Part 2 Examination – Paper 2.2(ZWE)Corporate and Business Law (Zimbabwe)December 2002 Answers1
Legislation, which is frequently referred to as Statute Law is the most important source of law in many of the world’s jurisdictionsincluding Zimbabwe. In terms of the Constitution of Zimbabwe legislative power of the Republic is vested in the Parliament of Zimbabwe and the President.There are two main forms of legislation, Acts of Parliament and delegated legislation.Delegated legislation is passed by bodies to whom Parliament has delegated authority. Although statutes of Parliament are theprimary source of legislation, other types of legislation (delegated legislation) are promulgated by bodies and persons empoweredto do so. Examples of such forms of legislation are:
Proclamations by the State President in terms of the Constitution.
Ordinances, regulations and statutory instruments by Government Ministers in charge of state departments in terms of therelevant empowering statutes.
Bye-laws of the various municipalities and rural district councils throughout the country.
Rules and regulations by statutory bodies such as the Health Professions Council, The Traffic Safety Council etc.Sometimes legislation may be needed so urgently that the legislature can act very quickly (fast tracking) to enact the requisitelegislation. But usually the legislative process goes through a lengthy and protracted procedure. The legislative phases can bebroken down as follows:
First Reading of the bill which is a mere formality.
Second Reading – this is the most important stage in the introduction of most bills and the main principles of the Bill arediscussed at this stage.
Committee Stage – this gives members of Parliament an opportunity to discuss the Bill clause by clause and improve thewording and make amendments where necessary.
Report Stage – if any amendments have been made at the previous stage they will be debated and considered by the Houseand further amendments can still be made.
Third Reading – finally a bill is given a formal third reading and goes to the President for his approval and when the Presidentsigns a Bill it becomes an Act of Parliament and part of the law. To inform everybody what the new law is, it will be publishedin the Government Gazette (constructive notice).Some of the well-known (if not controversial in some cases) pieces of legislation that have been enacted by Parliament in the lasttwelve months include:(1)The Public Order and Security Act No. 1 of 2002(2)The Sexual Offences Act No. 8 of 2001 and(3)The Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act No. 5 of 2002Both the High Court and the Supreme Court have got the power to set aside legislation which is
the Constitution, forexample where legislation purports to derogate from rights enshrined under Chapter Three of the Declaration of Rights in theConstitution. This is because our Declaration of Rights is justiciable (can be vindicated in a court of law).As for delegated legislation, there are many factors/reasons which justify its existence. Briefly some of the reasons are:1.Pressure on Parliamentary time – the Parliamentary calendar is very congested and there is no time to debate in detail all thematters which require legislation in the country;2.Flexibility and adaptability-delegated legislation can easily be adapted to suit a change in circumstances.3.Certain matters such as tax law, medical and engineering matters require unique expertise in terms of the legislative agendaof the Government and the details are then worked out by the experts and technocrats who are employed by the relevantgovernment ministries, departments and statutory bodies.4.In an emergency there may be insufficient time to resort to the laborious processes of Parliament; statutory instruments andproclamations can be brought into force much more quickly and expeditiously than statutes.