BILL WATCH 27-2022 - Complaints Commission Bill Passed & Coming up in the National Assembly This Week

BILL WATCH 27/2022

[21st June 2022]

The National Assembly Will Continue Sitting This Week

The Senate Will Not Sit Again Until Tuesday 5th July

Progress on Two Bills Last Week [14th to 16th June]

Immediately before the Senate adjourned until 5th July, it finally passed the only Bill remaining on its Order Paper, with little prospect of more legislative work reaching it from the National Assembly soon – which was probably the reason for its adjournment after only two weeks’ sitting in June.  In stark contrast, the list of Bills awaiting the attention of the National Assembly remained much the same as before and seems likely to grow [see On the National Assembly Order Paper This Week below]. 

Senate

Zimbabwe Independent Complaints Commission Bill [link] passed

This Bill, incorporating the amendments previously made by the National Assembly in clauses 6 and 13, was the only Bill on the Senate’s Order Paper for the week, having been given its Second Reading on 9th June.  On Thursday 16th June the Senate took only a few minutes to complete the passage of the Bill.  Both the Committee Stage and the Third Reading – like the Second Reading stage the week before – were uneventful and totally without debate. 

Parliament will now prepare the Bill for the President’s assent and signature and subsequent publication in the Government Gazette as an Act.

National Assembly

Institute of Chartered Loss Control and Private Security Managers Bill, H.B. 5, 2022 [link]

On Tuesday 14th June the Speaker announced receipt of a non-adverse report from the Parliamentary Legal Committee [PLC].  This clears the way for the start of the Second Reading stage, which is on the Order Paper for this week [see below].

Note on Publication of Proposed Amendments to PVO Amendment Bill   The Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare did not bring up the Bill for completion of the Second Reading stage, so at the end of last week the Bill was still in the Second Reading stage – awaiting any further contributions to the debate and the Minister’s reply.  This was despite the appearance on the Order Paper the week  before of his proposed Committee Stage amendments.  See more on this Bill below, under On the National Assembly Order Paper This Week.

Other Business in the National Assembly Last Week [14th to 16th June]

Reports approved

On 14th June proceedings on the take-note motions on the following previously-presented reports were wound up and approved:

Report of delegation to UN Climate Change Conference, Glasgow, November 2021

Report on Bench-marking Visit to Rwanda, October 2021 [link] by the Portfolio Committee on ICT, Postal and Courier Services.

New reports presented

The following reports were presented on 16th June.  Debate began but was later adjourned [the reports will be available on the Veritas website as soon as they are obtained]:

Rural Electrification Programme by the Portfolio Committee on Energy and Power Development.

Fact-finding visits to Projects under the Industrialisation Programme [2019 to October 2021] by the Portfolio Committee on Industry and Commerce.

Motion on Penalties for Advocates of Sanctions against Zimbabwe

On Tuesday 14th June Hon Togarepi, ZANU PF Chief Whip, seconded by Hon Nguluvhe also of ZANU PF, moved a motion that, without its lengthy preamble, calls upon the House:

a)   To condemn in the strongest of terms such people who have nothing to contribute to our nation other than to call for these unwarranted sanctions on our country.

b)   The banning of holding of Government office positions by those who continue to advocate for sanctions against the county and yet still continue to enjoy benefits from such responsibilities.

c)   The banning of the swearing into office of anyone advocating for sanctions against the country.

The ensuing debate was marred later on by technical failures [Internet on and off several times] affecting those MPs attending the sitting virtually.  ZANU-PF MPs who spoke were enthusiastic in their support and called for the urgent enactment of a “Patriot Act”.  Only Hon Toffa had an opportunity to speak against the motion.  Continuation of the debate was deferred but did not in fact continue on Wednesday or Thursday. 

