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NATIONAL ASSEMBLY HANSARD 13 MARCH 2019 VOL 45 NO 41

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PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE

Wednesday, 13th March, 2019

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

PRAYERS

(THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER in the Chair)

ANNOUNCEMENTS BY THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER

PETITION RECEIVED

          THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: I have to inform the House that on 25th February, 2019, Parliament received a petition from Mr. Ezekiel Hleza, requesting Parliament to urgently exercise its constitutional power on the Public Service Commission and the Minister of Primary and Secondary Education to obey a labour Court order issued on 28th September, 2018, as required by Section 164 (3) and 200 and 203 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe.

          The petition was deemed inadmissible and the petitioner has since been notified. 

APOLOGIES RECEIVED FROM MINISTERS

          THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER:  I have to inform the House that I have received apologies from the following Ministers and Deputy Ministers;

          - Hon. K. Kazembe – The Minister of Information Communication Technology and Courier Services;

          - Hon. P. Kambamura – The Deputy Minister of Mines and Mining Development;

          - Hon. D. Marapira – The Minister of State in Hon. Vice President K. C. D. Mohadi’s Office;

          - Hon. M. Ndlovu  - The Minister of Industry and Commerce;

          - Hon. K. Coventry – The Minister of Youth, Sport and Recreation; and

          - Hon. Y. Simbanegavi – The Deputy Minister of Youth, Sport and Recreation.

          HON. MUSHORIWA:  Thank you Madam Speaker.  I rise on a motion of privilege in accordance with the relevant Standing Orders.  Madam Speaker, the situation that is prevailing in the country at the moment – I want to premise by saying that water is a basic need.  Water being a basic right and given the circumstances that we find ourselves in as a country especially in the urban areas, we would want you Madam Speaker to ask the Minister of Local Government to issue a Ministerial Statement.  We want a Ministerial Statement regarding the prevailing challenges that we are facing as a country, especially in the urban centres in Harare, Bulawayo where water is now being rationed and more so given the fact that it appears as if we have got drought that is actually affecting the water reservoirs in these urban areas. 

          Therefore, we want you Madam Speaker to ask the Minister of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing to present a Ministerial Statement stating the efforts and actions that the Ministry is taking to make sure that we will not have a problem in this country by the time we reach September.  I thank you.

          THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER:  Hon. Member, that is not a motion of privilege but I will raise the matter with the Minister and the Minister will come and give a Ministerial Statement. 

          HON. NDUNA:  Thank you Madam Speaker.  I rise of a point on privilege according to Section 68 as read with Section 86 of the Constitution relating to what occurred yesterday. In my view, your Chair that you are seated in was denigrated to a point that informed my decision to move a point of privilege today.  Hon. Chikwinya rose to say in fact, ‘the Chair does not know what he is saying.  Madam Speaker Ma’am, it was at a Quarter to Five and I seek that your Chair be respected – whether it is Hon. Adv. Jacob Mudenda seated in that Chair, and whether it is yourself Madam Speaker Ma’am.  That Chair does not speak to the name of the person who is seated in it, but it is decorum and respect that is accorded to it is because of the nature of the Chair – [HON. MEMBERS:  Inaudible interjections.] -

I call upon you therefore Madam Speaker to refer to the Hansard of yesterday at a Quarter to Five and as was debated by Hon. Settlement Chikwinya - so that going forward, the name of the Speaker should not be put into disrepute.  The name of the Speaker should be respected because of the Chair that the Speaker sits in.  It is not the size of the dog in the fight but it is the bite. I ask that your Chair be respected Madam Speaker and that going forward, no one should ridicule your Chair and whoever does it, should know that there are consequences to such an activity and they should hold their peace forthwith.  I want to thank you. - [HON. MEMBERS:  Inaudible interjections.] –

THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER:  Order, order Hon. Members.  Your point of privilege has been noted Hon. Nduna.  I will study the matter and make a ruling in due course.

HON. B. DUBE:  On a point of privilege, in terms of Section 68 (d).  The point of privilege is that, I noted that Hon. Nduna the last time he made an apology to ZANU PF and to his President over the threat on Hon. Mliswa, he did not apologise to the victim and for that reason, I move that a Privileges Committee be set to properly interrogate and investigate that threat of violence by the murderer – [HON. MEMBERS:  Inaudible interjections.] –

THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER:  Hon. Member, your point of privilege has been noted.  I will study the matter and make a ruling later – [HON. MEMBERS:  Inaudible interjections.] –

ORAL ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS WITHOUT NOTICE

          *HON. MUSABAYANA: My question is directed to the Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Water, Climate and Rural Resettlement.  Next week on Wednesday, tobacco auction will start.  What is the preparedness for the Ministry to handle the tobacco auction system?

          My second question is - the wheat planting season is near.  How prepared are we for the season so that Zimbabweans have enough wheat as wheat is a stapple food.

          THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF LANDS, AGRICULTURE, WATER, CLIMATE AND RURAL RESETTLEMENT (HON. KARORO): We visited TIMB offices who are the ones who control the tobacco auctioning to check on the preparedness. They informed us that all is in place. They were waiting for the date of the auctioning to come, including cash to be used to buy the tobacco. According to assessments, the buyers are ready in terms of cash and floor space. 

          *HON. MUSABAYANA: Thank you Madam Speaker Ma’am.  My supplementary question is - tobacco farmers sometimes face problems at the tobacco auction floors because there are some vendors there who disturb  the smooth running of the business.  Are there enough measures to ensure that farmers get their cash requirements without any hustle? I thank you.

          *HON. KARORO: Thank you Madam Speaker.  When I say the preparations are at an advanced stage, I am telling the truth.  The issue of vendors who disturb the tobacco farmers when they come to sell their tobacco; we have looked at that and prepared for them.  We even looked at the issue of health and there was a comprehensive inspection that was done on the facilities so that they are able to hold many people who would be coming to sell their tobacco.

          *HON. MAJAYA: Thank you Madam Speaker.  My supplementary question is - since the tobacco farmers are paid for their sales in US dollars, why are you paying them their money as half in bond notes?

          *HON. KARORO:  Thank you Madam Speaker.  I expect that when we come into this august House, we should be able to know where to direct our questions that is, a question that has to do with money should be directed to the Minister of Finance and Economic Development.  They are the ones who can give answers according to their policies in the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development.  Ours as the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Water, Climate and Rural Resettlement is to grow the tobacco and see that the growing of the tobacco has been properly done. 

          HON. MAJAYA:  Madam Speaker, I will redirect my question to the Leader of the House, because an answer is needed.  – [HON. MEMBERS:  Inaudible interjections.] –

          THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): Thank you Madam Speaker.  We recently amended through the Presidential Powers and included RTGS money as legal tender. So, any legal tender that is in Zimbabwe can be used for purposes of purchase. I thank you.

          *HON. MADZIMURE: When farmers sell their tobacco and are paid in US$, why are they compelled to trade in that currency in 90 days because most of our farmers do not have knowledge in bookkeeping and finance. Why is the Government putting a burden on the farmers who are not knowledgeable? Secondly, why is it that up to now the bureau-de-change are not operational?

          HON. ZIYAMBI: I want to thank the Hon. Member for the question. The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe has put in place a policy that says once farmers are paid in US$, they should use that currency within a stipulated timeframe and also that the buying and selling of all foreign currency is done using the interbank rate. So, what it means is that a farmer who does not utilise the proceeds paid in US$ within 90 days, the same farmer will be able to change the US$ component at interbank rate which applies at that particular time. This is done to encourage farmers not to withhold the scarce foreign currency which can be used to buy other essential goods.

          In relation to the second part of his question on why the bureau-de-change are still not functional, that is an operational question and not a policy one which can be directed to the Minister of Finance and Economic Development.

          HON. T. MOYO: My question is directed to the Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Water, Climate and Resettlement. What is Government policy regarding production, importation and consumption of genetically modified organisms (GMOs)?

          THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF LANDS, AGRICULTURE, WATER, CLIMATE AND RURAL RESETTLEMENT (HON. HARITATOS): I would like to thank the Hon. Member for the question. As Government, we do not allow GMO substances in our country which include maize, wheat and other grains. I thank you.

          HON. CHIKWINYA: Supplementary question. I take note that the Deputy Minister has said the Government does not allow GMO produce like maize, wheat and all the examples given. We have processed goods out of the same like maize, wheat and soya which come from South Africa as processed and frozen. They are warmed up in our restaurants and then we sell them whilst they are coming from a country that allows GMOs. What is then your policy with regards not to the base product but to the processed goods?

          HON. HARITATOS: I would like to thank the Hon. Member for the supplementary question. I would like to inform the House that there is an organisation called the National Biotech Authority (NBA) which falls under the Ministry of Industry and Commerce and therefore, that question should be rightly referred to the Ministry of Industry and Commerce. I thank you.

          HON. HAMAUSWA: I would like to hear from the Deputy Minister whether NBA falls under the Ministry of Agriculture or the Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education. We need clarification on that. It seems there is misunderstanding and inconsistencies on those issues?

          HON. HARITATOS: I would like to inform Hon. Members that NBA falls under the Ministry of Industry and Commerce and it does not fall under our Ministry or under the Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education as was previously stated.

          *HON. MATANGIRA: We are being told that we are importing GMOs from South Africa and due to the drought prevailing across the country, is it not possible for Government to designate some farms to grow GMO produce so that we avert hunger across the country?

HON. HARITATOS: I would like to thank the Hon. Member for his supplementary question. Again Madam Speaker, Government policy is that we do not allow GMOs in our country although it is noted what the Hon. Member has said. I thank you.

