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NATIONAL ASSEMBLY HANSARD - 16 MAY 2012 VOL. 38 NO. 34

Wednesday, 16th May, 2012

The House of Assembly met at a

Quarter-past Two o'clock p.m.

 

PRAYERS

(MR. SPEAKER in the Chair)

ANNOUNCEMENTS BY MR. SPEAKER

NATIONAL DAY OF PRAYER

MR. SPEAKER: I have to inform the House that the Organizing Committee on the National Day of Prayer is inviting all hon. members as individuals to attend the National Day of Prayer at the Glamis Stadium, Harare Showgrounds on Friday, 25th May 2012 starting from 0830 hours until 1400 hours. Hon. members are reminded that this is not a state occasion and hence Parliament will not provide fuel coupons or accommodation.

ORAL ANSWERS TO

QUESTIONS WITHOUT NOTICE

MR. MHANDU: Thank you Mr. Speaker. I would like to know from the Deputy Prime Minister; what is Government saying about Judge Fabricius judgement based at Gauteng North High Court on Zimbabwe Exiles Forum and Southern Litigation Centre versus NPA and SAPS? Thank you.

MR. SPEAKER: Hon. member, that is a detailed question, not only detailed but very important question for us as the House to get a satisfactory answer from the responsible ministry or department. I therefore kindly request you to put that question in writing and direct it to the minister responsible, probably Minister of Foreign Affairs or Minister of Justice, either of the two. Thank you.

MR. NCUBE My question is directed to the Deputy Minister

of Mines. I want to know what Government policy is about the pricing of diamonds vis-a-vis the international market pricing?

THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF MINES AND MINING DEVELOPMENT (MR. CHIMANIKIRE): I would like to thank the hon. member for his question. I would like to suggest that he puts his question in writing because Minerals Corporation of Zimbabwe does the nitty gritty of pricing of diamonds through auction system. The minister does not attend diamond auctions and therefore I would need to inquire from the MMCZ before I can give a complete answer over that particular question.

MR. KANZAMA: Thank you Mr. Speaker. Before I ask my question to the Deputy Prime Minister Prof. Mutambara, allow me on behalf of my constituency Mr. Speaker and my family to congratulate you on your recent attainment of your degree. My question is that there are some quarrels or some conflicts between AMA and cotton farmers regarding the pricing of cotton and farmers are reluctant to deliver their cotton. What is Government position with regards to that issue?

THE DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER (PROF. MUTAMBARA): Mr. Speaker Sir, I thank the hon. member for that question. Yesterday in Cabinet we had a discussion on the issue of pricing of cotton and also dealt with how we can address related matters in the cotton industry. To our farmers involved in cotton, I can say it is work in progress and the Minister of Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development is going to be meeting with the stakeholders in the cotton industry so that they address several issues. One of the issues we are trying to address is the issue of establishing a Commodity Stock Exchange where maize, cotton, tobacco and all these agricultural commodities have a market driven platform where we enable our farmers to extract maximum value for their products. So, we are working on a Commodity Stock Exchange for agricultural products and also for mineral products.

We are also saying that we have done a job with tobacco. Those who are in tobacco are able to extract maximum value for their tobacco. We have not done the same for cotton. I want to say that we are also concerned about agro-processing, moving up the value chain in terms of cotton so that we set up a cotton cluster, let us say in Kadoma, where we actually go into textiles and processing of cotton, we then have to build supporting industries and infrastructure for the cluster. This will help the farmer to extract more value when we move up the value chain by processing our cotton in Zimbabwe. There will be an answer coming from the Minister of Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development after consulting and working with the cotton merchants, the farmers themselves and other industry stakeholders, so that we are able to pay fair value to the farmer for cotton. We want to go into agro-processing for cotton. I want to thank the hon. member for that question and say the Minister of Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development will be able to give us a comprehensive answer by next week.

MR. TACHIONA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir, my question is directed to the Deputy Prime Minister. We know that there were people who were displaced from Chipinge Ethanol Plant. How are those people going to be compensated as what happened to Chiadzwa?

THE DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER (PROF. MUTAMBARA): The issue of ethanol is an important subject to Government to the extent that we have an Inter-ministerial Committee addressing the matters arising from ethanol. Firstly the issue of people who have been displaced as you allude to, the issue of blending. How and when we are going to have that 10% ethanol into our system? Also, the issue of the land itself, the 40 000 ha which were involved in the transaction, the shareholding of the companies involved in that ethanol plant. So, it is a very important subject to us, involving so many issues such as the displaced people, the shareholding structures of those companies and the issue of ethanol as part of our fuel system in the country. Therefore, I do not want to pre-empt the work of that Committee and say that we will assist with the matter and we will be able to come up with a comprehensive and holistic solution to the subject of ethanol in this country. I thank you.

MR. GWIYO: Thank you Mr. Speaker. My question is directed to the Deputy Prime Minister. Can you brief this House as regards the election road map? This is due to the fact that the issue of elections is actually frightening investors. What is our policy regarding elections?

THE DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER (PROF. MUTAMBARA): Mr. Speaker Sir, this is a matter which is important to all Zimbabweans. This is a matter which is very important to this Parliament and also to Cabinet. The elections in this country are going to be determined by processes. In other words, the date of our elections will be a function of processes, meaning the date will be process driven. The question is how much time do we need between now and the completion of the constitutional draft?

We know the Select Committee met on Monday, they met also yesterday. How much time do they need to finish that document? Once they are done, how much time is needed between that completion and an all-stakeholder meeting which will endorse or change that document? How much time is required from that point to conduct a referendum in the country? How much time do we need to prepare for that referendum? That will also be a process which should determine the date of our elections.

After the referendum, assuming the Constitution is adopted or rejected, how do we put in place transitional mechanisms to make the Constitution the legal foundation of the country. Of course, Parliament has the final say in terms of adoption of that document. All these activities I am alluding to will require time. The debate and discussion in the country should be, how much time is required for process A, how much time is required for process B and so on? Then you add up those times and they give you a number that says therefore our elections are in November 2012 or in March 2013. The determination of our electgion date must be process driven.

The discourse in the country should be about the processes and those processes must be done well Mr. Speaker Sir. 'Musakanganwe chezuro ngehope.'The reason why we are in an Inclusive Government is because our elections were problematic, they were inconclusive. The outcome of the elections was challenged by the losers. What we want to do next time around is to make sure that when we go into elections, those elections will be respected by the winners and losers. The winners will be able to form a legitimate democratic Government and losers are able to congratulate the winners. For us to do that, we must go through these reforms very carefully; the Constitution, media reforms, political reforms, electoral reforms, national healing, security sector alignment, economic reforms. This means seven types of reforms. These reforms require time and that time will determine when our elections will take place.

Mr. Speaker Sir, I want us, across the political divide, to understand the importance of the creation of conditions for fairness and freeness of our elections and the need enough to achieve this. Having said that, we cannot go beyond March 2013. In March 2013 this Parliament expires, in March 2013 Mugabe's presidency expires. Consequently, this current Cabinet expires in March 2013. So, if you ask me about the ultimate deadline, the ultimate deadline is March 2013. However, in-between the timing of our elections is a function of processes. If you are to ask my own view, I would say we need to spend time carrying out these reforms and not bickering, so that come election time, we are able to say the people have spoken. All of us can then embrace and endorse the outcome of those elections. However, all this must be done with an understanding that success or failure, we cannot possibly go beyond March 2013. March 2013 is the end of the road. I thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.

MR. MADZIMURE: Thank you. In the absence of the Minister of Industry and Commerce, my question will then be directed to the Deputy Prime Minister. There was pomp and funfair when a deal was signed and ZISCO officially opened. It has been more than 10 months since then, to an extent where ZISCO has since stopped paying the more than 3 000 people who are employed at ZISCO. Can you inform this House what is the problem? Who is the stumbling block? Was the Executive not clear when it went to the extent of inviting both the Prime Minister and the President to officially open a project which has become a problem now?

MR. SPEAKER: Your question is quiet specific and I get an indication from the DPM that he is ready to respond because I was going to request you to defer it to the relevant minister. However, the DPM is ready to answer your question.

THE DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER (PROF. MUTAMBARA): I want to thank the hon. member for that question, it is a very important question because we need to protect the brand of our country. We need to protect the reputation of our country. Once you have an agreement, once you have signed these deals, we must make sure we stay within course so that in future, people can take us seriously. It is important to honour our agreement to investors. But I want to explain why we are having all these issues around ESSAR. Right now as we speak, the Minister of Industry, the Minister of Mines and ESSAR are talking. We are trying to work out a framework to resolve the matter as expeditiously as we can. So there will be a resolution, there will be an answer involving the Minister of Mines, the Minister of Industry and Commerce and ESSAR.

I want to share with you the challenges that we are experiencing so that we can pick up lessons from the ESSAR situation. What is the problem? The problem is that, in this country, our mining laws are bad laws. Infact, our laws governing natural resources in Africa are problematic. This is true in South Africa, Guinea and Ghana. These laws are a travesty of justice because they disadvantage the people and favour the investor. So we need major structural and substantive changes in our laws. We need to make sure that our laws around natural resources are benefiting our people. What are we saying? The challenges we have had with ESSAR are that, in the discussion leading to the deal, there was never a conversation about the value of the iron ore which was involved and previously owned by BIMCO. This challenge is not unique to ESSAR. It is the same thing with ZIMPLATS, Chiadzwa and Mimosa. Infact all the mining contracts we have in this country are bad deals. We must review all existing mining contracts in Zimbabwe. We have had this tendency and practice where the claims of the natural resource are given for free, there is no value attached to the asset. Consequently you find that when an investor comes in, invests a few millions and they walk away with an asset worth billions of dollars and our laws allow that to happen.

