7 September 2016

September is the last month for Basotho who work, study or do business in South Africa to apply for special permits – to regularize their stay in South Africa. The initial closing date was 30 June 2016. We accepted a request from the Lesotho authorities to extend for 3 months, ending this month, to allow more time for Basotho to apply. 

It is for this reason that we have gone out, in full force, to remind the Basotho of the final countdown. This is in their best interest, and in the interest of South Africans to whom they render services or with whom they do business.

The total number of applications received online is 66 164. Out of these, the number of applicants who made the necessary payment and booked appointments to visit VFS centres to complete the process is 42 185. Of these, 39 195 applications have gone through at VFS.

Between now and end of September 2016, we will take applications without passports. But the applicants have until the end of December 2016 to present their valid passports. We are doing this because people had to travel back to Lesotho to get passport.

Although we expected more numbers of applications, the Lesotho Special Permit project was still a big success, especially with regard to building the Lesotho national population register in the time this project was running. This provides a basis for the promotion of free movement between our two countries, the Kingdom of Lesotho and the Republic of South Africa. 

We are only 23 days to the closing day. I therefore urge Basotho nationals, who had not applied, to visit various centres provided by the Lesotho Government to complete their birth registration and ID enrolment so they can apply for the special permit before the end of September (2016). We have granted amnesty to Basotho in possession of fraudulently acquired documentation, until 31 December 2016, so there should be no fear of arrest or deportation. 

For media enquiries, please contact Thabo Mokgola on 060 962 4982 or Mayihlome Tshwete