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National Assembly Hansard 13 February 2018 Vol 44 No 40

PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE

Tuesday, 13th February, 2018

The National Assembly met at a Quarter-past Two o’clock p. m.

PRAYERS

(THE HON. SPEAKER in the Chair)

ANNOUNCEMENT BY THE HON SPEAKER

INVITATION TO A CATHOLIC CHURCH SERVICE

THE HON. SPEAKER: I wish to inform the House that there will be a Roman Catholic Church service tomorrow, Wednesday, 14th February, 2018 at 1200 hours in the Senate Chamber. All catholic and non-catholic members are invited.

MOTION

BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE

THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI) : Thank you Mr. Speaker. I move that Orders of the Day, Numbers 1 to 7 on today’s Order Paper be stood over until Orders of the Day, Numbers 8 and 9 have been disposed of.

Motion put and agreed to.

FIRST READING

CIVIL AVIATION BILL [H. B. 4, 2017]

THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI) on behalf of THE MINISTER OF TRANSPORT AND INFRASTRUCTURAL DEVELOPMENT presented the Civil Aviation Bill, [H. B. 4, 2017].

Bill read the first time.

Bill referred to the Parliamentary Legal Committee.

COMMITTEE STAGE

PUBLIC ENTITIES CORPORATE GOVERNANCE BILL [H. B. 5, 2017]

Eighth Order read: Committee Stage: Public Entities Corporate Governance Bill [H. B. 5, 2017].

House in Committee.

On Clause 1:

HON. MAJOME: Thank you Hon. Chairman, for this opportunity to debate on this Bill. Mr. Chairman, I want to express my concern that this Bill possibly is not going as far as the Constitution requires matters of public administration to be conducted. As already the Preamble summarises properly the …

The Chairperson having observed some Hon. Members standing in the passage.

THE TEMPORARY CHAIRPERSON (HON. MARUMAHOKO): Order Hon. Members, what are you standing for behind there? May you please take your seats.

HON. HOLDER: Mr. Chairman, the reason I was standing is I am a bit confused by the Order Paper; so I was busy asking there.

THE TEMPORARY CHAIRPERSON: You are confused?

HON. HOLDER: Yes, BY the Order Paper, so we just want to clarify because it looks like there is a problem here.

THE TEMPORARY CHAIRPERSON: Does that allow you to stand in the passage?

HON. HOLDER: I was actually coming down this way from my seat.

THE TEMPORARY CHAIRPERSON: I can always see you when you stand up in your usual seat. I can always see you – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – Order, order please. You may continue Hon. Majome.

HON. MAJOME: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. As I was indicating, I am happy that we are considering a Bill to implement Chapter (9) of the Constitution but my concern is that we seem to be short-changing ourselves in that the Constitution expects us to go further than what the Bill is intending in Chapter (9).

I am concerned because it is a Public Entities and Corporate Governance Bill and it seeks to insulate other Government entities such as ministries in particular that will appear, of course, further on in the parts of the Bill where it specifically excludes ministries and Government departments and concerns itself only with what it calls enterprises; yet because of the structure of our Government, ministries and Ministry officials are intrinsically connected and enmeshed in the running of public entities, particularly those that belong to the State. So, it is my hope that the Hon. Minister can consider expanding the focus and purview of this Bill so that it does not specifically preclude circumscribing the conduct and behaviour of those who are in ministries because in a lot of ways, you really cannot divorce them from public commercial enterprises that are run by the State. If we truly want the principles that are espoused in the Constitution and that the Bill very nobly wants to implement, it should possibly go wide - I hope the Hon. Minister considers that.

THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (HON. CHINAMASA): Mr. Chairman, to the extent that I understand the Hon. Member. She is proposing that this Bill should address the issue of administration in the civil service – that cannot be possible because the civil service is administered separately from parastatals. We are giving our attention to addressing issues of good corporate governance in parastatals and all those companies in which Government has an interest.

We want to govern and regulate how those entities should be administered. We also want to govern and regulate how the civil servants and the Ministers should relate to these entities with a view not to abusing the administrations of those parastatals, with a view to ensuring that the people who are appointed at managerial and board levels are appointed on their merits and for professional reasons. So, we cannot through this Bill, seek to administer the civil service. The civil service is administered very separately. I thank you.

Clause 1 put and agreed to.

On Clause 2:

THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (HON. CHINAMASA): I move the amendment standing in my name that between lines 41 and 43 on Page 5 of the Bill, in the definition of “executive member”, to delete the words “in relation to the board of a public entity, refers either to” and replace with the word “means”.

And between lines 24 and 26 on Page 6 of the Bill, in the definition of “non-executive member”, delete the words “in relation to the board of a public entity,” and replace with the word “means”. I so submit Mr. Chairman.

Amendment to Clause 2 put and agreed to.

Clause 2, as amended, put and agreed to.

Clauses 3 to 11 put and agreed to.

On Clause 11:

HON. D. SIBANDA: Mr. Speaker, I think you are moving too fast because Hon. Majome had said there is debate and because you did not hear her, you cannot rubbish and say she cannot debate.

THE TEMPORARY CHAIRPERSON: Order, order, I think she is old enough to speak for herself. – [*AN HON. MEMBER: But she is the Chief Whip.] –

HON. D. SIBANDA: I am speaking on her behalf as Chief Whip.

THE TEMPORARY CHAIRPERSON: Yes, I have heard you.

On Clause 12:

THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (HON. CHINAMASA): I move the amendment standing in my name that between lines 20 and 24 on Page 13 of the Bill, delete subclause (8) and substitute with the following:

“(8) Any contract or arrangement under which a non-executive member receives remuneration or a benefit in excess of an applicable standard fixed in terms of subsection (1) shall be void unless the President has approved it in terms of subsection (6), and if the member has received any remuneration or benefit under such a contract or arrangement, he or she shall reimburse the entity or return any benefit, as the case may be, to the extent that it exceeds the applicable standard fixed in terms of subsection 1 shall be void. So, anything that is paid in excess of the agreed contract or arrangement is recoverable from the non-executive member to whom that benefit has accrued. That is the purpose of the amendment which I am submitting.

HON. MAJOME: Thank you Hon. Chair. It is a pity that you had not seen me rising to debate the previous issue but I want to reiterate the issue I was raising, about the involvement of - [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections. ]-

THE TEMPORARY CHAIRPERSON: Order, Hon. Member at the back, do not force me to start calling names at the back there.

HON. MAJOME: Thank you Mr. Speaker. I will continue to raise my concern around the sometimes incestuous relationship between Government Ministries and Government Departments with public and even commercial enterprises that are run by the State. In terms of remuneration, you will recall that we had difficulties in this country where we have had Permanent Secretaries of certain ministries that have been appointed to serve on State enterprises and boards; while drawing salaries from the civil service, have been siphoning really dizzying amounts in allowances and salaries. Some have actually admitted, in fact one admitted to actually getting that money and there will be issues of double-dipping.

My plea to the Hon. Minister is that as we set conditions of service and remuneration of members of public entities, we should possibly put measures in there to ensure that there is no what may be called ‘double-dipping’. Those in particular, who are already involved in the administration also of ministries or departments are not seen to be going to milk as cash cows these enterprises because in a lot of ministries, these parastatals that are owned by ministries have served to be cash cows that have helped officials who are senior officials and permanent secretaries and directors who are seconded to these parastatals to draw and siphon off conditions of service and payments that are way above and beyond what they should earn, because we have a history of that. Can the Hon. Minister maybe seek to put a proviso to ensure that there is no such double payment or the potential for abuse of allowances and other such padded comforts that would seek to add to what they are already earning in the ministries?

THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (HON. CHINAMASA): Mr. Chair, I agree with the Hon. Member. The whole purpose of this clause is basically to stop the current rampant abuse of State enterprises resources by public officers or those who are appointed to the boards. We are providing and empowering the line Minister to fix the sitting allowances and the amendment which I am proposing is saying in the event that any non-executive member is paid in excess of what has been fixed in terms of remuneration or allowances - that excess will be recoverable and in fact would constitute an offence. So, this in my view is sufficient deterrence to avoid this sort of abuse. The Hon. Member and the august House may also need to know that in the Bill we are now providing that permanent secretaries cannot be members of State enterprises. We are trying to separate the overseers from the managers.

Amendment to Clause 12 put and agreed to.

Clause 12, as amended, put and agreed to.

On Clause 13:

HON. MAJOME: Thank you Hon. Chair. Regarding conditions of service, I would also want to propose that the Hon. Minister can also possibly find a way of putting a clause that stops what has become the norm and abuse in this country where if there is a Cabinet reshuffle as we have seen and there is a new Minister who comes in to a Ministry, what has been happening is that the new Minister without doubt will just sack and fire members of corporate entities that fall within the mi’istry's purview and appoint those I am sure will be their cronies or that may be better. So, in terms of conditions of service, my very considered view to this House is that if our interest is corporate governance, where members of a board are appointed, considerations are that they are appointed on merit. Can they be then insulated from the shifting sense of politics and also the reshuffles so that conditions of service are not tied to the changes in ministries that there can be some security of tenure to those who I assume would have been appointed on the basis of merit?

HON. MARIDADI: On the same issue that has been raised by Hon. Majome, I wish to suggest that one way of dealing with it is to ensure that the Minister does not have a lot of discretionary power over the appointment of board members of parastatals and that there should be a Committee, either a Committee of the Legislature or a Committee of Cabinet that appoints people to sit on parastatals’ boards from a pool of people that have been vetted, either by Parliament and then appointed by the Executive or a pool of people that is vetted by the Executive then appointed by Parliament.

It helps to give what Hon. Majome calls security of tenure so that as a new Minister comes, he/she does not appoint his home boys; which is the case in most parastatals that whenever a new Minister comes in, the first thing he does is to fire the board of parastatals under his purview and appoint people from his rural home. This is the situation obtaining in parastatals at the moment.

THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (HON. CHINAMASA): Mr. Chairman, the concern of the Hon. Member Majome, that management operates under state of insecurity is not correct. In fact, there is over security on the management. People have been perpetually there whether they are performing or not performing and that is not desirable. The security should be performance of the incumbent and this is why we are moving very strongly in this Bill with performance contracts. So any tenure is governed by the performance contract. If the person does not perform, he/she loses the job and I think that should be the basis upon which people should be appointed.

With respect to merit, I need to point out that there is heavy involvement in the administration of State enterprises by the unit in the office of the President and Cabinet which will operate and run a data base of potential appointees, recording their qualifications and this can be accessed by the line Ministers.

I need also to point out that on one of the amendments, we are putting an amendment to say, ‘no board appointments without the approval of the President’. So, that will act as a check and balance.

With respect to Hon. Maridadi with involving Parliament, this is purely an executive function. Those bodies which require parliamentary oversight and approval are stated in the Constitution. Here, we are talking about 93 or 96 parastatals. It would make the work of appointing boards almost ineffectual. Imagine having to involve Parliament with respect to appointing nine or so board members on 96 boards. That will become completely unworkable and I would want to dissuade the Hon. Member from pursuing that thought.

What I think is important is, there is going to be a database which will be a pool of qualified people. Anyone can suggest names to go on to that database. Line Ministers are obliged to consult that database when appointing board members. I believe that in future, there will be fewer tendencies to appoint relatives and friends who do not have the necessary qualifications.

HON. MLISWA: I think it is important that we also consider the young people – the youth, women and those living with disability. We should go with the demographics of the country. It does not make sense for us to have boards which have people who are over sixty yet they are not the majority of the country. The majority wants the youth. You can see what has happened at the MDC where the youth have now taken over because they have been saying, for a long time, we have been waiting and we are not being given an opportunity. It is important to go with the global trends. The Minister should consider that young people should be more energetic. They have gone to school and they are well educated. Most of the issues raised are in order but it is about time that we move with the demographics of the country. If 60% are youth, we want to see 60% of the board members being youth. If the women are 40%, we also want to see a reflection of that. It does not make sense at all to have a board where we have 15% of the population which is disabled but are not represented. We need to consider all those factors. I thank you.

