PARLIAMENTARY COMMITTEES SERIES 30/2014
[2nd June 2014]
Committee Meetings Suspended Until Monday 23rd June
After their sittings on Thursday 29th May, both Houses of Parliament adjourned until Tuesday 1st July.
When announcing these adjournments the presiding officers also announced that portfolio committee and thematic committee meetings would be suspended until 23rd June.
There will, therefore, be no committee meetings from today until the week commencing Monday 23rd June.
Two Committee Reports Presented
The committee reports listed below were presented to the National Assembly on 27th May. [Copies of both reports will be posted on Veritas website – address given below – as soon as possible].
Report on 2011 Accounts of Ministry of Agriculture by Public Accounts Committee
This report was presented by the committee chairperson, Hon Mpariwa, indicates its serious dissatisfaction with what it describes as “high disregard” for the Auditor-General’s Office shown by the Ministry over the 2011 accounts, despite similar criticism of its conduct over the 2009 and 2010 accounts. It also questions the competence of senior Ministry officials to manage public resources. The report proposes that the Ministry be ordered to implement its recommendations and report back to the National Assembly within six months. The recommendations include: improving the Ministry’s unreliable accounting systems; taking special measures to curb excess expenditure on line items; and keeping proper records of State assets for which the Ministry is responsible.
Report on Causes of Road Carnage by Portfolio Committee on Transport and Infrastructure Development
The portfolio committee’s report was presented by its chairperson, Hon Midzi. It lists thirteen major causes of road accidents, starting with the bad state of the country’s roads and ending with corruption in the issuing of drivers licences. Nine recommendations are made, including:
- “most importantly, Government must give priority to dualisation of major trunk roads and rehabilitation of all roads including fibre glass road signage and markings”
- increasing traffic fines to increase their deterrent effect
- abolition of the “spot fines” system [except for foreigners] and the related practice of police targets for collection of revenue from fines [which the committee says have fuelled corruption]
- a ban on the importation of second-hand tyres.
Note on SI 154/2010 The report records that the committee received submissions calling for proper implementation of SI 154/2010 [the Road Traffic (Construction, Equipment and Use) Regulations]. It is important to remember that the whole of this statutory instrument was declared invalid and void by Justice Bere in the High Court in November 2012, that the State’s appeal to the Supreme Court was struck off the roll for technical reasons, and that the appeal has not been resuscitated. So the current legal position is this:
- Justice Bere’s decision applies
- SI 154/2010 is not in force.
- the previous regulations [SI ] are still in force
- the new requirements that were introduced by SI 154/2010 are not in force [e.g., the provisions requiring fire extinguishers and reflective triangles to be carried in light motor vehicles].
It is high time that the Minister of Transport and Infrastructure Development acknowledged this legal problem and gazetted a new and up-to-date set of regulations free of the defects that led to Justice Bere nullifying SI 154/2010.
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