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SENATE HANSARD 28 SEPTEMBER 2017 VOL 27 NO 04

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PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE

Thursday 28th September, 2017

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

PRAYERS

(THE DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE in the Chair)

ANNOUNCEMENTS BY THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE

NON-ADVERSE REPORTS RECEIVED FROM THE PARLIAMENTARY LEGAL COMMITTEE

THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE: I have to inform the House that I have received Non-Adverse Reports from the Parliamentary Legal Committee on Statutory Instrument Numbers 79, 80. 81, 82, 83, 84, 85, 87 and all general notices published in the Government Gazette during the month of July 2017.

ADVERSE REPORT RECEIVED FROM THE PARLIAMENTARY LEGAL COMMITTEE

THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE: I also have to inform the House that I have received an Adverse Report from the Parliamentary Legal Committee on Statutory Instrument Number 74, published in the Government Gazette during the month of July 2017.

INVITATION TO THE LIAISON AND COORDINATION COMMITTEE RETREAT

THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE:  I have to inform the House that all Chairpersons of Committees are invited to the Liaison and Coordination Committee retreat (LCC) to be held at Holiday Inn in Bulawayo from 6th to 9th October, 2017.  Travel arrangements will be communicated in due course.  

MOTION

BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE

          HON. SEN. TAWENGWA:  I move that Questions Without Notice and Questions with Notice be stood over until the rest of the Orders of the Day have been disposed of.

          HON. SEN. MUMVURI: I second.

          Motion put and agreed to.

MOTION

PRESIDENTIAL SPEECH: DEBATE ON ADDRESS

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

          Question again proposed.

*HON. SEN. MACHINGAIFA: Thank you Mr. President and have a pleasant day. I rise to support the motion which was introduced in this august House by Hon. Sen. Chief Charumbira, seconded by Hon. Sen. Chief Mtshane. I am very thankful to His Excellency the President of the Republic of Zimbabwe, His Excellency Cde. Robert Gabriel Mugabe who is also the Commander-in-Chief of the Zimbabwe Security Forces. 

When he was addressing both Houses, the National Assembly and the Senate, the President touched on a lot of issues.  Some of the issues he talked about are that we need to work hard this session.  We have about 30 laws which have to be aligned with reality as arising in the nation and hence some of the laws which are remaining behind should really be taken care of.  I will particularly pick on the following Bills; we need to deal effectively and finally with early marriages with the aim of protecting the girl children who are married off at a very tender age.  We are expecting this motion to be introduced into this House because we have young girls who are married off before they can be mature.  We also have situations whereby young men are also forced into these early marriages.  As parents, we are very much touched and pained by this behaviour of these early marriages and we wonder why young people like those who are under the age of 18 are prepared to live a married life.  We need to get means and ways of solving this problem and we need to introduce some legislation which will protect these children because we really wonder what will be going on amongst their parents when they allow their young children to get into early marriages.

          The other issue which was touched by His Excellency the President was that, since we have just had a bumper harvest, we need to retain our breadbasket status; in other words to do that we have to work hard towards the introduction of water harvesting.  The water so harvested will be used for irrigation and we will fight off starvation and hunger in Zimbabwe.  Of course, there are some questions which arise – like, you would have an individual farmer who would build his own dam and the rain comes from the Lord above.  That person will then be asked to pay some levies to ZINWA and yet ZINWA never assisted this farmer or this individual on the water harvesting.  This is quite complicated and we need to look for ways and means of solving this problem because we feel that it is oppressive to this individual who has used his own facilities, energy and finances to build a dam then at the end, is asked to pay some levies.

          The other issue which was touched by His Excellency was the speech which was directed to the youngsters, especially young men, the elderly and the women who are into artisanal mining.  His Excellency said, these people are carrying out a very noble cause, they want to eke out a living and lead to the growth of the economy of Zimbabwe but, they should reclaim the land which they would have destroyed by filling up the pits which they create because people are killed and animals also die in those pits.

          His Excellency also talked about the climate change conditions which are prevailing in the world and some of the ways which can be used to prevent this disaster is to avoid creating veld fires or stop cutting down trees because when you cut down trees, the land becomes barren and when there is wind which comes, it will blow at such a velocity that it would be destructive.  But, when we have trees, they will slow down the flow of the wind and when we have burnt out grass, and the rains come, we will have the waters flowing and washing away all the sand into the dams.  At the end of it all, there will be siltation of the dams and we will not have any water in those dams.  Hence, we need to protect our lands and forests because the waters which will flow into those areas where there is grass and trees, is sieved of all the dirty substances and materials and what sips into the rivers will be clean water.  Therefore, let us protect our environment.

          I am very glad because we were given our leader, His Excellency Cde. Robert Gabriel Mugabe who is always giving us lessons on how we can live a happy and developmental life.  We know that learning is a continuous process but the rhetoric question is, do we need to be learning everyday or be educated because education has taken place and we see that there is a change in behaviour.  There is this adage which is used to say that the people of Zimbabwe are highly educated when you compare them with other countries but, we are our own enemies because we are destroying our country.  Hon. President, thank you for giving me this opportunity to make my contribution.

          *HON. SEN. MALULEKE: Thank you Mr. President for giving me this opportunity to make my contribution on the speech given by His Excellency the President on the official opening of the Fifth Session of the Eighth Parliament.  His Excellency talked and encouraged Ministers to come and respond to questions on such days as on Wednesdays, when we have Ministers coming in big numbers and on Thursdays, they are supposed to come to the Senate but just a handful of them turn up to carry out this noble activity. 