HON. CHINAMASA: Mr. Chair, I got the impression that the Hon. Member just wanted to make reference to the MDC and their leadership issues. The reference for comparing MDC-T to parastatals – that comparison is not quite apt. Be that as it may, and the way I see things is that there should be a delicate healthy mix between youth and experience.

Yes, youth have got the energy and knowledge but sometimes they lack maturity and experience. There is need to mix and achieve a delicate balance between those two. Nothing stops curriculum vitaes of youthful members from 18 and above to be submitted for incorporation into the database and I believe that in particular with respect to some skills like ICT – those are basically prevalent among the youth. There are a lot of other skills too.

Where professionalism is being taken into account in appointing board members, I do not see any problem in overlooking the youths in that regard.

Clause 13 put and agreed to.

On Clause 14:

THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (HON. CHINAMASA): Mr. Chairman, I move the amendment standing in my name. When we were going through this Bill and after the printing of the Bill, it occurred to us through the forensic audits that are being conducted that some board members are borrowing from parastatals when in fact it is not the core-business of those parastatals to lend money.

They are lending money to management and board members outside their own mandate. What we are providing here in this amendment is that there should be no loans when in fact it is not the core mandate of that State owned enterprise.

Amendment to Clause 14 put and agreed to.

Clause 14, as amended, put and agreed to.

Clause 15 put and agreed to.

On Clause 16:

HON. MAJOME: Mr. Chairman, I have struggled to understand what Clause 16 (1) means, particularly the end of the paragraph just after paragraph (f) there. I have tried to cross check with others where it provides that ‘no board member of a public entity shall be dismissed or required to vacate his or her office unless he or she has been absent….’

There is a part that the Hon. Minister needs to look at, the little paragraph after clause (f) that starts reading ‘nor, in any such case unless the Minister has been given at least seven days written notice of the intended dismissal of the removal from office.’ The meaning of that is very difficult to fathom even from a grammatical point of view. Possibly, the Minister can clarify what it means when it says they cannot vacate their office unless this has happened ‘nor’ in any such case. The use of the word ‘nor’ is exceedingly confusing.

I want to believe that this House has the responsibility of passing legislation that when a person reads, he or she can understand what is being said but this paragraph – the use of the word ‘nor’ in any such case; I think that the drafters wanted to say something else but what they are saying is not coming out at all. May be they wanted to write ‘or in such case’ or just to say ‘in any such case’ and remove the word ‘nor’ because ‘nor’ would mean that it is the opposite. I am having difficulty in understanding that. May be it is just me.

HON. CHINAMASA: I would like to remind the Hon. Member that earlier on, she spoke about security of the board member that they should not lose their office by a mere fact that there has been change of Ministers. This clause is in fact trying to satisfy that concern of yours that irrespective of changes in Ministers, you cannot just dismiss board members.

In this regard, in the event that it happened, what in fact the phrase that you made reference to is saying, that the line Minister must know at least that something is happening in the board so that he or she may apply his or her mind to the developments that are taking place but what this is doing is to secure the position of a board member through any transitions or any changes in the leadership of either the responsible Minister or the line Minister.

HON. MAJOME : I understand what the Minister is saying but what he is saying is not quite coming out from the way it is written. What is actually written there does not seem to pronounce what he is saying. I think it is a matter of drafting, can the Hon. Minister re-look at it and just read it with an open mind because it is really not making sense. Maybe if you just take away the word ‘nor’ there, it will make sense.

HON. CHINAMASA : I think the drafting is correct and I think the Hon. Member on further reflection will agree with me.

Clause 16 put and agreed to.

On Clause 17:

THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (HON. CHINAMASA ): I move the amendment standing in my name that:

In line 9 on page 17 of the Bill, to insert after “board of the entity” the words “and with the approval of the President”.

Between lines 23 and 24 on page 17 of the Bill, to add the following paragraph after paragraph (c) of subclause (3):

“and

(d) obtain the President’s approval of the candidate selected in terms of paragraph (c).”.

Amendment to Clause 17 put and agreed to.

Clause 17, as amended, put and agreed to.

Clauses 18 and 19 put and agreed to.

On Clause 20:

THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (HON. CHINAMASA): I move the amendment standing in my name that, between lines 18 and 21 on page 20 of the Bill, to delete sub-clause (4) and to substitute the following sub-clauses:

“(4) No public entity shall—

(a) extend any loan or credit to; or

(b) enter into or facilitate any transaction whose net effect is substantially similar to extending a loan or credit to;

a senior staff member of the entity or to an associate of a senior staff member, except in such circumstances, and on such terms and conditions, as are permitted by conditions of service that are applicable to the member and to all other employees of the entity.

(5) Any—

(a) Board member of a public entity who knowingly authorises a loan, extension of credit or transaction in contravention of subsection (4); or

(b) Senior staff member who knowingly accepts, on his or her own behalf or on behalf of an associate, a loan, extension of credit or transaction in contravention of subsection (4);

shall be guilty of an offence and liable to a fine not exceeding level ten or to imprisonment for a period not exceeding one year or to both such fine and such imprisonment.

(2) In addition and independently of the institution of any criminal or civil penalty proceedings, any property of any description obtained by means of an extension of credit, or a loan, or any other such transaction whose net effect is substantially similar to an extension of credit or a loan, made in contravention of this section, shall be deemed to be “tainted property” resulting from the commission of a “serious offence” for the purposes of section 80 (“Civil forfeiture orders”) of the Money Laundering and Proceeds of Crime Act [Chapter 9:24] (No. 4 of 2013), and may be recovered at the instance of the Attorney- General or Prosecutor-General in terms of that section.

(6) Unless prompt voluntary reimbursement is made of any remuneration, allowance, benefit or payment resulting from a contravention of subsection (3) or (4), without prejudice to any other remedies that may be available in terms of this Act, the recipient shall be subject to a surcharge levied in accordance with the Third Schedule for the recovery of the amount he or she was paid or benefited from the contravention.”

Amendment to Clause 20, put and agreed to.

Clause 20, as amended, put and agreed.

Clauses 21 to 23 put and agreed to.

On Clause 24:

THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (HON. CHINAMASA ): I move the amendment standing in my name that; On page 22 of the Bill, delete sub-clauses (3) to (5) and substitute the following sub-clauses, the remaining sub-clause being renumbered accordingly:

“(3) Where the board of a public entity is required by its enabling instrument to submit an annual report to Parliament, the board shall submit the report to its line Minister within three months after the end of the entity’s financial year.

(4) Where a public entity is not required by its enabling instrument to submit an annual report to Parliament, its board shall, within three months after the end of the entity’s financial year, submit a report to the entity’s line Minister outlining the entity’s activities during that financial year.

(5) Together with the reports referred to in subsections (3) and (4), the board of every public entity shall submit to its line Minister—

(a) a copy of the entity’s current strategic plan; and

(b) copies of current performance contracts with the entity’s senior staff members; and

(c) the results of the latest reviews of the strategic plan and the performance contracts conducted in terms of subsection (2); and

(d) such other documents and information as may be prescribed.

(6) A line Minister shall cause every report submitted to him or her in terms of subsection (3) to be laid before the Senate and the National Assembly without delay and in any event within the next ten days on which the Houses sit after he or she received it.”.

Amendment to Clause 24, put and agreed to.

Clause 24, as amended, put and agreed to.

On Clause 25:

THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (HON. CHINAMASA ): I move the amendment standing in my name that:

In line 12 on page 24 of the Bill, to delete “Office of the President and Cabinet” and to substitute “Unit”.

Amendment to Clause 25, put and agreed to.

Clause 25, as amended, put and agreed to.

On Clause 26:

HON. MAJOME : I want to commend the Hon. Minister for putting in place such a requirement that there be definite rules and regulations and modalities for the conduct of public entities. However, I am concerned about a situation where the Bill or the Act comes into operation and no code of ethics and no charter is put in place. So, what I am humbly suggesting to the Hon. Minister is that it may be helpful to have a time period that maybe three months from the coming into effect of this Bill, because it is a new dispensation that we want and it must not be business as usual. Some corporation may continue to be stuck in the same old way of doing business. So, in Clause 26 (1) possibly, maybe as paragraph 6, there could be a paragraph that provides that all public entities shall craft charters and boards codes of - ethics maybe within 90 days from the promulgation of this Act.

HON. CHINAMASA : I thank you Hon. Chair. Just to let the Hon. Member know that we are way far ahead. The codes of conduct have already been drafted in anticipation of this Bill coming into law. All the necessary instruments have already been drafted and we are just now waiting for the enactment of the Bill.

Clause 26 put and agreed to.

Clauses 27 to 39 put and agreed to.

On Clause 40:

THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (HON. CHINAMASA): Mr. Chairman, I move the amendment standing in my name, which is to delete that clause. On further reflection, it is very difficult to undertake what we are providing here.

Amendment to Clause 40 put and agreed to.

Clause 40, as amended, put and agreed to.

On Clause 41:

HON. CHASI: Thank you very much Mr. Chair. I just want to make two suggestions to enhance the Bill, which is very much in line with international best practices – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –

THE TEMPORARY CHAIRPERSON: Order! Hon. Members as you move out, please move out quietly.

HON. CHASI: I want to suggest, Mr. Chair, that there be a provision in the Bill regarding whistleblowers as they are very critical in terms of assisting when investigations are being carried out. This is a practice in most jurisdictions that have enacted this type of legislation. The second suggestion that I would also like to make, which also has a bearing on investigations, is to insulate employees of parastatals or state enterprises from the legal effects of the Official Secrets Act to the extent that is possible to enable people to freely supply information to investigators when that need arises.

I am not suggesting a wholesale insulation of people in Government from the Official Secrets because it was made to apply to them. However, I am thinking that in order to give credence to those who are investigating and for them to get evidence without too much hindrance because employees will be afraid of the legal import of the Official Secrets Act, the Minister could consider a clause that, to a certain degree, insulates and protects them so that they are able to give information to the investigators. Thank you.

THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (HON. CHINAMASA): Mr. Chairman, I purport the contribution by the Hon. Chasi; at the moment, we are creating and we have already created a toll free number for reporting any incident of corruption. So far it is already operational in a number of State enterprises, for instance, at ZIMRA. What we have found out though is that, that information needs to be digested professionally and with maturity because sometimes the allegations of corruption are leveled against the very clean officers who are trying to maintain integrity in the organisation and the reporting is intended basically to undermine the integrity of the corporation.

So, these I think are better dealt with elsewhere and in particular through proper management channels. There has not been any problem with respect to divulging information where a forensic audit is being undertaken. So, in the event that a forensic audit is undertaken and there is no cooperation, clearly, the person refusing to cooperate will get into problems. In fact, we have had this at ZIMRA where officers were not cooperating with a forensic audit duly constituted by the board and as a result, it becomes an act of misconduct against the officer who is not cooperating. So, that is how basically we can balance the maintenance of official secrets and also the requirement of good administration and corporate governance.

Clause 41 put and agreed to.

Clauses 42 and 43, put and agreed to.

On Clause 44:

HON. MAJOME: Mr. Chairman, I realise that the clauses of the Bill are going to end and I think there is a lacuna somewhere in the Bill. After we deal with exemptions, other issues that are coming forward will not be related. It is the issue of accountability, the responsibility for the State enterprises and for their officials to be accountable to the nation at large. The Hon. Minister has rightly placed in the Bill, provisions that will relate to the personal accountability from a monetary property point of the officials, that they disclose the assets and so on.

I am concerned that I am not seeing here, the big accountability issue regarding the obligations for the boards themselves and the officials, to make sure that they draft, complete and make available the annual reports of the State enterprises that are required by the various relevant statutes which led to the finding of the boards. I say this because in this Parliament we keep having annual reports that are ‘annual reports’ of these State enterprises that are coming to the House maybe six years later.

