‘Time run­ning out on SA per­mits’

Lesotho Times - - News - ’Marafaele Mohloboli

HOME Af­fairs Prin­ci­pal Sec­re­tary (PS) Ad­vo­cate Bore­na­habokhethe Sekonyela has warned Ba­sotho not to miss the 30 June 2016 dead­line for reg­is­tra­tion of spe­cial per­mits South Africa is of­fer­ing el­i­gi­ble Le­sotho cit­i­zens.

Ac­cord­ing to Ad­vo­cate Sekonyela, South Africa would not ac­cept new ap­pli­ca­tions for the four-year per­mits af­ter the dead­line.

More than 15 000 Ba­sotho have so far ap­plied for the per­mits which would al­low them to work, study, and do busi­ness in South Africa from 30 June 2016 to 30 April 2020.

South Africa’s Home Af­fairs depart­ment started re­ceiv­ing the ap­pli­ca­tions on 1 March 2016 at a cost of M970.

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

“All the ap­pli­cants are ex­pected to have reg­is­tered by 30 June 2015 as the per­mits will all ex­pire at once,” said Ad­vo­cate Sekonyela this week.

“There won’t be any new reg­is­tra­tions af­ter 30 June 2016. If prospec­tive ap­pli­cants miss out, then it’s their loss be­cause there won’t be any late reg­is­tra­tions.”

He said there were many ben­e­fits to be­ing a bona fide mi­grant in­clud­ing the free­dom to work any­where in the neigh­bor­ing coun­try.

“Among the ben­e­fits of the spe­cial per­mits is that Ba­sotho won’t be stuck with one em­ployer should they want to get a job else­where. They won’t have to bribe their way out of South Africa be­cause they would have over­stayed, and they will make sav­ings as they will come to Le­sotho only when there is a press­ing need to do so,” Ad­vo­cate Sekonyela said.

The Vice-con­sul of Le­sotho in Jo­han­nes­burg, Tu­misang Mokoai told the Le­sotho Times ig­no­rance of how the process is done and the pro­hib­i­tive cost were some of the chal­lenges Ba­sotho were fac­ing in the ap­pli­ca­tion process. He said the cost of the spe­cial per­mit equals some of the prospec­tive ap­pli­cants’ salaries.

“We un­der­stand that the spe­cial per­mits are ex­pen­sive for our peo­ple but un­for­tu­nately there isn’t much that we can do to sub­sidise the cost as the money pays for the ser­vices we get from South Africa,” said Mr Mokoai.

He said some Ba­sotho could af­ford the ap­pli­ca­tion fee, but feared get­ting ar­rested for hav­ing il­le­gal per­mits.

“Some do have the money but had al­ready ob­tained the doc­u­ments il­le­gally. They are afraid to come forth to ob­tain le­gal doc­u­ments lest they are ar­rested,” Mr Mokoai said.

“We re­ally urge Ba­sotho to take this op­por­tu­nity be­cause, should they be traced and found with il­le­gal doc­u­ments af­ter the reg­is­tra­tion, they will face the wrath of the law which we won’t be able to help them out.”

He said they had em­barked on in­ten­sive outreach pro­grammes in such places as churches and schools in South Africa to raise aware­ness on the spe­cial per­mits.

“We have tar­geted schools be­cause the South African au­thor­i­ties have made it very clear that no pupil would sit for their fi­nal ex­am­i­na­tions with­out proper doc­u­ments,” said Mr Mokoai.

— File pic

Ba­sotho at­tend­ing an outreach pro­gramme for the spe­cial per­mit in Se­bo­keng Zone 10 in South Africa.

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