HARARE West MP, Jessie Majome (MDC-T), was yesterday deposed as the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Justice chairperson and was replaced with Zvimba West MP, Ziyambi Ziyambi (Zanu PF).
BY VENERANDA LANGA
Speaker of the National Assembly, Jacob Mudenda, made the announcement, telling the House that her removal was a decision made by the Standing Rules and Orders Committee.
“Ziyambi is now chairperson of the Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee. The appointment is made with immediate effect,” he said without giving any further explanation.
Reports say after the MDC-T fired their MPs, who crossed over to former secretary-general, Tendai Biti’s People’s Democratic Party, their numbers in the House dwindled and Parliament regulations require that they also lose chairmanship of some committees.
The committee is pivotal, as it looks at electoral issues, the judiciary and several laws pertaining to human rights.
Meanwhile, in an unrelated matter, MPs decried the poor working conditions at Hwange Colliery Company (HCC), National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ) and Dete Refractories.
This was during debate on the second report of the Portfolio Committee on Public Service on the working conditions of workers at the three companies. MPs said the sorry state of affairs now required President Robert Mugabe’s intervention.
Legislators from the committee revealed that when they visited the companies, they observed ill-treatment of workers, non-payment of salaries and pensions and wanton breaking of the Labour Relations Act.
Binga South MP, Joel Gabuza
(MDC-T), said Mugabe should intervene, as there was plundering of equipment at the parastatals, and appointment of people without Ordinary Levels to sit in the HCC board.
St Mary’s MP, Unganai Tarusenga (MDC-T), said when the committee visited HCC, workers told them they were denied tea breaks and worked without protective clothing.
Bindura South MP, Remigious Matangira (Zanu PF), said the working conditions at NRZ were deplorable to the extent people were sent on pension with peanuts, resulting in former employees living in abject poverty.
HCC employees and people residing within the vicinity of the mines, were reportedly living in a hazardous environment, where they were exposed to tuberculosis and air pollution.
“Some workers have now developed very dark skin due to pollutants from coal smoke,” Shamva South MP, Joseph Mapiki (Zanu PF), said.
MPs demanded that boards of parastatals must, from now on, be chosen with Parliament’s involvement to ensure qualified people are appointed, adding policies to stipulate reasonable pensions should also be set. Legislators from across the political divide blamed the destruction of the companies on corruption and looting by government officials.
Public Service deputy minister Tapiwanashe Matangaidze concurred that there were serious problems at HCC and NRZ.
“NRZ has 16 months in outstanding salaries, while Hwange Colliery has over three years in outstanding salaries.
About $7 million has been secured from the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe and HCC intends to pay employees 22% in the first months and then stagger payments,” he said.
Matangaidze said HCC admitted that employees at times worked without protective clothing, while the committee raised concern over NRZ employees working in dangerous situations fixing rails at places infested with lions.