In pursuit of its constitutional mandate as provided in section 152(2) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe, the Parliamentary Legal Committee (herein referred to as “the Committee) considered the Presidential Powers (Temporary Measures) (Extension of State Liabilities Act to the Assets of Chitungwiza Municipality) Regulations, 2017. After deliberations the Committee unanimously resolved that an adverse report be issued in respect of the Statutory Instrument, due to the following reasons:
1. In issuing Statutory Instrument 110 of 2017, the executive tampered with an already determined judicial matter. This interference violates the doctrine of Separation of Powers. This move to stay the Court’s Judgment amounts to interference by the Executive in the business of the Judiciary thus violating the principle of separation of powers as guaranteed in section 3 (2) (e) of the Constitution. It also violates section 164 “Independence of the Judiciary” as this undermines the work of the Courts since court judgments can be stayed whenever the Executive relies on the Presidential Powers (Temporary Measures) Act.
2. Statutory Instrument 110 of 2017 limits the application of section 324 of the Constitution which requires all bodies to diligently perform their constitutional obligations. The intended effect of the Statutory Instrument is to release assets of the Chitungwiza Municipality from attachment. The duration of the regulations is 180 days and for that 180 days the assets remain in the possession of the Chitungwiza Municipality.
Section 5(2) of the State Liabilities Act [Chapter 8: 14] stipulates that:
“no execution or attachment or process in the nature thereof shall be issued against the defendant or respondent in any action or proceedings referred to in section two or against any property of the State, but the nominal defendant or respondent may cause to be paid out of the Consolidated Revenue Fund such sum of money as may, by a judgment or order of the court, be awarded to the plaintiff, the applicant or the petitioner, as the case may be.”.