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NATIONAL ASSEMBLY HANSARD 07 JUNE 2018 VOL 44-66

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PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE

Thursday, 7th June, 2018

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

PRAYERS

(THE ACTING SPEAKER in the Chair)

MOTION

BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE

HON. MATUKE: Thank you Mr. Speaker.  I move that Orders of the Day, Numbers 1 to 5 be stood over until the rest of the Orders of the Day, on today’s Order Paper have been disposed of.

HON. MPARIWA:  I second

Motion put and agreed to.

MOTION

FIRST REPORT OF THE PUBLIC ACCOUNTS COMMITTEE ON THE EXAMINATION OF THE APPROPRIATION AND FUND ACCOUNTS FOR THE MINISTRY OF HIGHER AND TERTIARY EDUCATION, SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY DEVELOPMENT

HON. MPARIWA:  I move the motion standing in my name that this House note of the First Report of the Public Accounts Committee on the on the Examination of the Appropriation and Fund Accounts for the Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development.

 HON. MARIDADI:  I second.

         HON. MPARIWA: INTRODUCTION

The Office of the Auditor General audited the 2016 Appropriation Accounts for the Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development. It issued an unmodified opinion but raised some issues that needed the Ministry’s attention.  The audit also covered financial statements for three Funds administered by the Ministry. These were namely; the Amenities Fund Accounts for financial years 2011 and 2012 and the National Education and Training Fund Accounts for financial year 2014 which all received a disclaimer of opinion and the Innovation and Commercialisation Fund Accounts for financial years 2014 and 2015 which received a qualified opinion.

As observed in previous reports by the Committee, it has become common practice that Ministries, tend to comply with statutory deadlines for submission of Appropriation accounts for audit whilst lagging behind on fund accounts. Issues raised on funds administered by this Ministry are a clear demonstration of badly managed Funds, characterised by absence of accounting records, management override of controls, absence of supporting documentation for expenditure incurred, and absence of operating procedures and guidelines. The Committee continued to recommend for Treasury to institute punitive measures against Ministries which failed to submit financial statements for Funds within statutory deadlines. The conduct constitutes an abrogation of the constitutional provisions which require state institutions at every level to be accountable to Parliament.

The Auditor General in her 2016 Annual Report had echoed sentiments by the Committee over the years for Treasury to review retention Funds and allow revenue collected under Funds to be accounted for through the Consolidated Revenue fund. Provision for resources under Fund Accounts in most Ministries is now made in the Budget; hence in 2016, the audit noted a reduction in the number of cases where there was intermingling of funds and Appropriation Accounts. It is the Committee’s hope that Treasury continues to monitor and scrutinise the manner in which funds are being managed to ensure adequate internal controls are in place, there is proper management and intended objectives are achieved. Below are the Committee’s findings, observations and recommendations.

OBJECTIVES OF THE ENQUIRY

The Committee examined issues raised on Ministry’s Appropriation and Fund Accounts by the Auditor General in line with its mandate as spelt out in Section 299 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe of 2013 and as articulated in Standing Order No. 16. Precisely, Section 299 states as follows:

(1)            Parliament must monitor and oversee expenditure by the State and all Commissions and institutions and agencies of Government at every level, including statutory bodies, Government controlled entities, provincial and metropolitan councils and local authorities, in order to ensure that-

(a)             all revenue is accounted for;

(b)            all expenditure has been properly incurred; and

(c)             any limits and conditions on appropriations have been observed.

In addition, the National Assembly Standing Order No. 16 mandates PAC to examine the sums granted by Parliament to meet public expenditure and such other accounts laid before the National Assembly. It is, therefore, the duty of the Public Accounts Committee to give assurance to the House that public funds have been managed and utilised as approved by Parliament and in line with regulatory frameworks.

METHODOLOGY

The Committee had two oral evidence sessions with the then Permanent Secretary and Accounting Officer for Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education Prof. Gudyanga and other senior officials within the Ministry. It also requested supporting documentary evidence which was analysed and these formed the basis of the Report.

FINDINGS, OBSERVATIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS BY THE COMMITTEE

Appropriation Accounts for the Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development for the Year Ending December 31, 2016

           Unsupported Payments for Foreign Services amounting to $121 000

The Audit observed that, payments totaling $121 000 made to Foreign Missions were not fully supported by invoices, receipts from suppliers and acquittals in violation of Treasury Instructions 1216. The Audit, therefore could not ascertain whether expenditure incurred at Foreign Missions was a proper charge on voted funds.

The then Permanent Secretary Prof. Gudyanga informed the Committee that payments for transactions at Foreign Embassies were made through Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, which in turn acknowledged the transfers by issuing receipts. He indicated that the acquittals were retained by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. He attributed delays in submitting acquittals by Ministry of Foreign Affairs to shortages of funds in the off shore Nostro Account which in turn delay transfer of funds to Missions.  The then Permanent Secretary also informed the Committee that the Ministry was following up on the acquittals with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. 

The Committee noted with concern that there was a dereliction of duty on the part of the Ministry by not making serious efforts in following up on the acquittals with either the Ministry of Foreign Affairs or directly with its officials at Missions. The Ministry should directly obtain supporting documentation for expenditures incurred abroad by its officers rather than to wait for Ministry of Foreign Affairs to provide such documentation. Ministry of Foreign Affairs is only a conduit through which disbursements are made but the Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development remains with the responsibility to account for such funds.

The Committee recommends that the Ministry should avail to the Auditor General all the supporting documentation for the $121 000 by 30 June, 2018. At the same time, it should advise on measures taken to prevent recurrences in future.

Prior year variance of $23 902 between the Sub-Paymaster General Account and the Appropriation Account figure

The Committee observed that the Ministry failed to reconcile the outstanding variance of $23 902 between the Sub-Paymaster General Account and the Appropriation Account noted in 2015. The Ministry suspected that some transactions could have been processed into the System but funds were then not made available. At the time of receiving evidence, end of last year, it indicated that investigations into the variance were underway and would be finalised by end of December 2017.

The Committee’s assessment is that, the Ministry would have detected the variance on time, if monthly reconciliations were being carried out religiously. It failed to understand why it had taken the Ministry two years to clear the variance.

The Committee recommends that the Ministry should, by 30 June, 2018, submit reconciliations clearing the variance.

AMENITIES FUND ACCOUNT 2011 AND 2012

The Committee learnt that the Amenities Fund was established under the repealed Audit and Exchequer Act in 1967. It was set up for polytechnics, Industrial Trade Testing Regions and Teacher’s Colleges. The objective of the Fund as provided in Section 3 of the Fund Constitution was to:

·       Provide students with facilities for sporting, social and cultural activities in colleges,

·       Support education in subjects of vocational and technical cultural or intellectual nature;

·       Provide study aids for students;

·        Provide advances for students awaiting delayed approved scholarships, and

·       Provide advance salaries for staff whose salaries are in arrears and canteen facilities for students and staff in colleges.

The Ministry should amend the Constitution of the Fund by 31 July, 2018 in order to reflect the Public Finance Management Act as the relevant statute for the establishment of the Fund. Treasury should ensure that all the Constitutions of various Funds are amended accordingly by 31 December 2018.

Late Submission of Financial Statements- 2011 and 2012and failure to maintain accounting records

Section 35 (4) of the Pubic Finance Management Act requires Ministries to submit financial statements for Funds within three months after the end of a financial year. It was highlighted that financial statements for 2011 and 2012 were only submitted for audit on 30 April, 2014 and 30 May, 2014 respectively, about two to three years after the deadline. The 2015 and 2016 financial statements were again submitted late, that is, on 13 June 2017 instead of 31 March in 2016 and 2017 respectively. Furthermore, the institutions were not maintaining proper books of accounts resulting in numerous variances between the aggregate financial statements balances and physical records inspected during audit.

The Ministry attributed the late submission to a whole range of challenges affecting the 27 learning institutions. These institutions were individually collecting and administering funds and then prepare and submit financial statements for consolidation at Head Office. Some institutions were preparing accounts manually while others had computerised accounting system. Some presented accounts with errors while others because of the manual accounting systems were lagging behind in terms of preparing and submission of returns. There were also cases of poor performance in some colleges. Some institutions were failing to maintain proper accounting records. A combination of these factors had made consolidation of financial statements at Head Office a nightmare, resulting in delays in submission of financial statements by the Ministry and the variances observed during audits.

In addressing these challenges, the Ministry indicated that all institutions were instructed to introduce a computerised pastel accounting package with the same charts of accounts to improve accounting processes. It instituted on the job training for accountants with challenges in preparing financial statements. It also requested the Civil Service Commission (CSC) to upgrade heads of departments for finance, human resources and administration and the request had been granted. However, progress was only noted at Mutare and Mkoba Teacher’s Colleges which acquired and installed Pastel Accounting system. The rest were still lagging behind in maintenance of accounting records and use of computerizsed accounting systems. The Committee observed that the Ministry was not effectively playing its supervisory role on the learning institutions. The Committee learnt that all Funds are being moved to the Public Finance Management System (PFMS) and operate using the SAP system. It has also learnt that the Accountant General has already introduced 40 Funds onto the SAP system and is discouraging Ministries from buying any other accounting packages without approaching the Accountant General’s Department.

The Committee recommends that the Ministry should ensure that all institutions are computerised by 31 August, 2018. The Ministry should approach the Accountant General’s office with its list of Funds so that they are introduced to the Government SAP system for accounting of the funds resources. It should also ensure that all institutions are maintaining proper books of accounts.

Unexplained difference between the opening and closing Accumulated Fund figures in 2011 and 2012

In 2011, an unexplained difference of $287 748 was observed between the opening and closing Accumulated Fund figures and in 2012, the difference was $158 382. The Ministry attributed the differences to imbalances in financial statements submitted to Head Office by the learning institutions. As highlighted earlier on, the Ministry indicated that some of these institutions were operating manual accounting systems while others did not have accountants with requisite skills hence the imbalances in the financial statements. It informed the Committee that individual institutions had been requested to investigate the variances.

In addition there were also variances noted between aggregated financial statements balances and cash book balances which the Auditor General attributed to non-maintenance of accounting records and general ledgers. The Ministries indicated that variances were due to different accounting systems that were being used by learning institutions. For instance, some were on cash based accounting while others were on the accrual accounting system. Going forward, the Ministry had instructed all learning institutions to adopt the accrual accounting system on the chart of accounts.

The Committee was disappointed by the apparent lack of supervision of institutions of higher learning by the Ministry. This was demonstrated by use of different accounting systems, late submission of financial statements and failure by institutions to carry out reconciliations to prevent imbalances resulting in Auditor Generals expressing a disclaimer of opinion on the set of financial statements. Institutions were left to themselves yet the Ministry should play an oversight role over these institutions.

The Committee recommends that the Ministry should fully investigate the variances and submit the evidence to the Committee and the Office of the Auditor General by 30 June, 2018. The Committee recommends that by the time of the next audit the Ministry must ensure that the learning institution’s accounts are…

Payment of $1 497 136 in salaries, wages and allowances to casual workers without CSC approval

The Audit observed that Management had used the income from the Fund totaling $1 497 136 to employ and pay casual workers without CSC approval as required by the Public Service Act. [Chapter 16:04]. The Ministry said the amount in question was paid to casual workers employed by nine polytechnics and 9 teachers’ colleges in their fundraising activities. The payment of wages was approved by the Accounting Officer as provided for in Section 5 (b) of the Fund Constitution. It states that the expenditure of the Fund shall, among others, be payments relating to wages and other benefits paid to staff employed in the canteen by colleges. The Ministry also argued that the requirement for CSC approval only came into effect with the new Constitution of Zimbabwe enacted in 2013.

The Committee noted that the Accounting Officer was permitted then in 2012, to approve such expenditure by the Fund Constitution since the Constitution came into being in 2013. There is, however, need to align the Fund Constitution with the Constitution of Zimbabwe. The Ministry had approached Treasury in a bid to have the Fund merged with the Tertiary Fund for ease of administration of the two.

The Committee recommends that the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development should consider the proposal to merge the two Funds and finalise the process by 31 August, 2018. The new merged Fund Constitution should be aligned with the new Constitution of Zimbabwe.

Absence of debtor control system resulting in unexplained difference of $441 908 (2011: $1 166 107) between financial statements and the Consolidated Account

The Audit observed that income from students’ fees was at times recognised on cash basis contrary to the accrual basis of accounting, which requires that such revenue be recognised when invoices for fees due are raised.  Debtors were therefore, misstated in the financial statements. The same discordance was observed on assets management whereby some institutions had expensed their assets in the Comprehensive Income resulting in assets worth $924 012 being expensed in the Consolidated Statement of Comprehensive Income.

The Ministry acknowledged the observation and indicated that measures were being taken to standardise the accounting reporting framework. As observed before, the Ministry was not playing its supervisory role over learning institutions, hence the use of different accounting standards. In September 2017, there were no significant changes observed as the majority of institutions could not avail comprehensive debtors’ lists of schedules that are used to come up with debtors’ figures.

The Committee recommends that the Ministry should ensure that institutions put in place debtor control systems and that debtor variances are investigated and reconciled by 31 August, 2018.

          INNOVATION AND COMMERCIALISATION FUND 2014 AND 2015

The Fund was established in 2002 to fund scientific research inventions and innovations of national importance and to commercialise research and development results.

$47 155 debt written off without Treasury Approval

The audit observed that an amount of $47 155 in respect of Accounts Receivables was written off during the financial year 2015 without Treasury authority. The Ministry acknowledged the observation. It utilised Fund resources to meet expenditure ordinarily met by Appropriation funds with the intention to reimburse after Treasury had released the funds. It then decided to expense the debt after Treasury failed to disburse the funds.

The Committee expressed concern on the tendency by the Ministry to disregard laid down procedures. In the first place, the Ministry did not seek Treasury authority to utilise Fund resources when Treasury releases were not forthcoming. It then decided to cover up for the misapplication of Fund resources by reclassifying the receivable as an expense. The Committee noted that since the 2017 Budget, the expenditure under Funds would be monitored through the PFMS and as a result misapplication of Fund resources would be curtailed.

Failure to recover loans amounting to $201 344 (2014: $185 909)

As observed in 2014, the Fund failed to meet its intended objectives due to failure to recover loans amounting to $201 344. In terms of the Standard Operating Procedures Manual, beneficiaries should start serving the loans six months after receiving the loan. Only one beneficiary had paid $1000.

The Committee noted with concern that the Ministry did not do due diligence before disbursing loans to beneficiaries. It was not prudent for the Ministry to disburse loans without any form of security in order to safeguard public funds. Even though beneficiaries were failing to pay, the Ministry continued to disburse loans without taking into account the sustainability of the projects. It indicated that it had written letters of demand on three occasions but to no avail. A meeting held between the then Deputy Minister, Hon. Dr Gandawa and the beneficiaries showed that the Ministry was sympathetic to the beneficiaries and as a result they were reluctant to pay back the loans. The Ministry indicated that it currently fund innovations being implemented in partnership with learning institutions.

The Committee recommends that the Ministry should seek Treasury authority by 30 June, 2018 with a view to have the outstanding loans written off.

Failure to invest an amount of $85 531 sitting in the Bank Account

The Audit observed that the Ministry could not invest $85 531 that was lying idle in the bank account for two years. In 2015, the Fund had an opening bank balance of $85 531 and by year end had a closing balance of $80 331 as it was incurring charges. The Fund Constitution provides for investment of funds that are not required for immediate use.

The Ministry indicated that the funds were later used to procure a vehicle which was never delivered. The delay in delivery of the vehicle was blamed on the shortage of foreign currency. The Committee was not convinced that the shortage of foreign currency was already an issue in 2015. There was a likelihood that the Ministry just paid for the vehicle and no follow up was made with the supplier until the supplier was caught up in issues of foreign currency shortages. The Committee was not convinced why the Ministry in the first place had to pay for a vehicle which was not in stock. Given that the vehicle was for monitoring projects being funded under the Fund, the Committee questioned whether the funds were not enough to purchase two vehicles. Due care was, therefore, not given to issues of economy, efficiency and effectiveness in the use of public resources. The Committee noted with concern that this was another case of a badly managed Fund by the Ministry. It reinforces the call by the Committee for Funds to be channeled through the Consolidated Revenue Fund for spending to be under Treasury control.

          The Committee notes that the vehicle was finally delivered after about a year following an order being made. The Committee had recommended that the Ministry gets a refund and source the vehicle from the local market when delivery was taken.

NATIONAL EDUCATION FUND, 2014

The Fund was set with the objective to provide grants and interest bearing loans to enable deserving students who are citizens of Zimbabwe and who are of well attested ability and proven diligence, to pursue course of studies leading to the acquisition of professional qualifications at local and foreign universities, teachers and agricultural colleges and other institutions of higher learning approved by the Permanent Secretary. The Auditor General issued a disclaimer of opinion which is a clear indication that there were serious deficiencies in financial records to the extent that the Auditor could not obtain sufficient audit evidence upon which to base an opinion.

Non-disclosure of Debtors and Maintenance of Records

The Audit observed that the Ministry did not disclose outstanding stipends for students on bilateral scholarships amounting to $1 221 500. The Ministry indicated that it was facilitating placement of students in foreign universities on a cost sharing arrangement with such universities. Treasury was expected to meet the difference but disbursements were erratic. The Ministry then requested parents and guardians to meet the difference. It therefore, stopped disclosing the debt in its books since it was no longer accruing but would recognise funding on cash basis and expenses it whenever Treasury made some disbursements.

Failure to disclose the debt could result in misstating the outstanding stipends and consequently misled Treasury when making releases. The Committee expressed concern on the failure by Government to meet its obligation as this has caused untold suffering to students on bilateral scholarship arrangement. Government normally targets children from less privileged backgrounds and the chances of parents meeting the cost on behalf of Government was very unlikely. Government, therefore, had an obligation to pay for those students. The Committee noted with concern that some students ended up engaging in undesirable acts such as prostitution and drug abuse, much to the discredit of the country’s image.

It is the Committee’s view that when Government sends students out of the country, its commitment is absolute. It has a moral and a financial obligation to meet that commitment.

The Committee recommends that the Ministry should fully disclose the full debt in the 2017 financial statements which should be availed to the Auditor General within the prescribed time limit for submission of statements.

Expenditure not disclosed in the correct period

Financial Statements submitted for Audit indicated a total expenditure of $528 931 for the year under review while payment vouchers audited revealed that $314 000 of that amount was related to prior periods.  No liability was disclosed in the financial statements.  The Ministry indicated that it owed $62 million in cadetship fees to institutions and the amount was not disclosed as a liability in the financial statements. This was attributed to use of cash as opposed to accrual accounting system It indicated that institutions were instructed to use the accrual system and the amount was eventually disclosed in the 2016 financial statements.

The Ministry informed the Committee that institutions were employing various strategies to recover the debt from students. For instance, some institutions were withholding certificates for students under cadetship upon completion of programmes. Through these strategies, the debt had been reduced to around $30 million.

As observed earlier on in relation to students on bilateral scholarships, the Committee expressed concern that Government had made a commitment to pay for students on cadetship but was now burdening institutions by not fulfilling its financial obligation. The Ministry indicated that cadetship had since been abandoned due to lack of funding. The Committee is of the view that it was immoral for institutions to withhold certificates for students on cadetship since they were owed by Government and not individual students who were funded through cadetship programme.

The Committee recommends that Government should clear the debt which accrued under the cadetship programme by 31 August, 2018. The Committee also recommends that learning institutions desist from withhold student’s certificates for money owed to them by Government.

Issuing of Student Loans without following proper procedures

The Fund’s Constitution stipulates that expenditure of the Fund shall include payment of approved loans, grants for tuition, stipends and fares.  A total amount of $19 078 from a sample of 16 students was spent on tuition, food and accommodation at local universities and abroad and reflected as other expenditure.  Reflecting the payments as “Other Expenditure” gave an impression that the students might not have been among those who qualified for funding under the Fund’s Constitution.  The Ministry indicated that the payments were for fees for desperate cases that approached the Accounting Officer directly or were recommended by other institutions and were treated on a case by case basis.

The Committee observed that the Fund might run the risk of benefiting undeserving students if laid down procedures were not followed. The Committee could not understand why those so called desperate cases could not follow the laid down procedure for accessing funding. Moreso, the Fund did not give the Accounting Officer the latitude to vary the procedures.

The Ministry should avail to the Auditor General the necessary documentation showing recommendations by other institutions or Government departments and the Accounting Officer by 30 June, 2018.

CONCLUSION

Issues raised under the Funds administered by the Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology are quite serious. There is lack of supervision in the management of these Funds as demonstrated by poor maintenance of records, delays in reporting, misapplication of Fund resources, non-adherence to Fund Constitutions to mention but a few. The Ministry should put in place effective controls to ensure proper management of these Funds. Now that Funds are also included in the National Budget, it is the Committee’s hope that Treasury will ensure that there are effective controls in place to curb maladministration practices currently associated with Funds. The Committee urges Treasury, in the long run, to redirect all Funds towards the Consolidated Revenue Fund to ensure effective management of public funds.

The Committee notes with great concern that on two occasions, the Auditor General has not been able to express an opinion because of inadequacies in the report. In the event that this is repeated in the next audit report, the Committee is of the view that disciplinary action should be taken against the concerned officials.

          HON. MARIDADI: Thank you Mr. Speaker.  I would like to thank the Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Public Accounts.  The issues that are raised in this report are issues that cut across.  Funds that are controlled by the Ministry are not properly controlled.  The Ministry is found using other packages which is not the package that is supposed to be used by Government; which is the Standard BSAP accounting package used by Government.  There are issues of corporate governance which are not adhered to and this is the problem that we have.  These problems cut across – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –  

          THE ACTING SPEAKER: Order Hon. Members, we cannot hear what he is debating now.

          HON. MARIDADI: The Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee is going to present yet another report Mr. Speaker, and you are going to find that the issues that she will raise in the next report are almost the same with those she has just presented.  I want to leave it at that and allow her to present a second report, then I will be able to debate at length after the second report has been presented.  Thank you.

          HON. MAJOME: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  I want to support the report and the recommendations made by our Public Accounts Committee, which time and again has made us proud in this Fourth Parliament.  I have praised the Committee before and I applaud Hon. Paurina Mpariwa. For me, it shows what women can do when they are given the leadership of Committees.  I also want to thank the rest of the Committee Members for also believing in the leadership of a woman.

          Mr. Speaker Sir, I am particularly – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –

          THE ACTING SPEAKER: Order, Order Hon. Members.  I think this is the last time I am going to call for order in this House before I send someone out of this House.

          HON. MAJOME: Thank you Mr. Speaker.  I want to support the recommendations that were made by the Public Accounts Committee around what is definitely misappropriation of funds in the Ministry’s Appropriation Account.  It must alarm, shock and make us unhappy and disturbed to continue yelling time after time again for such irresponsible treatment of Government funds and the need to account in light of Chapter 9 of the Constitution.

          I am going to be very brief.  I am particularly concerned about what I see as lack of responsibility on the part of the financial accounting of the Ministry in failing to recover monies, particularly the Cadetship Programme that is administered under the Public Accounts Committee.  I am happy that the Committee has recommended that the Ministry moves with speed to recover the money that is due for cadetships because the failure to recover these monies is a great barrier; it stands in the way of other Zimbabweans who are young; particularly the young people who are coming out of high school and also want to engage in tertiary education and wish to be given an opportunity.

          This money must come back because there are lots of other students who are struggling, whose families cannot pay for them, so the Ministry indeed must take these recommendations seriously.  I think there is another thought that is related to those students who are trainees of either the Ministry of Education for example, who go for teaching practice and who have the allowances reduced and are also not able to benefit from State coffers yet there is money that  needs to be recovered for this same fund.  I want to believe Mr. Speaker Sir, that we should take this seriously so that young people in our country get broader opportunity to access State funding. If the Ministry does not take this seriously, this will not happen.

          I want to strongly recommend that they use the facilities of the Ministry of Justice; the Litigation Department which can easily recover these monies.  Secondly, I am also concerned about what was noted by the Committee that procedures were not followed in the disbursement of funds in terms of the same fund.  Mr. Speaker Sir, I think this Parliament in closing as it is about to do, must also be heard seriously and must have its recommendations taken seriously.  These are criminal offences; I do not understand why we tolerate such a high level of perfidy in public accounts. 

