State Media|THE Registrar-General’s office will start issuing Identity Cards and birth certificates at large church gatherings as it moves to decentralise the process to ensure people have access to key documents.
Registrar-General Mr Clemence Masango said recently that church organisations should request his office to attend their gatherings and issue the documents. Most church organisations hold large gatherings during the Easter Holidays and this year the holiday is between 10 and 13 April.
“For the first time we have started decentralising this mobile registration to provinces and districts who are now required to carry out at least one outreach in every two months at district level. We also respond to special events, if churches are meeting in large groups usually, they can organise and call us to bring our services to where they will be.
“We do this especially with the Apostolic and Zion churches, we are always available if invited for these big gatherings and we help the people access documents. We also respond to natural disaster events where people lost those documents and we replace them,” he said.
Mr Masango said bringing such services closer to the people was a way of ensuring that people who live far away from the issuing offices can still access the key documents. He said access to birth certificates was an issue of great importance to the department as it is the primary document necessary for citizens to access a variety of services in the country.
He said one needed to have a birth certificate in order to access education, a national identity document, a passport, employment and many more national activities.
Mr Masango further said the department was also represented from every district and beyond and has sub-offices to make sure that its services are available to everyone.
“But despite this there are areas that are still far away from our offices and that is why we embark on mobile registrations. Again, as part of our outreaches we are doing targeted outreach exercises in Tsholotsho in consultation with local leadership and communities. We also have Plumtree and Gwanda, the provincial offices are working with the local leadership to do those outreaches,” added Mr Masango.
Turning to the issue of passports, he acknowledged that there was rampant corruption at some passport offices, which his office was working hard to stop.
The Minister of Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage, Cde Kazembe Kazembe, also said they were investigating the issue of corruption raised over the issuance of passports.
“The issue of corruption at the passport offices we have heard about. I am sure you have seen teams including the Registrar- General going around the country to see for ourselves what is really happening on the ground and we have already taken some measures and one of them that we feel can work to deal with the issue is to ensure that the passports are there in the first place.
To deal with corruption we need to work together, we need collective responsibility as citizens of this country to ensure that we deal with this disease,” he said.
Minister Kazembe urged people to come forward with evidence of corruption within the department so that culprits are brought to book. Last week the Government announced new prices for ordinary and emergency passports. It also announced that Fidelity Printers will provide the material to the RG’s office in order to clear a backlog of almost 400 000 passports. An ordinary passport now costs $150 from $53, while the emergency passport fee was increased from $253 to $600.