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SENATE HANSARD - 12 JULY 2012 VOL. 21 NO. 39

PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE

Thursday, 12th July, 2012.

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

 

PRAYERS

( MADAM PRESIDENT in the Chair)

Senator Chabuka having fallen down.

MADAM PRESIDENT: Business of the Senate is suspended for a few minutes.

Business was suspended at 1433hours and resumed at 1440 hours.

ANNOUNCEMENTS BY MADAM PRESIDENT

SWITCHING OFF OF CELLPHONES

MADAM PRESIDENT: May I please remind hon. senators to put your cellphones on silent.

ORAL ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS

MADAM PRESIDENT: We should have gone into Questions Without Notice, but I notice we do not have a Cabinet Minister here present.

SENATOR CHITAKA: Can we not summon them?

MADAM PRESIDENT: We have tried. We have even tried to impress upon the leader of Government Business, The Right Honourable Prime Minister that his ministers are not coming to the Senate and I am sure he is attending to it, but we have not seen the results yet I am sure we should be able to see results soon.

SENATOR RUGARA: On a point of order Madam President. I just wanted to say that the behavior is almost the same in this august House. When they do not come like that, I do not think they will be pretending to call it an august House. Also in our Committees it has not been easy to get Ministers to come to answer questions on very important national questions that need attention by the Ministers. What it does Madam President is that it devalues this House.

It devalues us as Senators; that why go to the Senate? There is nobody or there is nothing important; which is not correct and we probably would want to emphasise through you Madam President, that it should be understood that we are Parliament and even the higher Parliament as it were. We need their attention. We need them to come here to answer their questions. I believe they have seen the questions relevant to their Ministry a long time back and they are putting that off for I do not know what other reason. If we tried one thing, we should probably Madam President, through you try another way and they will come. We know they will. Thank you.

MADAM PRESIDENT: Thank you Dr. Rugara for that statement. I am sure you said it on behalf of the hon. Senators who are at this point as fed up as the Presiding Officers are about the way the Cabinet Ministers treat this particular House.

The Minister of Justice and Legal Affairs will respond to all adverse reports from the Parliamentary Legal Committee on Tuesday, the 17th, July. So, that takes care of that.

SENATOR CHITAKA: On a point of order Madam President. I take note that there is the Deputy Minister of Local Government. So, if we may be given the opportunity to at least direct questions to him.

MADAM PRESIDENT: Unfortunately, your point of order came after I had made announcements about orders on today's Order Paper and it was foregone conclusion that hon. senators are not happy about the way the Ministers are treating this Senate. But, if it is the pleasure of the Senate for us to go back to Order Number 1, we will do so.

ORAL ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS WITHOUT NOTICE

SENATOR KOMICHI: I would like the Minister of Local Government to explain to us that among the number 1 ministries that are corrupt in the country…

MADAM PRESIDENT: We do not ask questions like that. Please, phrase your questions because the questions that you are posing to the Minister have to be questions to do with policy only.

SENATOR KOMICHI: What is the policy of the Ministry of Local Government on issues of corruption since most of the councils have been found that in the papers there are reports that councilors are very corrupt? What is happening?

THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT, URBAN AND RURAL DEVELOPMENT (MR. ZVIDZAI): Thank you very much for affording me this opportunity to respond to a question by Hon. Senator Komichi regarding the scourge of corruption in our governmental structures and particularly within local authorities. It is very clear Madam President that corruption is a vice that is very expensive and that causes products and services to be very expensive to the end user.

However, it is also important to note that your councils are a natural selection and a fair representation of the population of the nation and, that being the case, according to the processes of natural behaviour, it is clear that 20% of any natural population, does not survive within the norms of that population. We have got 2 985 councillors in the nation and naturally, a certain percentage of them will live outside the norms of our society. They will be abnormal, they will be corrupt.

The most important thing is not whether there is corruption or not. The most important thing is, if you find corruption, what do you do about it? As a ministry, we are very clear what to do according to the rules and standards that are there in the ministry and how to deal with people that cross the lines of normality. I must also mention that listening to the papers too much tends to over exaggerate what happens in the local authorities and add additionally as well, that we survive in an Inclusive Government where we need to sacrifice political gain and dividend for the good of the nation.

Generally, within the context of the Global Political Agreement and an Inclusive Government, there is a tendency to attend more towards political gain and political expediency rather than concentrating and focusing on what is good for the nation. What is clearly good for the nation is that, as ministry, we must shepherd and walk together with our councils, cause them to avoid corruption for the good of the nation Zimbabwe. Thank you.

