While hundreds of thousands of Zimbabweans wait to receive passports they applied for more than a year ago, the Civil Registry Department is seeking to destroy thousands of travel documents that expired without being collected.
This emerged during a tour of the Passport Office by Parliament’s portfolio committee on Defence and Home Affairs chaired by Umzingwane MP Levi Mayihlope (Zanu PF) on Thursday.
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Registrar-General, Clement Masango revealed that his department was now applying to relevant authorities to have the expired passports destroyed. He said:
We have a computerised system which informs an applicant that his or her passport is ready for collection once it has been printed.
While some have responded by coming to collect, others have not collected them.
We cannot account for those who might have gone out of the country through undesignated exit points, but we can account for those who might have died.
The Registrar General also revealed that the department has applied for an upward review of passport fees as the current charges are too low.
Passport fees were last reviewed in 2009, with ordinary passports pegged at US$53 dollars but due to de-dollarisation, the fee, which is now ZWL$53, is about US$2.