Court victory for kids born in SA by foreign parents

Johannesburg - Children born in SA to foreign parents are entitled to apply for citizenship, the Western Cape High Court ruled on Thursday, the Legal Resources Centre said.

"The LRC are pleased with the judgment which affirms the rights of our clients to be treated with dignity and not to be rendered non-citizens through the wrongful interpretation of statutes," said LRC spokesperson Claire Martens in a statement.

Martens said the ruling applied even if the children were born before the 2010 Amendment, which came into effect in 2013.

Read: Schools cannot threaten, detain children over missing documents - rights group

She said the applicants, represented by the LRC, were all born in SA to foreign parents before 2013 and majority of them were now over 18.

"They meet the requirements for applying for citizenship in terms of section 4(3) of the Citizenship Act, in that they were born in South Africa and have lived here since their births, and they have birth certificates attesting to their birth in South Africa," she said.

'Vulnerable to hostilities'

Martens said the department of home affairs had refused to consider their applications for citizenship.

"The LRC approached the High Court on behalf of the applicants, arguing that the refusal to consider the applications for citizenship is prejudicial to our clients in a real way, having not only practical implications but also infringing on constitutional entitlements.

"But not allowing them citizenship, the department is consigning them, unlawfully, to remain as non-citizens in the country that they have lived in since birth and is the only country they know."

Martens said the non-citizen status also rendered the applicants "vulnerable to hostilities" directed at them.

She said judgment agreed that there were constitutional entitlements at stake, including the right to dignity.

"It further states that the applicants have a statutory right to apply for citizenship and the respondents cannot limit or interfere with this right by contending that no prejudice flows."

While the court did not direct the department to provide the applicants with citizenship, Martens said it directed the department to accept the applications for citizenship from the applicants and make a decision on the applications within 10 days.

"The court also directed that the Amendment Act must be interpreted to include children born before 2013," said Martens.

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For 14 free days, you can have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today. Thereafter you will be billed R75 per month. You can cancel anytime and if you cancel within 14 days you won't be billed. 
Subscribe to News24
Voting Booth
Zama zama crackdown: What are your thoughts on West Village residents taking the law into their own hands?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Results
Authorities should bring in the army already
11% - 1899 votes
Illegal miners can't be scapegoated for all crime
49% - 8728 votes
What else did we expect without no proper policing
37% - 6473 votes
Vigilante groups are also part of the problem
4% - 633 votes
Vote
Rand - Dollar
16.45
-1.6%
Rand - Pound
19.83
-1.0%
Rand - Euro
16.72
-0.6%
Rand - Aus dollar
11.56
-0.3%
Rand - Yen
0.12
-1.7%
Gold
1,778.99
-1.3%
Silver
20.26
-2.7%
Palladium
2,159.00
-3.1%
Platinum
937.50
-3.0%
Brent Crude
98.15
-1.5%
Top 40
64,022
+0.0%
All Share
70,741
+0.0%
Resource 10
63,315
-1.2%
Industrial 25
86,967
+0.5%
Financial 15
16,154
+0.6%
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes Iress logo
Editorial feedback and complaints

Contact the public editor with feedback for our journalists, complaints, queries or suggestions about articles on News24.

LEARN MORE