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SENATE HANSARD - 21 JUNE 2012 VOL. 21 NO. 36

 

PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE

Thursday, 21st June, 2012.

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

 

PRAYERS

(MADAM PRESIDENT in the Chair)

ANNOUNCEMENTS BY MADAM PRESIDENT

VOLUNTARY HIV TESTING AND MALE CIRCUMCISION

MADAM PRESIDENT: I wish to remind the Senate that the ZIPAH main event on voluntary HIV testing and male circumcision will be tomorrow, the 22nd June, 2012, commencing at 8:30 a.m. The procession begins at Kwame Nkrumah entrance to Africa Unity Square and participating senators are requested to be punctual.

SWITCHING OFF OF CELLPHONES

MADAM PRESIDENT: May I remind hon. senators to please switch off their cellphones or put them on silent.

MOTION

BUSINESS OF THE SENATE

SENATOR MLOTSHWA: Madam President, I move that Questions With Notice and Without Notice be stood over until Order of the Day, Number 1 has been disposed of.

SENATOR CHIEF MUSARURWA: I second.

Motion put and agreed to.

MOTION

PLIGHT OF TEACHERS.

SENATOR CHIEF MUSARURWA: I move the motion standing in my name that this House:

CONCERNED that teachers are not adequately remunerated despite their efforts to provide quality education for the children;

RECOGNISING the duration it takes for one to become a qualified teacher;

DISMAYED at the lack of timeous response by Government to address the plight of teachers which is a recipe for the deterioration of educational standards;

NOW THEREFORE, URGES the Government to take appropriate measures which will alleviate the plight of the teachers.

SENATOR CHIEF CHISUNGA: I second.

SENATOR CHIEF MUSARURWA: Madam President, I would like to begin by thanking you most sincerely for affording me the opportunity to move this vital motion on the poor remuneration given to the civil servants, particularly our teachers. To preface my presentation, I want to remind your august Senate that as you may be aware, teachers are a vital cog in any economy the world over. Through the provision of quality education to our children, teachers thus go a long way in laying the groundwork for a robust economy by cultivating the education and skills required to drive the growth of that economy. It is only logical therefore that, teachers constitute a key human capital resource and should be well catered for. I want to mention that over the years, Zimbabwe has become a training ground of labour for other countries in the region, and the education sector was the worst affected sector. It is against this background that the need to adjust their remuneration should be treated as a matter of urgency, particularly during this time around when the economy is on the recovery.

Madam President, the low salaries that are currently being given to teachers have dealt a negative blow on the nation's educational sector, which used to be a source of pride since the early 80's. First and foremost, the dollarisation of the economy saw the introduction of the payment of incentives to teachers. This has, however, caused more harm than good because of a combination of factors. For instance, not all parents can afford to pay these incentives and it places children coming from poor backgrounds at a disadvantage. Apart from the incentives, the parents are also required to pay school fees, levies, buy uniforms and stationery. Pupils from such poor backgrounds who fail to pay the incentives are being denied access to the classroom for intensive lessons. This is not only morally bad, but has in fact resulted in a raging conflict between the school authorities and parents in some less privileged communities.

Apart from this, these incentives have also created an economic disparity between teachers in the rural areas and those engaged in the urban areas. The former are at a disadvantage since they are usually paid in non monetary items of low value while their counterparts in the urban areas are getting their incentives in monetary value. This disparity is also evident between the richer private schools that pay more incentives to their teachers when compared to the poor schools. The end result has been the poor performance of rural teachers as they claim that they cannot offer the same effort as the teachers in urban schools. The same goes for the teachers in those poor schools that are paying little incentives to their teaching staff. This state of affairs has negatively affected our education system in a considerable way.

Madam President, teachers are earning salaries that are well below the poverty datum line. In as much as we take notice of the rough economic patch that we are passing through as a country, the Government should strive to better the lives of our teachers. Zimbabwe is lucky to be endowed with a variety of natural resources such as diamonds. Proceeds from these resources should be channeled towards the payment of our teachers. In this era of hard economic sanctions imposed on the country, there should be uniformity of some sort in all sectors. Teachers should not be the only ones at the receiving end.

Madam President, as you will recall, most of the prominent politicians in this country were once teachers, at a time when the dignity of the teachers was still being respected. May I take this opportunity to call for the restoration of that dignity of the teaching profession. Teachers must once again occupy that important position in society. You are aware that for one to be a professor, a medical doctor, a minister or any other profession that you can think of, they should pass through the hands of a teacher. So, you see how important teachers are to society. The Government needs to take care of their needs.

