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General Laws Amendment Bill, 2005 (HB 5/2005) - AS AMENDED
August 30, 2005

Note: A considerable number of important amendments were made to this Bill at the committee stage. For the original Bill see the General Laws Amendment Bill, 2005 gazetted on May 20, 2005.

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Gazetted 20th May, 2005, amended to include changes at August 30, 2005.

NOTE ON THIS VERSION OF THE BILL

This document incorporates all the amendments made to the Bill in Parliament, up to and including those made on the 30th August, 2005, as reflected in the uncorrected Votes and Proceedings of the House. Committee Stage amendments were made on the 27th and 28th July, 2005 (shown in red in this document - see clauses 2, 13, 21, 26, 31 and 33 and Schedule).

The Parliamentary Legal Committee returned a non-adverse report on the amendments. Subsequently, on the motion of the Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, the Bill was "recommitted" (i.e., the Committee Stage was re-opened) and further amendments were made on the 30th August, 2005 (text shown in blue - see clauses 7, 11 and 25, below).

Those further amendments are now (7th September, 2005) under consideration by the Parliamentary Legal Committee. The original Bill H.B. 5, 2005 contained 28 clauses and a Schedule; after these two sets of amendments, the number of clauses has risen to 35. As a result of the amendments, clause numbers in this version, from clause 2 onwards, differ from those in the original Bill.

Comments on Committee Stage Amendments

These comments deal only with the new clauses added to the Bill and the changes made to certain of the original clauses.

Clause 2 (new clause)
Amends section 9 of the Statute Law Compilation and Revision Act [Chapter 1:03] to permit the appointment of the Deputy Chairman of the Law Development Commission to act as Law Reviser.

Clause 7 (new clause)
Amends section 346A of the Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act [Chapter 9:07] with a view to clarifying the procedure for altering the standard scale of fines by statutory instrument. A new subsection (4) for that section makes it clear that the Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs must obtain Parliamentary approval of a draft before publishing a statutory instrument altering the standard scale.

The clause is in fact unnecessary, because clause 11 (see below) will make section 346A a dead letter by bringing the corresponding provisions of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act [Chapter 9:23] (Act No. 23 of 2004) (the "Criminal Law Code") into immediate operation, ahead of the remainder of that Act. (Those provisions already contain a provision identical to the new subsection (4) provided for by this clause.)

Clause 11 (new clause)
This clause is an obvious response to two facts: (1) that the current standard scale of fines (set out in Statutory Instrument 192 of 2003) has remained unchanged since the 19th September, 2003, notwithstanding the massive decline in the value of money in the nearly two years that have passed since that date; (2) that the pending successor scale (the new standard scale set out in the First Schedule to the Criminal Law Code) is already totally inadequate and will be even more inadequate by the time the Code comes into force in several months' time).

The clause accordingly makes provision for the early replacement of the standard scale with a new scale specifying monetary amounts that are substantially higher than the amounts specified in both the current standard scale and the standard scale that would otherwise have replaced it in due course (the scale presently set out in the First Schedule to the Criminal Law Code). It is a rather complicated provision but its effect is that the new standard scale of fines set out in subclause (1) will come into force on the date on which this Bill is published in the Government Gazette as the General Laws Amendment Act, 2005. Assuming final approval of this Bill shortly after Parliament resumes sittings on the 11th October, 2005, that could be before the end of October.

A noteworthy difference between the new standard scale and the scale presently set out in the First Schedule to the Criminal Law Code is that in the new scale the maximum permissible deposit fine will not be limited to half the monetary amount of level three.

Clause 13 (original clause 10, as altered)
This clause amends section 5 of the Pools Control Act [Chapter 10:19]. In its original form the clause would have allowed not only licence fees, but also pool betting tax, to be fixed in regulations made by the responsible Minister instead of, as at present, having to be fixed in the Finance Act. That would not only have gone beyond the intention stated in the memorandum, which referred to licence fees only, but would have been wrong in principle. The Committee Stage amendment restricts the scope of the clause to licence fees only.

Clause 21 (original clause 18, as altered)
At present, the correct position in law is that the Rural Electrification Fund Act [Chapter 13:20] (No. 3 of 2002) came into force on the 16th May, 2005, the date fixed for its commencement in Statutory Instrument 67A of 2005, made in terms of section 1(2) of the Act. The purpose of the clause is to backdate the commencement of the Act to the date on which it was originally published in the Government Gazette, which was the 22nd March, 2002. The effect of the Committee Stage amendment is merely to state that date specifically, which is more helpful for the reader.