Recently, in our pigeon holes, I was surprised to find an annual report of the Rural Electrification Authority of Zimbabwe for the year 2012. This reached us this year. These are the same State entities and enterprises that the Hon. Minister is valiantly seeking to regulate. I want to think that the Hon. Minister can possibly consider that. I want to think that there is a lacuna in the Bill regarding the responsibility of those boards to make sure that they indeed draft those annual reports and make them available as annual reports and other reports that are required. In the relevant Acts of the enterprises, they are required to do so but there is no penalty or rail-raiding of those boards as well as the executives to make sure that they take those provisions seriously in the same way that they are required to perform in the new way that this Bill is providing. Can they also be made to take seriously their obligations to produce annual reports and any other such reports that may be required to be tabled to Zimbabwe and to Parliament in particular?

THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (HON. CHINAMASA) Hon. Majome raised a valid point but under the wrong clause. The point you raised has already been dealt with earlier where boards are obliged to issue their annual reports within three months after the expiry of their financial year. I think it is three months or thereabout. What we are talking about under this clause are exemptions from complying with the provisions of the Act for certain reasons, either of urgency or efficiency and so on, that any exemption so granted should be incorporated in the annual report which will be tabled before this august House. The point you make is already catered for Madam.

Clause 44 put and agreed to.

On Clause 45:

THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONIMIC DEVELOPMENT (HON. CHINAMASA): I move Mr. Chairman, the amendment standing in my name; that between lines 5 and 6 on page 37 of the Bill, to insert the following paragraph, the existing paragraph (m) being renumbered accordingly:

“(m) the regular rating of public entities for their corporate governance and the publication of such ratings and the criteria by which the entities are rated;”.

Basically, it is to provide for regular rating of public entities. I made a mistake earlier to say, and suggest that we were doing away with it. In fact, we merely transferred it to the regulations so that there is an enabling provision which requires that this can be done.

Amendment to Clause 45 put and agreed to.

Clause 45, as amended, put and agreed to.

Clauses 46 and 47 put and agreed to.

First Schedule, Second Schedule and Third Schedule put and agreed to.

House resumed.

Bill reported with amendments.

Bill referred to the Parliamentary Legal Committee.

SECOND READING

INSOLVENCY BILL [H. B. 11, 2016]

Ninth Order read: Adjourned debate on motion on the Second Reading of the Insolvency Bill[H. B. 11, 2016].

THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMETARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): Thank you Madam Speaker. Allow me at the outset to highlight that the subject area of the Insolvency Bill that I am presenting to this august House is not an often traded path, but a highly technical field of law which requires a thorough application of mind by Hon. Members.

Let me first of all demystify the subject of insolvency before I outline the purpose of the Bill and the philosophical principles upon which it is based. Madam Speaker, insolvency is, in broad and generic terms, a phenomenon where a person, partnership, company or an entity in competitive business is unable to pay debts and in legal terms, a meticulous definition locates the essence of the concept of insolvency in a debtor’s ultimate inability to meet financial commitments when upon a balance of liabilities and assets, the former exceeds the latter with the consequence that it is impossible for any of the liabilities to be discharged in full at the time of falling due. This definition has however been critiqued because even when a situation arises, where a company’s assets ultimately exceeds its liabilities but it is unable to pay its debts as they fall due, it will be held to be insolvent. Therefore, inability to pay debts is at most evidence of insolvency albeit not conclusive in itself.

Madam Speaker, the problem arising from the conceptualisation of insolvency and the self evident truths that the phenomenon of insolvency has gathered momentum and has over the last decade crystallised into one of the cardinal pillars of corporate and commercial dynamism at the global, regional and national levels is a wake up call to our jurisdictions as an imperative need to review its insolvency law.

By sponsoring this Bill, I mark the central watershed of a noble process of reviewing and modernising our national insolvency regime that will enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of our insolvency systems.

Madam Speaker, Zimbabwe joined the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL), as a member State in 2016. The UNCITRAL was established in 1966 with the view to promote and advance the progressive harmonisation and unification of the law of international trade. This was envisaged to be executed through the preparation and promotion of the utility of legislative instruments in cardinal aspects of international trade and commercial law such as arbitration, procurement and insolvency.

This coincided with the work of the Enforcing Contracts and Resolving Insolvency Thematic Working Group of the Doing Business Reforms Agenda which was launched by the Government in 2015, wherein the resolution of insolvency cases was identified as one of the key factors crucial to the effective and efficient running of business enterprises. It was also noted that the current legislation governing the resolution of insolvency cases was scattered in several pieces of legislation and outdated, thereby lengthening the process of resolving such cases.

Madam Speaker, the Bill therefore seeks to codify into one coherent piece of legislation, the insolvency laws of Zimbabwe; supplement judicial management mechanisms with other modern re-organisation processes so as to ensure timely payment of creditors; modernise the winding up …

The Hon. Deputy Speaker having observed Hon. Chapfika and some Hon. Members engaging in private dialogue.

THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order, order Hon. Member, can you not whisper? Hon. Chapfika, what is wrong with you?

HON. ZIYAMBI: Modernised winding up provisions that were previously under the Companies Act [Chapter 24:03]; provide for cross border insolvency resolutions as well as provide for the regulation of Insolvency Practitioners.

Madam Speaker, in view of the foregoing, this Bill provides for the administration of insolvent and assigned estates and the consolidation of insolvency legislation in Zimbabwe; to repeal the Insolvency Act [Chapter 6:04] and to provide for matters connected with and incidental to the provisions of the Bill.

Madam Speaker, this brings me to the specific contents of the Bill before this august House. This Bill is very long and contains 197 clauses set out in 26 parts.

Madam Speaker, Part 1 contains Clauses 1 to 3 and sets out the Preliminary which includes the Short Title, Interpretation and the provisions for when a debtor is deemed unable to pay a debt.

Part II contains Clauses 4 to 12 and provides for ways in which a debtor may be liquidated and these include application by the debtor or by a creditor.

Part III contains Clause 13 and provides that the Act does not apply in respect of banks, insurance companies, registered securities exchange or a person registered in terms of the Securities Exchange Act [Chapter 24:25],

Part IV contains Clauses 14 to 18 and sets out liquidation orders and the commencement of liquidation,

Part V contains Clauses 19 and 20 and sets out the effects of liquidation on the debtor and his/her property,

Madam Speaker, Part VI contains Clauses 21 and sets out the rights and obligations of the debtor during insolvency,

Part VII contains Clauses 22 and 23 and provides for impeachable dispositions, including set-offs and presumptions that relate to property that is in possession of the debtor.

Part VIII contains Clauses 34 to 40 and sets out the effects of liquidation upon certain contracts that include leases and contracts of service.

Part IX contains Clause 41 and provides for the appointment of a liquidator.

Part X contains Clauses 42 to 49 and sets out the powers and duties of liquidators,

Madam Speaker, Part XI contains Clauses 50 – 63 and provides the procedure for meetings and examination of a debtor and other persons,

Part XII contains Clauses 64 to 72 and provides for claims against an insolvent estate,

Part XIII contains Clauses 73 to 81 and sets out the procedure for the election, appointment and disqualification of liquidators,

Part XIV contains Clauses 82 to 87 and sets out the rights and duties of creditors,

Part XV contains Clauses 88 to 90 and provides for costs of liquidation and application of free residue,

Part XVI contains Clauses 91 to 93 and sets out special provisions relating to the sale of property that belongs to an insolvent estate,

Part XVII contains Clauses 74 to 96 and provides for banking accounts, investments and moneys that belong to an insolvent estate,

Part XVIII contains Clauses 97 to 105 and provides for estate accounts, distribution as well as the collection of contributions,

Part XIX contains Clauses 106 to 110 and provides for the rehabilitation of natural persons and its effects,

Part XX contains Clauses 111 to 116 and sets out special provisions relating to trusts, companies and other debtors in liquidation other than natural persons or partnerships,

Madam Speaker, Part XXI contains Clauses 117 to 118 and provides for personal liability for fraudulent, reckless and insolvent trading,

Part XXII contains Clauses 119 and 120 and provides for pre and post liquidation compositions,

Part XXIII contains Clauses 121 to 148 and sets out corporate rescue procedures, which is modern reorganisation mechanism that is designed to revive a failing company, thereby ensuring its continued existence,

Part XXIV contains Clauses 150 to 182 and provides for among other things, the procedure for the resolution of cross border insolvency and lastly,

Part XXVI contains Clauses 183 to 197 which sets out the general provisions relating to the resolution of insolvency.

Madam Speaker, I firmly believe that the Hon. Members now appreciate the scope and general content of this Bill. Principally, it will deal with the structural issues that arise from the relationship between insolvency law and other laws, the types of mechanisms available for resolving a debtor’s financial difficulties and the institutional framework required to support an effective insolvency regime.

Furthermore, the Bill will enhance our insolvency regime to achieve a balance between the need to address the debtor’s financial difficulty as quickly and efficiently as possible; the interests of the various parties directly concerned with that financial difficulty, mainly creditors and other stakeholders in the debtor’s business and public policy concerns stemming from impact on employment and taxation.

Madam Speaker, I now commend the Insolvency (No. 1) Bill (H. B. 11. 2017), to the House and move that the Bill be now read a second time. I thank you.

HON. CROSS: Madam Speaker, I just want to find out from

the Minister the question of how we might achieve protection of

companies which might otherwise be rescued. I am thinking of where a

company has good assets; is performing at critical performance; I think

it requires a cooperation. In America where a company used to

employ about 470 000 people, it was put into liquidation; it sought

protection from its creditors and support from the State; it was then

rehabilitated, paid back its loans and was put back on

its feet. Is that provided for in this? Thank you Madam Speaker.

THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND

PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): Yes.

HON. NDUNA: Thank you Madam Speaker. What I need to say

is, the Hon. Minister has unpacked what is in this Bill. Hearing from

what he has read, I personally would want to be given an opportunity in

the future to debate on this Bill. I have now captured how to approach

in terms of sectorising the Bill in the manner that he has spoken about

without just concentrating on the whole Bill. I am alive to critical

entities and companies of key national strategic nature, for example Air

Zimbabwe. Assuming it had gone into liquidation because the

liabilities far outstrip the assets, we would certainly have not been able to rehabilitate in the manner which speaks to and about strategic

importance. We would not have managed to have a flagship carrier.

Now armed with the information that the Hon. Minister has

brought in, I would seek to want to know the technical and the electronic

nature of the other additives to the judicial manager; to the liquidator

or to all arms of the liquidation process that are strengthening the

judicial manager or the liquidation processes so that it is not by rule of

thumb just that a company or a person liquidated on the basis only of

that their assets being far below their liabilities. It is that which he is

bringing to our attention that I would want vociferously to be brought about so that we know for a fact that besides being of a strategic national

importance, a company or an entity does not just purely get just to be

protected by the strategic nature that it is by the nation but it is also

having safety nets from this helper that he is talking about which is both

electronic, modern and pregnant with modern day trends of dealing with

liquidation which does not see a company go down purely on the

assumption that its liabilities far outstrip its assets.

So, I want to be allowed in a future date to debate on this Bill after

having gone and approached the reading in the manner that the Minister has to the fore, seeing that it is technical and I applaud him for trying to tutor us. It is really akin to doing ‘O’ Level in two months that

which should take us four years but now he has given us direction; he

has been a pathfinder and I want to now go and read it in the manner that

he has spoken about and concentrate only on the little parts that I think I

can now come and debate on. Thank you Madam Speaker.

THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Before I call for further

debate, vehicles ADI 9070, AEF 1984 and ADI 9315, these vehicles are

blocking other vehicles; please go and remove them to allow others to move out.

THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND

PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI) : I move that

the debate do now adjourn.

Motion put and agreed to.

Debate to resume: Wednesday, 14th February, 2018.

