Thursday, March 29, 2007

SA temporary passport easily forged

By Tando Mfengwana
29 March 2007

South African citizens planning to travel to Germany, the Netherlands, Luxembourg or Belgium may not be able to enter the countries with a temporary passport.

It is nearly impossible for South Africans who are not in possession of, or with an expired passport, to enter these countries in cases of emergencies, due to the Department of Home Affairs' six-week delay on passport being issued.

These conditions were launched in Germany on March 1, and will be effective in the Benelux countries from April 1.

Reports quote the spokesperson for the Dutch consulate as saying that they are not allowed to turn Visas into temporary passports anymore because the documents were easily forged.

A German consulate said that the passports were no longer acceptable even in cases of emergencies.

Department of Home Affairs spokesperson Jacky Mashapu said that the acting director General Joel Chavalala was to meet with the representatives of the four countries to discuss a way to facilitate returning South Africans from those countries.

According to reports a number of Cape Town travel agencies were not aware of these regulations. South Africans planning to go oversees should consult the Department of Foreign Affairs' website.

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