Africa Moyo Deputy News Editor
GOVERNMENT has directed the Registrar-General’s Office to set up a committee that will oversee the vetting of passport applications in a bid to eliminate corruption.
The committee will be responsible for determining the applicants who should get passports, starting from those wanting to travel on an emergency basis.
This was said by the Secretary for Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage Mr Melusi Matshiya in an interview with The Herald.
He said the setting up of the committee followed unconfirmed reports that some applicants were being charged up to US$200 by some unscrupulous officials to have passports quickly processed.
“I have instructed the RG to set up a committee to vet applications,” said Mr Matshiya.
“We want to eliminate corruption because where there is a scarcity, corruption can creep in. But when we have a committee, we can help each other and make an informed decision.”
Presently, the RG’s office is producing 800 passports per day, but plans are afoot to ramp up production to about 4 200 following the acquisition of consumables.
More consumables are set to be delivered in the next few weeks.
Mr Matshiya said as far Government was concerned, “it is the right of people to apply for passports and get them, but we can look at a situation to say, ‘you want to see a doctor or go to school, therefore you deserve to be assisted speedily’.”
He said he has been out of the country “in search of a solution, a solution which is meant to look at constraints, which are the consumables and secure those consumables”.
Mr Matshiya, together with Registrar-General Mr Clemence Masango, has been to Dubai and Japan to find lasting solutions to the passports challenge.
“We are trying to secure consumables; some have come as the Minister (Cain Mathema) has said,” he said.
“Consumables are specially designed for the Government of Zimbabwe.
“So it’s not a consumable like an ordinary ribbon, if it is ink, all that which goes in terms of printing; that is the personalisation aspect. Booklets, we had 82 000 that were there, but then the constraint was consumables.
“We had received consumables enough to print or personalise 50 000 passports and we went on to come up with a programme whereby we order some more, but when you order, there is a turnaround period of about 16 weeks.”
Mr Matshiya said Zimbabwe manufactures its own booklets, but the printing required imported consumables.