Categories: Zim Latest

FULL STATEMENT: 42nd Post-Cabinet Press Briefing

The Minister of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Monica Mutsvangwa has urged citizens to get vaccinated, saying there will be a time when people will not be allowed to board public transport without a valid vaccination card.

  1. Below is her full statement presented during Post Cabinet Briefing:

1.0 *Zimbabwe’s Response To The Covid-19 Pandemic, Report On The Procurement & Rollout Of Vaccines*
Cabinet received an update on the Country‘s Response to the Covid-19 Pandemic and a Report on the Procurement and Roll-Out of Vaccines, as presented by the Chairman of the Ministers’ National COVID-19 Committee, Vice President and Minister of Health and Child Care, Honourable Dr. C.G.D.N. Chiwenga.

The nation is advised that, as at 6 November 2021, the country’s cumulative COVID-19 cases stood at 141 601, with 128 966 recoveries and 4 713 deaths. The recovery rate was 93% with 7922 active cases having been reported.

Cabinet notes, with concern, that there has been a sharp increase in the average total number of new cases reports per day during the past two weeks.

Government therefore calls upon citizens to strictly observe the national and World Health Organisation (WHO) COVID-19 protocols, most importantly the regulations contained in Statutory Instrument (SI) 267 announced last week, which will be strictly enforced. Focus continues to be on preventing a 4th wave of the COVID-19 outbreak. Accordingly, Cabinet adopted the following additional measures:

1. Government will be Establishing vaccination sites at the main intra and inter-city bus termini, so as to ensure that those not vaccinated but wish to do so can have doses administered before they board the public transport;
2. Please note that there will be a time when people will not be allowed to board public transport without a valid vaccination card; and
3. The Ministry of Health and Child Care will continue to collaborate with the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education on the vaccination blitz of the 16-to-17 year age group in schools.

Regarding the national vaccination programme, Cabinet wishes to inform the nation that, as at 6 December 2021, a total of 3 882 255 first doses of the COVID-19 vaccine had been administered, while 2 892 366 people had received their second dose.

The cumulative number of 1st and 2nd doses of vaccines administered during the week under review increased to 190 899 from the 148 980 administered the previous week, indicating that the total number of doses administered during the week had increased.

On the procurement of vaccines, it is advised that 1.25 million doses of Sinopharm vaccines were delivered on 6 December 2021, constituting the first batch of the 2.5 million doses procured.

The remaining 1.25 million vaccines of the Order are expected before the end of the week. The country is also expecting a donation of one million doses from the People’s Republic of China.

Government assures the citizenry that the country has adequate stocks of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), sanitisers and medicines required for supportive management of COVID-19.

2.0 *State Party Report On The Common Core Document*
Cabinet considered and approved Zimbabwe’s State Party Report on the Common Core Document as presented by the Attorney – General on behalf of the Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs.

The Common Core Document is a report on the situation pertaining to the implementation of treaties which the country is party to.

The reporting process constitutes an essential element in the continuing commitment of a State to respect, protect and fulfill the rights set out in the treaties to which it is party.

The Common Core Document is an integral part of the Republic of Zimbabwe’s international reporting framework.

This commitment should be viewed within the wider context of the obligation of all States to promote respect for the rights and freedoms set out in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and international human rights instruments, by measures, national and international, to secure their universal and effective recognition and observance.

Zimbabwe presented its first Common Core Document in 1995 and a number of changes have since taken place mainly due to the enactment of the 2013 Constitution.

The new Constitutional dispensation inspired a number of legislative and policy changes which are social; economic; political and cultural in nature, hence the need for review and updating of the Common Core Document.

Highlights of the report include the following among others:

 Information on the national characteristics of the country, sufficient and concise account of key historical facts which are necessary to assist the treaty bodies in understanding the context of our country’s implementation of the treaties.

 On the legal framework for the protection of human rights at the national level, the Constitution of Zimbabwe is the supreme law of the land and it entrenches in Chapter 4, a Bill of Rights obligating the State and every person whether natural or juristic to respect, protect, promote and fulfill the rights and freedoms set out in it.

 Regarding children, all the rights provided in the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child and the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child were incorporated in the Constitution.

 Zimbabwe has promulgated various legislation to prevent discrimination, with the principal legislation in the country being Prevention of Discrimination Act( Chapter 8:16) that repealed the Public Premises (Prevention of Racial Discrimination) Act (Chapter 8:12) and the Immovable Property (Prevention of Discrimination) Act (Chapter 10:12).

Furthermore the Common Core Document is not confined to lists or descriptions of legal instruments adopted in the country concerned in recent years, but indicates how those legal instruments are reflected in the actual political, economic, social, and cultural realities and general conditions existing in the country.

