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SENATE HANSARD - 27 MARCH 2012 VOL. 21 NO. 25

 

PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE

Tuesday, 27th March, 2012.

The Senate met at Half Past Two o'clock p.m.

 

PRAYERS

( MADAM PRESIDENT in the Chair)

ANNOUNCEMENTS BY MADAM PRESIDENT

NON-ADVERSE REPORTS RECEIVED FROM THE PARLIAMENTARY LEGAL COMMITTEE

MADAM PRESIDENT: I have to inform the Senate that I have received non-adverse Reports from the Parliamentary Legal Committee on the Statutory Instruments published in the Government Gazette during the months of November and December 2011, except Statutory Instruments Number 127 of 2011 and Number 153 of 2011.

I have also received a Non-Adverse Report on the Statutory Instruments published in the Government Gazette during the months of January and February 2012, except Number 10 of 2012.

LAUNCH OF THE INDUSTRIAL DEVELOPMENT AND INTERNATIONAL TRADE POLICY

MADAM PRESIDENT: I have to inform the House that the Ministry of Industry and Commerce is inviting hon. senators to the launch of the Industrial Development and International Trade Policy to be held at the Harare International Conference Centre on Thursday, 29th of March 2012 from 0900 hrs to 1300 hrs.

SWITCHING OFF OF CELLPHONES

MADAM PRESIDENT: May I remind hon. senators to please switch off your cellphones or put them on silent before business commences.

MOTION

BUSINESS OF THE SENATE

THE MINISTER OF STATE FOR STATE SECURITY IN THE PRESIDENT'S OFFICE: I move that Orders of the Day, Numbers 1 to 5 be stood over until the rest of the Orders of the Day have been disposed of.

Motion put and agreed to.

 

MOTION

FIRST REPORT OF THE THEMATIC COMMITTEE ON HUMAN RIGHTS ON THE STATE OF PRISONS AND PRISONERS IN ZIMBABWE

SENATOR MARAVA : I move the motion standing in my name; that this House takes note of the First Report of the Thematic Committee on Human Rights on the State of Prisons and Prisoners in Zimbabwe.

SENATOR HUNGWE : I second.

SENATOR MARAVA :

1. Introduction

1.1 The Thematic Committee on Human Rights conducted fact finding visits to prisons with a view of assessing the living conditions of prisoners, to see whether they are in keeping with the human rights standards. The Committee visited some prisons (Chikurubi Maximum Prison, Mutare Remand, Mutimurefu Prison and Hwahwa Prison) in 2010 and noted that the living conditions of prisoners were far below the expected minimum standards. The Committee tabled a report with recommendations to improve the living conditions of prisoners. The Committee invited the Deputy Commissioner to a meeting, to brief it on the current state of prisons, that is improvements and challenges since the Committee's last visit. The Deputy Commissioners assured the Committee that there were some improvements in terms of food, uniforms, toiletries and blankets.

1.2 The Committee resolved to visit Khami, Binga and Hwange prisons to assess whether the living conditions of prisoners had indeed improved as alluded to by the Deputy Commissioner.

2. Methodology

2.1 The Committee received oral evidence from the Deputy Commissioner of Prisons on the current state of prisons and prisoners. The Committee carried out fact finding visits to Khami, Binga and Hwange prisons where meetings were also held with prisons officials and inmates.

3. Committee's Findings

3.1 Khami Prison

3.1.1 The Committee heard that Khami Prison Complex consists of four prisons: Maximum, Medium, Remand and Mlondolozi. The old Khami Maximum prison was renamed Khami Remand after the new, modernized Khami Maximum prison was opened in 2006.

 

Khami Remand

3.1.2 The Committee heard that the Zimbabwe Prison Services was failing to maintain the prison complex particularly the infrastructure. For example there were no locks on some doors, some wooden doors had been attacked by termites and were beyond repair. Plastic and cardboard box materials were put as doors.

3.1.3 The ablution facilities for Khami Remand were not functional and said to be beyond repair. The situation was worsened by lack of adequate water to flush the system. All this was blamed on the unavailability of funds. Window panes were broken and needed to be repaired. Some roof sheets were blown away by winds resulting in rain leaking into the cells. The Committee also heard that prisoners lie on the floor because Zimbabwe Prison Services was unable to provide beds or mattresses.

3.1.4 The problem of inadequate uniforms for both inmates and prison officials was highlighted. The Officer In Charge (OIC) told the Committee that he was using his own funds to repair the old Government vehicle that he uses, as CMED had indicated that it did not have spare parts. There was no vehicle for administrative duties.

3.1.5 The Committee heard that prisons were meant to be correctional institutions to assist prisoners with their rehabilitation back into society. The Officer In Charge said this was not possible without necessary machinery. Zimbabwe Prison Services's request for machinery and maintenance funds had gone unanswered. Zimbabwe Prison Services Officials expressed their frustration because of limited resources which makes it difficult for them to undertake their mandate. They said they felt they are being neglected. The Committee heard that NGOs were assisting with plates, uniforms and prisoners' rations.

3.1.6 The Committee heard that Khami Remand has a holding capacity of 676 prisoners compared to the day's unlock of 630. However, within the prison, there are non-functional cells as locks were tempered with by prisoners who wanted to escape sometime in March 2011. The Officer In Charge told the Committee that A Hall had fourteen while B Hall had thirty four non-functional cells. The Committee also heard that Khami Remand was not allocated funds to purchase padlocks and to replace the wooden doors that were damaged by termites. The Officials felt this was too risky considering that there were fifteen prisoners on life sentences at Khami Remand.

 

3.2 Mlondolozi

3.2.1 Mlondolozi is a grade three prison. The prison has a holding capacity of 596 and on the day of the Committee's visit unlock was 302. Mlondolozi houses both male and female prisoners including those that are mentally challenged. Two female inmates were expecting, they were ten babies and four juveniles.

3.2.2 The Officer In Charge informed the Committee that the children were in need of playing facilities, bedding, soap, vaseline and clothing. The food situation was said to be fair as inmates were getting three meals a day but children did not have their own allocation. They feed on adults' ration which is not suitable for the children's growth.

3.2.3 The Committee heard that the Mlondolozi Complex was old and in a bad state due to heavy roof leakages especially in the male section. Officials requested Government to avail funds for the renovation of the complex.

3.2.4 The prison officer highlighted the following needs for the prison: uniforms, plates, station vehicle, padlocks and light bulbs for cells.

3.3 Khami Maximum

3.3.1 Khami Maximum is a grade four prison with a holding capacity of 1472 inmates and on the day of the Committee's visit unlock was 1525 which points to overcrowding. Khami Maximum also had 10 non functional cells due to security problems which puts a further strain on the prison's holding capacity. The Prison houses the young, the old and the physically challenged. Although it is difficult to separate physically challenged prisoners from the general population, care is given in order to safeguard them from any kind of abuse by other inmates.

