By Surihe Gaomas WINDHOEK In an effort to help fast-track the processing of national identification documents countrywide, the Chamber of Mines of Namibia recently donated IT equipment and software worth N$67 000 to the Ministry of Home Affairs and Immigration. It was in April this year that the Ministry of Home Affairs made a pledge to the public that it will take only 24 working days to get an ID processed from the date of application. Bottlenecks in the low capacity server in the National Population Registration System (NPRS) made this a much slower process before the end of the financial year. It was against this background that the Ministry of Homes Affairs then approached the Chamber of Mines for some kind of assistance in this regard. As a result the latest LCD Monitor system provided by the chamber will ensure the Ministry of Home Affairs is able to fulfil its promise of processing IDs on time. The computer server, imported from South Africa late in March, has since been installed. Ever since this system was installed two weeks ago the production capacity has increased from about 600 cards per day to 1 300 cards. For the first time in many years the current backlog in the production of identity cards stands at 17 000 applications which is anticipated to be cleared in two weeks’ time. At the handing over ceremony yesterday, General Manager of the Chamber of Mines Veston Malango said the objective of this assistance is essentially based on improving service delivery when processing identification documents. “It is the understanding of the chamber that although ID’s are a national problem, the mining communities are not spared the hardships of processing an ID. In fact an ID is the starting point in the process of skills transfer to Namibians,” said Malango. At the same time he also requested the home affairs ministry to step up the productivity in processing work permits and work visas by 100 percent, like it did with the ID processing. At the same occasion, Deputy Minister of Home Affairs Theopolina Mushelenga said the server and accompanying components from the Chamber of Mines are putting into practice the much talked about public/private sector initiative. She further commented that it was remarkable to see that the ministry was able to mark a major improvement in the processing of ID cards ever since the installation of the new equipment. “This is a significant improvement indeed, which will enable us to fully achieve our set objective by the close of April 2006,” she concluded. Over the years, the challenge for the Ministry of Home Affairs has been the lack of sufficient human capital versus the huge workload and backlog in issuing ID cards, lack of proper equipment, low morale as well as the lack of staff training on service delivery. However, earlier this year the ministry made a commitment to reverse this trend of events and make the long wait associated with processing ID’s a thing of the past. According to the Permanent Secretary Samuel /Goagoseb, this has prompted the ministry to take a firm stand to “cut the wastages in the production process” through its five-year strategic plan. With the latest donation from the Chamber of Mines a requested was also made for other private sector players to follow suit.