Zim reopens all borders

The Chronicle

Bongani Ndlovu, Chronicle Reporter

Cabinet has resolved to reopen all the country’s borders after announcing that Zimbabwe had managed to successfully contain the fourth Covid-19 wave that was fuelled by the Omicron variant.

Following the first Cabinet briefing for 2022 held yesterday in Harare, Minister of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Monica Mutsvangwa said when Cabinet adjourned on December 14, the country was in the midst of the fourth wave with an average of 4 014 cases per day. Currently, new cases average less than 1 000. 

As of Monday, the country’s cumulative Covid-19 cases stood at 231 337, with 223 603 recoveries and 5 374 deaths. The recovery rate was 96 percent, with 2 892 active cases having been recorded.

The Minister said the number of new Covid-19 cases decreased to 929 during the week under review, compared to 992 recorded the previous week. 

“In view of the continued decline in new cases and deaths coupled with a declining testing positivity rate that is indicating that the community transmission has gone down, all ports of entry be: reopened but ensuring that all the recommended Covid-19 prevention measures are adhered to, and all persons entering Zimbabwe must have undergone a valid Covid-19 PCR test not more than 48 hours from the time of their departure for Zimbabwe, and fully vaccinated.

Those who have received a booster vaccine shot have an entry advantage,” she said.

On the rehabilitation of roads, Minister Mutsvangwa said Government has released $1 billion for the Emergency Road Rehabilitation Programme 2 (ERRP 2) and a further $500 million for the District Development Fund with provincial ministers being charged to closely monitor progress in their areas of jurisdiction.

She said significant progress was achieved in implementing the ERRP2 on the repair and construction of drainage structures, reclamation of gullies and the repair of wash-aways, where the percentage completion of works exceeded 70 percent.

“Cabinet reports that the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development has since released $1 billion from the 2022 Budget to ERRP2, and a further $500 million to DDF to facilitate response to some of the weather-related emergencies.

With a view to address the issue of poor workmanship, the Programme Steering Committee intends to initiate remedial training for project supervisors and managers through the ERRP 2 National and Provincial Technical Committees,” she said. 

“The nation is advised that the periodic visits by the Steering Committee Implementation Monitoring and Evaluation Teams to the provinces and districts were invaluable in galvanising road authorities into action to achieve the desired results.

The visits will continue in 2022.” 

 Minister Mutsvangwa said  investigations will be done where ERRP 2 progress does not reflect work on the ground. 

“Investigations be conducted in situations where funds utilised do not reflect progress on programme implementation; that remedial training for project supervisors and managers in the provinces be resourced and conducted urgently to ensure that proper standards are maintained; and that the Programme Steering Committee works closely with ZIDA and Zinara to ensure that the Transport Infrastructure Investment Indaba is held in the first quarter of 2022,” said Minister Mutsvangwa.

Turning to schools and absenteeism by teachers and headmasters, Minister Mutsvangwa said the Minister of Primary and Secondary Education Dr Evelyn Ndlovu has been instructed to take stern action.

She said Government commends headmasters and teachers who turned up to work. 

“Cabinet noted with dismay the reported abseentism by some teachers and headmasters. Of particular concern, is the alleged barring of some teachers from attending to their work as well as attendance by some teachers without delivering lessons’.’ 

The Minister of Primary and Secondary Education has been instructed to take stern action in consultation with the chairman of the Public Service Commission and the Ministers of Higher and Tertiary Education, Innovation, Science and Technology Development; and Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare. An appropriate statement on the matter will be issued by the Minister soonest,” said Minister Mutsvangwa.

Minister Mutsvangwa also said $10 billion has been set aside to provide infrastructure for Garikai/Hlalani Kuhle planned settlements.

“The matter on planned settlements lacking basic services, Cabinet reports that focus is being placed on an initial 16 Garikai/Hlalani Kuhle settlements identified countrywide for immediate infrastructural development.

The cost of providing infrastructure on these 16 prioritised settlements amounts to about US$81 million or approximately ZW$10 billion,” said Minister Mutsvangwa.

She said Cabinet approved that Ministers of State for Provincial Affairs and Devolution actively participate in the development of Garikai/Hlalani Kuhle projects situated in their respective provinces. 

“Already, eight local authorities have since been authorised to commence design work for infrastructure development on these sites.

The local authorities include Lupane Local Board, Bindura Municipality, Karoi Town Council, Mutare City Council; Marondera Municipality; Hwange Rural District Council (Dete), and Bulawayo City Council (Cowdray Park),” said Minister Mutsvangwa. – @bonganinkunzi

Article Source: The Chronicle

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