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SENATE HANSARD 09 JUNE 2016 VOL 25 no 55

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PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE

Thursday, 9th June, 2016

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

PRAYERS

(THE HON. ACTING PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE in the Chair)

MOTION

BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE

          HON.  SEN. MASUKU: Mr. President, I move that Question Time be stood over until the rest of the Orders of the Day have been disposed of.

          HON. SEN. MUMVURI: I second.

          Motion put and agreed to.

MOTION

DETERIORATION IN THE ROADS AND RAILWAY TRANSPORTATION SYSTEMS

First Order read: Adjourned debate on motion on the alarming incidents of road carnage due to dilapidated infrastructure, obsolete vehicles and human error.

     Question again proposed.

+HON. SEN. MASUKU: Thank you Mr. President for giving me this opportunity to make my contribution to this motion. We have had contributions on the road carnage because of the condition of our roads from Hon Senators.   They have talked about some of the cars which we find on our roads, which according to the states of our roads and mechanical conditions of the cars, are not supposed to be on the roads.  Most of the blame is on human error.  Mr. President Sir, we know that this motion has been discussed before and emphasis has been placed on the condition of our roads and what could be done to improve the state of our roads so that we can curb the road carnage. 

We have noticed that some of the accidents are caused by domestic animals due to carelessness of human error. We had fences which were put along the roads to prevent animals from straying into the roads. The fences were removed by certain people.  Since these fences were removed, we now find that there are many animals which are straying into the roads causing accidents. People are dying because of these accidents. In some cases, we have donkeys being stubborn on the roads. Therefore, Mr. President, I recommend that we have empowered people in each district or centre to look after the portion of their road, that is the fence.  They should be responsible for policing those areas. The known fact is that the fence is not stolen or taken by people from outside but by people from the neighbourhood. They know each other and if they are empowered and told to take care of their section of the road, they will be able to look after the fence.  Nobody will be able to steal it.

I will now turn to the condition of cars on the roads.  You can tell by the sound of a car that it is in a bad condition and can cause road carnage and accidents.  What surprises me is that such a car in such a condition goes through a road block. What really boggles the mind is that if you own a car and you do not maintain and service it, it will have a shorter life.  The car will also be a danger to your health and therefore we need to take care, love, maintain and repair our cars.  I plead with the police that at any road block or at any inspection point, they should put emphasis that cars should be examined.  I have also noticed that in some cases, the road blocks are conducted by both the police and the Vehicle Inspection Department (VID). I urge the VID to confiscate a car which is in a bad condition but on the road and keep it until the owner has taken it and sent it for repair and it has obtained a fitness certificate. Therefore, as car owners, we need to take care of our cars because a car in bad condition is a health hazard or life hazard to the people of Zimbabwe.  As people of Zimbabwe, we need to understand that. 

I will now look at the recklessness of the drivers in these roads.  Mr. President Sir, I do not know what bogs the minds, when a driver gets into the car, put on the ignition, steps on the pedal and the vehicle goes into life; I am surprised, it seems as if there is some excitement which gets into that driver.  What really mesmerises me is that this excitement does not occur only on the youngsters whom we can say they are new to this phenomenon of driving but even the grey haired individuals are also careless.  They have this unnecessary excitement and when they are driving they feel they are in cloud nine.  Nobody is sharing that cloud with them and hence they cause these accidents because when one is driving, there is this recklessness and carelessness. Some of these people especially the omnibus, taxis and the kombi drivers, they are not aware, they seem not to care that they are carrying precious lives.  As far as they are concerned, they seem to be carrying donkeys, horses, stones or even sand or bricks.  They do not care about people’s lives but it is my plea and request that whenever a driver is performing his duty, he should be very careful and remember that he is carrying precious lives or human beings.  Mr. President, I have realised that the excitement occurs to both the old and the youngsters. 

In the recent past, we had a school child who was run over and killed by a kombi.  Surprisingly, the driver of this kombi was above 40 years.  This heartless man had the audacity to try and run out of the country instead of assisting and going to apologise.  According to our African culture, when you have blundered, you have to go to the people whom you have wronged and apologise.  It is so heartless that you apologise at the courts to the police or the parents of the child.  These heartless people do not care about life.  What really hurts is that these people who are involved in accidents try to run away.  My feeling is that if these careless drivers are convicted, the penalty should be heavy.  This young girl was a future leader and parent.  Her parents had high expectations on their child but now that daughter is no more due to the heartlessness and carelessness of one driver.  He had the audacity of killing somebody and got out of the country, which shows that he has no sense of feeling.  It was just like running over an ant or sliding over a banana skin.  My feeling is that somebody who has killed somebody in a car accident under such circumstances is very similar to a murderer. 

