Chaos as hundreds besiege registry offices at ZITF

Scores of Bulawayo residents who thronged the civil registry department stand at the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair (ZITF) on Friday seeking to secure national identity cards and birth certificates were turned away.

The registry office which was also exhibiting at the international trade showcase was issuing out national IDs.

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the registry offices were closed for a long time resulting in a massive backlog.

When a CITE news crew visited the civil registry stand on Friday afternoon, there was a group of people seeking to acquire national IDs.

However, they were left fuming when officials informed them that they had reached the limit of the people they can serve.

“It is frustrating that at such an event where we expected to get service we still get turned away. I lost my ID in May and to date, it’s a nightmare to acquire another one,” Mxolisi Ndlovu said in an interview.

“I went to Bulawayo Registry Offices in May and they told me to come back in July. For three months I was waiting patiently but when I went back on the given date they told me they were only issuing burial orders. Some of the employees there were actually soliciting US$50 from service seekers but how many people can afford that much money?”

Ndlovu said he had made a sacrifice and sought money to pay for the entry fee into the exhibition centre with the hope that he would get his ID.

Another woman who asked not be named said she arrived at the Trade Fair gates at 6 AM but the guards asked her to wait until 9 AM when business starts.

“I got here at 6 AM. We explained to the guards that we wanted to acquire documentation and they said we should wait for the start of the day. We waited outside until 9 AM. At that time those with access were getting in. When we were finally let in we found a long winding queue, meaning all the time we were outside other people were coming in,” she said.

“It’s not fair that we are treated this way. We were only told after lunch that their cut off number has been reached. They could have at least told us earlier. Surely after paying US$5 for entry we really do deserve better service.”

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