Zimbabwe: Thousands Fail to Travel to Access COVID-19 Allowances in Mat North

Thousands of vulnerable people in Matabeleland North are reportedly failing to access their Covid-19 monthly allocation in the form of cash transfers from the government because of lockdown travel restrictions.

The government recently introduced social protection programmes, among them monthly cash transfers of $180 per household to mitigate effects of Covid-19.

The other social protection measures are grain distribution to vulnerable communities, cash transfer for cereal, public assistance cash transfer, and harmonised social cash transfers.

However, according to the Matabeleland North provincial Social Welfare Department, some vulnerable people were under lockdown in areas other than their places of registered residence and have been failing to travel and collect the aid.

Another setback is the exorbitant transport charges demanded by private transporters in the absence of public transport. Inter-city and provincial travel are still restricted, and one needs a letter from the police to travel, which is not easily accessible.

The cash transfers are distributed through NetOne's One Money platform and each beneficiary is handed a NetOne sim card loaded with $180.

Matabeleland North provincial social welfare officer Mcnon Chirinzepi said out of 2 894 mobile phone sim cards received by the vulnerable households in the province since May, 2 570 had been collected.

He said 1 401 cash transfer sim cards for a separate facility for Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) have not been collected.

"Some vulnerable beneficiaries have not collected their sim cards because they have been locked down during the Covid-19 period outside their residential communities and they are not able to travel back to collect their sim cards.

"A total of 1 401 cash transfer sim cards from Netone for the cash transfers for Small and Medium Enterprises were received on 29 May for all the seven districts and have not been collected," said Chirinzepi in a Covid-19 report on the state of quarantine centres in the province.

For the SMEs cash transfers, Binga was allocated 582, Bubi 73, Hwange 192, Lupane 119, Nkayi 145, Tsholotsho 228 and Umguza 62 beneficiaries.

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