We are saying, you should have that feeling in you that when you are getting into your car and driving off, you should be saying I am leaving my home being somebody who is alive and during my trip, I should not disturb any of the fellow drivers, pedestrians and I should also take care of myself so that I return to my home and family in one piece.  Hence, my request is that people should have conscience and care about others.  Mr. President, I certainly support this motion that people’s lives are lost carelessly in road carnage.  Thank you Mr. President.

I move that the debate do now adjourn.

HON. SEN. MUMVURI:  I second.

Motion put and agreed to.

Debate to resume:  Tuesday, 14th June, 2016.

ORAL ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS WITHOUT NOTICE

          *HON. SEN. SHIRI:  Thank you Mr. President.  My question is directed to the Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Services, Hon. Eng. Matangaidze.  What is the condition regarding distribution of food, especially in areas that were affected by drought?  We have been told that the elderly and the disabled who have been given food freely are now being asked to enroll in the food for work programme. 

          *THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF PUBLIC SERVICE, LABOUR AND SOCIAL WELFARE (HON. ENG. MATANGAIDZE):  Thank you Senator Shiri for that question.  We will give you the modus operandi regarding food distribution.  If you remember, when we started food distribution, we had programme based on vulnerable groups that were in registers that we have been using.  However, we later realised that due to the drought affecting the country, where people who are able to carry out their farming activities and feed themselves are now being affected by the El-Nino induced drought.  As a result, the vulnerable groups and those who have been affected by drought should benefit from the food programme.  We are saying, to those able bodied and the capable ones, they should get their food through the food for work programme but the vulnerable groups such as the elderly and orphans should continue receiving their food as usual.  The able bodied persons work 15 days a month for four hours per day.  They are then given a bag of maize and some cash to buy relish.  I thank you. 

          HON. B. SIBANDA:  Could the Minister confirm to the House whether there is enough food to cover the two programmes countrywide?

          HON. ENG. MATANGAIDZE:  Thank you Hon. President.  I would like to thank Sen. B. Sibanda for the question.  Yes, I do confirm that we are currently sitting on enough stocks to cover the food mitigation programmes that we have in place.  As we stand right now, maize allocated for our Ministry is sitting on three months stock.  I can confirm that there are continuous stocks coming into the country from the efforts Government has put in place to acquire grain for the country.  I thank you. 

          *HON. SEN. MARAVA: There was a programme which was implemented in the food distribution and it catered for the elderly, 1 or 2 % of the beneficiaries.  You have explained that the food is now given to the elderly. Now, we have some elderly people who were not fed in the previous programme. But, the elderly programme was missing on 20% of this vulnerable group.  My question is, are you saying that these other elderly people should go and work for the food in this new programme caused by the El Nino induced drought and yet they are as old as the previous selected beneficiaries?

          *THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF PUBLIC SERVICE, LABOUR AND SOCIAL SERVICES (HON. ENG. MATANGAIDZE): Hon. Sen. Thank you very much for the question.  Let me recap on what we had said.  There is an annual report which is called Zimvac.  It is compiled this way.  Officers go and look out for the people who do not have sufficient food supplies and check on their status.  Communities which have leadership in the rural areas which are assessed and the leadership in that particular area will vet the people who are supposed to benefit from the food programme because they are aware of their situation.   They select individuals or families who are supposed to get the food assistance and whosoever is selected will definitely benefit from the programme.  The names nominated are then put on a register and they are re-examined annually to check whether there is any improvement on their food status.  When that report was done, there were 1.5 million people who were supposed to benefit from the previous programme, which is equivalent to 3 000 households.  Because of the El Nino induced drought, the number has increased and the President then declared a state of disaster. An emergency disaster programme was done in February to check the people who could be affected by the drought.

          We are aware of the original programme but then we realised that there were other additional people who were suffering. We are saying, at times not all elderly people were benefiting because there were some who had a good background with families which were supporting them.  Some of them were good farmers with full granaries but, in the current programme, we are saying that there are more people who should benefit from this programme.

          The leadership in the community we talked about are now submitting names from the Rapid Assessment Programme.  We have checked and we are finding that, in some instances, some families have nobody to support them. In some villages or homes, there are some youngsters or youths who are fit and thus can go and work in the Food for Work Programme.  Maybe one or two children may go and join the Food for Work Programme so that their family may benefit through the same programme that benefits their communities.  Food is coming to the people to avoid starvation and there is development in the communities through the work carried out.  Thank you.

          HON. SEN. CHIEF MTSHANE:  Thank you Mr. President.  My question is directed to the Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Services.

          Is it Government policy that village heads who only receive a meager allowance of no more than $25 per month should not receive food relief?

          HON. ENG. MATANGAIDZE:  Thank you Hon. President.  No it is not Government policy because when we do the vulnerability assessment, it does not cover the meager allowances.  If $25 a month is not enough to sustain a family and there is no other means of income that village head has, surely, that for all intents and purposes, can be described as a food insecure household and it will be able to be put under the food mitigation programme.

