Debates - Thursday, 5th May, 2016

Printer Friendly and PDF

Thursday, 5th May, 2016

The House met at 1430 hours

[MAR SPEAKER in the Chair]






Mr Speaker: I wish to inform the House that the Ministry of Local Government and Housing has organised a meeting for all hon. Members of Parliament to give them an opportunity to contribute to the process of validating the revised guidelines for the Constituency Development Fund (CDF). The meeting will be held in the Amphitheatre, here, at Parliament Buildings, on Monday, 9th May, 2016, at 0930 hours.

 Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Speaker: Hon. Members are invited to attend the meeting on a voluntary basis.

 Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Thank you. 




The Minister of Transport and Communication (Mr Simbao): Mr Speaker, it is with deep sorrow that I address this august House on the tragic road traffic accidents involving public service vehicles (PSVs) that have occurred in the recent past in Zambia and cost many lives.

Sir, you will recall that on 4th April, 2016, a Mazhandu Bus, registration number LLP 5119, travelling from Chililabombwe to Lusaka lost control on the Great North Road around Green Leaf area between Kapiri Mposhi and Kabwe in Central Province, killing six passengers and injuring fifty-one people. Further, on 9th April, 2016, a more fatal accident involving a Wada Chovu Bus, registration number AJB 6340, and a Mercedes Benz Sprinter, registration number ACZ 4829, collided, killing twenty-five people and severely injuring thirty-four others. Although the accidents occurred a few days apart, the scenes were within a 5 km distance.

Mr Speaker, unfortunately, such accidents seem to have become a common phenomenon on our roads. While 13,005 accidents and 892 fatalities were recorded in 2004, 33,672 accidents and 2,113 fatalities were recorded in 2015, representing an increase of over 100 per cent. I will lay on the Table of the House a table of accident, fatality and vehicle population statistics from 2004 to 2015, as recorded by the Road Transport and Safety Agency (RTSA) and Zambia Police Force.

Mr Speaker, human error causes 87.3 per cent of accidents in Zambia. Other causes are vehicle condition, at 1.5 per cent; human-animal conflict, at 1.1 per cent; road condition, at 0.4 per cent; bad weather conditions, at 0.1 per cent; and other causes, at 9.6 per cent. From these statistics, it is clear that the main cause of road accidents is human error, which can be controlled. Some instances of human error include excessive speed, drinking while driving or driving while drunk, driver fatigue and wrong over-taking.

Mr Speaker, in order to reverse the upward trend in road traffic accidents and fatalities, the Government will focus on addressing people’s behaviour on roads by strengthening traffic regulations and enforcement, scaling up safety education and awareness campaigns, and improve road safety re-engineering at identified black spots. In this regard, let me take advantage of this opportunity to state that the Government will soon introduce a driver’s bureau, where records on individual drivers will be kept and used to determine the appropriate sanctions to be slapped on habitually bad drivers. Every time a driver errs, a hole will be punched on his or her licence and the number of holes accumulated on the licence will indicate either occasional or habitual misconduct. The Government will revoke a driver’s licence, for a number of years yet to be determined, on the second offence.

Mr Speaker, we will intensify the use of breathalysers on motorists on all roads, checkpoints and toll gates. Additionally, commercial vehicles will soon be required by law to always have their lights on when on the roads to improve their visibility. Members of the general public are also encouraged to report all bad driver behaviour to the RTSA and Zambia Police Force on toll-free lines for both voice calls and short message service (SMS). In this regard, it will soon be a legal requirement to display the toll-free numbers both inside and outside any commercial vehicle. The Government will also fit all PSVs with global positioning system (GPS) devices for purposes of monitoring driver behaviour, including overspeeding, on all routes countrywide. In addition, all vehicle owners are warned that vehicle tyres have specified life spans from the time they are manufactured. Therefore, the vehicle owners should avoid buying tyres that are about to expire. The RTSA will run advertisements to make the public better informed on this before banning the use of expired tyres in the country. The RTSA has also been instructed to develop a more robust and effective education campaign using all forms of media to educate the public on road safety. Given the fact that the issue of road safety transcends national boundaries, Zambia has joined hands with both regional and international bodies in the struggle to enhance safety on its roads and is signatory to the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Protocol on Transport and the United Nations (UN) Decade of Action on Road Safety, which runs from 2011 to 2020 and has the following five pillars:

(a) road safety management;

(b) safer roads and mobility;

(c) safer vehicles;

(d) safer road users; and

(e) post-crash care.

Sir, the Government will domesticate the protocols mentioned above by developing a Zambia Road Safety Strategy document. The Government, in this regard, has consulted road transport operators and agreed with them on a number of measures that will help us curb accidents. Broadly speaking, we have agreed to immediately take the following actions, among others:

(a) road safety education targeting PSV drivers and passengers, including a ten-minute sensitisation of passengers and drivers by the RTSA before the departure of any bus from the station;

(b) development of road safety policies by individual operators;

(c) mandatory display of RTSA and police toll-free lines and the operator’s contact numbers in all PSVs;

(d) enhanced traffic law enforcement operations;

(e) enhanced road-worthiness examinations and check-ups for long-distance buses;

(f) introduction of a PSV driver management system;

(g) enhancement of the post-crash care system;

(h) limited working hours for long-distance buses; and

(i) enhanced collaboration with all the key stakeholders in the transport sector.

Mr Speaker, I will lay on the Table of the House a summarised document on what has been agreed upon between the Government and PSV operators.

Sir, let me take advantage of this opportunity to inform this august House that my ministry has proposed amendments to the Road Traffic Act, No. 11 of 2002, and a Bill has been submitted to the Cabinet for its approval before presentation to Parliament. Some of the proposed amendments are intended to raise the road safety profile of the country. In short, the Government will:

(a) intensify road-user education and enforcement of traffic regulations so as to greatly influence human behaviour on the roads;

(b) curb over-speeding using GPS and other monitoring devices;

(c) improve signage on all roads to improve communication with road users;

(d) review the regulations relating to driving under the influence of alcohol or other psychotropic drugs to make such cases easier to prosecute;

(e) create a more robust system for impounding vehicles, including an efficient disposal of uncollected vehicles after a stipulated period; and

(f) present an accident report to this House annually so that the focus on this issue is not lost.

Sir, in the long term, the Government will:

(a) increase the driving lanes and develop road infrastructure to take into consideration the road safety requirements and usage, especially between Lusaka and the Copperbelt, where traffic has greatly increased; and

(b) create a standard for the development of urban transport infrastructure, taking into account all road users, especially pedestrians and cyclists.

Mr Speaker, let me end by appealing to all the hon. Members to support the noble regulations that the Government will present to this august House.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Simbao laid the papers on the Table.

Mr Speaker: Hon. Members are now free to ask questions on points of clarification on the statement issued by the hon. Minister of Transport and Communication.

Ms Namugala (Mafinga): Mr Speaker, it is, indeed, very sad to lose lives at the rate we are doing in this country. A few weeks ago, after the Wada Chovu accident, the Road Transport and Safety Agency (RTSA) revoked or suspended the company’s licence to encourage the operators to be more responsible in their recruitment of drivers and management of the vehicles that transport our people. However, a few days later, we heard that the hon. Minister of Transport and Communication had over-ruled the agency and reinstated the licence. Could he tell us why he over-ruled that good intention?

Mr Simbao: Mr Speaker, emotionally, what the RTSA did was right but, legally, it was wrong. So, we decided to follow the law. As the Minister responsible, I am legally empowered to overturn a decision that does not comply with the law. If we did not have the law, definitely, what the RTSA did would have stood.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Bishop Lt-Gen. Shikapwasha (Keembe): Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister will have to implement many measures to lower the number of people dying on our roads, one of which  will be dealing with the many people who drive vehicles without licences and proper training. Does he care to explain the measures that his is putting in place to ensure that the quality of our drivers meet international standards?

Mr Simbao: Mr Speaker, the hon. Member of Parliament for Keembe’s question is very difficult. First of all, I have no proof of the existence of unlicensed drivers on our road. His question implies that they could be there. However, I have not yet met anyone driving without a licence. That said, recently, the President tasked the Her Honour the Vice-President and Minister of Development Planning to chair a committee that brought together the Zambia Police Force and the RTSA, and was meant to sort out the lack of co-operation and cordial relations between these two bodies. That objective was achieved, but I hope that the hon. Member will also come on board and help us consolidate that achievement.

