On 29 July 2021, the government of Zimbabwe made far reaching policy pronouncements to promote and protect the rights of the San indigenous/ethnic and linguistic minority group. Indigenous persons aswell as ethnic and linguistic minorities face a myriad of challenges in Zimbabwe. Minorities in Zimbabwe struggle to access national identity documents, social services and humanitarian food assistance.
The government in its policy pronouncement noted that the San community struggles to access national identity documents. Further, teenage pregnancies are high among the community. There are very low school completion rates at primary and secondary school by learners from the minority group. The San community also suffers from food insecurity due to human wildlife conflict and failure to practise modern agricultural methods.
In order to address the situation of the San and other minorities, the Zimbabwe government directed as follows:
(1) Every government ministry was instructed to identify and take up a developmental role in areas inhabited by the San/Tjwao communities; (2) Two or three primary and an equal number of secondary schools be set up as boarding institutions in areas easily accessible to San/Tjwao communities, in order to enhance school completion rates; (3) the Ministry of Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage to instruct the Registrar General’s Office to issue national identity documents to the San/Tjwao and similar communities in Zimbabwe who have hitherto been unable to obtain such documentation; (4) Security ministries to waiver the entry requirements to enable San/Tjwao citizens to enlist into the respective uniformed services; (5) The Ministry of Local Government and Public Works to expeditiously appoint headmen and chiefs to enhance participation of San/Tjwao in governance; (6) The Ministry of Finance and Economic Development to ensure the timeous release of funds requested by Ministries for the implementation of development programmes and projects in San/Tjwao communities; (7) Government also directed that proceeds received from tourism activities in areas inhabited by the San community under the CAMPFIRE Programme be ploughed back to benefit communities living in areas where there is abundant wildlife; (8) The Food Deficit Mitigation Programme should be retargeted for the benefit of the marginalised San/Tjwao communities. ***Additional reporting by the NewsHawks