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SENATE HANSARD 02 NOVEMBER 2017 VOL 27 NO 13

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PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE

Thursday, 2nd November, 2017

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

PRAYERS

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

ANNOUNCEMENTS BY THE HON. PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE

THE CHARTER FLIGHT TO VICTORIA FALLS FOR THE PRE-BUDGET SEMINAR

          THE HON. PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE: I have to inform the House that the Charter Flight to Victoria Falls for the Pre-Budget Seminar will leave Harare on the 8th November, 2017 at 0700 am.  Members will be picked up from respective hotels and Parliament Cark Park at 0500 am – [HON. SENATORS: Inaudible interjections.] – Ndozviripo.  The flight is at 0700; you will be picked up at 0500 am.

CHANGES TO THEMATIC COMMITTEE MEMBERSHIP

          THE HON. PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE:  I have to inform the Senate of changes to the membership of Thematic Committees where Hon. Sen. Mupfumira has been nominated to serve on the following Committees;

-         The Indigenisation and Empowerment

-         Gender and Development

ORAL ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS WITHOUT NOTICE

          *HON. SEN. CHIEF CHARUMBIRA: My question is directed to the Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development.  Hon. Minister, when will the construction of the road from Beitbridge to Chirundu going to commence.

          THE MINISTER OF TRANSPORT AND INFRASTRUCTURAL DEVELOPMENT (HON. DR. GUMBO):  Thank you Madam President.  I want to thank Hon. Sen. Charumbira for the question on the progress of this road.  I want to inform the Senate on the position of Beitbridge-Chirundu Road.  We signed a Memorandum of Understanding and a ground breaking ceremony was held on the 18th May, 2017 and we started negotiations towards the implementation of this programme.  When there are such agreements, there are some agreements which you need to follow up before you implement.  This has taken us two months of negotiations where we were talking about the modalities with the company which won the tender.  The company has subcontracted a company called CHEC from China to implement the construction of the road.  This company is going to construct the road from Harare to Chirundu.  There is going to be another company to be subcontracted to construct the road from Harare to Beitbridge.  They had another discussion and agreed with a Chinese company, Bion International, hence when we held our ground breaking, they held this diamond company.  After that they will have to do some physical checks, designs and quantity surveying on the road before they can start working on the road.  They started working on the Harare to Beitbridge road on 4th July. 

These people are now working on this road and they have divided this road into six segments from Harare to Beitbridge for the sake of implementing the programme.  What has been a bone of contention is that the protocols in Government were delaying the founding of a company which is going to implement this job.  What happens according to the protocols, when a company has been awarded a tender, it should have a local company which opens banking accounts and other businesses to be carried out. 

The other problem which they faced is the sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe, also limited the amount of money that is supposed to move from Europe to Zimbabwe, but the companies which won the tender have had some ways of getting hold of the money from outside.  Now, what they await is the project national status because they had problems in importing heavy earth moving equipment for the construction of the road.  I am glad to report that the machines have since started trickling into the country.

Whilst all of this is going on, the people who are working on the ground; the designers, surveyors and quantity surveyors are on the ground looking at the logistics necessary.  We agreed with multinationals that the next Sunday, officials in the Road Department will hold in loco inspection of the areas to be worked on. As a result, when we see people starting to construct the road, there are a lot of things which have to be worked upon.  As I talk to you now, the construction of the Chirundu – Beitbrigde road is now work in progress.  I am very grateful for having been asked such a question because we have had told the nation that the construction of the road is in progress.  I thank you.

*HON. SEN. CHIPANGA:  Thank you Madam President.  Minister, may you please inform us how far you have gone in the construction of this road.  Do you have a set time whereby you can tell us that by this date the construction of the road will be completed?

*HON. DR. GUMBO:  Thank you for the supplementary question raised by Hon. Chipanga.  I will add on some information on to this and say, we awarded this tender to Geiger of China and this agreement states that the construction of this road should not exceed three years.  So what this means is that as soon as they start the construction of the road, it should not take more than three years and I can safely say that is the time limit that the job of constructing this road should be.  That is why they divided this road into six parts.

Let me take a good example – from Skyline on the way to Masvingo up to Beatrice, it was cut by 65 km, which means there is one company which is going to work on those 65km, but if they realise that the company which  has won the tender has failed to implement what it had promised, it means they will be forced to subcontract another company to work on this 65km.  In order for uniformity in the construction of the road, there is supposed to be quality control and checks and balances so that there is not going to be any difference in the different companies which constructed the roads.  There should be uniformity and the reason why it was divided into segments is so that we have many companies working on it.  It was to avoid the delays and therefore, each company will handle its own part of the road and we are going to have some inspections which will be taken out by the companies that are in Zimbabwe.  They will visit the places where these companies have evidence that they constructed some road and the quality of the road will be examined before this can be finalised. 

Hon. Chipanga, we agreed that this Beitbridge-Chirundu Road should be completed in three years, but what we know is that amongst these companies, we awarded the tender to construct this road; some may be faster than others and this is why we have said we wanted many people to be contracted.  I am glad to inform you that we have had the Zimbabwean companies being awarded 40% of this road.  I am saying, of the total amount budgeted for this road it means 40% of that amount will be paid to Zimbabweans who will be subcontracted in the construction of this road.  As Zimbabweans, we need to benefit. We will also quickly construct this road and utilise it.  I thank you.  This was a difficult question, but I am sure I have managed to respond.

THE HON. PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE:  I would like to advise the House that we have additional Ministers.  We have the Minister of Mines and Mining Development, the Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs and the Minister of Lands and Rural Development.

+HON. SEN. KHUMALO:  My question is directed to the Minister of Transport and Infrastructure.  There is this road which links Bulawayo and Nkayi.  It has been under construction in bits and pieces.  When is this road going to be constructed and is it only 65km long?  Construction started in 1990, but the job is not yet complete.  Can you give us a time line on the completion of the construction of this road?

+THE MINISTER OF TRANSPORT AND INFRASTRUCTURAL DEVELOPMENT (HON. DR. GUMBO):  Thank you Madam President for giving me the opportunity to respond to this question.  I would like to inform Hon. Khumalo that in the year 1990, I was not the Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development. I was a Chief Whip but now I am the Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development and I will try my best to respond to your question. 

Hon. Sen. Khumalo, the truth of the matter is that Nkayi - Bulawayo Road, Kwekwe – Nkayi to Lupane Road have been put on our priority list of refurbishing and construction.  The problem we have is that we have no money to construct them.

What we are talking about is that we will ask for permission to circumvent the idea of the procuring process in the construction of this road so that we do not go through the tendering system. We will just say whosoever can do the road, they will do it without going through the tendering system, but what you know is that Government has no money to construct the road.  However, I can assure you Nkayi – Bulawayo Road is our major road which we want to construct.  We have had some constructors from even South Africa saying they want to do the job for us, but as Zimbabweans we are not allowed to call outsiders to come and carry out some construction job in the country without going through tender but we are saying we would like to waiver this tender requirement from the State Procurement Board so that whichever companies can come and construct without going through tender.  We have Nkayi-Lupane, Nkayi-Bulawayo and then Harare-Nyamapanda roads which have to be constructed and they are on our priority list.  The only problem we face is that we have no money but we are asking for the waiver of tender so that these outside companies which have enough money to come and construct roads can come and do so without going through the tender board.

          HON. SEN. MOHADI:  My question goes to the Minister of Transport and Infrastructure Development.  It is on the 5km road which is within Beitbridge town going to the border which was started many years ago but has not been completed.  What are your plans for that road and if all goes well, who is going to pay that company which works on a 5km road and never get to finish it for more than two years?

          THE MINISTER OF TRANSPORT AND INFRASTRUCTURE DEVELOPMENT (HON. DR. GUMBO): Thank you Hon. Senator Mohadi for the question.  Yes, I am aware of the section of road that you are talking about.  The history to that section is that it was awarded during the time of our Zim dollar.  Then there was a problem after the change in currency and they could not continue.  The company was asked to finish the work but there was the problem of the exchange rate, how much had been paid and how much should be paid. That is where the problems started. 

Most or the Zimbabwean companies we give work to do tend to have a problem of getting finances.  Now the award of the whole road has been given to a new company and also the feasibility study that we are doing includes that section going along the Bulawayo road which is also going to be dualised.  We have agreed that the company that had been paid for some time – it would have been better if this was a written question and I would have given you the facts on how much was paid to them in Zim dollars and now with the US dollars so you can see where the problem is. 

