Joseph Madzimure Senior Reporter
The Government and swathes of the private sector are slashing back on staff on active duty with all Government departments from tomorrow to be manned by a third of their normal workforce at a time with on-duty and off-duty staff being rotated fortnightly.
In his remarks at the 338th Ordinary Session of the Zanu PF Politburo in Harare yesterday, President Mnangagwa urged all companies to de-congest their workplaces whenever possible by releasing non-essential staff, or even essential staff whose services can efficiently be rendered from home. He said workers should be encouraged to take turns to come to work or serve from home.
So far as the Government was concerned, President Mnangagwa said with effect from tomorrow all Governments departments and ministries would be required to have just one third of their staff at work.
“As from Friday this week, all Government departments and ministries will only need one third of their staff at work for two weeks. The other two thirds will be at home and after two weeks the next third comes and the two thirds will remain at home. Even here at party headquarters I will ask the secretary general to make sure that only one third of the work force will be at work and the rest will go home for a period of two weeks,” said the President.
Cutting the number of duty staff gives more safety to those at home and ensures that those at work can be spread safe distances apart.
The President appealed to the citizens to exercise social responsibility.
“Those involved in the manufacturing and trading of essential commodities such as masks, sanitisers, among other items are dissuaded from charging exorbitant prices.” Government, the President said, had released additional resources towards the procurement of safety clothing.
“We are grateful to the many health services personnel who are at the frontline of addressing this pandemic. Their concerns and those of our nation have been noted and will be addressed.
I urge us to adjust our lives and the activities of our party accordingly in the face of lethal health threat. As Government will continue to ensure that there is a continuous supply of grain and other essential commodities,’’ he added.
The private sector has already started rotating staff on and off duty and seeing who can work from home although few have yet to match the Government’s moves.
Financial institutions continue to close temporarily some of their branches and reduce working hours while converting the few who still want personal banking to the electronic platforms already dominating their business.
Steward Bank said it had closed two branches in Victoria Falls and Gunhill in Harare.
CBZ group chief executive officer Dr Blessing Mudavanhu yesterday said branches at the Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport, Victoria Falls International Airport, Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo International Airport, Beitbridge, Kariba and Chirundu were closing temporarily. Cash withdrawals will be only through ATMs when cash is available and branches are offering limited services such as MTA remittances, cash deposits and FCA transactions. Working hours are cut from eight to six hours.
Nedbank has also temporarily closed branches at Avondale, Borrowdale, Msasa, Victoria Falls and Kwekwe.
First Capital Bank has temporarily closed its Belmont branch in Bulawayo, and in First Street, Harare Street and Borrowdale in Harare.
CABS, FBC and Standard Chartered want customers to use digital platforms to reduce physical contact in queues.
Lawyers are now mostly working from home with only urgent services still in law offices. Law Society of Zimbabwe (LSZ) executive secretary Mr Edward Mapara confirmed the closure of several law firms.
“Yes, many law firms have closed while others will be partially open to attend to emergency issues. Most of them will be operating online and through telephones,” he said.