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NATIONAL ASSEMBLY HANSARD - 6 APRIL 2011 VOL. 37 NO. 29

Wednesday, 6th April 2011

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

 

PRAYERS

(THE DEPUTY SPEAKER in the Chair)

ANNOUNCEMENT BY THE DEPUTY SPEAKER

CHANGES TO PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE MEMBERSHIP

THE DEPUTY SPEAKER: I have to inform the House of changes in the membership of Committees where Hon. T. Sansole Tose Wesley has moved from the Portfolio Committee on Industry and Commerce to the Portfolio Committee on Small and Medium Enterprises Cooperation Development. He will also serve on the Public Accounts Committee as a second Committee.

SWITCHING OFF OF CELLPHONES

THE DEPUTY SPEAKER: I have to remind hon. members to switch off their cellphones before business commences as the cellphones may interfere with the digital audio recording equipment.

ORAL ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS WITHOUT NOTICE

MR. CROSS: Madam Speaker, I would like to ask the Deputy Prime Minister this afternoon if he would give us some idea of what Government policy is towards the exhumation of bodies in the Mt Darwin area that is currently underway. The normal understanding is that the court should order such exhumation and that it should be supervised by forensic pathologists to determine how the person died, their identities and so forth. In addition to that ….

THE DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order hon. member, please just ask your question.

MR. CROSS: I would like to ask the Deputy Prime Minister to spell out what Government policy is towards the exhumation of bodies in the Mt Darwin area that is currently underway?

THE DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER (PROF. MUTAMBARA): Madam Speaker, I want to thank the hon. member for that question and I want to say to this august House that all the concerns that have been raised are very important to Government and that whatever we do to Mt Darwin or anywhere in the country must be in keeping with our laws. As you are aware, the Ministry of Home Affairs has now officially taken over the process of exhumation that is currently taking place in Mt Darwin and in that process, the Ministry of Home Affairs should be able to address the concerns that the hon. member has raised. It is important that as a country, we come to terms with our history and also respect the contributions made by all Zimbabweans to create a new dispensation in the country. The concerns raised by the hon. member are being addressed by the ministry and the ministry should be in a position to make a substantive statement on that matter. I want to thank the hon. member for that question.

MR. BHASIKITI: My question is directed to the Minister of Education, Sport, Arts and Culture. I want to know from the minister why there is a new trend on development which is to reduce the level and quality of education in schools by just buying textbooks from one publisher whose publication is not favourable to the schools as was the case in the UNICEF tender and taking away the booksellers out of the system.

THE MINISTER OF EDUCATION, SPORT, ARTS AND CULTURE (SENATOR COLTART): I am grateful that the hon. member has raised this question and I crave your indulgence to give a very full reply to the question because there has been a lot of misinformation regarding this issue. When the transitional government started in February 2009, there was crisis in the education sector. Eighty thousand schools were closed and ninety thousand teachers were on strike. The position regarding textbooks in all our schools can only be described as a catastrophe. The average textbook/pupil ratio in the vast majority of our schools was as bad as 15 pupils to 1 textbook. Madam Speaker, you will have to appreciate that if 15 pupils have to share 1 textbook, there is no conducive environment to learning and in that scenario we have seen a decline of pass rates, in particular, in primary schools in Grade 7. The grade 7 pass rate used to be as high as 70% and we have seen it decreasing in the last 4 to 5 years and it was especially acute in rural areas.

I hope hon. members would listen because this involves all our children. The concern of children's pass rate should be a concern to all of us irrespective of background or political affiliation. Educationists advise that one of the most important areas that we have to address in 2009 was the issue of providing textbooks, especially to primary school children. Madam Speaker, you understand in educational perspective that primary school is the most important part in any child's scholastic career for the first four to five years of their education, it is those years that they learn the basic literacy and numeracy skills and if they do not have access to textbooks during that time, their education is affected and that is why we advise that we have to focus on primary schools. Madam Speaker, you will recall that in September 2009, I established the Educational Transitional Fund with UNICEF. As you know, it is a United Nations organisation and we then set about seeking to raise sufficient money to address the initial target of mainly the provisions of primary school textbooks. Soon after that, we managed to raise 52 million dollars for this purpose, that is another issue. Soon after the education transmission fund was established in September 2009, UNICEF and I managed to speak to the entire publishing industry and to the book sellers to explain that this was a national emergency, we needed the books as a matter of emergency. We explained to them that we have relatively limited resources but we wanted to purchase books so that we will have a ratio of one is to one (1:1). Every child should have his or her own textbook in particular subjects.

We explained that because of this national emergency, we do not want any publishing house or printing house to enjoy windfall profits, we wanted them to have economies of scales. We wanted the publishing houses to reduce the profit margins in the interest of children.

There are three main publishing houses in this country Madam Speaker, that is Longman, ZBH and College Print. We called a meeting with the three publishing houses and I regret that at the conclusion of those initial series of meetings which was done in the last quarter of 2009, that there was an informal cartel of operating involving these houses because when we asked for prices, at Longman, we were given prices that were comparable to other booksellers. The pricing we had arrived on was going to print thousands of books rather than millions of books. So, we were unable to enter into a contract with the publishers because the prices were so high. The prices that had been suggested at that time were ranging between US$4 and US$5 dollars per textbook. We had done some research internationally to find out the actual costs of producing a textbook and we realised that it cost US$1 to produce a textbook.

But because we could not reach an agreement with the publishers, a decision was taken by the ministry to hand over to UNICEF the process of producing text books and UNICEF then decided to go to tender. The tender process begun in December 2009. It was conducted entirely by UNICEF, not by the Ministry of Education.

Madam Speaker, that culminated the first quarter 2010. At the conclusion of the tender, UNICEF made a decision based on financial consideration to award the tender to the publishing house which had submitted the cheapest price. Madam Speaker, I need to stress that the difference in price was substantial. The difference in price between Longman and the other two publishing houses went into hundreds and thousands US dollars. When the contract was awarded, there was a saving of US$10 million. That has resulted in production and delivery of some 30 million textbooks to every single child in our country. Every single primary school child has his or her own English, Maths, indigenous language and environmental sciences text book.

Madam Speaker, we now have the best text-books in Africa. Let me now address the hon. member's question. The hon. member obviously has not seen the Grade 7 results which, for the first time in seven years, have improved. Madam Speaker, we are now moving to the secondary school text books. It is not good to rely on one publishing house. We want to conduct a survey in all our secondary schools so that we know the correct number of text books required. When it comes to secondary distribution of textbooks, there will be equitable distribution of books to all publishing houses.

To conclude Madam Speaker, because of the urgency of the primary school textbook programme and because of the need to save money, a decision was taken between the ministry and UNICEF that UNICEF will contract to deliver these textbooks direct to schools. We had several warehouses in Harare, we stored some 13 million text books and these text books had to be delivered to some 500 000 primary schools. The cheapest way of getting those text books to primary schools was by having a centralised position.

