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Abuse of dual citizenship an issue: Bapela

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South Africans who use their dual citizenship to join the army in other countries are abusing the system, the ANC’s international relations subcommittee chairperson Obed Bapela said on Monday.

“We have 4 000 British who are in the Royal services of the UK… and rightfully so because they are also citizens of Europe,” he told reporters in Johannesburg at an engagement on the party’s National General Council documents.

“So is the situation in Israel where Jewish young boys are taken to their homeland and there is conscription. What is in Britain is volunteer… in Israel it is conscription and they get sent to fight where there are wars and obviously with us we are still for a Palestinian cause.”

Earlier this month, Bapela was quoted in the Sunday Times as saying he was concerned about South African citizens fighting in the Israel Defence Force and spoke about the ANC reviewing dual citizenship.

Following Bapela’s comments, the ANC sent out a statement clarifying its stance on the matter saying it had no intention of penalising anyone who had dual citizenship.

“The status quo remains in terms of home affairs regulations on dual citizenship,” national spokesperson Zizi Kodwa said.

“We want to reassure South Africans that in terms of our national policies, we are aligned with the generally accepted practice by the majority of countries in the world who recognise dual citizenship.”

No plans to review Citizenship Act – Gigaba

Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba also said there were “absolutely” no plans to review the SA Citizenship Act with regards to dual citizenship.

Bapela on Monday said the African National Congress was not ready to discuss the matter of dual citizenship at its NGC.

He said the issue was discussed at the July ANC lekgotla and it was decided that a research team was needed to look into the matter.

At next year’s ANC national executive committee lekgotla the party would look at whether the matter was still relevant.

Bapela has been outspoken regarding support for Palestine. There has been some tension between himself and the SA Jewish Board of Deputies and the Zionist Federation.

ANC leaders were to meet with the SAJBD last week on comments made by Bapela regarding dual citizenship and other matters relating to the Jewish community.

Bapela on Monday said the SAJBD, the Zionist Federation and the ANC all agreed on a two-state solution for Israel and Palestine. News24

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