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May 23, 2024
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PASSPORTS PRODUCTION ON HALT

Maseru, Apr. 24 — The Ministry of Home Affairs has since last Thursday suspended issuance of passports and national Identity Cards.

This has been confirmed by the Ministry’s Public Relations Officer, Mrs. ‘Marelebohile Mothibeli who said that the ministry has halted the above mentioned services due to technical problems where she said that their system at the production unit in Mohale’s Hoek has problems hence there is no production of the said documents.

She said that currently there are no applications made saying therefore that once the problem has been solved the public will be notified and applications will resume.

On the other hand she noted that passports which have not been collected are now available in district offices. She explained that they had requested lists of backlog passports from districts saying that to date four districts of Mohale’s Hoek, Mafeteng, Botha-Bothe and Mokhotlong have provided such. She added that the said passports can be collected from district offices saying that they date as far back as 2014.

“We have published the names of applicants who did not collect their passports on the Ministry of Local Government, Chieftainship, Home Affairs and Police facebook page therefore we urge them to collect their passports,” she said.

Meanwhile, last week before the Parliamentary Social Cluster Committee, Minister Lephema Lebona had indicated that they would only be able to produce 60, 000 passports as opposed to the 200, 000 demand.

The ministry has a backlog of between 40,000 and 45,000 passports to issue while there are about 5,000 passports which have not been collected.

The Lesotho passport ranks 123rd in the world as of November 2023 according to VisaGuide Passport Index. This means that Basotho citizens can travel visa-free to 49 countries in the world including Bahamas, Ireland, Japan, Mauritius, Palestine, Singapore, Tanzania, Vanuatu and Eswatini to mention a few. However, to enter the remaining countries, Basotho passport holders must apply for a visa beforehand.

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