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Roundup Bulletin No. 3- 2012
Southern African Parliamentary Support Trust
February 17, 2012
A number of
Portfolio Committees received oral evidence on various policy issues
from the ministries and government departments they shadow. Below
is a summary of their proceedings.]
of Committees Activities
Water Lands and Resettlement
received oral evidence from the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry
of Lands and Rural Resettlement, Mrs. Tsvakwi on the Land Reform
informed the Committee that her ministry was still working on bankable
99-year leases. The Ministry is working with the Ministry of Local
Government, the Ministry of Environment, the Attorney General’s
office and the Banker’s Association to come up with leases
that are acceptable to banks and can be used by farmers as collateral.
The leases will take into account the developments that the resettled
farmers would have found on the land: the resettled farmers will
have to pay for the improvements they found on the land to assist
government to compensate the former owners of the properties. The
amounts charged depend on whether the allocated land was virgin
land or whether the farmer found structure or equipment on the farm
they were allocated. The Committee heard that to date only 1300
farmers had been recommended across the country for the 99 year
leases, but to date only 127 leases had been issued countrywide.
The process has been hampered by the under-staffing levels at the
When asked about
reports of land invasions that were taking place in some parts of
the country, the Permanent Secretary said it was case of farmers
with valid offer letters who were now taking up farms allocated
to them having failed to do so earlier However, the Committee was
informed that in situations where invasions had taken place by people
who did not have offer letters, such invasions were considered illegal
under the country’s land reform policy.
When asked if
there any plans to resettle people who had invaded plantations and
conservancies, the Ministry officials indicated that the favoured
approach was to accommodate those people on the farms they occupied
to allow them to take up the land use options they found in the
farms they occupied. Possible solutions include adopting the Community
Areas Management Programme for Indigenous Resources Association
(CAMPFIRE) approach that has been a success in some areas in the
country; having an out-grower arrangement between the resettled
farmers and the owners of the plantations or creating cooperatives
amongst the resettled farmers for them to get a meaningful return
on their investments.
land audit, the Committee was informed that farm registers had been
prepared and preliminary work had been done to prepare for the audit,
but the programme had not been funded by the Finance Ministry for
the past two to three years.
officials also informed the Committee that they were looking into
partnerships that were being formed by resettled farmers and investors.
The Committee heard that partnerships were tolerated as long as
the resettled farmers retained overall control of the farms. Any
partnership agreement entered into between resettled farmers and
investors would have to be submitted to the Ministry for verification.
called for a holistic approach to the land reform exercise and agriculture
as a sector. The Committee argued that the 99-year leases alone
would not solve the problems farmers were facing as there were more
problems that go beyond the issue of collateral.
Finance and Investment Promotion
received oral evidence from the Commissioner General of the Zimbabwe
Revenue Authority (ZIMRA), Mr. Gershom Pasi on ZIMRA’s operational
challenges at the ports of entry, which the Committee visited recently,
namely; BeitBridge Border Post, Forbes Border Post and Chirundu
In his submissions
to the Committee, Mr. Pasi acknowledged that there was high staff
turn-over at border posts due to a range of reasons, chief among
these were lack of staff houses and other social amenities. MR.
Pasi informed the Committee that at the height of the economic meltdown,
ZIMRA lost 650 officers due to resignation and most of these were
experienced officers. The current establishment at ZIMRA stands
at 2500 employees and most of these were trainees.
One-Stop Border Post at Chirundu, Mr. Pasi told the Committee that
there were some teething problems which impacted on the efficient
movement of goods and clearance of human traffic. The Committee
was further informed that some companies which were contracted to
provide some services at this border post did a shoddy job. He cited
the company that installed air-conditioning equipment. He said the
air-conditioners only functioned for a week before they broke down.
works at Beitbridge Border Post have stalled due to the cancellation
by government of the Public Private Partnership Deal worth $97 million
arguing that the contractor had failed to meet the targets. However,
Mr. Pasi was of the view that government did not proffer adequate
reasons pertaining to cancellation of the deal.
He also stated
ZIMRA had a zero tolerance policy for corruption. Hence officers
found on the wrong side of the law were rooted out of the system.
Mr. Pasi reported that in 2011 a total of 17 ZIMRA officers and
supervisors were dismissed for corrupt activities.
Legal Constitutional and Parliamentary Affairs
was briefed by Acting Permanent Secretary Mr. Ranga and the Zimbabwe
Prisons Services (ZPS) Deputy Commissioner Machingauta on the challenges
the Ministry of Justice and Legal Affairs was facing in discharging
its mandate and the situation regarding conditions of prison inmates.
The ministry officials highlighted the following;
- Most activities
in the ministry were being hampered by lack of financial resources.
- There was
need for timeous release of funds by treasury.
of the Judicial College was being hampered by non-availability
- There was
need for the computerization of the deeds office; currently a
manual system was being used.
should prioritize prisons when making financial allocations in
order to cater for the welfare of inmates. The International Committee
of the Red Cross pulled out of subsidizing food rations for prisoners
hence the need for treasury to cover the gap.
