Transport and Infrastructure Development Minister and ZANU PF Mashonaland East Provincial Chairperson Joel Biggie Matiza has died.
Matiza succumbed to COVID-19 this Friday, aged 60.
Permanent secretary in the Ministry of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Nick Mangwana said that Matiza had been in hospital since last week.
He died this evening, hours after the demise of former Education minister and historian Aeneas Chigwedere due to the respiratory disease
Matiza becomes the third cabinet minister to succumb to the respiratory illness since July last year.
Foreign Affairs and International Trade Minister, Retired Lieutenant General Sibusiso Busi Moyo died of COVID-19 on Wednesday.
Meanwhile, Ellen Gwaradzimba, who was the minister of provincial affairs for Manicaland also succumbed to the viral disease on Friday last week and was buried at the National Heroes Acre yesterday.
Lands and agriculture minister Perrance Shiri, a former Air Force of Zimbabwe commander, was the first minister to succumb to COVID-19. Shiri died in July last year.
Matiza was one of the high ranking government officials who attended Information Minister Monica Mutsvangwa’s 60th birthday celebrations which were held in violation of COVID-19 regulations.
Critics dubbed the event a coronavirus superspreader but Mutsvangwa was quick to defend the bash then saying it was a private affair. She was quoted saying:
That was obviously a very personal dinner, a small gathering where a few friends were just there for dinner.
All controls were put in place including a walk-in booth for disinfecting. We are much concerned about reducing and containing the spread of this disease.
However, pictures from the event show there was no social distancing at the party while none of the guests wore the mandatory face masks in public gatherings.