As the shortage of passports in the country reaches alarming levels, the government has introduced a new committee will vet whether applicants are deserving of the now priceless document.
According to senior government officials, the committee will be responsible for determining the applicants who should get passports. This comes following reports of massive corruption at the passport office whereby some applicants were paying bribes of around US$200 to have their passport applications processed expeditiously.
Speaking to the Herald, Permanent Secretary for Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage Mr Melusi Matshiya said,
I have instructed the RG to set up a committee to vet applications.
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.
…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’.
The passport backlog is so bad that some applicants were being asked to come back in 2022 to collect their documents. The government is battling a backlog of over 350 000 passports while only producing less than 800 passports per day.