His Excellency also talked about the girl child.  We discussed this issue of early marriages and what we want to do is that we are going to set up mandatory sentences which are going to be meted out to people who are convicted of these early marriages.  There are lots of things which happen when they look at these children and some of them are exposed to these exercises because they are orphans.  Their parents have died and they are in these households which are run by the youngsters.  These elderly people because they have the monies, they take advantage of these young children.  Even at school, there are some people who take advantage of these youngsters because they have nobody to pay school fees for them.  You will find a 10 year old girl will be seated at home because they failed to raise school fees. Hence; they are exposed to these devious men who will talk about supporting them and giving them monies so that they lure them into these early marriages. 

I am saying, it is up to us as women – we are unlike our men who really have no sense of direction who wherever their mind tells them to move, they will move.  I am asking that as women, let us show concern in protecting the girl child to avoid early marriages.  The President has always been talking about the protection of these young girls and we have had instances whereby these young girls are married off to uncles whose wives will have passed on and they are forced into these early marriages so that the uncle may not stay a widower for a long time.

When we talk on agriculture, we need to have lots of programmes which will lead to the development of Zimbabwe.  I notice that there was a woman who died in flames of a car.  What we do not know is, was this woman driving the car, or there was something which was going on.  It was a pick-up and maybe because there was some fire which was burning, this woman maybe was caught up in this veld fire.  We do not know because maybe she took a chance and thought she may be able to quickly pass through this fire but because the car has petrol and as petrol is highly flammable, hence, there was this flame and the woman died.  We need to protect our veld to avoid veld fires.

Also on television programmes, we also had some families who lost their homes through these veld fires and it is quite a pity that we work along these lines and cause these veld fires.  We need to protect our environment and His Excellency talked a lot about these Bills so that when they come into this House, we debate them and find solutions to such problems facing the country.  Thank you Mr. President.

*HON. SEN. BHOBHO:  Thank you Mr. President for giving me the time to make my contribution on this motion raised by Hon. Sen. Chief Charumbira and seconded by Hon. Sen. Chief Mtshane.  Talking on the motion on the Presidential Speech on the official opening  of the Fifth Session of the Eighth Parliament of Zimbabwe and they were praising the Lord for blessing us.  What I like about our President, is that whenever he is addressing people, whether during the funerals or elsewhere, he is very grateful to the Lord and hence we see the hand of the Lord in whatever it is we are doing especially in such gatherings whereby His Excellency made this speech which is aimed at developing Zimbabwe.  Some of the issues which we are going to talk about include farming.  We had a bumper harvest because we got enough support from the Government.  We know there are some people who are buying food from other people and their neighbours.  This is good because instead of importing grain, we have food within our country. We will be buying and selling amongst ourselves. 

          The only problem we have as Zimbabweans is of early marriages. We plead with hospitals especially maternity hospitals, when they see under 18 girls coming to deliver, they need to sit down with these youngsters to give them counseling so that they can have direction in what they will be doing.  As far as we are concerned, as parents, we are not aware of the biological effects on the young girls marrying and giving birth at an early stage because they are immature and cannot take care of the baby.  They cannot even take care of themselves and at times giving birth lead to either premature or deformed babies because of the underdevelopment of the reproductive organs in immature mothers.  Let us not only concentrate on early marriages but let us also talk about the consequences; the values of self sustenance and values of development should be inculcated in these youngsters so that they know that they have a future and can live a better life.

          The problem we have is of parents who have no shame to accept the bride price in marrying off these youngsters; maybe it is because of poverty or something else. It is up to us as the leaders of the country to create laws which will protect the girl child.  Some parents on the groom side will welcome these young girls because they will be happy to have a daughter-in-law.  What happens next is because these couples are immature, they will divorce and there will be chaos.  We need to give some lessons on maturing and today’s living so that these youngsters know that they need to grow up, mature and dependent so that they can have a better life.

          As parents, we must be concerned with other people’s children as we do to ours. Let us work hard on discouraging child marriages as we do when we fight murderers and thieves in this world.  We fight so hard so that these people are arrested and incarcerated.  The same vigour should be showed when we are fighting off these early marriages.  His Excellency Cde. R. G. Mugabe also talked about veld fires.  From the time we started farming to harvesting, we had very little fires but as of now, there is a boom and distraction caused by these fires.   We need to work hand in glove with EMA and other natural resources personnel.  If there happens to be fire in your farm, when you report to EMA, EMA will put the blame on you saying you did not put fireguard.  We had heavy rains last year resulting in a lot of grass and trees but the fireguard cannot control these fires.  Therefore, we need to unite in putting out fireguards because some of the people are now afraid of going to report these fires. They are afraid of being blamed for not doing enough to protect the veld fires.

          In the past, we used to see lots of grass on both sides of the roads whenever we were traveling. Now, some of this grass has been destroyed by fires.  Animals are now suffering from hunger because they have nowhere to graze; we need to look for ways and means so that we protect the environment.  Let us avoid veld fires because these veld fires are destroying animals and people but you should know that we are all human beings and belong to one God.  Whenever somebody dies, it is loss to their families and the country.  We have people who die as a result of holes emanating from illegal mining. As artisanal miners, we have a noble cause of extracting minerals for our prosperity but let us reclaim the land and fill up pits which we dig. 

          There are times whereby some people are so unfortunate that they mine where there are land mines and get hurt or even killed during the process.  Therefore, we need to be cautious, avoid being selfish and think of what other people feel about what we are doing.  We must not endanger our lives and that of others because of economic problems.  So, whenever you engage in any mining, please fill up your holes, they are a danger to human beings and to animals.  I am pleading with you fellow Senators, whenever you are given a chance to address a gathering, please give a lesson on the protection of the girl child and the protection of the environment because it is an opportunity which you would have got of addressing people – [HON. SENATORS: Hear, hear.] –

Zimbabwe is endowed with a lot of gold, minerals and lots of fertile land, hence we need to be able to utilise this land for the benefit of Zimbabwe.  I know in the event of fire, we protect our properties using fireproof gargets, fire guards and extinguishers.  The same vigour and zeal which we use should also be directed in protecting the environment and the land to avoid veld fires.  We should know that as Zimbabweans, we are so happy but there are some people who are jealousy of us. We need to show them that we love our land. 

