Shrinking South Africa: Hidden Agendas in South African Citizenship Practice.

(2020) Politikon: South African Journal of Political Studies. Volume 47 (2). First Online November 2019. 

The 1995 South African Citizenship Act in conjunction with s3 of the South African Constitution enshrined a free and equal Citizenship for all South Africans. The initial legislation inclined toward the inclusive, allowing dual citizenship and a number of other exceptions to reintegrate those who had lost citizenship under the Apartheid Regime. This paper argues that since 1995 there has been a slow but steady move to restrict access to citizenship through the legislative amendments of 2004, 2007 and 2010 and the Department of Home Affairs’ unduly restrictive interpretations of the law in formal regulations and policies. The evidence suggests an agenda of ‘shrinking the state’ or, at the very least, an inclination to keep South Africa for South Africans. The paper argues that, as citizens, we ought to keep a sharp eye on this trend and respond to its political nature through political channels.

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