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SENATE HANSARD - 24 OCTOBER 2013 VOL. 23 NO. 16

PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE

Thursday, 24th October, 2013.

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

 

PRAYERS

(MADAM PRESIDENT in the Chair)

ANNOUNCEMENT BY MADAM PRESIDENT

SWITCHING OFF OF CELLPHONES

MADAM PRESIDENT: May I remind hon. senators to switch off their cellphones or put them on silent before commencement of business.

ORAL ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS WITHOUT NOTICE

SENATOR CHIMBUDZI: Thank you Madam President. My question is directed to the Deputy Minister of Media, Information and Broadcasting Services. Hon. Deputy Minister Sir, what do you really mean when you say the country shall or will maintain the 75% content?

THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF MEDIA, INFORMATION AND BROADCASTING SERVICES (MR. MANDIWANZIRA): Thank you very much Madam President. I also want to thank the hon. senator for that question. As you may be aware, the country has a law in place already that requires that all radio stations broadcast 75% of local content, 10% of regional or African content and 5% content from anywhere else in the world.

So when we say, the country must or broadcasters must adhere to this rule, we mean basically that we must follow the law. Music that is played on local radio stations must meet this requirement. Madam President, we believe this law is very relevant to our country; it is important in that it helps us define who we are through what we produce as music, through what we produce as film, through what we produce as drama and put it on either local television or local radio. We believe that it is also important to adhere to this law because it creates opportunities for employment. It creates opportunities around producing, in the case of television, producing documentaries; producing dramas; producing various programmes like sitcoms and various other content that can be produced for television.

As you may be aware Madam President, when you produce, for instance a film for television, it may employ a thousand people over a period of two months when you are shooting the movie. It also employs every kind of person, even a newly born baby can participate in a movie. An uneducated person with no qualification can participate in a movie as long as they are speaking in their own language and they know what part they are going to play. So we believe that promoting local content, promoting the adherence of this 75% local content will grow a very significant base in terms of local production; grow the industry around media and ensure that we have Zimbabweans listening to their own music and watching their own stories on television. Thank you Madam President.

SENATOR SHIRI: Thank you Madam President. My question is directed to the Deputy Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare. The UN Convention on Rights of Persons with Disabilities has been ratified, what provisions can be put in place to domesticate it?

THE DEPUTY MINSITER OF PUBLIC SERVICE, LABOUR AND SOCIAL WELFARE (MR. MUZENDA): Madam President, can I ask the question to be repeated?

SENATOR SHIRI: The UN Convention on Rights of Persons with Disabilities has been ratified, what provision will be put in place to domesticate it?

MR. MUZENDA: Madam President, the question seems to be a bit general, I am not sure which particular Convention is being referred to.

SENATOR SHIRI: The UN Convention of Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

MR. MUZENDA: Madam President, thank you very much. Before I answer that question, may I take this opportunity to congratulate you for taking back your position as President of the Senate; congratulations from myself and our ministry. May I ask too, Madam President that, the question be put in writing and then we can do justice to it. What I could just say is that, we have an institute called African Rehabilitation Institute and is headquartered here in Harare, which is not functional due mostly to, non- payment by member countries. We are going to Addis Ababa to try and reinstate it, put it back into action. We are going there next week. Otherwise, for the UN question, which you asked, please put it in writing then we can fully answer.

THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF PUBLIC SERVICE, LABOUR AND SOCIAL WELFARE (MR MUZENDA) (SPEAKING)…. writing then we can give it full justice. Thank you Madam President.

+SENATOR MLOTSHWA: Thank you Madam President, my question is directed to the Deputy Minister of Media, Information and Broadcasting Services. I am not very sure whether he understands Ndebele…..

MADAM PRESIDENT: She is asking you whether you are comfortable in Ndebele or she can use English?

THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF MEDIA, INFORMATION AND BROADCASTING SERVICES (MR. MANDIWANZIRA): She can ask in English Madam President.

SENATOR MLOTSHWA: When you were answering the question that Senator Chimbudzi asked you, you were talking about 75% local content. The Zimbabwean Constitution now has 16 languages and when you say 75%; I want to know, 75% of which language?Still on that question, when are you planning as a ministry to have all these 16 languages that we are talking about catered for in news or drama? When are we going to see the 75% of every culture or language? Thank you very much.

MR. MANDIWANZIRA: Thank you Madam President. Senator Mlotshwa, thank you very much for your question. Firstly, I would like to apologize that I could not comprehend your question in Ndebele; my Ndebele is there but very limited. I can understand what you are saying but could miss some of the points. I am very thankful that you agreed to repeat the question in English.

