A Johannesburg woman who used to a man has been locked in litigation for two years against the Department of Home Affairs to change her sex on her ID document, Rapport reports. The woman, who uses the pseudonym Ann and got permission from the court to use only her initials on public documents, first applied for a sex change in 2015.

She underwent gender reassignment surgery in August 2017 in Thailand and had to bring an urgent application in the Gauteng High Court (Pretoria) to get a passport as a female so that she would be able to re-enter SA.

Judge Stephens Thobane granted the order to change her sex and issue a new passport, but Home Affairs claimed it intended to appeal the ruling.

Home Affairs issued her with a renewed passport as a man together with a letter she could use at immigration control to explain why her physical appearance doesn’t match her passport image and description.

Thobane gave reasons for his 2017 order only last month. He criticised Home Affairs for its attitude, saying the department shouldn’t extend its legal tentacles into the privacy of people’s homes.

‘It must realise that the public has rights and protect people’s freedom of choice.’

There was no legal impediment to Ann’s sex change, the court held.

Elmarie Erasmus, Ann’s attorney, says they now want to know from Home Affairs whether it still intends to proceed with the appeal.

Full report in Rapport (subscription needed)