So the Zimbabwean company is having a problem to continue with the project because they are saying you are not giving us enough.  What you think you gave us in those millions during the bearers era is not what we can use now.  It is the issue in the change of currency which affected that project.  As we are now doing the whole road, we are taking it up as we plan to do the One-Stop-Border Post at Beitbridge,which we should start doing before the month of February next year, as was agreed between our Presidents Cde R. G Mugabe and President J Zuma of South Africa.  So, we are pushing to do the whole road at once.  I am happy that the Senator is very much aware but this is just for others to know because I already promised her that we will be coming to Beitbridge and show her exactly what we are going to be doing.  However, it is good that the whole nation knows what we are planning to do.  I thank you.

          HON. SEN. MAKORE:  My question is also directed to the Minister of Transport and Infrastructure Development.  My question has much to do with the policy regarding progress relating to international routes in our airways.  May you explain to the House where you are with that issue?

          THE MINISTER OF TRANSPORT AND INFRASTRUCTURAL DEVELOPMENT (HON. DR. GUMBO):  I will try my best to answer that question.  I will start with the information about what we are doing, if that can assist clarify what you want to ask.  First and foremost, Air Zimbabwe itself is ailing, it is not doing very well as we are all aware.  This is why I requested Cabinet to allow us to go into partnership with any other airline to make sure that we remain in the skies.  Having done that, we also discovered that our books were not in good order and so we have started inviting our own indigenous people who might be interested in aviation to come and join us or come with whoever they may partner to ply our routes.  As I speak, the aircraft that we have at Air Zimbabwe are old and cannot fly into Europe.  Some are even banned from flying into South Africa because they make a lot of noise and that is a fact.  So, we are allowing other players, particularly Zimbabweans who are interested in aviation to partner us or to bring in their own equipment and ply our routes.  Then regarding the London/Harare route and other international routes, there is a company called Zimbabwe Aviation Leasing Company which is a company that has taken off from where I had left when I was trying to negotiate for a partnership with other airlines.  I tried with Ethiopian Airlines, Turkish Airlines, Malaysian Airlines – many, 12 of them where I have been given permission by Cabinet and colleagues are here, they can witness that.  So, what has happened is that some enterprising Zimbabweans have taken off from the negotiations that I had already started and are now ready to take over or to bring in some aircraft, for which they have now applied for licence to fly to London, Dubai, the Far East, Nigeria and some long distant places like Cape Town within Africa.  Their plans are also to fly to Sao Paulo; I think it is in Brazil. 

          So we have those plans; we have those applications and that is what is actually in the pipeline for now.  What I can say is that as a Ministry and as Government we have not abandoned using international routes.  If all goes well, one or two airlines which are airlines run by our own people, might be in the skies before we go for Christmas.  If all goes well also there might be one route that can be opened, particularly between Harare and London; but these are still plans that are there but I must say they are at a very advanced stage.  As policy, we have not abandoned international routes.  We are on course.  Thank you.

          *HON. SEN. MAWIRE: Thank you Madam President.  My question is directed to the Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development.  Minister, the road which goes to Kazungula, there is a Houseboat which is traveling along that road.  It is so big that we have never seen one like it.  The movement of this boat is being said that it is being denied entry into the border of Botswana to Namibia.  So, what is the story surrounding this houseboat?  Some people are complaining that this Houseboat is so big and our roads are narrow and in the process of moving it, there were some small accidents which were happening.

          THE HON. PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE: Thank you Hon. Senator, the question you asked, you seem to be referring to the importation of goods and this does not concern him.  Importation or immigration, this is not within his jurisdiction.

          *THE MINISTER OF TRANSPORT AND INFRASTRUCTURAL DEVELOPMENT (HON. DR. GUMBO): Thank you Madam President.  To tell the truth, this question is not within my jurisdiction but I am going to talk about what I know about this Houseboat which is moving from Zimbabwe to Botswana and Namibia.  This has nothing to do with my Ministry because I am responsible for the construction of the roads but we know that there are some things whereby we may inform each other on what is happening in the country.

          This boat is going to Namibia, it is being exported to Namibia for business there.  Let me inform the Hon. Senator that in order for me to give her a clear answer, may she put this question in writing so that we can give her a clear answer after consulting the Minister of Industry and Commerce.  This Houseboat shows the expertise which exists in Zimbabwe and we may need to expound on that, but this question definitely has got nothing to do with my Ministry.

          HON. SEN. MLOTSHWA: Thank you Madam President.  My question is directed to the Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs.  Minister, we received letters stating our owed allowances yesterday, dated 31st July, 2017 and we received other letters dated 2nd November, 2017 stating different parliamentary affairs.  I want to know exactly what is it that department of your Ministry is doing towards the Members of Parliament (MPs) stands.  We no longer want assurances; we want exactly the deadlines of what will happen, when.

          We also want to know whether the parliamentary affairs is the one that is lagging behind in this issue or the Local Government, Public Works and National Housing.  On that same note we want to know whether our Parliament staff, when we talk of MPs allowances, are they also looked after because for us to be efficient we need to know whether the staff also is looked after so that at least we do our work.

          THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. RTD. MAJ. GEN. BONYONGWE): Thank you Madam President.  I would like to thank Hon. Sen. Mlotshwa for that question.  I preface my other remarks by observing that, that issue and question related to the allowances and other issues pertaining to Members of Parliament is something which occupied the National Assembly yesterday, as you are aware.  The position which I took was that we would make consultations on the issue because it so happens that it is not a matter confined just to the Ministry of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs.  It so happens that it is a matter which affects, I think the Speaker of the National Assembly; my Ministry, including the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development.

          Some of the issues like the one related to the stands pertain to the Minister of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing.  However, we have made consultations on that issue, starting from – I think the consultations go back quite some time, hence the first circular which was done by the Clerk of Parliament.  That was followed up after consultations yesterday with the circular of 2nd November, 2017 which has been circulated today.

          That circular when you compare it to the previous one, it is clearly indicative of the fact that some progress is being made on the matter.  Indeed there has been progress.  However, I think the most important issue perhaps relates to the matter of the allowances and so forth.  The person who is most qualified to answer on those specific issues would be the Minister of Finance and Economic Development and we are fortunate enough to have the Acting Minister of Finance and Economic Development who is to my right.  But, I want to make the undertaking that as Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, we will do our part to ensure that what has to be done by Government and by each relevant department is done. This is because we have the Parliamentary Portfolio and we will be working to follow on those issues. 

I realise that I have not addressed specifically the matter of the stands which is quite a burning issue and even in that Circular; it has not been addressed properly.  Therefore, I would want to beg your indulgence on that particular issue and be able to bring you a very informed answer, maybe without taking a very long period of time from today to address that issue of stands.  Madam President, that would be my answer.  Thank you.

          HON. SEN. MLOTSHWA:  I wanted also the Minister to address the issue because for us to work efficiently in this Parliament, we need a staff that is interested in our work.  So, I did not hear anything about the staff because it comes under Parliamentary Affairs and at times we encounter problems because the staff is not adequately catered for.

          THE HON. PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE:  Hon. Senator, I thought that was addressed.  He did not specifically mention the staff or honourables but, the welfare issue was addressed and that is not conclusive yet.  They are still working on it as an inter-Ministerial arrangement.

          HON. SEN. MLOTSHWA: Coming from the Presiding Officer, I will take that.

          THE HON. PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE:  I was keenly listening to the answers because it affects all of us.

          *HON. SEN. MOEKETSI:  Thank you Madam President for giving me the opportunity.  I am directing my question to the Minister of Mines and Mining Development, Hon. Chidhakwa.  Minister, are you aware of what is going on at the Elvington Gold Mine because as I talk to you now, the artisanal miners have now entered into the boundaries of this mine?  We also have some other groups within that Elvington Mine and they are saying they have been contracted to operate in that area.  My question is, Minister, are you reopening Elvington Mine? When you are opening up, is it going to benefit the workers who were retrenched from that mine or the only beneficiaries are the people who are saying they have been contracted to work on that mine.  I thank you.

          *THE MINISTER OF MINES AND MINING DEVELOPMENT (HON. W. CHIDHAKWA):  Thank you Madam President and I am very grateful for the Hon. Senator who has asked this question on Elvington Mine.  Let me explain to this House that Elvington is one of the Government companies that are under the Minerals Marketing Development Corporation (ZMDC).  We have Elvington, Sabi, Jena and Golden Kopjie – these mines are the assets of the Government which produce gold.  We had problems in these companies until all these four companies closed down but we then launched a new programme which is aimed at resuscitating these programmes.  As we speak, Sabi is operating and it is producing an average of 28 kilograms per month and we expect that as time goes on, this mine could be producing 41 kilograms of gold per month.

