MASERU, April 13 (NNN-SABC) -- Lesotho Home Affairs (Interior) Minister Lekhetho Rakuoane has appealed to South Africa to delay the imposition of penalties for overstaying Basotho, until all eligible Lesotho Special Permit holders are processed at the end of June.
His appeal Wednesday came as the main main border post between Lesotho and South Africa in the capital, Maseru, announced that it is ready to handle the thousands of travellers expected to cross to Lesotho during the coming Easter holidays.
Many Basotho working or studying in South Africa are undocumented and more than 100,000 of them have applied for the Lesotho Special Permit to facilitate travel to South Africa. Applicatios closed at the end of March.
The Immigration Manager at the Maseru Border Post, Malefane Mojakhomo, said the challenges they encountered included people who had lost their documents or who might try to cross at undesignated places along the border. The Mountain Kingdom is a landlocked country completely surrounded by South Africa.
If they have lost their documents, we urge them to come to our offices to get help because they might end up getting mugged at the unauthorised ports of entry, he added. Mojakhomo also warned that those who still do not have the Lesotho Special Permit may face penalties.
Rakuoane said his appeal to South Africa was because there is still a lot of confusion, especially among people who have pending applications. "Our fear is that they are going to be penalised by their employers (in South Africa). So we thought we need some kind of moratorium while we are processing the pending applications," he added.
As for the increased traffic expected during the Easter weekend, he said the main ports of entry had stated that they would open extra service points and work extra hours to handle the traffic and challenges expected to peak between Thursday and Monday.
Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK