The department of international relations and cooperation (Dirco) says South Africa will not be accepting Afghan refugees. This after a request was made to the country to consider receiving a number of Afghanistan refugees who have sought refuge in Pakistan.
The request was that they be accommodated in South Africa enroute to their final destinations.
According to the department of international relations and cooperation, the country is in no position to accept refugees and it is already home to a substantial number of refugees.
“The South African Government is unfortunately not in a position to accommodate such a request. South Africa is already home to a substantial number of refugees and is seized with addressing their needs. Most of them already benefit from the Social Assistance and free medical health programmes offered by our country,” said spokesperson Clayson Monyela in a statement.
“In terms of international law, the well-being of the refugees is best served by remaining in the first country arrival – Pakistan – pending their final destinations.”
Other African countries such as Somaliland and Uganda have agreed to take in Afghan refugees.
Last Friday, a spokesperson for Somaliland’s foreign ministry told AFP that Hargeisa had entered into discussions with US officials about temporarily hosting Afghan refugees.
“We (in) principle agree… to host Afghan refugees for the transit period,” the official said, adding that the agreement was still at a preliminary stage, with technicalities still to be worked out and no date set for their arrival.
The US government has also been in talks with Uganda about taking in refugees.
On Wednesday, a charter flight carrying 51 Afghans — including men, women and children — landed in the East African country, with more evacuees expected to arrive in the coming days.
The evacuations were in response to a request from Washington to temporarily host “at-risk” Afghan nationals who are in transit to the United States and other destinations worldwide, Uganda’s foreign ministry said.
Media reports say Kampala has agreed to take about 2,000 refugees.
Compiled by Vhahangwele Nemakonde. Additional reporting by AFP