Cabinet adopts WASH proposals

20 Oct, 2021 - 00:10 0 Views
Cabinet adopts WASH proposals Minister Mutsvangwa

The Herald

The Vice President and Minister of Health and Child Care,  Honourable Dr CGDN Chiwenga updated Cabinet on the country’s response to the Covid-19, and the procurement and roll-out of Covid-19 vaccines.

The nation will recall that the Inter-Ministerial Task Force on Covid-19 was restructured in view of changed circumstances to the pandemic situation. A Ministerial Committee on Covid-19 chaired by the Honourable Vice President and Minister of Health and Child Care, deputized by the Minister of Higher and Tertiary Education, Innovation, Science  and Technology Development, Honourable Professor A Murwira was introduced. The structure has now been expanded to include members of the original task force and Ministers of State for Provincial Affairs. I will be supported by a working party of officials chaired by the chief coordinator for the National Covid-19 response programme in the Office of the President and Cabinet. The working party membership includes the original task force working party members, Provincial Development Coordinators and provincial medical doctors.

As of October 18, 2021, Zimbabwe’s cumulative Covid-19 cases stood at 132 405, with 126 487 recoveries and 4 659 deaths. The recovery rate remained at 95 percent, with the number of active cases standing at 1 259. The number of cases recorded on a daily and weekly basis continued to decline, with all provinces recording a decline in Covid-19-positive cases, indicating that the national response efforts continue to pay off and that the pandemic is being brought under control.

However, given that the Covid-19 intensity and duration both increase with each wave, citizens should continue to observe the Covid-19 protocols and preventive measures in place in order to prevent a fourth wave. Law enforcement agents and the Public Service Commission will continue to strictly enforce the Covid-19 containment measures, especially the vaccination requirements pertaining to gatherings, opening of bars and nightclubs, and the requirement for civil servants to be vaccinated in order  to be allowed to report for work.

Similarly, in spite of the declining cases of Covid-19 cases the Level 2 lockdown will be maintained for a further two weeks and members of the public should strictly adhere to the stipulated measures.

Government also continues to ramp up the country’s case management capacity. To that end, a consignment of medical equipment, including ventilators, multi parameter monitors, syringe pumps, infusion pumps and intensive care unit beds were purchased and have since been received. The equipment was distributed Central Hospitals in the country.

Meanwhile, under the National Covid-19 Vaccination Programme, 3 228 506  people had received their first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine as at October 18, 2021, while 2 486 318 had received their second dose. These figures translate to a national coverage of 37.9 percent for the first dose and 29.1 percent for the second dose. A vaccination campaign involving the local leadership has been introduced in Chitungwiza to raise the vaccination levels in the dormitory town. Similar campaigns will be conducted in most cities led by provincial taskforce teams.

Government wishes to assure the nation the country has adequate supplies of the licensed Covid-19 vaccines. Members of the public are therefore urged to get vaccinated as this will go a long way in mitigating the severity of the disease and curtailing its spread, thereby reducing the chances of a fourth Covid-19 outbreak in the country.

Progress report on the proposed strategies to stem the brain drain in the health sector

As announced at the last post-Cabinet press briefing, Government is focusing on accelerating the provision of non-monetary benefits to health workers as a short to medium-term measure to stem the brain drain observed in the health sector. Accordingly, completion of the model flats to be constructed for health professionals across the country’s provinces is being expedited.

The civil servants vehicle loan scheme rates are being reviewed, while a strategy whereby Government acquires vehicles for health worker beneficiaries, with the loan being amortised through an agreed framework is being worked out. Regarding the provision of canteen or cafeteria services at health institutions, seed money will be provided to revamp and operationalise existing canteens as well as construct new ones were the facilities are not available.

Updates on the other issues will be announced in due course once significant progress has been made.

Update on the implementation of development programmes for the Tjawo (San) community

The Minister of Local Government and Public Works, Honourable July Moyo, updated Cabinet on the Implementation of Development Programmes for the Tjawo (San) Community, which were agreed upon by Cabinet in July 2021. This followed an interactive meeting the Minister had held with the communities in Tshololotsho.