Madam President, the 75% local content we are talking about must be 75% local content produced by Zimbabweans, produced in any language that is spoken in the country and by any cultural group within the country. It is not specific that this content must be produced in Mashonaland, Manicaland or Matabeleland. It can be any local content. As you may be aware, music knows no region or barrier in terms of language or ethnicity because there is a lot of music that is produced in South Africa that people here in Zimbabwe dance to, and the music is in Xhosa. Sometimes they do not even understand what they are actually saying in that music. It is the same here, we have no role whatsoever in undermining any specific culture or language in our country. All these languages that are captured in our Constitution are welcome on our national airwaves; whether they are owned by Government or the private sector.

What is important is that the producers of content in these areas; for example, if it is music by people who speak Shangani, it must be attractive to a wider audience, not just to the Shangani people. This is what we are promoting, that we must encourage all cultures and languages to be produced in terms of music but in a fashion that will make it entertaining to everyone who listens to these stations and to everyone who watches television.

To the second part of the question, on when we are going to have news or programmes in some of these languages that are captured in the Constitution. Madam President, this is a responsibility for those licensed stations but what we are doing as a ministry is to put out a policy that promotes the production of content; to promote the stations and to look into what our Constitution expects of them. In a majority of cases, the majority of the radio stations or television stations are commercially inclined. They look at - if we are going to have a news bulletin, that is in one specific language spoken perhaps by a very small population, we may not have as many viewers or listeners as they may switch off and move to other stations.

We believe, as a ministry, that all languages spoken in this country must be catered for in the areas of broadcast and the answer lies in widening the broadcast sector allowing new players to come in and also allowing community stations to be set up. If you have a small community that speaks a common language, they can have a station of their own. So, my response will come later on one of the questions with notice. I will speak a bit more elaborately on what the ministry’s position is regarding opening up the airwaves and allowing community stations that could respond in terms of broadcasting in languages that are spoken by communities in small regions. I thank you Madam President.

SENATOR CHITAKA: Thank you Madam President. My question is actually a follow up to what the Minister has just been talking about on 75% local content. Minister, this policy has been with us for a number of years now. It has been long since it was expounded. How have you enforced it, if at all and ……

MADAM PRESIDENT: Order, I would appeal to the hon. senator to realise that you are posing this question to a very new Minister in that ministry. So you seem to be basing your question on what has happened before. I always appeal that when you ask questions, you are not only asking them for yourself but for all of us in here and they should be in such a manner that the Minister is actually able to give us a good answer. It has to be relevant to the ministry.

SENATOR CHITAKA: I appreciate your advice, Madam President. I am motivated by the fact that this debate on 75% local content was actually started by the Deputy Minister himself. So I am very confident that having re-opened this debate in the public arena, especially outside Parliament, and has come here to continue to be debated; I am sure he is very able and willing to respond to my question. I am also very aware that if he needs to go and come back with a more robust answer, I have no problem with that.

Back to my question hon. minister, in view of the fact that this policy has been with us for quite a number of years, how has it been enforced, and what benefits have you accrued out of that 75% policy? If you look at the fact that a lot of Zimbabwean music is now produced in South Africa, is that local content or foreign content?

THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF MEDIA, INFORMATION AND BROADCASTING SERVICES (MR MANDIWANZIRA): Thank you Madam President and thank you to hon. Senator Chitaka for the question. I must say I am quite happy and confident to take on the question despite being new in the ministry.

In my previous life, I was a very strong proponent for indigenisation and empowerment. I would like to respond by saying the 75% local content requirement is an empowerment tool for those in the Arts and Creative Industry. I say this because we have created a new industry of artists in this country who I have no doubt, Hon. Senator Chitaka has danced to during his parties. I know Hon. Senator Chitaka used to run some night clubs in Manicaland and they used to play a lot of music that has been produced by young Zimbabwean artists, who have suddenly realised the potential and opportunity created by the requirement for 75% local content.

Today, people like Sniper, Plaxedes Wenyika and Maskiri are well known to hon. senators who are here. Those people have come about because of the requirement by law that local stations must play 75% of local music on those stations. So these artists previously had no space on the air hence the space was created for them so that people will know about them and their music. Now that people have been exposed to their music they now enjoy their music. So, that is the opportunity that has been created by the 75% local content.

