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SENATE HANSARD 23 MAY 2019 VOL 28 NO 45

PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE

Thursday, 23rd May, 2019

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

PRAYERS

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

ANNOUNCEMENT BY THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE

SWITCHING OFF OF CELLPHONES

          THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE:  Hon. Sen. Members are reminded once again to switch off their cellphones or put them on silence.

ORAL ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS WITHOUT NOTICE

          *HON. SEN. SIPANI-HUNGWE:  My question is directed to the Acting Minister of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing.  I know that the Minister of Higher and Tertiary Education Science and Technology Development is the acting Minister.

          THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE:  I am not privy to that. Hon. Minister Murwira, are you the Acting Minister of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing? 

          THE MINISTER OF HIGHER AND TERTIARY EDUCATION SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY DEVELOPMENT (HON. PROF. MURWIRA): That is correct Hon. President.

          THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE:  Hon. Sen. Sipani-Hungwe, you can go ahead with your question.

          *HON. SEN. SIPANI-HUNGWE: My question is on local authorities; let me give you an example of City of Harare.  It is almost five months now and the workers have not been paid and we have also realised that many children are not going to school.  What is Government policy when workers work and they are denied salaries which results in the suffering of their children. 

          THE DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE:  Hon. Senators are reminded to ask questions on policy matters.  The question which the Hon. Senator is raising is specific and you are advised to put that in writing so that the relevant Minister can research and find out the circumstances and come and brief the House.

          *HON. SEN. CHINAKE:  My question is directed to the Acting Minister of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing.  Councils are supposed to get grants but this is no longer happening, what is the policy on grants?  

            THE MINISTER OF HIGHER AND TERTIARY EDUCATION SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY DEVELOPMENT (HON. PROF. MURWIRA) on behalf of THE MINISTER OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT, PUBLIC WORKS AND NATIONAL HOUSING (HON. J. MOYO): Hon. President, I want to admit that I cannot answer this one directly here.  I want to say the questions that I am very competent with are questions that are around urban transport but this one, I want to admit that I will put it down and refer it to the substantive Minister when he comes, if I am allowed.

          THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE:  I think that is fair. 

          HON. SEN. MAVETERA: Thank you Mr. President. My question is directed to the Acting Minister of Local Government.  What is the Government policy on urban authorities which are selling stands in foreign currency when their role is to make accommodation available to the general populace who work and are paid in our local RTGS currency? 

          THE MINISTER OF HIGHER AND TERTIARY EDUCATION SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY DEVELOPMENT (HON. PROF. MURWIRA) on behalf of THE MINISTER OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT, PUBLIC WORKS AND NATIONAL HOUSING (HON. J. MOYO): Thank you Hon. President. Again Hon. President, you would excuse me again to say I am very competent with questions on urban transportation.  On this one, I will take the question down and refer it to the substantive Minister if I am allowed. 

          THE HON. PRESIDENT OF SENATE:  I must hasten to add that I am disappointed by the low turnout of Ministers – [HON. SENATORS:  Hear, hear.] – In my opinion, the Ministers are not taking this Chamber seriously [HON. SENATORS: Hear, hear.] – we will have to take the necessary measures to try and correct the situation but on your behalf, I must register my very disappointment.  Senators are supposed to get fair answers for their concerns and it is not possible when you have only two Ministers.  I commend the two Ministers who have come.  We have only received an apology from one Minister Hon. Coventry, the Minister of Youth, Sport, Arts and Recreation. We have not received any apology from any other Minister and this is not acceptable, it is not acceptable at all.  Let us make do with what we have for today but I can assure you we are going to write to the highest authorities. 

          HON. SEN. SHOKO:  Mr. President, you seem to have taken the words out of my mouth.  The questions that we have got are for the Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Water, Climate and Rural Resettlement, the Minister of Finance and Economic Development, the Minister of Labour and Social Welfare and I believe that Hon. Minister Murwira who is here might simply tell us that, let me go and research and if it was possible, we would simply jump that area or you would simply ask the people that have issues on education to ask him issues on education.  When we have finished, we move forward if it is acceptable because we will be wasting our time to ask him our questions that are for other Ministers.  I thank you Mr. President.

          THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE: That point is noted and that is why I said, let us make do with what we have for today.  Your point is very valid and noted. 

          HON. SEN. CHINAKE: I just want to ask again the Minister who is here on questions on urban transport.  As the price of fuel has gone up, and I have seen you dropping the price of buses around the towns, I just want to know if there is any profit, anything concrete or you want to serve the people because I do not see us going anywhere with that type of bus fares.  Thank you.

          THE MINISTER OF HIGHER AND TERTIARY EDUCATION SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY DEVELOPMENT (HON. PROF. MURWIRA): Thank you Hon. President and I wish to thank the Hon. Senator for the question.  I want to assure you Mr. President and to assure the Hon. Senator that we are going somewhere and I will prove it:  1) the cost of urban transport in Zimbabwe is overpriced and it is overpriced because people cannot contain leakages in their revenue collection systems.  So, their insurance is to overcharge.  Hon. President, when one is going from town to Mt. Pleasant for example in a kombi, you barely use a litre of fuel.  It basically means that the cost of fuel is per litre but that litre takes you on average something like 10 kms, and it is not one person who is in that kombi.  There are several who are in that kombi. 

So, our pricing model is based on containing the inherent inefficiencies in our money collection systems.  So, it is like a panda ufe kind of approach yokuti touraya wauya iyeye, uchabhadharira all those who have absconded.  So, what we have done with the transportation system especially with ZUPCO is to say, let us have an electronic tap and go system.  This means that, a user or a commuter has an electronic card in which they charge.  They put their money just like you put your money in the fore, even before they use that bus.  That basically means that there is no leakage but they just tap and they go into the bus and that bus is being tracked.  We can see where it is, when it is fueling, its speed and how much fuel it is using.  This is a system that was developed through the Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development – Harare Institute of Technology to support the technological capability of ZUPCO. 