3.3.2 The Committee heard that prison officials abide by the standard minimum rules set for prisoners. The food situation had improved as inmates were fed three meals a day although there were still complaints about the relish. The Committee also heard that Khami Maximum was not built with the physically challenged in mind even though it is new. The ablution has squatting holes instead of a sitting pan that is required by the physically challenged.

3.3.3 The Committee observed that clothes and blankets were still a challenge as prisoners get one uniform each. Inmates are entitled to three blankets each but had two each.

3.3.4 Regarding healthcare, Khami Maximum hospital lacks important machinery like x-ray machines, a CD4 count machine and furniture for the hospital. The prison has to outsource when a prisoner needs such services which is costly and compromises security.

3.3.5 Khami had an education department that caters for grade 1 to 'A' level. There are professional teachers (officers) and some inmates who were teachers before incarceration who assist. Other rehabilitation programs include gardening, sculpturing, fence making.

3.3.6 Inmates face the challenge of shortage of stamps when they wish to communicate with their relatives however ICRC has been assisting by purchasing the required postage stamps.

3.3.7 The Committee was informed that Khami Maximum had a staff contingent of 137 officers but was said to be inadequate. The Officer In Charge informed the Committee that there was shortage of technical staff e.g. nurses and teachers.

3.3.8 Prisoners informed the Committee that they were being saved supper at 1400 hours and by 1900hours they would be hungry.

 

3.4 Khami Medium

3.4.1 Khami Medium is a farm prison with a holding capacity of 762 inmates. The unlock on the day of the visit was 482. The prison has 2777 hectares of farm land and a herd of 430 dairy and range cattle. The Prison's garden supplies vegetables to prisons in the whole Matebeleland region. The money generated by the prison from farming is insufficient for the prison to purchase farm implements and feeds for cattle. The prison had received irrigation equipment from a South African donor. The Committee also heard that the inmates' kitchen is poor. There are no locks on some doors and the prison officials have resorted to using handcuffs to lock doors. The Committee observed that toilets at Khami Medium were being renovated by World Vision. There was a shortage of plates, uniforms and blankets

3.4.2 On homosexuality, the Committee heard that the prison had measures to control any incidences of homosexuality. The Officer In Charge informed the Committee that offenders are prosecuted.

3.4.3 Regarding children that accompany female inmates, the Committee heard that there was no crèche for kids and they shared the same food rations that their mothers receive. When the mothers have to go to work elder prisoners remain with the children. Female prisoners get pads from donors but they were not enough. Some donors provide for kids.

3.4.4 On touring the facility, the Committee noted the dilapidation and some of the things that the Officer In Charge had alluded to in his remarks to the Committee including: the wooden doors that were attacked by termites and some that were now covered with cardboard boxes, broken/missing window panes where plastics were now being used as cover, broken ablution pipes that were sealed with strips of blankets.

3.4.5 Concerning medicine, the Committee heard that drugs were available including ART drugs.

3.4.6 Officer in Charge informed the Committee that Treasury allocations emphasis on feeding prisoners rather than maintenance of infrastructure.

3.5 Binga Prison

3.5.1 At Binga prison, the Committee heard that the prison is a grade 2 prison that was built around 1910. The prison does not house high-risk prisoners who are transferred to Hwange on transit to Khami. The Committee further heard that the prison has 11 prisoners on remand, the longest having been on remand for three months.

3.5.2 Binga prison has a holding capacity of 60 prisoners with the unlock of the day at 53. At the time of the visit, there were no female prisoners in the female section. The prison requires a staff of 44 prison officers, but was operating with 31 officers.

3.5.3 The Committee heard that the prison did not have a station vehicle, for the prison collects rations and supplies from Bulawayo. They rely on the CPO's personal vehicle. The prison's vehicle had broken down in March 2011. This affects the transportation requirements of the inmates and the prison at large.

3.5.4 In addition, the Committee also heard that there was a shortage of uniforms for inmates. The prison currently has to rely on firewood to prepare their food as the electrical pots in the prison kitchen broke down some ten months ago and are yet to be attended to.

3.5.5 As for rehab, the Committee heard that prisoners engaged in curios and the prison has a garden. A rehab officer is available. For those with HIV/AIDS, the prison utilises Binga District Hospital to ensure that prisoners get tested. Prisoners receive their ART drugs at the prison.

3.6 Hwange Prison

3.6.1 The Committee learnt that the prison was established in 1936. Hwange is a grade three prison: anyone with a sentence above 15 months is transferred to Khami. The prison's unlock at the time of the Committee's visit was 176 (169 male and 7 female prisoners) and has a holding capacity of 170 inmates.

3.6.2 The Committee learnt that the prison's main challenge was with the increasing number of inmates on remand who have stayed too long. The Prison officials pointed the finger at the courts that keep remanding prisoners to future dates. At the time of the Committee's visit, the prison had 49 inmates who had been on remand for six months or more. The prison also housed foreigners: eight Zambians and one Congolese. The prison also housed mentally challenged inmates.

3.6.3 The prison is in dire need of renovations. When the Committee toured the prison, the Committee discovered that one of the cells did not have a toilet. The prison has a small storeroom and storage is a challenge as a result, especially since the prison allowed food from outside. The Committee heard that staff accommodation was a problem. In addition, officers last received uniforms in 2009, while inmates received their uniforms a month earlier (when they want to wash their uniforms, prisoners get old uniforms).

3.6.4 Regarding inmates, the Committee learnt that prisoners get three meals a day: porridge in the morning, sadza and sugar beans or soya beans for lunch and supper. The prison officials indicated that inmates' health is good and there have been no deaths since August 2009. A for the prisoner's rehabilitation, the prison has two rehab programs: a garden that is not doing too well because of the weather and water shortages, and a few goats that prison officials hope to slaughter for prisoners. The prison also has spiritual rehab for inmates.

3.6.5 The prison does not have facilities for children. Convicted mothers are sent to Mlondolozi (Khami) where there are better facilities.

3.6.6 The Prison does not have reliable transport. The prison vehicle does not have lights and cannot be used at night. The prison liaises with other Government departments for transportation assistance. The prison had required a truck which was still to be delivered.

4. Issues raised by Prisoners

4.1 Prisoners complained about the lack of adequate uniforms. Although the situation had improved more needed to be done to ensure that the inmates are adequately clothed.

4.2 There were foreign prisoners at Hwange Prison who asked that their respective embassies be notified of their incarceration. The Committee is of the opinion that their continual existence strains the Zimbabwe Prison Services's already inadequate budget and recommends that these prisoners should be deported back to their countries.

4.3 Prisoners requested Government to provide them with basic necessities such as clothing, toothbrushes and toothpaste, blankets, towels, bathing and washing soaps, Vaseline and a balanced diet among other things.

