Sukulwenkosi Dube-Matutu, Gwanda Correspondent
THE Matabeleland South provincial taskforce on Covid-19 has engaged chiefs to ensure that people comply with Covid-19 regulations in rural areas following widespread con-compliance with measures put in place by Government.
Concerns raised in rural areas include failure to wear face masks and observe social distancing, with some shops operating beyond the stipulated time frame.
Speaking recently during a provincial taskforce meeting on Covid- 19, Ministry of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Matabeleland South Provincial Information Officer, Mr Austin Nyathi said they had disseminated information on Covid-19 in rural areas but people were still not complying.
He said chiefs have been engaged to help enforce the lockdown in rural areas.
“As a committee responsible for information dissemination we have distributed books written in different languages across the province to ensure that people are aware of Covid-19, its effects and how it can be prevented but still there is laxity,” he said.
“We have then decided to engage traditional leaders so that they can enforce Covid-19 regulations in their areas. Covid-19 regulations are a stipulated law and anyone found violating these regulations would have committed an offence. We have tasked traditional leaders to be on the look-out for those who violate these regulations and enforce them when people are not complying. Traditional leaders live within the community and have authority which they can use to enforce these regulations. They can ensure people wear masks and observe social distancing.”
Ministry of Industry and Commerce Matabeleland South provincial deputy director, Mr Richmond Ncube said it remains a cause for concern that people in rural areas do not realise the gravity of the pandemic.
Matabeleland South acting Provincial Development Coordinator, Ms Sithandiwe Ncube said traditional leaders could also help to curb cases of border jumping which were rampant in the province. She said traditional leaders should engage people and encourage them to report cases of returnees living in rural areas after entering the country illegally.
“There are a lot of illegal activities going on in the rural areas that could pose a threat to the country during this time of the pandemic such as border jumping. These activities take place in the full view of villagers and some of these culprits conduct these activities with the assistance of community members. Traditional leaders can use their authority and influence to address people and ensure they report these unscrupulous activities,” she said.