Mr. Speaker Sir, what we are trying to do with the ESSAR deal is to make sure we harmonise among ourselves as Ministry of Industry, Ministry of Mines and ESSAR so that we have a sense of the value of the iron ore involved in the deal. That is the problem, when we structured the deal, we never discussed the quantity and value of the value of the iron ore involved. The value of the iron ore involved was not factored in the deal. It was as if the value is zero and yet back in India, ESSAR listed their acquired asset in Zimbabwe as valued at over US$20 billion. We as a country must know the value of our mineral assets before we involve investors. We must set up a Mineral Exploration Company to establish the quantity and value of all our minerals. We cannot run a country where we have no knowledge or understanding of our geology and mineralisation. We must understand our geology, quantify the amount of iron ore involved and put a number to that asset and then negotiate with investors using that asset value. So that is what we are trying to harmonise at the moment and I am sure we will find each other. We seek a win-win solution where the investor's interests are protected while the national interest is also served.

Going forward, when we approach investors, we must know the quantum of mineral we have and the value of that mineral. This story is not about ESSAR. It is about ZIMPLATS, Chiadzwa, Mimosa, Unki and Anglo because in all these arrangements, when we negotiated, we never spoke about the value of the mineral involved. We must always insist on the value of the unmined asset. In terms of ESSAR, the story is that the iron ore involved is to the tune of US$30 billion of asset and the investment from ESSAR is a maximum of US$700 million. How do you give an asset worth US$30 billion in exchange for US$700 million. We need to harmonise that so that the value of the asset is acknowledged and paid for by the investor. So I want to assure the member that we are going to resolve this in a manner that does not damage the brand of the country, that will allow us to keep our commitments to ESSAR, but at the same time protect the national interest. Going forward, we are going to be better negotiators, we are going to understand our geology and approach each investor with an understanding of the value of the asset unmined, the value of the asset undiscovered. The value of the asset underground must be part of the mathematics as we negotiate deals with investors. I want to thank the hon. member for that question.

MR. MADZIMURE: DPM, in view of the fact that our people who had all their hopes pinned on this deal are shattered, are you then confirming that the entire Cabinet was not aware of the fact that our iron ore has value to the extent that you negotiated without that aspect in question?

PROF. MUTAMBARA: The answer is very simple, guilty as charged. We were blind, deaf and dumb - that is the confession from Cabinet. We did not know better or we were just clumsy. Total dereliction of duty. It is not the first time we have done this. We have done this with ZIMPLATS, Mimosa, Anglo and in Chiadzwa. So guilty as charged is the response. We have to change our ways and become smarter. However, we cannot make ESSAR the victim of our ignorance or incompetence. Neither should we fail to protect our people and the national interest. What we are trying to do is to find a way to salvage the jobs and the investment but learn our lessons so that in future we do not commit the same blunders. So yes, I think we must take responsibility that we did not do a good job. We will become better in future. A problem realised is a problem half solved. We will be smarter.

MR. CHINDORI-CHININGA: The DPM has done his presentation but I have a bit of a problem. When ZIMPLATS was given what they have, there was no exploration that had been done and I am sure if ZIMPLATS were to sell it today, they will sell it for a good value. This is not the first time that you have made a bad deal as a Government but for ESSAR, you knew exactly what asset you had in terms of iron ore because it was a functioning mine which was operating. You must admit whether you as Cabinet made a mistake, admittedly you knew what was there and you did not value what the asset was before you made a deal with ESSAR. Did you know or did you not know? Did you not have the information or did you just ignore or was it a mis-coordination between ministries that you did not know what was going on?

PROF. MUTAMBARA: I must start by acknowledging that the hon. member is one of those previous Ministers of Mines who were blind, deaf and dumb. He specifically agreed to some bad deals for the country. However, I will defend him since my current Government inherited his mistakes - [Laughter]There is no difference between the ESSAR deal, the ZIMPLATS deal, the Anjin deal and the Anglo deals. There is no difference at all. It is a fundamental problem where we are saying let us understand that, if an asset is undiscovered or unmined, it has value. It does not mean that if it has not been discovered, there is no value, it has value. If an asset is unmined, we know it is there but unmined, it has value. Let us determine that value and use that number to negotiate. We say, the people of Zimbabwe are presenting an asset worth so much money. With ZIMPLATS for example, the size of the claim was worth US$4 billion and we gave it for free. ESSAR could have potentially gotten US$30 billion for free. We can also talk about Anglo and Mimosa. It is a disease which the former minister was a central component of. I am a bit wiser now than he was. I now know that there is an issue here which we must address. Just because ZIMPLATS did exploration, it must not mean that the asset they discovered is theirs for free. However, what we are trying to do here is to make sure that we save jobs, we make sure that we save a deal. We have an image to protect, we signed on the dotted line and we must find a way that is amicable to ESSAR and ourselves so that we protect our national interests but also protect the investor and protect the jobs. There is no difference at all between the ESSAR and the ZIMPLATS deal. This issue is a challenge in Guinea and Ghana as we speak. In Ghana, a bunch of people came and claimed to have discovered oil and they are paying Government taxes and royalties only because they discovered the oil. The oil is theirs. That is immoral. When Livingstone 'discovered' the Victoria Falls, it did not become his. When Europeans 'discovered' the pyramids, the pyramids did not become theirs. So the fact that you have done exploration and discovered platinum means nothing. It is not yours. You must pay fair value for the asset. The fact that I as the owner of the asset I do not know its value should not be used to exploit me. The right to mine must be linked to payment for the value of the unmined asset. Discovery does not mean ownership. The value of the asset unmined must be accounted for. I must confess that we have been very poor managers of the economy. However, a problem realized is a problem half solved. We are going to have better deals in future but we must accept that we have had a poor framework. What we need to do going forward is to make sure that for every deal there is an independent advisor or consulting firm who is involved in that. Secondly, every deal must be made public so that we know what the agreement is and the value of the asset involved published on the internet, published in our media. We must change our Mines and Minerals Act because it allows for these bad deals occur. More importantly, we must quickly set up a \mineral Exploration Company to establish the complete mineralization of our country and establish the value of all the mineral claims in Zimbabwe. Going forward, every deal must start by stating the value of the unmined asset. The right to mine must be linked to payment of this value by the investor to the people of Zimbabwe. I want to thank the hon. Member, the former Minister of Mines for that rejoinder.

MR. CHINDORI CHININGA: I thank the Deputy Prime Minister for what he said but I want to again repeat the same question. The Deputy Prime Minister did not answer the question, the resource at Bemco is known, it is not the same. It is an issue where Government is involved; you are a major shareholder, you know what assets you have. Did you sign this deal without knowing the assets you have in terms of iron ore or did you know you have to admit that. The issue of the Mines and Mineral Act, the issue of ZIMPLATS is one issue but did you know when you made this deal what asset you have before and why did you sign the deal where you see this loose?

MR. SPEAKER: Hon. member, I am sure this question has been adequately responded by the Deputy Prime Minister and he went to the extent of apologizing for failing to be good managers and scrutinize the deal in its entirety.

MR. MUNGOFA: My question is directed to the Deputy Prime Minister. My question regards of green fuels, why did the Government allow the investor to spend such amount of money yet the project was not going to benefit the country and it went further to allocate a lot of land to this investor and we hear that he wants sell the fuel outside the country. Is it not disadvantaging our country yet we are shortage of fuel.

THE DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER (PROF. MUTAMBARA): Let me answer that question but I will be very brief. This subject of green fuel, of ethanol, of displaced people is a very important subject to our Cabinet. That is why we have an Inter Ministerial Committee addressing the very same issue. They are going to report back very soon because we do not want that scenario where we are exporting ethanol when we have fuel needs in the country. We do not want that scenario where we lose jobs for 4 500 people. We are going to address the issue of the share holding of those companies involved; the issue of ethanol - how we incorporate it into our fuel system.

I am happy to see that the Minister of Energy is coming in. We are also going to resolve issues around the community and displaced people. So the Inter Ministerial Committee is going to address all these issues. I hope and trust that when they are done we would not be exporting ethanol; when they are done there will be no loss of jobs; when they are done the displaced people will be taken care of; when they are done the issue of the 40 000 hectares of land which was involved in the deal would be compensated for; when they are done the Zimbabwe national interest will be protected and the investor will also be protected. I do not want to pre-empt the Committee. I am glad that the Minister of Energy is now here. If there are any questions regarding that project the Minister will be able to assist but what I want emphasise is that the Cabinet is very much concerned with the matter and the Inter-Ministerial Committee is addressing that subject. I want to thank the hon. member for that question and I want to say we will be able resolve this matter very quickly and in an amicable manner. I thank you.

MR. MUDARIKWA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir, Hon Deputy Prime Minister, surely we have all these different Inter Ministerial Committees, in this august House we need to know when are we going to have a Statutory Instrument that is going to force every oil company to blend and also when are we going to have an incentive where vehicles that use 100% ethanol will be allowed into this country duty free? Thank you.

THE DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER (PROF. MUTAMBARA): I want to leave my expertise in Cabinet but with your indulgence Mr. Speaker I will delegate that question to the Minister. Is that doable?-[ Laughter]-

MR. SPEAKER: Order, yes.

THE MINISTER OF ENERGY AND POWER DEVELOPMENT (MR. MANGOMA): Thank you Mr. Speaker, I just want to recognize Hon. Chindori Chininga and wish him well after his horrific accident. This matter of ethanol is mostly very much involving emotions and lack of knowledge and therefore many people make pronouncements about things that are based on hear- say. It is important for this Government and some of us that the decisions we make are properly analyzed and made so that we do not come back and then agree that we were dumb and what… We know what the issues are; but it is important for many people to understand the background about this project that this project nobody in Government had come and said I know where this project came from. The people say it was approved by Government and I say which Government? And when the issue was first brought into Cabinet, it was a brought in when it was a shareholding issue and up to now Government as Government does not know the arrangement and therefore a Sub Committee was formed because of that may be there are hon. members who know but I do not.

As you know, I was also the Minister of Economic Planning before I went to this portfolio and even in that portfolio this project was not discussed and the consequence the time when ethanol as actually introduced into this country; the blend was introduced as an unlicenced product and we had to withdraw it or face sanctions of the law until it was then licenced and these things were done. I did not know about it as the Minister. Now I hear a lot of people talking about many other issues. There is going to be no blackmail on issues that must be taken as due processes must be done. Therefore, when this product was then duly licensed, they started selling it. The public did not like the product and because it was moving slowly some people then says they must be forced or mandatory blending as the hon. member is now saying. When is it going to happen? You then say to yourself any of the other countries in the world and they are many of them.