*HON. ZWIZWAI: My question to the Deputy Minister is that if you look at all the developed countries like South Africa, USA, Britain and China, they consume GMOs. We are in the second republic and I am aware that the prohibition of GMOs was as a result of the former President who had a huge appetite for traditional foods such as millet, round nuts and others. As the second republic, why are we still holding to such outdated policies because in some countries they do allow people to consume GMOs as well as organic foods?

HON. HARITATOS: I would like to thank the Hon. Member for the supplementary question. Again, it is noted but the Hon. Member must also acknowledge – [HON. MEMBERS: Speak in Shona] - As I said, what the Hon. Member said is noted.

          *HON. ZWIZWAI:  My point of order, Madam Speaker, is that Hon. Haritatos speaks fluent Shona.  When he was campaigning, he was speaking in Shona in the farms and mines - [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – I posed my question in Shona and he is opting to respond in English - [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – He was appointed Deputy Minister because his fluency in Shona.  I just want to point out the fact that the people who sent me to pose this question are not fluent in English. May the Hon. Deputy Minister respond to my questions in Shona that he used to articulate on the farms, mines and in Muzvezve?

          *THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER:  Hon. Deputy Minister, may you try and respond to the question in Shona please?

          *HON. HARITATOS:  Thank you Madam Speaker, I want to thank the Hon. Member once more. I am also pleased to note that the Hon. Member was following my campaigns. - [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – In English, I want to say that, I am truly honoured Hon. Member.  It is now noted Hon. Member but the only way is for you as Parliament to amend Government policy.  I thank you.

          *HON. CHIHURURU:  My question is directed to the Leader of the House.  What is Government policy regarding people who stay on the streets on verandas such as orphans and the handicapped people?

          *THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI):  Thank you Hon. Member for the pertinent question on the destitute.  The Department of Social Welfare is supposed to assist these vulnerable groups of people.  The main challenge that Government has is that our coffers are not adequately funded to fulfil that obligation.

          *HON. KARENYI:  My supplementary to the Hon. Leader of the House is that it is good that you have accepted the fact that Government is incapacitated to assist these vulnerable groups.  In future, when Government is sufficiently capacitated, we have blind mothers nursing babies who are on the streets and at times some of the babies wonder off onto the busy roads thus causing serious accidents.  It is my plea that Government creates a fund and provide family planning methods to assist these blind women. I thank you.  - [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –

          *HON. ZIYAMBI:  Thank you Madam Speaker. That was a comment and not a question.  I urge Hon. Members to support our budget when it comes to Parliament and to table motions highlighting such problems so that it is accommodated in the national budget.

          *HON. MADZIMURE:  My supplementary to the Hon. Minister is that do we have literature in Zimbabwe that enumerates the handicapped so that we can allocate our budget accordingly?

          *HON. ZIYAMBI:  Thank you Madam Speaker, but the Hon. Member’s question requires figures; if he could please put the question in writing for a detailed and satisfactory response.

          HON. CHOMBO:  My question is directed to the Minister of Mines and Mining Development.  Hon. Minister, after the Battlefields and Cricket mines disasters, there was a request by an Hon. Member that was acceded to by the Hon. Speaker for a Ministerial Statement.  I would like to know whether or not the Hon. Minister is ready to make the Ministerial Statement.  I thank you.

          THE MINISTER OF MINES AND MINING DEVELOPMENT (HON. CHITANDO):  Madam Speaker, I have the Ministerial Statement which I can make now or at an appropriate time.

          THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER:  The Hon. Minister will make a Ministerial Statement after Question Time. - [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –

          HON. NDUNA:    Thank you Madam Speaker Ma’am.  However much as the train moves and however much the dogs bark, the train will not stop moving - [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – My question is directed to the Minister of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services - [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –

          HON. CHIBAYA:  Madam Speaker, on a point of order!  Hon. Nduna is referring to Hon. Members as dogs and that is unparliamentary. Can he withdraw that statement?

          THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: What did you say Hon. Nduna? Please may you repeat your statement?

          HON. NDUNA: Madam Speaker, because it was unpalatable to the other members and they think it was offensive, I withdraw and I apologise if I touched the other sensitive side of the Members of Parliament.

          My question goes as follows. I ask the Hon. Minister of Information and Publicity how far we are in terms of the programme of digitalization, aware that Parliament is also supposed to benefit according to Section 141 of the Constitution in the digitalisation process? How far are we from the programme of digitalisation and the expansion of our airwaves and frequencies?

          THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF INFORMATION, PUBLICITY AND BROADCASTING SERVICES (HON. MUTODI): I would like to thank the Hon. Member for that question. Government has initiated on a sustainable digitalisation programme. The programme as I am speaking now is half-way complete and will be completed this year as we continue to engage partners such as Huawei and other partners to ensure that by the end of this year, we have more than six television stations and an increase in the number of radio stations. So far, a significant amount of work has already been covered as television stations have already been licenced by the Zimbabwe Media Commission and are just waiting the completion of the digitalisation programme for them to kick-start their work. I thank you.

          HON. CHIBAYA: I will refer my question to the Leader of the House Hon. Ziyambi. Is it Government policy for police to make arrests in order to investigate? I thank you.

          THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): I want to thank the Hon. Member for the question. Arrest is a method of securing the attendance of somebody at trial and it is not supposed to be used as a method to investigate. When somebody is being arrested, there must be reasonable suspicion that an offence has been committed and they are ready for trial. That is one of the methods that are used to secure the attendance of that particular person at trial.

          HON. GONESE: Can the Hon. Minister explain why we have got a plethora of cases where people are being arrested and at the trial of the matter, it turns out that there is no iota of evidence and no basis. I will give an example of Hon. Chibaya who was arrested – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – yes, in circumstances were there were no witnesses. The witnesses who were being cited in the Form 2.4.2 (Request for Remand) turned out to be non-existent and where one of the witnesses or the supposed witnesses had an I.D which turned out to be for a person born in 2005. Can the Minister explain why we have got so many cases of that nature in our jurisdiction where accused persons eventually get discharged at the close of the State case because they have no evidence linking the accused to the offence?

          HON. ZIYAMBI: Thank you Madam Speaker and I want to thank the Hon. Member for the follow-up question. Madam Speaker, What Hon. Gonese has described is a specific case. I explained that arrest is a method of securing attendance at trial. Whatever happens after that is an operational question, not specifically linked to the policy. So, this is an issue where perhaps he can put it in writing so that it can be investigated why those circumstances happened like that but for him to expect me to answer specific questions – Madam Speaker, I would have expected that you were going to protect me because it is not a policy question. I thank you.

          HON. GONESE: I only gave that as an example. My supplementary question was why we have so many cases where accused persons are being arraigned before our courts and at the end of the day they get discharged at the close of the State case. Magistrates have been at pains to castigate police officers who would have brought such cases to court and I want the Hon. Minister, if he is the Hon. Minister for Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, he must be familiar because these are cases which are in our courts where magistrates have castigated investigating officers for having done such deplorable acts where they clearly arrested people when they know that there is no evidence simply to persecute the persons in question. I only gave that as an example, otherwise my supplementary question relates to the plethora of cases which are abound in our jurisdiction and I want the Hon. Minister to respond to that general supplementary question.

          THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order! Hon. Gonese, the Minister told you to put those cases in writing so that he can respond to you. He will go and investigate and give you a response.

          HON. GONESE: If the Hon. Minister of Justice does not know, sorry Madam Speaker with due respect, just for clarification. The Hon. Minister of Justice must be aware.

          THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Go and put it in writing and the Minister will give you a response.

          HON. GONESE: We are not even talking about a different Ministry – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –

          THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon. Gonese, go and put it in writing.

          HON. GONESE: Just bear with me Madam Speaker. I have asked a general question to the Hon. Minister and the Hon. Minister is trying to be clever by half by avoiding a question to which he knows the answer. He is just trying to be clever by half. I have asked a general question and he being the responsible Minister, we are not even talking of a different Ministry; we are talking of his own Ministry of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs. He must be familiar with instances where this has happened and we need an explanation from the Hon. Minister – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.]

          THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order, order Hon. Members.

          HON. ZIYAMBI: Thank you Madam Speaker.  I indicated that arrest is a method of securing attendance.  The Hon. Member then raised a point to say that there is a practice, according to him of people being arrested and then discharged at the close of the State’s case.  What I stated was the policy, if there is a defective practice, it is another case that is why I said it is now a specific case of operatives who are not doing the correct thing.  So, if he so happens to know those cases and the Hon. Member can bring that to my attention, then we can see what we can do in that regard.  I thank you.

          HON. P. D. SIBANDA: Thank you Madam Speaker.  We have witnessed a scenario in this country where people are arrested and detained for minor offences; offences for which the law prescribed fines.  I wanted to find out from the Hon. Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs and Leader of Government Business what Government policy is with respect to arrests and detention of accused persons who would have committed minor offences and offences which have got fines which are prescribed in terms of the law; which action will be in violation Section 49 of the Constitution.  Thank you Madam Speaker.

          THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): Thank you Madam Speaker.  Deposit fines are an option that is given to a member and they are supposed to be confirmed by the court.  So it is not entirely correct to say that you must pay a deposit fine.  It is an option that you are given by the arresting detail if you so wish to take it up and you can even opt to go to court.  If he has specific cases where people were offered and then the offer was taken away or where they were told that this particular offence you can pay $20 and it was withdrawn, then it is  no longer a policy issue.  He can put it in writing again, and then we can investigate. I thank you.

