Source: Lawyers for Human Rights (South Africa)
Supreme Court of Appeal: Minister of Home Affairs and others v DGLR and another (Case number 1051/2015 SCA)
This morning, the 6th of September 2016, the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) was scheduled to hear the case of an 8 year old stateless child who was born in South Africa. The Department of Home Affairs asked for leave to appeal a judgement of the Pretoria High Court declaring the child to be a South African citizen. After a two year wait for set down and at the last minute the Department decided to withdraw the appeal and agreed to the following terms:
1. The child is declared to be a South African citizen by birth;
2. The Department will comply with High Court order by issuing the child with a South African citizen ID number and birth certificate;
3. The Minister of Home Affairs will make regulations to section 2(2) within 18 months in order to allow other stateless children to apply for citizenship.
Since section 2(2) was inserted into the Citizenship Act, it was impossible to implement, because there was no application form. Once the regulations are passed, other stateless children will also be able to apply for citizenship and will no longer be stateless.
The Department appealed the judgment on the basis that too many children are expected to apply for citizenship. However, there is no basis to believe that an inordinate amount of children will qualify for citizenship under this section. It is a preventative measure for special cases and will protect the most vulnerable of children. It applies to children born in South Africa who do not have a claim to another country’s citizenship. Stateless children can never leave South Africa, nor obtain legal status in the country without section 2(2). It is imperative that it be implemented and because of the outcome of this case, now it will be.
Follow this link to watch the short video on the case: https://youtu.be/ih5keCYFHyM
Link to LHR website.