Clause 25 (new clause)
This clause merely removes three confusing words from section 19(1) of the recently enacted Health Service Act [Chapter 15:16] (No. 28 of 2004); section 19 provides for the establishment of hospital management boards by the Minister of Health.

Clause 26 (new clause)
A significant clause envisaging a major change in the law. It replaces section 10 of the Acquisition of Farm Equipment and Material Act [Chapter 18:23] (No. 7 of 2004) with a new section. The effect of the new section can be appreciated by comparing it with the existing section. The existing section provides as follows—

10 Use of acquired farm equipment or material
Any farm equipment or material acquired in terms of this Act shall vest in the State for the benefit of the Land Reform Programme and shall not be sold or otherwise disposed of to any private individual, institution or corporation.

The new section would abolish that prohibition on sale or disposition of acquired equipment or material and substitute an express provision for the State to sell or otherwise dispose of such equipment or material "for valuable consideration" to "any private individual, institution or corporation requiring to use the equipment or material for agricultural purposes on agricultural land".

Clause 31 (new clause)
This new clause amends various provisions of the Banking Act [Chapter 24:20] (No. 9 of 1999). The amendments do not touch on matters of substance; they merely tidy up outdated references (such as references to the former Post Office Savings Bank) or infelicities of language.

Clause 33 (new clause)
This new clause amends the Legal Practitioners Act [Chapter 27:07] in several respects—

  • paragraph (a), amending section 7(1) of the Act, appears to be designed to place further limitations on the employment in Zimbabwe of lawyers resident outside Zimbabwe
  • paragraph (b) allows registered legal practitioners in the full-time employment of the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority to perform legal services for the Authority without having to hold a practising certificate (thereby extending to them the same exemption already enjoyed by registered legal practitioners in the full-time employment of the State)
  • replaces section 82 of the Act, which presently deals only with the right of State employees to appear in court on behalf of the State, with a wider provision permitting the appearance in court, on behalf of their employer, of both State employees and employees of the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority. The new element is in subsection (2) of the new section; subsection (1) merely repeats the existing provision for State employees.

Schedule
The amendment to the heading of the Schedule is a tidying-up measure of no significance.


Presented by the Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs

BILL

To amend section 9 of the Statute Law Compilation and Revision Act [Chapter 1:03], the Maintenance Act [Chapter 5:09], section 4 of the Judges Salaries, Allowances and Pensions Act [Chapter 7:08], sections 13 and 14 of the Judicial College Act [Chapter 7:17], the Service of Documents (Telegraph) Act [Chapter 8:13], section 346A of the Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act [Chapter 9:07], sections 6 and 7 of the Miscellaneous Offences Act [Chapter 9:15], section 63 of the Serious Offences (Confiscation of Profits) Act [Chapter 9:17], section 9 of the Stock Theft Act [Chapter 9:18], the First Schedule to the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act [Chapter 9:23], section 10 of the Betting and Totalizator Control Act [Chapter 10:02], section 5 of the Pools Control Act [Chapter 10:19], section 6 of the Presidential Powers (Temporary Measures) Act [Chapter 10:20], section 5 of the Lotteries and Gaming Act [Chapter 10:26], the Defence Act [Chapter 11:02], sections 2 and 30 of the War Victims Compensation Act [Chapter 11:16], the Public Order and Security Act [Chapter 11:17] (Act No. 1 of 2002), sections 98 and 103 of the Postal and Telecommunications Act [Chapter 12:05] (Act No. 4 of 2000), section 4 of the Copper Control Act [Chapter 14:06], the Electricity Act [Chapter 13:19], section 1 of the Rural Electrification Act [Chapter 13:20] (Act No. 3 of 2002), section 3 of the Moneylending and Rates of Interest Act [Chapter 14:14], section 4 of the Second-hand Goods Act [Chapter 14:16], section 19 of the Health Service Act [Chapter 15:16], the Acquisition of Farm Equipment and Material Act [Chapter 18:23], the Water Act [Chapter 20:24] (Act No. 31 of 1998), the Environmental Management Act [Chapter 20:27] (Act No. 11 of 2002), section 6 of the Exchange Control Act [Chapter 22:05], section 14 of the Procurement Act [Chapter 22:14] (Act No. 2 of 1999), the Banking Act [Chapter 24:20], the Boxing and Wrestling Control Act [Chapter 25:02], the Legal Practitioners Act [Chapter 27:07], and sections 193 and 196 of the Urban Councils Act [Chapter 29:15]; and to update cross-references to the Children's Act [Chapter 5:06] in certain acts.

ENACTED by the President and the Parliament of Zimbabwe.

1 Short title
This Act may be cited as the General Laws Amendment Act, 2005.

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