HOME Affairs and Internal Security Minister Jack Mwiimbu says the $210m Safe City Project has reached 90% completion, adding that if it were up to UPND, the contract wouldn’t have been signed.

And Mwiimbu has told members of the public to report traffic officers mounting roadblocks in undesignated areas to the police.

Meanwhile, Mines Minister Paul Kabuswe says order has been restored at the Black Mountain following the removal of chrome pickers.

Speaking in Parliament, Wednesday, Mwiimbu said the Safe City Project was 90 per cent complete.

“The Government through the Ministry of Home Affairs and Internal Security has partnered with the Government of the People’s Republic of China under ZTE Cooperation to implement the public security information system to enhance internal security. The project has made four deliverables namely construction of the national command centre, construction of thirty six communication towers, installation of radio communication systems and video surveillance system. The construction of the national command centre in Lusaka and regional command centres in Kabwe, Choma, Livingstone, Ndola, Kitwe, Solwezi, Chinsali, Kasama , Mongu, Chipata and Mansa have been completed,” Mwiimbu said.

“Further, the installation of equipment is at least 90% complete. Once all the modalities are certified ready the project will be commissioned. 116 districts have been installed with radio communication and four districts namely Lusaka, Ndola, Kitwe and Livingstone have been installed with street cameras. The construct sum is $210 million. The project will be evaluated once it is commissioned and implemented.”

Asked by Mufumbwe UPND member of parliament Elliot Kamondo why government was spending such huge sums of money on cameras when some areas did not have police facilities, Mwiimbu said if it was up to the UPND government, the project wouldn’t have been considered.

“Honourable Member, I would like to state that if at the time this contract was being considered for award and that the UPND government was the one in place, we would have not gone for such a contract considering the level of financial depression in this country and the levels of development. We would have considered other priority areas for funding and consideration. This was a missed priority by those who were in government at that time,” he said.

And Mwiimbu told members of the public to report traffic police officers mounting roadblocks in undesignated areas.

“I would like to make it very clear now on the floor of the House and for the benefit of motorists in this country that we have banned roadblocks in this country. What we have allowed are security checkpoints at designated points. If police men are staging road blocks at points which have not been designated by Zambia Police, those roadblocks are illegal and I would urge members of the public to report those particular officers who are establishing those illegal road blocks to the police. Instructions have been given to Zambia police traffic officers not to do that,” said Mwiimbu.

Meanwhile, in a ministerial statement, Wednesday, Kabuswe said order had been restored at the Black Mountain.

“Following the riot, a meeting among key stakeholders was convened on 16th March, 2022 by the Permanent Secretary Copperbelt Province to discuss the issues which led to rioting by the chrome hand pickers. It was resolved that the chrome pickers be removed from the licensed area. The mine safety department and mine management established four designated operational points away from the mining area and they are currently being used by the chrome pickers for reclaiming and sorting mined-out material. The four designated points which are Nkandabwe, Saint Anthony, Starlite and 16-feet areas. I further wish to inform this August House that government is considering establishing additional picking points,” he said.

“12 trucks have since been assigned to stockpile chrome rich material so that it can be picked from a safe height. All four points will be secured by Zambia Police which will be reinforced by the Zambia Army when need arises. I therefore wish to inform this August House that order has since been restored at the black mountain following instructions to chrome pickers to stockpile their material away from the premises.”

He said a competent, qualified, and experienced mine manager had been appointed to supervise, direct and control mining operations at the site.

“The House may wish to know that a competent, qualified, and experienced mine manager has also been appointed to supervise, direct and control mining operations at the site. This is in line with the mines and minerals development act No. 11 of 2015 and the mining regulations of 2016. It is our sincere hope that the separation between chrome pickers and mining rights holders will be maintained in the interest of safety and sanity,” stated Kabuswe.