BY STAFF REPORTER
The Registry department is running on archaic machines that cannot do mass production of identity documents, Home Affairs deputy minister Ruth Maboyi-Mavhungu told Parliament yesterday.
She was responding to questions by MDC-T legislator Lwazi Sibanda on why there were chaotic scenes at the RG’s Offices countrywide last week, which resulted in thousands of school children being chased away without getting the documents to positively identify themselves when they sit for examinations.
Maboyi-Mavhungu said government decided to put on hold the exercise for schoolchildren to get identity documents after overwhelming numbers turned up last week, resulting in chaotic scenes.
She said while the RG’s Offices did not have enough consumables for all the people that had turned up to get national documents, the machines used for issuance of IDs were also archaic and unable to do mass production within a short period.
“The problem was that there were many people that then turned up to get IDs, and some were not putting on face masks and failed to observe social distancing. As a result, our offices could not handle all of them and decided to close,” Maboyi-Mavhungu said during a question-and-answer session.
“We also did not have enough materials for the IDs for the thousands of people that then turned up, resulting in the chaos.
“Schools are the ones that chase the children away if they do not have IDs. It will also be difficult for us to go to schools to issue IDs because we are unable to carry the machines to learning institutions. Most of the machines that we use for production of IDs are old. However, we do want our students to get their IDs before examinations begin.”
Zaka Central MP Davison Svuure (Zanu PF) then asked Maboyi-Mavhungu to explain if it was government policy to serve only 30 people per day at the RG’s Offices.
“That is not government policy, but what is happening is that COVID-19 has slowed all the processes, resulting in only 30 people getting served per day,” Maboyi-Mavhungu said.
On passports, she said the RG’s Offices would introduce night shifts in order to ease the backlog.
“If we get enough consumables, we will introduce night shifts for passport production, but as for birth certificates and IDs, we cannot do night shifts because we need people to attend physically,” she said.
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