          *HON. SEN. CHIEF MUSARURWA:  Thank you Mr. President Sir.  My question is directed to the Deputy Minister of Lands and Rural Resettlement Hon. Chikwama.  May you please explain to us the Government policy regarding people who are still engaging in land occupations in the farms and illegally occupying those places?  Are we saying that the land occupations have been revived?

          *THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF LANDS AND RURAL RESETTLEMENT (HON. CHIKWAMA): Thank you very much for the question.  It is not Government policy that people should go and resettle themselves in farming areas.  As far is the Ministry is concerned, we are dealing with such problems which are now resurfacing, that people just get into the farms illegally and we term them illegal settlers.  What we need to know is that, as the leadership of the communities, please submit the names of the farms affected and those people who are involved and as a Ministry, we will look into the problem.  I thank you.

          HON. SEN. CHIMHINI:  Thank you Mr. President.  My question is directed to the Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Services.  Have you now changed the policy of cancelling the leave provisions for teachers after the court ruling?

          THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF PUBLIC SERVICE, LABOUR AND SOCIAL SERVICES (HON. ENG. MATANGAIDZE): Thank you Mr. President.  Thank you for the good question Sen. Chimhini.  You will obviously appreciate that unless Government is in a position to contest a court ruling which is binding and we will wait to get direction from the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education on how they feel, but the position is that, once a court ruling has been done, it is binding.  So, if the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education sees it fit to challenge that ruling, we will stand guided but, as it stands - obviously, that ruling should be binding.

          HON. SEN. CHIMHINI:  Minister, you are the employer and not the Minister of Primary and Secondary Education.  I am asking the employer whether the policy has changed?

          HON. ENG. MATANGAIDZE:  Thank you Hon. President.  It is actually very interesting that my colleague has just walked in as well.  So, he will take over.

          Yes, I do agree that my Ministry is the employer and as we draft frameworks for those employed, you will appreciate Sen. Chimhini that we also engage our counterparts in the respective operating Ministries.  We share the same sentiments with the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education.  I remember responding to a similar question in this august Senate sometime last year where we said there is a good case for arguing that currently, the leave days at the disposal of teachers is rather excessive compared to the ordinary civil servant. I do not think we are in argument there.

          What might be argued is the framework which was adopted in implementing that position that there should be some rationalisation on the leave days. I would throw it back to my colleague from the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education. I do not think much has happened in terms of the thinking itself, because the thinking is correct that people should relook at the leave days granted to teachers.

          What was declared unconstitutional was the implementation of that which had been established. That is why I want to throw it back to the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education, and obviously, in liaison with our Ministry - that we have to sit down and map a way forward. Once a ruling has been put in place from a legal perspective, that ruling is binding. That is the point I was emphasising.

          THE ACTING PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE (HON. SEN. CHIEF CHARUMBIRA): I think in all fairness and for the fullness and clarity on this matter, we have been joined by the Deputy Minister of Primary and Secondary Education, Hon. Professor Mavima. To cut the long story short, a question has been raised with your colleague from the Ministry of Labour, Public Service and Social Services that in view of the court ruling on the issue of leave for teachers, are you now going to comply and grant teachers leave as and when they apply? That is the question.

          THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF PRIMARY AND SECONDARY EDCUATION (HON. PROF. MAVIMA): I would have probably given a similar answer. Yes, the ruling has taken place and I think we are going to see an avalanche of applications for leave by teachers, but he said we need as the two Ministries to really consider that ruling, sit down and come up with a framework. The original decision not to grant leave was a function of a number of things, but mainly taken within the context of the current fiscal space that we have.  If a teacher went on 3 months leave which is a whole term, Government had to appoint another teacher to replace them during that period. It meant that the teacher who is on leave is being paid and a new teacher who is replacing is also being paid. It was partly that consideration.

          Also if you consider that teachers already have 3 months in which they are on semi vacation during school holidays and then they are given another opportunity after every 3 years to go on 4 months vacation. There is an imbalance with other civil servants. I think we need the guidance of our own legal minds to look at it again and see how we can rationalise it and put it within the context of that ruling, but also bringing fairness in terms of comparison with other civil servants and also considering the need to save on Government resources which are public resources. That would be my response Mr. President.

          THE HON. ACTING PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE: Who were the parties to the case?

          HON. PROF. MAVIMA: The employer was responsible.

          *HON. SEN. MASHAVAKURE: In the past, temporary teachers were engaged by Government, may you tell us what was happening before Independence and what is happening in other countries? In the past, we used to be told that the holiday was only for the students but the teacher is employed 24 hours a day and may be called to polling stations or train sports as the Government may see it fit.

HON. PROF. MAVIMA: We have been given the history of what was happening in the past and it is true that a teacher will be given his vacation leave so that he can take his 90 days at a time that suits him. As to what obtains in other countries, I need to research and see what they do.

