strong>ELEVENTH POST-CABINET PRESS BRIEFING
By Information Minister Monica Mutsvangwa
1.0 UPDATE ON THE COVID-19 OUTBREAK
Cabinet received an update on the country’s response to the COVID-19 Outbreak, which was presented by the Minister of Defence and War Veterans Affairs as Chairman of the Task Force on the country’s response to the COVID-19 Outbreak.
Cabinet was informed that as at 20 April, 2021, Zimbabwe’s cumulative COVID-19 cases stood at 37 875, with 35 058 recoveries and 1 554 deaths. The recovery rate stood at 93%, with 35 810 cases being attributed to local transmission. Active cases were 1 275.
Regarding Public Transport, Cabinet noted with concern the increased flouting of COVID-19 prevention control measures in the public transport system. In this regard, Cabinet agreed that Law and Order should increase surveillance on public transporters.
Cabinet was informed that the number of teachers reporting for duty had decreased. It is further noted that some of those reporting for duty are not teaching. Cabinet wishes to reiterate that negotiations for improved conditions of service remain open under the National Joint Negotiating Council and that the no work, no pay policy will be strictly enforced.
Cabinet remains cognisant of the need to fully open all economic activities. However, in the face of the threat of a Third Wave, Cabinet has deferred consideration of the opening of bars and night clubs until further notice.
2.0 UPDATE ON THE PROCUREMENT AND ROLL-OUT OF COVID-19 VACCINES
Cabinet received an update on the procurement and roll out of COVID-19 Vaccines, which was presented by the Vice President and Minister of Health and Child Care, Honourable C.G.D.N. Chiwenga.
Cabinet was informed that a total of 288 229 and 36 778 people had received their first and second dose, respectively, across the country. The Ministry of Health and Child Care is currently carrying out vaccination campaigns all over the country. Cabinet was advised that the vaccination of residents of border towns has been prioritised and is well on course.
Cabinet notes that the strong COVID-19 surveillance system that Government had put in place had enabled the Ministry to detect outbreaks early. Cabinet was informed that on 16th April 2021 more outbreaks were reported at two boarding schools, namely: at St. Davids Bonda Girls School, in Manicaland and Embakwe High School in Plumtree. One hundred and forty-five (145) and ninety-one (91) learners tested positive, respectively.
Government would like to re-assure the Nation that the situation is under control and all the cases are mild and asymptomatic.
The Ministry of Health and Child Care is testing and vaccinating members in the adjoining communities where the schools are located. All those found positive have been quarantined. The Ministries of Primary and Secondary Education; and Health and Child Care have intensified enforcement of the COVID-19 standard operating procedures in all schools and those found violating COVID-19 preventive measures will be sanctioned.
The nation is advised that His Excellency the President will be receiving his second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine tomorrow at Kwekwe Hospital. Cabinet wishes to assure the nation that citizens can receive their second dose of the COVID-19 Vaccines anywhere in the country without prejudice.
3. PRESENTATION OF NATIONAL DEVELOPMENT STRATEGY 1 (2021-2025) COMPLIANT PLAN: MINISTRY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS AND INTERNATIONAL TRADE
Cabinet considered and approved the final Ministerial Action Plan that is compliant with the National Development Strategy 1: 2021-2025, which was presented by the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Trade.
The Ministry’s mission is to promote the political and socio-economic interests, the image and influence of Zimbabwe in the international community.
It also seeks to protect the interests and safety of the Zimbabwean diaspora.
The deliverables of the Plan include the following: appointment of eight honourary consuls during the five-year period; establishment of twenty-five new export markets and facilitating one hundred trade investment missions; and improving international relations through such undertakings as signing of 150 cooperation agreements and twenty-six Bilateral Investment Promotion and Protection Agreements (BIPPAs).
The country’s image will be improved through the planned 650 public diplomacy and visibility initiatives both locally and internationally, including press releases, holding regular briefings with diplomats accredited to Zimbabwe, and delivering lectures at universities and other key national institutions.
In line with the decentralization and devolution thrust, the Ministry is in the process of establishing two provincial offices in Bulawayo and Victoria Falls.
4. MONITORING AND EVALUATION FRAMEWORK FOR THE NATIONAL DEVELOPMENT STRATEGY 1: 2021-2025
The Minister of Finance and Economic Development presented the Monitoring and Evaluation Framework for the National Development Strategy 1: 2021-2025, which was approved by Cabinet.
