BILL WATCH 28-2017

BILL WATCH 28/2017

[14th August 2017]

Parliament is Now in Recess

Official Opening of the Next Session – Tuesday 12th September

Acts of Parliament Gazetted on 4th August

Two Acts of Parliament were published in the Government Gazette on Friday 4th August:-

·        Public Procurement and Disposal of Public Assets Act [Act 5/2017] [link]

·        Movable Property Security Interests Act [Act 9/2017] [link].

The Acts are not yet in force.  When the responsible Ministries are ready to implement them, they will have to be brought into force by the President.  This will be done by statutory instruments fixing their dates of commencement in terms of section 1(2) of each Act.

The updated list of Acts of 2017 is set out in the table below.   

Updated list of Acts of 2017

No

Title

Date gazetted

Commencement

1

Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Amendment Act, 2017

23 March 2017

23 March 2017

2

Finance Act, 2017

23 March 2017

23 March 2017

3

Appropriation Act, 2017

23 March 2017

23 March 2017

4

Not yet gazetted *.

 

 

5

Public Procurement and Disposal of Public Assets Act [Chapter 22:23]  

04 August 2017

Not yet in force

6

National Competitiveness Commission Act [Chapter 14:36]

23 June 2017

23 June 2017

7

Judicial Laws Amendment (Ease of Settling Commercial and Other Disputes) Act, 2017

23 June 2017

23 June 2017

8

Deeds Registries Amendment Act

23 June 2017

23 June 2017

9

Movable Property Security Interests Act [Chapter 14:15]

04 August 2017

Not yet in force

 

* Note on Act 4/2017  This number is reserved  for the ZEP-RE (Membership of Zimbabwe and Branch Office Agreement) Act, the Bill for which was originally passed on 28th March.  The gazetting of this Act has been delayed because the President sent the Bill for the Act back to the National Assembly for correction of a defect in its preamble that was identified when the Bill was submitted to the President’s Office for his assent and signature.  The matter is still under consideration by the National Assembly.  

Note on SI 64/2016

SI 64/2016 [link] was supposed to help local industries, but hit cross border traders hard and was contrary to trade agreements Zimbabwe had signed.  Its enactment in June 2016 provoked serious unrest and violence in the country and protests from governments of neighbouring countries claiming that its restrictions on their exports to Zimbabwe were in breach of regional trade rules.  Constitution Watch 14/2016 of 26th July 2016 [link] gave the opinion that SI 64 is unconstitutional and inconsistent with Zimbabwe’s international obligations.  The SI continues to hit the Zimbabwean informal sector and to be a sore point with Zimbabwe’s SADC trading partners.  The Minister of Industry and Commerce last week admitted that he will have to deal with strong resistance to SI 64/2016 from his regional counterparts in meetings at Ministerial level leading up to the forthcoming Summit of SADC Heads of State and Government in Pretoria on 19th and 20th August.

Government Gazettes Friday 28th July to Friday 11th August

Acts gazetted

See the note at the beginning of this bulletin on the two Acts gazetted on 4th August.

Statutory Instrument of 28th July

Labour Act: Conditions of service for rural district council employees  SI 87/2017 sets out a collective bargaining agreement containing comprehensive conditions of service for these employees.  The agreement will remain in force until replaced by a further agreement.  It applies to all rural district councils and all their employees in Grades 1 to 9, whether permanent, on fixed term contract, casual or seasonal.  The usual subjects are covered, including grading, minimum salaries and allowances, contract and notice, leave, code of conduct, retirement, gratuities etc.

Statutory Instruments of 4th August

Collective bargaining agreement: Ferro-Alloy Industry  SI 88/2017 is the latest of a number of recent SIs that have modified employment conditions in one industry after another by introducing a standard provision that after workers have done three years’ continuous service under fixed-term contracts from then on they will be deemed to be under contracts “without limit of time”.