4.4 They requested for adequate food. Inmates who were HIV positive highlighted the need to be supplied with balanced diet to boost their immunity. HIV positive inmates got the same rations as those that are negative and they are the most affected. Their health is curtailed by lack of ARVs. Female prisoners requested to be supplied with sanitary pads.

4.5 Prisoners requested the repeal of the law that stipulates that ex convicts must not be employed by the Government. The prisoners argued that the skills and expertise they acquire while serving their sentences will be of no use since the prisoners are only limited to the private sector.

4.6 Prisoners complained bitterly that amnesty should not be discriminatory and should be enjoyed by every prisoner despite the nature of his/her crime.

4.7 Prisoners on remand submitted that the amounts of money for bail were too high and most of the inmates cannot afford to pay. The prisoners also complained that they were continuously remanded to a later date to the extent that they spent more than four years on remand. They also said failure by witnesses to come to court contributes to the long period on remand.

5. Committee's Observations

The Committee made the following observations:

5.1 Of the prisons visited, the Committee noted that Binga prison was well managed and clean however the committee was disappointed by an Officer found addressing inmates wearing party regalia.

5.2 The Committee expressed concern over the fact that 80% of the prisoners at Hwange prison had been incarcerated or awaiting trial for rape.

5.3 More still needs to be done to adequately clothe and feed prisoners, as well and repairing old prisons buildings to make them more suitable for rehabilitation.

5.4 The Committee observed that prisoners were still complaining about the lack of meat in their diet.

5.5 Some prison officials had resorted to using personal funds to assist in the running of prison. This was the case at Khami and Binga prisons.

5.6 Shortage of staff was hindering Zimbabwe Prison Services to fully provide sufficient services to the prisoners and prisons.

5.7 The Committee noted that children with their mothers in prisons were being neglected since they did not have a crèche and received the same rations as their mothers subjected them to unbalanced diet.

6.0 Recommendations

Having completed its fact finding visit, the Committee makes the following recommendations:

6.1 Foreign nationalities who are serving sentences in Zimbabwean prison must be deported back to their countries of origin to avoid straining the Zimbabwe Prison Services.

62. The Committee recommends that Ministry of Justice and Legal Affairs should carry out a thorough research on the causes of 80% rape cases at Hwange and Binga Prisons.

6.3 Prisoners must be provided with enough uniforms and blankets including Prison Officers

6.4 The Ministry of Finance should avail funds for maintenance and repairs of Prisons.

6.5 Zimbabwe Prison Services should utilise the skills of professional inmates in maintenance and repairs of infrastructure.

6.6 Zimbabwe Prison Services officers should be professional.(Note 5.1)

6.7 The Committee recommends that Zimbabwe Prison Services vacancies be filled with urgency.

6.8 Zimbabwe Prison Services should review time table for serving inmates with food and consider providing their supper at 1900 hours.

6.9 Children in prisons should be left in the care of trained care givers than in the hands of the

elderly prisoners and those with relatives willing to stay with them should be released. I thank you.

*SENATOR MUCHENJE: I would like to thank Madam President for allowing your Committee to go around looking at what the condition of prisoners and the prison officers was like. It is very important for prisoners to see visitors even if they are in jails because some of them do not have relatives to visit them.

I would also like to thank the Government. In 2010, we traveled around the jails in the country. We observed that prisoners are facing a lot of challenges. I think this was caused by the drought that was there in 2008, and the economic challenges that we faced then. We noticed that in many jails the prisoners would have only two meals per day and one pair of clothes. The food they should be allowed to have three meals a day even if it is not very good food. They should have access to three meals a day. We have discovered that they now have two pairs of clothing which means that our plea as a Committee was heeded to.

Thirdly, we have seen that the prisoners and the officers face a lot of challenges in terms of cash flow. We find that prison officers even if they request money from the Ministry of Finance, they are not getting enough money. If they are given they are given a limited budget. You will find that they are not given all the money they would have asked for. We do not know where the money is going to.

The other thing that we noticed is that when these prisons were built, it looks like they were only constructed for male prisoners. Even the ablution blocks are not user friendly when it comes to ladies. We are asking our Government to look into that so that the conditions will also suit women prisoners.

Looking at women as well, you find that pregnant women when jailed, after giving birth, they still leave in the prisons. It is not good for the children in terms of the children's rights. These children rely on well wishers so they do not have any choice which means they can wear big clothes. We know that children of 0 - 5 years are supposed to be looked after by their mothers, but when the prisoners are doing their daily duties you find that they are left in the care of other prisoners. You are aware that those prisoners also have their own issues which made then be brought to jail. You are not very sure of the credibility of the other prisoners looking after the children. We are pleading with the Government that they should take that into consideration when looking at the plight of the female prisoners who have children and those who are pregnant.

We were surprised and pained by the prisoners at Hwange Prison. We found that 80% of the prisoners are convicted of rape. We plead with our Government to really look into that when it comes to cases of rape. We discovered that the jail terms that they are being given are very light. I think that those men should have their private parts removed so that they do not do it again. They should be incarcerated. We came across a 75 year old man who raped a 90 year old woman. I do not think there is anything with that man facing the full wrath of the law so that men will be aware that if you are found guilty you will face the law. We are feeding people who have been in prisons for long time and when they come out they commit the same crime.

We know we have problems with our electricity, but I think when it comes to our prisons they should be placed on the priority list so that, when there is load shedding, they will not be affected. In Khami prison, 15 prisoners ran away because of darkness. These prisons are overcrowded so if electricity is there throughout the day, it means that the prisoners would use the ablutions block correctly. This would also alleviate the challenges that prisons face from the prisoners when they want to run away. Madam President, we came across a lot of things and I think my other colleagues will contribute. I would like to thank our Parliament for giving us such opportunities to go out and do our fact finding missions so that when we talk about it here, our Government would listen and take necessary measures.

*SENATOR KATYAMAENZA: Thank you Madam President, I would like to thank you for the time you have given me to add my voice to Senator Marava who has brought in the issue on human rights. Looking at the prisons, I think they have talked about a lot of things but I am only going to dwell on the buildings. We found that the buildings are very old. They were built a long time ago, which means a lot of maintenance is needed. There are no locks, there are no roofing sheets, no window panes so that they would live decently.

Let me talk about food. Yes, food is there, but it is not very good food. When a person is convicted, it does not mean he or she is no longer our relative. What I am trying to say is that convicted persons should be fit for future life, that is after the jail. This can be solved if they engage in farming because a lot of prisons have got land. If they are engaging in farming activities, they can support themselves. As you have heard, Khami Prison has a large garden which is not being fully utilised because of the challenges of funds. If it us fully utilised, it can supply most parts of Matabeleland.

