The country closed its inland ports of entry to general human traffic in January as part of measures to curb the spread of Covid-19 following a spike in cases.
In her post-Cabinet briefing yesterday, Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister Monica Mutsvangwa said the decision by Government to reopen the two border posts follows a request by the tourism players.
“Cabinet acceded to a request by the tourism industry to open the Victoria Falls and Kazungula border posts to tourists who are fully vaccinated. This is in view of the realisation that over 60 percent of the population in Victoria Falls has been vaccinated,” she said.
Victoria Falls in April became the first city in Southern Africa to achieve herd immunity following the vaccination of 77 percent of residents in the ongoing countrywide mass inoculation against Covid-19. Herd immunity is achieved when most of a population is immune to an infectious disease. This provides indirect protection to those who are not immune to the disease. Government rolled out mass vaccination of ordinary residents in Victoria Falls city in March as it intensified efforts to achieve herd immunity of the population in the country’s tourism capital.
President Mnangagwa chose to receive his first dose of the Sinovac vaccine in the resort city during the same month when he also launched the country’s second phase of the national vaccination programme. Minister Mutsvangwa said the lockdown measures are being enforced throughout the country in order to curtail a surge under the third wave of Covid-19.
“Cabinet further resolved that the disbursement of funds should be streamlined in order to facilitate the completion of Covid-19 treatment and isolation centres around the country. As the nation prepares for the reopening of schools, parents and guardians are expected to complement Government efforts to provide Personal Protective Equipment, sanitisers and other essential requirements for learners,” she said.
The minister said Cabinet also directed the police should adhere to the curfew times when mounting roadblocks. She also said following a visit to the San community in Tsholotsho in Matabeleland North by a Government delegation, it was noted that the San people lacked birth certificates and identity documents.
Minister Mutsvangwa said there were high teenage pregnancies as well as very low school completion rates at primary and secondary school including food insecurity due to human wildlife conflict and failure to practice modern agriculture.
“Cabinet wishes to inform the nation that the Second Republic has made undertakings to ensure that the right to equality and non-discrimination is realised. Section 56 of the Constitution clearly states that ‘every person has the right not to be treated in an unfairly discriminatory manner on such grounds as their ethnic or social origin’,” said Minister Mutsvangwa.
She said Cabinet directed that every ministry should identify and take up a developmental role in areas inhabited by the San/ Tjwao communities.
“Two or three primary and an equal number of secondary schools should be set up as boarding institutions in areas in order to enhance school completion rates. The Ministry of Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage should instruct the Registrar General’s Office to issue birth and identity documents to the inhabitants of San/ Tjwao and similar communities in Zimbabwe who have hitherto been unable to obtain such documentation,” said Minister Mutsvangwa.
“In that regard, all constraints relating to testimonies by parents, relatives and guardians should be wavered; the Ministry of Health and Child Care should establish clinics that will benefit the San/Tjwao and other similarly disadvantaged communities.”
Minister Mutsvangwa said Cabinet agreed that the security ministries waiver entry requirements to enable San/ Tjwao citizens to enlist into the respective uniformed services. She said Cabinet also resolved that the Ministry of Local Government and Public Works expeditiously appoints headmen and chiefs to enhance the participation of the San/ Tjwao in governance.
“The Ministry of Finance and Economic Development should ensure the timeous release of funds requested by Ministries for the implementation of development programmes and projects in San/ Tjwao communities,” said Minister Mutsvangwa.