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Turnall’s New Automated Plant Reaches Nears Completion

New Zimbabwe - Tue, 30/11/2021 - 06:49

By Alois Vinga

LISTED roofing products manufacturer Turnall Holdings Limited (THL) investment in a new plant which will see an automated increase in production and enable migration from cement pipes has reached an advanced stage.

Presenting a trading update for the period ended September 30, 2021, THL acting company secretary, Ziggy Bikwa said the new project is now at an advanced stage.

“Innovation in products and services with an objective to offer continuous improvement in convenience and customer satisfaction through a rich product mix in roofing such as Slates, Ecotiles and Pantiles is a priority.

“The company is investing in a new model plant that will improve the product variation and automate production processes. The migration from Fibre cement pipes to Glass Reinforced Pipe (GRP) manufacturing is at an advanced stage,” he said.

During the review period, revenue in inflation adjusted terms reached 40%, down from 188% recorded last year, with sales volumes maintaining the 13% recorded in a comparative period this year.

Profit before taxation at 72% was lower than the 147% mark recorded last year.

Cumulative nine-months aggregate volume growth remained steady at 13% over the comparative period with fibre cement building products contributing 79% of the sales volume for 2021, a 7% increase compared to the same period last year.

Fibre Cement pipes contributed 2% of the year-to-date sales volume for the same period.

Concrete roofing tiles contributed 19% of total sales volumes representing a 6% increase compared to last year.

“Turnall’s exports slowed due to regional lockdowns, consequent logistics disruptions as well as higher local market demand which outweighed our production capacities. The company continues to expand its footprint in the SADC region,” said Bikwa.

Going forward, the THL foresees good prospects for growth in the construction industry particularly at local authorities’ level and national government projects amid optimism that the business will post better results in 2021 despite the many challenges prevailing in the economic environment.

“This will be achieved through volume growth, cost containment and further realignment of business processes,” added Bikwa.

The post Turnall’s New Automated Plant Reaches Nears Completion appeared first on NewZimbabwe.com.

Categories: Zimbawe

MPs Threaten To Block Mthuli’s 2022 Budget

New Zimbabwe - Tue, 30/11/2021 - 06:41

By Anna Chibamu

LEGISLATORS have threatened to block Finance minister Mthuli Ncube 2022 national budget he presented last Thursday saying he completely disregarded their contributions during the consultation process.

The budget has to pass through both houses of parliament before it can be implemented.

Ncube last week unveiled a $927,3 Billion national budget but at a post-budget seminar held in Harare Monday, legislators took turns to blast him, alleging he did not take into consideration their input at the Victoria Falls pre-budget seminar.

They said the budget was full of surprises and omitted a lot of what they had discussed in the resort town.

Norton MP Temba Mliswa said: “As MPs, we can no longer be treated as kids anymore. You have made parliament useless. I am saying, this time we are going to dismiss this budget.”

“We cannot continue passing a budget when only 30% has been allocated. Abuja Declaration’s of 15% has been turned down. The agenda is simple, no-one is passing the budget until we understand where is the 70% change. Yakaenda kupi if it was available? Hatidi kutambiswa bhora risina mweya,” Mliswa said amid applause from both opposition and ruling MPs,” he said.

Zanu PF Chegutu East MP Webster Shamu felt the budget should be given in foreign currency.

“The budget for should not be given in local currency. The budget is going to be affected by foreign exchange rate fluctuations,” Shamu said.

Senator Chief Fortune Charumbira weighed in saying: “The issue of cell phone levy. We went to Victoria Falls to make our input into those areas that are important to the nation. We are then ambushed three weeks later by a levy we did not agree to. Then you ask, what were we doing in Victoria Falls? Why did the minister not tell us about cellphone levy. We should have debated on this issue. We need a practical budget review mechanism. As Parliament, we are just quiet whilst the minister decides everything for us.”

