The Sunday Mail
THE Civil Registry Department (CRD) will this year launch an online platform for passport and national identity card applications to improve access to the vital civic documents.
The authorities are currently finalising the upgrade of the Zimbabwe Population Registry System (ZPRS), the official platform that stores and manages demographic data of all Zimbabwean citizens, which is managed by the CRD.
The ZPRS database contains information on each individual’s name, date of birth, sex, nationality, marital status, place of birth and place of residence.
It also contains information on each individual’s national identity number.
The database is being linked to several Government departments, including hospitals, where it will be used to facilitate instant registration of births and deaths.
Government has already secured the high-tech equipment, including servers, to be used for the digital migration before the online application platform for civic documents goes live by year-end.
In an interview with The Sunday Mail, Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage Minister Kazembe Kazembe said: “The department has already started deploying the enhanced Zimbabwe Population Registry System, also known as ZPRS, which will ultimately lead to the provision of online services.
“This is the second phase of the same project that has resulted in the efficiency of e-passport production.
“This is work in progress, contrary to fake social media reports that the department is now issuing passports using online services.
“We are still busy deploying this system.”
Minister Kazembe said the new system was cost-effective and efficient.
“The servers are already in the country, and this is work in progress.
“Once this is done, it then means the services the department offers will be online — (applications for) birth certificates, passports and IDs.
“Not only that, when the system is up and running, it will be linked to other stakeholders,” he added.
“It will seamlessly integrate with the Ministry of Health and Child Care, as well as with hospitals and other health facilities.
“So, every time a child is born, the civil registration office will be instantly informed.
“Once the notification is done, a record is immediately created for the child, and an ID and birth record number are assigned to them.”
He said the same system will also be deployed to rural areas to ensure no one and no place is left behind.
“At the village level, the department and other stakeholders are already piloting a project to ensure traditional chiefs are able to assist in birth notifications and the initial registration processes.
“Chiefs will now be able to register children born at home before onward submission of the forms to the district offices.
“While they will start with hard copies, the programme is designed in such a way that they should be using gadgets like iPads onto which they will enter the birth records.”
Presently, Zimbabweans apply for civic documents at Government offices.
The first phase of the digital migration saw the successful introduction of e-passports in 2021.
So far, more than 100 000 e-passports have been issued.
The Civil Registry Department has since set up 20 e-passport offices countrywide.
E-passport applications are now being processed at the Harare Passport Registry and at provincial and district registry offices in Bulawayo, Gwanda, Gweru, Lupane, Marondera, Beitbridge, Chitungwiza, Hwange, Mazowe, Murewa and Zvishavane.
* X: @emmanuel_kafe