          +HON. MATHE: Thank you Madam Speaker.  My question is directed to the Minister of Labour and Social Welfare. Where I come from, most homes are headed by elderly people because most of the young ones passed away at an early age leaving behind their children and also their siblings.  What policy is there to support the elderly who are in such a situation?

          *THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF LABOUR AND SOCIAL WELFARE (HON. MATUKE): Thank you Madam Speaker.  In our Constitution, there is a clause which states that elderly people and young children are the burden of Government.  Government has put in place mechanisms to support such people.  For school going ages, there is BEAM which caters for them.  In our Constituencies we have our structures which recommend for support of the elderly and young ones who are in need. Government is responsible for that burden.  They can even get cash per month and also food aid is supposed to be given to those people.

I urge Members of Parliament in your constituencies to assist Government to identify such people so that they get assistance from Government.  Social Welfare officers will come to your areas to verify the existence of such people and then they get help.  I thank you.

+HON. MATHE: I am not satisfied with the response.  My question was not on food aid only; one’s living does not depend on food alone.  These 80-100 years elderly people need other supporting means so that they are able to live properly.  My question is what policy is there as Government to make sure that these people are well taken care of?

*HON. MATUKE: Thank you Madam Speaker.  I now understand your question.  Children below seven years are entitled to Government’s assistance; they get hospital services for free.   Those children above seven years old are paid fees by Government through a programme called BEAM.  Then the elderly that you have mentioned about, those who can no longer fend for themselves and who are 65 years and above; it is also Government’s responsibility to care for them in terms of food and health services.  So, as Hon. Members of different constituencies, you may help us to locate such people and advice the social welfare and if there is any challenge, you take it up with the Ministry so that we can help each other.

+HON. TOFFA: Thank you Madam Speaker, my supplementary question is that as a nation, is there a way those elderly people can get on a certain payroll like what is done in other countries?

*HON. MATUKE: It is the duty of the Government to take care of the elderly.  However, we have economic and financial problems at the moment.  Our funding might not be sufficient like other countries that you have mentioned but in accordance to what we have as a country, the Government is supposed to help the elderly with money.  At the moment they were being given $25 per month.  However it has been noted that the money is too little, it cannot buy anything.  The money is going to be increased so that it can buy something in order to take care of our elderly and young ones as stipulated in our Constitution.

+HON. MAHLANGU: The Minister said that it is the mandate of the Government to take care of the elderly. How is the Government going to be able to take care of the elderly, for example there is no medication in hospitals and also these are the same people you are saying you can help pay school fees through BEAM. You will realise that the last time these people received the $25 which you referred to was two years ago.  So, can the Minister shed light on how they are going to be able to make this a success?

*HON. MATUKE: I would want to thank the Hon. Member for the supplementary question he asked.  The Hon. Member talked about lack of medication in health institutions; we are responsible for treating the elderly and the Ministry of Health and Child Care takes care of the availability of medicines in hospitals.  As Social Welfare, our mandate is to send the underprivileged such as the elderly and the under aged to hospitals and it is our responsibility to pay.   So the question can be redirected to the Ministry of Health.

HON. MADIWA: Thank you Madam Speaker.  My question is directed to the Minister of Home Affairs.  These days we are looking at women as drivers of our economy; so what is the Government policy concerning check points at our border?  We have been witnessing multiple check points, which is tantamount to inconveniencing cross-border traders and tourists especially women who will be carrying heavy loads.

THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF HOME AFFAIRS (HON. MADIRO) The Hon. Member has asked a general question about check points at the border post pertaining to women who are undertaking cross boarder programmes.  It is important to recognise the good work which is being done by our women in particular.  The fact that at the border, especially the Beitbridge border post where we are advanced in making that boarder a one stop border post, together with our colleagues in South Africa.  The process will take care of our women in terms of the speedy attention which will be given to our women.  I want to assure the Hon. Member that our women will be taken care of in terms of convenience. 

HON. CHIKWINYA: Yesterday in this august House a request was made that the Month of March is a month which women’s work is recognised.  So I am also happy that as a woman you are in the Chair today, which shows that we are really acknowledging the work of women.  However, today being questions time session, more women are supposed to be afforded the opportunity to ask questions – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] - So what are you doing about it?

THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: The request was made by Hon. Misihairabwi-Mushonga yesterday and that is what I am following.

          HON. WATSON: Thank you Madam Speaker.  My question goes to the Deputy Minister of Home Affairs.  Section 81 of the Constitution gives every child the right to a birth certificate.  What policy and plans does your Ministry have to make that a reality?  Thank you.

          THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF HOME AFFAIRS AND CULTURAL HERITAGE (HON. MADIRO):  Thank you Madam Speaker for the important question from the Hon. Member.  I want to underline the interests of children which are protected by our Constitution.  The Government ensures that the best interests of the child are protected.  As far as birth certificates are concerned, the Ministry is decentralising the issuance of birth certificates given the fact that there is congestion at the provincial centres. The Ministry is undertaking a programme to make sure that birth certificates and other services are decentralised to ensure that children access and get what is rightfully theirs.  Thank you very much Madam Speaker.

          HON. WATSON:  Whilst I hear the Hon. Minister, can he please clarify what he means by decentralisation.  There are hundreds of children in urban constituencies without birth certificates.  How does decentralisation assist guardians and parents with issues surrounding the death of parents and lack of access to birth records and payments? Thank you.

          HON. MADIRO:  Thank you Madam Speaker. The Hon. Member, if I understand her well is asking the inconveniences which are being encountered by children whose parents have passed on and are facing difficulties in terms of obtaining certificates. I want to assure the Hon. Member that the Ministry of Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage will try by all means to make sure that such children get certificates without any problems. In any case, relatives of those children should be able to come forward and obtain birth certificates for those children.  If there are any specific problems which the Hon. Member is aware of, they can be brought to the Ministry’s attention and assistance will be given.  Thank you very much.

          HON. HAMAUSWA:  I have a point of order.  Thank you Madam Speaker.  The Hon. Member asked the Hon. Minister to explain the aspect of decentralisation.  The Hon. Minister is talking about assisting those without birth certificates.  This is important because currently we know birth certificates are being issued at district centres. So, we need to know the extent of decentralisation the Hon. Minister is talking about.  Is he saying that they are now going to go to the villages; something that is beyond the district?  This is because after the district we need to know …

          THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER:  Are you asking a question?

          HON. HAMAUSWA:  It is a question – [HON. MEMBERS:  Inaudible interjections.] –

          HON. KARENYI:  Thank you Madam Speaker.  My supplementary question to the Minister is, he is saying the Ministry is going to look into the issue of birth certificates but may I remind the Minister to take note that at Manhinga Orphanage, the commission has already reported that we have got about 19 children without birth certificates.  I think he must look seriously into this policy because these problems are all over the country.  Yes, the policy is there but maybe you must make sure that it is implemented because it is not – [HON. PARADZA:  Wakuudza Minister zvekuita manje.] – Yes, I am reminding him because that is the duty of Parliamentarians Hon. Paradza.  Thank you. 

          HON. MADIRO:  Thank you very much Madam Speaker.  I want to acknowledge the important supplementary question from the Hon. Member.  The issue she is raising is specific to Manhinga as she is saying.  If there are other such problems which are encountered and she is aware of, we are available as a Ministry to intervene and resolve those problems.  I want to assure the Hon. Members that the Ministry is there for the citizens of Zimbabwe.  Thank you.

          HON. TOFFA:  Thank you Madam Speaker.  My supplementary question to the Hon. Minister is to do with his response.  He said children without birth certificates will be helped but there are situations where the parents do not have birth certificates.  I did raise a motion in this House Madam Speaker with regards to those kind of situations.  There are thousands, for example in Matabeleland there are over 6 000 children that are documented but do not have birth certificates because their parents do not have birth certificates as well.  This is a huge time bomb that is just waiting to explode where we have people who are stateless.  What is the Ministry doing about that?  There are also situations where fathers of children try to get birth certificates and our Constitution does not allow them to get birth certificates for their children; only mothers are allowed to do so.  There are children that are being disadvantaged from such situations.  What is the Minister’s response to that? 

          HON. MADIRO:  Thank you very much Madam Speaker.  I take note of what the Hon. Member has submitted to this honourable House.  May I suggest that the Hon. Member brings the details to the Ministry. However, with regards to the general submission that there are more than 6 000 children who are not getting birth certificates, the law is very clear in terms of how one is entitled to qualify for a birth certificate.  In the event that parents are not available or they do not have birth certificates, in that case, there must be criteria used including the traditional leaders of that particular area, where they witness the need for identification and authentication that those individuals are from that particular area.  They are entitled to birth certificates and they will be given the birth certificates.  With regards to children, it will follow through that they will equally get birth certificates if they are witnessed to have been born in that area.  Thank you. 

          *HON. ZEMURA:  Thank you Madam Speaker. My question is directed to the Minister of Health and Child Care or the Leader of the House. What is Government policy regarding availability of medicines in hospitals and clinics?  Patients pay for treatment but no medication is given after diagnosis. What is the Government doing?

*THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI):  There is lack of medication in the country such as in Murewa.  The Minister once told this House that there were medicines being imported from India and China. However, the medicines that the country has have now depleted but we will inform the Minister about the Murewa situation.

*HON. MATAMBANADZO:  Thank you Madam Speaker.  My question is directed to the Minister of Mines and Mining Development.  How far has the Government gone in line with the gold that is mined by artisanal miners?  Their output has gone down and that has led to the scarcity of fuel thereby putting the President’s name into disrepute.  What is the Government doing?