Coming to clothing, yes they have clothes but they are not very good. Most of them are torn. Yes, they have two pairs which are torn. We are urging our Government and us to donate things. As leaders, I think we should donate; as a senator you can take ten blankets there. We can not only wait for the Government, the Government is us and other organisations. I would want to thank other organisations who have been kind enough to donate.

Coming to education, we have heard that there are schools starting from grade 1 to form 6. We are asking that if we have relatives who have been put in prison, I am encouraging all of us to visit them and see what is happening there so that we can assist in terms of their education. When they come back they would really be rehabilitated and ready to fit in the society. But if they are not educated, they will continue doing the things which are not right.

Coming to the prisoners themselves, I was shocked to see women who are involved in armed robbery. I was really shocked, yes, it is there but it is very difficult. Yes, people are looking for money, but it is very difficult. When it comes to armed robbers, I think they should be given stiffer terms because these guns are not there to be used in robbery, but guns are issued so that people will protect themselves.

Coming to the rape cases, looking at the area where these cases are rampant, I am pleading with the Ministry of Women's Affairs that they should educate women and children. What happens there is that their culture is still backward because they still believe in musenga bere culture where one would go and just take a girl and run away with her and she automatically becomes his wife. I think they should not be forced into marriage. We must look into these cultures so that they become good cultures because culture is dynamic.

Looking at the issue of foreigners from Zambia and Congo, we would like to find out why they are not being convicted in this country. I do not believe in deporting them. They should be convicted here because they would have been broken a law here in Zimbabwe. Those from Zambia would have crossed Zambezi to come and steal our cattle here. Their countries are not affected but our country.

+SENATOR HLALO: Thank you Mr. President for affording me the opportunity to say something in connection with what has been said here.

I would like to start on the bad side, the buildings where our prisoners are held. I realize that this august Senate has to ask the Ministry of Construction since they are the ones who are responsible for those buildings, to go and renovate these buildings.

I have also noted that they have to be given money from the Budget specifically for this, from the Government. The Committee should ask the Ministry of Construction to repair these buildings.

I want to talk again on what has been highlighted on the rape cases. I would like to ask, standing on behalf of all men. I think it will be a very good idea that you remove all the private parts from the men, but then after the castration, you discover that he is not guilty after being castrated. This issue of rape cases, sometimes you will find out that the lady would be saying the wrong thing and they will not be able to reverse the damage caused by castration.

On behalf of men, I think when that is done, that will be looking like a very hard law because sometimes you can be convicted and then it is discovered that you are not guilty.

Once one is castrated, you can not reverse the situation. I also realise that once there are places that are like that where rape cases are mostly occurring, it will be better that people are taught. There are other organizations such as Human Rights groups who can help reduce the incidence. They are the ones who can go there and try to teach people in those societies that once they continue doing that, they will be charged by the law.

If that is what their culture demands, they will be taught and made to realize that they will be castrated.

SENATOR DETE: I would like to add my voice to those who contributed to the report which has been given by Senator Marava and seconded by Senator Muchenje. Yes, I know that it is about the state of our things which have to get to order. You reported that things were not well in the prisons last year, but this report tells us that the lives of the prisoners are improving.

I was also happy to find out that when prisoners have finished serving their sentences, the prison officers go and meet the parents of the person before the person goes back home to meet the relatives to convince the parents so that they will be able to welcome their relatives. Even their children and all the other relatives.

I also saw prisoners graduating. I have seen some Church members who are allowed to get into prisons for the reformation of these prisoners and they are getting spiritual guidance so that they will realize where they went wrong.

I have seen them graduating and some singing and preaching so that these people are not found doing nothing, because idle minds are the devil's workshop. If they engage in projects, when they leave the prisons, some of them will engage in a lot of projects.

When some come out, they will be educated and they would have been advanced in terms of education. I would like to thank our Government for that and our Committee for going out and for having these visits because at least they know that there are people who are concerned about the prisoners.

We would like to appreciate and acknowledge that we notice the change when the Committees of Parliament do these visits. We hope this is not going to be the end, but we will continue going because for everything they do, we notice a change. We know that the next time we will go around again, a lot of things would have been changed and even the rape cases would have been lowered down because this is very important and it is very rampant. These days even the cases of meeting children, I think we have to work out a solution as senators for the good of our country.

I am just urging you fellow senators so that you will help in the welcoming of former prisoners so that the society will welcome them and make the relatives understand. For some, it is very difficult even for them to go back to their families especially husbands. It is very important. * SENATOR MAKAMURE: I would like to begin by mentioning Mutimurefu which is situated in Masvingo. It is very dry and the rains are erratic. People who farm in that area are people who can get irrigation. Mutimurefu is very lucky because it is close to a very big dam. It is between Mutirikwi and Mupopotekwe, but if we go there you find that it is dry. If you go to that area you will find that the area that has been farmed is very large, but it is very dry yet they are close to a dam. So if irrigation is introduced in that area, I think they would have plenty of food because people who have farms around there grow wheat using irrigation. I think this should be added to our report as well that when we come to places which are dry, irrigation should be introduced so that their projects go well.

SENATOR MANDABA: I would like to thank Senator Marava for his report on the state of prisons in Zimbabwe, seconded by Senator Muchenje. Much has been said in the report and I would like in your report, to give emphasis on the rehabilitation of the prisoners. The programme that comes out on TV is very impressive, where prisoners are rehabilitated and are united with their relatives.

I am also touched by the plight of children in the prisons, perhaps we should be looking at the rights of children as well. Should children accompany their parents to prison when they go? I know it is difficult to separate the children with their parents. I just feel that what the children see in prison and what they experience in there, they should not really be undergoing that treatment taking into consideration that they are subjected to the diet of the parents. They also experience a lot of hassles, lack of bedding and experience harsh conditions.

My other concern is about rapists. If I was a judge, I think I would give the worst sentence to men but not necessarily incarcerating them. On second thoughts, when I heard there was an area where a lot of rape is going on, I started thinking whether we should get researchers to research as to what exactly happens. This is natural phenomena because I do not think men do these things for the sake of doing them, but perhaps they are forced by nature or circumstances. Perhaps it is the food that they eat in that area which stimulates these men into raping children or maybe it is something that they are taking. There is definitely something that is happening there. I feel that research should be conducted to find out what is happening. We know there are some people who rape young children for ritual purposes or for riches, but I think before we really condemn the rapists let Government medical researchers research fully on the matter. It could also be excessive libido that could be caused by food that they take.

SENATOR MAKORE : I have stood up to support the Committee system especially from the reports that we are getting from the visits that the Committees are doing. You have noticed that there is a lot of improvement in our prisons because of the visits by our Committees. I would like to thank the Committee for giving us such a good report, but I think there are a lot of areas where we can improve. You can see that a lot has been said but I think the problems lie with the administration because they are the people who look after our prisons and maintain our vehicles. So I think this department should be supported so that their problems will be eased.

