No plans to review dual citizenship laws

Cape Town – Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba says there are currently no plans to review South Africa’s dual citizenship laws.

The Minister said this when briefing journalists in response to media reports that the ruling party was looking at deliberating on whether to review dual citizenship at its upcoming National General Council.

“From the point of view of government, there is absolutely no reviews of the Citizenship Act no plans to review it.

“I must emphasise that there would never be a time where we take an arbitrary decision on these issues. We will always be guided by the Constitution and what is in the best interest of our country and our people,” he said.

According to media reports, the issue of reviewing dual citizenship was discussed at the ruling party’s July Lekgotla where some members of the ANC raised concerns on whether the policy needed to be reviewed to stop South African citizens from taking up arms for other countries that are at war with SA’s allies.

A reference was made to South African citizens who took up arms for the Israeli army against Palestine.

South Africa’s foreign policy position is that both Israel and Palestine must co-exist.

The Minister said despite the media reports, and the views expressed by individual ruling party members, the discussion documents on peace and stability do not raise the matter of dual citizenship and as such, government sees no reason to review the Citizenship Act.

“But that is the sovereignty terrain of the ruling party. We, if the matter was raised [at the National General Council] would then engage with it with a view to rather strengthen and improve the legislation rather than create any difficulty.

“We are aware that this has caused a lot of consternation among a lot of people and we would appeal for calm so nobody should feel that views expressed by any person, whether a chairperson of a committee, or member of the leading structures of the ruling party, do not necessarily reflect the views of government, of Cabinet or the Department of Home Affairs in particular and certainly do not reflect the collective decisions of the ruling party itself,” he said.

He said the last time the department amended the Citizenship Act was in 2009 to review a number of aspects, including a provision that if you fight for another country that is at war with South Africa, you have chosen a flag and therefore you will lose your South African citizenship.