Today those young artists, male and female, young and old, are earning a living through music. They are touring Australia, United Kingdom and even South Africa. These young artists, before the 75% local content was established, had never had been heard on local radio because we were listening to the Americans. We were listening to music from South Africa as if we did not have our own music. So I am saying to the hon. senator, there are tangible benefits that everyone can see that have been created by the 75% local content.

How do we define local content? We believe that anything produced by a Zimbabwean, whether they have produced it in South Africa or United Kingdom is local content. We must recognize that there are a number of Zimbabweans who are staying in these countries, who have a yearning to connect with what is happening in Zimbabwe and they do so through listening to music and television programmes of what is happening in their communities whilst they are in those foreign countries.

Madam President, there is nothing wrong with Zimbabwean music or the music produced by a Zimbabwean, sung by a Zimbabwean who is based in South Africa coming to be played here because it is local content. It is produced by our own sons and daughters who maybe in one country or the other for one reason or the other. What is important is what they are singing as Zimbabweans. This should be something that local stations would want to play and it should be good enough for the audiences who may include ourselves.

So our definition Madam President, of local content is anything produced by Zimbabweans, produced in this country or outside the country. I may as well add Madam President that we have young Zimbabweans who have excelled in the United Kingdom as music producers. Some of these are producing for some of the world’s renowned artists like Beyonce. We therefore must celebrate them by playing whatever they are producing in Zimbabwe. We also have Zimbabweans in Australia who are doing extremely well. We must be able to play their music to demonstrate that our influence is no longer just in Zimbabwe but is global. Thanks to the introduction of the 75% local content. Thank you.

SENATOR CHIEF SIANSALI: Thank you Madam President. My question is directed to the Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare. Hon. minister, may I know the criteria that was used to identify the beneficiary of the harmonised cash transfer. According to my knowledge, this cash transfer did not benefit or it missed the target because we have able people who are gainfully employed or who have their spouses gainfully employed who are under the programme. The needy or the ones that should have got this cash are not getting anything. The traditional leaders were not even consulted.

THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF PUBLIC SERVICE, LABOUR AND SOCIAL WELFARE (MR. MUZENDA): Thank you Madam President, unlike my colleague from Media and Information, I did not actually come up with this Act, so I may need a bit of time to consult. However, what I can say is that you are correct Hon. Chief Siansali, to say there are people who are benefiting from the harmonised cash transfer. We are looking into the matter as this is not acceptable. There is some corruption involved in this matter. I would like to advise the august Senate that the ministry is doing everything it can to stop this, with the assistance of the Police and other interested stakeholders.

However, with your permission Madam President, we will get more information on the question so we can give more statistics and we know some of the people who have done this illegally. Thank you.

*SENATOR CHIEF MUSARURWA: Thank you Madam President. My question is directed to the Minister of Media, Information and Broadcasting Services. I would like to know your plans in terms of our cultural values when looking at the social networks like WhatsApp. When you look at the messages that are sent around, is it good for our culture and our nation. I think as a nation we need to stick to our culture. So what are your plans? Also on the issue of newspapers, yes we love news, they should be distributed but you find that some of the things that we see in our newspapers, especially in the H-Metro, we do not see how they are helping us in keeping our culture. Thank you.

THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF MEDIA, INFORMATION AND BROADCASTING SERVICES (MR. MANDIWANZIRA): I would like to thank Hon. Chief Musarurwa for bringing up that question because your concerns are our concerns as well, as a ministry.

Coming to our culture, it is a big issue that is why we are advocating for 75% local content, because we want to advocate for our culture. We want everything that comes out to depict our cultural values. So we are saying to those who are against the 75% local content out there, they are seeing what they are producing and they do not watch what comes from Zimbabwe. I think we should advocate for 75% local content, and we will welcome what they produce because they will not bring those foreign things. It is not good seeing black people kissing on television but if it is being done by the whites, it is not our concern. So, we want our culture to be brought up by the local producers. I think delinquency is coming about because of what our children are watching, which is coming from the West.

Coming to the issue of cell phones, you referred to ‘WhatsApp’, the social networks, because what is being passed on ‘WhatsApp’ is not proper. There is a law which prohibits things like pornography being spread using our telecommunication systems, but what I can say is that it is not our ministry that can answer this fully. The chief should direct his question to Hon. Minister Shamu, who is the responsible Minister for ICT because he is the one responsible for telecommunications.

Coming to the newspapers, in the past you have been seeing us, the Minister of Media, Minister Jonathan Moyo and myself visiting all the Media houses. We were extending our hand so that we work together and give them a chance to listen to our advice, especially when they are bringing up pornographic pictures. That is what we are doing as a ministry, so that we have a say in whatever they are doing and on top of that, there are laws which prohibit pornographic material and pictures of dead people in the newspapers.

