Innocent Ruwende Senior Reporter
The Registrar-General Office is concerned with the high number of uncollected passports some of which were processed in 2000 and cost the applicants more than $590 000.
Some of the passports were applied for as urgent and got priority over non urgent applications despite the department’s limited resources.
Addressing a Press conference yesterday Registrar-General Mr Clemence Masango said some of the passports have expired before being collected.
Zimbabwean passports are valid for only 10 years. The number of uncollected passports applied on normal basis are 50 733 while those applied for on an urgent basis are 11 144.
At least 11 144 passports have since expired.
“This means that out of these 11 144 uncollected passports that have since expired, applicants collectively lost not less than $590 632 in fees. Government obviously lost much more since what is charged as fees is not necessarily the actual cost of producing the passport,” he said.
“We therefore, encourage all those who applied for passports prior to May 2018 and have not yet collected them, to visit the office of issue and collect their passports. The public in general and particularly all our clients need to know that passport consumables, that is, paper, ink, glue, ribbon and film are all imported at very high cost, all in foreign currency.”
He said the department has a backlog of 166 240 applications dating back to May 2018.
Mr Masango said the department on average receives 2 100 new applications for passports daily and it had come up with an implementation plan to clear the backlog once Government avails resources, saying they would revert to the set time lines in the client service charter and produce passports within four weeks.
“On October 24, 2018, the Department was requested by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Trade to assist Zimbabwean nationals resident in South Africa by prioritising issuance of passports for concerned individuals before the deadline,” he said.
“Out of 312 listed applications, 200 passports had already been processed and dispatched to the respective provinces. Most of these passports were collected by the applicants.
“Concerning those that had not been collected, arrangements were made in liaison with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Trade to recall the passports from the provinces and forward them to our Embassy in South Africa.”
He said the department had 18 applications, which were pending and these were processed and forwarded to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Trade to send to the Zimbabwe Embassy in South Africa for onward delivery to the respective applicants.