Let me now turn to the problem affecting temporary teachers. There are two scenarios. The first one is; do we really want to engage temporary teachers? At the moment we are saying if we were complying with regulations, we would not be employing them because at the moment, Zimbabwe has a lot of trained teachers who are now jobless or working in other areas instead of their area of specialty. These are the people that we were using so that if a permanent teacher goes on leave or maternity leave, we take them on a temporary basis. In the past we used to take anybody who was not qualified because we did not have enough qualified people.

But because we had not reached that stage, before the employer then said the teachers’ conditions should change, we used to give teachers 90 days to go on leave and this would cover the whole term.

HON. SEN. MAKONE: Before I ask my question, I just want to make a statement first. The idea of taking leave is an individual decision based on their personal circumstances. School holidays do not determine the personal circumstances of the teacher. They do not determine his ability to save money to go wherever he wants to go on holiday. School holidays are pre determined by Government, irrespective of the teachers’ circumstance. So, if a teacher wants to go to Canada..

THE HON. ACTING PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE: You can proceed with the question.

HON. SEN. MAKONE: The question is, why does an independent Zimbabwe need to vary a situation which was happening throughout since the days of colonialism?  We cannot, as a Zimbabwean society, accept that Government needs to tell me when I should go on leave and when I cannot simply because I am a teacher.  Hon. Minister, do you not agree with me that the Government overstepped its mark by deciding on a person’s life and the time when they can take leave or not take leave?

THE HON. ACTING PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE: Which Minister are you directing this question to?

HON. SEN. MAKONE:  I am directing it to the Minister of Primary and Secondary Education.

THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF PRIMARY AND SECONDARY EDUCATION (HON. PROF. MAVIMA):  Thank you Hon. President.  I think there are some issues which the courts have talked about which are really not necessary for me to go over on this issue.  The courts indicated that we needed to reconsider and I am not going to go back into those arguments, but there is a statement which the Hon. Senator has made which almost says that as an independent country, we should not look at issues that were happening previously.

HON. SEN. MAKONE:  You are saying the opposite.

HON. PROF. MAVIMA:  Please let me respond.  If we are giving teachers that opportunity to go on leave in addition to some of the free time that they have on holidays, it does not necessarily mean that we were doing things efficiently and effectively as a nation.  It does not mean that.  Also, people who are in employment, even in the private sector, sometimes have their leave applications turned down depending on the circumstances at a company or at a particular point in time.  So, it is not necessarily true that employees always go on leave as and when they want to go on leave.

What we are saying as Government, the employer and ourselves is that we really need to look at this issue and ask, are we being efficient and effective as a country.  We need to consider whether we are using resources, both human as well as financial resources in an efficient way, but doing it within the confines of the law.  So, that matter really is not only about the rights of the employee, but is also about other issues including the efficiency in the use of national resources which are really the blood and sweat of the Zimbabwean people.  Thank you Hon. President.

HON. SEN. MAKONE:  Mr. President, what I was saying is in fact, when you look at the court’s ruling, it is not about whether it is for the employer to save money or to do it efficiently, it is about the rights of the employee who decides when he/she want to go on leave.

THE HON. ACTING PRESIDENT OF SENATE:  I think it has been heard, it is clear.

HON. SEN. MAKONE:  Yes, because he went on to compare with the private sector.  I am a product of the public sector.  You decide when you want to go on leave and you tell your employer in time that you are going to be going on leave because the school holidays are not determined by the teacher, they are determined by Government.  They are not the teacher’s holiday; they are the student’s holiday.  Thank you Mr. President.

THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF PUBLIC SERVICE, LABOUR AND SOCIAL SERVICES (HON. ENG. MATANGAIDZE):  Thank you Hon. President.  Senator Makone really pushes her point, does she not?  I concur with what the Deputy Minister of Primary and Secondary Education has put through.  I just need to add on that.  What we have here, is a clear case of a department within Government that is on seasonal business.  Hear me as I allude to that.

It is just like the tobacco industry.  It is seasonal in nature.  There is a time when the tobacco auction floors are not open.  It is just like the sugar industry in Chiredzi and Triangle.  It is seasonal.  By its very nature there will be a season when they will not be teaching.  There is a season in April where teaching is not happening, there is a season in August where teaching is not happening and there is a season in December when teaching is not happening.  Now, to argue that by the very nature of the seasonality of the product we are dealing with therefore, leave entitlement should not be governed around that, I think we would have lost the plot, because if you then go on to these industries I am talking about, there is no way when it is in season that leave can be given.  That is point number one.

