30 September 2016

Pretoria- This being the last day for receiving applications from Lesotho nationals for special permits, I would like to take this opportunity to thank all those people who applied for their permits, in time.Yesterday, applicants who recently received Lesotho ID cards rushed to the LSP centres to apply in large numbers to make it for the closing date. The Midrand centre assisted with over 700 application forms yesterday.

The application process was a very important exercise for those aspiring to continue to work, do business or study in South Africa, legally, and with no fear of arrest, victimisation by abusive employers, or deportation for being in the country illegally.

This year in November, the department will gazette names of all persons who applied but did not finalise their applications, and provide for a one-month grace period for submission of all outstanding information, due by 31 December 2016.

From the beginning of the applications period, on 7 March 2016, the number of Basotho nationals that have responded in the form of an enquiry or attempt is 132 269. The Lesotho Government verified 112 437 of these enquiries positively.

From this number, 52 999 applicants made the necessary payment and scheduled appointments at VFS.  A total of 49 471 applicants visited VFS offices and submitted their applications as well as supporting documents and biometrics.

On the whole, this has been a step in the right direction. All persons coming out to regularise their stay are taking us closer to the goal of knowing for certain who is in our country. The process did much also to reinforce population registration of the people of the Kingdom of Lesotho, which has seen an increase in the intake of applications for Birth Certificates and ID Cards.

The original closing date for LSP application was 30 June. It was extended to 30 September for more people to apply. Applications were received on our behalf by VFS, which did a splendid job on this.

The department would like to remind Basotho who produced their Lesotho ID cards, without valid passports, to provide their passports by 31 December 2016. Those who have submitted fully completed applications but could not pay immediately should ensure they had done so by 31 December 2016.

Basotho nationals enjoyed amnesty, ending 31 December 2016, allowing for the handover of fraudulent SA IDs at dedicated Home Affairs offices.

This day, Friday 30 September 2016, is the closing date. However, following the meeting I had yesterday with the Minister of Home Affairs in Lesotho, Lekheto Rakuane, there was a request to extend the deadline to accommodate those who had experienced difficulties in applying for their permits, in particular, seasonal workers. I am considering the request. Discussions are continuing with the Lesotho authorities on the next steps to follow in this process of regularising the stay of Basotho in the Republic.  

Home Affairs would like to thank everybody who took the responsibility to get their Lesotho documents and duly applied for special permits. This is in their best interest and those of our two countries and our people who have an inalienable right to safety, security, and protection before the law. Thank you also to all officials, and VFS, for their dedication to the task at hand.

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