          Looking at Elvington, we received a report that was produced by our engineers and they are saying that the shaft at Elvington Mine has had a problem because there was some shifting of soil when the shaft was sunk.  So consequently, it is no longer safe to use that shaft because of that shifting of the soil.  So we now need to sink another shaft leading us to where we can get gold and we were given some quantity surveying which said that the amount that we needed was $30 million for sinking this new shaft.  We are glad to inform you that the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development has agreed that we should sign an agreement following the discussion between a company from outside the country and the ZMDC for the operation of raising an amount of $150 million for the revival of these mines that I have talked about.

          I will now turn to Jena – let me clarify.  We were given $7 million by the Reserve Bank so that we can also resuscitate and revive Jena Mine.  We are in the process of sourcing for the foreign currency because the engineers gave us on a point by point of the requirements needed in resuscitating this mine.  I will say, out of all the companies which I have mentioned is that we have put Elvington at the bottom of our list.  We are saying, if there is a Government company which is not operating especially in the mines, we have these artisanal miners coming in to operate on this mine.  Some of them even write letters so that they can go and operate legally but, we will inform them that as Government, we cannot just privatise Government property.  We need to be given permission by the State so that we can privatise it but, as you know; artisanal miners will operate wherever they want. 

Whenever you send law enforcement agents to fight them off, these people are of no fixed aboard or assets, so when the police arrive, they quickly move out of the area and lie low.  When the law enforcement agents have gone, they come back and start operating illegally even during the night.  We are saying if we can get this money which we are looking for, we will be able to operate fully and even budget for the security of the areas.  Let me inform you that, we have not given up on the Elvington Mine but we know that part of our plans also include the recruitment of workers who were retrenched or dismissed from work.  I thank you.

          +HON. SEN. CHIEF GAMPU:  Thank you Madam President.  My policy question is directed to the Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development but he has gone out.

          THE HON. PRESIDENT OF SENATE:  Usehambile.

          HON. SEN. CHIEF NTABENI:  Thank you Madam President.  Also, I wanted to ask the Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development.  I do not know whether there is somebody who can answer on his behalf.

          THE HON. PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE:  “Hayi, akula.” – [Laughter.] -

          *HON. SEN. MAVHUNGA:  Thank you Madam President.  I am directing my question to the Minister of Youth Development, Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment.  May you please explain to this august House on the Empowerment Bank which was recently launched?  Where is this bank located?  What services does it offer?

          *THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF YOUTH DEVELOPMENT, INDIGENISATION AND ECONOMIC EMPOWERMENT (HON. TONGOFA):  Thank you Madam President.  I am very grateful to Hon. Sen. Mavhunga for such a question.  We all know that the Ministry of Youth Development, Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment is responsible for giving direction to the youths of this country so that they can make contribution to the development of the economy of the country.  Consequently, the Government came up with a plan.  There should be a bank which is aimed at working hand in hand with the youths where they can go and get loans and get some backing facilities. 

          When this bank was launched, we held talks with the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe and we were told that to launch this bank, we needed an amount of $5 million.  The Ministry of Finance and Economic Development gave us an amount of $2.4 million.  This is not enough to launch the Youth Bank so that it can borrow and lend money.  As a result, we have said we now need to talk of a micro-finance scheme because with the scheme, we will only disburse.  This is still on the drawing board; it has not been on the implementation stage.  What you saw Hon. Member was we were only launching the project but it is not yet operational; youths cannot access money from this bank. 

We have had some promises from the Reserve Bank through the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development because they were present when we launched our project.  They promised to give us $10 million so that this bank can be launched and be of some assistance to the youths so that they may take part in the development of the economy of the country because they are part of the system.  Let me inform this House that this is work in progress and it is in the implementation stage.  We are going to inform this House on the modus operandi of such a bank. I thank you Madam President. 

*HON. SEN. SHIRI:  Thank you Madam President.  My question is directed to the Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, Hon. Rtd. Maj. Gen. Bonyongwe.  May I start by congratulating you for your elevation to this position.  Hon. Minister, what is the Government policy regarding people living with disability.  We have noticed that most people in Zimbabwe are receiving public education on the voter registration, the BVR. Unfortunately, people living with disability such as the visually impaired or the deaf and dumb are not receiving that information.  We believe we need to get that information because it is their right to vote.  I thank you. 

THE HON. PRESIDENT OF SENATE:  Did you pose your question because we want him to give a clear answer?

*HON. SEN. SHIRI:  I will repeat my question.  What is the Government policy regarding people living with disability, especially the deaf and dumb and the visually impaired?  Are they going to be taught on how they can register in the BVR?  What we noticed is that in all the campaigns being carried out by ZEC, there are no people who provide sign language.

*THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. RTD. MAJ. GEN. BONYONGWE):  Thank you Madam President.  Thank you for that question regarding the Biometric Voter Registration process.  This is a very important question.  This programme is being carried out throughout the country from Zambezi to Limpopo.  As the Ministry of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, we are responsible for administering the Electoral Act because the Act discusses all the facets of elections.  The department which is responsible for the registration of voters in preparation for the 2018 elections is the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC).  At the moment, there is a programme which is aimed at getting the people of Zimbabwe to register throughout the country.  What is being done is the BVR kits.  These machines we are using are new; they have never been used in this country.  As a result, we have noticed that they capture the biographical data of an individual, their date of birth, age, finger prints are captured by this machine.  It also captures the facial features of an individual. 

The way ZEC is promoting this programme is that they have a voter education programme.  It is a very important programme because most of the people in Zimbabwe should be taught about the requirements needed to be a registered voter.  It has to be carried out throughout the country.  There are so many ways which are being used in this campaign.  They have written some documents which are being used by ZEC.  What we know is that it is not only ZEC which is carrying out this public education on the voters but we have other organisations like political, civic and other social organisations.  All those organisations which are interested in public education on voter registration were given information by ZEC.  What we know is that nobody should just go with their own personal or organizational documents – all the information which is used in voter education should emanate from ZEC so that there is uniformity.  If this is not controlled, we may have some misguided elements, misguiding people in this process.

I may seem to be meandering in responding to this question but I feel it is important that I take this step so that when I make the explanation, you will be able to get me.  That is why we noticed that the officials from ZEC have a programme on electronic media and on ZTV on Thursdays.  They are also taking these campaigns to the print media.  The ZEC officials are aware that amongst the people of Zimbabwe, we also have some people living with disability. Some of them are not highly mobile and we have some district centres which are static. There are also 4 918 mobile centres which will go to all those places to register people so that people do not have to travel long distances, especially when we take into account the aged and the people living with disability because nobody should be left out in this programme.

          We also have some people who are living with disability such as physical impairment or those who are dump. We have these machines which were manufactured in such a way that they can even register these people who are living with disability. Some people may not have the limbs or whatever, the machine will enable them to move to the next stage. This machine is sophisticated that it will capture that data which makes it possible to identify a voter so that when they come to the voters’ registration, they will be included.

          I will not turn to braille. ZEC officers are now in the process of compiling documents on braille. It is still in the pipeline and may be concluded soon. When we talk of the Constitution, we are saying any official communication should include all the 16 languages in Zimbabwe including sign language. At the moment, we have managed to work on eight languages and the braille part was done working in conjunction with institutions of higher learning. It is our wish that these people be able to access voter education so that they are able to read for themselves instead of getting interpreters or people reading for them.

I thank you for giving me this time to explain on this voter education programme. It has to be inclusive. It is a Zimbabwean’s right to access information and they also should be registered as voters and take part in elections. We should help our colleagues but ZEC is in the forefront of leading this voter education. Thank you Madam President.

*THE HON. PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE: I thank you for the explanation because as people’s representatives, we are going to tell our constituents the information that you have given to us.

HON. SEN. MOHADI: Thank you Madam President. I move that we extend questions without notice by ten minutes.

HON. SEN. MARAVA: I second.

*HON. SEN. CHIMBUDZI: Thank you Madam President and how are you?

THE HON. PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE: I am fine, thank you.

*HON. SEN. CHIMBUDZI: I am directing my question to the Minister of Mines Hon. Chidhakwa. What is Government policy regarding imparting information amongst the artisanal miners because these individuals are vicious. They fight using machetes, axes or whatever weapon they have. How are you educating them on good living?

*THE MINISTER OF MINES AND MINING DEVELOPMENT (HON. W. CHIDHAKWA): Thank you Madam President and thank you Hon. Chimbudzi for this question. It is a very important question. I had discussions with traditional leaders last week especially chiefs like Hon. Sen. Chief Charumbira. You have said we need to hold talks with these artisanal miners because they are so violent and are slashing each other using machetes and axes. I was shown pictures of people who had been assaulted with the intention to do grievous bodily harm. As Zimbabweans, we wonder where this culture of violence is coming from.

