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SENATE HANSARD 07 FEBRUARY 2019 VOL 28 NO 30

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PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE

Thursday, 7th February, 2019

The Senate met at Half-past Two o’clock p. m.

PRAYERS

(THE HON. PRESIDENT OF SENATE in the Chair)

ANNOUNCEMENT BY THE HON. PRESIDENT OF SENATE

APOLOGIES RECEIVED FROM MINISTERS

THE HON. PRESIDENT OF SENATE:  I have a list of apologies from the following Ministers;

i.                   The Minister of Higher and Tertiary Education Science and Technology Development, Hon. Prof. Murwira,

ii.                The Deputy Minister of Industry and Commerce, Hon. Modi

iii.             The Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, Hon. Ziyambi and

iv.             The Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Water, Climate and Rural Resettlement, Hon. Sen. Rtd. Air Chief Marshal Shiri.

ORAL ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS WITHOUT NOTICE

HON. SEN. ENG. MUDZURI:  On a point of order Madam President.  I am not sure if the Minister of Finance and Economic Development is coming.  The last time when we were discussing the Finance Bill, one of the Members requested him to present himself last week on Question Time, he did not come, I do not know if he is coming.  We have few questions for the Minister of Finance and Economic Development.

THE HON. PRESIDENT OF SENATE:  The Minister of Finance and Economic Development is not yet in but even if he was in this House, we usually start with Question Time and the other business will come after Question Time. 

HON. TIMVEOS: Thank you Madam President.  My question is directed to the Deputy Minister of Mines and Mining Development.  I want to find out the Ministry’s plans where artisanal miners are killing each other, for example those at Gaika Mine in Kwekwe.  What plans do you have as a Ministry to actually curb the killings in order for our people to be safe?

THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF MINES AND MINING DEVELOPMENT (HON. KAMBAMURA):  Thank you Madam Speaker.  Since the question is specific, I ask the Hon. Senator to put it in writing so that we respond specifically. 

          *HON. SEN. CHIFAMBA: My question is directed to the Deputy Minister of Defence and War Veterans. There are parents who are worried about their children who are not going to school because there are armed soldiers stationed at their schools and they are now afraid.  Can the soldiers be stationed somewhere besides schools?

          THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF DEFENCE AND WAR VETERANS (HON. MATEMADANDA): Thank you Madam President.  Let me thank the Hon. Senator for her question.  Firstly, unlike the Lancaster House Constitution which was written by representatives of political opinions, the Constitution that we have this time has the participation of all Zimbabweans, including political parties, churches and civic organisations.  This Constitution is the one which wrote together that if the police are overwhelmed by a security situation, they are compelled to invite the army which is called military aid to civic power or to police.  If you want I can read the Chapter which we wrote together – [HON. SENATORS: Inaudible interjections]-

          HON. PRESIDENT OF SENATE: Order, order!  Hon. Senators, you can always put a supplementary question when you have questions.  If you can leave the Hon. Minister to answer!

          HON. MATEMADANDA: Madam President, if a person asks a question it does not require the chorus of all the other people…

          HON. PRESIDENT OF SENATE: Hon. Minister, there may be some disgruntlements but you just have to continue with your answer.  It is my duty to make sure that the House is in order –[Hear, hear.]-

          HON. MATEMADANDA:  if the Constitution has allowed the police to call in the army, the army does not deploy itself; they are deployed by the police.  If at school there are people who are armed and beating people, the soldiers will go and remove those people.  If there is any violence which is above the police, the soldiers - regardless of the place, whether it is a hospital or a school, because they do not have a mandate of deployment, it is done by ZRP.  Where the ZRP is overwhelmed, that is when they send the army, so in the case that the children are crying; children do not cry because of people who are protecting them but because of people who are abusing them.

          HON. SEN. SHOKO: Madam President, we are talking about a school here, the school does not have thugs.  Our understanding is that everything in this country has come to normalcy and the army is still by these schools.  If the situation is normal we are kindly asking that look, let us have empathy, certainly the Minister cannot say there are people at schools beating people presently because they should be arrested.  All the parties have agreed to say we do not want violence; we do not want any people who disturb others when they are doing business – arrest those people.  Why are you still keeping the army when the situation has gone back to normal?

          HON. MATEMADANDA: I also want to thank the Hon. Senator for what he has said but we are talking here of a force that was deployed which unfortunately cannot be commanded from Senate.  They have a specific route of instruction, they work under command not under public opinion.  Those that determine a situation to be not normal have got to ascertain that indeed the situation is now normal and that is done by experts in that field, not ordinary people.  As far as we are concerned what the Hon. Senator is talking about is news that he could have seen in the newspaper.  Even myself as the Deputy Minister, I have no official communication, but I have read in the paper and this country unfortunately is not run through newspapers.  I thank you

          HON. SEN MURONZI: thank you Madam President.  I want to ask the Minister that the people that he has referred to as ordinary people, who are those ordinary people because that is our job?

