WINDHOEK - The Minister of Home Affairs and Immigration, Pendukeni Iivula-Ithana, says the backlog of passport applications has been cleared and the average waiting period for processing a new passport has now been reduced to ten days.
She disclosed this in the National Assembly where she told fellow legislators that the ministry started working on the backlog of more than 12 000 passport applications on January 21, 2013 and cleared the backlog by February 15, 2013. “On behalf of all of us at the Ministry of Home Affairs and Immigration, I, as the minister responsible for that sector undertake and promise to the nation that such an experience will not be repeated again, as adequate measures have been put in place,” she announced.
Since January, the ministry received sufficient stock of the total order of passports. Iivula-Ithana further said that travel documents that were currently in circulation and in possession of holders would not be withdrawn until they expire. She also noted that the validity of passports would be five years due to wear and tear and security considerations, such as preventing fraudsters from tampering with passports.
Iivula-Ithana appealed to Namibians to stop wasting their money applying for passports if they have no plans to travel outside the country since the number of uncollected passports lying around Home Affairs offices are enough evidence that people do not have a need for the immediate use of the passports.
“The understanding and cooperation of our people [on the basis 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,” she added. She revealed that the ministry has unearthed a syndicate involving Namibians, who assist foreign nationals to acquire Namibian citizenship through fraudulent means. “We have arrested some of the suspects and will continue making sure that they do not succeed,” said the home affairs and immigration minister.