Thoboloko Ntšonyane

MASERU – The Ministry of Local Government, Chieftainship, Home Affairs and Police admit to facing hurdles with issuing of the passports to the applicants.

This confession is from the proceedings of the Parliament‘s Law and Public Safety Committee where the ministry meant to bring the Committee up to speed regarding the issuance of passports and national identity documents.

The Minister of Local Government, Chieftainship, Home Affairs and Police Hon Lebona Lephema says passports procured in 2022 are finished.

The ministry received 4 000 applications in 2022, to which passports were issued, leaving the remaining passport booklets for emergency travel books. Recently the ministry received 42 000 passports, whose functional arrival into the country was delayed owing to Revenue Services Lesotho (RSL) border control processes.

Much of the problems he attributed to the supplier, Pangea, Israeli company, ‘the middle man’ company which had problems along the way as they were the one and only supplier of passports.

Having taken initiative to access more travel books, the government through Hon. Lephema’s office experienced challenges founded on governance law and regulations wherein the supplier in question demanded immediate payment whereas the government only offered credit payment methods.  

Public Procurement Regulations of 2007 stipulates three ways of procuring goods and services that being through wavering, selective tendering and open tendering.

As it stands, Lephema’s office is anticipating 47 000 passports this May.

Director of Passports Mpiko Rafono says with the current budget allocation, his office will be able to procure 60 000 passports for the 2024/25 financial year. Currently there are 47 034 new applications awaiting passports to be distributed, with only 31 000 blank travel books available for Basotho. 

Hon. Lephema today reports that passports are available for print.

The regular passport fee is M130 while the emergency passport fee is M630.

In the previous year, he said they purchased 73 000 passports.