1. ZIMBABWE’S RESPONSE TO THE CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19)
Cabinet received an update on the steps that are being taken to contain the Covid-19 pandemic from the Minister of Defence and War Veterans Affairs, Honourable O.C.Z. Muchinguri, Chairperson of the Ad Hoc Inter-Ministerial Taskforce on the Covid-19 Outbreak.
In terms of testing the Ministry of Health and Child Care has, in line with WHO guidelines adopted a symptom based management approach, which prioritises the testing of those people showing Covid-19 symptoms.
In view of the re-opening of schools for examination classes, the tourism and hospitality industry, and aviation sectors and the need to afford the working class time to attend gymnasia, Cabinet approved the extension of business operating hours, including those of gymnasia from 0630hours to 1830hours.
Cabinet further approved the resumption of inter-city travel to facilitate the smooth movement of examination candidates, citizens and visitors.
Transporters who wish to ferry passengers should register with the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructural Development to ensure that they strictly comply with Standard Operating Procedures for their sector which are compliant to the WHO guidelines and all Covid-19 regulations. In support of this service, the Vehicle Inspection Department should also resume its services.
All employees in the Tourism Sector should comply with the Covid-19 regulations as is done in all the other approved services. Only international travellers are required to provide a 48-hour negative Covid-19 certificate.
In order to facilitate access to critical documentation from Central Registry during the Covid-19-induced lockdown, Cabinet has approved that the Central Registry should reopen and offer services, such as the issuance of births and death certificates, national registrations as well as passports.
Measures are being put in place to ensure that operations at Central Registry offices, which are usually characterised by overcrowding are in line with the Ministry of Health and Child Care and WHO protocols in order to curtail the transmission of Covid-19. Members of the public will be informed on the timelines for accessing the critical services.
Cabinet further authorised the partial reopening of the Department of Immigration, Client Service Centre for the purpose of processing short-term investor work and student permits, issue visas at ports of entry and resume enforcement operations through the compliance section.
The National Museums and Monuments of Zimbabwe will be opened to allow visitors access to National Monuments that include the National Heroes Acre and National History Museum.
Cabinet reiterates that despite the measures taken today to further open up the economy, the threat from Covid-19 is still real and citizens should continue to religiously adhere to the Covid-19 containment measures.
2. REVIEW OF THE COMMUNAL AREAS MANAGEMENT PROGRAMME FOR INDIGENOUS RESOURCES (CAMPFIRE)
Cabinet considered and approved proposals to re-focus and revitalise the Communal Areas Management Programme for Indigenous Resources (CAMPFIRE) as presented by the Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development. Implementing the proposals will result in a more effective and transparent CAMPFIRE that will benefit communities and further operationalise the devolution concept.
The CAMPFIRE initiative targets the conservation and sustainable utilisation of wildlife and other natural resources as livelihood options for rural communities. Cabinet highlights that a widely consultative CAMPFIRE Review Process was conducted in 2016, which revealed that the CAMPFIRE Programme was experiencing institutional, operational, legal and external challenges.
Furthermore, the CAMPFIRE Model is highly dependent on hunting revenue, which generates 90 percent of the total revenue.
There is need for diversification if the programme is to remain viable. Cabinet noted that the CAMPFIRE Programme should diversify into other activities, such as photographic safaris, ecotourism, and bird viewing to widen the revenue base and explore alternative markets for trophy hunting.
In order to guarantee the proper regulation and enforcement of the stakeholder benefits and to resolve current misunderstandings between Rural District Councils and the producer communities, Cabinet concurred on the need to ensure that the CAMPFIRE Programme becomes more efficient and induces economic growth in line with Vision 2030.
Cabinet thus approved the following: that a Statutory Instrument on CAMPFIRE Regulations be enacted clearly spelling out, among other things, the definition of Appropriate Authority status and roles, Appropriate Authority conferment procedures and revocation, producer communities, revenue sharing mechanisms and ratios, and accountability and institutional arrangements for a renewed CAMPFIRE Model.
That the Parks and Wildlife Act, and the Environmental Management Act will be aligned to the Constitution, and that the provisions on the clear roles and responsibilities of ZIMPARKS as Regulator of the CAMPFIRE Programme be incorporated. Cabinet also directed that appropriate Standard Operational Procedures for CAMPFIRE and Community-Based Natural Resources Management (CBNRM) be established.
To attract improved funding flows to CAMPFIRE, the existing laws will be strengthened to compel CAMPFIRE to establish credible systems.
In addition, a Practitioners Manual for CAMPFIRE/Community-Based Natural Resources Management (CBNRM) in Zimbabwe will be developed by the Parks and Wildlife Management Authority.
3. ZIMBABWE’S REVISED AGRO-ECOLOGICAL REGIONS
Cabinet has adopted the revised Zimbabwe agro-ecological zones presented by the Minister of Higher and Tertiary Education, Innovation, Science and Technology Development.
The revised zones, developed using local capacity, and being testimony of the success of Education 5.0, will revolutionise agricultural planning and practice in Zimbabwe to make it more precise as it will no longer be based on the outdated agro-ecological zones developed between 1945 and 1960.
In response to the urgent need of aligning agricultural practice with the changing climatic patters, the Government of Zimbabwe, through the Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education, Innovation, Science and Technology Development initiated a revision of the country’s agro-ecological zones.
Based on the observed pattern of rainfall and temperature and their influence on agricultural practice, the revision of the Agro-Ecological Zones had two main objectives: 1) to redefine the Agro-Ecological Zones based on the current climate trend and recommend land-use practices for each zone, and 2) to develop an interactive software (Agro-Zim mobile application) that would assist users of the updated Agro-Ecological Zones to get important spatially explicit information required to guide agricultural practice in Zimbabwe
Cabinet informs the public that the Zimbabwe agro-ecological zone map will be availed as a Mobile Application thus bringing numerous benefits to farmers who will be able to access information related to their agro-ecological zones; the appropriate land use; as well as the rainfall patterns, temperatures, and soil types of their areas; among other information.
The Mobile Application will be free to download and will be available on Google Play Store.
The use of agro-ecological zones/natural regions is important as it allows crops or livestock to be produced within their appropriate climatic regions.
4. PRINCIPLES FOR THE PROPOSED SPORT AND RECREATION AMENDMENT BILL
Cabinet considered and approved Principles on the Proposed Sport, and Recreation Amendment Bill from the Minister of Youth, Sport, Arts and Recreation. Cabinet noted that Zimbabwe currently has no legislation which regulates Sport in general and that the Sport and Recreation Commission Act does not define recreation hence creating overlaps with other entities such as Tourism, ZimParks and the National Arts Council. The Bill will redress the situation.