BILL WATCH 53-2022 - Health Service Amendment Bill passed

BILL WATCH 53/2022

[14th November 2022]

Parliament is not Sitting This Week but
Both Houses are Due to Sit on Tuesday 22nd November

Only the National Assembly sat from 1st to 3rd November, before rising until Tuesday 22nd November.  Only the Senate sat last week, on Tuesday 8th and Wednesday 9th November, before adjourning to the same date – which is only two days before the presentation of the 2023 National Budget Statement on Thursday 24th November. 

By process of elimination, therefore, Wednesday 23rd November is likely to be day on which the President will open the Fifth Session of this Parliament and lay out the Government’s Legislative Agenda for what will probably be an unusually short session in the run-up the 2023 Harmonised Elections.

Bills in the National Assembly 1st to 3rd November

Tuesday 1st November

PLC non-adverse reports on Bills announced

The Speaker announced the receipt of non-adverse reports on two Bills from the Parliamentary Legal Committee [PLC]  following their presentation and First Reading.  This cleared the way for Second Reading stages of both Bills to begin:

Electricity Amendment Bill

Medical Services Amendment Bill.

Also announced was the receipt of a non-adverse report from the PLC on the:

Health Service Amendment Bill as amended by the National Assembly [clauses 2, 3 and 5 as amended on 18th, 19th and 20th October, respectively].

This cleared the way for the Consideration Stage of the Bill, which is normally a formality and swiftly followed by the Third Reading vote and transmission to the Senate. 

Wednesday 2nd November

Health Service Amendment Bill as amended

The amendments to clauses 2, 3 and 5 of the Bill were considered and agreed to, and the Bill, as amended, adopted without further debate.  The Bill was then given its Third Reading and sent to the Senate, which was able to consider it during its sitting on 9th and 10th November.  Note:  For the passing of the Bill by the Senate, see below under the heading In the Senate This Week [8th and 9th November].

Thursday 3rd November

Institute of Loss Control and Private Security Managers Bill [link]

This Private Member’s Bill was last before the House on Thursday 13th October, when the MP responsible for the Bill, Hon Dr Murire, made his Second Reading speech explaining the Bill. 

On Thursday 3rd November Hon Chidakwa presented the Portfolio Committee on Defence, Home Affairs and Security Services’ report on the Bill [link].  The committee did not conduct the usual countrywide public hearings on the Bill; instead, it decided in view of the technical nature of the Bill to limit itself to carrying out targeted public consultations with selected stakeholders.  The report, therefore, is a summary of the comments on the content, context and relevancy of the Bill made by the affected practitioners in the loss control and private security management profession, including representatives from the following sectors: banking, telecommunications, mining, academia [University of Zimbabwe and Bindura University of Science Education, both of whom offer relevant qualifications], other government institutions or parastatals, and private security companies. There being no contributions from MPs, Hon Dr Murire then responded to the report, noting that it had recommended amendments to the Bill and also consequential amendments to the Private Investigators and Security Guards Act; most of which were acceptable to him and some of which were covered in the lengthy Notice of Amendments he had had on the Order Paper for some time [this Notice of Amendments [link] is available on the Veritas website on the same webpage as the gazetted Bill].

The Bill then received its Second Reading, before the House adjourned to Tuesday 22nd November.  Ahead lies the Committee Stage.

Other Business in the National Assembly [1st to 3rd November]

Petitions accepted and referred to Portfolio Committee on Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs

Petition from Mr Kanhoro for enactment of law that will give voters power to MPs and Councillors  This petition suggests a Constituency Inspectorate to monitor MPs and councillors based on their party manifestos. 

Petition from Veritas for enactment of law to remove the death penalty from Zimbabwe’s statute book   This petition implores the Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs to introduce a Bill to amend Acts which provide for the death penalty by deleting such provisions.  Veritas maintains that a constitutional amendment is not legally necessary to achieve the effective abolition of the death penalty.

Portfolio Committee reports presented 

Report on Verification Visits to Rural Schools [linkMost of the 1st November sitting was taken up by the presentation of Hon T. Moyo of this report and the ensuing debate.  The report deals with provision of sanitary wear in rural schools, progress made on construction and refurbishment of schools, access to ICT equipment and how far rural schools were able to conduct online lessons during the COVID-19 lockdowns, and the availability of teachers to conduct physical lessons.  The committee and the MPs who made contributions found much to criticise under all these subject headings – for instance, little has happened the construction of the new schools beyond the planning stage with a target date of 2025 for completion; inadequate and overcrowded accommodation for teachers; sanitary wear not getting to all rural schools notwithstanding vast expenditure.  The report contains many recommendations for all the Ministries involved, not solely the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education.

Report on Women Microfinance Bank’s Impact on Empowerment of Women [link]  On 2nd November Hon P. Zhou (for  Hon C. Madiwa) presented this Joint Report by the Women Affairs Portfolio Committee and the Thematic Committee on Gender and Development.  In the ensuing debate

Report of Delegation on Bilateral Visit to Russia, September 2022 [link] On 3rd November Hon Shamu presented this report.  The delegation leader was the Speaker, Hon Advocate Mudenda.  The visit culminated in the signing of the Cooperation Agreement between the National Assembly of Zimbabwe and the State Duma of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation.  Among the activities envisaged by the Agreement are that the two Houses will render corroborative support at international parliamentary fora. 

Quarterly Budget Performance Reports on the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Trade for 2021 [link] On 3rd November Hon Shamu also presented this report by the Portfolio Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade.  The report states that the major challenge to the achievement of the Ministry’s objectives during 2021 had been Treasury’s late disbursements coupled with failure to release the full amount of budgeted funds. The Portfolio Committee accordingly recommends that in future Treasury should release the full amount of budgeted funds in a more predictable manner, and should frame the 2023 budget for foreign missions in US dollars so as to enable the Ministry to purchase the 31 vehicles, 3 Chanceries and 3 official residences in Ankara, Kigali and Abu Dhabi which could not be procured in 2021 due to inadequate funds. 

In the Senate Last Week [8th and 9th November]

Report of the Delegation to AGM of African Parliamentarians’ Network on Development Evaluation [APNODE] [link]

On Tuesday 8th November Senator Chief Nechombo wound up the debate on his motion that the Senate take note of this report.  The take-note motion was then put and agreed to.

Health Service Amendment Bill passed

On Tuesday 8th November the Acting President of the Senate, Senator Kambizi, announced the receipt of the Bill, as amended, from the National Assembly.  On Wednesday 9th November Vice-President Chiwenga was in attendance to make his Second Reading speech explaining the Bill to Senators ­– apparently so persuasively that Senators did not feel it necessary to make any contributions at all.  The Bill was accordingly given its Second Reading without any debate by Senators.  The Committee Stage and the Third Reading were then taken, also without Senators saying anything.

The Bill has, therefore, been passed by both Houses of Parliament, as it was amended by the National Assembly [link].  All that remains is for Parliament to send it to the President for his assent and signature and for it to be gazetted thereafter as an Act by the Chief Secretary to the President and Cabinet.  The Bill in its new form ­– as amended and passed by Parliament – is available on the Veritas website [link].

Senate adjournment to Tuesday 22nd November

Immediately after passing the Health Service Amendment Bill the Senate adjourned until Tuesday 22nd November – the same day to which the National Assembly had adjourned only six days before.

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