Special permits bring cheer to Basotho during Easter
Scores of Basotho holding South Africa special permits that allow them to work and study in the country say their compliance with the law has come with many benefits, including going home during the Easter holiday without any hassles.
Unlike ordinary travellers whose passports are stamped whenever they cross the borders into South Africa, passports of holders of the Lesotho Special Permits (LSP) are only scanned for record keeping, thus saving them both time and pages in their travel documents.
The LSP holders will only require to apply for new passports when their permits expire in 2019.
One of the Basotho who was travelling Ficksburg Bridge during Easter holidays
Mapaseka Lerotholi,36, a mother of three working in Welkom as a domestic worker said the LSP permits have made her life much easier.
Lerotholi told The Weekly on Easter Monday during an interview, “I used to leave home early in the morning to avoid long queues and delays in catching taxies home but this new permit has made things much easier for me. I no longer have to queue for hours to have my passport stamped; it’s now just scanned and this saves pages. I will only spent my money on passport after four years when this permit expires,” she said.
Echoing her sentiments Moshe Mallei, 28, who works as a herd boy on a farm in Fourisburg said the special permits have not only saved them for crossing the border illegally but now allows them to enjoy the same benefits with their fellow South African employees.
“My boss has now registered me under the Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) which I was not entitled to before I applied for the special permit. It (permit) serves as my protection against any abuse by employers. I can now approach the department of labour for any complains,” he pointed out.
The LSP application period expired on March 31, 2017.
South Africa’s three provinces of Free State, Eastern Cape and Kwazulu-Natal share 14 border crossings with Lesotho.
The LSP came after Lesotho’s Minister of Home Affairs Lekhetho Rakuoane approached his former SA counterpart Malusi Gigaba requesting the introduction of a special permit to ease the movement of Basotho to and from her giant neighbour.
Manager of Home Affairs in the Free State Bonakela Mayekiso said the documentation of Basotho would benefit both countries and assist to reduce crime on the side of South Africa.
“When Basotho are legally here, criminal activities will be reduced because we will know the people who are staying in our country and for what reasons,” Mayekiso explained.
A total of 102 316 Lesotho nationals submitted online applications for the LSP and out of these, 64 427 were successful while the remainder were rejected for various reasons including lack of proper documents.