Cape Town – The Department of International Relations and Cooperation (Dirco) confirmed on Tuesday that the 22 South Africans who were stranded on a boat in Egypt after fleeing conflict-stricken Sudan have finally received a release order from Egyptian authorities.
The Gift of the Givers on Monday said it received a call about the locals stuck on a ship in Safaga port, Egypt, since Saturday, 29 April.
The organisations said they were “stuck” on a cargo ship, not a commercial liner, which complicated matters.
“The boat was chartered by the company that had employed the South Africans for a project that started in September last year with just two more weeks left for completion when the war started.
“They have been waiting in that boat in Egypt for the last three days for clearance so they could catch a flight from Cairo to South Africa. Unfortunately, they have had to postpone the flight,” Times Live quoted Sooliman as saying at the time.
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Dirco spokesperson, Clayson Monyela said on Tuesday that Egyptian authorities had since granted the group permission to resume their travels.
“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 Monyela, according to SA News.
Monyela said Egyptian authorities had 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 had 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,” he said.
The group is expected in the country on Wednesday.
Meanwhile, 51 South African citizens, who were stranded in Sudan, touched down at the OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg on Sunday.
ALSO READ | WATCH | Emotions run high as SA citizens arrive home from war-torn Sudan
“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,” said Monyela.
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
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Picture: Twitter/ @ClaysonMonyela
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Compiled by Betha Madhomu