“Covid-19 Testing Centres Demand Forex Payments”
30 July 2021

By Jacob Mutisi- It is12 midnight and I have all the effects of COVID-19. Zimbabwe is battling with the COVID-19 pandemic, one of my employees tested positive for the coronavirus (doc attached).

The fact that we were in contact on a regular basis,  I made a decision to get tested and went to MARS. Ignorantly, I joined the queue and when I got to the payment area,I was advised that all payments should be in USD, that did not bother me. I said to them that we can swipe using the black market and they said I can buy the USD on the black market.

I further said to them all I want is to be tested to save my life and they advised me that they wanted USD not swipe.  I then suggested that they can give you USD1 to ZWL200 since I had the symptoms of the COVID effect. Mars was not bothered at all,  they wanted only USD. I pleaded with the gentleman advising him all I wanted was to save my life and he could not be bothered.

Please can you advise me if it is:

Government policy that COVID testing should be in USD in a country where there is a shortage of USD.

Is it allowed for testing centres to turn away a potential COVID spreader without testing the individual.

It should be mandatory that no one should be turned away from testing centres if they advise and prove that they have been in contact with someone who has tested positive and can prove it.

It should be mandatory that all testing centres should take local currency in any form and should be arrested for demanding foreign currency of any form which is not a legal tender according to the laws of the land.

I am extremely disappointed of the kind of service I got and hope this will be the first and the last.

Please can Mars advise me why they could accept my payment and any of those who came before me and after me in these times of the COVID pandemic.

I have copied the governor of RBZ, the Minister of Finance, the Ministry of health and MDCPZ to immediately address this pathetic and unacceptable kind of behaviors. I pay and hope that I live to get the answer from MARS.

If you need me to elaborate or explain further please do not hesitate to contact me on 0772278161 or on [email protected].


Engineer Jacob Kudzayi Mutisi