The South African government has warned that its citizens who are involved in the Israeli military operations in Gaza will face prosecution and legal consequences when they return to the country.
According to the Regulation of Foreign Military Assistance Act, South Africans are prohibited from taking part in any armed conflict or military activity abroad without the permission of the government. Those who violate this law could face imprisonment of up to five years or a fine of up to R1 million.
The Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO) said in a statement that it was aware of reports that some South Africans had joined the Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) and were fighting in Gaza. The department said it was investigating these allegations and would take appropriate action against those who were found to have breached the law.
The statement also reiterated South Africa’s position on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, calling for an immediate end to the violence and a lasting solution based on international law and human rights. South Africa has been a vocal critic of Israel’s actions in Gaza, accusing it of committing war crimes, genocide of Palestinians and violating the Geneva Conventions.
The statement said that South Africa supported the efforts of the United Nations, the African Union, and other regional and international actors to bring about a peaceful resolution of the conflict. It also urged all South Africans to refrain from any actions that could escalate the situation or endanger the lives of civilians.
The statement concluded by expressing South Africa’s solidarity with the Palestinian people and their legitimate aspirations for self-determination and statehood. It also called on Israel to respect the rights of the Palestinian people, end the genocide and to end its occupation of their territories.