MDC-T deputy president Thokozani Khupe said: “Monies are not allocated  on time to line ministries. MPs were turned away at a hotel at one point after treasury failed to pay for their accommodation on time. Some programmes were cancelled. It is not true that line ministries and Parliament  are failing to utilise funds but the money was not allocated on time,” Khupe stated.

Zanu PF MP Levi Mayihlome urged Ncube to finance the security service sector warning that failure to do so would cause chaos.

“Let us fund the security sector. We are digging our own holes. A stitch in time saves nine,” Mayohlome said.

Senate deputy president and committees chairperson Mike Nyambuya bemoaned the decline in budget allocations to the health sector from 12,97 of total budget in 2021 to 12,2% in 2022.

The post MPs Threaten To Block Mthuli’s 2022 Budget appeared first on NewZimbabwe.com.

Categories: Zimbawe

Former Ziscosteel Workers Demand US Dollar Pensions

New Zimbabwe - Tue, 30/11/2021 - 06:19

By Staff Reporter

FORMER Zimbabwe Iron and Steel Company (Ziscosteel) employees are demanding that their pensions be paid in United States Dollars since they made pension contributions in that currency.

Ziscosteel stopped production at its Redcliff plant over a decade ago at its Redcliff plant.

The company brought to its knees following years of mismanagement, gross incompetence, corruption and political interference.

Its closure workers stranded and without terminal benefits.

Their representative Benedict Moyo, who also sits of the Ziscosteel pensions board of trustees said: “Ziscosteel retrenched it’s entire group employees on 31 August 2016. Pension payouts rules say that once one is terminated, resigns etc, then one must be paid out their pension within three months,” Moyo said.

“Zisco employees contributed to the pension scheme using US Dollars. On retrenchment, the government of Zimbabwe took over the company’s debt through the Zisco Debt Assumption Act while the Zisco pension fund is administered by First Mutual Life who took it from Old Mutual,” Moyo explained.

“A verification exercise was done by FML on individual’s payout. Government then passed a law saying that the Zimbabwean is rated to the US Dollar on 1:1 in 2019 through a Statutory Instrument. Afterwards, the government delayed the payouts until today,” he said.

He said the board of trustees (BOT) for the former employees does not agree with the 1:1 arrangement.

“As BOT of the Zisco Pension Scheme, we do not agree with the position of paying out at 1:1. The government must have a heart for its citizens by paying out in the currency that the former employees contributed or at worst payout at interbank rate. It’s not a secret that our currency’s value has been eroded. We have put our grievance to ministry of Finance and the Pensions and Insurance Commission so that the plight of former Zisco employees is attended to before the inhumane proposed payouts,” Moyo said.

The post Former Ziscosteel Workers Demand US Dollar Pensions appeared first on NewZimbabwe.com.

Categories: Zimbawe

EFF Zimbabawe Urges Gvt To Expedite Issuance Of IDs.

New Zimbabwe - Tue, 30/11/2021 - 06:18

By Bulawayo Correspondent

ECONOMIC Freedom Fighters (EFF) Zimbabwe says government must urgently capacitate the Registrar General’s office for it to resume countrywide issuance of national identity cards which will enable first time voters to register to vote.

Hundreds of people seeking national identity cards are being forced to sleep in the open hoping to access the documents, only to be turned away in the morning by officials for different reasons.

Last week Home Affairs ministry permanent secretary Aaron Nhepera told parliamentarians that the government is facing challenges in processing identity documents due to lack of consumables. He admitted that most registration offices were not operating except Harare, Mashonaland central province and the Mpilo sub-office.

“It is a human rights issue for every eligible Zimbabwean to get national documents such as national identity cards. In fact, an ID is an integral part of the national electoral processes. So a person without an ID is clearly deprived of his or her right to vote,” EFF Zimbabwe president Innocent Ndibali said in an interview with Newzimbabwe.com.

The EFF president said his party was expecting the Minister of Finance Mthuli Ncube to allocate more resources to the production of national identity documents as well as resources to ministries mandated to embowers the locals.

