The South African government has issued a somewhat terse condemnation of the removal of Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi, a development described by other observers as a ‘soft coup’. The South African government also issued statement of caution for its citizens who are in Egypt and those planning to visit the country.
Morsi was ordered out of power on Wednesday by the military following days of protest against his rule. He is said to be under detention and was swiftly replaced by chief justice Adly Mansour who was sworn in as interim president until the holding of new elections.
A statement released by the department of international relations said “The Government of South Africa has observed with concern the suspension of the Constitution and the removal from office of a democratically elected President in Egypt, one year after the presidential election”.
The Government is of the view that all efforts should be made to avoid violent confrontation between contending parties. Instability in Egypt may have far reaching consequences on the already precarious situation in the country as well as the North African region and Middle East”.
The statement added that in line with the African Union Constitutive Act, South Africa is opposed to all forms of unconstitutional changes of government. “We strongly encourage all Egyptians to resolve the present crisis through inclusive dialogue within the relevant national legal framework that seeks to consolidate the democratic achievements made by the Egyptian people in January 2011”.
The statement said South African citizens currently in Egypt and those intending to travel to that country should consider their stay or plans based on the prevailing situation in Egypt which remains fluid.
“All non-essential personnel and families attached to the South African Embassy in Cairo will be temporarily withdrawn until the situation allows for their return. The Embassy will however remain open and continue rendering consular assistance to South African citizens in Egypt”.