According to figures from the DHA, more than 155,000 refugees and asylum seekers renewed their documents through the online system between its launch in April and December 2021.
Authorities estimate that nearly 71,000 permits due for renewal are unaccounted for as refugees and asylum seekers may have left the country, died or may not be able to use the new system, Qoza said.
Some of the challenges applicants say they face include the fact that the online information is only in English, which is not the first language of most refugees and asylum seekers.
Staff at JRS and Refugee Social Services (RSS), a charity in Durban, say successful applications have been hindered by DHA reports of “system crashes”, requiring applications to be resent.
And both organisations report many applicants getting confirmation emails without the permits attached, as well as having emails ignored if they do not contain the applicant's permit number in the subject line.