Secondly, you find that people who have been trained are supposed to work at the private sectors only. You find that people who have served in prison are not employed in the civil service. People who go to jail go there for rehabilitation so that they are able to live with others, but as Government we are shunning those people. I do not know who will employ them at the end of the day.

The other thing that I want to emphasise is that our prisons are now old, yes we cannot reconstruct in one day. It is very true, yes our prisons are in a sorry state which means the conditions are very bad, but we would like to thank some organisations who are helping the Government so that at least there is some form of habitation.

Another issue is that people also need meat. All the places that we visited had no meat. When things are normal at least meat should be served twice a week. We would like to thank you for the good responses that we received for what we are doing. I just wanted to add a little bit to what has been said. I thank you.

THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF LABOUR AND SOCIAL WELFARE : I move that the debate do now adjourn.

Motion put and agreed to.

Debate to resume: Wednesday, 28th March, 2012.

MOTION

MEASURES TO CURB DROUGHT

Seventh Order read: Adjourned debate on motion on the harsh climatic conditions in region V.

Question again proposed.

+SENATOR MLOTSHWA: I thank you Mr. President for giving me this opportunity to air my views on the motion that was presented to this House by Senator Mohadi and was seconded by Hon. Senator Chief Ngungumbane.

I was born and bred in Matopo, which is part of the region that we are talking about. I would like to give you background for you to understand that my life has revolved in the drought prone region for all these years.

Mr. President, I am concerned by the inadequacy of Government to provide research and solutions that will last for centuries to come so that the next generations of that area can also benefit. Matabeleland South, which is mentioned here in the motion, which is also part of the region that we are debating on was number one in cattle ranching in the early 80s. I understand also that now Masvingo is and Masvingo is part of that region. I understand that we in Matabeleland South are number five - which is true. The statistics alluded to by a member last week, show that Matabeleland South is number one in donkeys - we have more donkeys than any other province .... - [HON. SENATORS: Inaudible interjections] - We are talking of hunger and drought here.

The statistics were provided to us at a stakeholder meeting by one of the officers. Mr. President, if one might ask what our problem is and if one might look at what our problem is - I think, our problems vary. I have been observing throughout all these years that the unsystematic way of disposal of the region's commercial farms and the haphazard allocation of land to the new owners as one of the problems. I observed again that lack of protection of animals from straying has created the easy intervention of thieves and the sales by Council as another of our problems thus adding to our drought.

I also observed that the rule of law - that unlawlessness, that certain people with powers go unpunished, the failure by our police force to sufficiently deal with pending issues of cattle rustling syndicates and also the failure by the police to finalize cases of stock theft by ensuring that the Courts do not grant bail to cattle rustlers. In the end, people lose faith in the justice delivery system when their cases are not amicably resolved. Cattle in our area was our livelihood and people would choose to leave work and go and herd cattle in your homestead as you would find that the herd would be hundred or more. Knowing very well that the issue of drought, education and poverty can be solved by selling one or two animals.

Mr. President, people have always cried, and even during the COPAC outreach - people raised the need to sentence the cattle syndicates with stiffer penalties in order to curb stock theft and having no respect of other peoples' properties.

Mr. President and dear colleagues, corruption - when we look into the issue of corruption and the issue of hunger or the issue of drought. We as a country have created a police force - we read everyday in our media what is happening around us, what happens everyday in our areas. If you look at every paper nearly every week, there is something to do with a police officer doing this wrong or a police officer doing that.

I think, Mr. President, our police force is reported to be much involved in facilitating corruption. Our region and specifically my province Matabeleland South we read and witness the involvement especially since they have a department that deals with permits before slaughter. So, instead of focusing on the law and order and doing the job right - you will agree with me that personal enrichment creeps into our force created by us the people of Zimbabwe.

Mr. President, if you want to seek a solution to our problems you will realize that young magistrates promoted to be in charge of the judiciary in the District or Province are seen at times wining and dining with thieves. This Mr. President and colleagues, is the cause of corruption. In my district, we had one such case and people would point this to our attention every time, as their representatives.

Mr. President, the number one problem which is not man-made - that is why I mention it continuously, Mr. President, dear colleagues, it is not about marginalisation that I speak of but of having people responsibly distributing the national cake to all tax paying citizens.

Prevailing rain patterns in all the regions, also consultations of bringing lasting solutions to be inclusive and representatives of areas to reflect the aspirations of the people. The current status-quo of governors who are civil servants and who seek to find solutions without involving everybody seem not to be working. We are charged with a duty as Members of Parliament of moving motions so as to do our oversight role by pointing to the Executive so that when Bills are formulated they have these reflections of what we are talking about.

In His Presidential Speech, at the opening of the 7th Parliament, the President of Zimbabwe said we must not only criticise but suggest and contribute solutions. On the issue I mentioned earlier on, the perfomance of our forces in dealing with thieves, I have realised that the standard of remuneration for our force is now a big excuse everytime. I suggest that even if the country is facing the economic instability, why not start by paying a certain increament to this Ministry so as to have an alert force. We noticed more officers are on the road because there is cash on the roads. Other spheres in their mandate are being neglected, such as patrols in the remote areas that have no police stations and where services dealing with stock theft are needed most.

We have the technical capacity to deal with water, for example, having one dam per ward in this region so as to promote irrigation by having every household being involved in the irrigation. If we have a dam and irrigation equipment in every ward, then it will mean nearly all households will be involved and hence the issue of hunger can be solved. From this region, we are really tired of announcing food shortages for 32 years yet not finding lasting solutions...

MR. PRESIDENT: Order, you dwelt on the police force and you were giving suggestions about the remuneration of the police force. That is not what the motion is about, the motion is about drought and improvement of irrigation. I mention that you put a correction to that, members should stick to the motion without deviation

SENATOR MLOTSHWA : Thank you Mr. President, I was suggesting the solutions but I will withdraw the issue of remuneration as part of solutions to our drought.

Politicisation of food and farming implements, disbursements and restocking must be stopped so that actual issues are not over-shadowed. If our focus was not diverted, we would not be asking our Government to extend the lending role. Cognisant of the harsh climate conditions in region 5 and cognisant of the fact that we are capable of creating man-made mitigatory measures for the good of the generations to come, I suggest we act accordingly.

*SENATOR MAKUNDE: I have stood up because this debate is very interesting. It was debated on a lot. I thought it was coming to a close because when it was brought up, it was for the good of the whole nation. The person who brought in this motion stated three points, namely;

4 increase the level of relief assistance beyond the current four months cover,

5 extend loan facilities to farmers for livestock production thereby avoiding the depletion of the national herd and,

6 develop irrigation schemes and rehabilitate existing ones.

The things that were talked about by Hon. Senator Mohadi are straight forward and good. We have so many people who castigated handouts but I would like to tell you in this House that even in developed countries like Britain and China people help each other when faced with natural disasters. Drought is a natural disaster.