          In terms of the Public Finance Management Act, it is a criminal offence to fail to follow properly laid out procedures for running Government funding.  So, it will be wonderful if for once the Commissioner General of Police – because this report of the Public Accounts is public, it will be in the Hansard, if the Commissioner General can just show the seriousness by going through may be just this one report, opening dockets and investigating that failure by people to follow Government’s laid down procedures as well as the issue about the vehicle that was purchased without authority but was not purchased.  Mr. Speaker Sir, this Parliament should be alarmed by this ‘ghost’ vehicle that the Ministry seems to have bought but not bought using public funds.  This must be investigated.  This Parliament cannot just listen to these things and let go and the police do not do anything about it together with the Prosecutor General’s office.

          I want to recommend that there be prosecution before the elections, before 31 July 2018, to show that indeed we are in the new dispensation.  The Prosecutor General and the Commissioner General must take just this report and investigate what happened to this ‘ghost’ vehicle where money was misappropriated but money was not found and also the issue of the lack of recovery procedures being followed.  These are my submissions.

I also noticed that the Committee in indicated that by 31st July, 2018, it expects that the Ministry provides through the Auditor General full details of transactions that it wants.  This day, 31st July, 2018 happens to be exactly a day after the elections, I say that because I do not want the sterling work of the Public Accounts Committee and indeed the work of this Parliament whose Committee has brilliantly performed, to go in vain simply because there is an election inbetween. 

          Mr. Speaker Sir, if we have any rule of law in this country and if we truly care about our citizens, let 31st July, 2018 be a case where the Ministry of Higher Education is saved by the bell.  The Commissioner General of Police and the Prosecutor General are not subject to elections.  They must indeed be seen to be carrying the interests of Zimbabwe by carrying on holding the line even after this Parliament and this Committee are no longer in place.  Mr. Speaker Sir, let there be criminal investigations, prosecutions and convictions at the very least around the ‘ghost’ vehicle that was bought and not bought and the failure to adhere to procedures.  I thank you.

          THE ACTING SPEAKER: There is a grey vehicle Ford Ranger AEF 5915 which is blocking the way. Can the owner please go and remove that vehicle.

          HON. MPARIWA: Thank you Hon. Speaker.  I want to thank the two Hon. Members who have spoken to the report and this actually marks the end of this Session but I think as the Chair of the Public Accounts Committee, may I through your office, persuade you to make a follow up in terms of these recommendations so that they do not gather dust in the shelves.  With that conclusion, I now move that This House takes note of the First Report of the Public Accounts Committee on the Examination of the Appropriation and Fund Accounts for the Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development be adopted.

          Motion put and agreed to.

MOTION

SECOND REPORT OF THE PUBLIC ACCOUNTS COMMITTEE ON THE EXAMINATION OF THE VALUE FOR MONEY REPORT ON LAND UTILISATION AND MANAGEMENT OF ESTATES BY ARDA

           HON. MPARIWA: I move the motion standing in my name that this House takes note of the Second Report of the Portfolio Committee on the Examination of the Value for Money Report on Land Utilisation and Management of Estates by the Agricultural Rural Development Authority (ARDA).

           HON. MARIDADI: I second.

           HON. MPARIWA:

INTRODUCTION:

The Auditor General conducted a value for money audit on selected Agricultural Rural Development Authority (ARDA) Estates across the country. The purpose of the audit was to report on the challenges affecting efficient and effective utilisation of land by ARDA and to suggest ways of improving the Authority’s operations. The Audit was conducted against a background of vast tracts of arable land lying idle on ARDA Estates for the period 2006 – 2010 when the Authority’s mandate is to ensure food security and to assist in rural development through managing land on behalf of the State.

The Audit revealed failure to fully utilise arable land by ARDA, poor livestock management and shortages of workshop tools and farming implements among other challenges. The Auditor General then recommended a number of measures aimed at enabling ARDA to improve its operations. Among these were drawing up an effective implementation of a recapitalisation plan for irrigation infrastructure, timely acquisition of inputs and instilling animal husbandry best practices in its staff. Following the presentation of this report, the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) resolved to conduct verification visits to the Estates.

          OBJECTIVES OF THE ENQUIRY

          METHODOLOGY:

The Public Accounts Committee analysed the report and resolved to conduct verification visits to the ARDA Estates. In undertaking these visits, the Committee sought to achieve the following objectives:

a)    To get an appraisal of the action taken or improvements made following the Auditor General’s findings and recommendations;

b)   To receive a briefing on the challenges the Authority continues to face and assistance required in its efforts to turn around its fortunes; and

c)    To compile a report of its findings and recommendations for presentation to Parliament for the attention of the Executive.

The examination of the report and subsequent verification visits were consistent with the Committee’s mandate, as enshrined in Section 299 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe, which reads as follows:

 “Parliament must monitor and oversee expenditure by the State and all Commissions and institutions and agencies of Government at every level, including statutory bodies, government controlled entities, provincial and metropolitan councils and local authorities, in order to ensure that-

(d)            all revenue is accounted for;

(e)             all expenditure have been properly incurred; and

(f)              any limits and conditions on appropriations have been observed.”

In addition, the National Assembly Standing Order No. 16, mandates PAC to examine the sums granted by Parliament to meet public expenditure and such other accounts laid before the National Assembly.

The Committee analysed the report and conducted verification visits to Doreen’s Pride Estate in Kadoma, Fair Acres Estate in Silobela, Jotsholo Estate in Lupane, Balu/Mguza Plots in Umguza, Sisi Estate in Rafingora and Nijo Farm Estate in Hatcliffe. The visits were conducted from 22 – 27 February 2018. During the visits, the Committee had the opportunity to be briefed on operations on each Estate and tours that enabled Members to see the crops under cultivation and farm equipment at each Estate. Information gathered together with a written report submitted by ARDA officials formed the basis of this Report.

          FINDINGS, OBSERVATIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS BY THE COMMITTEE

          ARDA’s Engagement of Partners:

The Committee learnt that as part of its turnaround plan, ARDA had entered into Public-Private Partnership agreements on each Estate with various partners with the exception of Sisi Estate, where Government of Zimbabwe was in partnership with the Government of the People’s Republic of China. The contracts entered into were for an initial period of five years on Estates where crop farming and animal husbandry are being practiced and ten years on Estates where the plantations were to be planted. The contracts had a provision for extensions of five or ten years respectively.

The profit sharing arrangements varied from Estate to Estate as will be highlighted below. The contracts provided for partners to bring to the partnership inputs and their assets. The partners had a choice to select farm equipment at the Estates for use in their operations. Most of the former ARDA employees at the Estates had been seconded to the partners. At the expiry of the contracts, ARDA would take over operations with the hope that operations would not collapse since staff was expected to have learnt new methods of farming.

          Operations at Nijo Farm:

The Committee was informed that ARDA had recently entered into a partnership with Agri-Alliance (Pvt) Ltd. The major activity at the Estate was maize, soya beans and potatoes production. At the time of the visit, 400 hectares was under cropping, mainly maize and plans were underway to put an additional 30 hectares under winter cropping. In 2010 only 15 hectares of a possible 30 hectares had been under irrigation and this had been due to obsolete irrigation infrastructure.

At Nijo Estate, the contract between ARDA and Agri-Alliance stipulated that the two partners would share net profit at a ratio of 38:62 percent. The Committee was unable to have sight of the assets Agri-Alliance had committed to bring to the partnership as it did not receive a copy of the contract ARDA’s Chief Executive Officer had undertaken to submit to the Committee.

At the time of the visit, the Committee observed a number of broken down equipment. A workshop which the partner commended as appropriate had been cleared in preparation for repairs to some of the equipment and machinery that could be restored to working condition. The Committee was informed that several tractors were earmarked for repairs one at a time, as they were runners that needed minor attention. The Committee was informed that the partner had brought three tractors during the ploughing stages and these had since moved to other farms where the partner is also engaged in farming.

Figure 1 Broken down tractors at Nijo Farm awaiting repairs

At the time of the visit, there were no dairy cows at Nijo farm. In 2010, the farm had a herd of 84 cows, some of which had reportedly died and the remainder disposed of because of old age. The Committee was informed that the partner had plans to bring 200 herd of cattle.

The Committee learnt that Nijo Estate owed creditors significant sums of money, part of it being wage arrears to workers and a loan from the Commercial Bank of Zimbabwe. Although the debt had been assumed by Zimbabwe Asset Management Corporation (ZAMCO), the Chief Executive Officer of ARDA, Mr. Mbona informed the Committee that they intended to liquidate the debt after disposing of some of Authority’s unwanted equipment.

          Operations at Sisi Farm:

The Committee was advised that since 2011, farming operations At Sisi Estate had been taken over by a partnership between Ministry of Defence on behalf of the Government of Zimbabwe and the Government of the People’s Republic of China.

 

Figure 2 A plague attached to the fence at the farm, testimony of the arrangements between Zimbabwe and China

Management at the Estate professed ignorance about the Committee’s visit and as a result the Committee did not get information from the officials who were on site. It was apparent to the Committee that at that time, ARDA did not have a stake at the Estate.

The Estate had arable land of about 1000 hectares of which about 600 hectares was being utilised. The main crop in the fields was maize, tobacco and soya beans. This was an improvement in terms of land utilisation as the Estate had been utilising only 192 hectares at the time of the audit in 2010. The Chinese had brought 4 tractors and 2 combine harvesters and out of the 4 tractors owned by ARDA, only one was in good working order. Two planters were on site and reported to be out of order.

A brief chat by the Committee Members with some of the workers seconded by ARDA to the Estate revealed that prior to the takeover in 2010, the workers had not received their wages from the Authority backdating from 2002 to 2010. They however confirmed that since the changeover in 2011, they had been receiving their wages regularly from the new management.

          Operations at Doreen’s Pride Estate:

At Doreen’s Pride, ARDA entered into a partnership agreement with Trek Petroleum (Pvt) Ltd in 2015 for an initial period of 10 years. Management at the Estate expressed satisfaction with the operations. Trek Petroleum was reported to have brought new water pumps for irrigation and new land had been cleared for cultivation, resulting in 440 hectares of arable land up from 270 hectares in 2010. 240 hectares were under irrigation and had three centre pivots installed. In 2010,the audit established that 124 hectares was under irrigation at the time. The remainder of the arable land was under dry land farming. The partner’s intention was to utilise about 1000 hectares. Maize and soya beans were being grown in summer and wheat in winter.

Figure 3 - The Committee and secretariat being briefed about operations at Doreen's Pride Estate

Trek was reported to have selected 2 tractors, a trailer and a UD truck from ARDA’s machinery and equipment for use at the Estate. The Committee was informed that tractors belonging to Trek Petroleum had been brought to the Estate for use when required and at the time of the Committee’s visit, they had been driven to other farms where Trek was operating.

Before the establishment of the partnership at Doreen’s Pride Estate, ARDA had been involved in cattle rearing until an outbreak of heart water disease resulted in the relocation of the cattle to Antelope Estate. The Committee was informed that 500 hectares of land at the Estate was occupied by gold miners who had operating licences issued by the Ministry of Mines and Mining Development.

Officials informed the Committee that Doreen’s Pride Estate was heavily indebted and Trek Petroleum had promised to assist in settling the debt. Two important posts of a plumber and auto electrician that were vacant in 2010 were reported to be filled at the time of the Committee’s visit.

In terms of profit sharing, the contract provided for 8% of the net margin for ARDA for the first two years of operations and thereafter the profits would be shared equally.

          Operations at Fair Acres Estate:

The Committee was informed that since 2014 ARDA’s partner at Fair Acres Estate was Northern Farming (Pvt) Ltd. The contract between ARDA and Northern Farming was for a 5-year period. During that period ARDA would be entitled to 35% of the Estate’s net profit with prospects of negotiating a better contract on renewing the contract after its expiry. In 2017, ARDA had received $480 000, 00 as its share of the profit.

In 2010, the audit established that total arable land of 450 hectares could be irrigated but the Estate was capable of irrigating 250 hectares due to shortages of irrigation sprinklers and old irrigation pipes. At the time of the visit the Committee was informed that 225 hectares were under maize and 260 under soya beans. In winter the Estate grew wheat. The new management was able to put 250 hectares under irrigation because of nine centre pivots that had been erected. Northern Farming was reported to have brought planters and two tractors for use at the Estate. The Estate utilised water from two weirs fed from a dam. The Committee was also informed that more land had been cleared thereby increasing arable land to 500 hectares.

A tour of the fields conducted revealed full utilization of the land with the maize crop reaching maturity stage and soya beans which was at the flowering stage. High productivity levels were attributed to modern techniques of farming being practiced at the Estate.

          Operations at Jotsholo Estate:

The Committee was informed that in 2016 ARDA had gone into partnership with Jopa Investments (Pvt) Ltd at Jotsholo Estate. The shareholding structure entitled ARDA to 8% of gross profit in the first two years and thereafter 40% of net profit. ARDA’s share in 2017 had been $50 000. The partnership was into maize and maize seed production, butternuts and tomatoes. About 150 seasonal workers were engaged at the Estate when their services were required.

 

Figure 4 - Packed butternuts ready for the market

The Estate had 8 centre pivots erected and each pivot irrigated 25 hectares resulting in 200 hectares being under irrigation and leaving about 300 hectares for dry land farming. The Committee was informed that the Estate had plans to increase the arable land to 800 hectares from which 350 would be under irrigation. The Committee learnt that the heavily silted weir, observed at the time of the audit had not been cleared as promised. Instead, management advised the Committee that plans were afoot to construct a completely new weir.  

Of the Estate’s debt amounting to $10 million, ARDA officials informed the Committee that the debt had been converted to long term debt and subsequently assumed by ZAMCO. In order to liquidate the debt, ARDA was weighing some options including selling some of its properties in Chitungwiza and Nyarugwe.

 

Figure 5 - Workers at the farm busy processing maize seed

In terms of machinery, the Committee was informed that ARDA’s equipment which was in a bad state had been auctioned and the partner had participated in the sale. It was revealed that at the expiry of the contract, the partner’s equipment on the farm would revert to ARDA at no cost.

          Operations at Balu Estate:

ARDA officials informed the Committee that the Authority had recently entered into a partnership agreement with Kalimba Investments (Pvt) Ltd, which was trading as Balu Pecan and Livestock Company. The agreement was for an initial period of 15 years with a possibility of extension for a further 10 years. The shareholding structure would see ARDA receiving $70 000 in the first 72 months of operation, followed by 5% of gross income from the plantation and 7,5% of gross income from livestock production. The Pecan nuts trees would be amortized at the expiry of the contract. It was indicated to the Committee that the community surrounding Balu Estate stood to benefit by supplying cattle to the feedlot and buying fodder crops to feed their own cattle. When the dairy operations commence, the communities would have an opportunity to sell milk to the company.

The Committee was informed at the time of the visit that the partner was sprucing up the area and pit coding to determine the quality of the soil. The partner intended to plant Pecan nuts on 50 hectares in 2018 and an additional 250 hectares in 2019. The audit had revealed that in 2010, ARDA was utilising 30 hectares under irrigation. The partner, in conjunction with Surrey Abattoirs intended to establish feedlots for 2000 herd of cattle. This was against a background where ARDA had kept 137 cows on the Estate in 2013. The partner indicated to the Committee that using the latest technology, known as embryo transfer, the intention was to increase production. Prior to the partnership agreement, ARDA used to practice cattle ranching and had a herd of about 700 cattle before the herd was gradually reduced to about 30 cows which was eventually relocated to Nyarugwe Farm.

 

Figure 6 - Hon. Maridadi and Hon. Mapiki listening to the briefing by the partners

Balu Estate had farm machinery which had deteriorated and had been disposed of through two auctions. The partner had not selected any of ARDA’s equipment for use at the Estate. The Committee was informed that the Estate owed its creditors over one million dollars.

          Operations at Umguza Plots:

The Committee was informed that two plots, each measuring 34 hectares were being leased to Hon. Obert Mpofu. Previously ARDA had grown stock feeds. The Committee was informed that there was no production. As a result of lack of production, a process to part ways with the partner was underway. The process involved determining the value of improvements on the plots before settling this against a debt of $36 000 which the partner owed to ARDA in unpaid fees. ARDA intended to re-advertise the plots in order to court new partners.

A visit to the plots by the Committee confirmed the information submitted to the Committee. Disused farm equipment such as tractors and structures such as a centre pivot and two sheds which were lying idle could be seen on the uncultivated fields.

 

Figure 7- Mr. Noko Director Agriculture at ARDA explaining some points to the Committee whilst at one of the two incomplete sheds at Umguza plot

Recommendations:

In view of the above observations, the Committee makes the following recommendations:

a)    That Government should review the composition of the ARDA Board to comply with the provisions of the Public Entities Corporate Governance Act requiring board members to have certain relevant expertise.

b)   The Ministry of Finance and Economic Development should review by end of August 2018, the decision by ZAMCO to assume ARDA’s liabilities.

c)    The Ministry of Lands, Agriculture and Rural Resettlement

should review all the contracts to ensure that Government’s

interest is protected. Progress on the matter should be reported to Parliament by end of August 2018.

d)   ARDA should monitor activities at its leased plots to ensure maximum productivity. The Authority should expedite the process of identifying another partner for the Umguza plots. Progress on this issue should be reported to Parliament by end of August 2018.

e)    ARDA should ensure that all the equipment lying idle at

various farms should be repaired and put to use or sold.

Progress on this exercise should be reported to Parliament by

end of August 2018.

 

        Conclusion :

The Committee is of the view that the challenges noted at the visited ARDA farms partnership and lease agreements could be a tip of the iceberg. The Committee notes that some of the Estates were highly productive prior to the takeover by ARDA, for example, Nijo was famous for onion production, while Balu used to be one of the biggest pig and dairy producers, having the advantage irrigation facility due to its vicinity to a dam. The Committee noted that Doreen’s Pride Estates has a potential for massive irrigation projects since it sits on the banks of Claw Dam, which has unlimited water supply. The Committee noted with concern that about one third of Doreen’s Pride was occupied by illegal gold panners who are not paying anything to ARDA for the land utilisation. ARDA should play an active role to ensure that all estates are fully utilised. The Committee expresses its reservations on the involvement of the army at Sisi Estate. The Committee queries the action by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe to assume the liabilities of ARDA estates using ZAMCO. It is the view of the Committee that this might be a violation of ZAMCO’s terms of reference. I want to thank you Mr. Speaker.

HON. MARIDADI:  Thank you Mr. Speaker.  In seconding this report, I just want to say four or five things because the Chairperson has eloquently covered everything.  Mr. Speaker, it is important to understand why ARDA was formed in the first place.  The acronym ARDA stands for Agriculture and Rural Development Authority.  It was formed by Government in order to galvanise food security for the country because the Government realised that commercial farmers are driven by the need to make money, to make a profit out of their commercial activities.  ARDA will come in and fill the gap between those that want to profiteer and the need to feed the nation.  That is why ARDA was formed and to develop rural areas.  Mr. Speaker, ARDA has about 28 estates throughout the country and they hold up to 5 thousand hectares of land.  Before 1980, ARDA was so productive that they contributed to almost 35-40 percent of the food security of this country.  Today, of the 28 estates of ARDA Mr. Speaker, not a single one of them is productive, they are all heavily indebted and they need Government bailout. 

I want to speak specifically about the Estate called Ballow which is just outside Bulawayo.  It was the biggest piggery and dairy producer in the country.  They produce so much milk and so much pig meet.  Mr. Speaker, we went to Ballow Farm, it is a sorry site.  Ballow Farm looks like an Estate that is in a desert.  Having said that Mr. Speaker, there are so many people that have gone into partnership with ARDA to run some of these estates.  One of the individuals who is in partnership with ARDA is Hon. Dr. Obert Mpofu.  Mr. Speaker, we went to the estate that is supposed to be run by Hon. Dr. Obert Mpofu and what I saw there is an issue that if it were in South Africa and it had come out on television, every Zimbabwean would be very angry.  There is a picture in this report of a gentleman who is supposed to be a security detail stationed at that estate that is owned by Dr. Mpofu.  Mr. Speaker, the gentleman, I am not sure he knows his real age or his date of birth but looking at his physical appearance, he must be in his 90s.  He is of foreign descent because he speaks with an accent.  He must be Malawian or Mozambican – [HON. MUKWANGWARIWA:  Ndewekumusha kwako.  NdewekuMabvuku.] – It is not something to make fun of, we are talking of human life here.  He is of foreign descent, he must be Malawian or Mozambican.  When I asked, he said that, those who have the report, the picture is on page 19.  He said to me, I was engaged by the Hon. Minister to be his security detail at this farm.  The old man cannot be a security man because he needs security himself.  He is afflicted and he needs medical treatment. 

It will not be surprising Mr. Speaker that somebody will visit the estate one day and found that old man dead in the room that he uses as a bedroom.  If nobody visits that place for one month, they could find that old man’s body in a state of advanced decomposition.  Mr. Speaker, it is such a violation of human rights and for this to be done by a Minister of this Government, it is a travesty of justice, it is immoral, it is dispeakable and it is unchristian.  Something must be done about it.  I have a picture of this old man Mr. Speaker and if I were to send it to all Members in this room, I can guarantee you, all the women in this room would cry.  The people that we visited that farm with, all the ladies who visited that farm cried, including a journalist.  Mr. Speaker, this old man said, he last got his salary about three to four years ago.  For the life of me, Hon. Mpofu is a man of means, he could simply make a beeline when he is going to his farm and favour this old man with $50.  I can guarantee you, if this old man gets $50, it is enough money to make him go by for the next six months.  He lives there alone.  The house that he lives in is not even fit for even an animal like a dog.  He lives in that house, blankets have not been washed I think for as long as I can remember.  That room has not been swept and the old man has no soap to bathe with, his clothes have not been cleaned.  When you stand next to him, you need to move just five metres within range and the stench that his body exudes, you can smell it from about five metres away.  Mr. Speaker, I thought I would raise this and say, Hon. Mpofu, this is not something that we expect a Zimbabwean to do.  As I said Mr. Speaker, if the picture of this old man was to come out of South African television, this old man narrating that he is living as a security guard at a Minister’s farm; there will be such an outcry in South Africa and there will be equally an outcry in Zimbabwe, even opposition political parties in South Africa will go to the streets to march for this old man.  He is at an estate that is run by Obert Mpofu and I would urge the powers that be, the Speaker of Parliament, Hon. Jacob Mudenda to kindly send a delegation and talk to that old man.  If the President of this country, His Excellency E. D. Mnagagwa were to see this man, I can guarantee you, the following day, Hon. Obert Mpofu will be without a job.  On that note Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank you for this opportunity and second the motion and move for the adoption of the report.

HON. MPARIWA:  Thank you Mr. Speaker.  I want to thank my seconder, Hon. Maridadi for seconding the report and for being emphatic in the areas that were visited.  From the report, I think you know a lot of work has to be done Mr. Speaker, therefore, I move and persuade the Members for the adoption of this particular report.  I thank you.

Motion put and agreed to.

MOTION

SECOND REPORT OF THE PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE ON MINES AND ENERGY ON THE DIAMOND SECTOR IN ZIMBABWE FOR THE PERIOD 2009-2016

HON. MLISWA:  I rise to present the Second Report of the Portfolio Committee on Mines and Energy on the diamond sector in Zimbabwe for the period 2009-2016.

HON. HOLDER:  I second.

HON. MLISWA:

1.    Introduction

In 2016, the Former President of Zimbabwe, His Excellency Cde Robert Mugabe made  an announcement to the nation, during his birthday interview, that over 15 billion dollars’ worth of diamond revenues could not be accounted for, at a time the country was experiencing severe liquidity challenges and economic contraction.  In line with Section 160 of the Standing Orders of Parliament, read together with section 119 (2) of the Constitution, the Committee on Mines and Energy conducted an enquiry to get a deeper understanding of the diamond sector in Zimbabwe, focusing on the investors and investments made, the monitoring and tracking systems on production and revenues, the marketing of the diamonds as well as the legal and policy frameworks regulating the industry. The discovery of diamonds in Marange created a huge expectation among the ordinary citizens to the extent that the industry would contribute towards the eradication of the triple challenges facing the country, namely, unemployment, poverty and economic recession.  The enquiry will outline the challenges experienced and the lessons learnt so that the diamond sector can emerge from the murky waters and take its place among the key minerals that will make meaningful economic and social contribution in the country.

