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 Ministers’ COVID-19 National Committee, Vice President and Minister of Health and Child Care, Honourable Dr. C.G.D.N. Chiwenga.
The nation is advised that, as at 13 December 2021, the country’s cumulative COVID-19 cases stood at 167 140 with 129 776 recoveries and 4 738 deaths. The recovery rate was 78% with 32 626 active cases having been recorded. The number of new cases increased during the week under review, with 28 904 cases recorded compared to 5 055 cases the previous week. An average of 4 014 new cases were reported per day compared to 723 cases the previous week. However, the case fatality rate has gone down to 2.9% during the week under review from 3.4% the previous week. Prevention measures being implemented such as vaccination continue to contribute to the reduction in the severe impact of the virus.
Areas that recorded the most significant number of new cases include Harare ( 8 363), Mashonaland East (3 546), Mashonaland West (2 992) and Bulawayo (2 670). The total number of new confirmed COVID-19 cases reported through the school surveillance system increased to 1 526 compared to 1 086 the previous week. There were no deaths reported. The cumulative total number of confirmed cases now stands at 5 711 with 4 893 learners and 818 staff members spread across 582 schools.
Regarding the National Vaccination Programme, Cabinet wishes to inform the public that as at 13 December 2021, a total of 3 956 020 first doses of the COVID-19 vaccine had been administered, while 2 976 972 people had received their second dose.
Pertaining to the update on procurement of the COVID-19 Vaccines, a total of 2.5 million Sinopharm doses were received from China during the week. The Ministry of Health and Child Care continues to work closely with the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development to track vaccine stocks to ensure that the country does not run out of vaccines. The Government is proud to announce that there are adequate stocks of vaccines for the benefit of all Zimbabweans.
The Indian Embassy, in fulfillment of their pledge to deliver a donation of 40 000 doses of Covaxin have confirmed the consignment is scheduled to arrive in the country on 16 December 2021. The Government of Zimbabwe would like to appreciate this gesture of continued friendship and cooperation by the Government of India.
In view of the marked increase in the recorded number of daily new cases, the public is advised that the following measures have been agreed to:
- All Government departments will stop face to face meetings. All remaining end of year planning and other such critical meetings shall be held virtually.
- Communities at all levels are urged to remain vigilant and to continue adhering to COVID-19 prevention measures.
- Enforcement of all COVID-19 regulations at all levels will be strengthened.
- COVID-19 lockdown measures have been extended by another two weeks. A statement will be released.
2.0 PROPOSED MODULES AND IMPLEMENTATION MATRIX FOR THE NATIONAL HEALTH IN-SERVICE TRAINING
Cabinet considered and approved the proposed modules and implementation matrix for the National Health In-Service Training and Induction Programme under the Public Service Academy as presented by the Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare, Honourable Professor Paul Mavima.
The Public Service Academy has so far developed ten priority modules and programmes that are currently being rolled out to members of the Public Service. The syllabi for the priority modules have been designed to align with national imperatives that will ensure the workforce is equipped with the necessary skills, competencies, attitude, work ethics, culture and practical orientation to improve performance in the Public Service. Furthermore, in order to inculcate the spirit of patriotism, national ideology and national heritage ethos, the Public Service Academy has partnered with relevant stakeholders which has given value and traction to the programmes on offer.
Regarding specialized Health sector modules, the following have been developed:
- Public Health Service Orientation
- The Health Sector Legal Framework
- Management Skills Development
- Conflict Management
- Gender, Diversity and Sexual Harassment
- Asset Inventory, and
- Procurement and Contract Management
3.0 REPORT ON THE DRUG AND SUBSTANCE ABUSE SITUATION
Cabinet received and considered a report on the Drug and Substance abuse situation among children, youth and the general population as presented by the Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare, Honourable Professor Paul Mavima as Chair of the relevant Inter-Ministerial Taskforce.
The Taskforce’s efforts are targeted at reducing harm and demand, while increasing treatment and rehabilitation and engendering community and social reintegration.
The nation is informed that a total of 575 accused persons were arrested of which 192 were suppliers and 383 were end users. Additionally, through effective surveillance law enforcement agents managed to seize and recover drugs and substances to the tune of ZWL$ 2.8 million
A total of 16 Anti- Drug and Substance abuse campaigns were conducted at various platforms including the media. Regarding treatment and rehabilitation, a total of 359 patients were hospitalized between January 2021 to 31 October 2021.
