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BULAWAYO residents have expressed concern over failure by the Registrar-General to issue death certificates after the offices in the city were closed due to COVID-19 infections.

Indications are that the Bulawayo registry offices have been closed after the department reported multiple cases of the deadly virus.

A resident, who lost two family members in Bulawayo to COVID-19, yesterday said he went to apply for a death certificate only to find the offices closed.

“The offices were closed. It appears that there is a growing backlog in the acquisition of documents,” the resident, who preferred not to be named, said.

“Government must do something about this issue. I wonder if the Bulawayo Registry offices will be able to cope with the high demand of death certificates once they open, considering that the COVID-19 pandemic has killed a lot of people, meaning that there is a high demand for death certificates.”

Several other applicants told Southern Eye that there were delays in the issuance of death certificates.

Home Affairs minister Kazembe Kazembe yesterday confirmed that the Registry department had lost some of its members of staff to COVID-19.

“We have five members who died and about 80 who tested positive to the virus. We are trying to manage the pandemic and make sure we provide services. Our members work with people and, therefore, they are at risk as well,” Kazembe said.

He said due to the effects of COVID-19, the registry offices were operating with skeletal staff.

“As a ministry, we are looking at ways to proceed with our duties during the COVID-19 period, but as of now we are only dealing with very critical issues because we are using skeleton staff.”

Kazambe said by the end of this week the Registry offices would have come up with a solution to the problem.

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