Toilet Facilities at the RG’s Office

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We received a troubling report about the treatment of clients at the Registrar General’s Offices in Harare.

Apparently, besides charging $0.50 to use the facilities, the guards are also rude in the process.

It is a well known fact that whenever one goes to the registrars’ office they are likely to spend quite a bit of time there in one queue or the other waiting to submit something or be attended to by someone.

It is a public institution, but please someone school me on city by-laws regarding provision of ablution facilities to the public at such institutions.

I recently went to the registrar’s with my elderly mother who needed a correction on one of her documents issued from this office.

I cannot complain about the service itself from this end as we didn’t experience any unnecessary delays or unreasonable waiting periods, everything went on as should and I was quite impressed by the improvement in service delivery at this office. We went to enquiries, got directed to the relevant offices where we were met by helpful staff who then directed us to the cash office to pay relevant fees for the correction.

The queues were short and moved along as well as can be hoped for and we paid our $10. The correction was only to be a stamp, crossing of a certain name and signature.

All well and good up this point where we were then asked to wait for a couple of hours or otherwise go and come back later…ah well, no harm done here, at least the whole process was just taking a day.

Up to this point we had been there for plus or minus an hour at which point we made our biggest mistake; assuming that the $10 we had paid covered administrative costs.

So…my mother decided she needed to use the ablution facilities. We got there and of course she walked on into the WC as one just would where upon a loud male voice with an almost magnetic force boomed and pulled her back with the words “…eh, eh ambuya! dzokai, tinobhadhara tisati tapinda!”

Now imagine my elderly, “upstanding” citizen mother’s reaction. Agreeable and law abiding, she quietly went back, and paid the demanded 50cents then proceeded.

She has a habit of shushing me in instances like this so well, in this instance weighing need and cost benefit of arguing with the guard, I let it go. But please someone tell me; where are these revenues being collected from thousands of citizens each day going to?

Are they audited… wait a minute, what are they even for? Couldn’t this just be extortion of unwitting citizens at best? My thinking being the $10 we paid (together with plenty others payments) covered administrative, running and other such costs?

A learned someone please school me on this.

So the questions are; is it right to charge an arbitrary 50c for people to use basic toilet facilities, yet we are already paying to access services at the offices?

Secondly, is it too much to ask that security guards show members of the public a modicum of respect?