South Africa: It’s not who you are, it’s who you know

Published: 1/Jun/2017
Source: Business Day (South Africa)

Inconsistencies in the application of citizenship regulations raise serious questions around the ways in which the letter of the law is applied in SA

By Stefanie de Saude

Inconsistencies in the way South African citizenship rights are managed appear to be making citizenship more of a lucky draw than a legal process.

Recent media reports again highlighted controversy around the South African citizenship of the Gupta family, with calls by the South African Communist Party for their citizenship to be revoked.

This controversial Indian-born family’s citizenship was awarded under unspecified “exceptional circumstances”, though it is widely understood from a statement made by the minister of home affairs that the family did not meet the prescribed requirements.

The minister granted the Gupta family citizenship status in terms of section 5(1) of the South African Citizenship Act, which states that the “minister may, upon application in the prescribed manner, grant a certificate of naturalisation as a South African citizen to any foreigner who satisfies the minister” that they meet a number of requirements.

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Themes: Acquisition of nationality, Naturalisation and Marriage, Loss and Deprivation of Nationality
Regions: South Africa
Year: 2017