“It is not enough for the treasury to just allocate $7,75 billion to ZEC without allocating adequate resources to the production of IDs. These two components are interlinked because one cannot vote without any ID.  We are appealing to the government to consider channelling more resources to the RGs office so that all those people who are eligible for the documents can get them,” said Ndibali. ZEC was allocated a total of $7,75 billion for preparatory works for the 2023 elections while $3,25 billion was for holding of by –elections.

The United Kingdom based politician also revealed that his party will early next year launch a massive voter registration campaign in Bulawayo province where the province risks losing some constituencies due to the low number of registered voters.

“In January next year, EFF Zimbabwe will be launching its voter registration campaign in Bulawayo. Under this campaign, we are mainly targeting first time voters and those in the diaspora,” he said.

Ndibali is believed to be eying the Magwegwe National Assembly constituency where he has been sponsoring some development projects.

The post EFF Zimbabawe Urges Gvt To Expedite Issuance Of IDs. appeared first on NewZimbabwe.com.

Categories: Zimbawe

You Are Playing With Fire, Chinamasa Warns Chamisa

New Zimbabwe - Tue, 30/11/2021 - 06:16

By Felix Matasva

ZANU PF national acting political commissar, Patrick Chinamasa Saturday made a chilling warning to MDC Alliance activists against intimidating its members who defect to the ruling party.

Chinamasa was speaking at a Zanu PF meeting held at Marymount Teachers college in Mutare, where some former MDC Alliance members who crossed over to ruling party were paraded before senior officials including acting national spokesperson Mike Bimha, Manicaland chair Mike Madiro and central committee member Gertie Mutandi.

Among them were former Zengeza west legislator Simon Chidhakwa, former Mutare ward two councilor Pamela Mutare, Pauline Hendeni and former Chipinge district chair Chadamoyo Machingura.

Chinamasa said: “I have been informed through various reports that there are MDC members who are now scaring and intimidating those who are defecting to Zanu PF. We are aware from the onset that MDC is a violent party but let them be warned not to play with fire,” Chinamasa charged.

“We are ruling this country hence you cannot intimidate a ruling party and it is not possible. Who are you to stop people from joining the ruling party? If I hear these complains again you will be in for it,” he warned.

The warnings come at a time report indicated that former MDC Alliance legislator for Dangamvura-Chikanga Prosper Mutseyami was heard intimidating one of the defectors.

Chinamasa directed his salvos at him saying: “He lost an election somewhere in rural areas and decided to contest in town where the track record is not known. Right now, we are expecting a by-election, but he has already lost that battle. Go and him/her that we are against the move to intimidate people within their homesteads.”

In July 2013, Mutseyami was elected MP for Musikavanhu constituency in Chipinge, but opted to contest for the Dangamvura-Chikanga constituency in 2018, beating Zanu PF’s Esau Mupfumi by a very wide margin.

He was however later recalled by the MDC-T in 2019 at the height of factional divisions between Chamisa and Douglas Mwonzora.

Zanu PF Mutare district co-ordination committee (DCC) chair Binali Yard claimed in an interview with NewZimbabwe.com they welcomed about 400 defectors.

“This incident is one of a kind. Zanu PF is like granny Chaza’s bus which has got an unlimited carrying capacity. We warmly welcome these new members who have joined us and they must feel at home. I don’t have the exact number but we have welcomed more than 400  members who have joined the revolutionary party after defecting from MDC Alliance,” Binali said, adding none of defectors were enticed by money to join Zanu PF Manicaland.

However, writing on twitter, Chinamasa later confirmed welcoming 700 members who ditched MDC Alliance.

The post You Are Playing With Fire, Chinamasa Warns Chamisa appeared first on NewZimbabwe.com.

Categories: Zimbawe

MDC Alliance Starts Auditing MPs, Councillors

New Zimbabwe - Tue, 30/11/2021 - 06:14

By Bulawayo Correspondent

MDC Alliance councillors in Bulawayo have started receiving their party membership confirmation letters as the party moves in to get rid of all its current elected parliament and council officials who have deserted the party.