3.0 *State Party Report Under The International Convention On The Economic, Social & Cultural Rights (ICESCR)*
The Attorney-General on behalf of the Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs also presented the State Party Report Under the International Convention on the Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR), which was adopted by Cabinet.

The Republic of Zimbabwe ratified the Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights in 1991 and submitted it’s initial Report to the Economic, Social and Cultural Rights Covenant Committee in 1997, in terms of Articles 16 and 17 of the Covenant.

The Report outlines the right to self-determination referencing the political dispensation in the country which allows holding of elections at regular intervals since 1980; improvements in the Electoral System and also how the Constitution provides for the devolution of power and responsibilities to the lower tiers of Government.

The Report also focuses on Zimbabwe’s observance to international obligations through domestication of the provisions of the Convention in the expanded Bill of Rights which incorporates specific provisions relating to the economic, social and cultural rights such as the right to education and the right to clean and habitable environment.

The Article also highlights on milestones and economic recovery plans such as the economic recovery blueprints, for example, Vision 2030, Transitional Stabilisation Programme and National Development Strategy 1 (2021-2025).

The State and Government remains committed towards enduring the “progressive” enjoyment of economic, social, and cultural rights by citizens. Where such limitation is based on the limited available resources, Government will ensure that such limitation is fair, reasonable, and justifiable in a democratic society.

The Report focuses on the obligation of the State to provide for the right to just and favourable working conditions, in particular, provide for the payment of equal remuneration to both men and women for work of equal value in line with ILO Conventions on Equality of Treatment and Non-Discrimination which Government has ratified.

This Article is very elaborate on how the State Party ensures safe and healthy working conditions, equal pay for equal work for both men and women as well as leave days entitled to employees.

The Government of Zimbabwe established the National Social Security Authority (NSSA) whose main mandate is to administer the Pensions and Other Benefits Scheme and the Accident Prevention and Workers Compensation Scheme, which is meant to ensure provision of social security to its citizenry.

Government of Zimbabwe has also provided for safety nets such as Basic Education Assistance Module (BEAM), Assisted Medical Treatment Order, Harmonized Cash Transfer and Climate-Proofed Presidential Inputs Supply Scheme (Pfumvudza/Intwasa) Programme amongst others to assist the vulnerable members of the society to protect the family institution.

The Constitution goes on further to provide that the Government has an obligation to pay compensation for improvements on compulsorily acquired agricultural land. Government and the former farmers’ representatives engaged in extensive negotiations over the global compensation figure for improvements, including biological assets and land clearing costs, on the land compulsorily acquired from the former farm owners.

Government put in place measures to enhance the right to education through compulsory primary education, policies and national strategies, which include the Universal Access to Primary Education Policy and the implementation of programmes such as the Basic Education Assistance Module (BEAM), the Education Development Fund, and the Cadetship Scheme to promote access to education for the disadvantaged, including persons with disabilities among other initiatives meant to further this right.

The report also provides information on how the State Party has ensured enjoyment of the right to take part in cultural life, scientific progress and protection of scientific and artistic material. Section 16 of the Constitution has broadened the official languages from the original three to include Chewa; Chibarwe; Kalanga; Koisan; Nambya; Ndau; Shangani; Sotho; Tonga; Tswana; Venda; Xhosa and Sign language.

4.0 *Proposed Adoption Of The Government Enterprise
Architecture Framework*
Cabinet considered and approved the Government Enterprise Architecture Framework Approach to the Modernisation and Improvement of the Government of Zimbabwe’s ICT Ecosystem as presented by the Minister of Higher and Tertiary Education, Innovation, Science and Technology Development, Honourable Professor Amon Murwira, as Chair of the Cabinet Committee on Innovation and Technology Development and Application.

The nation is informed that this Framework will digitalise Government operations in a more comprehensive and integrated manner, and it will
ensure that internal ICT sub-systems located within various Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) are interoperable and coordinated.

The resultant coordination, rationalization and optimization of the Government digital ecosystem will eliminate a lot of duplication, redundancy and corruption through a central interoperability framework. This will result in reduced costs and more efficient delivery of quality services to the public.

The Government Enterprise Architecture provides the critical link of all Government subsystems to the National Data Centre (NDC), which was launched by His Excellency the President last year.

5.0 *Report On The 8th Ministerial Conference Of The Forum On China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC)*
Cabinet received and noted the Report on the 8th Ministerial Conference of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC), as presented by the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, Honourable Dr Fredrick Makamure Shava. The Conference was held from 29th to 30th November, 2021, in Dakar Senegal, under the theme “Deepening the Sino-African Partnership and Promoting Sustainable Development to Build a China-Africa Community with a Shared Future in the New Era”.

