GOVERNMENT has insisted that Belvedere Technical Teachers’ College in Harare is a safe and comfortable space to use as a quarantine site for the Zimbabweans who returned from United Kingdom, despite the new occupants raising the red flag over the deplorable state of the centre.
BY BLESSED MHLANGA
Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare minister Paul Mavima said he was convinced that the facility was suitable for human habitation. He made the remarks after touring the facility where the returnees are forced to use communal bathrooms and toilets.
“We have looked at the facilities there, in a state of disaster, this is sufficient to cover the period that these returning residents will be there,” Mavima said.
“I have also instructed, where we may have bedding issues, the permanent secretary to provide blankets and also where necessary to provide mattresses. I am basically satisfied with the current status as it is. We need as Zimbabweans to understand that we are dealing with a state of disaster and we should accept especially the minimum conditions.”
Pictures of ragtag mattresses, sorry-looking toilets and shower cubicles which the returnees were forced to use went viral on the internet on Tuesday — with government coming under heavy criticism as being insensitive and neglecting its constitutional mandate to care for its citizens.
Mavima said the pictures were misleading as those responsible looked for the worst parts of the hostels, took pictures and splashed them across the world.
“This is the tragedy of Zimbabwe. This is the tragedy that comes with cynicism and the tragedy that comes with self-hate, you can’t go and get the worst part and publicise it internationally essentially for the purpose of denigrating the whole country. This is not proper,” Mavima said.
Before the tour, government had said it was prepared to move the returnees to other facilities where they could stay in better conditions, but decided against it following the visit.