By Philemon Jambaya
Officials from the Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare ministry are under fire following accusations that they deliberately dumped at least 100 female returnees and deportees by the roadside in Bulawayo last Thursday.
The victims, who were living and working in Botswana, had just completed their 21-day mandatory quarantine and were accommodated at the United College of Education (UCE) in Bulawayo.
They all tested negative for COVID-19.
It is alleged that the returnees’ were left stranded after officials dumped them by the roadside.
They had to brave the chilly weather and faced challenges accessing transport as Zupco buses have an early cut off time during the national lockdown period.
Zimbabweans took to social media raising their concerns at the ill- treatment of fellow citizens.
“This shows that the government does not care about ordinary citizens, we are on our own,” wrote one Clifford Mhlanga on Facebook.
Some concerned citizens demanded to know where the 2% tax on electronic transactions was being channelled to.
“This is a serious issue my question to Mthuli Ncube is where is our 2% tax, it should be used in times like these,” questioned another Facebook user Fredrick Mangonga.
Top Zanu PF youth league member Justice Matsatsira also weighed in and had no kind words to the officials in question.
“This has been done by ordinary officials and at the end of the day people will end up blaming His Excellency President Emmerson Mnangagwa, the officials must be severely punished,” fumed Matsatsira.
Initially, authorities had promised to ferry the returnees’ to their destinations in Zupco buses after completion of their mandatory quarantine period.
They however made a dramatic U-turn and decided to give them bus fare pegged at Zupco rates.
The incident occurred around 5PM when transport was no longer available .
Some of the women had babies strapped on their backs, exposing the infants to the cold weather.
Efforts to get a comment from minister Paul Mavima proved fruitless at the time of writing but inside sources said the Ministry was investigating the officers on duty and disciplinary action will be taken if found guilty. Zim Morning Post