          The lesson given to us by His Excellency should be taken and given to other people around the country whenever we get a chance to talk to people on the prevention of diseases and early marriages.  Some of us are confused. When people talk of Government, they ask  - who is Government and the answer is - you are also Government. Government is people because we need to work together for the protection of the environment, protection of the youngsters and the development of the country.  We thank His Excellency for such a noble speech. I thank you.

          THE MINISTER OF TRANSPORT AND INFRASTRUCTURAL DEVELOPMENT (HON. DR. GUMBO): Mr. President, I move that the debate do now adjourn.

          Motion put and agreed to.

          Debate to resume: Tuesday, 3rd October, 2017.

MOTION

BUSINESS OF THE SENATE

THE MINISTER OF TRANSPORT AND INFRASTRUCTURAL DEVELOPMENT (HON. DR. GUMBO): Mr. President, I move that we revert to Questions Without Notice as per our Orders of the Day.

          Motion put and agreed to.

ORAL ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS WITHOUT NOTICE

          HON. SEN. TIMVEOS: Thank you Mr. President. My question is directed to the Minister of Mines and Mining Development.  Hon. Minister, the President last time said that there was US$15 billion that had disappeared unaccounted for.  I would like to know as a Ministry, how far you have gone in accounting for this US$15 billion?

          THE MINISTER OF MINES AND MINING DEVELOPMENT (HON. W. CHIDHAKWA): Thank you Mr. President.  I would like to thank the Senator for the question.  The President spoke in general terms when he said up to US$15 billion may have been lost to the economy.  It was not because there have been an assessment of exactly how much we had lost and so we set out to establishing what it was in exact terms that was lost. 

          We had a discussion with the Minister of Finance and Economic Development, which discussion resulted in us calling the Auditor General.  In the discussion with the Auditor General, we looked at the capacity of the Auditor General and discovered that much more was needed beyond what she had to deal with this matter which is highly technical.  So, it was agreed that the Auditor General would contract consultancy outside the audit office to do forensic audits of the situation on the ground.

          There have been three teams from three companies that were appointed. As a result, they have been working and the last report that we got was that they were having difficulties with accessing information.  Senators will be aware that at approximately the same time, we had taken a different path in our diamond mining sector where Government had decided that diamond mining business will be a preserve of the State.  So, we did not renew the licences of the companies that had expired and because we had not renewed the licences, they in turn approached the courts to seek remedy on the matters, particularly as it relates to their right to mine.

          At that time – when the matters had been presented before the courts, they became sub judice, I do not know how the lawyers put it; meaning that anything that is before a court of law cannot be discussed outside.  The contracted companies would not have unfettered access to information that was required because the companies which they wanted to do forensic audits on were in fact before the courts.

          We restarted the activity for some of the companies once the court cases had been decided upon and we realised that issues of information still remain a problem.  We have now crafted a new path and have opted for the use of technology to access and be able to establish exactly how much was moved from the ground.  From there, we will work out how many diamonds were lost in the process.  It is not an easy thing to do but I want to assure this House that we are aware of the importance of this matter to Zimbabweans.  We were dealing on one hand with the history but we were also dealing on the other hand with creating a new future, at the same time trying to build a new company called ZCDC and at the same time trying to look at what happened in history in order to satisfy our people at least to what extent this country may have lost in the process.  I cannot say how much was lost. 

So, as I said, I want to assure Hon. Senators here that we will do the best we can to get hold of the matter and present whatever findings will be.  Whatever the private sector companies will have found out, we will bring that which they will have found out to Parliament.  Thank you Mr. President.

          HON. SEN. CHIMHINI: Thank you Mr. President.  I would like to find out whether in your discussions you found out from the President, was it from a thumb suck to come up with that figure?  There must have been a basis that could have made the President come up with that estimated figure.

          HON. W. CHIDHAKWA: Well, when you say thumb suck, I do not know – it sounds colloquial to me.  All I know is that there was no study that was done.  In fact, what the President was doing is that he was calling upon us to do the necessary work that needed to be done to establish what the prejudice was.  He was exhorting us; he was saying to us, there is prejudice here but go into the matter and find out to what extend we have been prejudiced.  That is my reading of the statement by His Excellency the President.  That is what has driven us to do the work that we have done this far.  Thank you Mr. President.

*HON. SEN. MURWIRA: My question is directed to the Minister of Home Affairs.  Long back, we used to travel freely without the presence of touts but now because of touts, people are now afraid to travel to Mbare.  On Tuesday a person died after being mugged by touts.  What is the Ministry’s position with regard to this?

THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF HOME AFFAIRS (HON. MGUNI):  Thank you Mr. President.  The various city councils or cities in Zimbabwe have got their by-laws that should be enacted or gazetted so that the police will go and enforce the law that already exists.  If they have got their regulations in place to state that this area is not allowed for passengers to embark or disembark in any form of transport and it is handed over to the police, police are capable of enforcing that law.  But if that law has not been enacted by the particular city, the police cannot go all over saying that here, we are banning this.  It is not the duty of the police to go and ban the people from embarking or disembarking.  It should come as a by-law from the council then police will go and enforce that law. I thank you Mr. President.

HON. SEN. B. SIBANDA: I rise to raise a supplementary question.  It is common knowledge that for example, at show grounds, you find hoards of police persons and you see passengers being picked up illegally in the face of police.  Can you please comment on that because the issue of by-laws that you raised becomes irrelevant in that situation?