I am appealing to this House that whenever as representatives of the people we hold public meetings, let us talk about peace and show them that whenever there is a misunderstanding amongst people, let us talk it over and not fight.  If need be, let us look for arbitrators who are going to bring peace amongst people in disagreement. This is one of the ways which we are using. What is really worrying is that these artisanal miners behave like thugs and vagabonds. Regardless of the level of education, whenever there is a misunderstanding over gold, they become vicious, vagabonds, murderers and we have seen that whenever there is gold rush in those places, these people rush to those places and at times when they meet underground and get whatever it is they want, they fight.

One of these artisanal miners was telling me that whenever you are digging and you find that precious stone underground, do not tell your colleagues that you have found some piece of gold because you may be murdered or injured. We are saying let us live in peace.  I am pleading with Hon. Senators and I have also talked the same to the chiefs that when addressing members of the public, they should talk about these issues including cases of rape. This violence in mining is prevalent in Mashonaland West such as Kadoma and Chakari.

We also have areas in the Midlands, Kwekwe and Mberengwa where there is a lot of fighting and assault with the intention to do grievous bodily harm. In some places, we have peace especially in Manicaland. There may be misunderstandings, but they are solved amicably. In Mashonaland Central, there was some violence to a limited extent but this is unlike what is happening in the Midlands Province and Mashonaland West.

As leaders of the people, let us talk peace to our people and to our youth. As the Ministry, we are giving them lessons and educating them on mining. We have asked the School of Mines to approach these artisanal miners and teach them on the best ways of mining.  We are saying the School of Mines, yes is in Bulawayo but we encourage that they establish campuses in different provinces. The Mutare one will be responsible for diamonds, Mashonaland West and Mashonaland East will be looking at other minerals. We are saying these artisanal miners should be taught about mining and the ethics which are necessary in mining and how people can cooperate in this mining programme. So, we have handed this over to the School of Mines. I thank you.

          HON. SEN. B. SIBANDA: My question to the Acting Minister of Finance and Economic Development is, could he clarify the Government policy with regard to no currency involved payments now that the phenomena has been researched in view of the shortage of foreign currency. What is payable externally and what is payable in Zimbabwe in an import that does not involve foreign currency transmitted from Zimbabwe which has originated elsewhere? I am saying this because I went to look for a quotation which upon receipt seemed to be unreasonable to me and I asked, does this include the purchase price or it includes the purchase price and the profit? The answer was - it included both and I found it awkward that people who are paying in no currency involved are also paying the profit outside. I am saying what is our policy as a nation?

          THE ACTING MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (HON. W. CHIDHAKWA): I am grateful to Hon. Sibanda for this question and it is a very important question. I understood what he asked. He is talking about the pricing system in Zimbabwe, what is obtaining in the market, and some of the anomalies whereby we have different rates from the RTGs, US, and the bond.  I would be very grateful if Hon. Sibanda could put that question in writing so that we can make a thorough response after we have had discussions with the RBZ and Ministry of Finance. Yes, I may have some idea on how this one operates but I am not the substantive Minister of Finance. Therefore, I will not respond to such a question since I am not very much knowledgeable on the subject and may end up distorting information. When I respond to your question, I will not be responding to you personally but I will be talking to the people of Zimbabwe at large. I ask you to put your question in writing and we will respond after making the necessary consultations.

          HON. SEN. MARAVA: My question is directed to the Minister of Mines and Mining Development. Minister, what is the mining policy concerning extraction of minerals that are discovered at private places like a farm that is owned by somebody? Also, in the rural areas where we are finding that there is no consideration of traditional leaders when a person with a permit to mine comes along, is there a way you can improve that because of the disputes that are occurring? It will be a way of shooting four birds with one stone. Is there a way you can come in and help? What is your policy anyway?

          *THE MINISTER OF MINES AND MINING DEVELOPMENT (HON. W. CHIDHAKWA): Thank you Hon. Senator for your question. The farmer and miner disputes – the disputes that have anything to do with miners are covered within the Mines and Minerals Act which says that all minerals are under the custody of the President. This means that if we are on a farm and someone else comes and registers through the Ministry that they want to prospect for gold on a certain farm, that person is allowed if there is no residential place within a radius of 450 metres.  So, they are not allowed to prospect within 450 metres of your residence.

The challenge that we have is that the definition of a residence is that it is a homestead of bricks under corrugated roofing material. If you construct a thatched house, with the law that we have considering the 450 metres, it will fail to qualify. But, we have said this is a colonial law which wanted to protect the whites who were on the farms. Our homesteads are also residence although they are built of mud and are under thatch. This is when this issue of saying that if you own a farm and do not apply for a certificate of mining; if someone applies for a certificate, he/she is issued with that certificate but that does not affect your homestead. We are not the only ones who are facing that challenge. Even in America and Australia they have that challenge as well.  They also demonstrate that they do not want people in their homesteads.

The Mines and Minerals Act has to be amended on the definition of homestead like I have said.  What it says now is that if there is a dispute between the miner and the owner, the farmer, the miner is more superior than the farmer, but we want to create a situation that if gold is found on a farm, the person who finds that gold, if he wants to mine it, should enter into a discussion with a farmer and then they agree whether it is a compensation and the value of the compensation, but there should be an administrative court in place which looks on whether the compensations are reasonable.  We also want to put other amendments like the code of conduct which will say that if you have been issued with a mining certificate you do not just get into a farm where people are resident and you do not approach the leadership of that homestead and introduce yourself.

I am talking about the chiefs.  You should introduce yourselves to the chiefs and then they welcome you.  If it is a big mining company the Minister of Environment, Water and Climate, Hon. Minister Muchinguri knows that the environmental assessment knows that it does not pass if the local leadership has not signed on those papers in agreement that they have welcomed the miners.  What I plead with you is that we should not make it very difficult that we do not get investors in our areas because we would have made it very difficult.  So, a code of conduct will help us to iron out some of these issues that when you get into a place you should recognise the traditional leadership which you should engage even the district administrators who you need to engage. 

So, I am very confident that when we pass the Mines and Minerals Act, it is going to iron out these issues.  If it is a homestead it is not allowed, but if we find oil at your homestead with the challenges that we have as Zimbabwe, we would really engage you that at least you would get full compensation just like with diamonds.  I think in diamonds we should have done that.  We should have given people full compensation and I am confident that in future we are going to give full compensation to all the people that we displaced because we want our country to develop further.  Thank you.

*HON. SEN. DANDAWA:  Thank you Madam President.  My question is directed to the Minister of Climate Change and Environment.  In Shamva North, in Mashonaland Central we have a dam which had been pegged long back between ward 4 and ward 1, Mfure River.  I want to find out when the dam is going to be constructed.  That is what people in my constituency are asking me.

THE MINISTER OF CLIMATE CHANGE AND ENVIRONMENT (HON. MUCHINGURI):  Thank you Mr. President Sir.  I want to thank the Hon. Member for the question concerning the dam which they want to be constructed.  I do not know the name of the dam.  Is it Semwa?  If it is Semwa there was an agreement and funds have been set aside.  It is on our priority list.

Our law says that if we had money we could construct a dam in each and every district, but because of lack of resources we are not able to do that.  If I can ask you to put it in writing so that I can investigate and find out the name of the dam so that I will give you a full answer, but I am saying if it is a small project like the construction of weirs, the Government through ZINWA our parastatal, we have money, $3 million which has been set aside which we said it should help the MPs who have constituencies.  Going further from here, even the Senators and the MPs in your areas, if you come together and you work with our ZINWA engineers they will help you to design weirs because we want to harness all the water and construct small dams.

So we are saying all the MPs in the rural areas, you can get two tonnes so that you work with the community and our engineers so that you build small dams.  So that programme is there and we have the money for that.  We are pleading with you that if it is a small dam you can put it on our programme of 1200 for an MP who has a constituency.  So, we have a lot of cement which can go a long way.  So that is the only answer I can give, but I am not very sure which dam it is.  I thank you.

WRITTEN SUBMISSIONS TO QUESTIONS WITH NOTICE

1.                HON. TIMVEOS asked the Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary

(a)             Why Justice Rita Makarau plays a triple role as judge of the supreme court Secretary for Judicial Services Commission and Chairperson of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC);

(b)            To further explain what role she would play in the event election results are contested.

THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. RTD. MAJ. GEN. BONYONGWE):  Hon. Sen. Timveos raised very salient issues.  Firstly, the Hon. Senator has inquired why Justice Makarau plays a triple role as judge of the Supreme Court, head of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) and the Secretary for the Judicial Services Commission (JSC).