Madam President, maybe this illustration will help me in clarifying my point. In the year 2008, I grew my tobacco, I received numerous requests from teachers in my area who wanted to take up piece jobs that included harvesting the tobacco from my field. This sorry scenario should surely send shockwaves to any right-minded Zimbabwean. Teachers who are professionals in their own right opting to do menial jobs in an attempt to supplement their income. Surely this cannot be allowed in a nation whose literacy rate is ranked among the best in Africa. History will surely judge us harshly if we fail to improve the welfare of our teachers.

Surely, if one takes into consideration the amount of time and energy invested for one to become a teacher, then action on the issue at hand should be taken forthwith. Children should grow up anticipating to become teachers some day. This can obviously not happen anymore, considering the plight the teachers are going through. Our teachers must be duly rewarded for the time they spend going to school. We cannot fold our hands and watch as our investment goes to waste. It is high time a breath of life is blown into the teaching profession so that it can be rejuvenated and once again regain its status as a profession of choice for our children.

In the early 80s, things were alright as teachers were getting salaries that enabled them to keep their financial nostrils above the water. At least during this era, the dignity of teachers, as professionals of note, was somehow being sustained. The fortune for the teacher took a wrong direction in the 90s, when the economic situation assumed a downturn. Teachers have now been relegated from the dignified position to the lower echelons of the income bracket. If a teacher retires from his/her job, the next thing is that, he/she will go back to his rural home with nothing. This is because teachers cannot afford to make meaningful savings from the current meager salary that they are getting. Teachers are currently getting a salary of not more than USD400 a month, while the poverty datum line is pegged at around USD520, it is clear that our teachers are being underpaid. In addition to this, the retirement package is so small that it will quickly run out and the teacher concerned will die a pauper. Something should surely be done as soon as possible and our teachers should indeed, be redeemed from this predicament. The onus is on the Government to take immediate action and address the plight of the teachers. Government should mobilise all the resources at its disposal and make sure that their needs are met. A salary adjustment should be effected as soon as yesterday.

May I take this opportunity to urge all members of this august Senate to support this vital motion. I thank you.

SENATOR CHIEF CHISUNGA: I would like to thank you Madam President for according me this opportunity. I want to thank Hon. Senator Chief Musarurwa for the introduction of this motion, which I believe, puts the future of this nation, of Zimbabwe at stake. When we discuss about the welfare of our civil servants, we are talking about service delivery. We are also talking about whatever we expect to be the outcome of whatever performance of our civil service.

Let me say that if our teachers or civil servants are poorly remunerated, it means the nation will get poor service. This is evidenced by cases of corruption which are reported in our media. We have some cases of the judiciary, members of the ZRP and quite a number of sectors of our society, are reported to be engaged in corrupt activities. This is because they are poorly remunerated. As Chief Musarurwa put it, it is clear that most of our civil servants, if not 90%, are getting less than the poverty datum line, which complicates their lives. Let me say our civil servants, especially teachers, have become part time Government employees and part time self employed people, why? They do this to supplement their living. If you go to offices of any civil servant, under the desk, you will see there could be a big bag of clothing or some sort of merchandise which they will be trying to sell so that they can supplement their earnings. This I think, if the Government would quickly act in relooking at what the civil servants are getting, I think it will go a long way in improving our service delivery.

Coming to teachers Madam President, if you look, all of us here came through teachers. If at the time we were all born and when we grew up, if ever there were no teachers, we would not have been where we are today. Hence it is important to make sure that teachers and other civil servants are properly and adequately remunerated.

Let me say again that it is incumbent upon our Government to prioritise the welfare of our civil servants. Their welfare should be on the top priority. I know there could be some other projects or activities of capital nature but Government workers should be better paid. The Bible says, "…do not muzzle to ox that works or that toils because it will get tired and it will not work…

An hon. senator having passed between the Chair and the hon. senator speaking.

MADAM PRESIDENT: Order hon. senator, I am sure you are confused as to why you are called. One of the Orders in that Green Book says, '… an Hon. member may not pass between the Chair and an hon. member debating'. If you must go out, you have to come out this way.

