compel us to look after children, we say according to our law, the High Court is the guardian of all children. We must also say the state is the guardian of all our old people. Coupled with that is the responsibility to look after the old people. I am sure that every right thinking citizen should support this Bill and all arguments about capacity, ability or so on, it is a question of reluctance to do so.

All other countries which have mineral resources have social security nets, right, we provided social security. We can through social security mechanisms create a fund to look after the elderly when they get old. We must make sure that coupled with the provisions of Social Assistance under NSSA, we create a fund for the elderly. It is a question of innovating. So the idea of saying we do not have money, let us get the law into being then we start thinking how to fund it. I thank you Hon. Minister for this noble debate.

Motion put and agreed to.

Bill read a second time.

Committee: With leave; forthwith.

COMMITTEE STAGE

OLDER PERSONS BILL [H.B. 1, 2011]

House in committee.

Clauses 1 to 3 put and agreed to.

On Clause 4:

MRS ZINYEMBA: The Committee considered the issue that the board should consist of two thirds of old people so that they are fully represented.

THE MINISTER OF LABOUR AND SOCIAL WELFARE (MS. MPARIWA): Thank you Madam Chair. On Clause 4, the Ministers appointments can actually make sure that the majority of the board members are older persons and I think this is the concern of the Committee because this Bill is about the older persons so there is no way the Minister can appoint persons that are not focused to the real objective of this particular paper.

Clause 4 put and agreed to.

Clauses 5 to 8 put and agreed to.

On Clause 9:

MRS ZINYEMBA: The Committee said that whoever is appointed because of his/her age should not be discriminated for any reason that he is rich or he has children in London.

THE MINISTER OF LABOUR AND SOCIAL WELFARE (MS. MPARIWA): Thank you Madam Chair, stigmatisation and abuse are also mentioned in that particular part of the Bill and this is discrimination and it is also a criminal offence under the Act and civil action can also be instituted for remedial action or purposes and taking children to courts or maintenance can be shocking to many, these days. However, as change in attitude takes place then the law can take its course. So I do agree with the point of the Committee and there is no reason why as a law that we are putting in place we can not protect our own.

Clause 9 put and agreed to.

Clauses 10 to 14 put and agreed to.

House resumed.

Bill reported without amendments.

Third Reading: With leave; forthwith.

THIRD READING

OLDER PERSONS BILL [H.B.1, 2011]

THE MINISTER OF LABOUR AND SOCIAL WELFARE: Mr. Speaker, I now move that the Bill be read the third time.

Motion put and agreed to.

Bill read the third time.

On the motion of THE MINISTER OF LABOUR AND SOCIAL WELFARE, the House adjourned at Twenty Five Minutes past Five O'clock p.m. until Tuesday, 17th July, 2012.

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National Assembly Hansard Vol. 38 NATIONAL ASSEMBLY HANSARD - 12 JULY 2012 VOL. 38 NO. 47