The DA raised an urgent issue with Home Secretary Aaron Motsoaledi after many South African citizens abroad raised concerns about renewing their passports. Global lockdowns mean many of our expats have not been able to update their travel documents, due to closed offices and unclear messages.
South African expats face the dilemma of renewing their passport
In a statement released earlier on Friday, the political opposition noted that although visas for foreign nationals at Mzansi have been extended, similar programs have not been introduced at our missions abroad:
“Aaron Motsoaledi recently announced a further extension of visas for foreign nationals in South Africa. However, he has strangely refused to make arrangements for South Africans abroad whose passports will expire following the extended lockdown. We will not rest until this situation is corrected.
“Since writing to the Minister, offering a passport validity extension stamp, the only action taken has been the opening of passport renewals at South African missions abroad. However, this made little difference as the DA was inundated with calls for help from citizens facing closed signs, evasive treatment and unanswered calls.
Disarray in foreign missions reported
MP Adrian Roos and Dr Rory Jubber are trying to pick up the pieces of this mess, to make sure that South African expatriates around the world are able to renew their passports and free themselves from any potential stress caused by this administrative nightmare. The party received complaints from everywhere:
- The largest home affairs office outside SA in London remains closed. Calls and emails go unanswered.
- There is a two month waiting list just to get an appointment to submit a passport application to the UAE Mission.
- Dozens of expat applications in Hanoi, Vietnam have been waiting since March 2019.
- The prosecutor also claims that a South American missionary waited two years for her passport to be renewed.