*THE MINISTER OF MINES AND MINING DEVELOPMENT (HON. CHITANDO):  What the Hon. Member has said that the artisanal miners’ gold deliveries have been going up is true. It is also true that deliveries for the months of January and February were a bit down.  The Governor, the Ministry and representatives of artisanal miners have been having engagements which have been fruitful.  Engagements will continue ensure maximum gold deliveries from both small scale and large scale gold miners.

*HON. MATAMBANADZO:  My supplementary question is that the current situation is caused by the task force you imposed.  Buyers are not happy to sell to Fidelity because they are paid 45% and the miner is left with 55%.  You are not protecting your buyers because they now favour the black market.

*HON. CHITANDO:  We held a meeting with miners and within two weeks we will bring a positive response.

*HON. ZENGEYA: My question is directed to the Minister.  What plans are there for artisanal miners to get licences so that they mine in the mines that were abandoned by the white miners and that they do not do it illegally?

*HON. CHITANDO:  We have abandoned mines which are used by artisanal miners.  We will come out with a position paper.  We know there are claims which are just held for speculative purposes.  We will deal with that in the next few days.

HON. T. MOYO:  To what extent is the Government prepared to open those reserved areas which are endowed with gold to artisanal miners?  Thank you.

HON. CHITANDO:  Madam Speaker, in terms of the law if any prospective Applicants who want to apply for mining title, especially special grants in reserved areas, there are procedures in which that can be done as is.  However, in terms of the review of the mining development policy towards the 2023 vision of 100 tonnes of gold per annum, the policy of applications in reserved area will also be included in the total review of mining titles and how they will be unlocked for the benefit of the country. 

          *HON. SHONGEDZA:  My question is directed to the Leader of the House in the absence of the Minister of Primary and Secondary Education.  What is Government policy on teachers who are abusing funds paid by parents to renovate schools but use it for workshops? 

          *THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI):  The SDCs run these funds on behalf of parents.  If these funds are audited and there is an anomaly found, such cases should be reported to the police for prosecution.  Members of the SDC are entrusted by parents to take care of their funds. 

HON. TOFFA:  My question is directed to the Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs. Would the Minister appraise the House on the Marriage and Child Justice Bills?  We have been waiting for quite some time with regards to these Bills.

THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI):  These are two separate Bills – the Marriages Bill is almost ready.  We are going to table it at the Cabinet Committee on Legislation which is due to sit anytime from now.  After that, the process of bringing it to Parliament will commence. 

The Child Justice Bill is being finalised too. I promise the Hon. Member that these Bills are on the top of our priority and they will be presented to this august House very soon.

HON. TOFFA:  Can the Hon. Minister please furnish us with the timeline. 

HON. ZIYAMBI:  We were supposed to have held the Cabinet Committee on Legislation this week but because of the bi-national commission, we could not.  Hopefully, if we manage to have it next week, after that we will then transmit it to Cabinet. Once the Cabinet process is finalised, we will transmit it to Parliament.  We will then have the 14 days that is required by law for it to be gazetted.  After that, I will then bring in a notice of presentation of the Bill. 

HON. WADYAJENA:  May the Minister clarify the age of consent?

HON. ZIYAMBI:  Madam Speaker, this is a separate question and it is not very specific.  Age of consent to do what?

HON. CHINANZVAVANA:  My question goes to the Minister of Environment and Tourism and in her absence, I will redirect it to the Leader of Government business.  Is there a Government policy that allows for decommissioning of internationally recognised protected wetlands under the Ramsar Protocol and allow for development on such sites solely under the directive of the Executive or the Minister?

THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI):  My reading of that question is very specific and the Hon. Member is referring to a specific case that was done by the Minister.  Can she put that in writing so that a detailed response can be given to that question?

HON. CHINANZVAVANA:  Hon. Madam Speaker, maybe the Hon. Minister did not get me clearly.  It is just about an international statute and a Government policy to that.  Can we decommission internationally recognised wetlands? 

HON. ZIYAMBI:  Thank you Madam Speaker.  If there is an international convention that was domesticated and it became part of our laws, anyone who breaches it will be breaking the law. 

HON. P. ZHOU:  My question goes to the Minister of Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage.  In view of the fact that some SADC countries including South Africa and others are no longer recognising or accepting the Zimbabwe Emergency Travel Document (ETD), what measures has the Government put in place to allow speedy and affordable renewal of passports by business people such as cross border traders?

THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF HOME AFFAIRS AND CULTURAL HERITAGE (HON. MADIRO):  The Ministry of Home Affairs recognises the importance of our citizenry having the necessary documents which will facilitate and allow them to visit anywhere they want to travel to.  In view of that, the Ministry is undertaking a programme to make sure that all the district offices are capacitated in terms of technology to ensure that passports are issued at the district level as well as access passports through online service and I want to assure the Hon. Member that the Ministry, in a very short time from now, will be undertaking and making sure that that facility is available.  Thank you Madam Speaker.

HON. P. ZHOU: Madam Speaker Ma’am, the problem here is that, when an expired passport is handed in for submission, it takes six to eight months yet the business people want to go back and reorder.  What will the cross-border trader be doing during six to eight months waiting period for a passport?  Can we not submit an application for another passport six to eight months before the expiry date and when the passport is ready, it can be collected – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] –

HON. MADIRO: Thank you very much Madam Speaker.  The suggestion from the Hon. Member is welcome.  We will consider all those submissions in terms of providing the facility – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] –

HON. MAHLANGU:  Thank you Madam Speaker Ma’am.  I have got another suggestion especially on children who are under five years of age.  Instead of re-applying, why can you not renew those passports because some of them would only have been used on two or three pages – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] –

HON. MADIRO: Thank you Madam Speaker.  The Hon. Member did not ask a question but gave a suggestion and it is welcome.  Thank you Madam Speaker.

HON. MUTAMBISI: Thank you Madam Speaker Ma’am.  My question is directed to the Minister of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing. With regards to provinces contributing towards the national GDP, what is the Government policy in setting timely measurable deliverables on its devolution policy?  I thank you.

THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT, PUBLIC WORKS AND NATIONAL HOUSING (HON. MHLANGA): Thank you Madam Speaker Ma’am.  I would like to thank Hon. Mutambisi for that important question.  Yes, the ball is now in motion in terms of the devolution process to the provinces.  In as much as budgetary provisions have been made to go to provinces, we are also expecting provinces to now come up with GDPs that will then pour into the national GDP.  So, the piece of legislation is going to come into the House very soon and we hope that we can now kick-start the whole process of devolution and making sure that provinces attain their GDPs.  Thank you.

HON. CHINYANGANYA: Thank you Madam Speaker Ma’am.  How is the Government implementing devolution without the proper legislative framework?  We have seen that the Government has already started disbursing money meant for devolution purposes but there is no legislative framework to that effect.  Thank you.

HON. MHLANGA: I would like to thank the Hon. Member for that question and also add to say that only a budgetary provision of $310 million has been put into the budget and the process of distributing these funds to the provinces has to wait for that legislative instrument to come through.  Thank you.

HON. MAPHOSA: Thank you Madam Speaker Ma’am.  My question is directed to the Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development. In his absence, I direct my question to the Leader of the House. What is the Ministry’s policy regarding the computerisation of ticketing at the five new toll gates established by ZINARA last September?  Thank you – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] –

THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): Thank you Madam Speaker.  All our toll gates must be computerised, but the modalities of doing it may be slow or it is not being done as expected.  However, the general policy is that we must be computerised in order to reduce incidences of corruption.  I thank you.

HON. MAPHOSA: My supplementary question is on issues of transparency and corruption.  This is guided by the operations of these toll gates where they manually give tickets and sometimes these tickets are said to have been exhausted.  How then do you account for those funds that would have been paid for when the tickets are finished? – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] –

HON. ZIYAMBI: – Thank you Madam Speaker Ma’am.  I want to thank the Hon. Member for stating it as it is.  The policy is that, if you computerise, you reduce incidences of corruption and pilferage.  That is the policy thrust but operationally, there may be challenges to realise that goal at some stage.  All what she said will be minimised or reduced if we computerise.  I thank you.

*HON. KUREVA: On a point of Privilege Madam Speaker.  I stand up in terms of Section 68(d) to congratulate Hon. Chasi for being nominated by ZANU PF to become the leader of the nation in years ahead – [Laughter.] –

THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: You are out of order Hon. Member.  Please withdraw that statement.

HON. KUREVA: Statement withdrawn Madam Speaker.

*HON. MAGO: Hon. Minister, if I pass through a tollgate and the tickets are finished, why should I pay the fees?  It is better to pass through without paying.

*HON. ZIYAMBI: Thank you Hon. Speaker.  Her question is very pertinent. I cannot be expected to know all that is happening in each and every department, but I have answered along policy lines that funds permitting, to curb corruption, we must be computerised - that is the policy.  He is questioning why he should pay; the policy is that every car that passes through the toll gate must pay.  The questions that follow are operational, I cannot answer that. I thank you Madam Speaker.

          +HON. MKANDLA: Thank you Madam Speaker, I will direct my question to the Leader of the House since the relevant Minister is not here.  What is the Government policy concerning hotels that are not hiring qualified staff but are using trainees or interns but they are not paying them, they only give them food?

          THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): If I got the question correctly the Hon. Member wants to know why certain hotels are employing or taking interns only and not employing people that are fully qualified, perhaps if it can be repeated.

          The Hon. Mkandla repeated the question.

          HON. ZIYAMBI: Thank you Madam Speaker, the interpretation that I got was correct to say that hotels are using interns as opposed to employing qualified staff and they are not paying the interns.  Interns are students that are undergoing training and the hotels are not under any obligations, because they are training them, to pay them a salary. I thank you.

