By Rumbidzayi Zinyuke
Millions of important civil registry documents are 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, The Manica Post can reveal.
The registry does not have permanent structures and has been operating from temporary wooden structures for years.
However, years of being subjected to adverse weather and other elements have left the structures susceptible to destruction by termites and rodents.
Authorities are worried that the province might start losing important documents if nothing is done to rectify the situation soon.
Provincial Registrar, Ms Joyce Munamati, recently 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.
“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 can collapse any time.
Ms Munamati said the Department of Public Works was engaged to come up with a bill of quantities needed for permanent structures to be constructed at the provincial offices.
“They have given us the bill of quantities which we have since submitted to Makombe Building for consideration and we hope construction of permanent structures will commence soon,” she said. 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. The minister said provision of civil registry services is vital for the attainment of Vision 2030.
He also reiterated Government’s commitment in improving service delivery, adding that this is in line with the ease of doing business policy.
The Civil Registry Department is responsible for issuing vital registration and travel documents that include birth certificates, national identity documents, citizenship, passports, death certificates, burial orders and livestock brand certificates, among others.
From January to date, the Manicaland Registry has issued a total of 60 171 documents, including replacement documents for the Cyclone Idai victims. Ms Munamati said the department issued 49 091 documents in Chipinge and Chimanimani districts during a mobile registration programme rolled out last year.
“We are now waiting for official communication to register the missing persons who have not been accounted for. We will issue death certificates that will presume the missing people dead. This will give their relatives some closure,” she said. The Manica Post