South Africa: Citizenship of ‘foreign children’

Published: 20/Apr/2017
Source: Bosveld Review (South Africa)

The Department of Home Affairs said the basic principle of the South African Citizenship Act is that a child follows the citizenship or nationality of his or her parents.

By Nelie Erasmus

POLOKWANE – If one parent is a South African citizen, the child will be a citizen by birth, and the department says it applies the law when it determines and records the identity and status of persons.

The statement follows media reports claiming that the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) may probe why children born to foreign parents are not automatically awarded citizenship.

The reports further allege that the SAHRC leadership is unaware that birth certificates are not issued to these children.

“Section 28 of the Constitution outlines rights to which children are entitled, including the right to a name and nationality.

The SA Citizenship Act, 1995 (Act No. 88 of 2005), as amended by the South African Citizenship Amendment Act, 2010 (Act No. 17 of 2010), translates and gives effect to the Constitution’s provisions. Expanding on citizenship in South Africa, it says it is obtained by birth, descent or naturalisation,” the department said in a statement.

“A foreign child adopted by South African citizens becomes a citizen by descent, while a naturalised citizen is one who has complied with the requirements for naturalisation, as set out in Section 5 of the South African Citizenship Act. It is a difficult thing to issue a birth certificate where grounds for citizenship are not established, whether in terms of birth, descent or naturalisation.

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Themes: Acquisition by children
Regions: South Africa
Year: 2017