Madam President, let me start by highlighting that Justice Makarau is a Supreme Court Judge who has risen to this post through her vast experience on the bench, as well as immense dedication and diligence to the legal fraternity.  This is indeed very commendable.  I will now turn on the question why she is also the chairperson of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission.  By virtue of section 238(2) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe, the Chairperson of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission must be a Judge or a former Judge or person qualified for appointment as a Judge.

Madam President, there is therefore nothing wrong with the appointment of a sitting Judge as the Chairperson of ZEC as this is in line with the Constitution.  Where the President exercises his prerogative to appoint a judge to head ZEC, the dual roles of Judge and head of ZEC cannot be avoided nor faulted.  It may also be important to note that from the time Justice Makarau was appointed Chairperson of ZEC in 2013, she has not sat in court to preside over any matter.  In essence therefore, the issue of conflict of roles is unfounded and an unnecessary baseless argument.

Madam President, now turning to the third role that Justice Makarau plays as the Secretary of the JSC; it is to be noted that the Judicial Services Commission’s structure has not yet been concurred by Treasury, as a result, the JSC Secretariat does not have permanent staff.  Justice Makarau is merely on secondment as the Acting Secretary for the purposes of assisting with the running of the Commission’s activities.  In view of the level of responsibility required of the office of the Secretary, the JSC made a decision that the Secretary should be at the equivalent level of a Supreme Court Judge.

Madam President, currently all members of staff at the JSC are on secondment from various departments.  I sincerely hope that it has become clear on the roles that Justice Makarau plays, which is in my view do not conflict in any way.  She is a Judge of the Supreme Court because this is the post she holds due to her experience and hard work.  She is Chairperson of ZEC appointed by the President in fulfilment of the Constitution whereby the chairperson must be a Judge and lastly Justice Makarau is the Acting Secretary seconded to the Judicial Services Commission.

The second part of Hon. Sen. Timveos’s question refers to the role that Justice Makarau plays in the event of election results being challenged.  If elections were to be contested in court, there is only one role which Justice Makarau will play.  She will be litigant.  Since the coming into force of the 2013 Constitution and the appointment of Justice Makarau as head of ZEC in the same year, numerous election petitions and challenges have been filled in the Magistrates’ Courts, High Court, Supreme Court and the Constitutional Court.  The issue of Justice Makarau being Secretary of the JSC and head of ZEC has not interfered with the decisional independence of judicial officers seized with such matters and neither have appointments of contact or conflict been created.

Madam President, it is also important to note that despite being a Judge, Justice Makarau does not sit in court.  She has been sued in a lot of cases in the courts, in both her capacity as Acting Secretary of the JSC and Head of the ZEC.  A distinction between the JSC and the Judiciary must clearly be spelt out.  The JSC is an administrative body which does not give instructions to judges in relation to cases before the courts.  Is simply provides support to the courts to enhance efficiency and effectiveness.  The Judiciary is not answerable to the JSC but to the Chief Justice of Zimbabwe.  Judges have security of tenure and have no basis to owe allegiance in any form to the Secretary of the Judicial Services Commission.  I hope I have clarified these roles.

2.   HON. SEN. TIMVEOS asked the Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs to explain to the House why the Anti-Corruption Commission had no arresting power.

THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. RTD. MAJ. GEN. BONYONGWE):  I would like to thank Hon. Sen. Timveos for posing such a pertinent question which perhaps speaks to the everyday challenges that the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (ZACC) faces.  The Hon. Senator asked me to explain to the House why the ZACC does not have arresting powers. 

Madam President, allow me to start off by highlighting the core functions and powers of ZACC as spelt out in the Constitution and the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission Act.  Section 255 of the Constitution sets out the Commission as being an institution that should combat corruption and crime in Zimbabwe.  It has a clear mandate to combat corruption and crime through investigating and exposing cases of corruption which involves but is not limited to theft, misappropriation of funds, abuse of power and dishonestly in both the public and private sector.  The Commission also has power to direct the Commissioner – General of Police to investigate cases of suspected corruption, to refer to the Prosecutor General matters for prosecution as well as to require assistance from members of the police.

Madam President, from the foregoing it is therefore clear that the Commission does not have powers to arrest.  This does not however, preclude the Commission from carrying out its mandate as provided in the Constitution for one or more of the following reasons;

Firstly, by virtue of section 255 (2) where the Commission directs the Commissioner General of Police to carry out investigations, the Commissioner General must comply with the directive.  When interpreting statues, the word must have a peremptory effect, hence the Commissioner General of Police has a constitutional obligation to comply.  Failure by the Commissioner General of Police to act upon a directive from ZACC would be tantamount to a violation of the Constitution.

Madam President, secondly, following such an investigation, the Commissioner General of Police would proceed to arrest if he or she is satisfied that a crime has been committed.

Madam President, I might also add that the Commission is currently comprised of seconded police officers as part of its establishment.  These police officers have powers to arrest, conferred by Section 25 of the Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act.  In this regard, I make reference to a recent Constitutional Court Judgement of Jonathan N. Moyo versus Sergeant Chacha and three others CCZ19/17 wherein the apex court confirmed that where a police officer is on secondment, he or she does not cease the exercise of his or her office nor remove his or her arresting powers.  Therefore any arrest made by such a police officer is deemed lawful.  In essence, ZACC can make use of second police officers in order to effect lawful arrests.

In summary, the Constitution does not bestow arresting powers to the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission as such; however, the Commission can act in cooperation with arresting authorities.  Unlike other countries such as Zambia and Malawi, the Zimbabwe legal system does not provide for a multiplicity of units with arresting powers.  I thank you.

PURCHASE OF SCHOOL BUSES BY SCHOOLS

          13. HON. SEN. KHUMALO asked the Minister of Primary and Secondary Education to explain why schools have been instructed to purchase school buses from one supplier instead of choosing suppliers of their own choice?

THE MINISTER OF PRIMARY AND SECONDARY

EDUCATION (HON. DR. DOKORA):  Madam President, in the recent years, the Ministry has witnessed an influx of buses which were purchased by our schools.  While this was a positive move for the sector, there were also attendant irregularities in terms of prices and sizes of the buses.  As the Hon. Members might be aware, there were some outcries from parent communities and some stakeholders with regards to the prices of some of the buses.  For this reason, authority was then sought from the State Procurement Board with the view to regularise the purchase of the buses.  The State Procurement Board directed the Ministry to abide by the provisions of the Cabinet Circular 11 of 2016 in which schools are instructed to procure buses from Deven Engineering, FAW Zimbabwe and AVM Africa.

FEE STRUCTURES IN GOVERNMENT SCHOOLS

15.    HON. SEN. KHUMALO asked the Minister of Primary and secondary School Education to explain why there exist two types of fee structures in Government schools as is the case in some schools where they charge $10,00 while others charge $20.

THE MINISTER OF PRIMARY AND SECONDARY SCHOOL EDUCATION (HON. DR. DOKORA):  The Hon. Member has rightly pointed out that we have different fee structures in relation to our schools.  The nature of school fees structure is determined by the location of the school and the circumstances of the parents or guardians; hence the following table is indicative of the type of school and the fees payable.

Type

P1

P2

P3

Fees

$10

$5

$3

Type

S1

S2

S3

Fees

$20

$10

$5

 

P2 and S2 are schools that have parents who are gainfully employed.  These parents afford to pay this fee.  This was done to cater for all children of school going age to access education such that no child would be left out of school.

P3 and S3 are less privileged primary and secondary schools that have poor backgrounds and are located in rural areas, mostly where parents are peasant farmers.  They sell their crops to pay fees for their children.

POLICY TO ENSURE GRADE SEVEN PUPILS ARE PRODUCTIVELY ENGAGED AFTER WRITING EXAMINATIONS

18.  HON. SEN. CHIMHINI asked the Minister of Primary and

Secondary Education to explain to the House:-

a)     What policy is in place to ensure that Grade Seven pupils are productively engaged after writing their Grade Seven examinations in October until schools close in December?

b)   What steps the Ministry intends to take against schools that allow Grade Seven pupils to either stay at home after their examinations or go to schools to play the whole day as has been observed in some instances.

THE MINISTER OF PRIMARY AND SECONDARY

EDUCATION (HON. DR. DOKORA): According to Policy Circular No. 62 of 1987, Grade 7 classes continue after examinations.  The circular provides for pupils to remain at school until the normal closing date of term.  This period of time should be used productively by providing remedial work for pupils who may need it and, for example, to reinforce work in subjects that may not have been given full attention in the period of intensive preparation for the Grade 7 examinations.