MOTION

BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE

THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND

PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI) : I move that we

revert to Order of the Day, Number Six on today’s Order Paper.

HON. MAJOME: Madam Speaker, oh I thought you were out of

the House.

THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: You are talking, you are

supposed to talk to me, why are you putting an objection?

HON. MAJOME: I thought that Hon. Maridadi was out of the

House. May be, let me raise a point of privilege. I had a motion that I sought to raise a matter of urgent definite public importance in December, 2017. That time I was advised by the Hon. Speaker; I was dissuaded not to move it as a matter of urgent public importance because I was assured that since the House was adjourning for the Christmas break, it would be the first item on the Order Paper, from January, 2018 and it is a matter involving students who are suffering in Algeria and I am now noticing that …

THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: So you are objecting so that we go back to Order No?

HON. MAJOME: Order No. 5 possibly, because it is urgent.

THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: I think at times you have to negotiate with the front desk so that everything is done amicably.

Hon. Majome, I am informed that your motion is Number 7, so after Number 6 we were going to Number 7. Where is your problem?

MOTION

PROTECTION AND PRESERVATION OF WETLANDS

HON. MARIDADI : I move the motion standing in my name that:

WHEREAS the Constitution of Zimbabwe in Section 73 establishes “Environmental Rights” as part of the “Fundamental Human Rights and Freedoms” which form Part Two of Declaration of Rights in Chapter Four of the country’s governing Chapter;

WHEREAS several statutes, among them the Water Act (Chapter 20:24), and Environmental Management Act (Chapter 20:27), were brought into existence for the protection of the environment of which wetlands are arguably the most important as they are a source of drinking water hence life itself;

CONCERNED that very little regard is given by those in authority to protect wetlands and thus preserve the ecosystem that generates water for the livelihoods of both flora and fauna;

WORRIED that Zimbabwe in general, and Harare in particular, has no other natural sources of drinking water except wetlands;

ALARMED at the rate at which wetlands are being destroyed for agricultural purposes and for the construction of brick and mortar structures that permanently destroy ecosystems which generate water;

NOW THEREFORE resolves that this House calls upon the Executive and all agencies of Government and the State at every level to;

(a) Stop construction and development on wetlands;

(b) Stop using wetlands for agriculture purposes; and

(c) Put in place mechanisms for the protection and preservation of wetlands.

HON. NDUNA: I second.

HON. MARIDADI: It has become tradition that I put my presentation on power point for the benefit of Members of this House. The Order Paper lists this topic as a motion on the preservation of wet lands.

Madam Speaker, I thought I would favour you with some literature that you may want to put up in your office.

The Hon. Deputy Speaker leaving the Chair.

HON. MARIDADI: Are you going away?

THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: There is no problem, you can proceed.

HON. MARIDADI: Alright. Before you leave, I would want to give you a calendar but unfortunately there is a lot of rain outside and the calendars got soaked in the rains. All the same, it is a calendar on wetlands which I would want you to put in your office.

THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Thank you Hon. Member.

HON. MARIDADI: I will reserve two for the Speaker who is now in the Chair. I will also give another one to the Chief Whip of ZANU PF, another one to the Chief Whip of MDC-T, another one to the Chief Whip of MDC, another one to the Chief Whip of the Independent Members of Parliament, Hon. Mliswa.

I have coined the motion in such a way, that is, environment rights are human rights.

 

Wetlands are areas of land where water covers the soil – all year or just at certain times of the year. They include:

· swamps, marshes;

· billabongs, lakes, lagoons;

· saltmarshes, mudflats;

· mangroves, coral reefs;

· bogs, fens, and peatlands.

Wetlands may be natural or artificial and the water within a wetland may be static or flowing, fresh, brackish or saline. There are even underground wetlands. Wetlands cover 1.5% of Zimbabwe’s land area.

Wetlands are a critical part of our natural environment that protect our shores from;

· wave action,

· reduce the impacts of floods,

· absorb pollutants and improve water quality.

· providing water storage and infiltration,

· they provide habitat for animals and plants, and

· many contain a wide diversity of life, supporting plants and animals that are found nowhere else, and lastly

· sustain biodiversity.

Fifty percent of the world’s wetlands have been destroyed. Without suitable wetland habitat, many species could soon be homeless. There are nine reasons why you should care about wetlands. These are;

1. Wetlands purify our water

Wetlands are great filters. They trap sediments and remove pollutants, which helps to purify water. This certainly beats expensive, human-made filtration systems.

2. Wetlands store water to ensure supply during dry periods

Wetlands work like giant sponges. They store water and then slowly release it, and this helps to deal with dry seasons with little rainfall.

3. Wetlands can prevent floods

When rivers burst their banks, wetlands store the excess water, and slow it down, so it distributes more evenly over a floodplain.

Roots of trees and other vegetation also help slow the speed of flood waters.

4. Wetlands recharge ground water

In the past, city planners either filled in wetlands areas or dammed them, adding pipes that would lead the water to the ocean as fast as possible. But now we know that wetlands allow water to soak into the ground, and to replenish the natural ground-water supply.

5. Wetlands help to control erosion

Sediments are also trapped by wetlands. In a semi-arid country like South Africa, the role of wetlands in trapping sediments, before the sediment-laden water joins a river course and just washes away, is really useful.

6. Wetlands provide shelter for juvenile fish

Fish larvae and fish fry (juveniles) use the calm, shallow waters of wetlands as a nursery.

7. Wetlands provide homes for animals and plants

Biodiversity is high around wetlands habitats. These areas provide food and shelter for many animals, in particular bird species such as herons, spoonbills and flamingos, and amphibians such as frogs.

8. Wetlands provide food for livestock

Wetlands provide good areas for grazing, and the variety of grasses, along with a supply of running water, can be beneficial to farming livestock.

9. Wetlands protect biodiversity

Many different kinds of creatures depend on wetlands – and on each other.

The insects that are attracted to the plants provide food for other animals like fish, frogs and birds, who in turn attract other predators.

The biodiversity of wetlands has produced some incredible specialist species that are only found in these habitats.

Wetlands provide an important range of environmental, social and economic services.

Many wetlands are areas of great natural beauty. Wetlands also provide important benefits for industry. They form nurseries for fish and other freshwater and marine life and are critical to commercial and recreational fishing industries. Wetlands are the vital link between land and water.

Wetlands within and downstream of urban areas are particularly valuable, counteracting the greatly increased rate and volume of surface- water runoff from pavement and buildings.

The holding capacity of wetlands helps control floods and prevents water logging of crops.

Preserving and restoring wetlands together with other water retention can often provide the level of flood control otherwise provided by expensive dredge operations and levees.

NB Executive Order 11988: Floodplain Management Exit - an order given by President Carter in 1977 to avoid the adverse impacts associated with the occupancy and modification of floodplains.

WATER SOURCES

· Manyame and Chivero are not water sources.

· There are water catchment.

· The problem of water in Harare is not Morton Jaffray Water works.

· Water sources have dwindled.

· Wetlands are the water sources.

· Most Harareans own boreholes and it is not sustainable.

· Lack Chivero is silted from 28m to 18m.

BORROWDALE VLEI

· This is the most iconic wetland in Zimbabwe - A headwater wetland.

· Controls the integrity of Harare’s water sources.

BORROWDALE VLEI: The Sharpe – Chombo Scandal

· It was given to one Ken Sharpe by Dr. Ignatius Chombo to develop a shopping mall and residential area

· Ken Sharpe was the same guy who got the Airport Road contract from the same Minister.

· The road was completed close to 6 years behind schedule.

· The cost shot to close to 10 times of original cost.

· Tendai Mahachi, Harare Town Clerk, is a director in the company.

· City land was given to Sharpe as part of the payment.

· Sharpe and Minister Muchinguri had an out of court agreement.

WETLANDS PROTECTION IN ZIMBABWE

· The Constitution of Zimbabwe in Section 73 establishes Environmental Rights as part of Fundamental Human Rights.

· This forms Part Two of Declaration of Rights in Chapter Four of the country’s governing Chapter.

  • Sections 77 and 34:

SECTION 73 OF THE CONSTITUTION

Section 73 Environmental rights states that :-

(1) Every person has the right –

a) to an environment that is not harmful to their health or well being; and

b) to have the environment protected for the benefit of present and future generations, through reasonable legislative and other measures that –

(i) prevent pollution and ecological degradation;

(ii) promote conservation; and

(iii) secure ecologically sustainable development and use natural resources while promoting economic and social development

Section 77 (a) of the Constitution provides that:-

· “Every person has the right to safe, clean and potable water”.

· “The State must take reasonable legislative and other measures, within the limits of the resources available to it, to achieve the progressive realisation of this right”.

Section 34 of the Constitution provides that:-

· “The State must ensure that all international conventions treaties and agreements to which Zimbabwe is a party are incorporated into domestic law”.

These treaties include the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands (effective in Zimbabwe from May, 2013)

· Water Act (Chapter 20:24),

· Forest Act (Chapter 19:05),

· Parks and Wildlife Conservation Act (Chapter 20:14),

· Mines and Minerals Act (Chapter 21:05),

· Communal Land and Forest Produce Act (Chapter 19:04),

· Legislation relevant to construction & development,

· Environmental Management Act (Chapter 20:27),

· Regional Town and Country Planning Act (Chapter 7:01),

· Legislation be read together with regulations made in terms of these statutes.

All must be interpreted in accordance with relevant provisions in the Constitution and international treaties.

· The Environmental Management Act (Chapter 20:27) restricts development works on wetlands. The law requires that developers obtain an Environmental Impact Assessment Certificate from the agency managing the environment before they are issued a permit to carry on with a project on any wetland in the country.

· However, this law is not always respected. “Wetlands in Zimbabwe are protected on paper but are being destroyed, compromising water availability and the quality of fresh water for sustainable development.

· EMA Act is a powerful piece of legislation and supersedes all others in instances of conflict.

· Loss of wetlands in Harare equals loss of water for the city.

PROBLEM WITH EMA ACT

· There is no political will to implement it.

· The Environmental Management Agency takes instructions from the Minister.

· Too much power is vested in the Minister and he/she can use discretion to the detriment of the environment, for example a Ramsar site signed off by the Minister in November 2017.

· Decision on development is relegated to officials who are susceptible to bribes.

· Kambuzuma Filling Station, Lyton Road opposite district office, Kambuzuma 3; it is suspected that the Minister was involved. This must be investigated.

· Mount Pleasant Filling Station on Churchill Avenue.

· Greystone Park – Exhall Rd/ Coventry Road, Ettington/ Binton Rd. City officials implicated.

WETLAND RESTORATION

  • In its 1992 report, Restoration of Aquatic Ecosystems, the National Research Council defined restoration as the "return of an ecosystem to a close approximation of its condition prior to disturbance."

· The concept of restoration is further clarified by defining many types of restoration-related activities such as;

´ creation, reallocation and enhancement, are similar to restoration, but differ in some way from the process of renewing native ecosystems to sites where they once existed.

´ The holistic nature of restoration, including the reintroduction of animals is important.

´ The objective is to emulate a natural, self-regulating system that is integrated ecologically with the landscape in which it occurs.

´ Often, restoration requires one or more of the following processes:

´ reconstruction of antecedent physical conditions;

´ chemical adjustment of the soil and water; and

´ biological manipulation, including the reintroduction of absent native flora and fauna.

RAMSAR CONVENTION

The Convention on Wetlands of International Importance was adopted in Ramsar, Iran 46 years ago, on 2 February 1971. That date is now celebrated globally as World Wetlands Day.

RECOMMENDATIONS

· Government must be transparent and demonstrate political will to enforce existing legislation on preservation of wetlands.

· Correct interpretation of legislation and Ramsar recommendation by EMA, (City of Harare and Local Government) be wetland preservation` to ensure Harare`s fragile wetland ecosystems are able to provide critical ecosystem services, for example water provision.