Sir, our hope is that with the agreement that both institutions be represented at almost every roadblock, anyone found driving a vehicle without a licence will be prosecuted in court. If the hon. Member has other ideas, let him bring them forward so that we can incorporate them into what we are trying to do.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Mr Mwamba (Lubansenshi): Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister has outlined a number of causes of road traffic accidents. One of the causes is that a number of roads do not have signs. Is it not true that the absence of road signs can or do cause accidents?

Mr Simbao: Mr Speaker, in my statement, I referred to the absence of road markings and the need for us to make that an important activity. It is true that driving on our roads is very difficult for everyone because only a few roads, particularly the Monze/Livingstone Road, have good markings. At times, I also get a bit confused because I do not know where the lines are. Fortunately, we have identified the problem and hope to put the necessary road signage.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Imenda (Luena): Mr Speaker, indeed, it is very sad and a matter of great concern that these accidents are occurring. Some of us have been followed by accidents to our doorsteps. Is the hon. Minister aware that stringent traffic regulations promote corruption, which benefits the pockets of traffic officers? If he is, are there occasional audits on the roadblocks?

Mr Muchima: Linyungandambo!


Mr Simbao: Mr Speaker, I would like to remind the hon. Member of Parliament for Luena that the stringent rules or laws to which she has referred were either enacted by this Parliament or they are by-laws made from the laws enacted in this House. Perhaps, it is true that the fees people are asked to pay for traffic violations are too high and the offenders find it easier to pay a smaller amount as a bribe to traffic officers. However, again, I have no proof of that. That notwithstanding, the Government can look into the matter.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Mr Musonda (Kapiri Mposhi): Mr Speaker, Zambia is a Christian Nation and many Zambians believe that some accidents are caused by people who belong to the dark kingdom, commonly known as Satanists. Does the hon. Minister, who knows the places where most of the accidents take place, have any intention to take men and women of God to those spots for them to pray and exorcise whatever dark forces may be there?

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Simbao: Mr Speaker, I am always intrigued by the way the hon. Member of Parliament for Kapiri Mposhi constructs his questions.

Sir, if there is anyone who fits the description the hon. Member has made, then, we have a very serious problem. It would be a very sad situation to have people in this country who, for whatever reason, celebrate the accidents that happen. That said, I would also like to say that the hon. Member’s suggestion can be put forward to the men and women of God for their consideration. Maybe, it is their way of solving some problems. Otherwise, on our part, we have come up with measures that will lower the incidence of accidents.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Mutelo (Lukulu West): Mr Speaker, it is with a heavy heart that I ask this question. Last Saturday, we lost a teacher and his wife in an accident on the Kaoma/Mongu Road. The accident involved a privately-owned vehicle and a Government one. The burial took place in Lukulu.

Sir, in Zambia, we like buying salaula or second-hand things. Granted, tyres have expiry dates displayed on them. However, what is the Government doing about the second-hand tyres sold to motorists?

Mr Simbao: Mr Speaker, I am sorry about the accident that happened in the hon. Member’s constituency. That said, the best way of addressing the problems related to the use of second-hand tyres is to stop buying them. As a Government, we can put laws in place ―

Hon. Opposition Members interjected.

Mr Simbao: I am surprised by the way people are reacting.

Mr Speaker: Order, hon. Minister!

Just continue.

Mr Simbao: Sir, we can legislate against the use of second-hand tyres as much as we want, but that might not work because the problems are in the heads of our people. The laws are there.


Mr Simbao: If people do not change their way of thinking, nothing will change. The dates of manufacture and expiry are always indicated on the tyre. So, one can calculate the number of years that the tyre has been working and decide whether to buy it or not.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Mumba (Mambilima): Mr Speaker, I thank the hon. Minister for citing a number of factors that contribute to the high incidence of accidents that we have witnessed on the Zambian roads. One of those factors are the bad conditions of our roads. The roads that are in a bad state include the stretch that passes through Tuta to Luapula Province, the Mukuku Bridge/Samfya stretch and the stretch from Musonda Falls/Nchelenge Road, which has big potholes throughout its length. What is the Government doing about those potholes?

Mr Simbao: Mr Speaker, the point that the hon. Member has raised is very important. However, let me repeat that according to our findings, 87.3 per cent of the accidents are caused by human error while only 0.4 per cent are caused by road conditions. The biggest problem is human error, especially overspeeding by the drivers. So, the first thing we should really worry about is the behaviour of the drivers. If the road is bad, it means that the drivers should be even more cautious so that they do not damage their cars or involve themselves in road accidents unnecessarily. The tendency to ignore road regulations, such as speed limits, brings trouble. There are people who drive at 140 km/h in an 80 km/h speed limit area.

Mr Speaker, I thank you.

Mr Mbulakulima (Chembe): Mr Speaker, we have a combination of the two major causes of accidents, namely human error and the bad state of our roads. I do not know to which of the two you will align the many accidents that occur on black spots, which you have also cited as one of the causes of road accidents. The accidents that occur on the black spots are due to human error compounded by the nature of the spots, which makes them more dangerous, especially when overtaking. Since the Government has shown some seriousness in addressing the problem of road traffic accidents, why does it not set the pace by re-engineering the black spots across the country to save lives? We do not have to wait to correct the spots when there are new constructions.

Mr Simbao: Mr Speaker, I am very grateful to Hon. Mbulakulima for that suggestion.

Sir, this is not the first time we are discussing this issue. The hon. Minister of Works and Supply is in this House, and his ministry was part of the Committee chaired by Her Honour the Vice-President and Minister of Development Planning that discussed this issue extensively. One of the decisions made is that all the black spots, especially those where the two accidents mentioned happened, must be investigated thoroughly and, possibly, the roads expanded there. The hon. Minister of Works and Supply will soon act on that decision.

I thank you, Sir.

Ms Lubezhi (Namwala): Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister has told this House that the Road Transport and Safety Agency (RTSA) used emotions to suspend a licence while he used the law to reinstate it. For the sake of the masses who may not have access to the relevant Act, what exactly is the Government doing to the two bus operators involved in accordance with the Act?

Mr Simbao: Mr Speaker, so far, we have held three meetings with the owners of both Mazhandu Bus Services and Wada Chovu Bus Services, and one of the papers that I have laid on the Table is on the measures we have put in place for the two operators to follow. One of the main discoveries we made is that the operators did not have safety procedures ...


Mr Speaker: Order!

Let us have order, please.

Mr Simbao: ... in place, which meant that the drivers are rarely taken through any safety procedures or refresher courses of that nature. So, we have insisted that they come up with safety procedures and put them in all their buses. They should also send us copies and do many other things that we have agreed upon with them.

Sir, earlier, I talked about the bureau for drivers. One of the arguments of the two operators is that all their drivers are licensed by the RTSA and that they, therefore, have no reason to doubt their competence. So, we decided to come up with a bureau for all drivers. Any driver who wants to join a company will have to be cleared by the RTSA first. This means that the RTSA will have a say in who can be entrusted with the responsibility of driving people, and the operators were very co-operative on this issue. We consulted both the drivers’ and the employers’ associations. In fact, it was the drivers’ association that raised the issue of the drivers causing accidents due to fatigue, which results from their tendency to go on as many trips as possible to make a little more money because of poor remuneration. In this regard, we want to come up with a law to limit the number of hours that a person can drive.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Muchima (Ikeleng’i): Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister’s statement is most welcome because the majority of us in this House drive on the roads day and night. However, I have not heard the hon. Minister attribute any accidents specifically to human error associated with the trucks that move on our roads day and night. I would have loved him to mention some statistics on accidents caused by truck drivers. In other countries, …

Mr Speaker: Order, hon. Member!

What is your question?

Mr Muchima: I am coming to that, Sir. I just want to mention something about road traffic regulations.

Sir, in countries like Botswana, trucks are given a limited time in which to move on the roads. For example, they are required to be parked from 18:00 hours or 20:00 hours till morning. That has helped to reduce road accidents.


Mr Speaker: Order, on the right!

Mr Muchima: Further, in Botswana, any slow-moving vehicle is supposed to give way for others to pass. In Zambia, that is not the case. Has the hon. Minister considered these scenarios and compared our traffic regulations and accident statistics with those in other countries? Has he considered controlling the movement of trucks, which are a major cause of accidents?