2.    Methodology

In order to understand how the alleged fifteen billion dollars’ worth of revenues could not be accounted for, the Committee engaged various stakeholders, mainly through oral evidence sessions held between February and May 2018. The commitment of the Committee was evidenced throughout enquiry with one oral evidence session lasting for a period of ten (10) hours.  The Committee had an opportunity to engage the following stakeholders:

2.1           Hon. W. Chitando – Minister of Mines and Mining Development;

2.2           Hon. W. Chidhakwa – Former Minister of Mines and Mining Development;

2.3           Hon. Dr. O. Mpofu – Former Minister of Mines and Mining Development and Former Minister of Home Affairs;

2.4           Hon. Dr. S. Sekeramayi – Forrmer Minister of Defence;

2.5           Dr. I. Chombo – Former Minister of Home Affairs;

2.6           Mr. D. Mutasa – Former Minister of State Security,

2.7           Mr. G. Matanga – Commissioner General of Police;

2.8           Ambassador I. Moyo - Director General of Central Intelligence Organisation;

2.9           Retired Major General H. Bonyongwe – Former Director of General of Central Intelligence Organisation;

2.10     Professor F. Gudyanga and Mr. P. Mupazviriho -Former Permanent Secretaries of Mines and Mining Development;

2.11     Mr. M. Munodawafa – Permanent Secretary of Mines and Mining Development

2.12     Mr. M. Matshiya – Permanent Secretary of Home Affairs and Culture;

2.13     Mr. M. Rushwaya – Permanent Secretary of Defence;

2.14     Ms. F. Mazani – Zimbabwe Revenue Authority [ZIMRA] Commissioner General;

2.15     Former joint venture partners of Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation (ZMDC), that include, Mbada, Canadile Miners, Anjin, DMC, Kusena, Rera Diamonds and Gye Nyame;

2.16     DTZ OZGEO Company,

2.17     The Board of Rio-Zim and Management of Murowa Diamonds,

2.18     Mr. G. Masimirembwa and Mr D. Murangari, former and serving board Chairperson of ZMDC respectively,

2.19     Management of ZMDC,

2.20     Board and management of the Minerals Marketing Corporation of Zimbabwe (MMCZ),

2.21     Board Members of Sino-Zim who were in partnership with ZMDC;

2.22     President of Chamber of Mines – Mr Manhando

2.23     Officials from the Ministry of Finance;

2.24     Former and serving members of the Border Control and Minerals Unit,

2.25     Former and serving members of the Zimbabwe Republic Police;

2.26     Civil Society including Mr. F. Maguwu from Center for Natural Resource Governance and Mr. S. Mtisi the Global Kimberly Process (KP) Civil Society Coordinator and;

2.27     The Mining community in Chiadzwa represented by the Marange Development Community Trust.

The Committee managed to conduct an on-site visit to Murowa Diamonds located in Zvishavane in April 2018 inorder to get an appreciation of security and accounting systems at the mine.

The Committee encountered challenges in securing the attendance of the following people: Mr. Farai Mutamangira, Dr. A. Chihuri, Mr. T. Biti and Former President of Zimbabwe, His Excellency Cde R.G. Mugabe.  Dr. Chihuri could not attend because he was indisposed whilst Mr. Mutamangira was not able to attend citing client-privilege confidentiality. The Committee sought legal advice on his submissions and was advised that the privilege he sought to rely on was not absolute and his appearance before Parliament will be dealt with at an appropriate time in the future as the inquiry conducted by the Committee did not exhaust all the sticking issues.

Mr. T. Biti, Former Minister of Finance was also unavailable during the period of the enquiry due to other commitments. The Former President His Excellency Cde R.G. Mugabe was unable to attend at the appointed hour and the Committee was due to meet to consider summoning him as a measure of last resort but after consultations with the Hon Speaker, he was recused from attending.

During the enquiry some witnesses were either hostile or fearful, hence were unwilling to disclose information, such as those from the ZRP, CIO and the Former Minister of Mines and Mines Development, Dr. Mpofu. The Committee observed that serving members of ZRP were unwilling to disclose information for fear of losing their jobs, especially in the wake of a police shake up that took place in January 2018, where several senior police officers were retired from service.

3.    Findings

3.1           Diamond Revenues

3.1.1   Official Diamond Revenues from  2009 – 2015

The Committee was informed by the MMCZ that for the period 2006 to 2017, the country produced just over 51 million carats of diamonds, with a value of approximately 2,4 billion dollars.  Out of that figure, Government received approximately 300 million dollars in the form of royalties.  This is in sharp contrast to the projections that were made by Hon. Dr. O. Mpofu in 2011, after Zimbabwe was allowed to trade its diamonds formally - that on an annual basis the country would generate diamond revenues worth 2 billion dollars.  The Committee noted that projections by Hon. Dr. O. Mpofu created a lot of excitement and expectation among the ordinary citizens that the diamond sector was going to play a critical role in the transformation of the ailing economy.

3.1.2   The Alleged Missing Fifteen Billion Diamond Revenues

The Committee received diverse opinions on the question of the alleged missing 15 billion dollar revenues from the stakeholders in diamond industry.  Some witnesses that included the Permanent Secretary of Defence, Mr. M. Rushwaya and former Board Chair of ZMDC, Mr. G. Masimirembwa disputed the assertion made by the Former President of Zimbabwe, His Excellency Cde R.G. Mugabe that over $15 billion worth of revenues had disappeared.  According to Mr. Masimirembwa  …”the Former President was using it figuratively. I want to say myself that it is an impossibility.  There is no way Zimbabwe sold diamonds worth 15 billion dollars”.  Mr. Rushwaya, in a separate session with the Committee, highlighted that the $15 billion loss of revenue was not feasible …”whoever gave the former President that figure should scientifically explain what method he used because if you go by the world standards, he can vouch for me as an accountant, 14 billion dollars the world over for one year, it is difficult to reach but you were saying the leakages for 15 billion dollars in Zimbabwe.  Even if every inch had diamonds, we could not get to that stage”. According to Mr. Rushwaya, the 15 billion dollars assertion was used as an excuse by the Ministry of Mines to take over concessions owned by the various diamond companies.

On the other hand, there were witnesses that firmly believed that the statement by the former President had a measure of truth in that diamonds worth 15 billion dollars or more could have disappeared.  According to Mr. Kurotwi and civil society represented by Mr. F. Maguwu and Mr. S. Mtisi, the country lost substantial diamond revenues due to smuggling, undervaluation and lack of exploration of the Marange area. Mr. F Maguwu actually stated that,…” the country may not have lost 15 billion alone but maybe 50 billion.”  Mr. Masimirembwa admitted before the Committee that no exploration had been done to determine the value of the diamonds in Chiadzwa, before the signing of the joint venture agreements. 

3.1.3   Recovery of the alleged Missing Fifteen Billion Diamond

Revenues

The Committee noted that it would be difficult for the country to recover the missing diamonds revenues from the evidence that it received from the stakeholders. The former Permanent Secretary of Mines, Professor F. Gudyanga informed the Committee that the truth will never come out on the missing diamond revenues.  He stated that “ when it comes to diamond, there are syndicates that are very sophisticated in the country and outside the country and many people get involved.  Many beneficiaries get involved to ensure that the truth never comes out”. In essence, Professor Gudyanga was acknowledging that the country lost revenues, and the recovery and accounting of such money will require the support of both international and local law enforcement agencies, given the intricacies involved in the diamond sector.

Mr. M. Munodawafa, the current Permanent Secretary of Mines and Mining Development, informed the Committee that the Auditor General had been engaged to conduct a forensic audit on the joint venture companies that were operating in Marange.  The exercise proved difficult because the joint venture companies could not be located.  However, some of the joint venture companies attended the Committees hearings and they indicated that they were willing to have their books audited by the Auditor General.  It is the Committee’s position that the Ministry of Mines and the Auditor General have been complacent in conducting a forensic audit to determine the revenue loses that may have been suffered by the country.

Civil society on the other hand represented by Mr. Maguwu recommended that Government needed to engage countries and cities such as Dubai, China and India, where the country’s diamonds were marketed, to ascertain the value and losses Zimbabwe might have suffered.  The second option was for the country to take their case to the United Nations.

3.2           Smuggling and Leakages of Diamonds

It was clear during the Committee’s enquiry that the country has lost and continues to lose its diamonds through smuggling and leakages.  This was attributed to a number of factors that include the porous border lines, shortage of vehicles for the police to conduct effective surveillance, non-intrusive gadgets for searching, modern scanners and drone technology to monitor the Chiadzwa area.  Despite the presence of the police, there are still incidences of illegal mining by panners.  The Minerals and Border Control Unit (MBCU), informed the Committee that for the period 2013 to 2017, they recovered approximately 2 800 carats and a few convictions have been made.  The MBCU expressed disappointment in the manner in which diamond cases were handled by the Police because most of the accused were acquitted as a result of loopholes in the Precious Stones Trade Act.

According Mr. Maguwu and Mr Mtisi, the diamonds that are unaccounted for are usually smuggled into South Africa and Mozambique.  This was facilitated by a well organised syndicate comprising of well-known Lebanese diamond dealers some of whom are stationed in Mutare. 

3.3           The Illegal Miners

The MBCU acknowledged that illegal mining activities continued to take place in Marange. The problem was exacerbated by villagers who were harbouring the panners, popularly known as Gwejas. On the other hand, the Marange Community Development Trust accused the police of allowing the gwejas to operate under their watch, after paying a bribe to the law enforcement agency. It was clear to the Committee that diamonds continue to be traded on the black market.

3.4           Security Sector Involvement in Diamond Mining

The police, army and the Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) were given diamond concessions after the formalisation of mining operations in Marange in 2009.  The police, army and CIO operated under companies known as Gye Nyame, Anjin and Kusena consecutively.  The Committee was informed that the rationale for giving concessions to the security sector, was to finance some of the operations, due to the economic and budgetary constraints that the country had been going through.  These were the findings of the Committee on the different arms of the security sector:

3.4.1   The Zimbabwe Republic Police

Section 219 of the Constitution clearly outlines that the ZRP has to operate in a professional manner, uphold the Constitution, maintain law and order as well as protect and secure the lives and property of the citizens of the Zimbabwe.  In 2006, following the diamond rush in Chiadzwa, the police were called in to assist in restoring law and order, which they did to a great extent, paving the way for formal mining operations.  However, from 2009, when the police acquired a concession, its presence in Marange was fraught with a number of anomalies. 

Firstly, there was no formal agreement recognising the diamond concession given to the police.  The police could not supply documents showing the terms and conditions of the operation.  During the oral evidence sessions, the Committee was informed that the police entered into a joint venture agreement with some Ghanaians and Zimbabwean partners.  One of the local partners, Mr. Munyeza, outlined that the partnership agreement was fraught with acts of intimidation and opaqueness on the part of the police. Mr. Munyeza further accused the police of deliberately causing the deportation of the Ghanaians and of pushing out the local partners so that they could solely own the company.

At one stage Mr. Munyeza was abducted by the police and in order to secure his release, he was forced to surrender the keys to a safe securing the diamonds owned by Gye Nyame. The diamonds that were taken forcibly by the police could not be accounted for. The conduct of the Police was contrary to the virtues of professionalism as required of them by Section 219 (1) (3) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe.

Secondly, the former Minister of Home Affairs, Dr. I. Chombo, and the Permanent Secretary of Home Affairs, Mr Matshiya, outlined to the Committee that they are not aware of the existence and operations of Gye Nyame.  The Secretary of Home Affairs is accountable for all departments that fall under his purview, unfortunately he could not account for the operations of the police as they relate Gye Nyame. 

It was clear to the Committee that the company was and was to some extent personalised with strong ties to the former Commissioner General, Dr A. Chihuri.  All police representatives on the Board appointments, were done by the former Commissioner General, without the approval of the Permanent Secretary or Minister of Home Affairs.   

The Committee also noted that those who were appointed by the former Commissioner General to serve on Gye Nyame were very defensive or ignorant on why they were appointed to serve on the Board.  High ranking officials  in the Police Service that include the deputy Commissioners Mr. Matibiri, Ms. Shambare and Mr. Sibanda were not confident and articulate in their submissions about the existence and operations of  Gye Nyame.  Although the Permanent Secretary and Minister of Home Affairs claimed they were not aware of the operations and existence of Gye Nyame, the Committee was concerned this matter was in the public domain, which should have prompted them to take action. The written submissions by the Former Commissioner General Dr. A. Chihuri pointed to the fact that Permanent Secretary of Home Affairs was briefed about the concessions.

There is, therefore, a possibility of misleading Parliament by either of the parties. As such, charges of contempt of Parliament may be preferred against either of the parties should it become clear that there was a deliberate intention to mislead the Committee. This is not the end of the inquiry and accountability of the parties shall be demanded in due course. Suffice at this juncture to state that the administration of Gye Nyame as a concession leaves a lot to be desired and it was not consistent with the basic principles of public administration and corporate governance.

 

Retired Officer Commanding Support Unit, Mr. Tanyanyiwa told the Committee that the “the Minister of Mines and Mining Development  had requested police officers to safeguard Ministry officials during a process of hand-takeover of mines by the Ministry of Mines and Mining Development. No court order, just an instruction from the Ministry of Mines”.   The Committee noted with concern that the police were abused by the Ministry of Mines to achieve their unclear intended objectives.  The Ministry of Mines was not willing to allow the judiciary to handle this conflict. The Committee further noted that directives from Ministers should have been written not oral.

3.4.2   The Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO)

The CIO had a diamond concession operating under the name Kusena for the period 2011 to 2015. The company produced approximately 13 thousands carats worth about one million dollars.  According to the former director General of CIO, Rtd Major General Bonyongwe, Kusena was not a viable entity and it was later that they surrendered it to ZMDC, its joint venture partner.  The CIO never benefited from the diamonds proceeds and all the revenues were in the custody of ZMDC. The areas of concern for the Committee were Kusena’s links with Sam Pa, a Chinese business magnate who is associated with shady deals and was placed under house arrest by the Chinese government. Rtd Major General Boyongwe highlighted that the CIO’s association with Sam Pa were above board, because during the lifespan of Kusena, Sam Pa was not a convicted criminal or accused of any corrupt activities. It is the Committee’s position that the CIO has the responsibility to safeguard the interest of the country through vetting of security threats posed by individuals or companies coming into Zimbabwe. 

The Committee observed that the operations of Kusena were not very transparent, as evidenced by the Board Members under Sino Zim, who could not explain the capitalisation and the operations of the diamond concession.  The operations and the joint venture partners were known only by the Former Director General of CIO, Rtd Major General Bonyongwe and a few other officials.

3.4.3   The Zimbabwe National Army

Anjin was one of the biggest players in the Marange area.  The company started operating in 2010 and from its inception to 2015, produced approximately 9 million carats which generated about 332 million dollars in revenue.  Out of that figure 62 million dollars went to government as royalties and 86 million dollars was spent under corporate social responsibility programs.  The management of Anjin and Mr. Rushwaya felt hard done by the hostile takeover by the government, given the vast investments made by the company, in the form of establishment of the mine, the purchase of equipment and machinery and through various corporate social responsibility programs. 

The company also managed to make investments in the construction of Golden Peacock in Mutare and Long Cheng plaza, a shopping complex in Harare.  The Committee observed that Anjin had its own shortcomings particularly the fact that it has never had its books audited and in that the full amount of investment, as per agreement had not been made.  However, the company tried to operate within company regulations. The Committee was satisfied with the accountability procedures that were put in place by Anjin. Unlike the Permanent Secretary of Home Affairs, the Permanent Secretary for Defence proved to the Committee that he received regular briefs and was on top of the situation.

For the Permanent Secretary of Home Affairs, there was prima facie evidence of dereliction of duty, something that must not be allowed in the public administration. The Zimbabwe National Army also stated that their operations were transparent and open for the public to audit. The Army further contributed $24 million towards the Presidential Scholarship as well as $4 million for the Defence College which they can account for.

3.5           Protection and Security of Investments in Zimbabwe

In the new political dispensation ushered in November 2017, Government has declared that Zimbabwe is open for business.  It’s the Committee’s position that this mantra should be supported by investor friendly policies that include the protection and security of investments made into Zimbabwe.  The joint venture partners of ZMDC were very bitter on what they went through as a result of the consolidation process.  The views of the investors can be summed up in the words of Dr L. Kurotwi, from Canadile miners who said “In as far as investors are concerned…; Zimbabwe is a lion’s den.  Investors will come at their own peril because there is no guarantee that when you invest you will get your money back.  I am a victim of that and it has taken me almost 10 years to recover what we had invested genuinely”.  The Ministry of Mines was accused of having flouted the investment agreements and for not respecting the laws of the country during the hostile takeover.  In the case of Anjin and Mbada, their investment agreements did not have a time frame in which the Special Grants would expire.  Their operations would continue as long as they paid the statutory fees and at the time of the take over the statutory obligations had been paid.  As for DTZ OZGEO and Rera, their special grants had not expired but Government took them over.  It is the Committee’s position that such kind of treatment of investors will only scare away investment.

As the Committee noted, it is very important that investors are protected in line with section 71 of the Constitution on Property Rights.  Furthermore, investors should be protected from any acts of corruption in order to secure a license or protect their investments.  One investor, Dr. Kurotwi claimed the loss of a diamond concession as a result of failing to pay a bribe to Dr. Mpofu, the former Minister of Mines and Mining Development. 

Furthermore, the Committee was told that some investors were forced to pay legal fees to Mr. Farai  Mutamangira for unknown services.  The Committee believes that the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) the Law Society of Zimbabwe and the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission must investigate the payments made to Mr. Mutamangira. Hon Dr. O Mpofu gave directives for the payment of fees to Mr. Mutamangira when Section 110 (5) requires that decisions should be in writing. Mr. F. Mutamangira must also justify the monies paid to him and their intended purpose. Incidences of corruption should be dealt with in the best possible way, in order to create a conducive environment to attract investment.

3.6           Executive Accountability on the Diamond Mining

Operations

The Committee was disappointed by the former Minister of Mines and Mining Development, Hon. Dr. O. Mpofu, for failing to respond to issues pertaining to the diamond industry during his term of office. In the same vein the non-appearance by the Former Head of State His Excellency Cde R.G Mugabe, to answer questions on the missing $15 billion diamond revenues, heightens the perception that both may have been complicit on this issue.  Section 88 (1) of the Constitution highlights that “Executive authority derives from the people of Zimbabwe and must be exercised in accordance with this Constitution”.

As such, it is important that the Executive responds to matters raised by Parliament as the legislature represents the people.  Going forward, it is the Committee’s position that all members of the Executive should respond and be held accountable for their actions.  At the same time Parliament should not be cowed into failing to exercise this constitutional obligation.  Where members of the Executive are not willing to be transparent and accountable to the people, the President of  Zimbabwe should not hesitate to invoke section 108 (1) (b) which talks about the removal from office of a  Cabinet Minister. 

3.7           Indigenisation of the Diamond Sector

The Committee received a presentation from the President of Chamber of Mines, Mr. Manhando, where he highlighted that the diamond sector together the platinum industry should not continue to be regulated by the indigenisation laws which called for 51:49 percent shareholding in favour of the indigenous people.  During the Committee’s visit to Murowa in April 2018, the Rio-Zim board and its management clearly outlined that they needed $125 million to capitalise and expand their operations in the next 3 years, without which the company might be forced to close its operations in the next 18 months.  This capital could not be secured as long as the indigenisation regulations were in place.  The indigenisation regulations were the major cause why Rio Tinto International pulled out from Zimbabwe.

3.8           Human Rights and Corporate Social Responsibility in

Marange

The Committee had an opportunity to meet with representative of the mining community in Chiadzwa.  They highlighted some of the challenges that were experiencing which included restricted movement of persons, dust and water pollution, lack of local enterprise development and harassment of villagers by state security agents.   The concerns of the community need to be taken into consideration as this will also assist in minimising incidences of illegal mining by panners in the area. 

3.9           Legitimacy of Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond 

Companies

The Committee noted that the ZCDC was born out of a violent and disturbing corporate background. According to Mr. Rushwaya, “the Minister (of Mines) could have acted under improper advice because definitely that was a moment of madness because we just saw the police armed to close down the operation without any consultation done to other parties”.  Armed police, using AK 47 rifles were deployed into Marange to force the closure of these mines.  All the joint venture partners as well as DTZ OZGEO which was not in a joint venture agreement with ZMDC narrated to the Committee their harrowing experiences during the violent take over by ZMDC. 

The operation by the police while it sought to secure the mines created other challenges, which included destruction of existing infrastructure that had been invested by the companies such as security systems.  Furthermore, some companies such as Mbada lost diamonds and diamond ore which were on site during the melee.   

It is the Committee’s position that the establishment and existence of ZCDC was compromised because of this unpalatable background. It will be difficult to legitimise its operations given such a tainted background. The Chairman of ZMDC, Mr. Murangari, told the Committee that they were not in support of the consolidation process and the formation of ZCDC was a decision made by the Ministry.  There was no Board resolution by ZMDC to allow for the formation of ZCDC. 

In view of the above, the Committee makes the following recommendations:

4.    Recommendations

 

Resolution

Action

Timeline

1.       

A forensic audit should be conducted as a matter of urgency on all the companies that were operating in Marange.

The Permanent Secretary of Mines and the Auditor General, should engage in earnest all the joint venture partners that were involved in mining of diamonds in Marange.

Immediately

2.       

The Minerals and Border Control Unit should be given adequate resources that include vehicles and surveillance equipment to monitor and reduce incidences of smuggling of diamonds.

The Ministry of Finance should give adequate budgetary support to the police for effective monitoring and surveillance activities in Marange.

Immediately

3.       

An investigation should be conducted on the diamonds and revenues produced by Gye Nyame

Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) and ZACC should investigate the operations of the Gye Nyame so that that all those who abused office and engaged in shady deals are prosecuted.

Immediately

4.       

Investigation on Hon. Dr O. Mpofu on directives on monies paid by MMCZ, Marange Resources and Canadile Miners for legal services to Mr Farai Mutamangira which were not specified need to be interrogated.

The Law Society of Zimbabwe, Auditor General, the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission should investigate monies paid to Mr. F. Mutamangira for legal services that are not specified.

Immediately

5.       

The indigenisation threshold on the diamond sector should be removed

The Minister of Finance should remove the 51/49 percent threshold on the diamond and platinum sectors in order to attract investment.

Immediately

6.       

Regular lifestyle audits should be conducted on Minister of Mines, its officials and parastatals under the Ministry in order to curb corruption.

The Civil Service Commission should appoint an independent body to conduct regular lifestyle audits on persons working at the Ministry and parastatals under the Ministry.

Immediately

7.       

Officials from the Ministry of Mines, ZMDC and its subsidiaries should declare their interests and assets on assumption of office or during their term of office to curb corruption.

The Office of the President and Cabinet should ensure employees at the Ministry, ZMDC and its subsidiaries declare their interests and assets during or at commencement of work.

Immediately

8.       

 ZCDC must be dissolved immediately because it was not properly constituted and the Ministry must revert to the pre-February 2016 position of the concession holders.

The Minister of Mines must follow due process.

Immediately

9.       

DTZ OZGEO should be restored its claim given that it is not within the Marange area and has never been in joint partnership with ZMDC.

ZMDC should focus its energy on the Marange diamond deposits because the area has not be fully explored or exploited. Concessions in Chimanimani should be given back to the former owners.

Immediately

10.   

Members of the Executive should be held liable for their actions whilst in Office and even after they leave office.

The President, His Excellency Cde E.D. Mnangagwa should not hesitate to invoke section 108 (1)(a) of the Constitution read together section 106 (2)(c) in order to curb corruption and abuse of power by Members of the Cabinet.

Immediately

11.   

The Former President His Excellency Cde R.G. Mugabe needs to clear the air on the missing 15 billion dollars’ worth of revenue.

Closure on the alleged missing 15 billion diamond revenues is possible if the former President clears the air on the context he made the assertion that the country lost such an amount. The 9th Parliament must pursue the matter to the logical conclusion.

Immediately

12.   

A whistle blowers policy or law should be put in place to encourage and protect persons who desire to divulge information that is of national importance.

The Minister of Finance should put in place a policy that will protect whistle-blowers so that the country will not continue to lose revenues through illicit financial flows, smuggling and other forms of corruption.

Immediately

13.   

Government arms such as the Zimbabwe Republic Police, Zimbabwe National Army and Central Intelligence Agency should not be involved in mining ventures. These must concentrate on their core business.

