The business community has positively responded to government’s appeal for support towards infrastructure rehabilitation following the massive destruction caused by tropical Cyclone Idai in some parts of the country, the worst affected being Chimanimani and Chipinge.
This was evident when President Emmerson Mnangagwa engaged captains of industry at State House this Wednesday morning.
“This is why I
called you…that as industry and commerce what can we do? My job with my
colleagues in government is to tell you the challenges and perhaps you can see
where you can come in….so that the affected people do not feel neglected or
isolated…,” said President Mnangagwa.
revealed that the country has received material support from SADC and beyond SADC,
but highlighted that it is a Zimbabwean challenge which “we must rise up to”.
“As Zimbabweans we
must stand up to this challenge…..it is my belief that we should rise to the
occasion as a people and as the private sector,” he said.
gratitude to the people of Zimbabwe for their immediate response to providing assistance
to affected areas, adding that government is committed to ensure lives are
saved through provision of daily needs.
“I wish to inform you that this act of compassion continues…. Our people, our companies have come to assist government to make sure relief and other provisions reach the affected – food, communication infrastructure, roads…,” President Mnangagwa said.
noted the ministerial committee had proposed that schools infrastructure be
prioritised, but says all damaged infrastructure is critical.
“….but am sure roads are important too, for communication and trade, boreholes also critical, bridges are important to cross rivers – Chimanimani and Chipinge has so many bridges, clinics also critical…,” he said.
He urged the
spirit of Ubuntu to continue, saying the survivors need everyone’s support.
“Some have lost
everything…you can’t expect them to build on their own. Government must do it
or the private sector must chip in. The people must be relocated to suitable
areas….,” said the President.
He warned would-be
abusers of the affected people in whatever way, including diverting relief aid
meant for the survivors.
“Those who want to
abuse the vulnerable will find the hand of the state descending very hard on
them,” said President Mnangagwa.
Mnangagwa commended presidential candidates (who contested last year’s
harmonise elections) who joined hands with him and recently visited the
affected areas to appreciate the job at hand.
He said the
political parties leaders were “able to rise above petty political differences”.
Turning to disaster preparedness, the President said there is need for education and awareness programmes to minimise damage and loss of lives in future.
Mnangagwa said the transitional stabilisation programme requires the private sector
to drive development and modernising the economy, with the government creating
an enabling environment.
Some of the organisations that spoke at the meeting include the Premier Soccer League represented by its chairman Farai Jere who announced that the topflight league is adopting Chimanimani High School to rehabilitate infrastructure damaged by Cyclone Idai.
Grain Millers Association of Zimbabwe Chairman Tafadzwa Musarara said his organisation pledges to repair all schools damaged in Mutare District.
Other companies and organisations pledged various intervention measures meant to ease the burden facing Cyclone Idai survivors.