THE application and issuance of passports at the Manicaland Provincial Registry Office in Mutare have been suspended due to lack of adequate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for the officers and clients, The Manica Post can reveal.
While burial orders and death certificates are being processed daily basis at the RG’s offices across the province, the application, processing and issuance of new passports have been suspended owing to lack of PPE, including thermometers and sanitisers.
Presenting his report during the Manicaland Provincial Inter-ministerial Covid-19 Taskforce meeting in Mutare last Friday to Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister Senator Monica Mutsvangwa, chairperson for Social Welfare in the Sub-Taskforce, Mr Masimba Machisa said there was urgent need to acquire adequate PPE for Passport Office personnel as well as clients since operations have been halted.
He called for the availing of thermometers to ensure clients have temperature checks before entering the premises.
“While business has normalised at all RG’s offices, it is sad to note that passports are not yet being issued at our Mutare offices.
“There are no adequate PPEs, especially thermometers to test clients. Business cannot resume if the matter is not addressed since people applying for passports usually come in their numbers at the offices. This exposes people to the virus,” he said.
Mr Machisa said the lack of thermometers was being experienced across all RG’s offices in the province.
Provincial Registrar, Ms Joyce Munamati, confirmed the development and said it was embarrassing that a big office like hers was forced to suspend operations because of lack of basic apparatus like thermometers, sanitisers and face masks.
Minister Mutsvangwa said because of the importance of the civil registry, the Government was committed to improving service delivery.
She called for seriousness on the part of the provincial Covid-19 taskforce.
“This is really shocking and unheard of. A whole office not functioning because of lack of thermometers and sanitisers. People are not being served because of this. It is quite disheartening and at the same time demands competence on all those assigned to carry out this important national duty.
“This is something that should have been brought to our attention a long time ago and resources would have been disbursed to the RG’s Office,” said Minister Mutsvangwa.
She also took the Provincial Medical Director, Dr Simon Nyadundu to task on why his office had not intervened and availed some PPEs to the RG’s Office so that they could not deprive people of their right to important documents like passports.
However, Dr Nyadundu professed ignorance over the matter and said he was hearing about it for the first time.
“I am only hearing this today. Had we known, PPEs would have been provided and business would have been running smoothly at the offices by now,” he said.
Manicaland Provincial Development Coordinator, Mr Edgars Seenza advised the relevant authorities to always approach his office and present such issues for onward transmission to the provincial resource mobilisation sub-taskforce.
“It is quite shocking that my office was never approached in connection with this matter. It should be known that such matters can be dealt with through the resource mobilisation sub-taskforce. If that kind of request had been made and directed to that taskforce, necessary intervention measures would have been put in place to ensure that this important office operates normally,” he said.
The Manicaland Provincial Registry Office has been recently hogging the limelight for the wrong reasons as Ms Munamati told Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage Minister, Kazembe Kazembe during the official opening of the Murambinda Civil Registry Sub-office that the state of the structures at the registry offices was embarrassing and did not reflect the importance of the institution.
She said important civil registry documents were under threat of being destroyed by termites and rodents that are slowly eating away wooden cabins that house the Manicaland Provincial Registry Office in Mutare.
“We have temporary wooden structures at the provincial office and these structures are now worn-out and dilapidated. They were constructed with the idea that we would have permanent structures within two years. Years later, we are still waiting for permanent structures to be constructed. The temporary wooden structures are now heavily infested with termites and rodents. Records are now exposed to adverse effects of these pests and rodents,” she said.
Ms Munamati said the structures were no longer safe for human habitation and endangered the lives of workers as they may collapse any time.
Minister Kazembe conceded that the state of the provincial offices was shocking.
“I didn’t expect the provincial offices to have such offices, so we will discuss this further to see how we can deal with the issue,” he said.