Home affairs running out of passports

07 May 2019 19:00pm
By Edward Mumbuu Jnr and Shelleygan Petersen
WINDHOEK, 07 MAY (NAMPA) – The Ministry of Home Affairs and Immigration could run out of passport booklets soon and it will take at least two months before new ones arrive from the German supplier.
This is according to information provided by a senior official of the ministry who, on condition of anonymity, told Nampa they have allegedly run out of passports.
“Due to mismanagement of administration, the order was done late. The country cannot be held hostage by incompetent people,” the official said.
Nampa understands that new booklets were only ordered recently.
“Normally, the order is done way ahead of time. This is just not supposed to happen. Passport booklets, identity documents and citizenship papers are part of the essential services the ministry offers and should be taken care of,” the official added.
Despite this dilemma, the ministry is still accepting applications from the public.
Approached by this news agency for comment on Tuesday, Home Affairs and Immigration Minister Frans Kapofi denied that they were completely out of passports, but acknowledged that it will not be long before the ministry totally runs out of the booklets.
“We had an agreement with the producer who is producing them for us. We had to renegotiate the agreement and that took time as it was going back and forth,” Kapofi said.
At the centre of the matter is the new procurement law which had to be satisfied, as well the Ministry of Finance and the Office of the Attorney General.
“You have to satisfy everyone so that the process is transparent. But in the meantime, people are getting their passports and if you don’t replenish, that is what you get,” he said.
He added that those who want to travel could be affected because the numbers are running low.
“We are hoping to get these passports in two or three months’ time,” Kapofi said.
Kapofi could not say when exactly he expects the passport booklets to run out, as this is dependent on the number of applications submitted.
He said everything possible is being done to expedite the process, noting that due diligence needs to take place before the passports are finalised.
Kapofi added that no official from his ministry is to be held liable for the predicament.
“It’s tough. But it’s a process we agreed to adopt so we have to pay the price, but our people have to be patient. We are likely to keep as few as a hundred (passports) for emergencies for people who are sick. Otherwise those who want to travel have to bear with us,” he concluded.