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NATIONAL ASSEMBLY HANSARD - 15 MARCH 2012 VOL. 38 NO. 27

Thursday, 15th March, 2012.

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

 

PRAYERS

(THE ACTING SPEAKER in the Chair)

ANNOUNCEMENT BY THE ACTING SPEAKER

FOURTH TOBACCO GROWERS FORUM

THE ACTING SPEAKER: I have to inform the House that the Boka Tobacco Floors (Pvt) Ltd. is inviting all Members of Parliament to the Fourth Tobacco Growers Forum to be held at Hon. Mahoka's Mnandi Farm in Hurungwe East, Karoi on Saturday, 17th March, 2012 at 0930 hours. Hon. members are advised that this is not a state occasion, therefore Parliament will not issue coupons for the trip.

MOTION

BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE

MS. D. SIBANDA: I move that Orders of the Day, Numbers 1 and 2 be stood over until the rest of the Orders have been disposed of.

MR. CHEBUNDO: I second.

Motion put and agreed to.

MOTION

PRESIDENTIAL SPEECH: DEBATE ON ADDRESS

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

Question again proposed.

MS. CHINOMONA: I move that the debate do now adjourn.

MR. S. NCUBE: I second.

Motion put and agreed to.

Debate to resume: Tuesday, 20th March, 2012.

MOTION

REPORT ON THE THIRD QUARTER BUDGET PERFORMANCE OF THE MINISTRY OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT, RURAL AND URBAN DEVELOPMENT FOR THE YEAR 2011

Fourth Order read: Adjourned debate on motion on the Report of the Portfolio Committee on Local Government and Urban Development on the Third Quarter Budget Performance of the Ministry of Local Government, Rural and Urban Development for the year 2011.

Question again proposed.

MR. KAPESA: Mr. Speaker Sir, I know our Chairperson for the Portfolio Committee presented a report yesterday, but being a belated report, I would like to support whatever views came out of the report. At the same time, I had few issues to highlight on the particular report because it is talking about 2011's Budget and we are now in 2012. Very importantly, issues to be highlighted are on the allocation of funds which are supposed to go to local authorities where, if a Budget is going to come up, it is important that we allocate enough funds to local authorities. Secondly, there is the issue of release of funds from the Ministry of Finance which I think is of very paramount importance so that we make sure that service delivery is taken on board. Lastly, they must come up with a way of releasing the funds because three quarters of the time, the funds are grouped towards the end of each year.

Hopefully, this time around, 2012 we are going to give a report for this particular year rather than having a belated report.

MR. NYAKUDANGA: I also arise Mr. Speaker Sir, to contribute on this report from this committee. If we look into budget allocations, for instance the Ministry of Local Government, that is the one that gives service delivery to our people. So there is need Mr. Speaker Sir, for them to consider the amount of allocation and the time for these allocations to be disbursed. I also appeal Mr. Speaker Sir, that there is much more need for the Government or the ministry to give more money to the Ministry of Local Government.

Another issue is that there is need for Government to audit the local authorities so as to avoid unnecessary arrests of people because certain people would have taken advantage of mis-use of funds as there is no audit of these local authorities. Another thing is the need for Government to train councillors. Some of our councillors definately, they do not know what they are there for. Whenever they are there, they go parallel to what is needed whenever they are in that office. I also think that there is need that councillors be trained and know their roles, duties and regulations.

MR. MUCHAURAYA: I also rise to give my few contributions on this motion by the Portfolio Committee on Local Government. A lot of things have been said about the issue of service delivery in our local authorities, but I think it is important that if we are to have good service delivery in our local authorities or cities, work must start from the Minister of Local Government. People who are elected to lead these councils must be given the leeway to run the municipalities or towns. In our case here, we have got a Minister who has a tendency and who has developed a very dangerous reputation of running the Ministry like he is running a tuckshop. In terms of the laws of this land, each council must be run by elected councillors, but in this case, we have got a Minister who appoints his friends to go and interfere with the work of elected councillors. We have got a case of the Mutare City Council where the Mayor was demanding an audit by an independent auditor, Enrst and Young, but because the Minister did not want his deals to be unearthed in the City of Mutare, he ended up firing the elected mayor. So that is where the problem is. Clean up must start with the office of Minister Chombo, if we are to have good service delivery.

I also encourage Minister Chombo to be man enough and tender his resignation. We have got serious challenges in our cities. One political party realised that their councillors were compromised and they were fired by their political party but Minister Chombo said no, my sons you cannot be fired. We have reports that a commission was seconded to run Chitungwiza City Council, but barely three weeks after the appointment, we are hearing that the team leader is earning around $7 000.00 a month. In Chitungwiza people from Zengeza and St Marys are only getting water for less than two hours a day and there is no refuse collection. They are lots of potholes and in fact they are now dams and we have seen some children trying to swim and fish in those dams because there is no service delivery. The Minister is not concerned about the welfare of the residents of these cities. He is only worried about enriching his friends.

I think it is utter nonsense to just blame the issue of service delivery on the budgetary constraints because we have people in these cities who are paying rates and where are the monies going. I have heard that the City of Harare has over 200 000 people on the waiting list and each year they have to pay $10 to renew their membership on the waiting list and where is this money going - [AN HON MEMBER: corruption iri kuitwa ne MDC iri kurunner Harare] - No! No!

We have heard the report of the Minister having multiple stands in Harare and many other cities in this country. When the councillors raise the concern, they are fired. They have gone to the courts and they have won their cases but the Minister refuses to reinstate them. This is corruption at its highest level by the Minister. I encourage him to resign now.

MR. ZIYAMBI: Let me make a brief contribution to the report by the Portfolio Committee on Local Government. I think those who compiled the report were also aware of the problems faced by Chitungwiza, Mutare and many other cities but we have a problem that when we are debating a pertinent issue like this, we have some members calling for the resignation of Hon Chombo. As a result, instead of solving the issue, we are merely creating another problem and this problem can only be solved by the residents of that county. The councils have methods of solving these issues by looking at the root causes.

If Chitungwiza residents could be given a chance to come and address Parliament , they would talk in praise of Hon. Chombo on how efficient he is on service delivery because he removed obstacles in the running of the council. One honourable member contributed saying they are lots of potholes and these are the problems which the Minister is trying to remove by taking action. We heard that there are lots of smells. Dirty water, ponds, and potholes, because of its unhygienic conditions and Hon. Chombo is removing

for the services to improve. People were saying that pot-holes are now like dams, this is what the minister is examining and trying to eliminate.

What we would advise the political party responsible for the running of these councils is that they should be grateful to Minister Chombo who has managed to deal with the issues of councils. Without Minister Chombo, Zimbabwe was going to fail. Minister Chombo is saying, yes, the councils are guilty, what is the way forward and is trying to rectify the problems.

Minister Chombo is saying people were voted to become councillors and they do not have knowledge of running these councils, so let us find a way forward. The Minister is eliminating the dead, leaving the good ones to perform the duties to the extent of suspending the Town Clerk to enable the Minister to carry out investigations.

It is a very cumbersome job because these councillors were just voted into power so they were not given the awareness that they will be looking after rate-payers' money. You get a person who has no property, who is a lodger to become a councillor. These councillors are not qualified, they were elected because they were on the forefront of being violent. The party which has members of the councils who are not behaving should go and have a clear way of getting people who are suitable for running the councils.

Another hon. member contributed saying the ratepayers in Harare, especially those on the waiting list, are paying huge amounts of monies, where is the money going to. Whenever these monies are paid, the money is paid in the coffers of councils, they are the ones who decide on how to use these monies. The problem of officials is that they will not make the decision which is again the wishes of councils. The officials are technocrats but the councillors will say we are here to represent people. The councillors are superior when it comes to the use of the monies. Let us allow Minister Chombo to deal with council issues....

MR. KAPESA: On a point of order Mr. Speaker, I think you are not protecting the hon. member who is speaking.

THE ACTING SPEAKER: I think I am trying to give hon. members the opportunity to air their views. I think the biggest enemy to this debate and what I want to remind you is that I have been allowing members from both sides to stray from the actual debate which we have. Hon. members, when you come to the House, you must also research, going through the business of the day because the motion before us is the Quarterly Budget of a Ministry of Local Government. As you debate, you must understand the subject you are debating - [HON MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections] - Hon. members, if you do not listen, we will start asking each other to leave the House.

*MR. ZIYAMBI: Thank you Mr. Speaker, for giving us protection in order to debate. I am getting nearly to that subject. We find that councils are being run by the budgets from the councils. Council Committees are the people who come up with proposals and then the proposals are submitted to Central Government. If the Central Government and the council do not agree, things will not work out well. For example, the Health Committee, it is talking about hygienic issues and people in that town, they put up their proposals which are then supposed to be approved by the Minister of central government but the Central Government has got its own input, so if these things are put together, things will work out well. So, we are not suppose to deal with petty issues.

What is happening right now is to put things in order for the welfare of the residents of the country.