          HON. PRESIDENT OF SENATE: Hon. Senators, if we are talking of this House there are no ordinary members, whether it is coming from the Minister or Hon. Senators, we are Hon. Members all of us, the back benchers and the Ministers.  I think this is where together we talk to each other, ask each other, it is the right of the Senators to ask and it is the right of the Ministers to answer so that everybody is in a position to know what is taking place.  So, I think we can proceed, I will not give the Minister to answer that, I have corrected the situation.

          HON. SEN. MWONZORA: Madam President, my question goes to the Hon. Deputy Minister of Defence and War Veterans.  In terms of the Section 214, of the Zimbabwean Constitution, whenever armed forces have been deployed for one reason or another, an explanation has to be made to the Parliament by the Executive on why deployment was done, to what extent that deployment was done and whatever happened.  My question to you Hon. Minister is we had the army deployed on three major occasion, the first one was November 2017, the second one was the infamous August 1st and the third one was 14 January to now, the deployment of forces.  The Constitution says you must explain why to the House of Parliament.  So, when are we going to get an explanation as to why this deployment was done, when are we going to interrogate the propriety of that deployment and when are we going to have information about the excesses that happened?

          THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF DEFENCE AND WAR VETERANS (HON. MATEMADANDA): Thank you Madam President and thank you Hon. Sen. Mwonzora for the question. In the same Constitution, it talks about deployment of forces and it is said clearly who deploys and under what circumstances and conditions, and this is the State President. So, I cannot answer for him but for the other deployments that you have talked about, it is common knowledge that there was a Commission of Inquiry instituted by the President to determine what happened and give a report which I think is or was going to be made public to every person. As for when the Executive is going to address this issue, that remains the prerogative of the President. I think the Senate has means and ways of calling the President to explain, which I cannot do here. I thank you.

          HON. SEN. TIMVEOS: Thank you Madam President. Soldiers according to the Constitution, I hear that the President has the mandate. It seems that the soldiers or those that stole the uniform of the soldiers are raping women and girls instead of doing the job that they were deployed to do. So, when is this going to stop?

          HON. MATEMADANDA: Thank you Madam President. Thank you Hon. Sen. Timveos for a very good question. Unfortunately, it  is very difficult to determine when people who commit crime are going to end committing crime. What I can say is that as Government, those people are being hunted down and for any member or person who knows those people that are committing crime, we kindly ask them to report those people to the police so that they are arrested as soon as possible. We are cooperating with anyone with information and those that can even identify. The good about the army is that when a person thinks that it is soldiers who committed this, we have what is known as an identification parade where all of you Hon. Senators can be invited to come and identify those people you know to have committed such crimes. Thank you.

          *HON. SEN. CHIFAMBA: Thank you Madam President. My question is to the Deputy Minister of Defence and War Veterans. We are talking about primary school going children who are afraid of the soldiers who are stationed at their gates. For how long are they going to miss school because they are not learning? We are afraid of the education of the children? We want you to remove those soldiers from the primary schools gates and not secondary.

          *THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF DEFENCE AND WAR VETERANS (HON. MATEMADANDA): Thank you Hon. Sen. Chifamba. I am asking the Hon. Sen. if she can furnish us with the name of the school. If it is possible and with your permission and others, I have a car and we can drive to that school right now.

          *THE HON. PRESIDENT OF SENATE: Order, can we have order. Hon. Minister, right now you are still wanted and you still have other questions to answer and so, you cannot leave the House.

          HON. SEN. KOMICHI: My question is directed to the Minister of Defence and War Veterans. Is he consciously clear in his mind that they are establishing a military state in Zimbabwe because in November, August and today there are soldiers and there is no single day which has gone by without soldiers on the streets presenting law and order?

          *THE HON. PRESIDENT OF SENATE: That question has been asked and so, we want to avoid repetition because he is going to give the same answer like what he gave. We cannot keep on asking the same question.

          *HON. SEN. CHIEF MAKUMBE: My question is directed to the Minister of Energy and Power Development. We want to thank you for most of us chiefs now have electricity but we are asked to buy our own meters which are going for $250.00.  Our dollar has lost value, the meters are now in US$, and it is now US$250.00. Chiefs get $300.00 Bond. We cannot get hold of the US$ but the Government has done a very good thing by bringing electricity to our homes. What is Government policy for chiefs’ who have ZESA poles in their homesteads but now cannot get electricity into their homes? Can the Minister clarify on that? Since chiefs they work in Zimbabwe they cannot access the US$. What are they going to do so that they have electricity?

