Cabinet received an update on the Country‘s Response to the Covid-19 pandemic and a report on the procurement and roll-out of vaccines, as presented by the chairman of the National Covid-19 Inter-Ministerial Committee, Vice President and Minister of Health and Child Care, Honourable Dr CGDN Chiwenga.
The nation is advised that, as at 30 October 2022, the country’s cumulative cases since the outbreak of Covid-19 in 2020 stood at 258 169, with 252 254 recoveries and 5 160 cumulative deaths. The recovery rate was 98 percent, with 305 active cases having been reported.
The pandemic remains under control as indicated by the flat Covid-19 epidemic curve. Indeed, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has acknowledged the progress made in controlling the Covid-19 pandemic globally. However, WHO has indicated that the pandemic remains a Public
Health Emergency of International Concern. Accordingly, Cabinet adopted the following October 2022 Covid-19 pandemic recommendations issued by WHO:
- Strengthening of SARS-CoV-2 surveillance capacity to detect and assess emerging variants;
- Achievement of national Covid-19 vaccination targets;
- Supporting the timely uptake of WHO-recommended therapeutics and SARS-CoV-2 testing;
- Maintaining a strong national response to the Covid-19 pandemic by updating national response plans;
- Addressing the risk communications and community engagement challenges identified as well as the divergent perceptions in risk between different interest groups;
- Continuing the use of effective, individual-level protective measures appropriately tailored to the changing epidemiological context in order to reduce the transmission of Covid-19, including vaccination, wearing of face masks, sanitizing and hand-washing; and
- Maintaining essential health, social and education services, especially access to essential immunisation services.
In addition, Cabinet agreed to strengthen the enforcement of all Covid-19 regulations and to ramp up vaccination in Harare secondary schools, where the vaccination coverage is low compared to other schools across the country.
Regarding the national vaccination programme, Cabinet wishes to inform the nation that, as at 30 October 2022, a total of 6 553 613 first doses of the Covid-19 vaccine had been administered, while 4 921 169 people had received their second dose, and 1 198 388 their third dose. This translates to a national coverage of 58,3 percent.
Report on the National Grains Status, wheat harvesting and deliveries
Cabinet received the weekly Report on the National Grains Status, Wheat Harvesting and Deliveries, as presented by the Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development, Honourable Dr Anxious Jongwe Masuka.
Cabinet advises that the grain stocks at GMB as at October 31, 2022 stood at 569 259 metric tonnes comprising 489 073 metric tonnes of maize and 80 186 metric tonnes of traditional grains. Using the monthly consumption rate of 49 294 metric tonnes, the available grain will last for 11,5 months.
Wheat stocks stand at 159 706 metric tonnes, and this will provide 6,3 months’ cover at a consumption rate of 21 000 metric tonnes per month. The cumulative harvested area of the 2022 winter wheat crop stands at 23 474 hectares, translating to 31 percent of the planted area. The total production stands at 114 472 metric tonnes of wheat, with the GMB having received about 90 000 metric tonnes of this output. Cabinet is pleased that veld fire incidents continue to decline and that the recent sporadic rains experienced across the country have not damaged the winter wheat crop.
A total of 248 combine harvesters and fuel have been mobilised to expedite the harvesting of wheat in the face of impending rains.
Human-Wildlife Conflict Relief Fund for victims in Zimbabwe
Cabinet considered and approved the establishment of the Human-Wildlife Conflict Relief Fund for Victims in Zimbabwe, as proposed by the Minister of Environment, Climate, Tourism and Hospitality Industry, Honourable NM Ndlovu.
Cabinet wishes to highlight that, as a result of its successful conservation programmes, the country’s increasing human and wildlife populations have led to competition for limited resources between humans and animals. In 1980, Zimbabwe had reached an elephant population of approximately 50 000 , while the human population was 7,4 million. In the year 2022, the ZIMSTATS population census estimated the number of people to have more than doubled to about 16 million.
The elephant population meanwhile, is now estimated at more than 85 000, with other species also showing significant growth. The consequent competition for limited resources often results in wildlife attacks on humans, especially in communal areas and towns that are close to national parks, safaris, forests and other protected areas. Consequently, people living adjacent to wildlife areas are always in danger of being attacked by the animals, and it has been established that the frequency of such attacks is increasing.
This year alone, as of August 2022, forty-six Zimbabwean lives have been lost to human-wildlife conflict, with the most affected being Mashonaland West Province, where 19 people were killed, mostly in Kariba. Regionally, Zimbabwe has the highest number of deaths from human wildlife conflict.
For example, in Botswana there are significantly less deaths, although they have more elephants at 204 000. This is because they have a smaller human population and the settlements are sparsely populated. In over a period of 10 years, they have recorded 57 deaths. Besides the fatalities, human wildlife conflicts affect communities in other ways, including the following:
- People being maimed, disabled, or sustaining serious injuries;
- Loss of food security due to consumption and destruction of crops by animals;
- Loss of livestock to predatory wild animals;
- Destruction and damage of property and infrastructure; and
- Potential exposure to zoonotic diseases.
Cabinet notes that Government, through the Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife
Management Authority (Zimparks), is implementing interventions to reduce human-wildlife conflict. The measures include
- Conservation education in the use of barriers;
- Translational, sterilisation and selective culling of wildlife;
- Approved hunting quotas; and
- Fencing to restrict or control the movement of wildlife.