MR BHASIKITI: The Hon. Minister has evaded the greater part of my question. The issue was on less preferred textbooks by schools, which means schools do not prefer using those textbooks which were given to them and that question is not answered by the minister.

The second part is, education is a question of the curriculum. The textbooks, when we deal with textbooks, it is not a question of price because the less price, the textbooks are the less preferred by schools and they will not be addressing the curriculum or the syllabus but that was what the Hon. Minister was saying they considered and then they poured into schools. So, I wanted that clarity on why they made deliberate efforts like that when the system agreed by the ministry for supply of textbooks is through book sellers so that the schools present their orders to booksellers then suppliers take from publishers and give to schools what they require and this was not observed.

The minister should give explanation on that because he is on tender with the booksellers?

SENATOR COLTART: Madam Speaker, I was not aware that the hon. member was hard of hearing, so I will repeat because I addressed all of these issues in my substantive remarks in the beginning.

He says that there are less preferred textbooks. I was not aware that the hon. member was an educationist himself. If he goes to schools throughout the country, he will find the joy that is in virtually all our schools that they have textbooks. Most of the schools did not even have any textbook. So to say that these books are less preferred, in fact non other than His Excellency the President when this was raised in Cabinet, when he heard that Longmans was the company that had been fairly contracted, he expressed his satisfaction regarding that because Longmans has been involved in education in this country for decades. All of the books that were produced in the primary school textbooks programme have been approved by the Curriculum Development Unit and have been used by schools throughout the country for the last three decades.

So, with respect to the hon. member in this regard, he does not know what he is talking about.

Secondly, the hon. member said this is not a question of price. Let me just illustrate once again the dramatic reduction in the price that we achieved through this process. You will recall in my substantive remarks that the average cost of a textbook was between US$4 and US$5. As a result of the tender, the commercially competitive tender prices run buy UNICEF and not run by the Ministry of Education, the average cost of textbooks was reduced from US$5 to US70 cents. That resulted in a total saving of US$10 million, which in turn enabled us to achieve ratios that we did not think possible at the commencement of this exercise, namely a one to one ratio.

This exercise has been hailed internationally as one of the most successful textbook procurement exercises ever.

Madam Speaker, let me make one final point, the hon. member raised the question again why booksellers had not been involved and the reason for this was that this is a national emergency. Children did not have textbooks and for every year that they did not have textbooks, we faced the prospect of a lost generation which is not in anybody's interest. The only way that we could achieve these ratios was by doing an emergency operation. Had we gone through booksellers, every person would have had their cut and inevitably the price of the exercise would have rocketed and we would not have achieved the ratios that we have.

What I explained very clearly to the hon. member is that, when it comes to the secondary school programme which is not as urgent as the primary school programme, we will endeavor to involve the textbook proprietors countrywide in the distribution exercise so that they are not prejudiced.

MR. NEZI: Will the Hon. Minister please clarify, the publishers who won the tender, they do not know how they won the tender and the other two publishers who lost the tender, they do not know how they lost the tender. What criteria was being used because the norm is that, when one loses or one wins, it has to be made public.

SENATOR COLTART: There were three main criteria that had to be met. The first was that the books tendered had to be approved textbooks by the Ministry of Education Curriculum Development Unit.

The second main criteria was of course price. The third criteria was the quality of production. It is no use getting the cheapest textbook if it falls apart and UNICEF published in our newspapers. There is nothing hidden about this. It was a public tender, published advertisements and these criteria were clearly set out. Longmans came up with a tender of books that had been approved by the ministry.

As I explained very carefully in my last remarks, they came up with the cheapest tender offer and not by a small margin, but the tender was cheaper by several hundred thousand dollars against one of the other publishers and several million dollars against the third publisher. I am not going to name them at this stage but suffice to say that these documents are clear.

The third issue was on quality of the books produced by Longmans, and the proof is in the eating. The books that have been supplied by Longmans are of the highest possible quality that they are not going to fall apart in a matter of weeks or months and the feedback that we are getting from headmasters and teachers confirm that. So for any publishing house to claim that they were done out of a deal, they simply ignored the objective fact of reality of a commercial tender that went to the company that produced the cheapest cost for the best quality which had been asked for.

We can get a lot of foul crying from publishing houses because yes, they did not get when they tried to make out windfall profits but UNICEF is simply not prepared to allow that to happen in the interests of Zimbabwean children.

MR. NEZI: My question is that the publisher who won the tender does not know how they won the tender. The other publishers do not know how they lost the tender. Can I please have clarity on that?

SENATOR COLTART: Madam Speaker, with respect to the hon. member, he assumes that I am a director of ZPH Quality for Longmans, he must put that question to them. I told him exactly the objective criteria on which this tender was based and what UNICEF advised us as a ministry, how they awarded the tender. It is up to him to ask the company not the Minister of Education. They know the answer.

MR. MAZIKANA: Thank you Madam Speaker. I direct my question to the Minister of Education, Sport, Arts and Culture. While the children, teachers and headmasters are celebrating this great achievement, if you go as far as Kanyemba the furthest northern school in our country, the books have reached there. What is the ministry doing to improve the mobility of District Education Officers and Regional Education Directors?

SENATOR COLTART: Madam Speaker, I am glad that the hon. member has raised this question. One of the achievements of the Transitional Government involving all three parties in the last six months has been to allocate resources for this purpose. Cabinet, on the 7th of September 2010, unanimously agreed on a short-term strategic plan for education and the fourth point in that strategic plan approved by Cabinet was to address Government's issues within the ministry. One of the problems that we faced in the ministry Madam Speaker, is that all the posts of District Education Officers who are the ministry's policemen have not been filled and even whether they are filled, many of them did not have access to what he is trying to put across. To address that towards the end of last year, Government allocated US$1.3 million to the ministry to purchase vehicles. We went through the Government tender process and a contract has been awarded to a company in Zimbabwe which is in the process of supplying in excess of 50 vehicles to the ministry and we are in the process of distributing those to District Education Offices countrywide. I hope, through the provision of vehicles and also by getting our establishment process fully taken up, that we may be able to address the concern which is a real concern raised by the hon. member.

MR. MUDARIKWA: My question to the Hon. Minister of Education ,

Sports, Arts and Culture is; would it not be possible for the ministry to recommend that DEOs and Headmasters get duty free vehicles for the purpose of the development of our education? Thank you.

SENATOR COLTART: Madam Speaker, I do not think there is need. We have 73 administrative district offices for education countrywide and each district is meant to have a DEO. By the end of this year, every District Education Officer should have access to his or her own vehicle, but not a personal vehicle. It will be a ministry vehicle which is allocated to that District Education Officer. When that goal is achieved Madam Speaker, they will be mobile and there will not be any need for them to be allocated duty free vehicles on a personal basis.