The Government must adequately fund these institutions.

Immediately

 

5. Conclusion

The lustre of the diamond industry in Zimbabwe has been damaged due to shady deals and operations.  The new Minister of Mines, Hon. Chitando has a tall order to ensure that transparency and accountability is inculcated into the industry.  The new strides made by the Minister of Mines to announce proceeds of diamonds sales whenever an auction is conducted should be commended.  However, there are a number of unresolved issues that still need to be resolved so that the diamond industry can contribute meaningfully to the growth and development of this country.   I thank you Mr. Speaker.

HON. CROSS:  Mr. Speaker, I compliment the Chairman of the Mines Committee on this exposé of the Marange debacle.  I recommend his recommendations to the House unreservedly. 

I think what the House should recognise is that when this deposit of diamonds was discovered in 2000 by the De beers company; they spent six years on site exploring and evaluating its worth.  When they abandoned the site in 2006, the site was taken over by a small company in London which would have been formed by Zimbabwean citizens called ACR. 

Within six weeks, this group had discovered diamond bearing soil on the site – alluvial diamonds and diamonds of gem quality.  Within a month of their discovery, this group was dispossessed by the then Minister of Mines – the Hon. Obert Mpofu.  He then allowed small scale farmers or makorokozas to occupy the site.  In the next two years, 40 000 small scale miners occupied Marange over about 60 000 hectares of land.  We have no idea what they produced but they were not there for nothing.  I think a very considerable amount of money was lost to the country during that period.  The year 2008 came along and Government decided to dispossess these 40 000 small scale miners and hand over the site to six companies, all of them were joint ventures with either the ZMDC or the monetary establishment in Zimbabwe.

The House will recall that in 2012, I made a presentation in this House where I claimed that four billion dollars of diamonds were being produced at Marange that year and that this was going completely unrecorded and unaccounted for. We now know Mr. Speaker that over the subsequent 10 years, more than $20 billion of revenue from Marange was obtained and it vanished, all of it.  I suspect that about 20 or 30% might have been spent on the mining operation itself, but there was no attempt to start the hard rock mining on the site which has huge long term potential because  none of the companies that were involved at that time had any experience in that sort of mining.

          Mr. Speaker, the big issue for the country remains what to do now. I just urge the country to look at Botswana, when Botswana discovered diamonds they brought in De beers, the number one Diamond Mining Company in the world. It is a company that controls more than 80% of the World Diamond Trade and they asked the company to establish an operation in Botswana.  The joint venture with De beers is 70-30; 70% Government of Botswana and 30% De beers.  De beers have a management contract.  Those mines have been operated since then with enormous success and Botswana today supplies 35% of the world diamond trade.   Botswana has no personal tax, every child in Botswana gets free education right through to University level and it is all paid with diamonds.

          Mr. Speaker that could have been the situation in Zimbabwe and this opportunity was lost because of corrupt political leadership.  We have got to urge the Minister of Mines consequent to this report being placed on the Table here, to take decisive action to put our house in order.  Thank you.

          HON. MAJOME: Thank you Hon. Speaker.  It would be remiss, with respect Hon. Speaker, if you do not allow a female Member of Parliament to debate this motion and this report on the Diamond Reserves of Zimbabwe.   I am sure you will recall, Mr. Speaker Sir, that proverb that says that diamonds are a girl’s best friend.  So, this debate would not be complete without a Zimbabwean woman lending her voice and I hope that maybe my sisters will also do the same.

          I say this out of also emotion that for a country that has a reputation of having one of the best diamond reserves in the World in terms of access and also in terms of amount; it is a pity that if you go around Zimbabwe, even if we start in this Parliament, to find out how many of the women in this august House have a diamond ring, necklace or something.  Even asking them how many have ever just seen a diamond, I think the results would be that very few women who are in this country and who are even in this august House, for a country that has such reserves, have not seen the diamonds themselves but let alone, the impact and the revenue or the wealth, they have not enjoyed and accessed that.  I say that in support of the very disturbing and very worrying observations and recommendations that are being made by the Portfolio Committee because that shows exactly what it is that is wrong in this country. 

          If we fail to manage our own reserves, the gifts that God gave us as Zimbabweans, we will continue to wallow in poverty and in misery.  I am saying this because these are the same women who would have never seen diamonds and yet their county is absolutely rich in them are dying at really heartbreaking levels when they are giving birth.  Our country continues to be amongst those countries that have the highest rates of maternal mortality in the world and yet we are told that diamonds are a girls’ best friend and that our country has reserves of diamonds.

          Mr. Speaker Sir, the recommendations again that were made by the Portfolio Committee on Mines and Minerals led by Hon. Mliswa, must indeed be taken seriously. We must not continue to be a country where we are beggars and our women are dying giving child birth because our country is way too poor to just buy blood supplies or to supply cannulars, to conduct caesarian sections or to even to just buy ambulances for them to get to delivery centres on time if they have any complications.  The cost of failing to do was has been recommended by this report, is to be measured in the number of gravestones of women in Zimbabwean who have died and had been buried because as a nation are not doing right and taking the wealth of our nation and applying it to where it should be to support the lives as well as to save the lives of Zimbabweans.  I wholeheartedly support this report, we are beggars on a beach of diamonds in this case, and that should not be allowed.

          I also want to say words that are similar to what I said in a previous debate again; it is a very sad day in this House, apart from the reason that possibly I hear that this might be the last day that we are sitting, but indeed we are ending on a very sad, sobering and somber note, from report after report.  This is the third in a line of reports that are crying and bleeding about all those things that are wrong with this country in terms of the way that we are governing it and what we need to do in order to get Zimbabwe get going again.  It is my hope that the next Parliament – whoever it is that will be in it, will use the time that would be availed to them to ensure that recommendations of pilferage and lack of accountability for resources is never done again.

          I would like to make a plea again to our law enforcement officials because the recommendations that are being made by Hon. Mliswa’s Portfolio Committee are recommendations that should not fall and die with the death and the setting of the sun of this Parliament.  The Prosecutor General, the Zimbabwe Republic Police, the Commissioner General and the Anti-Corruption Commission are not going to dissolve when this Parliament dissolves. These recommendations that are being made about investigations and prosecutions are what may save this country.  We must recover our resources because it is a matter of life and death for the reasons that I have just said. 

          Mr. Speaker, I just want to end by also expressing a lament about what we have done; we have failed so far as a nation.  I hope that the Executive that comes in after the elections as well as the Parliament and the other judiciary, will remember again that these resources are finite resources, once we dig up our diamonds and they go to God knows where, they are gone.  There will not be any new diamonds that are being made every day as we know.  I want to refer to Section 298, (1) (c), of our Constitution.  It is one of our principles of public financial management and I have raised it because I see that a lack of faithfulness to this principle in the result of diamond disaster.  It provides that the burdens and the benefits of the use of resources must be shared equitably between present and future generations.   The pilferage and the loss of our diamonds is so sad because it has not been even shared with the present generation, because we talked about how the average Zimbabwean woman or man has not even seen a diamond yet the benefit has gone to wherever else and we have graves.  Even in the present generations have been robbed of our diamond reserves and we are the poorer for it, yet our Constitution requires that we not only take these resources for ourselves but save them for future generations.  It is my hope that there are investigations are carried out to see how much it is that is left for future generations because we have robbed from the present and we are robbing possibly from the future. 

          Mr. Speaker, I want to recommend that the prosecutor General, the Commissioner General and the Anti-Corruption police, again takes this report of the Portfolio Committee of mines, goes through it, open dockets and investigates to find out who misappropriated in terms of the revenue as well as the diamonds themselves and who did not account.  Mr. Speaker Sir, these are Zimbabwean’s reserves, this is our only chance to get out of the poverty that we have and to prevent in particular the women who instead of having diamonds on their fingers, they are buried dead because we are just too poor to give them the requisite healthcare to save their lives during child birth.  I thank you.

           THE ACTING SPEAKER:  I beg your pardon.  I had not recognised Hon. Holder, the seconder of the motion.  So I give you the chance Hon. Holder.

           HON. HOLDER:  Thank you Mr. Speaker, I thought that most probably I was of no use here but thank you for giving me the opportunity to contribute.

           Mr. Speaker, as the Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Mines and Energy has alluded to the report and has gone straight through to the findings, this report is very detailed and even if you look at how it was compiled, the Committee went through a lot of ways of finding out what actually transpired.  It is sad to know that a country like Zimbabwe mined diamonds and does not have anything to show that diamonds were ever mined in this country.  I was actually quite happy that as a Committee we came up with all these recommendations and when the previous President, His Excellency R. G. Mugabe during his tenure mentioned that there was $15 billion worth of diamonds. 

           During our tenure as a Portfolio Committee on Mines and Energy, going around the country and trying to conduct public hearings and concerns, this was a serious bone of contention even with the citizens in Mutare, especially in the Marange area where people had been moved, displaced and the way things had been conducted.  When we talk about Zimbabwe being open for business, we have to ensure that we clear the air in the past where 200 AK 47s and police took over a mine, just pitched up, heavily armed and took over without conducting a due diligence of what really transpired.

           Mr. Speaker, it is a sad scenario that transpired. When the blame game starts, people start to point at each other.  So many people appeared before the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Mines and Energy and each person who gave evidence, you could see that they were not at ease.  They gave evidence but the evidence that they gave was because they were put into a certain predicament or corner in order for them to be able to allude what transpired.

           Looking at the security sector, the police and army should never and let me repeat – should never ever be involved in anything to do with mining.  They should do their job to police and secure so that this country does not get into the situation that we got into.  I was impressed that I went to one of the workshops at ZCDC on diamond security.  They mentioned during their presentation that they now have CCTV in that area, they also have 300 security guards manning these areas and the latest technology of drones that are running around where they will be able to analyse and see what is transpiring.

           Mr. Speaker, if you look at the detailed report, you will find that the different security sectors were heavily involved in the diamond sector and this should never ever happen where security will be allowed to mine and do certain things.  You look at people who had also been appointed onto boards, they are not clean.  We have to make sure that the next Parliament that comes in here really takes note of who is being appointed onto these boards because some of them will be appointed onto these boards and confusion will start again.  Once confusion starts again, we end up with the same scenario where we will be pointing fingers and saying diamonds have disappeared, the country has run short of revenue and stuff like that. 

           We also would like to thank the Committee Chairperson for eloquently delivering the report on what the Committee on Mines and Energy did.  I was impressed that the two Hon. Members also eloquently expressed their views especially Hon. Cross and Hon. Majome.  With those few words, thank you Mr. Speaker. See you in the next life.

           HON. MLISWA:  Mr. Speaker Sir, I move that the report be adopted.

           Motion put and agreed to.

           Hon. Tshinga Dube having stood to debate.

           THE ACTING SPEAKER:  Hon. Dube, I asked you to arrange with the Chief Whip because I have a list of speakers here.  If he could include you on there – [HON. MAJAYA:  Give him a chance, he is a former minister!] -  Yes, he should arrange with the Chief Whip, could you approach the Chair Hon. Dube.

MOTION

THIRD REPORT OF THE PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE ON MINES AND ENERGY ON FAMILIARISATION VISITS TO ZISCO STEEL, HWANGE COLLIERY, KAMATIVI AS WELL AS ORAL EVIDENCE FROM ZAMBEZI GAS AND LIBERATION MINING

           HON. MLISWA:  I move the motion standing in my name that this House takes note of the Third Report of the Portfolio Committee on Mines and Energy on familiarisation visits by the Portfolio Committee on Mines and Energy to ZISCO STEEL, Hwange Colliery, Kamativi as well as oral evidence from Zambezi Gas and Liberation Mining.

           HON. CROSS:  I second.

HON. MLISWA:

Introduction

The importance of the mining sector to drive the economy can never be underestimated. Hwange is over one hundred years old.  It is one of the anchor companies for the economy of Zimbabwe along with ZESA, NRZ and ZISCO Steel as the fourth anchor company. Ziscosteel has been the mainstay of the Zimbabwean economy by providing steel for the local market and also exporting steel to the regional markets. It relies on coal from Hwange and Iron Ore from Ripple Creek Mine, about 14 kilometers from ZISCO STEEL. Kamativi Tin mine is the biggest tin mine in Zimbabwe now being managed by ZMDC. The Kamativi mine has reserves amounting to 100 million tonnes of tin ore.

Methodology

          The Committee went on a fact finding mission to acquaint with the state of the mines and the state of ZISCO STEEL pending the arrival of a new investor. ZISCO STEEL relies heavily on Hwange Colliery for coal supplies while the two also share investment in a company that manufactures bitumen and tar. The familiarisation visits also allowed members of the Committee to know the challenges faced by the miners and the workers so as to find out ways of giving better recommendations so that ZISCO STEEL, Hwange Colliery and Kamativi Mine can start working again. There is a partnership of ZMDC with Jambaata holdings to explore Kamativi mine dump, a situation that can lead to the country producing lithium batteries which will make the country the first in Africa to produce those batteries on the continent. These are efforts to fully beneficiate from the mineral resources in the country.

ZISCO STEEL

          The acting Managing Director, Eng. Magowo took the Committee on a tour of the plant. All ZISCO employees were retrenched on the 31st August 2016. The skeleton staff that was at ZISCO Steel comprised of 180 temporary employees who were at the site as prospective investor, R & F Properties of China was interacting with them and also that they want the skeleton staff to help in provision of security for the machinery at the plant and liaise with NRZ, ZESA, Hwange Colliery and the local authorities for utilities. The plant has been out of production for ten (10) years.

At maximum production, ZISCO STEEL, used to consume between 60 thousand and 75 thousand tonnes of coking coal per month as the upper limit.  On an annual basis, it used around 900 thousand tonnes of coking coal and uses about 65 megawatts producing about 950 thousand per year if operating to the design capacity though the plant capacity is a million tonnes. At maximum capacity, most of the production is for export.  About 70 to 80 percent will be for export because steel consumption in Zimbabwe, even when the economy was booming, is much lower than what is produced. Sable Chemicals used to supply oxygen and has moved to a modern way of producing ammonium nitrate and even in 2008 when ZISCO STEEL stopped operating, they had it in their strategic plan to have a separate oxygen producing plant and it would take about 18 to 24 months to complete.

The ZISCO STEEL plant is dilapidated, especially the blast furnaces and rolling mills. Blast furnace number three had been decommissioned in 1999 while the larger one, number 4 blast furnace, by 2008, because it had come to the end of its campaign life.  Every blast furnace, depending on the design, has a campaign life and at the end of that campaign life, engineers can rebuild certain parts of it, particularly inside the blast furnace where you remove refractory materials and replace with new materials.  It had come to the end of that life expectancy.  From an engineering point of view and a cost efficient perspective, there are expensive foundations already in place and certain ancillary plants that are not damaged which had been renewed in the last campaign.  Those could be retained to save money. In terms of technology, there are innovations that keep on coming but can retrofit that technology to existing plant at very economical price without going into a brand new plant and that plant will perform.  The furnace shell itself, because of some distortions and some damage to the furnace, some parts of it would definitely need to be replaced.

ZISCO STEEL mines iron ore from about 20 km from the steel works at Ripple Creek iron ore mine. The mining equipment facilities there are relatively new because it was commissioned around 1997.  The conveyor belt that brings the iron ore to the steel works is new in terms of mining equipment. The sinter plant where iron ore is treated has state of the art technology as it was commissioned around 1997 though it will require a bit of refurbishment and upgrading of control systems computerisation so that it is updated. 

For value addition, ZISCO STEEL feeds rolling mills with billets from the steel to finished products for the construction industry, mining and so forth.  Exporting billets has, however, been a loss making business that’s why it was stopped in 2000. 

The size of the plant and possibly the reason why it was developed to this extent was to generate foreign currency from outside. If we look at the history of ZISCO STEEL, the loss was derived primarily from exporting 70 to 80 percent of its production at a loss.  However, we need to mention that the steel industry is much dominated by China that is now producing about 50 percent of total world production of steel that is over a billion tonnes per year.  That is impacting on international steel prices.  There are opportunities for countries like Zimbabwe to have its own steel industry but also targeted forecast on domestic requirements.  This is something that we were looking at. The coking coal from Sengwa has sulphur as the biggest drawback.  Internationally, they are moving away from coal for environmental reasons.  There are five very old mills except for the bar rod mill which was commissioned 1975 but also needs revamping but we feel that all the rolling mills should be raised down and replaced with new mills for updated lines of production that suite the current requirements of the nation and of the sub region.  Other types of coal have a low sulphur coal of about 0.6 percent and while that is used at ZISCO STEEL goes as high as 5 percent.  That sulphur leaves the blast furnace to the steel plant.  It increases the operating cost by trying to refine, removing sulphur from the steel requires more lime to remove it so that it meets international standards.  It has an impact on operating cost.

ZISCO STEEL has 47 percent shareholding in ZIMCHEM Refineries.  It takes bi-products of the coking plant.  The coal used is from Hwange and is turned into coke using the blast furnaces. Out of that operation, crude benzene and crude tar are produced as the main bi-products that used to be waste products.  ZISCO STEEL formed the associate company with Hwange Colliery as the two major shareholders.  ZIMCHEM converts crude tar and crude benzyl.  Since the coking plant is down, ZIMCHEM is relying on Hwange Coal Gasification Company but there are challenges in getting that raw material from that company as it has only one coke oven battery.

  CHALLENGES

        1. Reduced Power from ZESA.

        2. Dilapidated Machinery.

        The Coke batteries are equally in a state of disrepair and there is also need to rehabilitate the blast furnaces.

          3. Dilapidated old rolling mills which use old technology as they were bought in the 1940s and making spares scarcely available.

           4. There is flooding of cheaper imported steel.

          5. Lack of Capitalisation.

The company requires about one billion dollars to start operations as the money will go into servicing of the blast furnaces, coke ovens and also a new oxygen plant system as it no longer has to rely on Sable Chemicals for its oxygen supplies.

          6. Specialised skill force left the company to companies in the region as they were not being paid their salaries.

          RECOMMENDATIONS

                            1.            It is imperative that the railway be repaired in order that coal may reach Zisco Steel effectively and efficiently.

                            2.            The cost benefit of recapitalising Zisco Steel against the building of a new plant has to be weighed to ascertain the better option.

                            3.            Blast furnace 3 which produces 250 tonnes should be utilised for local consumption and not blast furnace 4 which does over 700 tonnes.

                            4.            Iron ore which is in abundance must be sold to capitalise the company.

                            5.            Most equipment has become obsolete and only 20-30% should remain.

HWANGE COLLIERY

          Hwange Colliery manages the town and all social services and infrastructure, including the hospital which provides services to employees and the public. The company also has a housing stock of over 5000 houses.  Hwange Colliery is saddled by a legacy debt of US$352 million. The company owes employees about $70 million in salary arrears as witnessed by a current staff complement of 2048 against a requirement of 1000 employees and statutory creditors of about $110 million owed to, for example the government and ZIMRA (Zimbabwe Revenue Authority). Bank loans are to the tune of $54m while trade creditors are owed $118 million.

The major challenge faced by Hwange Colliery is that it is heavily undercapitalised as it was last capitalised in 1983. This then has resulted in obsolete plant and equipment. Furthermore, it has an inadequate monthly working capital of $5million with $500 000 foreign currency being required for spare parts and production inputs. It has also to be noted that Hwange Colliery owns 25 percent shareholding in a company called Hwange Coal Gasification Company (HCGC) that runs a coke oven battery while 75 percent shareholders are Chinese shareholders who are reluctant to support the takeover of the coke battery by Hwange Colliery. This company was set up as a built on operating transfer arrangement for a ten-year period. Hwange Colliery has not benefited at all from this investment since its consummation of operations in 2009.

          CHALLENGES

Delayed Payments from Zimbabwe Power Company(ZPC)

         Hwange Colliery is currently owed about US$4 million for sixty days’ supply of coal. Hwange Colliery supplies ZPC with 50% of its coal and hence struggles to pay its monthly obligations as it also struggles to pay salaries.

Unavailability of Foreign Currency

         There is unavailability of foreign currency required for importation of spare parts and production inputs such as explosives.  The foreign currency shortages have caused delay in the resuscitation of underground mining operations.  The underground mining operations stopped in 2015 but were resuscitated last year because the most profitable coking coal is mined from underground and that is the same coking coal being supplied to ZISCO Steel.  The foreign currency shortages also crippled the open cast mining operations where low value thermal coal and industrial coal is mined.

RECOMMENDATIONS

1.    Hwange has lost market share to Liberation and Zambezi Gas principally through the loss of coal supplies to ZPC which are now being made by Liberation and Zambezi Gas.  It is therefore recommended that;

                               i.            The Hwange Board which is heavily undercapacitated through lack of numbers and experience, must be immediately reconstituted.

                            ii.            Management is not experienced in the mining sector and therefore immediately requires an individual with vast mining experience to be appointed.

                         iii.            Locals should be given first preference when being appointed to both the board and management.

                         iv.            Government must have the money they expended on capitalisation returned, failure of which shareholding from other shareholders must immediately be diluted commensurately.

                            v.            All outstanding labour issues must immediately be resolved with particular emphasis to salaries as per settlement to avoid the strikes caused by non-payment thereof.

                         vi.            Locals must be given the first right to supply their goods and services to the parastatal.

                      vii.            Investment needs to be made in all machinery especially for coking coal which is more profitable and has a ready market.

                   viii.            More investment needs to be made in the workers welfare to include but not limited to education, health and recreational infrastructure.

                         ix.            A review of all existing contracts needs to be undertaken by the new board on the basis that the contracts seem to serve the interests of Hwange and not the contractors.

2.    Ministry of Local Government to take over the town infrastructure for value and take responsibility for services such as roads, electricity, sewage treatment, etc.

3.    Other players in coal mining to contribute to infrastructure maintenance, until Ministry of Local Government takes over the infrastructure.

4.    Shareholders to approve sale of houses to current and former employees in order to reduce debts owed to employees.

5.    Immediate take-over of Hwange Coal Gasification Company Coke Oven battery to be implemented as per agreements that are being finalised between the parties.

6.    Hwange Colliery requirements for foreign currency to be prioritised at the same level as fuel and other national priority projects.

7.    Environmental Management Agency needs to ensure that they are in the forefront of protecting the environment and conservancies as a priority.

8.    Hwange must keep its own coal rich concessions and not just give them away as they are strategic assets to Hwange.

9.    All concessions must be reviewed and all unused or underperforming concessions must be recalled, use it or lose it.

KAMATIVI

  Kamativi Tailings Company is a joint venture between Zimbabwe

Mining Development Company (ZMDC) and Jambaata Pvt. Ltd on

Kamativi Tin Mine Dump for the extraction of lithium. Jambaata (Pvt.)

Ltd holds 60% shareholding while ZMDC holds 40%. The dump mining

programme is a ten-year processing project to recover tin lithium and

possibly tantalum which started with a two months’ resource verification

process.  This entailed the drilling of the dump to find its value before

extraction.

After drilling, there is a possibility of refurbishing a refinery in Kadoma to produce a product called lithium colourmed. The refurbishment of the Kadoma refinery will cost between $400 and $600 million to erect. The cost of building a brand new lithium plant costs about $250 million.  There is an idle asset at Eiffel Flats and the idea is to refurbish a portion of that and get it up and running at a tenth of the cost. The other big factor considered by the operators is that there is power, water, railway line and there is some skilled personnel. This will enable the plant to produce a technical grade of up to battery grade lithium carbonate required for lithium batteries production which are used to power electric vehicles and for solar storage. The drilling companies being used are local Zimbabwean companies.

From the beneficiation, ZMDC will be getting 51% of the revenue as profit while the foreign investor accrues 49% of the profit in the next two years.

   RECOMENDATIONS

                            1.            The Kamativi Tailings Company must be monitored regularly as they seem to be doing the right thing but require performance appraisals which the ZMDC seem not to be conducting.

                            2.            However the Beijing Ping Chan’s contract with the ZMDC must be terminated with immediate effect.

Kamativi Mine House Ownership Wrangle

The Committee met with members of the local community at Kamativi including former employees. They expressed that they were witnessing scrap metal transported out of this area by lorries that would just come in but locals are not allowed to use the scrap metal since the time the mine was closed. They also complained that they wished they would have ownership of houses as other mines that closed have since awarded their former employees with the houses they were staying. The contentious issues have been made by the locals who believe that maybe it is an issue of regionalism or tribalism. They wanted the issue addressed so that they are given the option of renting to buy.  However, some houses at Kamativi are dilapidated.  A letter was written in 2002 so that the residents and/or former employees get ownership of the houses but no action was taken.  Houses were demolished the same way the Gwayi River establishment was vandalised. 