I have never stayed in Matabeleland South but in Mashonaland East, there is Mudzi district close to Nyamapanda. It is also a dry region with baobab trees. I have noticed that it is a cattle ranching place. We have goats which feed on shrubs and mud but they are very good looking. I would like to thank Senator Mohadi on her suggestion that there be an extention of loan facilities where animals are being reared.

The price of our beef is increasing on a daily basis but the quality is going down. The meat that we are feeding on is not tasty these days. We do not know where the meat is coming from. I support that these regions should be given the facilities so that our national herd should go back to its original place.

On what we call land reform, I think there should be reform of patterns of agriculture, meaning that if the Great Dyke farms maize, it shoud be allocated that they should only farm maize. I come from Macheke, and I love cattle ranching but I know that the region is not suitable for cattle ranching and I should be growing wheat. If you go to China today, I think Senator Mutsvangwa can support me, I went there in winter during the time of wheat, you find that if it is time for wheat, it is wheat through out and you do not see any demarcation. That is what we mean by reforms in agriculture. These are the reform patterns in agriculture I am talking about.

Senator Mohadi also mentioned relief assistance that it should not look at only four months because after four months that relief assistance would have finished. So we should look at all these other things. I think the person who brought in this motion had a revelation because it will not bring any divisions in our country but we will all be on the same level. When food is being distributed - I would like to thank our Government because I have noticed fertilizer being allocated - I am a senator, I have a bigger constituency in Murehwa and I am also a politician. I went around observing allocations, I have seen that it was not politicized. Our people do now have a better understanding. I have worked with councilors from all the parties. I went where things were being distributed, thinking that it will be politicised, but I am happy it was not being politicized at all.

+SENATOR J. DUBE: Those who come from region 5 or region 4 they know what is on the ground. In English, they say a hungry man is an angry man, someone who is hungry is someone who is angry. Yesterday I was with people who were talking about the issue of drought. I highlighted to them that we know and we have a motion talking about that in Parliament. People were so excited on the fact that the House of Senate also realised that and they talk about those issues. When we talk about those issues, we talk in remembrance of our people and the animals that we keep. When we talk about drought, we have drought naturally - as we have highlighted that there are other solutions that you can get, from my Constituency, Mr. Kangai when he was still the Minister, he opened the Mtshabezi Dam, I think it was in 1994 or 1995 if I am not mistaken. Up to now, we are still happy with that. There are some things which are still going on.

In Mtshabezi dam, people are still hopping that the water from this dam will help people in Bulawayo. It took a very long time for this to happen. Also from the Ndebeles, we have the Matabeleland Zambezi Water Project. We have always been talking about this especially towards elections, but there is no action that is taken on this. It has been years and years when this has been highlighted. We realise that this has been noted since 1992 up to date. I do not know whether it is part of politics or that it is true that we received US$840 million. What we say as Government is that let us not take those issues lightly when we cry in Matabeleland that there is no water even if God has given us water. From what Chief Ngungumbane highlighted, what is needed is that Government should take action and at least do something and avoid politicking.

As it has been highlighted that the grain loan has been resolved, but there are still checking that there are some issues that did not go well. As the Senator has highlighted that the issue of corruption is a very big problem, when we receive food we discover that it is not being shared equally. I therefore say to the Chiefs who are here, they should talk to their councilors and headmen and make sure that the food is given to all people not in political lines.

In region 4 and 5 there is so much drought and the Government should take action to help these people. I thank you Mr. President.

+SENATOR SIBANDA: I also come from region 5 where Senator Mohadi and Chief Ngungumbane come from. I stood to dwell on the issue of cattle. There is no grass from our region, what I heard from last week is that there was a time when cows close to 1 million die and I would like to appeal to the Government that they should take action so that there are no cows that die. If cattle die, it will be a very painful thing. The Government should take action to ensure that cows do not die. I urge the Minister of Agriculture and his counterparts to realise that there are other people who have been exporting meat. In our regions, you discover that you get meat that is of very good quality. People are running away from the fact that their cows are dying and they lose. That is why they are selling them at cheap prices. My request is therefore to the Ministry of Agriculture or the other ministries which work hand in hand. We realize that in Zimbabwe, we have people who have been selling meat especially in Matabeleland. Matabeleland does ranching that give very good meat. You will discover that you get meat that is very good. I would also want to appeal that at least they try and feed these cattle. They can transport and give food to the cows, food that is given to regions 5 so that we do not loose so many cattle.

It is so difficult to try and help a cow to stand up. Those who have not seen this will not understand it. Even for those animals, you will realise that you get up to a stage where a donkey can die. It is something that can feed from any tree but the cows feed only from tree leaves.

We urge the government to take note of that and help especially on the issue of cows. We realize that the pattern of the rains is that we receive this month and not the other month. Government have to conduct a research on what should be done.

Should they change from their way of farming and be able to water the plants; to be able to transport water which can be used to grow crops which can be used to feed the cows. Maybe this can help so that they can feed their livestock.

They can also open dams in Region 5. We have big rivers such as Insiza and Umzingwane. You will be able to build dams like that.

Beitbridge has not received rains for quite a long time now. They do not know bumper harvests but they are having livestocks of very good quality and Government should at least take note that they need to feed livestock in that Region.

SENATOR MLOTSHWA: Mr. President, I move that the debate do now adjourn.

SENATOR MAKUNDE : I second.

Motion put and agreed.

Debate to resume: Wednesday, 28th March, 2012.

MOTION

FIRST REPORT OF THE THEMATIC COMMITTEE ON MILLENIUM DEVELOPMENT GOALS ON THE PROVISION OF EDUCATION IN RESETTLED AREAS.

Eighth Order read: Adjourned debate on motion on the First Report of the Thematic Committee on Millennium Development Goals on the Provision of Education in Resettled Areas.

Question again proposed.

SENATOR CHIEF NGUNGUMBANE: Thank you Mr. President. I would want to add my voice to this noble debate and thank the Committee for undertaking such an important visit to our newly resettled areas.

Mr. President as you are aware, Zimbabwe is the envy of the whole continent when it comes to education. In other words, it is the host in terms of literacy rate in Africa. That does not mean it does not have challenges in response to healthy education.

I would like to commend teachers who are stationed in the resettlement areas for their dedication and hard work. They have resolutely committed themselves despite the difficult conditions that they undergo. Some have to teach without proper accommodation and travelling long distances to the nearest roads. I think as a House, we should commend these teachers. Not saying we are turning a blind eye on the urban teachers, but we really need to give a pat at the back.

Teachers have produced all other professionals that we know. We have to really think seriously, sit down and see if they deserve what they are getting. We seriously have to restore the dignity of the teaching profession.

