Basotho seeking to study in SA stranded over delayed Police clearances

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By Mamello Mosaefane

More than 60 Basotho students who will be pursuing their studies in South African Universities are stranded over their delayed police clearance certificates from the South African Police Services (SAPS).

These students are required to furnish their respective universities with police clearance before they could be eligible for issuance of study VISAs that are a prerequisite for their registration into the South African Universities.

South African police clearance is amongst the required documents for VISA applications when one has previously stayed in South Africa legally.

This, therefore, makes most of the postgraduate students who have previously studied in South African universities remain in dire need of police clearances from SAPS.

KDNews has learned that SAPS had declared the issuance of the police clearances owing to its ongoing project for building a new fingerprint system for clearances processing, causing delays.

KDNews understands that the students were told that the system may take longer than 8 months to be put in place and functional.

Students who have since applied for the clearances in January and some late last year have not received them due to this new system, also following an electricity outrage in the past two weeks that affected work at the SAPS headquarters Pretoria.

It is in situations like this that KDNews understands that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs usually intervened and saved the day.

But Students told KDNews that they have tried contacting the ministry, With the director consular telling them the issue is being worked on by the Lesotho High Commissioner to the Republic of South Africa based at the Lesotho High Commission in Pretoria.

Foreign Affairs Ministry official Mr. Nyaka said the High Commissioner is in negotiations with Home Affairs South Africa to allow students to apply for VISAs using their receipts acquired while applying for police clearances.

Nyaka also said the students were in previous years allowed to apply for VISA using the receipts, but students abused the system as they failed to submit the police clearance certificates as per the request when they received them.

“South African High Commission is furious because the past students have abused the system and this is why it is very difficult to negotiate now,” Nyaka said.

He however said such issues need higher authorities like the minister and the Principal Secretary to get a quick solution, as he speaks with officials at a low level.

He however said people who approach the minister and PS’s office are sent back to his office, returning things to a low-level authority that he holds.

The police advisor at the South African High commission had since advised that Foreign Affairs Lesotho should put In a word for students with South Africa to authorize for their VISA application using police clearance receipts.

He said while they understand students’ frustrations, they cannot help them without their authorities’ authorization and the government of Lesotho intervening for the students.

With this situation going on, some students have raised concerns that they are missing lectures, some missing deadlines for registration and some are losing bursaries due to the delays in bursaries.

KDNews understands that the ongoing situation puts students at risk of failing if they are already missing lectures and stand a chance to lose their bursaries with the National Manpower Development Secretariat too as it does not sponsor students after failing.

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