This morning I was actually addressing a meeting with Her Excellency the Ambassador from Brazil saying even them who are the champions of this product for them to introduce it, it has never been mandatory. For them to introduce it they consulted widely and had dialogue because this item of blending is more than one Minister's job. There are many ministers who must be involved, many issues that must be taken into account. It is not a question of people been employed or people who are not been employed. It is far wider than that. There are issues, this morning Green fuels asked me when are we likely to be allowed to have E100 and I say look as far as we are concerned you already have the specifications for E100. So if there is an application to have E100 we will license it. So licensing these things is not the issue but really forcing people to do that is the issue. Now we leave that for a moment. We then come to the issue of how sustainable is this? There is

Kondwe Dam that needs to be built. When is it going to be built? How is it going to be built? The Minister of Water must be involved in it. There are people who are been displaced. How are they going to be looked after? And really we have got other people who have been displaced before in Chiadzwa. Now you go and displace some more people so that somebody's project moves forward. I think we need to be very clear that if there is going to be responsible investment into this country it must be properly coordinated because you cannot wake up one day and then think that you can direct Government to do what you want even if the things are not proper.

Our responsibility honourable members are to look after the generality of the people of Zimbabwe who cannot look after themselves not some fat cats. Therefore, it is important that we discharge our responsibility properly. What we have said is that let us have this Inter-Ministerial Committee look after this product, this whole thing so that in the meantime whilst we are deliberating and getting the information we need, information which we should have heard a long time ago to consider it properly. Green fuels must export their product and exporting their product does not prejudice this country one bit. Does not prejudice this world one bit because whether pollution is been done in Zimbabwe or is been stopped in Australia it is the same thing as far as the universe is concerned.

So we have got to be able to look at it from that aspect. They can export but why are they not exporting. Right now if the fact has got to be put on the table, the cost of ethanol is more than the cost of petrol. Right now and you then say what benefit is it. But if you take it further, the international cost of ethanol is between $0,72 and $0,76 cents and our ethanol here is costing a $1. That is at least $0,24 over and above that. Who is benefitting from that $0,24 cents? - [HON. MEMBERS: The investor?]- And why must we prejudice our people on that. The price of petrol and diesel is only where it is because we putting in levies and duties. Therefore, to actually now compare where we added duties and levies with a dry price is not fair. So I wish all hon. members if you want to make a proper contribution and before you put your name on the mast in public please get proper information. I thank you.

MR. CHIBAYA: What is the Government policy on the electricity generated from the ethanol plant?

MR. MANGOMA: I want to lay the facts on the table. The current capacity that they can have is 6 megawatts at Green fuels. May I also hasten to say that this plant was built without actually seeking a license for it. It was only licensed in September after we intervened and said we would shut this down and we would not allow lawlessness to be a factor of our country going forward. And as they are generating this most of the consumption is actually done by themselves. What they then did is because they did not have enough money to put in like we do with all the generators of electricity to be able to put in the transmission lines that join with the grid, they then requested ZETDC to do so on their behalf but this is something that is not done for free. We then said either you must pay up or agree on terms so that this work can now be done and I am told that the negotiations are very much at an advanced stage. For whatever surplus that they might then generate to be put into the grid.

May I also hasten to add these are not the first ones to generate electricity this way? Hippo Valley and Triangle actually generate a lot more than this and there is an agreement with those companies to say when it is in season and they are generating that power and it is excess that they bank the excess with ZESA when they are now short of biogas they then withdraw it from ZESA and I am hoping that this is probably one of the arrangements that they will get into but they are free to get into any other arrangement. As you know in terms of our laws whoever generates power is free to sell whoever consumes bulk power. So they might want to sell to someone else at whatever prices that they might agree on. Those details have not been finalised as far as I know. Maybe they have been finalized but I was told at this stage that is what the position is and that we welcome anybody who generates extra power. Again, we do not use the fact that you are generating 6 megawatts that you can blackmail us to do something that is not proper.

MRS. MASAITI: In the absence of both the Minister of Justice and Legal Affairs and the Minister of Health and Child Welfare, I now direct my question to the Deputy Prime Minister. Deputy Prime Minister, what is the Government's policy with regards to addressing the plight of sex workers who happen to be women and young girls in this HIV and AIDS era in order to achieve zero infections; considering the fact that the demand side of it, being the men whom we often see with poshy cars in the Avenues and other areas - the demand side is not being addressed. So, what is the Government's policy with regard to addressing the plight of the sex workers?

THE DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER (PROF. MUTAMBARA): Mr. Speaker Sir, HIV and AIDS are major issues - these are critical matters in our country and I think, a detailed response will come from the Minister of Health and the legal dimensions from the Minister of Justice but what I want to emphasize is that in this country our emphasis is on prevention. Then after prevention we look at cure or disease management.

In terms of pursuing both objectives of prevention and cure/management, we are going to use legal instruments - the law as a tool to ensure prevention; the law as a tool to ensure disease mitigation. But more importantly, we are going to use behavioral change, cultural change and a new value system. Now talking about values, that is harder because you cannot legislate values. You cannot legislate behaviour, you cannot legislate morality. We need civic education, social mobilisation and leading by example. A framework where we educate ourselves and the different classes in our country so that we are conscious of the challenges of HIV and AIDS. So behaviour, values and culture must change so that we can create a dispensation of prevention in the country and all the issues and practices you have described - the demand side, the supply side, the people, that will require us to address our behavioral attitudes, our values, our culture so that we minimize and mitigate the challenges that are presented by HIV/AIDS. Where we fail to prevent and have the disease, present challenges in our society then we talk about cure or disease management or mitigation. The issue is to ensure those afflicted have a reasonable quality of life. How to ensure reduction of transmission from mother to child and from individual to individual becomes critical. I want to emphasize that the Minister of Health will be able to speak in detail about our policy and the Minister of Justice in terms of what laws we can put in place to address the challenge but I want to thank the hon. member for that question. I thank you.

MR. SULULU: My question is going to be directed to the Minister of Science and Technology, Hon. Prof. Dzinotyiweyi. We understand that your ministry held nationwide consultations on a policy on Science and Technology. What is the current situation pertaining to that and would you inform the House what we are going to expect from that policy?

THE MINISTER OF SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY (PROF. DZINOTYIWEYI): Mr. Speaker Sir, I would like to thank the hon. member for that two part question. I must admit that this is very impressive - I am rarely asked questions, I guess because of the technical nature of our subject.

Let me say that in response, the first part of the question is fairly straight forward. The exercise has been done, we had meetings all over the country. We presented a synopsis of the main policy to Cabinet and this has been approved. We are more or less finalising the logistics to do a formal launch of the policy - it is actually going to be done fairly soon in June, this coming month. So, to a large extent, the exercise is almost complete.

The second part of the question relates to what we should expect to get from this policy? Mr. Speaker, let me say that many of us who have that scientific background know very well indeed that to a large extent, the only tool any nation has in order to accelerate its development substantially lies through the utilisation of science and technology. I know that many people have difficulty to accept this but the policy will try as much as possible to define a framework that makes people understand or identify where the gaps are.

All the re-institution or sector which we are trying to develop in this country, essentially can be accelerated through the science and technology that can be put into it. So, questions like agriculture - where is the science and technology? Questions like our road network or transportation in general - where is the science and technology? It will try to provide a framework that can enable many of our people to recognize those gaps and be able to challenge that those gaps be filled.

Having said that Mr. Speaker, let me say that the aspect of capacity building is a major problem and it starts even with our children. The policy tries to be more explicit so that even when you have a child who completes Grade 7 - what is the amount of science that child has? The policy tries to be more explicit on that. A child who completes secondary education - what is the amount of science in it? Every graduate - what is the amount of science at that level, regardless of whether they are doing Law or they are doing an actual Science subject. There is an effort to raise the profile of the contribution of science and technology in education across the board.

Naturally, at the upper level where we deal with research - we are a lot more concerned with the interface between those aspects of research that should be given priority and the actual resources we have in the country - the development which should be done in the country. Therefore, overally, the aim of the policy is to give us a framework to make sure that the contributions of science and technology are much more conspicuous and are more manageable and we are all able to value the rate of national growth versus the rate of contributions of science and technology. I thank you.

MR. HLONGWANE: My question is directed to Minister Mangoma, the Minister of Energy and Power Development? Given Minister, the fact that electricity generation in this country has been on a downward spiral for the last couple of years and it looks to be getting worse, what is it that you are doing at the level of Government, for the country to get out of this energy generation crisis? Thank you.

THE MINISTER OF ENERGY AND POWER DEVELOPMENT (MR. MANGOMA): Thank you Mr. Speaker. The last major investment that was done in electricity in this country was in 1984, when we were finalising the Hwange Project which has been installed during the Smith regime. Since that time, there has been zero investment on any generation capacity in this country. To add on to that, there has been no meaningful maintenance and therefore the generation and rehabilitation of what was there, the generation actually went way down to a point where in fact we were importing as much as 550 mega watts from Mozambique.

Therefore to state that the situation is getting worse is not correct because after the formation of the inclusive Government, the rehabilitation of the generation capacity then began after years of nothing. The facts will speak for themselves because just before Hon. Speaker, Hwange Power Station had come to almost a stand still. It had come to a grinding halt and then we approached Namibia to assist us with $40 million to start the rehabilitation process. That rehabilitation process was only completed in 2009. So that is the fact.

Now when you are given the extent of that deterioration on the generation capacity, we are now trying to rehabilitate it where you can now safely say that you have got reasonable capacity at Kariba and reasonable capacity of 300 plus mega watts at Hwange. These things continue to be worked on. When you put that aside, you then look and you say as a country, the debt with Mozambique climbed to the extent where Mozambique now switched us off literally. From the 550 mega watts that was being enjoyed at some point to where we were now getting 25 mega watts.