SENATOR CHIEF CHISUNGA: I was actually saying our Government should be in a position to prioritise its activities. For our economy to tick, we must have a satisfied civil service. It is good that in this august Senate we have ex-teachers and ex-headmasters who are amongst us; who I believe should be supportive to this motion for the welfare of our teachers. I believe Madam President that today, if we do not support our teachers, we will have a stream of people who will be failures. As a chief, I am not prepared to have a community of failures. As you know, in most cases, people who fail at school are unable to get employment elsewhere. Where will they go? They go to the rural areas where we look after them? I am saying the Government should look after its employees, its civil servants so that they are able to fund their children, they are able to work with peace of mind; work motivated and put their 100% effort other than becoming part time workers and part time merchants.

May I ask this august Senate to jointly support this motion which has been moved by Hon. Senator Chief Musarurwa. I thank you.

SENATOR CHIEF NGUNGUBANE: Thank you Madam President. I rise to support the motion moved by Senator Chief Musarurwa seconded by Senator Chief Chisunga. Madam President, the issue of civil servants conditions of service, is one issue that needs serious attention as a matter of urgency. Madam President, few are aware that for any economy to prosper, the country should first address its human resources and teachers as a source of human resource have played a very critical role in this country through their services. Madam President, education is one of our fundamental values that we have taken pride of. Zimbabwe is ranked first in Africa among the most literate African countries and it is the role of these teachers that we are talking about that they have put the country where it is. But when it comes to conditions of service, Madam President, it is disappointing to note that we have given them little respect and dignity. If you go to the bus ranks, boys without any formal education, you could hear them passing a joke "Aa! Today I am broke as a teacher". Madam President, that is sad.

The morale among teachers is at its lowest. Some teachers have been reported in certain media publications, often come to school to offer their physical presents and offer very little in terms of expertise. It is a known fact that some teachers have engaged in private businesses at schools in an effort to augment their poultry salaries.

Madam President, the issue of incentives has really divided the profession, there is a big gap. If you look at a rural teacher, the rural teacher Madam President, gets little if none in terms of incentives because the children coming to those schools have parents that cannot afford. If they can afford, it is just too little. However, the opposite is true in urban centers where parents can afford, although they can afford, Madam President, the majority of them cannot. We are talking of child headed families, widow, widowers who cannot afford to pay incentives having paid the levy, having paid the school fees. So the issue of incentives, Madam President, needs to be addressed. If the Ministry is to adopt incentives they should be uniform, if not,it should affect everybody.

Madam President, the issue of teachers and the conditions of service of civil servants needs a holistic approach. If you realise there is a serious social stratification as I have indicated earlier, the rich are sending their children to better schools, the poor have to send their children to satelite schools, former B schools, and this leaves a lot to be desired. We are denying a chance to those able pupils coming from disadvantaged families a right to education.

Madam President, as a matter of urgency we seriously need to address the conditions of service and not only the remuneration issue. If you look at most of the professions today, doctors, your nurses, your pharmacist, I have not come across a doctor who is engaged on temporal basis. It is either you are qualified or not, but with teachers because we do not give them the dignity and respect you find people flooding there because it is their last resort. Thus the determination, commitment is lacking.

It also leads me to the conditions of service themselves. For us to do away with temporary teachers, I know they are playing a very important role, but for us to fully address this issue, we should look at the conditions of service. Let us look at the homes in which they stay; some of the homes they stay leave a lot to be desired. It is more of a sacrifice than a commitment to the profession. Look at the distances that they have to travel from the school to the nearest road. Some travel as far as 10 -20 km. Madam President that is disappointing. With those few words, Madam President, I would want to support the mover of this motion, thank you.

SENATOR MTINGWENDE: I want to thank you very much for the time that you have given me. I would also want to add my voice to this motion moved by Hon. Chiefs, Chisunga and Musarurwa. Madam President, I would like to chronicle the history of a teacher. I will take you back in time by telling you that for me to know about a teacher. It was because during our time, lady teachers were not known by their children's names but simply as wife of a teacher. This was because teacher's families were the standard bearers in the community. In today's life, the set up has changed those teachers who teach there, a person who keeps cattle and a maid are even better than a teacher. At least they can afford to buy themselves soap and cooking oil because they get that from the people that they work for; unlike the monies that the teachers get which they are supposed to use to take their children to school and to develop themselves.

