The announcement has come as a surprise to many and will surely hinder those who were accustomed to the past procedures
The new process
South African passport applicants are now urged to apply for and collect their passports themselves directly at Home Affairs, from the office where the application was submitted, this is done to protect the integrity of documents. During the collection process, passports will be activated by the applicant’s fingerprint which will be compared to a photo. Only parents or legal guardians can apply and collect for minors.
Emergency passports can only be issued at embassies to South Africans stranded abroad, typically the turnaround time for passport applications is anything between 5-12 days. It is advised that applicants make use of the online booking system and the department’s partnerships with the banks to avoid long queues.
The reason for the new changes
In the past months, there have been reports of cases of fraud and corruption involving passports, by high-profile officials.
The officials were arrested following fraudulent processing of passports to illegal immigrants, which foreigners were consequently caught using illegitimate South African passports abroad. To mitigate this, the Minister explained that passport collections will no longer be transferrable and third-party collections will no longer be permitted.
Additionally, the Minister announced that the department will be withdrawing the transit visa exemption for Bangladesh and Pakistan with immediate effect from the 01 August 2022 and travelers will now have to apply for a transit visa to come to South Africa.
These most recent developments, together with others that have taken place over the course of the last several months, make it quite evident that Home Affairs is adopting a policy of “zero-tolerance” with regard to fraud and corruption inside the Department.