RG suspends issuance of emergency passports

Mr Mudede

Mr Mudede

Nqobile Tshili Bulawayo Bureau
The Registrar-General’s Office has temporarily suspended issuing emergency passports to clear a backlog of over 2 000 passports.

Members of the public who are seeking the emergency travelling documents are forced to apply for the ‘normal’ passport, which costs $53 and is now being released after about two months as a result of the backlog. Normally, the passport is released within three weeks of application.

An emergency passport, which takes 24 hours to be released costs $318, while the one released in three days costs $253. In an interview yesterday, Registrar-General Mr Tobaiwa Mudede said his office was trying to clear the passport backlog, hence the need to temporarily reject new applications for emergency passports.

“We have a backlog of nearly 2 000 passports and that’s a lot,” he said. “We have not suspended issuing passports, there is a backlog that we are trying to clear. This thing is temporary. We don’t force situations.

“If you want to use the word we have ‘slowed down’ in accepting applications, that’s the right language to use. We will start accepting applications for emergency passports once we clear the backlog.”

Mr Mudede said it will not make sense for his office to continue accepting new applicants for emergency passports when his officers were battling to clear the backlog. He said his office did not want to find itself being persecuted publicly for failing to deliver, hence the need to slow down in taking people’s money.

“We must deal with the backlog and finish before we open again for new applications,” said Mr Mudede. “To accept new applications and just park them is not the right thing to do. You wouldn’t like that, you will say ‘no no why have you accepted my money when you cannot deliver’,” he said.

Many people who applied for normal passports, some as far back as May this year, are yet to receive them and this has been blamed on the reduced numbers being processed by the RG’s office. The applicants said they were in the dark as to what had caused the delays given that in the past it was just a three-weeks wait for a normal passport.

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  • Alex

    Dear Mr Mudede et al.,

    I do hereby write to you concerning the issuance of passports. May you please take the issuing of passports with high priority as well as the utmost importance and the seriousness that it deserves. Few points for you to consider:

    1. Many people’s livelihoods may be hinged on that passport. Take for example a breadwinner working in SA or any country and their work permit as well as contract needs a valid passport. The person’s immediate life & family will be miserable and his/her dependents in Zim wont get a cent for basic survival.

    2. Another example, a student who would need a study permit would be disadvantaged for life, lose a scholarship opportunity etc since paperwork needs to be in order for an offer to be effected.

    3. Are the passports made overseas by an outsourced company or we make our own passports in Zimbabwe?

    4. If we make our own passports, how many passports are you able to make in a single day?

    4. To rephrase the above question and maybe understand the real problem, how long does it take to make a single passport, from the time when you receive someone’s passport forms?

    5. How recent are your machines that you are using now? A modern passport machine can fix all your backlog in one day? So is it a case of obsolete machines, lack of personnel or incompetence on the part of the passport office?

    6. How is it possible to have this kind of bad service delivery when passport fees in zim are expensive as compared to other countries? Please dont even think of raising the fees, they are already high.

    Your swift response with regards to this issue will be greatly appreciated. Thank you.

    Yours concerned citizen,

  • thing

    Back then, running the passport office was earning the government a lot of US dollars, so it became a well-oiled machine for a good reason. Now that it’s earning bond notes, it no longer has to be efficient, the government has other ways of getting those.