          *THE MINISTER OF ENERGY AND POWER DEVELOPMENT (HON. DR. J. M. GUMBO): I want to thank the Hon. Sen. that chiefs’ homesteads should be electrified and the policy is there. If they cannot pay because their money is not in US$, I think he should pose that question to the Minister of Finance and Economic Development I want them to have electricity connection in their homestead.

          *HON. SEN. CHIEF MAKUMBE: The Ministry of Finance came here and talked about the parity rate, that we are supposed to pay $250.00 from our banks. It is not possible because ZESA has contracted the selling of meters to private organisations and we are chiefs. Is that the way we should live because we were told that it is one to one. With me earning $300.00, how do I get US$250.00? The Minister came and talked about the parity rate. We are your chiefs and that is why we are in this Parliament.  What can we do so that we get electricity?

*HON. DR. J. GUMBO:  Thank you Madam President.  The answer is the same because I do not deal with money.  The Minister of Finance and economic Development is the one who deals with that issue. He is the one you should engage and he will show you what he can do with his bonds which are at parity with the US dollar.

HON. SEN. CHIMBUDZI: Thank you Madam President.  My question is directed to the Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare.  What measures has Government put in place to make sure the country has enough food to feed the nation, particularly this 2019 season where we are experiencing the effects of severe drought?  I thank you.

THE MINISTER OF PUBLIC SERVICE, LABOUR AND SOCIAL WELFARE (HON. DR. NZENZA):  I want to thank the Hon. Senator for the question.  The Government has just completed in partnership with our donor partners, the ZIMVAC Report.  We also met as the Food and Nutrition Council which involves members from Treasury, Ministry of Information, Ministry of Industry and Commerce and in particular, Ministry of Agriculture and Lands.  We met last week to study the lean assessment of the current drought situation and the availability of food in the country.  What emerged is that the country has enough reserves to feed the whole country evenly in the season.  Thank you Madam President.

*HON. SEN. TONGOGARA:  My supplementary question is to the Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare.  The maize that is being distributed comes from her Ministry and taken to the rural areas.  Are there plans that they work with Members of Parliament and councillors in the area because they are the ones who know the people that are hungry?  Are you involving them so that the food gets to the deserving people?  I thank you.

*HON. DR. NZENZA:  Thank you Madam President.  Her question is very pertinent and it has given me an opportunity to explain how people should receive food.  Many times, the MPs and councillors are the ones who tell us the areas where there is hunger.  They should work together with the Drought Relief Committee where we have the District Administrator, Agritex Officer, a Social Worker, those from the NGOs in that area and the chiefs; we do not forget them.  This is what we call the group of the Drought Relief Committee.  They work together with MPs and councillors.  All the same, the social worker is the one who knows the villages that are affected by hunger together with the MPs and councillors.  If they work together, it helps us to know where hunger is.  I thank you.

*HON. SEN. KOMICHI:  Thank you Madam President.  My question is directed to the Minister of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services.  This country is about 40 years with only one television station.  We would like to know whether the Minister has plans to put up private or independent stations so that we experience democracy.

THE MINISTER OF INFORMATION, PUBLICITY AND BROADCASTING SERVICES (HON. SEN. MUTSVANGWA):  Thank you Madam President.  I want to thank Hon. Sen. Komichi for his question.  Our Ministry in the second republic is faced with so many reforms and some of them are the opening of airwaves so that we have freedom of expression and freedom of choice so that there is variety for people to watch the television stations of their choice.  We would like to establish many television channels so that those who would want to watch sport or educational programmes would do that. 

We have talked about the digitalisation programme in this House, that it started in 2015 and it was not completed because of funding.  We still have that problem for us to finish that problem.  It is important that everyone have access to information in Zimbabwe.  If we complete the digitalisation programme, it will give us an opportunity to introduce many channels.  We want to put six channels in place so that people choose what they want because some want to watch art, education or sport and others only want to watch news all the time.  That is what we are looking forward to do so that we have competition and competition is very good.

*HON. SEN. CHIEF NEMBIRE:  Thank you Madam President.  My question is directed to the Minister of Energy, Hon. Dr. Gumbo.  Hon. Minister, we are seeing resurfacing of fuel queues at service stations. What plans do you have so that this will not continue?

*THE MINISTER OF TRANSPORT AND INFRASTRUCTURAL DEVELOPMENT (HON. DR. J. GUMBO):  I want to thank the Hon. Senator.  Yes, it is true that in the past few days from Saturday we started witnessing fuel queues resurfacing.  It started when the prices of petrol and diesel had been increased but through social media, there were messages that were sent saying that fuel was going up.  That caused panic and people rushed to service stations to hoard fuel and it distorted our cities, Harare, Bulawayo, Gweru and Mutare.  That is when the queues resurfaced in those major towns.  There was a distortion.