Mr Simbao: Mr Speaker, yes, we are considering limiting the hours that trucks should be allowed to move on the roads. In fact, the measure was once implemented, but it seems that policing became a problem. In this regard, we have decided to increase the number of road patrols by the RTSA once we decide the hours trucks are to be allowed to move on the roads. Currently, the RTSA is not very well represented throughout the country, as its presence is mainly on the line of rail. Even on the Copperbelt, its representation is not adequate. So, the agency is really only well-represented in Lusaka. Of course, that will require funds, which we do not have currently. So, we are considering means of mobilising funds from other organisations.

Sir, we have noted that Juba Transport Limited, which transports fuel, experiences a very low incidence of accidents because it has a very good safety policy for its drivers. This indicates that truck operators who have good safety policies in place also have very good safety records.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Mtolo (Chipata Central): Sir, the loss of lives in motor vehicle accidents is, indeed, regrettable and should be a prime concern.

Sir, what is the Government’s policy on drivers who damage road-related public assets, such as road signs, and street and traffic lights? Once damaged, the assets are either not fixed or take too long to be fixed. Is it not possible to get the motorists who damage such property to immediately repair it?

Mr Simbao: Mr Speaker, again, the problem is that of inadequate policing. I am aware of what the hon. Member is talking about. For example, the partition fence on the Great East Road at the University of Zambia (UNZA) is ever damaged, but the people who hit into it usually go scot-free. Therefore, we are thinking of introducing mobile fast-track courts to which offenders will immediately be taken. We hope that the measure will help to make drivers behave properly on the roads.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Mr Namulambe (Mpongwe): Mr Speaker, first of all, I want to put on record my appreciation of the decisions that the current hon. Minister of Transport and Communication has been making because they are always based on principle. Being a Christian, he looks at what is right in the eyes of God.


Mr Namulambe: For example, when answering the question asked by the hon. Member for Mafinga, he stated that he overruled the decision by the Road Transport and Safety Agency (RTSA) because it was based on emotions, not law. However, the agency is the one that issues public service vehicle (PSV) drivers’ licences. Is there a training school for the RTSA officials who issue the licences? If the officials who examine the drivers are not properly trained, we will be wrongly blaming the operators for the accidents.

Mr Simbao: Mr Speaker, I assure the hon. Member for Mpongwe that RTSA officials are trained and tested before they get their licences just like anyone of us. Further, let me take this opportunity to inform the House that we have actually been considering the idea of mandating the RTSA to run driving schools. After a person goes through a driving school, he or she must go through the RTSA School to be certified as having been properly trained before being tested for a licence. We want the RTSA not only to test drivers and issue licences, but also to be the last to sanction a client’s readiness to be tested for a licence. Fortunately, the hon. Minister of Finance has given us permission to seriously consider the idea and its cost implications before it is implemented.

Mr Speaker, I thank you.

Mr Mufalali (Senanga): Mr Speaker, I thought that the hon. Minister would explain why he stopped speed limiters that existed under the Movement for Multi-party Democracy (MMD) Government. Further, he has explained what the Road Transport and Safety Agency (RTSA) did to the operators, but not what really transpired. Could he quote for us the law that empowers him to overturn the RTSA’s decision to suspend the licences of the two operators. Otherwise, what we think, now, is that the RTSA employs incompetent people who make illegal decisions.

Mr Simbao: Mr Speaker, the laws are made in this House. There are many clauses in the Road Act, but there is none that puts forth an accident as a ground for revoking an operator’s licence. One states in general terms that a licence can be revoked if the operator commits a mistake repetitively. As there are too many clauses, reading one of them might not answer the hon. Member’s question. Therefore, I ask him to read the Road Traffic Act, No. 11 of 2002, to get the full picture.

Mr Speaker, I thank you.

Mr Speaker: Order, hon. Minister!

I am a bit concerned because, earlier, you said that the decision of the agency was based on emotions while yours was based on the law. So, I gather, the hon. Member for Senanga is asking you to state the legal basis of your decision?

Mr Simbao perused the Road Traffic Act.

Mr Simbao: Mr Speaker, give me an opportunity to ―

Mr Speaker: Maybe, we can get back to it later?

Mr Simbao: Yes, Sir.

Mr Mweetwa: On a point of order, Sir.

Mr Speaker: Not during this part of the sitting. We have many questions to consider.

Dr Musokotwane (Liuwa): Mr Speaker, I thank the hon. Minister for his good statement. I also extend my sympathies to the many people who have lost their loved ones.

Mr Speaker, the accidents, as he has said, are caused by human error, but they only occur on roads where it is possible for vehicles to move as fast as 100 km/h to 160 km/h. In Liuwa, we do not have this kind of problem ...

Dr Musokotwane: ... because we do not have a single gazetted road.


Dr Musokotwane: The maximum speed at which one can drive, if lucky, is, maybe, 35 km/h. So, when we hear these problems, we just say that it affects the people from the other side of Zambia. That said, we also have traffic accidents in which the causes are mostly crocodiles and hippos, not human error.


Dr Musokotwane: Our fishermen and traders paddle their canoes innocently, but the bad-tempered and ill-mannered crocodiles and hippos attack them. Many people have died this way in my constituency. So, when will the hon. Minister make a statement to this House on water accidents and the measures he is instituting against the hippos ...


Dr Musokotwane:  ... and crocodiles to save the lives of the people?

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Simbao: Mr Speaker, I am sorry that this statement did not include maritime accidents. However, I admit that it is a very serious issue. As I have stated on the Floor of this House, the Government wants to place on maritime safety the same priority it places on road transport. Therefore, the question is timely and, if given the time, we can compile the information and give it to the hon. Member of Parliament or the House in the next session.

Mr Speaker, I thank you.

Mr Kazabu (Nkana): Mr Speaker, this ministerial statement is, indeed, on a sombre matter because the hon. Minister talked about the loss of many human lives from the accidents that we have experienced in the country. He also outlined a number of measures that his ministry will effect to reduce on the accidents, especially those that involve public service vehicles (PSVs). Is the ministry in a position to consider introducing random breathalysing checkpoints? I ask this because the human error about which we heard is not just due to overspeeding, but also some drivers who drive under the influence of liquor.

Mr Speaker: Order!

I thought that the hon. Minister had addressed that matter. Maybe, I just did not follow him.

Hon. Minister, you may answer the question.

Dr Simbao: Mr Speaker, yes, I have addressed that issue. For the sake of the hon. Member, however, I will repeat that breathalyser tests will be administered on all PSV drivers and any other motorists who should be tested at all toll gates. We targeted the toll gates because they are points where all motorists are sure to pass through. The tests will also be conducted at roadblocks, which may be set up anywhere.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Pande (Kasempa): Mr Speaker, before I ask my question, I would like the hon. Minister to take into consideration the question asked by the hon. Member for Senanga regarding his decision to overturn the suspension of two operators’ licences by the Road Transport and Safety Agency (RTSA). I would like him to state whether that decision the RTSA made could not have been made by him. That said, my question is: Is the hon. Minister considering, in the long run, introducing cameras that can capture speeding vehicles, like it is in other countries? If he has addressed this issue, I missed it.

Dr Simbao: Mr Speaker, the issue he has raised was addressed in my statement, as I said that we would use GPS devices to track the vehicles that will be enlisted. Eventually, almost all the vehicles in the country will be on the system and that will allow us to check the speed of any car at any time. Our first target, though, are PSVs.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Mutati (Lunte): Mr Speaker, the sadness in the hon. Minister’s preamble to his statement was, indeed, appropriate. Six weeks ago, six people died between Kasama and Kaputa in an accident at a point known to be a black spot.

Sir, getting back to the case of the two accidents cited in the statement, the hon. Minister mentioned that he had engaged the two bus operators and demanded that they undertake some appropriate interventions. What is he doing to eliminate the emotional element in decision-making at the Road Transport and Safety Agency (RTSA)?

Dr Simbao: Mr Speaker, we have to enhance the competence of most of our people. My decision to reverse the decision of the RTSA was based on Clause 108 of the Road Traffic Act, No. 12 of 2002. Sub-section 16 of the Clause states that:

“A road service licence may be revoked or suspended in whole or in part or its terms or conditions may be varied by the Director on the ground that any condition subject to which the licence or a variation was granted has not been complied with provided that the Director shall not revoke, suspend or, in terms of this Sub-section, vary such a licence unless owing to the frequency of the breach of conditions on the part of the licence holder or to the breach having been committed wilfully.”

