MASERU – South Africa’s cabinet has approved the extension of the Lesotho Special Permit (LSP) by another four years, the South African government said yesterday.
The current dispensation expires on December 31, this year.
In a statement, the South African government said the extension will allow the Department of Home Affairs (DHA) to conclude its work in finding ways to address issues of migration, particularly for citizens from the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region.
The statement indicated that the extension is only applicable to existing holders of the LSP.
The development was confirmed by the Home Affairs Minister Mokhele Moletsane.
In an interview with Public Eye yesterday, Mokhele indicated that government was pleased with the extension granted even though it would only be applicable to existing holders of the permit.
“Although it is too late, we as the government are negotiating that new applicants be allowed to apply for the permit as there are still many Basotho living in South Africa who do not have these permits.
“We are waiting patiently for the South African government’s response and we urge the nation to wait until the formal announcement is made by the government of Lesotho,” he added.
The LSP project was launched in March 2016 to regularise the status of Basotho living in South Africa. This allows them to work, study and do business.
Lesotho nationals working, studying or running businesses in South Africa and had been in the country in such capacity before September 30, 2015 were granted a special permit dispensation.
The system was also meant to pave the way for easy movement between Lesotho and South Africa by prioritising frequent travellers between the two countries.
A South African Home Affairs report issued in October 2017 indicated that 194 941 LSP applications were received out of an estimated 400 000 Basotho believed to be in South Africa.
“Out of these, about 90 225 were approved, 3 582 rejected,” the report stated.