BILL WATCH 40/2017
[31st October 2017]
Both Houses of Parliament Are Sitting This Week
Reconfigured Ministries: Nomenclature “Clarified”
The Chief Secretary to the President and Cabinet has issued a statement clarifying the nomenclature of the Ministries that were “reconfigured” by President Mugabe’s 9th October Ministerial reshuffle. As a result three of the Ministry names given in Bill Watch 38/2017 [link] are no longer precisely correct, although they were based on official information. The three Ministries now with slightly different names are the following:
· Information, Media and Broadcasting Services [not Media, Information and Broadcasting Services]
· Tourism, Hospitality Industry and Environment [not Environment , Tourism and Hospitality Industry]
· Local Government, Public Works and National Housing [not Local Government, Rural Development and National Housing].
The list provided in Bill Watch 38/2017 will be corrected accordingly and posted separately on the Veritas website.
On the National Assembly’s Agenda for This Week
International agreements for approval
Items 1 to 3 on the Order Paper for Tuesday are motions by the Minister of Service, Labour and Social Welfare seeking approval of three international agreements in terms of section 327(2) of the Constitution:
· Marrakesh Treaty to Facilitate Access to Published Works for Persons who are Blind, Visually Impaired or Otherwise Print Disabled [This treaty forms part of the body of international copyright treaties administered by the World Intellectual Property Organisation [WIPO]. Its main goal is to create a set of mandatory limitations and exceptions for the benefit of the, visually impaired, and otherwise print disabled persons (VIPs)].
· SADC Protocol on Employment and Labour [link]
· PO29, Protocol of 2014 to the International Labour Organisation’s Forced Labour Convention, 1930 [link].
Debate on proposed approval of amendment to World Trade Organisation agreement This is item 4 on the Order Paper for 31st October. Debate is due to continue on the Minister of Industry and Commerce’s motion for the approval of the Protocol to insert a new Trade Facilitation Agreement [TFA] into Annex 1A of the Marrakesh Agreement establishing the World Trade Organisation, of which Zimbabwe has been a member since 1995. The new TFA was negotiated at the Bali Ministerial Conference in December 2013.
Estate Administrators Amendment Bill [link] – for Committee Stage. The Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs has tabled an amendment be wishes to be made – to include a new clause that will add two items to the list of examples of “improper or disgraceful conduct” for which registered estate administrators may be struck off the register or otherwise disciplined by the Council of Estate Administrators [Estate Administrators Act, section 54]. The new items are demanding sexual favours from a client, employee or prospective employee and engaging in “unwelcome sexually-determined behaviour” (examples of which are given) towards any client or employee; the full text of the amendment is on the Veritas website [link].
Mines and Minerals Amendment Bill [link] – for Minister’s speech starting the Second Reading stage [depending on outcome of consultations between Minister and the chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Mines and Energy].
Insolvency Bill [link] Vice-President Mnangagwa, in his then capacity of Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, delivered a speech starting the Second Reading stage on 3rd October. MPs have not begun their contributions to the debate.
Public Entities Corporate Governance Bill [link] The House is waiting for the report of the Parliamentary Legal Committee [PLC]; the Bill was referred to the PLC after its First Reading on 20th September.
Ministerial Statement on Price Hikes
The Minister of Industry and Commerce is expected to make the Ministerial Statement he promised the House during Question Time on 18th October.
PLC Adverse Reports on SIs 74/2017 and 79/2017
These two reports are listed for consideration. SI 74 contains the Police (Association) Regulations [link], SI 79 the Agricultural Marketing Authority (Command Agriculture Scheme for Domestic Crop, Livestock and Fisheries Production) Regulations [link].
On the Senate’s Agenda for This Week
International agreements for approval
Items 1, 2 and 3 on the National Assembly’s agenda for 31st October [see above] are also listed for approval by the Senate [[section 327 of the Constitution requires approval by both Houses of Parliament], but as items 6, 7 and 8, i.e., coming after the motions listed for presentation or continuation of debate [see below].
No Bills have yet reached the Senate from the National Assembly.
Government Gazette 20th October
Exposure to non-ionising electromagnetic field radiation from telecommunications equipment SI 130/2017 enacts new regulations under the Postal and Telecommunications Act on this subject. The regulations will be administered by the Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe [POTRAZ]. Human exposure limits are set and various obligations imposed on telecommunication licensees, with non-compliance subject to “administrative penalties” ranging from $1 000 to $20 000 per day [“administrative penalties”, sometimes referred to as “civil penalties” are penalties imposed by the Authority, i.e., without any decision by a court. Licensees may think it necessary to take legal advice on whether these administrative penalty provisions are ultra vires, i.e., whether the Act gives the Minister of Information Communication Technology, Postal and Courier Services the power to provide for administrative penalties for non-compliance in the regulations.
Postal and Telecommunications Licence, Registration & Certification regulations – Licence Fees SI 131/2017 supersedes the amendments to the principal regulations made SI 86/2016 of 21st July, which is repealed. The new SI affects the date of payment of licence fees for the following licences: public fixed telecommunications, mobile cellular, internet access and data communication. Fees will now have to be paid “on or before issue of licence or on such later date stipulated by the Authority” [the underlining indicates the words added by the new SI].
Government Gazette 27th October
VAT – export tax relief unbeneficiated hides SI 132/2017 amends the principal regulations [SI 12/2017]. The effect is allow a new three-month window for relief from export tax – 1st October to 31st December – for a slightly expanded list of registered merchants. A new condition is added to ensure that payment for exported hides is made in accordance with the Exchange Control Regulations.
Creation of Commercial Division of High Court GN 640/2017 is a notice by the Chief Justice creating the new Commercial Division of the High Court in terms of section 46A of the High Court Act. Section 46A was added to the Act by the Judicial Laws Amendment (Ease of Settling Commercial and Other Disputes) Act, 7/2017, gazetted on 23rd June 2017 [link]. A Court Watch bulletin will give more detail soon.