BILL WATCH 6/2014 of 18th February

BILL WATCH 6/2014

[18th February 2014]

Parliament is Not Sitting This Week

Eastern Districts Retreat for Parliament’s Presiding Officers and

Members of Liaison and Coordinating Committee

The Speaker and the President of the Senate last week told members of the National Assembly and Senators that business in both Houses and in Parliamentary committees would be suspended for the whole of this week, 17th to 21st February.  This suspension is to accommodate a Retreat for the Presiding Officers and the Liaison and Coordination Committee in Mutare.  The Retreat will run from Monday 17th to Thursday 20th February.  Its objectives are:

  • ·      to craft the Institutional [Parliament’s] Strategic Plan for the period 2014-2018
  • ·      to design the new UNDP Three-Year Rolling Multi-Donor Parliamentary Support Programme.

The Liaison and Coordination Committee consists of all Committee Chairpersons, Party Whips and their Deputies, and the Chairperson and Vice-Chairperson of the Women’s Caucus. The Committee is responsible for coordinating the scheduling of all Committee business.  It is also the custodian of Parliamentary reforms.

Gazetting of Ministerial Responsibilities for Administration of Acts of Parliament

Section 104(1) of the Constitution provides:

“The President appoints Ministers and assigns functions to them, including the administration of any Act of Parliament or of any Ministry or Department, but the President may reserve to himself or herself the administration of any Act, Ministry or department.”

This provision came into force on 22nd August 2013.  Although the President swore in his new Ministers and Deputy Ministers on 11th September, it has taken until 2014 for the President’s Office to gazette:

  • ·      the names of the Ministers and Deputy Ministers and their Ministries [in General Notice 6/2014 of 10th January, which also includes the names of Permanent Secretaries of Ministries and departments]
  • ·      the assignment of responsibility for administering Acts of Parliament [in Statutory Instruments 9 to 33/2014 of 7th February]. 

[Soft copies of GN 6/2014 and SIs 9-33/2014 are available on the Veritas website or on request. See the addresses at the end of this bulletin.  The SIs are available singly or as one document containing all the SIs.]

List of SIs Assigning Administration of Acts

[in numerical order]

SI 2014-09 – Minister of Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development

SI 2014-10 – Minister of Industry and Commerce

SI 2014-11 – Minister of Women’s Affairs, Gender and Community Development

SI 2014-12 – Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare

SI 2014-13 – Minister of Youth, Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment

SI 2014-14 – Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development

SI 2014-15 – Minister of Tourism and the Hospitality Industry

SI 2014-16 – Minister of Small and Medium Enterprises and Cooperative Development

SI 2014-17 – Minister of Sport, Arts and Culture

SI 2014-18 – Minister of Mines and Mining Development

SI 2014-19 – Office of the President and Cabinet

SI 2014-20 – Minister of Primary and Secondary Education

SI 2014-21 – Minister of Media, Information and Broadcasting Services

SI 2014-22 – Minister of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing

SI 2014-23 – Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs

SI 2014-24 – Minister of Lands and Rural Resettlement

SI 2014-25 – Minister of Information Communication Technology, Postal and Courier Services

SI 2014-26 – Minister of Home Affairs

SI 2014-27 – Minister of Health and Child Care

SI 2014-28 – Minister of Foreign Affairs

SI 2014-29 – Minister of Environment, Water and Climate

SI 2014-30 – Minister of Finance and Economic Development

SI 2014-31 – Minister of Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development

SI 2014-32 – Minister of Energy and Power Development

SI 2014-33 – Minister of Defence

Assignment of Acts to “Office of the President and Cabinet”

All but one of the assignments are to Ministers.  But, as has happened previously, there is one statutory instrument [SI 19/2014] that notifies the assignment of Acts to “the Office of the President and Cabinet”.  This assignment to “the Office of the President and Cabinet”, rather than to the President himself or to one of the several Ministers in his office, is legally incorrect.  [Veritas has pointed this out in the past, for instance in Bill Watch 49/2012 of 22nd October 2012 and Bill Watch  29/2013 of 17th July 2013.]  

Comment

These statutory instruments, although welcome, contain errors and omissions, quite apart from the assignments to the Office of the President and Cabinet:

  • ·      A few repealed Acts have been included, such as the Serious Offences (Confiscation of Profits) Act [repealed by the Money Laundering, Proceeds of Crime Act], the Audit and Exchequer Act and the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission Act.
  • ·      Some relatively recent Acts have been overlooked: for example, the Public Finance Management Act, the Audit Office Act and the Money Laundering and Proceeds of Crime Act.
  • ·      There are some unexplained duplications: for instance, the Emergency Powers Act is assigned to both the Office of the President and Cabinet and the Minister of Home Affairs.   Corrections are needed to avoid confusion.
  • ·      The standard paragraph (b) which appears in every one of the statutory instruments, is confusing – the word ”save” should be omitted; it conveys the opposite of what must have been intended.      

Clemency Order

GN 20/2014 of 12th February notifies the President’s granting of early release from prison to five categories of persons serving prison sentences in Zimbabwe’s prisons [soft copy available].  A Prisons and Correctional Service spokesperson said that about 2000 prisoners would benefit.

Not a pardon: Contrary to press reports, the President did not “pardon” anyone.  The convictions stand, and will count as previous convictions if the beneficiaries offend in the future.  What the President has done is to grant full or partial “remission of sentence”. 

Government Gazette 7th to 14th February

Statutory Instruments [SIs]

Assignment of administration of Acts  SIs 9 to 33/2014 notify assignments by the President to Ministers, and to the Office of the President, of responsibility for administering Acts of Parliament [see above].

Commencement of Small Enterprises Development Corporation Amendment Act [Act 6/2011]  SI 34/2014 fixes the 7th February 2014 as the date on which this Act comes into operation.  Amendments to the Small Enterprises Development Corporation Act include changing its title to Small and Medium Enterprises Act.

Suppression of financing of  terrorism  SI 39/2014 amends SI 5/2014 to make further provision, in terms of the Suppression of Foreign and International Terrorism Act, for the enforcement in Zimbabwe of UN Security Council resolutions designed to eliminate financial support for Al-Qaida and the Taliban.  It lays down the channels to be used by other countries wanting Zimbabwe to freeze the Zimbabwean assets of entities and individuals designated as terrorists.  [Note: It is important for financial institutions, and members of the legal and accountancy professions to be familiar with these regulations and the enabling Act.]

Collective bargaining agreements  SI 35/2014 sets the minimum wage for the Tobacco Industry grading sector with effect from 1st December 2013; SI 36/2014 sets out the arbitral award fixing wages for the Agricultural Industry with effect from 1st August 2013; SI 37/2014 contains provisions for the dispute resolution procedure in the Leather and Shoe, Sports Equipment, Animal Skin Processing and Taxidermy, Leather Goods, Travel and Canvas Goods Manufacturing industries.

Customs duty suspension – mining sector  SI 38/2013 is the latest in a line of 3-year suspensions of duty for the benefit of specified mining companies.

General Notices [GNs]

Gazetting of National Prosecuting Authority Bill  GN 19/2014 of 7th February 2014.

Government Financial Statements  for November 2013 were gazetted by GN 18/2014 of 7th February

Clemency Order  GN 20/2014 of 12th February sets out the terms of the President’s Clemency Order No. 1 of 2014 [see above].

 

Veritas makes every effort to ensure reliable information, but cannot take legal responsibility for information supplied

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