Accordingly, Cabinet adopted the establishment of a relief fund to cushion the victims of human-wildlife conflict by way of funeral assistance and an amount paid towards hospitalisation and treatment with a set limit. The payments will cover three categories, namely: death, maiming, and injuries. A specialised human-wildlife conflict unit will be established under Zimparks. The Fund is based on a self-financing model where proceeds from hunting and other crowd funding activities will be mobilised to resource the Fund. These sources include reserving a hunting quota under the CITES granted quota, a levy on hunting revenue accruing to safari operators, Rural District Councils and conservancy owners. The financing sources also include, among others, the following:
- A percentage of wildlife commodities or products that are approved and monitored by Zimparks;
- Crowding conservancies to contribute financially towards human wildlife conflict through donor support programmes;
iii. CAMPFIRE proceeds; and
- Donations from the public, including funds from foundations set for wildlife conservation. Going forward, the Fund will be extended to include preventative measures such as providing water in the game parks and enhancing grazing pastures. The fund will also look at associated impacts such as livestock loss and control of wildlife and livestock movements to curtail the spread of diseases such as foot and mouth. Sources of funding will also include Treasury, while local structures will be incorporated into the programme.
Public Procurement and Disposal of Public Assets Regulations
Cabinet adopted the Public Procurement and Disposal of Public Assets (Compliance, Monitoring and Evaluation) Regulations of 2022, and the Public Procurement and Disposal of Public Assets (General) (Amendment) Regulations of 2022, as presented by Vice President and Minister of Health and Child Care, Honourable Dr C.G.D.N. Chiwenga.
Cabinet highlights that the Public Procurement and Disposal of Public Assets Regulations will institute administrative penalties against public entities and individuals who are abusing the relevant procurement processes. This will combat any breaches by public officials, especially corruption, malpractices and non-compliance with regulations. In a nutshell, the regulations relate to the following:
- Mandatory reports that need to be produced by procuring entities, their frequency and penalties for non-compliance;
- Reviews of procurement operations by the Procurement and Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (PRAZ) to ensure that procuring entities comply with the provisions of the Procurement and Disposal of Public Assets Act; and
- The review process by the Special Procurement Oversight Committee and the penalties which the Committee may direct PRAZ to impose.
Regarding the Amendments to the Public Procurement and Disposal of Public Assets (General) (Amendment) Regulations of 2022, Cabinet notes that the new policy changes in the country’s currency regime to mitigate inflationary and exchange rate pressures have necessitated the review of procurement regulations. The amendments will peg fees in foreign currency for both local and international bidders, with local bidders being allowed to pay in local currency at the prevailing official exchange rate, should they elect to do so.
The proposed regulations will go a long way in enhancing the integrity of public procurement and ensure that public procurement is conducted in a transparent, fair, honest, cost-effective and competitive manner and in compliance with the Public Procurement and Disposal of Public Assets Act.
Report on the inauguration of the New Prime Minister of the Republic of Lesotho
Cabinet congratulated the Republic of Lesotho for successfully inaugurating its new Prime Minister, His Excellency Samuel Matekane, on Friday 28 October 2022. The Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Trade attended the inauguration ceremony on behalf of His Excellency the President, Cde ED Mnangagwa. The ceremony was attended by some regional leaders, including the Presidents of South Africa, Namibia, Zambia and Botswana. The Secretary General of the Commonwealth also attended the inauguration.
Spotlight Initiative in Zimbabwe Fortitude Award
Cabinet congratulates the Zimbabwe Country Programme for receiving the
Global Country Teams Fortitude Award. The award recognises the unforeseen and unpredictable circumstances faced by Spotlight Initiative teams and the resolve, determination and resilience demonstrated to ensure that the work of eliminating violence against women and girls continues. Zimbabwe’s award was announced during the Spotlight Global
Learning Symposium held in Mexico from 16 to 18 September 2022.
Report on the Anticipated Return of Zimbabwean Nationals from South Africa
Cabinet adopted the Report on the Anticipated Return of Zimbabwean Nationals from South Africa, as presented by the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, Honourable Dr Frederick Makamure Shava.
Cabinet would like to inform the public that mass deportations of undocumented Zimbabweans were expected from South Africa following expiry of the Zimbabwe Exemptions Permits (ZEPs) which South Africa had granted them. The sister Republic of South Africa had initially given the ZEP holders a grace period of up to 31 December 2022 to apply for alternative visas, and later extended the ZEP validity to 30 June 2023. The alternative visas include student, business, spousal and work permit visas.
However, most ZEP holders do not qualify for the outlined critical skills visas hence the low uptake.
The Zimbabwean Government has issued guidelines and regulations for returning residents which include one duty-free vehicle and no limits to personal property. Government has also engaged the South African Government, emphasizing that Zimbabwe is ready to receive its returning nationals, who should comply with the relevant South African laws.
Cabinet agreed to establish an Inter-Ministerial Committee to prepare for the returning residents. The Committee will be supported by sub- committees which will include the following functional areas:
- Transport and logistics;
- Re-integration support;
- Resource mobilisation;
- Information and publicity; as well as
- Health and education.