The Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO) has confirmed on Tuesday that it has successfully intervened on behalf of 22 South Africans who were still trapped in Egypt after fleeing the conflict-torn Sudan.
This comes after the Gift of the Givers received a call on Monday about the locals stuck on a ship in Safaga port, Egypt, since Saturday, 29 April.
The disaster response non-governmental organisation said they arrived from Port Sudan, where they had been on contract since September last year for a project that required two more weeks for completion and then the war broke out.
The organisations said they were “stuck” on a cargo ship, not a commercial liner, which complicated matters.
“Regarding the 22 South African nationals who were stranded at Safaga port and refused permission to disembark from their boats by the Egyptian authorities because clearances were required by authorities, we’re happy to report this morning that we have successfully intervened on their behalf,” said DIRCO spokesperson, Clayson Monyela.
According to Monyela, Egyptian authorities have since granted the South African citizens permission to get off the boat to proceed with their journey and an official from the South African Embassy in Cairo has been tasked with signing them off.
“They will then proceed to Cairo, fly via Ethiopian Airlines back to South Africa with the stopover at Addis Ababa.”
Meanwhile, 51 South African citizens, who were stranded in Sudan, touched down at the OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg on Sunday.
“The lesson from this experience is that private companies who choose to make their own private arrangements for the employees, in a situation like this at play in Sudan, it is always beneficial to inform and talk to government because there are processes that need to be complied with and certain interventions that can only be made by government.
“We’re happy now that all South African nationals that we know and are aware of have all been successfully evacuated out of Sudan.”
He described the mission as “dangerous and risky” and thanked Egypt, Sudan and Saudi Arabia and Gift of the Givers for offering their helping hand.
“We’ve brought our people home and we’re happy about that. We also acknowledge the role of the South African National Defence Force for their role in making this possible.”
Tensions erupted in Sudan on 15 April between the army and the Rapid Support, killing over 500 people, with thousands injured. – SAnews.gov.za