The National Council Standing Committee on Security, Constitutional and Legal Affairs is currently on the ground to investigate the challenges communities face with the registration and acquisition of national documents.
The consultative meetings were necessitated by various media reports of people in remote areas that do not have national documents, such as birth, death and marriage certificates, as well as national identity documents (IDs).
There are quite a number of Namibians who still do not have identification documents in the marginalised areas of the country. These include the marginalised San communities and other vulnerable groups. The situation has left many people unable to access key services and benefits, such as social grant, healthcare and education.
The parliamentary standing committee has since Friday visited Aroab and Noordoewer settlements in the Karas Region. As of Monday, the officials are in Omaheke Region’s Eiseb Block, where they will proceed to Otjozondjupa’s Gam Settlement to speak to the Botswanans of Namibian origin, who had migrated back to the country.
Speaking to New Era yesterday, the committee’s chairperson Rosalia Shilenga said the meetings were follow-ups to assess the level of progress in the issuance of national documents to persons repatriated from Botswana.
“We are in the regions, so we find out challenges facing those without national documents. We are also gauging their views as to how they want government to assist them. We will then go back to the line ministry and inform them what the communities are complaining about,” she said.
Shilenga reported that communities complained that government services, such as the Ministry of Home Affairs and Immigration responsible for national documents, are located far from them. Further, she said they complained that many live on farms and transport is never available to reach town.
Therefore, she said the affected communities were pleading with the responsible line ministry to reach them through mobile teams to register and offer them national documents. Although attendance has been good in the Karas Region, fewer people turned up at the Eiseb Block meeting, she said.
The committee is expected to investigate Karas, Omaheke, Otjozondjupa, Kavango West, Kavango East, Omusati, Ohangwena and Kunene regions. The regional consultative meetings are envisaged to take place in two phases, as from October 20 to November 26.
Committee clerk Mwala Neo said the visit was going as planned, saying communities were cooperative. Neo noted that the Ministry of Home Affairs and Immigration was doing a good job in reaching most communities.
“The ministry is doing a great job. Information is readily available. Sometimes people are just lazy to go and get their national documents. We will gather the information and then share it with the line ministry. The process is going smoothly. We are mainly targeting people who are near the borders.”
Last month, the Ministry of Home Affairs and Immigration issued national documents to more than 100 members of the San community in eastern Ohangwena. ID documents were issued to Namibian citizens or permanent residence permit holders, 16 years or older.
The ID card serves as a legal form of identification when transacting with public and private institutions.