We wanted fuel to be delivered to the rural areas because during the shutdown period, the fuel tankers could not go far away places.  We had encouraged them to concentrate on the outside areas and that is when people speculated that we wanted to increase the fuel price.  I want to assure the House that the fuel is there in the country and I was with His Excellency and the Reserve Bank Governor in the morning.  They showed me figures of the funds that they gave to the oil companies so that they buy fuel. 

I also want all of us as leaders to know that if you see a service station looking as if they are in trouble, that is caused by the owner of the service station.  Probably, they are not banking their money, that is why they are facing these challenges but now, these big companies like Puma have long queues.  This is because when prices changed, they had sold many coupons to people.  We encouraged them to honour initial prices because others were now revaluing the coupons.  Puma and Redan are the ones who are in trouble because they have a backlog of the coupons and people want to finish those coupons so that they will engage new businesses.  So, we should not be afraid because fuel is there in the country.  I was shown the money and also we have money which has been channeled out by our RBZ Governor that for 24 months, our companies will be getting fuel.  I can tell you that we were getting our fuel, about 7.5 million litres which was being used but right now, because of the prices, the fuel that we are getting from Msasa and Mabvuku, we are receiving about 9.6 million litres per day which is getting into the country.  However, for it to go throughout the country, it is still a challenge, together with those coupons which were channeled out by those companies.  That is where the challenge is.

          HON. SEN. TSOMONDO:  Thank you Madam President.  I wanted to ask a question but I have noticed that the Minister and the Leader of the House are not in, so I will ask next week.

          HON. SEN. MAVETERA:  Thank you Madam President.  My question is directed to the Deputy Minister of Defence and War Veterans.  We have heard reports or allegations that the armory of the Army was raided and arms and uniforms taken.  That is very scary for us as a people.  We want the Minister to tell us the magnitude of that, where it happened and ensure the nation that we are satisfied that our armory is in good hands because we can end up like another Somali where everyone has a gun in his house.  So, I think this is a serious issue which the Minister has to answer.  Thank you. 

          THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF DEFENCE AND WAR VETERANS (HON. MATEMADANDA):  Thank you Madam President.  I want to thank the Hon. Senator for a surprise question because I do not have information of an armory having been broken into.  I would kindly ask that the Hon. Senator puts the question in writing so that we investigate and see where the armory is located which was broken into.  Madam President, an armory is not situated at the periphery of a cantonment area.  Thank you.

          THE HON. PRESIDENT OF SENATE:  You asked the Hon. Member to put the question in written form but I think it is okay that now you know something is happening. 

          +HON. SEN. NCUBE:  Thank you Madam President.  I am requesting the Minister to answer the question. It is said that some people stole soldiers’ uniforms.  These were the people who were raping, shooting at people, torturing and beating up people.  We are talking about a Herald report.  May the Minister make a report on this so that people can hear from ZBC?  I thank you.

          +HON. MATEMADANDA:  I thank you Madam President.  I also thank the Hon. Senator for saying that.  Unfortunately, as I said before, I cannot get instructions or information of running the Ministry from the media.  Also, I am not the Minister of Information.  That can be best answered by the information people because they are the ones who wrote it.  They know where it happened and who did that.  As a Ministry, we do not work as guided by the newspapers.  We work on standards, operations and procedures. I thank you. 

          *HON. P. NDLOVU:  Madam President, my question is directed to the Minister of Defence and War Veterans. I cannot leave this place without asking him.  We have war veterans where the youngest are 56 years and above.  Our budget for war veterans says we are supposed to engage in projects.  Can I engage in a project at my age to feed chickens or cattle because there is no water and there is no land?  My question is why cannot you give us the money?  Where is the money?  Who is going to be given the money so that they will give us because here there are bogus war veterans? 

          *THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF DEFENCE AND WAR VETERANS (HON. MATEMADANDA):  Thank you Madam President.  I want to thank the Hon. Senator for asking me such a serious question.  If she is referring to bogus war veterans, I think we should start re-vetting from her because she is the one who knows about the bogus ones.  Her question has to do with war veterans.  To say bogus or 56 years when it comes to the qualifications of a war veteran, we do not have age limit because that is hers.  There is standard information which we ask for.  Probably she has forgotten, the money she is referring to for projects, maybe she heard us talking on radio and television that we want people to be trained on how to run projects.  The other way of running a project is to  look for a person who has knowledge whom she can employ and then she oversees that. It is very painful Madam President that a person who is an Hon. Member, though back home they are referred to as girls; for her to say that she cannot run a project when she fought for this country to put it into prosperity is saying that we are now done and we should leave it to others.  I do not think when they were taught about production, their age or level of education was ever considered.  If there is an age limit, we would plead that she be trained.  If she cannot, then she can even put her children in her place. 