Hon. President, the second point is, although leave is an entitlement, leave is granted at the sole discretion of the employer.  That is why you now find that the law allows you to accumulate your leave days to give the employer the opportunity to slot in the leave period.  So, those issues are quite clear.  The argument that we brought in from the first point, which I think this august Senate will agree with is, whatever the circumstances, for somebody to take three months leave in a year and after seven years to take another three months, making that year six month leave, is fundamentally not correct.  I think we agree – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –

THE HON. ACTING PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE:  Order, order.  Firstly, democracy, like we did with you, we allowed you to say what you wanted to say, let us allow him also to respond.  It is part of democracy.  As they say democracy is the ability to give the other person a chance to say what they want whether or not you agree with them and we are doing exactly that.  So, give him the chance to say what he wants.  That is democracy.

HON. ENG. MATANGAIDZE:  Thank you Mr. President.  If we look at the background which qualifies teachers for the leave days after the seventh year, that was primarily and initially to accommodate expatriate teachers who had come into the country, who had to be given a block release to go back to their native lands. 

So, when we are looking at this, let us not divorce it from the history that brought it up.  Just because we inherited a system does not make it right.  We have to be progressive.  We have to relook at this.  We have to revisit and say, is there any merit in continuing with that system.  And yes, Senator Makone, you will be given the platform to argue and challenge that.  Indeed there is merit, but I am saying the two Ministries, when we sat down, we really felt, even comparing apples for apples, comparing the teachers to the other civil servants, the leave allocated to teachers was just not fair.  Your argument which you are bringing up is, at least let the teachers have an opportunity to pick the months they want to go on leave and that is a separate argument.  Our argument as we stand right now is the leave allocated to teachers is just too excessive and not sustainable in the current fiscus space.

          So yes, let us agree from the outset that this leave is too much but how much flexibility do we now offer to the implementation of the proposed shorter leave. For example, allowing teachers to take leave during examination months like November.  I think these are the fundamentals Hon. Senator.

          HON. SEN. D. T. KHUMALO:  My question is directed to the Deputy Minister of Primary and Secondary Education.  I have two children in two different schools, one is a boy and the other a girl.  Both schools were asked to give their school buses to the recently held Million Man Match and now the buses are broken.  Who is going to repair those buses because the parents did not authorize their use during the match?

          THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF PRIMARY AND SECONDARY EDUCATION (HON. PROF. MAVIMA):  As a matter of policy the Ministry grants the School Development Authorities (SDAs) or School Development Committees (SDCs) to make decisions about the use of buses.

          In many schools buses are being used for purposes, apart from transporting students when they go on trips or teachers for various purposes they are also allowed to rent out the buses sometimes to churches and different organisations.  Not knowing the specific circumstances under which these buses were used and whether they were paid for.   I cannot really say who is supposed to pay for the repair of those buses but if they are rented, the assumption is that whatever is charged is enough to maintain the buses.  So without the specific situation that you are referring to, I cannot tell you but the decision to rent out is the responsibility of the SDAs and SDCs.  Thank you.

          *HON. SEN. MAKORE:  My question is directed to the Deputy Minister of Primary and Secondary Education, Hon. Prof. Mavima.  We had lots of arguments, discussions and misunderstandings regarding the National Pledge and debates were conducted in churches and other fora regarding this issue.  The Ministry observed the sensitivity of the National Pledge but went ahead and launched it.  What is your observation to date?

          *THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF PRIMARY AND SECONDARY EDUCATION (HON. PROF. MAVIMA):  Hon. President, the National Pledge may be viewed in two perspectives.  The first one being that the National Pledge is an ongoing programme and I am not very sure as to where the problem emanated from especially regarding the churches and other civic organisations.  May they kindly identify the problem on the pledge?

          The National Pledge originated from the country’s Constitution which is the supreme law of the country.  The crafting of the Constitution was drafted and supported by political parties and civic organisations.  The Ministry extracted the wording of the National Pledge from the Constitution thus inculcating the values of patriotism amongst learners and students of Zimbabwe that I love my country, I salute my flag and will work hard and honestly.

          Generally speaking, this is what the National Pledge is saying and as far as Government and the Ministry is concerned, we do not see where the problem is.  I know the case is sub judice and before the courts but despite the case being sub judice, the courts have said the National Pledge should continue.  It will continue in all our schools.

          +HON. SEN. CHIEF GAMPU:  My question is directed to the Minister of Information Communication Technology, Postal and Courier Services, Hon. Mlambo.  Deputy Minister what is Government policy regarding problems which may be under police investigation or before the courts?  As ordinary citizens, can we use the information from our cell phones as evidence in court?  We have had problems in the past accepting evidence from the courts.

          THE HON. ACTING PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE (HON. SEN. CHIEF. CHARUMBIRA):  The Hon. Chief is asking you to make a public statement to the people of this country that if one is arrested by the police, one can use evidence from messages or phone calls in court.

           THE MINISTER OF INFORMATION COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGY, POSTAL AND COURIER SERVICES, (HON. MLAMBO):  Thank you very much Mr. President.  Firstly, my Ministry is Ministry of ICT which means Information Communication Technology, Postal and Courier Services.  There is a distinction with the Ministry of Media, Information and Broadcasting Services.