HON. MGUNI:  Thank you Mr. President.  In each special occasion like Zimbabwe Trade Fair or Zimbabwe Agricultural Show, the responsible authorities request the presence of police to monitor and make sure that there is order under POSA but they are not specifically coming to stop the embarking or disembarking of passengers but they are there to see that there is peace and order in that area where criminals who are trying to cause havoc in such areas or in that occasion are arrested.  That is the duty of the police in such occasions.

+HON. SEN. NDHLOVU: I also have a supplementary question to the Deputy Minister of Home Affairs Madam President.  I would like to tell you that it happened to me personally and police where there.  If you know of those touts who will pull you when you want to hike – I remember they pulled my suitcase claiming that I had picked their money.  I asked them about this money and there were two policemen behind me. I told them that if I had picked their money, the policemen would be my witnesses.  I asked them how much it was.  The tout said that if I did not want to give his money, he would search for it.  As he was saying this, he was carrying my suitcase and getting into a bus that I did not want to travel with.   I ended up travelling on that bus because they were threatening me. 

However, there was no action that was taken by the police against those boys.  That is exactly what is happening.  I guess they benefit together with those boys.

THE HON. PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE:  Is that a question or it is a comment?

+HON. SEN. NDHLOVU:  It is an indicative or comment but there is a question.  The policemen were there and the Minister said that the police would be there in order to arrest those people.

+HON. MGUNI:  I said the police would be present.  I guess the Hon. Sen. did not understand me. I said that the policemen are requested to attend to such events like the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair and Zimbabwe Agricultural Show so that they maintain peace and that robbery is avoided. 

However, when it comes to the issue of touts, at the moment, there are no by-laws that have been put in place by the different towns where this happens.  The towns have not brought up these by-laws which would lead to the stopping of touts.  For example, the Harare City Council does not have such a police that would stop the functioning of the touts.  If there is such a law, we will use it to arrest them.

HON. SEN. MARAVA:  Madam President, I would like to know whether municipal by-laws are greater than the national law.  I would be happy if the national law was being abided to, then we would have grounds to stand and say the municipal by-laws are also supposed to be acting.  But here we are talking of the national law which is greater than the municipal by-law.  Can the Minister explain?

THE HON. PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE:  That does not arise from his answer.

HON. SEN. MUTSVANGWA:  My question is directed to the Minister of Mines and Mining Development, Hon. Chidhakwa.  Being a Senator for Zimunya, Marange and Chimanimani, I really need the Hon. Minister to explain to this august House what is exactly happening in Marange in the Chiadzwa mining area.  As you are all aware, after the diamond rush of 2004, there was some sense of order.  People were moved from their original homes to areas around ARDA. Since these changes happened and there is a new company now which was contracted by Government to work in Chiadzwa, we have seen more disorder.  We have seen more diamond rush, groups of people moving up and down.  We have seen even some kind of violence and also the houses of people who have been moved are in total disarray.  Maybe the companies who built the houses did a shoddy job and obviously, there is need to make sure that these houses are refurbished. Now, with no activity going on, what should we explain to the people in the area? When are we expecting the new company to bring up some sense of order in the Chiadzwa area?

 THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF MINES AND MINING DEVELOPMENT (HON. W. CHIDHAKWA):  Thank you Madam President.  I want to thank Hon. Sen. Mutsvangwa for the question.  She asked me to explain what exactly is happening in Marange.  I want to take this opportunity to brief Senate on what it is that led to a change of the situation in Marange.  When the companies that Hon. Sen. Mutsvangwa referred to were given special grants to mine diamonds in Marange and export them, they did so on the basis of joint venture agreements that were signed with the ZMDC and in one case with Marange Resources.  The joint venture agreement establishes a structure where the board of directors would be shared between appointees of Government and appointees of the respective companies.  It was also agreed that the management of the companies would be between the appointees from the Government and appointees from the private sector.  Fifty percent of the shares were allotted to the companies and 50 percent were allocated to ZMDC on behalf of the Government of Zimbabwe.

It was agreed that when the companies made a profit and declared a dividend, 50 percent of the dividend would go to the Government of Zimbabwe and 50 percent of the dividend would go to the private companies.  For the period that the companies were operating, none of the companies made a profit, none of the companies declared a dividend and therefore, no income went to the State.  I leave it to you to decide whether indeed, these diamond companies were not making profits.  The President soon realised that the structure that we had was not giving us the desired benefit that was contained in the agreements. 

Yes, the agreements were there.  The 50 percent shareholding was there but the benefit was not accruing to Government and through Government to the people of Zimbabwe.  Therefore, it was decided that we look into the structure and restructure it completely so that we would ensure that Government and the people of Zimbabwe benefited.  That is what we have spent time doing.  That is what has led us in offering the companies to form one company in which they would all get shares.  For seven months, we went into negotiations and discussions with them.  For seven months, they refused to be part of the joint venture partners.  After sometime, we actually realised that the licences of the companies, the special grants that had been issued as title had in fact expired.  When your licence expires, you hold no right. 

The law says, the Government has a right not to renew a licence if it sees that you are not performing as well as was expected of you in the first issue of the licence.  So we did not see it, they were performing well because they were not making profits and they were not declaring the dividends.  Therefore, the Government felt that we had no need to continue in that relationship.  That marriage was not useful to us.  So we did not renew the licences.  To show you that we were right in not renewing the licences, when they went to court, they lost dismally.  The judges meeting them independently and making decisions independently, said they were illegally there and that they needed to get approval from the Government for them to continue.

They tried to come to us to say, well, can we now form that company called ZCDC and we said no.  So, there we are.  It took us twelve months to get out of the courts.  They deliberately kept us in the courts so that we would not go onto the ground to start mining the diamonds.  For twelve months, the matters were sub judice and the matters are sub judice, you cannot go to work on that ground but once the decisions have been made by the High Court – some of them went to the Constitutional Court.  So we started very slowly creating the ZCDC.

