By Mthulisi Mathuthu
SW Radio Africa
29 July 2014
A senior government official has admitted that various state ministries are to blame for the delay in the realignment of the laws with the provisions of the new constitution.
Justice affairs permanent secretary, Virginia Mabhiza, told Parliament that since the signing of the new constitution into law, it was envisaged that ministries would immediately identify all laws for review and formulate new policies but that has not happened. She said government ministries are failing to submit drafts to her ministry to kick-start the process.
Mabhiza said the situation was beyond the control of her ministry and could Parliament ‘interrogate the other ministries’ because the justice department could ‘not initiate policies’ for others.
She said out of a budget of $120,000 submitted this year, her ministry was allocated only $20,000 for the realignment exercise but even that amount has yet to be disbursed. Mabhiza said her department had also initiated the formation of an inter-ministerial task force to work on the re-alignment of laws and was engaging donors to fund the training of legal advisors in drafting laws.
She said a new law which will deal with the changes to existing laws to align them with the new Constitution would be gazetted soon. The delay has affected many people, especially journalists who have been arrested under illegal laws and Zimbabweans seeking dual citizenship, who have been repeatedly denied their right by the Registrar General’s office.
Zimbabwe Community in South Africa Chairman, Ngqabutho Mabhena, said many of their ‘members who have since acquired South African citizenship have been denied Zimbabwean passports despite the fact that dual citizenship is now legal.’
He told SW Radio Africa’s Diaspora Diaries programme that as they meet Home Affairs Minister Kembo Mohadi Wednesday in Pretoria they will raise the issue with him.
Mabhena said the continued denial of the people’s right to dual citizenship has caused a lot of anxiety and frustration amongst those living south of the Limpopo. He said they will also seek to know if they will be allowed to vote in future elections, as allowed in the new Constitution.
According to reports, Mohadi will be in Pretoria to meet his South African counterpart Malusi Gigaba over the issue of Zimbabweans who have been living there on special permits since 2009. As the permits are expiring in December Gigaba is expected to announce whether they will be renewed.