          In addition, the Grade 7 teachers do prepare schemes of work for the post Grade Seven examination activities which they follow so that the learners are productively engaged.  For example, working in the school garden, being engaged in sporting activities, visiting local industries and other activities planned by their teachers. 

b)  As a Ministry, we have always made it public that the attendance of lessons by learners is compulsory. Teachers in charge of Grade 7 classes are obliged to mark registers on daily basis and to ensure necessary measures are taken so that learners attend lessons.  The Provincial Education Directors and District school inspectors monitor attendance and activities after Grade Seven examinations.

MANAGING ACRIMONIOUS DISCORD THAT COMPROMISE THE SECURITY OF THE NATION

24.    HON. SEN. CHIMHINI asked the Minister of Defence to explain to the House the point at which the Ministry intervenes when managing acrimonious discord that may compromise the security of the nation particularly, from threat statements by War Veterans, the Army and Youths.

THE MINISTER OF DEFENCE (HON. DR. SEKERAMAYI):  There is no real threat to national security at the moment from the groups mentioned by Hon. Chimhini.  However, threats to national security, if any, are managed through the Joint operations Command system (JOC), which brings together all national security agents to progressively review the security situation in the country.  When a determination is made by the JOC that a security situation has arisen where appropriate, security measures need to be taken and a collective informed position is adopted to guide appropriate action to be taken by assigned national security agents.

 Action to be taken may be in the form of a joint statement by the Security Forces as was in the case of recent clashes between elements of the Army and the Police.  Such statements indicate a common position of the Security Forces on the development and appropriate action they will take to resolve the situation

Questions Without Notice were interrupted by THE ACTING PRESIDENT OF SENATE (HON. SEN. CHIEF CHARUMBIRA) in terms of Standing Order No. 62.

MOTION

LEAVE TO MOVE RESTORATION OF THE MOTION ON THE FIRST REPORT OF THE THEMATIC COMMITTEE ON INDIGENISATION AND EMPOWERMENT ON THE CIRCUMSTANCES SURROUNDING THE NON-ESTABLISHMENT OF THE COMMUNITY SHARE OWNERSHIP TRUSTS IN MUTOKO AND MUDZI DISTRICTS ON THE ORDER PAPER

HON. SEN. MAVHUNGA: Mr. President of the Senate, I seek leave of the House to move the restoration of the motion on the First Report of the Thematic Committee on Indigenisation and Empowerment on the circumstances surrounding the non-establishment of the Community Share Ownership trusts in Mutoko and Mudzi districts on the Order Paper.

HON. SEN. MARAVA:  I second.

Motion put and agreed to.

 

MOTION

RESTORATION OF THE MOTION ON THE FIRST REPORT OF THE THEMATIC COMMITTEE ON INDIGENISATION AND EMPOWERMENT ON THE CIRCUMSTANCES SURROUNDING THE NON-ESTABLISHMENT OF THE COMMUNITY SHARE OWNERSHIP TRUSTS IN MUTOKO AND MUDZI DISTRICTS ON THE ORDER PAPER

              HON. SEN. MAVHUNGA:  Your Thematic Committee on Indigenisation and Empowerment investigated circumstances surrounding the non-establishment of the Community Share Ownership Trusts in Mutoko and Mudzi districts.  Oral evidence was collected and fact finding visits conducted.  A report to that effect was tabled in this august House during the Fourth Session of this Eighth Parliament.  However, the motion was superseded by the end of the Fourth Session before its conclusion.  The motion has therefore been restored on the Order Paper to allow debating by the rest of the Senators and to get a response from the line Ministry as well as being adopted by this august House.  I had already debated on this one so I will now call upon other Members who had not debated to do so.  I thank you.

     Motion put and agreed to.

MOTION

FIRST REPORT OF THE THEMATIC COMMITTEE ON GENDER AND DEVELOPMENT ON ACCESS TO SAFE AND CLEAN WATER IN RURAL AREAS

          HON. SEN. MAKORE:  I move that this House takes note of the First Report of the Thematic Committee on Gender and Development on Access to Safe and Clean Water in Rural Areas.

          HON. SEN. BUKA:  I second.

          HON. SEN. MAKORE:  In terms of Standing Order No 18, at the commencement of every session, there shall be as many committees to be designated according to such Government policy areas as the Standing Rules and Orders Committee may deem fit.  Each Select Committee shall be known by the theme determined for it by the Standing Rules and Orders Committee.

          On Thursday, 6th October 2016, the President of the Senate announced that the Committee on Standing Rules and Orders had nominated the following Members to serve on the Thematic Committee on Gender and Development.

Hon. Sen. Bhobho                                    Hon. Sen. Buka

Hon. Sen. Chief Chiduku                        Hon. Sen. Goto

Hon. Sen.Chief Masendu                        Hon. Sen. Jadagu

Hon. Sen. Chief Musarurwa                    Hon. Sen. Mavhunga

Hon. Sen. Chief Nembire                        Hon. Sen. Matiirira

Hon. Sen. Mabugu                                   Hon. Sen. Mugabe

Hon. Sen. Mutsvangwa                           Hon. Sen. Shiri

Hon. Sen. Khumalo D.T                          Hon. Sen. Moeketsi

Hon. Sen. Makore (Chairperson)

1.0           Introduction

1.1    Inadequate access to safe, hygienic and private sanitation facilities is a source of shame, physical discomfort and insecurity for citizens, particularly women in rural communities.  Women end up spending much of their valuable time fetching water from distant sources.  Access to safe and clean drinking water is a basic human right and is essential for achieving gender equality, sustainable development and poverty alleviation.  Adequate and safe water is important for human health and well-being, economic production and sustainable development.  Failure to ensure the safety of drinking water may expose the community to the risk of outbreaks of waterborne and infectious diseases.  There are limited sources of water available to provide clean drinking water to the entire population in rural communities in Africa, including Zimbabwe.  Surface water sources are often highly polluted and infrastructure to pipe water from fresh, clean sources to arid areas is too costly.  Against this background, the Thematic Committee on Gender and Development resolved to conduct an inquiry into access to clean and safe water in rural areas.

2.0           Objectives

2.1           The Committee was motivated to achieve the following objectives:

2.1.1   to appreciate the programmes put in place by relevant officials in facilitating easy access to clean and safe water in rural communities;

2.1.2   to assess maintenance of water infrastructure in rural areas;

2.1.3   to appreciate challenges being faced by rural District Councils in providing safe and clean water to communities and

2.1.4      to offer policy recommendations for improvements.

3.0           Methodology

3.1    On the 9th of May 2016, the Committee invited Dr. Chitepo, the Permanent Secretary for Rural Development, Preservation and promotion of Cultural Heritage for an oral evidence session, with the objective of briefing the Committee on the government’s policies and programs in facilitating easy access to clean and safe water in rural areas.  In addition, the Committee conducted fact finding missions to selected districts (Zimunya, Gutu, Mberengwa, Umzingwane, Bubi and Gokwe – nembudziya) from the 26th of February to 2nd march 2017, to appreciate the programmes put in place by relevant officials in facilitating easy access to clean and safe water in rural communities.  The Committee met the Districts Sub Committees on Water and Sanitation.

4.0           Committee’s Findings: Oral evidence session:  Ministry of Rural Development, Preservation and Promotion of Cultural Heritage.

4.1    In her presentation, the Permanent Secretary, Dr. Chitepo highlighted that Government gives top priority to rural Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) and has made significant progress in the water and sanitation front since attaining independence in 1980.  However, the ongoing economic difficulties have resulted in the widespread collapse of rural water supply and sanitation infrastructure.  Rural areas reflect worst indicators for both water and sanitation coverage where at least 35% of boreholes are non-functional at any given time.  Inevitably, low water supply coverage in rural areas negatively impacts on the vulnerable, particularly women and girl children.

          4.1.1 Regarding the legal policy, the Permanent Secretary indicated that there is a robust policy and legal framework providing for management, distribution and protection of water resources in the country.   The said framework also establishes an elaborate institutional mechanism vis-a-vis both rural and urban water supply.  The following are some of the key policy and legal instruments on water supply in the country.

          4.1.2 Regarding the Water Policy, the Permanent Secretary indicated that the Government of Zimbabwe, in 2013, adopted the National Water Policy to guide all efforts to address challenges related to the provision of water in the country.  The overall goal of policy is to achieve sustainable utilisation of water resources that in turn will, among others, improve Rural Development Policy and Strategy.  The Ministry of Rural Development, Promotion and Preservation of National Culture and Heritage is developing a comprehensive policy and strategy that seeks to give detailed and stipulated standards vis-a-vis provision of key services such as water to rural communities.

