Briefing Paper

South African Immigration Law: A Gender Analysis

“One of the last pieces of apartheid-era legislation to disappear from the South
African statute books was the Aliens Control Act of 1991. Although amended in 1995, this Act was finally consigned to history only in March 2003, when the draft regulations implementing the new Immigration Act (no. 13 of 2002) came into effect (Republic of South Africa 2002 and 2003). While there is much in the new Act to be welcomed, and it certainly represents the advent of a more just and pragmatic immigration regime, many of its provisions give considerable cause for
concern on gender grounds. The Act is carefully gender-neutral in its terminology
and without any explicit gender discrimination in its definitions and clauses. Yet in practice, and through a variety of means, it will not only discriminate against certain individuals on the basis of their gender, but also create numerous problems for the personal and family relationships of male and female migrants.”