SENATOR CHIEF CHARUMBIRA: I would want to ask the Deputy Minister for Local Government, some of the words he used, I believe need to be explained further. When he says 20%, do they have to be corrupt or they are corrupt and that it is natural. Is it natural for people to be corrupt? I thought we talk of zero tolerance to corruption, we do not even tolerate 0.05%, it is not acceptable. As you said, it disadvantages the people who are in the lower echelons of the society, the elite always benefit more. Therefore, my point is that the minister should explain this natural corruption which I thought we should get rid of. Thank you.

MR. ZVIDZAI: Thank you Madam President, I need to explain what I term the 20% naturality in being outside the norm. This is just a scientific reality, it is an economic reality. If you read your economics, you know that there is this principle called the Pareto Principle. It says, out of any normal population, a normal population is a random selection. Out of any random selection of things, 20% will be out of the norm. Therefore, if you find 20% of the people being corrupt, you do not go to Mars and say our country is decaying under corruption because it will happen. Whether you fight it or not, whether you declare zero tolerance, you will always find a certain number of people who live outside normalcy. This is what I am saying, but I am not saying we should tolerate corruption, in fact we declare zero tolerance to corruption so that at the end of the day, you might get 20% only. Thank you.

SENATOR CHITAKA: My question to the minister is about Special Interest Councillors. Can the minister give us a status report as well as informing this august Senate on whether these special interest councillors are adding any value as originally envisaged within the Act?

THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT, URBAN AND RURAL DEVELOPMENT (MR. ZVIDZAI): I wish to thank the hon. member for posing the question regarding the utility of special interest councillors to board council. Firstly, let me talk about what Special Interest Councillors are and my interpretation of the same principle regarding what the intention of the law is when you talk about Special Interest Councillors and the practical side of issues being slightly different. In 2008, Parliament passed a law to amend the Local Government Act so that 25% of board council will be councilors appointed by the minister to represent special interest. In my opinion, in terms of principles of social democracy, it is a very noble idea. However, what the law did not do is to define who is special interest and how do you get that Special Interest Councillor into the board council. That law is loopy and can be abused but the principle is very good because we have got other people who cannot compete. We have got the physically challenged who cannot run the same race as yourselves and yet none of us here can prophecy to know better real challenges that people who are crippled face. So, it is a good idea in itself but the law is not tidy. Consequently, instead of saying the visually impaired are disadvantaged, groups of people that are visually impaired then select one of their own and second to council. This is not the case, it is all done by the ministers and what tends to happen is that we get more and more informed by what is politically appetising and what is politically good for us and we end up appointing fellow losing candidates to be Special Interest Councillors. This is what has happened and it is not policy, so the law has to make sure that it protects itself. The law has to make sure that it allows itself to express as it intended to express itself. In terms of principle, it is good that we must allow Special Interest Councillors to be accommodated in women's groups, the disadvantaged, the SMEs and the informal sector. They have to feed into policy making at council level so that their interests are indeed entertained as well.

SENATOR RUGARA: My question to the minister on these Special Interest Councillors is, when are they remunerated? Are they going to be remunerated as from the time of election, soon after elections or the time of entry? It is a nagging question in my constituency. I think it has been in there soon after those people were appointed and none of them is a Special Interest Councillor. None of the five is a special interest person. They are the losers, they lost the election and I want to be fair, people can go and check and they are back. They still have their full limbs, their eyes on and there is nothing special about it. How can that be corrected? Thank you Mr. President.

THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT, RURAL AND URBAN DEVELOPMENT (MR. ZVIDZAI) : Thank you hon. senator for that add-on to the question. There is a simple principle that this nation has accepted that we kill and eat what we have killed. Similarly, councillors are only entitled to remuneration as from the effective date of their deployment to council.

SENATOR HLALO: I heard the Minister saying the law itself is loopy in his words. What is the Minister doing to correct that, since this august House is where anything which has a discrepancy is to be sorted out.

MR. ZVIDZAI : Thank you senator Hlalo for the supplementary question and I wish him to know that in the very short term, I believe there is a Bill in the lower House which seeks to improve on the definition of the Special Interest Councillor and how one qualifies to be a Special Interest Councillor and also Mr. President, we are currently in the middle of the Constitution Making Process which I believe will deal with some of the itchy points that you have raised. Thank you.

SENATOR NCUBE: I just want to ask the Deputy Minister about how councillors get commercial stands under the Local Government, because I understand the commercial stands are not on the waiting list but Special Councillors get the stands when they are councillors, especially commercial stands. How do they get them?

THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT, RURAL AND URBAN DEVELOPMENT (MR. ZVIDZAI) : Thank you Senator Ncube for the question, but let me say at the inception of these new councils in 2008 and 2009, the Ministry set down and developed a policy to empower councillors and this was specifically to do with residential stands as some of the councillors did not have their own houses. So, the ministry then agreed that councillors can get residential stands at 40% of the commercial value, but when it comes to commercial stands, they have to pay the full commercial value of the stands. They have to follow their own policies regarding the queuing system and all the other necessary processes leading to the acquisition of the commercial stands. So, it is my belief that councillors are doing that and they are paying a full price for the commercial stands and benefiting a 60% discount on residential stands which must also be in their own Wards that they represent.

SENATOR CHITAKA: As a follow-up on what the Minister said about these stands, especially the approved, the residential stands; why is it now that in your Ministry, if the policy is that the councillor must be allocated a stand in the area that they represent, these councillors are not getting the stands in their wards that they represent? They are moving to Borrowdale and getting stands there. Do you not think that if you do not clamp down on this, this leads to the corruption that has been mentioned earlier?

MR. ZVIDZAI : The rules are clear and policies are there for everyone to see. Any councillor is entitled to a residential stand in their respective ward or in a worst case scenario, adjacent ward. Anybody performing outside that is misbehaving, breaking the rules and deserving nothing else except censure. Thank you.

SENATOR MUMVURI: Mine is a concern on service delivery. Is the Minister aware that there is very erratic supply of water in the Chitungwiza suburb? The residents there get water at least once a week and their gardens are now dry and is the Minister aware that refuse collection in the greater Harare has almost come to a halt and in that line, what is the Ministry doing to improve service delivery especially under the allegations that these two municipalities have got blotted labour force which is doing nothing at all. Thank you.

THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT, RURAL AND URBAN DEVELOPMENT (MR. ZVIDZAI) : Thank you very much Mr. President and I would like to thank Senator Mumvuri for this question. On the erratic supply of water, I would like this Senate to know that Chitungwiza, Norton, Ruwa, Harare and Epworth get their water supplies from Harare, so we are dealing generally with the greater Harare. I wish to agree with the hon. senator that water supplies are not at their best but at the same time say as well that we have to applaud the sterling work that the Council of Harare is doing with respect to the rehabilitation and revival of water delivery for the greater Harare area. Prior to 2008, the City of Harare was producing 300 megalitres of water everyday which was very little indeed and this is why places like Mabvuku, Chisipite and other high lying areas almost went without water ad-infinitum. To date, the City of Harare jacked up their water supply process and the quantities that are coming out of Morton Jaffrey and Prince Edward has risen to 650 mega litres per day, which is like double what used to exist in 2008 and this House wishes to know that 650 to about 700 is actually the maximum that these water supply systems can supply. We are really at our maximum amplitude with respect to delivery of water but I must say we could improve efficiencies with respect to the quantities of unaccounted for water, water which we do know where it has gone to.

While they produce the 650, what is accounted for is about 60% of that, so we need to look at plugging the holes, leakages, who is stealing water and not paying and need to continuously be looking at those issues. The other challenge is to do with water treatment chemicals in that Harare's water supply dams are on the downstream side, so all the waste goes into those dams leading to very big and high expenses with respect to treating the water. Harare spends close to US$3m on nine water treatment chemicals and efforts are being spend in dealing with that. This is why two weeks ago we were at the sewage treatment plant. The city has also happily improved capacity of treating the sewage from zero in 2008 to about 70% of capacity now, which means we will then get cleaner water in the dams and spend less money in treating and spend a bit more money in plugging the loopholes, eventually getting a bit more water getting to the residence.

Ruwa is busy at the moment putting together their own treatment works so that they can relieve the pressure on treatment and other issues from Harare. Norton is following suite, they are doing their own water treatment plant and they will be able to do 40 mega litres, although they need 20, so the surplus will also feed into Harare. A lot is being done with respect to raw water, my ministry and the Ministry of Water

are collaborating with the private sector in a Private Public Partnership so that the construction of Kunzvi dam can be expedited for the purpose of making sure that Harare water improves. With respect to the bloating of the workforce, yes Harare has got ten thousand workers and from a recent study done, they could do with seven thousand five hundred, but it is a process, you cannot just wake up tomorrow and retrench two thousand five hundred people. It is also an expense, they do not have the money to pay the retrenchment packages. It is a process, it takes a bit of time, it is like trying to eat mazondo, you must not fry them, you must allow them to simmer over time to have them well cooked. I thank you.

