The Registrar-General’s Office has managed to produce 83 379 passports during the first two months of the lockdown period thereby reducing the backlog by around 20 per cent.
When the first lockdown was announced at the end of March this year, the number of overdue passports stood at 400 961 but is now at 317 582.
The department has not been taking new applications during the indefinite lockdown period but it has made little progress in reducing the number of pending passport documents. The RG’s office said:
Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, we have managed to produce 83 379 passports.
Even though the department is focusing on the production of passports, COVID-19 has negatively impacted on the process.
As a measure to curb the spread of COVID-19, the department is currently operating with one-third of its staff complement and so it is unable to utilise its full capacity.
The RG’s office said the procurement of the special paper needed to produce passports is being done by the Ministry of Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage in conjunction with the Ministry of Finance.
A few months back, Zimbabwe started the remote issuance of passports to citizens who are living in other countries.