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  • Indigenisation regulations in force March 1st - Bill Watch 7/2010
    March 07, 2010

    The House of Assembly will resume on Tuesday 2nd March, The Senate has adjourned until Tuesday 9th March

    Indigenisation Regulations in Force March 1st

    These have not been repealed or amended, so they will come into operation on Monday 1st March in the form in which they were originally gazetted on 29th January. [The Prime Minister’s condemnation of the regulations as null and void has no legal effect. See Bill Watch 6/2010 of 22nd February for a summary of the regulations and a consideration of their validity.] The regulations are due to be discussed at an extraordinary meeting of the Council of Ministers on Thursday 4th March, but modifications are unlikely, given the uncompromising statements by the President at his Saturday birthday party and by the Minister of Youth Development, Indigenisation and Empowerment on Friday to the business community in Bulawayo.

    Public Hearings on POSA Amendment Bill

    The Portfolio Committee on Defence and Home Affairs has spent the last two weeks holding public hearings on the Bill around the country, most of them well attended. The Committee will meet again on 8th March to draw up its report on the Bill for presentation to the House of Assembly during the Second Reading debate. Opinion from the public seems unanimous that the total repeal of POSA is what is wanted, but meanwhile the amendments are a step in the right direction. [Available [1] POSA with all amendments to date; [2] POSA annotated to show the effect of the changes proposed by the Bill.]

    Update on Inclusive Government

    The 1st Anniversary of the Inclusive Government was on 13th February. The Joint Monitoring and Implementation Committee [JOMIC] report is due but not yet available. There has been a flurry of articles in the press, some listing the GNU’s successes, some predicting its rapid collapse - meanwhile there continue to be delays in the negotiations on disputed areas of governance between the parties.

    Negotiations on GPA Disputed Issues: The South African facilitation team had a four-hour meeting with the negotiators in Harare on Monday 8th February, met the principals on Tuesday 9th and returned to South Africa on Wednesday 10th. The negotiators met several times, but no progress has been announced. [Contrary to press reports there was no Commitment Plan submitted to the SA facilitation team nor to SADC.] MDC-T negotiator Tendai Biti said the negotiators could take matters no further and that it was time for President Zuma and SADC to step in. President Zuma’s expected visit on 13th and 14th February did not take place.

    Preparation for Elections? The Prime Minister has said that if there is deadlock it should be acknowledged, the issues already resolved should be implemented, issues still unresolved should be “parked” for the time being and preparations made for early elections. Party spokesman Nelson Chamisa said before new elections can be called MDC-T want certain guarantees in place: “We need to first deal with the political infrastructure, the election administration regime and there has to be guaranteed security of persons and the process itself, so that there is no repeat of the June 2008 fiasco.” If those conditions were satisfied, he said, an election in 2011 would be acceptable [this was the timing suggested by President Zuma]. Public pronouncements by ZANU-PF seem to indicate they are becoming more focused on next elections – and their electioneering is revolving round the so-called “illegal sanctions” and “black empowerment” [indigenisation]. Human rights organisations have expressed concern that ZANU-PF militia camps have been set up and that there is an increase in incidents of violence and intimidation which they interpret as the start of pre-election violence.

    “Sanctions” Renewed by EU: The European Union have renewed restrictive measures against specified Zimbabwean individuals and companies for a further year until February 2011; although 9 companies and 6 individuals were dropped from the list. The EU Council cited “the lack of progress in the implementation of the Global Political Agreement (GPA)”. President Zuma is reported to have said he will press for the removal of all measures against Zimbabwe during his state visit to the United Kingdom next week.

    IMF Voting Rights Restored: On 19th February the International Monetary Fund restored Zimbabwe’s voting and related rights, suspended since 2003. The move was supported by the US, UK and Germany. As Zimbabwe is still in arrears in debt repayment, it still cannot borrow money.

    Cabinet Circular on Vice-Presidential Functions: This controversial circular [see Bill Watch 5 of 6th February] has been withdrawn by the three GPA principals. It had been interpreted as a bid to reduce the Prime Minister’s powers.

    National Security Council [NSC] to Meet Monthly: It has been agreed by all parties that from now on the NSC will meet monthly as required by the NSC Act; meetings will be on the first Friday of every month – the next meeting should be on 5th March. Whether this will result in the disbandment of the non-statutory Joint Operations Command, as demanded by MDC-T, remains to be seen.

    MDC Nominees Sworn in as Ambassadors: On 17th February the President swore in five new ambassadors, four nominated by MDC-T and one by MDC-M. They are Hebson Makuvise [Germany], Hilda Suka-Mafudze [Sudan], Jacqueline Nomhla Zwambila [Australia], Mabed Khumbulani [Nigeria] [all from MDC-T] and Trudy Stevenson [Senegal] [MDC-M].

    Parliamentary Update
    The House of Assembly met on 9th, 10th and 11th February and the Senate on 9th, 10th and 23rd February.

    House of Assembly
    Speaker’s Statement on Disorder in the House on 3rd February: On 9th February the Speaker made a statement condemning the “disorderly encounter” in the House the previous week and the defiance by two members of the Deputy Speaker’s orders to leave the chamber.

    POSA Amendment Bill: will be considered by the Parliamentary Legal Committee [PLC] this coming week. Until the PLC has reported on its consistency with the Constitution the House cannot proceed with the Bill. The Portfolio Committee on Defence and Home Affairs held several public hearings on the Bill. [See Bill Watch Legislative Reform Series 1/2010 of 16th February for a commentary on the Bill.]

