Home Affairs Deputy Minister Obedingwa Mguni has castigated the use of cellphones by officers in the Registrar-General’s offices during working hours, saying this was resulting in little attention being paid to people seeking passports, birth certificates and other important documents.
Speaking during the Home Affairs Ministry’s awareness campaign in Ward 18 at Nkunzi Area in Tsholotsho South registry sub-office last Friday, Mguni said he once asked officials to put away their cellphones for a day at the RG’s office in Karoi in Mashonaland West Province, and noted a big difference in terms of service delivery.
“A big difference was noted considering that on the previous day, about 168 people had been served, and on that day the number had doubled to more than 366 people. “I am saying to you, be people-driven, and put them ahead of everything else.
“We should consider that most of our clients here would have travelled more than 60km and in all aspects deserve to be served. Let’s put our cellphones away and see how we will work in terms of client service purposes,” said the deputy minister.
He said civil servants need to change their attitudes and must be competent, helpful and people-driven. The deputy minister also told villagers that his ministry’s awareness campaign was meant to conscientise people on the importance of having identity documents.
“It is impossible to access jobs and social services for the elderly, hence, creating a generational problem. In this area, I understand we have the San people who never used to acquire identity documents due to traditional beliefs yet today when their children try to acquire identity documents and be at par with the current trends, they face difficulties from our registry offices. This is what I intend to rectify today,” he said.
Mguni said a number of children drop out of school at Grade Seven after failing to acquire birth certificates, while some pupils fail to participate in extra-curriculum activities and sports, creating a cycle of poverty.
The deputy minister said they intend to come up with a law to ensure that any expenses arising out of mistakes made by an officer from the RG’s Office are not shouldered by people making an application.
“Mistakes and errors should not be paid for by clients as it is not their fault but the ministry’s fault. We can’t be charging citizens $25 for an error made by our printers or our officers. That is not a citizen’s fault, and by making them pay, it means we will be denying a citizen’s right to acquire correct identity documents,” he said.