The residents also wanted to be assisted to start mining cooperatives so that they can sustain themselves because there are slim chances of getting employment with the new investor as mining cooperatives. These cooperatives were formed between 1988 and 1996 and they were doing very well. Their sole buyer of mined tin was Radiator and Tinning. At one point, the cooperatives exported their products to South Africa. The locals also used to have mining cooperatives but they were stopped by the ZMDC.  The locals need mining claims from the ZMDC so that their mining is a legalised activity.

          The residents pay $5 for water and low-density suburb rentals are $17.  In the high-density suburb, rentals are $3.  There is an agreement that a certain percentage on rentals paid must go to ZMDC but however service delivery from ZMDC is lacking. The residents are paying for water, a service they do not  have as they are relying on untreated water from the dam. The councillor said that the council is failing to provide services like clean treated water to the community because they do not have money as the community is failing to pay for water and rentals which is the money used to buy water treatment chemicals so that they provide better services. He went further to say they owed Lower Gwayi sub catchment almost $100 000 for drawing water from the river and ZESA almost $400 thousand.

RECOMMENDATIONS

1.    Locals who worked and have been staying at the mine must be given company houses as happened to other mines or at worst they are given the option of renting to buy.

2.    The new investor must build new houses for the workers as soon as they start operating.

3.    The local authority must improve service delivery to the locals, for example they must provide clean and safe water and refuse collection services as a matter of urgency.

4.    A Community Ownership Trust must be created so that locals benefit from their resource as this will also see the management of schools and community halls revamped as soon as the new investors start operating.

5.    The residents must also be given mining claims and be allowed to start mining cooperatives as a way of empowering them by the Ministry of Mines and Energy Development immediately.

Zambezi Gas:

                               i.            They appeared and gave oral evidence before the Committee.  The indigenously run company seems to be doing very well.  However Makomo Resources have encroached on almost half of Zambezi Gas’s concession, undisputed proof of ownership of which was submitted by Zambezi Gas.  Makomo Resources must therefore leave immediately.

                            ii.            ZPC should cease from dealing with Makomo Resources with immediate effect due to the fact that they are not properly regularised.

                         iii.            Government Concessions not being used must be returned to Hwange Colliery immediately.

          HON. CROSS: Thank you Mr. Speaker.  It is an honour to second this motion by the Chairman of the Mines Committee and to support his recommendations to the House.  I just want to remark to the House about a few things regarding the report.  The first is that we must recognise that there are certain institutions in Zimbabwe which are fundamentally important to us as a country.  I put National Railway of Zimbabwe (NRZ) in that category and I think that we as a country need to recognise that we cannot win the fight for development without the NRZ; we have to have it; it is inescapable. 

          The second is the steel industry.  The steel industry is the backbone of industrial development.  We realise that ZISCO Steel, once the largest steel producer, south of the Mediterranean to fall into disrepair and it is a disgrace.   There is no reason why we as a country cannot run a successful steel industry.  We have done it for many years and we can do it again.  The Chinese are proposing to build a new stainless steel plant at Redcliff and I hope that will go and it is a good investor; he knows his stuff; he is one of the biggest manufacturers in the world.  I am sure that they will make a profit.  I am quite certain that we will be able to resuscitate ZISCO provided we put our minds to it.

          On the question of Hwange, there is no doubt in my mind – I spent the day at Hwange about two weeks ago;  I went underground to have a look at the continuous mine that is working there.  I discussed the situation with the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and there is no doubt in my mind that Hwange is critical to us as a nation.  It is the largest miner in the country; it has the largest deposits of high quality coal of all descriptions and it has all the infrastructure needed.  The main reason why Hwange I believe is not working properly is simply a dysfunctional board and the CEO really does not know anything about mining.

          The Minister, I am told is about to reconstruct the Board of Hwange and he has started looking for a decent CEO.  I hope that when that new team is appointed, that we as a country will get behind them and just make sure that they have the tools with which to put Hwange back on its feet. 

One comment about Makomo and Zambezi Gas; I visited Makomo when I was there, it is enormous.  If Members have not been to Makomo recently, they should go and have a look, it is massive.  It is run by about 15 contractors, most of them South Africans and I support the Committee’s recommendation that the Government should look very carefully at these people.  Whereas Zambezi Gas, a liberation mining is a Zimbabwean company, it is well run and is on the same site.  Quite frankly, for the Government to have allowed Makomo to behave the way they have behaved is a disgrace.  It should be investigated and rectified. 

One comment, both about Hwange, Makomo and Zambezi Gas is a question of when they are going to start rehabilitating the open cast mining areas that they have occupied for years.  When you travel around Hwange, there are tens of thousands of hectares of land which is being completely destroyed by open cast mining.  In other parts of the world, it is essential; it is mandatory for a mining company to restore the land to the position in which they found it before they actually started strip-mining.  That is not happening here and no one seem to pay any attention to this. Makomo has invaded parts of the national park and I am telling you, if they are not forced to rectify this problem and put that land back to usable condition, it will have a long term impact on our wildlife reserves.

Finally Kamativi, I am delighted that Kamativi at long last is getting attention.  It contains some of the biggest lithium reserves in the world and I think we can become a major lithium producer.  We now have a serious investor who is going to tackle this particular opportunity.  Clearly, the residual community that has been left behind from the original tin mine needs serious attention if they are to see the humanitarian needs met before the new investor takes up the opportunity.  I would endorse what the Committee has recommended to the Minister for his consideration.  Thank you Mr. Speaker.

           HON. MLISWA: Mr. Speaker, I move that this House adopts the Third Report of the Portfolio Committee on Mines and Energy on familiarisation visits by the Portfolio Committee on Mines and Energy to ZISCO STEEL, Hwange Colliery, Kamativi as well as oral evidence from Zambezi Gas and Liberation Mining.  Thank you.

Motion put and agreed to.

MOTION

REPORT OF THE PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE ON DEFENCE, HOME AFFAIRS AND SECURITY SERVICES

HON. T. DUBE: I move the motion standing in my name that this House takes note of the Portfolio Committee on Defence, Home Affairs and Security Services.

HON. D. SIBANDA: I second

HON. T. DUBE: The Portfolio Committee on Defence, Home Affairs and Security was appointed to shadow the security sector- namely, the Ministries of Defence, Home Affairs and all Security and Intelligent Services of Government.  To this end, the Committee conducted inquiries and fact finding field visits to the hinterland and came up with reports which were presented to the august House.

The reports were on the following:-

i)                  Immigration Department at Forbes Border Post;

ii)                Landmine situation in Zimbabwe;

Following visits to landmine infested areas of the country, the

Hon. Minister of Defence gave a comprehensive report to this august House embracing some of the recommendations of the Committee.

Attempted Jailbreak from Chikurubi Maximum Prison

The Committee made a number of salient observations and findings in connection with the disturbances at the Chikurubi Maximum Prison.  These culminated in commendable corrective measures being undertaken.  This august House may appreciate that a Board of Inquiry was instituted and suffice to say that in its findings, the board established that while on the face of it the main motive of the disturbances by the ring leaders was presented as shortage of prisoners’ rations,  it would appear the attempted jailbreak was as a result of a well calculated intention to escape from prison.

          As a result, corrective actions have since been taken as a deterrent.  These include among other addressing issues of staff replacement, linen that was burnt during the disturbance.  You may also be aware that concerted efforts have been made through the 2016 Presidential Amnesty Exercise and re-classification to mitigate challenges associated with overcrowding in prison facilities.  Through your Committee’s recommendations, Prison authorities have established internal monitoring mechanisms to deal with the security threat in the prison facilities.

iii)            Service Delivery by the Office of the Registrar General in the issuance of Primary Documents

Suffice to say, although the Hon. Minister for Home Affairs has not responded to the Committee’s report, some of the recommendations by the Committee have started to be implemented, chief among them, is the relocation of the Departments of Immigration and the Registrar General to the new offices.

iv)                  Service Delivery by the Zimbabwe Republic Police;

·       The issue of numerous roadblocks which has become the order of the day;

·       Further to that, the Committee received and analysed monthly financial statements from ministries that it overshadowed.

·       The Committee crafted and adopted its curriculum on security sector oversight.

·       The capacity building workshops were conducted for the Committee and these went a long way in improving the understanding of the Hon. Members of the Committee on their roles.

     It is my fervent hope that the capacitation of our Hon. Members will always be on-going if we are to become a vibrant institution.

I therefore move that this House adopts the Report of the Portfolio Committee on Defence, Home Affairs and Security Services to be adopted.

           Motion put and agreed to.

MOTION

FIRST REPORT OF THE PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE ON LABOUR AND SOCIAL WELFARE ON THE STATE OF THE REFUGEES WELFARE PROGRAMME IN ZIMBABWE

           HON. MUDYIWA: I move the motion standing in my name that this House takes note of the Portfolio Committee on Labour and Social Welfare on the State of the Refugees Welfare Programme in Zimbabwe.

           HON. MPARIWA: I second.

          HON. MUDYIWA:

INTRODUCTION:

Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. The refugee issue is a pervasive challenge affecting the world in the 21st century. According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (2017), 22.5 million people are estimated to be refugees globally. The United Nations Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees of 1951 defines a refugee as a person who leaves his country of nationality or habitual residence due to well-founded fears of persecution. The 2017 United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Annual Global Trends Report identifies war, violence and persecution as major drivers of the refugee problem.

OBJECTIVES OF THE INQUIRY

The influx of refugees who were fleeing from the civil war in Mozambique into the country in late 2016 triggered the Committee's inquiry into the state of the Refugees Welfare Programme in Zimbabwe. The major objective of the inquiry was to establish the country's policy position in relation to refugees. In essence, the Committee sought to familiarise itself with and assess the conditions under which refugees enter, stay and leave the country.

METHODOLOGY:

The Committee employed the following methodologies to gather information:

a) Field visits to Tongogara Refugee Camp in Chipinge and Waterfalls Referral Centre in Harare; and

b) Oral evidence sessions with Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare officials.

COMMITTEE FINDINGS:

Refugee Policy and Administrative Framework

Zimbabwe is a signatory to the United Nations Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees of 1951 and African Union Convention Governing Aspects of Refugee Problems in Africa of 1969 under which the country has an obligation for the general care and protection of refugees within the country. To this end, the Refugees Act [Chapter 4:03] was enacted in 1983 to domesticate key provisions of these international agreements. The Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare is currently administering the Act and its responsibilities include registration, protection and provision of other social safety nets to refugees in the country. In terms of Section 4 (1) of the Act, the office of Commissioner for Refugees has been created within the Ministry to perform the following key functions; conferring refugees status on asylum seekers and provision of adequate facilities for reception and care of refugees in the country.

In addition, Zimbabwe has shifted from the Encampment Policy to the Graduation Approach where refugees have to be self-sustainable. Under this policy and provisions of the Refugees Act, refugees domiciled in Zimbabwe enjoy the right to engage in economic activities, freedoms of religion and movement, among others.

Involvement of non-profit organisations in the Refugees Welfare Programme

Although the Government is ultimately responsible for the care and protection of refugees and asylum seekers, interested non-state actors are free to complement its efforts. The United Nations Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees mandates the Commissioner for Refugees to collaborate with the United Nations Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in its operations. Other organisations currently contributing to the Refugees Welfare Programme include:

Ø GOAL Zimbabwe which is involved in water, sanitation and livelihoods activities;

Ø  Terre-des Homes running health and educational programmes;

Ø World Food Programme which support food security; and

Ø  Jesuit Refugee Services providing pastoral and livelihood activities.

Entry and Registration of Asylum seekers

Asylum seekers from various countries enter Zimbabwe mostly through Chirundu and Nyamapanda Border Posts and find their way to Tongogara Refugee Camp. On arrival refugees are issued temporary permits and interviewed to provide information pertaining to their countries of origin and reasons for leaving. The information collected during the interview is considered by a Refugees Committee which has power to grant or deny an individual refugee status. This Committee is headed by the Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare and consists of representatives from the Immigration Department, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and President’s Office. In case of rejection, the applicant can appeal to the Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare and if the rejection is maintained, an individual should leave the country within a period of 3 months. Common reasons for rejection include; inconsistency, non-existence of threat in country of origin and individuals who pose threat to national security.

Exit of Refugees from the Country

The Permanent Secretary for Labour and Social Welfare, Mr. Ngoni Masoka informed the Committee that an individual’s refugee status in Zimbabwe expires when threat in the country of origin ceases to exist. Other exit options for refugees are voluntary repatriation or resettlement to other countries. The Committee learnt that some individuals had been staying at Tongogara Camp for more than 15 years while others were born in the country as far back as 1974. Mrs. Chipfuwa, the Principal Administrator at Waterfall Referral Centre highlighted that very few repatriation cases had been recorded and these included two families which went back to the DRC and Angola. However, the Committee was further informed that some members of the family which went back to the DRC had returned to Zimbabwe. The Committee noted that refugees were generally reluctant to return to countries of origin due to various reasons; including fear of persecution.

Refugee Camps in Zimbabwe

Only two refugee centres are currently functional in Zimbabwe, namely; Tongogara Refugee Camp in Chipinge and Waterfalls Referral Centre in Harare. The Government has set aside Tongogara Camp for purposes of accommodating refugees in the country. At the time of the Committee's visit, Tongogara Camp had a population of 9 062 refugees from various countries, including the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Ethiopia, Somalia and Rwanda. The Committee was informed that some Zimbabwean nationals had become part of the community through intermarriages with refugees.

The Waterfalls Referral Centre used to be a transit camp where refugees were vetted before movement to Tongogara Camp but it was transformed into temporary accommodation for refugees seeking specialist medical services in Harare and those awaiting resettlement to third countries or repatriation.  The Committee noted that although the Waterfalls Centre in principle accommodates refugees temporarily, 3 families had been staying there for more than 2 years. The Committee also learnt that some refugees at Waterfalls Centre were seeking protection from issues such as tribalism and family disputes at Tongogara Refugee Camp, among other reasons.

Living conditions of Refugees at Tongogara Camp and Waterfalls Referral Centre

Once granted refugee status in Zimbabwe, individuals are free to join the community at Tongogara Camp. Refugees are allocated land to construct make-shift shelter in the form of roofing material. Additionally, the Government with support from development partners provide refugees with foodstuffs such as maize, kapenta fish, beans, rice and a $13 allowance per individual every month. Individuals can participate in livelihoods projects such as; farming, goat, sheep, poultry and pig rearing, among others. The Committee had an opportunity to tour some of these projects during its visit to the Camp.

Tongogara Primary School and St Michaels Secondary School at Tongogara Camp provide free education to refugees and their children. Chipinge College of Horticulture, located near the camp also provides vocational training for students. Courses such as upholstery, carpentry and cosmetology are also offered at the Camp. The Committee learnt that some members of the refugee community can afford to send their children to university and colleges outside the Camp. In addition, a clinic has been constructed at the Camp to provide medical services to the refugee community free of charges, while serious cases are referred to Chipinge and Mutare Hospitals.

The Committee was shown several blocks accommodating refugees at Waterfalls Referral Centre. Each family is allocated a single room while ablution facilities are shared per block. In addition, each individual at the Centre receives a monthly food basket consisting of 12 kilogrammes (kg) mealie-meal, 800 milliliters cooking oil, 2kg beans, 150 grams (g) salt, 500g sugar, 500g soap. The Committee was informed that refugees sometimes received baskets without some basic items, such as soap and had at one time gone for 3 months without receiving any allocations. Furthermore, women and girls staying at the Centre receive 2 packets of sanitary pads every 3 months. While the above mentioned items are provided at Waterfalls Centre, refugees are required to bring other items from Tongogara, including blankets and cooking utensils. The Committee noted that the Waterfalls Referral Centre was in need of basic maintenance such as cutting the tall grass.

Challenges

During field visits and oral evidence sessions with Ministry officials the Committee noted the following challenges:

a) Inadequate financial resources

The Committee learnt that the Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare was hampered from effectively administering the Refugees Welfare Programme by financial resource challenges, including planning and achieving set goals.

b) Shortage of agricultural land

The entry of refugees from Mozambique in December 2016 into Tongogara Camp increased the demand for agricultural land. The Committee was informed that available land could only accommodate 470 individuals out of a community of 9 062 people. 

c) Inadequate infrastructure

A poor road network to Tongogara Camp is a major constraining factor faced at Tongogara Camp, especially during the rainy season.  Furthermore, the Committee learnt that there were no Advanced Level classrooms at Tongogara Primary and St Michael Secondary schools resulting in children failing to attend school. The lack of vehicles to transport sick persons to hospitals for doctor-patient appointments was also highlighted to be a challenge at Waterfalls Referral Centre.

d) High electricity charges

The Committee was informed that monthly electricity charges for Waterfalls Referral Centre were classified as commercial rates which made it unaffordable for the Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare to provide refugees at the Centre with power for domestic uses such as cooking and lighting.

e) Lack of security

Tongogara Camp is under threat from wild animals such as lions and elephants which stray from the nearby Devure Game Range due to the lack of a security fence. Although some security officers had been deployed by the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare to safeguard administrative staff, refugees and assets, they were unarmed which exposed them to attacks by wild animals and robbers as well. Furthermore, a police post manned by only 4 police officers against a population of 9 062 has been established at the camp.

f) Shortage of staff

The Committee noted that inadequate teaching staff was affecting the access to education by students at Tongogara Primary School and St Michaels Secondary School. Moreover, there were no interpreters at Tongogara and Waterfalls Camps to facilitate communication between Programme Officers and refugees from various countries. This was a key challenge experienced at both centres.

g) Low morale

Refugees Welfare Programme Officers lamented that their conditions of service were inferior to other Government workers, particularly, lack of employer contributions to pensions. The Committee was informed that it was not clear whether these officers would benefit from the Civil Servants Residential Stands Scheme currently being unrolled by the Government, for instance.  

h) Difficulties in acquiring birth certificates

Refugees highlighted that they were experiencing difficulties in acquiring birth certificates for their children born in Zimbabwe.

OBSERVATIONS:

The Committee made the following observations:

-         Refugees experience challenges in accessing adequate basic needs such as food, soap and sanitary pads.

-         The uncertainty as to whether Programme Officers were set to benefit from the Civil Service Residential Stands Scheme was a source of demoralisation.

-         Tongogara Refugee Camp is overcrowded, with a population of 9062 refugees at the time of the Committee's visit.

-         The environment at Tongogara Refugee Camp was dirty while Waterfalls Referral Centre was in need of basic maintenance as grass and fallen trees were scattered all over the place.

-         Tongogara Refugee Camp is experiencing agricultural land shortages which impede self-sustainability projects of refugees.

-         The security system at Tongogara Refugee Camp which mainly consists of unarmed security guards and 4 police officers is inadequate. Furthermore, the lack of a security fence exacerbates the situation.

-         Some children at Tongogara Refugee Camp could not access education due to teacher and classroom shortages.

-         The road to Tongogara was in a poor state.

-         Electricity charges for Waterfalls Referral Centre are set on commercial lines, which make it unaffordable to provide electric power to refugees staying at the Centre.

-         Refugees were experiencing difficulties in accessing birth certificates for children born in Zimbabwe.

RECOMMENDATIONS:

The Committee recommends the following:

·                   The Government of Zimbabwe should increase support towards the Refugees Welfare Programme in the form of a National Budget allocation to complement donor support.

·                   The Civil Service Commission should fill in critical job positions for the success of the Refugees Welfare Programme such as interpreters, environmental officers and teachers at Tongogara Camp and Waterfalls Referral Centre. The Commission can also redeploy officers to these posts under the Civil Service Rationalisation Programme by October, 2018.

 

·       In the interest of social justice, the Civil Service Commission should ensure that Refugees Welfare Programme Officers access similar benefits to other Government employees, considering that some have been employed for more than ten years, for instance residential stands under the Civil Servants' Scheme by October 2018.

·       The Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare in collaboration with the Ministry of Home Affairs and Culture should reinforce security at Tongogara Camp through erection of an electric fence to prevent entry of stray animals from the Devure Game Range and increasing the number of police officers to at least 10 respectively by October, 2018.

·       The Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare should continuously assess refugees for resettlement to third countries and individuals who can afford to rent accommodation elsewhere should be moved out of Tongogara Camp in order to reduce overcrowding. The Ministry should also move out refugees who inter-married with locals from the Camp by October 2018.

·       The Registrar General should grant residence permits renewable every 5 years to refugees who consistently stay in the country to enable them to live outside the camp in order to reduce the population at Tongogara Refugee Camp.  

·       The Ministry of Transport and Infrastructural Development should construct a proper gravel road to Tongogara Camp by October 2018 to facilitate easy movement of people and provisions.

·       The Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare should immediately engage ZESA to ensure that Waterfalls Referral Centre is moved from commercial to residential premises status for purposes of electricity charging by October 2018. 

·       The Ministry of Lands and Rural Resettlement should allocate more land to the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare to expand agricultural land and enable refugees at Tongogara Camp to conduct farming activities in line with the country's policy of self-sustenance by October 2018.

·       The Ministry of Home Affairs in collaboration with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs should facilitate provision of identity documents such as birth certificates by incumbent governments to their nationals in Zimbabwe by bringing services to Tongogara Refugee Camp Camp at least twice a year by December 2018.

CONCLUSION:

The Committee commends the sterling efforts by the Government of Zimbabwe to provide homes to fellow men, women and their families. It is laudable that the country makes efforts to honour its international obligations and is on track towards achievement of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Furthermore, it is encouraging to note that despite being overburdened with economic challenges, humanity for mankind still exists in Zimbabwe.

HON. MPARIWA: Thank you Hon. Speaker. Let me thank Hon. Mudyiwa who is the Chairperson of the Committee on Labour and Social Welfare. This report emanates from the visits that were carried out by the Committee in order to understand the welfare of those that are housed by the Zimbabwean Government in our camps namely the Tongogara Refugee Camp and the one here in Waterfalls. My appeal is to Hon. Members to visit this camp so that they get to understand the living standards in terms of the refugees.  Once upon a time, most of our Members have been refugees to the various countries and it is the Government’s responsibility to house refugees and to cater for their health, education and life.  If one wants to go to Tongogara Refugee Camp Mr. Speaker, you would find that many languages are spoken and it is a mixed bag in terms of languages.  The schools there at the beginning of the year were washed away by the rains and they became refugees on being refugees in Zimbabwe.  Hence the need where we are talking about the welfare in terms of infrastructure development.  The roads there are impassable.  One has to be brave enough to go to Tongogara Refugee Camp.  It is my appeal that Government resuscitates the road that leads to Tongogara Refugee Camp.  Unfortunately, it is only one road and if it is blocked or the road cannot reach you to Tongogara Refugee Camp, then you are stuck.  I speak this with the knowledge that as a former Minister of Labour, I was one of those who would go to Tongogara Refugee Camp for the celebrations of the Refugee Day in Zimbabwe.  I appeal for Government to facilitate the process in terms of cartering for the welfare of those that are housed at Tongogara and in Waterfalls.  We risk losing lives in terms of overcrowding and lack of food that can supply dietary requirements.  It is my appeal that the Government takes seriously the report that has been tabled by the Committee.  I thank you Mr. Speaker.

HON. MUDYIWA:  Mr. Speaker Sir, I would like to thank Hon. Mpariwa for her contribution to the debate.  May the report be adopted.  I thank you.

Motion put and agreed to.

MOTION

SECOND REPORT OF THE PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE ON LABOUR AND SOCIAL WELFARE ON THE STATE OF WELFARE OF OLDER PERSONS IN ZIMBABWE

HON. MUDYIWA:  I move the motion standing in my name that this House takes note of the Second Report of the Portfolio Committee on Labour and Social Welfare on the State of Welfare of Older Persons in Zimbabwe.

HON. MPARIWA:  I second.

HON. MUDYIWA:  Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  This is the Second Report of the Portfolio Committee on Labour and Social Welfare on the State of Welfare of older Persons in Zimbabwe.  This report was compiled after a visit to at least one home in all the provinces in the country.

