- Amid the Taliban's recent takeover in Afghanistan, the South African government says it cannot accommodate citizens seeking refuge
- This is due to an already overwhelmed social welfare system according to the Department of International Relations and Cooperation (Dirco)
- Thousands of people want to flee Afghanistan after the Taliban took control following the withdrawal of US forces a fortnight ago
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Amid the Taliban's cataclysmic return to power in Afghanistan, the South African government says it does not have the capacity to accommodate refugees who fled the country to Pakistan.
An already overwhelmed social welfare system presents a challenge for South Africa and would not enable the intake of more refugees, according to a TimesLIVE report.
On Wednesday, the Department of International Relations and Cooperation (Dirco) said the department noted the move toward negotiations for South Africa to consider receiving Afghanistan refugees who had sought refuge in Pakistan.
SA seeing to needs of high number of refugees
Thousands of people want to flee Afghanistan after the Islamist militant group took control of the country, following a raging 20-year war, after the withdrawal of US forces a fortnight ago.
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“The request is that they be accommodated in SA en route to their final destinations. The government is, unfortunately, not in a position to accommodate such a request," said the department's spokesperson, Clayson Monyela.
“South Africa is already hosting a high number of refugees. Many are beneficiaries of the social assistance and healthcare programmes offered by our country.”
Monyela added international law makes the provision that the wellbeing of refugees is best accommodated by remaining in the first country of arrival pending their final destinations.
The intergovernmental organisation said although there aren't proportionally a high number of people at borders, there are plans to change this as the crisis worsens.
Ghanaians must be evacuated in Afghanistan
Dirco has been in contact with the South African High Commission in Pakistan and indicated that plans to return citizens back home were in motion, according to TimesLIVE.
Nationals who also wished to escape Afghanistan and return to South Africa are encouraged to contact the South African High Commission or Dirco to make arrangements.