On the National Assembly Order Paper This Week

Approval of BIPPAs with Indonesia, Botswana and Singapore

The Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Trade has three motions heading the Order Paper requesting the House to approve Agreements on the Promotion and Reciprocal Protection of Investments that had been negotiated and signed on behalf of Zimbabwe years ago – with Indonesia (signed 1999), Botswana (signed 2011) and Singapore (signed 2000) [copies not available].  Approval by both Houses of Parliament is a necessary constitutional step in the process of making the agreements legally binding on Zimbabwe [Constitution, section 327].

Bills

The National Assembly Order Paper for Tuesday 21st June lists the Bills awaiting attention in the following order:

Insurance and Pensions Commission Amendment Bill [link] – for continuation of Committee Stage, with clause 4 under consideration, at which point the Minister of Finance and Economic Development proposes the insertion of a new clause allowing the Commissioner of Insurance and Pensions to delegate her/his functions.  Documents available: (1) Bill Watch 5/2022 [link] containing Veritas comments on the Bill, (2) the Portfolio Committee’s report on the public hearings [link].

Copper Control Amendment Bill [link] – for continuation of Second Reading stage.  There is an anonymous Notice of Amendment on the Order Paper suggesting the amendment of the mandatory minimum penalty in the new section 10A of the Copper Control Act [in clause 7 of the Bill], but it is far from clear and needs further explanation and refinement in order to make sense.  Perhaps the Minister will oblige in his response to the Second Reading debate.

Police Amendment Bill [link] – for continuation of Second Reading stage.  A Veritas commentary is available [link].  Committee Stage amendments proposed by Hon Mayihlome, chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Defence, Home Affairs and Security Services, appear on the Order Paper [link] and were summarised in Bill Watch 15/2022 [link].

Public Finance Management Amendment Bill [link] – for beginning of Second Reading with delivery of Second Reading speech by the Minister of Finance and Economic Development.

Health Service Amendment Bill [link] – for continuation of Second Reading debate.  The Portfolio Committee’s report, presented earlier this month [link], recommended withdrawal and redrafting of the Bill.

Private Voluntary Organisations Amendment Bill [link] – for continuation of Second Reading debate.  Veritas has analysed and commented on the Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare’s proposed Committee Stage amendments – see Bill Watch 26/2022 of 16th June [link].  Copies of the amendments [link] and a version of the Bill as it would look if all the Minister’s amendments were incorporated [link] are available on the Veritas website.

Children’s Amendment Bill [link]for start of Second Reading stage with the Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare’s Second Reading speech.

Child Justice Bill [link] – for start of Second Reading stage with the Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs’ Second Reading speech.  Comments by Veritas are available [link].

Labour Amendment Bill [link] – for start of Second Reading stage with the Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare’s Second Reading speech.

Insurance Bill [link] – for continuation of Second Reading stage with the report on public consultations on the Bill by the Portfolio Committee on Finance and Economic Development.

Institute of Loss Control and Private Security Managers Bill [link] – for start of Second Reading stage by Hon Dr Murire with the delivery of his Second Reading speech, this being a  Private Member’s Bill sponsored by him.  The Bill was only gazetted on 6th June, so it is unlikely to jump the above long queue of Government Bills awaiting attention. 

Bill listed for its First Reading

Judicial Laws Amendment Bill [linkThe Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs has given notice that he intends to present this Bill in the National Assembly.  It was gazetted on 29th April.  After its presentation and formal First Reading, it will be referred to the Parliamentary Legal Committee [PLC] for the report on its consistency or otherwise with the Constitution without which it cannot proceed to the Second Reading stage.

REMINDER: NEW MARRIAGES ACT NOT YET IN FORCE

Articles in the media, both in print and online, continue to give the misleading impression that this Act came into operation immediately it was gazetted on 27th May 2022 as Act No. 1 of 2022.   The correct position is that the date of commencement of the Act needs to be fixed by the President by notice in the Government Gazette, as we explained in detail in Bill Watch 24/2022 [link].  At the time of writing no such notice had been gazetted.

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