Fairness Moyana in HWANGE
People must be able to access national documents with ease hence the decentralisation of services so that there are as close as possible, Deputy Minister of Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage Cde Ruth Mavhungu Mabhoyi said yesterday when commissioning the Hwange Passport Office and E-Passport Bio-enrolment centre.
The high demand for travel documents had prompted Government to decentralise issuing of such documents as it moves to improve service delivery.
“I am aware of the high demand for travel documents by our citizens. As a ministry, we have therefore taken a deliberate stance to improve service delivery through decentralisation of our services. This is in tandem with the New Dispensation’s policy on devolution and the National Development Strategy 1 whose key priorities, among others, is to bring services closer to the people and to facilitate ease of doing business.
“It is worth noting that decentralisation of services is one of the programmes that has had the deepest and most far-reaching impact on the lives of our people. It empowers local communities, ensures accessibility of services and reduces the distance citizens travel to access services,” said Cde Mabhoyi.
Her ministry selected Hwange as the location for the district registry office due to its strategic position.
“Hwange district is primarily a mining town and tourism district which is contiguous to our borders with Botswana and Zambia. This makes Hwange registry office strategically located to cater for applicants in areas such as Victoria Falls, Binga and surrounding rural and mining communities. For this reason, my ministry decided to make Hwange the second district to offer e-passport services.”
Cde Mabhoyi reiterated the importance of accessing vital civil registration documents such as birth certificates, national identity cards and marriage certificates which she said were required in the passport application process as well as participation in national development activities.
“These documents are critical during the passport application process. Civil registration documents are crucial in the life cycle of an individual and provide citizens with the right to participate in the economic, social and political developments of our nation as we strive towards the attainment of our national vision of an empowered upper middle income society by 2030.
“In an effort to ensure that civil registration documents are accessible to all, my ministry through the Civil Registry Department is undertaking a national mobile registration exercise to issue national identity documents, birth, deaths and livestock brands certificates.”
The Hwange office is the second district registry after Chitungwiza to cater for e-passport services and plans are underway to open Murewa, Beitbridge and Zvishavane district registry offices this year.
The Hwange e-passport bio-enrolment centre was built through a build-own-operate-transfer partnership with Garsu Pausaulis, an Australian company.
Minister of State for Provincial Affairs and Devolution for Matabeleland North Cde Richard Moyo said the development was a welcome relief for the people of Hwange who used to travel long distances to the provincial capital in Lupane or Bulawayo to obtain travel documents.
“This development is most welcome and we believe that the opening of the e-passport office will address the travel documents concerns. The people of Hwange and surrounding areas used to travel to Lupane or Bulawayo for passport applications but it is now a thing of the past as e-passports can now be issued here in Hwange,” said Cde Moyo.
Traditional leaders expressed gratitude for the development saying that their calls for decentralisation of the passport offices has been finally heard after years of pushing for this development.
“Our people were struggling to access passports. Some would travel as far as Bulawayo or Lupane which costs a lot of money. We have been appealing to authorities to address the issue and we are happy we now have this office.
We would like to express our gratitude to President ED Mnangagwa who is a listening leader. As result of this development cases of border jumping will definitely decline,” said Chief Nekatambe.
Deputy Minister Mabhoyi was accompanied by the Registrar General Mr Henry Machiri and other top Government officials.