Residents at Vumbachikwe Mine in Gwanda have lamented the poor service they get from government departments when they try to get various legal documents.
Speaking during an outreach meeting at Long John Hall today, the residents pleaded with Zimbabwe Lawyers of Human Rights to intervene.
One miner from Vumbachikwe said the personnel at the Gwanda Home Affairs offices is terribly slow and often gives first preference to those who pay bribes.
“Acquiring passports and birth certificates is a nightmare,” he said.
“We spend so many hours standing in queues. Sometimes they serve a maximum of eleven people before asking the rest to return the following day.
“If you want quick service you have to bribe them, we can’t afford that”.
MaNgwenya, a resident, said they were exposed to poor quality water.
“Service delivery is poor here, we consume dirty water,” she lamented.
“The mine is responsible for providing clean water but it’s not. If you leave the water in a container for several hours, dirt particles collect at the bottom”.
The miners said due to delayed pay cheques their children get chased away from schools over non-payment of fees.
“Our employer is constantly in salary arrears. We made arrangements for fees to be paid directly from the mine but the major set-back is that our salaries delay. Our children end up being chased from school,” said a miner.
Programs officer for ZLHR, Prisca Dube urged residents to seek legal advice and engage local authority where necessary.
“The constitution prohibits pupils from being chased from school,” said Dube.
“Fees payment is parents’ responsibilities hence ZLHR is there to assist when there is need. Birth certificates are a constitutional right which give a person identity.
“No one deserves a bribe to issue one. In a rare case where a mother of a child disappears with no trace, the guardian of the child can seek legal advice and the courts can make a declaration of death. The child can then attain the necessary documents”.