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Civil servants blast govt for chaotic biometric exercise

by Stanley Chirimbani and Anesu Kurebwaseka
02 Oct 2019 at 10:42hrs | Views
MUTARE - Civil servants in Manicaland province have lambasted government for conducting its biometric exercise in a chaotic manner that saw them parting with some unbudgeted funds on travelling and national plastic ID registration expenses.

Government gave civil servants up to Monday next week to register on the biometric registration exercise or risk being struck of the payroll, as it presses  ahead with reforms to restore order in the civil service by flushing out ghost workers.

The registration is being implemented with the assistance of the World Bank and is part of the efforts to weed out ghost workers and modernize management of civil service.

But civil servants, mainly teachers interviewed by this publication said the time frame was short and they were being forced to register for new plastic national identity cards at Registrar General's office because the metal cards were not being accepted during registration.

Most civil servants have metal national identity cards.
They said they have no choice but to comply with the government's rushed decision as they risk losing their jobs.
Of concern by civil servants was the recent hike of registering for a new plastic ID card by RG's office from ZW$10 to ZW$50.
"Our government is not sincere. We have not budgeted for this registration exercise. I am earning a meager salary and government wants me to fork out money for a new plastic ID. Government should foot the bill," said one teacher who declined to be named.
When this paper visited the RG's office, there was a long winding queues of civil servants who were applying for applying for new plastic national registration cards to beat the September 30 deadline.

Tonderai Saungweme from Sachiwo Primary school in Nyanga North said the $50 application for a plastic identity card was beyond their reach considering their meager salaries.

"I have travelled all the way from Nyanga to apply for the plastic ID after I was told the metal card was not acceptable during the biometric registration.

"I am supposed to be at work but I am here. I'm told they will only serve 120 people only out the 600 in the queue. We were supposed to have been told during holiday so that we budget money for the exercuise,"he said.

Another teacher who has worked for 15 years in the civil service said government was treating them as second class citizens by making such rushed decisions.

"We don't see the reason of making such abrupt decisions. Some government workers are about to retire so why bother them to queued the whole day for a plastic national identification cards at their own cost. We feel government should have liaised with RG's office and offer such cards at no cost," said a civil servant who said he had queued whole day without eating a single meal.

Parents also complained that the exercise was disturbing smooth flow of learning in schools as most teachers were spending their time queuing for ID cards at Registrar's office.

"There are no teachers at school and students are spending time playing. This exercise should have been implemented during holidays," said Mavis Machongwe of Sakubva.

Public Service Commission chairperson, Dr Vincent Hungwe told media that the bulk of civil servants had been registered in the biometric authentication project.

"The bulk of civil servants have now been registered for the biometric authentication project and we are now doing a mop up exercise which should be completed by 30th September 2019," said Hungwe.

Source - Stanley Chirimbani and Anesu Kurebwaseka

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