          *HON. MAKONI: My question is directed to the Leader of the House.  This year we do not have enough wheat due to the drought.  What preparations do you have in place so that we have enough stocks?

          *THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI):  I agree with the Hon. Member that we do not have enough stocks.  His Excellency the President has formed a Presidential Advisory Council; some of them will look into this issue of wheat.  I can see the Hon. Minister has just walked in, I will not continue but I will give the floor to the Minister to answer your question.

          *THE MINISTER OF LANDS, AGRICULTURE, WATER, CLIMATE AND RURAL RESETTLEMENT (HON. SEN. RTD. AIR CHIEF MARSHALL SHIRI):  Thank you Madam Speaker.  We are aware of this issue and it is of great concern to us because we are using a lot of money to purchase wheat from other countries, yet we have the capability to produce enough wheat in our country.  The problem is of irrigation because some of our schemes are not functioning and needs rehabilitation.  So, we have funds set aside for that but the funds are not sufficient.  We have dams that have water but we do not have irrigation.  We are looking forward that if resources are made available we will put irrigation schemes near some of these dams.   We want to teach our farmers to farm wheat so that we get high yields by using the best agronomic practices. 

          The other problem that we have is that maize will take time to dry and this will cause wheat to be planted late, if wheat is planted untimely this will affect the produce.  Government is looking at acquiring drying facilities to dry maize so that it will not stay long in the field and the field will be available for wheat farming.  These are some of the measures that we taking so that we improve wheat production.  The research unit is researching on other possible varieties of wheat that will enable us to have high yields.  I thank you Madam Speaker.

          *HON. MAKONI: Thank you Madam President.  I thank you for the question asked by the Hon. Member and the answer given by the Hon. Minister.  My question is, is there any guarantee Hon. Minister that we will continue to have adequate bread supplies despite the challenges, because we love bread and our families love bread – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –

          THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order Hon. Members.

          *HON. SEN. RTD AIR CHIEF MARSHALL SHIRI: Madam Speaker the availability of bread falls under the purview of the Ministry of Industry and Commerce.  We do not make bread available, we only farm wheat and end there, I thank you – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –

          *HON. MUSABAYANA: I thank you Madam Speaker.  My supplementary question to the Hon. Minister is that I have heard the plans that are in place for us to have high produce of wheat. I heard that the wheat that we produce in this country is not of good quality.  Does the Government have plans to introduce other varieties so that we produce good quality wheat and have high quality bread without importing wheat from outside?

          *THE MINISTER OF LANDS, AGERICULTURE, WATER, CLIMATE AND RURAL RESETTLEMENT (HON. RTD. AIR MARSHAL SHIRI): Thank you Madam Speaker. The issue of good bread is a relative term. When we say we want the best bread, it shows that the term is broad. That is why some people buy bread from OK and some buy Proton whilst others prefer home-made bread. We intend to grow gritty wheat which bakes good bread. We hope to start this season to grow gritty wheat. It is difficult to grow and farmers need a lot of support. As Government, we will support them in growing this wheat which makes palatable bread.

          Questions Without Notice were interrupted by the HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER, in terms of Standing Order No. 64.

          HON. DINAR: Madam Speaker, I rise on a point of privilege. My name is Kennedy Dinar. I come from Glen View North Constituency. We have been having a challenge in our area. There is a Complex which is constantly experiencing fire outbreaks. This has been going on for the past 8 years now and we have not seen any contribution or any assistance from the responsible Ministries. So, may we have the Ministry of SMES and Local Government’s attention and sincerity on the issue, to issue a Ministerial Statement concerning the recurrence of this inferno at Glen View Complex, on what they will do to make sure it is put under control and pledge to compensate those who are losing their business. Thank you.

          THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon. Dinar, we will engage the relevant Ministries and give you the outcome.

          HON. DINAR: Thank you Madam Speaker. May we know the timeframe?

          THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: In three weeks from now.

          HON. DINAR: Thank you once again Madam Speaker.

MINISTERIAL STATEMENT

DEPLOYMENT OF THE DEFENCE FORCES BY HIS EXCELLENCY THE PRESIDENT

          THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): Madam Speaker, His Excellency the President of the Republic of Zimbabwe having deployed the Zimbabwe Defence Forces in Zimbabwe for the period 1st August, 2018 and 14-16 January, 2019 - under the authority granted in terms of Section 213 (1) (a) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe Amendment (No. 20) Act, 2013 and being required by Section 214 (a) (i) of the Constitution to inform Parliament promptly and in appropriate detail, the reasons of the deployment. He hereby informs Parliament as follows:

          The Commissioner-General of  Police, having satisfied himself of the riotous situation existing in all major cities and towns in Zimbabwe;   And having satisfied himself that the rioters had violated the right to life, right to human dignity, right to personal security, right not to be compelled to belong to an association or to attend a meeting or gathering, right to freedom of movement, right to hold, occupy, use and dispose of property, right to Education and Rights of Children or ordinary citizens and residents, as enshrined by the Constitution;

          And having satisfied that the conduct of the rioters was criminal in nature and recognised offences under the Criminal Justice System of the Republic of Zimbabwe.

          And having been satisfied that the Zimbabwe Republic Police was unable to contain the riotous situation as aforementioned, which resulted in the loss of life, brazen violations of basic human rights, personal security and destruction of private and public property, including Police Stations, the Commissioner General in terms of Section 37 (1) of the Public Order and Security Act [Chapter 11:17] requested the Minister of Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage to use his discretion and request the Minister responsible for defence to authorise the Defence Forces to assist the police in the exercise of their functions in terms of the Act in order to suppress the violent, riotous and destructive conduct that was occurring throughout the country, which conduct undermined the rule of law and citizens’ rights as aforestated.

          The Minister of Defence following upon the request and guided by Section 2113 (1) (2) (b) of the Constitution that provided that only the President, as Commander-in-Chief of the Defence Forces has the power to authorise the deployment of the Defence Forces in Zimbabwe to support the Police Service in the maintenance of public order.

          His Excellency, having duly considered the request and having applied his mind to the situation, authorised the deployment of the Defence Forces to suppress the riotous and destructive conduct that pervaded the country. I thank you.       

HON. CHIKWINYA: Thank you Madam Speaker.  Let me first of all thank the Hon. Minister for conveying the Presidential Statement to Parliament in line with Section 214 of our Constitution.  Two points arise from the presentation.  The first point arises from Section 213 (1) (b) of the Constitution that says, the President as the Commander-in-Chief has the power to determine the operational use of the Defence Forces.  Under this point Madam Speaker, we take note that live ammunition was used in both instances which the Hon. Minister or through the President referred to.  Can it therefore be confirmation that the President, exercising his powers as enshrined in Section 213 (1) (b) authorised the live ammunition by Defence Forces to unarmed civilians?

Point number 2 Madam Speaker, arises from Section 213 (5) which says, ‘Where Parliament has resolved that a deployment of Defence Forces outside Zimbabwe should be rescinded, the President must take all practical steps to withdraw the Defence Forces, taking into account due need to ensure the safety of Zimbabwean personnel and equipment”.  The Constitution is clear that Parliament should be informed promptly and in my view, the word promptly must be applied on reasonable grounds.  It is to allow Parliament to then be able to make a decision in satisfying subsection 5 of the Constitution.  To then bring the statement two months after an event does not give Parliament its constitutional obligation to exercise its right in conformity with Section 5.  Therefore, when can we have proper actions by the President to allow Parliament to deliberate on his actions which he would have duly acted upon in terms of Sections 213 and 214.  I thank you.

HON. NDUNA:  Thank you Madam Speaker Ma’am.  I applaud the Minister for bringing the Ministerial Statement on the President’s deployment of the army.  Madam Speaker, we are all creatures of the Constitution and His Excellency has shown that he is not above the Constitution.  He also adheres to the ethos, values and the dictates of the Constitution because as a nation, we are judged by the way we conduct ourselves according to our own Constitution.  I want to applaud him for adhering to the Constitution.  Madam Speaker, I see according to convictions and the culpable nature of the Opposition in the disturbances which occurred and brought about the issue that arose of the deployment of the army.  There is in the Constitution, the issue that political parties have monies that are attributed to them in terms of what is enshrined in the Constitution to share the monies as it is enshrined in the Constitution.  There are businesses that lost their value and their worthiness Madam President.  It is my view and clarion call that the monies that are supposed to be given to those that were culpable for what occurred on the 14th up to the 16th January, those monies need to be taken to compensate those businesses. 

HON. MADZIMURE:  On a point of order Madam Speaker.   I think it is a tradition that once a Ministerial Statement is issued, we seek clarification.  We do not debate and open new issues.  Therefore, the Hon. Member is out of order, we seek clarification.  If he has no clarification, he must not stand up.

THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER:  Hon. Nduna, go straight to your point.

HON. NDUNA:  Thank you Madam Speaker.  According to the Political Parties Finance Act which attributes sharing arrangement on political parties, I ask whoever is found culpable and guilt of those offences that were perpetrated, to forfeit the monies that are supposed to go to them in order to compensate those businesses that lost their livelihood and lost their business during that time.  This is my issue that I want to bring up.  Would the Minister care to recommend to His Excellency that money be forfeited in order to compensate the businesses that lost their value during that time?  I thank you.

HON. MADZIMURE:  Thank you Madam Speaker.  I have two issues and the first issue is, why in the Constitution there was a provision that the President is expected to promptly inform Parliament.  It was put in there because there was need for checks and balances.  Madam Speaker, it is now more than six months after the Defence Forces were deployed.  The second issue regards to the actions that followed.  Madam Speaker, we are all Zimbabweans and we have to be human.  There were lives that were lost and it is true now that the Defence Forces were deployed and were deployed to use live ammunition.  That is clear now that it is an admission that it was an operation that was planned and was – [HON. MEMBERS:  Inaudible interjections.] – Madam Speaker, the consequences were that people were shot and killed. The issue is - who is going ….

THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER:  Go straight to the point Hon. Madzimure.

HON. MADZIMURE:  Madam Speaker, this is exactly the reason why I stood up and asked you, should we debate or not?  I am saying Madam Speaker, clarification that I am seeking is, who is going to compensate for the lives that were lost after an official deployment of the army? The people who were killed were innocent.  Mrs. Maphosa had left her home in Waterfalls to go to work at ZINWA, she found herself shot from the back and she died.  She has a family Madam Speaker, and she has to be compensated.  She is not the only one, there were a lot of other people – [HON. MEMBERS:  Inaudible interjections.] – What we want the Ministerial Statement to say is, how many people were killed during that particular operation.  During Mugabe’s reign, no one was ever shot in the streets.  We never saw a deployment of the army…

THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER:  Hon. Madzimure, you are now debating.  Please, may you take your seat.

HON. MADZIMURE:  Madam Speaker, my recommendation is that people must be compensated and the army should not be responsible for attending to issues that are purely civil issues.  There was no one who was armed in the streets Madam Speaker.  The statement should have clarified whether people were armed, those whom live ammunition was used on.  Were they armed – the statement is not clear whether the people were armed for them to be confronted with live ammunition. 

          HON. MAYIHLOME:  On a point of order Madam Speaker.  I think the Hon. Member is now debating the Presidential Statement.  On that issue, there is a motion that was raised to correct these political issues.  We are prepared to debate that and he will have an opportunity and we will respond accordingly.  There is nothing defenceless when you do illegal actions.  The response cannot be judged by the persons who do the illegal actions.  So, we request that this issue be closed.  There is no debate on an issue when the President has issued a Presidential Statement.  I thank you.

          HON. TSUNGA:  Thank you Madam Speaker Ma’am and I must thank the Hon. Minister for the Ministerial Statement which clarified quite a few things, but I thought that there was a missing link or dimension in the statement, that which relates to the issue of some people masquerading as armed forces having stolen or suggestions of military attire having been stolen from the barracks.  So, perhaps that dimension is missing and we may want to know the extent to which that became a problem and what the Ministry and Government have done about it.  So, it is just a point of clarification and to let the statement be clear about that particular dimension.  Thank you very much.

THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): Thank you Madam Speaker.  I want to thank the Hon. Members who sought some clarifications. I want to thank Hon. Chikwinya who was seeking clarification and he indicated wrongly, that is to say that Section 213 was not complied with in this regard.  Section 213 (1) (b) pertains to the operational use of the defence forces and not deployment.

The Presidential Statement that I came with pertains to the deployment to assist the police in the operation of their duties.  Our law states that the Defence Forces can only be deployed to assist the police through the President and once they are deployed to assist the police, the Defence Forces will now be under the command of the Police Service as if they are police officers.  

So, this section that he is quoting does not arise because the President’s duty is to authorise the deployment of the Defence Forces to go and assist the police and once they are there to assist the police, they are now following the command of the police.

Madam Speaker, you will have to read the Constitution in conjunction with the Public Order and Security Act (POSA).  If the Hon. Members were following my statement, I referred to the Police Commissioner having satisfied himself that the conditions that were obtaining  necessitated him to request the Minister of Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage to request the Minister of Defence to ask the President for the assistance of the Defence Forces. If you go into the Public Order and Security Act, it clearly states that once they are deployed, they are under the command of the Police Service. 

The other issue Madam Speaker that the Hon. Member was concerned about was, did the President authorise the use of live ammunition?  The law is very clear.  I explained in greater detail and with sufficient clarity that these are the steps that the Commissioner General of the police took and once the Commissioner General has taken those steps, it is the Commissioner General’s command that will be followed by members of the armed forces.  So, this does not arise pertaining to the authorisation by the President of the armed forces.

His other question was, he was concerned that the President was supposed to inform Parliament promptly of the deployment.  I acknowledge that observation and when we bring the Maintenance of Order and Peace Act, we are going to take that into consideration and define what prompt means in the Act.  So, that has been taken into account and when the Act comes, that will be defined so that you will know what prompt means but because POSA was not yet aligned to the Constitution, the promptness was not defined anywhere but that is going to be taken into consideration.

Hon. Nduna, I want to thank you.  His concerns are well noted but I must indicate that if you go to the Public Order and Security Act, there are civil liabilities that accrue to organisers of rioters’ demonstrations.  So, I think this is going to be pursued once the cases have been finalised. 

Hon. Madzimure, your concerns are well noted about prompt deployment.  Again, I have answered about the use of live ammunition that you allege.  The issue of compensation, POSA is very clear that the organisers of these rioters demonstrations must be held liable in terms of the Act.  So again, this is something that I want to thank him for raising.  The organisers of these violent protests will be held responsible according to the provisions of POSA. 

Some people who may have been armed are the rogue elements.  The Constitution is very clear.  The Presidential Statement pertains to the deployment of armed forces to assist the police to deal with, among others those rogue elements who were armed.  We had people breaking into Beatrice Police station and stealing arms.  The President acted to ensure that all that was contained.  So, the subject matter of the statement is not to go into greater detail about the rogue elements that broke into the Beatrice Police station and those who were wearing armed forces uniforms, but the issue was to inform Parliament that the President had to act in order to deal with those incidences.  So, I want to thank the Hon. Members who sought clarifications pertaining to the Presidential Statement regarding the deployment.  I thank you.

          HON. MUSHORIWA: Thank you Madam Speaker Ma’am. The Minister in his presentation of the Presidential Statement in terms of the deployment of the armed forces; I want to bring to the attention of the Minister that during the Commission of Inquiry, the Police Commissioner stated under oath that when the military were deployed, they just came and were not operating under his command. He was not even aware that they had actually been deployed.

          Secondly, can the Minister also clarify, was it Government’s intention to hoodwink the people of Zimbabwe when the Commission was set up? The way that the Commission was established, it was as if the President was not even aware that soldiers had been deployed and that the military just simply did things on their own. If the President was aware, can the Minister explain to this House the justification of using all the money that was used during that Commission – the foreign currency that was paid to the former President of South Africa and other commissioners.

          Thirdly, can the Minister be free to submit to this House the cost element in terms of the Commission that was instituted to investigate the killings on 1 August 2018.

          HON. HAMAUSWA: My point of clarification concerns the issue of budget or the cost of deployment because currently soldiers are still stationed at police stations and we know when they are stationed outside their barracks, they are going to request for allowances. What is the budget or the total cost of deployment of soldiers?

          The second point of clarification is that following the deployment of soldiers we have also seen in our constituencies the deployment of JOC members who are going around and investigating on the issues to do with flea markets. Is the deployment of JOC members related to the deployment of soldiers and how those issues can be related because we do not know the relationship now between JOC and issues that fall under local government. When JOC members come to residential areas investigating or giving instructions to vendors to remove their goods, is it really the correct procedure because when they come, they remind people of the fear of the August 2018 situation where some people were killed. We would also want you to touch on that. What is the position of Government on JOC members who are dealing with the issues of vendors?

          We also heard during the deployment that the Government complained that the people who were shot or injured during the operation, were receiving treatment without police reports. During the operation is it really a requirement that someone should first get a police report when blood is oozing from all over their bodies? Can they not be given the chance to get assistance from the hospital than just sticking to the requirement that one should have a police report? I thank you.

          HON. PHULU: My question to the Minister is that I am accepting that the President has the prerogative to appoint a commission to investigate whatever phenomenon that he wants to investigate. In this particular instance, what this Commission had to do was triggered by what are clearly violations of rights because we had people being killed and so forth. In appointing this Commission, was it taken into account that this is a job that the Human Rights Commission could have done because the Human Rights Commission has commissioners who are appointed via a public process. Would that not have saved the Government a lot of money? It seems the appointment of this commission tends to undermine the functions and duties of the Human Rights Commission.

          In their methodology, did they seek to have input from the Human Rights Commission in one way or the other? I ask this because it would help to clarify whether there is any point for the Human Rights Commission to still proceed to investigate the same subject matter given that the Motlanthe Commission has already traversed that area. That is my comment and I would like to hear what the Minister thinks about this contribution, particularly to overshadowing the role of the Human Rights Commission which is a new institution that we have in our Constitution as an independent commission to protect and promote human rights. I thank you.

          HON. ZIYAMBI: Thank you Madam Speaker. I want to thank the Hon. Members who sought clarification. Perhaps Madam Speaker, I just want to draw the attention of Hon Members to two processes. There is a deployment of soldiers or the military to assist the police and there are events that happened that are linked to the deployment that necessitated the appointment of a Commission of Inquiry. These are two different processes.

          My Presidential Statement pertains to the deployment of military to assist the police. My statement is not interrogating the appointment of the Commission of Inquiry. This is a separate issue. So, perhaps if Hon Members can indulge me to say that issues that pertain to the Commission of Inquiry are not the subject matter of my statement today. So I would not want to digress from the statement that I brought and get into the arena of answering issues to do with the Commission of Inquiry; whether this particular organ was supposed to do this –[HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear]-

          Hon. Mushoriwa will appreciate that we are free to answer that but the statement pertains to satisfying requirements of Section 213 of the Constitution pertaining to deployment that the President must cause Parliament to be informed.