We are supposed to look at this issue of salaries when it comes to civil servants, especially teachers. If we look at the issue of thefts and prostitution, these cases have risen because of the issue of low salaries. They are not satisfied with what they get. If we look at the issue of extra lessons Mr. President, we realise that this issue is not being handled in the proper way, what it means is that the teacher would not be looking at the other children who have not paid incentives and concentrating only on those that would have paid.

SENATOR DR. RUGARA: Thank you Madam President. Perhaps I am one of the most affected people in this august Senate simply because it is actually my career. I taught as a school teacher, I taught at a Headmaster, I taught as a Lecturer, I taught as a Principal of a Teachers College and that means hundreds of my students out there have suffered the adversity of educational decline in Zimbabwe. Therefore, I am going to speak a little more emotionally than usual because it affects me.

It affects all people who have had anything to do with education. I am not going to speak only about teachers but the civil servant himself because you cannot separate the two. To have a good and proficient civil service, you need to have good and proficient teachers in the background; to have good lawyers; you need good teachers in the background; even in the law school itself, they are taught by those law teachers. We could go on and on and we will find that subtract the teacher - you have no civilisation as we know it today. You have no education; you have no country in fact, but where it hurts, the base of it all is really undermined by its pupils. When a Government is belittling teachers, they are actually belittling their teachers, the people who made them to be where they are. It is like a grown up child who says, I do not know this father, you mean that man? He is not my father, when in fact, he is referring to his father and the father is hurt to the bone.

Madam President, one time let me illustrate this. That hurt me then till now - it is about five to six years ago. When I was parked near a bus stop and a rank marshal came down and he spoke to me, he said, 'See that lady, she is my 'O' level teacher but you know, I can pay her at the end of this week because she does not have any money.' Because a teacher is a public figure, everybody knows what they earn and those who did not go to school will naturally say, 'We are getting more money, even though they taught us fine; we did not do well, fine but all the same we are better. We are doing fine as rank marshals'. People who are not doing anything really, people who direct passengers who know which bus they want to board. They direct them and will continue to tell them, 'Are you going to Mutare? What part of Mutare? The people know already where they are going but they are paid more than the teachers. That is where it hurts and definitely Government, who are our pupils, all of it.

When we look at citizenry as a whole, we know that these are our pupils, students - whatever you want to call them. If you move from Zimbabwe, you go to the neighbouring countries, the first Zimbabwean you see is a teacher, already contributing to the education of that country - which hurts. When our teachers go away, our education is affected. You may have a so-called teacher who actually does not teach or who actually is not a teacher. He is just there to fill space, call them 'zombie teachers' and the better teacher is again to South Africa, the better teacher is again to Zambia, even to Australia. I know I have students I taught who are in Australia, England, United States of America, in these first world countries, teaching and being remunerated satisfactorily. We can talk on and on and keep on passing the blame to the next person, to sanctions and to what. We must accept as Government that we have got it wrong. We are holding the wrong hand of the stick, why do we not look at ourselves in the eye and say is this right to have poor teachers, otherwise they will not teach. The next thing is that they fly away. This is what we have seen, we do not need anybody, any counsellors to tell us, let us counsel ourselves. I implore this House, the Government to rethink and re-look at themselves and look at education that has been having a raw deal. If you talk of a raw deal, if you are talking of cooking, then we have not started, it is not even raw, it is worse than raw.

I would like Madam President, to stop my few words, I know I will talk on and on, but as a hurt person, I am not happy with what is going on. I see some of the good students I taught, a good example is of a student who got a distinction and she is teaching, she is a distinction teacher. At Belvedere, when I was a lecturer there, she was my best student and when I stopped in South Africa one day, she said Dr, Rugara, what are you doing here, I said, what are you doing here. She said am teaching here, private school for that matter, because our students are good , they will get the best of the best of schools in South Africa, Australia and in England. They are working there, the best of them. That is a minus of a distinction teacher who no longer teaches in our secondary schools. I had already apologised for many words, I must say, thank you Madam President.

*SENATOR FEMAI: I would like to thank the mover of the motion Chief Musarurwa and the seconder. I have realised that it looks like it was now the Chiefs issue but we are also here, we came through the hands of the teacher. I would like to thank you so much because we have chiefs in our country who really value education. We are really grateful for that. I would like to refer to the rural teacher. All of us if, almost 90 or 95%, were educated in the rural areas. Most of us were not educated in the urban areas. We came through the hands of the rural teachers. We should really think about them because most of them are walking for 25 kilometers in order for them to get transport to get into town from their schools, this is very difficult. Truly Chief Musarurwa we are grateful for bringing this motion because this really helps the foundations of the nation. We are referring to the very important people in the nations, those who made us who we are by going to school.

