WINDHOEK - The ministry of home affairs, which has been grappling with a shortage of ordinary passports for months, says it is expecting new stock next week.
Government found itself in a crisis after ordinary passports ran out, stopping the issuance of new documents and renewals.
Many applicants for new or renewed passports have been enduring an indefinite wait as the authorities try to resolve the debacle.
Home affairs spokesperson Sacky Kadhikwa yesterday confirmed that new booklets that were ordered are due in the country next week. “We don’t have passports booklets and we will only communicate once we have the booklets. People can still apply. The little stock we have is issued to those that are in dire need to travel,” he said. Kadhikwa explained that the ministry is having a limited stock of ordinary passports and not everyone will be issued with one.
He said the ministry reserved passports for those in dire need to travel, including students, those seeking medical attention abroad, investors and long-haul truck drivers, among others.
Kadhikwa stated they are issuing to these people provided there is an invitation letter and the ministry has a mechanism to verify its authenticity.
He bemoaned the fact that some applicants never returned to collect their passports after having initially submitted letters with their application.
A young professional, who humbly requested anonymity, said he applied for a passport about two weeks ago and was informed the ministry was out of stock.
“It is urgent and I attached a motivational letter. I was informed the ministry has no passports at the moment,” he said.
However, Kadhikwa said although they are out of passports, he encourages Namibians to apply for temporary travel documents. “We will give to those who applied first to clear the backlog,” he said.
In June, government promised that the passport saga would be resolved by September.
Home affairs minister Frans Kapofi had assured Parliament that the passport issue would be resolved last month.
According to him, in June 2018, the ministry placed an order for passports with their supplier of Namibian documents.
“At the time of placing the order, we had sufficient stock, enough for about 10-12 months. Passports in a normal situation, as per past experience and initial understanding with the supplier, would have taken between 12-16 weeks to be delivered from the date of ordering,” he stated.
The ministry’s Executive Director Etienne Maritz, in May this year, also claimed the passports were ordered well in advance, but due to complex negotiation, the process took longer than expected.
“The stock is now fast depleting due to increased demand, and as part of the risk management strategy, this required us to ration them according to crucial travel needs,” Maritz was quoted as saying.
2019-10-09 07:41:44 | 8 months ago