Sir, none of the conditions stated above applied in the two cases. There are many causes of accidents. The provisions cited above relate to the safety policy of the companies, yet the accidents we are talking about were the result of errors made by the drivers. The operators had made sure that the buses were in a good working condition before they left the stations, but the drivers made errors that resulted in the accidents. The percentage of accidents caused by defective vehicles, as I said, is 0.4 per cent while that of accidents caused by human error is 87 per cent. So, the people who cause the accidents are the drivers, not the operators. The Act does not provide for the operator to be punished for the offences of the drivers.

I thank you, Sir.

Brig-Gen. Dr Chituwo (Mumbwa): Mr Speaker, in 2010, the United Nations Organisation (UNO) General Assembly declared 2011 to 2020 a Decade of Action for Road Safety in Developing Countries. One of the causes of accidents related to human error is that of under-aged and inexperienced drives compounded by ingestion of alcohol. What percentage of the 87 per cent of accidents caused by human error do these constitute? 

Dr Simbao: Mr Speaker, I am sorry, I do not have that information even though I asked for it. I asked for the number of accidents caused by driver fatigue and drunkenness from both the RTSA and police but, unfortunately, we seem not to keep that kind of information. However, I really wanted to bring it to the House.

I thank you, Sir.
Mr Shakafuswa (Katuba): Mr Speaker, it is a fact that most accidents that are due to human error are caused by mini bus drivers. Regarding the hon. Minister’s statement that we will introduce toll-free messaging for reporting road traffic violations, will the hon. Minister also consider introducing a cellular phone number that the public can use to send photographs of min bus drivers who load passengers in the middle of the road? For example, people can send pictures to the authorities via WhatsApp. There are times when mini bus drivers can be in front of another motorist driving at 40 km/h or 60 km/h and suddenly stop to pick up passengers. This often leads to accidents in which people may not die, but often get injured. Can we look at this problem of careless mini bus drivers. I know that the mini bus drivers are very rude and arrogant on the road because most mini buses are owned by traffic officers.


Mr Shakafuswa: What can be done to help other road users to report such incidents, which are very irritating? Further, why does the hon. Minister not …

Mr Speaker: Order!

I think that you have made your point, hon. Member.


Mr Speaker: Hon. Minister, you may respond.

Mr Simbao: Mr Speaker, I thank the hon. Member for Katuba for that good idea. We are open to all progressive ideas and will seriously look at his suggestion. However, even currently, the RTSA has toll-free numbers. So, if the hon. Member sees any driver misbehaving, he should report him and the culprit will be summoned immediately. If the erring driver does not present himself to RTSA officers, they will wait for the time he will go to buy his road tax to take him to court.

Mr Speaker, I thank you.

Mr Mukata (Chilanga): Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister referred to Juba Transport, a transporter of inflammable materials. What I have noticed about those trucks is that they park back-to-back on the entire length and breadth of Mungwi Road and the adjacent road all the way into Malambo Road. Clearly, that is a disaster waiting to happen. For instance, a smoker can flick a cigarette in that direction and start a fire. What is the Road Transport and Safety Agency (RTSA) doing to find a place for such truckers to park so that they can only be called to decant their materials at intervals?

Mr Simbao: Mr Speaker, again, the idea from the hon. Member for Chilanga is a very good one and that is exactly what my ministry and the Ministry of Water and Energy Development are looking into. It is true that the situation to which he has referred is dangerous. Fortunately, we are close to finding land where the truckers can park while waiting for their chance to offload.

Sir, it is very good that hon. Members are coming up with such good ideas. However, I must add that ideas of this nature should not only be put forth after ministerial statements. It is important that we discuss them as soon as they are conceived so that we save people’s lives. 

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Chenda (Bwana Mkubwa): Mr Speaker, from the hon. Minister’s statement, it appears that there are many incompetent, but licensed drivers on our roads. What additional measures is the RTSA taking to ensure that driving licences are only given to competent drivers?

Mr Simbao: Mr Speaker, currently, it is really difficult to tell whether a person who has a driving licence is competent or not.


Mr Simbao: That said, I hope that once people know that their licences will be stamped for committing traffic offences and that a second stamp will result in the withdrawal of their licence, they will become more careful drivers. As I said, the offender might be banned from driving for a year or two, or whatever period will be decided upon. Maybe, when we start stamping licences, which will be by people without leniency, not just anyone, we will bring some sanity to this area.

I thank you, Sir.


 The Minister of Local Government and Housing (Mr Kampyongo): Mr Speaker, I thank you for giving me the opportunity to update the House, our citizens in Lusaka and the entire nation on the major water supply interruption between 25th and 26th April, 2016.

Mr Speaker, on 25th April, 2016, the Lusaka Water and Sewerage Company (LWSC) was informed that an 18-inch water pipe that runs parallel to Chilimbulu Road had burst behind Kangwa Shopping Centre in Lusaka’s Libala area. The pipe is a pumping main that delivers treated water from Lusaka Water Works to the reservoir near Woodlands Roundabout. The pipe’s burst resulted in a big flood and led to a failure of the affected part of the side of the road.

Mr Speaker, the action taken immediately after the pipe burst was the switching off of the booster pump at the Water Works to not only stop the wastage of water, but also protect the newly-rehabilitated road. Arising from the shutdown, water supply to Woodlands, Chilenje, Libala, Kabwata, Kamwala, and some parts of Olympia Park, Roma and Rhodes Park was interrupted. The water consumers in the affected areas were accordingly notified through the media and short message service (SMS) and equipment was quickly mobilised to facilitate an assessment of the damage, which established that the pipe failure resulted from compaction during works on the road. The compaction led to a movement of the coupling on a pipe joint.

Sir, it is worth noting that the pipe was laid more than forty years ago. Nonetheless, repair works were concluded on the same day and all the water links to the Lusaka Water Works Distribution Centre were restored and the water reservoir was filled. However, given that the whole water network was drained during the shutdown, the supply of water started at low pressure in some areas and stabilised over time. By the evening of 27th April, 2016, a stable supply was established to all areas, except those that were affected by power interruptions.

Mr Speaker, to ensure stable and predictable water supply to our people in the City of Lusaka, the Government, through the LWSC, is implementing the following projects, among others:

US$150 Million Kafue Bulk Water Supply Project, Phase I

Sir, the project will involve the construction of a water treatment plant and transmission line to deliver 50 million litres of treated water from the Kafue River. The contractor has since mobilised and is currently on site.

US$355 Million Lusaka Water Supply Sanitation and Drainage Project

Mr Speaker, the project involves the improvement of water supply, sanitation and drainage systems in selected townships of Lusaka. The procurement of the major construction works has been concluded and most of the contractors have since mobilised and moved to the sites. The Government is implementing a number of similar projects in other provinces.

Mr Speaker, it is important to note that during the implementation of the project, which will also include road works, there will be a need to shut down some sections of the water distribution systems. To mitigate the resultant supply interruptions, the following measures have been put in place:

(a) the people will be notified in advance so that they can store enough water to see them through the interruption period;

(b) where practicable, temporary supply hoses will be used when the reconnections take longer than planned;

(c) all the repair materials will be made available so that there will be no delay of works on account of shortages of materials; and

(d) there will be consistent collaboration among all the project participants.

Sir, let me assure this House and the nation, especially the people of Lusaka, that the Government is fully committed to addressing the challenges of water supply and sanitation, and to ensuring stable and predictable supply of clean water to our people. This commitment is evidenced by the numerous projects that the Government is already undertaking.

I thank you, Sir.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Speaker: Hon. Members are now free to ask questions on points of clarification on the statement given by the hon. Minister of Local Government and Housing.

Mr Konga (Chavuma): Mr Speaker, I commend the hon. Minister for that statement, which enlightens us on the water distribution situation.

Sir, Zambia and Lusaka, in particular, are currently recovering from the effects of cholera. Will townships like Kanyama, where the cholera outbreak was more severe, be considered for the provision of clean piped water so that citizens can avoid cholera?

Mr Kampyongo: Mr Speaker, indeed, we had a cholera outbreak in some parts of Lusaka City, and my ministry, through the LWSC, is committed supplying most of our communities with clean water using the new network that will be installed during the Kafue Bulk Water Supply Project about which I talked. There are a number of settlements that are still not connected to our water supply network. This challenge, as you know, is as a result of the unplanned nature of most of our settlements. Our people establish settlements before the services are delivered to the areas. So, we acknowledge the lack of water supply networks in many other areas, such as Ng’ombe and Mtendere, apart from Kanyama. The project I mentioned is intended to address the challenges faced in such areas.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Mufalali: Mr Speaker, the situation on the ground is not as the hon. Minister has portrayed it. I was in Libala near the Water Works this afternoon and saw that the effects of the pipe burst are still there. The people in Mtendere and many other places also still have no water. Maybe, if the hon. Minister toured the affected areas, he would see that the situation is quite bad. My question is; What are the engineers doing to ensure that water reaches the parts that still do not have it?