I would like to go further by illustrating this, if you are given a lion, you should think of how you are going to feed that lion because a lion feeds on meat. If you are given a dog, you know that it feeds on meat and sadza and you should have those things. When we are talking about teacher and the civil servants at large, we must know what we should do to them in terms of the taxes and the natural resources because if you refer to civil servants, you are referring to your wealth. Because civil servants and the wealth of the country go hand-in-hand. Lion feeds on meet, civil servants feed on taxes and the minerals of the land. If the Government is not collecting any taxes, if it is not getting anything from the natural resources, then where do you think the civil servants will get their salaries? What we are saying is God created all these things for us because he knew that there are governments, that is why he puts in place minerals so that after mining, then they pay the civil servants. When they collect taxes, they pay the civil servants, it can go and construct a dam but civil servants should be paid first.

So, what I am saying is, the Government should really look at what we have in terms of our minerals from diamonds, gold and every mineral. I think our civil servants can be well paid, they will not be poor. If all those things are put together and channeled towards the civil servants, we will not have any problem because for a country to be a country, it is because of the civil servants. We are here because civil servants have worked for us to be in this House. Then after working tirelessly, then they are given peanuts. What we are saying is all these things should be channeled to the betterment of our country so that all the civil servants will be given better remuneration. A police officer should be remunerated well, even if one is a teacher, he or she should be remunerated well. For our police officers not to be involved in corruption, they should be given good remuneration, even our teachers, for them not to go and become farm labourers, they should be given better remuneration.

Yesterday, a report was tabled in this House that there are ghost workers. I asked in this House because we have many farmers here, if you have a workforce of 100, whom you pay at the end of the month and if they go back to their families, they get to be about 700, will they get enough food, they will start complaining because now they are feeding a lot of people. Civil servants are dining with ghost workers. What they are supposed to get, they are now sharing with the ghost workers. The Government should expedite the investigations of ghost workers so that we see whether our diamonds will not be able to pay our civil servants. If those 76 000 ghost workers are gotten rid of, then that money will be channeled to teachers, some from all minerals. We are very blessed, all that can be channeled to the civil servants, even from tobacco. If it remains like this we will keep on talking and talking.

Someone who contributed yesterday said if Ministers could come in here and we ask them, it was like he was playing but he was serious, he meant it. We want our government to look at the issue of civil servants and remunerate them well so that we will also live well because we will be able to see how they are working. Thank you Madam President.

SENATOR CHIEF CHITAKA: First, I would like to commend the mover of the motion Senator Chief Musarurwa and the seconder Senator Chief Chisunga. My contribution will be quite brief. Like my brother Senator Dr. Rugara, I am also directly affected by this topic but in a different way. All my 3 wives are teachers. They teach not because they are well remunerated, but I like to think that because they have the passion like Dr. Rugara had the passion when he was a teacher, an educator. I hope they do not go to teach because they want to have a break from me. I suspect they go and teach because they have a passion for teaching.

What they get does not pay the bills. I remember one of my wives, she was teaching at a very far away school, I told her it was cheaper for me to pay her for staying at home. Eventually, she had to stay at home until she got a place to teach at a nearer school because I was spending more money on transport to get her to school to teach than what she was getting at the end of the month.

We know why teachers are now really very poorly remunerated. This is not new; it is just that the degree has become accentuated. Traditionally, teachers were never well paid. Teachers took up the profession because it was a noble profession. It was like being a priest. You had to have a calling to be a teacher. The old teachers like Dr. Rugara will confirm that. They did not go into teaching to make money. If you wanted to be rich you would not go into teaching you would take other professions. You went into teaching because of the calling. That is why there is a huge difference between the teachers of old that taught us and those of the new age. Why, because the new age now have no other option. That is one of the still available jobs.

After O'level or A'level, children look at options and find only teaching. Nursing is now saturated; you can not be a nurse any more unless you want to be trained to be a nurse who will be unemployed the day you graduate. The bulk of our students are still going to take up teaching not because they have a calling for it, but it is an option. You become a hwindi or self employed in the Avenues and places like that or go to teaching. It is the only profession, teaching, that is still readily available.

