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Parliament in recess during April - Update on bills waiting - Bill Watch 17/2012
Veritas
April 30, 2012

Both Houses of Parliament are adjourned until Tuesday 15th May

Meetings of Portfolio and Thematic Committees are suspended until 7th May

Note: The parliamentary committee that met last week was not a regular committee, but an ad hoc Committee on Privileges specially appointed to consider a contempt of Parliament charge [see Bill Watch – Parliamentary Committees Series of 23rd April]

Mining Industry “Nationalisation”: Public Notice of 5th April NOT Gazetted

The extraordinary “public notice” published in the press on 5th April by the Minister of Youth Development, Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment has not been gazetted. A notice has no claim to legal standing unless gazetted. Even if the notice had been gazetted it would have been surprising if it got past the Parliamentary Legal Committee as it has been generally condemned as legally unsound not only by the Prime Minister but also by legal commentators. [See Bill Watch 16/2012 of 5th April for comment on the notice]

Update on Acts

All eleven Bills passed by Parliament during 2011 have been gazetted as Acts [for list see Bill Watch 13/2012 of 27th March]. Two of these Acts are still not in force: the Attorney-General’s Office Act [4/2011] and the Small Enterprises Development Corporation Act [6/2011]; each of them requires the President to fix a date of commencement by statutory instrument. Parliament has not passed any Bills since the beginning of this year, so gazetting of Acts of 2012 has not yet started.

Update on Bills in Parliament

House of Assembly

Awaiting start of Committee Stage

Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission Bill
This Bill had its Second Reading on 27th March after full debate. The Minister of Justice and Legal Affairs, who is the responsible Minister, has tabled amendments he intends to propose for adoption during the Committee Stage; these include changes to meet objections from the Parliamentary Legal Committee [PLC] [for details see Bill Watch 14/2012 of 28th March].

Undergoing Second Reading debate

Urban Councils Amendment Bill
This is a Private Member’s Bill introduced by Hon Matimba of MDC-T. It seeks to make major cuts in the powers given to the Minister of Local Government, Rural and Urban Development by the Urban Councils Act. Hon Matimba has made his introductory speech and further debate is awaited, but progress on this Bill may be delayed by a court application lodged last week by Minister of Local Government, Rural and Urban Development Ignatius Chombo for an interdict prohibiting Parliament from considering the Bill. Minister Chombo’s court application is based on constitutional grounds and will be discussed in a separate Bill Watch. It remains to be seen how Justice Bere’s recent ruling on the sub judice rule will be interpreted by the Speaker in this case, and whether the Speaker will stop debate on this Bill pending determination of the court application. [Correction of error: Bill Watch 15/2012 of 2nd April incorrectly said this Bill was still awaiting House approval of its introduction. In fact it had already been introduced and received a non-adverse report from the PLC, and the Second Reading stage had started. Veritas apologises for the error.]

Awaiting start of Second Reading stage after non-adverse report from PLC

Awaiting consideration of Adverse Report from PLC

Electoral Amendment Bill
The PLC’s adverse report on this Bill, announced by the Speaker on 27th March, means that the House cannot proceed to the next stage [Second Reading] of the Bill until the House has first considered the adverse report in committee and then in plenary session voted on a resolution to adopt the adverse report which will be moved by a member of the PLC. If the House adopts the adverse report, any clause the House finds to be inconsistent with the Constitution will then have to be dropped from the Bill or amended so as to remove the inconsistency. [Note: Official text of adverse report not yet available.]

Proposed Private Member’s Bill to repeal section 121(3) of Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act

The House is part of the way through its debate on Mr Gonese’s motion requesting its permission to introduce this Bill. Mr Gonese has made his introductory speech and several MPs have contributed, both for and against the motion. Debate has been adjourned to give the responsible Minister – the Minister of Justice and Legal Affairs – an opportunity to reply to points raised. The object of the Bill is to take away the power of a prosecutor to stall for 7 days the release of an accused person on bail while the Attorney-General considers whether or not to appeal against the decision of the magistrate or judge who granted bail. [For a discussion of State misuse of section 121(3) see Court Watch 8/2012 of 25th April]

Senate

POSA Amendment Bill
The Senate still has to complete debate on Mr Gonese’s motion for his lapsed Private Member’s Bill to be restored to the Senate Order Paper [it lapsed at the end of the previous Parliamentary Session in September 2011]. The Senate is expecting a contribution to the debate from the Minister of Justice and Legal Affairs, Senator Chinamasa, who was unavailable during recent Senate sittings. Before the Bill lapsed last year Senator Chinamasa, one of the GPA negotiators, had told the Senate the Bill was inappropriate because it was the subject of discussion by the negotiators.