In journalism, there are things that are not allowed. There are media ethics that do not allow the showing of pornographic pictures, but we have heard, and we are going to engage H-Metro so that they really look at the pictures that they bring out, that should not be seen by people of all ages. So, we urge them to take that into consideration. I thank you.

SENATOR CHIEF NGUNGUMBANE: Thank you Madam President. For a change I will direct my question to the Minister of Primary and Secondary Education. I have two questions for you hon. minister. The first one has to do with our language and culture. As traditional leaders, we are the custodians of our culture and language plays an integral part in the transmission of our culture. There have been complaints and wide spread criticism with regard to the Grade 7 Ndebele paper. I want to find out from you minister, what checks and balances you are putting in place to ensure that the language that is used, not only Ndebele, but all languages in our country, to ensure that the language that is used is of high standard and quality?

The second question is; as you are aware that we are suffering from the effects of drought, I wanted to find out whether your ministry has a supplementary feeding programme for school going children? Thank you.

THE MINISTER OF PRIMARY AND SECONDARY EDUCATION (MR. DOKORA): Thank you Madam President and I thank the hon. chief for raising those two questions. Yes, I agree that language plays a critical role in the transmission of culture and value system.

The appropriate way to look at the Ndebele Paper, perhaps is to say, does ZIMSEC have a system of checks and balances to check on the way they produce their examination papers? The answer is yes, they do, but I am also aware of the fact that our languages evolve through time and use, as they try to grapple with the globalising experiences that we have today. I am aware of the items that you are referring to and we have asked the system to check on their appropriateness. There are varieties of the Ndebele language itself and it may be in that zone where there is contestation of the appropriateness of the use of a particular word as opposed to another that these items emerged.

A more sensitive approach will be made so that we do not have another slip shod of this nature. Perhaps, it should have gone through a number of checks and balances before admission into the examination paper. It has been taken care of and I thank you for raising that matter.

The second question relates to whether there is a feeding scheme or programme for school children. I am aware country wide and especially in those areas that are affected by food deficit or those areas that are food insecure, that attendance at school has become erratic. In some cases children attend school on alternate days when they have had some meal. It would be ideal to place in the school institution itself simple things like mahewu, as a motive that might keep children coming to school. I am also aware of the stressful situation that we are in at the moment because it is also examination time and some of the children who are writing are also affected by this food insecurity in their homes.

As for now, the ministry has not received adequate support to be able to run a supplementary feeding programmme for school children but I thank you for raising this issue because it will simply buttress our point, as we direct those efforts to Treasury to see if there can be some saving that could be directed towards children. I thank you for raising that question.

*SENATOR MUCHIHWA: Thank you Madam President. My question is directed to the Minister of Primary and Secondary Education. According to the new Constitution, school children from Grade 1 to 7 should not pay school fees. Is that being followed? At the moment, children who do not pay their school fees are being turned away in both rural and urban schools. What I would like to know is, has this law been implemented, or is it still at its planning stage?

*THE MINISTER OF PRIMARY AND SECONDARY EDUCATION (MR. DOKORA): Thank you Madam President for affording me this opportunity to give my response. I would also want to thank Hon. Senator Muchihwa for asking such an important question. As a nation, we do wish that no child is turned away from school because of school fees.

As Ministry of Education, regardless of what the Constitution says, we follow the history of what was done by the Government in 1980 whereby the Government said, education is a right to every child in this country. If you remember in 1980, we had many schools, some constructed and others upgraded to upper tops. The upper tops were secondary schools which were near the primary schools. We also had adult education so that everyone could access education. As a result, Zimbabwe has been hailed for being one of the countries with the most educated people in Africa. As a ministry, we do not allow any child to be turned away from school because school fees has not been paid. School fees is paid by the parents and not by the child. What this means is, the school heads and the parents should discuss the issue of school fees and leave the child out of this issue.

Justice Cheda in Bulawayo explained that the issue of school fees is between the parents and heads of schools and he put blame squarely on the headmasters if they fire these children from school. However, their plea is, SDAs are responsible for firing children from school and not the heads of schools. As a ministry, we are formulating a policy and regulation which will empower the school heads so that they may be able to override the powers of the SDAs. In a case where there is a misunderstanding between the SDAs and the headmaster, the headmaster finds himself powerless.

