‘Lockdown  letters from MPs, councillors invalid’ Midlands Provincial Affairs and Devolution Minister, Owen Ncube.

Munyaradzi Musiiwa Midlands Correspondent

MINISTER of State Security Owen Ncube has warned Members of Parliament and councillors against issuing travelling exemptions to people during the Covid-19 induced lockdown.

Speaking during a tour of the Gweru Provincial Hospital Isolation Centre on Saturday, Minister Ncube said only police and District Development Coordinators had the prerogative to issue such travelling exemptions.

He said security forces enforcing the lockdown will not recognise exemptions issued by MPs and councillors.

“I would want to warn our Members of Parliament and Councillors not to issue exemption letters for people to travel during the lockdown,” said Minister Ncube. “This is tantamount to flouting the regulations thereof. I’m sorry to inform you that police will not be recognising these letters at all.

“Police and District Development Coordinators are the only ones that can issue out exemptions. People have to be serious about this disease. This disease is real. If you look and observe what is happening in other countries, they have more than 500, while some have more than 1 000 people dying every day.

“If we do not take it seriously, we might plunge into the same predicament. Let us all comply with the lockdown directive.”

Minister Ncube said Midlands was one of the provinces making significant strides in the preparations for the fight against Covid-19.

He said Government was grateful to the corporate world for complementing efforts to fight the disease.

“We are grateful to our corporate world and other well-wishers who have come forth to join hands with Government in fighting the coronavirus pandemic,” said Minister Ncube. “President Mnangagwa has reiterated over and over that it is the thought that counts. No matter how small the donation is, it will come in handy.”

Minister Ncube said Government was also impressed by Midlands Joint Operation Command (JOC) for diligently enforcing the lockdown.

“My acquaintances in Cabinet and other colleagues have always joked with us that it is easier to drive into Harare than it is to pass through Midlands Province because our police are strict,” he said.

“This is a clear testimony to show that our security systems in the province are watertight. We implore you to maintain your levels of diligence in enforcing the lockdown so that we save citizens from this pandemic.”

Minister Ncube said even those in the rural areas were at risk considering that some people travelled to their rural areas when the lockdown was announced. He implored citizens to be disciplined during the lockdown.

Minister Ncube said police will crack down on shebeens and backyard kitchens as part of enforcing the lockdown.

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