    Motions: The House approved the agreement of 27th November 2003 between Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Botswana and South Africa on the Establishment of the Limpopo Watercourse Commission.

    Ministerial Statement: On 9th February Minister of Local Government, Rural and Urban Development Ignatius Chombo made a Ministerial Statement on the State of Local Government, outlining “a disturbing decline in municipal service delivery and general capital development”.


    Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Amendment Bill: On 23rd February the Committee Stage of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Amendment Bill had to be postponed when Senators said they had not been given copies of the Bill with the amendments made by the House of Assembly – so they could not follow the further amendments tabled by ZANU-PF’s Senator Mutsvangwa. The Senate resumes on 9th March. [Amended Bill available on request.]

    Thematic Committee Report: The Thematic Committee on Peace and Security presented its report on the role of the Ministry of Agriculture, from in promoting and safeguarding Peace and Security. This was the first report from a Senate thematic committee since they were formed last year.

    Workshop on Role of Senate: Senators attended a workshop in Bulawayo from Wednesday, 17th February to Saturday, 20th February. The objective of the workshop was to provide them with an opportunity to come up with a “clear role and mandate of the Senate”.

    Coming up in the House of Assembly

    Motions: On Tuesday Minister of Economic Development and Investment Promotion Elton Mangoma will seek approval of the Agreement between Zimbabwe and South Africa for the Promotion and Reciprocal Protection of Investments [also known as BIPPA]. This was signed in November 2009. Other motions on the Order Paper include Hon. Bhasikiti’s motion on sanctions and Hon. Gonese’s re-tabled motion on 2008 election violence.
    Question Time: 37 written questions have been tabled for reply by Ministers on Wednesday.

    Court Cases Affecting Parliamentarians

    Roy Bennett Case: The trial will resume on Monday 1st March, when the judge is due to rule on a defence objection to the State’s evidence on the importance of the microwave link Mr Bennett is accused of conspiring to sabotage. Mr Bennett has still not been sworn in as the MDC-T’s Deputy Minister of Agriculture.

    MDC-T MP Convicted of Assault: Pishai Muchauraya, MDC-T MP for Makoni South, has been convicted of assault and sentenced to a fine of US$400 or, in default of payment of the fine, 4 months imprisonment. Mr Muchauraya has paid the fine and is to appeal. [This sentence is not serious enough to place Mr Muchauraya’s House of Assembly seat at risk – section 42 of the Constitution provides for an MP’s seat to be vacated when a prison sentence of at least 6 months without the option of a fine is imposed].

    Update on Constitutional Commissions

    Media Commission [ZMC] Appointments Gazetted: General Notice 31/2010, gazetted on 19th February by Minister of Media Information and Publicity Webster Shamu, announced the appointment for a 5-year term with effect from 11th February, of the ZMC members whose names were announced on 21st December.
    Electoral Commission [ZEC] and Human Rights Commission [ZHRC]: The Judicial Service Commission [JSC] and Parliament’s Committee on Standing Rules and Orders [CSRO] are being consulted on these appointments, as required by the Constitution. [The proposed chairpersons are are former High Court Judge Simpson Mtambanengwe [ZEC] and Prof. Reg Austin [ZHRC].

    SADC Tribunal Campbell Case Rulings Recognised by South African Court

    On 24th February the North Gauteng High Court ordered the registration of the SADC Tribunal’s rulings in the Campbell case, making it possible for the Tribunal’s awards of damages and costs against the Zimbabwe government to be enforced in South Africa by seizing non-diplomatic Zimbabwe government assets in that country.

    Chiadzwa Diamonds Case

    In the continuing legal dispute over the mining rights, the Chief Justice has ordered that there must be no mining of the disputed area pending the Supreme Court’s decision on the Government’s appeal against Judge Hungwe’s September 2009 decision awarding the rights to African Consolidated Resources [ACR] rather than the Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation and its joint venture partners. The Chief Justice’s other order – for diamonds confiscated from ACR to be held by the Reserve Bank pending the outcome of the appeal – was initially defied when the diamonds were removed from the Reserve Bank’s custody by police, but they have now been returned. This does not mean that other diamonds mined since in the disputed area have been produced/accounted for.

    Legislation Update

    Acts: No Acts were gazetted last week or this week.

    Bills Passed by Parliament Awaiting President’s Assent and/or Gazetting as Acts: Financial Adjustments Bill, Public Finance Management Act and Audit Office Bill.

    Bill in House of Assembly: POSA Amendment Bill – awaiting reports from the PLC and the Portfolio Committee on Defence and Home Affairs before proceeding to Second Reading. Unlikely to be dealt with next week [see above].

    Bill in Senate: the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Amendment Bill awaits its Committee Stage [see above].

    Statutory Instruments: SI 29/2010 provided for suspension of customs duty on motor vehicles imported by tourism operators; SI 31/2010 amended the toll road regulations, including provision for monthly [US$10.00] and quarterly [US$30.00] tickets for peri-urban residents; SI 34/2010 amended the insurance regulations, requiring insurance brokers to have unencumbered investments in approved securities and to hold professional indemnity cover.

    General Notices: GNs 21 and 22/2010 announced investigations by the Competition and Tariff Commission into [1] ZESA for alleged abuse of its monopoly by excessive charges, and [2] restrictive and unfair business practices in the music industry.

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