The Namibian (Windhoek)

21 January 2013

Namibia: Students in a Panic Over Study Permits

NAMIBIAN students planing to study in South Africa are angry with the South Africa High Commission for delaying the issuing of their study permits.

Several students have complained that they have not received their study permits despite having applied in advance.

Others blamed the embassy of incompetence when it comes to the processing of study permits. Students demanded to know why their applications were taking longer then the 21 working days they were promised.

Shekupe Mwiiyale said she had applied for her study permit on December 16 2012, but has not received it yet.

Mwiiyale was supposed to leave for the University of Johannesburg on Friday but couldn't.

"I am very disappointed that I have to cancel my journey and rebook for Monday in the hope that I will have received help by then. This is my fourth time here and they keep sending me back and forth. To top it all, InterCape [bus service] is fully booked and they only travel on Sunday, Monday and Friday," Mwiiyale said.

"My registration at the university is scheduled for next week on January 24 and I might still be in Namibia by then," she said.

"They have now made this a very lengthy process and their workers are not friendly enough to politely explain," Mwiiyale said.

"There is a lot of confusion here. I came to collect a study permit form and I have been told to wait outside for two hours now. This is very unpleasant because I am supposed to be at work now but am here wasting precious time. Plus, if I don't get help today I will have to come back on Monday again," another student fumed.

Deputy High Commissioner Gareth Rees said they are trying their best to assist everyone.

"We don't claim to be perfect but we are trying our best to assist everyone," he said.

Rees blamed some applicants for submitting their forms without the required documents.

"Others hand in their forms and at a later stage they come demand that they urgently need their passports back to travel and their forms cannot be processed in the absence of their passports," Rees said.

According to Rees, this time of the year is a very busy one for the high commission and they receive many more applications than usual.

"I think the timeframe is very reasonable considering the number of documents that need to be sent to Pretoria to be captured and put on the central system. Procedures and processes do take time for security reasons," he said.

"If people have more complaints, problems or queries, they are welcome to send email to this address for answers: dibem@dirco.gov.za," Rees said.

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