The legal consequences of the acquisition of foreign citizenship were the subject of Democratic Alliance v Minister of Home Affairs,1 a 2021 case in the High Court of South Africa (Gauteng division, Pretoria). The Democratic Alliance unsuccessfully challenged the constitutionality of s 6 of the Citizenship Act 68 of 1995. This provision stipulates that adult citizens automatically (de lege) lose their South African citizenship when they ‘freely and voluntarily’ acquire another citizenship (except through marriage) without first applying for and obtaining a ministerial certificate authorising its retention. The applicants argued this policy is irrational and that it violates several fundamental rights, including the right not to be deprived of South African citizenship and other rights that are constitutionally guaranteed to citizens, particularly political participation rights, the right to enter the Republic and remain therein, and the freedom to choose an occupation.
This note critically appraises Kollapen J’s judgment, highlighting its potential detrimental effect for South Africa’s constitutional development.
David Bilchitz and Reuven (Ruvi) Ziegler, “Is the automatic loss of South African citizenship for those acquiring other citizenships constitutional? Democratic Alliance v Minister of Home Affairs“, South African Journal on Human Rights, 2023.