PRESS STATEMENT | Pretoria High Court Grants Citizenship

Date: 15/09/2021

On Tuesday, 14 September 2021 the Pretoria High Court granted citizenship to Mr. Emmanuel Bukweya Ngenani, after a long battle together with his legal representatives, LHR, in which they successfully argued that the Department of Home Affairs’ refusal to issue Mr Ngenani with an ID was irrational.

Mr. Ngegani was born in South Africa to parents of Angolan descent in 1995 and he has lived in South Africa since birth. He had been consistently denied citizenship by the Department of Home Affairs (DHA), since applying for an ID beginning at the age of 16 as a naturalised citizen. When he applied again for the ID at age 18, he was informed that he was ineligible for South African citizenship as he was Angolan, by virtue of his parents being Angolan. Mr. Ngegani then applied for citizenship in terms of section 4(3) of the Citizenship Act to obtain the ID but was left frustrated when the DHA failed to assist and process the application.

The consequences of being unlawfully barred from accessing citizenship are often severe, with direct implications on accessing other rights, including health care, education, and basic services.

LHR argued that the DHA’s refusal to issue Mr. Ngenani an ID was irrational because he meets the section 4(3) requirements. He was born in South Africa, has lived in South Africa since birth and only knows and considers South Africa as his home, and has already reached the age of majority.

Charne Tracey, LHR’s attorney in the matter noted: “We welcome this decision, especially in light of the Minister of Home Affairs v Ali and Others (1289/17) judgment, which influenced this decision, as the Supreme Court of Appeal importantly acknowledged there that the DHA has wrongfully denied similarly placed persons “the right to apply for citizenship in a country where they were born, have lived in, and which is the only country they have ever known.”

LHR thanks Advocate Lerato Molete for her representation of Mr. Ngenani.


For further information, contact:

Charne Tracey

Attorney, Strategic Litigation Programme


Tel: 084 612 0979

Thank you for joining
Thank you for joining the LHR Newsletter, we will be in touch soon