Mr Kampyongo: Mr Speaker, what I have stated is what is obtaining on the ground. The pipe burst caused floods, like I indicated in the statement. So, the hon. Member cannot expect the areas to dry up quickly. I was taken to the site by my engineers, contrary to what the hon. Minister has stated.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Kampyongo: I mean, the hon. Member of Parliament. Unfortunately, some dreams will never come true.


Mr Kampyongo: Mr Speaker, our technical experts worked round-the-clock to ensure that the pipe was fixed. So, it is not correct to say that the situation is the same. What is left is for the engineers to secure the pipe by casting concrete around it so that we avoid a similar occurrence.

I thank you, Sir.

Ms Imenda: Mr Speaker, I commend the hon. Minister for his statement. However, the water blues have continued in some parts of Lusaka, although the reasons are not connected to the pipe burst. In some parts of Rhodes Park, including where I live, we have persistent erratic water supply. We have water supply for only two hours in a day or we do not have it at all for four days. However, I have noticed that in some communities like Libala, some damaged taps run throughout the day like the Victoria Falls. I have also noticed that the people in those areas are on fixed-charge plans, not meters. What is the hon. Minister doing about such issues?

Mr Speaker: Although you have really veered off the subject, I will allow the hon. Minister to respond.

Mr Kampyongo: Mr Speaker, the water shortages were mainly a result of the damage to the pipe. However, it is also important to understand that power supply interruptions also affect our water supply networks. Where there is a lack of water supply, it could be as a result of power disruptions because the LWSC is also affected.

Sir, to address the wastage of water by some of our clients about which the hon. Member has talked, the LWSC has embarked on the installation of pre-paid meters. As I speak, our Permanent Secretary (PS) and a technical team are currently in Turkey to visit various suppliers of pre-paid meters. If we will be satisfied by the results of the pilot project, we will scale it up so that our clients only spend on the water they actually use. Otherwise, the wastage of water has bothered us for some time. It seems people do not just want to appreciate how much it costs to supply water to their homes.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.
Mr Antonio (Kaoma Central): Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister said that the pipe that burst is old. What measure has this Government put in place to make sure that another old pipe does not burst due to high water pressure?
Mr Kampyongo: Mr Speaker, I have indicated that the US$355 Million Lusaka Water Supply Sanitation and Drainage Project will mainly focus on the repair of the entire water supply network, starting from the intake in Kafue to the booster pump and the treatment plants. The system has been overwhelmed by the growth of the population and a lack of investment to improve the infrastructure. So, the problem will only be addressed through projects like the one I have mentioned. Further, I wish to inform the House that the pipe that burst has been replaced with a new one. Eventually, we will have to overhaul the entire network in order to serve our people in Lusaka effectively.

I thank you, Sir.




424. Mr Chenda (Bwana Mkubwa) asked the Minister of Local Government and Housing:

(a) when the construction of a modern market in Mushili Township in Bwana Mkubwa Parliamentary Constituency would commence;

(b) what the estimated cost of the project was; and

(c) what the time frame for the project was.

The Deputy Minister of Local Government and Housing (Mr N. Banda): Mr Speaker, the construction of Mushili Market will commence upon payment of the advance claimed by the contractor, which will soon be released.

Sir, the estimated cost of the project is K11,984,436.70.

Mr Speaker, the time frame for the project is twelve months.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Chenda: Mr Speaker, when will the process of paying the advance claimed be concluded?

Mr N. Banda: Mr Speaker, the process is almost complete and we expect the money to have been paid before the end of this month so that the contractor can mobilise.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Simuusa (Nchanga): Mr Speaker, what measures have been put in place to ensure that the marketeers will sell inside the market upon its completion instead of outside it, thereby preventing customers from buying in the market, as is the case in some of the modern markets that have now become elephants?

Mr N. Banda: Mr Speaker, the ministry has put in place different measures to encourage the marketeers to trade inside the markets. Indeed, many markets have remained empty because traders have opted to trade on the street. However, through the local authorities, the Government is working on giving incentives to marketeers who will trade inside the markets. That will also be done in Ndola, where the market in question will be constructed.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Pande (Kasempa): Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister has indicated that the construction of the market will cost K11,984,436.70. Can we be assured that this will not be another case in which the resources run out midway into the implementation of the project. Will the money be enough to see the project to its completion?

The Minister of Local Government and Housing (Mr Kampyongo): Mr Speaker, the amount that has been mentioned by the hon. Deputy Minister is the contractual sum and will be paid on a pro rata basis. This means that the works will be certified progressively by the Project Manager.

Sir, the money has already been budgeted for, but it will be drawn from the revenue basket. So, if we experience financial challenges, certainly, there could be some effects on the project. However, we want this project to be completed on schedule.

I thank you, Sir.


425. Mr Chipungu (Rufunsa) asked the Minister of Works and Supply:

(a) whether the Government had any plans to upgrade the Chamulimba/Mwachilele Road in Rufunsa District to bituminous standard;

(b) if so, when the plans would be implemented; and

(c) if there were no such plans, why.

The Deputy Minister of Works and Supply (Dr Mwali): Mr Speaker, the Government has no immediate plan to upgrade the road in question to bituminous standard due to limited fiscal space.

Sir, the 49 km Chamulimba/Mwachilele Road is in a good-to-fair condition and, as such, the Road Development Agency (RDA) is engaging a routine maintenance contractor to maintain it in its gravel state.

Mr Speaker, I thank you.

Mr Chipungu: Mr Speaker, what is the scope of the works that the contractor to be engaged by the Road Development Agency (RDA) will undertake? Will it include the establishment or repair of the bridges that have been washed away? 

Dr Mwali: Mr Speaker, we are not aware of bridges that have been washed away. However, if there are any, definitely, the routine maintenance contractor will work on them.

 I thank you, Sir.


426. Mr Mufalali (Senanga) asked the Minister of Local Government and Housing:

(a) how many boreholes earmarked for sinking in the Western Province using the US$14 million concessional loan obtained from the Africa Development Bank (AfDB) in 2015 had been sunk, as of March, 2016;

(b) if none, what had caused the delay in commencing the project;

(c) what other projects had been implemented in the province using the concessional loan; and

(d) whether any money had been remitted into the bank accounts that local authorities were directed to open when the project was launched in Mongu in August, 2015.

Mr N. Banda: Mr Speaker, the African Development Bank (AfDB)-funded Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Project (RWSSP) in the Western Province had not drilled any borehole, as of March, 2016.

Sir, the delay to commence the project was due to the lengthy processes that were required to fulfil the conditions precedent to the first disbursement of the loan.

Mr Speaker, the other projects implemented using the loan are as follows:

(a) orientation of districts on financial and procurement procedures in the implementation of the project;
(b) the procurement of vehicles, computers and other office equipment to be used by the districts during the implementation of the project; and

(c) the procurement of the consultant for the construction of ten water schemes.

Mr Speaker, all the activities named above have reached an advanced stage.

Sir, so far, K5,067,931.60 on grant and K1,198,660 for the start-up activities have since been disbursed to the sixteen districts of the Western Province.

Mr Speaker, I thank you.

 Mr Mufalali: Mr Speaker, in a statement to this House on the subject, the former hon. Minister of Local Government and Housing, Dr Phiri, indicated that the Government had the money to implement the project. Now, however, the hon. Deputy Minister is telling us that there were delays to implement the project due to the lengthy process involved in acquiring the money. How much money has been disbursed to each of the sixteen districts of Western Province?

Mr N. Banda: Mr Speaker, a grant of K5,000,067,931.60 and K1,198,660.50 …

Mr Speaker: Order!

Business was suspended from 1615 hours until 1630 hours.

[MR SPEAKER in the Chair]

Mr N. Banda: Mr Speaker, when business was suspended, I was answering a follow-up question asked by the hon. Member for Senanga.

Sir, since I am still on the Floor, I wish to take advantage of the opportunity to correct the figures I mentioned earlier. The figures are in millions, not billions, as I stated. The mistake was because I mentioned the figures in the un-rebased currency.

