Construction of apartments for civil servants in rural areas kicks off Minister of Information, Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister Monica Mutsvangwa

Cabinet received and considered the report on the Impact of the National Housing Delivery Programme on Economic Development, as presented by the Minister of National Housing and Social Amenities, Honourable Daniel Garwe.

The nation will recall that in 2021, Cabinet approved the National Human Settlement Policy with the aim of constructing 220 000 units by 2025. To date, a total of 136 850 stands have been fully serviced.   The servicing of 43 605 stands is work in progress. The number of completed houses is 49 150 while 42 706 houses are under construction. 

A total of 3 902 301 jobs were created in the construction sector through servicing of stands, manufacturing of materials, retail and hardware sales since the inception of the National Development Strategy 1 (NDS1). 

The housing sector’s demand for various materials stimulated production of cement, hardware, bricks among a host of other construction commodities. The issuance of title deeds to Epworth residents has unlocked value for beneficiaries through financial inclusion.  Title deeds will continue to be issued to different settlements across the country.

The Government would like to inform the public that housing bonds will be floated, which are an alternative method of raising funding for housing delivery. Housing bonds are also a sustainable source of funding for affordable housing guaranteeing consistent and long-term development initiatives. 

Between 2020 and 2021 commercial banks namely CBZ, ZB Bank, FBC, and BancABC accessed a total of US$65 million through lines of credit from Shelter-Afrique. 

These banks have submitted fresh applications as repeat clients for accessing funding for social housing while National Building Society (NBS); Fidelity Assurance Company; and 3 other local property developers have also submitted applications for same funding. These provide opportunities for investors, thus creating stable, predictable and attractive investments returns.

Under Rural and Social Amenities Programme, Government is constructing blocks of flats in rural district councils to cater for civil servants that are domiciled in the eight rural provinces. 

The construction of 400 blocks of flats of 4 storeys each has started in earnest with a pilot project being undertaken in Uzumba Maramba Pfungwe (UMP) in Mashonaland East Province.

GEOGRAPHIC INFORMATION SYSTEM-BASED SELECTION OF SITES FOR INSTALLATION OF PHOTOVOLTAIC SOLAR POWER PROJECTS

Cabinet received and considered the Geographic Information Systems (GIS)-Based Selection of sites for Installation of Photovoltaic Solar Power Projects report, as presented by the Minister of Higher and Tertiary Education, Innovation, Science and Technology Development, Honourable Prof Amon Murwira. 

The nation is advised that the country has vast renewable energy resources such as solar that have largely remained unexploited. 

It is against this background that the Government of Zimbabwe in partnership with SKYPOWER Global Group of Companies signed a Memorandum of Understanding to develop large-scale photovoltaic (PV) solar power projects to increase power availability in the country. 

This is in line with the System Development Plan which targets to generate approximately 865MW of grid solar energy by 2030 and secure Zimbabwe’s long-term energy supply needs. 

The project intends to generate 500MW from solar farms to be installed at three sites, namely: Henderson (Archie Henderson Research Station Farm), Figtree (Vreigevight Farm) and Manhize (Onzerust Farm).  These sites were finally selected from a total of 9 identified sites based on the following conditions: 

I. The abilility of the grid or sub-station to accommodate plus or minus 100 megawatts;

II. Proximity to a grid or sub-station;

III. Land availability;

IV. Topographic considerations such as slope;

V. No settlements within the establishment;

VI. No shading from mountains; and

VII. Local leadership and community buy-in.

Proximity of the solar projects to the grid avoids high cost of infrastructure construction and reduces transmission losses.  This is in order to ensure least cost tariff to the consumer and improved performance of solar farms.

REPORT ON THE BLITZ MAINTENANCE OF ACCESS ROADS TO POLLING STATIONS

Cabinet considered the report on the blitz maintenance of access roads to polling stations as presented by the Minister of Local Government and Public Works, Honourable JG Moyo.

The nation is advised that the Government launched a blitz maintenance of access roads to polling stations throughout the country in order to allow every eligible voter to access the nearest polling station and exercise their right as enshrined in the Constitution. 

A total of 4 000km out of a targeted 6 145km have been attended to through grading, gravelling and pothole patching in all the eight rural provinces, while 290 km out of a target of 1 086km were verge-cleared. A total of 18km out of a targeted  216 km of drainage structures on bridges, pipe drifts and culverts were attended to and the works are still on-going.  

Zimbabwe continues to beef up its preparedness for the 23 August 2023 harmonised elections.

REPORT ON THE CEREMONY MARKING THE END AND SUCCESS OF THE DISARMAMENT, DEMOBILISATION AND RE-INTEGRATION OF RENAMO EX-COMBATANTS 

Cabinet received the report on the ceremony marking the end and success of the Disarmament, Demobilisation and Re-integration of RENAMO Ex-Combatants in Maputo, Mozambique on 23 June 2023 as presented by His Excellency the President, Cde ED Mnangagwa.