So, I want to say that we want a pricing model that is fair.  I mean, if you go to certain countries, certainly Europe if you pay $5, you will spend the whole week moving about.  So we ask a question, why is it that troubles are always going to the poor?  Every time the poor pay more and they have less money.  It is the systems that we put in place that will show whether things are cheap.  The profit does not come from charging exorbitant fees per person but it is the inefficiency of operation.  It is also in the efficiency of the money collection system and it is also in the inefficiency of leakages in trying to contain leakages.

          So we are saying, it might be alarming that it is from $2 to 50 cents.  What prompted that?  What prompted that is basically the improvement in the efficiency of collecting the money.  Just imagine 100 people or 1 million people pay $10 to ZUPCO because they want to travel someday.  That is already $10 million RTGS.  It is in ZUPCO which has not even started travelling but they already have operational money.  They are not waiting for a person by the way to come into the bus, the person has already paid. 

So, I want through you Mr. President, just to assure the Hon. Senator that our pricing model because sometimes we get used to the abnormal, our pricing models are not normal.  There are three things that control the world, one is greed, two is ignorance and three is stupidity.  So in this case, I want to say we get so controlled by greed that we do not recognise that the next person close to me also deserves a life.  So through this philosophy, we have now implemented that electronic system that has explained why prices are down, that is the explanation.  Thank you Hon. President. 

          HON. SEN. MWONZORA: Thank you very much Mr. President.  It is a follow up to the explanation by the Hon. Minister and I should say that I am impressed by your knowledge of the world.  My simple question is, are you suggesting that the more than proportionate increase in the price of fuel should not have any effect on the prices.  When the Government increased fuel, was it not aware of the pricing model in Zimbabwe?  Was it not aware of the consequences to the poor people not foreseeable or foreseen?  I thank you. 

          HON. PROF. MURWIRA:  Thank you Hon. President and I wish to thank Hon. Sen. Mwonzora for the question.  I want to say that the fuel question, ZUPCO is also buying fuel.  So, it is affected by the fuel increase but then how did we respond to the fuel increase?  We responded by employing technology, by making sure that if we employ the technology, we will make use of every drop of fuel that we use.  So the issue of energy and the price of fuel, I cannot answer that. That is the question of the Minister of Energy and Power Development but as transport, us with a business of buses, we said how do we respond to the escalating costs or to the high cost? 

We basically asked ourselves that were we charging fair prices in the first place? The next question was - what is the correct price if you collect all the money from all the people?  Then our conclusion is, the pricing models that are being used in the transport sector are the panda ufe type. They are not the type that recognises that you can employ technology and collect all your money, even in advance so that it enhances your operations. So, what we are basically saying is that Zimbabwe as a non-oil producing country, we know we are victims to any increase in the world fuel price. However, as businesses who are using that fuel have to employ technologies that makes sure that every drop of fuel, I can say tinosvina fuel iyoyo kusvika yabuditsa something. That is the response, it is a technological response. I thank you Mr. President.

*HON. SEN. CHIEF. NHEMA: My question is a follow up on the issue of ZUPCO buses Hon. Minister. We want to know when these buses can be made available to the rural areas because we are also experiencing transport problems.

*HON. PROF. MURWIRA: Thank you Hon. Senator Chief. There are plans to have the buses but so far we have received 39 buses but more are on their way. We believe and know that once the buses have arrived they will cover all parts of the country. We also think with the technology that I have referred to, we will be able to curb corruption and the bus service will be efficient. We all know that ZUPCO once came to a standstill because of poor management but we hope this will be something of the past. Once a person swipes their card, the system will dictate that someone has made a payment and from where. This will enable us run efficiently countrywide, but this cannot happen overnight. It is a process and we are almost there as said in English, it is in the pipeline and the pipeline is very short now. Thank you.

*HON. SEN. MAVETERA: I am a little bit taken aback by the Minister who said we already have 39 buses which have come. As the populace we witnessed the unveiling of 300 buses which we thought by now we should be actually having out of the targeted 1 000 buses. I just want to ask the Hon. Minister when we are going to get that batch of 300 buses because as the population we expected that we should be enjoying the services of those buses now.

HON. PROF. MURWIRA: I wish to thank Hon. Sen. Mavetera for his question. When you buy equipment there is equipment bought and equipment delivered. That is why I was talking about a very short pipeline for delivery. We are always interested in providing a service and I do not think there is anyone who will be interested to see people suffering from lack of transportation. The intentions are good and what we are basically saying is we are very serious about it. The policy is the buses must come from a policy level. On delivery, the pipeline is very short now and we are sure that they will be delivered because they were ordered and what is left is delivery.

ANNOUNCEMENT BY THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT

INAUGURAL ZIM FOOD AND CULTURAL FESTIVAL

THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE: I would like to inform the House that Hon. Members are cordially invited to a cooking competition at the Inaugural ZIM Food and Cultural Festival on Friday, 24th May, 2019. The competition will take place at the Harare Gardens immediately after the official opening which is scheduled from 1100 hours to 1230 hours. All female Members of Parliament are encouraged to take part. For more information, kindly liaise with the Public Relations Officers who are stationed in the courtyard.

HON. SEN. S. MPOFU: My question is directed to the Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, Hon. Ziyambi as Leader of the House. Hon. Minister, noting that many people in Chimanimani, Chipinge and parts of Masvingo were affected by Cyclone Idai, many people lost their identity documents. What is Government doing to have those people obtain all the required documents?

 THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): Mr. President, Hon. Minister Murwira is the Acting Minister of Local Government and they are in charge of the Civil Protection Unit that is coordinating that. I will defer the question to him so that he can respond. I thank you.

