MEMBERS of the public seeking to acquire official documents at the Registrar General’s Offices at Makombe Building in Harare are being forced to pay five rand a day to use toilets.
BY JENNIFER DUBE
This has resulted in some people, who believe the fee is unjustified, relieving themselves behind trees especially early in the morning.
“This is a public place which every Zimbabwean may be compelled to come to at one time, so why are they charging for the use of the toilets as if our being here was by choice,” Ronica Ngundu said.
“Five rand is a lot of money. These people are running a booming toilet business.”
On payment of the five rand, one is given a receipt they can use throughout the day.
Many people have complained that they spend a lot of time moving from one office to another without getting what they want.
On average, the Registrar General’s Office serves 1 000 people per day seeking passports, identity cards and birth certificates.
An estimated US$500 is raised every day, assuming that all the people who visit the office pay. Vendors who operate just outside the offices also use the same toilets.
Many people complained that those who failed to get what they wanted in one day have had to buy a new ticket every day they visit the offices, yet they may not be responsible for the delay in the processing of their papers.
Those who accompany children and the elderly were the hardest hit as they were required to buy multiple tickets since they are not interchangeable.
“Toilets at all places offering a public service should be available for free. Some of us arrived here at 3:30am and have not emptied our bowels since because the gate was closed,” said Ronald Mabusa. “Now it has been opened and I am being made to pay. This is unfair.”
A man who was ticketing people at the toilets’ entrance last week said the money was used to buy cleaning materials but the putrid smell emanating from the toilets did not bear witness to his claims.
Some members of the public also said the toilets were not as clean as they expected a pay-toilet to be.
Registrar General Tobaiwa Mudede could not be reached for comment but his deputy, Ben Mpala quipped: “Have you ever been here and found no toilets?” before requesting that questions be faxed to him.