1.0   INTRODUCTION

While longevity should be celebrated, it is paradoxically a major risk factor in African countries, including Zimbabwe. The dollarisation of 2009 wiped out savings of the majority of the citizens who had reached the pensionable age, which is on average 60 years.  In addition, the ravages of the HIV and AIDS pandemic has left many childless in old age and with the burden of taking care of orphaned grandchildren. Furthermore, the current economic environment in the country characterised by high unemployment levels, inflation and cash shortages has exacerbated poverty levels, thereby severing the traditional community support systems for vulnerable members of society such as kinship ties. Consequently, older persons have become one of the most vulnerable societal groups in Zimbabwe and some find themselves destitute with no option but to enlist at Old People's Homes around the country.

2.0 OBJECTIVES

The main objectives of the inquiry were to:

Ø establish the state of welfare of older persons, including access to basic needs such as food, medical care, decent shelter sanitation and hygiene;

Ø find out the occupancy levels of homes and causal factors;

Ø ascertain the accessibility of the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare's programmes to older persons; and

Ø understand opportunities and challenges encountered in the administration of homes

 

3.0 METHODOLOGY

The Committee employed the following methods to gather information:

a) field visits to the following old people’s homes as shown on Table 1 below.

b) oral evidence sessions with Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare, Help Age Zimbabwe and Zimbabwe Older Persons  Association

Table 1: Old People’s Homes toured by the Committee

PROVINCE

HOME

Mashonaland Central

Mazowe River Bridge Centre

Bulawayo

Entembeni old People’s Home

Harare

Bumhudzo Old People’s Home

Mashonaland East

Idawekwako Old People’s Home

Mashonaland West

Nazareth Shelter for Destitute Older Persons

Masvingo

Mucheke Old People’s Home

Matabeleland North

Dete Old Age Home

Midlands

Rugare Old People’s Home

Manicaland

Zororai Old People’s Home

Matebeleland South

Gwanda Association Home for the Aged

 

3.0 COMMITTEE FINDINGS

3.1 Administrative Framework

Section 21 (2) (b) of the Constitution stipulates that the State and all agencies of Government should provide facilities, food and social care for elderly persons in need. In addition, the Older Persons Act [Chapter 17:11] of 2013 which is currently administered by the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare governs the welfare of older persons. The Act provides for the establishment of an Older Persons board with the major responsibility of spearheading programmes to improve the welfare of older persons and public assistance allowances, among other social welfare services to individuals aged 65 years and above.  The Minister of Labour and Social Welfare, Hon. P. Kagonye informed the Committee that a 15 member Older Persons Board had been set up in 2013.

The Minister further highlighted that there were 29 registered old people’s homes in the country, out of which only Harare Old People’s Home was owned by Government, while the majority belonged to private voluntary organisations (PVOs). During its field visits, the Committee learnt that churches played a significant role in the establishment and running of old people’s homes as shown on Table 2. Although the founding objectives of these old people’s homes altered over the years, the major thrust was to accommodate destitute older members of the society whose situations were attributable to a myriad of factors, including retrenchment.

Table 2: Administration of Old People’s Home

Home

Administrator

Bumhudzo Old People’s Home

Salvation Army

Dete Old Aged Home

Catholic Church

Entembeni Old People’s Home

Volunteers

Gwanda Association Home for the Aged

Gwanda Association

Idawekwako Old People’s Home

Christian Marching Church

Mazoe River Bridge Centre

HelpAge Zimbabwe

Mucheke Old People’s Home

Baptist Church

Nazareth Shelter for Destitute Older Persons

World Vision

Rugare Old People’s Home

Inter-denominational

Zororai Old People’s Home

Roman Catholic Church and Mutare City Council

 

Out of the 10 old people's homes visited by the Committee, 6 were run by church organisations, while the remainder were managed by non-governmental organisations and volunteers. However, the Committee learnt that the Mutare City Council Community Development Officer directly superintended over the daily running of Zororai Old People’s Home. The Committee also found out that Government Social Workers play a peripheral role in the administration of old people’s homes, such as; registration of homes, vetting potential inmates, facilitating payment of per capita grants and collection of grain under the Food Mitigation Programme.

3.2 Government Support for Older Persons

The Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare was allocated a meagre $500 000.00 in the 2018 National Budget against a bid of $10 177 450.00 towards the support of older persons. The Minister highlighted that this amount is inadequate to cater even for administrative and per capita grants for older persons living in registered old people’s homes. An administrative grant is a once-off payment $15.00 payment per individual domiciled at the home, while per capita grants are paid to the institution at the same rate upon submission of monthly claim forms. In addition, both older persons in or outside institutionalised care benefit from the Ministry’s social welfare programmes including; Harmonised Social Cash Transfers, Assisted Medical Treatment Orders (AMTOs), Food Mitigation Programme and Maintenance Allowances.

Although management at various homes visited by the Committee acknowledged the assistance from the Ministry, indications were that the grants and grain disbursements were irregular. Mr. Sithole of Entembeni Old People’s Home highlighted that social welfare grants had been last received in 2014, for instance. As a result, old people’s homes largely depended on well-wishers such as churches, schools, Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (ZIMRA) and Zimbabwe National Road Administration (ZINARA) for basic needs such as food and blankets.

The Committee also noted that although local authorities around the country offered variable support to old people’s homes, they had provided construction land free of charge in most cases. Mutare City Council Community Department was the only local authority involved in the daily running of Zororai Old People’s Home and seconded some of its employees to maintain the yard and garden. Kwekwe City Council provided water at Rugare Old People’s Home free of charge and paid electricity bills.

3.3 Occupancy Levels at Old People’s Homes

The Committee found out that the occupancy levels of old people's homes had dropped drastically due to the inadequacy of resources as shown on 3. Major Nyarubero at Bumhudzo Old People's Home highlighted that the institution could no longer accommodate more inmates as it lacked resources to cater for their needs.

Table 3: Occupancy Levels

Home

Carrying Capacity

Actual Occupancy

Mazowe River Bridge Centre

175

14

Entembeni old People’s Home

150

36

Bumhudzo Old People’s Home

110

30

Idawekwako Old People’s Home

56

26

Nazareth Shelter for Destitute Older Persons

45

21

Mucheke Old People’s Home

45

19

Dete Old Age Home

40

18

Rugare Old People’s Home

36

9

Zororai Old People’s Home

35

15

Gwanda Association Home for the Aged

15

9

 

3.4 Push / Pull factors to Old People’s Homes

The majority of inmates at old people’s homes originated from neighbouring countries, such as Malawi, Zambia and Mozambique, therefore had no relatives to take care of them. In addition, rejection by relatives and childlessness were commonly raised as reasons why individuals ended up staying in old people’s homes. Mbuya Mamoyo at Mucheke Old People’s Home informed the Committee that no one could take care of her since all her 4 children and husband had succumbed to the HIV/AIDS pandemic.

3.5 Criteria for Admission to homes

Administrators highlighted that the Social Welfare Department played the role of vetting and referring inmates to all homes toured by the Committee. In addition, there was general concurrence that individuals referred to the homes were 65 years of age and above. However, the Committee noted that this was not always the case, for instance, there was a couple below that age staying at Mucheke Old People’s Home in Masvingo and a disabled young man at Idawekwako Old People’s Home in Marondera

3.6 Challenges encountered in Caring for Older Persons

3.6.1 Poverty

The majority of older persons in Zimbabwe have no source of income to cater for their basic needs. This state of affairs can be attributed to Operation Murambatsvina, a programme under which houses built illegally were destroyed, leaving many people homeless and introduction of the multi-currency system (dollarization). Mr. Mandaza from the Zimbabwe Older Persons Organisation explained that dollarization eroded all pensions, savings and investments of older persons.

          3.6.2. Financial constraints

The Minister of Labour and Social Welfare lamented that the inadequacy of financial resources and erratic releases hampered the Ministry’s efforts to deliver services to older persons, for example regular payment of per capita grants to old people’s homes. Mr Makotore of Rugare Old People’s Home informed the Committee Social Welfare grants were only disbursed two or three times a year. Consequently, the unavailability of funds to meet daily needs, including; food and materials for use by gloves for use by caregivers was a constant challenge. The management of Mucheke Old People’s Home further informed the Committee that the home used firewood for preparing meals since they could not afford to purchase electricity. Similarly, Entembeni Old People’s Home and Dete Old Aged Home faced serious challenges settling electricity and water bills.  Additionally, Mr Makotore noted that donations from well-wishers that had become the mainstay of old people’s homes were fast dwindling due to economic hardship and closure of local industry. Furthermore, Mrs Gavi, the Director of Help Age Zimbabwe and Mr Mandaza of the Zimbabwe Older Persons Association informed the Committee that they encountered challenges in mobilising funds for the support of older persons as the sector was perceived as welfaristic, therefore, a responsibility of Government.

3.6.3 Difficulties in accessing health services

Both older persons under and outside institutional care experience challenges in accessing medical services. Although older persons are entitled to free consultation through AMTOs, the facility does not cater for drugs. Ms. Gavi of Help Age Zimbabwe further decried the lack of geriatric doctors and hospitals in the country, as well as the abusive language suffered by older persons from health personnel. The lack of vehicles to ferry inmates to clinics was also reported to be a major challenge to the majority of homes visited by the Committee.

3.6.4 Burial of inmates

While the Government provides the pauper burial facility and in some instances local authorities offer burial land free of charge, some homes experienced difficulties in sending off inmates. The Committee learnt that Rugare Old People’s Home, Mucheke Old People’s Home and Gwanda Association Home for the Aged faced difficulties in raising funds to purchase coffins and transport the deceased from the mortuary to such an extent that burials were in some cases delayed by a month.

3.6.5 Difficulties in accessing documentation

Mr Makava, Secretary of the Board of Directors at Rugare Old People's Home informed the Committee that the home had been attempting to retrieve a lost registration certificate from the Social Welfare Department for about three years without any success. The certificate is required in seeking financial support for the home. Additionally, Mr Bandawe of Mucheke Old People’s Home highlighted that it was difficult to acquire identity documents and burial orders for inmates since most of them could not even remember their names or origins due to old age or sickness.

3.6.6 Dilapidated infrastructure

The Committee noted with concern that the buildings at Mazowe River Bridge Centre were in a state of dilapidation.

3.6.7 Non-remuneration of caregivers

All the homes toured by the Committee were manned by women volunteers who were not being paid for their services due to lack of financial resources. In the majority of cases, caregivers received food rations from the commodities donated to the home or irregular token allowances. As a result, old people’s homes were experiencing a shortage of volunteers to take care of the old and frequently sick inmates. Mr. Sithole of Entembeni Old People’s Home in Bulawayo recounted to the Committee how the Social Welfare Department used to run the home and employees’, salaries were paid by the Government.

4.0 OBSERVATIONS

4.1 The 2018 budgetary allocation for the support of welfare of older persons is grossly inadequate to support the welfare of older persons in the country. In view of the current harsh economic environment, older persons living under or outside institutional care require assistance to cater for their basic needs.

4.2 The $15.00 per capita monthly grant to old people’s homes is a paltry amount which cannot cater for the basic needs of an individual considering the rise in costs of living. Although most old people’s homes are privately owned, they can no longer sustain their operations as evidenced by failure to maintain their infrastructure, provide adequate food for inmates and pay caregivers, for instance, Mazowe River Bridge Centre

4.3 Old people’s homes heavily rely on handouts for sustenance.

4.4 Government Social Workers play a peripheral role in the administration of old people’s homes.

4.5 Local authorities are minimally involved in the operations of old people’s homes except for Mutare Municipality where the Community Services Department is involved in the daily running of Zororai Old People’s Home. Similarly, other local leadership including Members of Parliament seem to be detached from the activities of old people’s homes in their constituencies.

4.6 Accessing health services is a major challenge experienced by older persons across the country mainly because AMTOs only cover hospital consultation fees and not medication.

4.7 There are no geriatric doctors and clinics in Zimbabwe

5.0 RECOMMENDATIONS

The Committee recommends the following:

5.1 The Government should establish a State funded universal pension scheme for persons aged 65 years and above by December 2018. The introduction of a minimal levy of $0.01 on tollgate fees, for example, can go a long way in raising funds for the universal pension scheme.

5.2 The Treasury should prioritise social welfare programmes relating to the support of older persons in the allocation and disbursement of financial resources to ensure the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare delivers regular services such as grain and grants to old people’s homes by October 2018. In addition, per capita grants should be reviewed in line with the current costs of living from $15.00 to $30.00 by January 2019.

5.3 The Government should provide funds for self-sustenance projects at old people’s homes, for instance, chicken rearing, horticulture, grinding mills and fish farming by December 2018.

5.4 The Social Welfare Department should closely monitor operations of old people’s homes to ensure they satisfy minimum standards for human habitation and assist in resolving challenges such as access to identity documents and retrieval of Rugare Old People’s Home registration certificate without delay by October 2018.

5.5 Local authorities and Members of Parliament should assume a more active role in operations of old people’s homes under their territories by October 2018. Councils can assist in settling water and electricity bills, for instance, while Members of Parliament can provide constant oversight on old people’s homes.

5.6 The Ministry of Health and Child Care in collaboration with Council Clinics should provide critical items such as gloves, a vehicle to ferry sick older persons to hospital, a nurse to watch over inmates at night and visiting doctor once every month at all old people’s homes by October 2018. The business community is also encouraged to provide assistance as part of corporate social responsibility.

5.7 The Assisted Medical Treatment Orders facility should be extended to cover drugs by January 2019.

5.8 The Public Service Commission in collaboration with the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare should employ requisite workers such as resident caretakers and caregivers to service old people’s homes. In addition, volunteers currently serving at the homes should be granted a monthly allowance of at least $50.00 since they are performing a national duty.

5.9 The Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education in collaboration with the Ministry of Health and Child Care should incorporate geriatric health in medical training courses or introduce programmes at university level to ensure a constant supply of qualified staff to attend to the health needs of older persons in the country by January 2019.

6.0 CONCLUSION

There is need for concerted efforts to uphold the rights and dignity of older persons in Zimbabwe. Today’s old men and women have immensely contributed to national development, albeit at different levels and deserve honour and respect. The Government should assume a more leading role in this regard in order to fulfil its constitutional obligations.

HON. MPARIWA:  Thank you Mr. Speaker.  Let me thank the Chairperson, Hon. Mudyiwa for presenting the report on the welfare of older persons.  Mr. Speaker, you may recall that we have an Older Persons Act in the country.  If we were to implement it in its meaningful sense, we would not have such kind of problems in terms of catering for aged people.  Mind you Mr. Speaker, we are all on our way to old age.  Nobody can say, one day I will not be old because it is nature which is taking its course.  Mr. Speaker, I would like to repeat the point that has been mentioned in terms of bills of water and electricity that I think we can enforce the payments or the right offs in terms of the bills that are owed by the houses that house our older persons because it is not their own wish.  Because of that Hon. Speaker, I think Government can do us a favour by saying no water bills, no bills for electricity.

Moving on to the assisted medical treatment orders, I know that at some point, Government owed twenty million to private hospitals and to general hospitals.  I would want to believe that if Anto is funded properly by the Government, allocation is given, then they would be able to cover the ambulances and everything else to do with the health of the elderly.

My last point is an appeal also for Members of Parliament that the CDF that has been allocated can actually go a long way if one was to identify an older persons’ home in their constituency which requires renovations and water supply - to just sink a borehole at the home.  That will go a long way and change the lives of those that are actually in problems. 

I also want to touch on NSSA on whether it is on human habitant that they can also allocate something in terms of corporate social responsibility in terms of catering for our elderly people.  It is a question of knocking on the right doors at the right time so that we get assistance for our elderly persons.  We are also heading to be elderly persons – if one was to take off the dye on our heads, people would not actually recognise us.  I thank you Mr. Speaker.

THE ACTING SPEAKER:  Hon. Majome, may you be precise and to the point.

HON. MAJOME:  I reserve my right to be silent Mr. Speaker Sir.

HON. MUDYIWA:  I would like to thank Hon. Mupariwa and Hon. Majome though she did not say something.  I know she had quite a lot that she wanted to contribute.  I would like at this moment to move for the adoption of the report.

Motion put and agreed to.

MOTION

REPORT OF THE 138TH ASSEMBLY OF THE INTER-PARLIAMENTARY UNION (IPU), GENEVA, SWITZERLAND: 24 TO 28 MARCH 2018

HON MACHINGURA:  I move the motion standing in my name that this House takes note of the Report of the 138th Assembly of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU), Geneva, Switzerland held on 24 to 28 March 2018.

HON. P. MPOFU:  I second

HON. MACHINGURA:

Text Box:

1.0    Introduction

1.1           The 138th Assembly of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU)

was held in Geneva, Switzerland from 24 to 28 March 2018 under the overarching theme “Strengthening the Global Regime for Migrants and Refugees: The need for Evidence based policy solutions Ethnic Dialogue”

Hon. Advocate Jacob F. Mudenda, Speaker of the National Assembly led a Parliamentary delegation comprising the following Members and Officers of Parliament to the 138th Assembly of the IPU and Related Meetings:-

Hon. Paradzai Chakona, Member of Parliament;

Hon. William Mutomba, Member of Parliament;

Hon. Amos Chibaya, Member of Parliament;

Hon. Jennifer Mhlanga, Member of Parliament;

Hon. Raymore Machingura, Member of Parliament;

Mr. Kennedy Chokuda, Clerk of Parliament;

Mr. Ndamuka Marimo, Director in the Clerk’s Office;

Mr. Frank Mike Nyamahowa, Director in the President of the Senate’s Office;

Ms. Rumbidzai P. Chisango, Principal External Relations Officer and Secretary to the Delegation; and

Mr. Zvemikria Mukushwa, Security – Aide to the Hon. Speaker.

1.2     Hon. Mhlanga was elected President of the Standing Committee on Sustainable Development, Finance and Trade. We extend our warm congratulations to her and wish her a successful term in office.

1.3     The delegation met with the delegation from the United Kingdom on the sidelines of the 138th Assembly of the IPU. The bilateral meeting provided an opportunity to re-establish relations between the two legislatures as well as to explore possible areas of cooperation. In tandem with the mantra of the new dispensation, the delegation emphasized that Zimbabwe is open for business. In this regard, the two sides agreed to undertake reciprocal exchange visits to learn best practices. Furthermore, the United Kingdom pledged support in identified areas such as health delivery and wildlife conservation.

2.0     Emergency Item

The merged proposal put forward by Palestine, Kuwait, Bahrain and Turkey regarding the Palestinian question entitled “The consequences of the US Declaration on Jerusalem and the rights of the Palestinian people in Jerusalem in the light of the UN Charter and resolutions” was adopted and added to the Agenda.

3.0     General Debate

3.1     The General Debate on the theme “Strengthening the global regime for migrants and refugees: The need for evidence- based policy solutions” provided an opportunity for Member Parliaments to exchange views, share good practices and propose recommendations for parliamentary action to address the legal, socio-economic and political challenges affecting migrants and refugees.

3.2     Hon. Advocate Mudenda, Speaker of the National Assembly, joined the distinguished delegates in contributing to the general debate on the theme.

3.2.1 He echoed the need for key drivers of migration, which include socio-economic, political and environmental to be addressed.

3.2.2 The Hon. Speaker bemoaned the untold human suffering and human rights violations migrants and refugees face in transit and in countries of destination. He, therefore, called for the establishment of an IPU High Level Working Group to spearhead modalities for timely and applicable evidence based solutions so that Parliaments are guided accordingly.

4.0     STANDING COMMITTEE ON DEMOCRACY AND

HUMAN RIGHTS

4.1     The Standing Committee on Democracy and Human Rights discussed the topic “Strengthening Inter-Parliamentary Cooperation on migration and migration governance in view of the adoption of the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration.”

4.2     The discussions ushered in a Parliamentary perspective to the Global Compact process, in particular its legislative and oversight function.  Parliaments have a key role in ensuring the implementation of the Global Compact, ensuring safe, orderly and regular migration, increasing coordination amongst and within states and in reducing xenophobia.

5.0     The Forum of Women Parliamentarians

5.1    The Forum of Women Parliamentarians held a panel discussion on “Why are women still underrepresented in politics?  The root causes and how to address them.”  It was noted, with disappointment, that the number of women in politics across the globe has declined significantly. Political barriers such as gender based violence, political violence, social (socialization, character assassination) and economic barriers (financing of elections) were identified as impediments to women entering the political arena.

5.2     It was recommended that the quota system be included in political party and national constitutions, as well as the use of proportional representation in order to achieve an increase of women in politics.  The meeting advocated the promotion of education among girls, engaging the media as well changing mindsets as ways of addressing the underrepresentation of women in politics.

5.3     The Assembly paid homage to Hon. Mensah Williams, outgoing President of the Forum of Women Parliamentarians for her outstanding contribution to the Forum during her tenure as President.

6.0     Forum of Young Parliamentarians of the IPU

6.1     In their discussions, the Young Parliamentarians advocated for quotas reserved for young people starting at political party level.  They welcomed the resolution for the inclusion of a Young Parliamentarian in each IPU Member delegation.

6.2     The Young Parliamentarians also discussed best ways to strengthen collaboration between young Parliamentarians and young people on policy reform related to HIV, comprehensive sexuality education, sexual and reproductive health and rights.  Of note is that many Parliaments have Committees that deal specifically with HIV and AIDS.

7.0    Resolutions Adopted at the 138th IPU Assembly

 

7.1     The Resolution on the Emergency Item on “The consequences of the US declaration on Jerusalem and the rights of the Palestinian people in Jerusalem in the light of the UN Charter and resolutions” was adopted by consensus.

        

7.1.1 It recalls resolutions of the United Nation’s Security Council, the communique adopted by the Extraordinary Islamic Summit Conference and the Extraordinary Meeting of the Council of Foreign Ministers of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation with regards to the Palestinian crisis.

 

7.1.2 In support of the rights of the Palestinian people in their legitimate struggle to end the Israeli occupation and to regain their rights to return and establish their independent state with East Jerusalem as its capital, the resolution:-

 

1. Renews its solidarity with and support to the Palestinian people in defending their just cause and their legitimate rights, including their historical and rooted rights in Jerusalem, guaranteed by the relevant resolutions of international legitimacy;

2. Supports all legal and peaceful steps taken by the Palestinian leadership at the national and international levels to consolidate the sovereignty of Palestine over the Holy City of Jerusalem and the Occupied Palestinian Territory;

3. Affirms its absolute rejection in its entirety of the recent US Administration’s decision regarding Jerusalem and considers it null and void under international law;

4. Calls on all parliaments to urge their governments to recognize the State of Palestine along the 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital in accordance with UN resolutions;

5. Reaffirms that all legislative and administrative measures and actions taken by Israel to impose its law and measures on Jerusalem are illegal and have no legitimacy;

6. Demands that Israel cease all settlement-building activities and any other measures aimed at altering the status, character and demographic composition of the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including in and around Jerusalem, all of which have a detrimental impact on the human rights of the Palestinian people and on the prospects for a peaceful settlement;

7. Expresses grave concern at the restrictions imposed by Israel to impede access by worshipers to the holy sites in Jerusalem;

8.Calls on international organizations to take the necessary steps to preserve and maintain the historical heritage of Jerusalem;

9. Emphasizes the need to support the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) to carry out aid programmes for the relief of the Palestinian refugees in line with UN General Assembly Resolution 302 (IV) of December 1949; and

10. Encourages the relaunch of the peace process through a multilateral initiative in accordance with United Nations resolutions to achieve the existence of a two-State solution on the basis of the 1967 borders.

7.2     The declaration on the theme of the General Debate “Strengthening the global regime for migrants and refugees:  The need for global evidence – based policy solutions” was unanimously adopted.

 

7.2.1 The declaration recognize the aspirations of people the world over for a decent life, good health and education, a safe environment, strong democratic institutions and peace.  However, migrants and refugees are not always guaranteed these rights.

7.2.2 The declaration acknowledges the need to harness the potential benefits of migration and the need for the International Community to support receiving countries.  In this regard, there is need for a more coordinated system that brings countries together for practical solutions that work for all.

7.2.3 The IPU, therefore, welcomed the United Nations imitative to forge two global compacts – one for safe, orderly and regular migration and another on refugees.