THE MINISTER OF HIGHER AND TERTIARY EDUCATION, SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY DEVELOPMENT (HON. PROF. MURWIRA) on behalf of THE MINISTER OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT, PUBLIC WORKS AND NATIONAL HOUSING (HON. J. MOYO): I wish to thank Hon. Sen. Mpofu for the question. Identity documents are given by the Ministry of Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage. However, as Government we are cognisant of that fact that people might have lost their identity documents and a programme is there to expedite the access of the said documents by the affected people but of course, action through the Ministry of Home Affairs although the Minister of Local Government is Chairing this Committee.

*HON. SEN. WUNGANAYI: Thank you Mr. President for allowing me to ask my question at last. Through you Mr. President my question to the Minister, actually I had lost my train of thought because you have been skipping me when I rose first.

THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE: Do not worry Hon. Senator, mhinduro yake inononoka – [Laughter.]

*HON. SEN. WUNGANAYI: Minister, you spoke eloquently on the issue of public transport and the fuel price increases but what is worrying me is: now that you have put a system to close loopholes to avoid pilferage of funds, but on the other hand we do not have enough buses - what will happen. I say this because it seems the buses are not available right now so we might be fooling the nation.

*THE MINISTER OF HIGHER AND TERTIARY EDUCATION, SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY DEVELOPMENT (HON. MURWIRA) on behalf of THE MINISTER OF LOACL GOVERNMENT, PUBLIC WORKS AND NATIONAL HOUSING (HON. J. MOYO): I want to assure the Hon. Senator that we do not joke with such things to the nation.  Let me say to the Hon. Senator, when we started the mass urban transportation system in January, ZUPCO had 57 buses but the buses that were released on the road were more than that.  We use the franchising system just like UBA taxes, UBA does not own any taxes but it has got taxes on the road.  It is planning effectively and efficiently.  The buses on the roads are there on behalf of ZUPCO, they belong to different companies. 

          The buses that will come will add to the buses which are there already. The truth of the matter is that they are coming, they might be late but they are coming.  As the Government, we cannot lie because there is no reason to lie to the nation.

          *HON. SEN. WUNGANAI: Hon. Minister, the buses that you are referring to, like you have likened to UBA; there are no buses out there. People are waiting until 08.00hrs waiting for cheap transport; the kombis have hiked fare prices up to $3 to $4.  As the Government, what measures are you putting in place in order to protect our people from unscrupulous kombi operators?

          THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE: With all due respect, the Minister took some time to explain what he is doing about prices and he even gave examples. You should have listened, he answered that question.

          *HON. PROF. MURWIRA: I am answering as the Minister of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing who is competing with those kombis.  We have our bus called ZUPCO which I have power to talk about.  The other issue on the pricing of kombis is answered by the Hon. Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development.  So, I have heard your concerns but my hands are tied because I am talking about the price increases of fuel and I have told you about the e-ticketing so that the price increases in fuel will not affect our operations. Thank you.

          *HON. SEN. CHIRONGOMA: My question is directed to the Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare.  This year we have a severe drought because of the shortage of rain. Our President is saying no one will starve to death.  So we want to know the position of our food reserves in the nation and the distribution plan to people living with disability, the elderly and the composition of the distribution team.

          *THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): Thank you Mr. President and Hon. Sen. Chirongoma for his question.  Yes, the President said no one will starve but this year we have experienced drought which means we have a low harvest.  As of now, in our granaries, we have approximately 560 000 metric tonnes including the 500 000 strategic reserve; which means our supplies are low.  The department of agriculture has already started asking for tenders so that we will be able to import about 700 000 metric tonnes of maize so that we cover the gap which we are anticipating after our harvest in order that we get to the next season

          On the question of the composition of distributors, this question has risen several times and has been referred to the Minister of Labour, which means he is aware of the right Minister to address who spearheads the issues of social welfare. It is their burden to see to it how maize has been distributed and they are the ones who do the vulnerability assessment study.   Those who are able bodied like myself and Hon. Murwira are supposed to do food for work.  Thank you.

          *HON. SEN. KOMICHI: On the second question that you have answered, there is need for stressing that because people are still being denied access to food based on political lines.

Last week I was in Buhera .....

THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE:  Hon. Sen. Komichi, you want to ask a supplementary question .....

HON. SEN. KOMICHI: Yes, on food distribution.

THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE:  Can you ask the question?

HON. SEN. KOMICHI:  There is evidence on the ground that food distribution is done along partisan lines. Does the Government still want to maintain partisan food distribution or they are not prepared to change since now we are in the new dispensation.  We experienced that in the last Mugabe Government and we expect a change.  Are you prepared to effect a change in this new Government?

*HON. ZIYAMBI:  I would like to thank the Hon. Sen. for his question which now seems like a song but it is false – [HON. MEMBERS:  Inaudible interjections.] –

THE HON.  DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE:  Order.

*HON. SEN. CHABUKA:  On a point of order, I think the Minister should apologise because of the language that he has used as the Leader of the House.  We are here to represent people outside there as Members of Parliament.  At this present moment, people are watching us on television and you are doing something which is not good to us....

THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE:  What exactly in particular?

*HON. SEN. CHABUKA:  How can the Minister say that the Hon. Sen. is not telling the truth?  We cannot do that because we are in the UPPER House and we are leaders.  May the Minister apologise as a Leader of the House. 

*HON. ZIYAMBI:  Thank you Mr. President.  The question that has been asked by Hon. Sen. Komichi is not new.  It is asked time and again but it is not true – [HON. MEMBERS:  Inaudible interjections.] –

HON. SEN. CHABUKA:  Point of order Mr. President.

THE HON.  DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE: Order. Sen. Chabuka, you have raised a point of order and I have asked you – what in particular did you find offending.  I am asking the Minister ....

HON. SEN. CHABUKA:  He must withdraw and apologise to the ...

THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE:  No, no, no.  I am the one who rules about withdrawing.  So I want to find out what exactly do you want withdrawn and I am asking him to explain.

*HON. ZIYAMBI: Thank you Mr. Speaker.  The issue that has been raised by Hon. Sen. Komichi is not new in this House.  It is an issue which seems like a song which is being sung but it is not true.  I have said so because Government has guidelines to follow when distributing maize.  We have councillors who work together with social welfare officers and village heads.  These work together and they are the ones who consolidate the list of people living in the villages putting them in categories of disabled, aged and the able bodied who are able to do food for work. 

It would be of great assistance if the Hon. Senator would come up with a list that he puts down because according to the way that Government operates, there is never a time when people were asked to produce a party card but a list of vulnerable people is the one that is required. 

May I also highlight that in my Constituency, there is a councillor who is not ZANU PF but because he is from that ward, he will be present and participating in the distribution of maize.  That is why I said this issue has been repeated for a long time.  Zimbabwe should now know that it is a song but a false song – [HON. MEMBERS:  Inaudible interjections.] -

THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE:  Order, order.  We need to make progress.  What I have noticed for the time I have been in the Chair, that question which Hon. Sen. Komichi has raised keeps coming up time and again.  In my own opinion, I think this is up to the Minister and it is only fair for you to write the incidents and dates where that occurred so that that can be dealt with because for as long as you keep on saying it without any evidence, it remains I think in legal language – Hon. Sen. Mwonzora will help me; what they call ‘hearsay evidence’.  Is it not correct Hon. Sen. Mwonzora?  - [Laughter.] –  It remains heresay evidence. 

In the interest of proving your point Hon. Sen. Komichi, can you please try and do that.

*HON. SEN. KOMICHI:  When I asked the question, I was just giving a pre-warning. 

We do not want to expose each other as a nation because we are going to bring in tonnes of evidence from all over the country next time.  I will not ask this question again but I can assure you the next time that I stand up here, I will be having a trolley of evidence of the people that are being victimised in the rural areas because of food distribution.  We want this thing to stop once and for all.  We cannot continue to live in a country where people are being segregated based on partisan lines...

THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE:  You are repeating what I have said.  You can sit down.

HON. SEN. MAVETERA:  My question is directed to the Leader of the House since the Minister of Lands and Agriculture is not here. What is the Government policy on people who are now evicted from the farms which they occupied for the past ten years but they are being forced to go back where they came from when there is nowhere to go?

THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI):  Mr. President, we have a clear programme of resettlement but over the years, what has happened is that in our resettlement programme, we have had people coming from wherever they are going to settle in areas that have been reserved for pastures.  Government’s position is that we should put order in the resettlement areas.  By putting order, we want to ensure that those that have been resettled legally have sufficient pastures and hectarage to cultivate their crops and for a household. 

Many times, we have found out that the village heads and some other people were settling people in areas that were not designated for that.  As a result, we have come up with a programme to ensure that we put a human face to the evictions to say that if people are resettled in pasture areas, they are advised that the area they are occupying is illegal.  Government is coming up with a programme to ensure that they go back where they came from.  Should it be proved that they do not have anywhere to go, then alternative places to go are identified and the respective families will go and build. They will be allowed to harvest their crops first then they move to the particular places. 

*HON. SEN. CHIEF CHIKWAKA:  Thank you Mr. President.  My question is directed to the Leader of the House regarding agriculture. The producer prices for farmers were announced but do they not encourage the farmer to go back to the field? What does Government look at before stating producer prices? If the Lord above gives us more rain in the next season, will the farmer readily go back to the field because the prices are low and very discouraging?

*THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): Thank you Mr President and I thank the Hon. Sen. for the question.  Every Cabinet sitting we are briefed on the state of agriculture in the country by the Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Water, Climate and Rural Resettlement, Hon. Shiri.  He talks about crops which include soya beans, wheat and maize.  He looks especially on the pricing of such products at the aspect of the farmer going back to the farm in the following season. He is very passionate about this.

HON. SEN. NCUBE:  Thank you Mr. President.  My question is directed to the Leader of the House, Hon. Minister Ziyambi.  What plans does the Government has on the high inflation that is shooting up every day?  

THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI):  Thank you Mr. President.  This is a very important topic that you have raised.  I have discussed with the Minister of Finance so that the same presentation that he did in the Lower House, perhaps he needs to do it here.  Unfortunately, this week he is away on business and when he comes back, I want Hon. Senators to be afforded the same opportunity so that we can exhaust the questions that you have.  With your indulgence Mr. President, I would request the Senator to defer it so that we give it the due recognition it deserves and the Minister will explain accordingly.

HON. SEN. NCUBE:  I have a supplementary question Mr. President.

THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE:  Senator Ncube, I cannot just fembera fembera if you do not stand up and say, Sen. Ncube, supplementary.

HON. SEN. NCUBE:  My apologies Mr. President.  Hon. Minister and Leader of the House, the situation is bad outside there.  I do not think it would be proper for this House to wait for the Minister.  We do not know when the Minister is coming.  Maybe the House will also be adjourning today but outside there, it is hot.  As I speak Minister, the rate between US dollar and bond note today has gone up to 80 percent.  to get a US$10you have to have $80 bond notes.  I thank you.

THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE:  Before I give the opportunity to the Minister, I want to assure you two things that the Minister is coming to give a statement on the state of the economy.  Definitely, it is not in three weeks time, it is very soon.  I can assure you, I do not think we are adjourning today.  Definitely, we are coming back next week.

THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI):  Thank you Mr. President.  The reason why I sought your indulgence to defer debate is that the Hon. Minister of Finance presented to the Lower House.  So the concerns that are being raised by the Hon. Senator, the nation knows it was debated but I felt it was fair for Hon. Senators to be able to interrogate whatever they have when the Minister has finished presenting.  That is the reason why I said there is no urgency per se because the nation was addressed.  It was live on TV.  The Members from the Lower House debated it but I thought it would give some form of dignity for him to come and do the same so that Hon. Senators can interrogate and be able to interact with him and he will respond accordingly.  I thank you Mr. President.