          As to the other process, I think that those are other issues but again, issues to do with the cost element of appointing the Commission;  this is not a subject matter of what I have been briefed to advise Parliament.  I think the clarifications that Hon. Members required at this particular time pertain to issues to do with the August 1st Commission of Inquiry, which is not the subject matter of what I had been requested to bring.  I thank you.

          HON. CHIKWINYA:  On a point of order Madam Speaker.  It will be amiss and outside the spirit of the word, ‘deliberate’, which is so inscribed in the Constitution that says, “Once the President briefs Parliament, Parliament then deliberates.”

          So when we deliberate, we deliberate on issues that are incidental and connected to the report that has been made by the President.  The issue of the Commission of Inquiry is a matter connected to the deployment of soldiers by the President – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] -  It would be amiss again if  – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –

          HON. ZIYAMBI:  Madam Speaker, let me help my Hon. colleague here, I think that he is confusing the two issues - deployment outside Zimbabwe and deployment within Zimbabwe.  When the President causes Parliament to be informed about deployment outside Zimbabwe – you deliberate and then you either ratify or reject it.  The Constitution has no provision for that when the President deploys the military to assist the police for the maintenance of peace and order in Zimbabwe.  I thank you.

          HON. HAMAUSWA:  Madam Speaker Ma’am, I asked about reports – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – No, he did not respond on requirements for police reports in an operation environment.  – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – People were denied access to health.

MINISTERIAL STATEMENT

MINING DISASTER AT CRICKET MINE, BATTLEFIELDS

          THE MINISTER OF MINES AND MINING DEVELOPMENT (HON. CHITANDO):  Thank you Madam Speaker. There was a request from the House for a Ministerial Statement on the mining disaster at Cricket Mine, Battlefields in Kadoma.

          Madam Speaker, the disaster at Cricket Mine on Silver Moon Farm, Battlefields occurred on One Step 56 and One Step Mine.  It was a disaster that was quite unique from other disasters ever experienced at mines in the country.  This was as a result of flash floods caused by heavy rains that fell upstream and flooded the mines from the top.  Usually, flooding in mines occurs from the bottom and people have to move to higher ground for safety but in this particular case, the flooding was happening from the top.

          I will come to the specific issues that were raised by the House.  The first issue related to Zimbabwe’s disaster preparedness for such occurrences.  Under the Ministry of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing is the Department of the Civil Protection Unit.  This department oversees all overall disaster preparedness and management and indeed played a big role in the management of the Cricket Mine disaster.

          Specific to the mining industry, the country has eight mine rescue teams called, ‘proto teams’, made up of professionally trained personnel to carryout rescue operations.  They are coordinated and directed during their operations by Chamber of Mines of Zimbabwe in conjunction with the Mining Engineering Department in the Ministry of Mines and Mining Development.  These teams have breather units and thus can enter into areas where there is no fresh air or where there is foul air.  These teams are called on to assist whenever there is a mine disaster or mine rescue that needs attention.  In August 2018, they attended the Eldorado Mine disaster. 

Each of the big mines or most of the big mines, in addition to this, have their own mine emergency rescue teams that are usually mobilised and used at the particular mine.  These rescue teams are generally known or referred to as “Fresh Air Teams”.

Challenges exist in the small scale mining sectors that generally do not have the adequate disaster management systems in terms of the rescue team but they are covered by teams from the Chamber and also from nearby mines.  The review of the Cricket Mine disaster is almost complete, after which Government will be coming up with the appropriate remedial action plans.

The next question that was raised was on, legislative interventions required to avert future occurrences of mining disasters?  The initial review of the accident indicates that we do have sufficient legislation to enforce best safety practices.  The review of the accident entails analysis of current legislation and how it can be utilised to enforce best mining practices.  The review will also identify any gaps that require alterations of existing legislation.

The next issue that I was asked to comment on is the tabling in Parliament of the Mines and Minerals Amendment Bill.  The Ministry of Mines and Mining Development plans to hold a session with the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Mines and Mining Development, as soon as it is re-constituted, to discuss a roadmap on the implementation of the Mines and Minerals Amendment Bill.

The last point Mr. Speaker Sir that I was asked to comment on is the compensation for the bereaved and injured in the event of such occurrences.  Those who are affected in mine disasters or injured in mines get compensation through the Mining Industry Pension Fund (MIPF) and NSSA – for those who will be contributing at the time of the accident.  The Ministry of Mines and Mining Development encourages all people, working in the industry, to be contributing members of the above two funds.  As part of the review of the Cricket Mine disaster, Mr. Speaker Sir, mechanisms will be explored to ensure that all small scale operations get the necessary cover in the unfortunate event of accidents.  

Lastly Mr. Speaker Sir, the Cricket Mine disaster was declared a national disaster that came with assistance to bereaved families.  I thank you. – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] –

THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER:  Hon. Members, are there any matters for clarification?

HON. NDUNA:  Yes, Mr. Speaker. I asked for the Ministerial Statement, hence I should be given the first opportunity to seek clarification.

Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir and I also want to thank the Hon. Minister for expeditiously bringing that Ministerial Statement. Mr. Speaker, I want to touch on exactly the three points that he touched on in terms of disaster preparedness and the legislative issues enshrined or embedded in the Mines and Minerals Act that acts in the interest of the artisanal miners and also, the issue of compensation for the bereaved and those that were injured.

          Mr. Speaker, the Minister spoke of eight rescue teams nationally. I want to say these do not apply in the disaster that we saw unfolding at Battlefields in that the artisanal miners themselves were going underground to retrieve the bodies of their comrades that had been trapped underground and those that died in the unfolding disaster. Therefore, my recommendation in that is that 30% of the gold deliveries to Fidelity be taken in retrospect to also compensate those that were involved in this operation and those that died in that operation. We also need to create a team that is going to be championed by these artisanal miners because as we speak, there are more than a million artisanal miners countrywide. Before they are given titles to the mines or claims, disasters will continue to occur artisanal miners will continue going underground to retrieve the bodies of their comrades.

          So I come here to make a clarion call to say let there be a compensation fund set aside both to have a team that is established for such disasters for disaster management. CPU, yes because it has been declared a national disaster, but I was there on the ground and none of these teams went underground, save for the equipment that they brought in order to pump out the water from the shafts that had been flooded. On that, I actually applaud the Minister for setting up these miners both big and small to come and give equipment to these artisanal miners to pump out the water. As it relates to going underground physically, I want to applaud the artisanal miners for going underground to retrieve the bodies of their comrades.

          As it relates to the last thing, the issue of compensation, both for the bereaved and the injured - the Hon. Minister Chitando spoke about the issue of compensation assuming these were large scales miners, they had been spoken about in the Mines and Minerals Act and there was any mention of artisanal miners in which case Mr. Speaker this moribund, archaic, rudimental and antiquated piece of legislation does not speak to the formalisation of the informal sector or the artisanal miners’ plight.

          I ask therefore Mr. Speaker Sir, that they be compensated in retrospect, using the deliveries that they have given to Fidelity. So it is not asking too much. This is what has happened on the ground and it is a wake-up call in terms of those that are holding claims for speculative purposes to cede them even before the Hon. Minister brings here that legislation for us to get it repealed. I request in the same vein, that those that are holding claims for speculative purposes give titles to artisanal miners. As we speak, they are getting what they can and canning what they get without reason to rehabilitate the shafts that they are going underneath, but it is the country that is benefitting.

          THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Hon. Member, you are now telling the Minister what to do. Can you please seek clarification?

          HON. NDUNA: On that last point, I request Mr. Speaker because of this pedestal that I stand on and this platform that those that are outside should hear the clarion call from the Minister to cede those claims that are held for speculative purposes in order to alleviate the plight of those that do not have those claims, the artisanal miners so that we do not have any reccurrence of such a nature. I thank you.

          HON. CHINYANGANA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir and I want to thank the Hon. Minister for giving us the statement. I need to seek clarification from the Minister. Is the Civil Protection Unit fully equipped to deal with such kind of disaster - because we saw that the Government actually begged for some funds and equipment to rescue the trapped miners. In my opinion, I think the CPU should be fully equipped to deal with such disaster so that when such disasters occur in the future the response will be swift.

          HON. GABBUZA: There are a few things Mr. Speaker that I wish the Minister needs to clarify. Firstly, I would have expected the Minister to indicate to us whether this is an old mine or a new mine. If it is an old mine, was it disused or it was still operating under a particular company or individual. Now, if it is an old mine was it not designed at the entrance to prevent the flash floods, because all mines are unlikely to be affected by flash floods, because it is known that there are going to be flash floods. Now, why do we suddenly have water getting into a mine? Is there evidence in that particular area that there was a sudden downpour which was not there last year? How many millimetres of rainfall fell on that particular day which made it so difficult to prevent the flash floods, because I thought last year we had more rains or the previous years? So, what exactly happened? I am sure the Minister needs to come clean on that.

          These artisanal miners, assuming that they went into the old disused mine illegally, is the Ministry of Mines not allowed to inspect even if these are illegal mines. They know people are getting into the mine. Are they not allowed to inspect such mines, because these issues would have been picked up way-way before disasters happen? I wish the Minister could clarify that further.

          HON. CHIKWINYA: Thank you Hon. Speaker, just a few points for the Minister to clarify and also to take note. The Minister in his Statement and I say this in hindsight of what the Minister and his Deputy have said before on public media which they did not then include in their report. The first thing is on the flash floods. The Deputy Minister - and I want the Minister to clarify, the rains began to fall in accordance with the rain season. Then the artisanal miners made a temporary wall which began to gather water more or less like creating a dam, which when the rains fell on that particular night that wall was overwhelmed resulting in flash floods. Now, the question is when such activities are happening, where is the mines inspectorate and where are the officers of the Environmental Management Agency?