On 23 June, 2023 His Excellency President Emmerson D. Mnangagwa undertook an official visit to Maputo to attend the official closing ceremony of the Disarmament, Demobilisation and Re-integration of RENAMO ex-Combatants process. 

President Mokgweetsi Eric K Masisi of Botswana also attended the ceremony while President P Kagame of Rwanda was represented by his Minister of Defence, Brig. Gen. Juvenal Marizamunda. 

Other notable attendees included the leader of Mozambique National Resistance Movement (RENAMO) Mr Ossufo Momade, the UN Secretary General’s personal envoy to Mozambique, Mr Mirko Manzoni.

It was a joyous moment for Mozambique and the SADC region in general, which marks a remarkable achievement of African nations solving their own problems. Going forward, the demobilised RENAMO combatants and officials will be integrated into public institutions and into society.

UPDATE ON THE CHOLERA OUTBREAK RESPONSE

Cabinet received an update on the ongoing cholera outbreak, as presented by the Vice President and Minister of Health and Child Care, Honourable Gen (Rtd) Dr CGDN Chiwenga.

 The nation is informed that as of 24 June 2023, Zimbabwe’s cumulative suspected cases had reached 3 017, with 2 910 recoveries, 19 confirmed deaths, and 52 suspected deaths. 

The case fatality rate (CFR) for all deaths, confirmed and suspected, was 2,4 percent. All provinces have reported cholera suspected cases, with Manicaland having recorded the highest number at 1 251, followed by Harare with 1 121 and Matabeleland South Province with 277. 

Cholera confirmed deaths have been recorded in Manicaland (12), Harare (3), Mashonaland Central (2), and Mashonaland West and Masvingo with one case each.  

Regarding the regional situation, a cumulative 154 317 suspected cholera cases and 2 747 deaths have been reported in the African Region. 

Government will implement a multi-sectoral approach led by the Minister responsible for Water, Sanitation and Hygiene, in order to address the water, sanitation challenges which are fuelling the cholera outbreak. 

6.0 REPORT ON THE 2ND EDITION OF THE AFRICA HEALTH EXCON MEDICAL EXHIBITION AND CONFERENCE: CAIRO, EGYPT: 6 TO 9 JUNE, 2023

Cabinet noted the report on the second edition of the Africa Health Excon Medical Exhibition and Conference, as presented by the Vice President Chiwenga.  

The conference, which was held under the theme “Your Gate to Innovation and Trade”, sought to promote innovation in the health services and pharmaceuticals sector. Highlights of the Health Excon include the following:

1. The conference was officially opened by the President of the Arab Republic of Egypt, His Excellency Abdel Fattah El-Sisi, during which he noted the vulnerabilities of member states’ healthcare systems which were exposed by the COVID-19 pandemic and, the need thereof, to share experiences in order to improve access to public healthcare by the citizenry;

2. The conference called upon member States to spur local production of medicines, consumables and drugs while ensuring that the products remain internationally branded; 

3. The conference further called upon African States to embrace health innovation, business and trade in order to build resilient healthcare systems, that will improve public health care to the citizenry; and

4. The Vice President and Minister of Health and Child Care addressed the session on Strengthening Regulatory Authorities through the World Health Organisation (WHO) Global Benchmarking Tool (GBT). 

Of special note is that following training and assessment of MCAZ by WHO over four years, MCAZ was conferred with Maturity Level 2, and is well on course to attain Maturity Level 3. Only five countries from Africa, out of a total of 57 countries across the globe, have reached Maturity Level 3 or 4.    

Cabinet wishes to further highlight that the Vice President Chiwenga paid a courtesy call on the Egyptian Prime Minister, Honourable Mostafa Madbouly. Among other issues, the meeting assured that the recently signed Memorandum of Understanding between the Medicines Control Authority of Zimbabwe (MCAZ) and the Egyptian Drug Authority (EDA) will be endorsed by dispatching the first consignment of Egyptian medicines to Zimbabwe at the earliest possible time. Egyptian companies are also ready to cooperate with Zimbabwe in the construction of Zimbabwe’s New Smart City, as well as in the refurbishment of old cities and rural areas.   

Vice President Chiwenga also met the Egyptian Minister of Health and Population, Honourable Gaffer. 

The meeting noted that the MCAZ-EDA MoU will be instrumental in facilitating trade and investment in health products between the two respective countries. 

Cooperation in health matters is set to be broadened and deepened through another MoU covering wider areas such as health human resources; health financing; complementary, alternative and traditional medicines. 

Related to this, officials from the two countries’ health systems will soon undertake exchange visits and come up with relevant programmes in the health sector, including enhanced strategies to prevent and control Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs).   

In addition, Vice President Chiwenga held a total of seven business engagements on the sidelines of the Health Excon. 