Sir, a K5,067,931.60 grant and K1,998,067.50 were disbursed to the sixteen districts of the Western Province. The different amounts so far disbursed to the districts total K6,266,592.01.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.   

Mr Speaker: To avoid repeated questions on the same subject, do you have the list for the districts?

Mr N. Banda: Mr Speaker, yes, we have a schedule that I will lay on the Table for hon. Members of Parliament.

I thank you, Sir.

Ms Imenda (Luena): Mr Speaker, in Luena, we were told that the boreholes would be sunk in phases, and that only three boreholes would be sunk in one ward in Phase I. If all the money has been disbursed, why is the process so slow and the allocated boreholes so few? Further, what can be done to expedite the project?

Mr N. Banda: Mr Speaker, each district requested a certain number of boreholes to be sunk. It was also at the district level that it was proposed that three boreholes be sunk in Luena under Phase I, and for the others to be sunk in Phase II.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Mr Miyutu (Kalabo Central): Mr Speaker, I have been left without any hope by the hon. Minister’s clear statement that no borehole has been sunk and that the actual number of boreholes to be sunk in each area will depend on the plans at the district level. Could the hon. Minister confirm that the project we are talking about, which has not yet been implemented, is the same one that was launched by the former Minister of Local Government and Housing, Hon. Dr John Phiri. If it is, why did the Government prioritise buying computers and vehicles that will benefit the civil servants while the people remain without safe drinking water, yet the project’s objective is to sink boreholes?

Hon. UPND Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Kampyongo: Mr Speaker, I thank the hon. Member of Parliament for that follow-up question although he has put too much emotion into it.

Sir, the project is being financed by the African Development Bank (AfDB) and it was structured in such a way that the capacity of the local authorities had to be built before they could become the implementing agencies of the project. Further, in building capacity, some measures had to be put in place, including the procurement of equipment and motor vehicles for use during the implementation of the project. Some people had to be trained in the local authorities and computers bought for data storage and management. So, nothing has changed. All the measures taken, so far, are part of the implementation of the project, and the financiers had to be satisfied on them before disbursing the money.

Sir, indeed, the project is the same one that my predecessor, Hon. Dr John Phiri, launched. However, the hon. Deputy Minister has indicated that there were some delays in implementing it because we had very little control over it.

Mr Speaker, on the issue of whether the boreholes are drilled or not, the hon. Member for Luena was talking about an initial allocation. It is not as if some boreholes were drilled in some areas, but not in others. Clearly, she only talked about the number of boreholes to be drilled in the first phase. So, much as there have been delays in its implementation, the project is still on course. The amount that the hon. Minister mentioned was disbursed for start-up activities by the councils.

I thank you, Sir.

Dr Kalila (Lukulu East): Sir, when the project was announced, it caused so much excitement among our people …

Mr Miyutu: Yes!

Dr Kalila: … in the Western Province and, for once, I was compelled to praise the Patriotic Front (PF) Government. Alas! It has not been implemented and we are having difficulties explaining why to our people. as you know, water is a very serious campaign issue.

Sir, as the tenure of this Parliament draws to its end, it is very important that the hon. Minister comes clean and tells us exactly when the first borehole will be sunk in the Western Province.

Hon. Opposition Member: Hear, hear!

Mr Kampyongo: Mr Speaker, we, in the ministry, are very anxious, too, because we know that the expectations of our people were very high. However, like I said, the financiers of the project wanted certain measures to be put in place in the local authorities because the project was structured in a way that required the local authorities to take ownership of its planning and implementation, including the location of the boreholes.

Sir, the Government is still very committed to the project. I know that our people will be very interested to know the progress on the project during the campaigns. In fact, we held a meeting with the AfDB two weeks ago in which we shared our concerns over the delays and were assured that the project will soon be implemented. So, when the hon. Member of Parliament for Lukulu East goes back to his constituency, he can assure the people that the boreholes will soon be sunk. In any case, his role should be to encourage the councils to prepare itself to be in charge of the procurement of equipment and contractors. In fact, the hon. Member will be able to participate in the process.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Mr Speaker: He seems to be wondering about the time frame …


Mr Speaker: … because of a certain event that will happen next week.

Mr Mutelo (Lukulu West): Mr Speaker, when nothing is done in Lukulu, we, in Mitete, get even more worried. When answering part (c) of the question, the hon. Minister talked about activities related to the loan conditions. Can he come out clearly and indicate whether apart from the intended projects, there are others that have been implemented in the Western Province using that loan. What he has mentioned are loan conditions. We want to see something happen in Mitete. When a person promises food to someone who is hungry, but does not honour the promise, the promised will die of hunger.


Mr Kampyongo: Mr Speaker, I share the hon. Member for Lukulu West’s concerns.

Hon. Government Member: Hear, hear!

Mr Kampyongo: Sir, basically, the response to part (c) of the question was an indication of what has been done, so far, in the implementation of the project. The hon. Deputy Minister mentioned ―

Mr Mutelo did not pay attention.

Mr Kampyongo: Hon. Member, when someone is responding to your question, you must pay attention.

Mr Speaker: Order, hon. Minister!

Just continue with the response.

Mr Kampyongo: Mr Speaker, the hon. Deputy Minister was merely indicating what has been done, so far, and that the financier, AfDB, has attached some conditions to the loan, as it has a way in which it wants the money to be spent. So, it started by orienting the districts on the financial and procurement procedures that it wants to be followed in the implementation of the projects. The conditions specify, among other things, the number of motor vehicles and the kind of furniture to be procured for each district. I know that the ultimate result is the sinking and equipment of boreholes. The comfort we have is that the money for the preliminary activities has already been disbursed. So, the hon. Member should now expect to see contracts being awarded in the various districts. As I have already said, the contracts will be awarded at the local level. So, he should take keen interest in monitoring how the local authorities will implement the projects. The ministry does not want to micro manage the implementation of this project and that is what the financiers want to prevent.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Mr Ndalamei (Sikongo): Mr Speaker, this Government is known for launching projects that do not take off, just like the Mongu Stadium Project, which has not commenced five years after it was launched.

Mr Ng’onga: Question!


Mr Ndalamei: Sir, how soon will we see the boreholes being sunk? We do not want this to be a case similar to that involving the Mongu Stadium.

Hon. Opposition Member: Hear, hear!

Mr Speaker: Hon. Member, the hon. Minister has belaboured this point.

Anyway, hon. Minister, are you in a position to specify a date?

Mr Kampyongo: Mr Speaker, unfortunately, I am not in a position to indicate the dates because they will be set by the local authorities. Fortunately, the hon. Member is also a member of the council that will set the dates. So, I urge him to seek information on such issues from the council.

Sir, I also advise the hon. Member to stop pretending to be a blind person. The projects that we have implemented in the Western Province are there for the people to see.

Hon. Government Members: Correct!

Mr Kampyongo: For example, he now drives on a long bridge instead of paddling a canoe as he used to do previously.

Mr Ndalamei: Which bridge? Niya Mwanawasa!


Mr Kampyongo: Now, he is able to cruise in his Toyota Land Cruiser on a masterpiece project that we implemented in that province.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Kampyongo: So, instead of being a Doubting Thomas, let him go to his council and ask for the dates on which the project will commence.

I thank you, Sir.




Ms Imenda (Luena): Mr Speaker, I beg to move that the House do adopt the Report of the Public Accounts Committee on the Report of the Auditor-General on the Accounts of the Republic for the Financial Year Ended 31st December, 2014, laid on the Table of the House on Tuesday, 3rd May, 2016.

Mr Speaker: Is the Motion seconded?

Mr Mumba (Mambilima): Mr Speaker, I beg to second the Motion.

Ms Imenda: Sir, your Committee, in line with its terms of reference, as specified in the Standing Orders, considered the Report of the Auditor-General on the Accounts of the Republic for the Financial Year Ended 31st December, 2014.

Mr Speaker, I am humbled to present your Committee’s report. On this score, let me sincerely thank my colleagues for the hard work and the focused manner in which we deliberated on the matters that came before us, and for giving me an opportunity to lead them for the past one-and-a-half years. I am greatly honoured to be the first female Member of Parliament afforded this opportunity in almost fifty-one years of the Committee’s existence.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Ms Imenda: Mr Speaker, allow me to highlight your Committee’s concerns arising from the Auditor-General’s report.

Sir, your Committee is concerned about the extent of the wasteful expenditure documented in the Auditor-General’s report, which has been increasing steadily, as evidenced by the increasing size of the report over the years.