4.1.3 On Institutional arrangement, the Water and Sanitation sector’s roles are subdivided amongst the following agencies.  The Ministry of Environment, Water and Climate leads the entire water sector and chairs a redesigned National Action Committee on Water Sanitation and Hygiene that is responsible for sector coordination.  This Ministry has the responsibility for water resource management policy and development and houses the Zimbabwe National Water Authority (ZINWA), which is currently both a regulator and service provider. The Ministry also houses the Environmental Management Agency whose responsibility is to enforce water pollution control.  The Ministry of Health and Child Care has the responsibility for rural sanitation, environmental health education and public health.  The Ministry of Rural Development, Promotion and Preservation of National Culture and Heritage superintends over Rural District Councils (RDCs), which in terms of the water policy are categorised as Water Service Authorities.  The District Development Fund (DDF) is responsible for development and maintenance of rural water supply infrastructure and chairs the rural WASH sub-sector at all levels.  Sub-national structures which coordinate the various WASH activities are the Provincial Water Sanitation Sub-Committee and the District Water and Sanitation Sub-Committee which are chaired by DDF.

4.1.4 Regarding the role of Rural Local Authorities in water supply, the Permanent Secretary stressed that in line with the principles of decentralisation, the responsibility of providing safe and clean water is developed to Rural District Councils with Central Government providing leadership and oversight.  The RDCs are designated as Rural Water Authorities whose duty is to ensure efficient, affordable and sustainable access to water services to all communities under their jurisdiction.  Accordingly, local authorities are accountable to their communities for WASH services at local levels.  They therefore, own and manage public rural water and sanitation assets whether developed by Central Government or Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs).  They are also required to carry out maintenance of these assets and establish new WASH facilities from their own annual budgets.

          The Government, through the Public Sector Investment Programme (PSIP), has provided funds to Rural Local Authorities to maintain and upgrade water reticulation system at rural service centres.  However, both Central Government and rural local authorities have faced serious challenges vis-a-vis financing of the rehabilitation and development of new WASH infrastructure due to the prevailing harsh economic environment.  This has resulted in reduction of water supply coverage in several districts.

4.1.5 Furthermore, the Permanent Secretary informed the Committee of the role being played by communities on water resource management by highlighting that the Government has adopted the Community Based Management (CBM) as a strategy to empower communities to effectively manage their respective water points.  Accordingly, water point management communities have been established and trained towards ensuring that boreholes are timeously rehabilitated and maintained after breaking down. 

          The said communities have drafted constitutions which guide the operations of their respective water points.  Furthermore, village pump mechanics have been trained in borehole rehabilitation and maintenance and provided with tool kits.  This strategy has significantly reduced down –time following borehole breakdowns in all areas where CBM has been operationalised.  Each borehole and deep well is supposed to supply at most 150 to 250 people, respectively at an average distance of 500 metres.  However, this has not yet been achieved in most rural areas across the country with the new resettlement areas being the worst affected.  The Ministry of Health and Child Care is mandated to monitor water quality of each water point twice a year to verify sustainability of water for human consumption.  This has not been happening consistently due to resource limitation.  Water quality testing is also conducted after the drilling of each new borehole to determine the sustainability of the water for human consumption.

4.1.6 Current Programmes in Supporting the Provision of Clean and Safe Water in Rural Areas.

4.1.6.1       Rural WASH Project

          The Zimbabwe Rural WASH project co-funded to the tune of $55 million by the Department of International Development (DFID) and the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) is a four year project stretching from June, 2012 to June 2016.  The project is being implemented in 33 districts in five provinces of Mashonaland West, Masvingo, Midlands, Matabeleland North and Matabeleland South.  Negotiations are underway towards extending project coverage to the remaining three rural provinces of Mashonaland East, Mashonaland Central and Manicaland.  The project is implemented by the Government of Zimbabwe through the National Action Committee for Water Sanitation and Hygiene.  UNICEF is a fund manager and technical advisor.  The ultimate beneficiary and Service Authority is the RDCs which get technical advice and support from the various sectors. 

          The overall objective of the project is to contribute towards the reduction in the morbidity and mortality due to WASH related diseases and to reduce the burden of water collection on women and girls.  The immediate objective is to increase equitable and sustainable access to and use of safe water supply and improved sanitation and hygiene practices among the rural population.

4.1.6.2 Growth Points WASH (WORLD BANK FUNDED PROJECT)

          The World Bank is supporting ZINWA and local authorities to the tune of US$20 million for the rehabilitation and upgrading of water works at the following growth points: Gutu (Mupandawana), Gokwe (Nembudziya), Guruve (Guruve Business Centre), Mberengwa (Mataga), Mutare (Zimunya) and Shamva (Madziva).  Implementing of the project has commenced. 

          Further to the above, UNICEF and Government of Zimbabwe have signed a five-year programme (2016-2020) towards supporting water supply efforts at 30 Growth Points across the country.  This will be a complete WASH package intervention consisting of hardware, software and institutional capacity building.  Thus, the scope of the project focuses on rehabilitation of water and sewer plants, hygiene promotion, billing system; water safety planning and promotion of school WASH at the said centres.  The project promotes the use of solar technology which is not only environmentally friendly but also financially sustainable.  The project targets will start from three growth points namely: Inyathi in Bubi district, Nkayi and Esigodini in Umzingwane District before spreading to other selected growth points.

          4.2   Rural WASH Information Management Systems (RWIMS)

          This is a mobile automated village based consultative inventory for WASH infrastructure (VBICI).  It is the agreed sector strategy for mobilisation of Rural WASH sector data.  The approach makes use of Government extension workers for data collection and was developed from a paper based data collection tool and desktop based database.  RWIMS was specifically designed and developed to meet the Government’s information needs and requirements.

4.3 Fact Finding Mission.

          4.3.1.  Lack of Access to Clean Water in the RDCs

          It was mentioned in the Committee that in Zimunya District, 36 wards with a total of 1 330 water points, has some areas without boreholes at all.  This includes Ward 27, 31 and 33.

4.3. 2.  Gutu RDC has 1 500 boreholes and the Committee was told that, on average, rural residents still walk more than a kilometer to the nearest water source.  As a result, most residents resort to using water from unprotected sources.  It was reported in Gutu RDC that, overally 30% have access to clean water, and only two chiefs’ homesteads have been provided with clean water.

4.3.3  It was presented to the Committee that Bubi District’s 502 boreholes are concentrated in the minority nine (9) wards, which constitute the old resettlements and old communal areas.  The rest of the 14 wards comprised of new resettlement areas established in 2000 and residents in those areas walk between five and seven kilometers to the nearest source of water, hence they resort to use of water from unprotected sources.

4.3.4  The Committee was informed in Umzingwane district that, out of a total of 319 boreholes, only 242 were functional.  Of the 316 deep wells, only 220 are functional and of the 16 piped water schemes, only four were functional because sources dried up.  There are 80 dams and 65 have water and 15 dam walls were washed away during floods in 2017.  Three wards wholly depend on deep wells since the boreholes could not penertrate the granite underground.  The Committee was also told that the Mtshabezi’s seven water outlet projects with huge potential to supply water for domestic consumption and irrigation, had been on the drawing board for too long.

4.3.5  The Committee was informed that Gokwe North, with a population of 252 612, had the following statistics on walking distance to water sources.  Forty percent were walking less than 500 metres; Twenty eight percent were walking more than 500 metres but less than 1 km and 32% were walking 1 km and above.  The Committee was concerned to note that at least 60% of residents in Gokwe North walk over 500 metres to the nearest water sources with above 30% walking for over 1 km. to get water. 

The statistics for the main source providing water for the households in the district are as follows: 432 boreholes supply about 108 000 residents; 61 deep wells supply about 61 000 residents; 303 shallow wells supply about 15 150 residents and 44 springs supply 2 202 residents.  The Committee observed that many residents of Gokwe North are still getting water from sources such as deep wells, shallow wells and springs – which have high risk of being contaminated and run dry during the dry seasons of the year.  This exposes households, residents and those of public institutions to water borne diseases and after the rainy season, the majority of these residents have to walk long distances beyond the standard of 500 metres to fetch water for domestic consumption.

The Committee was informed that there was an outbreak of diarrhea at Gandavaroyi Clinic in October 2016 and at Msadzi Clinic in January 2017 due to use of unsafe water in terms of water provision to public institutions.  Ninety-eight boreholes supply water to public institutions of which only 68 are functional, exposing institutions to use of unrealiable and unsafe water.