Pertaining to community and social reintegration, the Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare is working with stakeholders who are implementing parenting programmes. The parenting club’s strategy aims to create ease in reintegration once a survivor has been discharged from treatment. Resuscitation of Family Clubs serve as preventive mechanisms as they instill positive parenting through community structures.
The Ministry through the Department of Social Development utilizes the National Case Management System in the identification, referral and case management of survivors of drug and substance abuse. Through Government interventions 97 female and 175 male drug and substance abuse survivors were assisted since January 2021 to date.
- UPDATE ON PROJECTS UNDER THE US$12 BILLION MINING INDUSTRY BY 2023 PROGRAMME
Cabinet received an update from the Minister of Mines and Mining Development on sundry initiatives to achieve the US$12 Billion Mining Industry by 2023 as follows :
- Kamativi Tin Mines
The Minister of Mines and Mining Development briefed Cabinet on the current state of the tailings dump and reopening of underground operations at Kamativi Tin Mines. Cabinet noted the need to ensure that these two projects get into production as soon as possible so that they contribute to the US$12 Billion Mining Industry milestone. The Minister of Mines and Mining Development was tasked to follow up on the issues accordingly.
- Todal-Bokai Platinum Project
Cabinet also considered the need to get the Todal-Bokai Platinum Project next to Unki Mine into production as soon as possible so that it contributes to the US$12 Billion Mining Industry milestone. The Minister of Mines and Mining Development was also tasked to follow up on the issue accordingly.
- Mining Concessions for Youths and War Veterans
The Minister of Mines and Mining Development updated Cabinet on the progress and initiatives to allocate mining claims to Youths and War Veterans in line with Government policy.
- Development of the Ferrochrome Sector
The Minister of Mines and Mining Development updated Cabinet on the ferrochrome sector since the ban on the exports of raw chrome ore. Cabinet resolved to continue with the ban and at the same time to support all those ferrochrome producers who are expanding capacity. It was noted that the ban on the export of chrome ores resulted on the increase in projects to increase ferrochrome production.
- REPORT ON THE ICT INTERVENTIONS AND GOVERNMENT DIGITIZATION PROGRAMME
The Minister of Information Communication Technology, Postal and Courier Services, Honourable Jenfan Muswere, updated Cabinet on the ICT-based interventions, which Government through the Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (POTRAZ), is implementing to attain the digital economy as enunciated in the National Development Strategy 1: 2021-2025 and also to mitigate challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. Cabinet noted the initiatives relating to digitization of the judiciary, police services, prisons and correctional services, which will ensure security of information, dockets, law and order as well as efficient delivery of justice services.
In summary, the interventions include the following:
- Provision of gadgets and connectivity to rural Police Stations as part of the implementation of the Ministry of Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage’s Integrated Management System. Focus will be on smart policing which involves the movement of dockets from the Police to the courts system and finally the Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Services (ZPCS). In addition, the stations will have their bandwidth subscription for twelve months paid for in full.
- The initiative will also see the ZRP, local authorities and other security services being connected to the Smart Transport and Traffic Management System. This will enable easy identification and follow up of traffic offenders and their sanctioning. The pilot study has already been completed.
- Under the digitization of the Judiciary, judicial officers are being trained in preparation for the launch of the Integrated Electronic Case Management System which is set for next year. The System will bring together the prisons, community corrections, courts services and other related agencies to more efficiently provide justice through digital means. In addition, Government in partnership with the Judicial Services Commission (JSC) is in the process of establishing Virtual Courts. The project will result in the installation and use of a video conferencing system at all court complexes and prisons.
- Provision of desktop computers and accessories to the Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Services (ZPCS) and the Judicial Services Commission (JSC).
- The National Prosecution Authority, the Attorney-General’s Office and the Zimbabwe Anti Corruption Commission (ZACC) are also being digitized.
Cabinet invites the public to note that digitization of systems is targeted at eliminating corruption at the institutions through reduction of human interface as well as advancing the country’s ease of doing business programme. All costs will be borne by Government. In line with the Government’s digitization programme, Cabinet is pleased to announce that His Excellency the President today launched the e-passport.
- PRE-PLANTING PRODUCER PRICES FOR STRATEGIC FOOD CROPS
Cabinet deliberated on the Pre-Planting Producer Prices for Maize, Traditional Grains, Soyabeans, Sunflower and Cotton for the 2021-2022 Agricultural Production Season, which were proposed by the Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development, Honourable Dr Anxiuos Masuka, as the Deputy Chairman of the Cabinet Committee on Food Security and Nutrition.