*MR. MLAMBO: My question is directed to the Deputy Prime Minister, Prof. Mutambara as to what is government policy in connection with the Media Houses disseminating libelous and scandalous information regarding institutions such as SADC.

*THE DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER (PROF. MUTAMBARA): In response to the question asked, we are a Government of National Unity and as such, institutions such as the Parliament of Zimbabwe should also emulate the essence of unity as enshrined in the GNU. State Media Institutions both electronic and the print should disseminate information in support of the GNU. Consequently, media houses should try as much as possible to be patriotic and pro-Zimbabwe. Communications between governments or countries is implemented through specific government channels and not TVs and newspapers. When the Government of Zimbabwe wants to hold discussions with SADC institutions or the South African President Hon. J. Zuma, this will be done through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Although we suggested that both print and electronic media should be patriotic fundamentally, Madam Speaker, the communication between governments is done government to government and as Government, we do not communicate foreign policy through the media. We will talk with our South African counterparts through the established channels I mentioned earlier. But when all is said and done, our media should be patriotic. I thank the hon. member for raising this question.

MR. MUDARIKWA: My question is directed to the Deputy Minister of Science and Technology. What is the national policy in relation to GMO and when are we going to see the production of GMO soya-beans because the chicken industry is now affected by not using GMO soya-beans. They cannot compete on the world market. Thank you.

THE MINISTER OF SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY (PROF. DZINOTYIWEI): I would like to thank the hon. member Madam Speaker for the question. I think this is a second time the question has been raised in Parliament and I am pleased to have the opportunity of explaining once more. Generally, the position we have in the country is that any GMO products which are in seed form can only be imported with permission from our bio-technology authority and can only be imported with the intention of milling it and that milling should be done under supervision. Otherwise any other product that can be imported like mealie-meal must come in that milled form and not unmilled form, but like I indicated last time Madam Speaker, this is an item before us at Cabinet. It has different positions depending on the way the GMOs affect different sectors. For instance, we expected position to be given by Health, a position to be given by Agriculture, but I can assure the members that as far as we are concerned ourselves, from the science and technology side, we see absolutely no harm in the consumption of GMO and this is a position which has been verified all over. You have the WHO, you have FAO and all the academies of science in various nations, the food and drug administration in the USA, the Royal Society in UK. All academies of science as far as our way have confirmed that there is nothing to suggest that GMOs are unhealthy or could affect the environment and so from the scientific position, we see no harm in making use of those products but instead, we feel that it is actually useful to apply them because they enhance productivity, they tend to yield a much cheaper product to the farmer when you apply it. There are generally plenty of GMOs in the medical field. The bulk of modern medicines that are being discovered, even though some people do not realise it, are in fact GMO based and these are applied in hospitals. So, from a scientific position, we see no problem, but I would await the decision of Cabinet when all the other sectors have commented on the subject to see if we can have a unanimous position.

MR. NYAMUDEZA: I would like to find out from Mr. Nhema what he is doing to keep elephants and lions where they belong because in my constituency, elephants have been crossing Sabi river and lions are eating cattle.

THE MINISTER OF ENVIRONMENTAL AND NATURAL RESOURCES MANAGEMENT (MR. NHEMA): I wish to acknowledge the question raised by the hon. member. As you are aware, Government has a policy of CampFire and this is a programme which Government found necessary in an effort to reduce the conflict between humans and wildlife. I must say the whole country is a wildlife country. We stand shoulder to shoulder with most countries in SADC because of wilderness and wildlife. Historically, you will realise that elephants travel very long distances from one end of the country to the other and they have a tendency to follow the same route traveled even 30 years earlier. Humans, on the other hand have tended to settle themselves in various areas and in some cases, in the animal corridor. The elephant has a tendency to use the same path and this is dependent on the situation on the ground such as drought or floods.

So, we encourage our community to understand the movement of these animals, hence the introduction of CampFire. It is very difficult to keep an animal like an elephant behind a fence. It only takes 20 of them to push the fence over and they will go away. So, yes it is a problem that we have but we are trying our best to educate the people and in some cases we do put electric fences, but I must add on to say that it is not adequate if the

movement is in excess of 20 elephants.

In terms of the lions, unfortunately over the years, we have lost most of our population and we are worried that as we go on killing these lions, we might have nothing left in the next generations to come. So, again we are looking for a balance apart from educating our people and trying to keep those animals away from human beings so that they do not attack human beings and do not destroy crops. So, the policy is co-habitation and living in harmony with nature and wildlife.

MR. MAHLANGU: I direct my question to the Minister of Education, Sport, Arts and Culture. It is on record that ZANU PF sympathisers are going round in schools forcing school children from grade one to sign the sanctions petition Bill, thereby affecting the quality of education. What is the position of your Ministry on that?

THE MINISTER OF EDUCATION, SPORTS, ARTS AND CULTURE (SENATOR COLTART): I have read press reports regarding this but I have not received any official reports coming into my ministry, so I cannot comment regarding any specific allegations. What I can comment on is our general policy which is a long standing policy within the ministry. The policy of the ministry is that schools should be apolitical zones. There should be no partisan politics taking place in schools, unless they are being taught history and debating politics but the policy is that there should be no partisan political discourse in the schools and certainly there should be no intimidation of teachers or children themselves. I would urge all hon. members to embrace this policy because it is in the best interest of our children that we keep our schools as havens of peace so that the children can learn in a trouble free environment which is in the children's best interests. If these reports are correct, they are to be condemned. Children should not have their education interrupted in any way. We cannot control what happens beyond the boundaries of schools, but what happens within the schools is our concern as the Ministry of Education and such a thing should never take place within schools.

MR. GWIYO: I would like to find out from Mr. Nhema whether the dispute between his ministry and the Ministry of Home Affairs has been resolved with regard to the management of the National Parks. More importantly, because last year when we were at the budget workshop, there was a dispute with regards to the Victoria Falls area, has that been resolved?

MR. NHEMA: It is in the process of being resolved.

MR. GWIYO: Probably it would also benefit the House if the Minister was going to elaborate his view with regard to who should take responsibility of managing the National Parks and Victoria Falls.

THE MINISTER OF ENVIRONMENT AND NATURAL RESOURCES MANAGEMENT (MR. NHEMA): Without going into detail, it is the prerogative of the presidency to decide which departments go under which ministry, so we await that resolution.

MR. JEMBERE: My question is directed to the Deputy Prime Minister. I think the issue of the Civil Service Audit is quite a topical issue in our country and its resolution has taken toolong and I want to ask if we can hear from you when really we can finally resolve this issue on civil service audit report where we have heard that there are ghost workers amounting to seventy thousand. This is an issue that can help this nation resolve the issue of salaries of our civil servants. I hope that we are going to be able to give our deserving civil servants salaries that are adequate to really shut them up in terms of their complaints everyday of not being paid enough money to sustain themselves. So I thought that.....