- The committee
was informed that efforts were being made to reform prisons in
a bid to eradicate incidents of human rights abuses.
Energy and Power Development
received oral evidence from the Minister of Mines and Power Development
Hon. Elton Mangoma on the challenges being faced by the country
regarding electricity generation.
revealed to the Committee that Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority
(ZESA) was sitting on a debt of $800 million which it was failing
to service. Part of this debt had to do with power imports from
Mozambique and Zambia.
informed the Committee that ZESA was owed over $400 million by defaulting
customers. He said the defaulting consumers included some Ministers,
Members of Parliament and senior government employees who have ignored
calls for them to pay thereby prejudicing the power utility company.
questioned the rationale by Ministers and senior government officials
to give ZESA a directive to disconnect customers owing as low as
$30 and $40 in high density suburbs and low density suburbs, respectively,
whilst they themselves owed ZESA excessively huge amounts, some
more than $100 000. He said ZESA, with his blessings, had resolved
to switch off power to all defaulting consumers regardless of their
station in society as way to compel them to pay up their outstanding
bills. He assured the Committee that there would be no sacred cows.
also informed the Committee that there was an investor who had expressed
interest in constructing a thermal power plant of about 600MW generation
capacity. The authorities were still evaluating the proposals and
a decision will be taken soon.
expansion of Hwange and Kariba Power stations, the Minister indicated
that government received a positive response as 11 companies submitted
their bids. The adjudication process was currently underway and
the process would be complete by June this year. All these efforts
were meant to ease pressure on the national power grade.
also revealed to the Committee that efforts on the extraction of
the Methane gas in Lupane were at an advanced stage.
Resources, Environment and Tourism
Secretary in the Ministry of Land s and Resettlement, Mrs. Tsvakwi,
testified before the Committee on the resettlement of farmers in
heard that the Wildlife based land reform policy was approved in
the year 2007. Before the approval of the policy, all gazetted land
was aimed at agriculture (crop production and/or animal husbandry).
The Committee heard that the land classification at the Deeds Registry
did not classify land according to viable land options, hence the
gazetting of land for agricultural purposes. The officials admitted
that prior to the approval of the policy the Ministry was resettling
people in conservancies for agricultural purposes.
with the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources Management,
the Lands and Rural Resettlement Ministry handed over farms in conservancies
to the Environment and Natural Resources Management. Seven conservancies
were covered by the policy: Chiredzi River, Bubiyana, Gwai, Malilangwe,
Save, Midlands Black Rhino and Bubi conservancies which cover 152
farms. Following the approval of the policy the responsibility for
the activities in the conservancies now belonged to the Ministry
of Environment and Natural Resources Management.
who were resettled before 2007 for agricultural purposes in conservancies,
the Committee heard that the Land and Resettlement Ministry asked
the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources Management to
accommodate them and assist them to adapt to the new land use.
officials also informed the Committee that discussions on the Forestry
based land reform policy were underway.
was informed that the authority to resettle farmers was a shared
responsibility of three ministries, namely; Ministry of Local Government
(responsible for A1 farmers) Ministry of Lands and Rural Resettlement
(responsible for A2 farmers) while conservancies are handled by
the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources Management.
Youth Gender and Community Development
received presentations from youth organizations, namely; Young Voices
and YETT. The objective of the committee was to understand the activities
of these organizations and their mandates.
Network indicated to the Committee that the organization was established
in order to involve young people in governance issues with the aim
to empower them economically. Currently the organization was operating
in areas that were affected by political
violence in 2008 in Mutoko, Epworth, Hatcliff Extension, Macheke
and Masvingo. The organization was currently running a peace-building
project in Mutoko, a housing project in Hatcliff Extension and a
gardening project in Macheke.
Ms. Katsande informed the Committee that her organization was a
network-based youth organization committed to the participation
of young people in development. In this regard, YETT is involved
in the following activities;
- The organization
is currently working with thirty three youth organizations which
are in most provinces.
- The organization
provides financial support for education, health, environment,
advocacy, governance, peace building and entrepreneurship projects.
- The organization
is also involved in exchange programs and sharing of best practices.
- YETT is also
involved in the training of young people in leadership skills.
- The organization,
through its peace building initiative organizes unifying activities
like sport for youths from different political dispensations so
that they come together and desist from violence towards each
- The organization
also runs programs specifically for young women in a bid to encourage
them to participate in national issues.
- The challenges
being faced by the organization include funding, young women participation
in its initiatives and high levels of unemployment amongst the
- There is
need for the development of a holistic approach towards youth
the committee that their organization was a student-based movement
aimed at addressing challenges faced by students pertaining to their
sexual reproductive health. The organization targets students in
tertiary institutions and is currently active in 27 such institutions
in the country. SAYWHAT representative, Mr. Wilford told the Committee
that lack of student support by government was contributing to the
spread of HIV/AIDS in tertiary institutions as students engaged
in sexual relationships for money usually with older men or women.
He therefore appealed to the committee to assist them to lobby for
the reintroduction of student loans and grants, resuscitation of
dilapidated college infrastructure and to address the issue of abortion
in a holistic approach.
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