THE NGO NETWORK ALLIANCE PROJECT - an online community for Zimbabwean activists  
 View archive by sector


Back to Index

This article participates on the following special index pages:

  • Marange, Chiadzwa and other diamond fields and the Kimberley Process - Index of articles

  • Diamond Sales Regulations gazetted - Bill Watch 39/2010
    October 04, 2010

    The House of Assembly will resume sitting on Tuesday 5th October

    The Senate remains adjourned until 12th October

    A Brief Initial Agenda for House of Assembly

    When the House of Assembly sits again on Tuesday 5th October, after a three-month break to accommodate the Constitution outreach process, there will be only three items on the Order Paper:

    • the continuation of the Second Reading debate on Mr Gonese’s Private Member's Bill to amend the Public Order and Security Act [POSA]. Mr Gonese and his seconder have already spoken. The opportunity now exists for other MPs, including Ministers, to state their views on the broad principles of the Bill – details of wording and possible changes are for the Committee Stage which will follow if the House approves the Second Reading of the Bill.
    • a new motion launching the customary debate in response to the speech delivered by the President when opening the present Third Session of Parliament on 13th July
    • continuation of the debate on the speech delivered by the President when opening the previous [Second] Session of Parliament in October 2009. This incomplete debate lapsed when the Second Session came to an end in July, but the House has already passed a motion restoring it to the Order Paper.

    The agenda for subsequent days should expand fairly rapidly as Ministers give notice of presentation of Bills and as members table motions and put down questions for reply by Ministers. There are four Bills that have already been printed and are ready for presentation [see below]. But two important Bills mentioned in the President’s speech, both urgent, have still not been sent for printing – the Electoral Amendment Bill and the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission Bill.

    No Public Portfolio Committee Meetings This Week

    Some House of Assembly portfolio committees will be holding their inaugural meetings of the session during the week. The meetings will be concerned with “housekeeping” matters. None of the meetings will be open to the public.

    Update on Bills

    Bills awaiting presentation in Parliament

    Four Bills are ready for First Reading, after which they must be referred to the Parliamentary Legal Committee [PLC] for the PLC to consider whether they are consistent with the Constitution. Only after the PLC has reported to the House can the Bills be taken further.

    Zimbabwe National Security Council Amendment Bill

    The Bill aims to make the Minister responsible for the Prison Service, currently Minister of Justice and Legal Affairs Patrick Chinamasa, a member of the National Security Council and to clarify, by a slight change in wording, the NSC membership status of the Minister responsible for National Security, currently Minister of State for State Security in the President’s Office Sydney Sekeramayi. The Bill will be presented by the Minister of Justice. [Other Ministers on the NSC are those responsible for Finance, Defence and Police and one nominated by each of the three GPA parties – along with the Prime Minister, both Deputy Prime Ministers the President and both Vice-Presidents. Also NSC members are the Commander of the Defence Forces, the Commanders of the Army and Air Force, the Commissioner-General of Police, the Commissioner of Prisons, the Director-General of State Security, the Chief Secretary to the President and Cabinet, and the Secretary to the Prime Minister. [Electronic versions available: (1) Bill and (2) Zimbabwe National Security Council Act showing effect of proposed amendments.]

    Criminal Law Amendment (Protection of Power, Communication and Water Infrastructure) Bill: This Bill, to be presented by the Minister of Justice, provides for a tougher response by law enforcement authorities and courts to vandalism and theft of electricity, telecommunications, broadcasting, railway and water “infrastructure material”. It provides for amendments to the Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act; the Postal and Telecommunications Act; the Broadcasting Services Act; the Railways Act; the Electricity Act; and the Water Act. Changes include:

    • adding the statutory offences concerned to the list of “serious economic crimes” for which, at the option of the Attorney-General, there can be no bail until 21 days after the first court appearance amendments to Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act, Ninth Schedule
    • lengthy mandatory prison terms where not already provided for by the relevant Act [but with a let-out where a court finds special circumstances – this is designed to keep the penalty provisions within constitutional limits]
    • as a measure to counteract theft and trafficking in stolen infrastructure material [e.g., cables, piping, etc, etc], requiring persons transporting any “infrastructure material” to have a special police clearance certificate [or have appropriate customs clearance if in transit through Zimbabwe] – and enacting stiff prison terms for those unable to produce such clearance certificates on demand by police or authorised inspectors
    • provision for forfeiture of land or premises on which stolen infrastructure material is found if the owner knowingly concealed or stored the material on the land or in the premises. [Electronic version of Bill available.]

