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Both Houses to sit this week - Bill Watch 19/2012
Veritas
May 14, 2012

Both the House of Assembly and the Senate will resume on Tuesday 15th May

This resumption of sittings by both Houses of Parliament comes after a lengthy break that began at the end of March when the Houses adjourned for the Easter school holiday recess.

According to the House of Assembly and Senate sitting calendars the only sittings this month will be those scheduled for Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday this week, after which there will be adjournments until 5th June for the House of Assembly and 12th June for the Senate. For June the sitting calendars envisage 9 sitting days for the House and 6 for the Senate, which are scheduled to be the last sittings of the current Parliamentary session. The opening of the next session, the fifth and last of the present Parliament, is scheduled for 17th July. [For calendars for the rest of 2012 see Bill Watch 18/2012 of 12th May.]

It will be interesting to see how much of their workload – some of it long outstanding – the Houses complete. They can of course opt to sit more days than those scheduled on the sitting calendars.

House of Assembly Order Paper

Bills

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, as 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 Second Reading speech and further debate is awaited, but progress may be delayed while Parliament takes stock of the impact of a court application lodged by Minister of Local Government, Rural and Urban Development Ignatius Chombo for an interdict prohibiting Parliament from considering the Bill

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

National Incomes and Pricing Commission Amendment Bill

This is waiting for the introductory speech from the Minister of Industry and Commerce Welshman Ncube. The Bill was introduced during the last Parliamentary session, which ended in September 2011. This Bill has been on the Order Paper for many months without any move from the Minister.

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 it has considered the adverse report and decided whether or not to adopt it. If the House adopts the adverse report, any clause found to be inconsistent with the Constitution will have to be dropped from the Bill or amended so as to remove the inconsistency. [Note: Official text of the PLC report not available until PLC chairman has presented it to the House.]

Awaiting PLC report

Older Persons Bill

This Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare Bill was read the first time on 20th March and referred to the PLC for its report, which is expected to be announced this week.

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 spoken, and several MPs have had their say, both for and against the motion. A contribution from the responsible Minister – the Minister of Justice and Legal Affairs – is expected. [For a discussion of State misuse of section 121(3) see Court Watch 8/2012 of 25th April] Minister Chombo’s court application to stop the Urban Councils Amendment Bill could impact on this Bill’s progress.

Motions

If the Government fails to press on with the urgent Government Bills on the Order Paper [Human Rights Commission and Electoral Amendment Bill], there are motions to keep MPs busy, including: the long-running motion of thanks for the President’s speech opening the current Session; several take note motions on Portfolio Committee reports; and Hon Musundire’s motion for the withdrawal of the Indigenisation Regulations.

Senate Order Paper

Bills

POSA Amendment Bill

The Senate still has to complete debate on Mr Gonese’s motion for his 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 awaits a contribution to the debate from the Minister of Justice and Legal Affairs, Senator Chinamasa.

Other Bills may need the Senate’s attention this week – but only if the House of Assembly gets round to passing one or more of the Bills on its own Order Paper.

Motions

There are motions for continuation of debates previously commenced: take note motions on Thematic Committee reports on prisons, on education MDGs; on the ARV therapy roll-out programme; and Senator Mohadi’s motion for assistance to farmers in agricultural region 5.

Government Gazette from 28th April to 11th May

Acts and Bills - None

Statutory Instruments [electronic copies NOT available from Veritas]

Collective bargaining agreements

Wages and allowances for the printing, packaging and newspaper industry [SI 81/2012] and the textile industry [33/2012]; General conditions of service for the security industry, including wages and allowances [SI 76/2012]

Environment

Plastic packaging and bottles SI 84/2012 of 11th May contains amendments to “the principal regulations” unfortunately without specifying their year and SI number [presumably SI 98/2010]. The amendments re-state the obligations of importers and manufacturers of plastic packaging and bottles, the recycling obligations of users of polystyrene, and specify registration and quarterly fees for manufacturers.

Local authority rents and charges by-laws

  • Gokwe Town Council [SI 74/2012]; Karoi Town Council [SI 75/2012]; Mutare [SI 82/2012]; Plumtree Town Council [SI 79/2012]
  • Other local authority by-laws Plumtree [cemeteries charges – SI 80/2012]; Rusape [clamping and tow away – 78/2012]

Road tolls – Kariba Dam Wall SI 72/2012 lists new fees for four classes of vehicles

Road traffic axle-loading permit fees [SI 85/2012]

Shop licence fees Gokwe Town Council [SI 73/2012]; Mutare City Council [SI 83/2012]

General Notices

Income tax The Minister of Finance has exempted the Securities Commission from income tax [GN 163/2012].

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