20 months (!) later: Permanent Residence Applications may be submitted again

For anyone who intended to apply for a permanent residence permit for South Africa, there is now some good news. With effect from 3 January 2022, VfS and the Embassies, Consulates and High Commissions will again allow the submission of permanent residence applications. Since March 2020 there was no legal way to submit new applications for a permanent residence permit, neither were existing applications processed nor appeals against rejections heard. It was a long holiday for the Department of Home Affairs in Pretoria, initiated and extended without any reasonable grounds other than laziness and xenophobia by Minister Aaron Motsoaledi.

This Minister has been summoned to various court cases by now, each one under the same tenor of himself and his department not operating properly or being closed for no valid reason. It is of ongoing concern that such an important department is working with ancient technology, has not budgeted any funds for upgrades and is notoriously slow in processing ANY kind of application. While Naledi Pandor was Minister of Home Affairs there was a silver lining at the horizon with new technology coming into play and process optimisation starting to show reduced processing times, but with the advent of Mr Motsoaledi’s reign, all her efforts became in vain. Motsoaledi does not believe in residents getting their ID Books or passports faster than within a year, and he also rejects the notion of necessity to be in possession of an unabridged birth or marriage certificate as those now take longer than a year to be issued, a matter that should actually take minutes to be taken care of either online or at the Department.

Now, finally, after 20 excruciating months, permanent residence applications will be accepted. But there is a caveat: while Motsoaledi and his staff were frolicking around, doing back-flips and picking daisies, the backlog in unprocessed permanent residence applications has reached almost 40 000 (sic!). This will have its direct effect on the processing time of any application that is submitted now and it can only be speculated how little the dishonourable Minister will do to rectify this issue. We might be back where we were 15 years ago faster than we thought as during those times permanent residence applications took up to five years to be processed … not jinxing it, just being realistic!

We can only hope for a new Minister, one of Pandor’ statue and commitment, to fix this mess, but as long as Mr. Motsoaledi holds the reigns, all hope is faint!

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