Originally Posted by Cheffie
You raise an interesting point DR J.b..
What happens if you do have a British passport? It seems rather confusing.
The issue is not the British passport, which is merely proof of citizenship, it is the about how British citizenship was acquired. There are essentially two possibilities: A) involuntary; which is by birth or descent or B) by a voluntary act, usually by a successful application for naturalisation.
Where British Citizenship is held as a direct result of birthright, permission is no longer required to exercise that citizenship by travelling on a British Passport, providing the holder uses their South African passport to enter and leave SA and does not use their British Passport for purposes such as reclaiming tax.
The catch which many are not aware of is that if you naturalise as a British citizen without first having permission from the SA authorities, your South African citizenship is automatically lost. Lost SA citizenship may be reclaimed as soon as the person who lost it returns to SA "permanently" and it is worth being aware that a SA citizen by birth, currently, retains the right to live in SA free from immigration controls)
The reason a 4 year date is mentioned is that it is assumed that SA citizens married to British citizens may have naturalised within that time and proof is required if this is not the case.
There is debate over the legitimacy of automatic removal of SA citizenship which does seem to fly in the face of citizenship rights laid down in the SA Constitution.
* There is an exemption from automatic loss covering the period when many ANC supporters were abroad and had no option but to take other citizenships if they wished to travel.
There you have it, a lot more info than asked for!