A law that strips South Africans of their citizenship is expected to be removed by the South African government.
As per section 6(1) of the Citizenship Act, South Africans automatically lose their citizenship if they voluntarily obtain citizenship with another country. This is a continuation of an apartheid-era law.
This law exists despite the Constitution stating that no South African may be stripped of their South African citizenship.
Removing the right to citizenship also violates other rights enshrined in the Constitution, including the right to vote, the right to reside in South Africa, the right to stand for public office and the right to choose any occupation.
Those who would like to retain their South African citizenship under the standing laws would need to apply to the Minster of Home Affairs to do so.
The matter was taken to Pretoria High Court, but Section 6(1) of the Act was still upheld.
However, in June last year, the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) said that the section was inconsistent with the Constitution and thus invalid.
The SCA ordered that citizens who lost their citizenship since the operation of the section in 1995 are deemed not to have lost their citizenship.
The court said that the Minister’s powers regarding retaining the fundamental right to citizenship are too vague and undefined.
The applicant’s (the Democratic Alliance’s) legal costs were also ordered to be paid by the Department of Home Affairs.
The Department of Home Affairs could appeal the case or accept the SCA’s ruling.
BusinessTech asked the Department of Home Affairs on its position on the ruling but received no response by the time of publication.
However, the DA’s Adrian Roos, who is on the Portfolio Committee for Home Affairs, said that the Department of Home Affairs will not be appealing the SCA’s judgement.
“The ruling of unconstitutionality made by the Supreme Court needs to be ratified by the ConCourt before it comes into force,” he said.
“The Minister (Aaron Motsoaledi) indicated in response to an oral question of mine last year in Parliament that he (Home Affairs) would not challenge the judgment. So it’s a matter of waiting for the ConCourt to ratify the ruling,” Roos said.