By Online Reporter
Government has banned Chitungwiza-Harare and Norton-Harare travelling as it qualifies as intercity travel under the extended lockdown level announced by President Emmerson Mnangagwa recently, the government has announced.
Information secretary Ndavaningi Mangwana in a statement this evening said intercity movement will only be allowed to those classified as essential service providers.
“Statutory Instrument 198 of 2021 defines intercity travel as travel between any cities or between municipalities or towns established or deemed to have been established in terms of the Urban Councils Act. It does not include travel between an area under the jurisdiction of a local board and a city, municipality or town that is within the same council area as the local board. As an example, movement between Chitungwiza and Harare or Norton and Harare is considered intercity travel and therefore prohibited,” Mangwana said.
“Accordingly, law enforcement agents will be ensuring that intercity travel will only be permitted for those providing an essential service or travelling for a humanitarian reason such as seeking medical treatment Proof of provision of essential service may be requested at Police checkpoints. Measures including but not limited to Police checkpoints will be intensified to ensure that members of the public comply with the measures.”
The statement comes hardly two days after the government had announced that it was suspending road blocks between 0600hrs to 1000hrs in the morning to allow smooth movement of traffic for those going to work.
“To facilitate movement to and from work people will be allowed to travel between 0600hrs to 1000hrs in the morning and between 1530hrs and 1800hrs after which the curfew will kick in. In between 1000hrs and 1530hrs police will continue to enforce the lockdown regulations,” Home Affairs minister Kazembe Kazembe said.
The announcement came after travelers from Norton and Chitungwiza to Harare were detained for hours travelling to work.
Many have expressed concern over government policy inconsistency and confusion in COVID-19 strategy response.
“Wow. Surprising! I thought that our Govt is fully alive to the fact that Chitungwiza is Harare’s Dormitory Town and should have been treated as such,” Samson Chitondo responded after the announcement on twitter.
“Your decision obviously lacks basis. What are the infection rates in Chitungwiza, Norton or Ruwa to warrant such a decision? Kuwadzana to Norton chaiyo is more than 5km. Just declare full lockdown tinzwe ka1 stop wasting our time,” another concerned citizen added.
But, Mangwana defended the decision saying the main goal was to minimize the spread of COVID-19 through travels.
“The idea is to stop the virus from spreading through limiting the movement of people between different places. But those who provide essential services are allowed to move for that purpose,” Mangwana responded.