· A law that directly relates to the conservation and protection of wetlands in Zimbabwe (or a Wetlands Act) be formulated and adopted through a proper and clear structure in terms of institutional co-ordination

· Education and awareness related to wetlands introduced at decision-making level in Government

· A common policy framework that guides local government and local authorities on wetland legislation that feeds into issues of development, preservation and sustainable management and restoration be developed.

· A governance committee with representatives from implementing and enforcement entities (e.g. EMA, City of Harare, ZINWA, Upper Manyame Sub-Catchment Council, Ministry of Local Government) set up to facilitate collaboration and co-ordination.

· Environmental protection must take precedence over development in order to ensure sustainable development into the future.

· Harare`s Masterplan and Local Environmental Plan be revisited to ensure that no developments take place on wetlands.

· The designation of `active open space` must be removed and replaced with the designation: “passive open space”.

· City of Harare`s policy of densification must be revisited and options other than that of development on wetlands be proposed.

· A clause in the Property Rights Act to be incorporated to compensate (could be financial or an exchange for a piece of land elsewhere but not on a wetland) landowners with properties in wetlands.

· Laws on wetland protection be enforced at all levels of Government agencies and local authorities.

· Remove the provision of EIAs on wetlands. (If it is a wetland, no permits or EIAs issued).

· An environmental court be established with a clear mandate to prosecute and fine offenders – not only of the private sector but including Government agencies. EMA will then become accountable to the Environmental Court.

· Wetlands must be considered as national strategic resources.

· All local authorities to have Local Environmental Action Plans (LEAPs) in place by 2018 with procedures for their formulation followed as per legislation.

· A clear time-bound roadmap of the re-gazetting of Harare`s Wetland Map.

On the next slide, as I said, there is no political will to implement the Environment Management Act. The problem that we have had in Mabvuku, Tafara, Belvedere and most areas in Harare is that we have land barons. The land barons see an empty piece of land, this used to happen just before the new dispensation. They would go to an empty piece of land and put up a flag inscribed with the name of the former first lady or the words ‘ Upfumi kuvadiki’ or whatever name and they become untouchable. They parcel out land and construct on a wetland.

Madam Speaker, I have put pictures there which speak to what has happened – [Showing pictures on a power point presentation.] – What you see there is a collage of pictures, one of them in Belvedere, another in Mabvuku, another in Kambuzuma and the other one in Mufakose. The houses you see were constructed by people in the diaspora via Homelink. What they would do is that; there was an advertisement by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ), which said that people in the diaspora could deposit money through Homelink and have houses constructed for them. All the houses constructed for people in the diaspora are on wetlands.

During the rainy season like this, there are floods; the picture you see was taken last week. The house is not habitable; you need a special foundation to construct it. Even after one puts a special foundation, in times of rains, there are floods. When I visited that place yesterday, I think the water level was reaching a height of almost 1metre on those houses built for people in the diaspora. These people in the diaspora are not able to come and view the land that was allocated to them for house construction.

On the next slide; that piece of land is a wetland that was protected by EMA but a person who was connected to Hon. Chombo went and constructed a filling station on that wetland anyway without authority or any papers from the City of Harare. After the construction of a filling station, the person then went to the City of Harare and said, ‘please can you regularise what I have done.’ So, there are a lot of buildings in Harare, which were constructed without the permission of the City of Harare and what they then do is visit the City of Harare and say, ‘look, I have constructed this building and spent $600 thousand on it, can you kindly regularise,’ and the building is regularised.

My plea is that; when there is construction, a development on a piece of land which is prohibited, the City of Harare should be bold enough to destroy that construction. One typical example is the Longcheng Plaza in Belvedere. Madam Speaker, the Longcheng Plaza sits in the heart of wetlands in Zimbabwe. What that plaza has done is to compromise all underground water to the South and the East of that plaza. If you want to sink a borehole in Belvedere, you must sink beyond 70 metres because of that plaza.

What I can guarantee you is that, if that plaza was constructed in China, the Chinese Government would have demolished it. That plaza sells things that come from China, including tooth-picks. They sell everything from cotton buds, tooth picks and serviettes that are manufactured in China. Why should somebody construct a supermarket and import serviettes and tooth-picks from China as if there are no woodlands in Zimbabwe. In Zimbabwe, we have some of the most expensive woodlands. If you visit Lupane, there is teak, the most expensive and yet somebody has the audacity to give a permit to somebody who constructs a supermarket in order to sell tooth-picks. That plaza is not good for anyone or anything; it was constructed on a wetland and it is compromising underground water in Harare.

The next issue is that; 45% of the people in Harare rely on borehole water because Harare has been expanded but the catchment of water has not been expanded. We have Lake Chivero and the other lake. These lakes have been in existence since the 60s. When these two were designed and Morton Jaffrey was designed, Morton Jaffrey was designed as a water treatment plant for Harare’s population which then was about 1.2 million.

However, Harare’s population as we speak is about 5 million. The same sources of water and treatment plant are supplying 5 million people and today, most people have to rely on borehole water. The danger in relying on borehole water is that very soon we are going to exhaust our underground water. When we exhaust our underground water, we end up facing the situation in Capetown. Capetown has less than 18 days of water supply for that whole first-world city and we do not want Zimbabwe to be found in a similar situation.

I will go on to talk about the issue of Kunzvi Dam, which should have been constructed years ago. There was a businessman here, I am sorry to say, who was related to the former President. To anyone who cared to listen or talk to him, whenever you met him, he would be having documents on Kunzvi Dam in his pocket. Whenever you see him he would say, ‘ Ko ndinizve ndakapiwa contract yekuvaka Kunzvi Dam. He is now late. For the 20 years that I knew him, all he did when you met him was to show you documents for the construction of Kunzvi Dam. The dam is supposed to supply water to Harare and it is supposed to be the third catchment for water supply to Harare. It has not been constructed. The dam has been on the books of the Government and the City of Harare, for as long as I can remember – [AN HON. MEMBER: Anonzi ani?] – I cannot remember his name but he was a prominent family.

On the next slide; what you see is a wetland in Mabvuku where cultivation is taking place. Whether it is this season or the next dry season, if you try to cultivate on a wetland, you are quick to come across water. However, that piece of land was allocated to someone and development is already taking place. What it means is that all areas to the North of that development which is Tafara, Mabvuku, Highlands and Borrowdale, their underground water will be compromised because of that construction.

How do we restore wetlands and why is it important to do so. Construction on wetlands should be stopped. I am glad I was speaking to the Hon. Minister of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing who understands the importance of wetlands and the impact of construction on wetlands. He said, he had stopped all construction on wetlands so that we restore our wetlands – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] –

The Convention on Wetlands of International Importance was adopted at Ramsar in Iran 46 years ago on the 2nd of February, 1971. That date is now celebrated globally as Wetlands Day. I remember last week, it was celebrated and people who are concerned about wetlands brought a petition to this House saying wetlands should be preserved and I am sure that petition is in the Speaker’s office.

On the presentation, the place shown in that picture is a place called Monavale Vlei. Monavale is to the North of Belvedere. It is a Ramsar-protected site but the scandal that is happening there is that an Indian family was allocated about 5 hectares of land to the east of the Monavale Vlei and they were given a certificate to start development on that wetland. The land is protected by Ramsar, which is ratified by Zimbabwe. What it means is that anyone can take this Government to court and win against it but this Indian family was given the piece of land by the former Minister.

The water that will be going to Lake Chivero will be so compromised. Those are the recommendations that I give that Government must be transparent and demonstrate political will to enforce existing legislation on the preservation of wetlands. There must be correct interpretation of legislation including the Ramsar recommendations by EMA, the City of Harare and the Ministry of Local Government. Wetland preservation to ensure Harare’s fragile wetland ecosystems are able to provide critical ecosystems and services, for example water provisioning. All my recommendations talk about two things that Government must be transparent and that there must be no development on wetlands.

There are so many areas in Zimbabwe where houses could be developed. I remember the former President at one time said, you cannot give stands to everyone, why do you not build going up? Instead of having every young person with a stand, why do you not construct going up and you have a twenty story building which houses maybe 300 people. This is what is happening the world-over because the land that we have is not expanding.

Madam Speaker, for your own information, the picture that I showed you of 1896 when members of the Pioneer Column came to this country, the population of this country was 890 thousand people and now we have 15 million people but the land mass is not expanding. The size of the land that we settle on is not expanding. What it means is that we must be able to manage the land that we settle in. One way of managing the land that we settle on is that when we construct for settlement, let us construct going up. This is one way of reducing pressure on the land especially in a place like Harare.

Throughout the whole world, we cannot all be landlords including 18 year olds that are coming out of school. If you want to be landlords, there must be deliberate policy by Government to construct low cost housing. These low cost houses must be constructed going up. We cannot afford as a country to have stands that are as big as one acre for example, in Harare because the land is not available. Madam Speaker, I show you three pictures there. One picture is of a soldier, that must be during the war and that was a ZANLA cadre. I was looking at that ZANLA person speaking to a woman and he was eating fruit. He was probably saying to that woman, when we get into Government in 1980, we want to preserve wetlands. That is probably what he was saying to that woman. When we get independence, we must preserve wetlands. There is a picture of a soldier to the extreme right who looks well fed, I think he is looking at the Local Government Minister and is saying to himself, what the hell are you doing, giving away wetlands for construction, do you not see that you are destroying the ecosystem.

There is that picture of soldiers that are praying, I think that was soon after Operation Restore Legacy. I think those soldiers were praying that now that it is a new dispensation and now that Hon. Chombo is no longer Minister of Local Government, we hope that the next Minister – they are praying for the Minister there and the President. If you see on that picture, there is another soldier there who is holding a gun and standing guard. He is probably standing guard there to ensure that people do not come and disturb that prayer. I am assuming that in that prayer, they are praying for the President so that he gets wisdom to preserve the wetlands and they are also praying that thank heavens, Hon. Chombo is no longer Minister of Local Government. He was parcelling out wetlands.

Madam Speaker, on that score, I want to say, iwe neni tine basa. Asante Sana. Good night.

HON. NDUNA: Madam Speaker, I am the seconder of this motion. I want to thank the mover Hon. Maridadi for bringing to the fore and to the attention of Hon. Members in this House, by extension to the electorate and the nationalists at heart of this nation and the population of this nation of Zimbabwe. There are a few issues that I want to touch on that will bolster, augment and complement his motion.

Madam Speaker, the wetlands are the lungs also of this nation. They also bring pure water to the water bodies that we have in the nation. The depletion of these wetlands brings harm, brings more chaos and it is catastrophic to the values, ethos and the health of this nation. Madam Speaker, I want to say the problem that bedevils this nation, Hon. Maridadi touched on a plethora of acts that would otherwise protect the wetlands where they are aligned to the Constitution. He spoke of Sections 73, 74 and 77 of the Constitution which if aligned to the Mines and Minerals Act, the Environmental Act and all the plethora of Acts, we would certainly curtail the depletion of these wetlands that are currently in our nation. I want to correct one thing, he said 15 percent of our land was wetlands, it is 1.5 percent. That as it might be, does not denigrate in any way the importance of the wetlands. They far outweigh the disadvantages.

Madam Speaker, we need to align our Acts with the Constitution. The current scenario that we have in Zimbabwe, we are saying the alignment of the Acts with the Constitution is a process, is rather unkind in a way. The Kenyan scenario was very clear. They had clarity of purpose in that they said, we have certain benchmarks and certain timelines for certain sections of the Constitution to be aligned with the Acts but we have left it open-ended.

It is time Madam Speaker, with your indulgence, to do and make a clarion call for Hon. Members to see it in themselves, to allow this august House to amend the Constitution and to add an addendum that speaks to and about the implementation and alignment of Acts with the Constitution; and give immediately, some timelines so that we do not continue to see the flagrant misuse and disrespect of the Acts and Constitution and the continued non-alignment of the same. This is going to see our laws aligned in a manner that is far much more than what we saw here the other time when the General Laws Amendment Act came in to consequentially align all other laws with the Constitution.