Veterinary laboratories   SI 89/2017 contains new regulations made under the Animal Health Act that impose strict controls on the operation of veterinary laboratories.  The regulations came into force immediately, i.e., on 4th August.  From now on, a new laboratory will require a certificate of approval issued by the Director of Veterinary Services on the recommendation of a committee of the Government’s Central Veterinary Laboratory, before operations are commenced.  Existing laboratories will have six months to secure approval.  Standards to be met, and application, registration and renewal fees, are prescribed.  There are also provisions regulating testing of biological samples for disease surveillance and confirmation, and testing of live animals and animal products for movement control and import and export certification, reporting of test results to the Director of Veterinary Services, controls on sample shipment, and adherence to national, regional and international standards.  Manufacturers of animal vaccine and reagents will require authorisation from the Director of Veterinary Services.  Appeals against decisions can be made to the Minister of Agriculture Mechanisation and Irrigation Development.  A further appeal against the Minister’s decision can be made to the Administrative Court.

Suspension of customs duty on hydrogenated soya bean oil  In SI 90/2017 the Minister of Finance and Economic Development allows a 12-month suspension of duty on the importation of hydrogenated soya bean oil by Olivine Industries for use for manufacturing purposes at Olivine’s business.  The suspension is ring-fenced at 240 metric tonnes per month.  Extension of the suspension to other manufacturers would require a further SI adding their names to the Schedule of approved importers.  

Statutory Instruments of 11th August

Electricity (Grid Code) Regulations  SI 91/2017 contains the Electricity Grid Code approved by the Minister of Energy and Power Development after consultation with the Zimbabwe Energy Regulatory Authority.  In 102 highly technical pages liberally sprinkled with acronyms [explained in a glossary], the Grid Code is a far cry from conventional regulations.  It is “intended to establish the reciprocal obligations of industry participants around the use of the National Transmission System (NTS) and operation of the country’s Interconnected Power System (IPS)”; and will be enforceable by licensing measures as opposed to criminal sanctions..  

Collective bargaining agreement: Grain Marketing Board  SI 92/2017 amends the principal agreement by providing for fixed-term contract employees with continuous service to become permanent employees.  A GMB worker with continuous service for 24 consecutive months becomes a permanent employee from the date of initial engagement.  

General Notices of 28th July

ZEC notices   

GN 441/2017 is the published official notice of the result of the Chiwundura by-election of 15th July.  It was announced by ZEC on 16th July and was legally effective on the 16th July.  The new MP, Brown Ndlovu, was sworn in on 25th July.  

GN 440/2017 announced a new proportional representation/party list MP see above, in item headed Vacancies in Parliament.  

General Notices of 4th August

Extensions of special grants for mining  GNs 443 to 448/2017 notify extensions, with Presidential authorisation, of six special grants, including a 25-year extension of Special Grant 4084 in Matabeleland North Mining District for Zambezi Gas (Pvt) Ltd.    

Compulsory acquisition of agricultural land for public purposes  GN 456/2017 [link] notifies a compulsory acquisition of land for public purposes under section 72(2) of the Constitution.  Like previous such notices, the notice does not specify the particular public purpose of the acquisition.  It should have done so, and the omission exposes the acquisition to a legal challenge.  Section 72(2) of the Constitution does not confer unlimited power to acquire agricultural land for any purpose whatsoever.  It requires the acquisition to be for a public purpose and gives a non-exhaustive list of examples of public purposes.  It is a principle of expropriation law that a notice of acquisition should state what the purpose of an acquisition is, so that a court can, if necessary, decide whether or not it qualifies as a “public purpose” under the law allowing the acquisition.  It is not enough for the Minister to say so in the notice of acquisition.

General Notices of 11th August

Hurungwe Bus Accident of 7th June a “state of disaster”  GN 457/ 2017 signed by the Minister of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing, is the legal notice of the President’s declaration on 9th June of a state of disaster in the Hurungwe District as a result of the accident. The declaration enabled Government to use the National Civil Protection Fund to provide funeral and other assistance to victims and their families .in which 43 people died.  This notice should have been published much sooner because section 27 of the Civil Protection Act says publication must occur “as soon as possible”.  

More mining special grant extensions  GNs 461 to 466/2017 notify another batch of special grant extensions for periods varying from 2 to 3 years.

 

 

 

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