The second thing that this House needs to know is that there are not many alluvial diamonds now in Marange but there are many conglomerate diamonds.  The technology that you use to mine and process alluvial diamonds – alluvial means sands.  We have diamonds that are imbedded in sands.  What you do is to put water, mix in, and separate the sand from the diamonds.  The technology that you use is different from the technology that you use for conglomerates.  In conglomerates, you need crushers.  It is a block of stone and you go and blow using dynamite, take the rock that will have come out of there, put it in a grinding machine, you crush with a crushing equipment and put it through the lesser technologies to identify the diamonds.  So, we had to re-engineer the entire technology in Marange in order to suit the new type of mining, the new type of ore that we were dealing with. 

We are now very close and 65 percent of all the equipment that is required has now come.  We are expecting certain pieces of technology to come in from South Africa.  We hope that in October, we will have received the full suite of equipment that will enable the ZCDC to mine conglomerate diamonds.  This does not mean that we have not been mining.  We have accumulated 1.3 million carats over the last few months.  We are already higher than last year when most of the court cases were there.  This year, the same period last year, was higher.  The diamonds that we have been mining in the pockets of alluvial is there.   We just have not been selling.  We have been mining and cleaning.   The reason we have not been selling is because our systems for evaluation had been compromised.  We have had to ask the Tswanas to come and they are coming in next week to assist us with the valuation of those diamonds and after that, we will now have a new system.  I need you to understand that the diamond field is a very tricky one.  People are doing things – new plans and new tricks of things and you will have to keep up with that.  You will have to keep improving your security, even the way you clean your diamonds and the way you sort them for marketing purposes.  We have had to change the entire system in order to get ourselves away from the crooks.  But, I must say that we have a team at ZCDC which gives me lots of confidence. 

We have very systematic ways and if I had my phone, I would have told you how much we mined last night because I now get daily production figures on my phone - [AN HON. SENATOR: Inaudible interjections.]  - Yes, I know but we must not sacrifice the value to rushing and getting very little money because we have jumped other processes.  Let us do things properly and let us take the right steps and get value for our money because if we do not do that, you will accuse us also of having rushed things and not having got value for money.  So, we will try and do things the best way possible.

          On chaos in Marange, right now I am dealing with not just pressures in diamonds.  Hon. Sen. Mutsvangwa knows that right now there are pressures in gold.  Everybody knows that people are mining in gold and they are digging as the Hon. Senator was saying here and we have to deal with those.  People have all of a sudden seen the value of mining.  People who did not know that there was anything called mining and all of a sudden the young people are out there looking to mining.  We have to tame this jungle because the way they are mining is not right and that has affected our diamond mining sector.  Also, we need to get hold of it and we are doing the best that we can.  We may not be able to brief you all the time about the moves that we are doing but I will be telling you very soon about the things that we are doing for the gold mining and the externalisation that is taking place in the gold mining.  We will be very tough in the next four weeks – we will have systems and we will be saying if you do not want to comply with the new systems that we have introduced, pack your bags and go.  That is what we will be saying. 

          So, I know that you are parents and it is your children who do the mining and they are the ones who go and try to get into Marange.  We are fighting them – you ask them why they are doing that and they say that is where we can be able to eke out a living.  I am a parent and you must understand that I must balance between being a Minister and understanding the young people when they say that is where they can be able to eke out a living.  I must balance that because you may want to send the police (black boots) and kick them out like what we did on the rivers because we saw immediate danger there; we would kill the rivers and kill agriculture.  We had to kick people out of the rivers but are you going to kick people out of everything and out of everywhere?  What we need to do is to grow the economy.  Some of those young people do not want to stay underground.  If they get good incomes in their former jobs, they will go back there and that is what we need to do.  So, I know that there are pressures.  We make decisions in a very highly pressurised environment and we are working in a very highly pressurised environment, yet we must make decisions because that is where leadership is tested.  Leadership is not tested when things are easy but it is tested when things are bad. 

So, I am grateful for the question and I can see that as a Senator, you want to be able to go home and be able to explain to the people.  Let us tell them that they should not dig everywhere but that diamonds are now limited to the State because they are dangerous.  I know people because I have been Minister in this area for the last four years; there is no industry, perhaps the military industrial complex where guns are made but second to that, it is diamonds – it is not an easy field to deal with.  Let us not allow our children because when you hold diamonds like this, you could be holding $5 million but you cannot put $5 million made up of $100 notes in your palm.  You can not fit in $5 million even in a suitcase and because of the fact that it can easily be converted into cash, makes it so attractive. 

I pay tribute to some of the young people whom we sent to work in Marange who know that that a stone is worth $50 000 and they let it go through the conveyer belt to where it is supposed to go.  There are very few of us in here whom if we deploy them, they would be able to resist that kind of temptation - let us be frank.  We even arrest some other people there who would take a stone, wrap it in a foil paper which we use to wrap food, they throw it in their mouth, swallow it and then push it out.  We arrest them using our X-rays.  They would have tried but we sack them out of employment and they begin to complain that they are being sacked. 

So, the diamonds are not easy.  I can deal with gold, coal and chrome but diamonds are not easy.  Every day you can expect to hear something from Marange and riveting also, you have to take action at night and direct them to do that and that.  They can break the fences to get in and would take out some bags; they get stabbed and three of them died just three weeks ago. 

So, let me not take too long but I just thought that I should explain that.  I think that we have put in place a new structure and if we can manage that structure properly, it can give benefit to the Government.  It will be able to declare a dividend which will come into the Government’s fiscus and be used for different things like road construction and so on.  I think the new structure can do that but we need just to have young people to work there who are not only capable but honest - capable and honest – ndoo panye nyaya.  I found it very difficult in the last few months to find capable and honest young people to work there – it is not easy.  Madam President, I thank you.

