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Unscrupulous Home Affairs officials to be dismissed

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MBABANE – Home Affairs Minister Chief Mgwagwa Gamedze says corrupt officials who make members of the public pay E250 for new passports will be investigated and dismissed.

Gamedze said after an application has been made and all due processes follow, a passport should be readily available before the end of the following day.

He reacted strongly to news that some officials were making a killing from bribery as they forced passport applicants to pay as much as E250 for speedily processing their passports.

"We just want to catch one culprit and we will deal with that individual to teach all the others a lesson," he said.

The minister was responding to a complaint by a woman that she was made to pay E250 for a passport at the Immigration department offices in Manzini.

emergency

The woman said she had applied for a passport for her three-month-old baby on a Monday in Manzini.

"Initially, I wanted to apply for an emergency passport but the official said it was no longer allowed. I then applied for a passport because I urgently needed to go to South Africa by Thursday. The official told me that I could not get my passport on Friday because it was at short notice. He then called me aside and said I should pay E250 if I desperately needed the passport by Friday.

I duly complied and paid the E250, after having paid the mandatory E80.

"On Thursday I went to check on my passport but it was not there. I was so devastated because I desperately needed to go to Johannesburg. I demanded my money back and the official gave it back, saying he did not know what had happened to delay my passport. I went to the headquarters in Mbabane where I spoke to some senior officials and asked them to help me get my passport speedily and they promised it was possible to get it the following day, which was a Friday.

refused

"On that day I received a call from the initial official who had asked me to pay the bribe of E250, telling me that my passport was ready and that I should come and collect it in Manzini.

He then told me to come with the E250 but when I got there, I refused to pay it because I had gone to Mbabane to ask senior officials to help me. I even threatened to report him to his seniors if he refused to give me the passport," she said.

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