The nation will recall that the National Development Strategy 1 was launched by His Excellency the President, Cde E.D. Mnangagwa, on 16th November 2020 with a pledge that the attendant monitoring and evaluation framework would be published in due course, in order to ensure that set targets are met.
Accordingly, Cabinet was advised that NDS 1 will be implemented and monitored using a Thematic Working Group Approach. All the identified benchmarks, targets, milestones and outcomes will therefore be the responsibility of the blueprint’s fourteen Thematic Working Group Chairs and their Co-Chairs, and based on 2020 as the baseline year.
The Framework outlines the annual targets for each National Priority Area; National Key Result Area; National Outcome; and Key Performance Indicators. The National Priority Areas are as follows:
1. Economic Growth and Stability;
2. Food Security and Nutrition;
3. Moving the Economy Up the Value Chain and Structural Transformation;
4. Infrastructure and Utilities;
5. Digital Economy;
6. Human Capital Development and Innovation;
7. Health and Wellbeing;
8. Image Building and International Engagement and Re-engagement;
9. Devolution and De-centralisation
10. Women, Youth, Sport and Culture;
11. Social Protection;
12. Environmental Protection, Climate Resilience and Natural Resources Management;
13. Housing Delivery; and
It is important to note that Thematic Working Groups comprise not only Government Ministries but other key stakeholders, such as members of the private sector, academia and civil society. Annual targets will be reviewed based on quarterly targets attainment, which will be ascertained from reports presented to Cabinet for approval. The Monitoring and Evaluation Framework engenders greater efficiency in assessing progress made in the implementation of the NDS 1.
5.0 GUARDIANSHIP OF MINORS AMENDMENT BILL, 2020
Cabinet considered and approved the Guardianship of Minors Amendment Bill, 2020 as presented by the Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs as Chairman of the Cabinet Committee on Legislation.
The Bill seeks to align provisions of the Guardianship of Minors Act [Chapter 5:08] to the current Constitution. The Bill provides for the exercise of joint guardianship and custody of parents.
The nation is advised that the parents of a minor, whether married or otherwise, shall exercise their rights of guardianship and custody in consultation with each other: provided that where the parents are not living together as husband and wife, the custodial parent shall exercise all guardianship rights in relation to the child in his or her custody, unless the non-custodial parent by virtue of a court order (whether maintenance order, order of divorce or otherwise) is required to be consulted on any issue in connection with joint guardianship of the child.
In connection with the order maintenance of the minor (whether or not as part of an order for divorce or separation), the court shall expressly give any direction as to the manner in which the joint guardianship is to be shared or exercised.
6.0 BILATERAL AIR SEARCH AND RESCUE AGREEMENT BETWEEN THE REPUBLIC OF ZIMBABWE AND THE REPUBLIC OF BOTSWANA
Cabinet considered and approved the Bilateral Air Search and Rescue Agreement between the Republic of Zimbabwe and the Republic of Botswana as presented by the Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs as Chairman of the Cabinet Committee on Legislation.
Cabinet was informed that in terms of the Agreement, the Republic of Zimbabwe and the Republic of Botswana will cooperate in the following areas: exchange of search and rescue information concerning potential distress situations; and supporting each other by pooling search and rescue facilities for operations within their respective search and rescue region.
The parties will make and respond to requests for operational assistance between the designated rescue coordination centre or rescue sub-centre of the parties as capabilities allow. The competent authorities in the respective countries will also exchange information on the available search and rescue resources to ensure mutual knowledge of each other’s search and rescue capabilities subject to the parties’ domestic laws.
The Agreement will ensure proper coordination of aeronautical search and rescue services within the territories of the two countries.
7. MEMORANDUM OF UNDERSTANDING BETWEEN THE REPUBLICS OF ZIMBABWE AND BOTSWANA ON AIRCRAFT ACCIDENTS AND SERIOUS INCIDENTS
Cabinet adopted the Memorandum of Understanding between the Republics of Zimbabwe and Botswana on Aircraft Accidents and Serious Incidents, which was presented by the Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, as Chairman of the Cabinet Committee on Legislation.
The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) is in line with the provisions of the Convention on International Civil Aviation, which both Botswana and Zimbabwe are signatories to.
The MoU fosters cooperation between the two States in investigating aircraft accidents and other serious incidents in order to prevent future recurrence or occurrence of same.
As such, the Memorandum promotes cooperation between Zimbabwe and Botswana on the establishment and implementation of investigation mechanism, including investigation capacity building arrangements with each other. Each party shall establish a working group of specialists to plan and implement technical exchanges and cooperation between the two countries in the field of aircraft accidents and incidents investigation.
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