MR. M. SHOKO: First and foremost, let me start by expressing my support of the contents of the report with the need for Government to timeously disburse the funds to the Ministry of Local Government, but then we also have to realise that if the funds are disbursed to the Ministry in time, those funds must be used properly. First, you have chiefs who sometimes come here on business that is totally divorced from local governance and yet they are catered for by the Ministry of Local Government. I think when chiefs travel to Harare, Bulawayo or any other place for that matter, then they must use their own funds or they must use funds from the organisations that they are travelling to see.

I have heard speakers talking about councillors in today's Zimbabwe. Let me make this highlight and try to explain a little about councillors and the powers that they have to direct the affairs of a local authority. I do not believe now that councillors have the authority that councillors used to have during my time because of the changes that took place in 2007 December, scrapping of the executive mayoral position. That tended to emasculate today's councillors and mayors so that power is now concentrated in the hands of the Town Clerk or the Chief Executive in a council. Remember, they should officially not have an office at the Council today. Councillors attend Council only twice a month.

First, when they attend committee meetings like the Portfolio Committees that we all attend, that usually last for only one hour. And then second, when they attend the main council meeting where resolutions are made, that usually is for only two hours. That gives us only three hours of attendance in a month and I do not think you can hold such a person responsible for whatever wrong is taking place in a council. However, that is not to say that councillors, if they attend thirty minutes or two minutes at council, they should then be allowed to loot. That one no, we can not.

We must realise that perhaps the people that are usually seconded to council by the Minister of Local Government, let us accept this as a fact, they tend to be vampires when it comes to theft. They are first class thieves. I remember in November 2005 when somebody was brought specifically to remove me. I called him to my office and told that person, that today I am in an unfortunate situation, but tomorrow that will be your turn. These people even go on to worsen the situation. Take the Chitungwiza situation that I am familiar with. The Chairman of that revival team, the so called revival team, earns a whooping $12 000.00 and his Deputy is pegged at $11 000.00 and then the rest earn $10 000.00. That really makes you to begin to salivate and that is too much money.

I would like to bring to your attention that while they are earning so much money, there is no service delivery to talk about. The roads are bad, they are not being repaired and yet we have people who are earning such hefty salaries. We condemn all forms of corruption, regardless of where it comes from. Whether that person comes from the MDC and I am from the MDC, I must condemn that. Whether that person comes from ZANU PF and you are ZANU PF, please condemn that but of course, we must always do this with facts. I do not want to get into serious facts pertaining to my experience with the Minister of Local Government in 2005.

You all know that I was the Executive Mayor of Chitungwiza and then I left that council after the disappearance of $12 billion National Housing Fund that was sent from the Reserve Bank through the parent ministry to my local authority and then, that money was changed. I later investigated and heard that it was changed in the Ministry of Local Government and then the council officials and the minister decided to have a meeting somewhere outside the councils offices and they were saying do not tell this Mayor. He should not know that and yet I was supposed to be in charge of that. What really surprised me is that a year down the line, the Governor of the Reserve Bank, wanted me to account for funds that I never received. Then the minister said please charge more to the residents and get money to pay the Reserve Bank. I said no, I can not charge the residents anymore particularly for a loan that I did not see.

Therefore such areas have got to be plugged and we must agree that we plug such areas and then our local government system will begin to be run more smoothly. Then you talk about the Hon. Minister fighting corruption. That is fine and we would applaud if that is what he is doing, but be careful of one thing. I do not believe that the minister is fighting corruption because first and foremost, in the case of Chitungwiza, councillors there, were disowned by their party for corruption after the party had realised that they were corrupt. After they had disowned them, the minister protected them. As we are discussing, everything has come out. You begin to appear a champion.

On the contrary, I believe that the minister is waging a war on MDC councillors throughout the country in order to cripple them so that they cannot perform. That is what is happening and then you can not tell me that in a municipality like Chitungwiza where one man, inspite of repeated reports that I made personally, that one man owns the entire Chitungwiza. Can we say that is good. I applaud honourable Ziyambi on one thing. The selection of councillors. These must be city fathers and city mothers. There is need for certain qualifications if we are to run our local authorities properly. You need to have some qualification of some sort. It is a complex area that you need educational qualification, look at the integrity of the person that you are putting into office in the council. So it is necessary that the quality and calibre of the people that we are putting in Local Government is beyond reproach, but otherwise I would think of the report as presented by the Portfolio Committee on Local Government as a report that this august House must take seriously and debate the issues raised there, more seriously than what we are doing. I thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.

*MR. NDAVA: Thank you Mr. Speaker. I would like to thank the Committee on Local Government for presenting such a noble report in Parliament. Somebody also contributed and I am one of the people who once worked for the Council in the past.

I would like to start by rectifying that the political parties should not run these Councils through the back door as advisors. Simply because the power to run these councils is endorsed on the Minister of Local Government.

THE ACTING SPEAKER: Order hon. members, I am going to repeat again but this time I will not allow you to debate outside the report. If there is someone who wants to bring in a fresh motion on the running of local councils, you should do that. This is a report of the Portfolio Committee and your issues should centre around the issue of the Budget. I will not allow members to stray away from the report otherwise the report will not be relevant.

*MR. NDAVA: Thank you Mr. Speaker for advising me but I know that the Rules and Regulations allow me to correct some anomalies...

THE ACTING SPEAKER: Hon. members, when you debate in this House, you do not debate amongst yourselves, you debate issues and you do not correct each other.

*MR. NDAVA: Thank you once again for your guidance. On the budgets, we are debating in this House, we are saying the allocation of Public Sector Investment Funds according to my experience, take cognizance of water augmentation, roads and others. These monies are expected to come from the Central Government to Councils and if people fail to collect rubbish or water reticulation, that have nothing to do with the Local Government Ministry but the Ministry of Finance in bringing the money to the people through PSIPs must then demand accountability. The people running the Council have the power to run Councils as they see fit and according to their policy at Council levels.

There are also lots of meetings from the Executive Committees of Councils which depends on the areas they will be debating; and full Council meetings. They can debate the whole day. These people have ample time to debate on the issues of their constituencies.

The other problem faced by our Councils when they talk about inadequate budgets is; they want to import manpower on certain projects like what they did in Chinhoyi. They ask people like Brian Coughlan and Company Consultancy. The Council then sat down to take advice from them which they started wanting to ignore. What can be done in that situation? These Councillors are greed. They give business to people who will give them some kick-backs. Our Councillors are really greedy.

When we look back at the Zimbabwean dollar era, the problem was that the exchange rate disturbed the budgets especially on imports to be used in the Councils but now, what we find is that these people are now misusing the foreign currency in doing whatsoever they want because money should be adequate to do what they want because there is no exchange rate to disturb what they want to do. The monies are equal to the budget which would have been rolled out.

Yes, I do appreciate that people are not earning enough to sustain the Councils but the Council should be in a position to debate with the people and authorities who will enable them to operate within the budget.

The Minister of Local Government, Mr. Chombo can not agree or support a budget which has been crafted by the Council without the support of the residents who are supposed to benefit from the service.

We have people who have problems because they are taking money which is supposed to be used for Councils' business. You will find that a political party fired its Councillors because they say were not performing well. Councillors are not fired by their parent political parties but the Minister of Local Government played his part in restoring order in those local authorities because they were fired inappropriately.

We support the Committee and I should say the Ministry of Finance contributes to some of the problems especially when looking at the PSIP which has a heavy bearing on the people like water reticulation because we find that towns are expanding at an alarming rate and the water which has been supplied is no longer enough for the extension. The Ministry of Finance should also disburse enough funds so that they cater for the PSIP and they have to be given as a priority. In Harare we have a problem of typhoid and in the past it was cholera.

Councillors now have mansions and when you ask them where they get these mansions, they will not be able to tell. As a Parliament of Zimbabwe, let us talk to the Ministry of Finance and Local Government and look at the monies which go to these projects and these monies should be channeled to the Public Works because they are the people who will be able to run these funds. The Councils are run by people who do not know what they are doing and you find these Councillors use remote controls causing the Councils to be run run by the Executives of these Councils themselves. It is true that money should be disbursed on time.

MS. D. SIBANDA: On a point of order Speaker, the hon. member is going off the debate.

 

that the quality and calibre of the people that we are putting in Local Government is beyond reproach, but otherwise I would think of the report as presented by the Portfolio Committee on Local Government as a report that this august House must take seriously and debate the issues raised there, more seriously than what we are doing. I thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.

*MR. NDAVA: Thank you Mr. Speaker. I would like to thank the Committee on Local Government for presenting such a noble report in Parliament. Somebody also contributed and I am one of the people who once worked for the Council in the past.

I would like to start by rectifying that the political parties should not run these Councils through the back door as advisors. Simply because the power to run these councils is endorsed on the Minister of Local Government.

THE ACTING SPEAKER: Order hon. members, I am going to repeat again but this time I will not allow you to debate outside the report. If there is someone who wants to bring in a fresh motion on the running of local councils, you should do that. This is a report of the Portfolio Committee and your issues should centre around the issue of the Budget. I will not allow members to stray away from the report otherwise the report will not be relevant.

*MR. NDAVA: Thank you Mr. Speaker for advising me but I know that the Rules and Regulations allow me to correct some anomalies...