Let me look at what the Constitution says about education. Our Constitution says, compulsory basic education should be accessed by all the children of Zimbabwe. Generally, what this means is, if you do not send your child to school, that will be committing a crime. This is explained in Chapter 2 of the Constitution and in this chapter, we put all our expectations regarding education and we think that as time goes on, we will be able to formulate policies with regard to our education system. So far, we have not yet put these into law. We hope that, as time goes on, we will be able to raise enough funds to pay for the children’s school fees, uniforms and paying of teachers. We wish to do that as a ministry without consulting the parents. What we know is that parents are keen to have the best education for their children. As a result, we cannot stop them from paying school fees for their children. However, this is our plan and we wish to implement it in the near future. I thank you.

SENATOR MUSAKA: Thank you Madam President. My question is directed to the Minister of Primary and Secondary Education. I know there are constraints in terms of funding but my constituency has a very large resettlement area. When can we expect a systematic programme that will move within a year or two in providing decent infrastructure for schools in the resettlement areas? Like I said in my maiden speech, tobacco barns are being used as schools. This is still not good. It is as if to say, they are temporary; we are in the resettlement areas permanently. Can the minister brief us on his programme, when can we expect decent infrastructure.

THE MINISTER OF PRIMARY AND SECONDARY EDUCATION (MR. DOKORA): Thank you Madam President. I thank the hon. member for raising the question, which helps us put on record what Government thinking is, concerning the matter of infrastructure for learners in the resettlement areas. The recent past history of our country has not been very helpful. In some quarters, resettlement areas were considered contested areas. Therefore, very little was allowed to flow into those areas with a view to impacting on the infrastructure. Our country has moved on, with the new Constitution affirming the land reform as an irreversible fact of history. Consequently, as a ministry, we are at the moment looking for funding partners and stakeholders, and we will be launching a one day conference on the single issue of infrastructural development for our school institutions, which would embrace the resettlement areas, communal areas, as well as the high density areas.

We are also looking at the possibility of using the concept of private – public partnerships as one way of delivering quickly on the infrastructure deficit in the education sector. Government has thousands of spaces for constructing schools in the country and the major constraint is financial. We are trying to invite those who are willing to work with us to say, if we give you for instance, this piece of land and you build a school and we allow you to operate it for the next 15 to 20 years on these terms. Can you deliver the infrastructure? However, we will also govern what happens there, what subjects are taught and control the teaching personnel so that the national curriculum is delivered in whatever space the learners find themselves in. I agree and am not hesitant to say that the Government’s commitment to providing infrastructure in those areas is very clear. We must deliver and we will find ways to do that.

I am also looking at the external friends of this country and will be making a trip to China in the next few weeks to see whether we can develop sufficient bonding there that will eventually lead to an impact in infrastructure provision for our learners. I thank you.

SENATOR NCUBE: Thank you Madam President. My question is directed to the Deputy Minister of Media, Information and Broadcasting Services. What is the Government policy on ZTV licences considering that a lot of people now subscribe for DSTV? Further to that, ZBC asks people to pay US$20 or US$50 licencing fees. Yes, one will not be able to watch ZTV without paying for it and yet it can also be watched on DSTV where most people like to subscribe and watch. Thank you.

THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF MEDIA, INFORMATION AND BROADCASTING SERVICES (MR. MANDIWANZIRA): Madam President, I would like to thank the hon. senator for that question, which helps the ministry to clarify the position on the licencing of radio and television receivers in this country. Madam President, there is a general misunderstanding out there, that when people pay for a licence fee, they will be paying to watch ZBC television or listen to the radio stations.

The truth of the matter is that the law, as it relates to licencing, is not about ZBC. It is about anyone who owns a receiver, you are licenced per receiver not per reception. You are licenced for owning a gadget that receives. It does not matter what is being received there, even if you choose not to watch ZTV, the law does not say you are paying for ZBC reception. It states that you are licenced for owning a receiver. Therefore, there is no relationship between the licence fee that is paid for owning a receiver and the content of what you receive from ZBC. The two are separate.

According to the law, ZBC is actually the collection agent, they are the collector of the licence fee and you are not necessarily paying for the quality of what you watch there. It is the law which says anyone who owns a receiver - that is why even people who are in areas that do not have reception by ZBC will still have a Licence Inspector visiting and saying, you have a TV station and you should pay for it. The policy of the ministry is informed by this existing law. I thank you Madam President.

SENATOR TIMVEOS: The question I wanted to ask has already been answered.

