Long queues form at Home Affairs before passport fees douoble

2011-04-01 00:00

PEOPLE queued for hours at the Home Affairs district offices in Pietermaritzburg to apply for passports and ID books yesterday ahead of increased prices for documents.

The large crowd packed the offices in Church Street all day.

From today, the fee for a passport will be R400, up from R190. Temporary passports have doubled to R180, while the re-issuing of an ID book now costs R140, up from just R20. The first ID book is still free.

An off-duty policeman, Michael Bennett (39), said he stood in the queue for more than five hours to renew his passport that is due to expire in the next couple of weeks.

He said he made the application yesterday to avoid the new price.

“I was at the department from the early hours of the morning. On top of that, the service that we got was bad. It was just chaotic,” Bennett said.

The Witness found out that there were only two personnel processing the applications, despite the long queues.

A woman who was at the department for more than four hours, Anneline van Niekerk, of Hayfields, said, “The security at the door was inefficient and people were pushing in. I only found out about the new prices on Monday, and I don’t understand why the passport went up that much.”

The deputy director-general of Home Affairs, Vusi Mkhize, said, the new prices became necessary because of the new security features in passports, which are very costly.

“The government cannot subsidise the department for the documents,” Mkhize said.

He said the new passports contain a polycarbonate paper that will be difficult to forge.

“It also has multiple layers and it is durable and there are three more features that the state cannot divulge,” he added.

He said the government is not making any profit from the tariffs.



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