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SA permits: No more deadline extension

 

 

Tswakae Tsimane receives her permit from  Home Affairs PS Advocate Borenahabokhethe Sekonyela, left, and SA Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba at the Lesotho Special Permit Centre
Tswakae Tsimane receives her permit from Home Affairs PS Advocate Borenahabokhethe Sekonyela, left, and SA Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba at the Lesotho Special Permit Centre

Pascalinah Kabi

BASOTHO living in South Africa illegally have been warned the neighbouring country would not accept new applications for the four-year Lesotho Special Permit (LSP) after the Friday deadline.

The LSP was introduced in 2015 to enable Basotho to work, study or do business in that country lawfully.

The LSP application period ends on 30 September 2016 following a three-month extension from the initial 30 June 2016 deadline after it was found that most Basotho residing illegally in South Africa had not heeded calls to apply for the four-year permit.

However, a statement issued this week by the South African government revealed that a paltry 77 720 Basotho had applied to date. There are an estimated 400 000 Basotho in South Africa, most of them illegal immigrants.

In an effort to push up the number of applicants for the LSP and create a one-stop shop to save applicants’ time, the South African Department of Home Affairs announced a new special provision that allows Basotho to apply for the Lesotho Special Permit, at the VFS Global-operated application centres, without passports,” reads part of the statement.

“30 September is the deadline for undocumented Basotho who work, study or do business in South Africa to get the necessary assistance in order to regularise their stay.

“To date, only 12 percent (or 77 720 people) of the estimated 400 000 Lesotho nationals living in South Africa have applied for the LSP. Of these, 50 303 have made the necessary payment and booked appointments to visit VFS Global centres countrywide to complete the process. Basotho who have still not applied must do so speedily or will miss this unique opportunity.”

The SA government also said Basotho with passports expiring within the next two years and having the LSP visa in them, could use both their old and new passports, adding there would be no need to apply and pay for transfer of LSP visas.

It further said Basotho who submitted fraudulent SA identity documents to dedicated home affairs offices were eligible to apply for the LSP before the deadline day.

The SA government also indicated it had made concessions to allow people with Lesotho identity cards, but without valid passports, to apply for the special permit.

“However, they must provide their passports by 31 December 2016. Those who have submitted a fully completed application form but have not paid for their visa can do so by 31 December 2016.

“In November, 2016, the department will gazette names of all persons who applied but did not finalise their applications, and provide for a one-month grace period to submit all outstanding information by 31 December 2016,” the statement added.

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