*HON. SEN. SHOKO:  I am directing my question to the Minister of Defence and War Veterans.  Is it Government policy that military personnel come to fetch fuel at civilian filling stations where there are queues?  The soldiers bring not only their cars and lorries but also jerry cans and drums to be filled.  Is this Government policy?

* THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF DEFENCE AND WAR VETERANS (HON. MATEMADANDA):  I hope that I will be able to give a polite response, please do not misunderstand me.  Hon. Shoko is aware of the fact that whether a vehicle is used by the military or civilian, they all use the same fuel.  If Hon. Shoko is referring to a case where the military personnel jump or disrupt fuel queues, I kindly advise him and other members of the public to take down the number plate of the offending car and the name of the driver which is on the name tag.  I would like Hon. Shoko and other members of the public to first of all check whether the military personnel are obtaining this said fuel on a prior arrangement with the filling station management.  This would be a different case if members of the public are saying military personnel come dressed in their camouflage to fill up their private cars.

*HON. SEN. SHOKO:  I understand the explanation given by the Minister but my question still stands that - is the Government so broke that we have no fuel supplies in our military filling stations which make the army source fuel from civilian filling stations?

          *HON. MATEMADANDA: Thank you Mr. President. Let me thank Hon. Sen. Shoko again for the supplementary question. May be it is a problem that as a country, we see as if we are not all getting adequate fuel. But Hon. Sen. Shoko knows that ZNA is known as the People’s Force, mauto evanhu. There has never been a division between the army and the ordinary people. We have always been thinking that we are the same and I know that, that is true. That is why we draw fuel from the same civilian service stations when need arises. I thank you.

          +HON. SEN. NDLOVU: Thank you Mr. President. My question is directed to the Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare. I have noticed that throughout the country, we have NSSA offices dotted all over which is a sign that Zimbabwe has a lot of workers who have been working throughout their life and now have gone on pension. My question is - why are these people paid little amounts such as RTGs$80 which is an equivalent of US$10 and cannot buy enough food such as meat, bread, sugar and beef  to sustain the pensioners?

          THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): Thank you Mr. President Sir. I want to thank the Hon. Sen. for the question and for her concerns which are well received and acknowledged. However, this is very specific and in terms of pension distributions and how it is distributed, I think the pension houses even employ professionals, actuarial scientists to do the calculations. I would indulge the Hon. Sen. to put that in writing so that it can be interrogated to say as an organisation, you have these assets and you have taken people’s money, why are you still giving this kind of money given the circumstances? I thank you Mr. President.

          Questions Without Notice were interrupted by THE HON.

DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF THE SEANTE in terms of Standing Order No. 62.

ORAL ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS WITH NOTICE

RELOCATION OF PEOPLE LIVING IN SHANTY HOUSES IN KARIBA

          9.  HON. SEN. GUMPO asked the Minister of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing to inform the House when people living in shanty houses in Mahombekombe Township, Kariba will be relocated considering their exposure to the risk of high voltage electricity transmission power lines.

          THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT, PUBLIC WORKS AND NATIONAL HOUSING (HON. MHLANGA): Thank you Mr. President. Let me start by thanking the Hon. Sen. Gumpo for asking the question. It may please this august House and the nation at large to note that already there is a housing project in Kariba being carried out by the Infrastructural Development Bank of Zimbabwe. The project is (Kasese Housing Project). We envisage as a Ministry that, the project is going to address in a holistic manner the plight of Mahombekombe in Kariba living under high voltage power lines. I thank you.

MOTION

          BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE

          THE MINSITER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): Thank you Mr. President Sir. I move that Orders of the Day, Nos. 1 to 4 be stood over until Order of the Day, No. 5 has been disposed of.

          Motion put and agreed to.

MOTION

PRESIDENTIAL SPEECH: DEBATE ON ADDRESS

          Fifth Order read: Adjourned debate on motion in reply to the Presidential Speech.

          Question again proposed.

          HON. SEN. S. K. MOYO: Thank you Mr. President. It is my pleasure to wind up the motion I moved on the Presidential Address on the First Session of the Ninth Parliament delivered on Tuesday 18th September, 2018. I wish to pay gratitude to the seconder of my motion Hon. Sen. Mbowa and to all Hon. Senators who subsequently contributed to the debate. Mr. President, I regret that Hon. Ministers did not give expected responses to matters raised during the debate in respect of their portfolios, admonished such conduct and I want to totally agree with you that such spirit of none cooperation between the Executive and the legislator does not contribute to nation building.

          Ministers’ responses are a sine qua non to enhanced national development. Mr. President, I also want to extend my gratitude to all Hon. Senators who did not contribute to the debate, obviously demonstrating that they were very satisfied by the incisive and all embracing speech delivered by his Excellency President E. D. Mnangagwa with such admirable precision. 

Mr. President, those Hon. Senators who contributed to the debate did so with great responsibility, character and leadership.  They understood the contents of the Presidential Speech chapter and verse with focused minds and analytical sense of purpose.  They grasped the issues related to the state of the economy, including food security matters, social services, infrastructure development and utilities, water and sanitation and even proffered solutions in their wisdom. They tackled informatively macro-economic stability and the inclusive growth, devolution, value addition and beneficiation as well as the current Bills before Parliament.

          Mr. President, they debated with authority as true representatives of their constituencies giving hope to the nation that this is truly a vibrant Chamber.  We indeed need such robust leadership dedicated on the service of our beloved country.  We must pursue Parliamentary vibrancy at all cost.  Mr. President, having stated my regret at the lack of contributions from the Executive, allow me to conclude my response by quoting His Excellency the President in his speech which I have already alluded to.  “I exhort you all to undertake the legislative task before you as servant leaders emboldened by the people’s mandate which you each carry.  History will judge us harshly should we renege on the sacrosanct duty to uplift the livelihoods of our people.”