The MDC Alliance recently launched a vetting exercise for all its officials deployed in local government and parliament.

The move follows the recalling of scores of its councillors and members of parliament by the Douglas Mwonzora led MDC-T.

Since the controversial recalls started, some remaining councillors and MPs have not openly come clear on their allegiance for fearing of losing their perks and posts.

Some councillors and MPs have been attending meetings of both political parties while assessing where the political wind is blowing

“You are aware due to the recent developments where some members who had been deployed by the MDC Alliance were recalled from the party.

“It is therefore important that you confirm your status as a deployeee of the MDC Alliance,” reads part of one of the confirmation letters addressed to a Bulawayo city councillor. According to the letter, the councillors were given seven days to confirm their party membership status.

“Should that declaration of your status be consistent with your conduct, the party will confirm your status. The party request that you should respond within the next seven days, failure to respond will be interpreted as confirmation that you have left the party and in terms of the Constitution your expulsion will be automatic,”

“Should you respond in the affirmative, but your conduct however is inconsistent with your declaration and adverse finding will be made and you will be expelled from the party. Responses should be e-mailed or send to the Secretary General with your signed signature,” further reads the letter signed by the party’s Secretary –General Charlton Hwende. A total of eight councillors were recalled in Bulawayo by the MDC –T. Before the recalling, the MDC Alliance used to control 28 wards while Zanu PF has one councillor. There is also a vacant seat in the city following the death of Ward Eight Councillor, Ronia Mudara in July this year.

MDC Alliance sources told Newzimbabwe.com that the party is now left with six councillors in the city after the majority defected to the MDC Alliance.

The post MDC Alliance Starts Auditing MPs, Councillors appeared first on NewZimbabwe.com.

Categories: Zimbawe

Parly Urged To Draft A Home-grown Transitional Justice Framework

New Zimbabwe - Tue, 30/11/2021 - 06:13

HiBy Andrew Kunambura

PARLIAMENT has been challenged to draft a transitional justice policy framework that is tailor-made to the country’s realities.

Addressing transitional justice stakeholders on African Union-Transition Justice Policy (AUTJP) that was adopted by African Member-States in February 2019, Aleck Muchadehama, chairman of a transitional justice lobby group, the National Transitional Justice Working Group (NTJWG), said stakeholders should come up with a platform to lobby government to draft its own transitional justice framework.

The AUTJP is a consolidation of transitional justice standards established by the AU in several policies and legal instruments, drawing upon the AU’s vast practical experience and extensive peace-building and post-conflict reconstruction work in Africa.

It also builds upon the African human rights normative framework embodied by the African Charter and attendant regional legal and human rights instruments.

Muchadehama said the country can either domesticate the AUTJF or draft its own transitional justice policy that binds everyone.

“As a country, we must have our own policy much like that of the African Union one,” Muchadehama said.

“If we have a clear transitional justice policy, we can have a common approach. As a transitional justice working group, we want to propagate issues of transitional justice and call for the adoption of a framework.

“Other countries like Sierra Leone, Uganda, Cambodia, Rwanda, to mention a few, have their own frameworks.”

Zimbabwe is battling to address the emotive Gukuruhundi massacres that took place in the 1980s in the Matabeleland and Midlands regions by the North Korean trained Fifth Brigade under the guise of thwarting an insurgency.

The National Peace and Reconciliation Commission has trained to reach out to victims but has made less meaningful progress in addressing the situation and Muchadehama blamed the failure on the absence of a national transitional justice framework.

“All stakeholders should be engaged, including the NPRC, faith-based organisations, traditional leaders, and civic organizations. We can come up with a platform to lobby the government, through Parliament to come up with such a framework,” he said.

Speaking during the workshop, Annah Moyo, acting executive director, Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation (CSVR) said civil society played a very crucial role in mobilising African leaders to adopt the AUTJP during the nine years the framework was developed.

She said African leaders were skeptical of the term transitional justice because to them, it was synonymous with the International Criminal Court and it had to take a lot of effort from civic organizations to accept the idea.

