By Adrian Roos MP (DA Deputy Shadow Minister of Home Affairs) and Dr Rory Jubber (DA Abroad Leader)
The DA will be one step closer to justice for South Africans who were unfairly stripped of their citizenship when the Gauteng Division of the High Court hears our case against the Department of Home Affairs on 10 May 2021.
Since 1995 South African citizens have been effectively stripped of their citizenship, often without any knowledge that this has occurred, due to Section 6(1)(a) of the South African Citizenship Act 88 of 1995 stating that a citizen shall cease to be a South African citizen if he or she by some voluntary and formal act, other than marriage, acquires the citizenship or nationality of a country other than South Africa.
Currently, the only recourse that South Africans have to avoid this when applying for an additional citizenship, is to apply to the Minister of Home Affairs, Dr. Aaron Motsoaledi, to allow them to retain their South African citizenship. If a citizen does not apply for retention of citizenship and proceeds with the application for the citizenship of another country, then they are deprived of their South African citizenship. This is the case even if the citizen does not know the relevant arcane section of the Citizenship Act.
However, this service remains closed even under lockdown level 1 despite the DA informing the Minister that citizens will be denied their constitutional right to citizenship and requesting that the service be urgently reopened.
The Department has failed to answer a written parliamentary question submitted by the DA regarding the medical, scientific, or Covid-19-risk related reasons these services remain closed.
The DA submitted its heads of argument to the High Court in late 2020, arguing that:
- Section 6(1)(a) of the Act is inconsistent with the Constitution and invalid;
- All persons who had lost their South African citizenship in terms of Section 6(1)(a) of the Act on or after 6 October 1995 are South African citizens; and
- That all persons referred to above may apply to the Minister in terms of Section 15 of the Act for the appropriate certificate of citizenship.
If the DA is successful, we will overturn the effects of the unfair stripping of citizenship. Nobody should be stripped of their citizenship unwittingly and the DA and DA Abroad will fight for the constitutional rights of all South Africans, at home and abroad.