Dead­line ex­ten­sion for SA per­mits

Lesotho Times - - Front Page - Lim­pho Sello

BASOTHO liv­ing in South Africa il­le­gally have been given up to 31 March 2017 to fi­nalise their ap­pli­ca­tions for the four-year Le­sotho Spe­cial Per­mit (LSP).

The dead­line is for the sub­mis­sion of all rel­e­vant doc­u­ments to sup­port their LSP ap­pli­ca­tions.

Ad­dress­ing a press con­fer­ence in Maseru this week, Home Af­fairs Min­is­ter Ad­vo­cate Lekhetho Rakuoane said the re­quired doc­u­ments in­cluded a birth cer­tifi­cate, na­tional iden­tity doc­u­ment, ref­er­ence let­ter from the em­ployer and a pass­port.

He said the fail­ure to sub­mit all the re­quired doc­u­men­ta­tion on or be­fore the 31 March dead­line ren­dered ap­pli­ca­tions void and would re­sult in a re­fund of the ap­pli­ca­tion fee.

“All Basotho work­ing in South Africa who will not ap­ply for LSPS be­fore 31 De­cem­ber 2016 and cur­rently work­ing in South Africa with­out proper and rel­e­vant doc­u­men­ta­tion will be in trou­ble and risk be­ing ar­rested or de­ported,” Adv Rakuoane said.

“I there­fore ap­peal to all Basotho to take this cru­cial op­por­tu­nity to avoid bit­ter con­se­quences and never cry for split milk.

“I fur­ther ap­peal to all Basotho to take this last op­por­tu­nity to ap­ply for LSP so that they can con­tinue with their var­i­ous busi­nesses in South Africa such as study­ing, work­ing and start­ing their own busi­nesses,” Adv Rakuoane said.

Adv Rakuoane said the dead­line ex­ten­sion was agreed af­ter ne­go­ti­a­tions with his South African coun­ter­part Malusi Gi­gaba.

He said the ex­ten­sion was ne­ces­si­tated by Basotho’s strug­gles in get­ting ref­er­ence let­ters from em­ploy­ers and mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties. The min­is­ter pointed out that sea­sonal work­ers and stu­dents also ex­pe­ri­enced dif­fi­cul­ties in meet­ing the previous dead­line.

Adv Rakuoane said 102 316 Basotho had ap­plied for the LSP, while 64 427 had paid fees and were wait­ing to be called to Visa and Per­mit Fa­cil­i­ta­tion Cen­tres.

For his part, Mr Gi­gaba said South Africa had found it nec­es­sary to grant the ex­ten­sion af­ter re­quests and fur­ther con­sul­ta­tions with the Le­sotho govern­ment.

“The LSP Tech­ni­cal Com­mit­tee, led by our Di­rec­tor-gen­eral Mkuseli Apleni and Le­sotho Prin­ci­pal Sec­re­tary of Home Af­fairs, Ad­vo­cate Habokhethoe Sekonyela met again to mon­i­tor progress. They re­it­er­ated the com­mit­ment of the two coun­tries to treat the project as a high pri­or­ity,” Mr Gi­gaba said.

“Among the ma­jor con­straints iden­ti­fied was ac­cess to on­line ser­vices, con­nec­tiv­ity, and low sup­port by em­ploy­ers for their Basotho em­ploy­ees and as­sis­tance from schools where chil­dren from Le­sotho study.”

He ap­pealed to em­ploy­ers and school prin­ci­pals to pro­vide the req­ui­site let­ters with­out fear as there would be no con­se­quences for them dur­ing the amnesty pe­riod.

Mr Gi­gaba said Basotho must have ap­plied and paid by 31 De­cem­ber 2016 to avoid the neg­a­tive con­se­quences.

“Be­yond this date, money will be re­funded where the ap­pli­ca­tion process is in­com­plete and de­por­ta­tions will also kick in for those found in the coun­try with­out en­abling doc­u­ments that le­galise their stay.

“Le­sotho nationals who have ap­plied should phone the VFS call cen­tre to check if their per­mits are ready for col­lec­tion and duly col­lect them. Basotho who pro­duced Le­sotho ID cards when ap­ply­ing with­out valid pass­ports are to pro­vide their pass­ports lat­est 31 De­cem­ber 2016,” Mr Gi­gaba said.

Mr Gi­gaba added: “From 01 Jan­uary 2017 all those who have paid but have not com­pleted the ap­pli­ca­tion process by end March 2017 will face de­por­ta­tion. This goes also for those who did not make any at­tempt to reg­u­larise their stay in South Africa.”

The min­is­ter said they had names of those who filled in the forms but had not com­pleted the process, ad­ding, “their names will be re­ferred to the ports of en­try for list­ing. The amnesty and the mora­to­rium not to de­port will be lifted on 31 March 2017”.

He said ex­tra ef­fort would be made be­tween now and De­cem­ber to en­cour­age more peo­ple to com­plete the process and col­lect their spe­cial per­mits.

“Our teams will go out to where peo­ple are and also stream­line the ap­pli­ca­tion and pay­ment process to make it eas­ier for the ap­pli­cants,” said Mr Gi­gaba.

SA Min­is­ter of Home Af­fairs Malusi Gi­gaba and his coun­ter­part Ad­vo­cate Lekhetho Rakuoane.

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