THE ACTING SPEAKER: Hon. members, when you debate in this House, you do not debate amongst yourselves, you debate issues and you do not correct each other.

*MR. NDAVA: Thank you once again for your guidance. On the budgets, we are debating in this House, we are saying the allocation of Public Sector Investment Funds according to my experience, take cognizance of water augmentation, roads and others. These monies are expected to come from the Central Government to Councils and if people fail to collect rubbish or water reticulation, that have nothing to do with the Local Government Ministry but the Ministry of Finance in bringing the money to the people through PSIPs must then demand accountability. The people running the Council have the power to run Councils as they see fit and according to their policy at Council levels.

There are also lots of meetings from the Executive Committees of Councils which depends on the areas they will be debating; and full Council meetings. They can debate the whole day. These people have ample time to debate on the issues of their constituencies.

The other problem faced by our Councils when they talk about inadequate budgets is; they want to import manpower on certain projects like what they did in Chinhoyi. They ask people like Brian Coughlan and Company Consultancy. The Council then sat down to take advice from them which they started wanting to ignore. What can be done in that situation? These Councillors are greed. They give business to people who will give them some kick-backs. Our Councillors are really greedy.

When we look back at the Zimbabwean dollar era, the problem was that the exchange rate disturbed the budgets especially on imports to be used in the Councils but now, what we find is that these people are now misusing the foreign currency in doing whatsoever they want because money should be adequate to do what they want because there is no exchange rate to disturb what they want to do. The monies are equal to the budget which would have been rolled out.

Yes, I do appreciate that people are not earning enough to sustain the Councils but the Council should be in a position to debate with the people and authorities who will enable them to operate within the budget.

The Minister of Local Government, Mr. Chombo can not agree or support a budget which has been crafted by the Council without the support of the residents who are supposed to benefit from the service.

We have people who have problems because they are taking money which is supposed to be used for Councils' business. You will find that a political party fired its Councillors because they say were not performing well. Councillors are not fired by their parent political parties but the Minister of Local Government played his part in restoring order in those local authorities because they were fired inappropriately.

We support the Committee and I should say the Ministry of Finance contributes to some of the problems especially when looking at the PSIP which has a heavy bearing on the people like water reticulation because we find that towns are expanding at an alarming rate and the water which has been supplied is no longer enough for the extension. The Ministry of Finance should also disburse enough funds so that they cater for the PSIP and they have to be given as a priority. In Harare we have a problem of typhoid and in the past it was cholera.

Councillors now have mansions and when you ask them where they get these mansions, they will not be able to tell. As a Parliament of Zimbabwe, let us talk to the Ministry of Finance and Local Government and look at the monies which go to these projects and these monies should be channeled to the Public Works because they are the people who will be able to run these funds. The Councils are run by people who do not know what they are doing and you find these Councillors use remote controls causing the Councils to be run run by the Executives of these Councils themselves. It is true that money should be disbursed on time.

MS. D. SIBANDA: On a point of order Speaker, the hon. member is going off the debate.

THE ACTING SPEAKER: Hon. member, can you continue but can you stick to the motion.

*MR. NDAVA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir, for protecting me. What I am saying is the Central Government, through the Ministry of Finance, disburses funds to councils and councillors, we found that some of these funds are abused because of ignorance of running councils and you will find that these projects are now being run by employees of councils. Therefore, we find that these employees also are interested in the salaries they earn instead of ensuring service delivery. My plea is that these funds should be disbursed through the PSIP and should not be disbursed at the end of the year as we have witnessed before. The funds that are disbursed by the Ministry of Finance to the local authorities should be used for the right purpose of service delivery.

I do support Hon. Shoko especially on the qualifications for one to be elected a councillor. We are taking all riff ruff from the streets to run the councils. We need to have someone who is mature but also with qualifications and who is capable of running the council for the position of a City Father.

MR. MATSHALAGA: I too would like to add my voice to this motion on the Portfolio Committee on Local Government. This Committee should be applauded, first, for producing at least the first expenditure related report which highlights the financial constraints being faced by this Government. The constraints being faced through the design of budget allocation. Yes, Government uses the PSIP and makes allocations sometimes that do not relate to the disbursements. We can talk at the national level, secondly at the ministry level and thirdly at the local level. What is clear from the report is that expectations are raised when budget is announced that such and such a project is funded through PSIP. At the end of the year, for a number of reasons, we find out that no funds were released. Members here also witnessed it in 2011 where they were also promised that they were going to get an allocation of the CDF. So, Parliament being the supreme law of providing legislative approval of the Budget, should have been the first to scream about not getting what is legally budgeted for. This disease is creeping into local authorities and into any ministry. If you go to any ministry, you will find the discrepancy of what is budgeted for, what has been promised, what you as Parliamentarians have approved and what is expended at the end. Of course, a lot of software problems are involved, lack of capacity, they will say in terms of local authorities implementing projects, but the other reason that is usually mentioned is lack of resources.

We should make sure that the resources that are available do fund the ultimate priorities of this Government. So, if we have a PSIP budget for local authority because most of our people live in local authority precincts and PSIP usually supports capital development either for infrastructural development, that is, for water and sanitation and for roads. So it is critical that we put number one priority on those issues so that we do not have to allocate funds muddling through, when there is for instance, an outbreak of typhoid. Even when we start looking for funds to give to the Ministry of Health when we could have preventive measures by ensuring that proper infrastructure development for water and sanitation are properly funded.

The Ministry for Local Government has been here as reference that they are being high handed. Given the scenario that has been said here, I can foresee problems because one of the critical issues for PSIP is if you are given funds for this year, you have to acquit the funds for the previous year. If you start fumbling about what happened to the funds, there is no way the Ministry of Finance or even Parliament for that matter, is likely to sanction a disbursement of funds when the previous funds have not been accounted for.

In a situation where the hon. member talked about $12 billion, where the chief executive did not even know where the $12 billion had gone, except that it had been deposited into an account. Maybe as we have heard from others, the problem we have had is the interference between those who are elected as professional councillors and those who are the professionals. Once they understand that the councillor that they have has little or no appreciation of the issues, and is just the leading type of councillor who only goes there to approve on an hourly basis, they do what they want. I was shocked when I heard that these people only meet for an hour a month. They meet for such important issues such as the cleanliness and provision of water and ensuring infrastructure. There is something wrong in our local governance. We need to re-look on how they operate and we cannot leave it to the Minister of Local Government alone. I now appreciate why the Minister of Local Government, from time to time, sends in commissions. This is because he will have seen what is happening, so he will be trying to redress the issue like the one which was mentioned by the hon. member in the case of Chinhoyi; where the city fathers, in their wisdom, decided to appoint a consultant to identify the person to assist them. After the consultant had been identified, then money has been spent because consultants do not come for free. This is the scenario which we think should be addressed. We should agree with other hon. members, what we need is not necessary to set qualifications and age limits, but is to capacity build local Councillors, once they come in because they are sometimes lacking experience in local governance. In terms of the governance issues that are there, what we need is a robust training formulated by the Minister to training these guys on how best to run a Council so that they do not run astray. They are taught on how best to interface between the staffing that provides services so that we minimise losses. Minimising losses means we have transparent accounting. Transparent accounting will ensure that funds provided are quickly disbursed for the appropriate business.

If we tend to make it a little bit political like the tone that I am hearing, that those who are entrusted by the law to ensure that Councils are run properly are then confronted with what could be rhetoric political accusations. That have no bases at all. Then we find ourselves in trouble. What we need is to sit down as Members of Parliament, drawing what lessons we can learn from the experience since we have this GNU where we have been in Government together. Nobody is in opposition here. Nobody is trying to score points. We are trying to ensure that our Councillors get the best benefits. I will take the example of my own Council in Zvishavane, the Chairman has been in and out of arrests for frivolous things that he has done, I do not think he will have done, if he had listened to the advice of his clerk or he had been properly capacitated to make procedure decisions within Council.

The Council is run by the Council and when things go wrong the Minister has legal authority provided for, under legislation which is approved by this Government, to interfere in the interest of the people. I have heard of the problems that we have. Local authorities sometimes, take for instance, in their salary structures, they pay their staff huge sums and even their allowances are higher than those of Parliamentarians. What on earth is this. How can we have a lower unit of Government benefitting from the lower people, the poor people at a higher rate. Where do you get the resources.

The situation is even worse because there is a hierachy of provision of services - take for instance, from the clinics which are urban clinic to the national or provincial ones. The nurse at the Municipal clinic is paid probably three times more than the one at Government level. Maybe we are saying thank God, nobody is to be seen to be asking them why they are doing that. I think the Portfolio Committe has raised pertinent questions which must be looked at more professionally than in emotional terms. The calling for the resignation of the Minister has no place in this issue.

MR. F. M. SIBANDA: I have stood up to add a few points and suggestions on how we could augument budgetary issues in the city Councils. The first fall-out of our governance was demotion of executive mayors and substitution by non-executive mayors, hence the town clerks and other officials are more powerful than the elected people in decision-making and implementation of resoulutions. I still remember when we had executive mayors, they stood their guns, they were resolute and their decions were effective because they were also supervised by their political parties. Now as it is, the directors and town clerks are more powerful, hence this dilemma we find today.

