More than 160 000 pensioners have so far been registered under the National Social Security Authority (NSSA) biometric registration programme aimed at curbing benefit fraud. Biometric registration, which involves capturing of one's unique physical attributes such as fingerprints, DNA, iris and retina pattern, replaces the need for a life certificate.
Under the previous regime, pensioners were required to present themselves before an officer for vetting to access services. With the majority of pensioners living far from towns, the process was strenuous. Under the new system, getting a life certificate will not require physical presence.
Speaking after launching the Makonde Senator's Sports Tournament in Chinhoyi at the weekend, Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare Minister Prisca Mupfumira said NSSA's outreach programmes have been effective.
"The biometric registration is ongoing," she said. "We have started an outreach into the rural areas to get the people to register and also explain to them the benefits.
"We are doing it so that pensioners who get the benefits are genuine. The biometric process will help extensively."
The process, she said, ensured direct consumer contact, so that those who have not claimed their benefits out of ignorance were assisted.
A number of options to make it easier for pensioners to access their money, including use of the National Building Society and mobile platforms were being explored. Biometric registration is also for those who have attained pensionable age, but the benefits cease as soon as the pensioner dies.
However, some families continued benefiting even after the death of the pensioner.
"We want to ensure that NSSA beneficiaries can access their money wherever they are," said Minister Mupfumira. "They do not have to travel to NSSA offices."