Cit­i­zen­ship court or­der to have rip­ple ef­fect

Daily Dispatch - - News - By ADRI­ENNE CARLISLE

DOORS will open for a des­per­ate lit­tle boy born in Le­sotho after the Gra­ham­stown High Court or­dered the Home Af­fairs De­part­ment to grant him South African cit­i­zen­ship.

Home Af­fairs re­fused to reg­is­ter lit­tle Xolani (not his real name) as a South African cit­i­zen de­spite the fact he has a South African fa­ther.

Xolani was born in Le­sotho, where his mother is a cit­i­zen. The court or­dered that nei­ther the boy nor his fam­ily may be iden­ti­fied.

The case, which the Le­gal Re­sources Cen­tre (LRC) in Gra­ham­stown was in­stru­men­tal in bring­ing, was brought not just on the boy’s be­half, but also on be­half of all par­ents or guardians in a sim­i­lar po­si­tion who have been un­able to reg­is­ter the births of their chil­dren.

In a broad or­der, the court in­structed that any child born out­side South Africa but who had a South African par­ent, was a South African cit­i­zen by birth in terms of the Cit­i­zen­ship Act re­gard­less of the cit­i­zen­ship of the other par­ent.

This means Xolani, who is now eight years old and fi­nally a South African cit­i­zen, can ac­cess a sub­sidised ed­u­ca­tion, health­care as well as en­joy ac­cess to so­cial as­sis­tance, such as a child-care grant in this coun­try.

In an­other mat­ter in which the LRC is in­volved, a Port El­iz­a­beth school to­gether with the Cen­tre for Child Law (CCL) have chal­lenged the Eastern Cape ed­u­ca­tion de­part­ment’s de­ci­sion to stop fund­ing school pupils who did not have an of­fi­cial South African iden­tity num­ber.

The LRC, which is act­ing for the CCL and Phakamisa High School, says an an­nounce­ment was made in March last year that fund­ing schools for ev­ery­thing from teacher salaries to the Na­tional School Nu­tri­tion Pro­gramme and text­books would be based on pupil num­bers.

And only pupils with a valid South African iden­tity, pass­port and per­mit num­bers cap­tured on the SA Schools Ad­min­is­tra­tion and Man­age­ment Sys­tem would count.

The LRC will ar­gue that, by with­draw­ing fund­ing on this ba­sis, the pro­vin­cial de­part­ment was vi­o­lat­ing the chil­dren’s con­sti­tu­tional right to ba­sic ed­u­ca­tion, dig­nity, equal­ity, nu­tri­tion and non-dis­crim­i­na­tion.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.