          From the people we come and to the people we must go.  Mr. President with those remarks, brief as they are in consonance with my height, it is now my honour and pleasure to move that the motion be now adopted.  I thank you Mr. President.

          Motion that a respectful address be presented to the President of Zimbabwe as follows:-

          May it please you Your Excellency, the President:

          We, the Members of the Parliament of Zimbabwe desire to express our loyalty to Zimbabwe and beg leave to offer our respectful thanks for the speech, which you have been pleased to address to Parliament.

          Motion put and agreed to.

SECOND READING

TRIPARTITE NEGOTIATING FORUM BILL [H. B. 5A, 2018]

          Sixth Order read: Second Reading:Tripartite Negotiating Forum Bill, [H. B. 5A, 2018].

          THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI) on behalf of THE MINISTER OF PUBLIC SERVICE, LABOUR AND SOCIAL WELFARE: Thank you Mr. President Sir.  I bring before the Senate the Tripartite Negotiating Forum Bill. Allow me to go through the Clauses of the Bill so that Hon. Senators can appreciate it more fully.

          Mr. President, this Bill seeks to establish a tripartite negotiation forum whose mandate is to ensure consultation, cooperation and negotiation on social and economic issues by governed organised business and organised labour for it is one of the doing business Bills that we are bringing to Parliament in order to ensure that we strengthen our governance and the way the country will move forward in terms of economic development.

          The individual Clauses of the Bill are explained below.  Clause 1 is basically standard and it sets out the title of the Bill.  Clause 2 provides for certain definitions or terms that will be used in the Bill against a standard Clause.  Clause 3 establishes the Tripartite Negotiation Forum which will be made up of a Chairperson, representatives from the Government, organised labour and organised business and sets out the objectives and functions of the forum. 

          Further, a technical Committee of experts drawn from the constituent Members will be appointed to assist the forum in its work.  So, it will be made up of seven members from Government, seven from labour, seven from organised business and two observers.  Clause 4 outlines the qualification of members.  A member shall not qualify to be appointed unless he or she is a Zimbabwean citizen who has no previous conviction related to corruption or financial impropriety within five year period and is not insolvent.  Clause 5 lays down the removal of business and labour members.  It will be the discretion of each constituency to remove a member from the TNF at least 30 days after such notification.  Clause 6 provides for filing in of vacancies which will be done by the respective constituency not later than 30 days from the date of vacation.  Clause 7 lays out the duties of the Chairperson and the co-chairpersons.  The Chairperson’s duty includes convening and presiding over all meetings and reporting to Cabinet while the co-chairpersons’ duty is they carry out duties assigned to them by the Chairperson. 

          Clause 8 provides for the establishment of the agenda setting of the TNF meetings which shall be the responsibility of the management Committee.  Clause 9 defines the convening of the meetings and establishes that the quorum of the forum shall be met by 50% of the members provided that all constituent organisations are represented.

Convening of the meetings and establishes that the quorum of the forum shall be met by 50% of the members provided that all constituent organisations are represented. At least two meetings of the forum will be convened every year with provision for extraordinary and special meetings.

          Clause 10 provides for the decisions of the main TNF which will be reached by consensus and will form recommendations to Cabinet.

          Clause 11 provides for minutes or proceedings of the main TNF meeting which shall be kept in books and be used as evidence in a court of law signed by the Chairperson.

          Clause 12 establishes the TNF technical committee which will be chaired by the Deputy Chief Secretary to the President and Cabinet. The Technical Committee will be composed of three clusters; which are the Economic Policy Cluster responsible for economic issues,  the  Labour Market Cluster responsible for labour market policy and the Social Policy Cluster responsible for social issues.

          Clause 13 Mr. President Sir establishes a Management Committee composed of representatives from the tripartite constituencies nominated by their respective principals. It will appoint the Executive Director and oversee the secretariat operations and set the agenda of meetings.

          Clause 14 sets up an independent secretariat headed by the Executive Director who will be a Zimbabwean citizen and will manage the operations and property of the forum and supervise forum employees.

          Clause 15 just provides for the appointment of the members of the secretariat.

          Clause 16 provides for the forum’s financial mechanism. The TNF  will be funded by monies derived from the national fiscus and any other monies that they may vest in or accrue to the TNF.

          Mr. President Clause 17 provides for management of the accounts of the forum and the appointment of an internal auditor. The TNF shall keep proper books of accounts and an annual statement of accounts shall be submitted to the Minister responsible for finance. The Minister shall approve the appointment of auditors by the forum. The auditors shall report to the forum on the statement of accounts prepared.  Clause 18 provides for the auditing of accounts of the forum. The Auditor General will also audit the forum’s accounts in accordance with the Office Act Chapter 22: 18. The Clause allows the Minister to request for reports, statements and explanations from the auditors in connection with the forum’s funds, activities and properties.

          Mr. President, Clause 19 provides for the preservation of secrecy and confidentiality and gives members and obligation to uphold confidentiality and makes it a criminal offence to disclose confidential information. Clause 20 gives the Minister authority to make regulations which may provide for, among others, periodicity of meetings, attendance to meetings, quorum and nomination of members, admission of new members, staff regulations and composition of clusters.

          Lastly Mr. President Sir, Clause 21 provides for the setting up of the Standing Rules of the forum. The Standing Rules give provision for objections of items on the agenda, motions and resolutions, procedure for amending documents under discussion, right to address the meeting, decorum, and circulation of the agenda, group autonomy, caucus and amendment of Standing Rules, among others. Mr. President, this is the Tripartite Negotiation Forum Bill. I move that the Bill be read a Second Time. I thank you.

