18 May 2016
Immigrant rights group People Against Suffering Oppression and Poverty (PASSOP) has called for an extension of the deadline for the Lesotho Special Permit.
PASSOP wants the deadline extended from 30 June 2016 to 30 September 2016 to allow more Lesotho nationals to regularise their stay in South Africa.
According to the Department of Home Affairs, of the the 400,000 to 500,000 Lesotho nationals in South Africa, only 5,694 have successfully applied since the programme was launched in February this year.
This was less than 2% of the Lesotho nationals in SA, said PASSOP director Bernard Toyambi.
“It will be unrealistic to complete the process by 30 June 2016,” he said.
Toyambi said there were 3,500 Lesotho nationals working permanently and another 1,500 seasonal workers in the area, but they had not been properly informed about the special permit. PASSOP’s Owen Maromo, who has been assisting Lesotho nationals in De Doorns with applications, only 14 out of the 5,000 Lesotho nationals in De Doorns had applied.
Those who did know about the programme had difficulty completing the form in English, Maromo said, and also faced problems travelling to Cape Town to submit their applications. A return trip to Cape Town cost about R200, he said.
Some had to return to Lesotho for an ID. The trip cost about R700 each way.
Thabo Mokgola, spokesperson for the Department of Home Affairs, said the department was working closely with Lesotho authorities on the issue.