Use flexible discretion when issuing identity docs to elderly: Matshiya

Melusi Matshiya

THE Registrar General’s Office should be flexible when elderly people apply for birth certificates whose issuance should be premised on the confidence of the applicant, Home Affairs permanent secretary Melusi Matshiya said on Friday.

By Rex Mphisa

Senior citizens may often find it difficult to meet requirements that include witnesses that were 10 years older than them and in such cases, officials should use discretion to issue documents.

“Issuance should be premised on the confidence exhibited by the applicant.

Not all applicants can meet the statutory requirements, but officials should be flexible using the information supplied by the applicant,” Matshiya, who was in Beitbridge for commemorations of World Day Against Trafficking in Persons held on Saturday, said.

He was responding to journalists in Beitbridge on why registration officials insisted on requirements an applicant might not be able to meet.

Thousands of Zimbabweans are turned away from the RG’s Office and in the end, live without documentation.

According to the 2012 census, nationally, 3 834 713 people of all ages had no birth certificates in Zimbabwe, constituting 29,4% of the total population, with a bias in favour of men.

Rural areas had a relatively high proportion, 37,4% of its population with no birth certificates, with a bias against women, compared to urban areas with 12,8%, with gender parity.