We have moved in the last few weeks,tremendous progress in trying to repay that outstanding loan. I am glad to say that, of that outstanding loan, we have had to pre-sale some electricity and out of that we have raised $45 million which we have now paid over to Mozambique. The $35 million, they have already acknowledged and the $10 million because it had been paid late, we are hoping that it will reflect in their books this week so that we can now talk to them and say please let us have some more.

On one hand, because the economy was going down, the demand for electricity was not so high. So it looked like most of it now was going to households but with the picking up of the economy, this little electricity has got to be shared amongst all the players. Suddenly the households who were the majority before the Inclusive Government are finding themselves a minority and therefore having these load shedding and power cuts. Clearly, the result is that we are sewing for the lack of planning that was done before, the lack of investment that was done before. I was explaining in Cabinet yesterday and said, what we are having to do now is to deal with the current situation so that we try and meet the needs of the people as we speak. We have got to plan in the medium term today. We have got to plan in the long term today because if we do not do it today, those in the future will suffer the same fate that we are suffering now and we need to put a stop to it. We are determined to do it.

In the medium term, already next month, we have floated a tender for the expansion of Hwange and Kariba and these tenders are being submitted on the 5 th of June 2012 and we will start to do the expansion projects of these now. As I said, in terms of these projects, they are long term. We will only be able to see the fruits of this in three to four years time. The same thing, there has been all talk about trying to sort out the Batoka. The Honourable Minister was explaining that this was being talked of before independence. Nothing was done. I am glad to say that on the 9th of February, 2012, I managed to convince my Zambian counterpart to say now let us move on the Batoka and this is now firmly back on stream.

Again Batoka will take seven years to fruition. So we have got to look and say there are many things that are going to be done but on a daily basis, the short term measures that have got to be put in, is to make sure that we put in pre-paid meters. I am glad Cabinet yesterday agreed that pre-paid meters will now have to be facilitated and put into gear number one, despite all the challenges that we have been facing so that it acts as one that says; whoever uses the electricity is the one who can pay for it so that we can invest into it more.

The second thing is that we are going to put in compact fluorescent lights to make sure that the incandescent lights that eat into this electricity consume too much are also reduced. Finally Mr. Speaker, there are some projects that we are also working on and I am putting a paper to Cabinet. So I do not have to discuss them here before they have been considered by Cabinet, but certainly, lots of work is being done and the rehabilitation work on the transmission is now almost complete. I can almost say that now you do not hear people talking about a shortage of transformers because we have now sorted out our own local manufacture of transformers to be able to produce over 500 transformers a month. Therefore we continue to strive to make these things work. I thank you.

MR. HLONGWANE: Thank you Minister. I am not sure that you quite answered my question. I am concerned about the issue of self-sufficiency for this country in terms of the provision of electricity. You are making reference to imports from Mozambique and the construction of Batoka in Zambia. Is it possible for this country to be able to generate enough electricity for itself, if it is so, what is it that we are doing as a Government to make sure that we realize that objective?

MR. SPEAKER: Order, hon. member, I am not sure whether you were listening. The Minister made reference to the future plans that his ministry and the Government are making in order to address the shortages that you are referring to. Unless you want further elaboration, I will allow the minister to do so.

THE MINISTER OF ENERGY AND POWER DEVELOPMENT (MR. MANGOMA): Thank you Hon. Speaker, I take it as a supplementary question and not the original question because clearly that was not what was asked for. This country stopped being self sufficient in electricity a long time ago. There are issues that we were talking about; some of us do not necessarily believe that it is important to be self sufficient in the generation of electricity. In fact if you have got to look at the cheaper forms of electricity, you have to rely on a regional basis as opposed to a country basis. Therefore a regional approach needs to be looked at and already we have Kariba. Kariba is semi-regional because it is the Zambezi where you have got to talk to Zambia and ourselves. Although we operate the portion as ourselves, we jointly run that through the Zambezi River Authority, so we are there not just as a country but we are already collaborating with another country.

Hydro-power is the cheapest form of power, so when I talk of Batoka, again Batoka is going to be on the Zambezi and we have got to collaborate with Zambia. At the economic forum that the Deputy Prime Minister and the Minister of Finance were, the issue of the Great Ink was talked about and the Great Ink is one that will provide much cheaper electricity that will allow not just our country but the region to develop much quicker. Therefore, I would rather concentrate on all those facts as opposed to continuously going on our coal fields to produce electricity that is expensive, that most of you members complain about when the tariffs go up.

We have got to make that balance between the affordability of the tariff and being reasonably self-sufficient. Efforts we are doing now are to have a reasonable supply as opposed to self-sufficiency. Therefore, I think for the time being we should be looking at regional cooperation so that we all have got enough. We might know that we are all linked through the Southern African power pool which means that the excesses or surplus in one country can be used in another country. We are also now linking with the eastern power pool to make sure that the surpluses in the eastern part of Africa will also come down our way. I thank you.

Questions Without Notice were interrupted by MR. SPEAKER in terms of Standing Order Number 34.

ORAL ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS WITH NOTICE

RELEASE OF INFORMATION ON CHIADZWA DIAMOND MINES

13. MR. MUSHONGA asked the Ministry of Mines and Mining Development to:

(i) Explain the Ministry's policy regarding the release of information on Chiadzwa Diamond Mines in view of the conflicting figures given by the chairperson of the Minerals Marketing Cooperation of Zimbabwe and the Deputy Minister of Mines and Mining Development on diamond production;

(ii) Explain the Ministry's policy in reporting to Parliament regarding the following mining companies operating at Chiadzwa Diamond Fields in view of the fact that only three companies are usually mentioned:

· Mbada Diamonds which is run by MMCZ and Reclamation Company of South Africa.

· CANADILE run by ZMDC and retired Zimbabwe National Army Commanders.

· ANGIN run by the Chinese and Zimbabwe National Army.

· Central Intelligence Organisation and partners.

· Zimbabwe Republic Police and Partners.

· Zimbabwe Prison Services and Partners.

· Marange Resources.

· Block Wood Mining.

· Condurango Investments.

THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF MINES AND MINING DEVELOPMENT (MR. CHIMANIKIRE): Mr. Speaker, I was going to raise a point of order, a suggestion to the hon. member that he should remind the Papers Office to submit these questions to the Ministry because this has not been done. Whilst the question is appearing on the Order Paper, we have not received any request to respond to the question.

MR. SPEAKER: Hon. Minister, the fact that the question appears on the Order Paper and it was on the Order Paper before we adjourned, it means the Ministry is now aware of that question. So, there is no point for the hon. member to follow up the issue with the Papers Office to submit a question which is already on the Order Paper. If there was an error in you receiving the question, I think it is now water under the bridge.

I am informed by the Parliament administration that the question was actually submitted to the Ministry so it might be a problem of your registry department having not forwarded the question, but the administration is quite adamant that the question was submitted.

BREAKDOWN OF ZESA CABLES

19. MR. JIRI asked the Minister of Energy and Power Development to explain why:

(i) the ZESA cable from Sherwood to Chivhu has serious breakdowns on a monthly basis;

(ii) Chivhu had less problems when it was connected to the ZESA cable from Gweru and;

(iii) it takes more than two weeks to attend to breakdowns on the cable from Marondera to Kwenda Mission school.

THE MINISTER OF ENERGY AND POWER DEVELOPMENT (MR. MANGOMA): On the first part of the question, breakdowns on the Sherwood-Mvuma line are a result of a combination of normal load-shedding and vandalism especially in the Chiwundura communal area. The Sherwood-Mvuma 88kV feeder is a sub transmission line from Sherwood 88kV substation. This line is not being load shed, it last tripped on 14 January 2012, on a fault due to poles that had been vandalised. The Mvuma-Chivhu 33kV feeder is a 33kV line from Mvuma 88kV substation to Chivhu 33kV substation. This feeder is on load shedding programme and is currently shed on alternate days for six to eight hours depending on the magnitude of available power. The problem is being worsened by the numerous instances of vandalism especially on disk insulators. This is the feeder affecting the hon. member. I wish to appeal for hon. Members of Parliament's assistance in urging communities to safeguard electricity infrastructure so as to minimise the occurrence of breakdowns that occur as a result of vandalism.

On the second part of the question, Chivhu is fed from Mvuma 88kV substation via a 33kV line. Mvuma 88kV substation is fed from Sherwood. There is no direct link between Sherwood and Chivhu.

On the last part of the question, delays in response to faults in the Kwenda Mission and other areas in general are mainly experienced during the rainy season when heavy storms cause numerous major faults. Also on that point, ZETDC did not have enough vehicles to respond timeously to all those faults. However, according to the fault report records at Marondera depot, from 13th March 2012 to date, there was no report of loss of supply received from Kwenda mission area. Only a report of a leaning substation at Kwenda Mission was received on 3 April 2012 and was attended to on 5th April 2012. Interruptions recorded affecting the area will be reduced as ZETDC intensifies its efforts in carrying out planned maintenance and installation of switches on the line. The line is in excess of 130km long from the source substation, Marondera 132/36kV and has several tee offs. The switches will assist in discrimination of the faults.

ACCUMULATION OF ZESA BILLS

21. MR. M. SHOKO asked the Minister of Energy to explain why electricity bills for ordinary citizens continue accumulating in light of continued power outages.

THE MINISTER OF ENERGY AND POWER DEVELOPMENT (MR. MANGOMA): There is a lot of misunderstanding about the bills when they come out. When a bill has come out - it is normal unless one is trained in finance and accounting, sometimes it becomes very difficult to understand what the bill is saying. Most of the people who are on electricity, we are not talking of disconnection but load shedding which means that when the electricity comes, whenever it comes, it starts to charge. So one has got to be able to say, this is the electricity that has been consumed and the meter records what has been consumed. So unless a person is doubting the meter itself which would mean that they must now report a fault that the meter is not okay. As long as the meter is there, the reading is based on the last reading and the current reading. Whatever is in between is what is consumed and is charged for. Therefore, the fact that there is load shedding, a lot of people would expect to have zero reading.