The example is the Attorney-General being the Prosecutor General, this is how consequentially these laws were aligned but we need to go much further than that. We need to look and make sure we have a fine tooth comb to comb through all the Acts and align them with the Constitution, in particular the Environment Act, the Mines and Minerals Act which is archaic, which does not speak to and about the formally marginalised black majority.

Madam Speaker, take into cognisant the fact that our current population far outweighs the population when the Pioneer Column came through into Zimbabwe at some time during the colonial period. The population that has outgrown the land that we have Madam Speaker, can make sure that there is an appetite for establishment and creation of wetlands. This goes against the ethos and values of the protection of the wetlands. So if we need to make sure that we protect our wetlands, we need first and foremost to look at the policies in terms of infrastructure development. The issue that we continue to go lateral should stop. We need to go upwards in terms of infrastructure development, in particular, accommodation that is going to see us utilising less land for a lot of accommodation and this is going to curtail as I have said, the appetite of continuing to be lateral in terms of establishment of accommodation seeing that the population has out-grown the land which is not wetlands.

It is with a heavy heart that I heard Hon. Maridadi talk about the malls that have been built or are about to take shape on wetlands. He was quite well ventilated that point and I will not belabour that point continuously. I want to touch on, in particular, the issue of Longcheng Plaza that is right in the backyard of the National Sports Stadium. No matter how much the Chinese can be termed the developed developers of this global community, it should not be condoned and it certainly should,in the strongest of terms, be repudiated the way that they fraudulently go and establish their infrastructure on wetlands. No matter how good they are in terms of engineering aptitude, we need to make sure that we say in the very strongest of terms they should not be allowed further to continue building on wetlands because they are depleting the lungs that we so require in particular of our land and water bodies.

By the way, the wetlands that we speak about are the ones that generate more and more clean water for our water bodies. You have heard that 70% of Manyame is sewer water. Alas Madam Speaker Ma’am, in Chegutu, we have seven water bodies and of those seven water bodies, we require two chemicals to treat our water before it can be consumed by the people of Chegutu. However, we do not have the infrastructure to transport that clean water to the intended beneficiaries. It is thanks to council that has not got people at heart. They have gone into council to sleep. We have preserved our wetlands.

It is my thinking that if wetlands had been preserved in the manner that they have been preserved in Chegutu, we would have a copious amount of clean drinking portable water. What we require is the infrastructure in order to transmit raw sewer and clean water to the intended destinations but we have dearth of copious amount of clean drinkable water that requires less and less amounts of treatment chemicals. However, the prevailing scenario that we have is that we are currently bedeviled with an archaic and rudimental disease that is medieval and speaks to and about cholera and typhoid. This is like love on the rocks or a historic disease that should only find itself in the annals and archives of history of human development.

This comes about because most amongst most in various towns, in particular Harare because we have depleted our wetlands and we do not have or derive the benefit of having clean drinkable water from our wetlands. I therefore, make a clarion call to all other towns and all other local authorities to be on the lookout. This should not only be in the towns or urban setups but also in the rural set-ups. What we are calling ‘matoro’, in ChiShona is what is termed wetlands. So, it is certainly unkind for us to continue to say we expeditiously want to distribute fertiliser and free inputs for our farmers in places that we call matoro unknowingly that we are depleting the only resource that we have of purifying our water which is wetlands.

So, I also make a clarion call that we should immediately stop planting, ploughing and producing on matoro. By extension, I do not know how the Chinese have managed to do it but they plough and plant their rice on wetlands. I think our seas are now having a lot of water coming into them and a lot of rise in the seas due to the environmental degradation that we currently are having in big countries such as the ones that I am talking about; where there is deliberate planting and ploughing on wetlands at a magnified way. We now have what we call the Elnino phenomenon or the change in weather patterns caused by depleting the resources that we have, not in so much amounts but that we have in developed countries. So, it is by extension that I call for the preservation of these wetlands.

I want now also to say why our boreholes have been contaminated. It is more to do also because of the sewer effluent that is above ground that goes into our boreholes but also because of the wetlands that are now quite glaring in their absence and have been depleted. So we have seepage that is now occurring because of non-availability of wetlands and it is said that 97% of boreholes are contaminated with sewer effluent in Harare. Out of about 43 boreholes that we have in Chegutu, because of the advent of the cholera epidemic, we have about three boreholes that have been condemned. So we certainly have a lot of benefit that we can derive through the preservation of wetlands.

So if it pleases the people of Harare, they can migrate and go and seek safe haven in places whose boreholes and water bodies have not been contaminated until such time that there is a policy, deliberate and very robust in nature to try and preserve the wetlands amongst other things and also bring in a lot of chloride of lime for decontaminating the water bodies, the HTH and sulphur to treat the water for consumption. So until such time, if it so pleases them, if they can find safe havens in other local authorities other than Harare Urban Authority.

As I conclude Madam Speaker, I call for all those Acts that are on the Order Paper, that are on Second Reading; one such Act is the Mines and Minerals Act to now come into this House. It has been said numerous times until the former Minister has relinquished his position, now there is another Minister who has come on board. If that Act can come in into the House – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –

THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER (HON. DZIVA): Hon. Members, let us have order. Hon. Nduna, I think you also have to bear with the Hon. Members because if you see them doing that, then something is wrong.

HON. NDUNA: Thank you Madam Speaker. The Hon. Members need to be guided accordingly. If they want to debate, they need to take their time. They cannot come into this House and cause disharmony. They need to come into the podium and be given their opportunity. As I conclude – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –

THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Hon Nduna, order Hon. Nduna. Hon. Nduna, you can only debate issues pertaining to the motion and there is nothing else that you have to comment. I am chairing this Session – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] –

HON. NDUNA: Thank you Madam Speaker. I am quite aware that you were not in the Chair when Hon. Maridadi started this motion.

THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: I was there.

HON. NDUNA: He spoke about the Mines and Minerals Act and I stand by it. I am going to speak about the Mines and Minerals Act, coming to this House and being repealed, not only for the good of the wetlands but also for the good of the formerly marginalised artisanal miners. I thank you.

Hon Nduna having been making noise ordering Hon. Zindi to sit down.

THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Hon. Nduna, what is your problem? What are your issues Hon. Nduna and Hon. Zindi? Can you please go and sort them out outside?

HON. CHAKONA: Thank you Madam Speaker. I would like to put my weight to this debate on wetlands. Before I do that, I would like to paint this picture - I grew up in a village called Bare under headman Gonese in Chief Ndanga’s area. When I was a little boy, whenever it rained, we used to go and play in our wetlands. There was water everywhere. When we used to go to school, we never used to put on shoes because there was so much water and mud on the way to school.

When we grew up, our parents used to till land for our food and part of the grain that they used to grow was rice; it was grown in wetlands. Whenever it rained, we had springs and would actually play and see these springs letting water out of the ground. Fast forward to 2018, there is no longer anything like that in my village. Everything has been destroyed; there are no longer any wells. We never used to have boreholes in my village, we used to depend on wells; not very deep wells but just deep like may be four or five metres and we would actually be able to get to the water table. Now, if you dig any well, it has to be nothing less than 20 to 30 metres deep in order for you to access underground water.

What am I saying, I am actually saying this generation has destroyed the environment and the future of the next generations. We have perpetually continued to destroy the environment in such a way that the future generations are never going to enjoy the natural habitants of this country. This is what we have done and when I listened to the debate, here is an emotional debate that is calling upon this generation to preserve the environment; to preserve what was naturally given to this generation; what we inherited from our ancestors. I would say our ancestors have a better environmental conservation than this generation because the old generation knew how to preserve wetland; forestry; rivers and streams.

Madam Speaker, as I speak to you right now, there is a big river in my village and also in my district called Chiredzi. It had so many pools; areas where you could go and do fishing. As I speak to you today, there is no longer anything like that; it is now all silted, heavily silted and continues to be silting. In my village; downstream of that river we have a dam called Manjirenji. As I speak to you right now, that dam is fast silting and is filling up with sand and nobody is doing anything to preserve that dam. I can speak of more other dams like Siya and so forth which are also suffering a similar fate as to this other dam.

What am I saying Madam Speaker. The reason all this catastrophe is happening in our habitant is because we are not preserving wetlands; we are not preserving the environment to ensure that there is no siltation that continues to drive sand into our rivers and dams. I think there is one point that Hon. Maridadi forgot to mention. At this rate that Lake Chivero is silting, in the next 25 years, we would not be having Lake Chivero. In the next 25 years, most dams in Zimbabwe would be just sand and there would not be any water bodies in this country if we do not do anything right now.

Hon. Speaker, whilst we are debating in this House, there is need to take action to ensure that we preserve the environment; not only for the sake of this generation but for the sake of generations to come. Our grandchildren and great grandchildren are going to sit in this House and say what did our fathers do that preserved what we are suffering from right now. There are perpetual droughts in this nation; water shortages; not because it cannot rain but because we have tampered with our natural environment. The ecosystem no longer balances and therefore we are suffering this climatic change and also seasonal changes that we are experiencing.

Farmers do not know how to plan; farmers do not know which crops to grow, which actually adapts to the kind of environment that we have right now and the weather patterns. Why, because we were perpetually destroying the environment. Madam Speaker, the issue of unplanned settlement is our biggest devil in this nation. People are just doing whatever they please and how they want to do it. If I feel like I want to construct a house somewhere, I will simply just go and do it. Like what the former speaker has said, regularisation is done after construction and we look at the face; who is coming, it is Hon. Chakona who has constructed a house at an illegal settlement at a wetland and so forth and the city council simply authorises and say, here is your permit and then asks ZESA to connect electricity; local authority to connect water to that settlement. This is our major problem that this generation has no conscience. We have no conscience to say what I am doing is right or wrong. We do not know what protects the community; the next generation and what protects even this generation – we are not bothered. What we worry about is me, myself, I and my family. We are not even worried about the next generation.

I have a house in Highlands that I bought in 1996. There is a borehole there and we used to water the garden, drink that water and we used to do a lot more things with that water but I tell you today – the last time we used that borehole was in 2006. It has completely dried up. It is 40 metres deep. I am saying I bought the house in 1996 and in 2006, the borehole had dried up – that is in ten years time. What it means is that at this rate, even boreholes that are 60-80 metres deep, in the next ten years will dry if we do not do anything to conserve the environment.

Another point is that the stream bank cultivation that we have allowed in our nation has heavily affected the environment and it is continuing even to this date. Nobody is doing anything. I do not know where EMA is. In my village, they sometimes come and then make people pay fines and that is it. They just walk away. I do not think paying a fine will actually remedy the damage that is being done to the environment by perpetrators of environmental degradation. The siltation is continuing and at the same time, EMA is simply collecting $20 and they are not agents of collecting money. Government sets aside money to finance EMA and its activities and not for EMA to do fund raising through allowing people that are doing environmental degradation to continue.

The speaker who spoke before me spoke about artisanal miners. Whilst I like artisanal miners – the environmental degradation that goes with artisanal mining is catastrophic. It speaks volumes of what the future generation is going to inherit from us. For as long as we do not care about the environment or our pockets, we are not doing anything good to the future generations. If we want to earn an earnest living, after digging a hole, close it up and rehabilitate the environment. Nobody will stop you from doing that.

I would like to make an appeal to this generation to say that our ancestors gave us this land and one country called Zimbabwe and there will never be another country called Zimbabwe. Our future generations are going to live in this country and they will also want to inherit the best out of this generation. This is the time that we do something to rehabilitate our environment. It is this generation that has to take the first step in rehabilitating our environment. I thank you Madam Speaker.

HON. MHONA: Thank you Madam Speaker maam. I would like to start by thanking the mover of this very important motion and also to acknowledge the Wetlands Day that was celebrated on the 2nd of February.