We can talk about our teachers and civil servants in general including Senators in this august Senate are poorly remunerated. We must go beyond just the talk. The Government will say, yes we agree with you civil servants including senators are poorly remunerated but we have no money.

My contribution is going to zero on how the condition of service and remuneration of teachers can be improved under the circumstances. The first thing is we must now watch out at the supply and demand rule. My youngest wife was trained as a secondary school teacher but could not get a job to teach as a secondary school teacher. She is now a primary school teacher. What that means is, places at secondary school are now saturated. The law of supply and demand, we are now getting to the point where we are producing more teachers than the vacancies that are available.

Those responsible for policy must watch that so that we must not end up with a situation like that which happened in very advanced countries where you have a lot of people with degrees roaming the streets because they cannot even get jobs to sweep the street. Let us watch, if we reach a point where we are training more teachers than the vacancies available. Let us put the brakes on.

We must now zero in on the shortage areas, if you cross the border into Botswana, South Africa there are a lot of Zimbabwean teachers but they are teaching in specialist subjects. You will not find a teacher in South Africa teaching Shona or History. They are teaching mathematics and science because South Africa had a serious shortage of mathematics and science teachers. Here we are going through an economic meltdown. There was no money; the money that you got you could not buy anything. There was hyper inflation; meanwhile South Africa was looking for mathematics and science teachers. The country lost almost all its mathematics and science teachers. The only mathematics and science teachers are those who were teaching in private schools where the pay and conditions were a bit better.

We must now move away from just training teachers to zeroing in on training mathematics and science teachers. We target those in shortage areas. These are the areas that are going to take us to 2020 2040 vision. When we train them we must not pay them the same salary as Mai Chitaka who is teaching Shona. We must make it attractive for these young people coming out of college to take up mathematics and science to teach by paying them more money, a special allowance to carter for that than the ordinary teacher. That way we will improve the standard of our education.

Right now children are graduating from four after failing mathematics because they are being taught by people who did not pass form four mathematics. Do you expect that child to pass? Arikutichwa nemunhu akafoira. It does not happen like that. Let us make our special efforts to target our few resources into specialist field like mathematics, science, computer, etc.

I come to the remuneration. How can we raise more money? Yes, it is accepted. We are all poorly remunerated and paid. How should teachers and other civil servants have their salaries increased? The Minister of Finance has said there is no money. We can bash him and say Biti this, Biti that, but if there is no money in the kit, there is no money. You cannot squeeze a stone to get orange juicy, there will be nothing. So, there is the issue of ghost workers that Sen. Femai has already alluded to. I think it was debated yesterday and I was not there. The ghost workers if it is really true, if it is not true let us be transparent about it. Let us debunk it and say it is a lie and say there are no ghost workers. If there are ghost workers it is no one's fault. Zvidhoma ngazvibviswe. We take them out so that we save the money and pay those teachers who are underpaid.

The second issue is revenue from our mines and minerals that Sen. Femai has alluded to. I want to be a bit more specific. It is okay to say we have diamonds, platinum and so on, but we must change the way we benefit from those diamonds. We cannot wait to say ah when ZIMPLATS has made a profit then they pay $4 million to Minister of Finance or when Anjin in Chiadzwa has sold its diamonds then they pay to the fiscus $1 million or whatever. We must go the route that other countries do. They say, there is a plot, field or mine of diamonds. We estimate that this year you are going to extract $10 billion worthy of diamonds from this mine. We as Government require say 10% now.

So if you are going to mine $10 billion worth of diamonds or whatever mineral you are mining before you start digging you pay $1 billion that year to the fiscus. It is done everywhere. Australia uses that system. You do not wait for this company to say I have made a profit because it is not measurable. They are saying what you are going to extract from the ground is worthy $10 billion for this year. That is what you have planned to do. Whether you sell it or not or keep it in your back yard, it is your problem. We want our $1 billion. You pay your billion to the fiscus and then the Government can then pay the civil servants and so on. I am advocating that we adopt this system also in Zimbabwe where our royalties are changed to projected money. That will give an incentive to the mines and we do not have to give them a discount back. You have to mine to cover the billion you have given to Government.

I will now zero in on diamonds. We have created in this country some very opaque way of running business. The economy survived sanctions for a long time during the Smith regime. The economy was intact. The sanctions did actually boost the Rhodesian economy. During the Rhodesian sanctions the civil servants were being fairly remunerated - [HON. SENATORS: Inaudible interjections] - [SENATOR MUCHIHWA: Muchapiwa mukana wekutaura.]-

THE TEMPORARY PRESIDENT: Like she said uchapiwa mukana wekutaura.