SENATOR A. SIBANDA: Thank you Mr. President. I would like to ask the Minister, I heard that the Ministry has withdrawn from funding the cities on chemicals, how are you coping? I would like to know about the housing waiting list, how are you doing, are you coping with the list which seems to be backlogged.

THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT, URBAN AND RURAL DEVELOPMENT (MR. ZVIDZAI): Thank you Mr. President, the first question is to do with UNICEF and I must express my deepest gratitude for the UNICEF programme that this programme, the water treatment support programe, helped us to kill the challenges around cholera and so we need to applaud this organisation for assisting our local authorities. With time, their hand held us for quite a reasonable period of time, from 2009 to this year in March, where they said look, we believe that we can now wean you off and you are on your own. Meanwhile, during the period 2009 to March this year, we have encouraged councils to start serving money, reinforce their water revenues for the future at the departure of UNICEF. We are confident that we will be able to sustain and endure the departure of UNICEF, but we have also been speaking to them to say look do not just abandon us and I am sure in the event of real challenges, they are available to look case by case.

With respect to the housing waiting list, due to the rural urban migration, there is serious pressure on urban set ups to deal with issues of shelter and at the moment, the national housing waiting list is as big as close to 1.5 million people. It could be more because other people have lost confidence in the waiting list process because it does not look like anything is being delivered. So it could be higher. The reality of the case is that there is a huge demand for shelter in the country and there is a need for strong intervention to deal with this particular challenge that the nation is facing. Thank you.

*SENATOR FEMAI: Thank you for affording me the opportunity to make my contribution, I would like to know what your recommendation is, as a Ministry to council officials who do not implement council resolutions, where they are letting them piling without putting them into practice as agreed upon.

THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT, URBAN AND RURAL DEVELOPMENT (MR. ZVIDZAI): Thank you Mr. President, this is a difficult question from Senator Femai, but I want to thank him for the question. The structure of Government in the country is such that we have got central government, provincial councils and local authorities and these councils have got two legs, which is the administration side as led by the Town Clerk and the policy making side as led by the Mayor. The Mayor in a particular set up, the chairperson in the case of Town Councils, is the chief employer, is the chief enforcer of resolution so the employer-employee relationship is well defined in the contracts of employment that each person finds with the employer. There are certain standards that the employer rightfully has from their employee. So if the employee of an employer does not implement or does not work in a friendly fashion with the employer, the employer has got the codes on how to deal with the misbehaviour of that nature. As a ministry, we have got the standards. We have put together the standards and we have got the Labour Relations Act. We have got the Urban Councils Act which has defined fully the processes of how people relate in those offices. So we do not prescribe because we have already built the standards.

SENATOR CHIEF NEMBIRE: What is the policy concerning allowances for traditional leaders since they were last increased last year by $5 per village head? Thank you.

MR. ZVIDZAI: Thank you Mr. President. My ministry and Government respect to the fullest the institution of traditional leaders. My ministry does everything possible to ensure that the decorum of the institution of traditional leadership is such that, that institution gains and enjoys the respect of the whole nation. The ministry's policy is clear with respect to the remuneration and allowances of traditional leaders. Traditional leaders are entitled to a certain amount of money as an allowance per month and that allowance, should increase by the same percentage every time that Government increases the salaries of civil servants.

To the best of my knowledge, this should apply. To the best of my knowledge, Treasury seems to be battling not only with issues of capital expenditure and other things like that, but also with issues of compensation for civil servants, traditional leaders and all such other persons. It is the packet which is small but the policy is very clear. The ex-amount must increase at the same quantum with the civil servants each time that happens for civil servants. Thank you Mr. President.

SENATOR MAKUNDE: Thank you Mr. President Sir. My question is still on service delivery. I am outside greater Harare and outside the municipalities. I am down to the rural growth points where we have witnessed fire gutting down properties worth millions of dollars. We have also witnessed the helpless communities and even the council themselves just looking on. My question is; are there any plans by the ministry to persuade or make it compulsory for Rural and District councils to acquire fire fighting machines? Thank you.

MR. ZVIDZAI: Thank you very much Mr. President. I wish to thank the honourable senator for this very important question regarding the safety and security of the communities in Zimbabwe. I must assure the honourable senator that Government is trying by all means possible to make sure that the people of Zimbabwe wherever they are, are fully safe and secure. Consequently in the past month, our Director for Civil Protection went to Japan looking around for fire fighting equipment so that we can empower our local authorities including Rural District Councils to be able to deal with issues of protecting and ensuring the safety of the people.

