DA calls for review of passport applications and collections services
11 June 2020
The Democratic Alliance (DA) calls on the Minister of Home Affairs, Dr Aaron Motsoaledi, to review the processing and collection services for South African passport applications.
Currently passport applications are only allowed for cross border transportation of essential services, goods and medicines.
The DA, in Parliament’s portfolio committee on home affairs this week, raised several issues with the Minister where South Africans are stuck in desperate situations due to the inability to renew or access their passports.
South Africans who are working overseas and whose passports are expiring face losing their work permits, and therefore their jobs. They also face being declared illegal and deported from those countries and need to urgently be able to renew their passports or apply for passports for newborns in exceptional circumstances.
One such family, where the breadwinner was transferred to a second country, has a spouse who cannot travel with their newborn as they are unable to apply for a passport. However, they cannot stay in the current country because the work visa on which they are in the country will be cancelled.
Then there are South Africans whose passports are stuck in visa application centres and are waiting indefinitely for these centres to open despite being granted visas and being allowed to leave.
They could potentially arrange visas were they to have their South African passports. Many of these have sold their possessions and pay overseas national health insurance fees and other expenses exceeding R66 million and growing, and most importantly have been separated from their families for months. They need to be able to access their passports or apply for replacements.
Furthermore, South Africans whose passports have been processed and are being refused permission to collect them from Home Affairs offices. These situations are being escalated one by one causing unnecessary delays. Passport collections should be allowed where the person is able to prove that they are allowed to leave under current regulations.
Most of these South Africans do not take up nationality of another country and ultimately return home, bringing critical skills and investment back in to South Africa.
The DA will continue to fight for those facing economic and personal hardship during this economic lockdown.
Issued by Adrian Roos, DA Shadow Deputy Minister of Home Affairs, 11 June 2020