Conflict in Sudan: DA welcomes DIRCO’s evacuation but calls for stronger South African diplomacy

Issued by Emma Louise Powell MP – DA Shadow Minister of International Relations and Cooperation
25 Apr 2023 in News

The Democratic Alliance (DA) is pleased to note that an evacuation operation by the Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO) of South African nationals who have been trapped in Sudan since 15 April 2023, is underway. The DA furthermore extends its thanks to the Gift of the Givers for the critical role they have played in this evacuation.

Until early on Monday morning, South Africans stranded in the besieged capital of Khartoum were receiving limited communication from the Department on this operation, and we call on DIRCO to provide immediate confirmation to the public once evacuation is safely concluded.

The DA urges parties to the conflict to lay down their weapons and return to the negotiating table. We also call on DIRCO to step up and play its role in enacting South Africa’s own foreign policy to establish order, and foster the democratic processes necessary to elect and establish a stable government for the people of Sudan.

Like many other civil conflicts on the continent, the outbreak of violence in Sudan could have been mitigated had South Africa acted decisively at crucial junctures in the recent past. As a regional power, South Africa should be addressing the root cause of conflict, instead of acting too late to address the symptoms of the problem when violence erupts. Informed by one of the world’s most progressive Constitutions, South African foreign policy should be instrumental in promoting dialogue, democracy, and upholding the rule of law.

A critical opportunity to lead the charge in developing effective crisis response mechanisms for the African Union (AU) was also missed whilst President Ramaphosa served as Chairperson between 2020-2021. In terms of conflict prevention and ensuring the stability of the African continent, Ramaphosa, and South Africa, missed a crucial opportunity in favour of propping up the African brotherhood of leaders and upholding the status quo.

South Africa must now take up its position as a member of the African Union Peace and Security Council (AUPSC) in leading the conclusion and implementation of the Final Agreement towards the restoration of a civilian-led transitional government in Sudan.

South Africa must furthermore support the role played by the (East African) Intergovernmental Authority on Development and the East African Community (ECA) in their mediation roles in Sudan.

Until such time as negotiations are successfully concluded, the DA calls on parties to the conflict to urgently identify ports of entry where international relief organisations can receive medical equipment and critical supplies for trapped and injured civilians.