President Mnangagwa has mourned the passing on of 20 people in a horrific accident, which occurred at the 61km peg along the Masvingo-Zvishavane road, and the death of the former Office of the President and Cabinet Director for State occasions, Mrs Anne Anastacia Knuth nee Chakanetsa on Monday.
Mrs Knuth succumbed to breast cancer in Norton and will be buried this morning at Knuth Farm in Harare.
In a statement yesterday, the President said he was shocked by both incidents and expressed concern that the nation had continued to lose lives due to road accidents and increasing incidents of breast cancer.
“The death of 20 people in a horrific accident came as a shock. Our nation cannot continue to lose precious lives needlessly through road accidents, the majority which are attributed to human error.
“As we grapple with road infrastructure rehabilitation to make them safer, let us exercise extreme caution on our roads. Life is priceless and it is everyone’s responsibility to safeguard it,” he said.
The President urged motorists to avoid speeding and overloading to reduce undue accidents.
He appealed to the public to avoid unnecessary travel in light of the surging Covid-19 infections and deaths during the third wave, which Government is seeking to contain through the Level 4 lockdown.
“Pirate commuter operators taking advantage of the current intercity travel ban are severely warned to stop the illegal practice as the full wrath of the law will descend heavily upon them.
“On behalf of Government, I wish to express heartfelt condolences to the bereaved families and speedy recovery to all those who sustained injuries from this unfortunate incident,” he said.
On the passing on of Mrs Knuth, the President said her death highlighted the ever-growing rate of breast cancer among women population in Zimbabwe which should be seriously addressed to avoid further loss of life to the disease.
“On behalf of Government, my family and on my own behalf, I wish to express my deepest condolences to the Knuth and Chakanetsa families especially to her children and grandchildren who have lost a beloved mother and grandparent. May they derive comfort from the knowledge that the services she rendered to Government are nation are highly appreciated,” he said.
Mrs Knuth was a journalist.
She began her career in the Civil Service as a senior information officer in the Ministry of Information, Post and Telecommunications in the early ‘80s.
Mrs Knuth belonged to the pioneering crop of black civil servants who, with their demonstrable professional skills and qualifications were recruited into the civil service to bring about transformative change in the organisation from a predominantly white-led institution to reflect the new multi-racial nature of the Zimbabwean society.
Mrs Knuth rose through the ranks to the position of Government Chief Public Relations Officer with the onerous task of branding the newly Independent State of Zimbabwe.
She was later transferred from the Information ministry to the Office of the President and Cabinet as a director, State Occasions. She retired from Government at the helm of directorate as the chief director.
Mrs Knuth was a budding commercial farmer focusing on horticulture and commercial grains.