DA lodges complaint with the Public Protector for the discrimination of naturalised citizens by Home Affairs

Issued by Angel Khanyile MP – DA Shadow Minister of Home Affairs
07 Jul 2023 in News
  • The Department of Home Affairs’ is failing to issue Smart ID cards to naturalised South African citizens.
  • While the DHA introduced Smart ID cards in 2013, priority was given to naturally born South Africans, causing a backlog for naturalised citizens who still possess the old green ID book.
  • Most DHA offices have ceased producing the green ID book, forcing naturalised citizens to travel long distances to obtain one, which the DA sees as discriminatory and a violation of their rights.

Please find attached a soundbite by Angel Khanyile MP.

The DA has today lodged an official complaint with the acting Public Protector, Advocate Kholeka Gcaleka, requesting that she investigates the continued failure by the Department of Home Affairs (DHA) to issue Smart ID cards to naturalised South African citizens.

The DHA introduced the Smart ID cards in 2013. Priority for the issuance of these new identity cards was given to naturally born South Africans to avoid creating a backlog. Ten years later, the DHA has still not extended the privilege of acquiring Smart ID cards to naturalised citizens (who still hold the old green ID book).

Most DHA offices are now only able to issue Smart ID cards and have discontinued the production of the green ID book. This means that, should a naturalised citizen wish to obtain a green ID book (since it is the only format of ID that they can acquire), they are forced to travel long distances to the few DHA offices that still print the green ID book.

This is a serious inconvenience and an infringement on the rights of individuals who are South African citizens in every aspect of our citizenship laws. The DHA is guilty of reducing naturalised individuals to second class citizens.

The DA is of the view that the administrative conduct of the DHA is improper and prejudicial to the extent that it is discriminating against naturalised citizens in the provision of Smart ID cards. As a Member of Parliament who sits on the Parliament Portfolio Committee on Home Affairs, I have raised the issue several times whenever it came under discussion. On each occasion, the Minister of Home Affairs has made repeated undertakings to address it but nothing has come out of that. I continue to receive complaints, almost regularly, from concerned naturalised citizens who are still unable to apply for Smart ID cards.

Naturalised citizens hold the same documentation privileges as any other citizen in South Africa and they are entitled to IDs. The Public Protector’s Office should exercise its power, in terms of national legislation, to investigate and take appropriate remedial action in the DHA’s continued miscarriage of administrative justice against naturalised citizens.

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