THE South African Government has given Zimbabwe the nod to deploy its officers to issue passports, birth certificates and National Identity Cards to locals residing in the neighbouring country.
The Deputy Minister of Home Affairs, Obedingwa Mguni, said the documents would be issued from selected points in the neighbouring country as soon as South African authorities identify sites to conduct the exercise.
He said his Ministry would approach Botswana with the same request.
“We’ve approached the South African government seeking permission to issue passports, birth certificates and National IDs from their country and they have given us the go ahead.
“Our South African counterparts are now in the process of identifying places where we can conduct this exercise. When the locations have been submitted, we will immediately deploy our teams to the neighbouring country,” the Deputy Minister said.
Mguni said the exercise was being done to ensure that Zimbabweans in the diaspora were in possession of all valuable documents. He said a number of Zimbabweans were accessing neighbouring countries through illegal points while some did not have birth certificates or National IDs.
Mguni said his Ministry was also making efforts to reduce the time frame involved in processing passports as it remained long.
He said passports were supposed to be processed and issued within a period of two weeks but security checks involved were dragging the process.
“Passports should be issued within 14 days and ours are issued after two months. These are some of the anomalies that we want to address. We need to introduce quick coordinated security checks that will expedite the process.
“We recently acquired a highly efficient machine from Japan which processes passports but our pace does not complement the capacity of the machine because of these delays,” Mguni said.
He said Plumtree, Victoria Falls, Beitbridge, Chipinge and Chiredzi Towns would be the first to introduce passport issuing services at district registry offices.
Mguni said his Ministry had noted that these were the main entry points for people who were crossing into neighbouring countries illegally.
“My Ministry will be issuing out a tender very soon for companies that can provide us with the relevant machinery needed when capturing pictures among other equipment that will be used by the district offices.
“This machinery, however, has to be in line with United Nations standards. The details of the tender will be released as time goes on,” he said.
Mguni said they were also making efforts to improve features of the Emergency Travel Document so that they’re once again recognised as legal travelling documents in neighbouring countries.