Death of Senator Mudzingwa

The death on 10th April of MDC-T Senator Tichaona Mudzingwa, Deputy Minister of Transport, Communications and Infrastructure Development brings the number of vacant Senate seats to 14 out of a total of 99. It does not, however, add to the number of pending by-elections because Dr Mudzingwa was an appointed Senator, nominated by MDC-T in terms of Schedule 8 to the Constitution [GPA, Article 20.1.9]. All that is required to fill the vacancy is the nomination of a replacement by MDC-T, followed by the nominee’s formal appointment by the President.

Government Gazette from 23rd March to 27th April

Acts - No Acts were gazetted. Gazetting of 2011 Acts was complete by mid-March [see above.] No Bills for Acts of 2012 have been passed by Parliament so far this year.

Bills - No Bills were gazetted – and no Bills are currently being printed by the Government Printer.

Statutory Instruments [SI 65/2012 on immigration permits available from veritas@mango.zw]

Immigration permits – Ministerial intervention – SI 65/2012 of 20th April inserts a new section 37A into the Immigration Regulations [SI 195/1998] allowing the Minister of Home Affairs, in any particular case, to direct the Chief Immigration Officer to issue a residence, temporary employment, scholar’s or alien’s permit to anyone in Zimbabwe, notwithstanding any other provision in SI 195/1998.

New cantonment under Defence Act SI 61/2012 declares the area of the Army Boarding School in Kadoma district a cantonment for the purposes of the Defence Act. Under the Act entry into a cantonment is restricted to Defence Forces personnel and their families, State employees on duty, and other persons authorised to enter by the officer in command of the cantonment.

Customs regulations SI 70/2012 grants a 2-year suspension of duty to China-Zimbabwe Sunrise Mining (Pvt) Ltd in respect of a specified mining location SG 4591. SI 69/2012 provides for a 2012 once-off duty rebate for certain items for the National Railways of Zimbabwe.

Wild life – compensation for animals and fish unlawfully hunted, caught or trapped Where a person is convicted of unlawful hunting or trapping of animals or catching of fish, the court must, in addition to any fine or prison sentence, order the payment of compensation to the appropriate authority for the land concerned [e.g. the Director of Parks and Wild Life, the landowner or lessee, the State] according to tariffs fixed by the Minister of Environment and Natural Resources Management. SIs 56 and 57/2012 set out new tariffs fixed by the Minister in terms of the Parks and Wild Life Act and the Trapping of Animals (Control) Act; the amounts, most of them fairly substantial, range from $5 per kilogram of fish to $120 000 for a rhinoceros.

Collective bargaining agreements deal with 2012 wages for the agricultural industry kapenta sector [SI 32/2012] and allowances for all agricultural industry sectors [33/2012]; 2012 wages for the energy industry [SI 50/2012]; 2012 wages and allowances for the soft drinks manufacturing industry [SI 64/2012]; and full conditions of service for the transport operating industry [SI 67/2012].

Police promotions SI 68/2012 lists officers promoted in terms of the Police Act with effect from 4th May 2011. The ranks involved are inspector, chief inspector, superintendent, chief superintendent, assistant commissioner, commissioner and deputy commissioner-general.

Local authority rents and charges by-laws Bulawayo [SIs 48 and 49/2012]; Bindura [SI 44/2012]; Epworth [SI 66/2012]; Gweru [SI 55/2012]; Kadoma [SI 62/2012]; Kwekwe [SI 43/2012]; Mvurwi [SI 71/2012]; Redcliff [SI 31/2012]; Ruwa [SI 673/2012]; Zvishavane [SI 59/2012].

Other local authority by-laws Bulawayo [cemeteries charges – SI 46/2012]; Norton [food hygiene by-laws – SI 41/2012]; Gweru [cemeteries charges – SI 51/2012; clamping and tow away – 60/2012; commuter omnibus station – SI 52/2012; long-distance omnibus station – SI 53/2012; pre-paid parking discs – SI 54/2012; traffic – SI 42/2012]; Norton [mobile take-aways and hawkers – SI 58/2012].

General Notices

Government financial statements

The Secretary for Finance published four sets of statements as supplements to the Government Gazette of 27th April. They are for the quarter ended 31st December 2011, and for the months of December 2011, January 2012 and February 2012. This gazetting is required by section 34 of the Public Finance Management Act.

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

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