7.2.4 With regards to migrants, the declaration calls for the following provisions to be reflected in the Global Compact for Migration:

-         Countries of origin, transit and destination need to cooperate more closely to facilitate the movement of migrant workers, including by facilitating the accreditation of academic and professional credentials, by allowing the portability of social security benefits, and by lowering the cost of remittances;

-         Vulnerable groups such as women, children and people with disabilities should be given special protection in migration policies and in the law against exploitation and abuse;

-         National migration policies need to include input from migrants themselves, ensuring that migrants are not passive subjects but active participants in the societies in which they live;

-         National quotas of labour migrants can contribute to greater predictability of migration flows, although it remains up to each country to decide whether to establish a quota or not; and

-         Migrants should generally be granted the right to participate in political decision-making in their host countries only upon the obtainment of citizenship, though some provision for the participation of permanent residents should be considered.

 

7.2.5 With regards to refugees, the declaration recommended the following provisions to be reflected in the completed, final document:

-         People fleeing conflict should enjoy legal protection as refugees under the 1951 Refugee Convention;

-         To the extent possible, countries should be incentivized to give long-term refugees permanent residence, while no refugee should be denied the right to return to the homeland;

-         The freedom of movement of refugees in their host countries must be upheld in all circumstances;

-         The return and re-settlement of refugees requires their consent and needs to be carefully coordinated between host countries, countries of origin or third countries;

-         The return of refugees to countries of origin can only take place when all fundamental freedoms and personal safety can be guaranteed;

-         More funding for the accommodation of refugees in host countries should be channeled to developing countries where the vast majority of refugees live; and

-         All countries that have yet to join the 1951 Refugee Convention and its 1967 Protocol should be encouraged to do so.

7.3    The resolution submitted by the Standing Committee on Peace and International Security on “Sustaining peace as a vehicle for achieving sustainable development” was unanimously adopted.

7.3.1 The resolution refers to the UN Security Council resolution (2282) 2016 which defines sustaining peace “as a goal and a process to build a common vision of a society, ensuring that the needs of all segments of the population are taken into account, which encompasses activities aimed at preventing the outbreak, escalation, continuation and recurrence of conflict, addressing root causes, assisting parties to conflict to end hostilities, ensuring national reconciliation and moving towards recovery, reconstruction and development, emphasizing that sustaining peace is a shared task and responsibility that needs to be filled by the government and all other stakeholders …”.

7.3.2 The resolution calls on Parliaments to:-

Ø Enhance democracy and human rights and advocate for resolution of conflicts through peaceful means by engaging in Parliamentary democracy;

Ø Guarantee inclusiveness through the representation and empowerment of all people including women, youth, persons with disabilities and marginalized people among others;

Ø Adopt enabling legislation, including key budget laws in order to advance both the SDG’s and sustaining peace agendas, including measures that promote increased financial support from national stakeholders, notably the private sector.

Ø Apply all generic parliamentary functions to hold governments accountable for the effective implementation of the sustaining peace framework and the SDGs;

Ø Partner with civil society more regularly in order to build trust among the general public, including marginalized sections of society, ensure inclusiveness and representation of a variety of needs and enable more effective access to decision-making processes, according to the national legislation;

Ø Adopt national plans of action for the implementation of United Nations Security Council resolution 1325 (2000) on Women, peace and security, and to oversee their implementation and adequate financing;

Ø Work with governments, international organizations and civil society in order to guarantee the protection of children from conflict at all times, and to avoid the use of children in armed conflict; and

Ø National parliaments and the international community, in accordance with the Paris Agreement on climate change, put in place legislative and financial provisions based on the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities and calls on them to engage against climate change and its consequences, in particular on people who have to move and should be guaranteed a bedrock of international inalienable rights.

7.4    The resolution submitted by the Standing Committee on Sustainable Development, Finance and Trade on “Engaging the Private Sector in Implementing the SDGs, especially on renewable energy” was unanimously adopted.

7.4.1 The resolution emphasizes that the development of renewable energy sources and access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy sources contributes significantly to ensuring energy security, minimizing inequalities in energy access both within and between countries, creates jobs and improving people’s livelihoods, including those of youths and women in society.  The private sector has made significant contribution towards capital provision and employment creation in renewable energy and can, therefore, be a development agent towards sustainable production.

7.4.2 The resolution accordingly called on Parliaments to:-

1.    Raise public awareness about the need for the engagement of multi-stakeholders in SDG implementation, especially renewable energy, by increasing the number of educational and awareness-raising campaigns and activities reaching out to all members of society in order to equip them with enhanced knowledge on sustainable development, and also to incorporate sustainable development content into curricula at all education levels, especially undergraduate and graduate courses in investment, production, business and commerce in order to change business mindset towards SDG implementation;

2.    Support gender-responsive legislation, policies and budgets aimed at ensuring equal access of youth, women and men to science and technology, education and training, capacity-building programmes for women, especially in rural areas, and equal opportunities to engage in all stages of the renewable energy value chain, including entrepreneurship opportunities, jobs and careers, as well as equal participation in local, national and international decision-making processes in the renewable energy sector;

3.    Support capacity-building programmes for poor and vulnerable sections of the population, and promote legislation and policies with a view to reducing energy poverty for vulnerable consumer groups;

4.    Establish, and support the development of, a transparent and competitive electricity market so it will ensure that the production of electricity from renewable energy sources is self-supporting;

5.    Safeguard policy space for investment into off-grid renewable energy and encourage private investment into off-grid renewable energy technology, including small-scale electricity generators converting power from renewable energy sources and mini-grids, through support to building risk management tools for such investments and an enabling regulatory and institutional framework and by preparing reliable long-term rural electrification road maps that mitigate the risks of grid extension interfering with private mini-grid and off-grid markets;

6.    Allocate appropriate budgets for investment and stimulate private investment into research and development (R&D) and innovation, and prioritize investment into essential infrastructure for renewable energy development;

7.    Support the establishment of transparent and reliable databases for potential private investment in sustainable development, especially pipelines of small projects, the setting up of broader investor networks in the field of sustainable development, performance indicators, reporting systems for joint monitoring and evaluation on investment impacts, and standards for sustainable products and technologies, as well as the organization of multi-stakeholder forums allowing for constructively sharing knowledge, technical know-how, success stories, causes of failure and lessons learned in sustainable investment, production, operation and consumption; and

8.    The participation of parliaments and their members in specialized organizations and forums on renewable energy, such as the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), and the establishment of networks of parliamentarians, including between parliaments, parliamentary organizations and parliamentarians, to facilitate exchanges on best practices and enable knowledge transfer, including on policy, technology and finance; and invites the IPU to cooperate with these bodies with a view to enhancing parliamentary support for the SDG Goal 7 renewable energy targets.

8.0    OBSERVATIONS

8.1    The General Debate, Committee reports and resolutions covered topical issues that require Parliamentary action through exercising its representative, legislative and oversight functions.

8.2    It is, therefore, imperative for Parliament, through respective Committees to introspect on the resolutions and where possible come up with action plans to ensure that resolutions agreed upon at International fora are implemented.  There is need for follow up action to make our participation at International fora meaningful.

9.0    Recommendations

 

ITEM

ACTION

RESPONSIBILITY

TIMELINE

1.

Increasing women in politics and decision making positions

-     Parliament must demand gender parity as enshrined in the country’s Constitution.

-     Initiate mentoring programmes for young women intending to join politics.

-     Lobby political parties for gender parity.

Portfolio Committee on Women and Youth Affairs and Zimbabwe Women Parliamentary Caucus (ZWPC)

 

 

Workplan to be determined by the Portfolio Committees.

2

Increasing youth representation in Parliament

-          Parliament must lobby political parties for youth quotas.

-          Parliament must continue to include youth representation to delegations to International Meetings

Chief Whips

 

 

Presiding Officers 

May 2018 (before the elections)

Ongoing

3

 

HIV/AIDS

-          While there is a Thematic Committee on HIV/AIDS, Parliament may wish to consider a stand alone Portfolio Committee on HIV/AIDS

Presiding Officers and Administration of Parliament

Before the reconstitution of Committees for the 9th Session of Parliament

4

The Palestinian Question

-          Parliament must continue expressing support to the Palestinian struggle through raising motions in Parliament and highlighting the issue at International fora.

Presiding Officers, Portfolio Committee on Foreign Affairs, Industry and Commerce

Ongoing

5

Migration and Refugees

-          Parliament, through its oversight function to ensure that Government adheres to International Agreements regarding the rights of migrants and refugees.

-          Parliament must ensure sufficient budget allocation towards migrants and refugees that is consistent with international commitments.

Committee on Foreign Affairs, Industry and Commerce

 

 

 

Portfolio Committee on Defence, Home Affairs and Security Services

The relevant Portfolio Committees to come up with a workplan

6

Sustaining Peace as a vehicle for sustainable development 

-          Parliament through its oversight function must ensure the implementation of SDGs as a way of sustaining peace and stability in the country.

-          Parliament should enact legislation that speaks to promoting peace, inclusiveness and financial support.

Thematic Committee on SDGs.

Workplan to be determined by the relevant Portfolio Committee.

7

Renewable Energy

-          Create an enabling environment through the legislative function, for private sector investments in the use of renewable energy.

-          Raise public awareness on the use of renewable energy and supporting capacity building programmes for the vulnerable.

Portfolio Committee on Mines and Energy

Workplan to be determined by the relevant Portfolio Committee

 

HON MACHINGURA:  I move that the Report of the 138th Assembly of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU), Geneva, Switzerland held on 24 to 28 March 2018 be adopted.

Motion put and agreed to.

MOTION

 REPORT OF THE PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE ON LOCAL GOVERNMENT, RURAL AND URBAN DEVELOPMENT ON

PETITION ON ALIGNMENT OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT LAWS

HON. MADANHA:  I move the motion standing in my name that this House takes note of the Report of the Portfolio Committee on Local Government, Rural and Urban Development on petition on alignment of Local Government laws.

HON. CHINGOSHO:  I second.

HON. MADANHA:

1.0           Introduction

1.1    The Committee received a petition from the following Civil Society organisations; Centre for Community Development, Chitungwiza Residents Trust, Harare Residents Trust and Zimbabwe United Residents Association petitioning Parliament to expedite the alignment of all local government laws to the Constitution.  According to the Constitution of Zimbabwe Section 119, it is the mandate of Parliament to protect the Constitution and promote democratic governance in Zimbabwe. It is also Parliament which has the power to ensure that the provisions of the Constitution are upheld and that the State and all institutions and agencies of Government at every level act constitutionally and in the national interest. According to Section 149 of the Constitution, every citizen and permanent resident of Zimbabwe has a right to petition Parliament to consider any matter within its authority, including the enactment, amendment or repeal of legislation.

2.0    Methodology

2.1    The Committee invited the petitioners to a meeting to discuss the issues raised in the petition on 21 February 2017.  The Committee also held several meetings with the then Ministers of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing, former Ministers Chombo and Kasukuwere and Ministry Officials to find out how far the Ministry had gone in aligning local government laws to the Constitution.

3.0    Issues Raised by Civil Society Organisations

3.1    The civil society organisations raised the following issues:-

3.1.1 The need to urgently align local laws to the Constitution and that Parliament should play its oversight role by ensuring that all the local government laws are aligned to the Constitution.  Parliament was challenged to expedite the process of aligning all local government laws to the Constitution.

3.1.2 The petitioners submitted that there is need for devolution of power as provided for by Chapter 14 of the Constitution.  This will enable local authorities to operate effectively and efficiently thereby improving social service delivery.  The petitioners said at the moment service delivery is compromised because of limited resources.  They further explained that devolution of governmental powers and responsibilities will enhance transparency and accountability in local governance.

3.1.3 The petitioners requested Parliament to exercise its power and to ensure that the relevant Government Ministries and departments fully implement Chapter 14 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe.  Petitioners said it is their belief that the Ministry of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing is the arena for local development and enjoyment of democracy by the majority of Zimbabweans. They also said there is need for provincial and metropolitan councils to be functional.  Section 270 of the Constitution was referred to which provides for provincial and metropolitan councils’ functions as follows:-

-         Planning and implementing social and economic development activities in its province;

-         Coordinating and implementing governmental programmes in its province;

-         Planning and implementing measures for the conversation, improvement and management of natural resources in its province;

-         Promoting tourism in the province and developing facilities for that purpose;

-         Monitoring and evaluating the use of resources in its province and finally;

-         Exercising any other functions including legislative functions that may be conferred or imposed on it by or under an Act of Parliament.    

3.1.4. Petitioners said they were disappointed that Zimbabweans had not yet enjoyed all these potential benefits and rights as granted by the Constitution. They pointed out that legislators have not been afforded the opportunity to contribute to their provinces’ development as provided for in Chapter 14.

3.1.5.  It was further submitted that the country’s macro-economic blue print ZIM ASSET could have approximated some of its targets if citizens had enhanced participation in local, provincial and national development processes as provided for in Chapter 14. The country’s renewed interest and efforts towards Special Economic Zones as engines for speedy economic growth and industrialisation of this country, could have been found on a strong local governance system as enshrined in Chapter 14.

3.1.6. Their concerns as petitioners were that since provinces should be run by provincial and metropolitan councils respectively, they questioned who was currently running provinces and what system was in place to cater for citizens’ needs.  They also questioned that since provinces are entitled to at least 5% of the national revenue, there were questions on how this revenue had been managed and channelled towards local development in the absence of operational, provincial and metropolitan councils.

3.1.7 The Committee questioned the Minister of Finance and Economic Development why he was not allocating the 5% of the total budget allocation to Metropolitan and Provincial Councils in its budget reports for the past four.  The Minister of Finance and Economic Development explained that he could not allocate the 5% before the enactment of an appropriate Act of Parliament.  The Committee then wrote to the Ministry of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing and held meetings raising the issue of coming up with relevant local government sector laws to align with the Constitution on several occasions. 

The Committee wanted to find out why the Ministry has not expedited the process of coming up with relevant pieces of legislation so that the much needed resources are allocated in the national budget.  The Ministry’s responses varied from the allegations that the several splits and mergers of the two Ministries of Local Government and Rural Development delayed the enactment of the Urban Council and Rural Councils bills.  In regards to the Constitutionalisation of the Urban Councils Act and the Rural District Act, the Committee was told that the Ministry of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing had made considerate progress in drafting of the Bill for a single Local Government Act. 

However, following the redistribution of mandates between the Ministry of Local Government and the then Ministry of Rural Development, Preservation and Promotion of National Culture and Heritage, the operation of a single Act by the two separate Ministries was not possible.  The Committee was told that was one of the reasons why the Ministry was not able to align the Urban Councils and Rural Councils Acts to the Constitution.

4.0    Committee’s Observations

4.1    The Committee noted with concern that the Ministry was reluctant to come up with relevant laws to align with the Constitution.

4.2    The Committee also observed that the splits and mergers might have contributed to the delay in alignment of local government laws to the Constitution.

5.0    Committee’s Recommendations

5.1    The Committee, therefore, recommends that the Ministry of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing must come up with the relevant pieces of legislation to align with the Constitution.  This will enable the allocation of the 5% and the devolution of power from central government to lower levels. This must be done by 31 December 2018.

HON. MAJOME: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. I want to thank our Chairperson for the Portfolio Committee on Local Government for presenting the Committee’s report and I want to be very precise and to the point. I want to wholeheartedly support the recommendations, because I am in that Committee as well, that the Government does take seriously its responsibility in terms of Section 303 (3) of the Constitution to allocate no less than 5% of the revenues in its budget annually to local authorities. Mr. Speaker Sir, we have been passing an unconstitutional budget repeatedly ever since the Constitution was passed in 2013 and we are really shooting ourselves in the foot.

It is no secret that all local authorities, whether urban or rural are struggling severely because their revenue basis have shrunk because of the low level of productivity. We cannot expect our local authorities to survive on the rates that ratepayers pay because they are defaults. Some of the defaults have also been caused by the Government. If you recall in 2013, the Executive made a very spectacular announcement that everyone who owed council rates should not pay and the Government itself did not go and do the responsible thing of filling that void that it created just before the elections. I am just happy that the Government that is there today has been reasonable and sensible and deferred from engaging in such dangerous populist adventures that would at the face of it immediately make it look like the ratepayers are happy and benefitting. Today we keep on paying the cost in the state of our water supply, et cetera. A lot of residents in Harare in particular, like in Sentosa for example are buying very expensive water but a few years ago we celebrated the irresponsible decision to write off debts.

Our councils have also been robbed of money that they would collect from road users in the municipalities. It has been all taken to ZINARA. So, indeed if you want our communities and voters to be happy the Government must give that 5% of the revenue that it takes from the same taxpayers and give it back to local authorities because that is where the population resides. It is said that charity begins at home and let the Government take local governments seriously and also devolve that power in terms of finances as well as decision making to local authorities so that communities and households are happy. I hope that this is taken seriously in the next budget Mr. Speaker Sir. I thank you.

HON. MADANHA: I want to thank Hon. Majome for her contribution and I now move that the report be adopted Mr. Speaker Sir.

Motion put and agreed to.

MOTION

REPORT OF THE PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE ON LOCAL GOVERNMENT, RURAL AND URBAN DEVELOPMENT ON ZINARA DISBURSEMENTS TO LOCAL AUTHORITIES

HON. MADANHA: I move the motion standing in my name that this House takes note of the Report of the Portfolio Committee on Local Government, Rural and Urban Development on ZINARA disbursements to local authorities.

HON. MAJOME: I second.

HON. MADANHA: 1.0 Introduction

Mr. Speaker Sir, the Portfolio Committee on Local Government, Rural and Urban Development undertook to visit seven local authorities country wide to establish progress made on ZINARA funded projects.  The Committee resolved to undertake these visits as a follow up to the meetings held with ZINARA Officials, Urban Councils Association of Zimbabwe (UCAZ) and Association of Rural District Councils (ARDC).  The Committee wanted to find out how local authorities had been utilising disbursements from ZINARA, challenges faced in accessing ZINARA funds and if the disbursements match with expectations from local authorities.

1.1 The Committee visited Nkayi Rural District Council, Bulawayo City Council, Gwanda Municipality, Gwanda Rural District Council, Zvishavane Town Council, Runde Rural District Council and Masvingo Municipality from 25 to 28 March 2018.

2.0    Committee’s Findings

2.1    Nkayi Rural District Council

2.1.1 The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Nkayi RDC

highlighted that as a local authority, they exclusively depend on ZINARA funds for their road maintenance since they rarely get an allocation from the parent Ministry. The funds are specifically used for routine and periodic maintenance of the road networks within their jurisdiction. Given the few resources disbursed in 2017, Nkayi RDC managed to do 181km of routine maintenance and periodic maintenance work. The major road network that the RDC did in 2017 is tarring 1.8km of Tshakalisa road and in 2018 they are targeting to do an extra 2km.  The CEO said generally there was a mismatch between what is allocated and what is disbursed by ZINARA. 

2.1.2 In 2017 Nkayi RDC received $259 570 by year end but because some projects had not been finished in 2017, they received a further $83 173 in 2018 for the 2017 projects.  Nkayi RDC was allocated a total of $342 000 for the year 2017.  The Committee was told that ZINARA made a commitment to pay for the 2017 works without affecting the RDC’s 2018 disbursements.  The CEO explained that they will submit the Interim Payment Certificates (IPCs) for the remainder of the 2017 allocation.

2.1.3 Nkayi had already received its first disbursement for 2018 from ZINARA of $26 328 for routine maintenance.  The Committee was informed that the contractors now do the work and paid based on output.

2.1.4 The CEO mentioned the following as the major constraints affecting Nkayi RDC in exercising its mandate of maintaining the road network:

·       -That both the construction industry and the local authorities were not well resourced in terms of equipment and human capital thus leading to delays in the completion of projects. He explained that most of the local authorities compete for the same contractor such that they end up queuing for the services of a contractor thereby delaying project implementation. He reiterated that there was a huge gap between the volume of work that needs to be done and what the industry is offering thereby impacting negatively on local authorities’ service delivery.  The Committee learnt that the RDC engaged a contractor and at the last minute the contractor turned down the offer due to lack of capacity to meet demand.

·       In terms of human resources the RDC currently does not have a substantive engineer but there is an acting engineer. However, they have enough qualified technicians to supervise works being done by the RDC.

·       That the RDC only has a motorised grader while some of the equipment is old and constantly breaks down, which forces them to hire contractors. Thus, the RDC prefers that they purchase own machinery and equipment to enable them to utilise the ZINARA funds without any delays associated with hiring contractors and equipment. Thus, the following equipment has been approved by ZINARA to be purchased, namely; tractor, grader, front loader graders to enable the local authority to work on their own and stop out sourcing.

·       The changing climate or seasons have also affected local authorities in undertaking periodic maintenance of the roads.

          2.1.5 The Committee was informed that Nkayi is one of the first local authorities in Matabeleland to do resurfacing and tarring of about 3km road at the centre of the growth point.

          2.1.6 The Committee also established that the Zinara funds are specifically used for the planned programmes and activities and as a rural district council; they have never been garnished by ZIMRA.

          2.1.7 Nkayi RDC felt that there is need to capacitate road authorities through purchase of equipment and machinery to enable road authorities to do the work themselves instead of relying on hiring and engaging contractors.  The Committee was informed that ZINARA agreed in principle to the idea of purchasing the required machinery and they felt this will go a long way to improve the road maintenance and construction projects.

          2.1.8 Nkayi RDC asked ZINARA to disburse funds earlier in the year.  They submitted that usually the first disbursements are limited for example the 2017 first disbursements was $26 000 then the bulk of the money was disbursed later in the year when there was no enough time to complete the works.

          2.1.9 They said they were happy with the disbursements although they would want more but considering the situation prevailing they said they will utilise whatever they get.

          Tour of ZINARA Funded Projects in Nkayi

2.1.10 The Committee toured Tshakalisa Road, which links the

community with the police station, government offices and Nkayi District Hospital. The road was resurfaced using ZINARA funds. The Committee also toured the 2.5kmsGuwe-Hompane road which was graveled.

2.2  Bulawayo City Council

2.2.1 The Engineer of Bulawayo City Council presented that the road condition survey showed that Bulawayo had 2389 km of road network of which 1731km is sealed, 566km gravel and 92km earth roads.  The Committee was informed that 72% of Bulawayo City’s road network was sealed.

2.2.2 The Committee was informed that Bulawayo City has

concentrated mainly on maintaining the existing road network as opposed to new construction.  This move was to avoid further deterioration of the roads. Priority has been on the main roads in the city centre, suburbs and public transport routes.  The City has been concentrating on reseals of roads that are in a fair condition because they realised that if they try to maintain roads that are already collapsed the expenditure will very high and mileage very minimal.  The roads in the residential areas are not in a good condition because of limited resources.  The City has managed to do pothole patching in the suburbs and they use the community groups for that work. 

2.2.4 It was mentioned that US$6.1 million was allocated in 2017 under the Emergence Road Network Fund and during that period Council contributed US$5.6 million from itsown resources. The works done using the resources were periodic maintenance and routine maintenance activities like drain cleaning and pothole patching.  For routine maintenance Bulawayo City used mainly the community to do the works and the City concentrated on periodic maintenance that is reseals, overlays and reconstruction works.

2.2.5 Bulawayo City used 85% of ZINARA funds for periodic maintenance and 15% for procurement of resources, external purchases like fuel, tar and quarry stone.  The City uses its equipment and ZINARA is not charge for equipment hire but actual partner with ZINARA on the works.

2.2.6 In 2017, Bulawayo had targeted to do 5.6 km of road construction and managed to 6.4 km, on resealing works had targeted to do 16 km and actually achieved 37 km mainly because there were additional works which were allocated to the City because of the Presidential visit.  They had targeted to do 7.5 km of premix overlays but managed to do 13 km and on re-gravelling achieved 72 km against a target of 30 km.

2.2.7 The following are some of the achievements by the Bulawayo City Council in 2017; community patching where 522 people were employed from the community and council met the payments output based.  It also provides other local authorities with pothole patching materials.  ZINARA provides with binders and pays for the stone and the City manages.

2.2.8 The Committee learnt that funding from ZINARA has improved in the last two years but the funding for maintenance is still far below expectations.  The following were highlighted as major challenges:-

·       Lack of foreign currency to purchase bitumen because it is imported and priority is not given for the importation;

·       The plant for premix production is old and affects production; 

·       Lack of capacity by the construction industry to meet demand and undertake big jobs;

·       There are no ZINARA manuals to assist the engineers when utilising the funds. In most cases, engineers spend many hours in writing reports for Ministry of Local Government, Ministry of Finance and ZINARA in different formats and this is time consuming.