We are fully aware that out there in the rural districts, there are very busy growth points economic activities which might lead to certain insecurities. So I wish to thank the honourable senator for that very important question.

SENATOR HLALO: Thank you Mr. President for offering me this opportunity. I have a question for the minister on whether he has any knowledge about a tollgate which the Kadoma City Council has erected on coming buses which exit Kadoma irrespective of the fact that they will be exiting on a national road? These vehicles are made to pay a tollgate. If it is that cities are now able to do that, can I also ask Bulawayo to also erect tollgates?

MR. ZVIDZAI: Thank you Mr. President. I wish to thank Alderman Hlalo for the question. I can say generally we have encouraged our Local Authorities to be very creative where resource mobilisation issues are concerned. In that respect, we encourage them to think outside the box. We have also even said to some of them, throw away all the boxes altogether so that you can think afresh and find ways of raising money so that your councils can run well. That being the case, we encourage them to do the same within the confines of the law. We encourage them to be as law abiding as possible. In my opinion, there are certain things that they might be doing outside the confines of the law and for that, I would kindly enjoy the pleasure of getting further details from the honourable senator so that we can examine whether any law is being broken or not so that corrective and remedial action could be taken. Thank you Mr. President.

Questions Without Notice were interrupted by THE DEPUTY PRESIDENT , in terms of Standing Order Number 34.

ORAL ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS WITH NOTICE

THE DEPUTY PRESIDENT: We can now move to Questions with Noticebut I see that there are no ministers to reply to all these questions. There is no relevant minister here and it will be unfair for the Deputy Minister of Local Government to take the load for the whole Cabinet. So maybe we can now move to the next order of the day.

MOTION

REPORT OF THE DELEGATION TO THE SECOND CONFERENCE OF WOMEN PARLIAMENTARIANS IN AFRICA AND THE ARAB WORLD

First Order read: Adjourned debate on the Report of the Delegation to the Second Conference of women Parliamentarians in Africa in Africa and the Arab World.

Question again proposed.

*SENATOR CHIMBUDZI: Thank you Mr. President for affording me the chance to support the motion by Senator Chabuka and seconded by Senator Mandaba, on the Conference held in Sudan and the delegation led by the President of the Senate, Hon. Madzongwe. I thank the Zimbabwean delegation for attending this conference because their report brought out a lot of developmental ideas which are aimed at uplifting the lives of women. We know that historically, women have been disadvantaged, but things are now changing all over the world whereby laws are being crafted for the uplifting of women's lives. Looking at USAID and the AU, they are putting laws which are encouraging the uplifting of women in workplaces, politics and all facets of life.

When these issues were discussed, the Zimbabwean delegation was there. Our hope is that as a country, we will also implement these ideas of uplifting women in commerce and industry and in the political circles. You will find that women are so precious with special regards to peace and you will find that if women are involved in peace making projects, then there will also be peace in the country. Even in development, we feel women have to be included because if they are left out the country is bound to lose out. This is what was discussed in Sudan where about seventy countries came together to attend this meeting.

I thank Senator Chabuka once more for this motion which is very essential in the lives of Zimbabweans. As Zimbabweans, we have to choose what is essential for us and that which we can implement and make it Zimbabwean for implementation. My other plea is that there should be a quota set aside for the development of women, either in commerce and industry or in political circles so that we move ahead with what is happening in the world around us, to enable women to take advantage of situations which they were denied in the past. I thank you.

THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF PUBLIC WORKS: I move that the debate do now adjourn.

Motion put and agreed to.

Debate to resume: Tuesday, 17th July, 2012.

MOTION

PLIGHT OF TEACHERS

Second Order read: Adjourned debate on motion on the plight of teachers.

Question again proposed.

THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF PUBLIC WORKS: I move that the debate do now adjourn.

Motion put and agreed to.

Debate to resume: Tuesday, 17th July, 2012.

MOTION

GHOST WORKERS WITHIN THE PUBLIC SERVICE PAYROLL

Third Order read: Adjourned debate on motion on the alleged existence of ghost workers on the civil service payroll.

Question again proposed.

THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF PUBLIC WORKS: I move that the debate do now adjourn.

Motion put and agreed to.

Debate to resume: Tuesday, 17th July, 2012.

On the motion of THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF PUBLIC WORKS, the Senate Adjourned atTwenty Five minutes to Four o'clock p.m. until Tuesday, 17th July, 2012.

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Senate Hansard Vol. 21 SENATE HANSARD - 12 JULY 2012 VOL. 21 NO. 39