As a policy, the AUTJP articulates the transitional justice principles and normative standards set by the AU to ensure the adherence of African states.

In the form of guidelines, the AUTJP provides a catalogue of transitional justice measures as a toolbox from which African states can draw to implement national transitional justice initiatives.

The AUTJP is a toolbox of transitional justice mechanisms suited to the African context and resonate with African shared values.

Building on its commitment to facilitate the implementation of a credible and meaningful transitional justice process in Zimbabwe and following the adoption of the AUTJP, the NTJWG has prioritised the realisation of the objectives of the policy through the promotion of its implementation and domestication in Zimbabwe.

The post Parly Urged To Draft A Home-grown Transitional Justice Framework appeared first on NewZimbabwe.com.

Categories: Zimbawe

Covid Hits Masvingo Teachers’ College As

New Zimbabwe - Tue, 30/11/2021 - 06:11

By Clayton Shereni

THE Masvingo provincial Covid-19 taskforce has, together with ministry of Health and Child Care, launched investigations to establish a sudden spike in Covid-19 cases at Masvingo Teachers College.

By Saturday last week a total of 81 students had tested positive to the novel virus at the institution bringing fears that it could be the new Omicron variant which has sent shock waves across the world.

Masvingo provincial medical director Amadeus Shamhu confirmed the developments saying specimens were sent to Harare for clinical tests.

“We are conducting investigations into the issue, we sent specimens to Harare today (November 29) for genomic sequencing so results are being expected this week,” Shamhu said.

More tests are reportedly being conducted at the institution and contact tracing has since been launched.

Masvingo Provincial Covid-19 taskforce spokesperson, Rodgers Irimayi also told this publication that they were investigating the spike in Covid-19 cases but stated that the index case had no history of travelling outside the country.

“The index case has no history has no history of traveling to any other country, it is a local transmission. We are yet to get to the bottom and know how it started but the current position is that this is a local infection at the institution,” he said.

Earlier this year another local institution, Bondolfi Teachers College, was hit by Covid-19 and over 90 students tested positive to the deadly virus.

Last week the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) issued out a statement after 76 returnees from South Africa evaded quarantine risking spread of Covid-19 amongst locals.

The post Covid Hits Masvingo Teachers’ College As appeared first on NewZimbabwe.com.

Categories: Zimbawe

South African Opposition Leader Asks Ramaphosa To Impose Sanctions on Zim

New Zimbabwe - Tue, 30/11/2021 - 06:10

By Leopold Munhende

SOUTH African opposition Action South Africa party leader Herman Mashaba has urged the neighbouring country’s government to impose economic sanctions on Zimbabwean government and Zanu PF officials and freeze their assets saying this would force them to expedite political and economic reforms.

Mashaba made the calls at a press conference Monday.

His call is a first of its kind from any African political leader in the region and comes barely a week after the British parliament suggested more should be asked of regional leaders in pressuring the President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s regime to reform.

Mashaba, a former City of Johannesburg mayor, blamed the South African government for nurturing Zanu PF’s faults and proposed a harsh approach to dealing with the ruling party.

“We have a crisis taking place across our border,” Mashaba said.

“For years our government has watched while Zanu PF destroyed the country once capable of feeding much of Southern Africa. This crisis impacts our country deeply and it is now time for a new approach, it is time for hard diplomacy. We must adopt the strongest and harshest policies against the oppressive government and not punish the people of Zimbabwe,” he said.

“This should start by freezing assets of Zanu PF leaders which are in South Africa and banning them from entering our country until there is real reform in that beloved country,” he added.

South Africa’s ruling party ANC has maintained a softened approach to Zanu PF leaders accused of human rights atrocities, maladministration, and corruption since the early 2000s.

The post South African Opposition Leader Asks Ramaphosa To Impose Sanctions on Zim appeared first on NewZimbabwe.com.

