By Marvellous Matswimbo
Pensioners in Bulawayo have raised concerns over the challenges that they are encountering in trying to get new identity cards(IDs) as the National Social and Security Authority (NSSA) rejects metal ones.
Those who spoke to Amakhosikazi Media highlighted that, they were told to get plastic identity cards in order to receive their funds for the month of October going forward as metal and paper IDs are no longer accepted.
Linet Siziba said that, they are not against this new development but it comes at a time when getting identity cards is a struggle for everyone.
“We understand that we have to change our metal identity cards as they are now outdated, but if you look at the situation now, getting a new document is a struggle even for younger people. You go to the offices and they tell you to book a date then come back on that particular date which is straining for us old people and an ID is not something that you can send someone to go and change on your behalf, you have to be there physically”, said Siziba.
“And if you are going for an identity card you have to be there as early as possible, now imagine those who are staying far from the towns, they have to travel long distances and in this time of the covid-19 pandemic”, she added.
Another pensioner who identified herself as Gogo Muringani said that, the new demand for the change of IDs in order to receive funds is frustrating.
“We are having a hard time trying to secure these plastic identity cards and this is frustrating, already we have other health challenges due to old age and now we have to risk contracting corona virus as we come to queue for these cards”,said Muringani.
Ester Mathuthu (69) highlighted that, even though old people are given first preference when taking IDs, for the past weeks there has been a lot of them trying to secure plastic ID cards.
“Yes they give preferences to old people just like any other place but these past weeks, it’s been old people trying to change their cards and that first preference ends up as long queue again”,said Mathuthu.
She added: “I thought l would go there at Tredgold and get my ID changed without any challenges but when l got there, l saw people who were even older than me also coming for the same purpose.”
The covid-19 induced nationwide lockdown saw the issuing of IDs, birth certificates and passports being put on hold and this has resulted in a backlog making it difficult for people to secure these identity documents.
Muringani stated that, NSSA should consider these challenges faced by pensioners and continue giving them their funds until they are able to get plastic identity cards.
“They know that most pensioners survive on those funds and holding them because of IDs would be insensitive, l hope we will still receive our funds even if we fail to change these metal cards that we have”, said Muringani
Efforts to get comments from NSSA were in vain.