DA celebrates striking down on apartheid-era loss of Citizenship law

13 Jun 2023 in News

Please find attached a soundbite by Adrian Roos MP.

The DA today celebrates with thousands of South Africans abroad who had unknowingly lost their South African citizenship due to a draconian piece of apartheid legislation.

The Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) today declared that s 6(1)(a) of the South African Citizenship Act 88 of 1995 is inconsistent with the Constitution and is invalid from its promulgation on 6 October 1995. It is further declared that those citizens who lost their citizenship by operation of s 6(1)(a) of the South African Citizenship Act 88 of 1995 are deemed not to have lost their citizenship. Download the judgment here.

After a 9-year-long campaign by the DA Abroad and a 5-year court battle by the DA, the judgment of the SCA is a victory for the constitutional right to citizenship.

Section 6(1) of the Citizenship Act provides that an adult citizen loses their South African citizenship if they take on the citizenship of another country by a voluntary and formal act other than marriage without first receiving permission from the minister of home affairs to retain their South African citizenship.

The SCA found that this vests in the Minister a vague and undefined discretionary power in relation to the retention of a fundamental right, the right to citizenship.

In a 2020 judgement against Home Affairs the Constitutional Court stated that “the systematic act of stripping millions of black South Africans of their citizenship was one of the most pernicious policies of the apartheid regime, which left many as foreigners in the land of [their] birth.”

This provision is in fact carried over from an apartheid-era Citizenship Act which was used by the apartheid government to strip exiled freedom fighters and those taking citizenship of bantustans of their South African citizenship without their knowledge.

It doesn’t belong in our constitutional democracy. If the ANC is serious about ridding our legislation of apartheid statutes, they will not appeal this judgment.

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