Projects so far identified by line ministries to improve the livelihoods of the Tjawo communities include goat rearing, market gardening and dam scooping. The Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education has since met with the Tsholotsho Rural District Council to identify possible sites on which to build the schools.

Treasury will fund the construction of two primary and secondary schools for the Tjawo, out of the fifty schools which it has undertaken to finance.

Over 5 000 national identity documents have been issued by the Registrar-General’s Office under a mobile registration exercise the Department mounted for the community, and the Minister of Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage personally visited the communities to assess progress.

While the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) and Zimbabwe Defence Forces (ZDF) have already completed recruitment for the current year, they have undertaken to recruit from the San communities in the forthcoming recruitment cycle.

The Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Services (ZPCS) recently flighted advertisements which they have shared with the Tjawo communities, and a quota has been reserved for them.

Proposals to address water, sanitation and hygiene (Wash) issues in Zimbabwe

Cabinet received and adopted Proposals to Address Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) Issues in Zimbabwe, which were presented by the Minister of State for Presidential Affairs and Monitoring Implementation of Government Programmes, Honourable Dr Joram McDonald Gumbo.

As part of ongoing efforts to provide basic Water, Sanitation and Hygiene facilities to all segments of the population, 66% of households have now been covered against the National Development Strategy 1 target of 90% coverage. A snap survey was recently undertaken across the country provinces to ascertain the country’s WASH status. The survey assessed the following WASH aspects:

  • Water availability and accessibility;
  • Sanitation;
  • Waste management;
  • Hygiene;
  • Existing Wash governance structure; and
  • Infrastructure.

To date, the Department of WASH Coordination under the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Water and Rural Development has made significant progress towards meeting the following targets: provision of 35 000 boreholes to 35 000 villages, 9 600 boreholes to 9 600 schools and 3 600 boreholes in each ward for youths.

There is already a rural information centre on WASH issues with details of water, toilets and hygiene issues for each village. To address the deficiencies identified in the various areas surveyed, the following course of action has been adopted:

  1. National WASH issues will henceforth be included as a specific task under the Enhanced Committee on Emergency Preparedness and Disaster Management (ECEPDM) chaired by the Vice President and Minister of Health and Child Care, Honourable Dr CGDN Chiwenga, in order to accelerate implementation of WASH programmes. ThecCommittee will look at urban WASH issues to accelerate investments in this area as well as having oversight over WASH programmes in rural areas, whose implementation will remain under the entities currently responsible.
  2. The expansion, rehabilitation and maintenance of National WASH infrastructure will be recapitalised and resourced, starting with allocations in the 2022 National Budget.
  3. Ensuring that there is WASH-sensitive Spatial Development and Human Settlements in adherence to existing statutes, such as the Regional Town and Country Planning Act, in order to promote the sustainable provision and maintenance of WASH infrastructure.
  4. Legislation will be put in place to criminalise the indiscriminate littering common in most urban centres, with deterrent penalties set to be imposed on litter bugs.

Reports on the 8th 100-day cycle of the Second Republic

The Ministers of Environment, Climate, Tourism and Hospitality Industry; Lands, Agriculture, Water and Rural Development; Local Government and Public Works; and Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare tabled their Reports on the 8th 100-day cycle of the Second Republic. Cabinet adopted the reports.

  1. The Environment, Climate, Tourism and Hospitality Industry, Honourable Nqobizitha Mangaliso Ndlovu, reported that, as at Day-50 of the 100-Day Cycle, the following progress had been recorded:

1.1 Under the ZIMPARKS civil service tourism promotion project, the concept note was developed and was under consideration by the Public Service Commission;

1.2 On the establishment  of a mini game park, curio shop and information centre at Chinhoyi Caves the mapping exercise, habitat and species assessment was completed;

1.3 Regarding Phase 2 of the forest restoration in the Mid-Lower Zambezi Valley project, the set targets for environmental protection, climate resilience and natural resource management were achieved; and

1.4 The targeted construction of the log/timber transfer system, voltage regulator station and 2 Megawatt substation as well as installation of a kiln and boiler at the Cashel Valley plant in Chimanimani is ongoing and on course to be completed by the end of the cycle.