Categories: Zimbawe

Lake Gwayi-Shangani to start holding water

The Chronicle - ZW - Mon, 29/11/2021 - 23:07
Nqobile Tshili, Chronicle Reporter LAKE Gwayi-Shangani will start receiving significant inflows in the 2021/22 rain season while Bulawayo and surrounding communities could start drawing water from it by the end of next year. Government has already tasked six contractors with laying the 245km pipeline from Gwayi-Shangani to Bulawayo and works should be completed by the […]
Categories: Zimbawe

Grade 7 exams start smoothly

The Chronicle - ZW - Mon, 29/11/2021 - 23:06
Nqobile Tshili, Chronicle Reporter THE Zimbabwe School Examinations Council (Zimsec) Grade 7 examinations started smoothly yesterday after relevant stakeholders resolved to set aside their differences for the integrity of the country’s public examination system. Invigilators had threatened to boycott the exams if their demands were not met. However, teachers, Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education, […]
Categories: Zimbawe

COMMENT: Ensure all learners follow Covid-19 rules during public exams

The Chronicle - ZW - Mon, 29/11/2021 - 23:05
GRADE Seven and Form Six students started writing their final examinations yesterday, the beginning of a marathon of public tests that will also be taken by children in Form Four until early next year. Grade Sevens tackled Zimbabwe School Examinations Council English Paper One and Mathematics Paper One yesterday while Upper Sixth formers wrote Shona, […]
Categories: Zimbawe

Zifa board suspension: Fifa concurs

The Chronicle - ZW - Mon, 29/11/2021 - 23:05
Sikhumbuzo Moyo, Senior Sports Reporter FIFA has reportedly “endorsed” action taken by the Sports and Recreation Commission to suspend the Zifa board over a myriad of accusations. The SRC slapped Zifa president Felton Kamambo and his executive committee with an indefinite suspension two weeks ago triggering fears that an international football ban was imminent. The […]
Categories: Zimbawe

Zim positions firms to tap into AfCTA

The Chronicle - ZW - Mon, 29/11/2021 - 23:05
Prosper Ndlovu, Business Editor ZIMBABWE is pursuing revitalisation of strategic industrial value chains as part of efforts to enhance domestic productivity and substituting imports while positioning local businesses to tap into trade opportunities under the African continental free Trade Area (AfCFTA). The country’s manufacturing sector is on a recovery mode, evidenced by the accelerated increase […]
Categories: Zimbawe

Prominent banker dies in mysterious inferno

The Chronicle - ZW - Mon, 29/11/2021 - 23:05
Fungi Kwaramba and Michael Tome PROMINENT Banker Mr Douglas Munatsi (51) died early yesterday in a mysterious fire that authorities say is now under investigation. The death of Mr Munatsi, who was the chief executive officer of the Zimbabwe Investment and Development Agency (Zida), triggered an outpouring of grief with President Mnangagwa describing his demise […]
Categories: Zimbawe

Nox goes all out on latest offering

The Chronicle - ZW - Mon, 29/11/2021 - 23:05
Mthabisi Tshuma, Showbiz Reporter South Africa-based musician Nox has gone all out with his latest album, African Royalty that features diverse musicians. The album features tracks, Desperately, One Life featuring Gemma Griffiths and Tyfah Guni, Pasina Mari, 2 Chete featuring Tyfah Guni, Why Why Why featuring Tyfah Guni, I love You featuring Zanda Zakuza, Toita […]
Categories: Zimbawe

NetOne launches forex remittance service

The Chronicle - ZW - Mon, 29/11/2021 - 23:04
Business Reporter STATE-OWNED mobile network operator, NetOne, has officially launched its “OneMoney Remit” product, an innovative, flexible and reliable mobile-based solution that allows clients to deposit US-dollar cash into their wallets and send it to anyone in Zimbabwe. The product is being introduced on the back of growing demand for digital financial solutions, which has […]
Categories: Zimbawe