          Motion put and agreed to.

          Bill read a second time.

          Committee Stage: With leave; forthwith.

COMMITTEE STAGE

TRIPARTITE NEGOTIATING FORUM BILL [H. B. 5, 2018]

          House in Committee.

          Clauses 1 to 3 put and agreed to.

          On Clause 4;

          HON. SEN. MAVETERA: I think the qualification period for someone who has a criminal offence which bars them from being qualified to be a member is too short. We have so many people in Zimbabwe. I think anyone with a criminal record should not be qualified to be part of the Tripartite Negotiating Forum. There is no need for limiting it to five years as if we are short of people in Zimbabwe. Anyone with a criminal record should not qualify, and anyone who has been insolvent should not qualify. 

THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): While, I appreciate the concerns of the Member that we are not short of qualified people, I think the world over, the trend is to move towards correctional services and rehabilitation and reintegration into society.  The moment you then prescribe a longer period on somebody, it defeats the whole purpose whereby offenders are supposed to be rehabilitated.  You  incarcerate them, you rehabilitate them and integrate them into society.  So, I believe five years is sufficient time for somebody to have been punitively punished as well as rehabilitated.  I think we should adopt it as it is.

          HON. SEN. MAVETERA: I think if the Minister comes to the House being rigid we will have serious problems and as the Senate, we cannot be taken just to rubber stamp.  To be honest, this tripartite should not be a rehabilitation centre. I think 5 years is too short, we are dealing with public funds, things of national importance.  Is there a process where they will be assessed to see whether they qualify other than just to say five year period has lapsed so this one qualifies.  If we are not going to prescribe that for a longer period, 10 year period is good enough. Five years, I think we are just trying to open this forum to people with dubious characters for such an important national duty.

          HON. ZIYAMBI: The tripartite negotiating forum is composed of three groups that are Labour, Government and Organised Business.  Government has vetting processes. Anyone who comes from Government would have satisfied requirements to be in Government.  We do not want to be very prescriptive to business for example, if we extend it for a long time, some of our dear comrades would not have been able to do business because they were incarcerated during the liberation struggle.  

          The labour movement; they know their people but we are just giving this guideline to say that anyone who will be seconded must not be incorporated within five years, and this Clause is uprooted from the Constitution.  If you want to be a Member of Parliament, you should not have committed an electoral related offence within the last five years or have been jailed for over six months – it is there in the Constitution.  We uprooted a provision that was voted for by the majority of the people but we are also alive to the fact that we do not want to over legislate.  Organised labour will know the people that they want to second, organised business will also know and Government has got procedures and processes in terms of who they appoint.  So, I so submit, otherwise I am not very rigid, I am being very liberal to say let us allow people to come to the table and discuss issues of national importance.  I thank you.

          HON. SEN. SHOKO: I certainly agree with the Minister, although I would have said, the issue that we are looking at is these are parties that are coming into this grouping, so it is also very unfortunate to say the parties themselves agreed to say if anyone of us has got this and that, my thrust would be there should be no restriction. For example, Japhet Moyo who is the Secretary General of the ZCTU is part of that tripartite; he is supposed to be there because he is the chief advisor of the labour.  He goes in there and then he is told Japhet, you are insolvent, you are fraudulent, you must get out, it means therefore, the other parties are trying to fight this other party vakasunga ruoko rwayo because their chief advisor is gone.

          Mr. President, I am simply saying, I will support his point because the parties that did it agreed on it but if it was to be re-negotiated and some people like me would be there, I would not agree to say we put in restrictions to the other parties.  This is democracy. Remember, if we look at this thing here, it says we are taking this thing according to ILO standards.  When you go to ILO, they do not check our finger prints; we just go there and participate.   I thank you.

          Clause 4 put and agreed to.

          On Clause 5:

          HON. SEN. SHOKO: I wanted to understand from the Minister where it says this Clause lays down the removal of business and labour members.  Where are these things contained on Clause 5, to say if they do this, they do that and they will be removed?  Is it somewhere?

          HON. ZIYAMBI: I will go to the main part of the Bill which is Section 5, basically, Clause 5, removal of business and labour members and it says “it shall be the preserve of each constituency to remove a member from the main TNF provided that the removal shall not take the effect before the expiry of 14 days from the date of notification.

          Clause 5 put and agreed to.

          Clauses 6 to 11 put and agreed to.

On Clause 12:

          HON. SEN. SHOKO:  When I look at that,  I am reading it with Section 30 which says ‘provided that the total number of appointees for Government shall be 14 and seven each for business and labour.  Am I right?

          HON. ZIYAMBI: I think he has the original Bill that has not been corrected having taken into consideration input from the Committee as well as what happened.  We took care of that in the revised Bill that I have. 

In my notes when I was reading, it says that there will be seven, seven, and seven.  I took time to explain that it will be seven from Government, seven from Labour, seven from Business and two observers.  The actual Bill that we now have has taken care of that. 

          Hon. Sen. B. Mpofu having started debating whilst sitting.

          THE CHAIRPERSON: Switch on your microphone and stand up.

          HON. SEN. B. MPOFU:    I am sorry for that.

Looking at 13.1 (a), I wanted the Minister to motivate the reasons why because this is a tripartite forum. Why not two from labour, two from the Ministry and two from business rather than two from Ministry and then one from each – labour and business.

          THE CHAIRPERSON:  I think you have a wrong copy of the Bill.  It is two and not one.

          HON. SEN. NCUBE:  I think the Bill that we have here is not the one that the Minister is reading.  That is where we have a problem. 

THE CHAIRPERSON: I am advised that the Bill was distributed today, this morning.  It is H.B. 5 A, 2018.  Do you have it? - [HON. SENATORS:  Yes we have but the corrections were not incorporated.]

HON. SEN. SHOKO:  That is why I asked that question because it still has 14, 7 and 7.

