Midlands seeks $12m COVID-19 war chest

Lift lockdown in phases

Midlands province has requested $12 million from government as a war chest to fund the COVID-19 fight.

By Brenna Matendere

The amount was revealed by the provincial social welfare officer George Madzima at an inter-ministerial COVID-19 taskforce meeting held in Gweru on Wednesday.

Madzima said the money was meant for the refurbishment of identified mandatory quarantine centres in the province with most in remote rural areas such as Nyamuroro in Gokwe North district.

“We have tried to liaise with the Ministry of (Local Government and) Public Works to see what is required at these (identified) quarantine centres so that they can be habitable. There is need for general refurbishments,” he said.

“Senga Centre in Gweru needs about $4 million. Dayadaya needs $300 892, while Kaguvi Training College in Gweru requires $2 943 000. Nyamuroro Clinic (in Gokwe) requires $4 738 000 and Torwood Hospital (in Redcliff) $1 290 000,” Madzima said.

The request by the social welfare officer came at a time when there are reports of inflating of equipment needs by senior government officers and their proxies.

At its Wednesday national council meeting, the main opposition MDC Alliance party led by Nelson Chamisa raised similar concerns and resolved to push for thorough investigations so as to bring the culprits to book.

However, Madzima justified the huge amounts citing high cost of materials and equipment needed for the planned refurbishments.

He also revealed that the province had received $100 000 for bus fares of returning citizens at quarantine centres who will have completed their isolation periods and requiring money for transport to their homes.

“We do not want people who get stuck at our quarantine centres after completing isolation periods and having tested negative of the virus. So, we had to request for their bus fares and we have $100 000 which came for that (from Treasury).

Midlands now has 12 confirmed COVID-19 cases.