I must admit there are cases where the meters are not read and ZESA basis its bills on an estimate. These estimates are there because about 80% of the meters are read. What I have told them is that, there should be not more than two consecutive assessments which means that you can only go for two months receiving bills that are based on assessments after which there must be a meter reading. If the assessments have been more, then there will be a credit after the meter has been read. So you find that there are times after an actual meter reading when a bill comes showing a credit balance for that month. This is showing that the consumption that would have been estimated was higher. So I think that if there is a particular case that you want me to follow up, it will be useful to actually have the bill itself so that we can interrogate it based on the facts that will be on the ground.

MR. M. SHOKO: Can the Hon. Minister explain, in some cases you find that the more you pay, the more you are charged. If you pay US$100 this month, next month it is US$150 and the following month it is US$200. We have seen bills like that and they are so common, I think it is not true consumption.

THE TEMPORARY SP EAKER: It is a supplementary, I am not sure whether the minister can answer. I think that can be submitted as a written question on specific bills.

CONSTRUCTION OF LOWER GWERU-GWERU ROAD

28. MR. MADUBEKO asked the Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development to inform the House the progress made by the Ministry regarding the construction of the Lower Gweru-Gweru Road.

THE DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER (PROF. MUTAMBARA) on behalf of THE MINISTER OF TRANSPORT AND INFRASTRUCTURAL DEVELOPMENT (MR. GOCHE): The Ministry does not have immediate plans to resume the surfacing of this road due to lack of funding. However, the gravel section of the road will be attended to in the rural road regarding the programme which is ongoing. Gweru-Lower Gweru Road is 97,5km long. The first 18,6km from Gweru is a narrow mat surfaced road (3m wide) constructed in 1986. The construction of this section was meant to serve Insukamini which houses RDC offices, a heritage site and an irrigation scheme. The next section from 18,6km peg to 51km peg is a low volume surfaced wide Mat road which was constructed from December 1995 to end of 1998. This section connects a major service centre, which houses a major clinic to Gweru.

MR. CHITANDO: On point of order Mr. Speaker Sir. Is it possible for the young who fail to come here to give the principals the work to answer for them. We are saying the principals should send people than for them to be sent.

MR. SPEAKER: How many times have you asked a question directed to the junior ministers to Deputy Prime Minister/ So you can go ahead Deputy Prime Minister.

THE DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER (PROF. MUTAMBARA): Mr. Speaker Sir, what we are trying to achieve is progress. We do not want to be an irresponsible Government. When there are written questions, what we want is an answer, not protocol. You want an answer so we can run this country -[MR. CHINYADZA:You have already been protected so you can proceed, the Speaker has done that.] - You are supposed to be a deputy minister but you behave like a back bencher. We will fire you. So this is meant for your benefit, I do not have to do this but we are saying that if questions are asked in writing, let us provide answers and we encourage ministers to do so. If the minister cannot come in, we come in and do it ourselves to make sure there is progress in the House.

The next 38km is gravel road from KM peg 61 to 89 and the remaining 8,5km is earth road which is not accessible in wet weather. The surfacing of the road was suspended at the 51km peg when a decision was made to give priority to the surfacing of the Kwekwe-Nkayi Road which is a higher order road that connects the two provinces of Midlands and Matabeleland North. The Surfacing of the suspended project will be resumed when adequate funds are available.

COMPLETION OF DENDA-NYAVA ROAD

29. MR. NYAUDE asked the Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development to inform the House when the regrading and surfacing of the remaining section of Denda-Nyava road will be done.

THE DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER (PROF. MUTAMBARA) On behalf of THE MINISTER OF TRANSPORT AND INFRASTRUCTURAL DEVELOPMENT (MR. GOCHE): The Ministry suspended the surfacing of the Denda-Muchapondwa Road in 2005 due to inadequate funding and does not have plans to resume the project in the near future. The road is 59.6km long comprising of 2.6km narrow mat, 26km wide mat surfacing and 31km gravel road. The upgrading of the 26km to surfaced standard was implemented during the period 1999 to 2005. Two high level bridges have also been constructed along the route which are Pote Bridge and Nyaude Bridge. Grading of the 31km gravel is part of the provincial rural road regrading programme that is currently ongoing.

SURFACING OF KANYEMBA BORDER ROAD AND MUKUMBURA BORDER ROAD

30. MR NYAUDE asked the Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development to explain to the House why Kanyemba Border Road and Mukumbura Border Road in Mashonaland Central have not been surfaced.

THE DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER (PROF. MUTAMBARA) on behalf of THE MINISTER OF TRANSPORT AND INFRASTRUCTURAL DEVELOPMENT (MR. GOCHE): The Ministry suspended surfacing work on the Mvurwi-Kanyemba Road and the Harare-Ruya-Mukumbura Road due to unavailability of funding and there are no plans to resume the implementation of the works in the near future.

The Mvurwi-Kanyemba Road is 245.5km long which comprises of 88km of wide mat surfacing, 17km of narrow mat surfacing and 140.5km of gravel road. The first 7km was upgraded from narrow mat to wide mat in 1996. Another section from 41km peg was also upgraded to wide mat from 2000 to 2001. Surfacing of the gravel section that starts at Mahuwe at the 103km peg was embarked on in 2004 but the project was soon suspended due to lack of funding after the completion of 2km only. The re-gravelling of the road from 198km peg to 245.5km peg was carried out between 1996 and 1999. The section from Mahuwe to Mushumbi (105km-176km) and that from Angwa to Kanyemba (198-245.5km) are in a very bad shape and are characterized by loss of gravel and deep rutting. These sections of road are impassable in wet weather. The grading of this road is currently in progress together with the re-gravelling of the worst section just after Mahuwe.

The Harare-Ruya-Mukumbura Road is 254.5km long which comprises of 197km of surfaced road and 57.5km of gravel road. The surfacing of the road from 163.2km peg commenced in 1994 and achieved the surfacing of the road up to the 197km peg. As part of this construction work, six high level bridges were constructed namely Ruya, Karuyana, Chiutsa, Karoyi, Nyabote and Chiwidze. Work was suspended in 2007 due to unavailability of funds. The gravel section is characterized by rock outcrops in the Mavhuradonha area up to the 228 peg and deep rutting once the road gets to the Zambezi Valley. The valley section of the road is impassable in wet weather. The grading of the gravel section is in progress as part of the rural regrading programme.

JUSTIFICATION OF NEW NUMBER PLATES

31. MR. SANSOLE asked the Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development to justify:

(i) the requirements for motor vehicles to have new number plates each time there is change of ownership, and

(ii) the high selling cost of US$160 for each number plate considering the low production cost.

THE DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER (PROF. MUTAMBARA) on behalf OF THE MINISTER OF TRANSPORT AND INFRASTRUCTURAL DEVELOPMENT):The new vehicle registration number plate was introduced into use from 1st March 2005. Before its adoption, wide consultations were made and to date, we remain satisfied that this new arrangement has largely managed to live up to our original expectations.

May the honourable member appreciate the fact that nowadays, unlike in the past, the vehicle's registered mark and number is no longer linked to the vehicle but to the vehicle's present registered owner. What is now linked to the vehicle as its permanent identity is the chassis number.

Countries such as Togo, Puerto Rico, Russia and other states that were part of the former Soviet Union are also known to link a vehicle's registration number to the registered owner as opposed to the vehicle. Government's main reasons for embracing the present vehicle registration system are to:

· Facilitate the re-registration of a vehicle previously registered as either a government and or a diplomatic vehicle as a private use vehicle and vice versa.

· Enable law enforcement authorities to positively identify the person that is or was regarded as the registered owner of a particular vehicle at a particular time during that vehicle's lifetime.

  • Encourage the new legal owner of a given vehicle to comply with the requirements of the law on the payment of value added tax (VAT) to the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (ZIMRA)

Talking about the current number plate, may I state that it is now more

like a public document that is in the hands of citizens (in this case motorists) but being owned by the state!.

Finally but not least, I wish to point out that the history of a registered vehicle within the present set-up is not lost at all upon change of ownership.

(2) At the end of 2008, the Ministry of Finance requested revenue collecting departments/agencies to review tariffs and fees for services and goods under their purview. It was within that context that my ministry undertook a review of all its user charges including that of the number plate.

In undertaking the said review, my ministry was guided by the following principles chief among others:

  • Landing cost of imported raw materials
  • Cost recovery

· A modest mark-up ranging between 0 and 20% with the majority of services being charged at 15% mark-up with a rounding up of figures

· Costs relating to labour and general administration in the main were excluded.

On the basis of the foregoing principles, my Ministry reduced the selling

price of a set of number plates for a motor vehicle from US$200.00 in 2008 to $160.00 in May 2009. In arriving at the current selling price at that time, we had factored in the following;

  • Cost of imported raw materials being:

- 2 x blank plates

- Hot stamping foil and

- Freight and insurance

- Media and ribbon for the 3rd number plate

- Laminator for the 3rd number plate

  • Local plate production costs being

- Direct costs and

- overheads

· Printing costs for the vehicle registration book

· Sales and distribution costs for the full set of vehicle registration documents (i.e the registration number plates, the 3rd number plate and the vehicle registration book).

Given that there is room for economic stabilization, and a meaningful reduction on importation cost of raw materials, there of course is a possibility of a complementary review of the selling price of number plates and their subsidiary documents. I thank you.

MR. F.M. SIBANDA: Supplementary.

THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Order hon. member, I think it is going to be a bit difficult because the Hon. Deputy Prime Minister is reading out the answers. My explanation is that the Hon. Deputy Prime Minister was given written answers to come and table and we have asked him to read out the answers. He might not be in a position to answer the supplementary questions. You can also put your question in writing which has come out of the response from the Hon. Deputy Prime Minister.

UTILISATION OF THE TOKWE-MUKORSI WATER

32. MR. BALOYI asked the Minister of Agriculture, Mechanisation and

Irrigation Development to:

a) Outline the programme for irrigation development using the Tokwe-Mukorsi water in the Lowveld and the surrounding area of the lake once the project has been completed.

b) Inform the House of the roll out plan for the project.