          Secondly, it appears the question relates more to the police rather than the Ministry of Media, Information and Broadcasting Services or the Ministry of Information Communication Technology, Postal and Courier Services.  Be that as it may, to assist the Hon. Sen. allow me, Mr. President to furnish the august House with information regarding the use of technology in court during defence.

          Yes, I think on the cell phones I have stated on many occasions that it is a very dangerous tool.  We love it but with technology comes danger.  Anything that emits electro-magnetic waves can precisely locate, if there is a lot of information that is kept in servers the voice and the text messages which you love very much to pass around.  Tomorrow we are finalising the revised National Policy on ICT and in there, we state very clearly that we are trying to protect the unaware civilian about the use of these nice gadgets.  Protection of personal information against abuse because of the danger it has, including giving impeccable evidence in court about a case.  Firstly, it can nail a criminal, but it can also assist in many ways because it can precisely assist the judge regarding the person who will be under trial.  The information on a cell phone as I will be sending is meeting electro-magnetic waves and anybody who has the appropriate gadget can precisely locate where I will be.  If I am moving, it can trace wherever I will be going. 

          I might inform this august House that during Ebola outbreak in West Africa, they used a cell phone to track a person who would have been in West Africa so that they quarantine him or her.  This was done because people were not willing to give information to the effect that they would have visited West Africa and were exposed to Ebola.  They used technology to track those people and when they landed in other countries, they were kindly told that they had been in West Africa through the use of technology. However, the information on cell phones can be used in court.

          HON. SEN. MUMVURI: Thank you Mr. President.  My question is directed to the Deputy Minister of Lands and Rural Resettlement.  Hon. Minister, what is the Government policy on farming partnership ventures? What is the minimum expected profit sharing percentage on the output of these partnership ventures?

THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF LANDS AND RURAL RESETTLEMENT (HON. CHIKWAMA): Thank you Mr. President.  I thank you Hon. Senator Mumvuri for this very important question.  I would like to let you know that partnership ventures are a product of Government policy.  The Government of Zimbabwe allows farmers to engage in partnership ventures instead of renting out land to other people.  The percentage profit is determined by both partners in terms of what they agree within the partnership venture.  The Government cannot determine what the profit is supposed to be.

We want people to approach the Ministry whenever they intend to engage in contract farming or joint ventures so that we guide them.  Most of our farmers are unable to realise profits due to lack of knowledge.  Some people who propose to have partnership with our famers propose amounts such as US$2000 or US$500 per month whilst they get more profit from the land.   Therefore, we want to guide our farmers on how they should reach an agreement in partnership ventures.  I thank you.

*HON. SEN. MACHINGAIFA:  Thank you Mr. President.  My question is directed to the Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Services, Hon. Matangaidze.  What is Government policy regarding the street people who beg for money along the streets?  What is the Ministry doing about their welfare or rehabilitation or is it going to die a natural death?

* THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF PUBLIC SERVICE, LABOUR AND SOCIAL SERVICES (HON. ENG. MATANGAIDZE): Thank you Hon. President.  I would like to thank you Hon. Machingaifa for this question.  Our Ministry is responsible for administering the law on vulnerable children such as these street kids.  We have Government children’s homes and other homes run by voluntary organisations.  We encourage them to remove children from the streets and take them into those homes.  However, the problem is that, it is easier and cheaper for the street children to beg in the streets than to be confined to a home.  These children find a lot of benefits in staying in the streets as they beg for money, which they are given.  Commuters give them some left-over food through the windows.

It is our responsibility as drivers and commuters not to feed these people as this encourages them to stay in the streets.  We now have a situation where a commuter omnibus driver is fined for picking up passengers from undesignated places.  The commuters are also fined for boarding or alighting on undesignated places.  Hence, we are saying, we need the same approach.  We should deny these children the kind of assistance we are currently giving them and instead, pool our resources and give out to children’s homes so that they are assisted.

HON. SEN. B. SIBANDA: Thank you Mr. President.  I would like to ask the Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Services what Government policy is regarding employment transfers, particularly of married women from one centre to another.  What factors do you take into account?

THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF PUBLIC SERVICE, LABOUR AND SOCIAL SERVICES (HON. ENG. MATANGAIDZE): Thank you Hon. President.  Thank you Hon. Senator.  Our Ministry is very sensitive to the issue of keeping married couples together.  We always take that as first priority to ensure that whenever possible, married couples should always be close to each other.  However, you will realise that there are circumstances such as the availability of vacancies, leading to non-consideration of the issue of marriage.  However, as policy, priority will always be ensuring that the family unity is maintained.  I thank you.

HON. SEN. MUSAKA: I thank you Mr. President.  My question goes to the Deputy Minister of Lands and Rural Resettlement.  What is the policy regarding a farmer whose farm is designated and he or she continues to live there and then approach the courts sighting human rights violation and saying ‘I have nowhere to go?’  I thank you.

THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF LANDS AND RURAL RESETTLEMENT (HON. CHIKWAMA): Thank you Mr. President.  I thank you Hon. Senator for the question.   The Government policy on a farmer who does not want to vacate a farm that has been designated is that; whenever one is given an offer letter, the new occupant is allowed to approach the courts to contest if the previous occupant is failing to vacate.  The farm belongs to the state and the person holding the offer letter is supposed to take action against the one resisting to vacate the farm.  I thank you.

HON. SEN. MASHAVAKURE:  Thank you Mr. President.  My question goes to the Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare.  Earlier on, I referred to International Best Practices in relation to teachers.  I am taking that question further with regards to public servants because I also know for sure that there is a grade of civil servants and a grade of teachers called university lecturers who get one year full leave after six years.  Our primary and secondary teachers only get three or four months after seven years.  What is his comment?

          THE HON. ACTING PRESIDENT OF SENATE:  Which Minister are you directing your question to?

          HON. SEN. MASHAVAKURE:  Deputy Minister Matangaidze.

           THE HON. ACTING PRESIDENT OF SENATE:  Obviously as a lecturer at the university.

          HON. SEN. MASHAVAKURE:  As the employer and the one who is in charge of working conditions for public servants.

          THE HON. ACTING PRESIDENT OF SENATE:  The employer is being supported by the user – [Laughter.] –

          THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF PUBLIC SERVICE, LABOUR AND SOCIAL WELFARE (HON. ENG. MATANGAIDZE):  Thank you Hon. President.  The reason why I have asked my colleague to handle that one is rather specific because what the Hon. Senator is talking about now is something which we call sabbatical leave.  When you go on sabbatical leave for one year, it is actually on a study or block release.  They will actually be working and furthering their education in a particular line which will then enhance their portfolio when they get back.  If you need additional information on sabbatical leave, I will ask my colleague here to add on to that.  I thank you Hon. President.

          THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF PRIMARY AND SECONDARY EDUCATION (HON. PROF. MAVIMA):  Thank you. Just to add on, sabbatical leave is specifically given to lecturers, especially at universities to go and work in other universities; not to just take it as they wish or to do research whilst they are still at their own university so that they enhance their understanding of the particular field that they are working on.  So, it is different from a situation where someone is let go and they can do whatever they want.  When you go on sabbatical or conduct leave, which is shorter, you need to come back and provide a report of what you were doing.  In some cases, you are even required to show the publications that you have achieved whilst you are on sabbatical leave.  So it is different with teachers. 

          *HON. SEN. CHIEF MUSARURWA:  Thank you Mr. President.  My question goes to the Deputy Minister of Agriculture, (Livestock), Hon. Zhanda.  May you please give us an update on the progress of irrigation projects so that we do not continue importing maize from other countries?  We have water bodies in other areas.  What are you doing to safeguard them?  We also have the idea of assisting the chiefs through the ‘Zunde raMambo’ whereby people get food from the chief.  What are you doing to spearhead this programme? 

          *THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF AGRICULTURE (LIVESTOCK) (HON. ZHANDA):  Thank you Hon. Sen. Chief Musarurwa for this question.  Talking about irrigation, the Government has set up a committee, which is led by Hon. Vice President Mnangagwa and is responsible for sourcing food.  As a result, the committee is moving around the country looking at resuscitating irrigation projects and developing them so that we may grow enough food for Zimbabwe, so that we will not import but get enough food for the country. 

          Let us be aware of the fact that irrigation is not the only way that can feed Zimbabwe throughout the year but it is a multi-faceted programme which needs a multi-faceted approach.  When we look at maize; it is our staple food.  As the people of Zimbabwe, what is it that we can do.  On the 5th July, 2016, all the stakeholders will come together and look for ways of developing or growing enough maize to sustain the livelihoods of Zimbabwe.  We will be looking at people who will be responsible for financing farming, marketing and the good harvests.  This will include looking into the irrigation aspects of maize in Zimbabwe.  This is because we are in a situation whereby Zimbabwe is continuously begging for maize from neighbouring countries.  As a Government, we need to set up policy which will make Zimbabwe be self-sustaining in maize production.

          Let me go on to the “Zunde raMambo.”  I know that you are interested in this scheme because you are part of the chiefs programme and need to have this programme fully supported.  Let me be sincere.  I am not very sure of the progress that has been made towards this line.  However, may I also take this opportunity to invite chiefs to come to this gathering on 5th July, 2016 so that you can give ideas on how chiefs can be part of the programme to feed Zimbabwe.  Let me inform you that the meeting will be held at the Harare Agricultural Show.  I thank you. 

          Questions Without Notice were interrupted by THE ACTING PRESIDENT OF SENATE in terms of Standing Order Number 62. 

