Resume sporting activities to save jobs: Biti

MDC Alliance vice president, Tendai Biti, has called upon the government to allow for the resumption of sporting activities in the country in order to save jobs following the relaxation of Level 4 lockdown measures by President Emmerson Mnangagwa Monday.

Under the current extended lockdown which expires month end business operating hours have been increased by two more hours to operate between 8am and 5pm.

The informal sector has also been given the leeway to resume trading upon satisfying WHO Covid-19 protocols.

Speaking in Parliament this week, Biti told Sports Minister, Kirsty Coventry that he was concerned by the failure of the government to open up sport.

“Sport is business; sport is employment; it is recreational and you (Coventry) more than anyone else in this August House know that because you are our finest ever athlete,” said Biti.

“Yes I am asking Hon. Minister that in light of the Covid-19 protocols provided by the government and WHO, why are you not opening sport when the rest of Africa and the world have opened up sport? Sport is a job, it is employment and the regulations allow enterprises to function.”

Biti argued that other countries were having bubbles.

“We are watching in empty stadiums; why can we not do that in Zimbabwe for the benefit of these sportsmen who are workers protected by the labour laws of the country and are therefore treated as essential services in terms of the very same regulations that the Hon. Minister is relying on?”

In her response Coventry said sporting activities remained banned under the current lockdown measures.

“As of now we are still in level 4 which does not allow us to have gatherings,” said Coventry. 

“The majority of our sports will all bring people together and we will have people coming together with gatherings which the national law at this point does not allow. As we saw last year, as soon as the levels came down sport was then allowed to reopen and as of January when we saw a spike and the rest of the country went into national lockdown and sport stopped.” 

She added: “So as and when it is appropriate and as and when our leadership now feels that it is now safe for us to come down levels, sport will resume.  There is nothing stopping any citizen to go for a walk to be healthy, to be walking between the curfew hours and to be staying healthy in their own residence.”

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