Staff shortages hits Zim Immigration dept

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By Robert Tapfumaneyi

GOVERNMENT’s job freeze policy, which is part of a wider policy to reduce recurrent expenditure, has negatively affected the Immigration Department with one officer having to clear 5000 travellers at Beitbridge Border Post, the country’s biggest port of entry, has heard.

The Department of Immigration’s head of compliance and investigations Proper Kambarami told that government needed to invest in technology if the plan to reduce human interface and expenditure is to work effectively.

“There are perceptions again of extensive corruption at ports of entry that is a fact, those things do happen.

“However, much of it has to do with the kind of systems that are currently in place at the ports. The human traffic we get at such ports of entry is not consistent with the kind of infrastructure that is there,” said Kambarami.

“For example, with the growth of migration and movement of people and number of official at ports like Beitbridge are not in sync.”

Kambarami urged authorities to invest in biometric technology in order to move with the times.

“At Beitbridge Border Post, one officer is supposed to work eight hours in a day, is forced to work a 16 hour shift clearing in excess of 5 000 people which is almost impossible.

“We have tried to ask for more staff but there is a government freeze on recruitment in force now,” he said.

Kambarami admitted there is rampant corruption at the country’s posts of entry but added authorities are working to eradicate such acts of misconduct.

“Perhaps we have not done enough to publicise the measures we have taken to stop corruption or deal with those found on the wrong side of the law.

“Staff shortages and chaos at border posts have seen officers becoming semi or demi-gods in those kind of situations and when one is given that kind of opportunity, people tend to exploit it,” he said.

“There are significant efforts and investigations that has been done and outcome that if you look at them you might actually be quite impressed.”