Cape Town – President Cyril Ramaphosa has announced plans to evacuate South African citizens trapped in the ongoing conflict between Israel and Palestine.
He cited the deteriorating situation and the dire conditions faced by South Africans in both countries.
The State Security Agency and Defence Intelligence are actively monitoring the situation as it evolves rapidly.
Ramaphosa said that South Africa has also received requests from various Middle Eastern countries for humanitarian aid to Gaza, which has been without water, food, and electricity for nearly a week.
He said this on the sidelines of the ANC’s National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting in Gauteng on Saturday.
Ramaphosa and the ANC National Executive Committee condemned Israel’s decision to force 1.1 million people in northern Gaza to move to the south, equating the situation to genocide.
South Africa expressed its willingness to participate in any peace process aimed at resolving the Israel-Palestine conflict and called for international intervention to stop the bloodshed.
Ramaphosa emphasised the urgent need for humanitarian corridors to provide essential supplies and restore electricity in Gaza while expressing concern about the potential for the conflict to spread and involve more countries in the region, given existing conflicts in Africa and Ukraine.
South Africa previously engaged in evacuation efforts in Sudan.
We pledge solidarity with the people of Palestine. #FreePalestine 🇵🇸 pic.twitter.com/3iMUhhfm98
— Cyril Ramaphosa 🇿🇦 (@CyrilRamaphosa) October 14, 2023
Ramaphosa and the African National Congress (ANC) also reiterated their support for Palestine amid the ongoing conflict with Israel.
“As people and an organisation that has struggled against an oppressive regime of apartheid, we pledge solidarity with the Palestinian people. As the ANC, we have always pledged our solidarity, and have always insisted that the only solution, especially with the issues of Palestine, is a two-state solution,” the president said.
The ANC, during its NEC meeting, displayed solidarity with Palestine by wearing black and Palestinian scarves.
They condemned Israel’s actions, which they likened to apartheid, and expressed empathy for both Palestinian and Israeli lives lost.
Ramaphosa emphasized the ANC’s support for a two-state solution and called on the international community to prevent the evacuation order, which would result in a humanitarian crisis.
The ANC also expressed concern that the conflict could escalate and involve the broader region, leading to potential South African evacuations from the area.
Two South Africans have already lost their lives in the conflict. The ANC’s NEC meeting is set to conclude soon.
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Compiled by Betha Madhomu