By Vumani Mthiyane
Gwanda Rural District Councillors and other stakeholders have raised concern at the rising number of undocumented children who are struggling to acquire birth certificates.
There are a high number of children who were born in neighbouring countries like South Africa who smuggled into the country without proper documentation.
Most of the children are forced to drop out of school due to lack of proper documentation.
Gwanda rural Ward 19 Councillor Tompson Makhalima said, “This is a disturbing issue because most of the children go up to Grade 7 and fail to seat for the examinations because they do not have birth certificates. However, it has come to our attention that that (Registry Department) will be going to rural areas to assist them to acquire births certificates.
“Nonetheless, the department of registry must relax some of their policies according to situations because some of the affected people will still fail to get these important national documents hence there is need to relax some of the requirements. The procedures are time-consuming and expensive because there will be a need to go to the police station first and there will be payments required”.
However, some members of the community strongly felt that the registry department must clearly state the requirements needed for one to acquire these documents.
“The registry department is not doing enough to assist people. There is a serious lack of information out there in rural areas. I, therefore, suggest that registry must have frequent rural outreach programmes on information dissemination and at the same time open ward officers in order to cut transport costs for the already suffering and marginalised rural folks,” said one villager.
Acting Provincial Registrar, Innocent Dumani said they are trying their level best to address this challenge.
“The truth is that we are handicapped, as a department we are resource-challenged. Resources permitting, we shall be conducting outreach programmes say quarterly or twice a year. For the past years, outreach programmes were only conducted after five years during election years,” said Dumani.