Africa Moyo and Freeman Razemba
An apparent hoax circulating on social media stating that the Registrar General’s office was doling out emergency passports had scores of people chasing the wind yesterday.
Students, cross-border traders and various other people wanting to travel abroad for different reasons, formed a long queue at the RG’s office in Harare, with reports stating that they started gathering as early as 5am.
The police reaction group had to be called in to control the situation, which was getting out of hand.
Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage Ministry’s Secretary Mr Melusi Matshiya told The Herald last night that: “There was some miscommunication which led into all that. It’s the administration part of it where people go with their representations and they are told to come on a certain day.
“I told officials at the RG’s office that when someone comes with a representation, don’t send that person away.
“People go to the RG’s office with representations, they could be educational, or someone wants to go for an operation outside the country or it’s a child who has to go and see a doctor, I said they should take those representations so that they are assessed so that people can be assisted.”
Mr Matshiya said they were working towards issuing at least 4 200 passports a day following the acquisition of additional printers.
Presently, they are churning out 800 passports per day.
“We manufacture our own booklets, but the printing, where we personalise, is the area that is constrained. We have ordered the consumables and by the end of the month, we would have made an announcement to further improve the situation,” he said.
Mr Matshiya said he had been to Dubai and Japan together with the Registrar General Mr Clemence Masango in a bid to find a lasting solution to the passports backlog.