Sunday, December 3

South African Citizens stuck in War Zone Sudan, Loved Ones Worried

South Africans have been evacuated from Sudan

South African Citizens who happened to be in Sudan when the civil war started have found themselves in a quagmire.1 The civil war between the military commanders Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, the de facto leader of Sudan and the commander in chief of the Armed Forces and the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) militia commander Mohammed Hamdan Dagalo has put possibly thousands of foreign nationals at risk. South Africans are part of that mix and Pretoria’s Department of International Relations and Cooperation is working hard to evacuate them from that country.2 Pretoria is facing a diplomatic nightmare with the negotiation to transfer our nationals home from a conflict that has left 500 Sudanese dead.3  About 22 South Africans have been evacuated from Sudan, and are in Egypt.4 This is a three way diplomatic triangle between Cairo, Khartoum and Pretoria.

Newzroom Afrika reported on Monday morning that the group of 22 South Africans had been evacuated from Sudan, using a boat, by their employer. However, the evacuation mission hit a snag in Cairo as some in the group did not have the requisite travel documents. “We are contacted (because) the people are now stuck here, although initially when they planned and made arrangements, they didn’t inform us, they didn’t involve us. Because these are South African nationals, we have now activated our team in Cairo, at the South African embassy… we are now dealing with this matter,” Dirco spokesperson Clayson Monyela told Newzroom Afrika. “We have now engaged our counterparts at the foreign ministry in Egypt to secure the necessary clearance so that our nationals can now get off the boat, catch a flight in Cairo and come home safely, like the one that we safely evacuated.” On Sunday, International Relations and Cooperation Minister Naledi Pandor was joined by Home Affairs Minister Aaron Motsoaledi and Defence and Military Veterans Minister Thandi Modise at the OR Tambo International Airport where a group of at least 51 South Africans evacuated from Sudan arrived home. (Another group of South Africans fleeing war in Sudan stuck in Egypt as Dirco Intervenes)

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Source: EWN

The desperation of our citizens

The desperation of our citizens should not be overstretched. However if some in the group were unable to possess their necessary travel documents how were they able to travel to Sudan in the first place? What happened to their travel documents? Could it be they were travelling illegally or lost their documentation due to the fighting in Sudan? I would probably say it was the latter, for who would want to travel illegally to a war zone? For now the efforts between our Department of International Relations and Cooperation in Pretoria and the Foreign Affairs Portfolio in Cairo should focus on finding the best possible solution to prove the identities of the twenty two expatriates.

However given the not so flattering human rights record of the regime in Cairo, South Africa needs to be weary of what the government of Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi can promise it. The Department of International Relations and Cooperation Minister Naledi Pandor must work effortlessly alongside Minister of Home Affairs Aaron Motsoaledi and Minister of Defense and War Veterans Thandi Modise to clear the legal course for these citizens to return to South Africa and for the military to assist in the evacuations. It is good that the government was able to transfer some South Africans from Sudan but there is more effort to be made. We cannot leave our citizens stranded in shark infested waters while the state does nothing. Our efforts should not cease.          

Source: Al Jazeera



Another group of South Africans fleeing war in Sudan stuck in Egypt as Dirco intervenes

The 22 South Africans were working in Sudan. Their employer evacuated them to Egypt, using a boat, but have become stuck because some do not…  1 2 3 4

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