‘Only apply for passport when planning to travel’
Windhoek – Home Affairs and Immigration Minister, Pendukeni Iivula-Ithana, has urged Namibians to stop applying for travel documents when they have no plans to travel out of the country.
Minister Iivula-Ithana says this is not only wasteful of government resources, but also puts pressure on her ministry to effectively carry out its mandate.
The volume of uncollected passports lying around at the Home Affairs offices countrywide is enough evidence of people applying for passports for which they have no immediate use.
She emphasised that: “A passport is a facility that enables a holder to lawfully cross international borders. A passport, therefore, is not an identity document or ID card for internal use. For identification, we have our Namibian national ID card.
“I wish to appeal to fellow Namibians to stop wasting their money, applying for passports for which they have no use when they have no plans to travel across the borders of our country.
“The understanding and co-operation of our people of this fact may contribute to the reduction of the long queues the Ministry of Home Affairs and Immigration has been known for and which we are hard at work to see disappearing in the long run.”
Minister Iivula-Ithana made the appeal during her maiden ministerial speech as the new Minister of Home Affairs in the National Assembly recently.
Meanwhile, the Minister apologised on behalf of her ministry for inconveniences caused by lack of Namibian ordinary passports, experienced towards the end of last year, and the beginning of January this year.
As a stopgap measure, the ministry issued different kind of passport called travel document or brown passport to applicants as alternative means to travel.
“While this type of passport is fully compliant with normal international standards, some countries, especially in Europe refuse to recognise it, which made it impossible for some of our people who had travel plans to visit such countries.
“To these country men and women, I tender our sincerely apology for any inconveniences which might have been caused to them,” she said.
She said the ministry has since received enough stock of virgin Namibian ordinary passports. And close to 12 000 passport applications that were backlogged after the Ministry of Home Affairs and Immigration ran out of stock of virgin ordinary passports last year have successfully been cleared up.
Meanwhile, Information and Communication Technology Minister, Joel Kaapanda, has offered to assist the Home Affairs and Immigration Ministry on the issue of uncollected passports through public media.
Iivula-Ithana further highlighted that her ministry discovered a syndicate involving some Namibians and foreign nationals where the latter try to assist foreign nationals to acquire Namibian citizenship in various ways, including selling of their own birth certificates, passports and IDs and that some of the culprits have been apprehended.