As the mud clears after clarifications and final statements have been issued by ZRP and the various Ministry’s, Big Sky attempts to make sense of Zimbabwe Lockdown 2021. We originally published on the issue in April 2020 (https://bigsky.co.zw/update-covid19-national-lockdown-legislation/ ) and given the numerous amendments to the Public Health statutory instruments since, we offer our views on Zimbabwe Lockdown 2021.
TRAVEL BY ESSENTIAL SERVICES WORKERS
As before, workers in the Essential Services sector are to carry copies of the Lockdown Exemption Letter issued to their company/organisation, and a letter on the company/organisation’s letterhead:
Lockdown Exemption Letter:
According to the “Final Revised Ministry Statement, 4 January 2021”: “Companies in the manufacturing, distribution, wholesale, retail, commerce, tourism and hospitality industry are advised to make use of the Lockdown Exemption letters previously issued by Ministries of Industry and Commerce and Environment, Tourism and Hospitality Industry for the next seven (7) working days, during which companies should renew their exemption letters.”
And: “Regarding the Tourism and Hospitality industry, Agriculture and Mining the companies in these sectors should get their Exemption letters from their respective parent Ministries.”
The press statement issued by ZRP on 4 January 2021, states: “Movement and exemption letters will now be issued by the Ministry of Industry and Commerce”
This implies that “Do It Yourself” letters/affidavits stamped by ZRP will not be accepted at the checkpoints, and only a Ministry issued letter will be accepted. Given the massive pressure and (unhealthy) congestion at the Ministry of Industry and Commerce offices, we expect other entities to approach their respective ministries, including Tourism, Agriculture, etc. (Also see Notes, below).
According to the “Final Revised Ministry Statement, 4 January 2021”, the employers’ letter should include:
- Employee name and ID number
- The points of commute
- Company line of business/products and state how that is covered by the Statutory Instruments
- Working hours, and shifts where necessary
- The letter should be signed by the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) or Managing Director (MD)
The Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries (CZI) in another of their very useful updates, published a suggested template for the employer’s letter. (For a copy of this CZI update, email email@example.com).
INTER-CITY TRAVEL DURING ZIMBABWE LOCKDOWN 2021
Inter-city travel during Zimbabwe Lockdown 2021 is still restricted. ZUPCO remains the sole authorised public transporter. Members of the public can still only travel on essential service and must carry documentation or similar proving the purpose of the trip. Where practical, we recommend not more than one person in a vehicle, to avoid the appearance of ‘holidaying’. If more than one passenger is travelling, all must be carrying ‘letters’.
Checkpoints typically accept up to 4 passengers in a vehicle with both front and rear seats, and 2 passengers in a pick-up/truck with front seats only. Every occupant of the vehicle must wear a mask.
HOLIDAY AND RECREATIONAL TRAVEL
The Health Minister’s public announcement on 2 January, 2021, said, “Tourist facilities and national parks will operate as before subject to the usual health precautions”. Given the Health Minister’s ruling it is a given that tourists must travel to their holiday destination, and the great majority will travel by road.
However, the continued operation of the “tourist facilities and national parks” is not explicitly provided for in SI 10/2021. We therefore advise domestic tourists travelling by road to carry copies of your accommodation bookings AND a copy of the Health Minister’s “Lockdown Statement, 2 January, 2021”. (For a copy, email firstname.lastname@example.org).
AIRPORT DROP-OFF’S AND COLLECTIONS
Travelling to the airport, carry a hardcopy of the passenger’s air ticket. On the return journey, present the passenger’s passport and boarding pass. This also provides for airport trips during curfew hours. As the source you can quote Public Relations – Civil Aviation Authority.
TRAVEL BY DOMESTIC STAFF
Once again there is no reference in any Statutory Instrument, ZRP or ministerial statement to travel by domestic staff or any persons employed by a “non-commercial entity”. As previous, we recommend employers prepare a letter based on the formal employer’s letter (see above), supported by an affidavit stating the purpose of the travel and stamped at your local police station.
There is no reference in SI 10/2020 making it a requirement for motorists to carry letters stamped by ZRP. Based on inter-city travel during the 2020 lockdown periods, provided the motorists’ documents were in order, ZRP stamped letters were neither requested nor expected. However, given the pressure on the various ministries, we understand employers and travellers are approaching police stations with a letter and supporting affidavit, and being assisted.
Under no circumstances should you pay for either Exemption Letters or police stamps.
These notes are provided for guidance only and should be read with the Public Health Order (COVID-19) and subsequent amendments. We welcome any feedback, kindly email email@example.com.
ZRP CONTACT NUMBERS
To report cases of harassment and attempts to solicit bribes at lockdown checkpoints or at police station level, contact:
ZRP Police General Head Quarters – Internal Investigations. 2005 Fife Avenue, corner Enterprise Road, Harare: (0242) 702083 / 707702 (Office hours only. After office hours call PGHQ, number below).
ZRP Police General Head Quarters, Harare: (0242) 703631 (24-hour)
– PGHQ, Harare Anti-Corruption members will take calls from all over the country, referring you to the most appropriate personnel in your area, where necessary. Senior members of the Zimbabwe National Army are coordinating anti-corruption efforts with their counterparts in PGHQ.
ZRP Provincial Operations, Matabeleland: (0292) 885479 (24-hour)
ZRP Provincial Public Relations: (0292) 260358 (Office hours) – Contact for assistance with incidents throughout Matabeleland
Sean Q. and the BIG SKY TEAM
Howard Dean, publisher of BIZ Bulletin and Labour Relations Information Service. Subscription inquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org
The Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries (CZI). (024) 2251496
Published 06 January 2021