As I have said in my inauguration speech, that I have a few suggestions on how we could augument the budget in our City Councils or municipalities. One is to come up with income generating projects. I know in Bulawayo, the town of Kings has been very absolute on income generating projects. They have farms that they run cattle fattening, traditional brewing and also piggery and also many other projects that they could use to augument the resources of the City Council. This dependence syndrome is very dangerous to any developing country. We have to be self reliant.

All City Councils have got almost half a million residents. If each member pays or resident is paying only $1 as rates. It means like Harare, one and half million per month, what of $15 or $13 per month. We should look at augumenting the central Government. Everybody should understand where we come from. When the inauguration of the GNU came in, most of the Government ministries had no resources, even the Councils were looted to the root. Let us speak as Zimbabweans.

We are only three years in this scenario. We should uplaud our people for working hard. Those who exploited the resources of this country should not be the loudest people and should not cry foul because they know where we are coming from. In short, let us create or venture into income generating projects to augument our poor Councils.

MR. HOVE: I rise also to add my voice and opinion on this very important motion coming from the portfolio committee on Local Government and Urban Development. I am a Member of Parliament with a constituency that is fully urban and in this regard, it will be amiss to keep quiet when certain things are not going on well. What I have noticed on issues to do with Government performance - two issues that come to the mind is that local Government is financed from the grants coming from the Treasury as well as revenue they collect and the services they purport to be offering. So in my approach, I will try to approach it from those two angles whereby the issue to do with grants, it will be a bit problematic for any local authority or local entity to fully plan and base their action plan on the basis of the grants coming from Treasury in the sense that the cash budget we are operating in does not fully guarantee that the money that has been set aside for public sector programmes will come as and when is expected.

So, if local authorities are fully dependent on the grants coming in from the Treasury, then they are bound not to be able to deliver on the programmes that will be before them to implement. Therefore, to base the planning solely on Government grants will not yield the desired delivery. My suggestion will be in that regard, that local authorities need to be afforded an opportunity to borrow on national important programmes such as the provision of water. For example, in Harare, I will talk from the Harare point of view because that is where I reside. So I am fully cognisant of the issues that pertain to Harare.

There has been an issue to do with the Kunzwi Water Project. That project is long overdue, when you look at the population growth in Harare and when you look at the current water bodies that are supplying water to Harare - not only those water bodies have been polluted, but in terms of their capacity, they are unable to provide the required amounts of water. So, it is a time bomb we are sitting on, such that even when they are no burst pipes, we are slowly approaching a day whereby we fail to provide clean water to Harare residents. So, it is important that programmes like the Kunzwi dam are afforded the urgency and importance they so demand.

This problem, I know it is not only found in Harare, I know in all other urban centres, the problem still persists. It is slowly approaching to our rural areas because the population is on the rise now and the standard of life is improving. I am of the opinion that since we are operating on a cash budget, we must go and borrow then we amortise the borrowings over time as and when the inflows come in. I am of the opinion that if that amount is put to use of what it has been borrowed for, we should have the capacity to be able to pay back. The other issue is to do with revenue collection. One of the things that is of worry to me as a citizen, besides being an honourable member, has to do with the amounts that are being charged the residents. The amounts do not relate to the services the residence are getting. All the same, the residents are expected to pay and the bills are continuously piling up. I would say if it were the Gono days of the Zim. dollar era, even if the bills were chopped off the zeros, they would still regain those zeros overnight.

I am proposing that the best way of meeting the budget of local authorities would be to offer an incentive to residents, to say if you bring 50% of the amount you owe, then we right off the other 50% as a way of encouraging the residence to pay for the service but all the same, that would only solve the problem just there but I think we should interrogate ourselves, is it really fair for us to continuously increase charges to residents when they are unable to pay.

If you look at the amounts of bills that are on residents statements, it becomes clear that we are charging rates that are unrealistic. They can not be met, given the current economic performance our nation is going through, so the best way would be to reduce the budget and match those fees of the rates to the level of income the people are receiving or are having at that particular time because right now there is a mismatch. One of the problems I have noticed is when comparisons are being made people rush to compare with what is happening, be it regionally, the African continent or globally. That kind of comparison, omits certain things that are quite important, do not just look at the costs side, look also at the income side and look also even at the political side.

There are people here who are continuously disturbed in their economic activities. They are forced to attend rallies and they are disrupted in their economic ventures in order to sustain a living. So, I am of the opinion that the rates that the residents are being asked to pay be reduced substantially to the level that the lowest paid civil servant should be able to pay off his or her bills and still have sufficient to live on. That way, it will assist the local governance in terms of its service delivery. It will go a long way in assisting us accessing reasonable service.

The other problem also I have noticed in terms of the pro-budget performance, especially bedeviling the local Government with this regard, there is lack of management on the part of those who are managing local Government administration. The local Government managers are seized with the issue of being politically correct than focusing on service delivery. I notice in the area I live, there is no consistency in terms of refuse collection. But you see refuse vehicles always on the road moving, there will be no diesel to move around door to door collecting refuse but you continuously see the vehicle on the road. On one incident I observed the refuse vehicle with the same number moving with the same type of refuse day in and day out. Those meager resources that are there must be put to good use.

MS. D. SIBANDA: I move that the debate do now adjourn.

MR. CHEBUNDO: I second.

Motion put and agreed to.

Debate to resume: Tuesday, 20th March, 2012.

MOTION

BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE

MS. D. SIBANDA: I move that Orders of the Day, Numbers 5 and 6 be stood over until Order of the Day, Number 7 has been disposed of.

MR. MUPUKUTA : I second.

Motion put and agreed to.

MOTION

FIRST REPORT OF THE PORTFOLIO COMMIITTEE ON PUBLIC WORKS AND NATIONAL HOUSING ON PHASE TWO WILLOVALE FLATS HOUSING PROJECTS

MR. MUPUKUTA: I move the motion standing in my name that this House takes note of the First Report of the Portfolio Committee on Public Works and National Housing on Phase Two Willowvale Flats Housing Project.

MR. MHASHU: I second.

MR. MUPUKUTA:

1.0 Introduction

Mr. Speaker Sir, the Portfolio Committee on Public Works and National Housing resolved to inquire into the housing projects being undertaken by the Ministry of National Housing and Social Amenities. The Committee requested the Ministry to submit current and ongoing projects that are funded through the national housing fund and the following among others were submitted to the committee; three of its own housing projects namely Willowvale flats, Dzivarasekwa Extension and Mbizvo 22, Nehanda and Ushewokunze Housing Coperative belonged to cooperatives. Out of these the Ministry indicated that Willowvale Flats Project was one of its success stories. The committee resolved to visit the Willowvale Flats Project to verify and appreciate the success story. The Willowvale Flat Project is a pro- poor housing project targeting civil servants and the vulnerable group for them to benefit as the project has been funded by Government.

Aim: The major aim of the committee was to ascertain the management of Government Housing project with particular reference to and in view of the alleviation of housing shortage, Government funded flats.

2.0 Objectives

The objectives of the inquiry were to;

2.1 Find out whether the procedures set by the Ministry itself were followed in the allocation of flats;

2.2 Ascertain whether the beneficiaries met the set requirements;

2.3 Appreciate the general feeling of the beneficiaries on how the project was handled and managed

3.0 Methodology

3.1 Oral Evidence Session

The Committee received oral evidence from the Ministry of National Housing and Social Amenities on the projects that the Ministry was undertaking.

3.2 Tours of the Willowvale Flats

TheCommittee conducted three tours of Willowvale Flats to assess the state of the flats and the progress made towards completing the project and allocation process.

3.3 Interviews with beneficiaries

The Committee selected a sample of 45 out of 168 beneficiaries from the reservation list of both civil service and non- civil service submitted by the Ministry of National Housing and Social Amenities for interview. Out of the 45, 36 turned up for the interview. The interviews afforded the Committee an opportunity to have first hand information of how the beneficiaries were allocated the flats and whether they met the requirements set by the Ministry.

3.4 Written Submissions

The Committee also received written documents from the Ministry of National Housing and Social Amenities which outlined the requirements for one to be allocated the flat and the selection criteria which was used by the Ministry.

4.0 Committee's Findings

4.1 The Willowvale Flats project was started in 2007/2008 as a joint venture between the then Ministry of Local Government, Public Works, Rural and Urban Development and the Infrastructure Development Bank of Zimbabwe (IDBZ).

4.2 The project was subsequently taken over the Ministry of National Housing and Social Amenities as a result of the resolutions of the National Housing Convention that sought to limit the operations of IDBZ to that of providing financing for infrastructure development only and ceasing to operate as a developer as it was perceived that it was crowding out bona fide developers from the market.

4.3 Zimbabwe Nantong International is the Main Contractor responsible for the construction of 18 blocks of 4 Storey, 2 bedroom, H-type variety walk up flats to accommodate 288 low to medium income households.

 

4. 4 The Committee was informed that 5 blocks (80 units) have been completed and 69 beneficiaries have so far accessed their keys while a further 3 blocks (48 units) are almost 97% complete.

