VICTORIA Falls mayor Somvelo Dlamini has welcomed the establishment of a passport office in Hwange, saying it would bring relief to the region.
The Hwange passport office was officially commissioned last month to decentralise services. Dlamini said passport acquisition by Victoria residents had been expensive in terms of transport costs because residents were travelling to Bulawayo and Lupane more than 400km and 260km away, respectively.
“I am glad that the government recently opened a passport office in Hwange, close to Victoria Falls. This will enable our residents to access the passports at a lower transport cost,” Dlamini said.
“Most traders cannot afford to pay for the passports since the passports were issued in Lupane and Bulawayo. This made getting a passport even more expensive for residents.” He said the Department of Immigration had also started issuing temporary border passes to residents making informal trade in Zambia.
“I am also happy to inform you that the Department of Immigration has started issuing temporary border passes to residents travelling to Zambia. They will enable people who cannot afford passports to travel and access goods and services across the border at affordable prices and trade, thereby improving the local economy,” Dlamini added.