Sir, your Committee believes that if managed prudently, public resources would enhance Public Service delivery and transform the lives of ordinary Zambians, and this point leads me to one of the queries your Committee dealt with on wasteful expenditure by senior officers in the Government. Your Committee learnt that one Controlling Officer took advantage of a provision for air travel in his entitlements to send his driver by road while he flew to the same destination. This resulted in double expenditure on this assignment. Shockingly, your Committee learnt that the practice was common in all the ministries and provinces. In another case, a Controlling Officer and other staff at one provincial office lodged at a private guesthouse instead of a Government very important persons (VIP) house built by the provincial administration for that purpose. Your Committee was alarmed to learn that the Controlling Officer stayed at the guesthouse for over two years, incurring a cost close to K1 million. What is worrying is that such irregularities were perpetrated by the Controlling Officers, who are expected to protect public funds. It cannot be easy for such officers to enforce financial regulations and discipline. It is not surprising that after one Controlling Officer lodged at a private guesthouse, his subordinates followed suit. Further, your Committee observes, with concern, that all the abuses are done with impunity, as no disciplinary action is taken against the erring officers. Your Committee, therefore, calls upon the Secretary to the Treasury to review the financial regulations and the Public Finance Act so as to further enhance internal controls.


Mr Speaker: Order, both on the left and the right!

Ms Imenda: Sir, your Committee also implores the Secretary to the Treasury to expeditiously come up with stiffer punitive measures against financial abuses to deter would-be perpetrators. As your Committee has repeatedly stated, in the absence of punitive measures, the defalcation of public funds will continue unabated. The Government is further urged to appoint Controlling Officers on merit in order to reduce on non-adherence to financial and other applicable regulations. It is very sad that some of the Controlling Officers, mostly Permanent Secretaries, who appeared before your Committee expressed ignorance of financial regulations and seemed to have approved payments without understanding the implications. In this regard, your Committee stresses that Controlling Officers are key to Budget execution and that only when they fully understand all the regulations will they instil discipline in their subordinates.

Mr Speaker, another matter that your Committee considered very serious was that of the enormous rise in unvouched expenditure. Your Committee observes, with great concern, the increase in unvouched expenditure from K70 million in 2013 to K390 million in 2014, an alarming rise of over 600 per cent. Your Committee is of the view that this increase in unvouched expenditure by ministries and provinces is an indication of serious lapses in the management of financial resources, generally. Further, the mechanisms for combating financial irregularities, impropriety and improbity also appear to have collapsed.

Sir, another issue that your Committee considered was the failure by public entities to secure their property with title deeds. One of the culprits in this area is the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. For example, although the Chancery and the Official Residence for the Addis Ababa Mission were bought in 1965 and 1971, respectively, the title deeds for the properties had not yet been secured. Consequently, the named properties were not insured, contrary to the Foreign Service Regulations. The Lands Act, Chapter 185 of the Laws of Zambia, also requires institutions or individuals owning land to possess title deeds as proof of ownership. Given this scenario, the House will agree with your Committee that although the properties exist, there is no proof that they belong to the Zambian Government. Your Committee considers this a very serious anomaly and warns that the country can end up losing the properties, especially if they become the subject of litigation. Your Committee, therefore, strongly urges the Controlling Officers to ensure that all Government properties under their custody have title deeds without any further delay.

Sir, tied to the issue of untitled properties is that of uninsured properties, especially Government buildings. Most of the ministries and spending agencies that appeared before your Committee lamented the restrictive allocations they got from the Treasury, which they claimed had made it difficult for them to set aside monies for insuring public property under their care. In this regard, the Secretary to the Treasury is strongly urged to ensure that money for insuring public assets, such as buildings and equipment, be provided in the Budget in order to avert unforeseen losses.

Sir, your Committee also observes that Government contracts are usually awarded with artificial contract sums. This is evidenced by the tendency of the contractors to seek variations of the contracts. Your Committee wonders how a contractor can start executing a project without considering the full scope of works. Your Committee cannot rule out connivance between contractors and Government officers in such transactions. It is evident that contractors wilfully understate the contract sums to increase their chances of winning tenders because they know that they can always raise the sum through variations. This practice crowds out competitive bidders. For example, Clause 4(6) of the contract signed by the Ministry of Local Government and Housing with contractors prohibited project managers from approving variations exceeding 25 per cent or below 20 per cent of the contract sum, but the Lusaka City Council (LCC) authorised variations to four contracts ranging from 44 per cent to 78 per cent without re-advertising the tenders. That is highly irregular. The Government is, therefore, strongly urged to make the selection of contractors as transparent as possible if value for money is to be realised. The Government is also urged to ensure that its officers charged with the responsibility of procuring contractors strictly follow the laid-down procedures to avoid what is obtaining currently. The Controlling Officers are also strongly urged to sternly discipline all officers who wilfully abrogate procedures to deter others.

Mr Speaker, one irregularity about which your Committee was concerned was the sub-contracting of 100 per cent of works by one contractor to another, with the original contractor expected to get only 4 per cent of the contract sum as administration fee. A named construction company was awarded a contract at a contract worth K10 million to build twenty medium-cost houses in Lunga District in twelve months. However, the contractor failed to execute the project and sub-contracted a Chinese firm to do all the works, contrary to the contract provisions. So, your Committee wonders how the contractor was awarded the contract when it was evident that he had no capacity to execute the works. In such cases, insider dealings cannot be ruled out. To make matters worse, the initial contractor failed to meet his obligations to the sub-contractor, thereby delaying the works and causing the Government to suffer the consequences of the default. It is even more worrying that the Controlling Officers failed to report the matter to the law enforcement agencies for further investigation. In this vein, your Committee urges Controlling Officers to ensure that such matters are expeditiously reported to the law enforcement agencies. You will agree with me that a lot of work still needs to be done to safeguard public funds and that this calls for a radical change of mindset among public officials.

Sir, what I have said may leave you thinking that everything is wrong in the public sector. However, your Committee is aware that there are some public officers who are doing their best to do what is right. Your Committee encourages them to continue doing so.

Mr Speaker, allow me to conclude by thanking you and the Office of the Clerk of the National Assembly for the guidance and support rendered to your Committee during its deliberations. I further thank all the Controlling Officers who were audited for their co-operation. Finally, I acknowledge and appreciate the advice rendered to your Committee by the officers from the offices of the Auditor-General, Accountant-General and Controller of Internal Audit.

Mr Speaker, I beg to move.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Speaker: Does the seconder wish to speak now or later?

Mr Mumba: Now, Mr Speaker.

Mr Speaker, I beg to second the Motion that this House Adopts the Report of the Public Accounts Committee on the Report of the Auditor-General on Accounts of the Republic for the Financial Year Ended 31st December, 2014.

Sir, one of the strengths of the Public Accounts Committee is that it uncovers cases of fraud and weaknesses in policy. It is our role, therefore, to ensure that the general public is satisfied that the taxes and charges they pay are accounted for efficiently and fairly and, above all, spent wisely. I wish to reiterate your Committee’s commitment to that task.

Mr Speaker, your Committee noted major issues raised across all heads of expenditure, received an immense amount of evidence and unanimously proposed many practical solutions that will, by and large, require policy changes. As the mover of the Motion has ably articulated the views of your Committee, I will only comment on a few issues that require emphasis, starting with that of irregular payments.

Sir, there has been an increase in irregular payments from K14 million in 2013 to K26 million in 2014. Your Committee laments this huge anomaly, as it is evidence of public officers’ adeptness at weakening systems to their advantage. One case that your Committee dealt with involved the Zambian Mission in Beijing. It is a known fact that hon. Ministers who travel abroad are given allowances to cater for their upkeep. However, your Committee learnt that in the period under review, the Zambian Mission paid hotel bills totalling K9,000 for the accommodation of an hon. Minister who visited China to attend a meeting of the International Council of Asian Political Parties (ICAPP). Of the K9,000, K3,000 was paid in cash and no cash sale receipt was obtained. Your Committee found this highly irregular and unacceptable, as public funds were expended to the advantage of an individual. It is for this reason that it strongly recommends that the whole amount be recovered without any further delay and that the vice be avoided by all senior Government officers.