          The money she has referred to is money for projects.  It is different from retirement.  If she says she cannot run a project, the money that she is saying let us give her, it means she does not qualify because this is just a loan, it is a revolving fund.  If it is money that she will return, it is like a loan, so if she says she cannot do projects, it means she is worsening our burden because we are looking for people who are business minded.  Maybe she wants to talk about pension not projects because if it is a project, it is a loan. That is why we are saying people should be trained so that they can return the money.

          *HON. SEN. CHINAKE: Thank you Madam President for the issue we are hearing here.  Where we come from, the war veterans are living in a sorry state.  I think the pension that you are giving them is very little.  I do not know the plans that you have for them to live well.  The war veterans who are sitting pretty, I think it is only you, His Excellency the President and Madam President but the rest of war veterans are in trouble because if you see them being belittled by people who are engaged in work, it is very sad. 

          THE HON. PRESIDENT OF SENATE: I would allow this question to be responded to so that we help other war veterans but it is not a supplementary question.

          THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF DEFENCE AND  WAR VETERANS (HON. MATEMADANDA): Thank you Madam President.  I want to thank the Hon. Senator for his contribution.  My plea is that the way he is taking it, his view, I think should be seen by all Zimbabweans because this group of people is very important.  It is now up to us as a nation.  We should work hard to grow our economy and reward these people according to the Constitution.  Starting from the Constitution, they are referred to in the Constitution.  What is left is for us to fulfill what we agreed on in the Constitution.  We need to put our heads together, even where we come from- even today, there are people who when they hear of war veterans or collaborators welfare, they will say that our economy is dead because of them. We want to teach the people that these people are very important.  Once again, I want to thank the Hon. Senator for his contribution.  I think that spirit should spread and also where you work or where you come from, even in your constituencies, I think we should come up with ways to help the war veterans in many ways that we can.

          *HON. SEN. ZIVIRA: Thank you Madam President.  My question is directed to the Minister Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare.  Why are you not increasing the salaries of teachers so that they teach pupils?  Children are no longer going to school because the teachers are not teaching because they are earning low salaries.  I think you should increase the salaries of teachers so that they teach the children.

          *THE MINISTER OF PUBLIC SERVICE, LABOUR AND SOCIAL WELFARE (HON. DR. NZENZA): Thank you Madam President.  Her question is very pertinent but what is really troubling us is our economy.  You will find that from January to March, 2019, the President gave civil servants a cushioning allowance from Deputy Director to Director, who were given 5%.  If a teacher who is the lowest salary was given 22.7%, that is a cushioning allowance. 

          Right now we are in the negotiations, we are still engaging with the Apex Council, with the National Joint Negotiation Council standing in for the Teachers’ Unions.  There is $300 million which is being given to civil servants, including teachers, so that they can earn something meaningful.  We are still negotiating. The teachers have not refused that money, they are still thinking on whether they would accept it or not.

          HON. SEN. DUBE: My question is directed to the Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare. Minister what is Government policy regarding the abuse of young children in demonstrations, looting and damaging people’s property?

          THE MINISTER OF PUBLIC SERVICE, LABOUR AND SOCIAL WELFARE (HON. DR. NZENZA): The Government policy is governed by the Children’s Act.  The Children’s Act protects the rights of children across Zimbabwe.  That Act is also in alignment with international standards on the protection of children.  As a country we regret very much the abuse of children during violent demonstrations and that should not be acceptable within Zimbabwe.

          HON. SEN. SINAMPANDE: Thank you Madam President.  My question is directed to the Deputy Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development.  When are perimeter fences going to be erected along the Victoria Falls –Bulawayo Road?  This issue has been brought to this august House several times but nothing happened.

          THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF TRANSPORT AND INFRSTREUCTURAL DEVELOPMENT (HON. CHASI) Thank you Madam President.  Thank you Hon. Senator.  This is an ongoing programme being carried out by the Zimbabwe Traffic Safety Council, we have a resource constraint. We have done some sections of roads but we have not as yet addressed the particular section of the road that the Hon. Member has spoken about, but we are considering roads in the Matabeleland area of the country, given the fact that that is where we have most of our cattle.  In particular we are really concerned about the area the Hon. Senator has referred to, given the fact that we have got animals in that particular area. It is an area of concern to us because we want to protect not only the animals, but also because we know that they get on to the highway and they contribute to traffic accidents.

          HON. SEN. B. MPOFU: Along the Bulawayo Beitbridge Road, there is a fence that is being put between West Nicholson and Beitbridge.  They are using wood poles and most of them are already following whether it is being caused by termites or whatever it is, what guarantees do we have that the fences being put in those areas have got a long term guarantee so that the Government does not pay for something for something that is going to last for only two years.