          HON. SEN. MAKORE:  Thank you Madam President.  My question is directed to the Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development.  It is more of a follow up to the construction of a road from Harare to Beitbridge.  Perhaps, you can explain to us because you had promised, you gave dates and I believe the road was launched by the President on the 18th of May.  What are the problems and what is it that you can tell us about that road?  Thank you very much.

          THE MINISTER OF TRANSPORT AND INFRASTRUCTURAL DEVELOPMENT (HON. DR. GUMBO):  Thank you Madam President and thank you Hon. Sen. Makore for that question.  I actually came here because I thought it is a burning question to both houses.  I have explained in the other House and I also want to explain here.  It is true that on the 18th of May, His Excellency launched the Beitbridge to Harare section of our road which stretches from Beitbridge to Chirundu.  Expectations were high that we would see people on the road.  The explanation Hon. Sen. Makore, is that when you give a tender particularly for road construction, from that date which was in February this year when we said we had tendered or had awarded, that is when discussions started and there are many steps or processes that are followed to get to the actual date when you can see graders on the road.  However, let me tell you that construction started on the 4th of July.   For those who live along this road, you might have witnessed some engineers on the road and they are there.  For those who read newspapers, you might also have seen that there was an advertisement in July for surveyors who are now appointed and those surveyors are the ones who are now surveying those segments or portions of the road which have been divided into six segments, it is already divided.   From Skyline or after the Toll gate as we go to Masvingo via Chivhu, it is the first section.  From Chivhu to Mvuma, 65km is another section; 94 km.  From Masvingo to Mvuma, another section has already been divided. From Masvingo to a place called Ngundu, it is another section, From Ngundu to a place called Rutenga, it is another section and the last section is from Rutenga to Beitbridge, a stretch of 140km.  The stretches differ because of the areas; some are mountaneous, and others are just straight roads.  As I speak to you, the engineers are on the road doing the preliminary works that have to be done before the actual construction begins. 

          I am hoping that anytime in October, that is when you can now see the construction which people like myself want to see people on the road.  Before that, a lot of work has to be done by engineers and surveyors for the designs and everything so that when the works begin, there will be no going back.  The construction stage does not take time but what I am talking about is what takes time, like when you are doing a foundation for your house.  The foundation is more difficult that the brick work or whatever the engineers call it – [AN. HON. MEMBER: The walls.] – the walls of the building.  So, construction or the works on the road started on the 4th of July and the engineers are on the road.  Just to make it visible, I am going to be with them on the road from next week so that you can see but we are starting from Beitbridge.  So, rest in peace – [Laughter.] -  I thank you.

          *HON. SEN. MUMVURI: Thank you Madam President.  My question is directed to the Minister of Energy and Power Development.  I want to thank Minister Undenge for his presence and also thank him for the absence of load shedding for quite some time.  I have observed a worrisome trend.   I think for sustainability we should pay our debts and people who owe you should pay their debts.  That is where my question is.  Is it Government policy that when people accumulate debts, they become a write off then we pay debts from 2016 to 2017.  Because of Command Agriculture, I think farmers are getting a lot of money, so I think it is time for you to recoup the money that is being owed.  I heard that there is a policy which has been put in place to cancel previous debts.

          *THE MINISTER OF ENERGY AND POWER DEVELOPMENT (HON. DR. UNDENGE): Madam President, I want to thank the Hon. Senator for his question.  Firstly, electricity has to be paid.  Everyone who uses electricity has to pay; that is the law in place. We do not have a law that says people should get electricity for free.  There are some cases where people fail to pay then they plead with us so that we do not switch them off, but they will pay in installments.

Coming to agriculture, we did not come up with a cut-off date for non-payment of debts but in Command Agriculture, we agreed that yes, a farmer can plough but when they harvest they should pay their debts.  That is the arrangement that we have.

          Those who have not paid, we want to know why they have not done so because everyone should pay.  Why do we say that - it is because ZESA has debts which they are supposed to pay because they are in business.  You are owed money and you owe other people money.   If those who owe you money do not pay you, you also will not be able to settle your debts.  As you are aware, we are importing electricity from South Africa and Mozambique.   In South Africa, it is Eskom and in Mozambique, it is Hydro Cahora Bassa.  These companies want to be paid cash upfront and so, so we look forward to people who owe us to pay us so that we pay our creditors as well.

          Yes, I want to thank God that so far we have not done any load shedding for the past two years because we have been working steadily trying to balance things.  We encourage every citizen to be responsible and pay their debts.   The Hon. Deputy Minister in my Ministry visited Japan engaging the Japanese and one of them was surprised that a person can use electricity without paying because in their culture you have to pay for everything that you use.  If you do not pay your debts, it means that you are uncivilised or you are barbaric.  I think let us adopt that culture as well, of paying for everything that we use.  Even during the war, there was a law that said you must pay for everything taken or bought.  So, that is what we encourage people to do.  I thank you Madam President.

          +HON. KHUMALO: Thank you Madam President.  My question is directed to the Minister of Home Affairs.  I would like to know from him, since people are not managing to get their money in time and sleep in the queues, what happens when you see people with large amounts of money, for example, what happens?  What procedures do you follow?  Do you arrest them because in the media we see money in peoples’ cars as well as other places?  Where do they get this money when we cannot get it?