The engagements explored areas of investment partnerships covering the medical and pharmaceuticals value chain, agriculture, construction and manufacturing sectors. More specifically, engagements were held with the following: 

1. Abu Zaabal for Fertiliser and Chemical Company; 

2. Elsewedy Electric, which specializes in energy and infrastructure business solutions;

3. Ghalyoun Aquaculture Projects Evergreen Egypt, a company which is among the top 5 fish-farming companies in the world;

4. Egyptian African Business Association;

5. Gypto Pharma, a regional pharmaceutical hub which is involved in the production of medicines and vaccines;

6. Intrapharma, which discussed modalities for expediting implementation of the existing Joint Venture; and

7. Egyptian Federation for Construction and Building Contractors (EFCBC).

Cabinet notes that the Health Excon and engagements provided opportunity for interaction with investors in various sectors of the economy, with the Egyptian business community showing great interest to invest in Zimbabwe. Going forward, the Zimbabwe-Egypt Joint Permanent Commission on Cooperation will be convened to broaden and deepen bilateral cooperation. 

REPORT ON THE 18TH EDITION OF THE CONFEDERATION OF INDIA INDUSTRY-EXIM BANK CONCLAVE ON INDIA-AFRICA GROWTH PARTNERSHIP: NEW DELHI, INDIA: 14-16 JUNE, 2023   

Cabinet received and noted the Report on the 18th Edition of the Confederation of India Industry-Exim Bank Conclave on India-Africa Growth Partnership, as presented by the Vice President and Minister of Health and Child Care, Honourable Gen (Rtd) Dr. C.G.D.N. Chiwenga.

Citizens are hereby advised that the Vice President was accompanied by the Minister of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services, Deputy Ministers from different Ministries and officials from other institutions. The Conclave was held under the theme “India-Africa Growth Partnership: Creating Shared Futures”. Zimbabwe through ZIDA and other institutions participated and exhibited under the theme “Invest, Trade and Visit”, with the main objective of showcasing the various opportunities in Zimbabwe and attracting investment from India and across the world.  The country’s participation strengthened trade and investment ties with the Indian Government and business community, in addition to enhancing the strong bilateral relations between the two sister Republics.  

The Conclave had nine sessions, which included the following:

• New Models of Financing Growth;

• Transforming Infrastructure for Africa’s Development;

• Fostering Value Chains in Agriculture and Food Processing;

• Special Plenary Session with Trade Ministers;

• Partnering on Technology to Enable Digital Transformation, where the Minister of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services was a panelist; 

• India-Africa Health Partnership;

• Partnerships for Sustainable Water Security;

• Scaling up Green and Clean Energy Collaboration and Tri-lateral Cooperation.

 On the sidelines of the Conclave a Memorandum of Agreement between the National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ) and the Railways Infrastructure Technology Services (RITES) of India was signed on the 15th  June 2023. The Memorandum of Agreement covers the supply of 9 locomotives and 315 wagons, rolling stock, upgrading railway infrastructure and a bid to recapitalize the NRZ.

 Another key highlight was the Meeting between Vice President Honourable Gen (RTD) Dr C.G.D.N. Chiwenga and the Vice President of India, Honourable Shri Jagdeep Dhankar. The Meeting showed that there is convergence of minds between the two countries on areas of mutual interest and multi-lateral affairs. Other key meetings held by the Vice President and Minister of Health and Child were as follows:

1. Meeting with the Managing Director of India Exim Bank, Ms. Harsha Bangari on the upgrading of Deka Pumping Station and Water River Intake System; and the Hwange Repowering Project; 

2. Meeting with the Vice President and Chairperson of Hinduja Group Europe (Ashok Leyland) on the establishment of a bus and commercial trucks manufacturing plant in Zimbabwe.

3. The Vice President and Minister of Health and Child Care was selected to deliver the closing remarks for the Valedictory Session.  In his closing remarks, he urged African countries to explore opportunities for collaboration which India offers in renewable energy, transport, the health sector and information communication technology.

In addition, line Ministries, Departments and Agencies attended specialized sessions, while Ministers who were part of the Zimbabwean delegation had specialised engagements which exposed immense opportunities for cooperation and investment. Accordingly, the Joint Permanent Commission on Cooperation between Zimbabwe and India will be resuscitated to convene at the earliest possible time.  

PRINCIPLES OF THE CRIMINAL PROCEDURE AND EVIDENCE (AMENDMENT) BILL, 2023

Cabinet considered and approved Principles for the Amendment of the Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act, as proposed by the Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, Honourable Ziyambi Ziyambi.

The proposed amendments will introduce the plea bargaining procedure into the Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act, as well as amend section 8(1) of the High Court Act [Chapter 7:06]. The process of plea bargaining is a long-established practice in common law justice systems across the world, which is used by both the prosecution and the defence. Introduction of the process to the Zimbabwean jurisdiction will immensely benefit the justice delivery system, including through decongestion of prisons and increasing the speed at which justice is delivered. 

Cabinet further informs the public that section 8 of the High Court Act will be amended to ensure that a High Court Judge is not unnecessarily restricted in directing continuation of a criminal trial in cases where one of the assessors dies or becomes incapable to continue as an assessor. 

The amendments to the Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act and the High Court Act will go a long way in enhancing the country’s justice delivery system. 

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