4.5 The Ministry of National Housing submitted the following information as terms and conditions of occupation:

a) Potential beneficiaries were required to pay US$10 000 deposit with the rest payable over 15 years.

b) Potential beneficiaries were not to own other properties in Harare (inclusive of one's spouse where applicable) and vetting would be carried out with the City of Harare and the Deeds Office.

In the event that one had provide false information, the Ministry reserved the right to repossess the property. The foregoing applies to 80% of properties.

c) 20% of the flats would be allocated to civil servants at a reduced deposit rate of US$3 600 and the rest payable over 25 years.

4.6 The Committee was also informed that the allocation criteria involves the potential beneficiaries raising the requisite deposit, one should not own property in Harare and applicants wishing to be considered will be given referral letter to IDBZ where they would be appraised for suitability and given offer letter upon qualifying.

5.0 Committee's Observations

 

5.1 The Committee made the following observations:

5.1.1 The Ministry did not give due diligence to the terms and conditions for one to access flat as there are some beneficiaries who did not meet the requirements.

5.1.2 During the interviews, the Committee observed that there were some beneficiaries who had multiple ownership of properties in Harare such as Mr Tapiwa Zengeya who owned a property in ZIMRE park and Mrs Jane Gwiza who also owned properties in Greendale and Budiriro.

5.1.3 The Committee noted that there are minors under the age of 15 who have acquired the flats through their parents. These include Karen Nothando Masukusa date of birth 4th August 2003 whose father Robert Tendero Masukusa who also bought a flat. Shingisai date of birth 8th September 1989 and Anesu Ndoro date of birth 28th February 1989 whose mother Joylyn Magobeya who also acquired a flat making them three beneficiaries from the same family.

5.1.4 The Committee observed that all the other requirements were set aside as it was highlighted by most interviewees that US$ 10 000 was the only requirement for one to get the flat and this shows that the project was not targeting the poor and vulnerable groups..

5.1.5 From the 36 interviewees, most of the beneficiaries who paid $10 000 were allocated the flats but all civil servants who paid $3 600 are yet to be allocated.

 

5.1.6 Some civil servants paid $10 000 while others were paying $3 600 and reasons for this anomaly were not explained.

5.1. 7 Most of the beneficiaries were not on any local authority or ministry's waiting list.

5.1.8 Some of the beneficiaries allocated flats have not taken occupation of the flats and are renting them out to other people turning them into business.

5.1. 9 There seems to be a deliberate confusion between the role of IDBZ and that of the Ministry in the allocation of flats as it was gathered that both were responsible allocation of flats. It was not clear who really was in charge of the project between IDBZ and the Ministry.

5.1.10 The committee observed that the was no transparency in the allocation of the flats for instance, Susan Muzeti was said to have been allocated a flat and invited to the interview cite as a beneficiary and when interviewed she disclosed that she never filled any form or paid any money making the committee suspicious that she was just used as a placed holder.

5.1.11 The committee observed that the was no equal access to information as some IDBZ and the Ministry's Employees had inside information which the general public was not privy to.

 

6.0 Committee's Recommendations

6.1 The Committee recommends that the Ministry should investigate whether all the beneficiaries met the requirements set for one to be allocated the flat.

6.2 If one does not meet the requirements, the Ministry should stick to its policy of repossessing of the property.

6.3 The committee recommends that the Ministry regularises its information dissemination process to the public.

6.4 The allocation of housing should be done by the Ministry only not the IDBZ. The role of the IDBZ should be maintained as the financial manager.

6.5 The Ministry should revisit the whole flat allocation process and so as to weed out the unintended beneficiaries and repossess the flats and reallocate them as per the set criteria and requirements by the Ministry.

 

7.0 Conclusions

The project is a noble exercise in the alleviation of housing shortage in the nation. However, in view of the observations noted in the inquiry surrounding Willowvale flats, the Committee therefore, intends to conduct further inquiries on other housing project being undertaken by the Ministry to ensure that the deserving beneficiaries access the Government funded houses.

 

 

MR. MHASHU: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir, I am proud to mention that I am a member of this Portfolio Committee which came up with a very factual brief report and I want to be briefer. There is no point why I should elucidate when the report is so precise.

We want to applaud the Ministry of National Housing which embarked on such projects; housing projects to alleviate housing problems in this country.

I am aware that in urban areas, we have an approximate number of people inhabitant in houses to the tune of 2 million, let alone those in the rural areas and we want to applaud the Ministry for such a gesture. The action was of course one-one you should applaud.

We must respect that those who are supposed to be given the housing facilities should be people that are deserving.

The terms of reference in the report are very clear and I think I want to reflect that the terms are such from the beginning of the reading. On the one side, they are pro-poor and they are including civil servants, who for a long time, are not accommodated. They are also targeting the vulnerable groups and for a long time those are without shelter.

Then, scales of amounts of money were given. Civil Servants US$3 600 deposit and the total balance has to be paid over 25 years. The other beneficiaries were supposed to pay US$10 000 deposit and the rest of the balance has to be paid in 15 years time, which is good; which is okay.

Then, the nation is interested in knowing whether these conditions laid down by the Ministry were followed. If they are not, then the Ministry is liable to answer some questions.

Another condition was that the beneficiary should be a person on the waiting list. I think of the City of Harare or other local authorities but it has to be in Harare. That is an important condition to investigate and see that it was followed and that any beneficiary should again access to such a provision when he or she has other properties in Harare. The report here said there were several breaches of the conditions of occupation and that I think must be emphasised and emphasised strongly.

As the report outlined, there were some who benefitted from this programme who were not on the waiting list. Not only on the waiting list but even unworthy to be considered because they are minors. If a person is 13 years of age and we reckon that, that person must be accorded accommodation, when the thousands of people on the waiting list do not have accommodation, that must be looked at. The Ministry must make a follow-up of the conditions that they are followed in latter and spirit.

Civil servants were requested to pay US$3 600 as deposit. The rest,US $10 000, but it appears now that the project, instead of being pro-poor, tended to be pro-rich. As long as we have US$10 000, you will pay through the IDBZ and you will be given the keys straight away. Several Civil Servants who paid US$3 600, not even a single one was handed over the keys to get into the flats.

The question is, did they have to pay US$10 000 to be given the flat? The answer is yes, because even the civil servant who knew was supposed to pay US$3 600 knew that he/she will not be given the flat, had to get it to be US$10 000 and then get the keys.

The aim of the project was not followed to the latter and the spirit. Of course some people here might say the hon. member is talking a language that is not expected from a former Minister in that area. We are not talking about persons, we are talking about issues. We are only deliberating on the facts that the committee found sites and we are saying to the Ministry please revise your processes and award accommodation to those who deserve. That is what we are saying. It is not good news to hear that members from the same family and worse still, children included, benefited from this project. That is not fair when an old person on the waiting list for a long time has the money but denied chance to be able to pay that money to be able to access that flat. We are saying that is not correct. The Ministry therefore, must stick to their conditions of occupants, if they do not do that, that is the reason why anyone from anywhere came into line and benefited. A lady whose name is mentioned there was bold enough to tell the committee that I was somebody in this profession during this time, I was surprised to be called to the interview and surprised to be told that I am a beneficiary. Also surprised to hear the good news when I did not even filled in an application form or pay any form of deposit. This statement is indefensible. It does not matter who is doing what, who is where and that is the fact that must be condemned.

Transparency should be there as what the report is saying. If there was transparency, such omissions and commissions would have been avoided. Mr. Speaker Sir, as I have said earlier on, the report is so brief and so factual and I will be briefer as I have done. I want to encourage the ministry to take seriously the committee's recommendations and implement these suggestions. I thank you.

*MRS. SHIRICHENA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir, let me add my voice as well on the findings by the committee on National Housing. We are all aware that houses are very important to us people of Zimbabwe. Referring to the report that has been tabled by the committee on National Housing, comparing with the report that was given by the Ministry in terms of the requirements for someone to be able to qualify to benefit from the houses that are being constructed with the funds from Government; the houses were for low income earners, civil servants. We have noticed that it is the opposite of what we have encountered on the ground. This programme was aimed at pro-poor civil servants. Surprisingly, the rich people with other houses ended up benefiting from this programme.

Some of the beneficiaries are using these houses for profit making whilst someone does not even have anywhere to stay. This is really painful. So my prayer is for the civil servants who have managed to pay $3.6 thousand, who have not been handed keys to the houses. I can not foresee them benefiting from this scheme because it is clear that there is corruption. I do not know where the poor people in Zimbabwe will get houses for only the rich are always benefiting. What pains the members of this Committee most is that the Government has mandated the ministry to ensure that the number of people on the waiting list is reduced when some could benefit in this programme. However, the ministry has failed to fulfill its mandate of helping people with housing. I am now saying to the Ministry of Housing, they should ensure that they follow their guidelines for people to qualify to get accommodation.

