The High Court in Pretoria has granted an order to a stateless man, allowing him to work and live in South Africa while the home affairs minister reconsiders his application for permanent residence.
Acting Judge MB Mokoena set aside the minister’s refusal to grant an exemption and a permanent residence permit to Frederick Ngubane and gave the minister 90 days to reconsider his application.
Ngubane, assisted by Lawyers for Human Rights, initially asked the court to declare that stateless ness was a special circumstance for purposes of the Immigration Act.
But Mokoena ruled that it would be premature to make a pronouncement on the issue before it was established by the department if Ngubane was indeed stateless and before the minister decided if statelessness constituted special circumstances for purposes of the Act.
The judge said the minister was the one to decide, after investigations, if Ngubane was stateless or not and if such status constitutes special circumstances.
Ngubane could again approach the court for relief if he was not satisfied with the ultimate decision. Ngubane alleged he was born in Newcastle in South Africa in 1990, but went to live in Kenya with his mother after his father’s death in 1993.
After his mother was murdered in 2002, he went to live in Uganda with a friend of his mother, but in 2009 returned to SA via Tanzania and Mozambique.
He alleged he was allowed to enter South Africa by producing his birth certificate, but he was robbed of the certificate and that home affairs then refused a late birth registration.
The Ugandan and Kenyan governments confirmed that he was not their citizen but the Tanzanian government linked his origin “to some other East African countries”.