*SENATOR MUCHIHWA: My question is directed to the Minister of Media, Information and Broadcasting Services and is a follow up on what he has just explained. He stated that when we pay for a TV or radio licence, we are not paying for the reception services from that set or a particular station, but we are paying for owning a receiver’s set. I therefore plead with his ministry to hold awareness workshops on this aspect regarding the payment of licences. I am sure that the hon. minister has noticed that even we, as legislators and elected people who are enlightened on some aspects, are not aware of this issue of paying for owning a TV or radio set.

You have also informed us that, whether you listen to the ZBC or not, that is not of importance, but the very fact that you own a set also means that you have to pay for that ownership. My question is, have you ever held awareness workshops on this aspect regarding the payment of licences in order to let people know that we pay for the receiver and not for reception?

* MR. MANDIWANZIRA: Thank you hon. senator for that question. I thank you Madam President for giving me this opportunity to respond to the question on why we have to pay radio and TV licences yet most of us do not listen to radio or watch the State TV but subscribe to DSTV. You also wanted to know whether we have any plans to educate the public on why they should pay for receiver’s licences.

I thank you very much for giving us this idea that we should hold awareness workshops and put up advertisements to make people aware that we pay licences for receivers and not for the content broadcasted. Even if you listen to outside stations like the South African broadcasts, you still have to pay your receiver’s licence. Therefore, we accept your idea and will try to implement it and educate the public on the licencing fees payment.

The rules and regulations on the Broadcasting Act regarding payment of licence fees were formulated by Parliament and therefore, if legislators feel that there should be a change on this Act, they should put in place mechanisms to effect such changes since they are the representatives of the people. Therefore, it is up to you Members of Parliament as representatives of the people to have a relook at this Act if you feel there is need for it to be changed. I thank you Madam President.

Questions Without Notice were interrupted by MADAM PRESIDENT in terms of Standing Order No. 34.

ORAL ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS WITH NOTICE

CONTROL OF PRIVATE RADIO STATIONS

1. SENATOR CHIMBUDZI asked the Minister of Media, Information and Broadcasting Services to inform the House on what measures the Government has put in place to control private radio stations which are damaging the image of the country.

THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF MEDIA, INFORMATION AND BROADCASTING SERVICES (MR. MANDIWANZIRA): Thank you Madam President. Thank you hon. senator for this question. I have had time to prepare the presentation because it was a Question with Notice. Madam President, I would like to start by congratulating you for your reappointment and election as the President of the Senate. I would also like to apologise to you and the whole House Madam President, for the time it has taken for Hon. Senator Chimbudzi’s question to be answered. I know it has been on the Order Paper for the past three weeks or so. I would like, on behalf of the Minister of Media, Information and Broadcasting Services, Prof. Jonathan Moyo and on my own behalf, to profusely apologise, that due to unforeseen circumstances, we were unable to come and present our response. Madam President, we will endeavour to make sure that this does not happen again.

MADAM PRESIDENT: We thank you.

MR. MANDIWANZIRA: Itwill not happen again.I will go back to the question by the Hon. Member, Senator Chimbudzi which is asking about the measures that the Government is taking; particularly the ministry on the control of private radio stations which are damaging the image of the country by peddling falsehoods about Zimbabwe. I stand to be guided and corrected because my understanding is that the private stations that we have here in Zimbabwe are two that were licensed. Both were licensed last year; these are ZiFM stereo and Star FM.

As far as the ministry is concerned, it is not aware that these stations are offending the interests of the country. I have assumed that by saying private radio stations, the hon. member may actually be referring to pirate radio stations that have been broadcasting hate propaganda and falsehoods into our territory. I will tackle that specific question.

Firstly, Madam President, I am aware that the pirate stations were set up and they continue to be funded by hostile western governments that are hostile to this country and the objective why these stations were set up was to effect illegal regime change here in Zimbabwe. I am sure that you, myself and perhaps the majority of the people in this Senate are very heartened by the resounding victory of ZANU PF in the July 31 harmonised elections. That resounding victory clearly spells the fact that these pirate stations have failed in terms of their objective of effecting illegal regime change in this country. Perhaps we should not worry too much about these pirate stations that have been purveying anti-Government and anti-ZANU PF propaganda.

Having said that Madam President, the Ministry of Information, Media and Broadcasting Services considers the pirate stations a nuisance that we must get rid of.