What we saw in Willowvale is so painful, they should not continue doing this as it pains Zimbabweans. We are saying they should fulfill their mandate as they told us. If they receive funds from Government, they should help those poor people without houses, not promoting corruption. Some people who are rich even bought houses for grade one children so that they can make money through rentals. The ministry should do their work in a transparent manner and should know their boundaries and should not be involved in the deals with IDBZ. As was reported, we no longer know the boundaries of the ministry and the IBDZ. We do not know whether it was the ministry or the IBDZ that was responsible for the allocation of the houses. The ministry should not frustrate Zimbabweans because it is a right for a Zimbabwean person to get accommodation.

As a member of the Committee, our findings at Willowvale are so disappointing. They must correct their mistakes that they have made. I thank you.

THE ACTING SPEAKER: Hon. members, there was an umbrella that was found on the 29th of February this year. The owner can check with the police office number 10, near the reception, opposite the lifts.

MR. CHIMHINI: I stand to support the motion moved by Hon. Mupukuta and I have a few comments to make. The first one is that, it is very surprising Mr. Speaker Sir, that we have a whole ministry that is not clear about what it is supposed to do about the allocation of houses which it built using funds from the Government. In discussions with the beneficiaries, it became very clear that the left hand did not know what the right hand was doing. When you have houses or flats that are allocated and you ask what criteria is being used. The criterion is on the table but it is not being followed.

The second issue we noticed is that civil servants were disadvantaged. We had situations where directors where allocated houses and yet it was possible that they would have asked their junior employees to apply for those houses then they would get preference. However, this was not the case and like what the other hon. members have indicated, how do you come up with $10 thousand from an ordinary civil servant and ask for $3 600 from another. The person who has paid $10 thousand obviously is the first person who is allocated and not the $3 600 one. That became very disturbing.

We recommend very strongly, Mr. Speaker Sir, that the allocation of houses at Willowvale be revisited because we are very sure that either there was scandalous behaviour there or there were corrupt activities taking place. From the investigations we carried out, it became very clear that somebody knew very well what was happening and pretended not to know. That was very disturbing to the committee. If we have to reduce the waiting list, we will never reduce the housing list in this country if we are going to have to reduce the waiting, we will never reduce the housing waiting list if we are going to have funds that are given by Government to build houses for people who really need those houses and we end up giving people who already have properties in Harare. How then do we reduce the housing waiting list in this country?

It is also suprising that some beneficiaries actually refused to come and be interviewed. The question we ask is, how then do we know these are genuine beneficiaries? It becomes very disturbing that the Ministry has not taken it upon itself to ensure that if people were allocated houses and they cannot come to be interviewed, then they would explain exactly what transpired. $10 000 is not a lot of money for people who have a lot of money. What is happening here is that we have people with $10 000 and we want to connect them and they have connections and they raise $10 000 and they get the access. But here we are trying to look at civil servants who are really suffering and people who genuinely need that accommodation and are not being given that accommodation.

I want to reiterate what was said in our report that unless we investigate other Government funded projects in terms of housing, we will not go very far because this corruption will continue. I want to call it corruption because when you have an activity, a Government funded programme, where the Ministry itself cannot properly explain what was happening on the ground, it becomes very disturbing. What we are saying in this report is that let us investigate what really happened and maybe the Minister will come and explain to this House what transpired for the nation to know exactly whether these Government funded flats really went to the people who really deserve to get these flats.

MR. MUKANDURI: I rise to contribute to this important report submitted by the Committee on National Housing. It is really disturbing to hear that they were no clear guidelines on how the houses that were built by the public funds, of course perhaps funded by the IBDZ were allocated. It really points to how our system operates. It is a very poor system. We cannot expect that a child that was born in 2003 was allocated a house. That is a scandal that cannot be tolerated at all. Just a few minutes ago we were discussing that our councillors who are in local governance are not capacitated and the civil servants or public servants in those institutions take advantage.

I think I will not be remiss to say even the honourable ministers when they are appointed, I feel very sincere that they should be taken through a certain induction course so that they know their responsibilities. We really appeal to the committee to identify those people who leaked inside information. This is a criminal offence and it should be charged as a criminal offence. The public servants who had access and who indulged in those corrupt activities should be named and shamed because we honourable Members of Parliament, are accused of abusing just $50 000. $50 000.00 is not a large amount and these people used public funds. In our case, probably it is a question perhaps of accountability as the projects are there but poor accountability, but these people are corrupt and corrupt in the real sense.

I support the idea that those houses where there were dubious allocations to dubious people should be repossesed and given to the deserving civil servants. Of course honourable members do not have houses, it will be also a noble idea to allocate one or two flats to the deserving honourable Member of Parliament who come as far as Binga. When we do national projects we should respect the poor because the money that is used to do these national projects is the poor people's money. We charge VAT and Surtax and so forth. The poor is always paying the brunt. In certain societies they say a big man takes but a small man thieves. That means if these things were done by poor people, by now, they would be in prison but because it was done by people in very respected positions, they are not regarded to be thieves. They have taken. A small man thieves, big man takes.

*MR. H. MUDZURI: Thank you for giving me this opportunity to make my contribution on this debate as a member of this committee. When the Government is building these houses, the intention is to help the poor and those who cannot afford to construct their own houses by themselves. What has happened is not noble if those people who come from affluent areas are benefitting. Then the aim of Government is being distorted and hijacked. After constructing the flats in Willowvale, Government then set out parameters for the selection of the beneficiaries.

Among other things, were conditions that you did not own any other property, you could afford to pay the required deposit. After setting these requirements, again it is the same Government that ignored the selection criteria and followed the corrupt ways and said if you had $10 000 you were assured of getting a house. If we set our own regulations and then not follow them, what about those who do not have anything to go about? Let us look at the issues on the ground. They are some people who have been on the waiting list since 1972 and some have now died without getting those houses. Some joined the waiting list in 1980 and until now do not have a house but now imagine that a child that was born in 2003 now owns a flat. This is diabolic. We cannot have that.

I once paid a visit to Hatcliffe Extension. We have people who stay in plastic houses like lacto. Mr. Speaker, 16 people are staying in one room, the mother, father and children over 18 years are staying in one room. These are not proper conditions for people to stay in. Those are the people who should benefit first. These people were forgotten. We visited Kariba and found people who are staying in metal houses. These are the people who are supposed to benefit but what we witnessed at Willovale leaves a lot to be desired. There is a high level of greediness. How can one become a polygamy in terms of houses when we have some people who have no roof over their heads? Now, that we have discovered that there is this problem, we have to sit down and craft measures to rectify this anomaly in the allocation of houses.

We will be doing this in our future projects so that the indented beneficiaries of such housing schemes definitely benefit.

MS. A. NDHLOVU: I want to thank the Committee chaired by Hon. Mupukuta and all the other members of the Committee for a very important job carried out by the Committee. The Committee investigated the way the flats were allocated. Mr. Speaker, decent accommodation is a right to every citizen of this country. When the country embarks on such projects as the Willovale flats projects, it will be trying to execute its mandate of providing such to its citizens. It is therefore very worrisome Hon. Speaker, that those efforts are put to waste by greedy and selfish individuals. It is therefore my recommendation Hon. Speaker that those on the report presented to this House probably the Ministry has to investigate whether the people who benefited actually deserves to benefit.

I also would like to suggest that the Ministry probably also needs to review the requirements for one to access cheaper and affordable accommodation, recognising that women and youth in this country are not able to raise the US$10 000, as such the disadvantaged are already disadvantaged. They are further disadvantaged by the fact that they are not even able to raise the US$10 000, even the US$3 600 which was required in the case of the civil service. So, I want to also suggest that the Ministry has to come up with a policy to take care of the disadvantaged groups in the country, particularly the youths, the women and the disadvantaged.

The interviewees who refused to turn up Hon. Speaker, I think they need to be taken to task. This is an Hon. House, if any citizen of a country is invited to come and give oral evidence before a Portfolio Committee of this Hon. House, I think it is only fair that, that individual responds. I think that action has to be taken against all the people who refuse to come to give oral evidence.

I think it is clear from their refusal that they have something to answer or they are hiding something which we want to unearth. I want to thank the work done by this Committee and encourage them to continue doing this work and look at other projects nationally, not just the Willowvale one. There are many projects, for example in Bulawayo, Hlalani Kuhle, it was a good project but we want to know if the people who are staying there are the ones whose houses have been demolished because those are the ones who deserve to be there. I want to thank the Committee. The Ministry needs to put its house in order and be able to deal with Government procedures in a manner that is more honourable than what they are doing now. Thank you Mr. Speaker, and well done to the Committee.

MR. DZURUTWE: Mr. Speaker Sir, we never learn as a people that when these things come up intended for the poor, it has to go to the poor. I am very happy this Committee has taken the bull by its horns. I would recommend that whoever benefited when they should not have, they should not have their monies refunded, no, the money should be kept by the State. We have conditions, if you are a civil servant, you are supposed to have one house. We need to start somewhere. It is not just about the houses, a few months ago fertilisers that were meant for the poor were taken away by the rich. If things are for the poor, then you need to give everything to the poor, not that you have a big farm somewhere and you are going for the poor peoples fertiliser. You have several houses and you are going for the houses of the poor.

