Bill Watch 29-2022 - Copper Bill Passed & Coming up in Parliament This Week

BILL WATCH 29/2022

[12th July 2022]

Only the National Assembly Will be Sitting This Week

The Senate Sat Last Week and Adjourned until Tuesday 19th July

In the Senate Last Week

Copper Control Amendment Bill [link] passed

On Wednesday 6th July the Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, on behalf of the Minister of Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage, gave the Second Reading speech.  Several Senators made contributions to the debate, all of them supporting the Bill.  One Senator even suggested that the minimum sentence of ten years without the option of a fine for certain offences be increased in view of their devastating effect on the economy, electricity supply and the railway system.  The Minister of Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage, who is the Minister responsible for the Bill, made a brief contribution before the debate was wound up by the Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs,  The Bill was then given its Second Reading, the Committee Stage was without debate, and the Bill was given its Third Reading.  It has, therefore, been passed by Parliament without any amendments and will go to the President for his assent and gazetting as an Act. 

International Agreements Approved

Also on Wednesday 6th July the House, in terms of section 327(2)(a) of the Constitution, approved the following two multilateral and three bilateral agreements on motions presented by the Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs for the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Trade:

1.   General Convention on Privileges and Immunities of the Organisation of African Unity [OAU], which came into force in 1965;

2.   Additional Protocol on Privileges and Immunities of the OAU, which was approved by the OAU Heads of State and Government in July 1980;

3.   Bilateral Agreement on the Promotion and Reciprocal Protection of Investments [BIPPA] with Indonesia, signed in February 1999;

4.   BIPPA with Botswana, signed in March 2011;

5.   BIPPA with Singapore, signed in September 2000.

Senators asked the obvious question: Why were the agreements coming up for approval so long after they had been entered into?  The Minister, referring to the two OAU agreements, explained that the general policy of the Second Republic is that we want to engage and re-engage and as such, we then decided to look at all the treaties that were not acceded to or ratified so that we become part of the community of nations. So we identified some of these conventions that we had not ratified and we believe that in order for us to move with everyone within the continent and enjoy all the privileges that come with being part of the African Union, we must ensure that we ratify and accede to the majority of these conventions”.  As for the three BIPPAs, the Minister said the same applied, plus the consideration that each of the three agreements says “the entry into force of this agreement shall be effective three months from the date of notification of the fulfilment of the internal legal procedures by the later contracting party”.   Zimbabwe would, therefore, use Parliament’s approval of these BIPPAs to notify the other parties of the fulfilment of its internal legal procedures with a view to the BIPPAs coming into force at last.  [Note: The three BIPPAs have already been approved by the National Assembly.]

New motion on street children  death

On Tuesday 5th July Hon Senator S. Mpofu moved a motion imploring Government (1) to ensure that the Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare assesses the root causes and addresses the specific needs of street children so that they do not continue to live on the streets and (2) to sensitise communities on responsible parenting and ensure that street children have better places to live.

Death of Hon Senator Mildred Dube

On 5th July the Deputy President announced the death of Hon Senator Dube on 6th June and a minute’s silence was observed.  This death creates a proportional representation vacancy that will be filled in terms of the Constitution and section 39 of the Electoral Act by a nominee of the late Senator’s party, which was MDC-T at the time of her election in 2018 .

Coming up in the National Assembly This Week

Ministerial statements

When the National Assembly last sat on 23rd June, at least two Ministerial statements were still to be delivered to the House, arising from questions asked during Question Time the previous day on the following topics:

1.   A “naming and shaming” blacklist of companies civilly fined by the Reserve Bank for exchange control breaches, and also the widening gap between the official exchange rate and the parallel market rate and measures to arrest the resulting dire situation – Minister of Finance and Economic Development;

2.   Government procurement of fire tenders for local authorities and the Pomona Waste Management Project Minister of Local Government and Public Works.

Bill for presentation

National Security Council Bill [link] The Minister of Defence and War Veterans Affairs has given notice that she will present this Bill and is expected to do so today.  After presentation, in accordance with Standing Orders, it will be given its First Reading and referred to the Parliamentary Legal Committee [PLC]  for its report on the Bill’s consistency or otherwise with the Constitution.

Bill awaiting initial PLC Report on constitutionality

Judicial Laws Amendment Bill [link]   This Bill received its First Reading and was referred to the PLC on 21st June.  Once the report has been received, proceedings on the Bill may go ahead in terms of Standing Orders.

Other Bills on the Order Paper

The present session of Parliament is now well into its last four months, without having made much progress on the legislative agenda mapped out by the President when open the session on 7th October last year.  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]

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 or his deputy.

Health Service Amendment Bill [link] – for continuation of Second Reading debate.  The Portfolio Committee’s report, already presented [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 continuation of Second Reading stage, with the Minister’s Second Reading speech having been delivered on 22nd June by the Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs on behalf of the Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare.  The report of the Portfolio Committee on Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare is awaited on the public hearings being held this week, so there is unlikely to be any progress.

Child Justice Bill [link] – for continuation of Second Reading stage, with the Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs having delivered his Second Reading speech and the Portfolio Committee’s report [link] having made numerous suggestions for the improvement of the Bill.  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 Budget, 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. 

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