PASSOP is appealing to the Department of Home Affairs for an extension of the Lesotho Special Permit (LSP) until 30 September 2016, following the media statement made by Minister Malusi Gigaba during his visit to the Lesotho Special Permit Centre on Tuesday 10 May 2016. According to the Department of Home Affairs and Lesotho’s National Population Register, there are between 400,000 to 500,000 Basotho’s living and working in South Africa. Unfortunately, as Minister Gigaba was briefed by VFS management on the levels of applications since the process was opened in February 2016 only 5,694 applications have been successfully submitted which less than 2% of the number of Basotho living in South Africa. PASSOP believes that the extension of project is necessary and imperative in order to find a way to spread the message to the Basotho nationals living in South Africa because it will be unrealistic to complete the process by 30 June 2016. Our experience in De Doorns provides evidence that most of Basotho nationals are not well informed about the programme and therefore, they are facing several challenges including difficulties with completing the online application and a lack of adequate and reliable transport from De Doorns to Cape Town (~ 200km) in order to submit their applications.
Moreover, PASSOP condemns the negative behavior of some employers who refuse to issue letters of employment to their employees which would allow them to finalize the application process. We appeal to employers to issue their employees with letters of employment. We reiterate our support to Minister Malusi’s comment “We want to see the Basotho becoming a part of South African society without fear of deportation and to formalize their stay in South Africa.” PASSOP believes that the Special Dispensation Project will be also extended to other SADC Countries after Lesotho.