Right now an ordinary person will abuse the profession by saying today I have no money and I have to go and teach. Do we know what the teachers have done in our society. If you look at the various professions that we have, the lawyers, engineers, doctors and radiographers, I have not come across any of these professions that I have mentioned, where you find a person that is employed in a temporary capacity but when it comes to teaching, Jack and Jerry can become a teacher. We need Mr. President, to protect the dignity of this noble profession.

As indicated by Senator Chitaka, we have problems in our resettled areas. We need to prioritize education especially adult education those areas. At least we should see the desire for adult education before education cascades to their children.

Mr. President, we know that we are living in a world to survive where our children should be involved in the domestic chores of any home but it is sad to note that we are the envy of many in the continent and then children are not going to school because they have to till the land. It is unfortunate Mr. President.

Some of us sited here would wake up early in the morning, till the land and then bath and go to school but here we are. We should not let those kids remain idle. They say idle minds think widely. These minds will come because these kids will not be using their minds and they will take drugs and get to be drug addicts.

We need to think and improve our education. You will find that the results there are very poor. In the schools of the resettled areas the pass rate is very poor. The situation outlined by the Committee needs a serious and throughly thought solution. Mr. President, People went into the resettlement areas because of the squeeze that was there in other areas but we should be responsible for our actions. The mind is not facing challenging things, children think of drugs and substances because they are not doing anything. I have decided to join the gravy train in debating this motion. I thank you.

SENATOR MOHADI: I also want to thank the Committee chaired by Senator Chitaka who went to the resettlement areas assessing the situation on education. When we look at the schools in the resettlement areas and compare with those in rural areas or other schools, it is very different. You will find that there are no classroom blocks, but they still have rooms made out of pole and dagga and that is what they call classrooms. In that classroom you find that maybe there is one teacher teaching grade 1-7 and as a result of that the efficiency in those schools is also minimum.

If you also look at the book ratio that many people talked about, this morning I was reading a newspaper which was saying that the books donated by donors are now found on sale everywhere in the streets. If you however go to resettlement areas they do not even have an exercise book. I think by so doing we are violating the children's rights because every child has got the right to education no matter where he/she lives and they have to be looked after. I think this is a very serious issue.

When we also look at the issue of beam, they are the same children who are affected because children were registered under BEAM and the funds have not been paid to the schools resulting in the children being expelled from school. We have to think seriously when we talk about these issues. A lot is happening and no-one is taking care of these children.

I thought I should add these few things to make everyone aware of what is taking place in the resettlement area so we can pave the way forward on how best to help these children. As legislators we live with these children on a daily basis.

THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF LABOUR AND SOCIAL WELFARE : I move that the debate do now adjourn.

Motion put and agreed to.

Debate to resume: Wednesday, 28th March, 2012.

MOTION

FIRST REPORT OF THE THEMATIC COMMITTEE ON HIV AND AIDS ON THE ANTI-RETROVIRAL THERAPY ROLL OUT PROGRAMME *SENATOR CHIMBUDZI: I would like to thank the Chairperson of the Committee Hon. Senator Khumalo for moving this motion and those who seconded it. I also want to thank members in this House for supporting this motion. I am a member of this Committee and we had outreach programmes where we visited the different clinics looking at the problems faced by people who are living with the HIV/AIDS virus.

After visiting these institutions, we found out that the problems in these institutions were almost the same. The problems included inadequate housing for staff members, inadequate staff members and also very little amounts coming from government which were way below requests made by the institutions. We found out that these problems were uniform in most of the institutions. We also found that lack of adequate funding was distorting the performance of these health institutions. Some of the inconveniences were also caused by inadequate drug storage facilities.

The other findings were that there was no place where people could be tested for HIV/AIDS virus. When the virus attacked the country, most of the country's institutions were not prepared to cope with the influx of these patients, but we would like to thank the Government for taking notice that we had this problem which was not only affecting Zimbabwe but was a worldwide pandemic. We thank the Government for introducing the Aids Levy.

We find that we are a small country when compared to other countries in the world, but we were the first country in the world to introduce the Aids Levy. For that, we received accolades for introducing this fund so that it would take care of the people that were infected with the HIV virus in their multitudes. We find that our clinics would have been inundated by these big problems and could not cope, but fortunately they were able to cope because of these funds. Therefore, I plead that let us support all the policies by Government.

I would also want to thank our doctors and nurses in the institutions that we visited - we found that the doctors were prepared to share the houses with the Nurses without any discrimination. Despite such a situation, the medical fraternity were able to fall in love with their jobs and the areas in which they were operating and working like people who had adequate facilities because of their dedication. I felt very proud of the personnel - both doctors and nurses because of their dedication to duty and the expertise they showed.

We would also wish, should funds allow, if the Ministry of Finance has money and the Ministry of Health has asked for funds for its duties - the funds should be given as requested by the Ministry of Health. Also, should there be any funds that are left, they be given to the Ministry of Health - the ministries should be given monies they will have asked for according to their budgets.

We would also want to pay accolades to the Care-givers who are doing a tremendous job in taking care of these HIV/Aids patients. With the little assistance they are getting from these institutions - the Caregivers are doing a great job. You find that these patients require adequate bodybuilding foods because when a patient is on medication and no food - there is very little effect on the health of that patient. Therefore, we would encourage the State to offer food to these patients so that they can take their medication together with food.

We thank our Government for a job well done because despite the kind of challenges we are faced with, the Government is able to supply the necessary things in our health institutions and also taking care of the problems faced by the health personnel. We found that in some areas, there are hot areas in Masvingo and Beitbridge and these affects the operations of the machines - especially the CD4 Count machines. We hope that when the Government is working in its operations, it will build storage facilities that are suitable for CD4 Count machines. So that when somebody comes for testing, they will definitely be tested because the machines will be in good working order and therefore have to be assisted because these CD4 counting machines don not operate perfectly in hot climate/conditions.

We also talk of the storage of drugs - in hot areas such as Tsholotsho, we find that the drug facilities are small. They need to have a bigger storage facility for these drugs. Yes, it is a District hospital but it needs assistance for development from the State because the hospitals serves a very big geographical area. We did a very good job in this Committee, moving around in our Outreach Programmes, looking at the problems faced by these hospitals and this is also going to be of assistance to us because through our research, Government is going to implement programs for alleviating these problems.

I also want to thank those people who supported this Committee on HIV/Aids in its presentations.

SENATOR MOHADI: I would like to thank Hon. Senator Khumalo, the Chairman of the Committee on HIV and Aids for presenting this report. I am also a member of this Committee.

Mr. President, I do not know whether it was by choice or things just happened because you will find that most of the areas that we visited are in the drought prone areas. When we are talking about HIV and Aids you find that these people need food and a balanced diet. A balanced diet in the drought prone areas - it is just a story because these people do not have food to eat.

I would also add my voice to those that were advocating that if ever there are these donors who are contributing ARVs in the areas, they should also look in the problem of food in these areas because people are really starving, and most of the medicines end up being ineffective just because they do not have sufficient food.