Mr Speaker, issue of unretired imprest has continued to bother your Committee, as it featured in almost all ministries and provinces that appeared before your Committee. Your Committee further notes that the amounts held up in outstanding imprest have continued to grow. For example, while unretired imprest was K8 million in 2013, it rose to an alarming and unacceptable K13 million in 2014. In this regard, allow me to join the mover of the Motion in urging the Government to consider amending the financial regulations so that when the holder fails to retire imprest within forty-eight hours as provided for in the financial regulations, the amount should be converted into a loan owed to the Government by the officer and it should attract interest at a punitive prescribed rate. Further, disciplinary action should be taken against supervising officers who fail to ensure that their subordinates retire imprest.

Mr Speaker, your Committee is saddened that in this age, officers in the ministries and provinces continue to have problems in using information and communication technology (ICT) tools. In some instances, some ministries and spending agencies do not even have ICT strategic plans. This is highly irregular, as not having the plans disadvantages institutions in the development of ICTs.

Mr Speaker, related to the ineffective or inadequate use of ICTs are the recurring problems in the Payroll Management and Establishment Control (PMEC) System. There has been rampant misplacement of officers on the payroll due to weaknesses in the system. An extreme example is that of a Ministry of Defence officer who appeared on two payrolls, that is, under the ministries of Health, and Defence, under the Zambia National Service. The officer defrauded the Government by drawing two salaries in his name, which is unacceptable. Your Committee, therefore, urges the Controlling Officer in the Ministry of Defence to liaise with his counterpart in the Ministry of Health and recover the monies wrongly paid to the officer without any further delay.

Mr Kosamu crossed the Floor

Hon. Members: Order!

Mr Mumba: Further, Sir, your Committee directs the Ministry of Defence to take stern disciplinary action against the officer, as this is clear theft by a public servant.

Mr Speaker, in conclusion, allow me to appreciate the Office of the Secretary to the Treasury for ensuring that all outstanding Treasury minutes were produced and tabled before Parliament. However, the office still remains with the huge task of ensuring that resources are provided for the committee of staff comprising officers from the Accountant-General, Auditor-General, Controller of Internal Audits and the National Assembly to be able to follow up on all outstanding issues during the recession period. I also appreciate the work that the Auditor-General and his staff have continued to carry out in ensuring transparency and accountability of public funds in the country. Your Committee assures the nation that it will continue to support the office’s work and all measures aimed at upholding its credibility. I also join the mover of the Motion in thanking you for according us the opportunity to serve on this important Committee. Finally, I thank the members of your Committee for affording me the opportunity to second the Motion.

Mr Speaker, I beg to second.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

The Minister of Finance (Mr Chikwanda): Mr Speaker, allow me to record my sincerest gratitude to the Public Accounts Committee for its diligent work, which has, again, drawn our attention to continued irregularities in the financial system. All I can say is that we should all work together to roll back these slippages and lapses, and resolve to make the misuse of public resources intolerable. We should have zero tolerance to any abuse of public resources because we still have huge pockets of poverty in our country. Therefore, we cannot allow selfish individuals to help themselves to public resources beyond that to which they are entitled with no regard to ethics and morality. In this regard, I promise that the Government will take every conceivable measure to continue to improve on the management of public resources. In fact, while the headlines are full of negative content on these issues, as the negative attract more attention, there has been tremendous improvement in the management of resources in the Government. Going forward, we must strengthen the pieces of legislation that impact positively on public finance management.

Mr Speaker, once again, I thank the Committee and its very diligent Chairperson.

Mr Speaker, I thank you.

Ms Imenda: Mr Speaker, I thank the hon. Minister for his comments and for supporting this report. I also thank all those who debated the Motion quietly.

Mr Speaker, I thank you.

Question put and agreed to.





The Vice-President and Minister of Development Planning (Mrs Wina): Mr Speaker, I beg to move that the Bill be read a second time.

Mr Speaker, the objects of the Bill are to:

(a) provide for the membership, functions, operations and financial management of the State Audit Commission; and

(b) provide for matters connected with or incidental to the foregoing.

Mr Speaker, Article 234 of the Constitution of Zambia provides for the creation of the State Audit Commission whose overall mandate is to improve the delivery of audit services to public institutions and enhance the accountability of the Public Service to the people of Zambia. The motivation behind the creation of the commission is to allow for the proposed commission to oversee the execution of the functions of the National Audit Office and promote audit personnel of the National Audit Office within their specialised fields.  The Office of the Auditor-General is not subject to direction or control of a person or an authority in the execution of its functions. The proposed commission will be the oversight body of the operations of the National Audit Office. This will enhance good corporate governance in the office.  Further, currently, the Office of the Auditor-General is understaffed. With the establishment of the commission, it is anticipated that this problem will be thoroughly addressed.

Sir, let me end by joining the other hon. Members who have supported the Bill and called on this House to support it.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Mtolo (Chipata Central): Mr Speaker, your Committee on Estimates considered the State Audit Commission Bill No. 22 of 2016, whose object, as stated by Her Honour the Vice-President and Minister of Development Planning, is to provide for the membership, functions, operations and financial management of the State Audit Commission.

Sir, your Committee generally supports the intentions of the Bill, as it will enhance the administrative independence of the National Audit Office. Unlike the current practice, whereby the staff recruitment, appointments, disciplinary cases and approval of staff establishments are handled by the Public Service Commission (PSC), the State Audit Commission will deal with such staff matters.

Mr Speaker, your Committee notes and agrees with the view of some stakeholders that by vesting the power to appoint the members of the commission solely in the President, the role of the commissioners will be compromised. The office will be further compromised by the requirement for it to report to the President. Your Committee, therefore, recommends that the State Audit Commission and all the newly-created commissions report to Parliament, not the President, in order to ensure their independence. With respect to appointments, your Committee recommends that the commissioners be appointed by the President and ratified by Parliament.

Mr Speaker, some stakeholders are concerned about the commission’s role of overseeing the functions of the National Audit Office. Admittedly, the Constitution clearly states that the Office of the Auditor-General shall not be subject to the direction or control of a person or authority in the performance of its functions. However, your Committee is satisfied that the limits of the authority have been clearly stated. So, the commission does not have leeway to overreach its responsibility of providing oversight to include the core functions of the Office of the Auditor-General.

Sir, your Committee observes that membership of the commission will be drawn from the following:

(a) the Zambia Institute of Chartered Accountants (ZICA);

(b) the Law Association of Zambia (LAZ);

(c) the Zambia Institute of Human Resource Management (ZIHRM); and

(d) the Engineering Institution of Zambia (EIZ).

Mr Speaker, your Committee appreciates the inclusion of the EIZ, especially that most of the performance audits that have been conducted so far were on engineering-related activities, such as the construction of infrastructure. However, your Committee is aware that the Auditor-General has been undertaking several other audits, such as information and communication technology (ICT) and forensic audits. In order for the commission to have a broader representation, your Committee recommends that the composition be amended to include cross-cutting and voluntary organisations, such as the Economics Association of Zambia (EAZ).

Sir, let me conclude by thanking all the witnesses who appeared before your Committee for their valuable input into its work. Your Committee also appreciates the services rendered by the Clerk of the National Assembly and her staff during its deliberations. Lastly, allow me to thank you for affording your Committee the opportunity to consider the Bill.

I thank you, Sir.

The Vice-President and Minister of Development Planning: Mr Speaker, I thank the Committee for making a very important recommendation on the autonomy of the commission. The important recommendation on the inclusion of other bodies in the economic sector on the commission has also been noted. I also thank those who contributed, either actively or passively, to the debate on the report.

I thank you, Sir.

Question put and agreed to and the Bill read a second time.

Committed to a committee of the Whole House.

Committee on Tuesday, 10th May, 2016.




Clauses 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13 and 14 ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Title agreed to.


Clauses 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16 and 17 ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Title agreed to.


Clauses 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Title agreed to.



[MR SPEAKER in the Chair]

The following Bills were reported to the House as having passed through Committee without amendments:

The Immigration and Deportation (Amendment) Bill, 2016

The Supreme Court of Zambia (Amendment) Bill, 2016

The Ministers (Prescribed Number and Responsibilities) Bill, 2016

Third Reading on Friday, 6th April, 2016.


The Public Protector Bill, 2016

Report adopted.

Third Reading on Friday, 6th April, 2016.


The following Bill was read the third time and passed:

The Local Government (Amendment) Bill, 2016.




The Vice-President and Minister of Development of Planning (Mrs Wina): Mr Speaker, I beg to move that the House do now adjourn.

Question put and agreed to.


The House adjourned at 1742 hours until 0900 hours on Friday, 6th April, 2016.