HON. ZIYAMBI: I got the Bill from Parliament and my assumption is that when I got this, they indicated that they were circulating it for Hon. Senators.  I believe the Bill must be in your pigeon holes because the one that I read – if you were following my Second Reading speech, some of the issues that you are raising are indicated in the correct position.  I believe Parliament Administration may assist on that.

THE CHAIRPERSON: I believe in the interest of time, where there is a query or an observation, let the Minister use his Bill to clarify that so that we can move forward. Otherwise we shall be here until tomorrow morning. 

With that understanding we move to Clause 13.

On Clause 13:

HON. SEN. B. MPOFU:  On 13.1 (a) that is the submission that I made.  The Minister said it has been changed.  Can it be highlighted because the one that I have does not have that?

HON. ZIYAMBI: Let me read it so that they are happy. 

“13.1 (a) Establishment of Management Committee – There is hereby established a Management Committee composed of; (a) two representatives from the Ministry of Labour and two representatives each from organised business and labour respectively as nominated by the respective constituencies”. 

Clause 13 put and agreed to.

Clauses 14 to 21 put and agreed to

First Schedule to Fourth Schedule put and agreed to. 

House resumed.

Bill reported without amendments.

Third Reading:  With leave, forthwith.

THIRD READING

TRIPARTITE NEGOTIATING FORUM BILL [H. B. 5A, 2018]

THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI):  I move that the Bill be now read the third time.

Motion put and agreed to.

Bill read the third time.

MOTION

BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE

THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI):  I move that Order of the Day, No. 1 be stood over until Order of the Day, No. 2 has been disposed of.

Motion put and agreed to.

MOTION

OUTBREAKS OF VELD FIRES

Second Order read:  Adjourned debate on motion on the recurrence of outbreaks of veld fires with devastating effects on the environment.

Question again proposed.

HON. SEN. GUMPO:  Thank you Mr. President.  I would like to wind up my motion.  Mr. President, the motion that was brought to this House in December has been debated extensively for 21 days.  I would like to thank you Mr. President for allowing this motion to be debated and I would like to thank all the Members of this House for debating and showing interest on this motion.  I would like to state briefly on why I consider this motion very important because the problem of veld fires has become historic.  If we look at the history of this country, if we read in the history books, over a hundred years ago we never used to have anything like a problem on the veld fires.  In 1980 at independence, we had no problem with the veld fires.  In the year 2000, after the land Reform, the problem of veld fires started and the current problem of the veld fires is threatening the economy of our country. 

Mr. President, the question is - how long are we going to be waiting to see, just watch and do nothing about this problem?  When we say veld fires destroy the environment, just one veld fire can burn for kilometres until somebody puts it off.  If no one does that, it will go perpetually without anyone stopping it.  During that process, millions of trees are destroyed and hundreds of thousands of hectares of grassland are also destroyed.  Many other smaller species during that time also are burnt and destroyed.  How long can the country survive?  The results out of that Mr. President, is degradation that we see throughout the country that is creeping. 

Mr. President, I started to have an interest on the subject in 2004 when I started a project in Hurungwe, Ward 18 in the farming area after seeing the problem of veld fires.  In my ward, I initiated a project of controlling veld fires by creating football teams around that area, the whole ward so that people can have a social club and come together.  Eventually, I then put across to them and gave them a reward.  I gave them some trophies and in addition I was giving them annually one bull and two pigs for ten years.  That was an incentive of trying to stop the problem of veld fires.  Mr. President, the project worked well in the beginning but at a later stage, as you know if we are dealing with communities, we are bound to get all sorts of problems because they were competing for trophies and for that price of getting a bull.  It was an incentive to do some other things that were not within the proper procedures.  Some people would then go and burn for the other teams so that they do not get a prize.  That really discouraged me to carry on with the project Mr. President. 

We still hope to continue in that area by initiating something like that.  This time we hope to combine it with a project on cattle development so that the people that own the cattle, maybe they are going to be more committed because the cattle belong to them and with the bulls that are being initiated by Government, I am sure that it will be a better price. We hope that project is going to work better. To summarise the problem Mr. President, it is not enough for this motion to be just debated in this august House and it just ends up there. I think the way forward on this motion would be to interrogate the Statutory Instruments to find out exactly whether the punishment for the people that do the damage is enough. 

          If it is not enough, I remember when we grew up, if you burnt a fire, you had to be in jail for 12 months. It means you would come out of the jail when that grass is tall and that was a heavy penalty Mr. President. I am not suggesting that, but I think we need to do something if nothing is done. We are going to see the whole country degraded into nothing. Mr. President, I therefore propose the adoption of this motion.

Motion that:

          CONCERNED by the recurrence of outbreaks of veld fires with devastating effects on the environment such as deforestation, land degradation and siltation of rivers which in turn affects agricultural production and ultimately the nation;

          ENCOURAGED by His Excellency, the President’s call for good environmental management practices in His Official Opening Speech of the Ninth Parliament;

          WORRIED that the Environmental Management Agency (EMA) and other responsible authorities of Government are failing to control the outbreak of veld fires;

          NOW THEREFORE, calls upon-

          (a )    The Ministry of Environment, Tourism and Hospitality Industry in collaboration with the Ministry of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing; and the Ministry of Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage to intensify awareness campaigns on the effects of veld fires and ensure stringent penalties in relevant legislation against perpetrators; and

          (b)     Inculcate the dangers of veld fires from primary education level with a broader view of fostering cultural change, put and adopted.

          On the motion of THE MINISTER OF STATE FOR MANICALAND PROVINCE (HON. DR. GWARADZIMBA), the Senate adjourned at Twenty Seven Minutes to Four o’clock p.m. until Tuesday, 28th May, 2018.

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Senate Hansard Vol. 28 SENATE HANSARD 23 MAY 2019 VOL 28 NO 45