SENIOR STAFF WRITER
THE government will now vaccinate public transport workers, including Zupco employees, during the on-going first phase of the national Covid-19 inoculation programme, President Emmerson Mnangagwa has said.
Mnangagwa made the remarks yesterday in Harare while commissioning 50 new Zupco buses, to bring to 212 the entire fleet.
Since 2019, Zimbabwe has been acquiring coaches, especially from Belarus and China, for Zupco to provide a cheaper, efficient and reliable public transport system.
Zupco workers, including drivers, conductors and inspectors, who interact with the public daily, had not been included in the bracket of frontline workers who started receiving the Chinese-produced SinoPharm jabs last week.
“Allow me to take this opportunity to thank the management of Zupco and staff for their continued service to the commuting public in the face of the distressing Covid-19 pandemic.
“Government has now designated Zupco employees as frontline workers and included them in our voluntary, free and state-funded Covid-19 national vaccination programme,” Mnangagwa said.
“As we increase movement around the country following the relaxation of the national lockdown, I call upon all our people to remain vigilant in the fight against Covid-19. Let us continue wearing masks, sanitising, washing our hands and practising social distancing.”
Mnangagwa said his administration would continue to guarantee improved public transport services through the recapitalisation of Zupco.
“I encourage the management committee of Zupco, staff and users to continue taking good care of our national fleet. You are assured of the full support of my government as you procure more buses and retool this strategic national company,” he said.
“The importance of the transport sector and in particular road transport services as an enabler for economic recovery and growth cannot be overemphasised.
‘‘In addition, buses are critical in the reduction of air pollution as they emit less carbon monoxide, hydrocarbons and nitrogen oxides, compared with smaller vehicles.
“Hence, our improved public transport system will undoubtedly advance the promotion of the low emissions development pathways, as outlined in the National Development Strategy 1, under the climate action strategy.”