Zimbabwe cannot issue identify documents to pupils at their schools because it is unable to ferry its machines to the schools, Deputy Home Affairs Minister Ruth Mavhunga-Maboyi told Parliament yesterday.
Besides the machines were too old and were not enough to cover all schools.
She said unlike passports where people could work night shifts to produce them, birth certificates and ID cards could only be issued in the presence of persons applying for them,
She was responding to questions on what happened to the government’s programme to issue ID cards to pupils writing their Ordinary and Advanced-level examinations this year during the weekend of 26 and 27 June.
She said the programme was abandoned after too many people turned up causing congestion which was not acceptable because of the current surge in coronavirus cases.
HON. L. SIBANDA: I would like to direct my question to the Deputy Minister of Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage. Why was the process of issuing IDs to children on Saturday and Sunday stopped before all the children were issued with IDs? Can I get clarification on what transpired?
THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF HOME AFFAIRS AND CULTURAL HERITAGE (HON. MAVHUNGA-MABOYI): Thank you Mr Speaker Sir. Thank you Hon. Sibanda for the question you asked. It is true that the children were supposed to be issued with IDs on Saturday and Sunday but even the adults attended. So most of our offices were overwhelmed and they failed to serve everyone. They were no longer observing social distance. A lot of people came forth and they were not putting on face masks. This then led to a situation whereby only a few children managed to be issued with IDs. If we pay a closer look to the process on the whole nation, adults and children visited these places where they were supposed to be issued with IDs. However, due to the fact that the adults attended the days meant for the children it made it difficult for some children to be issued with IDs. They are allowed to go during the week to be issued with IDs and no one is supposed to be chased away. The problem is that people congest when there is such an exercise. What is also to be noted is that we had stopped issuing IDs for some time for lack of materials. Saturday and Sunday were meant for serving children but people attended in large numbers and made it impossible for us to serve only the children properly. I thank you.
HON. L. SIBANDA: I heard the Minister giving her response saying the children were being chased away. What plans do you have regarding going to schools and issuing children with IDs so that we avoid the congestion? I thank you.
HON. MAVHUNGA-MABOYI: Thank you Hon. Sibanda for the supplementary question. We are not the ones that are chasing away the children. They are being chased away at schools and schools belong to another Ministry. The suggestion that we go to schools to issue children with IDs is impossible because we cannot ferry our machinery to every school. These machines are old and they cannot cover the whole nation. If it was possible that our Ministry had portable machines, we could try. It is also our wish that everyone gets an ID and sit for their examinations. I thank you.
HON. SEWERA: Is it government policy that you only serve 30 people per day?
HON. MAVHUNGA-MABOYI: I want to thank Hon Sewera for the question. It is not government policy to serve 30 people per day. We are limited by the machinery that we have, hence we only confine our service to 30 people per day.
HON. TOFFA: My supplementary question to the Hon Deputy Minister is; we have noted that issuance of IDs and birth certificates is a challenge but it is a right to every individual born in Zimbabwe to have these documents. As it is right now, children are suffering to get these documents so that they can be able to sit for their examinations. What measures do you have in place during this COVID-19 era to assist the children to get their documents?
HON. MAVHUNGA-MABOYI: Thank you Hon. Toffa for the pertinent question. It is true that it is the children’s right to have their IDs and birth certificates issued and it is also our wish that they be furnished with these documents. As it is on the passport issues, if we get consumables and the other necessary equipment, we will also do night shifts but that cannot be done with the birth certificates and IDs because the individual has to be physically present. We are aware that children are supposed to be provided with documents as their right as every other individual. On passports, we have a provision that we are going to conduct night shifts; but for the issuance of I.Ds and birth certificates, it is not possible because it requires the individual to be physically present. As for now – after the realisation of COVID, we have said the offices should be open up to 1800 hours, but due to COVID lockdown it is no longer possible. We will try to make sure that children are given access to the documents. We are also hurt about it because it is our responsibility. We are supposed to do our duty, but we are facing limitations due to COVID.