The court determined whether the respondents established sufficient cause for the rescission of the default judgment. The court, assessing the condonation aspect, found no satisfactory explanation for the delay within the prescribed twenty days. Relying on precedent cases like Colyn v Tiger Food Industries Ltd and Mothupi v MEC, the court emphasized the need for a bona fide (good faith) defence, interpreting it as more than mere legal conclusions.

The court noted that certain information pivotal to the respondents' decision was omitted. Despite the respondents' claim of a lawful and rational decision based on the Refugees Act, sections 24(3), 25(3)(a), and 26(1), they failed to substantiate the decision-making process. Addressing the applicants' children's citizenship, the court found the respondents lacked a bona fide defence. Ultimately, the court concluded that the respondents failed to demonstrate good cause, rendering their application not bona fide and unsuccessful.

Date of judgment

Asylum seeker, illegal foreigner, applications for asylum, asylum, condonation for delay, condonation, rescission of default judgment, bona fide defence, good or sufficient cause

Case citations
V A and Others v Minister of Home Affairs (19551/2020) [2023] ZAGPPHC 218 (11 April 2023)
Nationality of refugee/asylum seeker

This was an application to overturn a judgment confirming the citizenship of two minors. Originally from Rwanda, their asylum applications in South Africa were rejected in 2010. In March 2020, the first applicant was notified to return to Rwanda or risk becoming an illegal immigrant. The rejection hampered their economic activities due to the lack of valid permits. In response, the applicants filed an urgent motion challenging the decision, obtaining a default judgment in June 2020. The respondents now seek to rescind the order, citing administrative delays, and request condonation.

Decision/ Judgment

The application was dismissed with costs. The costs were on the scale as between party and party.

Basis of the decision

The court was guided by the Supreme Court of Appeal in Colyn v Tiger Food Industries Ltd t/a Meadow Feed Mills Cape and Mothupi v MEC, Department of Health Free State, to interpret the role of a bona fide defence in establishing good cause in order to succeed in an application for rescission of a default judgment. 

Reported by
Supported by the UNHCR