Dr Marupi

DRAFTING of the Zimbabwe Media Commission Amendment Bill and Broadcasting Services Amendment Bill are at an advanced stage and the two pieces of legislation will be tabled before Parliament soon, Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Deputy Minister, Dr Omphile Marupi, has said.

Dr Marupi was responding to contributions made by backbenchers in the National Assembly in response to a State of the Nation Address speech made by President Mnangagwa when he officially opened the First Session of the 10th Parliament last year.

He noted that President Mnangagwa tabled 60 Bills that ought to be debated during the current session.

“During the speech, the President tabled 60 Bills and Acts for debate. The Ministry of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services will ensure that the Broadcasting Services Amendment Act (BSA) and the Zimbabwe Media Commission Bill (ZMC) are ready for debate in this August House,” Dr Marupi said.

“In his address, His Excellency implored all members to expedite the media reforms, through ensuring that the amendments to the BSA are fast-tracked while the ZMC draft Bill is finalised. 

“The amendments seek to promote co-regulation, which is a significant departure from the current statutory regulation, and instil professionalism in the media industry.”

Some of the objectives that seek to be achieved by the ZMC Amendment Bill are; additional functions of the Zimbabwe Media Commission which will include accreditation of local and foreign media practitioners, registration of Mass Media Services and the regulation and quality assurance of journalism and mass media communication training, delegation of disciplinary powers to professional bodies registered with the Commission and payment of annual levies into the Media Fund by registered media service providers.

“My Ministry is constantly liaising with the Attorney General’s office during the drafting stage and once the amendments are complete, I will gladly present them before you for further scrutiny,” Dr Marupi said.

Responding to the SONA debate, Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage Minister Kazembe Kazembe said President Mnangagwa raised deep concern about the increase in drug and substance abuse, especially among the youth. 

“In that regard, Mr Speaker, my office has been working tirelessly, employing and deploying all efforts within its mandate to achieve visible progress on the drug and substance abuse in order to protect the vulnerable members of society from their effects,” said Minister Kazembe.

“The Zimbabwe Republic Police partnered with other law enforcement agencies in an interagency approach to conduct raids, mount road blocks, carry out passenger profiling at all airports, cargo profiling and anti-drug and substance awareness campaigns in a bid to reduce and possibly eliminate drug trafficking, drug and substance abuse. 

“My Ministry is working to ensure that the Zimbabwe Republic Police is adequately equipped with financial and technical resources to be able to combat drug and substance abuse. 

“To this end, the ZRP’s CID Drugs and Narcotics section has remained on high alert at all ports of entry and exit. As part of its programme to increase efficiency, the ZRP has since decentralised its CID operations across the nation.”

He said the Forensic Science and Cyber Laboratory at CID Headquarters had also been prioritised in the allocation of resources to facilitate acquisition of the latest technology to aid the fight against drug and substance abuse. 

Primary and Secondary Education Minister, Torerayi Moyo, said his Ministry had put in place adequate measures for the best education and to ensure that children are not sent back home over non-payment of tuition fees. “While the Constitution guarantees the right to education, the Education Act is explicit in Section 68(c) that ‘no pupil shall be excluded from school for non-payment of school fees or on the basis of pregnancy’. 

To ensure this is adhered to, the Ministry has set up command centres at each level; district, provincial and head office whose role is to monitor schools for compliance. School authorities that violate this provision face disciplinary action,” said Minister Moyo.

“The Ministry has published through national media names and contacts of officials from the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education and these officials are at the disposal of parents and stakeholders to report any school that might choose to send children back home for non-payment. We also now have a toll free number and for the benefit of Honourable Members, the toll free number is 317 to make it easier for stakeholders to report such schools.” — Herald

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