In the majority of cases, the Zimbabweans who listen to these pirate stations do so out of desperation because they are unable to get the signal of the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC) in the areas where they stay. They have no choice and they end up by default, listening to some of these pirate stations. To this end, the ministry through Transmedia; a signal distribution company owned by the Government of Zimbabwe and a parastatal under the ministry, is spearheading the rapid expansion of ZBC coverage nationwide. We have injected fresh impetus for the organization to roll out a transmission infrastructure that ensures that all parts of the country are able to receive the signal from ZBC and other Zimbabwean stations that are licensed within jurisdiction the of Zimbabwe.

This programme will have to be undertaken now under the bigger framework of digitilising the country’s transmission system in readiness for the switch-off of the analogue television transmission system whose deadline is June 2015. As Transmedia is rolling out a digitalisation transmitter network, it will also address the lack of reception in many areas around the country. The Ministry of Media, Information and Broadcasting Services is engaging the Ministry of Finance to see if it can make funds available for this digitilisation programme. For your information Madam President, the digitilisation of the whole country will cost about US$30 million and we have an international deadline to switch-off analogue and go to digitilisation by June 2015. This means that this has to happen within this period of less than 24 months.

Madam Speaker, the ministry is also aware that some people who end up listening to some of these pirate stations do so because they are looking for a variety of stations…

MADAM PRESIDENT: Order. This House is a Senate.

MR. MANDIWANZIRA: My apologies Madam President. Madam President, the ministry is also aware that some of the people who end up listening to these pirate stations are doing so because they are looking for variety. They, by default, end up listening to these pirate stations because they are some of the stations where Shona, Ndebele and other vernacular languages are spoken at the moment.

We are aware that this is one of the problems. As a ministry, we have started the process of opening up airwaves to various other players. In fact, this process started last year with a process that culminated in the licencing authority; the Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe, licensing the two stations I mentioned earlier on, Star FM and ZiFM. Very shortly, the Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe will be calling for more applications to licence other radio stations in this country. In addition, the ministry is also consulting with a view to introduce or licence community radio stations again in the not too distant future.

We believe as a ministry that once we address the issues of transmission throughout the country, everyone will be able to receive ZBC. Once we address the issues of choice, that we have multiple channels that are available and licenced in this country and that we have community radio stations, we will render the pirate stations completely irrelevant. Nobody would want to go and listen to a pirate station that is broadcasting on short wave when frequency modulation transmission of a different number of stations is now available. Thank you Madam President.

INCENTIVES FOR CIVIL SERVANTS IN THE RURAL AREAS

6. SENATOR CHIMBUDZI asked the Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare:

i) to inform the House whether Government has any plans to introduce incentives to civil servants who are stationed in the rural areas; and

ii) to explain to the House how this is going to be implemented for the satisfaction of all intended beneficiaries.

THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF PUBLIC SERVICE, LABOUR AND SOCIAL WELFARE (MR. MUZENDA): Thank you Madam President. Thank you Senator Chimbudzi. I will partially answer the question, Madam President. In the ZANU PF’s party manifesto, His Excellency, the President……

SENATOR MUCHIHWA: On a point of order Madam President, we cannot listen to partial answers to questions.

MADAM PRESIDENT: Hello. You are free to walk out. You cannot complain if you do not want to listen to what is being dished out.

SENATOR MUCHIHWA: We cannot listen to partial answers to questions. We are from different political parties.

MADAM PRESENT: Can you quote that rule? You have to quote the rule so that I can rule him out.

SENATOR MUCHIHWA: I cannot quote it now but as we are in Parliament Madam President …

MADAM PRESIDENT: Order, Question Time is not for debate and I do not think that it is in order for you and me to be debating back and forth. As I advised, you are not compelled to listen.

MR. MUZENDA: My apologies Madam President, in case I stepped on the wrong toes.

In his inauguration Speech, His Excellency the President, and also in his Speech of the Opening of Parliament, the President of the Republic of Zimbabwe, promised civil servants that their conditions of service will be looked into and that is an instruction. It is an instruction from our boss. So, we are going to make sure that it will be done. Given that the ministry is the human resources division of the civil service, it is our responsibility to make sure that the well-being of the civil servants is well looked after.

Madam President, if you allow me I would give a little story about myself in terms of being a civil servant, and also being a minister?

MADAM PRESIDENT: Order minister, we prefer for you to give the answers to questions.

MR. MUZENDA: I am sorry Madam President. As a ministry, we are working on the well-being of civil servants. The officers are working on this issue. They are handling the matter and we still need a bit of time to complete the assignment fully so that we can give a full answer.

Deferment will enable us to give a comprehensive response to this august Senate. Thank you Madam President.