          The second point is, with regards to the second point of mines inspectorate and Environmental Management Agency is, and I relate to media issues which happened and I also quote Hon. Nduna who was a member of the Mines Committee at that particular time. It was noted that the members of the mines inspectorate are not visiting these small scale sites, abrogating their responsibilities of inspecting these mines to the Ministry of Environment through the officers of the Environmental Management Agents (EMA).  My issue Hon. Minister which I want you to assist Parliament with is that the mandates of these two offices is different.  What the engineers under the Mines inspectorate go to look into is different from what the officers of EMA look into, therefore there are issues which are then left out and not addressed, which actually then expose the miners to such disasters.

          My other issue is that this mine is reported to be owned by Rio Tinto if I am not mistaken and I want you to clarify.  What is the role of Rio Tinto in all this? Are they operating; were these miners given access through Rio Tinto; was Rio Tinto allowing them in and the same goes with regards to Elderado.  It is owned again by some registered corporate, but you still find small scale miners getting in there.  Again, you may want to answer to the issue of the policy with regards to lack of use of claims by corporate bodies which then exposes our small scale miners who are in need of a living but then they find that this claim is not being used; it is owned by Rio Tinto but it is not being used, what are the intervention methods there?

          Lastly, standby equipment, we ended up accessing rescue equipment from Zimplats and I think it was Rio Tinto or Effiel Flats somewhere there. I therefore propose that every mines provincial office be equipped with standby equipment which if they do a baseline survey, they certainly know why this equipment did not work in time.  I want to quote the Deputy Minister “they were given pumps which were as huge as 120 horse power but then they come with their features which are not compatible to the size of the shafts which the small scale miners use”.

          The small scale miners use an average shaft around 1.2 or 1.5 metres maximum, a 120 horse power pump can come with a diameter of around 1.4 or 1.8 metres and they are not straight.  It is not like your conventional mining.  We then need mining equipment which is compatible with such type of shafts if we are going to allow them to operate in that particular mine.  Therefore, I propose generators, pumps, cables and diesel to be stationed at every provincial office where at least we react in time and be able to save life.  Thank you.

          HON. T. MOYO:  Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  May I take this opportunity to thank the Minister for an informative statement. I seek clarity on two issues, firstly on the issue of bodies, do we still have bodies that are still underground that have not yet been retrieved?  Secondly, concerning the Mining Industry Compensation Fund, has the Ministry gone to the extent of inquiring as to how many of the deceased would have contributed towards this Fund?  Thank you.

          HON. TSUNGA: Thank you Mr. Speaker.  I must also thank the Minister for his statement.  I have got a few issues.  The first one is that artisanal miners’ contribution to gold output is quite significant.  Therefore, there is need to ensure that occupational safety and health are prioritised and the relevant Ministry must go out of its way to ensure that that sector is properly taken care of in terms of occupational safety and health.

          The deaths of artisanal miners through suffocation after being trapped underground – this is not exactly a new phenomenon in this country.  Yes, this particular one has been quite devastating, noting the numbers involved, but a lot of other deaths have been occurred which have not really been given any prominence at all.  For example in Penhalonga area in Mutasa South, virtually every  month you hear of a miner trapped underground and there is a deafening silence from the Ministry and there is pretence that nothing has happened.

          So let us have a policy on occupational safety and health of artisanal miners, noting the huge contribution they are making to mineral output, especially gold output in Zimbabwe.  The sector is also not appropriately regulated in my view.  It appears like Ministry of Mines has prioritised prohibition rather than regulation in the sector.  Again, my call is, let us re-configure the artisanal mining sector and ensure that the miners get organised and get the necessary Government support in terms of equipment and resources so that they continue to contribute to mineral output in this country and also to national revenue in Zimbabwe.  I urge you as the Minister to properly regulate the sector. Good decision making begins by seeking the opinion of others, especially those that are going to be affected by that decision.  So in this case it is prudent that the Ministry in developing that policy, consults the artisanal miners themselves because it is them who know what is good for them and what is good for that sector. 

I sympathise with the families that have lost their loved ones and those who have lost livelihoods in a sense, and hope that Government will go out of its way to assist the affected families.  Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.

          HON. CHOMBO: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  I would like to thank the Hon. Minister for giving us that well detailed Ministerial Statement.  Worldwide, I know there are disaster standards, how do we fare as a country internationally?

          THE MINISTER OF MINES AND MINING DEVELOPMENT (HON. CHITANDO): Mr. Speaker Sir, I would like to acknowledge the points which have been raised by Hon. Members.  Before I respond to the points raised by individual Members, I would like to make two comments.  The first comment is an admission that something needs to be done in terms of coming up with a proper framework for the operation of small scale miners.  When I was interviewed, when I was at the disaster, I acknowledged that and the process we have at the moment is the review of the accident is taking place and it is almost complete. 

The plan is to have a consultative discussion workshop with a number of interested stakeholders which will then pass through the Mines Portfolio Committee, because something has to be done in terms of coming up with a proper framework for the operation of small scale miners.  It is a point which has been raised by a number of Hon. Members, so instead of responding individually I just thought I should give this blanket.  I do accept that we need to come up with a framework, which is the point I want to make first – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.]-

          The second point which I also wish to make is the realisation that we have a problem.  We have a problem with respect to, again it has been touched by one or two Hon. Members but Hon Chikwinya said that he believes that this particular shaft was or is owned by Rio-Zim and so what are the circumstances. 

The issue Mr. Speaker Sir is that we have quite a large number of these mining sites and shafts are owned by a number of companies who in some cases have not done any work for over 10 to 20 years and continue just to pay money every year without any physical presence on the shaft.    In this particular case, the small scale miners in the area arrange themselves and then start working on that mine.  Now, these are the two fundamental issues which have to be dealt with.  I have commented earlier on in terms of coming up with a framework in which we have to define the operations of artisanal miners as we move forward.

However, the Government will be announcing by end of next week very clear plans on the ‘use it or lose it’ principle – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.]- These plans will include occurrences like we have heard at Cricket Mine and Eldorado.  So, again without pre-empting the contents of that announcement, all I am  giving and undertaking to this august House is that by the end of next week, there will be a clear policy pronouncement in terms of the ‘use it or lose it’ because action has to be taken now.  

          I will endeavour in the context of these two basic issues I have said, to answer the points raised by Hon. Members although some of them I will not have ready answers because the process for me to say, look this is how we are going to operate has to be an all encompassing, interactive discussion and solution including what the Hon. Member has suggested, a discussion with the representatives of the small scale miners.  Certainly, I can assure the Hon. Member that we have already alerted the Zimbabwe Miners Federation and any other interested bodies who will come for us to have collaborative input as we move forward.

          So yes, there are some pertinent points raised, I cannot respond to them off hand except to say they are good.  Let us incorporate them and we will come up with the final way forward.

          I will now respond to points raised by Hon. Members; the first was in terms of the compensation fund and the team for such disasters.  So far, the industry has worked on the basis of having eight specialised proto teams across the country.  It has also worked on the basis of calling on the big mines because most of them have got their own rescue teams.  I must acknowledge the cooperation which has always happened in the industry.  Each time there is an accident, the industry comes in and chip in, in terms of equipment and rescue teams.  This cooperation is something I wish to acknowledge and urge that it continues.

          However, having that in mind, there was a suggestion that maybe in addition we should have other equipment at the Provincial Mining Director’s office; it is something we have to which we have to talk about as part of the review and remedial action plans.

          The issue of the compensation fund, yes it is something we should explore.  There is also the question of whether the Civil Protection Unit is fully equipped and like I said, the emergency preparedness plan for the industry has always been based on the eight proto teams coordinated by the Chamber of Mines and not equipment at the Civil Protection Unit.  So, that is what has to be debated as we come up with the framework - should it be at the Government, Mining Director’s Office or the Civil Protection Unit?  It is something which has to be explored as part of the remedial action plans.

          There was also a question for me to clarify, whether it is an old or new mine and whether it was designed to have flash floods.  The fact of the matter; this is an old shaft.  In all fairness, I think the operators of the mine had created diversionary canals.  They actually had done a risk assessment and had actually identified one of the risks as possible flooding.  Probably, if you go there you will still see diversionary canals which have worked in the past but when disasters happen, they just do happen.  There was this huge downpour and I do not have the number of millimeters as has been requested by one of the Members.  But, speaking to one of the residents who has been there for a long time, they said they have never seen huge downpours of rains like that.  So it so happened that there was this huge downpour and those diversionary canals which had worked before, in this particular case were overwhelmed.

          Is the Ministry not allowed to inspect those shafts – certainly, the Ministry is allowed to inspect those shafts.  There had been on site representatives who had been to that site in October. 

          The other points, I could have touched in terms of flash floods, the ownership, stand by equipment, I think I covered on that.  The next point which I probably had not covered is in terms of the bodies.   Sadly, we have two bodies which still have not been retrieved.  The belief from the report which we got as of this morning is that from the stench which they are getting as they move in the rescue process, they believe they are very close to those bodies and in the next day or two they should be able to retrieve them.

          In terms of the contribution of artisanal mining and the inadequacy of the safety standards, again it comes to my opening remarks and also that the sector is not appropriately regulated.  I thank you.

          On the motion of HON. MGUNI seconded by HON. MUTSEYAMI the House adjourned at Twenty Five Minutes to Six o’clock p.m. until Tuesday, 18th March, 2019.

 

 

 

 

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National Assembly Hansard NATIONAL ASSEMBLY HANSARD 13 MARCH 2019 VOL 45 NO 41