The issue of wetlands is quite pivotal and you find that in the contemporary literature, we have quite a number of areas that cover the issue of wetlands. I would like to applaud the previous speakers for articulating well the issues and the essence of preserving wetlands. You will find that the issue of wetlands can be regarded as the ecological life blood. Without preserving wetlands, we have no future.

The continued existence of agricultural activities and construction of buildings on wetlands is causing a danger to the nation and the future generation. This has been conducted at an alarming rate and preservation of wetlands has to be a peremptory decree so that whoever violates that will be taken to book. At the end of the day, failure to harness or to have mitigatory effects in terms of preserving wetlands, we will find that our future generations will be doomed.

What we need to do is to uphold the dictates of our supreme rule, which is the Constitution of the Republic of Zimbabwe which has been alluded to by the previous speaker and the mover of the motion, Section 73 which talks of the environmental rights. Surely, we need to uphold this section so that as a nation, we value the environmental rights.

The issue of conducting agricultural activities on wetlands has to warrant punitive justice. Failure to do that, we will have a talk-show whereby we say wetlands have to be preserved and that goes on and on.

To borrow from one of the previous speakers who favours this phrase ‘the clarion call’ as a nation, it is an urgent call to address and preserve our wetlands. This has to be done in accordance; whereby all stakeholders have to come together and plan accordingly, mutatis mutandis- all things having been taken into account. We need a holistic approach in trying to address the issues of wetlands whereby we need to relocate those who are actually conducting agricultural activities in wetlands in line with our Land Reform programme so that those who have the zeal and passion to do farming go to the farms and pursue the Land Reform programme.

Also, the demolition of property on wetlands is a must. That has to be done without favour. If we demolish properties, in terms of administering the human side of us as a nation, we try to secure alternative land and this should be the baby of the Government of today so that we make sure that we provide alternative accommodation in line with our supreme Constitution of Zimbabwe to provide adequate accommodation.

Whoever is going to violate or fails to preserve wetlands will be regarded as a criminal conduct. That has to be taken into account. We also need to uphold the issue of ubuntu whereby we need to respect the tenets of indigenous knowledge systems. We have our elders – they know what we need to maintain and how to maintain our wetlands that are regarded as matoro.

In conclusion, I would like to say that we need to respect the issue of human life as enshrined in the biblical ethos by the Almighty God who is the omnipresent, that we need to take cognisant of the future generation. I thank you Madam Speaker maam.

HON. MAJOME: Thank you very much Madam Speaker for allowing me to speak in support of this very important motion by Hon. Maridadi whom I want to thank together with the seconder Hon. Nduna.

I also want to subscribe to what fellow Hon. Members have also said with regards to our need as an august House to take measures to implore upon the Executive to do what it must do in order to preserve wetlands.

I want to speak on three issues and I want to confine myself to the precise prayer that Hon. Maridadi has prayed, that we do in this Parliament. I do subscribe whole heartedly as also Hon. Mhona has said to – the need for us to put things in their proper places. I speak with some passion around the practice that has become so rampant that it seems to be the order of the day. For example, in my constituency. Harare West, when you walk or drive past there, you will see fields of maize that are now everywhere. As has been illustrated by Hon. Maridadi, Harare is constructed on the head waters of the river system around us. Harare is actually floating and the build-up area that is in Harare, clearly must be managed well. We cannot just expand and expand the ceiling of concrete over the water around us.

The reason I have mentioned the issue of maize cultivation; it is very ironic that you still see some rusted signs that are written ‘no cultivation’ but there are archers of maize there. Yes indeed, agriculture is absolutely important, we must salute ourselves for being a very industrious nation where we have Zimbabweans who want to cultivate. However, in terms of urban planning and what Hon. Mhona has said, it is the opposite. We must cultivate where it must be cultivated.

Agricultural activities on wetlands have also brought other forms of havoc. The prices of houses; if you go to particularly, Mabelreign and Marlborough, the values of housing development there have fallen. If we were to ask real estate developers, indeed they have fallen; even looking at it, there is something wrong with seeing that. However, we need to decide whether we are in an urban area or a farm land. Indeed the Agrarian Reform Programme has capacity and space for those who want to farm.

The Ministers involved, that is the Minister of Agriculture, the Minister of Local Government, must also sit down together with municipalities such as Harare. I believe it is possible to find land for those who live in the urban areas who are much interested in farming. They should be given certain plots of land or farms at the periphery. Harare City Council for example, has got farms that it is not using. I want to propose that there be a win/win situation where those who want to cultivate in the urban areas enter into arrangements with cities around them so that they can go and farm. These urban cultivated areas have become havens for crimes, murders and rape cases because they hide in those maize fields.

There are particular companies that pay their employees and invest money to assist in flouting ploughing laws as well as prohibitions. The environmental legislation around farming on wetlands in Harare must be prosecuted. If you go out of this Parliament building, go to Princess Road, turn into Sherwood Drive, you will see very well cultivated manicured fields of maize that you can see has been ploughed by a tractor. You will actually see in broad day light signs of placards of companies such as SEEDCO and PANNAR. This is very sad, they are marketing themselves in a manner that flouts very clear environmental regulations and making money out of this.

Just at the beginning of this year, I stopped because I was surprised; at the corner of Sherwood Drive and Princess Road; I saw a tuck that was emblazoned SEEDCO and four men who were wearing brand new overalls holding buckets written SEEDCO as well. These men were in a field there applying fertilizer in a much organised way. I had to stop and asked the person concerned, he was actually a marketing officer from SEEDCO. I asked whose field it was and he said it belonged to certain vendors. He said they were encouraging such people and domestic workers who live in the suburbs to go and cultivate during their off days. I understand these companies would be using these fields as demonstration plots and spent a lot of money doing their marketing.

However, I think we have gone too far where as a nation, companies in broad day light flout the laws at the ethics of business. I asked those workers if they were not aware that cultivation in those areas was prohibited but he said, everybody else is doing it. So, Madam Speaker, we need to stop this, in particular we need to stop seed companies from promoting their wares and advertising by cultivating on wetlands. I think their services should be utilised elsewhere, they must not promote their profits at the expense of the wetlands of Harare and even other places.

I think as politicians also, we are to blame for a lot of these problems. In Harare West Constituency, there are a lot of spaces that have been left out because they are wetlands but every now and then, just before elections, you see the parceling out of stands on what are called green ways. It is those politicians or land barons who go and access State land in order to allocate land. I think we truly need to put a stop to this and we need prosecutions.

I also want to express my dismay at the Environmental Management Agency. I agree very much with Hon. Chakona that they should not be a fund raising enterprise where they just fine people. However, I am concerned about them from a different dimension; EMA happens to have its headquarters interestingly in Harare West Constituency along Lorain Drive, there is a rampant construction on wetlands. It is happening right in the glare of EMA, for example, if you go straight Harare Drive, past Lorain Drive to the right near Cotswold Hills, there are houses there. If you go further, there is an area that is near Mabelreign Civic Centre where there is the swimming pool, EMA has under its very watch allowed people to build and develop houses belonging to a certain bank, which I understand was Kingdom Bank. Because of the streams that Hon. Maridadi was showing, there are streams that are active, they had to dig very deep foundations and tried to divert the course of a stream that is naturally occurring. I only shudder to imagine what will happen when those people finish building their houses. They will again cry foul because nature has a way of taking revenge and water always finds its level. That water will come out and sadly, there will be an outcry so that those people can be saved.

I am appealing to the members of the public to be vigilant, exercise responsibility and take it upon ourselves to also develop and acquire houses on properly designated places not wet lands because they will come back to haunt us.

Madam Speaker, I want to express my concern at the depleting water levers in Lake Chivero as was said by Hon. Maridadi. He said that just less than 10 years ago, the depth of the water in Lake Chivero was 28 metres but now it is down to 18 metres. We have lost 10 metres of depth to silt as Hon. Chakona has said. I want to urge the relevant Ministries to expedite a public awareness exercise so that they remind citizens that we have a part to play and that the cultivation that we are doing, removing ground cover is what is just flowing and pushing sand to Lake Chivero. There used to be a very aggressive campaign many years ago by what was called the Natural Resources Board. When I grew up, I used to see stickers everywhere, so, somehow, I just grew up embedded with it in my mind that there is not to stream bank cultivation. However, something has definitely happened, something has gone amiss. I hope that the Hon. Minister of Environment and Tourism and that of Information and Publicity come up with an education awareness and educate our children and everyone else so that we preserve our environment because we are our own worst enemies.

Madam Speaker, I want to end by imploring the Government to abandon the densification of Harare in particular. I support whole-heartedly what was said by other Hon. Members like Hon. Nduna, Hon. Mhona and so on, that Harare is not the only place where people can live.

I want to implore the Executive to resuscitate its good programme that it initiated in the early 80s just after independence, the policy on developing growth points. We still call them growth points but now they are ‘stunted points,’ as something seems to have forgotten it. Those growth points need to be resuscitated as areas of industrial and economic growth so that Harare does not become the bambazonke, the place where everybody wants to come and build. That economic development process is what will also save our wetlands. Let us also develop other areas of the country, the growth points and other cities and encourage economic development there so that we reduce the demand for construction and development in Harare and save Harare’s wetlands. I thank you.

*HON. CHIKUNI: Thank you Madam Speaker for giving me this opportunity of making my contribution on the conservation of the wetlands. We have noticed that, in most cases, people need to be educated on the importance of these wetlands, especially regarding our traditional leaders who are responsible for allocating land and stands to people including in areas such as wetlands.

We also need to give this education to people who are resettled in these areas. I will take a good example of an area in Cashel; we have wetlands in that area and people were resettled indiscriminately. The rivers which used to flow in that area are now silted, we no longer have perennial flowing rivers. Trees have been cut indiscriminately and as a result, the conservation of our natural resources has been compromised. We are saying, we need to keep on educating our people on the importance of these wetlands.

Look at what is happening to the Sabi River, starting from Sabi, Odzi and Mutasa, people were settled all over the place. Consequently, Odzi River is now silted. The siltation has spread to the Save River and people are even cultivating in these streams and rivers. People need to be educated on which areas to get settled. We have to respect our wetlands. When we talk about the tree planting day, unfortunately, it is just the first Saturday of the 1st of December and it ends on that particular day. I do not think we ever take note of the number of trees which are planted on that particular day so that we make a follow up and see. When people talk about planting trees, are they implementing that policy as it is stated?

We also realise that, in my area especially Chimanimani, we have lots of veld fires and some of them even burn along these rivers. We have some areas which have to be conserved and we know that in wetlands, not every crop can be grown there but there are some plants and crops which are grown there. Unfortunately, poor people burn these wetlands. I am calling upon EMA, which is responsible for the conservation of the environment, not to be a money-spinning venture where people who plant in those wetlands are simply made to pay fines. They need to be educated on the importance of these wetlands and they can be fined afterwards. Unfortunately, after EMA gives a notice for people not to plough in those areas, they do not make a follow up to check whether people would have responded to their education and this leads to siltation. I thank you.

HON. ZINDI: Thank you Madam Speaker. I would like to add my voice to this important motion. Perhaps before I get into debating, I would also want to add to Hon. Maridadi’s definition of what wetlands are. According to UNESCO, (2017), ‘Wetlands are ecosystems saturated with water, either seasonally or permanently.’ They store water and ensure its quality, providing resilience against drought. They play a central role in sustainable development by supplying all our fresh water. In addition, there is a Ramsar Convention which further says, ‘wetlands include all lakes and rivers, underground aquifers, swamps, mashes, wet grasslands, peatlands, oases, estuaries, deltas and tidal flats, mangroves and other coastal areas, coral reefs, and all human-made sites such as fish ponds, rice paddles, reservoirs and salt pans. I think Hon. Chakona also made reference to wetlands being a source of food, where we used to produce rice along time ago. These wetlands, according to the Ramsar Convention, rice paddies are also mentioned as wetlands. I thought I should emphasise that point that wetlands are also a source of food.

