Minister Gigaba announces new Lesotho Special Dispensation

By Drum Digital
25 November 2015

Home Affairs minister, Malusi Gigaba has announced measures to improve the movement between the Kingdom of Lesotho and South Africa

by implementing the Lesotho Special Dispensation after talks with Lesotho’s minister of Home Affairs, Lekhetho Rakuoane.

The Lesotho Special Permit (LSP) aims to regularise the stay of Lesotho nationals currently residing in South Africa illegally, some of whom have fraudulently obtained South African documents.

Lesotho nationals who voluntarily surrender fraudulent permits or SA passports and IDs will be granted amnesty. Gigaba says it is an opportunity for them to avoid imprisonment and improve their stay in South Africa.

“This will assist in ensuring that all persons living in South Africa are here on a lawful basis with correct documentation, while supporting efforts to better manage labour flows from the Southern African Development Community,” he says.

The dispensation is for Lesotho nationals who are working, studying or running businesses in SA without legal documentation who have been in the country before 30 September 2015.

The special permit will be valid for 4 years from 1 May 2016 - 30 April 2020.

“The special dispensations for Zimbabwean and Lesotho nationals residing in SA illegally were in part intended consciously to ease the pressure exerted on the country’s Refugee Reception Offices, dealing with a mixed flow of migrants, including of an economic nature,” he says,

“This approach is therefore helping in separating economic migrants from asylum seekers and refugees. The benefits should include enhanced refugee management and refugee protection.”

The LSP project has been established on the same basis as the Zimbabwean Special Permit (ZSP) which Gigaba describes as having been a “success”.

In regards to the ZSP the total number of applications made online reached 208, 967. The number of applicants who submitted their applications and biometrics was 197, 950.

A total of 197, 790 ZSP permits were approved with 160 applications still under review which the Department says is a result of ‘technical issues’ relating to the finalisation of applications, the submission of incomplete applications, capturing biometrics and ensuring the required police clearances have been received.

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