WE wish to respond for the benefit of the public to an article titled “Call to relax birth registration process” by your Senior Reporter Zvamaida Murwira in The Herald of Saturday, 25 February 2017.
The Department appreciated the respectfully and unreservedly view and comments expressed by your media on 25 February 2017. Such valuable feedback is healthy to improve service delivery. However, we wish to respond to the issues highlighted therein for the purpose of clarity.
Birth Registration Requirements:
The requirements for birth registration are contained in the Births and Deaths Registration Act (Chapter 5:02)which law has been severally amended. In terms of Section 10 of the said Act it is mandatory for every child to be immediately registered irrespective of the parents’ country of origin.
It should further be noted that the registration of a child is the responsibility of the parents. In addition the Act covers all scenarios of birth registration that may be required or take place.
In the absence of the parents the said Act provides that near relatives of the child can register such a child. In the case of a child born at home witnesses in the form of the traditional midwives, any adult person present at the occurrence of the event and or the village head/headman may give evidence to support the registration of such a child/children.
We have in fact already begun reorienting traditional midwives,
We have developed a book titled Birth Record which guides and informs midwives on recording information about the birth of a child born under their care. It has been appreciated by our regional neighbours.
These requirements are necessary to link the child to its biological parents, protect the child in many cases which are crime related including child trafficking.
The birth certificate confirms and confers the citizenship of Zimbabwe by birth. Therefore, it is very important to understand the criticality and sensitivity of the birth registration process. The purpose of this registration is to provide the child with the correct status document and not to open up the system to foreigners, who were not born in Zimbabwe or are not entitled to a Zimbabwe birth certificate because of the fact that they were not born in the country.
These persons are a responsibility of foreign embassies the world over, depending on where their parents were born. These may be registered through their respective Embassies of where their parents originated.
Zimbabwe like any other country is not spared from the influx of illegal migrants, who may masquerade as having been born in Zimbabwe to avoid immigration control. Refugees fall into this category as they sometimes flee from their designated refugee camps into some mining and farming areas.
These birth registration processes are carried out in observation of the African Union and the United Nations protocols and resolutions. It is therefore, necessary to be meticulous and thorough when registering children.
The Department is operating a Retention Fund which is strictly audited by Government. The fund is being used for operations among other things. The Department has computerised all the 10 Provinces, 61 districts and some sub offices.
The computerisation programme is still on going. The Department conducts annual national mobile registrations, funds permitting.
We also wish to explain the other issues raised in the other print and electronic media regarding the processes in the Department. The Department is open to the public from 0745am to 1500 hours.
Thereafter the members of staff continue working until 1645 hours. The offices are closed during the weekends and public holidays save for the issuance of burial orders.
Resources in the Department are distributed throughout all the 10 provinces and the districts nationally. Transport vehicles are distributed to all districts and provinces without particularisation of any one district or another.
We wish to assure members of the public of continuous improved service delivery. Please if there are any issues that the public may wish to know or are not sure of, we advise that they contact the office of the Registrar-General.