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Home Affairs told to unblock man’s ID after three years

Source: Pretoria News, 11/07/2024

A Man who was more than three years ago suddenly stripped of his South African citizenship by Home Affairs, and who had in the meantime lost his job as a result, turned to the court for a final interdict to force the department to unblock his ID document.
The applicant, only identified as FS, told the Gauteng High Court, Pretoria, of the hardships he has encountered after home affairs simply took away his citizenship in April 2021, based on unverified claims that he is actually a Zimbabwe national.
He said his life has been a nightmare since, as he cannot travel, he is now unemployed and he cannot even receive a social grant.
This, while FS said he had obtained his smart South African ID card decades ago, he married a South African woman and his four children all received birth certificates indicating that they are South Africans
He also submitted proof of his citizenship to the court, who concluded that “it is crystal clear” that he is a South African. In a bid to prove his South African status, the applicant even underwent DNA tests at his own expense to prove that his South African mother is indeed his blood relative.
The applicant complained that Home Affairs stripped him of his citizenship after a forensic investigation done by an unregistered company into his background. This was done at Eskom, where the applicant was previously employed.
The report, among others, stated that he was born out of wedlock.
He said certain portions of the report submitted by the investigators should not be allowed by the court, as they are “scandalous and vexatious” in that they label him as being born to an illegitimate father. He said this violated the constitutional right to human dignity of himself and his mother.
In this regard Judge Mabaeng Lenyai said: “I find the labelling of the applicant as an ‘illegitimate child’ regrettable and painful as it has a negative inference on both the applicant and his mother.”
She added that the only reason to label someone as illegitimate is to cause shame on the person so labelled, and it causes the person to feel that they are a product of some illegal activity.
“It is archaic, outdated, cruel… I would dare say it is unconstitutional to refer to someone as an illegitimate child and the court frowns upon such conduct. The respondents (Home Affairs) should be sensitive when describing people so as not to offend their human dignity,” Judge Lenyai said.
FS told the court that in 2021 Home Affairs decided that he was not a South African citizen and stripped him of his rights in this regard. The department also vowed to investigate his other family members to ascertain their legal status in the country.
He said the department has arbitrarily suspended and blocked his Smart Identity card, put marks on his passport, and confiscated both documents.
He said the department considered irrelevant and inadmissible documents and evidence when considering his matter, and ignored his submissions and documents he furnished.
Judge Lenyai said that the applicant has a clear right to the relief sought. His submissions to the circumstances of his birth, including the facts relating to his father are reasonable to the court.
“The court takes judicial notice thereof as most black South Africans were born under such unfortunate and unfavourable conditions during the dark days of the history of our country. No one should take advantage of those circumstances or persecute the people affected any further. It is enough,” the judge said.
She declared him a South African citizen and ordered Home Affairs to give him back his documents.

South Africa Immigration Company