Scores of vulnerable people in Matabeleland North province are reportedly failing to access their COVID-19 monthly cushioning allowance from the government due to current lockdown travel restrictions.
In the absence of public transport due to the lockdown, private transporters charge exorbitant fares which are beyond the reach of many.
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Moreover, inter-city and provincial travel are still restricted, and one needs a letter from the police to travel, which is not easily accessible.
Matabeleland North provincial Social Welfare officer Mcnon Chirinzepi revealed that since May, the province has received 2 894 mobile phone sim cards for vulnerable households but only 2 570 have been collected. He said:
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.
Following the indefinite lockdown which was imposed in late March, the government introduced social protection programmes, among them monthly cash transfers of $180 per household to mitigate effects of the stay-at-home order.
The funds are distributed through NetOne’s One Money platform and each beneficiary is handed a NetOne sim card loaded with $180.