Coming home: South Africans fleeing the war in Gaza evacuated to Egypt, on their way home

Bust shot of a woman with SA flags behind her

Minister for International Relations and Co-operation, Dr Naledi Pandor. File Picture

Published Dec 5, 2023

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A group of at least 19 South African nationals who have been stuck in war-hit Gaza since October 7, are now making their way to South Africa after they were approved for evacuation into Egypt by Israeli authorities.

“The evacuated South Africans, comprising six males and 13 females, have now arrived safely in Cairo and are en route to South Africa,” the Department of International Relations and Cooperation (Dirco) in Pretoria said in a statement.

“South Africa extends its gratitude, to the government of Egypt for granting the evacuated foreign nationals safe passage through the Rafah Crossing into its country”.

Dirco highlighted that the Israeli government has indicated that it intended to extend attacks on the people of Gaza.

An Israeli soldier rides in an armoured personnel carrier (APC) near the border with Gaza. File Picture: REUTERS/Amir Cohen

“The statements from Israeli leaders appear impervious to the global calls for an immediate end to the killing of Palestinian civilians,” the national department led by Minister Naledi Pandor added.

“South Africa calls for an immediate and permanent ceasefire and the resumption of talks that will end the violence arising from the continued belligerent occupation and lays the basis for a just and lasting solution.”

Last month, IOL reported that the minister said South Africans stuck in Gaza, Palestine, and Israel, amid the ongoing conflict, are on the United Nations (UN) rescue list and ready to be moved out when the opportunity arises.

The remarks came after South Africa recalled its diplomats from Israel to assess its relationship with the country.

According to Pandor, since the conflict broke out in October, 120 South Africans in Israel and Palestine have contacted the respective South African missions to inform them of their presence and to express their needs.

Pandor was responding to Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) member of Parliament, Mkhuleko Hlengwa’s written parliamentary questions on support provided to South Africans in Israel wishing to return home following the escalation of tension.

At the time, Pandor said the South African embassies in Tel Aviv and Ramallah, and the consular services at the department's head office were hard at work monitoring, collecting information and liaising with South African nationals who might be in distress and in need of consular services.

IOL