·       There is no notification from ZINARA that the allocations will shot from say $1 million to $6 million in the following year.  This notification is critical for both the local authorities and the construction industry so that they are adequately equipped with machinery and human resources to undertake big projects.

·                   ZINARA does notify local authorities in advance of their allocation to enable planning.  The notification period is too short and is done by the 31st of December each year.  They recommended that it should be done by October to enable planning.

2.2.9 It emerged that the Department of Engineering Services was

under staffed and there was urgent need for the vacant posts of Deputy Directors for Roads and Town Planning to be filled. Position of principal engineers who are below deputy directors are also vacant and need to be filled.  The Acting Town Clerk explained that currently, they had enough engineers but were experiencing high staff turnover as most engineers and technicians are leaving the country for greener pastures. Shortage of skilled and semi-skilled manpower has significantly impacted on service delivery by the council.

2.2.10  The Committee asked how City of Bulawayo controls quality of works.  The Committee was told that there is an internal laboratory that provides all the necessary tests at design stage and at construction stage.  It was explained that whenever there is need for external capacity Bulawayo City will outsource for the services but currently most of the works are tested by internal roads laboratory.

2.2.11  The Committee was impressed to hear that City of Bulawayo had no problems with acquittals or misappropriation of ZINARA funds.  The Committee was informed that most of the works done using ZNARA disbursements were periodic maintenance and most of the procurement on the works is usually through a contractor.  The Road Fund Account is technically managed by the engineer and has not encountered any problems.  Asked if the city had problems with contractors breaching on their contracts, the Committee was told that mostly it was the problem of exceeding the time agreed to work on the project.  This was attributed to lack of foreign currency and delays in ZINARA disbursements.

2.2.12 Bulawayo City appreciated the move by ZINARA to allow local authorities to purchase their own equipment using ZINARA funds.  They said this will go a long way in improving service delivery and most works will be done internally.

2.2.13 Although the contractors are paid on output bases, the Acting CEO called for ZINARA to consider advance payments for some of the works to allow contractors to have capital to undertake the work without any delays and in turn it reduces costs.

Tour of ZINARA Funded Projects in Bulawayo

2.2.14 The Committee toured Old Esigodini Road which was

resealed for 3.5 km. However, the council confirmed that they were currently biased towards major roads that link residential areas.

2.3 Gwanda Rural District Council

2.3.1 Gwanda Rural District Council received US$165 000 out of

an allocation amount of US$165 870that was disbursed in 2017. In 2018, they were allocated US$558 696 and only US$26 170 had been disbursed during this first quarter. The CEO pointed out that the ZINARA disbursements do not come as expected and usually the funds are not enough to meet their needs. The CEO also highlighted that the piece meal approach adopted by Zinara in disbursing funds was affecting project implementation resulting in delays and carryovers.

2.3.2 The council indicated that they managed to do 28 roads with the 2017 disbursements from ZINARA, about 355 km of earth road was graded while 7 culverts and 5 drifts were constructed. In 2018, the Council has planned to do 500 km.

2.3.2 Between 2017 and 2018, the Council managed to grade about 6.3 kms on Mtshabezi road. Even though the road is a DDF road, the council felt obliged to service the road given its importance in the community. The Committee was informed that Mtshabezi was an 18 km road that links the community and the referral hospital (Mtshabezi Hospital) and also a major route to Gwanda rural. 

2.3.3 The major challenge that the RDC is facing was that of interim payment certificates (IPC) that were not being honoured by ZINARA. It was heard that one of the contractor to the Mtshabezi road once moved off site due to failure by ZINARA to pay for the work done. Another example is a case whereby one of the contractors took 2 months to be paid and the contractor moved his equipment off site hence crippling completion of the 18 km road. The CEO highlighted that delays in payments by ZINARA usually results in delays in completing the works within the specified period. The RDC pointed out that they always submit acquittals on time but the disbursement of funds from ZINARA takes too long.  

2.3.4 The CEO also pointed out that shortage of equipment and machinery has also affected construction of roads within the communities. The Committee was informed that most of the contractors do not have proper equipment to do the work, hence the need for local authorities to be capitalised. Currently, the RDC has 2 tractors which are old and constantly breaks down affecting project implementation. However, the RDC is grateful for having been allocated US$155 000 towards recapitalisation and plans are underway to secure a tractor, trailer and water bowser once the funds are disbursed.  

2.3.5 Another challenge that Gwanda RDC pointed out was that of communication gap between ZINARA and local authorities resulting in a blame game. The Committee was informed that there were no proper communication channels between ZINARA and the RDC.  Currently the two entities were relying too much on verbal and WhatsApp communication channel rather than the formal communication channels such as email and letters. The Committee learnt that even money is just deposited in their accounts without being told and the money is for. 

2.3.6 The RDC has already put in place the Procurement Committee which comprise of management in terms of the circular from the Ministry of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing.  Gwanda RDC said they are now following the new Act and have already set up its own procurement unit.

2.3.7 Control of works is done by the Engineering Department and the RDC also works with engineers from the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructural Development and District Development Fund (DDF) by adhering to standards.  Unfortunately, they have never done any laboratory tests except when they were gravelling the Unyangeni Road.

2.3.8 They said they acquit as and when they are supposed to acquit and have a separate account for the ZINARA funding.  Gwanda RDC complained that the disbursements come very late resulting in delays in completing projects and failure to meet targets.  An example was given where an amount of $20 960 was paid in January 2017 for an IPC that was submitted in October 2016.  ZINARA was urged to disburse funds at the beginning of the year and avoid disbursing bulk of the allocation towards the end of the year.  It emerged that it was a challenge to utilise that money in a short period of time and during the rainy season.

2.4    Gwanda Municipality

2.4.1 In 2017, Gwanda Municipality did 3.5 km of pothole patching and reseal, 18.8 km were graded, 13.5 km road markings and 5.1 km road construction.  In 2018, the Municipality planned to reconstruct 4.6 km road network and to complete some unfinished 2017 road works. In 2017, Gwanda Municipality was allocated $213 000 for phase one which was routine maintenance.  The first disbursement was $20 000, the second $108 000 and lastly $85 000.  The Committee was told that they had been acquitted for the money that was disbursed and had no outstanding disbursements for 2017.   Under phase two which is periodic maintenance, they were allocated $1 162 000 and only $297 000 had been disbursed.  For 2018, Gwanda Municipality has been allocated $815 000.

2.4.2 In terms of equipment, Gwanda Municipality needs a tipper, vehicle loader and a bowser and will use the $293 000 that was allocated to them to purchase the much needed equipment.

2.4.3 The Engineer of Gwanda Municipality indicated that ZINARA was now paying based on output and this has resulted in delays in paying contractors because the ZINARA internal processes of paying IPC was taking long. This has resulted in the council sitting on potential litigation cases due to delays in payments because the contractors signed a contract with the council and not ZINARA.  The Committee was informed that there were two IPCs that had not been honoured for Hawkflight amounting to US$94 172 and Bitumen World US$357 213.  It was pointed out that there were incidences whereby the contractors leave sites because of non-payment resulting in the work already done being washed away by the rains. An example of Bitumen World was given where it completed earthworks but left site due to unpaid certificates. 

2.4.4 The Engineer also explained that they are blamed for not utilising the funds disbursed when sometimes they are given short time to utilise the funds.  An example was given where they were allocated $1 million and were supposed to utilise it within a month and unfortunately they failed to do so.  They also complained about funds being disbursed at the end of the year and stated that this was not feasible given that the councils have to hire contractors through the tender process.

2.4.5 For quality assurance, the Committee was informed that compaction tests are done at an independent laboratory.  At each stage the contractor seeks authority from the Council to proceed to next stage.  The council workers are constantly on the ground supervising the contractors’ works

Tour of ZINARA Funded Projects in Gwanda

2.4.6 The Committee visited the 5th Avenue where 8km was

resealed using ZINARA funds. The Committee also visited Enterprise Crescent which was sponsored by ZINARA for gravelling the road.

2.5    Zvishavane Town Council

2.5.1 The Town Secretary started by highlighting that as a council they were guided by the road survey results of 2016/2017 whereby it was declared that the road network in Zimbabwe was a national disaster.

2.5.2 The Town Secretary indicated that lack of foreign currency in terms of sustaining council projects needs to be considered at Parliament level.  Shortage of foreign currency was delaying the process of acquiring vehicles for service delivery.

2.5.3 The Town Secretary also emphasised the need for local authorities to have their own equipment so that funds for ZINARA are not used for hiring equipment.  They said their medium term is to be capacitated so that they can purchase the bitumen distributor of chip spreader for surfacing and resurfacing the roads, jet patcher, front loader, metal roller and a compactor.

2.5.4 In 2017, Zvishavane Town Council was allocated $404 000 which was revised to $265 291.  The funds were used for reconstruction and surfacing of 4.4 km of roads.  Zvishavane engaged Oswald Products and Bitumen as its contractors.  The Town Engineer mentioned that the two contractors were paid $112 000 borrowed by council from its own Estate funds because ZINARA had not released all the funds that were allocated.  The Council was still waiting for ZINARA to release the funds for the IPCs for 2017 periodic maintenance project. He also highlighted that in 2018, they were allocated US$714 000 for both periodic and routine maintenance and only $33 465 was disbursed as of 28 March 2018.

2.5.5 Zvishavane Town Council was allocated $297 000 for the purchase of equipment (grader).  He pointed out that their short term goal as a council was to acquire their own machinery and equipment to enable them to cut costs and do their own roads without depending on hiring out.  They explained that when using their own equipment they will be able to undertake periodic and routine maintenance timeously.

2.5.6 The Committee was told that supervision of work is done by the engineers from council and ZINARA. However, it was revealed that the council does not have laboratories to test all inputs but where necessary, they utilise laboratories from the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructural Development for quality management.

2.5.7 The Council also noted with concern the delays in payments by ZINARA which in most cases cripple completion of works by contractors. However, ZINARA engineers explained that the council was delaying in submitting acquittals which in turn lead to late disbursements of funds thus resulting in failure to utilise all the allocated funds. A case was pointed whereby the council failed to submit its acquittals on time by the 30th November, 2017 in order for all payments to be done, hence leading to delays in payments of IPCs. The Council said delays in payments by ZINARA have resulted in Asphalt Contractors seeking to sue Zvishavane Town Council for the outstanding obligation.

2.5.8 The Town Clerk also highlighted the challenges of heavy rains which affected some construction work in 2017 where a contractor failed to complete project in 2017.  The Committee was informed the Council terminated contract with MADZ resulting in losses as the entire prime worthy US$35 000 was washed away by the rains.

2.5.9 During plenary, it was discovered that there was communication breakdown between ZINARA and most local authorities given that the local authorities submit acquittals and IPCs but they do not know when ZINARA will honour.  They accused ZINARA of not processing payments in time and that there was no stipulated timeframe for the whole process to be completed. The Town Clerk acknowledged the need to address the challenge between acquittals and disbursements which in turn affect progress.  While the Act says ZINARA should not pay before IPCs are submitted, there is need for the local authorities and ZINARA to strike a balance.

2.5.10 It was also established that the council has good working relations with Mimosa Holdings whereby they have established Public Private Partnerships (PPP) for the construction of roads and purchase of equipment required by the councils. A good example highlighted was of Mandava stadium which is a result of a PPP and some of the roads in the communities have been resurfaced courtesy of the mines using their own resources. The Committee also learnt that the Zvishavane Town Council benefit from the Mimosa engineers that are seconded to council to help in infrastructure development. 

2.6    RUNDE RURAL COUNCIL

2.6.1 The CEO of Runde Rural District Council indicated that the council is responsible for servicing 550 kms of road network. He pointed out that in order to be able to provide periodic and routine maintenance, the RDC needs to be capacitated in terms of equipment. The CEO said the council owns 2 motorised graders, including the one donated by ZINARA, 2 tipper trucks, 2 front loaders and 5000 litre bowser purchased from own resources. The council still requires more equipment and machinery so that they are able to service their own roads without necessarily subcontracting or hiring equipment.

2.6.2 The CEO indicated that most of their road network are earth roads and need upgrading and that they were having challenges with the ZINARA grader which constantly breaks down.  He also brought up the issue of limited capacity by contractors.  He said they even go and inspect the contractors’ equipment and their bank accounts but said some contractors display good equipment in order to win contracts but the equipment they bring on site will not be up to standard.  He also said some do first and second stage of works but once there are delays in the ZINARA disbursements they do not continue. 

2.6.3 He mentioned that DDF has major roads in Runde District but has no capacity to do the roads and that very limited resources have been coming to DDF leaving the burden to do major of their roads with the RDC. The RDC in collaboration with DDF did the 52km DDF road called Siboza which is a major road to the growth point and link to the rural areas around.

2.6.4 The Engineer of Runde RDC highlighted that the council was allocated US$320 000 by ZINARA and a total of US$331 000 was disbursed in 2017. Runde RDC received more in 2017 because an amount of $44 948 was an outstanding amount from 2016 which was received in January 2016.  The delay was caused by the contractor who delayed to finish the works resulting in delaying to send the IPC to ZINARA.  The RDC managed to do 15 km of Musuku-Marovanidze Road, Rushinge turn off, 3 km Rushinge Primary School Road formation and 79.1 km of various roads in the district.

2.6.5 It was also established that the RDC has PPPs with Murowa Diamonds and Mimosa Holdings whereby they work in collaboration to develop and construct road networks within the community. It was noted that most of the roads are earth roads and need resurfacing.

2.6.6 However, he pointed out that some of the challenges they are facing as a council includes, among others, the following:-

·       That most of the roads are earth roads hence they need constant gravelling and surfacing,

·       The graders constantly break down and usually take time for them to be repaired, Repairing of graders was assigned to a contracted company and the company takes time to come and repair.

·       Limited capacity by contractors due to lack of working capital,

·       There is a mismatch between the ZINARA disbursements and acquittals process

·       That DDF is often not capacitated and most of the major roads are in a bad state

2.6.6 The Committee was informed that the RDC received

US$65 373 from ZINARA for a pilot projection Eco Road (Mabasa Road Stabilisation Pilot Project) using modern technology in 2016.   It was a directive from the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructural Development to do the road using stabiliser for tarring the road.  However, the project only managed to cover 1km during phase 1 stage and was a fop and phase 2 failed to kick off. The contractor lacked expertise and the council said they noticed that the project will not be successful because of the methods that were used by the contractor.

          2.6.7 Tour of Zvishavane ZINARA Funded Projects

The Committee toured some of the roads that were resealed using

ZINARA funds within the surbubs of Zvishavane, including the Mabasa Road Stabilisation Pilot Project by the Runde RDC.

2.7 Masvingo Town Council

2.7.1 The Engineer for Masvingo Town Council referred to the National Road Condition Survey of 2016 that indicated that Masvingo City has a road network of 286 km, of which about 115 km (40%) of the roads were classified as poor. He then mentioned that the council is mainly mandated to undertake periodic and routine maintenance of all road networks under its purview. However, due to resource constraints, the City of Masvingo has been concentrating on road resealing and pothole patching.

2.7.2 The engineer explained that Masvingo Town Council has three main methods of funding road maintenance activities namely revenue budget, road fund and road levy. He explained that most of the council revenue collected goes to water and sanitation, wages and fuel leaving nothing for road maintenance. The road levy is a council initiative that was introduced in 2015.  Residents pay a levy of $18 per year so that there is an extra fund to maintain the roads.

2.7.3 The Engineer said in 2017, the council was allocated

US$669 000 and only US$427 564 was disbursed for the Emergency Road Rehabilitation Programme and the funds were used to reseal 20 km of roads in the City. In 2018, Masvingo Town was allocated US$1.2million and US$60 000 was disbursed envisaged to cover resealing up to 13.8 km of roads, drainage clearing, installation of SADC compliant road signs and installation of a set of traffic lights in the CBD.

2.7.4 It emerged that between 2016 and 2017, the council had challenges with acquittals leading to late disbursements of funds and failure to utilise all the allocated funds. As a result of internal constraints within the local authority, it emerged that the council only managed to acquire material inputs worthy US$427 564 and was not able to carry out the works because of lack of equipment. The Committee was informed that the council does not hire contractors but rather hire equipment and do the work in-house since they have the human resources thereby reducing the cost of hiring contractors.

2.7.5 The engineer highlighted the following as some of the major challenges the council was facing:-

·       Late and erratic disbursements of funds by ZINARA thereby affecting planning;

·       Shortage of manpower, in particular, skilled and semi-skilled mainly as a result of the freeze put in place by the Ministry of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing after the council had labour dispute with its workers;

·       Machinery breakdowns and obsolete equipment;

·       Procurement challenges since the council is yet to set up a procurement committee in line with the new procurement act;

·       Inflation as material prices increases before funds have been disbursed;

·       Foreign currency shortages.

2.7.6 Masvingo Council urged ZINARA as the Administrator of

the Road Fund to improve the way they communicate with stakeholders.  They also recommended that allocation should be realistic and transparent and that disbursements should be predictable.

2.7.7 Tour of ZINARA Funded Projects in Masvingo

The Committee toured the Jongwe and Mucheke Streets that were

resealed using ZINARA funds and also went to see the stockpiled material for resealing at the council’s depots.

          3.0 COMMITTEE OBSERVATIONS

3.1 The Committee observed that there is a dilemma where

disbursements are concerned.  Local Authorities are of the view that the bulk of the funds allocated should be disbursed at once and at the beginning of the year to enable them to do the works on time and to pay contractors.  ZINARA on the other hand said they are unable to disburse the bulk of the allocations at once because they collect these funds from January to December.  ZINARA explained that they disburse the funds depending on what has been collected from tollgates, vehicle licence and other sources.

3.2 The Committee also noted that whilst ZINARA honours the IPCs, the time frame it takes for an IPC to be paid is too long resulting in contractors not wanting to do work for local authorities and sometimes taking these local authorities to court for non payments. The Committee noted the need for ZINARA to come up with a system, a procedure and time frame for payment of IPCs. The Committee observed that contractors would have used their own resources to do the works and to wait for months again after the certificate has been issued was not fair.

3.3 The Committee noted that late payments are not only affecting

the contractors but the local authorities themselves because some contractors are now leaving sites without completing the works and the unfinished works are being washed away by rains.

3.4 The Committee noted with despair that the communication between ZINARA and Road Authorities was lacking and unprofessional.  The Committee noted that the use of WhatsApp channel to communicate business especially where funds are involved was unacceptable. 

4.0    RECOMMENDATIONS

          The Committee therefore recommends that:

4.1    ZINARA should adopt by December 2018 the principle of ‘ease of doing business,’ and improve their payment system on disbursements of funds to local authorities and contractors, in particular, that all IPCs be paid timeously and within two weeks of receiving them.

4.2    All local authorities should employ all the critical qualified personnel for the smooth running of all construction projects, in particular, engineers and technicians to ensure that all acquittals are done on time.

4.3    ZINARA should allow all the local authorities to prioritise and purchase their own equipment in accordance to their need to avoid what happened with the case of snow graders, which were purchased on behalf of the local authorities by December 2018.

4.5    Communication between ZINARA and local Authorities should be formal and professional. Informal communication such as through WhatsApp channels should be discouraged, especially where cases of financial resources are concerned by December 2018.  I thank you.

HON. MAJOME:  Thank you Mr. Speaker.  I will be very brief and I will just remark about the amazing diplomacy of our Chairperson whose report I support, particularly about how he knows about the snow graders that were shockingly bought by ZINARA for a sub-tropical country that has no snow.  According to the report, what our Chairperson said, snow ploughs are proving difficult to use locally.  I have not heard of diplomacy that goes beyond that and the fact is, we cannot use snow ploughs because we do not have snow in Zimbabwe and our local authorities must not be forced to use equipment that was bought by a misappropriation of funds.

I do hope that there will actually be prosecution of those people who ordered those snow ploughs.  It is a disgrace for that to happen and for us to let that go.  I also want to just say that the report by the Portfolio Committee read by our Chairperson demonstrates, without doubt, that the Zimbabwe National Roads Authority has no business whatsoever managing the funds for road maintenance for councils.

In our tour, as he said, we found time and time again that the councils were extremely not happy even in communication as he highlighted because we found in Gwanda in particular, that ZINARA was happy to write by Whatsapp messages for disbursement of loss of Government funding and there is no follow up.  There is absolutely nothing like that.  It is a disgrace.  ZINARA is neither equipped nor willing nor able to run because if it is given that chance, it misappropriates monies and it spends money on some very strange things, Mr. Speaker Sir.

Our Chairperson will recall that we were shocked when we visited Zvishavane Town Council to find that money was spent on some very strange experiment that was said to be new technology for gravel roads called stabilisation that would involve putting gravel on the roads and then pouring some chemical that was in some drums, whose chemical composition was never tested and which has not really been used elsewhere, but thousands of dollars were spent and I cannot recall the amount.  Zvishavane Municipality was told by the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructural Development, through ZINARA, to take that technology.  They literally poured that money out on the roads and it of course, never just worked and that money could have been used elsewhere.

So, Mr. Speaker Sir, I do support the report of the Portfolio Committee.  I speak with some passion because I have a motion that is on the Order Paper and this Parliament is going to end without it being concluded and without the Hon. Minister coming to respond; that can ZINARA please lay its hands off the revenues, the licence fees, that motorists in urban and rural authorities pay so that money goes straight to municipalities and they are monitored on how the money works to ensure that our roads are smooth. 

          Devolution in terms of Chapter 15 means also financial devolution and ZINARA has demonstrated that it cannot do this.  For example in Harare West, there is now an Emergency Road Rehabilitation Programme where 13 roads are going to be fixed because of the money disbursed by the Government.  However, those roads are exaggerated, most of them are overstated in terms of length and money is allocated alongside that.  So, issues like that show that ZINARA should be investigated and stopped from handling money because it buys slow ploughs and strange things like stabilisers and it wants to communicate on WhattsApp; it does not give feedback and does not disburse money on time.  It should just be left to do major trunk roads and leave local authorities on their own because it cannot manage and supervise local authority roads.  I thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.

          HON. ENG. MADANHA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  Once again, I would like to thank Hon. Majome for the very important contribution.  I therefore move that the report be now adopted;

Motion that this House;

CONCERNED that the state of the capital city Harare’s and other urban roads are in an appallingly dilapidated state that is not only car-worthy but is hazardous to life, limb and property;

RECALLING that the Zimbabwe National Roads Administration (ZINARA) took over from Harare City Council and other municipalities the collection of termly vehicle licensing fees, 10% of which revenue would be retained by municipalities for road maintenance;

FURTHER recalling that municipalities were able to fund the maintenance of roads then, but disconcerted that the state of municipal roads deteriorated steadily since ZINARA took over the revenue collection, and even more sharply in the last four years;

CONCERNED that ZINARA fails to disburse to Harare City Council sufficient money to maintain roads, despite the bulk of the nation’s vehicle fleet being domiciled in Harare;

FURTHER disturbed by the lack of transparency, inequity in disbursement and misappropriation of revenues from motorists by ZINARA, which is not in the national interest, as exemplified by the recent purchase of snow ploughs;

AFFIRMING and encouraged by the imperative in Section 264 (f) of the Constitution to ‘transfer responsibilities and resources from national government in order to establish a sound financial base for each provincial council and local authority’; and

MANDATED by the duty of Parliament in Section 119 (2) of the Constitution to, ‘ensure that the provisions of this Constitution are upheld and that the State and all its institutions and agencies of government at every level act constitutionally and in the national interest’;

NOW THEREFORE this House resolves that;

a)    ZINARA ceases to collect termly motor vehicle licence fees thereby restoring that function to Harare City Council and all other respective municipalities and local authorities.

b)   Harare City Council and the respective municipalities and other local authorities retain 100% of the resultant revenues from termly motor vehicle licences and suspend remittances to ZINARA until all their roads are in a demonstrably recovered state.

c)    ZINARA disburses to Harare City Council by July 2017 all the arrears it had undertaken to pay, and by December 2017 to all other local authorities.

d)   ZINARA accounts be audited for the past 5 years for its revenues and comparative disbursements to local authorities and its expenditure, and such audit be tabled to the Public Accounts Committee put and agreed to.

On the motion of HON. MATUKE, seconded by HON. MUKWANGWARIWA, the House adjourned at Thirteen Minutes to Five o’clock p.m. until Tuesday, 31st July, 2018.

 

 

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National Assembly Hansard NATIONAL ASSEMBLY HANSARD 07 JUNE 2018 VOL 44-66