The South African government says it does not have capacity to accommodate Afghanistan refugees as its social welfare system is already overburdened. “The South African government notes the overtures made to the country to consider receiving a number of Afghan refugees who have sought refuge in Pakistan,” the Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO) said in a statement.
DIRCO said the country had been requested to accommodate the refugees as they travel en-route to their final destinations. But it said it was not in a position to accept as “the refugees will be best served by remaining in Pakistan, their first country of arrival”. Thousands of people want to flee Afghanistan after the terror group Taliban took control of the country after the withdrawal of US forces. “The request is that they be accommodated in SA en route to their final destinations. The South African government is unfortunately not in a position to accommodate such a request. SA 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,” International relations and co-operation department spokesperson Clayson Monyela said. He said in terms of international law, the wellbeing of the refugees is best served by remaining in the first country of arrival — in this case Pakistan — pending their final destinations. Some other countries including Uganda, Rwanda and Colombia are some of the developing countries offering temporary asylum to Afghan refugees awaiting resettlement in the US and other wealthy Western nations.