THE DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order hon. member, I think the minister has heard your question because it is very clear.

MR. JEMBERE: In a nutshell I just want to ask the Deputy Prime Minister, when are we going to resolve the issue of ghost workers and the issue of civil servants earning enough money to sustain themselves?

THE DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER (PROF. MUTAMBARA): Madam Speaker, I want to thank the hon. member for that question and say that the issues that he raised are work in progress. The Minister of Public Service have spoken about these matters in this House and without pre-empting his detailed response, I would like to say that we are harmonising the findings from the ministry with the views from the public serving service. Having done that we will be able to release the final output of the civil service audit. However, let me emphasise that as a Government, our policy is to have a right sized civil service, our policy is to have an efficient civil service, our policy is to have a well paid and motivated civil service. In pursuit of those objectives, we established that civil service audit and Minister Mukonoweshuro will be able to speak authoritatively on this subject after consultations between his ministry and the public service commission.

MR. S. MOYO: My question is directed to the Minister of Education. Can he enlighten the House how far he is with the special model schools programme?

THE MINISTER OF EDUCATION, ARTS, SPORTS AND CULTURE (SENATOR COLTART): To explain fully to the hon. members the background to this issue, I need to say that one of our dilemmas in the ministry is, whilst our primary objective is to restore quality education to all children, because of the huge financial requirements and financial constraints facing Zimbabwe at the present time, there is a real danger that whereas we might be able to provide a basic quality education to all children, we cannot guarantee that children are going to be able to go right through to 'O' level and 'A' level, those children who have the intellect and aptitude to do so.

There is also a fact that most of our schools are seriously dilapidated. The issue regarding text books is part of the problem. A huge amount of the problems that we face is that even if we have provided schools with textbooks, we find that many rural schools are dilapidated. There are holes on the roofs, there are no window panes and there are no desks. So we have massive problems that we face from the financial perspective. Coming back to this fundamental concern - what do we do about children who are supremely talented but coming from disadvantaged family backgrounds? How do we ensure that they are identified, natured and are given the best education so that we get throughput of those children from primary, secondary to tertiary education?

I discussed these issues with the Hon. Deputy Prime Minister Prof Mutambara who knows this issue personally. He is a good example of it and he does not mind using his example. He lost his father at a young age and he has an obvious great intellect which would have been lost to this nation if that intellect had not been identified and natured. The tragedy is that there are possibly thousands of supremely talented children in our nation who come from disadvantaged backgrounds who face the prospect of perhaps getting a grade seven education or a rudimentary secondary education. So in the last two years, we have been working on a policy to try and establish a certain number of academies that will ensure regional and gender equities throughout the country. The proposal that we have is that initially, there should be 20 academies, two per province with the idea that every province will have at least one boys' and one girls' high school. We will focus resources on those government schools, restore and rehabilitate them. Identify the best possible headmasters and teachers for those schools and then develop a scholarship programme, working with primary schools headmasters and headmistresses and local community leaders who will identify the talented, disadvantaged children in their communities.

The intention is to channel those talented disadvantaged children into these academies. So that their talents can be nurtured and developed so that they can get the best 'O' and 'A' level education and become our future mathematicians and scientists and engineers. So that is the policy. However, we had difficulties in raising sufficient resources and I think that is the basis of the hon. member's question because this has taken more than two years to mobilise the resources. But I am pleased to tell the hon. members that we have finally managed to get a certain amount of money from the German Government which has recently indicated that it is going to provide some capital for this and the hon. Minister of Finance, in last year's budget, has allocated some US$3 million.

This is not all that we need because we will not be able to do all 20 schools, but our intention in the course of this year is to identify four or five schools to develop them as a pilot project. Hopefully, we can encourage further donor support and government support. It can be very difficult to identify which four or five schools because obviously every province will want its own, but we will try to do it in an equitable way.

In conclusion, I heard by the end of this year, this programme will be up and running.

MR. BHASIKITI: Can the Hon. Minister explain further why after his ascendancy to the ministry, the private schools have continued to hike school fees to the level where it is unbearable? They are creating an elitist system now and he is numb about their behaviour.

THE DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order, order, that is not a supplementary question, it is a new question altogether.

Questions Without Notice interrupted by THE DEPUTY SPEAKER in terms of Standing Order Number 34.

WRITTEN ANSWER TO QUESTION WITH NOTICE

WEEDS COVERINGHUNYANIRIVER

5. MR. GARADHI asked the Minister of Environment and Natural Resources Management to inform the House if the ministry is aware that there are weeds covering the Hunyani river which are posing a great threat to the lives of humans and other organisms which rely on the water from the river for their well being.

THE MINISTER OF ENVIRONMENT AND NATURAL RESOURCES MANAGEMENT (MR. NHEMA): Madam Speaker, I would like to thank the Hon. MP, Hon. Garadhi for the question on whether my ministry is aware of the spread of the weeds in the Hunyani river which pose a threat to human life and other organisms which rely on the water for their well being. My ministry is aware of the problem of weeds in the Hunyani river over many decades from as far back as the 1970s. What has made the problem worse over the recent years is the high levels of nutrients (phosphates and nitrates) recorded in Hunyani river as a result of raw sewage, among other causes being discharged by the local authorities.

Water hyacinth is a weed listed in schedule five of the Environmental Management Act (Chapter 20:27) of 2002 as one of the invasive species. It is a perennial water weed which can rapidly increase to form dense mats that reduce water quality, impede flow, and block irrigation channels and equipment. In nutrient rich waters such as in the polluted rivers or lakes, water hyacinth can grow so quickly that the surface covered by the mats doubles over 4 - 7 days. For years, control work has been carried out in lakeChivero and its tributaries. The plant's reproductive capacity, adaptability, nutritional requirements and resistance to adverse environments make it difficult to control and eradicate. Mechanical, chemical and biological methods have been tried to curb the growth of the weed with little success.

The Environmental Management Agency, as a regulatory body responsible for monitoring direct discharges of effluent into the environment, has made efforts through the enforcement of Statutory Instrument 6 of 2007 to ensure that all effluent discharged into the environment conforms to standards. However, most sewage treatment plants are down and when functional, they operate at not more than 50% capacity. For example, in 2010, the Hatcliff plant was the only sewage treatment plant operating in the City of Harare out of the five plants and the rest were discharging raw sewage into the environment. Several sewer bursts were also reported in the high density suburbs of the city.