Cabinet wishes to advise the public that the Conference reviewed progress made in the implementation of the Eight Major Initiatives of the 2018 FOCAC Beijing Summit and the Beijing Action Plan.

In his keynote address, President Xi Jinping of the Peoples’ Republic of China announced initiatives to strengthen China-Africa cooperation.

The Ministerial Conference welcomed President Xi’s initiatives to implement nine programmes under the first three-year plan of the China-Africa Cooperation Vision 2035. These programmes include the following, among others:

1. Under the Medical and Health Programme:
China pledged to provide one billion doses of COVID-19 vaccines, including 600 million as direct donations and 400 million doses to be jointly produced by Chinese and identified African countries in order to help Africa achieve its goal of vaccinating 60% of its population by 2022. Zimbabwe will make a submission to be one of those African countries.

2. Regarding Poverty Reduction and Agricultural Development Programme: China will undertake 10 poverty-reduction and agricultural projects for Africa as well as send 500 agricultural experts to Africa, including setting up a number of China-Africa Joint Centres for modern agro-technology exchange, demonstration and training in China. The Government of Zimbabwe will ensure that Chinese companies work together with local farmers in joint ventures to grow crops such as soyabeans, cotton, groundnuts and tobacco which are in demand in China. These crops will be processed before export in line with the FOCAC Vision 2035 on promoting secondary industry in Africa.

3. On the Trade Promotion Programme: China will relax restrictions for African agricultural exports, through speeding up of the inspection and quarantine procedures, as well as increasing the scope of products enjoying zero-tariff treatment in a bid to reach US$300 billion in total imports from Africa over the next three years. China will also provide US$10 billion of trade finance to support African exports, to build a pioneering zone for in-depth China-Africa trade and economic cooperation, and to build a China-Africa industrial park for Belt and Road cooperation.

4. Under the Cultural and People-to-People Exchange Programme: China will support the making of all African countries it has diplomatic ties with, approved destinations for Chinese tourist groups. China will hold African Film festivals in China and Chinese Film Festivals in Africa, and a China-African Womens’ Forum.

5. The remaining programmes pertain to the following areas:
• Investment Promotion;
• Digital Innovation;
• Green Development;
• Capacity Building; and
• Peace and Security

As part of the engagement and re-engagement drive, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Trade also held meetings with his counterparts from China, Senegal and Ethiopia on the sidelines of China-Africa Forum.

To benefit more from FOCAC, Zimbabwe will prepare bankable projects to take advantage of these Chinese initiatives.

6.0 *His Excellency The President’s Meeting With The Presidential Advisory Council & Private Sector Forum Representatives*
The nation is advised that today, His Excellency the President and his entire Cabinet had a successful interaction with the Presidential Advisory Council (PAC) and Private Sector Forum Representatives.

There was general consensus that the economy was not only restructuring but growing. The PAC and Private Sector representatives commended Government on the following achievements which were attained due to collaborative effort:

• Projected year-end GDP growth of 7.8%;
• Reduction in inflation from 87% to 50% as at August 2021;
• Increased industry capacity ultilisation from 47% to 60% on average as evidenced by demand for foreign currency on the auction market from US$11 million in June 2020 to the current US$40 to US$50 million per week. Export earnings have also increased to US$3.9 billion as at 13 October and are expected to rise to US$7 billion by year end, inclusive of diaspora remittances;
• highest-ever balance of payments surplus;
• Vaccination figures are among the top-seven in Africa, showing Government’s commitment to social development;
• Successful establishment of the Victoria Falls Stock Exchange;
• Improved infrastructure development especially under the Emergency Road Rehabilitation Programme;
• Establishment of innovation hubs as leaders of the industrialisation of the economy; and
• The private sector also acknowledged the Global Compensation Agreement and noted that this would go a long way in guaranteeing the real value of land. They recommended that, going forward, land should become a balance sheet item which people can borrow against, turning farming into a business in the truest sense.

Much time was spent on coming up with measures to address concerns raised by the PAC and private sector forum which include the following:

1. The need to deal with inflation caused by foreign exchange rate disparities;
2. The need to agree on a roadmap that will ensure that the momentum gained in the de-dollarization process is not derailed but invigorated; and
3. Facilitating tourism sector resuscitation within the COVID-19 protocol regime.

Following robust debate the Meeting generally agreed that the economy is northward-facing, and that the suggested initiatives be categorized into short, medium to long-term. The Meeting was held in a cordial environment where fundamental matters were discussed.
*I THANK YOU!*

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