Op-ed: One person, one passport, one road to injustice

Published: 6/Sep/2015
Source: Daily Maverick

By Stephen Grootes

The issue of nationality, nationalism and what it means to be South African is something we, as a relatively young nation, are still grappling with. Normally, we try to concentrate on the warm and fuzzy; we all celebrate sporting victories, we all party when we host big international events. But there is a dark underside to our understanding. It goes to the heart of what it really means to be South African. It now appears the African National Congress is seriously contemplating forcing people to hold only the passport of one country. While it is unworkable in a real world, even the fact that it is being considered is revealing.

On Sunday the Sunday Times splashed with ‘ANC threat to ban dual citizenship’, a lengthy and well-sourced report suggesting that the African National Congress wants South Africans to have only one passport. In other words, if they currently have two passports, they would have to give up the other, if they wanted to keep their South African passport. The money quote is from the chairman of the ANC’s international relations commission, and Deputy Minister in the Presidency Obed Bapela, in which he says: “The question is to see if the world still needs this model of dual citizenship … We say in this new world order, people should just say I am a citizen of South Africa and I pledge my allegiance to this country. But I do have a home (outside the country).”

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Themes: Dual Nationality
Regions: Southern Africa, South Africa
Year: 2015