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Zimbabwe suspends issuing of passports indefinitely

by Byo24
04 Jan 2011 at 23:08hrs | Views

THE Registrar General's Office has indefinitely suspended issuing out of passports and Temporary Travelling Documents following an electrical fault that affected the department's central data base at KGVI in Harare.

The suspension has left hundreds of people, mainly those working in South Africa seeking to renew their passports stranded.

The fault that occurred last Friday has also affected the department's provincial offices as they are connected to the central data processing system.

Addressing journalists in Harare yesterday, Registrar General Mr Tobaiwa Mudede, said as a result of the problem, the department was not in a position to issue out birth certificates and identity cards.

"We wish to inform members of the public that the department is currently unable to process computerised documents until further notice.

"These include acceptance of new passport application forms, processing of temporary travelling documents, processing of computerised identity cards and processing of computerised birth certificates," he said.

Mr Mudede said the department's engineers were working flat out to rectify the problem, adding efforts were also being made to establish the cause of the fault.

He, however, said the department was open for other manual processes.

Contrary to some media reports that the passport production complex was gutted down by fire last Friday, Mr Mudede, said the building and the entire production equipment were intact.

"Our major computers were not affected and that is the production computers. The 18 printers that we have are intact as well as the 20 scanners and those are our major equipment.

"There was some localised damage that cannot be interpreted as gutting down of the production building," he said.

Mr Mudede said the fault had affected the processing of passports for Zimbabweans in South Africa and other countries who have applied for the documents.

He said there was no other alternative to the problem except to wait for the technical experts who were working on the matter.

Before the fault, Mr Mudede said, the department was processing more than 2 000 passports daily.

Mr Mudede said the department would inform the nation of any latest development regarding the issuance of the documents.

"I want to assure the nation that our experts are on the ground to establish the cause of the fault. As soon as we are back on course, we will inform the nation immediately."

Mr Mudede refused to comment on reports that South Africa offered the department use of its passport-printing machine saying he would do so at the appropriate time.

"I don't want to comment on that but if it was left to me to respond then I will do that at the right time," he said.

Home Affairs co-Ministers Kembo Mohadi and Theresa Makone last week confirmed that South Africa offered Zimbabwe the use of its state of the art passport printing press that can print 4 000 passports  per hour.

The machine was supposed to process passports for Zimbabweans living in South Africa.

Source - Byo24