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PPC Report on The Ministry of Home Affairs [S.C 14, 2006]
First report of the Portfolio Committee on Defence & Home Affairs
First Session Sixth Parliament, Parliament of Zimbabwe
Presented to Parliament on June 06, 2006

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1. INTRODUCTION

1.1. Your Committee examined the operations of the Ministry of Home Affairs with particular emphasis on the Police Holding Cells, the Registrar General's Department and Immigration Control. In the conduct of its business, your committee held meetings where it received written and oral evidence and paid fact finding visits to the various departments of the Ministry in a number of Provinces throughout the country, namely Harare, Mashonaland East, Manicaland, Midlands, Masvingo and Bulawayo.

1.2. Your Committee wishes to commend the Ministry Officials for their efficient responses to the Committee's requests and for the replies which assisted the Committee to compile this Report.

2. PROCEEDINGS OF THE COMMITTEE

2.1. As part of its proceedings and on spot inquiries, your Committee selected three departments of the Ministry of Home Affairs, namely the Registrar General's Offices, the Zimbabwe Republic Police (Z R P) and the Immigration Control. The inquiries were conducted on service delivery, operational capacities, utilization of funds appropriated by Parliament and challenges faced by the three Departments.

3. FINDINGS OF THE COMMITTEE

3.1. On the Zimbabwe Republic Police Operations, your Committee placed emphasis among other things on the conditions of the Holding Cells at the various stations that it chose to visit. These were Matapi, Highlands, Marondera and Rusape Police Stations and Mutare, Masvingo, Gweru and Harare Central Police Stations.

4. POLICE STATIONS

4.1. As your Committee conducted its tour of various Police Stations around the country it found that the situation was the same at most Stations although at times the intensity and extent to which certain conditions prevailed differed. For example, issues around the shortages of manpower, food for inmates, rations for officers, erratic fuel allocations, transport, blankets, detergents, accoutrements, unsatisfactory conditions at holding cells, inadequate stationery, lack of Office and staff accommodation were observed at all the Police Stations visited.

4.2. In terms of manpower shortages Gweru Central Police Station was one of those hardest hit. There were 175 officers out of 300 resulting in a shortfall of 125. Officers at the Gweru Central Police Station faced an acute shortage of accommodation to the extent that some married officers were accommodated in former horse stables. Your Committee found this state of affairs completely deplorable.

4.3. The Masvingo Central Police Station revealed to your Committee that the Province was dealing with an upsurge in murder cases. Generally, there were delays in dealing with pending cases by the Courts. Masvingo Central Police Station alone had 4 000 pending cases and there were only 3 junior magistrates to dispose of all those cases. The Officers lamented the issue of fines which they said were not deterrent enough as offenders paid the fines and continued to commit further crimes with impunity as if laws did not exist

5. MATAPI POLICE STATION

5.1. The Committee visited Matapi Police Station where it held interviews with Officers and also conducted a tour of the holding cells. It was evident from the thorough cleaning that had been done that the station had prepared for the Committee's visit. Although there were no inmates at the time of the visit, your Committee, nonetheless, observed that there was a shortage of blankets .

5.2. The entire Police Station did not have any security lights, a situation that might pose a security risk to the station. Lack of security lights at the station was coupled with the non functional lights at the holding cells. Your Committee found such a state of affairs quite unacceptable and strongly urges the department to take urgent remedial measures to redress the situation.

5.3. Your Committee also observed the acute shortage of office space at the station. Evidence given to your Committee showed that officers also experienced accommodation problems.

5.4. Matapi Police Station, unlike all other stations visited by your committee, reported adequate food supplies and that inmates were given at least three meals a day. Your Committee actually found this quite interesting but could not ascertain the accuracy of the claim as there were no inmates to confirm this statement.

5.5. The station was also experiencing equipment and manpower shortages. The entire Police Station did not have its own typewriters or computers at all. The one typewriter which was being used was said to belong to an individual who had loaned it to the Station. Stationery was also in short supply. The total manpower strength at the time of the visit was said to be forty two out of a total of seventy for the establishment.

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