Mr. President, I would also want to look at the issue of Beitbridge Hospital where we also visited. You will find that this hospital does not only take care of the people in Beitbridge. It takes care of HIV positive people across the country because you will find that this District Hospital is at a border town and everyone who falls sick seeks assistance at that hospital whether they are passing by or in transit - the hospital has to take care of that person. As a result you find that the doctors working in that hospital are very few - if my memory does not betray me, you will find that we only saw three if not four doctors. Of which, the doctors do not only take care of Beitbridge Hospital alone, but also have visitations to the clinics within the district of which at the end of the day these doctors do not perform their duties properly.

Looking at the district hospital, you will find that the CD4 machines that we found there are very few. They were saying that they can only do about 40 to 50 counts - I am not very sure about the number per day. But looking at the numbers that flock to that hospital - really, it is not enough.

I would also add my voice to those donors that assist these hospitals - this hospital in particular. If possible, if they could just add two or three more CD4 machines.

*SENATOR FEMAI: I would like to add my voice to the debate on the findings of the Committee. I would like to say thank you to the Chairman of this Committee for moving this motion and the seconder of the motion. I would also want to thank hon. senators for supporting this motion.

When we were moving around there is a place which really touched me. What we found out at Nyamayendhlovu. In Nyamayendhlovu we found out that there were many people who were HIV positive. Most of these were young girls who were below 15 years. When we asked why this age group was mainly affected, we were told that most of these were married and their husbands were in South Africa. They come back from South Africa where they work and have sexual relationship with these young girls and infect them. When they have infected them they then go back to South Africa where they work. I would have wanted us to report these cases, but you find that the police are also aware of such situations and they do not take corrective measures to rectify this anomaly. When I counted the young mothers there were about 25 who had babies. The youngest of these young mothers was a girl who is about 12 year old. This girl had a baby who was also HIV positive. This really touched me emotionally. My wish is that Government should be aware that this is what is happening in the area of Matabeleland in Nyamayendhlovu. so that these people and the perpetrators of this crime are arrested and imprisoned and be put in a special place where they receive adequate punishment.

As far as the police are concerned, I do not know which rule or law they implementing because when they see that there is an elderly person who marries the young girl and goes and pay lobola to the parents. Two weeks after marrying he leaves this girl HIV positive and goes back to South Africa. The little girl is HIV and the baby is also HIV. You find that when the man is in South Africa, he is aware of his condition and can be on HIV treatment and looks very healthy and yet at home people are in problems. A law should be promulgated which should make it an offense for these people who impregnate these young girls.

The third point is that the parents of these children even if their following the culture of their area, culture is dynamic and things are changing and we now know that there is the HIV pandemic. Therefore, they should not stick to their culture in such a way that a young girl should be married to an elderly person. This used to happen long back when there was no HIV pandemic, but in this modern world that we are with HIV pandemic, we should not support the era of marrying these young girls to these people because of R1 000 or R2 000. You will have sentenced the young girl to death because of R2 000.

My plea is these parents who marry off their under age girls to these people should also be arrested. they should also be sent to their own prison. They should be given even a harsher penalty than the perpetrators or the man who will have married their children. May I tell his House that we need an especially for that area.

When we talked to these young girls they all blamed their parents. They said the parents are agreeable to their marriage and they also accept lobola from these South Africa bound people. What happens is that they come from South Africa with a lot of money and take their in-laws for a beer drink. The in-laws the agree to marry off their daughters. I am emotional about this issue. I thank you.

SENATOR MANDABA : Thank you Mr. President for giving me this opportunity to add my voice to what others have said. I am part of the delegation that went round and I agree and in support of what everyone has said. Perhaps what the hon. senator who has just spoken has forgotten to mention the distances that are traveled in Nyamayendhlovu. I think they are the longest in the country of people coming from far areas to come to the clinic.

The hospital is also, I can not describe the standard of Nyamayendhlovu, but I do not expect that at this time we should be having a clinic which is like one at Nyamayendhlovu. It needs a lot of attention, it needs to be upgraded. There is a doctor who visits there but the condition, the houses, everything is inadequate in Nyamayendhlovu.

I also want to comment on the interventions that have been done by the Ministry of Health officials. National Aids Council and other stakeholders. Although we still have the scage of HIV?AIDs but perhaps with the interventions that have been introduced throughout the country we have less bed ridden patients and less deaths. People are now coming forward for testing. The issuing of ARVs for free to a lot of people has made a difference and I think we should commend and compliment the Government for introducing the AIDs Levy because we were not part of countries that were receiving the Global Fund for quite sometime. It was only when incidents of HIV were decreasing that the World Global Fund came on board, which was a bit unfair, we appreciate. Now that we are doing so well, they are withdrawing again.

We are still faced with stigma, most of the clinics that are far from areas of attention, I can say far from rural, the actual rural areas, you still find that they are over populated with people coming there to receive their ARVs because of stigma. Some drive from Harare about 100 or over 100km just to go and get ARVs from a rural centre, just because of stigma. I think this gives me an opportunity to invite legislators to join ZIPPA. ZIPPA is an organisation of legislators who are assisting in the fight against AIDS. I think our involvements would make great strides in fighting stigma and I am sure that we all know that at the launch of ZIPPA, the Head of State was more than interested that he gave his time to be with us and launch an organisation of ZIPPA. I think this just shows how interested the Head of State is and how interested the Government is in fighting the scourge of HIV and AIDS. Therefore, I take this opportunity to urge everyone to join a lot of activities that are lined up, so that we fight stigma. We must show and lead by example to our followers. We are expecting to have public testing, we are expecting to have our legislators show their wish to circumcision and a will to be circumcised. We are looking forward to cascading the organisation to the provinces and down to the districts so that we are all assisting in fighting the scourge.

We know that anti-retroviral drugs are being issued free of charge at Government institutions. We know that we still have a lot of people going out to private practitioners for the tablets and willing to pay for the services. Yes, it is okay, but it becomes a burden when they have to change the regimes so I urge even our legislators to teach people that let us be focused and may be go and be assisted by Government institutions so that we do not fall short of the taking of ARVs because if you take ARVs and then you have to stop because you can not pay and you have to restart the drugs again, then they will not be of any assistance to you. You become resistant to the drugs and they will not be of help. This motion is very, very important that was introduced by Senator Khumalo and I am pleased that we have all been taking part in the debate but we need to do more, that is acting as legislators and leading by example. I thank you.

THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF LABOUR AND SOCIAL WELFARE: I move that the debate do now adjourn.

Motion put and agreed to.

Debate to resume: Wednesday, 28th March, 2012.

On the motion of THE MINISTER OF LABOUR AND SOCIAL WELFARE, the Senate adjourned at Five Minutes to Five o'clock p.m.

 

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