          +THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF HOME AFFAIRS (HON. MGUNI: Thank you Madam President.  The issue of money and Home Affairs do not go along.  However, the Minister of Finance and Economic Development needs to come up with the relevant legislation to such an effect that there is particular amount that is set as not being allowed for one to carry around.  As I am saying right now, there is no law that says if one has $100 000 in their cars they should be arrested.  There is no such law in our nation.  The only legislation that I know is available is that when one is crossing borders, a legislation that was brought up by ZIMRA states that if one is travelling from Zimbabwe to another country is not allowed to carry more than $10 000. 

          However, within Zimbabwe, I guess we are allowed to carry even a million because as the Minister of Mines and Mining Development was saying, they carry it in their suitcases.  Even if the police come across, if they ask him where he got it and he explains by saying he has a business and that is where he collected; it from the police have no power because there is no legislation that says that no one is allowed to carry a particular amount of money.  This legislation should be set up so that the policemen can intervene and arrest people who carry large amounts of money.  Thank you Madam President. 

          *HON. SEN. MAWIRE: Thank you Madam President.  I am directing my question to the Minister of Mines and Mining Development.  It is quite a long time since you promised the people of Manicaland that you were going to build a college on cutting and polishing of diamonds.  People are still expecting to see that college being launched.  Was it just politicking or there is a process that is being followed?

          THE MINISTER OF MINES AND MINING DEVELOPMENT (HON. W. CHIDHAKWA): Thank you Madam President. I would like to thank the Senator for the question.  Hon. Senator, there are two things regarding your question.  The people of Manicaland had already applied for a college to be established which will be concentrating on cutting and polishing of diamonds.  The people of Manicaland had put on their efforts so that this college could be launched.  As Government we were supporting that idea.

          Now, my question is since you have launched this programme where have you had some hurdles; what have been your problems and what you know is that you have people in Manicaland who are from your area.  One of them, the respected gurus in this project of diamonds is a son of Manicaland.  When we talked about founding of this college, we were following your initiatives and we said this is a noble idea of having a college of cutting and polishing of diamonds.

          I have had consultations with the Minister of Finance and Economic Development Hon. Chinamasa, that is why I said we want to establish a college on mining, cutting and polishing of diamonds.  It is not long back.  What I know is when we said this, we were attending a workshop.  We said as Government, if people have shown some initiative, let us support them.  I said to the organization, ZCDC, which had replaced the organization which had been plumed out of diamond programmes and we said you are the responsible authority you should establish and fully implement what had been removed by these organisations which have been booted out of the diamond mining.

          I also had discussions with the Minister of Finance and Economic Development so that we have the same idea and have a budget for the college.  As of now, we have stopped selling our diamonds and when we start selling these diamonds, we are going to have a quota system whereby some fund is going to be set aside for the construction of this college.  This morning I held a meeting with the Department of Infrastructural Development.  This is going to be a college of high esteem, almost equivalent to a university and also it will be a boarding school.  We have another college in Bulawayo and we are saying we need to have another one in Mutare.  This is called a Gemology Centre. 

          I am promising you that this is work in progress like what was said by Hon. Dr. Gumbo, we need to lay some ground work, have some designs and some draft drawings for the establishment of this college.  May be I will challenge you, ask me the same question in January about the progress done on this Gemology college and definitely, if I fail to produce results I will be living up to my name, ‘the drunkard’ ‘Chidhakwa’.

          HON. SEN. MUSAKA: Thank you Madam President.  My question is directed to the Minister of Home Affairs.  I am concerned and I get a bit embarrassed that he seems to be mourning that there is no legislation to do this.  It is quite embarrassing.  The chaos if you walk into the city; thefts going on and you seem to be just mourning that there is no legislation.  Is there a law that says he cannot bring that law for him to do the job?

          THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF HOME AFFAIRS (HON. MGUNI): Madam President, I would like to explain something which is although the question was not specific but I am assuming that he is saying we are may be hiding behind that there is no legislation to do this.  Now, the police need to arrest somebody based on the Act and criminal offence that the person has done.

          Firstly, I am talking of Ministry of Mines and Mining Development when the Minister is here.  They had a problem of externalisation of precious stones.  So, they made a very wise move to say these small scale miners, we need to pay them their money there and there so that they do not take our precious stones to Botswana and get money that has got incentives.  So, as Zimbabwe, let us talk to Fidelity to also avail cash for these people to get cash quickly and go and operate.

          Now, as a police officer, you meet such a person from Fidelity with $50 000, you cannot say why are you carrying this cash because that person is a miner.  He is allowed to be paid his money by Fidelity.  So, there is no law that says police arrest anyone carrying money in cash.

          Secondly, the Ministry of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing is the one that must activate its Act of saying we do not want touts in the city.  Once that law is there, the police can arrest any tout in the city.  But for now, if you arrest that tout as a police officer, you need to present in the court of law, the act that he did that is wrong.  If it is not declared anywhere that he did a wrong act by persuading someone to come to his bus, then you are wasting your resources.  You are arresting someone who is not deemed to be committing a crime.  So, that is waste of resources. 

We have encouraged the cities to say, please, can you activate the law that will make police to arrest these people.  Actually, in borders, that law was activated but it says that if you arrest that tout in a border post, there is a penalty of ten dollars.  The police are busy arresting touts; each tout can make an average of $100 per day.  He is paying and he is going back.  The police are arresting him, he is paying and he is going back.  That is the situation that we encounter at the border.

I am just justifying or leading the law maker to say, can we together look into it and make very correct and very formidable laws that will make police arrest and have success against the touts because there are no laws pertaining to touts in the cities.  I thank you.

+HON. SEN. KHUMALO:  Madam President, I have a supplementary question.  I understand that the Executive is supposed to come up with written Bills and then we discuss them.  Today, we are expected to be the ones to do this.  We wait for Bills that are proposed by the Executive and then they say we should look at it and add whatever we want.