Hon. Ndhlovu brought in the issue of Hlalani Kuhle, we need to be very pro-active. We need to make the rules here and stick to it, whether it is agriculture or public housing. People need to come and answer to these committees, those who do not come are in contempt of Parliament. A deposit of US$3 600, even if Members of Parliament were asked to come and pay the deposit, where were you going to get that money? So, from the onset, the Ministry never intended for these houses to go to the poor. I am hopping that the outrage we are showing right now as Members of Parliament will be expressed whenever these things come. I am happy that this Committee has done something positive, keep digging hopefully other committees will dig elsewhere and bring to this House, we will support you and demand action.

MR. MUDARIKWA: Thank you Mr Speaker, first and foremost, let me just remind the House that we have civil servants who are staying in Marondera, Bindura, Beatrice, Norton, Chegutu et cetera. Civil servants still on those areas are coming to Harare to work, everyday. These are the people who are supposed to be deserving to have these houses.

When there is corruption within the Ministry, you have to ask the father how is this corruption taking place. When you are a father and you have a son, he has taken a wallet, he comes to your house running, being chased by people and then you say nobody should come in this house, there is something wrong.

Mr. Speaker, the City of Harare must investigate this Ministry if there is something wrong, the Anti Corruption should come in and as Parliament we have a constitutional obligation, has a mandate from Cabinet to defend the needs of the poor. He failed the nation and I hope he is going to be one of the candidates to be named and flanked by the Right Hon. Prime Minister in his next address to this august House.

It is unfortunate Mr. Speaker that as a nation, we are faced with a very difficult situation where everybody who wants to get anything, he uses the poor man. It is the name of the poor, it is the name of the proletariat that is used by anyone who wants to rise up. Even those who want to rise up in political field, they go and use the name of the proletariat and say, I am representing you. This is what exactly this ministry did. They went out there and they said, we are here and we are representing the poor and they stole from the poor. This is unacceptable.

We are a new Parliament with a dispensation, clean mind, we have to deliver and for our purpose as a Parliament, we must look at transparency. We know honourable members that civil servants are not earning enough, they are suffering, but we continue to go and put salt on a wounded person. This is unacceptable. Some of the people must learn to say I am resigning, I have failed the nation. I know people are poor and they can not resign, but if you are poor, you must never steal. People do things that are unacceptable but because of poverty, poverty is an element that has got a lot of ignorance because when you are poor and you are put into leadership, your poor mind will continue to haunt you.

It is like driving a vehicle that has no tyres at 200 km per hour. It will just go off and you will have a fatal accident. The situation we are faced with today is a situation that must be looked at by the GPA. If you want to appoint a minister, you ask how much money is in his bank account and if he has a bank card. This will give us an idea of what sort of a person we are giving this type of responsibility. You can not take a rank marshal and give him a Mercedes Benz. By the end of the day he will just load 200 people in the Mercedes Benz because this is what is within his profession.

Mr. Speaker, I want to salute the committee for the job well done. What you have done is just the beginning of a long investigation. Also Mr. Speaker, let me remind honourable members that the history associated with the name Willowvale has a bearing on many ministers who were involved in the Willowgate and they ended up resigning and some running away going to work in the United Nations. The situation now is there is a new Willowvale in the GPA and this new Willowvale in the GPA must also signal a process where people must be man enough to say I made a mistake. I let down the country. I failed the constitutional obligation I had and also the mandate. I was sworn in and I did swear an oath of Cabinet and I have let down the Cabinet and the oath. Therefore I must go and ask the Commissioner of Prisons, General Zimondi to give me accommodation for a few days.

In our laws Mr. Speaker Sir, there is what you call voluntary arrest but in the same laws, we do not have the voluntary imprisonment where people say no, I have committed a serious crime, Commissioner of Prisons, I stand accused. I must go to jail for three years because you have failed the nation, you have stolen from the poor and you have stolen from the civil servants who are suffering and struggling. This situation is unacceptable. The committee must continue with its investigation, anti-corruption City of Harare and also we might even go to the extent of providing bodyguards to members of the committee because they are somehow spotted because they are unearthing things that nobody knew.

I want to thank you Mr. Speaker, for allowing me to stand up. I also want to thank honourable members that this is your chance also. We had Minister Mhashu who was in that ministry. He was removed in an unceremonious manner but yours is a situation where there is real corruption which has been brought into this august House. If I was a minister, I would just write on a newspaper that I am going home. The other thing also that honourable members must always do is that these ministers come from your constituencies. There is need Mr. Speaker Sir, for divine intervention when some of these corrupt people come in. The structure of Parliament now must have a Chaplain who will then have a small area where they will sit down and pray for these people to cleanse their minds in such a way that they will never do it again. There is no point to say he is corrupt today or if he does not want, he can just go Johane Masowe and climb a mountain and say Gloria!, so that he is free. What we are saying at this moment is that corruption is corruption. It must not be accepted but some of the corruption might be inherited from the grand parent. Then you need divine intervention to clean this corruption. Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.

MR. MATIMBA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir, firstly, I would like to congratulate the members of the committee for producing such a report and for being very investigative in their work. I agree with the majority of the members who have spoken before me but there is need for further investigations. There is also need for finding exactly the root cause of the problem. Like Hon. Mudarikwa has just said, I disagree that we only engage the ministry to investigate what really happened to members in IDBZ.

I think the ministry has got some answers to the problems that we currently have. To that effect, it is only noble that an independent inquiry is done also. Obviously, people would want to clamour for the anti-corruption but I think for this House to ask for that, it is a lower board. So I would rather recommend a select committee of Parliament to be established so that at least they can go deeper into the issue and let me also hasten to say that in as much as the committee has given us the facts on the ground, our only problem may be not only in the GNU, but Zimbabweans, we end up talking in this Parliament, we have it captured in the Hansard and it dies a natural death. The poor will continue to be poor and continue to be trampled upon.

I wish there was a way and I pray honestly that one day we wake up one morning a united force against corruption, a united force on professionalism and we see to it that whatever we debate in this august House does not just end up in the Hansard. I know the President has heard this, the Prime Minister has heard this but it worries me that sometimes because of political machinations, some of these things are swept under the carpet - that does not only reduce the powers of this august House but in fact is a mockery to whatever contribution that hon. members make in this august House.

I would also like to add for they say dzokororo ine simba that for those members who refused to appear before the Committee. I do not know what the Committee is waiting for - it is clear they are in contempt of Parliament and it is clear that they are in contempt of whoever supervises Parliament, not only Parliament, but the Executive as well and in fact they are in contempt of the Judiciary. So, I do not see any reason for waiting any longer for these people to be summoned. If they cannot be summoned, I think, that is where we want the ACC to - [AN HON. MEMBER: Subpoenas]- Yes, the Anti-Corruption Commission should go there quickly because these are smaller than the other guys that we are talking about. They should just appear before the Committee and answer these questions. In my mind, I think, they could actually have the key and more answers to what we are trying to unearth.

Mr. Speaker, I think, we all have to commend the Committee for a job well done and like I said before, we do not want this to just end up being one of those talk-shops in Parliament and we do not want to end up having the motion adopted and then it ends. I think, we want action as Parliamentarians of Zimbabwe let us unite - we want action on this matter. Thank you.

*MR. RARADZA: Thank you Mr. Speaker, for giving me this opportunity to make my contribution in this debate. I would like to thank this Committee for the unity of purpose in this noble cause. Thank you Mr. Chairman and your Committee for a job well done. I will not contradict the previous speakers - my contribution is that let us not be mere talk shops but implement what we have decided to do.

In this country we have a history of the past in such cases as the Sandura Commission where some implicated individuals, including Ministers died because of the punitive steps undertaken. We have to nip corruption in the bud since it is rearing its ugly head. I know in some Committees we have cowards who will not call a spade a spade, but I must praise this Committee for a job well done. Let us emulate the good work done by our friends. Some of the problems we come across are man-made I know that as soon as we leave this august House, we have members who will go behind our backs and tell the culprits that we are hot on their trails.

In this instance, I plead with the powers that be that we should protect members of this Committee from vindicated individuals. I know that we have people who will throw spanners into such good works but I call for divine intervention. In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, I ask for divine protection for the Committee members so that this anomaly is rectified.

MR. NDAVA: Thank you Mr. Speaker, for affording me this opportunity to also add a few words to the issues that have been raised by the Committee on National Housing.

First, I want to commend the Committee for a job well done and I think, we should take a cue in the manner in which the hon. members have conducted themselves in this Willowvale scandal issue. Having said that, I also agree with the Committee that the set criteria from the Ministry of Housing that civil servants were to pay a deposit of USD3 600.00 and USD10 000.00 as being the facts. Let me first of all say that the majority of civil servants in this country earn salaries around USD200.00 to USD350.00 a month. For the ministry to have set these deposit thresholds, it would have taken somebody who is earning USD250.00 at least three years to raise the deposit because he also has to eat, requires transport and all these other things.

We also have to investigate those that have managed to raise the deposits because we also have to know the source since everybody is crying. So, for one civil servant to raise USD10 000.00, certainly he might also be corrupt because there is noway you would get such kind of money - from where? If they are earning USD200.00 to USD350.00 - the whole spiderweb has to be investigated here, that is what I see.

