A man – who was more than three years ago suddenly stripped of his SA citizenship by Home Affairs and subsequently lost his job – turned to the court for a final interdict to force the department to unblock his ID document.

Pretoria News report says the applicant – only identified as FS – told the Gauteng High Court (Pretoria) of the hardships he has encountered after Home Affairs simply took away his citizenship in April 2021, based on unverified claims that he is actually a Zimbabwe national.

FS said he had obtained his Smart SA ID card decades ago, he married a SA woman and his four children all received birth certificates indicating that they are South Africans. He also submitted proof of his citizenship to the court that concluded ‘it is crystal clear’ that he is a South African.

The applicant complained that Home Affairs stripped him of his citizenship after a forensic investigation done by an unregistered company into his background.

This was done at Eskom, where the applicant was previously employed.

The report, among others, stated he was born out of wedlock.

He said certain parts of the report submitted by the investigators should not be allowed by the court, as they are ‘scandalous and vexatious’ in that they label him as being born to an illegitimate father.

He said this violated the constitutional right to human dignity of himself and his mother.

Judge Mabaeng Lenyai said: ‘I find the labelling of the applicant as an “illegitimate child” regrettable and painful as it has a negative inference on both the applicant and his mother.’

According to the Pretoria News report, she said the only reason to label someone as illegitimate is to cause shame on the person.

‘It is archaic, outdated and cruel … I dare say it is unconstitutional to refer to someone as an illegitimate child and the court frowns upon such conduct. The respondents should be sensitive when describing people so as not to offend their human dignity,’ Lenyai said.

Lenyai said the applicant has a clear right to the relief sought.

His submissions to the circumstances of his birth, including the facts relating to his father, were reasonable to the court.

‘The court takes judicial notice thereof as most black South Africans were born under such unfortunate and unfavourable conditions during the dark days of the history of our country. No one should take advantage of those circumstances or persecute the people affected any further. It is enough,’ the judge said.

She declared him a SA citizen and ordered Home Affairs to hand back his documents to him.

Full Pretoria News report in The Star