          HON. CHASI: Thank you Mr. President.  I will have to investigate and find out precisely what have happened on that particular section of the road, it is a very specific question.  However, I want to thank the Hon. Senator for bringing that to my attention.  I thank you.

          HON. SEN. NYATHI: My question is directed to the Minister of Defence and War Veterans.  I have heard the Minister talking about living war veterans, there are some who are deceased who left children and wives and they are in problems.  What do we have for orphans and the spouses of the deceased war vets?

          THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF DEFENCE AND WAR VETERANS (HON. MATEMADANDA): Thank you Hon. Deputy President of the Senate.  I also want to thank the Hon. Senator for the question.  However, may I emphasise that classification of war veterans is divided into war veterans who died before vetting and those that died after being vetted.  For those who died before being vetted it is common cause that it is either that they were on the ZIPRA side or on the ZANLA side, information is gathered and a way of declaring first heroes is done.  Once they are declared then all other processes follow but for those who died after having been vetted, it is just a case of transferring the recipient of benefits from the deceased to the surviving spouse.  If both the husband and wife are no more, then that is transferred in terms of the Pensions Act to the children but all laws pertaining to pensions apply.  So, there might also be questions that at some stage, maybe the pensions were not being paid or had been reduced, that is a Pensions Office issue.  However, what we do administratively is to transfer the beneficiary from the deceased to the surviving.  I thank you. 

          Questions without Notice were interrupted by THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT in terms of Standing Order No. 62.

          HON. SEN.  SHOKO: Mr. President, I have stood up to move that we extend time with ten minutes.

          HON. SEN. TIMVEOS: I second.

          Motion put and agreed to.

          HON. SHOKO: My question is directed to the Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare. Minister, NSSA – the money for NSSA now is $80.00, when are you envisaging to increase the pension bonus that we get?  A lot of us here, I can see all of these people are NSSA. May we please have time lines because it helps to go and explain outside to the NSSA pensioners?

          THE MINISTER OF PUBLIC SERVICE, LABOUR AND SOCIAL WELFARE (HON. DR. NZENZA): You have asked a very pertinent question because it touches on a lot of people who are subscribed to NSSA.  In the morning we had a meeting on this issue with the NSSA managers so that we review the pensions from $80.00, if possible to $100.00.  So, as of now I do not have a figure, so I will give a time frame of 30 days.  If the 30 days lapse without me giving an answer, you are free to ask me again but I know it will not get to 30 days.

          HON. SEN. MAKONI: Thank you Mr. President.  My question is directed to the Minister of Labour and Social Welfare; I want to firstly thank her for giving food to our old ladies in the rural areas.  However, there is a challenge which I came across last week that some do not even have clothes so even if they are getting food, is there anything that you can do so that they get clothes? Thank you.

          *THE MINISTER OF PUBLIC SERVICE, LABOUR AND SOCIAL WELFARE (HON. DR. NZENZA): I want to thank Hon. Sen. Makone for her question. It is very true she has said that our elderly do not have clothes and food. So, the Department of Social Welfare works with social workers. Today we are looking at basic needs of our elders. We have seen that we cannot only end on food but we should also look at clothing. Still on clothes, we are also appealing to Treasury that they should increase our vote so that we can give our elders clothes to wear. Thank you.

          *HON. SEN. MOEKETSI: Thank you Mr. President. My question is directed to the Deputy Minister of Mines and Mining Development. What plans do you have in place for mine workers like Elvington Mine, Sabi and some of them have been closed. Right now, there are rumours that these mines which have been closed are being sold to others. My question is what is your policy concerning those people because the mines were closed and they did not get any compensation, but when people are selling the mine, it means that those who are buying are coming with their workers. Where are you going to place these people who were the workers there? Up to now, they do not have anything. Thank you.

          *THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF MINES AND MINING DEVELOPMENT (HON. KAMBAMURA): Thank you Mr. President. I want to thank the Hon. Sen. Moeketsi for her question. I think the mines that she is referring to are ZMDC. Let me correct her that the mines are not for sale but, we are looking for partnerships with Government so that we get something which will help the country. On the issue of workers, may we know the names of the mines so that I can go and do my investigations on ZMDC, give a full report, and so that we know the arrears. We are encouraging those who will be coming in that they should not come with their workers. We use those that are there. They will be given first priority for them to work. Thank you.

          *HON. SEN. MOEKETSI: Elvington Mine has workers who have been there for seven years without getting any salary to the time of retrenchment. I am one who has a husband who used to work at that mine. He is seated right now and I am afraid Hon. Minister when you ask me to give you the names of the Mines. Thank you.

          *THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF MINES AND MINING DEVELOPMENT (HON. KAMBAMURA): Mr. President Sir, I think the answer is the same that we will go back to ZMDC...

          THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE: Hon. Sen.Moeketsi that is actually a very specific question. It is not a question on policy. It is only fair for you to put that question in writing so that the Minister can go back and do research and do justice to your question. I recommend that you put your question in writing and the Minister will come with a researched and well answered question.

          *HON. SEN. CHIEF CHIKWAKA: Thank you Mr. President. My question is directed to the Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare. What plans are in place for students who keep in class but they are mentally retarded? What is Government policy on this issue that if teachers are mentally challenged, they should not be kept in schools?

          *THE MINISTER OF PUBLIC SERVICE, LABOUR AND SOCIAL WELFARE (HON. DR. NZENZA): Thank you Sen. Chief Chikwaka. On our policy, it looks at teachers who are healthy and who are mentally stable so that they will be able to teach. Besides that, if he knows of a teacher who is mentally challenged and is continuing to teach, I think he should help us by putting his question in writing so that we would investigate.

          HON. SEN. S. MPOFU: Thank you Mr. President. My question is directed to the Deputy Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development. What is Government policy on monitoring the perimeter fence that has been elected along our highways, especially the Gweru/Bulawayo highway? I have noted with concern that the fence is now being vandalised, who looks after that fence? Thank you.

          THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF TRANSPORT AND INFRASTRUCTURAL DEVELOPMENT (HON. CHASI): Thank you Mr. President. The question of perimeter fencing is a matter of deep concern to us. Government is making every effort to ensure that we re-erect the fence that was there many years ago. As the Hon. Sen. is saying, unfortunately our people are in the habit of removing the same fence which is meant to protect the public from the animals that are continuously straying onto the highway and taking many lives regrettably.

          It is not possible for Government to have individuals at every metre of the perimeter fence and one can only appeal to Hon. Senators here present to please desist from the sad practice that is continuously going on. We have heard in this House today the plea that is being made that we must erect this perimeter fence and we are hearing a plea again from the Hon. Sen. that we must monitor. It is not physically possible that we can do this.

          So, I would like to appeal to the Hon. Senators that when they go back to their constituencies, would they please address this matter with their constituents that they should desist from removing the fence. What we are trying to do now is get types of fencing that is not for any use to members of the public and which is readily identifiable. In other words, barbed wire which is normally used by the public, we will try and move away from that and use other types of fencing which is going to be a great expense, but it is not physically possible for us to monitor the fencing that we are erecting at the moment. So, we would like to appeal to the Zimbabwean public to please desist from the practice of stealing the fence.

*HON. SEN. S. MPOFU:  Thank you Mr. President.  My supplementary question to what the Hon. Minister said is that on the roads we are now seeing people collecting rubbish along the roads and those people are from ZINARA.  Why do we not ask the company that is constructing the fences to have an agreement with ZINARA so that the people that are collecting rubbish can monitor the fences? If they are stolen they can quickly report. 

HON. CHASI:  Thank you very much Mr. President.  We will consider that but if you look at Bulawayo/Harare highway, it is 430 kilometres.  It is certainly not a workable alternative the way we look at it.  I think we have to look at other alternatives.

Oral Answers to Questions Without Notice were interrupted by THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE in terms of Standing Order No. 62. 

ORAL ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS WITH NOTICE

IMPROVEMENT OF MOBILE NETWORK CONNECTIVITY IN RURAL AREAS

25.  HON. SEN. CHIEF CHUNDU asked the Minister of Information Communication Technology and Courier Services to state measures being taken to improve mobile network connectivity in rural areas and whether there are any plans to licence more mobile network operators.

THE MINISTER OF INFORMATION COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGY AND COURIER SERVICES (HON. KAZEMBE):  Thank you Mr. President.  Due to a number of reasons which I shall elaborate on, I wish to advise the House that POTRAZ has no plans to licence more mobile operators.  Allow me at the outset to underline that in discharging its mandate on licensing, POTRAZ is guided by the ICT Policy that would be in force at the relevant time and is bound by the laws of the country.  While yesteryear the lines delineating one service from another were absolute and distinct, the same no longer holds as convergence has set in across all service-provision value chains.  For example, when mobile network operators came into existence in Zimbabwe, they were providing mobile voice services and very limited or no data services at all.  However, with the evolution of technology, mobile platforms can now support enhanced data speeds resulting in mobile operators encroaching into a territory that hitherto was designated for fixed network operators and internet access providers.  On the flip side, internet access providers are now capable of offering mobile voice services which encroach into a domain previously reserved for mobile network operators.  That phenomenon is what is called convergence.  Convergence has made it necessary for Zimbabwe to review its licensing framework in order to preserve the competitiveness of the ICT infrastructure and service markets.