THE MINISTER OF AGRICULTURE, MECHANISATION AND IRRIGATION DEVELOPMENT (DR. MADE): Hon. member, (a) a programme for irrigation development for that area is currently being designed. (b) The roll out plan is being worked out in conjunction with the programme outlined in section (a) above.

POLICY ON PAYMENT OF CIVIL SERVICE PENSIONS

38. MR. CROSS asked the Minister of Public Service to state the policy regarding the payment of civil service pensions and the position regarding the payment of pensions to former federal civil servants.

THE MINISTER OF PUBLIC SERVICE (MRS. MATIBENGA): I thank the hon. member for his question on the current policy regarding the payment of pensions to former civil servants.

Mr. Speaker, former civil servants are paid their pensions in terms of the State Service (Pensions) Act Chapter 16:06 and the Public Service (Pensions) Regulations, 1992 as follows:

a) On the retirement of a member, a life pension is payable with effect from the day following the date of retirement; and

b) On the death of a member or pensioner, a life pension is payable to the surviving spouse with effect from the day following the date of death.

c) Payments are made monthly in arrears.

Benefits payable on retirement are as follows:

Prior to January 2001, pensionable emoluments did not include regular allowances such as transport and housing. Pension benefits for that category of pensioners were calculated based on salary only.

After the pension reforms undertaken in January 2001, pensionable emoluments now include housing, transport and representation allowances to enhance pension benefits.

However, there is a ceiling on the benefits payable under this new arrangement. Members now retire on a pension that does not exceed 67% of their final pensionable emoluments before commutation. After commuting one third of the full pension, the residual pension equal to 44,67% of pensionable emoluments, is indexed to pensionable emoluments of serving members to maintain the value of their pensions against salaries and allowances of incumbents of their grades of exist.

Mr. Speaker Sir, former federal civil servants are being paid by Crown Agents and funds for their pensions are not being drawn from the Consolidated Revenue Fund.

Mr. Speaker Sir, this is the current position regarding the payment of pensions to former civil servants.

MR. CROSS: Could the Minister explain why pensioners outside the country are not receiving their pensions at the moment. Also, I understand that the federal pensions are paid from a fund to which their contributions to be received from the three former federal states; Zambia, Malawi and Zimbabwe plus a contribution from the United Kingdom Government. I understand that only the UK Government is making its contributions at this moment and time. Therefore, federal pensioners are receiving less than 25% of their eligible pensions at this moment in time. Could she explain what is happening about these two issues?

THE MINISTER OF PUBIC SERVICE (MRS MATIBENGA): Thank you Mr. Speaker, allow me to assert that I think that is a solid, specific question that is also additional - it is not supplementary to the question that I have here because I really need to go and find out more information about who is not receiving their pension.

Mr. Speaker, before I sit down, related to what I am saying - the Crown Agents, to my knowledge, is a separate entity that receives that funding that he alluded to and it was my understanding that perhaps things are going well but if the question is submitted to me in writing, I will be able to interrogate in detail and get a conclusive consolidated and solid answer to his questions. These are really important questions of life for those that have worked for this country. Thank you.

THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Hon. Cross, if you can also submit a written question to seek clarification on the issues you have just raised so that the Minister will have time to research on those.

Questions with Notice interrupted by THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER in terms of Standing Order No. 33.

MOTION

BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE

THE MINISTER OF CONSTITUTIONAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS: Mr. Speaker, I move that the Order of the Day, No. 1 be stood over until all the other Orders of the Day, have been disposed of.

Motion put and agreed to.

MOTION

BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE

THE MINISTER OF CONSTITUTIONAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS: Thank you Mr. Speaker, may I move that Orders of the Day, Numbers 3 and 4 be stood over until all the other Orders of the Day have been disposed of.

Motion put and agreed to.

MOTION

PRIVATISATION OF AIR ZIMBAWE

MR. R. MOYO: Thank you Mr. Speaker. May I seek the indulgence of the House that I withdraw this motion due to the fact that there have been developments where Air Zimbabwe has been put under judicial management. Thank you.

Motion put and agreed to.

Motion; With leave, withdrawn.

MOTION

REPORT OF THE PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT, URBAN AND RURAL DEVELOPMENT ON SERVICE DELIVERY TO THE LOCAL AUTHORITIES OF GUTU AND CHIREDZI

MRS. KARENYI: I move the motion standing in my name that this House takes note of the Report of the Portfolio Committee on Local Government, Urban and Rural Development on Service Delivery to the Local Authorities of Gutu and Chiredzi.

MR. CHAMBATI: I second.

MS KARENYI:

1.0 INTRODUCTION

1.1 As part of its mandate on the Administration of the Ministry the Committee conducted fact finding tours to Gutu Rural District Council and the Chiredzi Town Council. The visits were prompted by written submissions to your Committee on allegations of maladministration within the Gutu Rural District Council.

1.2 The allegations were that the residents of Gutu are supplied with water at very unfair rates by the Rural District Council. ZINWA which also supplied water was said to be charging fifty cents per cubic metre.

Six of the residential areas in the Gutu Rural District Council received water from ZINWA through the Rural District Council. Such water supplies were charged at a commercial rate of one hundred and eight cents per cubic metre. The Council would then add twenty percent administration fee and a further fifteen percent for Value Added Tax forcing residents to pay as much as one hundred and sixty eight cents. Residents felt that there was no need to add VAT on water for domestic use. Other Local Authorities like Mutare, Chiredzi and Masvingo were paying between 21 cents and 22 cents per cubic metre. Such high rates it was alleged had led to high numbers of defaulters within the District Council as residents could not the costs. Supplies were being terminated as a result.

1.3 Other allegations were on the flouting of tender procedures on goods procured, Council cash that was not banked but kept at an officer's residence, irregular and shady deals in the allocation of stands, fleecing of the Council by some debt collectors, flouting of employment procedures, political partisanship in the operations of the Council, failure to fill critical vacant posts over a long period of time, false travel and subsistence claims, failure to service stands yet prospective owners would have paid the requisite service charges.

METHODOLOGY

Your Committee invited representatives from the Gutu Business Development Association for oral evidence on issues of maladministration that they alleged were rampant at the Gutu Rural District Council. Furthermore your Committee interviewed Council Official from Gutu during its fact finding tour of the Rural District Council to get an appreciation on how other local authorities in the Province of Masvingo operated and how they compared and contrasted with Gutu Rural District Council. Your Committee visited Chiredzi where it also interviewed the Council Officials so it could come up with an informed assessment of the situation.

2.0 FINDINGS OF THE COMMITTEE

2.1 Representative from the Gutu Business Development Association made submissions and gave oral evidence before your Committee on the unsatisfactory state of affair within the Rural District Council on the critical water supply situation which they blamed on the Council's failure to protect the ordinary consumers from unfair charges.

2.2 Your Committee sought to know from the Chief Executive Officer of the Gutu Rural District Council and was informed that there was general widespread resistance by the residents to pay their water bills. The Chief Executive Officer also informed your Committee that they had been instructed by the Ministry not to disconnect water supplies for nonpayment but rather to reach amicable win-win situations with residents in the settlement of bills. However, representatives from the Gutu Business Association submitted to your Committee copies of receipts written in red ink that disconnections be effected for nonpayment. These receipts were issued by the Gutu Rural District Council Housing Department. The receipts are hereby tabled in your Committee's report.

2.3 On the high water charges the Chief Executive Officer informed your Committee that ZINWA levied through Council at the rate of 92 cents per cubic metre. In addition Value Added Tax (VAT) was charged at the rate of 15% giving a sum of $1,08. A further 20% administration fee was charged giving a total of $1,27 per cubic metre. These charges riled residents and other stakeholders at the Gutu Rural District Council. Some of them complained that meter readings were not true reflections of the water that they had used and vowed not to pay anything at all.

2.4 The shortage of water was a cause for concern at the Rural District Council. There were allegations of hospital linen being washed in running streams and dams. This prompted your Committee to visit Gutu Mission Hospital to verify the authenticity of such statements. Although the water situation was quite bad your Committee found that it had not yet reached the exaggerated and alarming proportions that were portrayed. However, there was urgent need for the restoration of supplies to those consumers who had suffered water cuts. It is your Committee's contention that the people for whom such service is meant should always come first. Finer details on how payments have to be done can always come later.

2.6 Your Committee was also informed that tender procedures had not been followed by Council Officials when purchasing goods. To this end your Committee wishes to hasten to say this used to happen but at the time of the visit such practice had been brought to an end. Flouting of tender procedures had resulted in colossal losses of Council money through supply of goods by Council employees themselves at inflated prices. Such goods included computers, air conditioners (fans) office stationery, money counting machines and office heaters. It was also alleged that at one time an Acting Finance Officer had kept $42 000 at her house in contravention of regulations which stipulate that Council money be banked for safe keeping. The same Officer was said to have been in the habit of sourcing fuel using that money and reselling it to the Council for personal gain. This practice was only contained when the Chief Executive Officer was employed. What is most worrying is that the Officer still remains in the system. Such shady deals were said to have been the order of the day at the Council where the allocation of residential stands was also another grey area. The majority of the Council stands were said to be owned by Council employees at the expense of other stakeholders.

2.7 Furthermore residential stands allocated to prospective home seekers were not serviced despite the fact that service charges had been paid, particularly for water connection, road development and sewer connections. Some of the stands were allocated to more than two clients. Your Committee received evidence to the fact that a Planning Officer by the name Martin Mukoroverwa made the following double allocation of stands in the Munhende location.

Stand Number

First Allocation

Second Allocation

1562

1668

1236

1359

2601

Munyonganisi S

Hamandishe Rwanyanya

Mukiwa

Munhure S

Muchineripi

Fari F

Matabeya

Gwanyiwa

Gwafa

Hon. Maramwidze

No satisfactory explanation was given for such action. It was quite disturbing to your Committee to observe that such practice only served to obliterate any confidence the residents had on the Council. There were also other cases where the Planning Officer created a lot of confusion and conflict by making even triple allocations of stands as was witnessed on the following:-

Stand No.