SENATOR CHITAKA: I implore my colleagues to listen to the points that I am making and not be blinded by past history. If Smith did something to help the white people survive, then we can do something to help our black people survive than living like madofo. You hear of some people, I will not mention their names because they will not be able to defend themselves. I am still on diamonds.

I have already said diamond companies, like other minerals should be given a plot and say from that field how much are you going to extract this year. If they say $1 billion, then we say we take away our 10% share upfront then say chinokorai henyu muende kunotengesa, but we have got our money in our pocket. Whether you sell the diamonds through the front door, window or back door that is your problem as long as we have got our share.

I was reading what the Prime Minister was saying yesterday that only $25 million has come from diamonds this year when in the budget they are expecting to get $600 million for this year. I mean if it is $25 million and we are already half way through the year, do you think the other $575 million will come. It might not come. It is because of the system we are using. In the same newspaper I read that someone who has got a diamond company in Zimbabwe is building a house, not in Nyanga my constituency, which could boost my constituency. He is building a House worthy $200 million in South Africa. Diamonds wealthy being taken to South Africa. Take it to Nyanga and build a mansion in Nyanga. So, what is happening? We get $25 million for this year and someone is building a private House for $200 million. It is a palace for those who have seen it on the Internet. It is a palace and I think if that person dies he should not be buried. He should be left in the house because that is going to be his heaven.

My second point, I have bashed the diamond miners enough. Let me come to another way we can save money and pay a fair wage. I am not saying we should pay teachers so that they become rich. They will never be rich. All they want is a fair wage, at least above the poverty datum line to restore that dignity back to them. While teachers are suffering and other civil servants are suffering, we have fat-cake parastatals. Some of you do not know how much a Chief Executive wekuAir No-Fly which used to be called Air Zimbabwe is getting. If it was disclosed here, I will disclose it unofficially because I cannot be sued. Someone who is running a corrupt airline, that does not fly gets US$16 000 basic salary per month plus benefits, but there are no planes flying. Then you say we have no money to pay teachers. Why do you not flush that thing? Send it to someone who wants to fly airplanes and then we save that money, US$16 000 a month. How many teachers can we pay? That is about 15 senators every month, but the teachers will even be more.

So, let us get rid of loss making parastatals. They have become vampires. They have been vampires for the last 10 to 15 years. Air Zimbabwe will never make a profit, so why continue to bleed. We have civil servants, especially teachers, who are offering us tangible services continuing to be underpaid. It is not Air Zimbabwe alone. With ZESA there is no electricity. If you know the salaries that are being paid over there for switching you off. Huge salaries and benefits are being paid for not supplying a service. ZESA must scale down its operations. If there is no electricity, so why is the pay roll growing? What are those people doing? Employing more and more people to switch us off or to extort bribes from us? If they want to switch us on they say US$10. So, let us target those parastatals. Let us put it in the public domain. To ask the Chief Executive Officer of ZESA that we have no electricity and how much are you getting every month? If there is load shedding we must also shed his salary. If you supply 50% electricity you must also be paid 50% of your pay.

I can go on and on about loss making parastatals. These are things that have nothing to do with sanctions. These are things that are in our hands. We do not need anyone to lift an embargo on us. It is within our power. It is not the Minister of Finance. These parastatals have got their parent ministers. It is that we do not have the guts to make the difficult decision. We would rather see the country rot. If you are unfortunate to have diabetes and it becomes complicated you can develop a sore on your figure and if you have got a good doctor, he will tell you that this is not just a sore it is related to your diabetic condition and it will not heal. It will become cancerous. It must be cut it off. If you refuse, then a few months later it will be the whole hand and he will say let me cut off the hand and if you refuse, a year later he will cut off the arm and we will bury you with lots of parts missing because you will die. This is what is happening in this country. We are failing to take the hard decisions. If parastatals are not performing, they should not be allowed to continue to bleed this country at the expense of people who deserve to be paid better.