I also do not agree that we rope in Anti-Corruption Commission. I think, the Committee must also invite the Anti-Corruption Commission to the Committee meeting to inquire as to whether they also live in Zimbabwe and whether they have not yet sniffed this issue in the Ministry of National Housing because we hear they are up in arms with Members of Parliament, who could show them buildings but with no invoices who were never told whether they could keep these buildings or not. This issue has been in the public domain for a long time and we have not heard the Anti-Corruption Commission commenting or suggesting anything to do with this issue at the Ministry of National Housing. I also recommend that the Committee has to invite the Anti-Corruption Commission to one of your meetings when you are deliberating on these issues to at least inquire whether they heard of this scandal there.

I also have some few points that I want to add to say, it takes two to tango, so whoever has been corrupting the officials to get whatever they got at Willowvale - they must release the money and be charged for soliciting for corruption. Because something has to start somewhere, I am sure ministry officials cannot go around looking for people to give them bribes in order for them to be corrupted. The best thing that I should also recommend is that the Committee on National Housing so far has done a very good half job which I hope, they will continue to investigate all other projects under the same ministry because this is just a tip of the iceberg - it could be more but I also doubt if the Minister himself is not aware or not may be part of the problem because for us to have 13 to 15 year olds getting houses, there with their birth dates appearing on certain forms, I think the accounting officer in the same Ministry has to explain. We need more answers from the Minister and his Accounting Officer. I also want to urge the Committee that when you are going to be interviewing the Minister and his Accounting Officer, you also have to invite the Anti-Corruption Commission because they might pick a cue on how to proceed on some of these matters.

We understand that this project was supposed to be pro-poor and the set criteria does not reflect the desired results by the Minister. So, it has to start at the policy level, this whole thing. I also want to say, what we have not heard in the Report is the total price that these people were to pay on the entire cost price of the place. But, from the deposits that we have heard and what we have heard from the Committee, it looks like they are almost on a higher side in terms of the normal prices that we see in the market in terms of 2 bedroomed flats that we find in town. Those that are in Willowvale should be cheaper and should be around $18 000 or so because in Harare now if you go to the estate agents, you can actually buy a flat for US$25 000 or $30 000 in the Avenues area.

So, having heard from the Committee and having looked at the facts that some of the deposits were $10 000 and it would take people 25 or so many years to pay, I think these properties are over priced and they were not intended for the poor. I also want to urge Government to say, if they really want to do these projects for the poor, they must stop dealing with banks because banks have come in to make money where the poor are supposed to be helped. I think it does not help our country nor our citizenry who do not even have a shelter to at least house themselves.

So, well done to the Committee but I think that more work has to be done. I agree with the Hon. Matimba who said we need a Select Committee of this Parliament mandated to look further into these issues and probably put to account those who are charged to execute the same project.

MR. HOVE: Thank you Mr. Speaker, for affording me another opportunity to debate on this very important motion and it is a reflection of the good work that Parliament as an institution can do for our nation.

I would like to congratulate Members of the Portfolio Committee on Public Works and National Housing. However, things that come to mind that are of a bother is the issue whereby minors are given houses. I think, in our books of law, a minor is not deemed to have made an expression of interest on any matter for as long as below sixteen. Any expression of interest below the age of sixteen is deemed to be that of the parent. So, in these instances, I do not know how the officials who were distributing these houses ended up distributing to minors. They should have distributed these houses to the parents and you can even see from that behaviour that they wanted to camouflage corrupt activities there. They did not want to be seen to be giving to people who already have houses elsewhere.

So, that is already a reflection of corruption there. The other problem is that this Housing project, we are told was meant for the poor, but like Hon. Dzirutwe indicated, the initial deposits, the recipients of these flats were supposed to pay, it excludes the very intended targeted people. Coming up with $10 000, it is a reflection that that person surely can afford to buy his or her own stand elsewhere other than those flats because that is the price stands are going for, more so in a high density area. That again is a reflection that there needs to be further work from this Committee.

I would like to urge and encourage the Committee not to rest this matter by merely debating this issue in Parliament but it should continue to pursue it until justice has been done and be seen to have been done.

The third point I wanted to say, is that I was among the people who witnessed the ground breaking ceremony of the construction of these flats at Willowvale. What surprised me most is when towards the end of the First Phase of the flats was completed, we were not invited to the same function. I only heard after the flats had been opened by His Excellency the President that such an event had taken place.

I do not have a problem with that. Where I have a problem is the information as to how those flats were going to be distributed? What manner was put in place to cascade information to the intended recipients? How did the information get to the recipients. We seem to have a problem in our country whereby information is not readily available to our people. Everything is done as if it is State secret, even to the intended beneficiaries. How did the information of how those flats were going to be distributed reach them? What media was used? How were the poor people supposed to know.

I think as a Committee we also need to interrogate how that information was disseminated. I have a problem because at no point did I come across in my reading of the newspapers, listening to the radio or watching television - did I come across information on how distribution of the flats was to be done? The other thing that I also want to express strongly is that those flats need to be redistributed in a transparent manner. There is need to be a redistribution and that should be amongst the recommendations of the Committee if justice is seen to be done.

We can not just merely talk, discuss or debate about a transgression in here and leave things as is. We will have also committed a similar transgression like the one we are discussing in this House. So, I call for the redistribution of those flats and it is easy on how to come up with beneficiaries who are of poor background. It is easy and we should make sure that that is done.

There is one positive thing about the construction of Willowvale Flats that I would also like to express or to publicise. It is the aspect of building of flats. We should know that land is a finite resource. It is high time we start encouraging our policy makers to use up the upper space in construction or provision of houses. In that way, we will be able to feed or at least benefit from the already established road network, from the already established network and from the already established pipes at a minimal cost rather than to continuously expand laterally outwards. That is continuously dishing out stands encroaching into farmland or peri-urban farmlandWe need to encourage the construction of these flats. More so the beneficiaries in current Zimbabwe, if we look at our demographics, you notice that they are mostly young people. Young people have no time to do gardening. They just want a place for themselves and their small families. We should be seen to be catering for that generation, that group. That is one positive thing about the Willovale Flats and we should do the same in the major cities. We should say the minimum level should be ten floors for example. That way it will go a long way in providing decent accommodation.

The other problem that I heard when I was discussing with some Parliamentary staff in how those flats where distributed, one of the disturbing issue that I heard was the issue of resorting to lottery in terms of allocation of houses. To me that is a problem, I have a problem with that. The poor people have a legitimate expectation of housing and that legitimate expectation can not be subordinated to a lottery. As a nation, as a Government or as a State, we cannot be seen encouraging citizens to deal with their poverty through playing lottery. Accessing houses through lottery. We should have a system or policy that is in black and white that we should all follow. Decisions should be made following or perusing that policy even if it is one person who gets out of say 30. It should be a decision where every one in the similar position would see himself arriving at that position. That is a just distribution rather than having to resort to lottery. When issues of lottery now come in, that is now tantamount to manipulation or favouritism or all these other "isms" that perpetuate issues of corruption.

The other thing that I want to put before this august House is that this issue pertaining to Willowvale Flats, needs to be pursued even after this matter has been rested in this august House and this debate. It needs to be pursued and ensure that there is a total redress so that people will have confidence in Parliament. It is one way of restoring relevancy of Parliament in the governance of our country. Part of redressing is to ensure that, like one of the hon. member said, all those who benefited who were not supposed to benefit, whatever they paid should be forfeited to the State.

The other problem that I have is the involvement of these financial institutions like IDBZ in the usage of the Treasury funds. If these funds were coming from IDBZ, it is fine. However, if the monies that were used to construct Willowvale Flats did not come from them, then there was no need to involve IDBZ. There is a loss now of accountability. Right now, I heard people saying we do not know whether the problem is with IDBZ or the Ministry of Public Works and National Housing. This issue of middle man needs to be done away with. Let us have a single entity and it will translate to a reduction of costs of the houses. IDBZ will not be involved without having a charge. That charge is passed to the intended beneficiary, to poor people who are failing to afford the houses. I am of the opinion that the use of the third parties, I know in other instances, there is talk of the DIMUS Fund, for example. We are told people have to access that funding through other financial institutions and people are failing to access it. It seems to be a disease, I also see a resemblance here of a same situation whereby we involve financial institutions who are not necessarily of the same mind with the Government or Government policies.

I want to thank you Mr. Speaker Sir, for this opportunity for debating. Once more again I want to thank Hon. Mupukuta and his Portfolio Committee for a wonderful job.

MS. D. SIBANDA: I move that the debate be now adjourned.

MR. CHEBUNDO: I second.

Motion put and agreed to.

Debate to resume: Tuesday 20th March, 2012.

On the motion of MS. D. SIBANDA seconded by MR. CHEBUNDO, the House adjourned at One minute past Five o'clock p.m. until Tuesday, 20th March, 2012.

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National Assembly Hansard Vol. 38 NATIONAL ASSEMBLY HANSARD - 15 MARCH 2012 VOL. 38 NO. 27