First Allocation

Second Allocation

Third Allocation

1131

1132

1135

Chagwiza

Hamandishe

Muchena C

Chifamba

Serima

Mandizvidza

Joshua

Fadzai

Bridge B

2.8 At times the Council Human Resources Department and the Planning Department used one register for allocation of stands and the recording of leases. The use of one register by two different departments does not only breach ethics of confidentiality but destroys elements of transparency and accountability. Lease registers are security items of the Council and should not be used willy-nilly but should always be in the custody of the Human Resources Department. L ease names in the register were sometimes cancelled and replaced without proper procedures. This made it possible for anybody to cancel and replace a name without the Council knowing of it.

2.9 Sometimes clients paid money to the Council but they were not allocated stands at all. This only helped to make the community lose confidence in the housing delivery system of the Gutu Rural District Council. It was also bound to cause unnecessary conflict and acrimonious relations.

2.10 Your Committee also heard of building plans that had been fraudulently approved by the planning office who had forged the Engineer's Signature. These were for stands Nos. 2236, 1913 and 1261 in Munhende location.

2.11 There were also incidences of debts collectors who had been unprocedurally engaged to recover money for the Council. Some Officers, like Mr. Mugayo were known to have single handedly engaged debt collectors without the authority of the Council. Such practice was not only fraught with unprofessionalism but open to abuse and could have prejudiced the Council huge sums of money.

2.12 The Council Chairman was known to have awarded himself some unjustified travel claims much to the prejudice of the Council's finances.

1. CHIREDZI TOWN COUNCIL

2. Your Committee also embarked on a tour of the Chiredzi Town Council whose infrastructure was commissioned as far as back as 1964 for a population of about seven thousand people then. The road network for the Chiredzi Town Council was badly damaged during cyclone Eline. Since most of the road equipment went to the Rural District Council in 2002, repairs of the roads could not be done.

3. Chiredzi Town Council had to rely on its own resources for road construction and these were grossly inadequate.

4. Service delivery by the Town Council was severely hampered by the old water works which were commissioned in 1964. Even though Chiredzi had attained Town Council status no upgrading of the waterworks had taken place. The waterworks infrastructure could not sustain the ever increasing population of the town. Sewer reticulationwhich was established about at the same time as the waterworks was experiencing frequent pipe burst and needed a complete overhaul. However, this was not possible as residents could not fund this kind of project. Sewer rods had been acquired with the assistance of UNICEF for the unblocking of the sewer pipes.

5. Refuse collection posed yet another major challenge on service delivery in the Town Council. Efforts had been made, however, to replace two aging tractors which were for most of the time off the road, with a motorised refuse compactor to service the whole town. Suffice to say in the past cholera had found a fertile ground for breeding because of the poor refuse collection systems. Sadly enough the refuse compactor would not cater for the expansion of the Town.

In the high density areas of Chiredzi off site infrastructure (sewer ponds) were always overloaded and bursting resulting in the town Council incurring a lot of fines from the Environmental Management Agency (EMA). Fair units were said to be required for the ponds but residents were not in a position to fund the project.

6. The Council was also having challenges in its service delivery as it could not afford to service new residential accommodation stands. Sewer and water reticulation could not be done in the new residential areas. No funds were available from the PSIPs for such major programmes. The most critical activity for the Council was the immediate increase in the water supplies by at least 50%. It was hoped that such an increase would cater for the new accommodation areas. However, it was quite disturbing to your Committee to learn that the department of Physical Planning had not sanctioned that expansion. Without that expansion it was extremely impossible to supply Chiredzi with water for at least twenty four hours a day. Your Committee observed that the solution to Chiredzi water problems was completely new water works. It was no longer desirable for the Council to continue drawing water from a canal which also serviced Hippo Valley Estates. It was envisaged that at least $2,5m would be required for the first phase of the water works.

3.6 Your Committee was also informed that the Chiredzi was also fast developing as a tourist centre owing to the opening of the Great Transfrontier Park. The need for more water could not be under emphasized. Therefore to enhance service delivery in the town there was need for more equipment for the development of the water supply system. Such equipment could only be funded by the central government from the fiscus. Internal servicing of stands required hired equipment which was very expensive as it was charging hourly rates.

3.7 Another challenge facing the Council was the reluctance of residents to pay rates. This made revenue collection very unstable. Revenue collection was said to be about 38% per month of the total budget of the Council which was $$4,2m efforts had been made to encourage residents and business people to pay through the reduction of their rates but they only paid for one month and then stopped.

4.0 CHIREDZI RURAL DISTRICT COUNCIL

4.1 Your Committee received written submissions from the Chiredzi Rural District Council Chief Executive Officer on the service delivery programmes that had been undertaken during the year. These included road maintenance, development and special planning, council finances, transport and machinery, human resources and administration, land use and conservation, corporate governance, water and sanitation and income generating projects.

4.2 In terms of its service delivery on road maintenance the Council had managed to repair most of the roads that were categorized as being under the Council. However, challenges were faced with roads leading to areas with A2 farmers, the estates and conservancies. The major challenges with A2 farmers were that they were not paying their rates to Council while the conservancies were failing to honor their debts to Council. Most of the district had gravel roads which made routine maintenance difficult especially in Chiredzi South where there were no bridges across the Runde River. As a result the Southern parts were not linked to the rest of the district.

4.3 There were other road authorities like the District Development Fund (DDF) and the Ministry who had longer road networks than the Council. DDF's roads were the least maintained despite their highest number. This compromised service delivery by the local authority. Your Committee was also informed that there is need for a highway from Chiredzi Town to Sango Border Post which would service the Great Transfrontier.

4.4 Council revenue at the Chiredzi Rural District Council had been compromised by the removal of vehicle licensing from Council to ZIMPOST. Such revenue was essential and critical for the maintenance of roads. Furthermore the road equipment was obsolete and could not sustain the maintenance operations. Further challenges faced in the service delivery on road maintenance were from the A2 farmers who were highly resistant when requested to pay unit tax, especially those on sugar cane estates. They cited double taxation by the Ministry of Lands and the Council. Council services were therefore compromised while lands as the acquiring authority were favored. Conservancies also took advantage of the inadequacy of the Rural District Councils Act and evaded tax payments. The Act levies unit tax on owners of private land while the Finance Act deals with A2 farmers. This inconsistency in the Act is being manipulated and exploited at the expense of the Council. Sugar estates were saying that the RDC Act was not explicit on the issue of paying for their sugar mills.

4.5 Submissions were also made to the fact that there was need to constitutionalise Councils. This would improve the revenue base and consequently service delivery. The Councils would be guaranteed of benefits to be accrued directly from the fiscus once constitutionalised and this would strengthen the Council's Authority.

4.6 On Human Resources and Administration the Rural District Council had made great strides. Out of a compliment of 77 the Council had 65 employees. The Council had embarked on a development programme for its Staff and Councillors. However, challenges were faced with Senior Management employment procedures which were bureaucratic and quite cumbersome. It took more than a year, for example, to approve the appointment of Senior Managers after the Council had done the interviews and recommendations. The retention and attraction of qualified and experienced personnel was also another challenge compromising service delivery. Salaries in the Council were not attractive. In addition Council did not have adequate accommodation for its staff.

4.7 Lack of office space in Chiredzi also severely compromised service delivery by the Council. The Rural District Council shared the office complex with the Town Council. The two Councils both used to be under one Council, before the creation of the Town Council of the Town Council. They shared Council assets whereby the Office space was shared at a ratio of Town Council 60% to Rural District Council 40%. The same was done for the workshop.

4.8 On development and spatial planning, the Council had to accommodate the new resettlement areas which had no proper business or rural service centres as a result of lack of spatial planning. The Ministry of Lands had claimed that they were the acquiring authority and therefore were the planning authority in the new resettlement areas. This created a lot of problems in terms of spatial planning and development. As a result make shift structures were set up on unplanned areas. Furthermore Ministry of Lands Officials were giving people stands on unplanned sites and yet they had no capacity to plan for such extensive areas.

4.9 Your Committee was also informed that water and sanitation needed to be improved within the council. Sanitation coverage of the population was 21.3% of the population in Chiredzi Rural District Council. Water coverage was 69%. Inadequate financial resources made the situation all the more difficult. At Chikombedzi Growth Point in Chiredzi water was being supplied directly to the people by ZINWA. The Council felt that this provision of service should be left to it. It was also felt by the council that this would improve the expansion of water supplies and also assist council to collect refuse removal fees residents were resisting payment of refuse fees because council could not enforce the payment.

4.10 On corporate governance issued your Committee was informed that the council was relating well with the Executive. However, there was need to improve communication relationships with the District Administrator (DA). The DA was blamed for compiling reports for the parent Ministry which she only copied to council after submission. It was felt by the Council that such practice was rather confrontational rather than correctional.

4.11 The Council had also embarked on Income Generating Projects in the form of beer halls and hardware shops. Competitors in the income generating industry were not pleased whenever council out wilted its competitors and would hit back by resisting paying licenses to council. Council would then end up losing because of the wage bill and other labour related issues. Your Committee therefore is of the opinion that Council should maintain its status as the planning, taxing and development authority for the areas under its jurisdiction.

5.0 RECOMMENDATIONS

Your Committee noted with concern that service delivery by local

authorities of Gutu and Chiredzi was severely hampered by challenges of inadequate resources. It is therefore your Committee's feeling that the following recommendations be effected without delay:

(a) That the provision of water services in local authorities be carried out by respective Councils. Zinwa should supply all councils with water at a uniform rate.

(b) That the high rates currently being charged within various Councils be reviewed as a matter of urgency so that at least residents can pay something rather than to default and allow the services to completely collapse.

(c) That people with requisite qualifications be employed in critical Council positions such as Chief Executive Officers. Acting personnel have not only proved incompetent as has been the case at Gutu Rural District Council but they are also hesitant when it comes to making decisions. The Ministry also have to expedite the appointment of substantive heads of councils and there must be a stipulated time frame within which one can save in an acting capacity.

(d) That there is dire need for induction and orientation of Councillors and Senior Officials within Councils. There was a challenge of lack of clearly defined roles between Chiefs, Councillors and Council Officials in Gutu. This gave rise to acrimonious relations which only served to compromise local authority service delivery.

