Important Bills and Acts Gazetted & ZICC Bill in Committee Stage: Bill Watch 79/2021

The purpose of this short bulletin is to:

  • Notify the publication in yesterday’s regular Friday Government Gazette of the two Bills and two Acts Bills listed below. The Bills are available for downloading on the Veritas website at the links indicated.
  • Remind readers that the Zimbabwe Independent Complaints Commission Bill received its Second Reading in the National Assembly on Tuesday 23rd November. This means that it is possible that its Committee Stage could come up in the House during the coming week should there be a delay or pause in the main business of the week, which is the 2022 Budget debate.

Two Bills Gazetted

Summaries, analyses and, where appropriate, criticism of these two Bills will follow in separate bulletins. Neither of the Bills is likely to be introduced this year in view of the Standing Order stipulating that Bills should not be introduced before the lapse of fourteen days after publication in the Government Gazette.

Child Justice Bill

This lengthy Bill – 58 pages containing 94 clauses – is intended to establish a child justice system for children [i.e. any person under 18] “in conflict with the law”. In other words, the criminal justice system for children will be catered for in the Act that this Bill will become if passed by Parliament. The objective, according to the explanatory memorandum with the Bill, is that this child justice system will be “in accordance with the values and principles regarding children underpinning the Constitution and the international obligations of Zimbabwe”.

Children’s Amendment Bill

This 17-page Bill’s objective is to update the Children’s Act in line with the Constitution and modern best practices. It includes new provisions setting out general principles relating to children, children with a disability or chronic illness and the general duty of care for a child. The Child Welfare Council will be renamed the Child Welfare and Protection Council and provision will be made for membership of the Council to include representatives of parents of children with disabilities. The Council will also be able to receive complaints direct from children. The comprehensive explanatory memorandum with the Bill outlines the effect of these and other clauses of the Bill.

Two Acts Gazetted

Forest Amendment Act, 2021 (No. 4 of 2021)

This Act is already in operation, having coming into force yesterday, the date of its publication in the Government Gazette, in accordance with section 132 of the Constitution:

“132 Commencement of Acts of Parliament

An Act of Parliament comes into operation at the beginning of the day on which it is published in the Gazette, or at the beginning of any other day that may be specified in the Act or some other enactment.”

[Neither the Act itself nor any other enactment specifies any other day for the Act’s commencement.]

Data Protection Act [Chapter 11:22] (No. 5 of 2021)

This Act, too, is already in operation, having come into force yesterday, the date of its publication in the Government Gazette, in the absence of any other provision in the Act itself or some other enactment.

Note that the Act:

Has emerged from the Parliamentary process with a new and shorter short title. The original Bill for the Act was called the “Cyber Security and Data Protection Bill”.

Contains lengthy and important amendments to two existing Acts:

  • Criminal Code (Codification and Reform) Act – to amend sections 162 to 166 of the Act to provide for investigation and collection of evidence of cyber-crime and unauthorised data collection and breaches, and to provide for admissibility of electronic evidence for such offences;
  • Interception of Communications Act – to establish a Cyber Security Centre.

ZICC Bill in Committee Stage

Zimbabwe Independent Complaints Commission [ZICC] Bill

The Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs wound up the Second Reading debate and the Bill was given its Second Reading, as notified in Bill Watch 75/2021 . This cleared the way for the Committee Stage and the Minister now has two proposed amendments on the Order Paper for 7th December.

Source: Veritas

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