The people of Francistown will no longer have to travel to Masunga to apply for their e-passports, Labour and Home Affairs Minister Edwin Batshu has revealed. Batshu told parliament on Monday that the immigration department in Francistown had outsourced some of its services to satellite offices in Masunga and Francistown because of lack of office space.
“The delay in the roll out of the system has been due to unavailability of suitable office space. The current immigration office is congested and difficult to access,” said Batshu.
However, the department has since secured more suitable office space at Botswana Life buildings. The move is only temporary, and it is expected that the immigration department will relocate to new premises in 2012/2013.
The Francistown immigration office is one of the busiest. The spectre of illegal immigrants has also worsened the situation and stretched the already scarce resources at the department.
People were reportedly deterred from applying for their e-passports because of the long distances that they had to travel to Masunga.
In 2009, government abruptly decided to close the district immigration office in Francistown, a move that caused uproar as customers complained of shoddy service and unreasonably long queues at the regional immigration office.
In response, government said the district immigration office was closed for security reasons. However, investigations revealed that the move was meant to curb the rampant corruption at the department.