Bill Watch 34/2014 of 9th September

Both Houses of Parliament Are Sitting Again This Week

Coming Up in Parliament This Week

Both Houses of Parliament are sitting this week, for the third week in a row.

Senate

Bills The Senate is still waiting for the National Assembly to complete work on Bills and transmit them to the Senate. The Sovereign Wealth Fund of Zimbabwe Bill is the only Bill likely to reach the Senate this week [see below]. It may need to be amended by the Senate to remedy the matter that was overlooked when it went through the Committee Stage in the National Assembly [see below].

Motions The are no new motions to be presented. The number of partly-debated motions on the Order Paper has been reduced to nine.

Question Time Thursday As was the case last week and the week before that, there are no written questions on the Order Paper.

National Assembly

Bills Sovereign Wealth Fund of Zimbabwe Bill Having gone through its Committee Stage last week, this Bill is once again with the Parliamentary Legal Committee [PLC] for an assessment of the constitutionality of the Bill as amended [see below]. The PLC is due to consider the Bill at its meeting on 10th September. Meanwhile, further progress in the National Assembly wait until the PLC has reported. There may also be a further delay to allow the National Assembly to make the further amendment to the Bill mentioned below in describing last week’s proceedings.

Three other current Bills [see Status of Bills below] are also awaiting consideration by the Parliamentary Legal Committee [PLC].

Note: The Income Tax Bill – passed by the last Parliament but returned unsigned by the President in December 2013 – is still on the Order Paper for reconsideration, but as it is clearly not a Government priority it is unlikely to come up any time soon.

Motions Most of the 40-plus motions listed are awaiting continuation of partly-completed debates and/or responses from Ministers. Two motions that have been awaiting presentation by their proposers for a long time, have been listed high up on the Order Paper:

• Fallen heroes’ residences as heritage sites – Hon Nduna’s motion calls on the Executive to recognise and honour fallen heroes by declaring the residences from which they operated during the liberation struggle as national heritage sites; and

• Modern agricultural technologies – Hon Khupe’s motion calls on the Minister of Agriculture to consider such technologies as drip irrigation as a tool for alleviating poverty and achieving rural transformation.

Question Time Wednesday There are 29 questions with notice on the Order Paper, a distinct improvement on last week’s 40.

In Parliament Last Week

Both Houses sat on all three of last week’s sitting days, 2nd, 3rd and 4th September.

Senate

Bills There were no Bills for consideration.

Motions Senator Mlotshwa wound up debate on the motion on infant male circumcision; the Senate then voted against it.

Question Time There being no written questions on the Order Paper, Senators voted to extend the time for questions without notice, and the question and answer session continued until the adjournment at 4 pm. Enough Ministers or Deputy Ministers were present to keep things going until then.

National Assembly

Bills The Sovereign Wealth Fund of Zimbabwe Bill was at last dealt with in Committee Stage, after a delay of several months. Having given one day’s notice his intentions, the Minister of Finance and Economic Development moved a number of extra amendments to the Bill, in addition to the amendments he had notified in March. All were approved by the National Assembly. The Bill, as amended, was then referred back to the Parliamentary Legal Committee for its report on the document’s constitutionality. [The approved amendments are available from Veritas from the addresses given at the end of this bulletin.]

Note: The last amendment replaced a clause amending the Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation Act [original clause 30] with two clauses amending the Banking Act and the Reserve Bank Act. These two new clauses have nothing to do with the Sovereign Wealth Fund. Technically, these changes should have been accompanied by corresponding amendments to the long title at the beginning of the Bill, i.e. by deleting the existing reference to the ZMDC Act and inserting references to the Banking Act and Reserve Bank. This defect needs to be corrected, either in the National Assembly before its final vote on the Bill, or in the Senate when it considers the Bill.

Motions There was some debate on the motion on the establishment of a sports fund to promote the development of sport for Parliamentarians, and on Hon Misihairabwi-Mushonga’s motion on national hero status. But none of the 40 plus motions on the Order Paper were actually concluded and approved.

Question Time Hon Cross reminded the Speaker that his written question to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, asking whether the Ministry had engaged the South African Government to establish how the rights of the millions of Zimbabwean residents in South Africa can be protected, had gone unanswered for four months. This was, he said, a crucial question and the House was entitled to an answer. The Speaker gave an assurance that these sentiments would be conveyed to the Minister.

Status of Bills

Bills awaiting Presidential assent and gazetting None

Bill awaiting Committee Stage

• Income Tax Bill [awaiting reconsideration in light of President’s reservations]

Bills awaiting Second Reading stage None

Bills under consideration by Parliamentary Legal Committee

• Sovereign Wealth Fund of Zimbabwe Bill, H.B. 6A, 2013 [“6A” because it was amended during the Committee Stage in the National Assembly]

• Zimbabwe Gender Commission Bill, H.B. 8, 2014

• Public Accountants and Auditors Amendment Bill, H.B. 6, 2014

• Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (Debt Assumption) Bill H.B. 7,2014

Bills awaiting introduction

• Biological and Toxin Weapons Control Bill, H.B. 5, 2013

Bills being printed None.

Government Gazette of 5th September 2014

[not available from Veritas unless otherwise stated]

Acts None

Bills None

Statutory Instruments [SIs]

Defence Forces retirement age SIs 134 and 135/2014 [see detailed note above]

Collective bargaining agreement SI 133/2014 specifies minimum wages for the sugar milling industry for the year April 2014 to March 2015.

Private investigators and security guards SI 136/2013 sets new minimum charges that security firms may charge for services rendered by licensed security guards.

General Notices [GNs]

Senate GNs 381 and 382/2014 [see detailed note above]

Court Calendar error GN 311/2014 corrects a mistake in the date given in the originally gazetted calendar [GN 609/2013]; the correct commencement date for the High Court’s Third Circuit in Mutare is Monday 27th October.

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