The current ICT Policy of 2016 has embraced convergence and provides for a licensing framework that allows effective and efficient operation within the telecommunication sector.  One major change that is introduced through the policy is the dismantling of technology and service based silos.  The new licensing framework will remove the distinctions between fixed and mobile networks, thus allowing operators to fully utilise the potential of the technology platforms without being restricted by licensing conditions.  The new converged licensing framework will result in licences that are service and technology neutral.  In order to introduce the new converged licensing framework regulations are needed and I am happy to advise this august House that draft regulations are now at the AG’s office and promulgation is expected soon.

Based on the new regulations, POTRAZ would then issue service and technology neutral licences.  Under the new framework, mobile virtual network operators licences would be issued.  Internet access providers would be allowed mobility and fixed networks would offer mobility.  That in summary is how POTRAZ intends to bring in new players and new paradigm in the electronic communications sector in Zimbabwe.  I thank you Mr. President.

Oral Answers to Questions With Notice were interrupted by THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE in terms of Standing Order No. 62. 

MOTION

IMPORTANCE OF INTERCROPPING AND GROWING OF SMALL GRAINS

First Order read:  Adjourned debate on motion on the need to educate the nation on the importance of intercropping and growing small grains.

Question again proposed.

HON. SEN. TIMVEOS:  Thank you Mr. President for affording me this opportunity to add my voice.  I want to thank Hon. Sen. Tongogara for moving this motion and Hon. Sen. Chimbudzi for seconding.  Mr. President, this motion is very important.  I heard a lot of debate when this motion started and I want to also add my voice saying small grains are very important.  Our farmers should be encouraged to grow them. 

Mr. President, I have and I am sure in the last Parliament, I informed this House that I had cancer. I have done a lot of research and a lot of work to find out what exactly the problem is.  Seventy-five percent of the world’s diseases come from food.  Our food is now chemically made and GMOs are important. Everything is sprayed which brings a lot of cancers, high blood pressure, diabetes and all that.  The way our small grains are done, there is no need to spray.  So, I want to encourage Government, chiefs and everyone who has anything to do with development of this country to encourage every farmer and every homestead to have these small grains.  They are important for us, they are important for our nation and they are good to use. 

A lot of people think that having mealie-meal that is made from wheat or other small grains, especially people in the rural areas think if they eat these, maybe it means they are poor  or something.  However, if you look at people who live in towns and those that live in rural areas, actually people who live in the rural areas are healthier than us.  They are full of energy, they wake up every morning doing their chores but when it comes to us, it is a lot problem to actually do anything at all.  This is because of the food that we eat.  It starts with us; there was a challenge here I think on Tuesday.  Eating healthy starts with us. 

          Small grains are healthy. If you look at bodies of many people, they are small compared to me.  These days I eat chips and all these things.  You can actually tell this is a healthy person and this person is not healthy.

I really want to thank Hon. Sen. Tongogara for moving this motion.  We must support it fully as a House. Let us teach our people and encourage them to plant small grains.  The Government must make sure that farmers that are planting these small grains are paid as well.  For somebody to work, you have to be encouraged and rewarded for what you have planted.  Therefore, we would want to also encourage Government to put aside a bit of money and encourage our farmers to plant and grow these small grains because they are important to us.  I just thought it was important for me to add my voice to this motion.  I thank you Mr. President. 

          +HON. SEN. CHIEF MTSHANE KHUMALO:  I thank you Mr. President for the time that you have given me to add my voice to this motion which was moved by Hon. Sen. Tongogara and seconded by Hon. Sen. Chimbudzi.  She realised that small grains such as rapoko and others are not being grown. It is true Mr. President, because this year it looks as if we have another drought.  If you go to the rural areas, you find that people in Regions 3, 4 and 5, most of them have planted maize and they are now wilting.  If they had planted small grains, they would have survived.  It is quite clear that our job here in the august House together with other leaders like councillors and village heads is to conscientise our people to go back and grow small grains which will give them food even in dry seasons like this year. 

          I do not want to repeat what has been said.  I would like to say it is our responsibility here is as leaders that we should conscientise Government to conduct adequate research on small grains so that people have that urge to grow these small grains, particularly when there is climate change.  With these few words Mr. President, I thank you. 

          HON. SEN. TONGOGARA:  Mr. President, I move that the debate do now adjourn.

          HON. SEN. HUNGWE:  I second.

          Motion put and agreed to.

          Debate to resume:  Tuesday, 12th February, 2019.

          On the motion of HON. SEN. MUZENDA, seconded by HON. SEN. MAKONE, the Senate adjourned at Seven Minutes past Four o’clock p.m. until Tuesday, 12th February, 2019.

Senate Hansard SENATE HANSARD 07 FEBRUARY 2019 VOL 28 NO 30