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AfriForum welcomes judgment that affirms right to SA citizenship

The civil rights organisation AfriForum welcomes a watershed judgment handed down in the Supreme Court of Appeal yesterday which determines that many South Africans abroad will have their South African citizenship reinstated, which inter alia means that they will be able to participate in the South African national elections in 2024.

The Supreme Court of Appeal ruled that Section 6 (1)(a) of the South African Citizenship Act (Act 88 of 1995) is contrary to the Constitution and therefore has been invalid since the Act had been implemented on 6 October 1995. The case was brought by the DA based on their opinion that the South African Citizenship Act was unconstitutional. The party also argued that when South Africans naturalised abroad without prior application to retain their citizenship, they were deprived of their South African citizenship unlawfully.

The judgment follows a nine-year campaign by the DA abroad and a five-year legal battle. The legal battle ensued after complaints by numerous South Africans who had unknowingly lost their South African citizenship when they applied for citizenship in another country.

This judgment is a huge victory for every South African abroad who had lost their citizenship.

“I want to emphasize that citizenship is important, as it creates a sense of belonging and contributes to someone’s identity,” says Sue-Ann de Wet, AfriForum’s Head of Diaspora.

Furthermore, it is regrettable that the government alienates South African emigrants regularly, as is demonstrated by taxation legislation aimed at draining more money from people who work in other countries. “Our people abroad are our best ambassadors and must be helped to maintain their identity. They are our family, friends and representatives and we cannot afford to lose them. One thing is certain ‒ if the country’s political and safety environment had been different, far fewer South Africans would have gone looking for greener pastures,” adds De Wet.

AfriForum wants to encourage people to participate in the South African national election in 2024. “Every vote counts,” emphasises De Wet.

AfriForum Worldwide intends, as in the past, to keep expats informed of matters concerning the South African national election. Information on how to vote abroad, as well as which documents will be required to register, will be provided at a later stage.

Download the judgment here.

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