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Report on The Ministry of Home Affairs [S.C 14, 2006]
of the Portfolio Committee on Defence & Home Affairs
Session – Sixth Parliament, Parliament of Zimbabwe
to Parliament on June 06, 2006
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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.
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.
PROCEEDINGS OF THE COMMITTEE
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.
FINDINGS OF THE COMMITTEE
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.
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.
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.
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
MATAPI POLICE STATION
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 .
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.
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.
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.
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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