Court dismisses Zimbabwean parents’ attempt to get SA citizenship for their children

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A legal attempt by Zimbabwean parents to secure South African citizenship for their three children, born in South Africa, has  failed.

The High Court in Limpopo dismissed the application brought by the two parents, who wanted the court to review the decision of the home affairs minister not to issue birth certificates to children born in the country to foreign parents.

The parents currently live in Ga-Maesela village in the Sekhukhune district.

They have three minor children, who were born between 2010 and 2016.

All their children were given unabridged certificates for non-citizens.

In their application, the parents wanted to retain their Zimbabwean citizenship but wanted their minor children, born in South Africa, to have South African citizenship.

One parent told the court he was on a work permit in the country.

However, the court found it difficult to accept his claim that he was on a work permit and said he needed to submit documentation to support his claim.

Acting Judge Thandi Makweya said The terms of the work permit are unknown.

“Its start-off and end-off dates are not known, and the applicant did not argue about it.

“The court, as it stands, needs to find out if the applicant is indeed on a work permit or not.

“And, in that case, the court will assume that the applicants, especially the first applicant, as he was the one claiming that he has a work permit, not to have one, that will mean that the applicants are assumed to be visitors as they only have their passports to prove that they are legally in the country,” Makweya added in her judgment.

Makweya said the children had the same citizenship and nationality as their parents – and, therefore, they assume the citizenship of Zimbabwe, like their parents.

“The minor children have a right to Zimbabwean citizenship by virtue of their parents being its citizens. It should be taken into consideration that one cannot separate the children from their parents only about citizenship.

“They derive their rights from their parents’ status. The fact that they were born in South Africa does not mean that they abandoned their parents’ country, mainly because their parents are in South Africa, allegedly on a ‘work permit’, which was not attached to the applicant’s bundle.

“Therefore, the court cannot elaborate more on it because it was not before the court on the date of the argument,” the judge said.

Makweya also said the first issue the court should look at was that the parents were the natural guardians of the three minor children and that the next step was the Children’s Act, which states that when dealing with matters concerning children, the court should consider the interests of the children.

The court dismissed the parents’ application.