In an effort to curb the situation, the Environmental Management Agency took to task all local authorities which saw a number of orders and tickets being issued as well as dockets being opened. In Harare alone, a total of 47 orders and 2 tickets were issued to the City of Harare for discharging raw sewage into the environment in 2009. In 2010, the number of orders served to the local authority decreased to 7 as a result of the reduction in the occurrence of sewer bursts. However, the problem remains as most sewage treatment plants are still not operational.

The Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources Management is challenging the research and development sector to:

· Develop an integrated weed management regime that incorporates mechanical, chemical and biological controls in varying combinations.

· Use the weed as a new resource for such diverse uses as in animal feed, compost, paper and energy (from biogas)

However, I must hasten to say that removal of water hyacinth from the Manyame river is just treating the effects of the problem. The problem at hand is water pollution which promotes the growth of the weed. Water pollution must be stopped forthwith.

Madam Speaker, local authorities should ensure that sewage treatment plants are operational at full capacity all the time. It is also imperative that industry treats their effluent before they discharge it into natural water courses. I thank you.

ORAL ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS WITH NOTICE

PLANS TO BOOST THE BULAWAYO INDUSTRIAL SECTOR

14. MR. MAHLANGU asked the Minister of Economic Planning and

Investment Promotion to inform the House the plans that have been put in place to boost the Bulawayo industrial sector and to stop the imminent closure of industries and factories as they are no longer viable.

THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF ECONOMIC PLANNING AND INVESTMENT PROMOTION (DR. UNDENGE): The manufacturing sector is a key part of Zimbabwe's economic development. The sector accounted for about 20% of GDP in 1996 and employed more than 17% of the workforce but by 2007/08 it had witnessed a sharp decline to account for only 12% of GDP. During the periods of high economic growth, Bulawayo used to be the industrial hub of the country. For more than a decade, performance in the manufacturing sector has been declining, as all sub-sectors have been operating well below capacity which fell to about 10% in 2008. This affected the industrial activities in all the major cities of the country.

Madam Speaker, let me highlight that around 75% of manufacturing activity is centred in Bulawayo and Harare. Bulawayo, historically has been the country's industrial hub where its railways and related industries such as rolling stock, mining equipment, cement production, textiles, clothing and leather products are located. However, most of the industries have been affected due to constraints such as working capital, reduced markets and lack of skilled manpower, power outages, high costs of utilities and high costs of production. With the introduction of multi currencies on 29 January 2009, all companies had to start from zero in their working capital requirements and were therefore affected in that they did not have these currencies and there were no lines of credit to cover the gap at that time. To date, the financial sector has availed some lines of credit but due to their short term nature, these are being regarded as expensive for use in the manufacturing sector due to a longer turn around.

It is sad to note that a number of companies in the region were shut down or scaled down operations as a result of the lack of cheaper sources of finances and reduced market access with some operating in different levels of capacity utilisation, ranging from 10 - 30%. Some of the companies are operating for 3 - 4 days per week and some have been employing labour for two weeks in a month in alternating shifts. Up to last year, nineteen (19) companies in the clothing sector, sixty four (64) in the motor industry, three (3) in the construction industry and one in the pharmaceutical industry have closed down, due to the various constraints I have already highlighted. As an example, one of the major suppliers of cement in the country, Protea Portland Cement had closed briefly for a month in July 2010 due to maintenance and repairs to its equipment during that period.

PLANS FOR BULAWAYO

The City of Bulawayo has a great potential in the manufacturing of exportable products. It is also noted that the manufacturing sector in Bulawayo is much diversified, covering a number of products from tyres, clothing, textiles, leather, jewelry, processed foods, furniture, pharmaceuticals etc.

The systematic de-industrialisation of Bulawayo over the past two decades resulted in large companies, particularly Government Parastatals and companies in which the State held major shareholding, relocating their headquarters to Harare despite the fact that Bulawayo enjoyed competitive advantage for such industries over the capital.

Further, some companies relocated to Botswana, thus exacerbating the problem.

This is a major cause for concern and Government, through the

Medium Term is putting in place a number of measures which will see the revitalisation of industrial growth. Bulawayo will retain its status as an industrial hub.

These measures include:-

Refurbishing the ZIA office in Bulawayo- have directed my staff to refurbish the office so as to allow speedy processing of applications by investors interested in investing in Bulawayo. A number of investors are interested in investing in Bulawayo. To note is that following the signing of the BIPPA with South Africa, my ministry hosted a business delegation from South Africa, in Bulawayo, late last year, a sign that there is great potential for Bulawayo to receive a notable number of investors. The ZIA offices in Bulawayo will act as a conduit for marketing the City of Bulawayo as a safe investment destination which is strategically positioned for trade with neighbouring countries. It will link very well with the newly established One Stop Shop Centre (OSS) in Harare.

Recapitalisation of the Local Industry in Bulawayo through the following measures:-

· Provide funding for industrial development with focus on strategic companies; that need recapitalisation.

· Facilitate international lenders of capital to avail long term lines of credit to the local banking industry. My ministry has just concluded the BIPPA between Zimbabwe and Botswana which will unlock about US$70 million for the local industry; and Bulawayo companies being next to Botswana stand to gain.

· Government will continue to engage other countries like South Korea so that we conclude BIPPAs with them, with a view to attract investment and lines of credit from these countries to benefit our economy.

Increase availability of utilities such as water, electricity, and coal for increased industrial competitiveness. This will be made possible by promoting Public Private Partnerships to revamp key infrastructure for electricity, water and transport especially upgrading of the Bulawayo railway network. My ministry is aware of the water problems facing Bulawayo. We have included the key water projects in our Medium Term Plan (MTP).

CROSS CUTTING MEASURES WHICH WILL BENEFIT BULAWAYO INDUSTRIES

Colleagues, there are other cross cutting measures which will be put in place which will benefit Bulawayo industries. These include:-

Promote Trade Regional Integration through:

· Adopting tariff reduction schedules in line with COMESA and SADC tariff regimes while taking cognisance of sensitive products, industrial raw materials and packaging materials to enhance competitiveness and protect the economy from unfair trade practices;

· Engaging in bilateral, regional and multilateral trade regimes to ensure that reciprocity is observed in levelling the playing field;

· Pursue opportunities under COMESA Customs Union and SADC Free Trade Areas as well as exports into the EU and the far East;

· Establish Economic Zones to attract mainly Chinese investors and other BRIC countries;

· Organise Investment Road Shows to other countries to attract inward investment;

· Ensure the establishment of the National Productivity Institute.

Finally, Government will do everything possible to attract investment and resuscitate industrial activity. The manufacturing sector should contribute significantly to our Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

I thank you.

MR. MAHLANGU: I would like to find out from the hon. minister why the company closure in business relocation from Bulawayo is not the same in Harare? In your response, you did allude to issues of BIPPA as a way of attracting investment, but we also read from the public media and

our Government somehow is finding it difficult to honour and respect the BIPPAs it had already entered into especially with South Africa. I want to know what we have done as Government in order for us to respect the BIPPAs?

THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF ECONOMIC PLANNING AND DEVELOPMENT (DR UNDENGE): I will highlight some of the issues in my paper with regard to the question, perhaps I was reading from a paper and that is the reason why you did not capture some of the points because I did allude to the fact that de-industrialisation is not something unique to Bulawayo, it is affecting the major cities in the country. In Harare, we have also witnessed massive closure of companies. If you go to Chitungwiza, you will find that a lot of companies have closed down and our medium term plan is intended to address that phenomenon which cuts across the country.

Generally speaking, capacity utilisation by the end of 2008 was around 10% and it has increased to an average of 40% across the board. We have some sectors like the food beverages sector, capacity utilisation has gone up to 80% but with some of the sectors, when we average them out, we arrive at 45%. With regard to relocation, some companies have not only relocated from Bulawayo, some have relocated from Bulawayo to other countries like South Africa. I have in mind Colgate and Palmolive. The examples are many, perhaps if you want more details, you can see me afterwards or you can come to my office.

You mentioned that as a country we are not respecting BIPPAs, I do not think that is correct. I know the agreement we negotiated with South Africa, of course it took some time at one time they needed clarifications concerning the land reform and I think it was generally agreed that the BIPPA agreement, it should exclude that paragraph and we will be looking at new investments. So, you may have been misinformed. This is the position and we are there as a ministry and our doors are open.

MR. CHIMANIKIRE: On a point of order, there is no quorum.

THE DEPUTY SPEAKER: Before that, I just want to remind the Hon. minister that in Zimbabwe we no longer have a city called Bulawayo, the current name is Bulawayo.

Bells rung.

(Quorum formed)

ANNOUNCEMENT BY THE DEPUTY SPEAKER

NON-ADVERSE REPORT RECEIVED FROM THE PARLIAMENTARY LEGAL COMMITTEE

THE DEPUTY SPEAKER: I have received a non adverse report from the Parliamentary Legal Committee on the National Incomes and Pricing Commission Amendment Bill [H.B. 10, 2010] and the Statutory Instrument gazetted during the month of February, 2011.

MOTION

BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE

THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE AND LEGAL AFFAIRS: I move that Orders of the Day, Numbers 1 to 15 be stood over until Order of the Day, Number 16 has been disposed of.

Motion put and agreed to.

COMMITTEE STAGE

GENERAL LAWS AMENDMENT BILL

House in Committee.

Clauses 1 and 2 put and agreed to.

On Clause 3:

THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE AND LEGAL AFFAIRS (SENATOR CHINAMASA): I move the amendment standing in my name that; in Clause 3 (Amendment of Cap. 7:18) by the deletion in paragraph (b) of "(5) Not withstanding section 10 (3), the accounting officer of the ministry responsible for this Act on the fixed date shall continue to be the accounting officer of the Judicial Service until the end of the financial year on the 31st December, 2010."

Amendment to Clause 3 put and agreed to.

Clause 3, as amended, put and agreed to.

Clauses 4 to 6 put and agreed to.

On Clause 7:

THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE AND LEGAL AFFAIRS (SENATOR CHINAMASA): I move the amendment standing in my name that on page 6 of the Bill, insert after line 36 the following proviso to the proposed new sub-clause (6) of Section 79 of the Civil Aviation Act (Chapter 13:15):

"Provided that, for the avoidance of doubt, it is declared that the person whom a civil penalty is levied may challenge the validity of the debt representing the civil penalty before the court in which the debt is sought to be recovered."

Amendment to Clause 7 put and agreed to.

SENATOR CHINAMASA: On a point of order Madam Speaker. I thought that we would put the amended Clause 7 to remain part of the Bill.

Clause 7, as amended, put and agreed to.

On New Clause Inserted After Clause 7:

THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE AND LEGAL AFFAIRS (SENATOR CHINAMASA): On page 308 Madam Speaker, I am proposing the amendment standing in my name that a new Clause on page 6 of the Bill, insert the following after Clause 7, the subsequent clauses to be renumbered accordingly.

Amendment to the New Clause inserted after Clause 7 put and agreed to.

New Clause inserted after Clause 7 put and agreed to.

On Clause 8:

MR. HOVE: I propose that the word company should be restored rather than using the word businesses as the word company will put everything to certainty.

SENATOR CHINAMASA: Madam Chair, I explained yesterday at some length that businesses can be run under various entities. You can run a business as a partnership. A partnership is not a company. You can run a business as an association, as a cooperative or in your own personal capacity. All those forms are not companies and yet they are businesses. For instance, if we take the case of Old Mutual, it is not a company, it is a mutual society and yet it is probably one of the largest business companies in Zimbabwe. So, the idea here is basically to be able to come up with a definition that captures the entirety of the business enterprises in the country from society, from partnerships to cooperatives and so forth. A cooperative is not a company. So I thought the explanation that I gave yesterday was clear and I want to repeat it again that business is run under different forms and these forms include companies, partnerships, mutual societies, associations and individual family businesses and what we are doing here basically, is to capture and come up with a generic term that captures all the forms of businesses.

MR. HOVE: I still insist that we insert the proper names be it company or partnership instead of business because it is bound to be abused. I propose that we do away with the term business and the company there, so that organisations should not be targeted with this piece of amendment and we take away discretion from the person holding proceedings or the executives of a company.

SENATOR CHINAMASA: In law, any business is for making profit and no court would interpret a business to be a non profit making organisation. Business is a legal term meaning for profit. I think you are just being pedantic because if you are in a charitable organisation, you are not in a business. It is a legal term that is used for all economic activities that involve profit making. So I would want to plead with you that the term business is properly inserted to encompass all forms of businesses that are for profit. There is no target against charitable organisations.

MR. S. MOYO: I still think that we need to define it so no-one has to keep explaining like you are doing now. We need a definition to be incorporated in that form.

SENATOR CHINAMASA: It is not fair when you debate with colleagues and they keep their minds closed to arguments. I have said it and the lawyer beside you will not contradict the fact that business is a legal term meaning an economic activity for profit. I would want to appeal to you that you accept the term so we can move on.

MR. HOVE: I insist that we have company instead of business. Business has to be contextualised.

Amendments to Clause 8 put and House divided.

Bells rung

AYES - 16

Chikava B; Chiota P. C; Gumbo J. M; Haritatos P; Kanzama F; Khumalo M; Langa A; Mbwembwe E; Mhandu C; Mudarikwa S; Mushore L; Navaya E; Nhema C. D. F; Undenge S; Zinyemba M and Ziyambi W. Z

Tellers: Chikava B and Gumbo J. M

NOES - 11

Cross E. G; Gabuza J. G; Hove S. R; Machacha C; Madzimure W; Mahlangu T; Mkandhla T; Moyo S; Mushonga S. L; Shoko M and Silulu A.

