1.Update on Cyclone Idai Disaster
Cabinet was briefed by the Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Water, Climate and Rural Resettlement on progress in the recovery efforts pertaining to the Cyclone Idai disaster. Following the successful opening of all the affected schools in Chimanimani on Tuesday May 7, 2019, distribution of textbooks and related stationery donated by well-wishers such as UNICEF, was now in progress throughout the district. Cabinet also noted with satisfaction, the continuing honouring of pledges by private sector partners to rehabilitate damaged school infrastructure. Registration of beneficiaries for relief support has now been completed in 23 wards in Chipinge District, with assistance of the World Food Programme (WFP). The WFP will provide food assistance to 15 533 identified households up to the end of May 2019. The figure of persons who died as a result of the Cyclone Idai disaster stands at 347.
Most areas are now accessible by road, save for a few where the DDF and the Roads Department are working flat out to repair the damaged access roads. All the 86 internally displaced persons who were staying at Ngangu Primary and Chimanimani Secondary schools were successfully moved to camps at Arboretum and Nyamatanda. The balance of 100 displaced persons who are currently cohabiting with relatives or neighbours will soon be moved to Garikai’s site in Chimanimani.
A total of 91 320 people have now been provided with hygiene kits in Chimanimani, Chipinge, Mutare and Buhera. Supply of essential medicines to health centres in Chimanimani District has now normalised.
- Principles of the Broadcasting Services Amendment Bill
Cabinet approved the Principles of the Broadcasting Services Amendment Bill as presented by the Minister of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services. The amendments seek to harmonise the Broadcasting Services Act (Chapter 12:06) with Section 61 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe. The principles of the proposed Broadcasting Services Amendment Bill provide as follows:
that every person has the right to freedom of expression and freedom of media;
that freedom of expression and freedom of the media excludes incitement of violence, advocacy of hatred or hate speech, malicious injury to a person’s reputation or dignity, and malicious or unwarranted breach of a person’s right to privacy;
the freedom to establish broadcasting and other electronic media of communication, subject only to State licensing procedures;
that all State-owned media of communications must be impartial and free to determine independently the editorial content of their broadcasts;
that the Act is subject to the Public Entities Corporate Governance Act (Chapter 10:31) whose provisions apply to all public entities, including the Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe (BAZ);
that Section 2A of the principal Act (the Broadcasting Services Act) be amended to indicate that the role of BAZ is to regulate and supervise rather than to control broadcasting service bands;
that the objectives of the Broadcasting Services Act be broadened to address the diversity of opinions, ideas, artistic creativity and talent of citizens in programming in order to advance the freedom of expression, multiculturalism and linguistic plurality;
that there be transparency and accountability in the appointment of members of the board;
that the use of officially recognised languages, by broadcasters, including sign language and subtitling in order to cater for those with hearing impairment be promoted;
that there be local content quotas for multiple channel television licencees except for an internationally focused national Zimbabwe television channel;
that the local content quota requirements for sports channels be lowered in recognition of the universal nature of sporting events; and
that the Broadcasting and Communications Authority be established through the merging of the Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe (BAZ) and the Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (POTRAZ)
- Public Enterprises Reform: Zimbabwe United Passenge Company (ZUPCO)
Cabinet approved measures to revitalise and partially privatise ZUPCO as presented by the Minister of Finance and Economic Development. More specifically, Cabinet agreed as follows;
that Government continues to anchor and underwrite the drive to recapitalise ZUPCO, including through the engagement of a strategic partner; and
that, to facilitate the success of the envisaged rapid bus transport system, local authorities be supported in the construction and development of accessory infrastructure such as bus termini, bays and access lanes;
- Public Enterprises Reform: Cold Storage Company (CSC)
Cabinet received from the Minister of Finance and Economic Development a report on the Cold Storage Company joint venture with Boulstead Beef (Pvt) Limited.
Cabinet was informed that the CSC is to be revitalised through a Concession Agreement under Rehabilitate, Operate and Transfer terms. Under the agreement Boulstead Beef (Pvt) Limited will do the following;
raise and invest a minimum of $130 million into CSC over five years, being for both capital expenditures and working capital for the business;
pay off CSC financial debts totalling US$42 530 597;
pay rentals of US$100 000 per annum during the first five years of the concession agreement;
take over and run the management of the following CSC ranches for an initial period of 25 years: Maphaneni; Dubane; Umguza; Chivumbuni; Mushandike; Willsgrove; and Darwendale;
take over and run the management of the following abattoirs for an initial period of 25 years: Bulawayo; Chinhoyi; Masvingo; Marondera; and Kadoma; and
take over and manage for an initial period of 25 years, the Harare, Gweru and Mutare distribution centres and residential properties of CSC.
The benefits to accrue to Zimbabwe from the investment agreement include the following: increased capacity utilisation at CSC ranches and abattoir plants; increased prospects for restoration of the enterprise’s viability and higher throughput; stemming of further deterioration of equipment which is currently lying idle, and the growth of the local livestock and beef industry.
- The Freedom Bill of Information Bill, 2019
Cabinet considered and approved the Freedom of Information Bill presented by the Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, chairman of the Cabinet Committee on Legislation. The Bill will give to Section 62 of the Constitution which enshrines the right of access to information. The Bill specifically provides for the following:
the constitutional rights of expression and freedom of the media;
the right of access to information held by public and private entities when required in the interest of public accountability;
the scope of limitations on the right of access to information which are conceived, in some cases, as mandatory and in others as discretionary, as well as protection against disclosure of information;
the procedures for internal and court appeals against decisions made by information officers or principal officers of entities with respect to request for access to information;
the additional functions of the Zimbabwe Media Commission with respect to the rights of access to information; and
the repeal of the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (Chapter 10:27).