HARARE – Parliament's Mines and Energy portfolio committee has slammed the Attorney-General(AG)’s Office, accusing it of delaying the Mines and Minerals Amendment Bill submitted to them.
The committee’s chairperson, Temba Mliswa, told the National Assembly last week that staff at the AG’s offices were sleeping on the job because they were failing to timeously make amendments to the Bill.
“Let me register my disappointment with the Attorney-General’s Office on behalf of the committee. The Mines and Minerals Amendment Bill was supposed to be into committee stage today,” he said.
“The committee has done all it can to ensure that everything is put in order and now we are being told that this is being moved until all other business has been disposed of. The minister has worked so hard. We are so fortunate that we have a minister working hard,” Mliswa said, adding “the committee has worked hard but the
Attorney-General has not done the amendments. May we know why they have not done the amendments because this Bill has been outstanding for 16 years? When the committee and the minister have worked hard, the Attorney-General has not, it is disappointing. The Attorney-General’s Office was not even there in Vumba when we went there for the workshop.”
Mliswa further said: “It now seems as if members of Parliament are just excited about going to Vumba doing nothing, getting allowances when the Attorney-General’s Office is sleeping on duty. This is the most important office when it comes to legal work in the country and now we are talking about the ease of doing business and the new economic order, so, for as long as this Bill is not passed, you must not hold the Members of Parliament accountable.
Neither must you hold the minister accountable but the Attorney-General’s Office, which is directly under the responsibility of the minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs. This is unacceptable and I do not think we must allow such things to happen.”
However, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs minister Ziyambi Ziyambi defended the AG’s office saying the amendments of the Bill must come through Cabinet.
“ … (the) minister of Mines and Mining Development is ready to proceed. He is very eager to ensure that this Bill is passed but there are certain amendments and the procedure is that we have to ensure that we are all moving in the same direction and those amendments that need to be made have to pass through Cabinet first.
“We have collective responsibility as Cabinet even though he is the minister of Mines and Mining Development. So, the amendments that were made by the Attorney-General’s Office have to pass through Cabinet and then we can come and complete the committee stage. The minister is therefore not in any way not doing his job appropriately. He is eager to ensure that it is completed.”