(e) That tender procedures have to be adhered to at all times so that Councils do not unnecessarily lose huge sums of money through nefarious and shady deals as was the case at the Rural District Council of Gutu.

(f) That there is need for the revitalization and recapitalization of

equipment as a way of enhancing service delivery by Local authorities.

(g) That the Ministry restores the provision of grants to Local Authorities and provides funding to the programmes of Councils through PSIPs.

(h) That the Environmental Management Agency EMA should be compelled to plough back profits to the local authorities. A lot of fines were being imposed on the Chiredzi Town Council and it would be prudent if some of the money could be ploughed back for the rehabilitation programmes so that at least service delivery can be improved.

(i) That the Ministry should fund the Chiredzi water works as a major project under the PSIPs.

(j) That the stakeholder participation must be embraced in the formulation and approval of Council Budget.

(k) That the procedures of the acquisition of land should be made less cumbersome so that the process is expeditiously done.

(l) That strategic master plans be put in place for the Chiredzi Town Council.

(m) That legislation instead of by-laws should be put in place to adequately and comprehensively deal with the new dispensation of land categories and payment modalities.

(n) That the Council and the DA's office should tolerate each other for the well being of the operations of the Council.

(o) That the Ministry of Lands should remain an acquiring authority for the allocation of land. The planning function should always be the responsibility of the local authority in accordance with provisions of the Regional, Town and Country Planning Act 29:12 as read with Statutory Instrument 175 of 1999. This would go a long way towards solving the many land disputes experienced in the Chiredzi Rural District Council.

(p) That District councils must be constitutionalized.

(q) That the removal of vehicle licensing from Local Authorities to ZIMPOST must be reversed to ensure that the authorities boost their revenue base.

(r) That DDF roads be transferred to the Council for ease of maintenance.

(s) That a legislative framework be put in place to compel people to pay rates.

(t) That the road maintenance equipment in Rural District Councils be recapitalized.

(u) That the delay by the committee to go to Chiredzi was a serious inconveniency as the Committee was unable to respond rapidly until at a time when some of the issues reported on had fallen by the wayside. This exposes the critical need for urgent funding of Committee business as Committees are supposed to attend to issues falling under their purview with the great urgency that is required. The Administration of Parliament must at all times ensure that Committee business takes precedence in all budgetary allocation.

6.0 CONCLUSION

6.1 Your Committee is seriously concerned at cases of maladministration within District Councils which have seen deterioration of service delivery by Councils to unprecedented levels. It is your Committee's fervent hope that the Ministry will take remedial measures within the various Councils it visited as per recommendations contained in this report. I thank you.

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

Motion put and agreed to.

Debate to resume: Thursday, 17th May, 2012.

MOTION

LEAVE TO BRING IN A BILL TO AMEND THE CRIMINAL PROCEDURE AND EVIDENCE ACT

Eighth Order: Adjourned debate on motion that leave be granted to bring in a Bill to amend the Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act in Section 121 by the Repeal of subsection 3.

Question again proposed.

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

Motion put and agreed to.

Debate to resume: Thursday, 17th May, 2012.

MOTION

BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE

THE MINISTER OF CONSTITUTIONAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS: I move that Orders of the Day, Numbers 7 to 13 be stood over until Order of the Day, Number 14 has been disposed of.

Motion put and agreed to.

MOTION

FIRST REPORT OF THE PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE ON PUBLIC WORKS AND NATIONAL HOUSING ON PHASE TWO WILLOWVALE FLATS HOUSING PROJECTS.

Fourteenth Order read: Adjourned debate on motion on the First Report of the Portfolio Committee on Public Works and National Housing on Phase Two Willowvale Flats Housing Project on (S.C. 8, 2012).

Question again proposed.

MR. MUPUKUTA: Allow me Mr. Speaker, to begin by thanking the following twelve hon. members for their brilliant contributions towards the motion I moved on behalf of the Portfolio Committee on National Housing and Social Amenities; Hon. Mhashu, Hon. Shirichena, Hon.Chimhini, Hon. Mukanduri, Hon. H. Mudzuri, Hon. Ndhlovu, Hon. Dzirutwe, Hon. Mudarikwa, Hon. Matimba, Hon. Paradza, Hon. Ndava and Hon. Hove. Their contributions, Mr. Speaker, were well placed as they cited pertinent issues raised by the Committee regarding the allocation of accommodation to the beneficiaries of the Willovale Flats project.

Mr. Speaker Sir, I thank the Hon. Minister of National Housing and Social Amenities for honouring his obligation to respond to the issues contained in the Committee report. I commend him for admitting and taking cognizance of the five issues pointed out in the report of the Committee.

Minister's response.

The hon. minister, in his response noted some of the recommendations, took cognizance of the plight of the majority poor civil servants, acknowledged the existence of multiple ownership of properties by certain beneficiaries and allocation of flats to babies and minors. He implicitly pointed out the failure by the Ministry to allocate keys to civil servants in order for them to occupy their flats, citing the uncompleted civil works challenging members of the Committee to prove by end of June 2012, whether those civil servants would not occupying their flats and finally admitted the apparent lack of clarity on the roles of both the Ministry and the IDBZ as recorded in the Hansard of Wednesday, 28th March, 2012 Vol. 38 No. 32 in response to the Committee's observation 5.1.9.

Corruption was strongly refuted by the hon. Minister and challenged the Committee to prove the allegations. The Minister also denied in his response to the observation by the Committee that there were several breaches of the conditions of occupation and the allocation criteria of the beneficiaries maintaining that his Ministry followed the criteria submitted to the Committee. Mr. Speaker Sir, I am surprised by the hon. Minister's audacity to accuse the Committee of telling half-truths to the nation and basing its recommendations on inaccurate information.

Committees Response

Let me begin by pointing out, Mr. Speaker Sir, that the Committee recollects vividly that the hon. minister wrote a threatening letter to the Committee challenging the mandate of the Committee to investigate the Willowvale Flats Projects. Although the matter was clarified and settled I am puzzled by the hon. minister's actions in the press in the Financial Gazette of 19th March 2012. He now attempts to make personalised attacks to the individual members, instead of attacking the Committee. This in my view, is to try and divide, intimidate, and silence the members about the issues raised in the Committee report.

Mr. Speaker Sir, the Minister seems to be misinformed of or not abreast with the actual corrupt activities within the Ministry and the Committee welcomes the challenge to further unearth the corrupt and inconsistent practices within his Ministry.

What is quite evident in the Committee's report is the fact that the civil servants are being taken advantage of by the high income earners. If 80% of the flats are allocated to medium and high income earners and only 20% to the civil servants, including the disabled, then it is clear, Mr. Speaker Sir, that economic growth and development in housing infrastructure development cannot be stimulated when there is restricted provision of accommodation to the most disadvantaged beneficiaries. Thus, the Committee simply points out that the objectives of the facility cannot be achieved if the Ministry lacks the ability to prudently administer housing projects.

On the implementation modalities, the Minister deliberately misunderstood the thrust of the Committee's investigation. The Committee needed the Minister to explain how "the need to pay back the loan in the short term" led the Ministry and IDBZ to allocate flats to babies, minors and people who were not on the housing waiting list and those owning other properties. These properties, Mr. Speaker Sir, which are not in the Central Business District (CBD) have an estimated cost of between US$35 000 and US$40 000 while the same 2 bedroomed flats on the market cost between US$25 000 and US$30 000 within the CBD. In light of the glaring facts, the Committee is not against the revolving of the facility and targeting people who can afford in order to grow the facility but the point is that the Ministry's selection criteria for affordability is questionable. There is a deliberate action to over prize the properties and deny those poor civil servants in the name of affordability.

The Committee is making a valid point that the objectives of the facility are not in tandem with the allocating reality of the flats. If on the onset, 20% of those flats allocated to civil servants constitute a reduction of the national housing backlog, then by the time 100% allocation of flats to civil servants should be done, those who have lots of cash would be owning plenty of properties. Who knows how long it will take to reach the 100% allocation of houses to civil servants?

The other issue that I noted in the Minister's response was the outright self contradiction. Here is one Minister who misinformed the House and the nation by purporting to have canceled the sale agreements of Stephen Zengeya and Company before the Committee visited the project. The Committee questioned why the Ministry allowed the beneficiaries to appear before the Committee if they were disqualified. How can the Ministry vet the beneficiaries after allocating the flats to them? The vetting process of the beneficiaries was ridiculous.

The case of Stephen Zengeya and others was a reaction to the Committee's findings as opposed to being pro-active in the cancellation of agreements and offer letters to the listed beneficiaries. I hope Mr Speaker Sir, you would realise how absurd the action is. It is still the Committee's expectation that those civil servants who paid their full deposit be allocated their flats in due course. It is with great regret that the Ministry's definition of affordability implies earning high incomes. Clause 5.3 of the Agreement that was made reference to by the Minister, totally excludes the poor and vulnerable groups in the scheme hence the perpetuation of inequality in the housing sector.

This is what the Committee and all hon. members who debated this motion were objecting to and wanted redress. The glaring contrast that 3 people from the same family had been allocated flats while one person was chosen from the entire Ministry to benefit from the project is conducive and reasonable cause to warrant corrupt activities within the Ministry.

In conclusion, all the Committee's recommendations were premised on the information from the Ministry and the observations that were made after interviewing the beneficiaries. The Committee is not at all at variance with any condition of the facility but acted on the information provided by the Ministry officials

Mr. Speaker Sir, it is absurd for the Hon. Minister to regard the Committee incompetent when all the information used by the Committee was obtained from the Ministry and interviewed beneficiaries. It is the Committee's expectation that the Minister brings to the House proof of revocation and re-allocation of properties irregularly allocated to undeserving beneficiaries.

Therefore, I move for the adoption of the Report of the Portfolio Committee on Public Works, National Housing and Social Amenities. I thank you.

Motion put and agreed to.

On the motion of THE MINISTER OF CONSTITUTIONAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS, the House adjourned at Ten Minutes to Five o'clock p.m.

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