The National Assembly Resumes Tuesday 29 June – Bill Watch 42/2021

The National Assembly will Sit Again from Tuesday 29th June
The Senate will Still be in Recess until Tuesday 6th July

Coming up in the National Assembly This Week

Bills

Note: The National Assembly made no progress on Bills during its last pre-recess sittings on 15th, 16th and 17th. The following paragraphs, therefore, largely repeat the notes on Bills in Bill Watch 37/2021 of 15th June.

The Bills are listed in the order in which they appear on the Order Paper:

Two Bills for start of Committee Stages [2]

Cyber Security & Data Protection Bill

This Bill has been stalled at this point for some weeks now. There are many pages of proposed amendments to the Bill to be considered, emanating from both the Minister of Information Communication Technology, Postal and Courier Services and the Portfolio Committee. All the amendments are captured in an extract from the latest Order Paper available on our website. The Minister‘s amendments are extensive and were summarised in Bill Watch 18/2021; if adopted, they will change the original Bill considerably – including shortening its title to “Data Protection Bill”.

Forest Amendment Bill

The start of the Committee Stage of this Bill was delayed by the withdrawal several weeks ago of an earlier Notice of Amendments proposed by the Minister of Environment, Climate, Tourism and Hospitality Industry. A replacement Notice of Amendments appeared for the first time on the Order Paper for 15th June and is available on the Veritas website. It covers more ground than the withdrawn Notice and includes amendments proposed by Hon Musarurwa as well as the Minister. The Minister’s new amendments include provision for the Forestry Commission’s chief executive officer to be titled the “Director-General” and “forest officers” to be appointed by the Director-General from the Commission’s staff [as opposed to the present provision for appointment by the Minister from civil servants and the Commission’s staff]. They also include a restatement of the Bill’s original clause 12 introducing new mandatory minimum fines and imprisonment for various offences in connection with causing fires, whether in State forests and private forests or in the open air on any land.

Bill for continuation of Second Reading debate

Pension and Provident Funds Bill

MPs have begun making their contributions to the Second Reading debate, having previously heard the Second Reading speech by the Minister of Finance and Economic Development and the report of the Portfolio Committee on Budget, Finance and Economic Development on the Bill. Two MPs have so far contributed to the debate, and more contributions on this important Bill are to be expected.

Bill with Parliamentary Legal Committee

The Zimbabwe Independent Complaints Commission Bill

The Bill was referred to the Parliamentary Legal Committee [PLC] on 11th May, immediately after its First Reading in the National Assembly. Its object is to establish the independent mechanism required by section 210 of the Constitution to deal with complaints of misconduct by members of the security services.

Motions

In addition to Hon Dr Khupe’s motion, previously mentioned, calling on Government to (1) find an investor to exploit the Lupane methane gas resources on a Build Operate and Transfer [BOT] basis and (2) and consider the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative [EITA] as a matter of urgency, there are the following members’ motions on the Order Paper for presentation:

  • Hon Madiwa’s motion calling on the Government to follow the example of other countries by declaring a specific day, presumably in terms of the Public Holidays and Prohibition of Business Act, to celebrate women’s achievements in development and liberation of Zimbabwe.
  • Hon Josiah Sithole’s motion calling for the establishment of a Parliamentary Caucus to deal directly with issues affecting persons with disabilities.

Question Time (Wednesday)

Questions without Notice: which must be about Government policy, will come first. Members always have enough questions about Government policy to fill the hour allotted to these questions.

Written Questions with Notice: There are only eight such questions on the Order Paper. Hon Gonese has down several questions for the Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs about Government’s failure to provide accused persons with copies of the charge sheet, State outline, witnesses’ statements and other necessary documents, thus compelling them to resort to photocopying at exorbitant cost. He also asks why the Ministry allows service providers at the Rotten Row magistrates court, to insist on payment in foreign exchange and cash only instead of accepting other modes of payment such as Ecocash, Telecash or Netcash in breach of the relevant regulations.

Hon Raidza has a question for the Minister of Environment, Climate, Tourism and Hospitality Industry about preserving the Buchwa Mountain environment and ecosystem in Mberengwa where destructive inhabitants are parcelling out land on this protected mountain.

Government Gazettes 25th and 28th June

Friday 25th June (regular Friday Gazette)

SI 184/2021 – Agricultural Marketing Authority (Zimbabwe Mercantile Exchange) Rules, 2021

These 74-page rules explain how the Zimbabwe Mercantile Exchange, a company registered under the Companies and Other Business Entities Act, will operate an end-to-end and fully automated commodities market to enable the trading and settlement of commodity-based warehouse receipts. The preamble to the complex rules have been made by the Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Resettlement in terms of the Agricultural Marketing Authority Act as read with the Warehouse Receipts Act, which makes the Warehouse Receipts Act and the Warehouse Receipts (General) Regulations [SI 224/2021] made under it essential reading for anyone aiming to understand the new rules.

SI 185/2021– Mining (General) (Amendment) Regulations, 2021 (No. 36)

This SI, made by the Minister of Mines and Mining Development enacts a new Second Schedule (Prescribed Fees) for the principal regulations, setting out the fees payable for licences issued and other services provided under the Mines and Minerals Act. It repeals and replaces SI 46/2021, which was gazetted on 23rd February. The fees are stated in ZWL dollars, but a note at the end of the new Schedule reads “All fees may be payable in foreign currency at the prevailing official exchange rate.”

SI 186/2021 – Collective Bargaining Agreement: Printing, Packaging and Newspaper Industry

This agreement is gazetted, not only long after it was entered into on 23rd October last year, but also long after the expiry of the short period (August to December last year) for which it specified wage increases.

Monday 28th June (Gazette Extraordinary)

SI 187/2021 – Public Health (COVID-19 Prevention, Containment and Treatment) (National Lockdown) (Amendment) Order, 2021 (No 28)

Another amending Order by the Minister of Health and Child Care setting out measures in response to the current surge in COVID-19 infections, which will extend the existing lockdown until 11th July. [Veritas will be issuing a separate Bill Watch on this SI.]

GN 2086/2021 – Resumption of Issuance of Copper Licences

This General Notice by the Minister of Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage gives public notice that the Minister has resumed issuing copper licences in terms of the Copper Control Act – but subject to “restricted conditions” and only until the amendments to the Act are finalised. The GN also repealed GN 2555/2020 notifying that issuing copper licences was being suspended. [The Copper Control Amendment Bill was gazetted on 6th June 2021. It is now ready, in terms of Standing Orders for its presentation to the National Assembly and First Reading.]

Source: Veritas

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