South Africa: Case Note: Mulowayi v Minister of Home Affairs [2019] ZACC 1 (29 January 2019)

Published: 29/Jun/2020
Source: Statelessness and Citizenship Review

By Jo Venkov


Mulowayi v Minister of Home Affairs (‘Mulowayi’) is an appeal to the South African Constitutional Court (‘Constitutional Court’) from a decision of the High Court of South Africa (‘High Court’) dealing with the validity of a regulation amending the South African Citizenship Act

Although the Constitutional Court’s decision deals with the error of the High Court, some of the judgment is devoted to a discussion on the status of the third applicant, Mr and Mrs Mulowayi’s son Gaddiel. Gaddiel is stateless and faces legal and practical obstacles to obtaining South African citizenship. It is the Constitutional Court’s obiter comments on the wider issues arising from South Africa’s citizenship regime — especially as they affect stateless people — that are of most interest. Navigating complex administrative processes to give effect to rights available under citizenship laws is one of the hurdles that many stateless people face. Mulowayi shows that such hurdles impact stateless people living in South Africa today.


Themes: Acquisition of nationality, Acquisition by children, Naturalisation and Marriage, Nationality and Refugees
Regions: South Africa
Year: 2020