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ZANU-PF MP asks why harass gold panners when you cannot arrest anyone for the missing $15 billion diamonds?

Mr. Speaker, with the Mines and Minerals Amendment Bill, there is a big challenge.  It is still a one size fits all.  When we say one size fits all, whether you are a small miner, medium miner or large miner, it is the same laws.  This is where there are a lot of challenges.  Out there where we have a lot of artisanal miners, they do not even understand the content that is in the Mines and Minerals Amendment Bill.  We need to try and see how best we will be able to go out and teach the people and try and get an understanding of where it becomes a win-win situation.

The biggest challenge that we face in the Exploration and Marketing Corporation Bill, marketing and beneficiation go together, exploration and mining go together.  Now, when we put it together, it looks like we want to get rid of some of the boards because somebody has put his hand in the MMCZ, which was the only entity of Government which makes good profit, good money and is able to sustain itself.  The biggest challenge that we are facing Mr. Speaker is that although it is the same value chain, it becomes a bit of a problem if we do not separate those two.  If we keep them together, we are now duplicating the MMCZ Act.  If we are going to duplicate the MMCZ Act, it means one is going to override the other.  I feel that we need to work out a situation where the beneficiation and marketing go together, the exploration and mining go together.

Mr. Speaker, on the Gold Trade Act and the Precious Stones Act, that is one of the very sore and sad stories where you find a person is caught with 3 grams and is sentenced to five years in prison or caught with emeralds that have no value and is sentenced to three years mandatory yet a lot of people got away with diamonds worth $15 billion and no one was ever sent to jail for that $15 billion.  Therefore, on this Gold Trade Act and Precious Stones Act, Mr. Speaker we need to look at the way we are going to deal with this because some of the sentences are far too harsh, especially for the artisanal miners.  Artisanal miners are people who are basically trying to make a living.  The President spoke about decriminalising them but here we are playing cat and mouse chasing them, catching them and putting them in for five years at the taxpayers’ money.  It becomes a sad story.  So we need to look at that in a robust way.

Mr. Speaker, before you licence your vehicle, you have to get an insurance.  Most of the Members of Parliament and people out there, just buy third party insurance.  I do not understand why we have the third party insurance when it does not even cover for accident victims, road disasters and stuff like that.  I am glad that there is a vehicle accident fund but I think we need to scrap the third party insurance because we are now duplicating.  It is just a way of taking money away from us because by the end of the day, no one in this august House or out there has actually benefited from third party insurance.  It is just a rip-off.

Mr. Speaker, I am not going to say much.  His Excellency spoke to us as Parliamentarians and he said that we need to be well informed in order for us to give robust debates.  The problem with us here in Parliament is we are not punctual, disciplined and there is a problem especially from Ministers that were appointed.  Some do not even come here and we do not even know what they look like.  We see them in the newspapers only.  We need to see them here in order for us to talk to them.  The reason why we can talk to these Ministers is so that when they talk to us, they lead by example that they have come here, we get understanding. If there is something we do not understand, we find a way of finding each other so that we can go out there and give the right message, but the problem is we play cat and mouse.  There is always an excuse.  Some Members of Parliament just come here to mark the register and walk out, which is short changing the general people out there who actually elected us to come here.

Mr. Speaker, I would like to encourage the Members of Parliament to try and be honest with themselves, to come on time, to be also well disciplined and to make sure that when we are debating we should not be like hooligans making noise in this House.  We should be able to understand each other like what happened when His Excellency was here.  Mr. Speaker, with those few words, I thank you.

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