Residents call for door-to-door mealie-meal delivery

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Bulawayo residents have called on council to do door-to-door mealie-meal deliveries to ensure adherance with the lockdown regulations to combat the spread of coronavirus in the city.

BY PRAISEMORE SITHOLE /NIZBERT MOYO

Zimbabwe has 18 confirmed coronavirus cases and three deaths. Bulawayo has recorded five cases and one death.

Bulawayo United Residents Association (Bura) secretary for research and development Shephard Maphosa said it was crucial for mealie-meal to be distributed door-to-door so that residents adhere to social distancing.

“One of the key issues at the discussion has been social distancing. The general public feeling is that, while it is a noble preventative measure, there are some notable constraints to it. Observation around the city is that people are in defiance as seen in mealie-meal queues, supermarket queues and even at some Zupco pick-up points,” Maphosa said.

“One resident suggested that if the city council can pick up waste from residential areas door-to-door, perhaps this same model could be adopted in the distribution of mealie-meal. The recent death of a 79-year-old man has also set tongues wagging in the city with questions as to how many undetected cases could be spreading the deadly virus around.”

Maphosa said residents wanted more tests to be conducted and positive cases isolated. Bulawayo Progressive Residents Association (BPRA) chairperson Ambrose Sibindi said the recent death of Ian Hyslop was an eye-opener for residents.

“The recorded case of one death was an eye-opener that residents of Bulawayo need to be extra cautious in adhering to laid-down procedures,” he said, adding that essential service providers should have personal protective equipment.

Yesterday the Grain Millers Association of Zimbabwe in conjunction with the police started distributing mealie-meal to Bulawayo high-density suburbs and vowed to ensure residents maintained social distancing while queuing for the staple. Meanwhile, residents in ward 2 Cabatsha, Bulawayo told Southern Eye on Friday last week that they could not access basic commodities including mealie-meal as their only local shop had shut its doors.

Cabatsha Residents Association chairperson Nhlabathi Khumalo said residents faced challenges passing through police roadblocks as they did not have clearance letters to get into the city to buy basic commodities.

“Our local shop was closed following the country’s lockdown and there is no other business facility that we can turn to. Our movements are restricted. When we try to get into town we are forced off vehicles at the roadblock,’’ Khumalo said.

Bulawayo metropolitan proportional representation legislator Jasmine Toffa said she was working with the police to map the way forward.

“I received a call from residents asking me to come to their rescue. I have engaged the shopkeeper and I am now working with the police from Sourcetown to find a solution to the matter. I went there and the residents organised themselves and gave me their money to purchase mealie-meal and I bought 85x10kg bags,’’ Toffa said.

Bulawayo Metropolitan Affairs minister Judith Ncube said she would follow up on the matter.