4.4 Sanitation

4.4.1  The Committee was further informed that in Mutare RDC, during the month of February 2017,  1 614 cases of diarrhea were recorded due to use of unsafe water.  In Mberengwa RDCs, officials informed the Committee that in the month of January 2017, there were 682 and 125 cases of diarrhea and dysentery cases, respectively.

4.4.2  In Gokwe-Nembudziya, with regards to sanitation, out of 195 communities, only 24 villages have been certified open defecation free (ODF), giving us a 12% coverage.  Of the 42 102 households in the district, only 8 753 have latrine toilets, which is a coverage of 21%.  The district has 22 health facilities and seven out of these do not have water supply.

4.5   INWA supplies water to RDCs

4.5.1  The Committee was informed that ZINWA is responsible for supplying water to residents at growth points while the RDCs lay out the water and sewer pipes.  ZINWA supplies water to Gutu and Mberengwa RDCs, yet it is based in Masvingo.  This to a greater extent compromised the expected standard of service delivery, especially the attendance to burst pipes which take a long time to be fixed by ZINWA technicians who have to travel from Masvingo.

In Umzingwane the Committee was informed that ZINWA which operates from Bulawayo, supplies water to Esigodini with 8 000 residents and that supply is at best erratic.  ZINWA was also said to have no requisite spare parts to repair water and pipes that as a result  aresidential location called Garikai had been without water for a long period.  Umzingwane RDCs officials communicated to the Committee that ZINWA had advised the RDC to stop expansions of residential locations at Esigodini since ZINWA has no capacity to deliver water.

 The Committee was further informed that Umzingwane RDC has four dams which are Umzingwane, Nyankuni, Mtshabezi and Upper-Ncema;  yet, the RDC does not have reliable sources of water to supply to its residents.  Bulawayo City Council gets water from the dams, treat it and sell it to ZINWA, which in turn sells the same water to Umzingwane RDC residents at exorbitant rates at a fixed charge of $7 for domestic consumption.

4.6 State of roads

4.6.1  Mberengwa RDCs officials informed the Committee that three main bridges in the district had been destroyed by floods, making it difficult to move across wards to repair boreholes that had been flooded and contaminated by floods.  The bad state of roads in Gokwe North District, especially after the 2017 floods, make it impossible for pump minders and technicians to maintain water infrastructure, thus breakdowns take weeks or even longer before being repaired.  Due to bad state of roads to Mberengwa (Mataga) and Gokwe-Nembudziya the

Committee conducted its meeting with a sub-Committee on Water and Sanitation at Mberengwa District Administrator’s office and at Gokwe Centre RDC offices respectively.

          5.0  Committee Observations

The Committee found out that in most districts, a huge number of boreholes are dysfunctional, and/or their distribution is skewed in favour of some regions.  The new resettlements do not have adequate boreholes.  In the resettlement areas, residents still walk more than a kilometre to get to the nearest water source.

The Committee found out that in almost all the districts, residents and institutions were struggling to comply with ZINWA’s water tariffs structure:  for domestic users - $7 fixed charge and 40 cents for the first 10 000 units. For commercial rates, it is $10 fixed charge and 96 cents per unit for the first 25 000 units.  As a result, residents were failing to pay their water rates, with Gokwe North reporting a default rate of at least 50%.  At the same time, submissions made to the Committee by ZINWA officials indicated that the tariffs that are being charged to water consumers are not commercial rates and cannot be used for capital investment but are barely meant for ZINWA to break even and carry out repairs and maintenance.

ZINWA official revealed to the Committee that residents are being prejudiced as they are required to continue paying fixed charges even during a period when water is not being delivered due to breakdowns, as immediate stoppage or deductions of water payments are not done after breakdown of water supply.

RDCs WASH programmes in almost all the districts do not have special provisions targeting water delivery to the disabled residents and chiefs.  This is a major shortfall in water provision in the rural areas by the RDCs and ZINWA.  Chiefs require adequate clean water to maintain standard sanitation and hygiene and prevent outbreak of diseases as they always conduct meetings and tribunal meetings attended by many residents who should have access to clean water and ablution facilities.  Disabled residents cannot get water on their own from sources that are far away and in most cases, cannot pump water using boreholes, some 150 meters deep.

In all the RDCs visited by the Committee, there is an overlap and duplication of roles and responsibilities with regards to water delivery.  As a result, the RDCs have been somewhat pushed to the periphery as far as clean water delivery to residents at growth points and public institutions and collecting tariffs for the service is rendered.  The RDCs are responsible first, for laying the required water pipes and sewer system infrastructure and hand over to ZINWA to use.  There are overlaps of the roles and responsibilities of the two authorities related to maintenance work and custody of the master plan of the water system at growth points.  Secondly, the RDCs are also responsible for sinking, repairing and maintenance of boreholes in rural areas, in conjunction with Water Points Management Committees (WPMC) and village mechanics comprised of local village residents.

In all the districts visited by the Committee, the major challenge highlighted relate to the following:

Ø Inadequate funding for WASH programmes;

Ø Lack of spare parts to repair boreholes and that in some districts, revenue collected from rural residents is not enough to purchase the expensive spare parts kits;

Ø Shortage of funds to drill boreholes, some of which are as deep as 250 metres  or above;

Ø Inadequate water testing kits;

Ø Shortage of funds to acquire material to construct latrine toilets in rural areas.

The Committee found out that RDCs used to receive the Public Sector Investment Fund (PSIF) from Government.  The facility was critical in the development of water and sanitation infrastructure for RDCs.  Its suspension, to a greater extent has compromised the RDCs’ capacity to deliver water and sanitation services to RDCs residents in rural areas and at growth points.

Water reticulation infrastructure at most RDCs is old and outdated.

6.0  Committee Recommendations

There is need to increase funding for WASH projects by Government in rural districts, especially in resettlement areas where the majority of residents are still walking more than one kilometre to their nearest water sources, most of which are unprotected sources by 31 December, 2017.

The country still faces enormous challenges in improving rural sanitation.  In that regard, RDCs should ensure that all households in all villages, in all rural communities should have latrines and be certified open defecation free (ODF) by December, 2017.

RDCs should employ deliberate policy initiatives to deliver piped water system to public institutions including schools, clinics, hospitals, district administrative offices and at the residence of chiefs and homesteads of disabled persons to guarantee proper sanitation by November, 2017.

At all growth points where residential areas are expanding rapidly due to migration from outlying rural areas, RDCs should introduce expanded piped water by December, 2017.  Sewer systems, septic tanks and blair toilets which are currently being used at most growth points should be abandoned.  This will improve the sanitation and hygiene standards to a great deal in rural areas and ultimately curb the outbreaks of diarrhea, typhoid and dysentery diseases.

There is need to review the dual management of water systems in RDCs, harmonise and redefine the roles and responsibilities of RDCs and ZINWA in the provision of clean water to rural communities and at growth points by December, 2017.

Water tariff structures, both for domestic consumers and commercial rates should be reviewed downwards by December, 2017.

There is need to shed off ZINWA roles in distributing water to residents at growth points, a duty that should be handed over to local RDCs by December, 2017.  It is envisaged that this will greatly improve levels of payment compliance and revenue generation from rural communities.

Rural communities, especially those in regions four and five could be better served by installation of solar powered boreholes and piped water systems that distribute water to households through taps by December, 2017.

All RDCs should engage technical engineers who should draft master plans for the residential areas, water and sewer pipes at growth points, and avoid situations where building structures end up being constructed on top of water pipes by December 2017. The road network in rural areas should be improved in most, if not all rural districts in the country by December 2017. Solar powered water pumps should be installed as they are friendly to the disabled women and girls.

          ZINWA should only charge residents for water used and avoid fleecing residents of their hard - earned money by January 2018. Treasury should avail sufficient budgets targeting development of water infrastructure, ultimately working towards the reintroduction of PSIP by December, 2017. 

          Water reticulation infrastructure at most RDCs should be revamped to avoid future disasters as most of the equipment are old and outdated. I thank you Mr. President.

          THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE: The seconder of this motion will have to come in on the 21st of November, 2017 when we resume sitting.

          HON. SEN. CHIEF CHARUMBIRA: Mr. President, I move that the debate do now adjourn.

          HON. SEN. MOHADI: I second.

          Motion put and agreed to.

          Debate to resume: Tuesday, 21st November, 2017.

          On the motion of HON. SEN. CHIEF CHARUMBIRA, seconded by HON. SEN. MOHADI, the Senate adjourned at Seventeen Minutes to Four o’clock p.m.

Senate Hansard SENATE HANSARD 02 NOVEMBER 2017 VOL 27 NO 13