Call for extension of Lesotho Special Permit deadline
Less than 2% of Lesotho nationals have applied so far
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.
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I fully support the request to extend the special permit for Lesotho nationals because the process of getting police clearances takes at least two to three months. Finding application centres and information also takes long.
The extension will also assist applicants to put together the application fee and money to travel to and from Lesotho for these police clearances and to the other admin ready so they can submit their applications.
Please extend the closing date.
The Lesotho permits application are not given enough time to apply. People should be given enough time, like two years or until next year June, to give people enough time to apply and to save.
I fully support this Lesotho Special Permit, but I think the time that was given was not enough. We really want to have the right papers to be in South Africa, but we would really appreciate it if the time could be extended
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