    Attorney-General’s Office Bill: The object of this Bill is to constitute the Attorney-General’s Office as a service outside the Public Service; and to establish a Board to administer the Office. The Board will fix conditions of service for members of the Office – apart from the Attorney-General and the Deputy Attorneys-General, whose conditions are fixed under the Constitution. The Bill will be presented by the Minister of Justice. [An earlier version of this Bill was gazetted in April 2005 and introduced into the House of Assembly, but lapsed at the end of the 2005/2006 Parliamentary session.]

    Energy Regulatory Authority Bill: This Bill aims to establish the Zimbabwe Energy Regulatory Authority and its governing board, to spell out the functions of the Authority and to make consequential amendments to the Electricity Act and the Petroleum Act. The Authority will be the regulatory body for electricity and petroleum supplies, replacing the Electricity Regulatory Commission and the Petroleum Regulatory Authority. The Bill also provides for the Authority to be the regulatory body and licensing authority for other energy sources. The Bill is to be presented by the Minister of Energy and Power Development.

    Bills being printed [copies not yet available]

    Deposit Protection Corporation Bill: In his speech opening Parliament in mid-July the President said this Bill would transform the existing Deposit Protection Scheme, set up under the Banking Act, into an independent statutory entity. The object is to provide compensation for depositors if banking institutions fail.

    General Laws Amendment Bill: The proper purpose of General Laws Amendment Bills is to make minor updating amendments to Acts of Parliament, but they are sometimes used to make important changes.

    Small Enterprises Development Corporation Amendment Bill: no details available.

    Statutory Instruments

    Diamond Sales to Local Diamond Manufacturers: SI 157/2010, gazetted on and effective from 1st October, contains the Minerals Marketing Corporation of Zimbabwe (Diamond Sales to Local Diamond Manufacturers) Regulations, made by the Minister of Mines under the Minerals Marketing Corporation of Zimbabwe Act. The regulations require the Minerals Marketing Corporation [MMCZ], which is responsible for marketing and selling all diamonds mined in Zimbabwe, to reserve up to 10% of the diamonds it receives for sale to local diamond manufacturers. Local diamond manufacturers will have to pay “competitive prices” and submit regular returns to MMCZ showing use made of the diamonds they buy. [Electronic version of regulations available.]

    Looming Bans on Left-Hand Drive Vehicles and Importation of Used Vehicles: There are other noteworthy provisions in the recently gazetted Road Traffic (Construction, Equipment and Use) Regulations SI 154/2010 in addition to those mentioned in Bill Watch 33. Two of them are:

    • a ban on the use of locally-registered left-hand drive vehicles unless first registered here before 31st March 2011
    • a total ban on the use of locally registered left-hand drive heavy vehicles after 31st December 2015
    • a ban on the importation of motor vehicles more than 5 years old for registration and use in Zimbabwe – unless first registered in Zimbabwe before 31st March 2011.

    General Notice: ZIMRA Ruling on Zimdollar/US Dollar Conversion

    GN 274/2010, gazetted on 1st October, sets out a “provisional general ruling” by the Commissioner-General of the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority [ZIMRA] on the conversion of end of 2008 balances in Zimbabwe Dollars to US dollars for tax purposes. [Electronic version of ruling available.] Note: this is a provisional ruling and the last paragraph of the ruling invites submissions from stakeholders, presumably with a view to incorporating to the correction of errors or omissions.

    Veritas makes every effort to ensure reliable information, but cannot take legal responsibility for information supplied.

    Please credit if you make use of material from this website. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License unless stated otherwise.