PRIMARY SCHOOL PERIOD OF LEARNING

TRANSITIONAL PHASE

10. SENATOR CHIMBUDZI on behalf of SENATOR

MUMVURI asked the Minister of Primary and Secondary Education to explain to the Senate how the primary school period of learning transitional phase is going to be changed from the current seven years to nine years of the primary education?

THE MINISTER OF PRIMARY AND SECONDARY EDUCATION (MR. DOKORA): Thank you Madam President and thank you to the hon. senator for raising this question. I do apologise that I had to ask that the question be deferred to this week to enable me to be present as I had been away.

Madam President, the hon. senator may wish to recall that the 1999 Commission of Inquiry into Education and Training recommended the democratisation of early childhood development whose importance is recognised worldwide for the head start that it offers to the learners. This recommendation had the effect of adding two additional years to the primary school length from seven years to nine years. Consequently, primary school education is made up of the following modules:

The infant school caters for the following:

- Early Childhood Development Module (ECD) which is for the four year olds.

- ECD ‘B’ is for the five year olds.

The Ministry in 2004 sent out a circular to all primary schools to instruct them to be in conformity with the 1999 Commission ’B’. That is what we started with. Then in 2005, we added Module ‘A’, for the four year olds. So, in effect, we have:

- ECD ‘A’ for the four year olds

- ECD ‘B’ for the five year olds and then;

- Grade 1 for the six year olds.

- Grade 2 for the seven year olds.

That completes the infant school module. A child who misses out on any part of that module, that missing out will have consequences later on in the latter part of the school curriculum. Therefore, it is important for us to stress that communities need to understand that Module ‘A’ and Module ‘B’ are not optional. They are a necessary part of the infant school.

The second level is the junior school which comprises, Grades 3 to 7 to twelve year olds, in other words, for the eight year olds to the twelve year olds. The hon. senator and the august Senate may wish to be informed that the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education has commenced the process to review the curriculum itself. This review is premised on the extent of the implementation of the 1999 Presidential Commission of Inquiry into Education and Training.

Further, the review must take on board the current and cutting edge issues in the sector of education. In other words, the implication is that, in 1999 we had this important Commission making important recommendations, but between 1999 and today, a lot of other developments have taken place in the sector of ICT, for instance, in the way we understand child development and in the way we want to mainstream technical and vocational skills in the school system. The proposed review is further based on the principle that every learner is entitled to a curriculum which is balanced and broad based in order to promote his or her spiritual moral, cultural, mental, aesthetic and physical development in the school and in society.

Such a curriculum is also intended to prepare learners for the opportunities, responsibilities and experiences of adult life in a transforming economy. The envisaged curriculum should provide a vehicle for education to meaningfully play its role as a tool for national transformation and development. A curriculum is at the centre of quality education and refers to, “all the experiences a learner is exposed to, through a school”.

The intended appropriate curriculum is envisaged to perform the following four things:

- Relate the education system to employment with learners who are prepared to move from the classroom to the factory.

- Impart education for life and foster skills that lead to employment creation;

- Underpin the curriculum on science, technology, engineering, mathematics and technical/vocational subjects including information and communication with the Humanities and Commercials playing their role. Fourthly, to deepen and develop our local culture and philosophy as embraced in the ubuntu/unhu as indeed reflected in the Nziramasanga Commission.

The degree to which our education system achieves these elements is one of the indicators of quality of our education system. This should lead to learners achieving better learning outcomes, especially in literacy, numeracy and essential life skills.

I hope this clarifies the matter of the nine year primary curriculum. Thank you.

MADAM PRESIDENT: Thank you minister. We thank you very much as senators for availing yourself today for our Question Time. It is very much appreciated that you gave us your time – [HON. SENATORS: Hear, hear] - But, please do not go, because we will want to avail upon you to help us adjourn the debate and we only have one item left. I thank you.

MOTION

PRESIDENTIAL SPEECH: DEBATE ON ADDRESS

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

Question again proposed.

THE MINISTER OF PRIMARY AND SECONDARY EDUCATION (MR. DOKORA): I move that the debate do now adjourn.

Motion put and agreed to.

Debate to resume: Tuesday, 19th November, 2013.

On the motion of THE MINISTER OF PRIMARY AND SECONDARY EDUCATION (MR. DOKORA), the Senate adjourned at Five Minutes to Four o’clock p.m. until Tuesday, 19th November, 2013.

Last modified on Thursday, 20 February 2014 10:49
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Senate Hansard Vol. 23 SENATE HANSARD - 24 OCTOBER 2013 VOL. 23 NO. 16