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Decentralisation de-congests passport offices

by Staff reporter
01 Dec 2023 at 04:52hrs | Views
THE decentralisation of services by the Civil Registry has helped ease congestion at passport offices across the country while the department has beefed up its staff complement to handle an anticipated increased volume of clients ahead of the festive season.

The Passport Office in Bulawayo during the holidays records a high number of clients resulting in some people sleeping outside the offices to bit the queues.

The high demand for passports has also led to an increase in illegal activities with touts operating outside the registry offices and offering to facilitate speeding up the process for a fee.

Yesterday, the Bulawayo provincial registrar Mrs Jane Peters took journalists on a media tour explaining the operations of the department as part of their efforts to ensure that the public appreciates their functions.

She commended Government for decentralising services to districts, saying it has helped decongest provincial passport offices.

"As Bulawayo, we are now sharing our clients with other stations, and notably in Matebeleland, we have Lupane, and Hwange in Matebeleland North, offering e-passport services. In Matebeleland South, we have Gwanda and Beitbridge," said Mrs Peters.

"Everything seems to be working well and we no longer talk of many people, we talk of clearing our queues and clearing our clients and giving services on time. So yes, decentralisation has helped."

Other Civil Registry offices offering e-passport services across the country include Harare, Chinhoyi, Gweru, Marondera, Chitungwiza, Hwange, Murehwa, Mazowe, Zvishavane and Chipinge.

Mrs Peters said during school and public holidays, they handle an increased number of clients.

"We are already preparing for the festive season during which we record high volumes of national document seekers," she said.
Mrs Peters urged members of the public to desist from approaching touts, saying they are not linked to their operations.

"These touts are always chased away so that they don't entertain our clients outside. We try and fight them so that they don't mislead members of the public," she said.

"They will tell you they know Mrs Peters, but the truth is there is no service that you are going to get from outside. There is no link between them and us."

Mrs Peters said the public must not entertain opaque arrangements as their operations are transparent.

"There are the busy days when we say we have served clients enough for the day and then the rest we give them numbers so that they come the following day," she said.

Mrs Peters said they will increase their staffing levels to deal with the anticipated increase in clients.

"We are mostly busy during school and public holidays during which our numbers go up. Now that we are heading towards the festive season with more people travelling, the demand for passports rises," she said.

"So, we will beef up our enrolment section so that once the demand is here, we also have more people that are serving them."
Mrs Peters said when it is less busy, they attend to just above 200 clients with the numbers increasing to over 800 applicants during peak periods.

She said they have managed to reduce the backlog.

"Now we don't have a backlog, we serve our clients and once they are outside the bio-enrolment side, they are told to wait for a message which comes after seven working days. You get a text that says your passport is ready for collection," said Mrs Peters.

Source - The Chronicle