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Passport office turns away hundreds

by Staff reporter
08 Apr 2021 at 16:34hrs | Views
POLICE in Bulawayo on Tuesday turned away hundreds of people who had thronged the Registrars General's Office for the application and collection of passports defying Covid-19 regulations.

As a precautionary measure against the deadly virus, the office is serving only 50 applications for emergency passports per day, but that is not stopping citizens from swarming the premises.

When the Daily News crew visited the premises on Tuesday, there was a long winding queue from the gate along 10th Avenue, going through Herbert Chitepo Street towards 11th Avenue before entering Basch Street.

Motorists, who were using the roads around the area, were finding it difficult to manoeuvre due to the large number of people spilling onto the streets.

People only dispersed after a police officer warned the crowd that they were in defiance of Covid-19 regulations.

"Only 50 people are served per day and there is no reason for you all to crowd the place and cause congestion.

"The situation is getting out of hand and some of you will risk being arrested.

"You will find yourselves at the police station because you are not listening to our call. Go back home and you will come in small numbers," said the officer.

The police officer said applicants were defying lockdown regulations and posing health risks.

"Lockdown is still there and it is worrisome how most of you are not even thinking about it. You are risking your life and that of others," said the officer.

An official from the Registrar General's Office said they are only serving 50 people from 7:30am up to lunch time.  

"Once there are 50 people, we don't entertain others and you should be here before our starting time.

"There is no need to crowd this place," said the official.

The official then notified the public they should return on April 26 once the backlog has been cleared.

The Daily News established that the majority of applicants were people whose relatives are in neighbouring South Africa and are seeking to renew their passports.

"I am here to submit my son's papers so that he renews his passport that expired.

"He works in South Africa and his permit also expired so there is a need for new documents.  

"I have been coming here for three weeks but haven't been helped yet," Ndabezinhle Moyo told the Daily News.

Another applicant said he came to collect passports for his grandchildren in South Africa.

"I don't even know what is happening here because look I am here just to collect and nothing else but it's taking time.  

"I was here from six in the morning. My grandchildren need these passports so that they go back to school," he said.

Source - dailynews

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