Tellers: Mahlangu T and Moyo S

Question accordingly affirmed.

Clause 8, as amended, put and agreed to.

Clause 9 put and agreed to.

On Clause 10 (Now Clause 11):

THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE AND LEGAL AFFAIRS (SENATOR CHINAMASA): I move the amendment standing in my name that; on page 7 of the Bill, in subclause (2) of section 128 of the Parks and Wildlife Act [Chapter 20:14] that is sought to be substituted by clause 10 (now clause 11), delete in line 35 the words "No portion of a sentence imposed in terms of subsection (1)" and substitute "Where no special circumstances are found by a court as mentioned in the proviso to subsection (1), no portion of a sentence imposed in terms of subsection (1)".

Amendment to Clause 10 (Now Clause 11) put and agreed to.

Clause 10 (now Clause 11), as amended, put and agreed to.

On Clause 11:

MR HOVE: I call for the amendment of section (b) (8) which says, "No officer or inspector shall be held liable for acts done in good faith and without negligence during the course and within the scope of exercising his or her functions". That clause will likely be abused, someone will simply say that I did this in good faith. I am of the opinion that the officers must be held liable for any acts done during the course of exercising their duties.

On Clause 11 (e) (ii) line 20 it says, "shall be guilty of an offence and liable to a fine not exceeding level fourteen or imprisonment for a period not more than five years or to both such fine and such imprisonment". I am of the opinion that 5 years is too harsh for someone who has picked sand illegally, that sentence should be reduced to say one year.

SENATOR CHINAMASA: Let me, with all the patience at my disposal, explain the first point made by the hon. member about Clause 11(b) which is seeking to insert a clause which says, "no officer or inspector shall be held liable for acts done in good faith and without negligence during the course and within scope of exercising his or her functions". It is so clear Madam Chair that I do not know why the hon. member would want to impose what we call the doctrine of street liability that whatever you do, irrespective of whether you did it through negligence or not, you become liable. Whatever you do, irrespective of whether you did it in good faith or not becomes liable. That doctrine of street liability does not exist and it is more oppressive. What we have here is basically two hurdles that an officer who has done any act will be granted free from liability. First, he must have done what he is accused of, or have done in good faith but again not only in good faith, there must not be any negligence on his part. In other words, to escape liability, he must show two things, good faith and lack of negligence. What the hon. member is proposing basically is now to say it must be street liability and infact you are making it more difficult for the officer than it is here.

The next point - with respect Madam Chair, I do not subscribe to the contribution of the hon. member. Clause 11(e) is dealing with prohibition against discharge of waste. Basically, what infact is happening especially in areas around our cities, in rivers flowing past or through our cities is that you have chemical companies discharging effluence into our rivers as minor offences, no they are not minor offences, they are very serious and they should be treated with the seriousness they deserve. In fact, we should accuse ourselves with negligence at all levels, local authorities and initial Government to watch and see our rivers dying because of pollution of the rivers by chemicals companies and industrial complexes. I want to insist that the sentence, which is only a maximum, it is not minimum, in other words, the courts are given the discretion to determine the seriousness of the discharge of the effluence. Someone who has discharged one litre of poison into Mukuvisi river is treated more lightly than one who has been for years, discharging millions of litres into the river, so the court will take that into account when finding a more suitable and appropriate sentence.

Amendments to Clause 11 put and agreed to.

Clause 11, as amended, put and agreed to.

Clauses 12 to 14 put and agreed to.

On New Clause 15:

THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE AND LEGAL AFFAIRS (SENATOR CHINAMASA): I move the amendment standing in my name that on page 9 of the Bill, insert the following clause after clause 14 (now Clause 15), the subsequent clauses to be renumbered accordingly:

"16. Amendment of section 2 Cap. 24:20

The Banking Act [Chapter 24:20] (No. 9 of 1999) is amended-

a) In section 2 by the insertion of the following definitions-

'''insider", in relation to a banking institution, means any employee, officer, director or principal shareholder of the institution, and includes any related interest of such insider;

"Minimum capital: means capital representing a permanent commitment of funds by the shareholders of the banking institution (net of any loans and advances given to an insider, and any borrowed capital) which is available to meet losses incurred without imposing a fixed unavoidable charge on the institution's earnings, and includes such of the following elements as are available to the institution after making any required deductions-

▪ issued and fully paid up ordinary shares or common stock;

▪ paid up non-cumulative irredeemable preference shares;

▪ reserves consisting of-

iii) non-repayable share premiums;

iv) disclosed reserves created by a charge to net income in the financial year immediately preceding the current one;

v) published retained earnings for the current year, including interim earnings, where these have been verified by external auditors; and

vi) such other elements as may be prescribed from time to time,":

b) in section 14 ("Cancellation of registration") (1) (p) (ii) by the deletion of "minimum equity capital" and the substitution of "minimum capital."

c) in section 29 ("Minimum equity of banking institutions") by the deletion-

▪ of the heading ("Minimum equity capital") and the substitution of "Minimum capital";

▪ in subsections (1) and (2) of "minimum paid - up equity capital" and the substitution of "minimum capital".

Amendment to New Clause 15 put and agreed to.

New Clause 15 as amended, put and agreed to.

On Clause 16;

THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE AND LEGAL AFFAIRS (SENATOR CHINAMASA): Madam Chair this Clause was in response to a proposal by the Parliamentary Legal Committee, not on legal grounds, but it was felt that the direction we were taking was not in the interest of freedom of expression and for that reason, I am moving the amendment standing in my name that on Page 9 of the Bill, delete clause 16 ("Amendment of section 10 of Cap. 26:05") between lines 23 and 34.

Amendment to Clause 16 put and agreed to.

Clause 16, as amended, put and agreed to.

On Clause 17;

THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE AND LEGAL AFFAIRS (SENATOR CHINAMASA): Madam Speaker, I promised yesterday in the debate on Second Reading of the Bill that I would repeal the amendments referring to issues of procurement so that the responsible ministers can look into this matter in a more serious manner and if they desire, bring in a separate Bill, if they want to pursue the path, so I did file yesterday the notice of amendments to Clauses 18 and 19 which is basically repealing those Clauses but unfortunately these were not reflected on the Order Paper.

