Govt to ad­dress pass­port is­sue: Min­is­ter

The Herald (Zimbabwe) - - National News - Free­man Razemba Se­nior Re­porter

GOV­ERN­MENT is mak­ing con­certed ef­forts to pro­duce and avail vi­tal civil regis­tra­tion doc­u­ments and pass­ports to ap­pli­cants when they need them, Home Af­fairs and Cul­tural Her­itage Min­is­ter Am­bas­sador Cain Math­ema has said

In this re­gard, he said, pass­ports will soon be pro­cessed within four weeks.

“It is my de­sire to en­sure that the pass­ports and other vi­tal regis­tra­tion doc­u­ments are pro­duced and made avail­able as soon as pos­si­ble and as and when our peo­ple re­quire them,” he said.

“In the very near fu­ture, pass­port avail­abil­ity will be done within four weeks.”

Am­bas­sador Math­ema was speak­ing while ad­dress­ing a Press con­fer­ence dur­ing a fa­mil­iari­sa­tion tour of the Reg­is­trar-Gen­eral’s Cen­tral Registry in Harare.

He said the pro­duc­tion back­log of pass­ports go­ing as far back as April was un­ac­cept­able.

“This is un­ac­cept­able as it causes in­con­ve­niences to the pub­lic,” said Am­bas­sador Math­ema.

“I have dis­cussed this with the Reg­is­trar-Gen­eral (Mr Cle­mence Masango), who has as­sured me that there is now a work plan in place to clear the back­log within the short­est pos­si­ble time and bring pass­port pro­duc­tion to within nor­mal time­lines.”

Am­bas­sador Math­ema said Gov­ern­ment had in­vested im­mensely in the tech­no­log­i­cal de­vel­op­ment at the Cen­tral Registry, which was ac­knowl­edged in the re­gion and be­yond.

He said he was aware of the high ex­pec­ta­tions from mem­bers of the pub­lic and other stake­hold­ers for qual­ity and timely pro­vi­sion of ser­vice de­liv­ery, par­tic­u­larly in the ar­eas of is­suance of travel doc­u­ments among oth­ers.

Am­bas­sador Math­ema said he was aware of the chal­lenges be­ing ex­pe­ri­enced by the de­part­ment and was com­mit­ted to en­sur­ing that they were ad­dressed.

He said plans were un­der­way to launch the e-pass­port, which had been de­vel­oped over time af­ter thor­ough re­search and con­sul­ta­tion in line with the In­ter­na­tional Civil Avi­a­tion Or­gan­i­sa­tion stan­dards and guide­lines on travel doc­u­ments.

Am­bas­sador Math­ema said ef­forts were un­der­way to de­cen­tralise and bring ser­vices closer to the peo­ple.

“Sub­ject to avail­abil­ity of re­sources, my min­istry in­tends to com­plete con­struc­tion of district registry of­fices in a bid to im­prove ser­vice de­liv­ery,” he said.

“These in­clude Mure­hwa, Goromonzi, Hwedza, Kadoma, In­siza and Binga.

“Con­struc­tion of Nkayi and Nyanga district registry of­fices has been com­pleted and these will soon be of­fi­cially opened to the pub­lic.”

Am­bas­sador Math­ema said he was briefed on the de­part­ment’s in­ten­tion to in­tro­duce and im­ple­ment the Elec­tronic Queue Man­age­ment Sys­tem in all prov­inces as soon as pos­si­ble to en­sure that peo­ple were served in an or­derly and con­ve­nient man­ner.

“This will go a long way in flash­ing out touts who are a me­nace at our regis­tra­tion of­fices,” he said.

“Touts fleece mem­bers of the pub­lic of their hard-earned money, promis­ing that they can se­cure po­si­tions for them in the queue or con­nect them with of­fi­cials to speed up the pro­cess­ing of their ap­pli­ca­tions. We want to see a sit­u­a­tion where mem­bers of the pub­lic who visit our of­fices can walk peace­fully with­out be­ing mo­lested by touts where they can be served in a dig­ni­fied man­ner. The pub­lic does not de­serve to be ha­rassed by touts and I un­der­stand their frus­tra­tion.”

Am­bas­sador Math­ema ap­pealed to the pub­lic to be pa­tient with man­age­ment as they were study­ing the sit­u­a­tion in or­der to come up with the best strate­gies to im­prove ser­vice de­liv­ery.

He called for sup­port in the fight against cor­rup­tion in all its forms and man­i­fes­ta­tions.

“Cor­rup­tion by any­one and any­where will not be tol­er­ated,” he said.

“My min­istry does not con­done any cor­rupt prac­tices and due process of the law will be al­lowed to take its course against those who of­fer, so­licit for or re­ceive bribes or favours of what­ever kind.”

Am­bas­sador Math­ema, who was ac­com­pa­nied by the per­ma­nent sec­re­tary in his min­istry, Mr Melusi Mat­shiya, Mr Masango and other se­nior of­fi­cials, vis­ited the Cen­tral Registry, par­tic­u­larly Pass­port Pro­duc­tion Cen­tre, the Pass­port Book­let Fac­tory and the ICT sec­tion.

The ob­jec­tive of the tour was to meet man­age­ment and mem­bers of staff to have an ap­pre­ci­a­tion of the sys­tems, struc­tures and pro­cesses in use.

Am­bas­sador Math­ema

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