Naturalised citizens in South Africa are being discriminated against

Published: 16/Mar/2024
Source: The South African

By Ray Leathern,

As someone born in Mzansi, you probably have no idea that naturalised citizens in South Africa are being discriminated against every day. Truthfully, we didn’t know the full extent of this problem either. That’s until our comments section and WhatsApp number blew up with messages from naturalised citizens in South Africa.

In the wake of a story we did on South African smart ID cards last week, we’ve been inundated with messages from naturalised citizens in South Africa saying they have NO opportunity to get a smart ID card. But why?

Below is a selection of messages we received from naturalised citizens in South Africa, sharing their experiences about mistreatment from the Department of Home Affairs:

  • I applied for an SA Identity Card online as a citizen by naturalisation. I then proceeded to Home Affairs in Edenvale. I filled in a piece of paper with my name, ID Number and place of birth and was let inside to take a seat. After waiting over an hour and seeing people that came after me going through for their photographs/fingerprints. I went to the counter to ask why my number had not been called. There I could see my piece of paper with big red ink through it. So, I asked the lady why there is red pen through my paper. She just said that I am not able to apply for a smart ID Card as I was not born here. (Continues…) So, I explained that I came to South Africa in 1982. I have permanent residence and a green ID book which clearly states that I am a South African citizen. Also, I am married to a South African and have two children who were born here. I was turned away and felt embarrassed by the way I was treated. I suffered great indignity. I am 49 years of age and have been living here for 42 years of my life. I love this country but I sometimes wonder whether it is worth it.
  • I am a permanent resident and have been living in South African for over 40 years. I went to the mobile home affairs unit in Calitzdorp and was told that I cannot have a smart ID card. And would have to apply for a green ID booklet in one of only three places. Each is several hundred kilometres away from where I live. This is so unjust, as I am a fully naturalised South African citizen.
  • It is impossible to apply for smart ID card for anyone born overseas. Even if you’ve been a permanent resident for more than 70 years and a naturalised South African citizen for more than 50 years and have all the documents to prove it. Home Affairs will simply turn you away.

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Themes: Naturalisation and Marriage, ID Documents and Passports
Regions: South Africa
Year: 2024