The Ministry of Nationality, Immigration and Gender Affairs will hasten the production of national identity cards (Omang) this election period.

Minister Dorcas Makgato says from August this year, her Ministry will double the cards printing from 1500 a day to 3000.

She also revealed that the ministry has hired extra officers and over 200 interns to help out in the process, through an outreach programme.

“This would enable the ministry to have cleared the backlog by 31st of August 2018 in preparation for registration for the General Elections which I know is a preoccupation of a substantive majority of Members in this House and Batswana at large.”

Some of the delays at Omang offices according to the minister, were due to the need to replace obsolete equipment, which she said has been replaced this month; June 2018.

One hundred (100) cameras and 100 printers, Makgato said, were bought and distributed to all district offices countrywide, 150 computers, 105 laptops, 40 printers and accessories have also been purchased and were expected to have been distributed this week.

Furthermore Makgatho’s ministry has requested additional 44 vehicles from the Ministry of Transport and Communication, 24 of which have already been provided and deployed to Tsabong, Serowe, Palapye, Letlhakane, Bobonong, Sefhare, Mahalapye, Nata, Gaborone, and Selibe Phikwe where outreach programmes have already started.

“Thirty-five (35) new positions have been created this financial year and all of these were filled in May as well as an additional 215 Interns that have been requested from the Ministry of Youth Sport and Culture. 162 have reported for duty and have been inducted and placed. These will be engaged in outreach programmes across the districts. The remaining will report during this month,” Makgatho explained.

The Minister also explained that special communities who traditionally put on head gear at all times will be allowed to take Omang photographs with their gears on.

Addressing the National Registration (Amendment) Act of 2017 that introduced the specifications for a photograph for an Omang card, which she admitted, created ambiguity and clashes with some communities’ religion and culture, Makgatho stated that, “In the meantime, while addressing the ambiguity, my ministry will allow the affected communities to retain the headgear and push it away from the forehead in accordance with the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) standards.”

The intention by the minister is to ensure that every qualified Motswana has a valid identity card by 3rd September 2018.

The country is expected to hold its next general elections in October 2019.

However, election season has already started with political parties having begun primary elections and campaigns countrywide.

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