Digital registry services to start by December

Bulawayo Bureau
THE digital transformation of the Civil Registry Department is set for completion by the end of December and will contribute to improved access of national documents, such as birth certificates, national ID cards and passports.

The Government in May announced a partnership with a private company towards creation of a national biometric database for citizens and production of e-passports.

While making life easier for those resident in Zimbabwe, this will make a huge difference for diaspora-based citizens to acquire national documents, including passports from where they are.

Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage Minister Kazembe Kazembe said the Government and its new partner have laid groundwork for the digitalisation of the Registry General’s Office.

Digital migration of the registry is expected to start in December.

“Meanwhile, we will continue to do what we have been doing,” said Minister Kazembe in an interview. “The migration will commence in December, but they have already started working.

“It’s (the digital transformation) going to modernise the registry because this is technology that we are talking about.”
Minister Kazembe said once the new system takes off “life is going to be made easier” for citizens seeking national documents.

“Instead of travelling to places like Harare or Lupane to get a passport, the ultimate objective is to do it online,” he said. “Everything will be digitalised.

“That is the objective and most importantly it will make sure that the documents are accessible so that it becomes very easy for everybody.”

At the moment, members of the public are struggling to obtain documentation with long winding queues being the order of the day, especially in major cities.

Recently, the Registrar General’s Office had to call off a national identity registration exercise targeting Zimbabwe Schools Examination Council Ordinary Level candidates after its offices were thronged by hundreds of ID seekers.

The country is battling to clear a passport backlog of 225 747 with some passports applied for as long ago as March 2019.

This has seen the Ministry of Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage introducing double shifts that will work five days a week to clear the backlog.

The Registry is also facing challenges in production of plastic national identity cards, due to a shortage of consumables. The coming in of the private sector is expected to address all the documentation related problems.

Speaking during a post Cabinet media briefing recently, Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister Monica Mutsvangwa said the passport backlog will become a thing of the past through the partnership.

“The partnership will increase the passport production capacity to four million units per year, resulting not only in the clearance of the current backlog, but also meeting the daily demand and enabling the country’s embassies to issue passports to Zimbabwean citizens abroad,” said Minister Mutsvangwa.

The Government has said by employing information communication technologies (ICTs), it would reduce human interaction, which will address corruption related matters that have dodged the Registry.

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