I move the amendment standing in my name which is a substitution of Clause 17 and appearing on page 309 of the Order Paper that on page 9 of the Bill, delete clause 17 ("Amendment of Cap 28:01") and substitute the following:

"18. Amendment of Cap 28:01

(1) The Labour Act [Chapter 28:01] is amended-

a) by the insertion after section 84 of the following section-

"84A Oath of Office

Every President of the Labour Court shall, before entering upon his or her office, take and subscribe before the President or some person authorised by the President in that behalf, the oath of loyalty and the judicial oath specified in Schedule 1 of the Constitution.";

b) by the insertion after section 92C of the following section-

"92C Part-heard matters

Where the office of a President hearing a matter before the

Labour Court

becomes vacant-

a) by reason of retirement or the appointment of that President to the High Court, the President concerned shall continue hearing the matter to its conclusion as if he or she was still to be a President of the Labour Court; or

b) by reason of death or some cause other than those mentioned in paragraph (a), the Senior President shall re-assign the matter before a different President-

▪ for hearing at the stage which that matter had reached before the office of the first-mentioned President became vacant, if the parties to the matter so agree; or

▪ in the absence of the agreement of the parties under sub paragraph (I), for re-hearing of all the arguments and evidence led at the original hearing of the matter for which purpose the Registrar of the Labour Court shall notify the parties of the new date and place of the hearing";

c) in section 94F ("Appeals against decisions of

Labour Court

") (2) by the insertion after "from the President who made the decision" of "or, in his or her absence, from any other President,".

(2) Subsection (1) (b) and (c) shall be deemed to have come into force on the date of promulgation of the Labour Amendment Act, 2005, that is, the 31 st December, 2005.

Amendment to Clause 17 put and agreed to.

Clause 17, as amended, put and agreed to.

On Clauses 18 and 19:

THE DEPUTY SPEAKER: The Minister is seeking to propose to move amendments on Clauses 18 and 19.

Motion put and agreed to.

THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (SENATOR CHINAMASA): I move the amendment standing in my name which is a substitution of Clause 17 and appearing on page 309 of the Order Paper.

On Clause 18:

On page 10 of the Bill, delete Clause 18 ("Amendment of Section 79 of Cap.29:13") between line 1 and 6.

Amendments to Clause 18 put and agreed to.

Clause 18, as amended put and agreed to.

On Clause 19:

On page 10 of the Bill, delete Clause 19 ("Amendment of Sections 210 and 211 of Cap.29:15") between lines 7 and 13.

Amendment to Clause 19 put and agreed to.

Clause 19, as amended put and agreed to.

THE DEPUTY SPEAKER: The Minister seeks leave to move an amendment on Clause 19 and the Minister will explain.

AN HON MEMBER: verbally?

THE DEPUTY SPEAKER: It is allowed hon. members that you can move it from the floor.

THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (SENATOR CHINAMASA): On page 10 of the Bill delete Clauses 18 and 19 between line 1 and 13 (now Clauses 19 and 20) and substitute the following Clause: "19 Backdating of Statutory Instrument 12 of 2009 to 1st February 2009: ( The High Court) Fees and Allowances) Amendment) Rules, 2011 (No. 18), published in Statutory Instrument 12 of 2011 is deemed to have come into effect on the 1st of February 2011"

I was going to explain that this is mainly of interest to Legal Practitioners when they represent their clients in the High Court or in the Magistrates Court and when they succeed in their mitigation, they are entitled to claim from the losing party what are known as part and part costs which are then taxed by the Master of High Court or the Clerk of Court if it is a Magistrate Court matter.

These tariffs are denominated or have been denominated in Z$ up to February this year. What it meant was that since the introduction of the multi-currency regime, Lawyers have not been able to recover their costs from the losing part since February 2009. My Ministry negotiated with the Law Society to agree on a new tariff denominated in US$ and that tariff has been gazetted from 1st of March 2011. It has been brought to my attention that we have virtually rendered Legal Practitioners penniless by failure to backdate that instrument to beginning of February 2009 when the multi-currency regime was introduced.

Basically, I have no interest in this Bill but I am trying to make the Justice delivery system workable. As it is, up to end of February the tariff was denominated in Z$, I think you understand the hopelessness of a Lawyer going to cost his services in Z$. So I am proposing to sort out that gap from the time we introduced the multi-currency regime up to the time when the High Court and

Magistrate Court

tariffs were introduced.

MR. HOVE: I want to applaud the Minister for bringing such an amendment. My main concern is its half-heartedness that it seeks to affect a certain section of the population. I feel that all Zimbabweans were affected by the introduction of the multi-currency regime. So to back date it from the date it was gazetted, it is in my humble opinion that whilst the amendment is welcome, that it will not be back dated to 2009 but it be effective as at the point when it is passed in the House rather than backdating it because no one has been saving in the anticipation that I owe someone money because right now, you will have to dig deep or start working to pay debts, you have been unaware, you have been incurring since 2009.

We have also lost our own money in the banks in Zim Dollars and no one has compensated us. So if we are all equal at law, if that is how we are going to operate, let that law affect everyone equally, then we will support that backdating of those amendments.

SENATOR CHINAMASA: I am really puzzled. I do not know what message I get from the hon. member. He starts by applauding me and then he ends taking away or do I understand, he takes away what he has given me before. I think my orientation is correct and I also need to correct here that it is from, like I said, 2009 and not 2011. The pressure from the lawyers and in fact complaints are coming from clients who are just being charged anything because the operating tariff for that period is in Zim Dollars at a time when we introduced multi-currency regime.

So the complaints are coming from clients and the complaints now are saying I should go even beyond 2009 and I refused and I said that is the mandate of the Minister of Finance, which is the point I am coming to. The issues you raised about why address a particular section of society and not everybody, it is not within my mandate. That you should leave to the Minister of Finance -[AN HON. MEMBER: Inaudible interjections]- I will pass on the message, but I think for our purposes, I think what is important here is that we should address an anomaly, a serious gap which basically allows a situation where the wheels of justice are not moving smoothly.

In fact, I am disappointed that the legal practitioner who is here is not standing up basically to applaud me in the manner that you have done. This is a worthy amendment and I would want to ask that you support it.

Amendment to the New Clause after Clause 19, put and agreed to.

New Clause after Clause 19 as amended, put and agreed to.

First Schedule section 5 (2) put and agreed to.

Second Schedule, section 6 put and agreed to.

House resumed.

Bill reported with amendments.

Bill referred to the Parliamentary Legal Committee.

ANNOUNCEMENT BY THE DEPUTY SPEAKER

NON-ADVERSE REPORTS RECEIVED FROM THE

PARLIAMENTARY LEGAL COMMITTEE

THE DEPUTY SPEAKER: I have received Non-Adverse reports from the Parliamentary Legal Committee on the National Incomes and Pricing Amendment Bill (HB 10, 2010) and the Statutory Instrument gazetted during the month of February, 2011.

On the motion of THE DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER ( PROF. MUTAMBARA), the House adjourned at Seven Minutes Past Five o'clock p.m.

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National Assembly Hansard Vol. 37 NATIONAL ASSEMBLY HANSARD - 6 APRIL 2011 VOL. 37 NO. 29