THE HON. PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE:  I think it is a comment.  You are helping the Minister that the Executive has to put the Bill together and bring it here.  We act on Bills that the Executive brings up.  Of course we can also introduce our own Bills but mainly it is the Executive which has to bring the Bills which will then become law after being passed in the two Houses.

+HON. SEN. B. SIBANDA:  I would like to direct my question to the Minister of Home Affairs.  You promised us here in the Senate that you were going to reduce roadblocks.  In my opinion and physically observing, there are even more roadblocks that are manned by about five and fourteen police.  Have you changed the policy? 

Again, is there any other work for these policemen instead of standing by the roadblocks as many as they will be?

+THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF HOME AFFAIRS (HON. MGUNI): As policy makers, we sat down together with the police and we established legislation that there should be four roadblocks per province.  We are talking about roadblocks with each and every equipment and material for a roadblock like drums, boom gates and so forth. 

Concerning this issue, police have come back to us and told us that they will have spot checks depending on what happens in particular places.  I have moved around many places in order to verify this.  When I initially used the Harare-Masvingo road, there were 17 roadblocks at the time this legislation for four roadblocks was set up.  As I used that same road recently, I found seven.  However, I emphasised to them that seven roadblocks are still not within the number that is expected because there is need for facilitation of tourism as well as jobs to be done – ease of doing business.

What is also very crucial is the behaviour of the police on the roadblocks where we have agreed with the Zimbabwe Tourism Association and other bodies to re-train those that will be manning the roadblocks so that they have professionalism.  We have also improved electronically whereby the machines will be used to detect a fine.  For example, if you are not putting your seat belt, that machine will say, it is number five.  The police officer just presses five and it reflects the offence in the control room at HQ and it prints the receipt there so that a person can even pay the fine at the nearest police station.  We are improving on that rather than detain people on a roadblock.

I went to Mashonaland West up to Kariba to see how many roadblocks are there.  I know that before that, there were 11 or 12 roadblocks.  I can actually name the places where the roadblocks were put but now I have seen six.  I am wondering why he is saying they have increased because if you go from Harare to Bulawayo, now you know where they are; on that round about at Norton.  There is also another one.  There are now four roadblocks along the Bulawayo road but they were more than that before.  One would stop after every 20 kilometers.  So, we have reduced those roadblocks.

We have also improved because we are now training the officers that will be manning the roadblocks and also putting electronic devices.  We also discovered that there were bogus roadblocks where police who would be off duty would mount another fake roadblock next to an official roadblock because they were using books.  These people, if they get hold of the invoice book, they can mount their own roadblocks.  By bringing new technology, we are eradicating unofficiated roadblocks.  We are in the process of reducing these roadblocks and you will see that they will be reducing.  We are trying by all means.  I hope the Hon. Sen. will bear with us.  We will make it.  Thank you Madam President.

In a security environment, you do what is called risk profiling.  Presently, in Zimbabwe, the highest killing thing is road accidents.  It is not HIV.  It is about the roads.  Now, we need to work closely with our Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development here so that we bring sanity and our people must not die in the manner that they are dying on the roads.  In most cases, the disadvantage we have as a country is that we have a policy whereby we get second hand vehicles from Japan and other countries that are not assembled in this country coming into Zimbabwe. 

Then we have a risk of buying, cut-and-join car that was once in an accident in Japan, and is sold in Zimbabwe.  Therefore, we have to check before this integration because we are moving into an integrated system where the VID, ZINARA, Police and everybody integrated to clear a vehicle.  Before we have that in place, we need to physically stop a car and check it.  All other departments like the VID, cannot stop a car, they are relying on police.  That is why you see about six police officers on a roadblock because other departments like the ZBC are relying on police also.  Therefore, the other police officers on that roadblock will be specifically stopping to check the faults on the car whilst others are checking for licences.  That is what our roadblocks are, but I thank you Madam President. 

Questions Without Notice were interrupted by THE HON. PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE in terms of Standing Order No. 62.

WRITTEN SUBMISSION TO QUESTION WITH NOTICE

REMOVAL OF COUNCIL AND FINANCE CHAIRPERSONS OF TOWN COUNCILS FROM BEING SIGNATORIES TO BANK ACCOUNTS

2.  HON. SEN. TIMVEOS asked the Minster of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing to explain;

(a)             Why Council Chairpersons and Finance Chairpersons for Zimbabwe Town Councils were removed from being signatories to council bank accounts, a situation that has left senior council employees solely responsible, thus abusing public funds as they are no longer accountable to the public and run the council like a private entity.

(b)            The role of councillors who are not accountable for the disbursement of funds in the council.

THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT, PUBLIC WORKS AND NATIONAL HOUSING (HON. CHINGOSHO):  Madam President, let me start by thanking the Hon. Member for asking the question.  However, let me inform the august House that the Public Finance Management Act put in place separation of powers.  The signing of cheques is an executive function.  The councillors were informed of this in the 2013 Councillors’ Induction Handbook and any council that was allowing councillors to sign cheques was non-compliant to the laid down procedures.  The responsibility for financial management lies with the Town Clerk/Secretary and staff of the Finance Department.  In addition, most councillors are now using electronic payment methods and now cheques are becoming obsolete.

  The council has the task of approving the annual budget which is the Financial Plan for the year and thereafter, monitoring budget performance through the quarterly financial reports.  In addition, all urban councils have internal auditors who report directly to council with periodic and assigned audits.  Councils are still accountable to the public as the officers of council are their employees. 

On the motion of THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF ENERGY AND POWER DEVELOPMENT (HON. SEN. MUZENDA), the Senate adjourned at Fourteen Minutes past Four o’clock p.m. until Tuesday, 3rd October, 2017.  

 

Senate Hansard SENATE HANSARD 28 SEPTEMBER 2017 VOL 27 NO 04