Over and above the usual food crops whose prices are announced by Government, namely: maize, traditional grains and soyabeans, Cabinet has taken the strategic decision to include sunflower and cotton as major oilseed crops, and has accordingly approved pre-planting producer prices for these crops. The pre-planting prices of the sunflower and cotton seeds are meant to promote production of the crops by providing sufficient incentive for farmers to grow the crops.
- REPORT ON THE 12TH SESSION OF THE ZIMBABWE-MOZAMBIQUE JOINT PERMANENT COMMISSION ON COOPERATION
Cabinet received and noted the Report on the 12th Session of the Zimbabwe-Mozambique Joint Permanent Commission on Cooperation held at Rainbow Towers Hotel in Harare, which was presented by the Minister of Defence and War Veterans Affairs, Honourable O.C.Z. Muchinguri-Kashiri as Acting Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Trade.
The deliberations of the Joint Permanent Commission were conducted under the auspices of the Commission’s Sectoral Committees which are Political and Diplomacy; Economic; Social; and Public Security. Highlights of the outcomes of the Joint Permanent Commission discussions include the following:
Under the Political and Diplomacy Committee
the Commission emphasized the importance of holding Joint Permanent Commission and Mid-Term Review sessions regularly, in order to monitor progress in implementing agreed decisions. The deployment of the SADC Mission to assist Mozambique to quell the Cabo Delgado insurgency was welcomed. The exhibition of Personal Protective Equipment which was held by Zimbabwean tertiary institutions on the side-lines of the JPCC was commended, with the Commission resolving to host Business Forums on the margins of future Bi-National Commissions in order to enhance trade and investment between the two countries.
Under the Economic Sectoral Committee, on trade issues
The Commission’s deliberations paid special attention to bi-lateral trade in cereals and chrysotile asbestos. The increasing trade between the two member States was applauded, with plans put on solid ground to upgrade the Nyamapanda/Chuchamano and Forbes/Machipanda border posts. Discussions were also held covering the energy sector, and transport and infrastructure. The Commission called on the two countries to expedite the finalization of various agreements which were under negotiation. The Agreements include the following:
- The Draft Agreement on the Avoidance of Double Taxation;
- The Bilateral Investment and Promotion and Protection Agreements; and
- The Amended Limpopo Basin Agreement.
- Under The Social Committee, the Commission oversaw the signing of two Memoranda of Understanding under its purview, namely:
- The MoU on Information Sharing and the Development of Joint Ventures in the Media Sector, which was signed on behalf of Zimbabwe by the Minister of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services, Honourable Monica Mutsvangwa; and
- The MoU on Cooperation in the Field of Labour, which was signed on behalf of Zimbabwe by the Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare, Honourable Professor Paul Mavima.
- Zimbabwe requested Mozambique for its cooperation in the repatriation of the remains of Zimbabweans who were washed away by the floods that were caused by Cyclone Idai and buried in Mozambique. Zimbabwe expressed its readiness to send a delegation to Mozambique at the earliest convenience to assist in the process. In this regard, the Commission resolved that Zimbabwe would submit to Mozambique a draft MoU on Disaster Preparedness and Mitigation which incorporates a mechanism for dealing with post disaster situations, including repatriation of remains.
Finalization of MoUs under this sector will be expedited, including the following:
- Draft MoU on Sport and Recreation;
- Draft MoU on Cooperation in Youth Affairs;
- Draft MoU on Arts, Culture and Heritage; and
- Draft MoU on Social Development.
New areas of cooperation that were introduced under the Committee were as follows:
- Gender Affairs;
- Cross Border Trade and Small and Medium Enterprises Development;
- Low Cost, Climate-Smart Housing Development; and
- Alternative Building Technologies.
- Under the Public Security Committee, the issues discussed centred on the following matters
- Police cooperation in fighting cross-boundary organized crime;
- Immigration authorities’ efforts to formalize some informal crossing points along the border;
- Illegal farm workers, residents and scholars;;
- Irregular migration especially from the Great Lakes region and the Horn of Africa; and
- The repatriation of Mozambican refugees at Tongogara Refugee Camp.
The Commission urged the Committee to expedite finalization of the following outstanding Agreements and MoUs:
- MoU on Cooperation in Legal Issues;
- MoU on the Transfer of Convicted Prisoners; and
- The SADC Protocol on Extradition.
The Joint Permanent Commission on Cooperation Meeting was held in a cordial atmosphere which reflected the fraternal bonds of friendship and cooperation between the two Sister Republics of Zimbabwe and Mozambique, fortified by a common history and culture, and shared aspirations.
I THANK YOU!