Madam Speaker, I think you can see the trend that has developed, that most people now favour the African foods, food with roughage, fibre and so on other than the processed food. I need to give an example, where I come from, Honde Valley, I was very young that time when we used to grow turmeric and if you surf on the internet, you normally see that it is one of the most important herbs mentioned time and again. That is one food that we used to grow in Honde Valley in our wetlands, which is no longer being grown because wetlands have disappeared.

Further to that, on wetlands as a source of food; there is also tsenza, pachizezuru they call it tsenza, isu pachimanyika we call it tseza, it is another source of food which we used to grow in Honde Valley, but we hardly see tsenza as we speak except when you drive past Rusape, that is where you see it but not abundantly as it used to be the time I was growing up. I used even to cultivate that tseza myself but I do not see it anymore. Going to Honde Valley, they do not grow it anymore. It is very few places in wetlands where they are still growing tseza, very few. I am just mentioning in terms of wetlands, why it is important for us to preserve them because of being a source of food.

Tsenza or tseza is regarded as a herb as well and perhaps this is why most of us born that time, 60s and so on, we are fit. Why we are fit is because we used to feed on those kind of foods; roughage not processed. If you look at the children of today, by the time they get to six, seven years, breasts have developed, they are already mensturating and perhaps men as they come across them in the streets, they think they are mature yet they are babies. It is because of the processed foods that they are now consuming. Comparing with us, we used to consume unprocessed foods and we need to preserve these wetlands so that we continue to have those kind of foods because they are good one way or the other nutritionally.

Madhumbe , as Hon. Chikuni has said, brown rice for example, if you walk into any upmarket supermarket, you normally find these kind of unprocessed foods I am mentioning here, they are on the shelves and very expensive, perhaps with 500g brown rice going for almost close to about $6 or $7. That is how precious, nutritional value it is regarded by that price tag. It is important for us to preserve the wetlands so that we continue to feed on these unprocessed foods.

Further, Mr. Speaker Sir, time immemorial, wetlands have been preserved. As Africans, we have our own approach of protecting our wetlands. For instance, you would dig a well because we did not have water reticulation systems and what have you, close to wetlands. In order to preserve that well,, you would be told that you cannot go and fetch water with a bucket that has soot on it because if you do that and you deep your bucket with soot on it, perhaps a njuzu, a mermaid will come out and you disappear; or sometimes a huge snake just comes out of that well and you disappear or get bitten by that snake. That alone was a way of looking after our environment. No one would dare and we grew up being taught that way. Even up to now, if I go kumusha, I will not carry a bucket with soot to the river or even kutsime - that is a dug up well. I would not do that because that is how we were taught in terms of protecting our environment.

Further to that, our totems, the flora and fauna, we used those totems in terms of having to protect our environment. If I say, I am of the lion clan, which I do myself, I will make sure that the lion is preserved. If one is a mbeva, hwesa, you will make sure that you will protect that small kambeva, just less than three to four centimetres. You will protect it. It normally crosses the roads usually at night when you are driving. You make sure that you apply breaks even if you were going at almost close to 150 km. Somebody who is of that hwesa told me a story that he had to apply emergency breaks last week. Somebody who was a passenger in that vehicle asked why he had to apply breaks when he was going at such a high speed for that little rat. He said, ‘that is my totem, I need to protect it’. Of course, there was laughter in the vehicle. I am mentioning this because that was our approach in terms of preserving our environment. I could go on even to trees. There are certain trees you would be told, you cannot cut down that tree. If you cut down that tree, you are told, it will not rain and nobody wants drought. Obviously, everybody would observe that.

Mr. Speaker, the rivers which I mentioned earlier on as a definition of the wetlands, in my constituency, we have had a whole river mined. This was alluvial gold mining by DTZ. Mr. Speaker, it is pathetic. This was done under the watchful eye of EMA as much as we know how punitive EMA is, to the extent of diverting the natural flow of the river; that is Mutare River. As we speak today, the road that passes close to Mutare River, because of the diversion that was done, when it is in flood, the river is overflowing on the tarmac road that passes through the Penhalonga Police Station. If you come as a first comer driver in that area when it is raining or either Mutare River is in flood, you can drive straight into the water that is overflowing from the Mutare River because of that diversion. What I am saying is, we need to make sure that our policies preserve our rivers. Surely, a visit to Mutare River is something that, not even one of us Members of Parliament – I am even urging perhaps the Committee on Mines to visit and see the Mutare River, particularly when I have just heard that alluvial gold mining along the Mutare River is to be revived.

We need to make sure that if it is to be revived, what is it that is going to be done to make sure that the river is not destroyed and destroyed forever such that we will just be guessing to say, there used to be a river at one time. They made their money and I thought they were going to be forced to make sure that they close all those heaps and heaps – they were close to about ten families whose farming land was destroyed and they are no longer farming. That is in Premier Central.

Mr. Speaker, I am mentioning this because of the importance of why we should preserve our wetlands and our environment. I can make a recommendation Mr. Speaker, that EMA when it collects whatever fines it collects, that money should be ploughed back in terms of ensuring that wherever there has been a damage on the environment, those holes should be covered, other than those fines diverted and used to something else. With this, Mr. Speaker, I thank you very much for giving me the opportunity to add my voice to this important motion. I thank you.

HON. MANDIPAKA: Thank you Hon. Speaker and good afternoon to you. Hon. Speaker, by all standards, the motion that has been brought before this august House by Hon. Maridadi was well researched with wonderful visuals. It was quite academic and scholarly that I am left with no option but to support this wonderful motion in the interest of the nation.

Mr. Speaker, from the discussions that were coming out in this august House, I want to believe that the Almighty sometimes wonders why he created mankind. I think we were created so that we look after this universe. I think we were created so that we look after our environment – not only for ourselves but even for future generations. My debate will take a different dimension from what other speakers have said so far. When I listened to Hon. Maridadi closely and attentively, I drew the view that we have a Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Environment and Climate. I think they have to go through the Hansard, understand the debates that have come from different Hon. Members in this august House and where possible, constitute an enquiry into how these structures found themselves on these wetlands.

I want to believe that absolute power corrupts absolutely and the debate by Hon. Maridadi is a manifestation of powerful politicians who were corrupted absolutely to the extent that they did not care about these wetlands for the future generations. They wanted buildings to be constructed there; they wanted others to do their A1 and A2 models there and did not care even about the current generation that our survival hinges on those wetlands. So these people, these politicians/authorities should be investigated and measures, drastic for that matter should be taken so that as human beings we learn a lesson from our corrupt activities and mistakes.

I think it is paramount that from the debate presented by Hon. Maridadi, there was enough evidence to point to a clear case of someone who abused his authority during his time to the extent that he must have received some reward for that construction or farming to ensue. I think if that Committee is tasked by this august House to make an enquiry, after the enquiry, they report to Parliament and after reporting to Parliament, can we have a response from the Hon. Minister on what was happening on these wetlands. I think we would have done justice to the nation of Zimbabwe.

Mr. Speaker Sir, we have a duty as Hon. Members to protect the Constitution. Hon. Maridadi was straight to the point in quoting Section 73 of the Constitution. I want to emphasize on what that section says and I quote, “(1) Every person has the right-

(b) (i) to prevent pollution and ecological degradation;

(ii) to promote conservation;”

So it is incumbent upon us as citizens and mankind to look after the environment and ensure that we do not pollute our environment for the good of ourselves and posterity. It would not be good for us as politicians and people in authority to abuse our powers to the extent of allocating those wetlands to whoever comes in this country to want to construct a hotel, house or carry out farming activities. So, in resting my case, I recommend that from the debate by Hon. Maridadi, there is need for enquiry by the concerned Portfolio Committee so that we further debate this issue in this august House. I thank you.

HON. SARUWAKA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. Let me also join other Hon. Members in thanking Hon. Maridadi for bringing this matter to the fore.

Issues to do with climate change these days are very topical and you would find that climate change has been caused by what they call anthrop generic activities or irresponsible human activities. The issues of carbon emission contribute to climate change; the issue of deforestation contributes to climate change, the burning of forests and wetland destruction. What we have seen and which I want to make a comment on is that nature is not stupid. It has a way of fighting back and it is for us as mankind to behave responsibly or we face the full wrath of nature.

We have examples of how nature has defended itself. The flooding, those people who have been “lucky” in quotes to have been allocated land on the wetland will tell you that they are not enjoying their stay when it comes to the rainy season. Their homes are flooded, blankets are wet and you cannot get to your house because of an irresponsible decision. Nature fights back; we have diseases such as Cholera and Typhoid easily spread in wetlands or where you have houses built on such places. So, it is better for mankind to listen to what nature wants. Wetlands are not for human habitation, they are there to give us life but we do not have to stay in the wetlands.

Mr. Speaker Sir, you are aware that those who stay in the wetlands, malaria is rife or just the discomfort of being bitten by mosquitoes is part of the deal. What message do we want to hear from nature? Nature is telling us, do not come and stay with us. Do not stay on the wetlands, find a place on the highlands somewhere, find some dry land somewhere to do your construction and you will live comfortably. So, my brief is just to appeal to this nation to act responsibly because if we do not do that, nature will not let us get away with it.

I want to make a few comments about the Portfolio Committee on Environment and Climate Change in as far as the attitude of leaders or Government is concerned towards environment. We are unfortunate as a country that we have relegated issues to do with environment to the bottom of our priorities.

I was in the Seventh Parliament serving as a member on the Portfolio Committee of Environment and Climate Change. We tried so hard to have access to the Chiadzwa diamond fields for purposes of supervising how they are treating environmental issues. We were never allowed a single day and up to now, your Committee is not allowed to go to Chiadzwa diamond fields - why? This is because to those in charge of Chiadzwa diamond fields, it is not the environment that is important but the money that they get from destroying the environment yet people downstream of the fields are suffering due to pollution. We have cases of cattle dying due to the pollutants being discharged into the Odzi River.

Mr. Speaker Sir, talk of Mutare River where our beautiful city was named after, it is pathetic. You go to Mutare River, it is now pits all over. I, for one am not in agreement with people who want to promote the issue of artisanal mining as a means to fight poverty in this country. To me, artisanal mining is an acceptance by Government that they failed because chikorokoza is an acceptance that things are not going according to the book, kugumhagumha. So, we cannot as a Government promote such a model as part of our mainstream mining model. Let us just bring the right investors to do proper underground mining and we leave the rivers free of any disturbances. I wish to decry the destruction of Mutare River through the activities of makorokoza; the destruction of Mazowe River and the Chiadzwa diamond fields.

In conclusion, I just want to say it is the attitude of this Government that can help us save the environment. If we continue on our profiteering path without regard to what we are going to leave for future generations, then our country does not have a chance. All the destructions that have been allowed in Zimbabwe to occur on the environment; it has been done not because we do not have enough law to prohibit that. It is because we disregarded it anyway. People were decrying that EMA is not working hard enough; it is not about EMA; we visited the Long Cheng Plaza construction site in the last Parliament as a Committee. We were told flat out by the Chinese investor that - who are you, I only deal with the Minister of Local Government, Hon. Chombo, get away. They actually closed the gate in front of us and because of the political muscle Chombo wielded at that time, our Committee was just ignored.

So, I am saying we must raise the value of our environment if we really want to leave something for our children. Let us care about the future of this country for we are only custodians. We do not own this land; we are only custodians for those who are going to come after us. So, I beg you Mr. Speaker Sir, that we join together and raise our voice to be responsible and protect the environment. Environmental matters must be raised above profit matters. I thank you.

HON. RUNGANI: I move that the debate do now adjourn.

HON. D. SIBANDA: I second.

Motion put and agreed to.

Debate to resume: Wednesday, 14th February, 2018.

On the motion of HON. RUNGANI seconded by HON. D. SIBANDA, the House adjourned at Twenty-One Minutes to Six o’clock p.m.

 

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National Assembly Hansard National Assembly Hansard 13 February 2018 Vol 44 No 40