  1. The Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Water and Rural Development, Honourable Dr Anxious Masuka, highlighted the following progress for projects under his purview:

2.1 Under the irrigation development project, 5 out of the 8 targeted centre pivots under the Pedstock centre pivot facility were installed on A2 farms;

2.2 Under the targeted installation of a 1,1 megawatt solar power plant for the Kanyemba smallholder irrigation development programme, 3 hectares of land have been cleared, palisade security fencing erected around the project site and materials delivered, leaving the project at 60 percent completion;

2.3 1 500 hectares out of the 2 500 hectares targeted for clearing under the Lowveld irrigated agriculture greenbelt programme have been completed, while the 440 hectares have been developed or rehabilitated for irrigation under the Maka 80 facility;

2.4 Under the Water, Sanitation and Hygiene and Water Resources Management project, 50 boreholes were drilled for domestic water while 4 were drilled to provide water for irrigation;

2.5 2 882 motorbikes and 110 tablets were distributed to extension workers to capacitate the support services and 692 248 farmers were trained under the Pfumvudza/Intwasa Programme;

2.6 Under the Agricultural Engineering, Mechanisation and Soil Conservation project, the targeted 18 combine harvesters were delivered and utilized, while the 13 targeted grain dryers were shipped, 3 of which are now in Harare;

2.7 Satisfactory progress was registered towards meeting the set targets for the Disease Surveillance and Control; Livestock Production and Development; and Land Management, Surveying and Mapping projects.

  1. The Minister of Local Government and Public Works, Honourable July Moyo, reported that the Lupane Composite Government Offices Construction project in Matebeleland North is 88 percent complete and well on course to be completed before the end of the year. Construction of the Siakobvu Composite Government Office Block in Mashonaland West Province is ongoing. The Kanyemba Layout Plan project in the Mbire District of Mashonaland Province has recorded significant progress and awaits surveying by drones to be undertaken by the Zimbabwe National Geo-Spatial and Space Science Agency (ZINGSA). The Tugwi-Mukosi Master Plan is 80% complete, while the New City (Mt Hampden) Master Plan is 60 percent complete. The targeted construction of 10 houses under the Chimanimani Disaster Recovery programme was being undertaken. The construction of schools and clinics and other projects under the devolution funds had registered remarkable progress in the provinces.
  2. The Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare, Honourable Professor Paul Mavima, highlighted the following progress for projects being implemented in his sector:

4.1 Under the National Social Security Authority (NSSA) Pensioner Goat Rearing Pilot project, the 25 targeted beneficiaries and the site for the project had been identified;

4.2 The translation of the National Disability Policy (2021) was completed and the printed copies were distributed to the provinces;

4.3 32 128 beneficiaries were paid under the Harmonised Social Cash Transfers project, and the validation of the remaining targeted beneficiaries is underway;

4.4 Under the Basic Education Assistance Module (BEAM) Capacity Training of Community Selection Committees, 870 Committees were trained in Manicaland Province and training in the Midlands Province was rolled out on 27 September 2021 and is currently underway.

Principles of the Environmental Management Amendment Bill

Cabinet considered and approved the Principles for the Amendment of the Environmental Management Act [Chapter 20:27], which were presented by the Minister of Environment, Climate, Tourism and Hospitality Industry, Honourable Dr N.M. Ndlovu.

The proposed amendments will align the Act to the Constitution and strengthen the Act by providing for the comprehensive protection of the country’s environment in a manner that ensures sustainable development. Cognizant that environmental issues have taken centre stage nationally and internationally, the amendments will also harmonise the Act with the Public Entities and Corporate Governance Act as well as regional and international treaties and conventions which Zimbabwe is party to. Highlights of the amendments include the following:

  1. Incorporation of the principles of good corporate governance in the appointment of the Environmental Management Agency’s Director-General and Board taking into account regional and gender balance;
  2. Imposition of deterrent penalties for non-compliance with orders issued by EMA officers or inspectors, including civil penalties in addition to the criminal sanctions;
  3. Compelling all businesses operating in an area where there is no existing sewerage system to install an effluent pre-treatment facility;
  4. Penalties and minimum mandatory sentences will be imposed on repeat offenders for failure to comply with the prohibition of discharging hazardous substances, chemicals and materials or oil into the environment; and
  5. Undertakers of projects whose effects outlive the project lifespan will be required to submit Environmental Decommissioning Plans, which will ensure that the projects sites are rehabilitated to restore or reclaim the project areas, making them suitable for other activities upon decommissioning of the plant;

Rehabilitation of river ecosystems degraded by riverbed mining activities

The Minister of Environment, Climate, Tourism and Hospitality Industry also presented proposals on the Rehabilitation of River Ecosystems Degraded by Riverbed Mining Activities, which were adopted by Cabinet.

In continued efforts to address environmental degradation and negative downstream effects on communities, occasioned by alluvial or riverbed mining, Government will roll out a plan to rehabilitate mined areas which were abandoned without restoration. The major rivers affected are Mazowe River in Mashonaland Province, Munyati and Angwa Rivers in Moshonaland West, Manzimudhaka River in Shurugwi District of Midlands Province, Mutare and Save Rivers in Manicaland, as well as Insiza and Umzingwane Rivers in Matabeleland South.

To remedy the situation, Government will, in the long-term establish an Environmental Levy on all activities that degrade the environment. In the short  to medium-term, Government will engage third party companies through the Environmental Management Agency (EMA) to rehabilitate damaged mined-out areas on our rivers in the northern, southern and eastern regions. As a way to promote participation of the third-party companies, EMA will initially meet the rehabilitation costs, with Treasury providing the necessary budgetary support. Where rehabilitation is to be undertaken on areas that have the potential for mineral recovery, the contracted third-party company will be prohibited from processing the alluvial sand within three kilometers of the river.

The Environmental Management Agency and the Zimbabwe National Water Authority (ZINWA) will monitor the engaged third-party companies in order to ensure compliance with proper rehabilitation practices. Rehabilitation of degraded river ecosystems will be undertaken by local communities where it is feasible to do so and upon recommendation by EMA, as a way of empowering communities and creating employment.

Report-back on the Global Business Forum Africa: Expo 2020 Dubai

The Vice President and Minister of Health and Child Care, Honourable C.G.D.N. Chiwenga,  presented a report on the 6th Global Business Forum for Africa which was held in Dubai from 13-14 October 2021 which he had attended on behalf of His Excellency the President. The Forum ran on the sidelines of the on-going Expo 2020 Dubai.

The nation is informed that the objective of  Zimbabwe’s participation was to promote the country as an investment destination of choice, and trade with other countries and to attract tourists from the Gulf region. The Forum ran under the theme “Transformation through Trade: – Restore-Renew”.

The Forum provided a platform for building resilience, synergies and partnerships between Africa, the United Arab Emirates and the Gulf region, and presented an opportunity to discuss and share ideas on how the country can attract foreign direct investment The Vice President’s presentation was well received with influx of potential investors who requested for further engagements. The statement highlighted Zimbabwe’s most lucrative sectors for investment, including agriculture, mining, infrastructure development, manufacturing, tourism, Information Communication Technologies and financial services.

Going forward, Government through the Zimbabwe Investment and Development Agency (ZIDA) will follow up on the interest to invest in the country in all the sectors of the economy, and urge the private sector and citizens in the diaspora to grab the various projects on offer on a win-win partnership basis.

2021 United nations climate change conference of parties (cop26)

The nation is informed that His Excellency the President has been invited to attend the 26th COP meeting in Glasgow, Scotland.  The Conference, which will  be attended by Heads of State and Government as well as Ministers from over 200 countries will run from 31 October to 12 November, 2021.

This is a major breakthrough of Zimbabwe’s diplomacy during the Second Republic, which is anchored on the Engagement and Re-engagement Policy guided by the mantra “Friend to all and enemy to none”, coming as it does after over two decades of non engagement at that level.A

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