Set­back for spe­cial spec SA perm per­mits

Lesotho Times - - Front Page - Pas­cali­nah Kabi

THE South African govern­ment has post­poned the launch of the Le­sotho Spe­cial Per­mit (LSP) ap­pli­ca­tion process to 1 March 2016 cit­ing tech­ni­cal chal­lenges in ac­ti­vat­ing the sys­tem.

The ap­pli­ca­tion process was ini­tially set to com­mence on 1 Fe­bru­ary 2016. How­ever, South African Home Affairs Min­is­ter Malusi Gi­gaba an­nounced dur­ing a press con­fer­ence on Fri­day that they were still car­ry­ing out “sys­tem tests” over the course of this month.

“Given con­nec­tiv­ity chal­lenges ex­pe­ri­enced, it is un­likely that on­line ap­pli­ca­tion will be sub­mit­ted on Fe­bru­ary 1 2016 as orig­i­nally planned. We there­fore are look­ing at March 1, 2016,” he said.

“Test­ing of sys­tems will con­tinue be­tween 1 and 29 Fe­bru­ary 2016 ef­fec­tively to en­able on­line ver­i­fi­ca­tion of Ba­sotho na­tion­als be­fore LSP per­mits are pro­cessed and ac­cord­ingly is­sued.

“Ar­eas to be tested in­clude on­line ap­pli­ca­tion, val­i­da­tion of Le­sotho’s Na­tional Pop­u­la­tion Reg­is­ter (NPR) and bio­met­ric data with Le­sotho, off­line ap­pli­ca­tion and in­for­ma­tion se­cu­rity of en­tire ap­pli­ca­tion.”

He said the LSPS were meant to reg­u­larise the stay of Le­sotho na­tion­als cur­rently re­sid­ing il­le­gally in South Africa, adding that they would be valid for four years and ex­pire in 2019.

“It (LSP) is meant to doc­u­ment Le­sotho na­tion­als who are work­ing, study­ing or run­ning busi­nesses in South Africa with­out ap­pro­pri­ate doc­u­men­ta­tion,” Mr Gi­gaba said.

He said they had learnt from their Le­sotho coun­ter­parts that at least 400 000 Ba­sotho resided in South Africa.

“Ac­cord­ing to the au­thor­i­ties in Le­sotho, dur­ing the past hol­i­days, there was an in­crease in the num­ber of peo­ple who re­turned home to reg­is­ter (for LSP), which goes to show the ex­cite­ment this has gen­er­ated,” Mr Gi­gaba said.

“This is how the Ba­sotho au­thor­i­ties have come to the cur­rent es­ti­mate that around 400 000 to 500 000 Ba­sotho na­tion­als re­side in South Africa to­day.”

The min­is­ter said while the ap­pli­ca­tion date had been post­poned, they ex­pected to launch a num­ber of Lsp-re­lated pro­cesses on Mon­day this week.

“Ac­tiv­i­ties to go-live on 1 Fe­bru­ary 2016 cover the launch of an on­line web page which will pro­vide in­for­ma­tion on the LSP, out­line the ap­pli­ca­tion process and in­form prospec­tive ap­pli­cants when the on­line form will be ready for com­ple­tion. It will also up­date ap- pli­cants on ap­point­ment dates,” he said.

“open­ing of a call cen­tre: There will be 30 call cen­tre agents tak­ing calls from ap­pli­cants and as­sist­ing with the process as well as re­quire­ments.

“In­ten­si­fy­ing out­reach pro­grammes: Es­pe­cially tar­geted at prospec­tive ap­pli­cants, in­clud­ing the many Ba­sotho na­tion­als in do­mes­tic ser­vices.”

Mr Gi­gaba said by 7 March 2016, his min­istry would have ac­ti­vated the sub­mis­sion of on­line ap­pli­ca­tions and launched on­line ap­point­ments.

“The clos­ing date for in-per­son ap­pli­ca­tions will be 30 june 2016,” he said.

South Africa, the min­is­ter said, had granted a mora­to­rium on de­por­ta­tions un­til 31 De­cem­ber 2016.

“This will as­sist Le­sotho na­tion­als to ap­ply in a cli­mate that is con­ducive,” he said.

“An amnesty has also been ex­tended to Le­sotho na­tion­als will­ing to sur­ren­der fraud­u­lent per­mits or SA pass­ports and IDS. Amnesty let­ters will be is­sued to ap­pli­cants as proof.

“Those who qual­ify are en­cour­aged to ad­here to amnesty con­di­tions, to fast-track their ap­pli­ca­tions. Peo­ple will be able to ap­ply on­line, even at home.”

To qual­ify for the spe­cial per­mits, ap­pli­cants must have a valid pass­port or travel doc­u­ment, be reg­is­tered on the Le­sotho Na­tional Pop­u­la­tion Reg­is­ter sys­tem, have po­lice clear­ance from Le­sotho and South Africa, pro­vide proof of em­ploy­ment and busi­ness reg­is­tra­tion and reg­is­tra­tion from an ed­u­ca­tional in­sti­tu­tion.

Mr Gi­gaba added that they had agreed with the Le­sotho govern­ment on a frame­work for Ba­sotho chil­dren go­ing to school in South Africa. “on a re­lated mat­ter, we have also agreed on eas­ing move­ment for Ba­sotho chil­dren com­ing to South Africa to en­able them to at­tend school ev­ery morn­ing with­out dif­fi­culty,” he said.

SA Home Affairs Min­is­ter Malusi Gi­gaba

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