          ORAL ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS WITH NOTICE

NUMBER OF HECTARES THAT ARE OCCUPIED BY A1, A2 FARMERS

  1. HON. SEN. CARTER asked the Deputy Minister of Lands and Rural Resettlement to provide figures of the number of hectares that are occupied by A1, A2 farmers and title deeds holders of the land previously owned by commercial farmers.

THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF LANDS AND RURAL RESETTLEMENT (HON. CHIKWAMA):  I want to thank Hon. Senator Carter for the question.  The Ministry is currently analysing all the data generated by the Land Reform Programme to ensure that we have a robust land information management system that captures every price and land in the country.  As of now, the following statistics are relevant to the question at hand.

Hectrage under A1:  5 979 million;

Hectrage under A2:  3 498 million.

          There are no title deed holders on land previously owned by commercial farmers as this land is allocated on the basis of offer letters which graduate into 99 year leases and permits.

COMPLETION OF LAND REFORM PROCESS

  1. HON. SEN. CARTER asked the Minister of Lands and Rural Resettlement to confirm whether the land reform process has been completed so that farmers can confidently concentrate on agricultural production .

          THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF LANDS AND RURAL RESETTLEMENT (HON. CHIKWAMA):  Thank you Mr. President and thank you Hon. Sen. Carter for the question.

          To us land reform is a process and not an event.  It is a process comprising several steps that are accomplished as implementation progresses.  In our case, these include land acquisition, planning activities to subdivide farms, settler selection and emplacement, compensation, provision of security of tenure and regular farm inspections.  Whilst the Government has completed some of these steps particularly with regards to land acquisition and settler emplacement, we continue to focus on other important stages of the process now focusing on provision of security tenure in order to spur agricultural production.

          Considering that our Land Reform Programme is extensive, it is necessary to review what we have done as we move forward and improve on this. For example, of late Government has resolved to implement the maximum farm size regulations where this had not been done.  We continue to allocate land where plots have been taken up or where farms are downsized to release land for allocation.

          I think what we mean is that, land reform as a process, there are some other issues which we are dealing with and it is not a thing that we can say is complete but, there is some downsizing.  There are some occupiers who can even surrender the land to the Government.  So, it is a process which is ongoing for a long time as generations or whatever. 

          Sorry Mr. President, on the other issue of Mr. Carter’s question, I did not inform him that in Zimbabwe, farms for commercial production, we were holding 15 million hectares but as we go, you will find that the statistic that I gave you is only 9.4 million hectares.  So in other farms, indigenous people are there.  Also there is what we call Bilateral Investment Promotion Agreements (BIPA) farms which are still on the farms.  There are also some white farmers who are still occupying some of the land and if we add it to that with some pieces of land, we are going to come up with 15 million hectares.

WRITTEN SUBMISSIONS TO QUESTIONS WITH NOTICE

EXPLANATION ON HOW THE 3 TIER SYSTEM WORKS

  1. HON. SEN. MOHADI asked the Minister of Lands and Rural Resettlement to give further explanation on how the 3-tier system works, and how the rental payments are made as many people share the grazing land.

THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF LANDS AND RURAL RESETTLEMENT (HON. CHIKWAMA): May I start by thanking Hon. Sen. Mohadi for asking this question.  The three tier land use model is applicable to drier parts of the country where ranching is the only suitable form of land use in the absence of irrigation development.  The objective is to provide land for commercial grazing and thus increase the communal herd and also to reorganize communal areas in line with the three tier structure of the model.

The land is divided into 3 tiers as follows;

1st Tier Comprising a cluster of villages, some arable land and social service;

2nd Tier Also known as the near grazing area where which benefiting household keeps 5 livestock units for day use         ;

3rd Tier This is the grazing area for commercial purposes.

The model is primarily targeted at overcrowded communal areas adjacent to acquired farms in drier natural regions in which there is insufficient grazing land to sustain a commercial herd.  Twenty percent of the allocations are set-aside for war veterans.  In this model, rentals are paid as if the farm was an A1 farm, that is $10 per annum and the administration of this model is done by the Ministry of Lands and Rural Resettlement.

POLICY IN PLACE REGARDING FARMERS WHO HAVE

  1. HON. SEN. MOHADI asked the Minister of Lands and Rural Resettlement to state the policy in place regarding farmers who have title deeds but are not utilizing their land.

          THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF LANDS AND RURAL RESETTLEMENT (HON. CHIKWAMA): May I start by thanking Hon. Sen. Mohadi for asking this question.  Land under title deeds is private property and the State does not have jurisdiction over the same.  Thank you.

          On the motion of HON. SEN. MASUKU seconded by HON. SEN. MARAVA, the Senate adjourned at Five Minutes to Four o’clock p.m. until Tuesday, 14th June, 2016.

 

 

         

 

 

Senate Hansard SENATE HANSARD 09 JUNE 2016 VOL 25 no 55