Zimbabwe: Shaw and Another v Registrar General of Citizenship and 3 Others

Published: 22/Mar/2022
Source: High Court of Zimbabwe (Harare)

Shaw and Another v Registrar General of Citizenship and 3 Others (Case No. 250 of 2022) [2022] ZWHHC 250 (25 March 2022);
[2022] ZWHHC 250

KWENDA J: This is a court application for orders confirming that the applicants are citizens of Zimbabwe by birth with rights, privileges and benefits of citizenship; that for the avoidance of doubt, they are each entitled to Zimbabwean residence, national identity card and a passport and that they shall not be required to renounce their South African citizenship before enjoying the said rights and privileges. They also seek an order for costs absolved on a legal practitioner client scale against the respondents jointly and severally, one paying the others to be absolved. The respondents are the Registrar General of Citizenship in Zimbabwe, Principal Director of Immigration, the Attorney General and the Minister of Home Affairs who are all cited in their stated official capacities.

The first applicant is a documented permanent resident of Zimbabwe born in the Johannesburg, South Africa on 5 December 1945. He was born to the marriage of Bernard James Shaw (father) and Cornelia Johanna Cathrina Roux (mother). At the time of the first applicant’s birth his father was a citizen of Botswana by birth and his mother, a Zimbabwean citizen. born in Insiza district, Zimbabwe. The first applicant married Isobel Shaw (nee Watt) a Zimbabwean national on the 27 March 1971 and the marriage subsists. The first applicant’s Zimbabwean permanent residence status is duly endorsed on his South African passport.

The second applicant is the first applicant’s daughter born on 14 May 1986 at the Avenues Clinic in Harare, Zimbabwe. Her mother is Isobel Show (nee Watt) who, as stated above, is a citizen of Zimbabwe. She is a South African citizen. She holds a Zimbabwean national identity card issued by the first respondent but it records that she is alien.

All the above facts which the applicants rely on are backed by supporting documents in the form of birth certificates, marriage certificates and title deeds, as the case may be.

Both applicants aver that they are citizens of Zimbabwe by operation of s 36 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe. The first respondent steadfastly refused to recognise them as citizens of this country and denies them the rights, privileges and benefits of Zimbabwean citizen ship. Among other deprivations, the first respondent has refused to issue a Zimbabwean National Identity card to the first respondent who is, for that reason, unable to register as a voter. The second respondent has unlawfully restricted the first applicant’s entry and both applicants’ movement in Zimbabwe, treating them as foreigners when in actual fact they are citizens of Zimbabwe. The first respondent requires the applicants to renounce South African citizenship before granting them full rights, privileges and benefits of citizenship of Zimbabwe.


The facts relied upon by the applicants are not disputed. All the respondents asked for was more evidence which the applicants have placed before the court. The first applicant’s mother was a citizen of Zimbabwe by birth and she considered Zimbabwe as her permanent home despite her wanderings to South Africa. After completing her course, she returned to her farm in Zimbabwe. The first applicant is therefore a citizen of Zimbabwe by operation of s 36 (2) of the Constitution.

Second applicants’ situation is clearer. Having been born in Zimbabwe to a Zimbabwean mother, she is a citizen by operation of s 36(1) of the Constitution. Identifying her as an alien has deprived her of unqualified full benefits of citizenship.

In the result I order as follows: –

  1. The applicants are both and each citizens of Zimbabwe by birth and are entitled to all rights, privileges and benefits and subject to the duties and obligations of citizenship.
  2. Paragraph 1 is not conditional upon renunciation of their South African citizenship.

Read full judgment: https://zimlii.org/zw/judgment/harare-high-court/2022/250

Themes: Acquisition de la nationalité, Double Nationalité, Acquisition par les enfants
Regions: Zimbabwe
Year: 2022