The last point I want to make is, we talk about the poverty datum line. Yes, we say that teachers must be paid at least above the poverty datum line, but why is it that the poverty datum line in Zimbabwe has been going up and up. A US$1 in Zimbabwe - if you go to a shop in Zimbabwe and you buy as much as you can with that dollar you buy A, B, C and D items. If you then cross the border to South Africa, with that same dollar, change it at the Zimbabwean exchange rate in rands and with that Rand that you get and buy the same items that you have bought in Zimbabwe, you will find that you have got change. Why? It means someone is profiteering in Zimbabwe. We have developed a mentality which came from the hyperinflationary rate where mark up for businesses are not 5%. 2.5%, they are 40%, 100% and 1 000%. That is the mentality that we have created for ourselves. It is not sanctions. We have sanctioned ourselves in the mind and said a profit is 40%. Masanctions pane paano pinda, asi apa haapindeba. It is us who are failing and refusing to take responsibility. I am appealing to businesses, especially indigenous business, which are marking up and exploiting the consumer and as a result, pushing up the consumer poverty datum line. The way we charge each other, especially if it is black to black; we want to exploit each other until you can bleed no more. So, I am appealing to our business people to stop profiteering so that the poverty datum line is contained, so that even when we manage to pay teachers more, it will be enough at least for them to survive. I thank you.

THE DEPUTY PRESIDENT: Senator Chitaka, I hear that you have actually engineered the motion and reengineered the motion- (Laughter)-

*SENATOR CHIMBUDZI: Thank you Mr. President. I would like to add my voice to this motion which was raised by Chief Musarurwa, which is very important to us as Zimbabweans, not forgetting the seconder Chief Chisunga. I would like to talk about the importance of the teacher because the teacher is the one who you find at the foundations of this nation. Even if we go back to 1980, you find that the Government was very aware of the education system in Zimbabwe. In 1980, we did not have so many schools and universities but the Government did a good job in increasing the numbers. What I want to say is that, even if our teachers are leaving the country and going out, we find that those teachers are doing a good job in our neighbouring countries because it shows that the Government has educated its people who are being recognised worldwide.

Chief Ngungubane has said that we are now ranked as one of the best when it comes to education in Zimbabwe. For us to be senators, we came through the hands of the teachers. If we look at our economy, we find that we are a very small country. Countries that are rich are also in problems. It is not Zimbabwe only, but we want to equate ourselves even with the rich countries. You find that even those rich countries are also crying. So, as Zimbabwe, I think we should come up with ways of trying to raise the standards of our workers in Zimbabwe. Even if we look at the accommodation of some of the teachers in the rural areas, they are living in pole and dagga houses but they are very dedicated, they will be very smart as teachers. As the august Senate, we want to sit down and look at ourselves, we are the Government. We should come up with ways because now, you see that even the richest countries are being affected as well. As Zimbabwe, we would like to thank the teachers. For us to be what we are today is because of the teachers so, we should come up with ways for the betterment of our teachers. Yes, we are a small country with a small economy but, what can we do so that our teachers should be well remunerated for the good of their welfare.

I would also want to say that, even if the teachers are right there at the border, they should have access to television, watching soccer, which is only possible when they are getting enough remuneration. They will work well because they will be having the basics like a stove, a bed, a refrigerator, thereby uplifting their morale. I think the onus is on us as the august Senate to come up with ideas to help in areas which need to be improved for the betterment of our country. We are the Government, so we should work together. It does not work to point fingers at each other, even if we admire other countries we will not be solving problems. What can we do as Zimbabwe? That is why we have ministers in Zimbabwe. What is the Minister of Education saying about teachers? What is the Minister of Finance saying? We should take them to task so that they reveal what they have in place for teachers. I am happy because our teachers are really raising the flag of our country in Africa. We cannot admire other countries like Mozambique, but, what are we saying as Zimbabweans? Let us come up with ideas that build the nation, we are Zimbabweans and should solve our own problems. Thank you Chief Musarurwa for this motion, it is very important because that is where our foundation is. For all of us to be engineers, senators, and doctors we came through the hands of a teacher. Thank you very much for bringing such an important motion. Zimbabwean, let us unite and build our country with one voice, thank you.

THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT, URBAN AND RURAL DEVELOPMENT: I move that the debate do now adjourn.

Motion put and agreed to.

Debate to resume: Tuesday, 10th July 2012.

On the motion of THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT, URBAN AND RURAL DEVELOPMENT, the Senate adjourned at Five Minutes Past Four o'clock p.m. until Tuesday, 10th July, 2012.

 

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Senate Hansard Vol. 21 SENATE HANSARD - 21 JUNE 2012 VOL. 21 NO. 36