I am a South African passport holder on a UK Tier 5 visa that expires on 6 September 2015. I'd love to visit Malta before then. I realise that I need a Schengen visa. What will this cost in pounds? How soon will I need to apply? I am a religious sister and will be able to stay in the convent where my needs will be taken care of. Besides my air ticket which will be covered by the church and details of my bank account, what else will I require?
You'll need to make an appointment for a personal appearance at the Embassy of Malta (call 020 7292 4821). Malta is a Schengen signatory and operates within that framework for tourists and business visitors.
The items you listed will be part of your evidence: air tickets in and out, bank account details. If you are being hosted by a convent, they should make a written confirmation and send you a copy whilst faxing the other to the Maltese consulate prior to your appointment. They should also state WHAT your activities will be during your visit as this will help determine if a business Schengen is more appropriate.
Having your personal itinerary available during your appointment will also be helpful.
As to residency requirements, you'll need at least three months remaining on your UK visa as of your return date, 4 Jan 2015 and based upon what you wrote, you're good on that requirement.
A passport photo.
They will accept credit cards or euro or the equivalent amount in sterling, slightly less than 50 GBP.
Any other questions can be answered by the consulate when you call to make your appointment.