Source: Daily Maverick (South Africa)
By Petra Marais and Charlene Kreuser
While SA navigates through the pandemic, the Department of Home Affairs has opened and closed the doors to some of its services, citing the protection of its staff’s health.
In the legal sense, citizenship means being recognised by the law of a specific country as a member of that country. Beyond the formalities, there is the personal aspect of citizenship – the deeply rooted sense of belonging. Citizenship by naturalisation, regulated by section 4 of the South African Citizenship Amendment Act, recognises and celebrates this sense of belonging by bestowing citizenship on persons not ordinarily entitled to it by descent.
Section 4(3) provides that children born to non-citizens, who are not admitted for permanent residence, qualify for citizenship if their birth was registered, and they have lived in South Africa from birth until they are 18 years old. Since coming into effect on 1 January 2013, persons qualifying for citizenship by naturalisation under this section have faced several barriers as the Department of Home Affairs interpreted this section to only apply to children born after 1 January 2013.