Bapela to meet Jewish Board of Deputies on dual citizenship

09 September 2015 - 13:22 By RDM News Wire

The South African Jewish Board of Deputies (SAJBD) said it had been “approached” by Deputy Minister in the Presidency Obed Bapela over his “remarks concerning dual citizenship and related matters to the Jewish community”. “The SAJBD has accepted the invitation to engage with Bapela and other senior ANC (African National Congress) leadership members‚” the board’s Charisse Zeifert said.“The meeting is expected to take place next week after the conclusion of the Jewish New Year festival.”Rosh Hashanah ends on the evening of Tuesday‚ September 15.This follows the SAJBD earlier this week slamming an ANC proposal regarding dual citizenship.Bapela‚ who is also the head of the ruling party’s national executive committee on international relations‚ was undermining the “very core value of South Africa’s democracy” by proposing a change to existing citizenship legislation “purely to prevent one sector of our society‚ in this case‚ South African Jews from having a relationship with Israel’‚ the SAJBD said.“Bapela called for the notion of dual citizenship to be revised‚ simply to prevent the Jewish community‚ who make up 0.1% of the South African population‚ from identifying with Israel‚” Zeifert said.Bapela’s calls to target Jewish business and his questioning of Jewish South Africans' loyalty “is classic anti-Semitism”‚ she added.The SAJBD statement came on the heels of an announcement the Department of Home Affairs that suggested the status quo on dual citizenship will be maintained for now.Home Affairs said earlier on Wednesday that minister Malusi Gigaba will on Thursday “brief members of the media on discussions around the suggested review of South Africa’s citizenship legislation”.The Home Affairs statement said: “The department is presently not considering any policy change in this regard.“Our law only restricts dual citizenship for those who apply for naturalisation if their countries do not allow dual citizenship.“The Department of Home Affairs is a key enabler of access to basic rights and services‚ including the right to citizenship.”

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