Pretoria – Government has granted an extension on the closing date of applications for the Lesotho Special Permit.
Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba acceded to a request by the Lesotho authorities to extend the closing date of applications for Lesotho Special Permits to allow more time for Basotho nationals to apply for permits.
“The extension to the end of September will assist in mitigating challenges making it difficult for people to seize the opportunity to regularise their stay in South Africa, but we urge people to apply without any further delay,” Minister Gigaba said.
The last day for applications was supposed to be 30 June 2016, however, the date has now been extended by three months to 30 September 2016.
The LSP programme was launched on 1 February 2016 and by Monday, close to 40 000 applications had been received.
Applicants will still be required to provide supporting documents while applying.
Not all Lesotho citizens have Lesotho identity documents, while some applicants are battling to provide the required documents and others fear arrest relating to the amnesty process. Also, access and connectivity for applicants have posed a challenge since registration is online.
In this regard, the department said all necessary steps are being taken to attend to the challenges to ensure people are assisted to apply.
The Lesotho government has deployed staff at various centres for birth registration and ID enrolment. The Lesotho National Identity and Civil Registry currently operates seven days a week to facilitate the LSP process for its nationals.
VFS will accept walk-in applications at its centres.
“Lesotho authorities will continue engaging communities in Lesotho and in various parts of South Africa, with the aid of the Lesotho High Commission and Consulates in South Africa, to ensure as many Basotho as possible have necessary documents, including Lesotho ID cards.
“Additional application desks are being provided in Lesotho, at the borders and other strategic places. A mobile centre at Maseru Mall is already working,” said the department.
Lesotho Special Permit
The LSP will allow for Lesotho nationals to live in South Africa legally. Those with appropriate documents will contribute to the two countries’ economic development and growth, including through taxes in South Africa and remittances back home.
The LSP is issued under the special dispensation for Lesotho nationals who work, study or do business in South Africa and had been in the country in such capacity before 30 September 2015.
The department said special permits are only issued to those Lesotho citizens registered in the National Population Register of Lesotho.
South Africa granted an amnesty to Basotho in possession of fraudulently acquired documentation, so that they can surrender such documents, without the fear of arrest or deportation. Applicants receive amnesty letters as proof.
A moratorium on deportations was granted until 31 December 2016 on condition Basotho nationals surrender all fraudulently acquired documents, including fraudulent permits, South African passports and IDs.
Lesotho Special Permits will be valid until 31 December 2019.