Source: Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr (South Africa)
A precedent setting judgment was recently handed down on 15 March 2019 by the High Court of South Africa, Gauteng Division, Pretoria in the matter of Joseph Emmanuel Jose & Another v The Minister of Home Affairs & Others Case No: 38981/17 (Jose matter).
This is a matter in which our Pro Bono & Human Rights Practice has long been fighting for justice for two young brothers (our clients) denied the opportunity to apply for the citizenship to which they are entitled under s4(3) of the South African Citizenship Act (Citizenship Act).
Section 4(3) is a provision which was introduced into the Citizenship Act on 1 January 2013 by way of the South African Citizenship Amendment Act (Amendment Act). It makes provision for individuals born in South Africa (SA) to foreign parents who have not been admitted to the Republic for permanent residence, and who have lived in the Republic from the time of birth until obtaining the age of majority, to apply for citizenship.
Despite the passage of a number of years since the coming into force of s4(3), the Department of Home Affairs (DHA) has failed to put in place the necessary administrative arrangements for people who qualify for citizenship under this provision, to make the necessary applications – including promulgating the necessary application forms – thereby rendering it all but impossible for those eligible to do so, to apply.