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'Lesotho nationals living in SA illegally will not be deported'

Minister Gigaba says the only Basotho who will be sent back home are those who have criminal records.

FILE: Minister of Home Affairs, Malusi Gigaba. Picture: Christa van der Walt/EWN.

ROODEPOORT - Home Affairs has announced that Lesotho nationals living in South Africa illegally will no longer be deported.

Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba has announced the introduction of the Lesotho Special Permit, which will allow Basotho nationals, with proof that they are either working, studying or running a business, to live in South Africa for four years.

Applications for the permit will be conducted at designated centres in all nine provinces.

The minister was accompanied by his Lesotho counterpart, Lekhetho Rakuoane, at the Lindela Repatriation Centre in Roodepoort.

WATCH: Basotho in SA no longer face deportation

Gigaba says the only Basotho who will be sent back home are those who have criminal records, adding that the Lesotho Special Permit is beneficial from an economic and security perspective.

"It is of enormous benefit to our country because in that way many of them, especially those conducting business, can therefore pay tax. Those who are studying can make their skills available both to our country and to Lesotho upon completion of their studies. Those who are working can open bank accounts and send remittances back home."

Rakuoane has urged Lesotho citizens to register for the permit, applications for all Basotho nationals will be open until the end of the year.