Goals elude Highlanders

The Chronicle - ZW - Mon, 29/11/2021 - 23:04
Ricky Zililo, Senior Sports Reporter LACK of potency left Highlanders’ coach Mandla Mpofu worried as he watched his charges failing to turn their dominance into goals against Ngezi Platinum Stars in a Castle Lager Premier Soccer League match played at Barbourfields Stadium on Sunday. Bosso were held to a goalless draw by Ngezi, who came […]
Categories: Zimbawe

Blaq Diamond set for maiden performance koNtuthu

The Chronicle - ZW - Mon, 29/11/2021 - 23:04
Mbulelo Mpofu, Showbiz Reporter THEY yearned for it and even went to social media to tell us about it, and now it is happening. Barely a fortnight after South African Afro-pop duo, Blaq Diamond (Ndumiso Mdletshe and Sphelele Dunywa) scooped the Best Male Southern Africa award at the All Africa Music Awards (AFRIMA), they will […]
Categories: Zimbawe

South Africa’s President Calls For Lifting Of Omicron Travel Bans

New Zimbabwe - Mon, 29/11/2021 - 18:16


SOUTH Africa’s president has condemned travel bans enacted against his country and its neighbours over the new coronavirus variant Omicron.

Cyril Ramaphosa said he was “deeply disappointed” by the action, which he described as unjustified, and called for the bans to be urgently lifted.

The UK, EU and US are among those who have imposed travel bans.

Omicron has been classed as a “variant of concern”. Early evidence suggests it has a higher re-infection risk.

The heavily mutated variant was detected in South Africa earlier this month and then reported to the World Health Organization (WHO) last Wednesday.

The variant is responsible for most of the infections found in South Africa’s most populated province, Gauteng, over the last two weeks, and the number of cases of “appears to be increasing in almost all provinces” in the country, according to the WHO.

South Africa reported 2 800 new infections on Sunday, a rise from the daily average of 500 in the previous week.

Government adviser and epidemiologist Salim Abdool Karim said he expected the number of cases to reach more than 10 000 a day by the end of the week, and for hospitals to come under pressure in the next two to three weeks.

But Health Minister Joe Phaahla said there was “absolutely no need to panic”.

“We have been here before,” he added, referring to the Beta variant identified in South Africa last December.

On Monday, Japan became the latest country to reinstate tough border restrictions, banning all foreigners from entering the country from 30 November.

The WHO has warned against countries hastily imposing travel curbs, saying they should look to a “risk-based and scientific approach”.

WHO’s Africa director Matshidiso Moeti said on Sunday: “With the Omicron variant now detected in several regions of the world, putting in place travel bans that target Africa attacks global solidarity.”

However, numerous bans have been introduced in recent days, with Rwanda and Angola being among the African states to restrict flights to and from South Africa.

Foreign ministry spokesman Clayson Monyela described their decision as “quite regrettable, very unfortunate, and I will even say sad”.

In his speech on Sunday, Mr Ramaphosa said there was no scientific basis for the travel bans and that southern Africa was the victim of unfair discrimination.

He also argued that the bans would not be effective in preventing the spread of the variant.

“The only thing the prohibition on travel will do is to further damage the economies of the affected countries and undermine their ability to respond to, and recover from, the pandemic,” he said.

He called on countries with bans in place to “urgently reverse their decisions… before any further damage is done to our economies”.

Ramaphosa said South Africa would not impose new restrictions, but would “undertake broad consultations on making vaccination mandatory for specific activities and locations”.

Current regulations in South Africa make it mandatory to wear face coverings in public, and restrict indoor gatherings to 750 people and outdoor gatherings to 2,000.

There are no vaccine shortages in South Africa itself, and Ramaphosa urged more people to get jabbed, saying that remained the best way to fight the virus.

Health experts said that Gauteng, which includes Johannesburg, had entered a fourth wave, and most hospital admissions were of unvaccinated people.

Omicron has now been detected in a number of countries around the world, including the UK, Germany, Australia and Israel.

The post South Africa’s President Calls For Lifting Of Omicron Travel Bans appeared first on NewZimbabwe.com.

Categories: Zimbawe